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August 14, 2005

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I have a friend who swears that all Jewish holidays can be summed up by "They almost got us, but then they didn't. Let's eat!".
The eating during Shoah would seem like a statement of life-affirmation while thinking about unspeakable pain.
Or, Jews fear low blood sugar nearly as much as they once feared the Cossacks.

How nice to get a mention in your blog! That marching band at the ceremony,
The Lounge Ax Wall-of-Sound Cadets, truly was fantastic.
What I remember about Sue's wedding is inadvertently wearing a suit that was the EXACT same color as Jeff's (a very bitchin' gold number). I hope I didn't upstage him. Are you allowed to wear a gold suit and play in a marching band on Tisha B'av? They didn't mention anything about that, right?

Do other religions have special days to remember their tragedies? Oh yeah...let's not forget the crucifixion!

Yeah but even then it's called Good Friday, you know? I don't think there are Christian holidays specifically for mourning... or if there were, they've been largely forgotten. I suppose the Catholics' Ash Wednesday and Lent are as close as you get.

Muslims have the The Day of 'Ashura. But I'm pretty sure there are no flogging days on the Protestant calendar.

Wonderful post, Danny. May you commemorate every Jewish holiday watching Leah star in a show!

Dave, I'm going to have to go back into my archives to find a photo of that suit, I don't remember it being gold! Did you ever see the video of the wedding? Damn, why didn't we reunite the Lounge Ax Wall-of-Sound Cadets for Sue and Jeff's 10th anniversary this month?

David, I already know that Leah will be appearing in "The Sound of Music" over the High Holy Days this fall. Oy, nuns and Nazis...but no Jews.

You know, your post made me think about why Tisha B’Av hasn't become a standard holiday for most American Jews who aren't Orthodox. I might do some research on that in Google.

Hanukah I understand was a nothing holiday until Jews needed something to compete with Christmas. Passover is about food. And the High Holidays somehow fit into the September-fall renewal feel, along with a similarity to the New Year celebrations of other cultures.

Maybe Tisha B'Av is just too depressing for the American spirit. Even though Yom Kippur is ultra-serious, it ends with a "happy ending" -- a new year. Americans like things with "happy endings." Tisha B'av does not have a happy ending.

Or maybe the holiday is too specifically Jewish and makes Jews uncomfortable with it. Although I've always known about the holiday, my family never made note of it. In fact, I never even knew Jews did anything special during this time until I met some Orthodox at college.

I had never heard of Tisha B'Av until I was watching The Daily Show the other night. My father was Jewish but my mom is Catholic and we were raised Catholic. My father never really told us about any Jewish holidays, although we did go to Passover seders at my aunt's house (still do) and dinner for Rosh Hashanah. Oddly enough, I was at a First Birthday party for my cousin on Sunday, and since I had just learned about Tisha B'Av, I wondered why my normally-observant (conservative, though, not orthodox) relatives were having an occasion on a day of mourning. Once again, Danny, your blog proves most educational! And I had never heard of Shoah so I just added it to my list of DVDs to borrow from the library where I work. We have it but it's checked out.

Heather, I hope you said something to your aunt. I love the idea of the Catholic niece shaming the observant Jews about Tisha B'Av!

Shoah is an amazing film but remember, it's nine and a half freaking hours long! Bring food!!

It is a powerful portrait of the Nazi genocide and many of Lanzmann’s subjects showed that anti-Semitism is still alive and well in Germany and Poland.

I believe that's probably sadly true but wanted to share what happened to me this summer...

I went to Prague for a month to write and while there went to Krakow in order to go to Auschwitz. I am not jewish but I did play Anne Frank in college and part of the reason I was cast was because the head of the dept. actually thought I was jewish...so I guess I "look" jewish. Anyway, onto my story.
I can't explain in this comment the whole sequence of events but suffice it to say that the last barracks I visited (quite by chance) was 5 - "Evidence of Crime" which was all of the possessions found after the liberation...suitcases, hairbrushes, shaving brushes, eyeglasses, cooking utensils, bowls, etc., and most poignantly, shoes stacked to the ceiling on two sides of a room - it was the last room in the barracks I visited and after entering and being in it for all of two minutes, I was overcome with emotion and so walked straight through to the far end of the room where there was a window - it had been raining earlier and at that moment, the clouds were parting, the sun was shining through the wet leaves of birch and cottonwood and there was a small blackbird on the outside window sill, I suddenly thought "how beautiful" and the incongruity struck me so hard that tears came, large, silent. As I was standing there a man came and stood beside me, his wife spoke to him and he turned around and shushed her (in German) then he put his elbow on the sill where I was standing so that his left shoulder touched my right, as if to say "I see what you see" .. he stood there for a long time, while I wept silently, then he tilted his head down to look at my face (I could not look at him) and out of my peripheral vision, I glimpsed a full head of gray hair and a white mustache, he looked at me for a few moments, decided I would not (or could not look up), looked back out the window and sighed....when he went to move away, he leaned slightly toward me so that our shoulders pressed against one another and then left me in the room alone.....I was overcome by his generosity and his understanding and I wondered if he thought I was jewish, with the dark circles under my eyes, the curling dark hair under my stetson. I suppose it doesn't matter, the important thing is he felt it important to comfort me, but being a stranger could only do so much...I honestly felt a moment of reparation. I still get tears in my eyes when I think of it.

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