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‘The Red Tent’ To Become a Lifetime Miniseries

Minnie Driver to star in adaptation of Anita Diamant’s feminist Jewish novel

Stephanie Butnick
May 12, 2014
(The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant)
(The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant)

The Red Tent, Anita Diamant’s New York Times bestselling novel which tells the story of Dinah, the daughter of Leah and Jacob, is headed for television. Deadline reports that the novel, a fictionalized first-person narrative of Dinah’s life, will be made into a four-hour miniseries for Lifetime. Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson will play the role of Dinah, while Minnie Driver will play her mother Leah. Homeland’s Morena Baccarin will play Rachel, Jacob’s second wife, and Debra Winger will play Rebecca, Jacob’s mother.

The novel was extremely popular, in part because it spotlighted a female character in the Hebrew Bible whose story, though gripping, was told quickly and succinctly in its original form. Diamant imagines and expands upon the events of Dinah’s life, and locates hers alongside the narrative arcs of her father and 12 brothers, who would go on to become the 12 tribes of Israel. Much of the story is told through the tales shared by wives and mothers and sisters who would convene monthly during menstruation in a structure known as the red tent, for which the book is named.

Diamant has written a number of books on Jewish ritual, including The New Jewish Wedding and Living a Jewish Life, both of which have been, perhaps tellingly, revised by Diamant since their publication. She is also the founder of Mayyim Hayyim, an independent mikveh just outsite of Boston in Newton, Mass, open to Jews of all denominations.

“I want it to be a welcoming and inviting place, from the minute you walk through the door,” Diamant told Tablet in 2012. “A place for laughter and mazel tovs, with a gracious room in which to celebrate with brides and grooms, a place for the newly Jewish to raise a glass of wine.”

Hopefully Diamant is raising a glass of wine to the new adaptation of The Red Tent.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.