Blog http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog Fri, 01 May 2015 16:28:45 -0700 en-gb Woman in Gold http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/woman-in-gold http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/woman-in-gold

Ignore the underwhelming ratings on the movie web sites. Woman in Gold is a movie well worth seeing, despite critics’ complaints of heavy-handedness, bad accents, too many flashbacks, and emotional mawkishness. I found none of those things in this story of Maria Altmann, based upon actual events in the life of a Jewish Austrian who managed to flee Europe for America on the eve of the Holocaust.

In brief: famed Austrian artist Gustav Klimt had painted a splendid gold-leafed portrait of Maria’s aunt Adele. When their Vienna apartment is plundered by the Nazis, the painting disappears along with much else, only to end up in an Austrian museum where it has become the “Mona Lisa of Austria,” the artifact par excellence of national pride. Seeking to reclaim rightful ownership of the portrait, Maria (wonderfully portrayed by Helen Mirren) enlists the help of a young lawyer, Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), grandson of the composer Arnold Schoenberg. As the movie progresses, Maria and “Randy” develop a relationship defined far more by Maria’s complexities than by Randy’s youth and inexperience. Together, and by fits and starts, the two pursue restitution of the artwork, which ultimately ends in the portrait’s restoration to Maria.

The story works on many levels: as a period piece; as consciousness-raising for art restitution; as a Holocaust movie; as a law film; as a character study of an Austrian, now American, Jewish woman.

At one important level, Woman in Gold concerns identity. Maria, as she imagines, has left Austria behind for good. But as events reconnect her geographically and emotionally with Austria, she needs to consider who she is vis-à-vis the past. (The several flashbacks to her experiences after the Nazi invasion of Austria help to root the film in history.) Reclaiming the portrait is both an act of justice and also one of personal closure. In a very real way Maria is reunited with her aunt and the rest of her family. The speech by Randy Schoenberg before an Austrian arbitration panel speaks of the nature of national identity, as Randy argues that there are two kinds of Austrians — those who believe in doing the right and just thing by owning up to what the Nazis did in stealing property, and those who don’t.

On this Holocaust Remembrance Day, identity issues will undoubtedly surface for many survivors and children of survivors. Some choose to “forget” their experiences, or at least not bring them to mind, for they cannot truly be forgotten. Others may find themselves speaking of their lives, so that the past will not be repeated. One thing is certain: artworks can be restored, but an arbitration panel cannot reunite those who died with their families.

How then does one reintegrate one’s life in the face of the Holocaust? Some built a new life in America or in other countries. Some became bitter, some became spiritual, some became activists, some retreated. Some painted and others wrote poetry. 

Against all odds, some Jews took up the image of Jesus as representative of the persecuted Jew, the martyr, the stand-in for all the hatred, calumny, and persecution that culminated in the events of 75 years ago. Perhaps some took up the image of the resurrected Jesus as the representative of the rebirth of Israel, though I’m unaware of such examples. Images of crucifixion may have resonated for some more than those of resurrection and hope. Sometimes pain stays with us longer than healing. 

I recommend viewing Woman in Gold. The triumph, tinged with the images of what once was, is itself a symbol of rebirth in the aftermath of horror. On this remembrance day, let us stand in solidarity, and in hope, with the survivors and with those who perished.

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Blog Tue, 14 Apr 2015 20:37:00 -0700
Hate Is Not That Complicated http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/hate-is-not-that-complicated http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/hate-is-not-that-complicated

On the eve of Yom HaShoah, an American Jew writes about his family’s fate in the Holocaust.

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Blog Tue, 14 Apr 2015 18:52:00 -0700
Anarchy Seder? http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/anarchy-seder http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/anarchy-seder

Does keeping order in the Passover really matter? What does the story spell out about God?

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Blog Tue, 31 Mar 2015 13:24:00 -0700
Why Settle for the Worse? http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/why-settle-for-the-worse http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/why-settle-for-the-worse

Did you know you can become addicted to your own brain chemicals?

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Blog Mon, 06 Apr 2015 13:48:00 -0700
How To Live Debt-Free http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/live-debt-free http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/live-debt-free

Back in the day when Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem, taxes were a hated part of life, especially by the Jews. It reminded them they were subjected to foreign (Roman) rule, just like God had warned them if they did not obey and follow him.

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Blog Mon, 30 Mar 2015 20:29:17 -0700
Are You Insurgent? http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/are-you-insurgent http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/are-you-insurgent

Divergents are misfits in a system that seeks to control everyone. And now Tris, the most divergent of all in Veronica Roth’s best selling book and movie trilogy, is forced to be insurgent as well.

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Blog Fri, 20 Mar 2015 15:14:49 -0700
Moses Celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day — Who Knew?? http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/moses-celebrates-saint-patrick-s-day-who-knew http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/moses-celebrates-saint-patrick-s-day-who-knew

Hi, this is Moses here. Yes, that Moses. I hope you don’t mind my talking while I eat this corned beef and cabbage. Man, this sure tastes good. I mean, the manna was good too, it was food from heaven for our desert journey, but it’s nice to have something else for a change.

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Blog Mon, 16 Mar 2015 16:54:28 -0700
Fun Fact Friday - Passover - Spring Cleaning http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/fun-fact-friday-passover-spring-cleaning http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/fun-fact-friday-passover-spring-cleaning

Did spring cleaning start as a Jewish tradition or didn’t it? Let’s find out.

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Blog Thu, 12 Mar 2015 15:43:09 -0700
Movie Review: Holocaust: Night Will Fall http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/movie-review-holocaust-night-will-fall http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/movie-review-holocaust-night-will-fall

A shocking documentary about the concentration camps that was suppressed by the British in 1945 will be released in April to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen. The film, German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, includes footage by British, American, and Soviet military cameramen of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, Magdanek, Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dachau and other camps.

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Blog Wed, 11 Mar 2015 20:00:09 -0700
Designer Babies Coming Your Way http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/designer-babies-coming-your-way http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/designer-babies-coming-your-way

England has shocked the world by announcing they are going to allow a new medical procedure that could lead to designer babies.

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Blog Mon, 09 Mar 2015 18:52:17 -0700
Fun Fact Friday - Purim http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/fun-fact-friday-purim http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/fun-fact-friday-purim

Did you know this is the month of Adar*? But what is the month of Adar? Is it the last month in the Jewish calendar? Let’s find out.

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Blog Tue, 03 Mar 2015 15:49:44 -0800
For Such a Time as Purim 2015 http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/for-such-a-time-as-purim-2015 http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/for-such-a-time-as-purim-2015



Anti-Semitism seems to be at a high right now.  After the horrific Paris attacks and the general anti-Jewish sentiment throughout Europe, perhaps Israel’s Prime Minister (his country has the largest Jewish population in the world) has concerns that are warranted.  Iran (Persia of old) has a long history of looking to get rid of Jews.  Tomorrow is the Jewish holiday of Purim, which commemorates the events that took place in ancient Persia in the 4th century BC.  What do Hassan Rouhani and Haman have in common?  Underestimating the God of Israel who has promised to preserve the Jewish people as a testimony to His faithfulness.  Want to chat?

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Blog Tue, 03 Mar 2015 00:07:00 -0800
Fun Fact Friday - Chinese New Year http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/fun-fact-friday-chinese-new-year http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/fun-fact-friday-chinese-new-year

Jews have a calendar! Chinese people have a calendar! And so does God.  Both the Chinese and Jewish calendars go by lunisolar time measurement, as do many other cultures. These calendars go by the same counting system as the Tanakh (Old Testament) does, and in fact, God says in Genesis 1:14, “‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years.’”

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Blog Thu, 19 Feb 2015 17:36:34 -0800
How to Find the Love You Crave http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/how-to-find-the-love-you-crave http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/how-to-find-the-love-you-crave

The Academy Awards are scheduled for Feb. 22. It’s an extravaganza of glitz, glamour and vicarious living.
It’s the yearly idol parade on the famous red carpet where actors show off their fashion, give their two-minute interviews and pose in front of a zillion clicking cameras.
Let’s face it - even cynics like me like to watch the show.

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Blog Wed, 18 Feb 2015 21:37:33 -0800
Fun Fact Friday - Valentine’s Day (Fifteenth of Av) http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/fun-fact-friday-valentine-s-day-fifteenth-of-av http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/fun-fact-friday-valentine-s-day-fifteenth-of-av

Do Jews celebrate Valentine’s Day, or don’t they? Let’s find out.

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Blog Thu, 12 Feb 2015 23:29:07 -0800
It's TuBishevat! http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/it-s-tubishevat http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/it-s-tubishevat

IT’S TU BISHEVAT!

That means that it’s the new year for trees. And it’s a day to eat some new fruit, or to eat some of the produce of Israel. Some enjoy planting trees, or having a special seder for which the menu includes fruits, nuts, or vegetables. In keeping with the agricultural theme of the holiday, we’d like you to —

MEET THE HUMAN VEGETABLE

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Blog Mon, 02 Feb 2015 20:56:01 -0800
A Groundhog Day Reflection on the Super Bowl http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/a-groundhog-day-reflection-on-the-super-bowl http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/a-groundhog-day-reflection-on-the-super-bowl

What do the Super Bowl and Groundhog Day have in common? Absolutely nothing. What do the Super Bowl and the movie, Groundhog Day, have in common? Quite a lot, especially if you are the Seattle Seahawks.

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Blog Mon, 02 Feb 2015 17:26:17 -0800
What Kind of Heart Are You? http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/it-s-t-bishevat http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/it-s-t-bishevat

There’s a 68-year old man living in France with an artificial heart. According to Dr. Carpentier, the artificial heart’s inventor, the patient recovered sufficiently to go home from the hospital and is “pedaling like crazy” on a stationary bicycle.

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Blog Fri, 30 Jan 2015 19:05:29 -0800
A Jewish Take on Deflategate in Light of the Super Bowl http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/welcome-to-groundhog-day-2015 http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/welcome-to-groundhog-day-2015

By now, everybody from Bill Nye the Science Guy to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has given an opinion on Deflategate. In case you’ve been hibernating the last two weeks, Deflategate is the controversy over whether the New England Patriots let air out of their footballs to gain a competitive advantage in their AFC Championship victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

It was only a matter of time until the rabbis weighed in.

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Blog Fri, 30 Jan 2015 17:31:03 -0800
Welcome to Groundhog Day 2015 http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/what-kind-of-heart-are-you http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/what-kind-of-heart-are-you

As Groundhog Day aficionados know, if Punxsutawney Phil leaves his burrow and sees his shadow — we get six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow — spring is around the corner.

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Blog Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:26:58 -0800
What Are You Saying?? It’s Like Speaking a Different Language http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/what-are-you-saying-it-s-like-speaking-a-different-language http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/what-are-you-saying-it-s-like-speaking-a-different-language

Do you ever feel like you’re speaking a foreign language when trying to explain the gospel to someone who isn’t a Christian? That’s how it sounded to me, before I came to faith in Jesus from a traditional Jewish background. Christians would invite me to church to hear a sermon about Jesus? I’d just respond, “I’m Jewish.”

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Blog Tue, 27 Jan 2015 21:42:42 -0800
Paris Attack Ignites Passion for Outreach http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/paris-attack-ignites-passion-for-outreach http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/paris-attack-ignites-passion-for-outreach

In this time of unrest and unease in France, we wanted to keep you informed on what’s going on with our Paris branch of Jews for Jesus. Jewish ministry is at a crucial point there. Please watch the brief update below from David Brickner.

For more, directly from our Paris director, Joshua Turnil, read:
"Peace I Leave With You".

REACH THE UNREACHED

Support our Cause

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Blog Tue, 13 Jan 2015 20:09:01 -0800
Peace I Leave with You http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/peace-i-leave-with-you http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/peace-i-leave-with-you

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." I was there above in the pictures you see...

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Blog Mon, 12 Jan 2015 21:02:48 -0800
Reflections on Terrorism in Paris http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/reflections-on-terrorism-in-paris http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/reflections-on-terrorism-in-paris

Jews for Jesus Paris staffer, Karl DeSouza, reflected on the events of the past few days in a conversation with his young son...

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Blog Fri, 09 Jan 2015 16:29:03 -0800
Jews for Jesus Paris branch responds to the ongoing story of terrorism in their midst. http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/jews-for-jesus-paris-branch-responds-to-the-ongoing-story-of-terrorism-in-their-midst http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/blog/jews-for-jesus-paris-branch-responds-to-the-ongoing-story-of-terrorism-in-their-midst

Currently two standoffs are taking place, one near the Paris airport and the other in a kosher supermarket just a few blocks from our Juifs Pour Jesus office...

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Blog Fri, 09 Jan 2015 15:21:26 -0800