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March 23, 2018     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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March 23, 2018

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PAGE 12A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 23, 2018 By Dr. Mark Klafter right--even if not politically stunningly portrayed by ac- other resources at the time expedient--and remaining tress Sally Hawkins in a mute of the Exodus from Egypt, TherearenoJewishcharac-true to core principles of our role, pleads in sign language and subsequently welcomed ters in the cinematically and religion. There even are some to her neighbor Giles in a strangers into their dwell- thematically beautiful 2018 striking Jewish historical seminal moment: "If we do ings (Sukkot). Immigrants Academy Awards best picture parallels in this adult "fairy nothing, neither are we." have played a major role in winner"TheShapeofWater." tale for troubled times" set Reachingouttootherswho the miraculous formation However, outofallninenomi- in 1962, in which society's are in need has long been a (and transformation) of the nees, this Guillermo del Toro outsiders go against seem- bedrock principle of the Jew- modern State of Israel; I have masterworkbestspeakstothe ingly insurmountable odds ishpeople.Datingbacktobib- personally seen challenges of Jewish experience: empathy to save the ultimate outsider, lical times, the Hebrews were immigrants in Beer Sheva, for others, defense of what is Protagonist Elisa Esposito, conscious ofsharingfoodand and although there remain ALLE~C--~V & ASTHMA ASSOCEATES O~ CENtrAL F~.OPIDA Steven Rosenberg, M.D. Carlos M. Jacinto, M.D. Harleen Anderson, M.D. Treating patients in Central Fiorlda for over 25 Years Treating Allergic Diseases of the Ears, Nose & Throat Our physicians are Board Certitied Allergy, Asthma & Immunology & Board Certified Ped/atr/cs Winter Park 407-678-4040 Altamonte Springs 407-331-6244 Orlando 407-370-3705 Viera 407-678-4040 i;i, ~ i Do you value your community's Jewish organizations? Do you want them to exist for future generations? What is the legacy that you want to leave? How can you make your charitable dollars go further? 191 TOP Jewish Foundation We make giving easier. 813-961-9090 Elisa meets the sea creature for the first time. barriers to successful as- life--and themselves in the similation of Ethiopians and process. History has shown Russians, such efforts have us that during times in which madetheJewishstate(andour Jews have chosen (or were people) stronger. Of course, forced) to remain silent or the empathy of others has also even convert, both the Jewish allowed our people to survive people and society at large all too many dark chapters in have suffered. In Israel and history. Del Toro gets that in theUS, whereJewscanremain referencing the power of hu- true to their core principles man love of "the other." and culture, we have become In interviews during the a light unto other nations. successful film festival sea- In addition to the various son, the fantasy movie writer technical and artistic nods and director also drew refer- to classic films, biblical refer- ence to our society's rejection ences in"The Shape of Water" and dehumanization of those makewelcomedappearances: who don't look or politically from the directly-referenced think like us. He and now storyofSamsonandDelilahto many others see "The Shape thelessobviousBookofRuth, of Water" as an elixir to fight which was the film playing the cynicism and hate seen in the theater below Elisa's on the extremes that has apartment. Fittingly, Ruth become all-too-fashionable, wasapoorwidowandoutsider Not surprisingly, some cyn- with few outward attributes. ics who are close-minded to She was committed to be a story that emits a sense of there for her mother-in-law, love of others have dismissed Naomi, while adopting faith this film as "sappy," speaking in the G-d of Israel. Elisa is, to one of the unfortunate in a sense Ruth, while Giles realities of our time. and Zelda socially and ethi- Historically, we have been cally also possess "Ruthian" most successful and fulfilled characteristics. when allowed to just be our- Even Jewish symbolism selves by embracing JudaiSm waspepperedthroughoutthis and Jewish culture--instead landmarkfilm.Theconceptof of staying between the lines the ritual bath (mikvah) was of coloring-book societies, emulated in the form of the Neighbor Giles, a commer- various water scenes ranging cial artist, lives in a time in from bathtubs to water tanks which his best way to muddle to the stunning climax. While through in society as a gay theeggofferingbetweenElisa man is to be closeted. Before andthe"creature"is obviously we learn of the luncheonette areferencetofertility, inJuda- manager's discrimination ism(andbiology) it represents against blacks and gays we the potential to become an discover his tendencies to independently living and change his manner of speak- breathing entity. The egg in ing in order to appear to fit in. the seder plate represents the It's ironic to see who are most Jews at the time of the Exodus miserable in the film--and in from Egypt--potential "life" our world. Similarly, the pri- of a people. mary antagonist, Strickland, Water, itself, forms the buys the teal Cadillac as an shape of the container. Juda- outward display of success, ismis changingandevolving, andwearevisuallypeltedwith depending on the vessel car- images on the highway ofthis ried. Our goal as Jews is to ideal stereotypical definition moldthatvesselsothatfuture of aperfect life. generations can carry the Meanwhile, Elisaand black substrate of life itself in a way co-worker Zelda are outsiders that can also shape humanity who remain true to them- for the greater good. selves. Their actions, taken Dr. Mark Klafter, a former together with Giles (and with Jewish Federation of Greater the assistance of the Russian Orlando Community Rela- conscientious objector Dmi- tions Council co-chair, is try, also an outcast) results in a neurologist practicing in their ability to save a precious Orlando. S Andy, Karen, Nathaniel and Gabrielle Reiff