Transparent (2015- present) is a streaming show on Amazon that chronicles the experiences of the Pfefferman family as Mort, a 70-something married father of three, comes out as transgender and transitions into Maura, her authentic identity. In this scene, we see the Pfeffermans preparing to break the Yom Kippur fast at the house of Ali Pfefferman and her childhood friend and roommate Syd Feldman. As the Pfeffermans and the Feldmans reconnect, we learn a lot about the family: Josh Pfefferman explains that “dad’s a woman,” while Ali explains that Josh is getting married and having a baby with Raquel, the rabbi from the family’s temple. Shelly Pfefferman (Mort/Maura’s ex-wife) arrives with her new beau, Buzzy Racklis, and they run into Maura in the elevator. As the family settles down to eat, Ali steps in for an absent Raquel to give the blessing. After blessing the food, Raquel’s absence is noted again, and Josh reveals that they lost the baby and ended their relationship. Shelly breaks down in sobs and blames herself for jinxing the pregnancy by announcing it at Sarah’s wedding months earlier.
What are some elements of Jewish beliefs and rituals that are highlighted in this scene?
How does the theme of forgiveness (or atonement) and new beginnings show up throughout the scene? Why is that important? How might it relate to their religious celebration?
What are some of the connections between gender and Judaism that are present in this scene?
How does this scene compare to family or religious gathering you’ve been to?