Archive for January, 2011

Am placerea de a publica un nou articol pe care mi l-a pus la dispozitie prietenul meu Gica Manescu. De data aceasta punctul de interes special este legat de aspectele aut0-biografice ale unui fel de relatie pe care Gica a stabilit-o la 90 de ani, in vreme ce multi alti colegi de-ai sai o stabilesc la … 9 ani.

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Pana acum ceva mai mult de 4 ani, am vazut lumea din jurul meu,  mai  mult sau mai putin indepartata, prin diverse mijloace de locomotie.  Copilaria, adolescenta si maturitatea, la Focsani, Iasi si Bucuresti, am cunoscut strazile, scolile, gradinile, terenurile de sport, “ per pedes”, cu biciceta, tramvaiul, troleybuzul, masina , trenul, avionul. Romania in cele 4 puncte cardinale,  cu trenul si masina,  Ungaria, cu trenul, Bulgaria cu masina, Europa occidentala cu masina sau avionul, iar cele 3 din Statele  Americii de Nord numai prin avion. Mi-ar fi placut cu un vapor, (asa am vizitat Norvegia,timp de doua saptamani, pana la Cercul polar), dar timpurile se schimbasera. In Israel, am vazut locuri frumoase si interesante, am trait istoria si traditiile,muzee si expozitii. Am intalnit rude,  prieteni, colegi. Am folosit o bucata de vreme, masina, dar mai des autobuzele. Trenul foarte rar. In ultimii ani, deplasara a fost mai dificila, si am gasit buna vointa  a unora din familie sau a unor prieteni apropiati si saritori, la nevoie. Le multumesc.

Implinisem 90 ani. Varsta senectutii. Sarbatorit de familie si cativa prieteni apropiati, am pasit mai departe, dar mai lent. M-am trezit cu un dar neobisnuit din partea familiei. Un computer cu niste anexe. M-am apucat cu mainile de cap. Ce si cum sa fac? Increderea a lor mei in mine, m-a pus in cumpana grea. Am devenit un elev sarguincios, cu caiet si creion, ca dascal find nepotul meu. Mi-a deschis ecranul. M-am uitat, ca matza din poveste, in calendar. Tools, Start, Inbox.Delete, Send, si multe altele. Cuvinte care trebuiau sa intre in vocabularul meu de limba romana.Ca o i = oi si c a l = cal,am inceput sa aflu si sa patrund in tainele tehnicii si ale Internetului. Azi un pas, maine doi, toate invatate pe din afara din tehnica si batutul clapelor, am inceput sa ma bucur si sa ma felicit. Am tras-o si pe sotia mea, neincrezatoare, la a privi impreuna un Email (cuvant nou ) de la un prieten. Fie o scrisorica, fie niste fotografii. Evrika. Am invatat reply si am raspuns. Intr-un numar  al revistei “Minimum “ cineva, in mod laudativ, a scris despe noi, ca am devenit internetisti, deci se poate si pentru altii s-o faca. Varsta nu e un impediment.

Am mai invatat ceva important,  placut si simplu : sa ascult muzica. Sunt un amator al muzicii clasice (nu chiar toate cele, ca Wagner, de ex.). Apasand un buton pe computer, se deschide un sertaras. Pun discul cu inregistrarea,  si din difuzoare se aude melodia. Cu o ocazie, am primit in dar, doua discuri, parca pentru inima mea: Vioara lui Ion Voicu si opere variate ale lui Mozart. Comod in fotoliu, si in sunetele orchestrelor si ale solistilor, ma delectez si ma destind. Uit de multe altele.

Mandru ca un paun cu evantaiul penelor desfacut, n-am spus-o nimanui, dar am tatonat terenul. Ca in  practica profesionala, am facut palparea, cu bagare de seama. Nu mai eram eu. Devenisem un “ user “ care primeam  cele necesare muncii de la un ”provider “ . Trebuia sa ma conectez la retea, sa fiu “online” Mai greseam, ma intorceam si izbuteam. Am vrut sa cunosc lumea, in diferite ocazii, cu diferite motive de instruire sau curiozitate si am aflat de Google, Wikipedia si similare. Nu m-am lansat decat cu incetinitorul, in aceasta lume infinita (stiam ca doar eternitatea n-are sfarsit), care deschidea ferestre, de tot felul, pentru oricine care  stia sa miste zavorul.  Am citit presa, am cautat informatii, m-am documentat in masura redusa. Nu totul este, chiar  si acum, ca a bate din palme. La nevoie, cer ajutor unora mai vechi si care se joaca, daca pot spune ca e joc, in seriozitatea situatiei, in lumea  ce ne inconjara.

Am ramas singur, cu gandurile , amintirile si convorbirile. Skype-ul, aceasta tehnica e de nepretuit. Doar o ‘camera’ mica, anexata si un microfon. Ieftine si simple. Astfel am contact cu cei dragi si cei apropiati. Am putut mentine contactul si vizual, ca o alinare a solitudinei si a preocuparilor. Simplu si pe gratis

Ideea buna  a Feliciei Antip, de a rasplati printr-un cadou merituos, pe profesorul de alta data, din timpurile grele si parca fara viitor, a fost si este de  nepretuit penru mine. Intrarea in niste liste de discutii, care sunt in general scrise. Sunt convorbiri, dar exact ar  fi “conscrieri “ dar termenul nu exista.  Nume necunoscute, o lume virtuala, pentru a-ti depana gandurile, ideile, amintirile. A ma angaja in vorbe si palavre , sau o lista care e a doua . Sunt uneori  ocazii favorabile de a ne intalni, a ne cunoaste si imbratisa. Virtualul a devenit real. Stam unul langa altul , palavragim si ne bucuram.  O stima reciproca, o recunoastere a capacitatilor si a slabiciunilor  unora. Nu de mult am devenit unul dintre cei multi, la RJ. M-am speriat ca sa spun asa, de numarul de Email-uri ce aterizeaza in Inboxul meu. Incet si cu rabdare, le vin de hac.

Computerul nu e numai satisfactie si multumire. Dar si necazuri  si batai de cap. M-au abordat diversi/e, dar prin neseriozitate si vocabular, “ le-am taiat macaroana” pana am inceput sa stiu cine e cutare sau cutare. Pentru necunoscuti, ‘delete’ – clapa de sters. Am descoperit intr-o zi, ceva inedit : Junk E mail. De ce la gunoi ? Era de la un nume cunoscut. Am deschis, am comunicat respectivului, dar nici el nu avea idee. Ce m-a amuzat, a fost folosirea generala, tot timpul, in vorbit si scris, a unui cuvant, pe care nu stiu cand si unde il intrebuintam : click. Nu vine o posta cu atasament, sa n-ai indicatia de a face click pe… N-ar ma fi munca computerului, rezultatele unei  activitati ale cuiva.

Cu  dexteritatea de manuire si miscare a soarecelui, ca incepator, n-a fost o joaca. Sunt clipe in care trebuie sa fac doua miscari deodata. Era dificil. Imi vine in minte, ce spunea un elev care invata sa cante la flaut. Ii era greu sa apese simultan clapele si sa sufle. Cand am aflat si de ajutorul dat de jumatatea dreapta a “mous-ului “, a crescut uimrea si capacitatea de lucru. Am scris de click. Dar fara “soarece” nimic nu se misca.Vrei sa vezi, sa stergi, sa modifici sau  sa adaugi, sageata pe pozitie si click. Ce simplu pare. Dar ce greu e inceputul, sa sti si sa reusesti,

Va fac o marturisire. Nu-mi vine sa cred. Totusi “ performanta“ laudata de cei apropiati mie, ma face sa cred si sa recomand celor care citesc sau li se povseste despre “cazul Dr. Manescu”, chiar daca ei sunt in varsta socotita de batranete, dar au mintea clara si miscarile degetelor si a ideelor, fara dificultate, sa incerce sa-si faca un  prieten devotat, ascultator si totdeauna langa el: COMPUTERUL.

Nu cer multumiri sau recunostinta, doar un gand de bine.

Dr.G. Manescu

20 ianuarie 2011.

Sheindale is a remake performance of a play which more than twenty years ago opened a trend and created a genre in the Israeli theater – plays dedicated to the life and conflicts in the closed ultra-religious (haredi) society in Israel. Further examples in the genre dealt with the relations between the non-religious and religious sectors of the Israeli society and the dilemmas of these caught in-between the two worlds. Sheindale however is solely located in the Jerusalemite Meah Shearim ultra-religious district and all its characters belong to this medium. The intrigue speaks about power fights within the haredi rabbinical courts and especially about the role and place of women in this close and very traditional society. In the center of the story can be found two women, mother and daughter who fight for power and love between them and against a world dominated by the strict rules of the Jewish law. A universal theme in a very specific and localized environment – here are the premises for an interesting play.

Amnon Levy - source globes.co.il

The result however disappointed me. I am not sure what was the motivation of the Beit Lessin theater in bringing back this play to stage. What was novelty 25 years ago and the result of serious investigation of journalist and playwright Amnon Levy is not any longer something new for the Israeli audiences. Acting is good with Yona Elian, Michal Stamler, and Dov Navon the best in a balanced cast. Yet the sensation of deja-vu and the lack of imagination of director Rami Danon (his focus was on authenticity, but authenticity does not necessarily make good theater) lead to a performance which seems long despite its only 100 minutes and even boring sometimes. Yet, the theater was full, and although the applauds were not really enthusiastic the box-office target was reached last Friday. Is this enough?

‘Black Swan’ is about art and obsession, is about sanity and madness, it’s about perfection and genius, all this described in the world which can be so mistakenly perceived of classical ballet. A world in which the spectator is supposed to get the feeling of fluidity and lack of gravity, of lightness and perfection of movement. However these are acquired by years and sometimes a lifetime of pain in which everything needs to be put aside for the seek of the unique moment of art on stage. Including one’s own self.

source www.imdb.com

The film starts as a very tightly told story of the art and rivalry in the ballet world. While it develops as a story that without becoming really boring seems to focus too much on the technical issues of the profession and the personal challenges of a young woman who needs to sacrifice all to get on the top, it plants in its first hour the elements of incertitude and build-up of the final segment. Aronofsky plays permanently with the viewers the game of mixing and swapping perceptions between objective and subjective reality. It is not easy viewing and this is on purpose. There is a lot of suffering on screen and most of it is not physical. In order to reach the peaks an artist needs to master the dark side of its art and personality. But when darkness is awaken can it still be kept under control? The balance between art and obsession, between perfection and madness is the ultimate theme of this film. Reaching the peaks of art may demand the descent into the abyss of insanity.

(video source FoxSearchlight)

Unless a colossal mis-judgment intervenes Natalie Portman will hold a statuette by the end of the Oscars night. She deals with an extremely complex role which demands a permanent balance between ingenuity and ambition, fragility and strength of character, loneliness and dedication to art. Of her partners I enjoyed mostly the performance of Vincent Cassel who provides to Portman the mirroring context of her ambition to reach the top of art.

(video source starzmedia)

When I was a young kid I used to love the animal numbers in circus. Then I read one of Jack London’s novels which described the behind-the-scenes of animal training in circus. I never could watch such a show in the arena with the same eyes. I am afraid that folks who love ballet may go though the same risk after seeing ‘Black Swan’. They may have seen also one of the most unusual and best films about ballet ever made.

Cu mare placere preiau din nou pe blog cu permisiunea autorului contributia doctorului Gica Manescu pe o tema care este actual cel putin in gandurile tuturor israelienilor in aceasta perioada – Ploaia.

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E timpul cand toata lumea israeliana o asteapta (si nu numai), cand se vorbeste si se fac prognoze  meteorologice.

O cunoastem, de cand lumea si pamantul,  ca  fenomen al naturii, cu batai de cap meteorologilor, agricultorilor, si tuturor oamenilor, pentru ei si fintele necuvantatoare.

Creatorul avea ultimul cuvant, secondat de Sf. Ilie , cand si cat sa ploua. Voind sa pedepseasca omenirea, a pregatit potopul si l-a ales pe Noe, ca salvator. Povestea o cunoastem si muntele Ararat a ramas in Biblie si geografie.

Nu numai oamenii stiu ce e ploaia, dar si alte vietuitoare. Ele o prevad, stiu ca se apropie si devin nelinistite. Semnale pentru oamenii din apropiere, care le cunosc, si pot lua unele masuri.

source losangelesinjurylawyersblog.com

Cu toata dezvoltarea meteorologica, ploaia e totusi un fenomen al naturii (si nu singurul), greu de modificat. Lumea se bucura, sau se intristeaza,se fereste si se apara, in diferite moduri. Asa s-a nascut  umbrela. Cea primitiva,doar o creanga de copac cu frunzis abundent. Apoi in Grecia sau  Egipt, in secolul al 5-lea i.e.n., sclavii le aparau de soare, pe stapanele lor. Mult mai tarziu (cred ca in Anglia) au aparut umbrelele tipice, purtate cu mandrie de britanici. Apoi, un neamt le-a modificat, mici si telescopice. Sa le pui intr-o geanta. Am vazut galosi, treanchot-uri, fasuri. Pentru cap, sapca,basc, palarie, o calota de nylon pentru cele enorme (la unii evrei religiosi) ba chiar si … ziare.

S- au facut canalizari care sa duca apa spre rauri sau rezervoare. Strazile si soselele au o nivelare cu inclinari specifice. Am circulat motorizat sau ca pieton, in multe locuri. Nu improscam trecatorii. Iar “per pedes“, nu calcam in baltoace si puteam trece de pe un trotuar pe altul.In Romania, pe strazi fara pietre sau asfalt,erai si esti obligat sa faci un ocol sau sa-ti uzi incaltamintea, daca nu si picioarele.

Noi, parca suntem o tara in curs de dezvoltare. In unele sectoare, suntem, din punct de vedere tehnic. In permanenta, undeva se sapa, se pun tuburi, se acopera, iar se sapa … dar parca nu se vad  rezultate bune. In Bat Yam, pe o strada centrala, cu trafic intens, Ioseftal, pana de curand nu se mai terminau lucrarile de modificare ale strazilor si trotuarelor, dupa ce se terminasera cele cu  canalizarea si asezatul diferitelor cable.Primaria isi face planuri fara plan si tota lumea are de lucru. Daca se lucra in tmpul ploilor, era pauza.  Noi platim.

In urma cu catva timp,ne gandeam, in sezonul ploilor,sa nu ne prinda una in Jaffo sau chiar pe strazi centrale ale  oraselor. Era vai de temerari. Trecerea doar prin apa. Cam noua luni pe an, sunt fara ploi. Cand meteorologii anunta “ picaturi “ e ca o minune. Pe unde am intrat, pentru treburi  sau la “cozi”,se vorbea de ploaie. Va fi si ninsoare pe munti ? A sosit. Dupa zilele primavaratice, a turnat cu galeata. Pe soselele umede, accidente cu morti si raniti. Am privit insantaneu, fotografii din Carmiel, unde cazuse o grindina,  marimea caiselor. Pe Hermon a nins. Amatorii de ski si sanius, vor avea bucuria si placerile lor. Dar pentru sporturile de iarna, se pleaca in HUL (strainatate), la Cortina d`Ampezzo, La Insbruck, Chamonix, sau in multe alte localitati.  Chiar in Carpatii romanesti. Din cauza ploilor, nu pot uita imaginele, de la TV, de acum cativa ani, cand in Bat Yam, in centrul orasului, pe o strada mai la vale, pompierii, cu barci de cauciuc ,scoteau locatarii. Autostrada –Ayalon- langa Tel Aviv, era partial inundata ca si curtile  unor case din sudul orasului. Sursa de apa, rezervorul natural, lacul Kineret, a crescut cu cativa cm, lipsind pana la normai,cam 3 metri. In sud, in Arava, vaile din pustiu, oameni neprevazatori se ineaca Nu imi iese din amintire, imaginea unui om religios, pe acoerisul masinei, intrata in apa. Dadea din maini.  Un elicopter l-a salvat. Desigur, trimis de Cel de Sus!

source blogs.eveningsun.com

Suntem fericiti, cand ne comparam, cu unele tari, lovite de calamitati ale naturii, fara posibilitati de oprire au  chiar prevenire si aparare.In urma cu vreo 6 -7 ani, Bangladesh, una din tarile cele mai sarace ale lumii, a fost lovita de un ciclon. Mii de victime si peste un million de sinistrati, ramasi fara nimic. Dar ciclonul cu valuri uriase care a inundat  orasul New Orleans – USA , de curand Queensland -  Australia si nordul orasului brazilian Rio de Janeiro. Apele ploilor torentiale si de lunga durata, au produs umflarea raurilor, urmand inundatii catastrofale  si alunecari de terenuri. Si nemtii tremura : Rinul, Elba si Dunarea sunt aproape de marginea de siguranta. Capricii ale naturii, care parca se joaca cu omenrea. Mijlacele de prevenire, n-o pot face.

De Romania imi e mai  mila. Nenorociri cu ploi si inundatii, urmate de calduri si seceta. Cine-i vinovat? Nu cred ca “acarul Paun“.

Imi amintesc, in Focsaniul natal, copil find,cand ploua abundent, scurta vreme, cantam, cu prietenii de joaca : Ploua,Ploua /Babele se oua / Intr-o casa noua. Cand reaparea soarele, faceam barcute din hartie si le puneam, pe suvoiul din rigola, urmarindu-le pana la gura de canal. Nu rare ori, pe cerul devenit albastru, admiram curcubeul. Acasa, cazanul de sub burlanul de la streasina acoperisului, se umplea cu apa. La ce folosea ? Cred ca la spalatul parului. Cei suparati, erau indragostitii si pensionarii, ale caror locuri pe bancile din gradina publica, erau ude, neaccesibile.

S-a incercat sa se provoace ploi prin combinatii chimice, “Paparudele “ – procesiuni relgioase cu cruci si prapure, rugaciuni in colectiv cu ochii spre cer. Asa s-a procedat si la noi, nu de mult, intr-o adunare , a rugaciunilor  mai multor rabini. Ploaia n-a venit. Ori ei au vorbit prea incet, ori responsabilul n-a auzit. A imbatranit si el. Pana la uma totul n-a fost decat “ apa de ploaie “,

Dr. G. Manescu

ianuarie 2011

Yeshayahu Leibowitz was one of the best known thinkers and scientists in the history of Israel. He was also one of the most controversial ones, his outspoken and non-compromising opinions on a number of issues from the Israeli policy of settling in the territories it gained control upon in 1967 until the relation between the Jewish state and the Jewish religion influence until today, 17 years since his death the political and social dialog in Israel. Born in 1903 in Riga he seemed to have been almost all his life an outsider, a new comer, a foreigner. His family moved and he studied in Berlin after the first world war but he was an Eastern Jew, not completely assimilated and respected even by his fellow other German Jews. Arrived in Israel in the 30s he was part of a wave of immigration that impacted strongly the Jewish society in Palestine, but now he was too German for the middle-eastern establishment. Later after the state of Israel was created his philosophical and political positions placed him on the extreme left. Yet, he was deeply religious, and his way of thinking came from a very different place than all other left-wing thinkers in Israel.

source flickr.com

I finished reading a book of interviews given by Leibowitz to journalist Michael Shashar. The first edition was published in 1987, the second one in 1993 and from some of the timed references in the book I am getting the impression that content was added between the two editions. The author of the interviews prepared each time a group of questions which Leibowitz answered and the conversations often took off to different directions. I dare not write a review of such a book and I am hereby presenting some reader’s notes. The intellectual stature of Leibowitz is huge, and I certainly did not get but to the surface of his thinking inmany places. His views bother, hurt, question many of the ideological and religious sacred cows, and I found myself in disagreement or even disbelief many times. The notes refer to the French edition published in 1993 by Desclee de Brouwer and you need to cope with my translation from French (my second language) to English (my third language).

Part 1: Zionism and the State of Israel

- Motto: It is awful that the only value we are left with is the Jewish fist

-The book chapter starts with a dialog which is actual until today (pag. 27):

‘Q: Professor Leibowitz, what is your political program?

A: I totally reject the autonomy proposal, as I see in it a despicable and hypocrite maneuver to maintain the violent domination of the Jewish power over the Palestinian people. As a consequence I am foreseeing the partition of the country between the two peoples.

Q: On the border of 1967?

A: We can discuss the details. We can discuss anything, excepting the principle the we recognize the right of the Palestinian people to political independence. Which implies obviously that they do also recognize ours. This is the significance of the proposal of partition of this land between the two peoples: The State of Israel by side of the State of Palestine.’

- p. 35: amazing revelation – Leibowitz says that he never met with Arabs from the territories.

- p. 38: about Moshe Dayan: ‘Here is quite a character, typical for our socio-historical reality. A man deprived of any human value, immoral and stealing from public property. I even do not know any special military deeds on his record.’

- p. 44: defining Zionism has nothing to do with religion. The essence of Zionism is ‘we are fed up with being ruled by goyim‘ (in English in text)

- p.47: People like rabbi Kook and Jabotinsky considered (Jewish) nationalism as supreme value

- p. 49: Ben Gurion vs. Menachem Begin: ‘Ben Gurion was not a man of truth, while Begin, apparently believed all he said’

- p.53: describing a conversation with Ben Gurion about separation of religion and state he describes the differences in vision. He (YL) was seeing religion as a matter of values, and to be so it must be independent from the state, so that religion confronts government from a values position. Ben Gurion replied to this: ‘I will never accept separation of religion from state. I want state to control religion.’ Well, neither Ben Gurion nor YL anticipated a situation like the one of today when religion controls the state on many respects!

- p.60: a very pessimistic view on the future of the kibbutzim and on the influence they have on Jewish life and values.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3csrCx5Ndo

(video source marinata01)

Part 2: The Jewish People

- Motto: The State of Israel has nothing to do and no authority on the issue of ‘who is a Jew’

- pag 70: Einstein was feeling deeply and spiritually Jewish, but this had nothing to do with Judaism (note – he means religious Judaism here)

- pag. 77: ‘Martin Buber was a Jewish theologian for goyim

- pag. 82: (from a discussion with Agnon) ‘what caused the destruction of Judaism was the professionalization of the Torah studies’

- pag. 85: observation on the cultural discontinuity in the history of the Jewish people that happened in the 19th century, opposed to the cultural continuity of other nations (even Russia under Communist rule)

- pag. 92-93: speaking about the work of Christian theologian Karl Bart he emphasizes the strong contradiction between Judaism and Christianity – ‘The fact that Judaism exists as a living religion is the proof that Christianity is a lie’

- pag 102:

Q: What do you think about the numerous groups in the Orthodox Judaism which define themselves by the strict observance of Judaism?

A: The reality of this population does not cover the reality of the Jewish people today. This groups must ask a question which did not exist for the Jewish people until the 19th century: what halakhah applies to a Jewish people which is no longer the Torah people?

- pag. 114: speaks about his experience of being a Ostjude in the interwar Germany – not completed accepted by the native German Jews

- pag. 118: ‘The greatest error today is making out of the Shoah the central question in all aspects concerning the Jewish people. The Only Jewish interest many intellectuals express concerning their Jewishness is related to the Shoah’

- pag. 120: about Ben Gurion’s relation to Judaism: ‘Ben Gurion hated Judaism as a way of expression in the lives of Jews. Up to the point – this is my personal interpretation – that his enthusiasm for Hebrew derived from his hate for Yidish’

- pag. 121: ‘The Eichman trial was a complete failure. He was in fact a small insignificant wheel in a huge system …  we should have hired him the best lawyer we have to explain that the man was not guilty or responsible

Q: … because he just obeyed orders?

A: There orders where just the final point. Before anything Eichman was the product of two thousands of years in the history of Christianity whose whole significance was destruction of Judaism.

Q: Do you consider christianity as an important component of the Nazi doctrine?

A: Not of the Nazi doctrine in particular but of the general relation of the world with the Jewish people.’

- pag. 125 – the role of personalities in history – without Hitler the Shoah would not have happened, very few persons had such impact on history, maybe Lenin, maybe Alexander the Great, not even Napoleon – French troupes would not have marched on Moscow but the general picture would not have changed.

Part 3: Judaism

- Motto: The Jewish religion goes through a crisis which may be – God forbid – its final crisis

- pag. 135: the basic principle of the halakhah is that the Jewish people is the people of the Torah. With the Jewish people not observant any longer the principles of the halakhah cannot be applied to the day-to-day life

- pag. 136: the halakhah does not apply to our reality

- pag. 137: first step to a solution to get out of the crisis – separation of religion and state

- pag. 138: what rabbi Kook tried to do (judge all according to halakhah) – idolatrous fundamentals in his thinking

- pag. 139: there is a certain racist trend in Judaism and it continues until today

- pag. 148: ‘Faith does not consist of what I know about God, but of what I know about my duties towards God’

- pag. 158: ‘The Bible makes no sense for people who do not intend to serve God’

- pag. 165: The existence of the Temple is not essential, as the mitzvot can be performed out of the Temple

- pag 167: The act of praying is what matters, not the content of the prayer / Judaism was in crisis 100 years before the birth of the state of Israel

pag. 169: The halakhah is the set of rules and conventions adopted by the community

pag: 172: He does not deny the possibility a halakhic reality where women would be rabbis

(video source leibowitz111)

Part 4: Culture, Spirit and Human Values

- pag. 181: quoting the wise men of the Talmud: ‘The one who says “I know only Torah” does not know even the Torah

- pag. 182: ‘Nationalism is the destruction of human essence’

- pag. 187: discussion about computers and artificial intelligence – his views are dated, he denies the capability of the machines ‘to think’

- pag. 194: a very critical view of psychoanalysis – ‘nothing consistent’, ‘ ‘a Jewish profession and a bad symptom for Jews’, he seemed to consider even graphology at a higher esteem

- pag. 200 – speaking with one of the Mapai leaders (maybe Peres) he compares the Mapai mentality with the one of the Mafia.

- pag. 209: ‘I am not a Humanist!’

- pag. 216: the intellectual and emotional level of people living in democracies is decreasing

- pag. 217: the essence of democracy is the capability of changing the leaders, but this not necessarily means progress.

- pag, 225: dictatorship in Israel is not possible because of the Americans. ‘America keeps our rotten regime in its pockets and is not interested in changing it’ (personal note – change to what?)

- pag. 226: ‘It looks like the Americans are interested only in maintaining here (in Israel) an American army of mercenaries that they can use as they please when time comes’

Part 5: Leibowitz speaks about Leibowitz

- Motto: I do not think that I have achieved anything of original

- pag. 244: He does not think that Chagall drawings contain any original expression of Jewishness! On the other hand he loves Wagner! (and Beethoven)

- pag. 247: sport causes him nausea, he reads from time to time a pornographic novel

- pag. 249: ‘I oppose any form of censorship, whatever is the subject, without any exception’

- pag. 252: the reasons of his style – he sometimes tries to shock people by the way he expresses himself, so that people open their eyes

(video source leibowitz111)

Part 6: Life and Death

- Motto: ‘If you do not accept living in this terrible world, then commit suicide!’

- pag. 271: a discussion about the definition of death – heartbeat vs. brain activity, still actual today, but overcome by developments of medicine

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Here ends my collection of reader notes. I was reading the thoughts of a tremendous intellectual personality. He was not afraid to challenge any sacred cows, neither the darker prejudices nor the most banal consensus. I found myself agreeing in a number of cases and disagreeing in other. He could irritate but he always provoked thought. The Israeli society is missing him.

‘Ki Banu Baharta’ (‘Because It’s Us That You Have Chosen’) is the kind of a play that speaks mostly for Jewish audiences and probably only in Israel. It’s a strong drama about personal and family identity, but I doubt that it makes much sense for non-Jewish audiences and many of the situations and dilemmas are specific to life in Israel. The author is Yochi Brandes, who is at her first staged work, but has already written novels inspired by her religious background, and by the conflict between the harsh requirements of the world she left and the rules of the Jewish Halakha and the modern society.

The story goes like this. The Sassons are the typical Israeli family. The generation of the parents live a traditional life, but the children split in ways of life and political positions. The only son is gay and lives with his partner. The elder daughter is divorced, a skeptical character, but married for the second time with a more traditionalist husband. The younger daughter is religious and a right-wing activist involved with the militant settlers movement. When the mother of the family dies, a secret hidden in a forgotten paper in the drawer blows the reality up in the face of all. The mother of the family was not the Jewish descendant of Holocaust survivors, but a German gentile, and daughter of a Nazi officer. This is no simple matter for a family whose life is governed in part by the rules of the Halakha, and in a country where the orthodox establishment rules on family matters from birth to death, from the registration of the religion of the new-born child to the place of burial in the cemetery. Suddenly all the children in the family are no longer Jewish – at least formally. Or are they?

source www.habima.co.il

Unfortunately the strong starting point leads to little good theater in this recent representation of Habima (the national theater of Israel, still without a stage despite the promises that the new building will be inaugurated this year). First, the lack of experience of playwright Brandes is visible in the hanging of the action after the build-up. There is too little substance, there are too many questions which are not asked  or if asked are not answered. Why did the mother hide her secret, and who was her actually? We learned nothing of the motivations of the woman who seemed to live an exemplary Jewish life, but hid a secret she knew will blow up the universe of the whole family. While the destruction of the family fabric is understandable, there is little emotional logic beyond the getting together which is rhetoric and not credible.

Director Yitzik Weingarten tried his best with the material at hand. With too little drama and too thin dialogs to rely upon he relied more on the musical interludes – Jewish zemirot, traditional religious songs which create the atmosphere and pace the story the way the chorus works in the classical Greek tragedies. This idea worked up to a certain point, the musicians were excellent, but the overall result looks closer to an oratorio than to a theater play. The cast does a reasonably professional job with one exception – Uri Avrahami in the role of a graveyard keeper with a story of himself, the moral and traditional raisoneur of the play. If only for his performance it was worth seeing this play.

Post-apocalyptic movies are by no means unexplored territory. The Book of Eli has a very strong idea which gave it the premises to be different. To a large extent it failed.

source www.imdb.com

As 2012 happens to have been the previous film that I had seen I can say that to a certain extent The Book of Eli happens a few decades after 2012 ends. it is just that nobody prepared big ships to save mankind, and the survivors seem to be in their greatest majority the strong and the mean. Worst than this, society lost its memory, including most of the technology and social skills and above all morality. Books are forgotten, reading is not taught any longer to the younger generations, and above all religious books and especially The Bible were destroyed, as they were perceived as the root of the evil that almost destroyed the planet. All Bibles but one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6UvIwyjLxw

(video source hitflixcom)

The motive of the film would have allowed a deep introspection into the dichotomy of religion as savior and molder of the moral fiber of humanity, and as factor of destruction and fanaticism. Unfortunately this is not the film that The Book of Eli is on screens. There are two reasons for this. One is that the Hughes brothers (whose previous From Hell is maybe the best jack Ripper film made ever) chose to focus on the spectacular aspects of the post-apocalyptic world vision rather than on the psychological aspects. Solving such a deep dilemma with the tools of the good guys vs. bad guys tools is cheap, even if a lot of talent was invested in building the vision. Second the moralistic approach is dogmatic and the ultimate result seems dogmatic. Believers will be satisfied by the approach. Skeptics will not be convinced. I am a skeptic.

(video source TributeMovies)

We are so left with a film which is much better than the usual post-apocalyptic stuff, but much less than it could have been. I liked the exquisite camera work. I enjoyed acting, Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman are very well cast and fit the vision of the directors. I liked much less the details of the loss of memory of mankind – these are not very original or credible. Despite the very interesting premises we are left in The Book of Eli only with a well filmed and well acted and very watchable version of humanity in rags and with a religious predicament that many of us could have skipped.

A lot of good information and any critical views (some better then mine) can be found at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1037705/.

Se implinesc astazi 70 de ani de la izbucnirea rebeliunii legionare – faza finala si cea mai acuta a conflictului intre conducatorul statului roman intre anii 1940 si 1944 Ion Antonescu si miscarea legionara condusa de Horia Sima. In conflictul dintre fostii parteneri la guvernare victimele principale au fost evreii – si centrul atrocitatilor cele mai cumplite capitala Romaniei.

Templul Sefard - sursa en.wikipedia.org

Estimarile arata ca intre 21 si 23 ianuarie au fost asasinati in Bucuresti intre 120 si 140 de evrei, au fost devastate sinagogi si magazine si ateliere apartinand cetatenilor romani de origine evreiasca, au fost arestati si torturati sute de evrei. Au fost zile din cele mai negre din istoria Romaniei.

Cadavre de evrei in Padurea Jilava - sursa amirorg.com

Evenimentul este comemorat in aceste zile si in Romania si in Israel:

http://www.ziare.com/aurel-vainer/bucuresti/la-bucuresti-comemorarea-victimelor-pogromului-legionar-din-1941-59332
http://www.animanews.com/informaii/23-tiri/5794-tel-avi-comemorarea-a-70-de-ani-de-la-pogromul-evreilor-din-bucureti-21-23-lanuarie-1941–kristallnacht-al-iudaismului-roman.html

Am ales sa comemorez aceasta zi si prin publicarea cu acordul autorului a celui mai recent articol al prietenului meu doctorul Gica Manescu. Titlul articolului este inspirat de un cantec israelian din anii 50-60 care cu umor povesteste contrastele noii tari pe care evreii au creat-o pe teritoriul in care isi are obarsia poporul evreu. O tara cu contraste si cu probleme, dar o tara a evreilor, singura tara a evreilor, raspunsul cel mai bun dat ororilor Holocaustului.

sursa adathjeshurun.info

RAK  B`ISRAEL
Adica “: Numai in Israel”.

In cele cateva zeci de ani de cand sunt aici, mi-am dat seama, dupa cele ce citesc, vad si aud, ca sunt oameni, fapte si locuri, pe care nu le-ai gasi nicaieri. Rak b` Israel.

Un Stat, in varsta de putin peste 60 ani, matur si constient, dar totusi   o varsta a copilariei, comparata cu cea a multor State. Este si un amestec de oameni din toate colturile lumii, fiecare grup sau colectivitate cu limba si cultura lor. Mentalitatea si gradul de civilizatie proprii. Rak b`Israel.

Punand alaturi, evolutia omului ca atare, cetatean,  locatar sau ca vecin si cu tot ce e el in stare sa faca, e ceva deosebit. E o discrepanta ca de la cer la pamant, pe care n-o gasim nicaieri. Rak b`Israel.

Omul care ajuta la montarea rachetei sau a satelitului, cel care piloteaza un avion sau intr-un birou, scrie si planifica, din uzina sau de pe un santier, sunt de laudat.  Dar profesorii, functionarii  sau vanzatorii din piete si magazine, cu totii  gata sa-si dea viata, pentru libertatea tarii si a semenilor ? Unde ii mai intalnesti, chiar daca au  unele defecte omenesti, personale ?. Sunt intre noi. Rak b`Israel.

Toti vrem pace, toti vrem liniste si sa nu mai moara nimeni in razboiae sau sa ramana schiloditi. Dar  politica si ideile unora sau altora, nu totdeauna coincid. Democratie. Libertate. Toate se socotesc normale. Dar uneori, ne lovim de ceva, cineva, care pune bete in  roate. Un sef spiritual, al unei parti din populatia religioasa, ale carui competente nu le contest, sa decida asupra unor situatii politice sau economice, domenii mai putin cunoscute lui, sa devina obligatorii pentru ai lui? E greu si poate mai sunt cazuri in lume. Dar in democratie ? Rak b`Israel.

Unde, o tara mica, nu foarte bogata si dependenta de altele, in multe sectoare si unde pauperitatea unei paturi a cetatenilor nu e de neglijat, circa 20 %, dupa unele sondaje isi petrec vacante  lungi sau concedii, in multe locuri din lume, platind in  dolari, Euro au alte valute?  Rak b`Israel

Unde se mai gaseste o tara, inconjurata numai de dusmani si care vor s-o distruga, o tara care in scurtul timp de existenta, a trebuit sa duca razboaie grele si este in permanenta “ pe picior de razboi “ ? Rak b`Israel.

Unde, o  limba moarta de peste 2000 de ani, a fost readusa la viata, acum 100 de ani, de harnicul si sarguinciosul Ben Yehuda. Se vorbeste, se scrie, se  invata, se dezvolta si a devenit limba oficiala a Statului? Rak b`Israel.

Unde e posibil, ca o comunitate ultra religioasa, cu drepturi civile si subventii din bugetul Statului, sa nu recunoasca Statul Israel si baza lui -  Sionismul – cu steagul si imnul lui. Sa nu se opreasca din mers,cand sirenele suna, pentru clipa de amintire si venerare, a celor cazuti,  in apararea tarii, a cetatenilor, deci si a lor ? Rak b`Israel.

Dar asa cum este,cand antisemitismul n-a disparut, ba in unele tari a luat amploare, si unii ridica iar capul, intr-o forma sau alta, unde  este evreul  OM, fara frica, la el acasa. Unde se gaseste ? RAK B`ISRAEL.

Dr.G.Manescu

Ianuarie 2011

(video source Jewishfan100)

Tu B’Shvat (or the 15th day of the month of Shvat) is a Jewish holiday also known as the new year of the trees. It is celebrated in Israel by planting trees, and this significance is stronger this year in the aftermath of the ecological disaster that destroyed part of the forests in the Carmel areas.

(video source rachaelscentre)

Here is a more detailed explanation of the holiday. This presentation is made by Dr. Rachael Turkienicz. From her youTube channel I learn that Rachael’s Centre in Toronto and http://www.rachaelscentre.org/ are pluralistic, community based, unaffiliated and open to people of all backgrounds. The core of the Centre and its programs is the wisdom of Jewish text presented through a female lens. Rachael’s Centre also offers programs and courses on the interior moral and life systems of Mussar (Jewish ethics).

(video source zakattaq13)

Some celebrate it on the rhythms of rap music.

(video source GHcool)

Other travel in the future on this occasion.

(video source VillageIsrael)

This is how Tu B’Shevat is welcome in Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehudah market.

Wherever you are ‘Happy Tu B’Shvat!’ – ‘Tu B’Shvat Sameah!’ Plant a tree if you can, and think about the world we all live in – not only today but in every day of the year.

‘Ernani’ is not one of the most popular operas of Verdi. Actually it us staged for the first time in Israel. Despite lacking any of the spectacular hit areas that made ‘Aida’ or’ ‘Rigoletto’ famous, it is a solid and interesting musical piece, with a strong dramatic structure, and a credible (well, in operatic terms) story which combines historical and personal elements.

source http://www.israel-opera.co.il/eng/

The story of the three men (king Carlos, Silva the rich and elder count and the outlaw Ernani) who fall in love with the same woman allows for three roles on stage for baritone, bass and tenor – all fully fledged and satisfying from a musical point of view. Staging leaves place for interesting interpretations, and this is the case with the current staging which is the result of the cooperation of the Israeli Opera and the opera houses of Poznan and Bilbao. The sets are really spectacular from a visual point of view, although the inclined plan the singers are obliged to sing most of the time risk to challenge beyond the reasonable.

(video source donthuis)

Romanian-born Israeli singer Mirela Gradinaru was a very convincing Elvira. She becomes one of the constant and stables stars on the Tel Aviv stage. I was not crazy about the American tenor Hugh Smith’s Ernani, but Ramaz Chikviladze’s Silva and Vittorio Vitelli’s Carlos balanced the overall musical balance of the evening to the positive side.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H20l9eoe_zM

(video source lamermoor9999)

No clips from the current performance are available, so you will need to get fragments from performances at Scala in compensation :-)