Friday, February 27, 2015

Purimalocity Party - פורימלוסיטי

   LOVE  this. It really has gotten me in to the spirit of Purim.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

SFJFF 34 Presents: Above and Beyond Trailer

   This film  ABOVE AND BEYOND was shown at the New York Jewish film festival. I of course missed it and haven't yet seen it. I found this about 7 minute trailer. Its adorable. I just had to post it. Enjoy and go out and see then whole film even f you wait until its available on video

Monday, February 23, 2015

Selfie Mania

     Since the advent of digital cameras and the popularity of cell phones with cameras, the selfie has been on the rise. I hate the word "SELFIE". Its not like people did not take a lot of pictures of themselves before the digital age, its just easier now. I am a fan of the selfie because I take better pictures than my friends do and I am able to take better photos of myself than anyone. Most people I know specialize in full length photo taking. They also don't realize that a photo taken from above looks better than a picture taken from below. If I don't take the picture there is a 90% chance I will look awful. If I take the picture there is a 95% chance it will be an amazing photo. Those are just the facts. So I will not refrain from taking selfies any time soon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Conformity

      Growing up in the midwest you live in your own neighborhood and you veer as far away from the bad neighborhoods as you can. In New York it does not matter what neighborhood you live in .You see every mix of people on the train no matter where you live. It is  slightly less diverse depending on which train you take.  I am not sure this makes one a more tolerant individual, but it does make one  a little more savvy about how much one should fear someone who is of a lower socio-economic class. I suppose its a good skill to have, but all this diversity has made me crave living in a less diverse environment.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The News

     Since its the age of the Internet, I am more likely to read the news headlines online than watch news on television. I prefer it. I can get the headlines without having the full effect of video. I realize its possible to watch news videos online, but I am selective of those I watch. Some of them are just so depressing. I need to be able to sleep at night. Its important to know what is going on in the world even the most frightening news, but I do not believe that watching the news twenty -four seven is going to help anything. I have not watched any of the beheading videos that are online. I don't need to see it actually occur to believe they have happened. I'm funny like that. I suppose that for those who are quick to disbelieve that there could ever be injustice in this world watching ISIS beheading videos is appropriate. I am so grateful that I do not have a perverse desire to binge watch them. I will leave the watching of these videos to those with a stronger stomach than I have. I do not deny that these things have happened , I just do not want to see them . When anyone dies of war or illness it can be easy to dwell on the last image of their suffering, when all one really wants as a friend or relative is to push that image away and try to only recall what one's friend or loved one  was like in happier times.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

What Color Are Jewish People?

     There has been a lot of racial speak in the news lately. Often people will say to me, "But you are white, if you weren't you may think differently" I always laugh when I hear that . I may look white, but when you are Jewish you aren't exactly white even if you look white. Perhaps white is my skin color, but there is still loads of anti-semitism out there that does not exactly make me just another white person. Its not Jews ourselves that separate ourselves from being just white or any other color for that matter. Society separates us as well. I would venture to say that Jewish people from Arabic countries aren't really considered Arabic but are considered Jews even if they look Arabic. 
         Growing up in the midwest, most Jewish people I knew were Ashkenazi, but there were also  quite a few Sephardim, Persian Jews and even black Jewish converts. An Ethiopian Jew even came to speak at my school in high school which I thought was very cool. I  never really dwelt upon what color Jewish  people were. I really focused on the Judaism we had in common. I always found it exotic that Jews can be of every color of the rainbow. Kind of like if you have a preference of dating someone who looks a certain way there is bound to be someone Jewish to fit that bill.
         

Monday, February 9, 2015

Letters to Afar: By Péter Forgács, music by the Klezmatics


 There is an exhibit at the Museum of the the City of New York called Letters to Afar by Peter Forgacs. It is a compilation of home movies Jews made upon visits to their relatives in the old country in the 1920's and 1930's. I have seen this exhibit elsewhere several years ago. I think it was at the Center for Jewish History on 14th Street. The quality of the films are not excellent and there is no order to them either. One watches them and its hard to see where they begin and where they end. Perhaps that is the idea, but I felt like I missed some of what was being transmitted due to the disorganization of the films. There is however something surreal about being in a room where many screens are screening simultaneous slices of shtetl life . The only thing is that now that I have found snippets of some of the films on display online, I think that I appreciate them more. Perhaps if an audio tour companion was offered it would have made the exhibit less overwhelming and more coherent. That said, I am glad that I was able to see this exhibit before it closes on March 22, 2015. Because these films are homemade they capture the smiles of the people who lived in the shtetl. Its especially touching to watch children who had previously may not have seen a video camera  mugging for the camera and waving.
  Because the fashions are so outdated it is sometimes hard to tell who is visiting from the United States and who had always lived in the shtetl.
   My family hails from the shtetls of Russia /Poland., but watching these shorts it is hard to imagine that is where 3 out of 4 of my grandparents were born and all of my great grandparents were born. I cannot imagine living in such poverty and yet people did for years and years. I feel so disconnected to that place . On the other hand, when I see documentaries about Israel I always feel connected to Israel. Perhaps its because I have actually been to Israel. Perhaps its because though Israel is part of the past it is also part of the future of the Jewish people.The shtetls, however significant are only a part of the past.