About two weeks ago, as I trawled through the interwebs, I came across a flyer posted in a Jewish Facebook group advertising a Purim party. At the bottom of the flyer were the posters from the “Cultures Not Costumes” campaign from Halloween 2011, urging mindfulness in veering away from choosing costumes that marginalize or stereotype ethnicities. Now, granted, I’d’ve been more ecstatic if it was instead a proliferation of my own McDowell’s/ELITalks-esque “Purim Not Prejudice” campaign, but I was far more glad to see it being addressed, and not be me, and in an Orthodox setting.
Not everyone else was. The conversation descended in exactly the sort of infuriating way you might guess. Instead of rehashing the fight, it occurred to me that readers might be interested in seeing some relevant ideas expressed—by the people who are most expert to express them. To that end, I assembled a multiracial, multiethnic, multidenominational pseudo-Sanhedrin of Jews of Color, here to discuss Purim and its costume challenges. I’m reasonably sure this collection of personages, heavily involved in Jewish spaces as non-profit founders, community leaders, writers, speakers, educators, and activists are more than capable of expressing what portrayals of their individual cultures are offensive—and why. So let’s get to it:
At 10 a.m. yesterday, the conductor of the Israeli police force’s official marching band raised his baton, and his men began parading and playing a festive tune. They were followed by a smiling man dressed as a doctor and holding a sign “We’re experts at repairing the world.”
It was Eli Nechama, the principal of a Tel Aviv school that caters almost exclusively to the children of undocumented immigrants to Israel. And he wasn’t about to let his young charges feel left out on the most festive of holidays. Nor was the police, frequently feared by Nechama’s students and their parents: On Purim, all agreed, everyone should feel nothing but joy.
The original manuscript for the prelude includes the rubric “pour le luth” (for the lute), and the work can be performed on different types of lutes or keyboards including the lute harpsichord, and sounds well on all of these. On the lute, the performer can use dynamics to accentuate some of the contrapuntal lines, but the work is equally persuasive on the keyboard.
Some of history’s greatest philosophers have spent their entire lives writing about the meaning of life. Why are we here? Surely there must be a reason? Many people in western culture believe the meaning of life is to “be happy”. Alan Watts has a brilliant way of eloquently challenging this notion. If we were to live in a state of eternal bliss, then bliss would become dull. Without darkness, there would be no light. Without pain, there would be no pleasure. Happiness is based in perspective. Embrace every aspect of life, the good and the bad, and learn to see the beauty in it.
In “The Nature of Millennials” by IFHT Films, Canadian nature broadcaster David Suzuki takes a humorous look at the typical habits of those who were born in the late 1980s through the late 1990’s, addressing how the eat, how they work, how they seek a mate and how they become intensely competitive when it comes to an open electrical outlet.
Born between the early 1980’s and late 90’s, millennials have been shaped by technology. After checking her emails, social feeds, and blogs in bed, the millennial springs to life and makes a quick, organic, vegan, gluten free, breakfast acai bowl. …Will they, like every generation before them, dominate the workforce and inherit the Earth?
While some say no, there’s sufficient evidence coming out of South Florida that may prove otherwise…
The idea was to confuse u-boats about a ship’s course, rather than try to conceal its presence. In doing so, dazzle camouflage could keep torpedoes from hitting the boat — and that and other strategies proved a boon in World War I. This camouflage is unusual, but its striking appearance influenced the culture, inspired cubist painters’ riffs, and even entered into the world of fashion. Though dazzle camouflage lost its utility once radar and other detection techniques took over from u-boat periscopes, for a brief period in time it was an effective and unusual way to help ships stay safe.
Congratulations to Jody Partin for winning the recent Winter Macro assignment with the image, “Winter in Shenandoah.” The image was captured in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.
“I love going to Shenandoah National Park all year, but winter is one of the best times to go because it’s so quiet, especially mid-week. Almost no one else is there, and it feels like I have the park all to myself. On this day, I drove Skyline Drive slowly looking for wildlife, and although I found some, my favorite shot of the day was actually this one. An ice storm had moved through only one small section of the park the night before, and for about a half mile of the drive, everything was coated in ice. In the early morning light, the whole scene was magical, but these branches stood out to me.”