As Purim approaches, thousands of Israeli children and families grapple with poverty
The “Honey Brown Eyes” is Alma (Maia DeSanti), a Bosnian-Muslim woman in her 30s, whose childhood beauty and eyes, which earned her nickname, have long since dimmed due to age and suffering. Alma’s husband, as she tells the Serbian soldier who breaks into her kitchen and takes her hostage, has been shot and thrown off a bridge. In between assaults and threats of rape from Dragan, the 20-something Bosnian-Serb soldier, Alma reveals that she has not yet been able to retrieve her husband’s body and bury it. But however traumatized, she knows enough to tell Dragan that she has a son and to deny having a 12-year-old daughter, as his list of names tells him. Alma knows enough to suspect the Serbian officials’ designs in rounding up teen-aged girls.
The war which broke out in the early 90s in the Balkans is not a conflict where we would expect to find Jewish characters, and the closest thing in the play is probably Jovanka’s resemblance to a Brooklyn bubbie in her matter-of-fact approach to her life in a war zone and her insistence on feeding her guest. Indeed, Ari Roth, artistic director of Theater J, calls the play an “unlikely” choice for the Jewish theater, though he also insists it is an “inevitable” one. “Unlikely because we’ve never been to the Balkans before as a company,” Roth wrote on the Theater J website. “We’ve gone to different parts of Europe to trigger memory of a different genocide. Which is, of course, what also makes this inevitable.”
The Holocaust Museum’s mandate should clearly be tied to the important question of whether commitment to Holocaust memory necessitates responsibility in all other genocides. But even if Jews should be leading the way in fighting genocides of all kinds, is there anything Jewish about a play about war in the Balkans just because it appears at a Jewish theater? Would the Jewish angle even occur to us if it appeared at a theater that was not affiliated with a Jewish Community Center?
If I am honest, I was skeptical about the play’s relevance to a Jewish audience before seeing it. I felt the same way after seeing it, until I realized that it felt particularly pertinent while I was sitting in the audience. In the Balkans, we see innocent and unarmed Muslims being brutally attacked just for being Muslims, an unjust religious persecution with which Jews can definitely identify. And several of the exchanges in the brilliant dialogue rang so true that they transcended the war in the Balkans and carried universal appeal. In one exchange, Denis, who is aware that neither his sister nor his brother-in-law has been killed, tells Jovanka about how he blames himself for leaving Alma and her husband and joining the war. Denis, who is depressed to the point of suicide, says:
Denis: I am not a Muslim, a father, a husband. I am nothing.
Jovanka: You’re alive.
Denis: And that is all.
Jovanka takes the pot off the stove and serves Denis.
Jovanka: Eat. It’s amazing what a little salt will do.
Denis: You are a good Bosnian.
Jovanka: And also a Serb.
Conflict has a way of bringing people together, and one can imagine discussions like this one in concentration camps where Jews had to come to grips with being forced away from their families and celebrating being alive even if they could not help but prefer to be dead. Denis and Jovanka have little trouble focusing on their similarities (both hungry, lonely, deserted, and fed up with war), rather than their differences as Serbs or Muslims.
About the Author: Menachem Wecker, who blogs on faith and art for the Houston Chronicle at http://blogs.chron.com/iconia, welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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‘Double Gold’ awarded to 2012 Yarden Heights wine & 2011 Yarden Merlot Kela Single Vineyard.
One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.
The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.
Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.
The lessons conform to the sensitivities and needs of the Orthodox community…
The program took on special significance as it marked not only the first anniversary of Rebbetzin Kudan’s levayah but also the 27th yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, a”h.
It captures the love of the Jewish soul as only Shlomo Hamelech could portray it – and as only Rabbi Miller could explain it.
Erudite and academic, drawing from ancient and modern sources, the book can be discussed at the Shabbos table as well as in kollel.
I’m here to sit next to you and help you through this Purim with three almost-too-easy mishloach manot ideas, all made with cost-conscious paper bags.
Kids want to be like their friends, and they want to give and get “normal” mishloach manos stocked with store-bought treats.
Whenever he did anything loving for me, I made a big deal about it.
“OMG, it’s so cute, you’re so cute, everything is so cute.”
The exhibit, according to a statement from guest curator Michele Waalkes which is posted on the museum website, “examines how faith can inform and inspire artists in their work, whether their work is symbolic, pictorial, or textual in nature. It further explores how present-day artwork can lead audiences to ponder God, religious themes, venerated traditions, or spiritual insights.”
It all started at an art and education conference at the Yeshiva University Museum. When one of the speakers misidentified a Goya painting at the Frick Collection, both the gentleman sitting next to me and I turned to each other and corrected the error simultaneously.
One of my favorite places when I was growing up in Boston was the used bookstore on Beacon and St. Mary’s streets. Boston Book Annex could play a used bookshop on television; it was dimly lit and cavernous, crawling with cats, and packed with a dizzying array of books, many of which sold three for a dollar. But used bookstores of this sort, however picturesque and inviting, are a relatively modern phenomena. In the Middle Ages, for example, I would never have been able to afford even a single used book unless I had been born into an aristocratic family. (Full disclosure, I was not.)
Jewish medals, several with Hebrew inscriptions and provocative imagery, were among the gems at The European Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht, Netherlands, as I wrote in these pages two weeks ago. Another mini-trend at the fair, which will interest Jewish art aficionados, was an abundance of works by Marc Chagall.
It’s virtually impossible to ignore the financial aspects of TEFAF Maastricht, the annual arts and antiques fair in the historic city about two hours south of Amsterdam. More than 250 dealers from nearly 20 countries sell their wares—which span from Greek and Roman antiquities to contemporary sculptures—in the halls of the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre, whose corridors are adorned by nearly 65,000 tulips.
Max Ferguson’s 1993 painting Katz’s may be the second most iconic representation of the kosher-style delicatessen after the 1989 Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan film, When Harry Met Sally. Ferguson’s photorealistic painting depicts the deli from an interesting perspective, which is simultaneously inviting and hostile—in short, the dichotomy of deli culture.
The whole idea of an artful pushka (tzeddakah or charity box) is almost a tease, if not an outright mockery. Isn’t there something pretty backward about investing time and money in an ornate container to hold alms for the poor?
Located about nine miles north of Madrid, the Palacio Real de El Pardo (Pardo Palace) dates back to the early 15th century. Devastated by a March 13, 1604 fire that claimed many works from its priceless art collection, the Pardo Palace and its vast gardens were used as a hunting ground by the Spanish monarchs.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/is-there-a-theatrical-definition-of-never-again/2008/11/26/
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