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August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘film’

The Secret of Making a Living after Making Aliya

Monday, November 5th, 2012

A lot of people say they can’t come on aliyah because they don’t know how they will make a living. The issue of aliyah and livelihood is a legitimate concern. For instance, here’s an email I received from a potential oleh seeking advice:

“I am a professional film producer based in NY who is looking to make aliyah.  My only reservation in moving to Israel is the lack of a job.  How can someone like myself, who was very successful in the business, and never compromised his Yiddishkeit, make a living in Israel?  I am not looking to make millions, just a living wage to support a family of six.  Do you have any suggestions?”

This is what I answered:

I’m not up to date on the film business in Israel, so I can only share some general thoughts. The Zohar teaches that our forefather, Avraham, searched for the place in the world where he could get as close to God as possible. This burning desire of Avraham was the catalyst that brought God to command him, “Get thee forth to the Land that I will show you.” To truly get close to God, the Jewish People have to be in Israel, serving God as a Nation, and not as mere scattered individuals and communities in foreign gentile lands.

Rashi explains that the double language of the verse, “Lech lecha,” literally meaning, “Go, go for yourself,” was to reassure Avraham that the move was for his ultimate good, and that it would bring him and his descendants great spiritual and material blessing. After all, it is no small challenge and test of faith to give up your country of birth, social standing, and livelihood to move to another land. And indeed, at first, things did not go easily for Avraham. When he arrived in Israel, there was a famine in the land! But, eventually, Avraham became a very rich and famous man.

This uncertainty, challenge, and difficulty, is common to all olim. The word “Canaan,” as in the land of Canaan, also has the meaning of humbleness and poverty. The lowering of one’s status is part of the immigration process, helping to break impure traits of pride and ego which prevent a person from forming a deep connection to God. Aliyah means to go up, and therefore, the first and foremost goal of each new immigrant to Israel should be spiritual – to get closer to God. When a person holds fast to this goal, clinging to it at all times, even through periods of difficulty and change, God’s bountiful blessings flow in its wake.

In practical terms, when you first make aliyah, you indeed may not be able to make a living as a film producer. You may have to get to know the right people first, learn the language, etc. You may have to make videos of bar mitzvahs and weddings to have some income coming in before you make the bigger, professional films that you are accustomed to producing in NY. Personally, I’ve made some money making videos in Israel for organizations and the Department of Education, and I’ve taught screenwriting at a film school in Jerusalem. I have several friends from the U.S. who work in the film business here on a regular basis, and they seem to be supporting their families. Even so, it may turn out that you won’t be able to find a niche in the film industry in Israel, and you may have to change your profession.

But always remember, “Is God’s hand too short that He cannot provide for you and your family?” Just like He provided for us in the Wilderness, He provides for us still today, each person according to what is best for his needs. Keep saying to yourself, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” These reassuring words of King David should be your mantra during your planning stages and time of transition in Israel.

The main thing about your coming to Israel is not to make finding a job your Number One concern. Let me give two examples. A short time after I had made aliyah, I met an acquaintance from New York who had also recently moved to Israel, but who told me that he was going back to the States. When I asked him why, he explained that before he had moved to Israel, the Israel Aircraft Industries had promised him a more advanced job than his position in America. But when he arrived in the country, they could only give him the same level job he had in the past because of budget cuts. “Why should I stay here when I can get paid almost double in the States for doing the same job?” he told me.

The very next day, I met another friend from New York, who also informed me that he was returning to live in America. It turned out that his boss had been caught in an embezzlement scam and all the people he had hired were fired, including my friend. Even though my friend had been offered a very good job at another firm, he decided to pack his belongings and call it quits.

At the time, before I started studying in yeshiva, I was lodging in Jerusalem at the home of a saintly, 85 year old woman who was one of the secret Tzaddikim of the Holy City. I hadn’t come on aliyah with any savings, having blown my screenplay money on the vices of Hollywood, and this kind woman was happy to take me in as a non-paying boarder. When I asked her why God hadn’t worked things out for my two friends in a more successful fashion, especially since they had made the very idealistic move of immigrating to Israel, she answered: “They placed their careers over their love of the Land. A Jew has to set Jerusalem above his greatest joy. The Jewish People have been shedding their blood for the Land of Israel since the beginning of our history. The Land tests us when we come here. She makes things difficult at first to see if we really love her. Your two friends think that they are rejecting Israel, but Israel is really rejecting them.”

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaKohen Kook, of blessed memory, explained this with a parable. He said it was like a girl who was set up on a shidduch with a guy whom she knew wasn’t for her. But she didn’t want to embarrass him. So she dressed up in dirty, smelly garments so that he would feel turned off. While he thought that he was rejecting her, in truth, she was rejecting him. So too, God, in His kindness, lets Jews who decide to leave Israel believe that they are rejected the Land, but it is really the Land that is rejecting them.

Surely, aliyah is the most difficult and challenging mitzvah – the true test of a Jew’s faith in God. But hundreds of thousands of new olim have made it, and so can you.

Hopefully, other readers will have even better words of advice.

May you remain strong in your holy decision, and may Hashem bless you and your family with success in the great adventure ahead.

The Rabbi’s Daughter

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Rav Shlomo Aviner is one of the most revered Rabbonim in Religious Zionism. He is the Rosh HaYeshiva of Ateret Yerushalyim (formerly known as Ateret Cohanim) and the Rav of the city of Bet El. Although I have had some differences with him, I have also been in agreement with him on many issues. Most recently on his approach to modern technology.

But whether one agrees with his Hashkafos or not, there is not a scintilla of doubt that he is a great man. He is a Talmid Chacham, a Posek, and a leader that virtually everyone in the Religious Zionist movement looks up to. Religious Zionist Jews can easily point with pride to this man. That he is an Anav – humble in his ways; an Ehrliche Jew; and role model of leadership is an understatement. Even his Charedi detractors will I’m sure agree with that as will many secular Jews who have met him.

And yet he along with two other prominent Religious Zionist rabbis in Israel have fallen victim to the OTD (Off the Derech) phenomenon. Rav Shlomo Aviner, Rav David Bigman, and Rav Yoram Tzohar each have a daughter that has departed from the observant ways of their parents. So for those parents who have OTD children, you are not alone. There are some very prominent people who join you.

One may ask: How can I publicize something like this about such prominent leaders in Klal Yisroel, since it might be embarrassing to them? The answer is that they do not hide it. They willingly participated in a film that tells their story.

I watched the film. It is one of the most emotionally draining things I have ever watched. I saw lots of pain in this film. Not just the pain of the parents. But the pain of the three young women who are their daughters.

As Gil Student commented at the website where this film is located:

It took a lot of courage for the daughters to appear on this film. And a lot for the fathers and mothers, as well. Not too many rabbis would be willing to do that.

I think that is very true. I have read about such stories in the Charedi world. But they are always done anonymously. The embarrassment or fallout for them and the rest of their families must be too great for them to bear.

Most often when stories like this are told it is indeed the pain of the parents that is emphasized. But as I just pointed out I saw even greater pain in these 3 young women who rejected observance. The film does not go directly into why each one of them went OTD. Although in one case it is hinted that there were unanswered questions about the existence of God.

In all 3 cases, the free life they chose came at a price. They seemed to all love their families and even respect them. But they somehow did not buy into what they had been taught even though it seems like the rest of their siblings did.

I have to ask: Why? Why did they do it? Why have they left the faith? What compelled them to do so? Why them and not their siblings? It could hardly be dysfunction. The families did not look dysfunctional at all. If they were, some of their other siblings would surely have joined them.

It could hardly be what is commonly referred to as Prikas Ol – the desire to just be free of their Jewish responsibilities. There is too much pain in their eyes for that. They were each brought up in great homes, it seems. They were taught Halacha, Hashkafa, Jewish values, and ideology and they somehow just did not buy into it. So much so that they have openly chosen a non observant lifestyle.

During the course of the film one can see that the parents were not dismissive of them. The love was still there, the relationship still close, and there did not even seem to be any residual animus between parent and daughter.

That is what made it so sad for me: All that love. All that pain.

The parents must feel that they somehow failed the child. And the child feels that she has disappointed the parent.

These young women are not bad people. They do not seem to have troubled souls. Raised in a completely religious environment they somehow made a decision to live another lifestyle that does not include Mitzvah observance. Somehow the importance of that never attached to them. One can certainly not blame their home environment. It also seems from the film that these three leading Rabbonim were good parents.

One can speculate about some of the factors involved. The opening scene shows a video being played by Rav Aviner’s daughter, Tamar, that shows 2 animated figures walking in circles – one of whom is always in the shadow of the other.

Another segment deals with the pressure of being the daughter of a rabbinic leader – always trying to live up to the greater expectations of others because of who her father is. Maybe that kind of pressure was too much to endure. And after trying to live up to those higher standards expected of her she just gave up. I don’t know.

One thing I think I can glean from this film is that religious leadership has a price. One that a child may end up paying. The pressures that brings to bear on children can easily be underestimated and perhaps unaddressed by the parent. Going OTD can certainly be a result.

I have to give credit to both the parents and the children for allowing themselves to be exposed to the world. Perhaps we can all learn something about parenting – that is not immediately obvious even to the best of us.

I must also give additional credit to these parents for not letting go of their children. For still loving them and accepting them as they are. Not that they approve of their decisions. Of course they don’t. But that they can somehow live with it and perhaps even hope for a return to Torah and Mitzvos someday. They will also be able to have a positive relationship with their grandchildren and influence their lives in positive ways.

There is nothing to be gained by rejection. That will only cause estrangement and resentment. None of these young women are anti religious. One can, I think, detect a certain respect for it even though they have rejected it for themselves. Loving a child who went OTD can only benefit them. And you.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Highland Lakes Jewish Center/Chabad Chayil’s Classes And Programs

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

The Highland Lakes Center/Chabad Chayil, located at 2601 N.E. 211 Terrace in North Miami Beach, is again holding “Secrets of the Hebrew Alphabet.” The popular class will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday nights. The course is deep, lots of fun, very informative and open to all backgrounds. Get the inside scoop on Hebrew letters, their meanings, shapes and numeric values according to the Kabbalistic tradition.

The center will also begin a new kids’ program from the Discovery Chanel on Wednesday afternoons at 4 p.m. Children will have the opportunity to take Discovery Kids computer classes at Chabad Chayil.

Family Film Night will take place Saturday evenings. The first film of the season was, “Your Grandpa Abe,” the true story of young Avraham, brilliantly animated for adults and children and a thoroughly enjoyable educational big screen experience.

Highland Lakes Jewish Center/Chabad Chayil suggests that South Floridians reserve these dates:

November 11 – Jewish Leadership Conference
November 23 – Hebrew School Shabbaton
December 12 – Chanukah Production/Shul Party
January 21 – Community Cruise

For more information e-mail the shul at office@ChabadChayil.org or call (305) 770-1919.

UK Writer Compares Security Barrier to the Warsaw Ghetto Wall

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

On Oct. 21, the Observer (sister publication of the Guardian) published a review, by film critic Philip French, of the film ‘5 Broken Cameras,’ a documentary produced by a Palestinian about his “resistance” to Israel’s security fence in Bil’in.

French writes the following:

“Emad Burnat, the peasant and smallholder who spends his days and nights recording life about him in his native Bil’in, the township where his family has lived for generations

Like Filip in Camera Buff, Emad bought his first camera when his fourth son, Gibreel, was born in 2005. He initially used it for home movies and then, at their invitation, to make similar pictures for his neighbours.

But fairly soon Emad developed a sense of empowerment and a duty to serve his community. His camera became a way of uniting his fellow [Bil'in] citizens, publicising their struggle and becoming a witness for posterity when the Israeli authorities sent in troops to deprive them of land to create a defensive barrier of steel and wire that later became a high concrete wall.”

Background not provided by French includes the fact that, before the fence was erected, terrorists moved freely from Palestinian cities such as Bil’in to Israeli ones killing hundreds of innocent Jewish civilians.

French also fails to note the 2011  relocation of the fence bordering Bil’in due to a ruling by Israel’s Supreme Court, which enlarged Palestinian territory, making the village more suitable for Palestinian agricultural.

However, in addition to the story’s predictable Palestinian narrative, the most absurd claim is made by French in the following passage:

Emad developed a sense of empowerment and a duty to serve his community. His camera became a way of uniting his fellow citizens, publicising their struggle and becoming a witness for posterity when the Israeli authorities sent in troops to deprive them of land to create a defensive barrier of steel and wire that later became a high concrete wall. Inevitably, seeing this barrier going up in Israel we think of the wall surrounding the Warsaw ghetto, the one that appeared overnight in Berlin…

Of course, any sane commentator would dismiss out of hand the notion that Israel’s security wall evokes (in any conceivable manner) the Jewish ghetto walls erected by the Nazis.

The Warsaw Ghetto, the largest Jewish ghetto in Nazi-occupied Europe, was established in the Polish capital in 1940. Eventually, over 400,000 Jews resided in an area of 3.4 km. From there, at least 254,000 ghetto residentswere sent to the Treblinka death camp over a period of two months in 1942.

Average food rations in 1941 for Jews in Warsaw were limited to a mere 184 calories, and, among the Jews who weren’t sent to Nazi death camps, over 100,000 of the ghetto’s residents died due to disease, starvation or random killings.

Bil’in is a Palestinian administered town, and is not a ghetto in even the broadest sense of the word.

The Warsaw ghetto walls were designed to keep Jews from escaping.

Israel’s security fence was designed to keep terrorists from infiltrating Israel and murdering Jews.

Israel’s security fence would only evoke a Holocaust-related comparison for those inebriated by the constant drumbeat of Guardian anti-Zionist propaganda.

Visit CifWatch.com.

Hamas Releases Gilad Shalit Film

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

On the one-year anniversary of the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Hamas has released a film describing the Israeli soldier’s abduction in 2006.

According to the film, which was released on Oct. 18 on the website of the Hamas military wing, Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades, Shalit thought his captors were Israeli because they had put on uniforms resembling those of the Israel Defense Forces.

The operation on June 25, 2006, was carried out at 5 a.m. because “that’s when the Zionist soldiers tended to nap,” one of the interviewees in the film said.

The armed militants who captured Shalit crawled along a 300-yard stretch to reach his tank from the mouth of the tunnel that had been dug in advance. They then split up into three detachments. One was comprised of two men, Mohammed Frauna and Hammed Rantissi, who were discovered and killed on their way to a watchtower.

Another group placed a “very large” explosive charge under the barrel of Shalit’s Merkava tank. They moved back, detonated the charge and fired an anti-tank rocket at the vehicle.

“We saw a soldier climbing up from the hull so we shot him, then another climbed up so we shot him too,” a man named Abu-Hamza said in the film. “We heard someone shouting from inside the tank. We reported that we had a live soldier we went into the tank and we took him. He shouted that he was Jewish because he thought we were Jewish because of our uniform.”

Shalit was released from captivity on Oct. 18, 2011, in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel.

Massacring the Truth

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

The so-called “Jenin Massacre” of 2002 — a massacre that never happened — is emblematic of the way the truth is violated, over and over in this conflict.

I’ve written about this several times. I discussed Palestinian filmmaker Mohammad Bakri, and his “Jenin, Jenin,” an effective propaganda piece full of false accusations and made-up atrocities (including the bombing of a hospital wing that never existed). I wrote about the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by slandered IDF soldiers. I drew attention to biased journalist Philip Reeves, now a respected correspondent for NPR, who wrote some of the earliest reports from the site, suggesting that “hundreds of corpses” were buried in the rubble.

Dr. David Zangen, a doctor who works at Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, was an eyewitness. As a reserve medical officer, he was present during the nine days of the  battle. He was interviewed recently by the IDF blog:

During the operation, we made a point to leave the hospital in Jenin unharmed so that injured people would be able to receive medical treatment. Whenever we passed by it snipers on the roof shot at us, but we didn’t fire a single bullet back at them.

Despite that, the people who were there at the time told the media that we killed 16,000 people — even though there were only 54 casualties — and that we shut off the hospital’s electricity. This lie drew a lot of harsh criticism from international organizations and news agencies.

Dr. Zangen wrote an article a few years ago called “Seven Lies about Jenin” in which he gives more details about what was in fact a massacre, not of Arabs, but of the truth.

The most shocking aspect of the affair, for me, was the cynical way in which Bakri and others were comfortable with inverting reality for ideological reasons. Bakri himself admitted that  many “details” were not exactly correct (a massive understatement), but that he served a higher truth.

And here is how Dr. Zangen, who was present at the scene (as Bakri, of course, was not) was treated when he tried to speak out:

A few months after the operation, Mohammed Bakri was about to release the movie ‘Jenin Jenin’, which projected many lies. A member of an Israeli bereaved family called me and asked me to try talk to a cinema manager in Jerusalem who was about to screen the film, and ask him to reconsider.

The manager called me and invited me to watch the film and give her my personal opinion. I came to the cinema and watched the movie, which was filled with lies. She still decided to screen the film, but invited me to stay and speak when the movie was over. I agreed. When I arrived, Mohammed Bakri was on stage and telling the audience that the reason he created the film was to show both sides of the conflict in order to promote peace.

Then I got up on the stage, told him and the audience who I was, and told him that the things he put in his movie never happened. The audience got upset, yelled at me that I was a child murderer and took the microphone from my hands. It was a tough moment for me. That’s why whenever I can, I fight to spread the truth.

Visit FresnoZionism.org.

Muslim Riots Continue to Spread in Europe

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Muslim protests over an American-made anti-Islamic YouTube film, Innocence of Muslims, have spread to more European cities. Muslim rioters had initially clashed with police in Belgium, Britain and France, but since then, protests have spread to Austria, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Norway, Serbia and Switzerland.

In Germany, while thousands of Muslims took to the streets in various cities, the biggest demonstration took place in the Dortmund, where 1,500 Muslims holding Turkish flags marched through the city center on September 22. In Hanover, protests involved about 1,000 Muslims on September 23. In Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony police reported protests involving 1,600 people. Protests were also reported in Bergisch Gladbach, Cuxhaven, Münster, Freiburg and Karlsruhe.

A radical Islamist, Abu Assad al-Almani, has called for bombings and assassinations in Germany after it emerged that the actor who plays Mohammed in the anti-Islam movie was allegedly German. In an 8-page document, entitled “Settling Scores with Germany” and posted on the Internet on September 25, Abu Assad states: “In addition to the ugly cartoons, now the Americans have produced a film in which those pigs poke fun at our dear prophet and insult him.”

Abu Assad continues: “The one who played our noble Messenger was a German;” he then calls for revenge attacks. He asks Muslims in Germany to attack any German citizen who supports the film by “cutting their heads from their bodies and capturing it on film so that it is accessible to the public, so that the whole of Germany, and even the whole of Europe, knows that their criminal games will be thwarted by the sword of Islam.”

The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) says the document has been produced by a group called the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), the European propaganda arm which supports Al Qaeda and other radical Islamic organizations. The BKA says it is taking the threat “very seriously.”

In Berlin, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has postponed at the last minute a poster campaign aimed at countering radical Islam for fear it might have incited violence by extremists. The posters had been due to go up as of September 21 in German cities with large immigrant populations. The posters were aimed at those who suspected that a friend or family member might be drifting towards radical Islam.

In another sign that German officialdom is coming unhinged by political correctness, the ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) lashed out at Baden-Württemberg’s Integration Minister, Bilkay Öney, for stating what many Germans believe is obvious, namely that “Islam tolerates no criticism.” She also said it was easier to dialogue with Muslims in Germany because they are relatively well educated. “In other parts of the world,” she said, “some take to the streets and set fire to embassies.”

CDU regional director Thomas Strobl rebuked Öney, a Turkish-born German politician, saying: “What Mrs. Öney says is surprising and shocking. Such remarks are unacceptable, as they emphasize what divides us, instead of linking and integrating.” Strobl wondered how Öney, who is a Muslim, could hold such politically incorrect views about Islam.

Elsewhere in Germany, more signs emerged that the threat of Muslim violence is endangering free speech in Germany. Development Minister Dirk Niebel (FDP) called for a ban on broadcasting the anti-Islam video in Germany. “Such a film should not be shown. We should not be adding fuel to the fire,” he told the newspaper, Bild. “The person who demands limitless freedom of expression has no idea what conflicts can be provoked by it,” Niebel said. His comments follow similar statements by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich.

In Greece, the center of Athens (recently dubbed the “New Kabul”) turned into a war zone (videos here) on September 23, when more than 1,000 Muslims — mostly immigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh — hurled bottles and other objects at police, who were trying to prevent the rioters from descending on the American Embassy.

Protesting Muslims, chanting “All we have is Mohammed,” gathered in Omonia Square holding banners reading, “We demand an immediate punishment for those who tried to mock our Prophet Mohammad.” Shouting “Allah is Greater,” they then assaulted police with stones, bottles and slabs of marble they broke from the sidewalks.

When Greek riot police used tear gas to control the protesters and protect the security zone they had established around the embassy, infuriated Muslims responded by vandalizing streets and buildings in downtown Athens, as well as by setting fires to trash bins, smashing shops and display windows and vandalizing automobiles. Around 30 Muslims were arrested.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/muslim-riots-continue-to-spread-in-europe/2012/10/04/

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