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.

Stronger Together!

Stronger Together!

Over this past Family Day Weekend, I spent a lot of time reflecting both about the challenges we face, but also about the incredible strength and resiliency of this community. Jewish students are often at the forefront of hate and discrimination on campus and online, but we are at our most powerful – and most effective – when we work together as one.

With that in mind, I want to provide several important advocacy updates.

First, I am excited to share that Hillel Ontario has begun convening meetings to coordinate advocacy initiatives amongst Jewish campus organizations across the country. The time has come for Hillel Ontario to lead the way in encouraging cooperation to accomplish the goals we collectively share. Joining us in these monthly discussions are Hillel Montreal, Hillel BC, Hillel Ottawa, CJPAC, Hasbara Fellowships and StandWithUs. We appreciate their willingness to engage with us in these important conversations.

Second, I want to update you on the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) matter that galvanized much community discussion last week. In addition to endorsing a motion to divest from companies doing business in Israel, the union misrepresented the recently released report of the Antisemitism Working Group and its approach to what does or does not constitute antisemitism. Hillel views these type of divestment motions as part of a wider issue of antisemitism on campus, and we have made that point clearly and consistently to university leadership and members of the Working Group for the better part of the past year.

Late Friday, Working Group members released an important statement, which both criticized the rhetoric of union leaders, and vindicated our belief that hate speech directed at Israel, Israelis or Jews based on actions (real or imagined) of the Israeli government is antisemitism. This is an important moment; one that underscores why our approach to these issues, and the allies we foster across campus are so critical. While we may not be able to stop every divestment motion from passing, we can – and we will continue to – have our voices heard by university leadership to ensure antisemitism remains on the margins. This is precisely what happened last week at the UofT.

Jewish students deserve to study, live and socialize in an environment free from harassment and discrimination. Hillel will continue to condemn antisemitism, defend Israel and our right to self-determination, and build essential relationships on campus to secure the well-being of the students we so proudly serve.

And, we will do so in concert with our allies; because we believe we are stronger together.

Sincerely,

Jay Solomon
Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer

Nature vs. Nurture, and Nate Deserves Our Anger

Nature vs. Nurture, and Nate Deserves Our Anger

Weekly D’var: Toldot 5782 by Scott Goldstein

[Warning: Ted Lasso show spoiler] I just finished watching the second season of Ted Lasso, and I cannot get the image of the finale out of my head. Haven’t seen it yet? That’s ok, I’ll recap part of this week’s Torah portion as you go catch up and then tie it in at the end for when you get back.

When not detailing the intricate politics of well-digging and water rights, this week’s Torah portion takes some time to highlight our favourite biblical twins – Jacob and Esav (a.k.a. Esau). Some may even refer to this as the first twin study on “Nature vs. Nurture” (shoutout to my psychology peeps) ever recorded. We are presented with brothers that were raised in the same environment but turned out to be polar opposites. I’ll let you read the riveting stories of birthright transactions and elaborate deceptions on your own, but the narrative we are presented with is clear: Jacob is good, and Esav is bad. Here’s the problem I had with this narrative: If Esav was raised in a good environment, but still did bad things, then is the Torah telling us that our destiny is sealed by nature?

I just finished watching Ted Lasso, and I cannot help but think about how loveable Nate (played by Nick Mohammed) is a perfect example of what I think our Torah portion is trying to tell us. Ted Lasso (played masterfully by Jason Sudeikis) created a nurturing environment where Nate could grow from invisible kit manager to assistant coach that everyone loves. Despite all that, it comes down to the decisions Nate made to allow jealousy to influence his actions, leading him to leave Richmond FC and betray his teammates by joining West Ham United.

I think the story we read in the Torah is reminding us that both nature and nurture are really important (just as science does), but our decisions, ultimately, are our own. Whether it’s Esav going down in history as the ultimate example of bad decision-making or Nate likely being the reason we see Ted cry next season, the lesson is clear… be like Jacob because we can make good decisions no matter the circumstances.

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