Newspaper Archive of
Heritage Florida Jewish News
Fern Park , Florida
August 19, 2011     Heritage Florida Jewish News
PAGE 18     (18 of 24 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
PAGE 18     (18 of 24 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
August 19, 2011

Newspaper Archive of Heritage Florida Jewish News produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2019. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.

PAGE 18A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 19, 2011 A priest, a rabbi and a minister hold a press conference By Arieh O'Sullivan The Media Line While Palestinian and Is- raeli leaders may not be able to agree on peace-making efforts, prominent Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders have embraced the idea of using religion to boost aware- hess about climate change and preserving the environment. "The heart of all of our faiths is the sense that there is more to the cosmos than purely physical components," said Rabbi David Rosen, a leading member of the World Council of Religious Leaders, at a conference to launch the Interfaith Center for Sustain- able Development. "This leads to a sense of connectedness and should lead to a sense of responsibility and obligation to both respect and protect it." Religious groups have played a relatively marginal role in addressing global warming. Most organizations focused on the environ- ment tend to be secular and humanist. This started to change when United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon acknowledged in 2009 that the world's religions were "an untapped source of hope" " to influence discussions on global warming and should use their weight to push for policies that protected the planet. "When governments, civil society and particularly re- ligious communities wdrk together, transformation can take place. Faiths and religions are an essential part of that equation. Indeed, the world's faith communities occupy a unique position in discussions on the fate of our planet and the accelerating impacts of climate change," Ban said in Nov. 3, 2009 ad- dress in Britain. Last April, the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land, which represents the highest religious authori- ties in Israel and the Palestin- ian Authority, adopted what became known as the "Holy Land Climate Change Decla- ration Project." It called for Muslims, Chris- tians and Jews to "reduce their personal emissions of greenhouse gases and to urge their political leaders to adopt strong, binding, science- based targets for the reduction of greenhouse gases in order to aver the worst dangers of climate crisis." It also urged adherents of the faiths to reas- sess how they "consume, use and dispose of earth's blessed resources." "Ourway of life is out of bal- ance, thus our environmental crisis is a spiritual crisis," said Rabbi Yonatan Neril, founder and director of the ICSD, a .project that brings together Israeli, Palestinian, Muslim, Christian and Jewish semi- nary students to focus on the envirohment. Speaking at an inaugural forum arranged by the center, Msgr. William Shomali, the Latin bishop of Jerusalem, said religion had enormous scope and the message of sustaining the environment needed to permeate to the street. "We shall speak in churches and synagogues and mosques about how to respect nature," Shomali told The Media Line. "When we respect creation, we are also respecting the creator;" Echoing Shomali, Rosen, who is also the international director of interreligious affairs of the AJC, said reli- gion as humankind's "most important delivery system" in raising awareness about preserving the environment. "In Judaism we are taught one must not destroy anything wastefully. It is aprinciple that needs to be emphasized," Rosen said. But Haj Salah Zuheika, deputy minister of religious affairs of the Palestinian Au- thority, said the problem was not with theology. "The imams do speak of the importance of ecology. What is missing is the ap- plication- of the message," Zuheika said. Bishop Shomali said that even thought religions hold common principles, "the im- plementation is many times in the hands of politicians." Rosen stressed that many organizations working to address global warming and environment protection were "out of touch" and "not in- terested" in what religions are saying. "Most of these organiza- tions are secular agencies, which tend to be staffed by people who are far away from religion and have a degree of alienation from it," said Rosen. 'The question is how to bridge the gulf, the secular-religious divide, so that organizations leading the good fight actually see religion as allies." But some environmental activists said the greening of religion was more about ulterior motives than about saving the world. "What is happening with religions is that they need to adjust themselves to draw people to them because people are losing interest, especially the young," Dhyan Or, a long- time activist of Roots of Peace, an organization promoting the removal of land mines, told The Media Line. "In my personal opinion, there is no relation between religion and environment. To make one is artificial and purely for marketing. They are looking to make religion suitable for the changing world and are looking for hot items and social issues that are attractive. And this goes for the Jews, Muslims and Christians," Or said. "Just as they can bring a quote from the bible to back caring for the environment, you can also just as easily say that like the biblical flood, today's global warming is a punish- ment from God," he added. Contrary to type, Larry David's not at all neurotic By Rachel Shukert Tablet One is "bespectacled," which is fair enough. An- other is "bald," a signifier that David's television alter- ego regards as a tradition- ally oppressed tribal identity (spitting in biblical fury when the assimilationists among this imagined fraternity of the hairless attempt to "pass" NEW YORK--Three adjec- tives are often used to describe Larry David, the star and creator of"Curb Your Enthusi- asm,'which recentlypremiered its eighth season after two excruciating"Curb"-lessyears. under the camouflage of a baseball cap or, God forbid, a toupee). Finally, and most ubiquitously, he is "neurotic." "Larry David plays himself as a bald, bespectacled neu- rotic," The New York Times wrote in a review of the new season. "Larry David plays a neu- is your official sourcefor federal, state and local government  information. You'll find to questions on everything from Social Security and governmert auctions to product recalls and travel advisories. And it's also the pla:e to share ideas with your government, or simply let bs know what yo'J think. To make your total government connection, visit I (800} FED-INFO A public servi  from the $. Genial $ecv n. rotic fussbudget named Larry David," The Washington Post said in 2010. "He's officially an L.A. neurotic," the New York Post recently bemoaned. Far be it for me to argue with writers for such august publications. But having said that, I don't think any of these people actually knows what "neurotic" means, other than a word you swap in when you think it's impolite to say "Jew." I can't speak to the inner tumult of the real Larry David, the writer and actor behind the bald, bespectacled mask. I've never met the man. (If I ever did, we either would circle each other silently in a moonlit forest clearing before gently pressing our foreheads together like uni- corns performing a mating rite, or within five minutes each lie dead by the other's hand.) Yet by any measure-- and certainly compared to his Jewish comedic contem- porariesLarry David is a character remarkably free of internal conflict. Psychoanalytic theory holds that neurosis occurs when the different parts of the personality are atwarwith each other. Now think of Larry David: He has no internal conflicts; he's difficult, but he's content. Not for him the unrelent- ing angst of Albert Brooks or the comically tattered sense of self-esteem of Richard Lews (a frequent "Curb Your Enthusiasm" guest star}. As for the Grand Emperor of Neurotics, Woody Alien (and David's director in the 2009 film "Whatever Works"), the two men's public personas could hardly be more differ- ent. Apart from the glasses, the Brooklyn accent and their Jewishness, David is, in effect, the anti-Allen. Skeptical? Consider, for a start, their attitudes toward women. A defining theme in Allen's oeuvre, women are no more than an afterthought in David's, and the latter gives his female stars far more interest- ing things to do. (Just think of Susie Essman's volcanically foul-mouthed Susie Green.) David is no romantic; he wouldn't have lasted five minutes with a whimsical naive like Annie Hall. In the first episode of "Curb" latest season, David's divorce from Cheryl is final- ized.'First, though, there is a possibility of reconciliation, which David characteristi- cally bungles. Cheryl leaves and then David just cuts to his divorce lawyer one year later. One can imagine Allen commemorating this event with a sentimental montage of happier times; Larry is more concerned with Dodg- ers tickets and whether his divorce lawyer is lying to him about being Jewish. Nor does sex hold him in any particular thrall. In a recent episode, as Jeff, Leon and Marty Funkhauser are rendered all but catatonic by the bodacious ta-tas on Rich- ard Lewis' burlesque-dancer girlfriendmLewis, in true Allen fashion, can only bring himself to admit he admires her for her mind--Larry calmly slurps his drink and later matter of factly informs her that she has a mole on the underside of her right breast that she really ought to get checked out. In all realms, sexual David is refreshingly un:creepy. In the world of "Curb," Jeff and Susie's teenage daughter, Sammy, is Larry's antagonist. In the world of Allen's films, she'd be a love interest. Their relationships with technology are at odds as well. Compare Allen's famous war with machines to Larry's pri- mal rage at vacuum packag- ing. Allen blames himself for his difficulties. With Larry, it's the package's fault. For David, the conflict is always external, and this lack of introspection characterizes virtually all of his interpersonal actions. When David refuses to add an additional tip for the serv- ers at the country club, the problem isn't his parsimony, it's the server's greed. He feels similarly in the right when he tries to rescind his order for Girl Scout cookies or screams at the neighborhood kids for serving him subpar lemonade. Why should he allow himself to be taken advantage of? As faras Larry is concerned, his only problem is the un- reasonableness of others. He might come off like kind of an a--hole, but that's your problem, not his. He's a self- actualized a--hole. It's tempting to ascribe David's blind unconcern for the feelings and good opinion of others on his immense fortune, which is alluded to, if rarely explicitly stated--if I had half a billion dollars, I probably wouldn't care what anyone thought of me either. But Larry seems utterly un- impressed by the trappings of wealth--he still buys his pants at Banana Republic, for God's sake--and as such, I propose his bizarre self-con- fidence comes from another, deeper source: Virtually alone among his peers, Larry David has absolutely no ambivalence about being a Jew. From his disgust at Cheryl's enormous Christmas tree, to the glee with which he hangs a mezuzah with his father-in- law's special ChristNail, to his inadvertent rescue of a Jewish man from a mildly coerced baptism, David's outlook is essentially tribal. To him, a Jew trying to pass as a gentile is as ridiculous as a bald man in a toupee. David's comic pose is less that of the anxious assimilationist eager to fit in than that of the dueless greenhorn making his way in a world to which he's not sure he cares to belong. Or perhaps he's even more atavistic than that. Neurosis is often defined as a focus on behavioral minutiae that can border on the obsessive- compulsive, but Larry's many preoccupations, from the unwritten laws of dry clean- ing, to the proper way to treat chauffeurs, gardeners and other laborers, tc :he irrevocable uncleanness of certain objects (pens that have seen the inside of Jason Alexander's ears, $50 bills lacedwith Funkhauser's foot sweat) recall another endless litany of unbending edicts: the Book of Leviticus. Larry David isn't a neurotic; he's just demanding. Like the God of the Hebrews: He can be kind of an a--hole, too. This was reprinted from, a new read on Jewish life.