Our Worst Enemy, by Rabbi Lapin (a good Jew)
I am an Orthodox Jewish rabbi sadly denouncing one of the box office hits of 2004. Which movie has earned my wrath? Here is a clue—it surprised everyone by selling over one hundred million dollars of tickets in its first week in theaters. No, it’s not Mel Gibson’s Passion. The movie causing me deep distress is a Rosenthal/Tenenbaum production starring Dustin Hoffman, and Barbra Streisand.
I was sorry to see Barbra Streisand involved in the flagrant defamation of Judaism found in this, her latest movie hit. While she was making her film Yentl, for which I served as a consultant, she studied Judaism regularly and diligently with me. She was a warm and gracious guest on the occasions she had dinner with my family. Yentl’s nostalgic, if not altogether authentic glimpse into 19th century Jewish life in Poland, evoked a feeling of fondness for the characters, but like many ethnic Jews, Streisand is largely isolated from her religious roots. In the new film to which I refer, she plays not a role, but a heinous caricature of a Jewess.
I am reluctant to name the movie on account of the implied vulgarity of its title. If you are reluctant to part with good money for the privilege of seeing the Jewish people being defamed, you should abstain from this movie. In spite of having several Jewish producers and several Jewish stars, this film’s vile notions of Jews are not too different from those used by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.
I may be unsophisticated but I am not just a grouch with no sense of humor. I’ll fess up; I really enjoy funny movies. However you should know a little about this offensive excuse for entertainment. You might recall that in the first movie we followed Pam Byrnes as she introduced her very Jewish and nerdy boyfriend, Greg, to her parents. This sequel shows the Byrnes visiting their daughter’s future in-laws. The movie depicts Greg’s conspicuously Jewish parents as sexually obsessed, constantly concupiscent degenerates. Nice people, but depraved. Their home is filled with bric-a-brac that juts with anatomic suggestiveness.
Along with their son’s bar mitzvah talit, or prayer shawl, they have preserved the foreskin from his circumcision. To add to the hilarity, this souvenir makes a distasteful reappearance at an awkward moment. In reality, Jews treat the foreskin with reverence and bury it rather than turning it into a scrapbook joke. The hosts, who never miss an opportunity of exuding Jewish ethnicity, boast of their son losing his virginity to the gentile maid and they keep their guests waiting while they themselves practice what they preach in their bedroom upstairs. There are many more vile examples of Jewish people being defamed in this horrible excrescence. I am not sure that labeling it comedy excuses the defamation.
I do not particularly care for dark, socially significant films. Give me funny movies like The Blues Brothers and Hopscotch. However I really loathe movies that perpetuate hideous stereotypes about racial, religious, or ethnic groups, no matter how funny they may seem. What is more, I cannot see how racial bigotry is lessened if perpetrated by blacks or that anti-Semitism is diminished if delivered by Jews.
This movie defames Jews in a way that I haven’t seen since the worst that Woody Allen dished up. And Woody at his worst was breathtakingly hostile to Judaism. One need only recall how many of Woody’s films portray Jews, not to mention rabbis, as loathsome liars, desperate psychotics, pathetic perverts, and ridiculously lecherous losers. If Woody Allen were not Jewish, surely every Jewish organization would have roundly denounced him. And they would have been right. The problem is that he is Jewish and they don’t denounce him. Instead, we self-destructive Jews celebrate Woody Allen Week at Jewish Community Center film festivals.
:-P :-P :-P
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