Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Temple Sinai in Los Angeles.
The world is full of conflicting ideals. How does one see clearly through the tangle of ambitions? In the phrase of the splendid Irish writer Ken Bruen, must we always live with “a conscience full others’ dreams?”
Half a world away from her home, a bronchitis-stricken American writer stumbles into her cousins’ apartment in Jerusalem to recuperate in the embrace of her Israeli family. Technically a guest, she feels more like a patient, but in this moment, certainly not a singles columnist. She sits in the kitchen, drinking tea, which is pretty much all her beleaguered throat can handle right now. And as the veil of Hebrew pulls back and her ear adjusts to the language, she slowly becomes aware of some oddly familiar phrases.
It’s probably just a coincidence that the blue-skinned, endangered aliens from the planet Pandora in the mega-hit “Avatar” are called the Na’vi, which is Hebrew for prophet. It couldn’t be that non-Jewish writer and director James Cameron took the term deliberately to make a point that in these victimized, ultimately triumphant underdogs we were to see a glimpse of some conflict in the offing. Could it?
Probably not. But it is one of the things to ponder about a movie that borrows so much of its essence, while leaving so much to interpretation.
A recent Facebook message from a total stranger, one of dozens and dozens Jessica Queller has received since she went public this year with an agonizingly personal medical decision, shared a familiar story.
The stranger, a woman in her mid-30s, was a cancer survivor, unmarried, with no immediate matrimonial prospects. She wanted to have children.
George Orwell, perhaps better than any other writer, was able to capture the danger of political groups redefining common terms in a way meant to confuse and eventually neutralize opponents. In his famous novel, “1984,” he shows how a totalitarian regime (in this case the Soviet Union) declares to its citizens that freedom is slavery and war is peace. Repeated often enough the citizenry begins to repeat these phrases in a zombie-like way, and in essence accepts these absurd slogans.
Friday, May 1st, 2009
Forget the Kentucky Derby. If you’re young and in love, or are romantically inclined, check out Ketubah, a filly running in the sixth race at Belmont.
If after that race you’re still feeling lucky, check out this Ketubah from an Ohio horse farm.
Wednesday, January 21st, 2009
Here’s an interesting item in Middle East Times, dissecting media coverage of the Gaza war from an Arab’s perspective. A lot of anti-Israel folks have been raving about Jon Stewart and (what I think is) his uniquely ignorant view of Gaza’s history.
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.