Cool stuff by other people.
A commentary by Arthur Waskow that descriibes halacha as evolutionary. I concur, I concur! (From the Jewish Mosaic website, December 20, 2008.)
From "The Lilith Blog"
Achievements in Inclusiveness 2008 02 27
In all the post-show analysis of this year’s Oscars, someone has finally noticed that the traditional gender-segregation of awards is not, well, natural. Sarah Churchwell writes in the Guardian, “Although supposedly we no longer believe that separate is the same as equal, we still segregate entertainment awards along gender lines. Imagine the uproar if we had Oscars for best performance by a black man in a supporting role, or best leading performance by a Jew.”
Of course, the trouble doesn’t stop there. As Churchwell notes, the alternative to gender segregation isn’t too appealing, either, since “awards which do not segregate on the basis of gender tend to overlook women altogether.” Case in point? The Nobel Prize in literature, which women have won only 10 times in 107 years. If there were only one Oscar category for “Achievement in a Leading Role,” it’s a good bet that women would be underrepresented.
The University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication released a study last week evaluating the gender balance in Oscar-nominated films of the past thirty years. Overall, it found that for every speaking female character in a movie, there were about three speaking males, and for every non-white speaking character, there were roughly four white speaking characters. The factor that had the most impact on these numbers? “With a female director, the amount of female speaking characters jumped from 27 percent to 41 percent.” Only three women directors have ever been nominated for an Oscar, and none has ever won the award.
This has been a pretty crappy time for women and film in general (and no, the wild success of Juno, and Diablo Cody’s shiny new Oscar, do not make up for it). It only adds to my love of Helen Mirren that she said as much to the intolerable Regis Philbin during their brief tete-a-tete on the red carpet. The roles being written for women are not as rich and interesting as those being written for men (see the forthcoming The Other Boleyn Girl, which may star two bankable actresses, but is all about them competing for a man). I loved (loved) No Country for Old Men, and greatly admired There Will Be Blood, but those are only two of the most obvious examples of prestige films that imagined worlds that were basically devoid of women. These are legitimate visions, to be sure, but let’s look at the flip side. A movie that focused so relentlessly on women would be read as a deliberately feminist statement; it would be about women. These movies that hone in on men’s lives and experiences are understood to just be about people.
Really, it sort of blows my mind when I think about the odd stab at gender parity represented by having awards for Best Actor and Best Actress. I’m actually less interested in what this says about equality than in the very basic idea that, apart from “leading” versus “supporting,” there are two kinds of people who act in movies: men, and women. I’m certainly not advocating the creation of acting (or any other) awards based solely on identity, and I’m not in favor of abolishing gendered categories at the Oscars (not yet, anyway). But I do like when the lines start to get a little blurry. Consider Cate Blanchett’s “Best Supporting Actress” nomination for her portrayal of Bob Dylan. How do you begin to categorize it in these terms? And really, what’s the point in trying?
– Eryn Loeb
This link leads to the Crosscurrents site. I read this article when it first came out and learned a lot. Reading it again in 2007, I am still learning. I think this text needs to be my morning prayer for the next couple of weeks. Many nascent cogitations. Please enjoy. --Noach
Source: Cross Currents, Summer 2002, Vol. 52, No 2.
I found this prayer on a page about Sumeria. The page doesn't say anything about the translation. It has echoes, to me, of prayers we say on Yom Kippur. Its a prayer that sees many Gods rather than One, but it seems to me one might think of the many as aspects of the whole God Megillah. Such an invocation seems rather a nice way to avoid the whole idolatry issue.
(This prayer was found on a tablet which dates from the mid-seventh century BC. The original prayer is from Sumer and probably dates from somewhat earlier.)
Penitential Prayer to Every God
May the wrath of the heart of my god be pacified!
May the god who is unknown to me be pacified!
May the goddess who is unknown to me be pacified!
May the known and unknown god be pacified!
May the known and unknown goddess be pacified
The sin which I have committed I know not.
The misdeed which I have committed I know not.
A gracious name may my god announce!
A gracious name may my goddess announce!
A gracious name may my known and unknown god announce!
A gracious name may my known and unknown goddess announce!
Pure food have I not eaten,
Clear water have I not drunk.
An offense against my god I have unwittingly committed.
A transgression against my goddess I have unwittingly done.
0 Lord, my sins are many, great are my iniquities!
My god, my sins are many, great are my iniquities! ...
The sin, which I have committed, I know not.
The iniquity, which I have done, I know not.
The offense, which I have committed, I know not.
The transgression I have done, I know not.
The lord, in the anger of his heart, hath looked upon me.
The god, in the wrath of his heart, hath visited me.
The goddess hath become angry with me, and hath grievously stricken me.
The known or unknown god hath straitened me.
The known or unknown goddess hath brought affliction upon me.
I sought for help, but no one taketh my hand.
I wept, but no one came to my side.
I lamented, but no one hearkens to me.
I am afflicted, I am overcome, I cannot look up.
Unto my merciful god I turn, I make supplication.
I kiss the feet of my goddess and [crawl before her] ...
How tong, my god ...
How long, my goddess, until thy face be turned toward me?
How long, known and unknown god, until the anger of thy heart be pacified?
How long, known and unknown goddess, until thy unfriendly heart be pacified?
Mankind is perverted and has no judgment.
Of all men who are alive, who knows anything?
They do not know whether they do good or evil.
0 lord, do not cast aside thy servant!
He is cast into the mire; take his hand.
The sin which I have sinned, turn to mercy!
The iniquity which I have committed, let the wind carry away'
My many transgressions tear off like a garment!
My god, my sins are seven times seven; forgive my sins!
My goddess, my sins are seven times seven; forgive my sins!
Known and unknown god, my sins are seven times seven; forgive my sins
I found this on a website about Shabbtai Zsvi, the infamous (circa 1660) Jewish messiah who converted to Islam. His modern day followers, Muslim as a kind of a cover, are called "donmeh" but are really Jewish, (I apologise if I stated that case incorrectly). They believe that rather than apostasy, "Tsvi's "conversion" to Islam -- (was about) "destroying in his own person the hostility [between opposites]...to create one single New Man in himself out of the two and by restoring peace [between them] . . . to unite them in a single Body and reconcile them with God." (Ephesians 2:11-16)
This seems an audacious thing to say, but part of my intention in constructing and retaining a transgender identity is to reconcile the opposition between male and female in my own body.
We cannot be imitators in everything that is real. We cannot be just followers. We are demanded, and especially our people are commanded, to be a Kingdom of Priests. The point is that a priest doesn’t need another priest to officiate for him. A Jew doesn’t need a rabbi. A Jew needs a personal connection with the “Boss,” with the Lord Himself. As a person I am demanded, and as a Jew I am demanded, to have such a connection. So I have one, and for me it’s a very personal one. I have to have some kind of meeting with the essence of my being a Jew. So I think that every one of us has at one point in his life to find out what is his or her basic connection.