Yentl Movie Poster

"In a time when the world of study belonged only to men, there lived a girl who dared to ask why".  Yentl, starring Barbara Streisand as Yentl and Mandy Patinkin as Avigdor, was a musical drama released in 1983.  The film received mostly positive reviews back in the day, and was very successful at the box office.  The writer of the poem, “Yentl the Yeshiva Boy”, for which the film was based, did not like the adaptation at all.

In this movie, a Polish, Jewish woman named Yentl Mendel (Streisand) disguises herself as a man (circa 1900) in order to attend a Jewish religious school for would-be rabbis.  Although her father had taught her the Talmud before he died, technically the teaching of the Talmud to women was prohibited by custom.  Yentl assumes the identify of her late brother, Anshel, and enrolls in the school.

Yentl becomes friends with fellow student Avigdor (Patinkin), who is engaged to a girl named Hadass.  When Hadass’ family decides the marriage between Hadass and Avigdor should be called off due to the insanity that ran in Avigdor’s family, it is decided that Hadass should marry Yentl instead.  At the same time, Yentl and Avigdor begin having feelings for each other.  In the end, however, Avigdor gets back with Hadass, and Yentl moves to the USA where she can be more free to learn the Talmud.