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A Yiddish World Remembered

Soyeah I stumbled across this program on PBS last night.

It was a documentary with archival photos, mostly of families once living in Poland who now were long dead, killed by either the Germans or the Russians in WWII --- together with live interviews, featuring 21th century descendants who had survived one way or another.

One of the things that impressed me was the tremendous emphasis they placed on education. School ['shul'] six days per week, ten hours per day, sometimes. My friend Kiota [growing up two generations later] has talked about her religious schools in Israel that had such impossible hours [impossible by American standards.]

And in the program was something that delighted me: in one tradition of religious ed, the kids baked pastries in the shape of Hebrew characters --- and then ate them, one by one --- symbolic of taking education into their bodies and hearts, in recognition and honor of those things that feed the body also feed the mind and spirit.

I had never heard of anything like that before, and I think that is just terrific, and it shows me how much I've grown up under a rock with my "superior" Western education that turns out to be so limited.

I have gigantic problems with what the Torah says about the position and rights of women in the world, but.....I do love to eat.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
lotus82
Mar. 15th, 2008 08:38 am (UTC)
Well... My husband grew up religious and attended one of those schools. ["Shul", by the way, is a word for synagogue, not school.] He dropped out when he was 17 and ceased being religious, slowly turning into an atheist. His experience in the school left him traumatized to the point where it resembles PTSD.
silverplate88
Mar. 15th, 2008 09:18 am (UTC)
Wow. PTSD. That's the other POV. I think the TV program said stuff about "rigorous" and "not everyone was anointed to be a rabbi"... hope dropping out did not cause a big war in his family ... I'm not Jewish but when I lived in Houston [Texas, USA] I got involved with doing theatre at a Jewish Community Center there, all the lighting equipment was the best money could buy, it was lots of fun. The building complex was huge and involved a whole religious ed wing and a big temple as well as two theatres and an art gallery. I got invited to come to temple as a guest and the cantor art was amazing, they sounded so ethereal and so pure, like angels ...
lotus82
Mar. 15th, 2008 09:29 am (UTC)
John doesn't talk much about it, but from what I deduced, his parents didn't take it too hard - neither the dropping out, nor his leaving religion. He earned his GED independently and went to college [he is now in grad school], and his mother told me that as far as she is concerned, he is still keeping the most important laws of Jewish religion - he is kind, compassionate, respectful and loving, and that's all that matters. But that's now. I don't know the details of then.
silverplate88
Mar. 15th, 2008 01:41 pm (UTC)
-- kind, compassionate, respectful, and loving ---

That's great, of course, and really not the monopoly of any religion: afaik it's common to most of them, somewhere. Even Wicca and atheism, I'd say ... ;)

You and John are both sososo blessed to have your lives joined *gets mushy*

And, you're right: it's the *now* that counts. Another version came from one of my psych profs: "Tomorrow is gravy. It's today that counts. Right now. You might not get to tomorrow. I might not, either!" ... but then she went on to warn that this was no excuse for not studying for next week's exam :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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kiota too late for the stars
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