“The voice of the turtle is heard in the land” – “Song of Songs”
Happy Passover, Happy Easter, and Happy Spring to all.
As many of you are aware, Passover – the celebration of freedom and the seminal holiday of Jewish continuity – invites us to reflect on the past and present. In that spirit, I would like to share with what I have been working on in the last few months.
Since I last wrote to you, my documentary, “Yiddish: a tale of survival” has been completed, and is now in the process of being launched. So far we have had one private press screening at McGill University. It was reviewed by Janice Arnold of the Canadian Jewish news and I was also interviewed by Pierre Landry of the CBC on International Human Rights Day. I have to admit that not only does the film tell a great story, it is also great entertainment. In the next few weeks, I will be sending the DVD’s to those of you who have supported this project on IndieGogo. Without your support it would not have been possible. I am also sending the film to festivals around the world, including US, Australia, Europe, Israel, and even Asia, and I am in contact with university professionals, and distributors. We have so far had some nibbles from PBS and Australia. I am also offering the film to charitable institutions: It would make a fabulous fundraiser.
If you would be interested in organizing a private screening of the film for groups, associations or academic purposes please contact me and I would be glad to work something out.
In other news, AskAbigail Productions has been hired to videotape and post the McGill talks for ISGAP, (Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism). Every month they have guests of international calibre, such as David Matas, a well known Canadian lawyer, who makes the case for anti-semitism being behind the failure of the Israel/Palestine peace talks. Jonathon Speyer, research fellow of the Gloria Centre who bases his research on actual visits to Middle Eastern Countries including many recent visits to Syria, Yigal Carmon of Memri, a Middlle East media watch organization, and Shalem Coulibaly, Professor of Philosophy and Secretary General, Université de Ouagadougou
(Burkina Faso). All have been among the ISGAP speakers. As Shalem Coulibaly, said in his talk, musing about anti-semitism in Sub-Saharan Africa, a place that has few Jews and yet is vulnerable to this virus: “I am interested in Sub Saharan Africa in particular because if we do not fight and engage against anti-Semitism and anti-zionism, then we are responsible for tomorrow’s destruction of our own societies. Hence, it is a question of responsibility for ourselves and not just for others,” All of the lectures can be seen on the ISGAP/vimeo website.
AskAbigail Productions has continued to support the efforts of CIJR (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research) and I continue to serve on their board.
As I review my blogs for the past year, it turns out I have written 12 pieces about anti-semitism. I am sad to say that this has been due to the enormous resurgence of anti-semitism http://www.askabigailproductions.com/anti-semitism that has become apparent to me and the general public in the past 2 years, in movies, Confessions of a Self-Hating Jew, Defamation: The Movie, at the academy awards, Purim, Jews, and the Academy Awards,news reports, and conferences, Highlights of the CIJR conference Combatting the Delegitimation of Israel.
And here is my latest blog about Passover which also riffs on the theme of freedom and its connection to the slavery of thought and anti-semitism in the Middle East. http://www.askabigailproductions.com/passover-and-the-arab-spring
The other day, as I was chatting with my Iranian emigre taxi driver friend, he said to me, “If I could only see peace in the Middle East in my lifetime, I would die a happy man.”
Insh’Allah, may it be so….
The Passover story is one that embraces hope. As Rabbi Steinmetz points out, the challenge of asking the question is the beginning of awareness, which is the beginning of the path to freedom. May all our questions end in true freedom and redemption for all mankind.
I welcome your feedback and comments and look forward to working towards freedom and peace together with you in the new year.