Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Finding Judaism...Sound Familiar?

Since it is the tail end of September, I can still refer to the following as having happened last month: when I traveled to and spent two fantastic weeks in Israel. Much attention here in Toronto will be directed towards some great films coming out of the Jewish state. They will of course be shown during The Israeli Film Festival at the Sheppard Grade theatre October 24th to the 28th.

Some of the films will have Holocaust undertones and some will focus on relations between Jews and non-Jews, whether they be situated in vibrant Tel Aviv or in the conflict-ravaged parts of Gaza. It is through the art of film that Israel seems to find its strongest communication medium for disseminating to Jews of the diaspora, as well as the rest of the world, the kinds of messages it most other times would like to disperse.

On the home-front here in Canada, we associate understanding of the Jewish state to that of its physical embodiment and the conflicts it is continuously faced with of a non economic nature; unlike our neighbor the U.S., the enemies that surround it and the blockade they refuse to remove on the road to peace.

To truly move from our assimilated understanding of the Jewish state to what Isaeli's by choice and native Israeli's see it more to be, one must understand the following. One of the keynote speakers from my trip, internationally acclaimed expert in the field of Middle East politics Neil Lazarus says, only once one has children and brings them up from a young age in Israel whereby they truly absorb Jewish culture, can one understand the Jewish state more as a place where it is much easier to "do Jewish." Want to know more watch this clip:

In 1988 Lazarus emigrated to Israel and is now director of the Israel advocacy website AwesomeSeminars.com

He has said "hasbara (Israel's toss around word for its public relations) is not just the role of government spokespeople. It's the role of the Jewish people."

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