The Surprising Return of Yiddish to Film and Television

Dec. 20 2016

Over the past decade, writes Rebecca Margolin, there has been a “small renaissance” of movies and television shows that employ the Yiddish language. These include films produced in the U.S. and Europe featuring actors that have learned Yiddish for their parts, brief Yiddish-language scenes in the movie A Serious Man and the television series My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, an all-Yiddish Internet comedy series, and an action movie produced by and for Ḥasidim that features no profanity, no women, and a redemptive ending. Margolin describes the last of these:

A Gesheft (A Deal) was produced fully in what might be termed a “vernacular mode”: its directors, actors, and viewers were all members of a Yiddish-speaking ḥasidic community that produces and consumes media in Yiddish. . . .

The film, which follows the story of a corrupt ḥasidic character who ultimately finds redemption, abides by ḥaredi norms of behavior and morality . . . . Likewise, the moral conflicts of the film are resolved when the anti-hero achieves the forgiveness of the man whom he has wronged by devoting himself to the study of sacred Jewish texts until the end of his life. . . .

The relative moral turpitude of a character can be ascertained by how much English—a symbol of American integration—he incorporates into his Yiddish; the only character to die on screen uses extensive English slang.

Read more at In Geveb

More about: Arts & Culture, Film, Haredim, Popular culture, Television, Yiddish

Close the PLO Office in Washington

April 24 2017

In the wake of the Oslo Accords, and in order to facilitate futher negotiations, Congress carved out an exception to the 1987 Anti-Terrorism Act to permit the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)—a known terrorist group—to open an office in the U.S. capital. The legislation allows the president to extend this “temporary” waiver at his discretion—which every president since Bill Clinton has done. Shoshana Bryen argues that putting an end to the policy is a proper punishment for the PLO’s continued financial support for terrorists and their families.

[The waiver] was conditional on the PLO’s meeting its Oslo Accords obligations, including refraining from terrorism and renouncing international moves that would impede a bilateral agreement on final-status issues. . . .

In 2011, a Palestinian bid for recognition as a full member of the UN failed, but the waiver remained. Over U.S. objections, “Palestine” joined the International Criminal Court in 2015 [in violation of the Accords and thus of the waiver’s conditions]. . . .

[Furthermore], worried about foreign-aid payments from the U.S. and the EU, in 2014 the Palestinian Authority (PA) claimed it stopped paying salaries [to terrorists and their familites] and that future money would come from a new PLO Commission of Prisoner Affairs. . . . [I]n 2015, a year after the PA “officially” transferred authority over Palestinian prisoners to the PLO, it also transferred an extra 444-million shekels (more than $116 million) to the PLO—nearly the same amount that the PA had allocated in the previous years to its now-defunct Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs. . . .

[T]he U.S. government should let the PLO and PA know that we are onto their game. Disincentivizing terrorism by closing the PLO office in Washington would be a good first step.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, PLO, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy