Wednesday, April 13, 2005

04.13.05 DocAviv: Hope

In an earlier post I mentioned how crazy it is to be reminded every so often here in Israel that it actually *is* a warzone. On the flipside, there are also those little things here that remind you that Judaism is an undeniable part of modern Israeli culture, and for me that can be a good reminder. Earlier tonight I flipped on the TV while waiting for yet another band who flaked on an interview (I am having flashbacks to 2003) and a very funny ad came on. There's a group of shady, Italian-looking gangsters on a city street and one of them gets a phone call. The others are up in arms and ready to pounce, but he calms them down, saying something like,"It's Moshe, from the kibbutz. He says 'Chag Sameach.' " (Chag Sameach=Happy Holidays, referring to the upcoming Passover festivities.) For me, this was absolutely amazing--such a mix of absolutely mainstream popular culture and references to a Jewish holiday. An ad like that would never, ever air in the States. This ain't no Adam Sandler's "Chanukah Song." Now, the discussion of whether or not the commercialization of spirituality is a good thing is another story but still, coming from a country where STATUS=BEING ON TV and Jews are such a tiny minority, I couldn't help finding this little episode kind of cool. In the States, there are plenty of people who have never even met a Jew, and here everyone knows what Passover is, regardless of whether or not they actually observe the holiday.

(Retribution with Ashi from at the DocAviv screening)

On that note, I did the follow-up interview with the proudly Jewish band Retribution earlier tonight (who, by the way, are total hessians--as evidenced by their new bass player wearing a cut-off sleeved Pantera shirt with a huge pot leaf on it). I went to their rehearsal and got to hear how they've re-worked some of their songs since their original filming. Apparently, they have taken a long break while re-arranging members and now are back on the scene. So the interview got around to the current political situation and there was an interesting debate among the band. I said that it seemed more hopeful now than 2 years ago, and the first response was that hope is impossible in Israel because every time you get hopeful, those hopes are crushed. Another band member disagreed. "Since the beginning of time," the robust metalhead explained,"where there have been Jews, there has been hope."

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