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Running on Jewish Time

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Vistors in a Different World

It's been long enough, apparently no one has seen it.

I have secret to tell you, neither have I.

Which is why I dare not give an opinion of the screenplay, the acting, the directing or in any way evaluate its merit as a piece of cinematic art.

But.... there is something unique about the idea of a essentially charedi worldview painted in the light and shadow of a modern media.

For as long as I've known, the charedi world has ignored the modern one as unstable, changable and dangerous and the modern one has disdained the charedi as static, stagnant and fanatical. The values of world completely incomprehensiable to the other.

The security of the arrangement, allows Me'ah Shaarim to remain in Me'ah Shaarim and Tel Aviv to remain in Tel Aviv, and ne'er do the twain meet. But Ushpizim is a chance to for Tel Aviv to see into Me'ah Shaarim.

In creation of the State of Israel, Rav Kook said that the Jewish people have re-entered history. So what do these people who have chosen to forget history see in those who refuse to leave it?

But that's still a question I can't answer.

For us Americans, we vistors to the Land, memories of the world of Me'ah Shaarim are cherised as some sort of beautiful bubble of idealism in the midst of the comprimise that charecterises our existance.

But in the reactions of my friends, those who won't watch movies indignant to the idea that modernity should even so much as attempt to enter the charedi world, even to observe, and those whose daminations of faint praise tell how much they would rather forget a life that is lived as its own prayer to G-d.

Every reaction telling how much the bubble remains intact and isolated or buried and ignored or perhaps, burst and flooded through and permeated the individual's life.

It makes me wonder at what my own reaction will be.

Will it evoke guilt that I cannot rise above the mudane concerns of the daily world?
(What doesn't evoke guilt in a Jew?!)

Will it evoke empathy of other's haunted by their own less than perfect past?
Will it challenge me to become something better than I already am, or will it throw into sharp relief all that which I have walked away from?

Well, I'll tell you after I see it. [smile]

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Step Forth and State Your Opinion

[Current Score: 8 comments
2 opinions
sorry, folks, 6 more opinions to go......]

Thank all of you for your paitence and who still check this blog, despite a hiatus due to the trip through white water and waterfalls known a finals.

There is something that has been floating at the back of my mind for several monthes, that'd I'd like to post. About the nature of being Orthodox in a Modern world with Modern media. Of the way we see ourselves and would be seen by others... In short:


Nu, what did you think?

When 8 people have posted their opinion, the next post goes up.

(There is something very powerful in this movie that I'm trying draw out, but I need input, so if you would be so kind [smile])

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Day 32: On the Acquisition of Material Objects

A sudden realization struck me, a few days, mid-bracha, Starbucks coffee hovering halfway to my mouth. Between the suit and the shoes and the jewelry, I was wearing a month's worth of rent.

That's a lot of money for me.

Another thought slinked out of it's shadow, but for how long?

As time passes, money is becoming, well, cheaper.
Big purchases shifted from a dollar, to a five, to a ten, to twenty and now, I don't blink at credit card bills that would have left me gasping for air, five years ago.

There is a love/hate relationship with the joys of this world. Everything is so pretty and shiny and new and never quite enough.
If you give a kid an iPod,
he's going to want something to carry it in.
Then he's going to take it to school
and his friends are going to want to listen to it also.
So he'll ask you for a stereo.....

But what if I don't want to want and keep wanting? To attempt to fill an insatiable hunger that only grows with each acquisition?

The burnt caramel smell of the coffee teasing my nostrils, I paused, how much do I really want this coffee? How much do I really want anything?

and how much does that matter?

Willing or no, we live with our feet treading the earth and our heads brushing the clouds, stretching the whole depth of existence. Not animal or angel to tread some set measure of purpose but simply man.

We have this gift of a physical world and a physical existence, of a need to eat and a need to sleep and a need to become greater than merely ourselves. To say we do not is dishonest. Both physical and spiritual. Both the self that clings limpet-like to bed and sleep and the self that sweetly sings tehillim through the crisp morning air.

Staring at the images intermingling in the cream and coffee swirls in my cup, I whisper "Sh'hakol n'heiyeh b'davro- All of this [both together] was created by His word"

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

And yet it does surprise me......

[update: 10 March for because brevity does not always make for clarity.]

Once I thought that the news might truely be about, well, news. What, when, where, who etc. with the odd quote thrown in. But then it seems that news is about shaping public opinion more about whys than the traditional who, where, what and when.

So when I see a headline like this:

1972: Isreali Commandos storm hijacked jet

Somehow it manages to make the Israeli Commandos that apparently storm all sorts of things, houses, airports, local pharmacies..... only this time it happened to be a jet. Oh yeah, a hijacked jet.

Who hijacked it? What happened to the hostages? When was the operation carried out? Where was the hijacked jet?

A year ago, I would have found the naievity and sense of injustice to be enraged at this twisting of history. Now, I'm just tired of it.

But from time to time, it still surprises me.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Day 21: All Times are Hard

There are times when it is deeply appealing to throw up my hands, announce that I am entirely overwhelmed and therefore will do nothing.

There is only one problem:
Yesterday I was overwhelmed.
Today I feel overwhelmed.

So.... going to sleep tonight will magically make it better?

All times are hard.

There are great struggles, petty persistent problems and awkward moments that waddle across the stage of life.

And when one lumbers across my life, leaving a great swath of mild embarrassment, it makes me laugh. After all, one was going to come along sooner or later. It is not because I'm awkward or socially unacceptable or just somehow wrong.

All times are hard.
All times are challenges.
All times stretch us to become something more than what we are.
All times are times to work, to achieve. When at the least, it can always be made a little better or at the very least, one can laugh at the sheer perversity that we exist in the face of.

All times are hard and that's what gives us the opportunity to make them good.

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