Jewish Hollywood producer Jeffrey Katzenberg was honored for his philanthropic work on Saturday, receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Katzenberg, as well as documentary filmmaker DA Pennebakers, arts advocate George Stevens and stuntman Hal Needham were recognized at a black-tie dinner.
Katzenberg is the founder and CEO of Dreamworks Animanation and former chairman of Walt Disney’s movie division.
Katzenberg was honored for raising funds for the Motion Picture & Television Fund and the University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, but said the real thanks belongs to his colleagues in Hollywood who gave generously to his causes.
Katzenberg also sits on the boards or serves as a trustee of AIDS Project Los Angeles, American Museum of the Moving Image, California Institute of the Arts, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Geffen Playhouse, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and The Simon Wiesenthal Center.
He and his wife, Marilyn Siegel, have two children.
Dear Dr. Yael:
I am writing to you in regards to your article, “Easing The Trauma Of Divorce” (Dear Dr. Yael, 11-16).
Now in my 30s, I am the product of a divorced home in which my parents made me, an only child, a pawn. Throughout my life the trauma and hatred I witnessed between my parents was unbearable. As a result, I am terrified to get married, despite the desire to do so in a normal and happy setting. I have gone for therapy, but this great fear is hard to overcome. I wonder if this feeling will ever leave me.
I still speak to both of my parents (neither of them remarried), who, to this day, hate each other so much that they cannot even be in the same room. Thus, how can I even have a wedding? I believe that had my parents divorced peacefully, my childhood would have been normal.
I work hard on my middos, am well educated and have a fabulous career. Without wanting to sound arrogant, I am confident that there are women who would be interested in me. Unfortunately, I am convinced that it is my deep fear of turmoil and unhappiness that is stopping me from getting married.
Dr. Yael, I strongly urge divorced parents to heed your sage advice to not turn their poor children into pawns during their divorce. If parents are getting divorced, they must try their hardest to make it as peaceful as possible, working together for the benefit of their children. I have happily married friends with divorced parents, but those parents did everything they could to keep things peaceful.
These friends seem to have come from homes similar to what you termed “the best possible divorce situation,” whereby their parents remarried and had an amicable relationship. Like you wrote in your column, my happily married friends from divorced homes felt the love and devotion from both parents as well as from their stepparents. I, on the other hand, think that my parents are emotionally not well – with that probably being the core issue in my situation. Having never remarried, they are extremely angry and negative people. I am sure that their emotional problems have also affected my view on marriage, as I do not want to end up like them.
I hope this letter inspires parents who are getting divorced to think carefully about their behavior as it pertains to the emotional wellbeing of the children they love. Only responsible behavior will spare their children the emotional destruction I’ve been forced to experience.
Thank you, Dr. Yael, for your helpful and informative column.
My heart breaks for the predicament in which you find yourself. Even though you had a difficult childhood, Hashem obviously gave you other tools which you have used to create a life for yourself. All of these talents and your evident ambition should certainly make you very attractive to women.
As you seem very bright, please try to overcome your deep fear and get married. I would hate to see you live alone for the rest of your life. Learn from your parents’ mistakes and build a different life for yourself. If you feel that therapy has so far not worked for you, find another therapist who can help you. It is important to click with a therapist to the degree that you feel comfortable enough with him or her to share your insecurities. This will permit the two of you to begin the process of changing your views on marriage.
It is extremely difficult to want to get married and know how to make the marriage work, if you never saw a healthy marital relationship. But you can learn how to have a successful marriage through therapy. And once you feel equipped to enter into marriage, the concept will not be as frightening as it now seems.
You may also have to revisit some of your painful childhood memories and work through your anger toward your parents. When you succeed at doing these things, you may feel more comfortable with the idea of getting married. There are many children of divorced parents who are successful at overcoming their fears and insecurities, and are then able to build beautiful and happy families.
“Hi, Levi,” said his friend Moshe. “I’ve got a project to work on for the next two months. By any chance, do you have a spare laptop you’re willing to lend for the duration?”
“Funny that you’re asking,” replied Levi. “I just bought a new laptop but am planning to keep the old one as a spare. If you want to borrow it for two months, that’s fine.”
“Great!” exclaimed Moshe appreciatively. “When can I come by for it?’
“I’m not home today,” said Levi, “but any time tomorrow would be fine.”
The following day, Moshe came by and picked up the laptop.
A week later, while Moshe was working in the library, Baruch came by to visit. “I see you got yourself a laptop,” Baruch said. “When did you buy it?”
“Actually it belongs to Levi, a friend of mine,” said Moshe. “I borrowed it for two months to work on the project.”
While they were talking, Baruch accidentally knocked the laptop off the table. It fell to the floor and cracked.
Moshe picked up the laptop and examined it. “It’s ruined,” he said to Baruch. “The laptop is smashed and cannot be repaired. You’ll have to pay me for the laptop.”
“It wasn’t your laptop,” said Baruch. “I don’t owe you anything. When Levi asks for his money, I’ll pay him. For all I know, he’s not going to ask you to pay, anyway.”
Moshe called Levi. “A friend of mine, Baruch, broke the laptop you loaned me,” he said.
“Although I bought a new laptop, I still want the old one,” said Levi. “You’ll have to pay for it.”
“Baruch ruined the laptop, though,” Moshe said to him. “Ask him for the money.”
“I don’t know Baruch; I have nothing to do with him,” replied Levi emphatically. “You borrowed the laptop, you are liable for it. Either pay or get the money from Baruch and give it to me.”
Levi contacted Baruch, “Levi said that I should get the money from you,” he said.
“You’re responsible for the laptop,” said Baruch. “After you pay Levi, I’ll pay you, not beforehand!”
Frustrated, Moshe went back to Levi. “Baruch refuses to pay me until I pay you,” he said, “but why I should pay if he damaged the laptop? I don’t have the money to lay out.”
“It’s not fair that you push me from one to the other,” said Levi. “My head is spinning! Let’s take it up with Rabbi Dayan.”
Levi and Moshe went to Rabbi Dayan. “Who is liable for the laptop?” asked Levi. “Moshe, who borrowed the laptop, or Baruch, who damaged it?”
“The Gemara (B.K. 111b) addresses a similar case,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “If someone steals an item and then another person comes along and consumes it, both are accountable to the owner. The thief is liable because he stole the item. Nonetheless, the item still belongs to its owner, so that the one who consumed it damaged his property. Therefore, the owner can collect from either party, or even partial payment from one and partial payment from the other. The same is true in your case.” (C.M. 361:5)
“But I didn’t steal anything here,” objected Moshe. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
“True, but a borrower is accountable to the owner for his item, even if lost through uncontrollable circumstances (oness),” replied Rabbi Dayan. (C.M. 340:1) “Thus, you owe Levi. Still, since the laptop was Levi’s property, Baruch is also liable toward him, so that Levi can collect from either of you.”
“Can I demand payment of the laptop from Baruch now, or only Levi?” asked Moshe. “Does Levi owe me anything?”
“Because you are responsible to pay for the laptop, and Baruch caused you a direct loss (garmi) by breaking it, he has accountability to you also,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “On the other hand, let’s say Levi were to forgo payment, you would not be able to demand payment from Baruch, since he did not damage your laptop and did not cause you any loss.” (See Pischei Choshen, Geneivah 4:34)
“What about the fact that I don’t have use of the laptop to finish the project?” asked Moshe.
“The Nesivos (341:11) suggests a novel idea regarding this,” said Rabbi Dayan. “Since you borrowed the laptop for two months, you have a legal right to use the item for that time; Moshe could not demand it back until the two months were up. Therefore, the Nesivos maintains that the value of that usage, the laptop’s depreciation, is owed to you, the borrower – not Levi, the owner. This only applies, though, if the item’s nature and the duration of the loan are such that the usage entails an accruable depreciation of the item. (See Chukei Chaim – Hichos She’eilah 2:12; P.C., Pikadon 9:14)
Homeowners must be alert to storm-chasing contractors who try to exploit the confusion after superstorm Sandy to make shoddy repairs or steal down payments, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud warns.
Most contractors are honest, but shady contractors typically descend on disaster areas such as those inflicted by Sandy, whose total damages could reach $50 billion.
Storm chasers typically go door-to-door seeking business. They’re often from out of state, incompetent and unlicensed. They intend to cheat anxious homeowners who urgently need repairs after the storm. Local contractors also may be dishonest.
Homeowners could lose thousands of dollars to contractor scams. Shoddy repairs also can take months to correct, making it harder for homeowners to put their lives back together again.
Contractor inquiries have ranked No. 1 for five straight years by the Better Business Bureau. Contractor-related complaints were ranked 3rd by the Consumer Federation of America for 2011. Home-improvement contractors were the No. 1 source of consumer complaints in New Jersey last year, reveals the state Division of Consumer Affairs.
Five Scams to Avoid
Pre-pay. The contractor demands a large cash payment upfront, then disappears after doing little or no work. The contractor also may illicitly require you to pay for bids.
Shoddy work. The work is low quality, using cheap or substandard materials. Homeowners may have to redo the entire job, often at their expense.
Phantom damage. A contractor creates storm damage. Nicking undamaged sidewall or roof shingles with a screwdriver to mimic hail damage is one come-on.
Inflated damage. Contractors may enlarge holes in a roof to increase their billings. Simply inflating the bill to include more work than was done is another ruse.
Pay your deductible. Offering to pay your insurance deductible to get your business typically is a come-on to lure you into fraudulent work.
Six Ways to Prevent Fraud
Avoid door-to-door contractors. These usually are the storm chasers who canvass damaged neighborhoods for repair jobs. All too often these contractors have fraudulent repairs in mind.
Verify license. Contact your state and local licensing agencies to ensure the contractor is licensed.
Work with your insurance company. Contact your insurer right away to help screen out scam artists. Work closely with your insurer throughout the claim process to assess the damage, determine what repairs are covered, and the cost. Get the right repairs done, and done right.
Watch for red flags. No business cards or referrals…P.O. Box instead of a street address…van looks rundown and has no company name…poor personal appearance…can’t show proof of workers compensation insurance or surety/performance bond.
Insist on a contract. Have a signed contract specifying exactly what work will be done, plus the price and repair schedule. Never sign a contract with blanks.
Contact local Better Business Bureau. Does the contractor have a history of complaints? See if the contractor has a BBB review.
How long does it take to write and publish a book? One recently released work took some eighty-four years to see the light of day in Jerusalem. But with its publication the Torah world has been blessed with a new, vowelized edition of the Torah Temimah, complete with the supra-commentary Meshivat Nefesh – a work begun in the 1920s by a prolific rabbi among whose works was a weekly column several decades later in The Jewish Press.
Our story begins in 1921 in London, then moves to Los Angeles, Pinsk, Brooklyn, and, finally, Yerushalayim. A 25-year-old yeshiva bachur from London named Yaakov Moshe Feldman encounters a copy of the Torah Temimah and is immediately enthralled. Torah Temimah is an encyclopedic edition of the Chumash with relevant Talmudic and Midrashic passages cited on each verse and a brilliant commentary explaining and interpreting each passage.
It was authored by Rav Baruch HaLevy Epstein of Pinsk; his father, the author of the famed Aruch HaShulchan, wrote about Torah Temimah: “Anyone who delves into it will marvel and wonder how this great work could ever have come about, if not for special grace shown from Above.”
The work quickly became popular and to this day is frequently consulted in homes, synagogues and yeshivot throughout the world.
The young bachur, soon to become Rabbi Moses J. Feldman, learned in London’s Eitz Chaim Yeshiva, where his chavruta was Rabbi Yitzchak HaLevi Herzog, who later would serve as chief rabbi of Israel.
The bachur was in close contact with various leading rabbis even at his young age. He spent much time in the London home of HaRav A. I. Kook, another future chief rabbi of the Holy Land, who was stranded for five years in Great Britain when World War I prevented his return to Eretz Yisrael.
Rabbi Feldman (RYM) went on to become a leading rabbi in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, which was then the largest Jewish community west of Chicago.
In late 1928, RYM wrote to Rav Epstein of the great importance he ascribed to Torah Temimah and proposed to compile an index for the work. Rav Epstein “in his great humility, responded immediately” in two postcards, RYM related. In one, Rav Epstein stated he would be “grateful” for such a work, and asked to see a sample. In the second, written two months later, he praised what he saw and concluded with a blessing for success in whatever manner RYM would choose to carry out the work.
In reviewing the Torah Temimah, RYM noted that it was replete with technical and other errors, mainly bibliographical, due to the author’s having worked mainly from his memory (encyclopedic as it was widely acknowledged to be). RYM realized a complete critical review of the work was required, in addition to expanding many of the scholarly points raised by Rav Epstein.
In 1933, RYM sent several samples of what was to become the Meshivat Nefesh to a renowned Torah scholar, Rabbi Shmuel Yitzchak Hilman. Author of the Ohr HaYashar on the Yerushalmi, Rav Hilman founded the Ohel Torah yeshiva in Jerusalem, whose students included Rabbis Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and Yosef Shalom Elyashiv.
Rav Hilman praised the Meshivat Nefesh samples he saw – but there it stopped; the work barely progressed for the next five decades. This was largely because RYM was busy with various responsibilities, including his monumental four-volume work Areshet Sefatenu (with two additional volumes still in manuscript). The title page describes it as a “Concordance, Interpretive Anthology, Dictionary of Biblical Quotations and Idioms, Source Book of Hebrew Prayer and Proverb.”
Finally, toward the end of his life, RYM got to work once again on Meshivat Nefesh, completing its last pages while on his deathbed. Two of his sons – Rabbi Dr. David M. Feldman, longtime beloved rabbi in Brooklyn and Teaneck and prolific author specializing in medical ethics, and the late attorney Eliot B. Feldman – lost no time in publishing Meshivat Nefesh in 1982.
As they wrote in the preface, RYM “completed the sacred task just prior to his death, on the 8th day of Pesach 1981…. [and was] delighted to have fulfilled his promise to the author of the Torah Temimah. He has, as well, fulfilled admirably his unspoken pledge, to the scholar and student, to render this monumental work whole in substance and accessible in form. Torat Hashem Temimah Meshivat Nafesh.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on Monday urged American pediatricians to provide prescriptions for post-intercourse contraception to underage patients, as well as making them aware of the ability to take medications to prevent pregnancy even after engaging in sex.
The AAP policy statement would enable girls to get “morning after” pills immediately with their prescriptions. US policy does not allow girls under the age of 17 to buy the pills over-the-counter – the pills are available to women of age with proof of age.
The pills work by preventing ovulation, not by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg or otherwise causing the body to abort a growing embryo.
According to a Reuters report, a 2010 report on seven studies of emergency contraception concluded that teens were not more likely to engage in sexual activity or decrease their use of standard contraceptive devices if emergency contraception medications were made available to them.
The Columbia/Barnard Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life 606 West 115th Street, NYC December 4 – January 13, 2013 Opening Reception: Wdensday, December 12th: 6-8pm
Joel Silverstein is a comrade-in-arms. We share many ideas about the creation and nature of contemporary Jewish Art, as well as a commitment to the growing Jewish Art community, exemplified by the Jewish Art Salon of which we are both founding members and curators. This exhibition of his recent work at the Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life at Columbia/Barnard gives us the crucial opportunity to examine the complex richness of his artwork.
His ideas about Jewish Art are inherently radical as he expressed in 2006: “It is our assertion that Jewish thought is a precursive factor in the formation of Modernism and postmodernism… [postulating] the relationship of artistic creativity to Jewish thought [and maintaining that] Jewish thought is demonstrated to predate and augment the advent of modern aesthetics.”
His belief in “the Jewish Sublime” flies in the face of most Jewish intellectuals denial that Jewish contemporary art exists at all. Nevertheless Silverstein persists in his beliefs; writing, curating and creating works of art that reflect a vibrant synthesis of his Brooklyn Jewish upbringing, Torah narratives and postmodern visual sensibility without succumbing to a postmodern emotional emptiness.
At first glance his biblical work is obsessed with miracles: the miracle of the plagues, the snakes, the Golem coming alive, even the miracle of Superman who flies.
RM: What is it about the miraculous that appeals to you?
JS: In a secular way, I can’t stand the limits that contemporary cultures put on us: if the miraculous is not possible and everything is material, i.e. materialistic, then I don’t think I can live with that, I can’t accept that. So then I need to invent the miraculous, even if it doesn’t exist, but I feel it does. I feel it is the kind of thing you have to seek in order to find it. It is necessary in fighting the limits our rationalistic culture imposes.
I believe in God but I’m not a fundamentalist; my belief in something greater than myself and the imagination merge. And that’s where I really groove to Jewish texts; the Hebrew Bible, commentaries and more contemporary commentaries… i.e. the point where postmodern discourse, writing, the idea of religion and God, and the idea of the imagination all merge.
I don’t need to feel the imagination is merely the imagination. I don’t need to categorize it because the miraculous is beyond categorization. That is very important. The fact that I interpret something that happened to me in a vision with the Hebrew Bible, with a memory, a memory of my parents who have died, with something I’m looking for, with my relationship with my family, with all those things are the raw material of my artwork.
What about the “magic of time” that seems to permeate many of your works?
In the study of literary myth there is the simultaneity of time. But also in Torah study, time doesn’t exist. So they are more than similar.
You have said that seeing Ceil B. DeMille’s “Ten Commandments” as a child was a theophany. A Theophany?
This colored my visual life a lot. In Judaism there were no traditional visions of Moses and at that age that hit me hard. The DeMille Exodus narrative made a big impact on me. Charlton Heston looked like the Michelangelo sculpture. Visualizing the whole back story and the way DeMille went to Egypt to film in Egypt fleshed out the biblical in a way that brought the narrative alive.
The surface of almost all your artwork is distressed, rough, and broken up. Why?
I have a personal love of surface. Its just my personality, an existential dread. To try to make meaning out a chaotic surface. I love early Byzantine and early Italian altarpiece painting…now so troubled after 500 years. But it is also the modern expressionist tradition I am drawn to, i.e. anxiety as a form of modernity. Additionally it expresses the existential experience of living in the now, and trying to come to some kind of idea that is centered on something greater than yourself. It also makes the work feel modern in a modernist way, not postmodern. Part of the problem of the modern world, the postmodern denial of feeling, emotional deadness and materiality is something I want my work to fight against.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/arts/fractured-epics-joel-silverstein-paintings/2012/11/23/
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