The Conspiracy

Schlepping 2012; Gibson’s Maccabees movie done; and more. [Required Reading]

The Great Schlep begins again [Forward]

After a successful 2008 campaign to encourage young Jews to talk to their elders about voting for Obama, the follow-up (again called The Great Schlep) has grown by leaps and bounds. The Jewish Daily Forward reports:

“The group, called the Jewish Council for Education and Research, ran a high-profile campaign to send young Jews to lobby their grandparents to vote for Obama in 2008. Now a super PAC, the organization has raised nearly as much so far this cycle as they raised in the entire 2008 campaign.

‘We were able to do a lot last time,’ said Mik Moore, treasurer of the group, officially known as the Jewish Council for Education and Research. ‘But there was a lot we didn’t do, and we’re starting a lot earlier.’

And yes, Mik Moore is the president of our board, and a former member of New Voices himself.

Gibson’s Hanukkah movie: over? [JTA]

After it was announced that Mel Gibson, director of “The Passion of the Christ,” was going to direct a film on the Maccabees, the Jewish community uttered a collective, “Wha…?” But it looks like the movie might not happen after all. Moreover, the screenwriter for the project has made some pretty nasty accusations about Gibson’s intentions. JTA reports:

“‘Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas said in a letter to Mel Gibson that the actor and filmmaker ‘hates Jews.’ Ezsterhas sent the letter following Warner Bros.’ rejection of his screenplay for Gibson’s movie about Judah Maccabee.

The letter, published on The, accuses Gibson of not really wanting to make the film, and sabotaging it, saying: ‘I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason you won’t make ‘The Maccabees’ is the ugliest possible one. You hate Jews.’

Eszterhas wrote that Gibson wanted to make the movie only so he could ‘convert the Jews to Christianity.'”

The most expensive siddur you’d ever buy? [Haaretz]
A festival prayerbook from the 15th century will be auctioned off in Paris next month, after an exhibition in New York next week. Haaretz reports:
“The lavishly illustrated book on vellum, which features Renaissance motifs, contains daily prayers and blessings for Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.
‘It is very beautifully written and richly decorated with illuminations of mixed styles,’ said Kay Sutton, the director of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the international books department at Christie’s.”
Feminist art in Orthodox Judaism? Oh yes. [Zeek]
In this Zeek exploration of feminist-themed art, David Sperber looks at trends in how many of these artists view their traditions, the role of gender in religious practice, and more. Check it out:
“Feminist art currently created in the religious community is a wide, multifaceted world that cannot be reduced to any single practice or outlook. It has a radical, even militant component that connects it to its roots in radical 1970s feminist art, yet an extensive branch of this art is characterized by a conciliatory, minor voice. Western feminist art has addressed many topics, such as the exclusion of women from society’s dominant discourse and the regulation of their bodies and sexuality, the body and sexuality, subject-object relations, the dominance of male hegemony, or the economy of art production. The latter issue was manifested most emphatically in re-appropriating crafts such as ceramics, embroidery, sewing and knitting into the world of art. Also addressed were issues such as the myth of beauty and normative physical dimensions, and patriarchal positions on menstruation blood. Jewish feminist art participates in the discourse about several of these same issues. It not only designs feminist ceremonial art, but also questions the visibility of women, reads anew mythological figures of women, and discusses halachic issues such as niddah and tevilah, head covering, agunot, halachic infertility, women’s prayers, the marginality of women in ceremonies and their exclusion from Torah studies.”

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