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Last April, NYU student Emily Harrold embarked on the production of a film exploring why The New York Times under-reported the Holocaust during the 1940s. Now, a little less than a year later, the project has expanded to more than twenty students.
Over the past several weeks, protests have spread throughout Israel calling for a response to racism targeting the country's Ethiopian community. Sparked by a Channel 2 story on discrimination in Kiryat Malachi, citizens have taken to the streets to show their outrage at the status quo.
"Shoa", a 9-hour French documentary about the Holocaust, will be broadcast for the first time by a Muslim country.
Many reviews already have appeared of "The Undefeated," the soon-to-be-released documentary about Sarah Palin's tenure in Alaska. Yet none of them - even in The Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post or Politico.com - mentions that nearly all of the film's many pro-Palin media talking heads are Jews.
"Miral" is a film that has garnered an inordinate amount of media attention. In interviews, the director, Julian Schnabel, defends his right to tell the Palestinian "narrative" for what he claims is the first time. He seems not to know that many others before him have specialized in this particular line of work.
In September I wrote in my Baseball Insider column (which appears the second week of each month in The Jewish Press) of my very positive reaction to an advanced screening of the new documentary "Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story."
New York has gone through a William Kentridge craze this year. There have been scattered exhibitions in galleries throughout the cities, in addition to lectures and live performances. From the blockbuster Five Themes show at the MoMA, the Metropolitan Opera's production of Kentridge's directed-and-designed multimedia version of Shostakovich's The Nose, the South African artist has been a dominant voice on the New York art scene. For those who missed the incredible MoMA retrospective-or for those who simply wish for another Kentridge fix-a final salvo can be caught at the Jewish Museum's exhibition of part of Kentridge's Nine Drawings for Projection series.
On its surface, The Pianist is "merely" the true tale of a great Jewish musician (Wladyslaw Szpilman) caught up in the unfathomable depths of Nazi occupation and terror. More profoundly, of course, it is a disturbing visual microcosm of the generic human struggle between good and evil, a titanic struggle that is sometimes utterly clear, but at other times also distressingly "gray." The Nazis in Poland were monsters, to be sure, but what are we to say about the others, including many Jews, who became actual and collaborative perpetrators in every corner of the Holocaust Kingdom? What pertinent lessons can we learn from this 2002 film for Jewish, and especially Israeli, preservation in our own perilous time?
I have been on the road non-stop. Different countries, different languages... but in every place that Hashem grants me the privilege of speaking, it is to my people that I speak. A special language connects us that transcends all difficulties, overcomes all barriers - the language of the heart. That language is part of our Jewish DNA. Hashem Himself engraved it in our souls - it speaks more powerfully than any words and brings tears to even the most hardened, alienated eyes.
I arrived in Paris on a Monday and over 1,500 people were waiting. I do not speak French, but no matter, for there is a language that transcends all difficulties and barriers, and that is the language of our people - the language of the heart based on our timeless truths: "Words that emanate from the heart must enter into another's heart," and that is at the root of our "Jewish Law of Gravity." It is a law that never fails and its veracity has been proven in every generation, in every century. I saw it unfold a thousand and one times ... Most recently, I witnessed it in France, Hungary and Israel, and I never cease marveling at its power.
It's been five years since I attended a symposium at Columbia University discussing the David Project's documentary "Columbia Unbecoming," a film that highlighted anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements by faculty in the Middle East Arts Language and Culture MEALC program. The film ignited a debate over the prevalence of anti-Zionism on American campuses and the dangers of advocacy teaching at universities, much of it fueled by Arab funding.
For the past few weeks my column has focused on the tragic reality of internal strife within families. The response has been overwhelming. It appears that countless numbers of our families are suffering from this fragmentation and are in urgent need of help.
"Happenings" are not every-day events. There are classes, programs, seminars and lectures - but happenings that leave an indelible mark on the mind, heart and soul are rare. During this past Aseret Y'mei Teshuvah (the 10 preparatory days before Yom Kippur), we of Hineni were "zocheh" - had the merit - to experience a happening that was nothing short of a Kiddush Hashem - Sanctification of G-d's Holy Name, and for that I would like to publicly proclaim my total gratitude and indebtedness to the Almighty G-d.
A few weeks ago, while I was in Yerushalayim, we had the privilege of premiering our new film, "Hineni's Triumph of the Spirit." The Jerusalem Plaza, where the film was screened, had lines that snaked up the stairs and through the lobby. Over 1,000 people had gathered; unfortunately we couldn't accommodate everyone. People were standing and sitting on the floor, but you could have heard a pin drop as the story unfolded. The film depicts my family's experiences during the war years - Hungary, prior to the Nazi occupation, the ghettos.... and our deportation to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.