Art and Jews

Posted: April 24, 2011 in Life Musings
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Anonymity and blogging: We all love it. It allow us to write more freely, to express ourselves more clearly. Many of my friends know who I am, and certainly if you saw my Facebook feeds, you’d know, and that’s just the way it is. Which is perfectly fine. I like to call it semi-anonymous. Meaning if you know, keep it to yourself. That being said…I’ve been busy lately, which is why  haven’t blogged in close to a month.

Never mind that though. Art: What is it? Why do we love it? Why do some of us scorn it?

Jews have a love hate relationship with it. Some look down on it, some are actively involved in making it.

I recently finished filming a very intensive 6 day shoot of a 25 minute short film, directed by a young but very talented director. We worked endless hours each day, giving it our all until wrapped. We were exhausted, yes. But also exhilarated. Here we all were, doing what we liked. We all appreciated the fact that art was being created, minute by minute. It wasn’t just the idea of perfecting the character. It was also acknowledging that the talented gaffer (lighting guy), the sound mixer, who came recommended as “the best sound guy he knows” by the sound mixer on Godfather, and all the crew’s work, both pre and post production comes together to form this amazing thing we call a film. Bit by bit, shot by shot, we worked together until the end.

I attended an art gallery opening which exhibited the work of Simon Faithfull‘s “Going Nowhere”, in which he had himself filmed as he walked along the Meridian, sometimes climbing through people’s kitchen windows in order to not veer more than a few meters from the line. I asked him if people were happy to let him in their kitchen. He said that the idea that something larger than life, something as great and intentionally well knows as the meridian was running through their kitchen window in some small forsaken part of England had them so intrigued and so honored, that they had no issues with his invasion on their privacy.

Now in truth there are two ways to look at it: You can see a film of some dude walking and climbing through kitchen windows, walking through puddles, climbing fences. Or you can see his vision, that of someone who brought something vast, and personalized it. Or however you see the art in his work.

You see, art is just that. It leaves itself open to mystery, to the imagination. A good film usually leaves you with some questions as to what happened at the end. Good music allows you to infuse your own thoughts and feelings into it. Other music overtakes you and then allows for a more limited feeling, but nonetheless, it creates a feeling. Anything which brings us above the day to day survival, work-eat-sleep routine of life, is art.

Yet, for some reason so many in the ultra-orthodox community can’t see it. So many are known to be dry, boring individuals, whose idea of art, is their wife making wigs in her mothers basement. Not that there isn’t art involved in that, but in general art is scorned, and largely unappreciated.

Yet step outside the ultra-orthodox community. Take a look at the more modern community. Take a look at non-religious, unaffiliated Jews around the world. A  large percentage of the actors I meet, on set, in classes, at random, have been Jewish. A large percentage of Hollywood actors are Jewish. Why? Because Jews, like anybody like art. Even excel at making art. However, I feel that so many don’t appreciate it, and are raised to scorn and belittle it.

Love-hate relationship, with ultra-orthodox being mostly on the hate side.


  1. Frank says:

    The thing you’re missing here is that it’s not just about art, or even relationships.
    Love-hate is the primally Jewish way of being-in-the-world.

  2. why do you think that is? do you know of other such examples?

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