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Showing posts from August, 2016

Love of Torah? Gene Wilder

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One of my favourite movies of all time was "The Frisco Kid" starring Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford. It's the oddball buddy movie of unlikely companions who travel across the US in the Wild West days of the XIX century. Wilder plays the lowly rabbi from Poland and Ford plays the outlaw cowboy, and together they make their way to San Francisco for Wilder to assume the leadership of the fledgling Jewish congregation there. It's poignant at times, hysterical in irony, and plain fun. There are three scenes where the sefer Torah (Torah scroll) comes into play. (Maybe more, but I remember only three).

The rabbi meets up with some bad guys on the train from Philadelphia who steal everything from him, including the Sefer Torah. They see no value in it, and toss it from the train. He also is tossed, and goes back to find it even before he regathers his own clothing. The second scene of note is here on You Tube where the Indian chief tests the rabbi on two accounts: One, c…

Corroboration: Watergate, Rio Olympics Ryan Lochte, and the Bible?

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The scandal of American Olympian Ryan Lochte is now becoming clearer. Last week we heard his story of being robbed at gun point and then within a day the IOC said the story was fabricated. Then the American press took on the IOC, and we here in Australia wondered what was the truth. Now with some serious discrediting by his co-conspirators, Lochte stands alone with the story, which now is proven to be a lie. He was not held up by gunmen. He was not robbed. The story is worse than a fable; it's a lie.

Shame.

This morning I reread the startling and detailed tale of Charles Colson, known as the Hatchet Man in the White House of Richard Nixon. His story, Born Again, chronicles the inside of the Nixon years like no other ever did. Colson was among other powerful men like Haldeman, Kissinger, Haig, and so many of whom Colson says they were "the 12 most powerful men in the world" at the time. They couldn't keep up the lies of not being involved in the Watergate scandal for …

Do they like or dislike us?

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We live in this tension of disapprobation. At certain times we are understood to be saying that the religion of the rabbis is wrong, dead wrong, and that only through Yeshua is eternal life given to anyone. At other times, we encounter Jewish people who say, "They may believe something different than I do, but they are Jews, and that's good enough for me." We even hear "Good luck" extended to us, in our book shop, or after a large gathering with prayers and songs, which might look like a church or synagogue service. One problem we face is this: Do we want to be accepted or rejected? Do people really understand who we are and what we are saying? And if they do understand the issue, are we liked or disliked?

A Jewish author and scholar here in Sydney was a featured speaker at a Jewish conference in Brisbane earlier this year. She was at the synagogue on Margaret Street that Saturday morning as I was, to worship and participate in Jewish life, as is our custom.…

Consider yourself...one of us (From Broadway's "Oliver!") and Singapore

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Back in the late 1960s I was in high school and acted and sang in the musical "Oliver!" which has some great Cockney commentary on life. Here's a video clip of "Consider Yourself" from the movie which came out in 1968. Movie clip



This picture is Jack, the Artful Dodger, welcoming Oliver Twist into the community of small-time and small-in-stature street urchins who worked for Fagin in 19th Century London. By the way, Ron Moody who played Fagin, won a Golden Globe, but not an Oscar that year. The movie won the Oscar for "Best Picture." I was glad for Moody's victory at the GG's, but then I think about the Dickens character and remember that Fagin in that book is Jewish, and a crook. He's no less a loveable old thief than Shylock in Shakespeare. Ah, anti-Semitism rears its ugly head yet again.

Even so, the song "Consider Yourself" was on the radio yesterday. I hadn't even thought of it in years, and here I was singing out …

Blood everywhere...(ANZAC, Democrats,

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An Australian Facebook friend wrote about the Spirit of the ANZACs. "Next year marks the 100 year anniversary of the Australian Light Horsemen freeing Beersheba from the Islamic Caliphate (Ottoman Empire). If Australia will continue to support the descendents of Israel, then she will continue to be blessed. However if Australia turns her back on Israel, by calling for Israel to give more land for peace, then not only will she be trampling under foot the blood of the ANZAC soldiers, denying their victories, and returing the land to the ones they liberated it from, but she will also find herself fighting against the living G-d!"

I value the work of the ANZACs at Gallipoli, Turkey, and in the entire campaign in what was then labelled Palestine at the end of World War I. The history is clearly unpacked in this article from AWM .
The simplest description is "The battle of Beersheba took place on 31 October 1917 as part of the wider British offensive collectively known as …

Which Religion on the census?

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On Tuesday in homes and flats all across Australia, each person is required to fill out the census form. We do this every five years like clockwork. A person who is spending the night, who usually lives elsewhere, has to fill out the census at your house! As a result of the information, which finally we are able to submit online for the first time this year, the government will establish all kinds of programs and reevaluate what they have used in the past.

Everyone is required to be counted, and there are pages and pages of information to submit. Only one question is not mandated to answer. That is, what is your religion? I find this most interesting. They want to gather data on so many topics, including our genealogy, our work, our residence, our interests, but not our religion.

I show my form here so you can be encouraged to fill yours out in a similar way. You will notice that Judaism is not listed as one of the options. If that be so, then Messianic Judaism will certainly not be …