Evan and Seth’s Jewish Not-Jewish Movie Blog: The Disaster Artist, Part 2

by | Feb 29, 2020 | Hillel Ontario | 0 comments

Jewy and Not-as-Jewy Sources

As you think about the film and consider the post-screening questions below, here are some fun Jewy and not-as-Jewy sources for you to think about! We’ve chosen texts that relate to the themes of friendship and relentless pursuit of one’s goals, both of which show up strongly in The Disaster Artist (because why would we chose quotes that have nothing to do with the movie? That would be weird.)

  1. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better off than one, in that they have greater benefit from their earnings. For should they fall, one can raise the other; but woe betide him who is alone and falls with no companion to raise him! Further, when two lie together they are warm; but how can he who is alone get warm? Also, if one attacks, two can stand up to him. A threefold cord is not readily broken!

  1. Proverbs 18:24

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

  1. Hatikvah

As long as in the heart within,

The Jewish soul yearns,

And toward the eastern edges, onward,

An eye gazes toward Zion,

Our hope is not yet lost,

The hope two thousand years old,

To be a free nation in our land,

The land of Zion and Jerusalem

  1. “A good friend will always stab you in the front.” ― Oscar Wilde

Post-Screening Questions

  1. Tommy and Greg promise each other mutual support and never to give up on their dreams. Have you ever had a partner in a sweeping endeavour or made a promise like this to someone? How did that affect how you approached your goals? Do you find that the Jewish community provides support for you in working toward being your best self, Jewishly or generally?
  2. Toward the end of the film, Carolyn/”Claudette” responds to Greg’s question about why she persists in acting in spite of the difficulty, saying, “We’re actors, Greg. For you, me, people like us, even the worst day on a movie set is better than the best day doing anything else.” Is there anything you’ve ever felt this strongly about? Did you have other people you could share that feeling with?
  3. There are moments in the film where Tommy’s dream is unclear or changes (e.g., Tommy’s dream often seems to be more about finding friendship or respect or creating community around himself than acting or producing a movie, Tommy accepts Greg’s take that people love and are entertained by the film, even if it’s not exactly in the way Tommy intended it). Similarly, what it means to be and to express being Jewish have changed over time, and Jewishness and Judaism can sometimes be a little ambiguous in terms of what they mean. Have you ever had moments of uncertainty or change in how you defined your dreams or who you are?

Dear dedicated readers, if you’ve read this blog post this far, felicitations! Thanks for sticking with us to the sweet, sweet end, and we hope you enjoyed the film and our attempts to find/unearth Jewiness in the most unexpected of places! Please join us again next month, and hey, feel free to send us suggestions of films to screen.

Something New

Something New

The fall post-holiday period is always a good time for launching new things. To the extent we’re not completely exhausted, our five-day work weeks are back (instead of five days of work crammed into three-day weeks), and we’re able to get into something of a rhythm and build momentum in moving toward specific goals.

Adding to the sense of newness and adventure, the third post-holidays Torah portion of Lekh Lekha, which was read this past Shabbat, begins with Abraham receiving divine instructions to leave his home and begin a journey to a new land.  Commentators highlight the uncertainty inherent in the command’s wording: instead of being directed to a specific place, Abraham, at least initially, is told to go “to the land that I will show you,” a vague and undisclosed destination. While he is promised blessings galore for his obedience, setting out requires an element of faith and quite a bit of trust as he leaves his home land and father’s house for somewhere new.

While it’s certainly several orders of magnitude smaller than the journey Abraham undertook, Hillel Ontario is trying something new this week: we’re introducing a new section to our regular newsletters and will be including a d’var Torah to showcase our students’ and staff’s skills and present our readers with a bit of Jewish learning. We hope you’ll find these commentaries inspiring and meaningful and that they’ll provide a glimpse of the Hillel Ontario community that spans our nine campuses.

A Message from Hillel Ontario’s Student Presidents

A Message from Hillel Ontario’s Student Presidents

Dear students, parents, supporters, and other members of the Ontario Jewish community,

We are writing to you as the Hillel presidents representing nine universities across Ontario. 

We are often asked what it’s like to be a Jewish student on campus. And, in previous years, we would have taken a more upbeat approach to answering that question. The truth is that things have changed over the past 5 months.

Prior to this spring’s war in Israel, we had never experienced the level of vitriol and backlash that we did recently. We were caught off guard. Many Jewish students lost friendships and severed connections that had been created over many years. Our mental health was stretched to the limit; we have felt burnt out, isolated and anxious.  Even now, with autumn upon us, we are still feeling the exhausting effects of a summer spent advocating for the well-being of our fellow Jewish students. 

Walking back onto campus this week, it was difficult to see some students obviously (and understandably) anxious – both because of the pandemic, and because of the antisemitism Jewish students have experienced over the past several months. At the same time, we also feel more empowered than ever to proclaim pride in our Jewish identity, bolstered by the tremendous support we have felt from across the community.  

Whether you are a first year student, a parent, a sibling, an alum, or simply a member of the community concerned about what seems like an endless barrage of attacks aimed at Jewish students on campus, we want to assure you that as Hillel presidents, we are deeply committed to our roles and responsibilities. We hear your concerns. And, we are proud to serve the current and future Jewish students we support.  

We are working to build relationships with student governments, clubs, interfaith groups, faculty, and administrators on each of our campuses. We continue to empower our peers to learn, to educate, and to advocate for the issues close to our hearts. And, we continue to provide a safe and welcoming community for Jewish students, both on and off campus. 

We also seek to increase resources and staff available to our students so that no one feels unsupported or ill-prepared. We want Jewish students to feel like they can be their entire selves without having to hide a Magen David or avoid conversations about Judaism, Zionism or Israel. 

As we move into a new Jewish year and a new school year, we wish we could say with more certainty exactly what is to come in the next few months. However, it would be naive to do so. Instead, we would like to take this opportunity to commit to you that we will continue to have challenging, but necessary, dialogue with allies across campus. We will continue to support our peers when they feel uncomfortable. And, we will continue to ask for help when we need it. 

Time and time again, our collective history has proven that in a proud, empowered, and united community there is strength, and that from one another we can draw resilience. 

L’shana Haba on quieter, more inclusive campuses. 

Ariel Oren, Guelph Hillel
Evan Kanter, Hillel Student Leader Representative, Hillel UofT
Nathaniel Katz, Queen’s Hillel
Shira Miller, Hillel Laurier
Danielle Lebowitz, Hillel Waterloo
Hannah Silverman, McMaster Hillel
Jordan Goldenberg, Hillel Ryerson
Isabel Borisov, Western Hillel
Nicole Bodenstein, York Hillel

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