Sorry I have not been posting. I have been busy, busy, busy.
Last week, I attended an American Jewish Committee event at the Polish Embassy in NYC. The event was a candle lighting ceremony, and I was able to meet diplomats from around the world. The diplomat from Finland was particularly sweet. She gave me her card and told me to keep in touch. At this event, I also met Rabbi Mark Wilde, of the "Manhattan Jewish Experience." He is a young and 'cool' rabbi. Actually, he resembled a Backstreet Boy. He spoke of the story of Chanukah at the Embassy (a BEAUTIFUL building, by the way!), and I was struck by how the story has been buried. In case you all forgot, I am an atheist, but I strongly identify with my Jewish background, and Jewish history, philosophy, and culture. I was struck by this story of a struggle against Hellenism (so appropriate today, as Jews face assimilation), and a battle against greatly superior forces. I think the story of the Maccabees is a truly inspiring tale that gets hidden behind the story of oil lasting for eight days.
At this event, I bumped into someone I knew from college, but had not seen since college. It's funny how small a world it is in the NYC Jewish scene, huh? I also met a representative from AIPAC, and I told him I was interested in joining AIPAC because I wanted to be part of the vast Zionist conspiracy that rules the world. I also asked him if he receives his weekly Zionist conspiracy checks. He said that the checks are late arriving in the mail. DAMN, huh??
The Polish Ambassador spoke at the Chanukah party, and said moving and encouraging words of support for world Jewry, and noted Poland's long (and rocky) history with the Jews. Rabbi Wilde also spoke words of ecumenicism with other faiths - words of cooperation and inclusion. I marvelled at the fact that this event was occurring while Iran was holding a Holocaust denial conference across the world. Surreal, isn't it?
On Saturday, I got together with friends and saw a wonderful movie I highly recommend - The Queen. This movie stars Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II, after Diana's death. She was simply phenomenal in the role - every facial muscle so perfectly evoking her inner thoughts. I also was struck by the way the movie portrayed Tony Blair. It was a complex portrait that one could take in two ways. One can look at the movie and say he simply basks in the glow of tradition and power, and aims to preserve both. On the other hand, one could say that he is an independent thinker who realizes the value of certain institutions, and is able to see through the politicking of the press and the glorified portrait that they showed of Diana. I would like to see him as the latter. The movie also has a complex picture of Prince Charles. I despise this man, who kisses up to Islamists around the world. (source) One can say that he bravely attempted to stand up to his mother, the Queen. Or, one could say, as I do, that he simply attempted to throw his mother to the coals so that HE could look good. Finally, there is the portrait of the Queen. One could say she is emotionally stunted and cold, or one could say that she values tradition and had to deal with a British public who valued the cult of the celebrity.
I will admit that I was sobbing in 1997 when Diana died. I know that is funny to say now, because in retrospect, she was a silly but deeply troubled woman who I never met. Yet somehow I did sob - probably because I too did worship the cult of the celebrity. But in some ways she did bring on her troubles herself. She knew about Camilla when she married Charles, and anyone with half a brain would expect a royal to keep a mistress - this is just standard history. Moreover, she had her own affairs - yet Charles came off looking like the bad guy. (let me say that I despise him for other reasons) Then there is the courting of the press she did - Diana absolutely had a love/hate relationship with the press and did not live a discreet life. Finally, there was her affair with Dodi Al-Fayed. He was an Egyptian billionaire whose family was into arms dealings. Imagine if she married him, and the step-grandfather (Mohammed Al-Fayed) of the future king of England was the man involved in the 'cash for questions' scandal?? This somehow is never discussed and/or brushed under the rug. Yet the Queen knew all about ALL OF THIS, and I am sure this affected the way she saw Diana.
That all said, I will not give a one-sided attack of the dead - Diana was also a humanitarian who worked for MANY children's charities, was a big advocate for AIDS research, and also tirelessly worked against land mines. She also appeared to have been a good mother who deeply loved her boys. Diana was complex - you take the good with the bad.
On Sunday night, I attended a really fun Chanukah party at a friend of mine's residence. I sang karaoke, which is not a Chanukah tradition, BUT IT SHOULD BE! Of course, I sang my signature song - "I will survive." I need to work on breath support, because my voice is not where it should be, in terms of the power behind it.
Last night, I attended a "Manhattan Jewish Experience" Chanukah party that was overwhelming. Why did I go? Rabbi Wilde talked me into it, hehehehe. Hundreds of people attended, and it was hard to breathe. I nearly had a panic attack, just from the claustrophobia. There was someone there who asked the women "Who wants to get married tomorrow?" I was HORRIFIED by that question. MARRIED TOMORROW??? I don't even know if I BELIEVE in marriage, let alone tomorrow! (remember that I am Jason's fag hag and an evil atheist, out to destroy families and terrorize little children, hardy har har) In fact, I think this is part of the problem with the modern social scene. There is too much pressure on getting married. Stereotypical Jewish mom: "When are you getting married?" This RUINS relationships by putting way too much pressure too soon upon them. I mean, I have a friend whose girlfriend started talking marriage two weeks into the relationship - this quickly broke them up. What is wrong with simply enjoying the company of the other person? Is everyone else taking crazy pills? Why this pressure to get married ASAP? Why not enjoy a relationship like a fine wine, taking long, slow sips and savouring every second of it?
Thoughts/questions/concerns about any of what I just wrote about?