section Sex. Jewish Positions

Wedding Night

  • Rachel Elitzur
  • IL
  • 2023
  • 60

The wedding night in ultra-orthodox Judaism raises high expectations – especially for the newlyweds. In anonymous interviews, men and women report how they had to become intimate as almost complete strangers and without any sex education.

Based on her own experiences as an ultra-orthodox Jewish woman, documentary filmmaker Rachel Elitzur explores the conventions and rules surrounding marriage in strictly observant Judaism. Men and women report anonymously on the various stages they had to go through on their way to marriage: from the few meetings with the future husband or wife, from the withheld or inadequate sexual education in the run-up to the wedding, from the expectations of the community, from the moment behind closed doors and from the feelings they are subsequently left behind and alone with.

Text: Merlin Webers

Supporting film: IN SERVICE OF THE KING (Brachi Haisherik, IL 2023, 15 min)

The event is part of the exhibition Sex. Jewish Positions at the Jewish Museum Berlin (JMB).


original title Wedding Night

international title Wedding Night

german title Wedding Night

JFBB section Sex. Jewish Positions

  • director Rachel Elitzur

country/countries IL

year 2023

duration 60

Portrait of Rachel Elitzur

Rachel Elitzur

BIO Rachel Elitzur is an ultra-Orthodox filmmaker, a graduate of Beit Yaakov girls' institutions. Graduate of the Ma'aleh Film School in Jerusalem. Her first film Covered Up was screened at Docaviv festival in 2018 and at festivals around the world, it was nominated in the Debut and Photography category at the Documentary Forum Awards Ceremony. The film is broadcast on the Yes Docu channel, with the support of the New Film and Television Foundation and Mifal Hapais. Her first short fiction film The Youngest has participated in festivals around the world and won awards. The film is supported by the Gesher Foundation and Mifal Hapais. Rachel managed the program for ultra-Orthodox women of Ma'aleh School in the years 2014-2020. She is a member of the Mifal Hapais Council for Culture and the Arts in the field of cinema. She is also a graduate of the New Film and Television Foundation`s Greenhouses for developing a feature film and documentary, Forbidden fruit and Wedding night (respectively). The feature received a development grant from the Rabinovich Foundation, the Israeli Film Fund and the New Film and Television Foundation, produced by Lama Productions. Wedding Night also participated in the intellectual incubator for filmmakers of the Van Leer Institute, Jerusalem 2020 and in Copro 2021, produced by Abigail Sperber. These days she is developing a family drama series for YES produced by Endemol Shane. Rachel is a graduate of the Mandel Institute's Jewish Culture Leadership Program.