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Neturei Karta: The Orthodox Jews who oppose the existence of Israel – 5Pillars

Posted By on May 29, 2020

Most Jews around the world support the state of Israel and the ideology of Zionism, but there is one ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect that denies Israels right to exist and supports the Palestinians. 5Pillars takes a closer look at Neturei Karta.

Who are Neturei Karta?

Neturei Karta area group of Orthodox Jews who refuse to recognise the existence or authority of Israel which they say is against the Torah and authentic Judaism.

The group was founded in Jerusalem, Palestine, in 1938 and was established for the purpose of fighting Zionism.

Although their numbers are small (5,000 or more), they say the number of Orthodox Jews who believe in their anti-Zionist ideology number in the hundreds of thousands.

What is their objection to Israel?

Neturei Karta opposes Israel because it does not believe that the Jewish people have the right to self-determination, and because only God can restore Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel by bringing the Messiah.

They say the Talmud teaches that Jews must not use force to bring about the establishment of a Jewish state before the coming of the universally accepted Messiah from the House of David. Furthermore, Jews should remain loyal citizens of their countries and should not attempt to leave the exile which God sent them into ahead of time.

Neturei Karta also says that Jews are not allowed to dominate, kill, harm or demean another people and are not allowed to have anything to do with the Zionist enterprise.

Judaism is a religion of thousands of years, they say, while Zionism is a new movement of just over a hundred years, created by non-religious Jews who aspired to transform the religion into nationalism and have rebelled continually against the Almightys commandments.

Why do many Neturei Kartamemberslive outside Israel?

According to Neturei Karta, some of the reasons include: ideological refusal to live under the illegitimate heretical Israeli regime; being exiled by the Zionist government for their insistence on remaining independent; or being unable to live a normal life due to being persistently harassed, incarcerated and even physically tortured by the Israeli authorities.

Are they heretical?

Although most Jews disassociate themselves from Neturei Karta, they do not question the fact that they are Orthodox Jews.On the other hand, Neturei Karta says it is Zionism that is heretical to Judaism.

What do they think of the Palestinians?

They say true Jews are against dispossessing Arabs of their land and homes and, according to the Torah, the land should be returned to them.

Neturei Karta say they deplore the shedding of Jewish and non-Jewish blood for the sake of Zionist sovereignty and they favour a peaceful transition from the present Zionist rule to a non-Zionist entity.

The Neturei Karta regret that the Zionist state has usurped the holy name of Israel and that the Zionists so often claim to speak in the name of the Jewish people and assume the right to act on their behalf.

What do their detractors say about them?

The pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League says that Neturei Kartahave a very extreme agenda and have regularly aligned with international antisemites, Islamic extremists and groups that advocate violence against Israel. For example, in recent years, leaders of Neturei Karta have met with former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as well as leaders of Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

This has led the mainstream ultra-Orthodox community to join the broader Jewish community to disavow and repudiate Neturei Karta.

Others say that Neturei Kartas worldview is shaped by their opposition to Jewish self-determination, not support for Palestinian self-determination. Similar to Evangelical Christian support of radical right-wing Israeli groups, Neturei Kartas support of Palestinians is based on fundamentalist views and not on actual ideological identification with the Palestinian struggle.

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Neturei Karta: The Orthodox Jews who oppose the existence of Israel - 5Pillars

AAUP award shows Palestinian rights advocates are winning the battle on campus – Mondoweiss

Posted By on May 29, 2020

The COVID-19 shutdown has put a stop to campus life in America, but it has not stopped advocates for Israel from attacking Israels academic critics, trying to banish their thinking and teaching from universities. Nor has it stopped academics and students who support Palestine from fighting back and winning. Efforts to silence pro-Palestinian voices are bringing more attention to them, Zoha Khalili, an attorney for the civil rights firm Palestine Legal, told me.

Last week, one of the strongest Palestinian voices on American campuses, Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi of San Francisco State University (SFSU), won the prestigious Georgina M. Smith Award from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). In announcing the award, AAUP said, Dr. Abdulhadi exemplifies courage, persistence, political foresight, and concern for human rights As a director of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies Program (AMED), she brings together scholars, activists, academics, and organizers to create justice-centered knowledge, build broad-based coalitions, and advance the agenda for social change in Palestine, the United States, and internationally.

Advocates for the Israeli state predictably condemned the award. Outraged articles have appeared in several publications focused on the American Jewish community. On May 22, Carly Gamill, executive director of the Stand With Us Center for Combating Anti-Semitism, wrote to the Jewish Journal, Its hard to imagine someone less deserving of such an awardThe AAUP should rescind this award immediately and apologize. And AMCHA Initiative director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin called teachers like Dr. Abdulhadi, activist professors who attempt to weaponize their course curricula and advocate for personal political missions, like BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel], to indoctrinate our youth.

Dr. Abdulhadi and others who work for justice in Israel/Palestine have long experience with such attacks. Stand With Us, AMCHA, Zionist Organization of America, Hillel and a dozen other Israel-identified groups have fought for decades to suppress critics of Israel and those who teach about Palestinian history and rights. They file baseless lawsuits; they initiate Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) complaints. Their advocates exert constant pressure on donors and universities to promote Israeli interests and sideline Palestinian voices. Their standard argument is that criticism of Israel is antisemitism in disguise.

These complaints, lawsuits, and social media posts allege that, by criticizing Israel, activists are attacking Jews and creating uncomfortable environments for Jewish students. Palestine Legal reports that, In 120 incidents we responded to in 2019, students or faculty were falsely accused of antisemitism or anti-Jewish bias due solely to their support for Palestinian rights. These accusations can have a chilling effect on school programs and academics careers, but they are almost never upheld by investigators or courts.

In fact, many Jewish scholars and organizations reject the equation between uncritical support for the State of Israel and Israeli nationalism and what it means to be Jewish. Dr. Abdulhadi herself has dozens of Jewish colleagues and supporters who write and demonstrate in support for her work. Its true that she calls Zionism racist and a form of white supremacy, but history clearly shows that Zionism was founded and built on the belief that European civilization is superior to that of the indigenous Palestinians. Modern Israel officially designates Arabs as an inferior class. How is it anti-Jewish to point that history out? Is the expectation that all Jews everywhere must give top loyalty to the Israeli state itself an antisemitic trope?

Increasing attacks are creating increased resistance. When University of Massachusetts held a program last year called Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech and the Battle for Palestinian Human Rights, a group of pro-Israel activists sued to block the event as a threat to Jewish students. A judge allowed the event to proceed. An audience of 2,000 people attended.

In November 2019, the University of Minnesota agreed to host the national conference of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP.) In response, Israel-centered groups recruited people to complain of an unsafe environment for Jews on campus. Right-wing websites published unsubstantiated reports smearing conference facilitators with false accusations of support for terrorism. But the conference went ahead and was well-attended. Attacks like these have been successfully fought off at NYU, CUNY, UCLA, Rutgers, and other schools.

Who really fights antisemitism?

When Syracuse University (SU) invited Dr. Abdulhadi to speak last year, Israel lobby groups including Stand With Us and Campus Reform tried to get the program canceled. They failed. Although SU did not publicize the event, Abdulhadi got a standing-room-only crowd and was invited back for a return visit. Tellingly, around the time of Dr. Abdulhadis visit, SU was embroiled in student protests against racist and antisemitic incidents on campus, including swastika graffiti, spray painted racist slogans, and drive-by antisemitic and racist insults yelled from cars. Neither Campus Reform nor Stand With Us said anything about these actions creating an uncomfortable environment for Jewish students, but, according to students interviewed, African-American, non-Zionist Jewish, Asian, and Palestinian students did. (Requests for comment from Stand With Us and Campus Reform went unanswered.)

Attorney Zoha Khalili tells me this pattern is typical: Palestinian activists are often leaders in fighting antisemitism, while Zionist groups often ignore actual attacks on Jews, using real antisemitic incidents to attack Palestinians who had nothing to do with them.

Because the antisemitism/anti-Judaism link is so tenuous, the movement for justice in Palestine often wins these fights, as at SFSU, where Dr. Abdulhadi has endured years of discrimination, lawsuits and censure for her advocacy. When SFSU hired her in 2007, they promised in their hiring letter to support her AMED program with two additional professorships and support staff. But pro-Israel groups, including the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and the AMCHA Initiative, began a campaign against her in the media and within campus administration. As a result, no additional faculty or staff were ever hired.

For 12 years, SFSU has refused to fill AMED Studies faculty lines and has delisted AMED courses from the catalog; denied sabbatical, travel authorization and reimbursements for Dr. Abdulhadi; and questioned her business expenses and disability accommodations. The Zionist Lawfare Project sued her twice, but she won both cases and is still teaching. Now she has opened a new chapter in the fight, filing suits in Federal and State court to compel organizations like JCRC and AMCHA to testify about their efforts to pressure universities, and to compel SFSU to fulfill their commitments to the AMED Studies program. If her case succeeds, it will enable other schools to protect their faculties and students from pressure by the Israel lobby.

Find out more about the case and how you can connect at

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AAUP award shows Palestinian rights advocates are winning the battle on campus - Mondoweiss

’48 Palestinians Believe The Moment Has Arrived: One Democratic State – Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Posted By on May 29, 2020

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June/July 2020, pp. 20-21

ZIONISTS HAVE LONG ENJOYED the disunity of the Palestinians, which they have stoked and highlighted over the decades. One of their greatest successes has been to isolate Palestinian citizens of Israel from other Palestinians, while concealing the oppression of Israeli Arabs under Israels settler-colonial regime.

That isolation is waning, however, key leaders of resistance to the Israeli policies say. With the demise of Oslos long-moribund two-state solution, soon to be formally interred by Israels U.S.-endorsed annexation plan for the West Bank, the situation for the Palestinians may have returned to its [pre-1948] existential roots, when all faced the same threat of exile or subjugation. That was the response, in February, of more than 80 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in a poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR).

To be disappeared and dispossessed has been the reality of the 48 Palestinians for 72 years, living as a despised non-Jewish minority in the Jewish State. Perhaps this experience accounts for the strength of their political vision in this moment. They, along with Israeli Jews of conscience, are calling for One Democratic State (ODS) for all the people, and they are beginning to be heard.

However, ODS is still not a movement, according to Awad Abdelfattah, coordinator of the One Democratic State Campaign (ODSC), one of several groups sharing the ODS vision. His ODSC colleague, Dr. Jeff Halper, an American-Israeli Jew and founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, agreed. The two were interviewed online in April by Mike Spath, director of the Indiana Center for Middle East Peace in Fort Wayne, IN.

Both men are veteran opponents of Israeli government policy and believe that ODS is now clearly the only solution, imperative for everyone, in Abdelfattahs words. Halper said ODS is inevitable because it is the only viable decolonization option, and decolonization is the only solution to Israels whole, ongoing settler-colonial enterprise.

In a sign of accelerating momentum, even during the global pandemic, all of the ODS groups held their first meeting May 11, by Zoom, to form a united front and coordinate their efforts more closely. We reached agreement on the importance of forming the umbrella group and agreed to work hard toward that end, Abdelfattah told the Washington Report.

The fact is the Zionist victory has not been decisive, Abdelfattah said. The Palestinians are still there. They include 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, whose lives show that Israel has not been normal, ever. We expose the inherent apartheid nature of Israel.

The Palestinians living inside Israel never had much hope for Oslo, he said. Abnaa al-Balad, the Marxist Nationalist group, of which he was deputy secretary-general from 1986 to 96, always wanted one democratic state. It helped form the National Democratic Party (Balad) in 1995, of which he was secretary-general from 1997 to 2016. We always viewed Oslos two-state program as a catastrophe, Abdelfattah said. Aside from being a big illusion, it left out internally colonized Palestinians inside the Green Line, like himself, and marginalized refugees in camps outside Palestine. Every family inside the Green Line, including mine, has relatives who are refugees and cannot come home, he said. His point is that 48 Palestinians connect intimately to all segments of the Palestinian people.

It has been galling that the 48 Palestinians have always been considered an internal domestic issue for Israel to deal with, he told Spath. In fact, we have been marginalized three ways, first, by the Israelis; then, by other Palestinians, who have seen us as forgetting our Palestinian identity; and finally, by the larger Arab world. But we never forgot our identity.

All this explains why Abdelfattahs comrade, Halper, believes, Its natural for those [48] Palestinians to take the lead. Plus, they have more space to move around and organize. They dont get interference from the Palestinian Authority. Abdelfattah emphasized that other Palestinians seem inclined to agree. Recently, he heard from groups in Gaza and Ramallah that his group, inside the Green Line, should lead the One Democratic State Campaign.

The February PSR poll showed 38 percent of West Bank and Gaza Palestinians now favor ODS, Abdelfattah added. The support for one democratic state has been growing over the last decade among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza as Palestinians are giving up on the idea of two states becoming reality. Many have yet to decide on the best remaining path. But, according to Abdelfattah, things are changing. The mindset is changing.

Palestinians must all reunite to become a powerful force, Abdelfattah said. If Hamas and Fatah cant work together, we should start from below at the grassroots for mass mobilization. Many groups see that, he said. I call this rebuilding the Palestinian liberation project from below, outside the structures of the leadership. This is the only way out. Moreover, united support for the democratic vision can capture the imagination of certain sections of Israeli society, as well as freedom partners and civil society around the world.

Although he and Halper did not discuss the kind of resistance that those in power might put up, they allowed that the ODS mobilization effort could take a long time, perhaps many years.

To see why they are so sure of success, one needs to unpack the layers of obfuscation that historically have been essential to causing fragmentation of the Palestinians and befuddling outsiders. In a nutshell, before 1948, the Zionist movement refused to clarify exactly how Palestinians would fit in to their plans. Political Zionisms founder, Theodor Herzl, depicted his vision of the Jewish State in a Utopian novel Altneuland (The Old New Land). It featured happy Arabs, whose presence had been mysteriously reduced to a tiny, docile minority. Israels founder, David Ben-Gurion, mostly avoided talking about the Palestinians. Rather, Zionisms opponents were portrayed as the Arab states. So, the conflict with the indigenous people was redefined as between two sides where the Zionists were the only side willing to accept the partition plan in 1947.

Halper explained how that false perception has always been profoundly damaging to the Palestinians, because it obscured the fact that the Zionist idea has always been to transform an Arab country into a Jewish country.

Our whole [ODS] based on a settler-colonial analysis, Halper said. In that analysis, the Palestinians never really were a side. In that sense this really isnt a conflict with two sides arguing over something they could compromise about, Halper said. With settler-colonialism theres really only one side and thats the way Israel has always seen it...this country belongs to the Jews exclusively. The upshot is that conflict resolution doesnt get to the problem. The only way you can resolve this is through decolonization.

From 1948 through Carters Camp David and beyond, the conflictand any possible peacecontinued to be treated as between Israel and the Arab states. With the First Intifada, the Palestinians finally took center stage, but the resulting Oslo Accord divided them into West Bank and Gaza Palestinians, East Jerusalem Palestinians, Israeli Palestinians and external refugees, and recognized only the PLO as the voice of Palestinians.

Still, Oslo, with its trappings of Palestinian statehood and promises of substantive negotiation of all issues, with the exception of the status of Palestinian citizens of Israel, was hard to reject outright. In a way we supported the two-state idea, Halper admitted. Arafat supported it. Im not going to be more Catholic than the pope.

Abdelfattah said, We never supported two states for two people but we didnt oppose the idea of a Palestinian state. As his Balad Party tried to counter the consequences of the [Oslo] agreement, he was put under constant surveillance, arrested several times, and beaten during interrogations and elsewhere. Six of his brothers served years in prison.

Alluding to Israels recent bold moves, the Trump Deal of the Century and, in particular, the landmark annexation of large areas of the West Bank set for this summer, Halper said, Today, were right on the cusp of completion of the settler-colonial project.

Consulting with other ODS groups, the ODS Campaign has formulated a 10-point outline of the ODS political program. Over time, they see it as able to create a whole new civil society thats shared by all Palestinians and Israeli Jews. Its a good plan, detailed, logical, just, Halper said.

In light of Israels revelation of its goals, along with the manifest impotence of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, as well as of the surrounding Arab nations, ODS supporters see the potential for a massive reorientation of the Palestinian struggle in their direction.

We cant just stay on BDS and protests all the time, Halper said, although ODS leaders strongly support BDS. Abdelfattah noted that BDS pulled its three key slogans from the Balad Party platform. In fact, the ODS leaders are eager for the BDS leadership to formally endorse One Democratic State. Weve got to have a political program, Halper said. And the Palestinians have to lead.

Steve France is a DC-based activist and writer, affiliated with Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Palestine-Israel Network.

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'48 Palestinians Believe The Moment Has Arrived: One Democratic State - Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Around the (home) office with Finn Partners’ Go’el Jasper — and eight children – PRWeek

Posted By on May 29, 2020

Where do you work? Where is your work from home location?I am Finn Partners' managing partner and Israel country manager in Bet Shemesh, a Jerusalem suburb.

What are Israel's lockdown rules?Quite similar to the U.S. The major difference is Israel was well ahead of the curve in terms of instituting its rules. Our leadership put what seemed at the time like painful restrictions in place, including, for a couple of weeks, requirements where we had to remain within 100 yards of home, unless we were buying food.

I understand you have eight children?That's true. Our house is not boring, and we had two months when all eight children were home with us. It was wonderful in most ways, but there were challenges. My 23-year-old, for example, has been out of the house for army service and continuing Torah/Talmud education for five years. For him, it was tough to be shackled. My 21-year-old is a soldier who was considered "essential," which meant he had to go to work every day while his brothers and sisters were "living the good life" at home. But overall, it's been a happy, memorable experience.

One activity that kept us busy for weeks was a mural we painted on one of our walls. It's called "Ode to Mr. Plumbean," a reference to a book my wife loved. In the early days of COVID-19, when we were all at home and the schools hadn't figured out how to restart learning, our kids had a lot of time on their hands.

What are the living arrangements like?A single-family house with a nice, modest yard. That meant, especially during those two months of severe restriction, lots of areas within our home and property for solitude.

Can you share details about your family?Ezra: 23-year-old son, soldierTzvi: 21-year-old son, soldierTehilla: 19-year-old daughter, completing second year of national serviceTemima: 17-year-old daughter, high schoolNili: 16-year-old daughter, high schoolYitzchak: 14-year-old son, completing eighth gradeHodaya: 12-year-old daughter, completing sixth gradeYaffa: 10-year old daughter, completing fourth gradeNo pets.

Does your wife work? How do you manage parental chores?Gilla is a full-time mom and has also managed to build a strong business as a yoga instructor. She has about 50 students. We converted a patio into a yoga studio.In terms of parental chores, I try to help, but Gilla does most of it. I generally do the food shopping, the lunch-making for the kids and whatever else Gilla asks me to do. She's in charge of the laundry -- the washer and dryer run six days a week -- the cooking and everything else.

Which kids are the most challenging?The adage "little kids, little problems; big kids, big problems" is true. At the same time, I have conversations with my older kids sometimes that show me just how much wisdom they have.Gilla and I understand each deserves to have rules specific to them. We don't believe in measuring equal amounts of everything for each child. A piece of candy may motivate my 10-year-old and mean nothing to my 19-year-old. So why play the game of making sure everyone gets the same thing? Our version of equal treatment is understanding what will help each of them the most and provide accordingly.

A couple are the most challenging now, but two weeks ago it was two others, and next week it will be someone else

Like in the U.S., all schools moved online. But what do you do when five children are expected to be in Zoom classes simultaneously? I don't have five laptops. We handled things with top-notch scheduling on the one hand, and throwing up our hands and saying, "Hey, we can only do so much!" on the other.

We've also been challenged by the logistics of having all kids at home. There were days when I would go food shopping in the morning, and the fridge and pantry would be empty by the evening.

Do their needs conflict?Not really. Our kids understand each other. Some are closer and more social; others are more into books. One of the wonderful aspects of being Orthodox Jewish is we sit down for dinner together every Friday evening and lunch every Saturday. Those meals may occasionally include yelling and fighting, but they also keep us close.

On a practical level, those who need privacy -- the teenage daughters, specifically -- each have their own bedroom. But it's never a shock when we go to wake up the kids in the morning and see certain bedrooms empty and others with three or four kids sleeping on the bed and floor.

How does this fit in with work?Working from home never sat well with me. When I'm home, I want to be with the family, and when I'm at work, I am at work. But the lockdown forced me to reevaluate that and learn how to make the most of working from home. I've done a pretty good job, setting up a small work area in my bedroom, and the family has done an amazing job of respecting my need to focus.

Do your kids understand what you do for a living?My 21-year-old interned in our office, so he certainly understands, to a degree. I've also shown the kids some of what we've produced at the office, when we do something particularly incredible. But it's certainly not as simple as their friends whose parents are physicians or lawyers or plumbers.

What will you do when lockdowns are lifted?Gosh, this is such a tough question, because there's what I want to do and then what I will likely do. I would love to fly somewhere with Gilla, and maybe even with some of the kids. But that's not cheap, and who knows when that will be allowed, so I doubt that's in the cards. Synagogues have opened on a limited basis, but require masks. So I have continued to pray alone. What I really miss is seeing a friend, giving him a hug and sitting down to chat over a cup of coffee.

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Around the (home) office with Finn Partners' Go'el Jasper -- and eight children - PRWeek

Mourning, healing, and proximity in a COVID world – Forward

Posted By on May 29, 2020


Our experience of mourning during this grief-stricken period has been one of witnessing trauma layered with more trauma.

There is a story told in the Talmud (Tractate Berakhot, 5b) about Rabbi Yohanan. He possessed a great healing ability, the unique ability to listen and hold the pain of the other, and he had also experienced unimaginable loss as 10 of his children died in his lifetime. In one famous story he goes to visit Rabbi Hiya bar Abba who is ill.

Rabbi Yohanan asks Rabbi Hiya: is your suffering dear to you.

No, says Rabbi Hiya.

Then give me your hand, says Rabbi Yohanan.

Rabbi Hiya extends his hand and Rabbi Yohanan miraculously cures him, the story goes. The underlying message: there is something truly healing about being in the presence of another.

In this time of the pandemic, one of the sufferings that we have witnessed again and again is the loneliness of those who are ill and those who are mourning. Hospitals have limited corridors for the sick alone. Those who have to go into hospitals for treatments must not only go alone but then also worry about exposure to COVID-19.

Our experience of mourning during this grief-stricken period has been one of witnessing trauma layered with more trauma. Families are unable to hold their loved ones at the end of life forced to be apart, which is further compounded by funerals where families either must be absent entirely, or stand six feet apart, faces with masks, toting their own shovels. Much of it feels surreal, though all too real. We have walked families through this agony throughout the last three months, many times needing recovery ourselves because of the sheer pain of the entire experience.

We have talked together at length lately about how some of the most meaningful rituals within Jewish practice: avelilut (mourning), burial, shiva, and bikkur holim (visiting the sick) no longer possess, in the way they did before COVID, pathways to lead the sick or the mourner to feel, quite literally, held. These millennia-old practices were exquisitely constructed to elicit moments of person to person interaction, a chance for one human heart to help fill the empty space of anothers broken heart. And their absence can be emotionally and physically excruciating.

Though we do not have a salve, we have noticed something shift during this period: the power of language, and in particular, the potency of its most visceral delivery mechanism voice (including real-time transcription).

Left without the opportunity for an in-person, physical encounter, we have had to rely almost solely on the comfort of our words: comfort through a phone call, through texting, and through the very conscious tones we communicate over zoom.

But can the sound of ones voice, or the reading of words/lips, create physical proximity?

It has to.

Our rabbinic tradition, in several places, asserts that when God desires an intimate experience with one of Gods creations, the voice chosen is one of familiarity. One midrash suggests that when God addresses Moses from the burning bush, God chooses to sound to Moses as his father would sound.

Another midrash, quite famous, claims that when God gave Torah, Gods voice was heard by each and every individual in precisely the way they needed to hear it (which we would have believe including the capacity for those who couldnt hear to see the words). A voice they would respond to, as it were.

These teachings deeply resonate with our experience of pastoral care in a COVID world. While our bodies may be distant from one another, there is still the possibility of a physical connection through voice, which vibrates throughout the listeners body creating sensations that offer at least a measure of solace during this unimaginable period.

These interpretations also resonate with the scientific explanation of how humans process sound vibrations moving at different frequencies, creating sound waves, then bouncing on the eardrum. These vibrations meet up with tiny bones in the ear before moving on to the inner ear, which is filled with a liquid that processes the vibrations, converts them into electrical impulses, before finally traveling to the brain.

The brain, ever-magical, interprets the impulses, and then translates them into a number of possible feelings, memories, thoughts, and activities. This is true of sight as well (for those seeing the words), as the same element of the brain that processes are senses is partially processing emotions as well.

We as clergy have become all too aware of what is and what isnt under our control. We have quickly re-learned our various limitations, and they are many.

But also, in the context of facing previously absent restrictions, we have found our voices, so to speak. We have seen the power they possess. We have felt the reverberations flowing through our community. We have embraced this new song, embedded in ancient wisdom and cadence.

Before COVID, a list of people to call to check in with was often simply that, a list. We saw phone calls as a follow up to those we would visit in person. But now, the list is no longer just a list it is an invitation to proximity. It is an invitation to enter anothers world and to bring a closeness that is so desperately needed at this time.

Min ha-meitzer karati Yah from a very narrow place I called out, says the Psalmist. For now, we will answer the call through the power of the voice until we can one day be in person again.

Rabbis Lauren Holtzblatt and Aaron Alexander are Senior Rabbis of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, DC. You can find their daily teaching and reflections during COVID-19 at

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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Mourning, healing, and proximity in a COVID world - Forward

Sir Simon Schama the books that have shaped my life – Jewish News

Posted By on May 29, 2020

In the latest in our series of podcasts with Jewish people who are changing the world, Zaki Cooper talks to celebrated historian, writer and broadcaster Sir Simon Schama about his life, career and books that inspire him

Sir Simon Schama is a historian and public intellectual. He is perhaps best known for his BBC series, A History of Britain, and, more recently, The Story of the Jews.

He is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University, New York and was knighted in the 2018 Queens Birthday Honours List.

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How did your BBC series, The Story of the Jews, happen?

A BBC producer who I had known while making a series on art history phoned me up and said: I know what you should be doingnext. Lets have coffee and talk about it.

When we did meet, I said: I know what youre going to say. And I said: Ive got to go for it. It was a teshuva in lots of ways, a return. The mighty book project, with part three coming up, came about through that non-Jewish television producer.

In association with yu life

Did the experience of making it and writing the books strengthen your Jewish identity?

Yes, for sure, it did. I knew about Maimonides and Yehuda Halevis poetry but I had very crude, slightly superficial knowledge of the great trials of the Talmud and many aspects of medieval Jewish history.

With the TV series, I thought I have to make this for people who are not Jewish. All Jewish history means to non-Jews is the Holocaust and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. No one will ever get what Israel means and what it means profoundly to be a Jew now unless they know the long history.

Listen to a clip of the Desert Island Books podcast episode with Sir Simon Schama, here:

It brings us to your first selection, Yosef Yerushalmis Zakhor. Why select this book?

I knew Yosef at Harvard and he was a colleague of mine at Columbia [University] and I loved him. He was a beautiful writer. He showed, deep profound scholarship could actually be beautiful writing. More important than that, it crystallised a deep paradox.

Yosef Yerushalmis Zakhor

We think of the Bible as a kind of history, but after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem when the Tanach was closed, the rest would be apocryphal.

When we have the seder service, its all about our obligation to remember. But its not history, its remembering.

The Jewish instinct to write analytical history is at odds with what we do every Pesach or when we read ritually from the Torah.

In some ways, Judaism is saturated in history, but only up to a point.

The book is about that, but a religious requirement to remember where we came from.

As well as Jewish history, you have done so much in art and British history. Tell us about your new BBC2 series, The Romantic Revolution?

I taught a lot of art history at Harvard and Columbia. We are talking music and poetry, as well as painting. A lot of what they did dies in the 19th century. Blake is largely forgotten, for example, until he is picked up in the 20th century. The romantics were interested in the subconscious, the way the mind looks at itself. They were interested in dreams, nightmares and sometimes madness. They could be seen again as incredibly fresh.

Listen to a clip of the Desert Island Books podcast episode with Sir Simon Schama, here:

Two of the books you selected are Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities and Leo Tolstoys War and Peace, both written inthe 19th century. Why did you select them?

My father used to read Dickens out loud to my sister and I at tea on Sundays. He was a great lover of British literature. Being British and being Jewish were not only an easy marriage of identities but an obligatory one.

I came to A Tale of Two Cities. Tolstoy and Dickens were both great historical researchers.

Dickens was helped by the historian Thomas Carlyle. Tolstoy did his own historical deep research in the archives and served as a soldier in some of the Balkan wars. War and Peace, I think, is the greatest novel ever written. I have read it eight times and I find different things in it every time.

Leo Tolstoys War and Peace and Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities

You have visited Israel many times over the years, and selected a book by one of its best-known novelists, Amos Ozs A Tale of Love and Darkness. What did you like about that book?

Hes a great novelist. His father was a scholarly librarian at the Hebrew University and his great- uncle Jakob Klausner was a terrifying Talmudic scholar.

Amos describes visiting his great-uncle, drowning in an ocean of books. The touch and smell of the books, the sensuousness of the paper, the ink and the binding. Its very tragic. His mother commits suicide. He was an only child and felt his mother had betrayed him. He leaves for a life in the kibbbutz and names himself Oz, strength.

He starts writing this very hard Ivrit, which he imagines when he remakes himself as a Jew. As his life goes on, he is drawn back to that childhood and growing up. The memoir, in the end, is his masterpiece.

Zaki with Sir Simon Schama

You have selected Saul Bellows Herzog, which was written in 1964. What is it about this book that appeals?

Bellow had a way of writing on the verge of craziness. It begins with a most wonderful opening sentence, something like if I am going mad, then its alright with me. Moses Herzog is a writer and hes a moored in a disastrous ex-marriage, a slightly scary, very glamorous mistress and he has a hopeless life that has not quite come to an end. Its the most exhilarating hyperbolic kvetch for many hundreds of pages, but its full of joy and very sensuous, glorious liberated writing.

You are a writer of many books. Are you someone who has lots of books at home?

You havent seen my study! I dont do very well with e-books. As Amos Oz describes, the actual physical experience of turning a paper page is very important. I am just exploding with books. The art history side of me means they are often physically very large books. I am at the stage, if a Jew can ever be a Franciscan, of giving lots away.

Listen to the full Desert Island Books podcast episode with Sir Simon Schama, here:

Here is the original post:

Sir Simon Schama the books that have shaped my life - Jewish News

New cartoon from ‘Bob’s Burgers’ creator, Steve Carell’s space comedy and 8 more entertainment picks – Minneapolis Star Tribune

Posted By on May 29, 2020

Space Force

Steve Carell and his old boss from The Office, Greg Daniels, have reunited for an out-of-this world new sitcom. Playing a four-star general assigned to lead a new mission to the moon, Carell has adopted a gruff delivery and Teflon ego that can handle anything, including an imprisoned wife (Lisa Kudrow) and an eccentric sidekick (John Malkovich). Overlook the Tang-flavored sentiment and youll have a blast. Netflix

Central Park

Broadway would be lucky to land the kind of smart, snappy songs that reside in this new animation series from Loren Bouchard, the mad genius behind Bobs Burgers. Theres something of a plot, involving a battle between an earnest ranger and an evil entrepreneur whod like to turn NYCs parkland paradise into a strip mall. But the real pleasure is listening to folks like Josh Gad, Kristen Bell and Daveen Diggs make beautiful music together. Apple TV

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool

This weeks death of drummer Jimmy Cobb at 91 last man standing from the legendary Kind of Blue album sessions reiterated the important history covered in one of the best music docs of recent memory. Cobb and other players offer great insight into the iconic jazz innovators unusual recording and performing techniques, while the savvy and unusually gorgeous women in Davis life provide unvarnished insight into his equally complex personal life. Netflix

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

A lot of people received Charlie Mackesys illustrated book for Christmas last year but, if you didnt, its message of kindness and self-care is well suited to the present moment. It appears to be a childrens book but the messages (Asking for help isnt giving up. Its refusing to give up.) are apt to land with adults, too. The plot-free book sometimes lays it on too thick but Mackesys paintings and hand-lettered text are stunning. Harper Collins Books

Circus of Books

The Masons were a typical, middle-class Jewish family living in West L.A. with their three children, except for one detail. For over 30 years, they owned and ran Circus of Books, one of the biggest distributors of gay male porn in America. Written and directed by artist Rachel Mason, the documentary revolves around her parents, Barry and Karen Mason, who got into the gay porn distribution business through a series of coincidences and a connection to Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler. What seems like a movie about an important community gathering space in LGBTQ history during the height of the AIDS crisis ends up being as much about the complexities of family. Executive directed by Ryan Murphy, the film stars the Mason family and former Circus of Books employees as themselves. Netflix.

Metallica Mondays

The band that famously took on Napster two decades ago has been unusually generous during the quarantine, posting an unreleased concert video on its YouTube channel at 6 p.m. every Monday for 10 weeks running. Sets have ranged from a 1983 Chicago club gig to last weeks 2014 all-request mega-show in Peru, each refreshingly devoid of Black Album material. The only request from Metallica in return is a donation to its All Within My Hands hunger-fighting foundation. YouTube


As Asian Pacific Islander American Heritage Month concludes, check out the monologues that Twin Cities actor Eric Pogi Sumangil solicited in response to a rise in anti-Asian-American activity. Inspired by the Declaration of Independences guarantee of unalienable rights and performed by local actors such as Eric Sharp and Katie Bradley as well as sitcom and movie star Amy Hill (50 First Dates), the brief plays range in tone but all address the pain of feeling unwelcome in your own home. New videos will be posted Friday and Saturday, including Fries With That, about an essential worker at a drive-through, and A is for American, a satirical piece about how to signal ones Americanness.

The Last Movie Star

It wasnt technically Burt Reynolds last appearance on film, but this 2017 comedy serves as his swan song, much like The Shootist did for John Wayne. He plays a washed-up movie idol forced to face his past and characters from Deliverance and Smokey and the Bandit when hes hoodwinked into attending a third-rate retrospective. Regrets? Hes had a few. And director Adam Rifkin somehow gets him to mention them all in tear-inducing monologues. Showtime on Demand

The Pale Horse

Purist alert: On the Amazon review page, every Agatha Christie fan in the world despises this show as a pretentious mess that bears no resemblance to Christies classic. One rare positive review says, Ignore the po-faced book-is-always-better crowd. Whos right? If youre a fan of British mysteries and enjoy the early-60s period pieces, you can decide for yourself. The same team was behind the recent adaptation of Christies ABC Murders, if that helps. Amazon Prime

Motive for Murder

Dateline NBC is the long-running TV true-crime series that asks a serious question: Do you really think the spouse didnt do it? Cmon. NBC has been releasing the shows in podcast form at a furious rate, and they work well as audio-only stories, released in short weekly installments. You might think you have this one figured out from the start. But youll still listen, because its Dateline, and perhaps the spouse didnt do it. Maybe it was Dad!

Originally posted here:

New cartoon from 'Bob's Burgers' creator, Steve Carell's space comedy and 8 more entertainment picks - Minneapolis Star Tribune

The 52 Best Movies to Stream This Weekend from Seattle Theaters and Beyond: May 28-31, 2020 –

Posted By on May 29, 2020

The stretch of sunny weather in Seattle this week may give way to a little rain on Saturday and Sunday, which should make it easier to pack up your crop circle picnic and hole up in your home with a 4K restoration of the 1982 adventure film The Grey Fox, newly available episodes of The Simpsons, selections from film festivals around the world on YouTube, and other great options streaming through both local theaters and national platforms. Read on for all our top picks for the weekend.

AberdeenFilmed on location in the Pacific Northwest, Colton Van Til's debut feature (that he directed at just 19!) follows a woman who tries to find a place in the male-dominated field of sports journalism by exposing the sexual assault taking place within her hometown's high school sports scene.Available via Northwest Film Forum

15th Annual HUMP! Film Festival 2020Our colleagues, the creators of HUMP!, were crushed to cancel their originally planned spring re-screening. But after receiving enthusiastic support and permission from the filmmakers to show their films online, they knew that the show must go on! Even if we cant watch together in movie theaters, we can still watch the 16 all new, sexy short films, curated by Dan Savage, in the privacy and safety of our homes. Dan will introduce the show, and then take you straight to the great dirty movies that showcase an amazing range of shapes, colors, sexualities, kinks and fetishes! BOBBY ROBERTSAvailable via The StrangerFriday-Saturday

BlackfishOrca-lovers beware: This ain't Free Willy. Gabriela Cowperthwaites searing indictment of Sea World's cruel exploitation of killer whales and the inhumane practice of confining these magnificent creatures is heartbreaking and enraging. From Puget Sound's barbaric history of capturing calves in the 1970s to the abuses that most likely drove bull orca Tilikum to kill two different trainers, this gripping documentary stirs up many of the same emotions the Oscar-winning The Cove did in 2009. While theme-park corporate flunkies blame accidents and deaths on trainer error, Cowperthwaites doc asks: Just how much suffering is our need for entertainment worth? JEFF MEYERSAvailable via SIFFFriday-Sunday

CoFF - Confinement (online) Film FestivalWith everyone cooped up in their respective abodes, The Stranger challenged artsy laypeople everywhere to submit short films that express our current reality of social distancing and self-quarantine. From poignant vignettes todystopian nightmares to sexy stuff tomini-dramas, the results are just as varied as you might expect. Watch it live online and vote online for your favorites. (The categories are "Most Creative," "Funniest," "They Lost Their Goddamn Mind," and Most Poignant.") Available via The StrangerFriday only

Georgetown Super 8 Film Festival 2020This annual Georgetown-bred amateur film festival features short movies shot on Super 8 (aka 8mm) cameras by denizens of the Duwamish Valley. This year, see an online retrospective of submissions from years past, including 45 new films.Available via Northwest Film ForumSaturday only

The Grey FoxA stagecoach robber is released from prison in the early 1900s, only to get inspired for his second wind by the 1903 Western TheGreat Train Robbery. This 4K restoration ofPhillip Borsos's 1982 film was partially filmed right here in Washington. When it came out, Roger Ebert called it "one of the loveliest adventures of the year." Available via Grand IllusionFriday-Sunday

My Sight is Lined with Visions: 1990s Asian American Film & VideoTo round out Asian American Heritage Month, see an eclectic program of short films from the 1990s to the early aughts by filmmakers across the Asian diaspora. Highlights includeRichard Fung's "Dirty Laundry," which explores expressions of sexuality amongChinese Canadians in the 1800s (through the lens of a modern-day fictional magazine writer as he travels through Canada by train);Shu Lea Cheang's campy experimental film "Fresh Kill," abouttwo young lesbian parents who fight against environmental racism in the form of radioactive fish lips; andJon Moritsugu's stereotype-bucking satire "Terminal USA." Available via Northwest Film ForumFriday-Sunday

The Painter and the ThiefIn this dark, time-jumping documentary by Norwegian filmmaker Benjamin Lee, the Czech painterBarbora Kysilkova develops a friendshipor at least a mutual fascinationwith a man who stole some of her paintings from a gallery (and proceeded to lose them).Anthony Lane wrote inThe New Yorker, "The two of them arrive at a happy ending, of sorts, yet I find myself worrying more about Barbora, and the shape of her future, than I do about Bertil. Other viewers will disagree, and thats why The Painter and the Thief is such a good lockdown movie, to be watched in the early evening and then argued about over spaghettiorwithspaghetti, if the discussion gets intense." Available via SIFFFriday-Sunday

SibelIn a secluded Turkish mountain village, a young woman is ostracized for being mute and communicating through an ancestral whistling language. When locals start talking about a wolf prowling the neighborhood, she hopes to gain their approval by going on a hunt to find it, which leads her instead to an injured, armed criminal.Available via Northwest Film Forum

It's Coming from Inside the House! Tucker and Dale vs EvilIn Eli Craig's brief 2010 horror-comedy, a group of college kids gone camping on spring break believes that Tucker and Dale, two well-meaning hillbillies vacationing in their dilapidated cabin, are trying to murder them. It's not super scary, but if you're into the genre, you won't be disappointed by the buckets of gore. Available via MoPOPFriday only

Virtual Moving History X Karl KrogstadScarecrow Video and theMoving Image Preservation of Puget Sound are teaming up again to bring you an evening of shorts created by the late Seattle filmmaker Karl Krogstad, whose work ranged from claymation to experimental found-art films. The lineup includes 1973's "Eggnog," which "is famous for hosting one of the most bloody animation sequences of violence ever recorded," according to the director. Yeehaw! Available via Northwest Film ForumSunday only

ZanaDocumentary filmmaker Antoneta Kastrati's debut feature follows aKosovar bride whose family sends her to mystical healers, where she's subjected her to strange rituals meant to cure her of "black magic," the alleged culprit of her infertility. But when she finally becomes pregnant, her suppressed wartime past comes back to haunt her and her unborn baby. Available via Northwest Film Forum

Central ParkLoren Bouchard, the creator of Bobs Burgers, brings another animated family and even more Broadway-style music and dancing into the mix with her new Apple TV show Central Park.Josh Gadserves as the narrator/busker who fills you in on character and plot details through song. His best friend,Owen Tillerman, is our Bob Belcher, only instead of the proprietor of a burger joint, he's the manager of Central Park, on the grounds of which he lives (in a charming old house) with his family. Available via Apple TV

Hannah Gadsby: DouglasLast year (Jesus was it really only one year ago?) Hannah Gadsbyafter successfully upending the world of stand-up for a hot minute with her Netflix special Nanetteretired, then unretired, then embarked on her first world tour, which sold out every stop (including two shows at the Moore here in Seattle). Douglas is now coming to Netflix, and it differs from Nanette in that there isn't a show-stopping ending that turns your heart inside out (Gadsby addresses that expectation pretty early on), but it's also a more finely-tailored, comfortable, and confident hour of stand-up, one that touches on the controversy of male comics completely disqualifying Nanette as stand-up at all,somewhere before she turns the whole concert into a renaissance art lecture. According to Gadsby, "It's gonna be good! Unless you don't like it! Then it's still gonna be good, and you'll be wrong." BOBBY ROBERTS Available via Netflix

HBO Max LaunchThe latest contender coming for Netflix's streaming crown is one of the oldest movie studios in Hollywood history: Warner Bros has (pretty confusingly) taken their (already confusing) HBO Now/HBO Go streaming platform and "Max"-imized it, adding a ton of classic catalog films (the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Cabaret, Enter the Dragon), a sizable chunk of the Criterion Collection (Seven Samurai, Eraserhead, Godzilla, Paris, Texas), a bunch of Looney Tunes shorts both old and new, Doctor Who and other BBC offerings, and as a particularly fine feather in their acquisitions cap, the North American streaming rights to the Studio Ghibli library (Castle in the Sky, Princess Mononke, Spirited Away). The cost is a little bit higher than Netflix, but if you're already subscribed to HBO through most online meanslike we said, it's kind of confusing, make sure you doublecheck how you subscribedyou don't have to do anything, or pay any more per month to get the HBO Max content, which will eventually include a Friends reunion. BOBBY ROBERTS

The Legend of the Stardust BrothersUntil recently,Stardust Brotherswasn't availableat all. Originally an epic flop, it was gladly left buried for decades. But this winter, the excellent Third Window Films released it onan all-region DVD/Blu-ray format. Now for a limited time this Japanese musical oddity from 1985 is available tostream through Alamo Drafthouse On Demand.Director Macoto Tezka, son of the "Godfather of Manga" Osamu Tezuka, was tasked with creating a movie based around an already created campy album about a fictional duo called the Stardust Brothers. The result is a bombastic, inspired, style-forward fantasy. Its basic premise is loungy and loud: two rival singers are contacted by a shadowy organization named Atomic Productions that wants to turn them into legends. There are catches, obviously. The whole thing is the stuff of stars and notably features Kiyohiko Ozaki, a famous crooner withfamous sideburns. CHASE BURNS Available via Alamo Drafthouse

Love LifeThis rom-com anthology series starring Anna Kendrick explores different stages of relationships through the stories of various protagonists, focusing on the sometimes confusing nuances between infatuation and lasting love. Available via HBO Max

QuizDianaandCharlesIngram tried to con their way into1 million on the British game show Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? back in 2003, and this series starring Sian Clifford (Fleabag) and Matthew Macfadyen (Succession) revisits the whole episode piece by piece. Available via AMCPremiering Sunday

RamyIn January, the Golden Globes gave their award for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical TV series to Ramy Youssef, the star of Ramy, a semi-autobiographical half-hour sitcom about a guy named Ramy trying to navigate the trials and tribulations of being a second-generation Egyptian-American Muslim millennial in New Jersey. Right up until he won that award (TSA flagged the trophy at LAX a couple days later) most people didn't even know Hulu had a show called Ramyon its platform, much less one so good it got nominated for (and won!) Golden Globe awards. The second season (starring Mahershala Ali as Ramy's spiritual advisor!) is a smart, beautiful, and often surreal half-hour experience every time out. BOBBY ROBERTS Available via HuluPremiering Friday

The SimpsonsOne of the biggest selling points of Disney+ was that it would have all of The Simpsons available, day one, despite the fact the show basically has no business even being on that platform considering how cutesy-poo and precious the company is being (i.e. digitally adding an ass-merkin to Daryl Hannah's buttcrack in Splash) Obviously, it's only there because The Simpsons is more valuable to Disney as an exploitable brand than for its status as a landmark show thatin its glory days (Seasons 3-10)was possibly the greatest sitcom in TV history. A great example of that is how the show was cropped, cut up, stretched out, and slapped on Disney+ at launch, making a show not particularly known for its stellar animation look even uglier for the sake of satisfying a tiny handful of whiny dullards who are still mystified and dumbstruck by the notion of "black bars" in the 21st century. Well GOOD NEWS, EVERYBODY: Disney+ is finally making The Simpsons' golden years available in their original, uncut, less uglified original aspect ratio. Let the re-watches...begin! BOBBY ROBERTS Available via Disney+

Space ForceIt's only fair that the parody of government that the White House has become since our idiot president took office become an actual parody via The Office's co-creator and star (Greg Daniels and Steve Carell, respectively) bringing a new satirical workplace sitcom to Netflix. Space Force's first season has got a pretty stacked cast (John Malkovich! Ben Schwartz! Lisa Kudrow! Did we mention John Malkovich! MALKOVICH!) although early reviews say it's a little wobbly. But to be faiirrrr; The Office didn't have all that great a first season, either, and it's tough to parody something (our government) that is consistently breaking reality with every new day. BOBBY ROBERTS Available via NetflixPremiering Friday

The Vast of NightAndrew Patterson's debut feature comes in the form of a 90-minute teleplay that takes place over the course of a single night in the fictional New Mexico town of Cayuga, revolving around a big high school basketball game and transforming into an old-timey sci-fi mystery. The LA Times' Justin Chang wrote, "Id say that The Vast of Night exists somewhere at the intersection of radio, television and cinema, and that it excavates some of our fondest old-timey memories of all three in order to build something playfully, strikingly new." Available via Amazon PrimePremiering Friday

We Are One: A Global Film FestivalNew York's Tribeca Enterprises will show selections from film festivals around the worldincluding Cannes, Sundance, and the Toronto International Film Festivalon YouTube. They'll also show comedy performances and panel discussions, like a conversation with Jane Campion and Tessa Thompson on Sunday at 10:45 am. It's free, but know that all donations will be given to the World Health Organization's COVID-19 relief funds.Available via YouTubeFriday-Sunday

In case you missed it, here's our guide to where to stream Lynn Shelton movies

AliceWhen Alice discovers that her husband has drained their bank account and skipped town, she becomes a sex worker solely to make ends meet, and is surprised to find the work empowering. IndieWire's Eric Kohn wrote, "[Emilie] Piponnier [who plays Alice] dominates every frame, with a mesmerizing screen presence that pushes the drama well beyond its formulaic premise and visible microbudget constraints." This debut from French director Josephine Mackerras won the 2019 SXSW Grand Jury Prize.Available via Grand IllusionThursday only

Americana KamikazeNYC'sinterdisciplinary performance group Temporary Distortion blends theater, film, and installation to freakily contort Japanese ghost stories and horror (aka J-Horror) through an American musical tradition. In a 2009 New York Times review of the play, Jon Weiss wrote, "Hard-core horror fans should take notice, because with Hollywoods rarely risking something truly upsetting anymore, preferring funny zombies and by-the-numbers remakes, you might have to go to the theater to see death performed live to really test your limits." Available via On the Boards

Best of CatVideoFest: Creature Comforts EditionLocal feline enthusiast and Henri the Catcreator Will Braden, bless his heart, has plucked 40 minutes of quality content from SIFF's CatVideoFestan annual celebration of the divine conjunction of cats and internetfor your viewing pleasure. Available via SIFF

BacurauIn this Cannes Jury Prize-winning sci-fi tale of predation and resistance, a small Brazilian town bands together to repel murderous mercenaries and mysterious forces that want to drive them from their homes and erase the memory of their existence. Available via Ark Lodge

Csar and RosalieIn Claude Sautet's classic romantic drama Csar et Rosalie, two men (the wealthyCsar and David, an old flame) battle for the affections of a beautiful, recently divorced lady (played by Isabelle Huppert in her first film role).Available via Ark Lodge

DeerskinWacky director Quentin Dupieux (Rubber) is back with Jean Dujardin (The Artist) in a movie described as "a comic character study in which clothes make the manmad."Available via SIFF

Diana Kennedy: Nothing FancyProlific cookbook author andJames Beard Award winner Diana Kennedy (known by some as "the Julia Child of Mexico") is the star of this fun documentary for food lovers. It features interviews with famed chefs Jos Andrs, Rick Bayless, Gabriela Camara, and Alice Waters, too. Available via Northwest Film ForumSaturday only

DrivewaysFollowing up his 2016 queer indie gem Spa Night, Korean American director Andrew Ahn's Drivewaysfollows a shy little boy as he adjusts to a new town, where his mom has relocated them to clean out the house of her estranged, recently deceased sister. Finding little luck among his peers, he befriendsDel, his elderly Korean War vet neighbor.Available via SIFF

Exhibition on Screen - Leonardo: The WorksLeonardo da Vinci has been dead for centuries, but his legend lives on. This documentary, released on the 500th anniversary of his death, explores theRenaissance artist's life and work. Available via SIFF

Fantastic FungiAt its worst,Fantastic Fungigets too woo-woo wacky for its own good (when the films discussion turns to magic mushrooms, the visuals turn into what is, as far as I can tell, a psychedelic screensaver from Windows 95), but at its best, the doc pairs fantastic time-lapse imagery with a good dose of actual, mind-blowing science. Affable, passionate mushroom researcher Paul Stamets is joined by talking heads Michael Pollan, Andrew Weil, and narrator Brie Larson to examine everything from massive fungal networks that carry signals between disparate, distant plants to the psychological benefits of psilocybin. Its an uneven trip, but a good one. ERIK HENRIKSEN Available via Ark Lodge

The Ghost of Peter Sellers The behind-the-scenes footage of Peter Medak's unreleased 1973 filmGhost of the Noonday Sun,starring Peter Sellers (The Pink Panther, Dr. Strangelove), is definitively more entertaining than the film itself, which organizers describe as an "outrageous pirate comedy" set in the 17th century, and which Medak would describe as "the biggest disaster" of his life. The director brings it all back in this documentary. Available via SIFF

The InfiltratorsIn this docu-thriller, two young immigrants purposely get themselves thrown into a shady for-profit detention center to dismantle the corrupt organization from the inside. Their detainers don't know that they're members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, a group of radical DREAMers who are on a mission to stop unjust deportations. Available via Northwest Film Forum

Lucian Freud - A Self PortraitLondon'sRoyal Academy of Arts and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts will present an on-screen exhibition of 50 paintings, prints, and drawings by the late British painter Lucian Freud.Available via SIFF

Lucky GrandmaIn this crime caper set in New York's Chinatown, a recently widowed 80-year-old woman follows a fortune teller's advice and heads to the nearest casino to win some big bucks. But things don't go so great, as they often don't at casinos. When two gambling gangsters show up at her door and start demanding money, she and her newly acquired bodyguard do what must be done: kick ass for the duration of the film.Available via Grand Illusion

Military WivesKristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient, Gosford Park) and Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe) lead a group of English women who start a choir to cope while their spouses are away serving in Afghanistan, and boy does it look wholesome and heartwarming. Available via SIFF

Now I'm FineSean Nelson wrote, "Ahamefule J. Oluo, of Stranger Genius Award winning band Industrial Revelation, remounts his autobiographical odyssey, a harrowing, hilarious personal story punctuated by astoundingly strong songs, brilliantly arranged and performed by several of the most talented musicians in Seattle." Originally staged at On the Boards, Now I'm Fine received rave reviews during its recent New York run, and will now be screened online.Available via On the Boards

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The BandWithOnce Were Brothers, Roher presents a conventional contextualizing rock doc with marquee-name talking headsVan Morrison, George Harrison, Bruce Springsteen, et al.and efficiently reveals Robertson's early family life (his mother was indigenous, his father Jewish) and musical evolution. Robertson is an articulate, passionate memoirist; the film is based on his 2016 autobiography,Testimony. With equanimity, he registers the Band's soaring highs and devastating lows, while his French ex-wife Dominique adds crucial observations about the inter-band dynamics and substance abuse that dogged the members. Tracing a story of relentless, upward mobility through the music industry, the doc emphasizes Robertson's inner strength and boundless ambition, which helped him to avoid the booze- and drug-related pitfalls that afflicted his mates. For fans of the Band, this film will inspire tears of sorrow and joy, if not rage. Now more than ever, their music stirs emotions with a profundity that feels religious, but without the stench of sanctimony. DAVE SEGALAvailable via SIFF and Ark Lodge

Our MothersCesar Diaz's debut, the winner of the Cannes Film Festival Camera d'Or in 2019, is set in the aftermath of Guatemala's bloody 20-year civil war. It followsErnesto, a young anthropologist who's determined to track down his father, a guerillero who disappeared during the war. "Dazs approach is plain and solid, like a well-built wooden chair before varnishing," wrote the New York Times'Glenn Kenny.Available via SIFF

Police BeatPolice Beat, a fictional film I made with the director Robinson Devor (we also madeZoo), is also a documentary about a Seattle that's recovering from the dot-com crash of 2000 (a crash that sent Amazon's shares falling from nearly $100 apiece to $6they're now around $2,400), and entering its first construction boom of the 21st century (between 2005 and 2008).The hero of my film, the police officer Z (played by the beautiful but sadly late Pape Sidy Niang), could actually afford a little Seattle house on his salary (around $45,000). The median price of houses in 2003 was a lot (about $300,000) but not out of reach for a middle-class immigrant with a stable job.Lastly, the film is a documentary about Seattle's beautiful and virid parks. How I love them all and wanted to film them all: Volunteer Park, Freeway Park, the Washington Park, Madison Park, the parks on either side of the Montlake Cut. So green,so urban, so natural. CHARLES MUDEDE Available via The Stranger

RBGAll hail Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Better known as RBG to her fans (and Bubby to her grandkids), at 85 years old, the US Supreme Court justice still has a fierce intellect, a duty to the law, and an immense inner and physical strength. Over the long course of her career, RBG repeatedly defended the rights of everyone to live free from bias, but, as Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg says, Ginsburg quite literally changed life for women. And shes still doing it. With intimate interviews with family and friends, as well as RBG herself, the film captures the life of a woman with a heart none of us wants to stop ticking. KATIE HERZOG Available via SIFF

SIFF RetrospectiveIn place of this year's canceledSeattle International Film Festival, Telescope Film will highlight a retrospective ofall of the films that have won awards at SIFF in its 45-year history by showing you where to watch a ton of them online. From last year's winners like Amber McGinnis's International Falls and Cagla Zencirci's Sibel to Gregg Araki's 2004 indie classic Mysterious Skin, there's plenty to choose from. They'll keep the catalog up for the duration of the would-be in-person event.

Slay the DragonBarak Goodman and Chris Durrance's documentary investigates howgerrymandering has damaged our democracy, and how citizen-led activist groups have been crucial agents of change when bigger systems fail.Available via SIFF and Ark Lodge

Spaceship EarthMatt Wolf's oddly uplifting documentary tells the true story of Biosphere 2a self-engineered replica of the Earth's ecosystem inspired by a project that began in the 1970s, and in which eight people (self-described "biospherians") attempted to quarantine themselves for two years in the early '90s. While the experiment was cut short, the fact that this film chronicles daily existence in the face of a life-threatening ecological disaster makes this a timely online release. Available via SIFF and Ark Lodge

SPLIFF 2019 & 2020A new vibe of stoner entertainment is emergingwitness the rise of Broad City, High Maintenance, and basically every TV show created on Viceland. And, most importantly, The Stranger presents SPLIFF, your new favorite film festival created by the stoned for the stoned. Because we can no longer congregate in person, we're rescreening the 2019 and 2020 festivals (the latter of which is hosted by Betty Wetter and Cookie Couture) online! Got some weed on hand? Check it out from the comfort of your home. All contributions received will be shared with the filmmakers.Available via The Stranger

Stage Russia HD OneginFilmed atNovosibirsks Red Torch Theatre,Timofey Kulyabins Golden Mask Award-winningOnegintrades in Pushkins grandiose historical world for a "quiet love story" set in modern times. Available for Northwest Film ForumFriday-Monday

Thousand Pieces of GoldBased on the novel by Ruthanne Lum McCunn (with a screenplay by novelist and filmmaker Anne Makepeace), this 1990 film follows a young Chinese woman (Rosalind Chao) whose family ships her to an Idaho mining town to be sold as a bride. To make matters worse, she's bought by a gross barkeeper in an Idaho mining town who forces her into prostitution. Available via Northwest Film Forum

The WhistlersFestival favorite Corneliu Porumboiu (The Treasure, Police, Adjective) delves into the noir genre, complete with a beautiful crook, a crooked inspector, and...a secret whistling language?Available via SIFF

A White, White DayIn Hlynur Plmason's follow-up to Winter Brothers, an off-duty police chief ina remote Icelandic townbegins to suspect a local man of having had an affair with his late wife. In thriller-meets-Nordic-art-house fashion, the man becomes obsessed with finding the truth, at the expense of his (living) loved ones. Available via SIFF

The Wolf House (La Casa Lobo)This eerie, dreamlike claymation fairytale is inspired by Colonia Dignidad,an isolated colony established in post-World War IIChile byemigrant Germans, which became a site for the internment, torture, and murder of dissidentsduring the militaryregime of General Augusto Pinochet in the 1970s. FilmmakersJoaqun Cocia and Cristbal Len imagine the film as a means of indoctrination made by the leader of the sect. The New York Times called it "visually stunning and horrifying." Available via Northwest Film Forum

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The 52 Best Movies to Stream This Weekend from Seattle Theaters and Beyond: May 28-31, 2020 -

As annexation looms, what kind of Zionism will survive? – Haaretz

Posted By on May 28, 2020

The late Amos Oz regularly contended that Zionism is not a first name but a family name. Ask each member of this family what Zionism means to them and youll hear a plethora of visions of Jewish national self-determination in the historical Land of Israel.

The debate within the family has been raging for well over a century, albeit under one roof. After annexation, however, there might not be so many family members left at home.

Each competing Zionist vision is both somewhat connected to the present reality as well as having an attachment to some abstract ideal, varying in the extent to which they are rooted in either. Over the decades, these visions have waxed and waned as the reality on the ground further approaches or strays from each of their ideals.

Some visions have gone extinct as their connection to reality vanished entirely. Bi-nationalist Zionism, which sought to create a Jewish-Arab state, died out with the establishment of the State of Israel, having spent its final years on life support after the Biltmore Program of 1942 made the pursuit of a Jewish state official Zionist policy.

Others are critically endangered. Socialist Zionism, predominant during the states early years, has been dealt a near-fatal blow by the dismantling of the welfare state under Likud since 1977 and the subsequent adoption of those same neoliberal policies by Labor in opposition and in government.

With a drastic economic shift highly unlikely in the near future but not a total impossibility, Socialist Zionists (who nowadays exist primarily in youth movements and a handful of kibbutzim) can perhaps still cling to an abstract ideal even as the reality on the ground continues to negate it.

Today, regardless of the variety of names theyve chosen for themselves, those who do remain in the Zionist family can be seen as belonging to two competing ideological camps: universalism and particularism. At their core, both Zionisms are justified in terms of some combination of Jewish safety and Jewish cultural or spiritual vitality. But everything beyond this is the source of fierce and sometimes violent disagreement.

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For the universalistic camp, the purpose of a Jewish state is to be a light unto the nations, a beacon of democracy and morality which fosters peace and internationalism. For the particularistic camp, Zionism is primarily a vehicle for Jewish liberation and power, the ultimate expression of which is a state that inspires fear in its enemies and relies on no other nation but itself.

In reality, the particularistic camp has always been a stronger force. First of all, Zionism is itself already a form of particularism, as are all nationalisms by definition (and especially those rooted in ethnicity). Early universalistic Zionist visions were undermined as relations deteriorated between Arabs and Jews in Mandatory Palestine, producing a consensus in the Yishuv by the early 1930s behind the particularistic principles of Jabotinskys "iron wall" philosophy. Soon after, the Holocaust became the ultimate proof of the need for Jewish power at all costs.

This particularistic consensus in the Zionist world was driven forward by successive Labor governments in Israel during the first decades after statehood. Cracks soon began to emerge, though, and especially in the diaspora.

Being a Zionist in the diaspora perhaps already implies a certain level of universalism. But as Israel cemented its status as a regional superpower backed from Washington by the worlds strongest military, and as the Palestinian national movement increasingly asserted itself on the world stage through militant stunts and eventually the First Intifada, the modern universalistic camp began to crystallize around a new fundamental ideal: steadfast support for a negotiated two-state solution.

The 1990s saw universalistic Zionism reach its zenith. With an Israeli-Palestinian peace process underway and an unprecedented expansion of Israels relations throughout the Arab world, including a formal peace treaty with Jordan, the universalistic vision was finally starting to reflect reality. (Even if, as many have argued subsequently, the Oslo framework could never have produced a just two-state solution).

And yet today we find universalistic Zionism at its nadir. Just as Arab resistance to Zionism in the 1920s and 1930s led to the marginalization of the universalists in the Yishuv, the Second Intifada and the failure to reach a negotiated solution to the conflict have, according to its adherents, vindicated the particularistic camp once again.

Rightly or wrongly, universalistic Zionists have kept fighting for their ideal even as the reality on the ground shifts ever further away from it. Despite efforts to make Israels Arab/Palestinian population into second-class citizens, the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to house 600,000 Jewish Israelis, and the entrenchment of a brutal occupation that continues to deny basic rights to the people whose lives it controls, the ideal has persisted.

The ideal is of a state that remains a safe haven for persecuted Jews everywhere, in which they can fully express their culture and religion, while simultaneously ensuring complete equality of all its citizens; a state that would negotiate a just peace agreement with its Palestinian neighbours and end the 53-year occupation; a state that would recognize its past sins and turn over a new leaf for the benefit of all who live in it Jews and Arabs, Ashkenazim and Sephardim, religious and secular, Holocaust survivors, LGBTQ+ communities, and asylum seekers.

If today this ideal is still plausible, a few weeks from now it may not be.

The plan of Israels "emergency government" to advance legislation to begin unilaterally annexing chunks of the West Bank come July 1stcould mean for universalistic Zionism what the establishment of a Jewish state meant for bi-nationalist Zionism: extinction.

The political act of annexation is of course not irreversible and far less so than physical actions that decisively alter the reality on the ground. After all, the past two decades of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations (prior to the Trump Mideast plan) have assumed a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed in 1980.

What annexation does symbolize, however, is the most dramatic repudiation of the universalistic vision of Zionism since it re-emerged as a significant force.

With its dire potential consequences forPalestinian human rights and thefuture possibility of peace as well as for Israels relations withJordan and thewider Arab world (not to mention forIsraels own security), and with its total disdain forinternational law, unilateral annexation represents the antithesis of universalistic Zionisms most fundamental values. More than this, its realization could spell victory for particularistic Zionism once and for all.

It is unclear if the universalistic camp could recover from this; whether or not its adherents will be able to maintain a commitment to an ideal that is so disconnected from reality as to be almost redundant. Some of itsmost loyal devotees are already beginning to jump ship.

But if it cant recover, then Zionism and particularistic Zionism will have become one and the same. The debate will be over. The family name will represent only different variations of particularism.

One wonders whether Amos Oz himself, for much of his life a figurehead of the universalistic camp, would still consider that family to be his own.

Ben Reiff is a student and activist, and a participant in the current cohort of Achvat Amim - Solidarity of Nations. Twitter: @ben_reiff

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As annexation looms, what kind of Zionism will survive? - Haaretz

Defending Zionism: Arming allies and countering critics – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on May 28, 2020

Kiev native and Sydney resident Alex Ryvchin (currently co-CEO of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry) is on a mission to counter anti-Zionism. Toward this noble end, he has composed a primer, Zionism: The Concise History, with which to arm allies and controvert adversaries in the impassioned struggle over the meaning and legacy of the Zionist movement.With a legal background, Ryvchin enters the fray in earnest with an extended factum about how and why Zionism came to be. He reaches back briefly through Jewish history to touch upon the origins of the Jewish people and the first and second commonwealths in the Land of Israel. He recounts the lachrymose chronicle of Jewish sufferings in exile, including Russian and Arab pogroms and the Holocaust, to contextualize the condition of Jewry in the Diaspora. The book also discusses the sundry conferences, policy papers, treaties, and memoranda that feature or at least figure in the story of Zionism and in the shaping of the modern Middle East, some of which remain little known and even less understood: the San Remo Conference (April 1920), on the Italian Riviera, that created the mandatory system and incorporated the Balfour Declaration into the British mandate; the Treaty of Svres (August 1920), signed in France, that abolished the Ottoman Empire; the Transjordan Memorandum (September 1922), presented in Geneva, Switzerland by the British to the approving Council of the League of Nations, wherein Britain exercised its right to separate the territory east of the Jordan River (equivalent to three-quarters of the geographical region known as Palestine) from the Mandate for Palestine, thereby summarily depriving the Jews of important ancestral lands, namely the tribal territories of east Menashe (the Golan and Bashan), Gad (Gilead), and Reuben (the Mishor), and lands to the south of these that constituted part of the united monarchy of Israel; and the Treaty of Lausanne (July 1923), signed in Switzerland, that solidified borders and concluded World War I.The account also lingers on how Zionism has fared at the UN, foregrounding the prescience of US ambassador Patrick Moynihan, who lamented the fallacy equating Zionism with racism and who understood the full implications of such a lie being laundered into respectability by the UN. Such a brazen assault on truth conducted in a forum of immense moral authority and prestige was a threat to the international system itself. Indeed, it is arguable that despite repealing Resolution 3379 in 1991, the credibility of the United Nations has never fully recovered. In the international effort to delegitimize Zionism, the acme of absurdity was that it had become possible, even plausible, to explicitly associate Zionism, a movement for Jewish liberation, with Nazism, a movement for Jewish destruction. Ryvchin accurately portrays how the latest incarnation of anti-Zionism the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment (BDS) movement demonizes Zionism and cynically strives to divert public opinion from support of the State of Israel: Modelled on anti-war and anti-apartheid movements, BDS evokes the imagery of resistance, appropriates the language of human rights and international law, and makes a direct appeal to the spirit of rebellion by casting Israel and its supporters as all-powerful and uniquely evil and those who oppose it as enlightened and morally pure.Ryvchins narrative highlights Herzl, Weizmann, and Ben-Gurion among the scores of Zionist leaders. Intrigued readers will use this volume as an introduction prompting further investigation into Zionism, consulting such standard works as The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader (Arthur Hertzberg, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1959), A History of Zionism: From the French Revolution to the Establishment of the State of Israel (Walter Laqueur, London, UK: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1972), and The Making of Modern Zionism: The Intellectual Origins of the Jewish State (Shlomo Avineri, New York, NY: Basic Books, 1981), and perhaps newer offerings including Zionism: A Brief History (Michael Brenner, Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2003) and Zionism: A Very Short Introduction (Michael Stanislawski, Oxford, UK: Oxford UP, 2017). Ryvchin believes in refuting falsity and dispelling disinformation. Knowledgeable readers may find little new in this work, but nevertheless will appreciate the sustained rebuttal leveled against the anti-Zionist zeitgeist. When Zionism is wielded as a pejorative by derogatory antagonists, a rejoinder is in order. Zionism: The Concise History aspires to reclaim the narrative and will certainly assist Jewish pupils on college campuses, pundits in the media, and advocacy professionals at Jewish organizations seeking an accessible backgrounder to inform their perspectives and positions. Zionism: The Concise HistoryAlex Ryvchin Connor Court Publishing (Cleveland, ustralia, 2019)250 pages, $29.95

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Defending Zionism: Arming allies and countering critics - The Jerusalem Post

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