A few days ago, the Yom Kippur 5774 sermon delivered by Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson (Temple Emanu-El of New York City) was brought to my attention. It’s stellar. I can’t choose just a few words to excerpt. You must read “Standing on Our Own Doorstep” in its entirety.
“The driving question for the [Mad Men] series is, Who are we? When we talk about ‘we,’ who is that? In the pilot, Pete Campbell has this line, ‘Adding money and education doesn’t take the rude edge out of people.’ Sophisticated anti-Semitism. I overheard that line when I was a schoolteacher. The person, of course, didn’t know they were in the presence of a Jew. I was a ghost. Certain male artists like to show that they’re feminists as a way to get girls. That’s always seemed pimpy to me. I sympathize with feminism the same way I identify with gay people and with people of color, because I know what it’s like to look over the side of the fence and then to climb over the fence and to feel like you don’t belong, or be reminded at the worst moment that you don’t belong.”
Source: Matthew Weiner, quoted in “The Art of Screenwriting No. 4,” The Paris Review.
“The subject is vile and searing and omnipresent, but one cannot address it in a 15-minute interview; or, in fact, in an interview of any length; nor, indeed, can one have the heart just now to address it in any superficial form or forum at all. Jews and the Jewish state are once again under siege everywhere: by the United Nations, world headquarters of anti-Semitism; by, it goes without saying, the religious leaders of Islam and their constituents; by the European Union; by the Obama/Kerry vise, including the appeasement of Iran, a regime sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state, to which the West is by its silence wholly indifferent; by the so-called Human Rights movement; by the BDS assaults; by, in America, our own innocently deluded voting pattern; by, in America, our distancing from and growing indifference to the State of Israel; by, in America, our ignorance, our triviality, and our lack of any historical sense; and by much, much, much more.”
Cynthia Ozick, in “Anti-Semitism: Where Does It Come From & Why Does It Persist?”, a free e-book from Moment magazine. (You don’t need to agree with Ozick’s every point to admit awe with the writing here. And you’ll find more than three dozen individual perspectives within the e-book itself.)