Israeli actress Shira Haas is having quite the year. Fresh off the heels of a Golden Globes nomination for best performance in the hit German-American Netflix series “Unorthodox,” Haas has now been named to TIME Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in 2021 in the “Artists” category.
Haas, 25, celebrated the achievement with a post to Instagram saying she was “so, so proud to be included in the 2021 #TIME100NEXT list alongside the most talented people.”
She also thanked Deborah Feldman, the author of the 2012 memoir “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots” on which the series is based, for nominating her to the list and writing a moving blurb about her acting chops, which Feldman called “a rare magic.”
“Unorthodox” debuted on Netflix in March 2020 to rave reviews, and was the first show on the platform to be primarily in Yiddish.
In it, Haas plays Esty Shapiro, a 19-year-old Jewish woman unhappy in her arranged marriage among the ultra-Orthodox community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She eventually flees to Berlin, the home of her estranged mother, and abandons her former religious lifestyle.
“It’s hard to watch someone else depict painful experiences that you went through. How do you know they won’t take away your dignity by diminishing the experience? But when Shira Haas played Esty in “Unorthodox,” Netflix’s adaptation of my memoir on leaving my Satmar Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn, I could see she had a reverence and respect for the material,” Feldman wrote for TIME.
“Shira has a way of bringing an intensity to the screen that’s incredibly convincing, no matter how far-fetched or strange a narrative can seem,” added Feldman.
Haas, wrote Feldman, can be trusted with “work that, in other hands, might come across as one-dimensional. As a result, audiences develop connections and associations with worlds they previously didn’t understand—that’s what Shira accomplished with the Hasidic community; that is what she can accomplish as an actress.”
Haas’ performance in “Unorthodox” earned her an Emmy nomination, and the series nabbed an Emmy award for outstanding directing after being nominated for a total of eight Emmys.
On Wednesday evening, Haas thanked “the very best” Feldman for her “kind, moving and beautiful words” in TIME magazine.
“Ich hub dich lieb [I love you],” she wrote.
The Emmys are set to take place on February 28. Meanwhile, Haas has also received acclaim for her role in Ruthy Pribar’s movie Asia, which won her a Best Supporting Actress Ophir Award in Israel. The movie went on to win Best Picture at the awards, making it Israel’s Oscar entry this year. The 93rd Academy Awards will take place April 2021.