In the News: It’s grim, but at least there’s a GIF

A round-up of recent religion news. Continue Reading →

In The News: Breaking Bad, Thanksgivukkah, The Vatican, George Bernard Shaw & much more

A round-up of recent religion & media news. Continue Reading →

Jewish Pride

Declared love for Hitler by fashion designer John Galliano has made Natalie Portman say that she is an individual proud to be Jewish and therefore “will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way.” Were she not proud of it would she have stood up against him? Were she Muslim would she have needed to source her pride to condemn Galliano? What does she have to say, we wonder, about the fact that Christian Dior dressed the wives of Nazi officers and French collaborators? Continue Reading →

It is 1939 Again

From Bishop Wallace Benn’s response to the press this week:

Sir, Some media reports have suggested that at Reform’s national conference I likened those who supported the consecration of women bishops to the Nazis. I did not. Misrepresentation in the Press is a painful and serious matter that can be damaging if it is believed. I wish to put on record that:-

I never mentioned Hitler or the Nazis in my 45-minute interview with Paul Perkin at the conference. Nor did I even have them in mind as I made clear to Ruth Gledhill (the reporter in question) when she asked me about this on the day before the original article appeared in The Times (November 3).

I said that the situation in which we find ourselves in the Church feels like people probably felt as they viewed the year ahead in January 1939. There are storm clouds on the horizon and warfare around the corner. We all hope and pray that it won’t happen.

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Flaunting Malignant Brilliance

by Adam H. Becker

A Film Unfinished (2010, 90 min), directed by Yael Hersonski, is about footage shot in the Warsaw Ghetto in May of 1942. The original film, labeled on its canisters simply as “Das Ghetto,” presents itself as an ethnographic examination of Jewish life in the dire day-to-day existence of several hundred thousand Jews, forced to live within a walled-in space of three square miles with little to eat. It depicts, among other scenes, life in the market place, Jewish rituals — from a bris (circumcision) to bathing in a miqveh (ritual bath) — and the enforcement of order by Jewish security personnel. If not for one hitch, it would be a relatively straightforward depiction of the horrors of the Warsaw Ghetto, a place in which conditions anticipated the unforeseen eradication of much of the Ghetto’s population suffered not long after at Treblinka.

The hitch is this: the original footage was shot by the Nazis for propaganda purposes. Although the footage was never used, it seems that the Nazis planned to make a film about the disparity between the rich and poor in the Ghetto. Opulent dinner scenes are interposed with shots of the emaciated bodies of starving Jews in the street. The meaning is clear: the Jews, a parasitic population who needed to be rounded up and put into the Ghetto for the safety of others, are so vile that when corralled together they turn upon their own.
 Yet again the Nazis point us to the extreme of their malignant brilliance. Whereas we expect those who commit great crimes to hide their deeds, to cover them up, and to lie about them, for “Das Ghetto” the camera was brought by the perpetrators to the scene of their own crime. Continue Reading →