Thoughts On the Funeral Service for RBG

We live in a world in which antisemitism and misogynistic views still have a hold on us. But there is still hope that both can be overturned.

Last week, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s funeral was held in Washington D.C. As I listened, my pride in her accomplishments as a Jew and a woman were just as prominent as my tears.

She is an icon for so many of us who feel marginalized and pushed aside because of who we are. Listening to Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt speak the ancient Jewish prayers, I had a feeling that in spite of the hatred that still exists, there is light and love at the end of the tunnel. We can look past labels and see each other’s humanity. We only need to open our eyes and our minds.

Though Judge Ginsburg is no longer physically with us, her legacy will last forever.

Z”l.

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Confirming Amy Coney Barrett Spits on the Memory of RBG

Every generation of the feminist movement builds on previous generations. However, that does not mean that the current generation honors or remembers the work of their predecessors.

When Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away last Friday, the news sent shockwaves throughout the country. According to an interview with her granddaughter, one of the late jurist’s last wish was that her replacement not be confirmed until after the election.

It is therefore, a surprise to no one that not only was that wish ignored, but her potential replacement is politically conservative. Her name is Amy Coney Barrett. Though she has taken advantage of the opportunities that were created for her via Judge Ginsburg, she is everything that RBG was not.

Judge Barrett openly opposes abortion and marriage in the LGBTQ community. Her nomination, if confirmed, would tip the balance within the Supreme Court towards the right. In theory, the court should be apolitical. But, in reality, politics views will always play a role in the decisions that are handed down.

What is more concerning than the choice of Judge Barrett is that Judge Ginsburg is not even in the ground. As far as I am concerned, the Republicans have ignored the choices of both the voters and RBG. They are so focused on winning the election, that they have forgotten who has the power to hire and fire them.

It’s time to remind them who is in charge.

#BidenHarris2020

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Thoughts on Tashlich in 2020

To say that this year has not been easy has been an understatement.

Tomorrow night starts Yom Kippur, the most important day in the Jewish year. On this day, we confess our sins and ask our heavenly creator to allow us another year of life.

But before we can make such a request, we must be honest with ourselves about our flaws and mistakes. That is where Tashlich comes in.

As I threw my bread in the water earlier today, I felt a sense of peace. Though the past can never be undone, we can learn from our mistakes. We can become better than who we were before. That I believe is the message of the High Holidays and Tashlich in particular.

May those who are fasting have an easy and peaceful fast and may we all be written in the book of life for another year.

L’Shana Tova.

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Will November be a Rehash of the 2000 Presidential Election?

Those of us with a political memory can easily recall the chaos of the 2000 political election. At the time, it was considered to be an election to learn from and not repeat. But if there is one lesson I have learned over the years, it is that humanity is bound to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Four years ago, when you know who was asked if he would accept the outcome of the election if he lost, his answer was vague. This year, when asked if he would concede if he loses, his response was the following:

A legitimate democracy depends on the peaceful transfer of power from one Presidential administration to another Presidential administration. The fact that he refuses to accept even the idea of defeat tells me that we need the rule of law more than ever. We also need to vote is clown out and ensure that the American Democracy lives on for another year.

#BidenHarris2020

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Enola Holmes Movie Review

Classic books were given the title of “classic” for a reason. However, that does not mean that a modern writer cannot put their own spin on the tale.

Enola Holmes premiered Wednesday on Netflix. Based on the series of books by Nancy Springer, Millie Bobby Brown stars as the title character. Raised by her widowed mother Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter), Enola receives an education that is extremely unusual for a young lady in Victorian era England. When her mother disappears, Enola’s much older brothers come home to take charge.

Her oldest brother Mycroft (Sam Claflin) is conventional in every sense of the word. Her second oldest brother, Sherlock (Henry Cavill) is more empathetic, but still concerned that his sister was not raised as she ought to have been. Before she can be sent to a school that promises to make her a proper young lady, Enola runs away to find her mother. Along the way, she meets a young aristocrat, Tewkesbury, (Louis Partridge) who is also running away and a new mystery is set at her feet.

I would categorize this movie as cute and empowering (if that makes sense). The message, I think, is the most important part of the film and feels very relevant for 2020. That being said, it is not without it’s flaws. However, it is one of those movies that is both fun to watch and an inspiration, especially for the younger female audience.

I recommend it.

Enola Holmes is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Flashback Friday-Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999)

There is nothing wrong with a dumb comedy. Sometimes, we need a movie like that to help us relax after a long day. But, there is a difference between a dumb comedy that makes us laugh and a dumb comedy that is just plain dumb.

Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo premiered in 1999. Rob Schneider plays the title character. Deuce Bigalow is not exactly winning in life. Far from Herculean looks wise and trying to earn his keep by cleaning aquariums, he is not getting very far. When a male gigolo asks Deuce to watch his fish while he is on a business trip, things go wrong.

Deuce figures out that the only way to fix what has been broken is to become a male gigolo himself. It seems like a simple task, but when something seems simple, it usually isn’t.

I’ve only seen a few minutes of this movie, for good reason. It is a dumb movie in the worst way possible. Whatever opportunities it had to be genuinely funny are wasted, as was the time spent watching this film.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely not.

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Manifest Character Review: Grace Stone

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series ManifestRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

When tragedy strikes, we have two choices. We can either let it hold us back or find a way to move on. On Manifest, Grace Stone (Athena Karkanis) went through what no one should go through: the early loss of family. After returning home from vacation, Grace was told that her husband Ben (Josh Dallas), son Cal (Jack Messina), and sister-in-law Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) were on a plane that went messing.

For five and a half years, Grace raised her daughter Olive (Luna Blaise) as a single mother. Doing the best she could to move on, she started seeing Danny (Daniel Sunjata). Then she heard the news that the plane had landed, everyone aboard was safe and alive. But the happy news of the reunification only complicated things.

Torn between the new life she had been building and the life she had before the flight, Grace has to make a choice. That choice leads her back to Ben, a new baby, and another chance for happiness.

To sum it up: No one goes through life without experiencing a few potholes The question is how we react to those potholes. After grieving, she responds with strength and grit, allowing her and the audience to find some sort of inner peace.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Unetanneh Tokef, Yom Kippur and the Year That is 2020

No one has a crystal ball when it comes to the future. We can only live in the moment.

This coming weekend is Yom Kippur, the most important day on the Jewish calendar. One of the prayers we chant is called Unetanneh Tokef. The purpose of the prayer is to ask our heavenly parent for one more year of life on Earth. The text is as follows:

“All mankind will pass before You like a flock of sheep.[38] Like a shepherd pasturing his flock, making sheep pass under his staff, so shall You cause to pass, count, calculate, and consider the soul of all the living; and You shall apportion the destinies of all Your creatures and inscribe their verdict.

On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed – how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die after a long life[39] and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword and who by beast, who by famine and who by thirst, who by upheaval [40] and who by plague, who by strangling and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquility and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted. But Repentance, Prayer, and Charity annul the severity of the Decree.”

Looking back at the year that is 2020 so far, this prayer feels like a message we need to hear. Before Covid-19 hit, life seemed so sure. But between the virus, the racial inequities, and everything that has happened this year, I’m not so sure anymore.

No one knows exactly when their time will be up or how they will go. We can only ask for as much time on Earth as possible.

For those who are fasting, have an easy fast and may we all be written in the book of life for another year.

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Throwback Thursday-The Invention of Lying (2009)

From the time we are very young, we are told that we must always tell the truth. But the truth is sometimes hard to hear.

Back in 2009, The Invention of Lying hit theaters. The movie told the story of Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais), a writer whose is about to lose his job. Living in a world in which lies don’t exist, everything changes when tells his first fib. Soon he has everything he has ever wanted, except for the love of his longtime crush, Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner).

If I was being generous, I would give this movie an A for effort. It genuinely tries to entertain the audience. But the reality is that it is bad. The problem is that it relies too heavily on the clichés of the romantic comedy genre. It’s one thing to use the clichés of any genre. But it is another thing to use them as a crutch and not as a narrative skeleton to build up the story and characters.

Do I recommend it? No.

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There is no Justice for Breonna Taylor

On March 13th of this year, Breonna Taylor was an ordinary woman, sleeping in her bed. Then the police barged into her home and she became another icon of racism and police brutality.

The outcome of the trial against the police officers who killed her was announced today. The grand jury in Kentucky declined to charge the officers for her murder.

Once again, the message is clear. Americans of color are unimportant and their lives are disposable. The police can do whatever they want, without fear of the justice system catching up to them. I wish I could say that in 2020, things have changed. But nothing has changed and another life was needlessly lost.

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