Judeo-Christian – Friendship and Ties

Star of David.jpeg

So over Thanksgiving holiday, we went to see the new Seth Rogen movie, The Night Before


It’s full of crazy antics as they party on Christmas eve, and Rogen, the token Jew, gets himself in all sorts of trouble, including throwing up in the mass from too much partying. 


But what I liked most about the movie was the friendship between people–in this case, between Christians and Jews.


Today, I read with great joy about the Vatican commemorating the 50th anniversary of the “Nostra Aetate” (which I must say I was completely ignorant about), but which very importantly does the following:


1) Repudiates the charge of “Jewish deicide,” exonerating Jews of any collective guilt for the death of Jesus. 

2) Affirms that G-d’s covenant with Jews was never revoked.

3) Recognizes Christianity’s Jewish roots. 


Continuing these positive developments between us, yesterday the Vatican issued a new document clarifying that the church exempts Jews from conversion, and that Jews are not excluded from G-d’s salvation because they don’t believe in Jesus. 


I think it is wonderful that in modern times, there has been an affirmation of the unity of mankind amidst a monotheist belief in G-d Almighty, our father, and the creator and sustainer of us all. 


The closer relations between Jew and Christians, especially over the last half century is a wonderful milestone that should, please G-d, grow stronger over time. 


Moreover, we should similarly see the people of all religions focus on our commonalties, rather than on our differences, and on doing good deeds one to the other, rather than fighting in the name of religion. 


Religion is peace and love, serving G-d and doing good–the rest is B.S. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Advertisements

Ex Machina Will Even Turn The Terminator

Terminator
So this was a really cool display at the Movie theater yesterday…



They had this head of the Terminator in a enclosed case and roped off. 



Shiny metal alloy skull, buldging bright evil red eyes, and really grotesque yellowed teeth. 



This certainly gets the attention of passerbys for the upcoming new movie, Terminator Genisys (coming out July 1). 



Anyway, Terminator is the ugly dude especially when compared with the robot/artificial intelligence of Ava in Ex Machina that we saw yesterday. 



The Turing test is nothing for Ava!



She can not only fool them as to her humanity, but also outmanuever them with her wit, sexuality, and a good dose of deceit and manipulation. 



Frankly, I think AI Ava could even turn the terible Terminator to her side of things–my bet is that movie to come in 2017. 



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Andy Blumenthal With Roberta Grossman

Andy Blumenthal and Roberta Grossman
What an honor today to be able to take this photo with Roberta Grossman, movie Producer/Director. 



First we saw her upcoming movie “Above and Beyond.”



It is the story about the birth of the Israeli Air Force, and it was co-produced with Nancy Spielberg (Yes, the sister of Director Steven Spielberg). 



In 1948 when the U.N. (under G-d’s guidance) established the State of Israel, the Arab nations prepared to attack the fledgling nation state.



Just 3 years after the end of Holocaust, the surrounded Jewish people with inferior arms, faced almost certain devastating defeat in their War of Independence. 



However, brave volunteer pilots from America, Canada, and South Africa answered the call to help their brethren in Israel. 



With ingenuity, some smuggled air planes, brief training by Czechoslovakia, and the blessings of Hashem, the Israel Defense Forces stopped the advancing Arab armies–of Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, and Iraq–in their tracks. 



It is an amazing story of courage and heroism, and Ms. Grossman did a wonderful job answering enthusiastic questions from the audience in Virginia today. 



Kol Hakavod on a excellent film–thank you!  😉

Exodus Hollywood Style 2014


Very excited about the new Exodus movie coming next month. 



Looks high budget action and with great special effects.



Hopefully, not a disappointment like Noah (2014 film)–I don’t think it will be. 



Good wins over evil–well, we all know that already from the Bible!



According to the Passover Haggadah, we are supposed to retell every year, from generation to generation, our story of going from the cruel enslavement by evil dictators to the redemption by the merciful Almighty G-d.



It’s timeless and our history!  😉



(Note: Full movie name is Exodus G-ds and Kings, but there is only one G-d.)

First We Must Live

First We Must Live

I liked this advertisement for the movie sequel to the 300 coming out this week.

Anyway, for this scary-looking dude, “War is in my blood”–that’s who he is and these days, it seems like he is not alone in this crazy and violent world.

Some people are like that…they always like to fight, be oppositional, or just be difficult.

My belief is more like Ecclesiastes–that there is a time and place for everything…”a time for war and a time for peace.”

Around the globe, there seems to be plenty of fighting, slaughter, and tensions going on…from Damascus to Kiev, from Iran to Venezuela, from Sudan to the South China Sea, and more.

I heard what I thought was a good saying on the Game Of Thrones Season 3 (which by the way is totally excellent), it went like this:

“If we die, we die, but first we will live.”

Let’s hope and pray for more peaceful, stable, and pleasant times.

There is yet much to live for. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

12 Years A Slave, But Not Anybody’s Property

12 Years A Slave, But Not Anybody's Property

I saw the movie “12 Years A Slave.”

I have seen other movies on slavery, such as Amistad and Glory, but none were as potent and realistic as this was.

I came out with my head full of feelings of pain and injustice, as if I had just lived through those 12 years as a slave myself.

I literally felt sick to my stomach and the room felt as if it was spinning and I could hardly breathe.

My wife said to me, “You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel bad.”

And I responded to her, “I feel bad that they (the slave owners and traders) weren’t human.”

I cannot tell the story of Solomon Northup or of the horrors of slavery any better than the movie in fact did.

But what I can convey is my shear disgust for how anybody could enslave and mistreat others the way the Black people and others throughout history were.

As a Jewish person, my own people have a history of 400 years of slavery in Egypt, and this took on a whole new meaning.

As great actors as Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner were, The movie, The Ten Commandments, did not show the depths of Hell of slavery as much as the breadth of Heaven of redemption.

And while the Pyramids of Egypt were built not with massively powered Caterpillar earth movers and construction equipment, but with the flesh and blood of my people under the whip of servitude 3,500 years ago, similarly the Capitol of the United States and The White House were built with Black people in chains and hung by the noose.

In the movie today, the plantation owners said they could do what they wanted to the slaves and without fear of retribution or sin, because the slaves were their property.

What is unbelievable is that anyone can believe that anybody can be the property of anyone other than G-d, the Master of the Universe, him/herself.

The slave trader in the movie, tearing apart a family and selling the mother and her children separately, when questioned on his ability to commit such atrocity, says matter-of-factly,”my sentimentality extends the length of a coin.”

For a buck, what will a person not do?

In history, we have seen individuals and whole societies cheat, steal, rape, enslave, torture, murder, and commit every treachery and treason…for a buck or even just because they could.

What is the lesson for all of us?

People can do great good in this world, but unfettered by faith, conscience, reason, or fear of justice, they can do great, great evil–and for that we can never let our guard down.