Wednesday, December 14, 2011


(Hat tip: Mirie) This fundraising project on Kickstarter looks interesting:
Unorthodox is a feature documentary that follows three teenagers from the modern Orthodox community as they spend a post-high school year studying in Israel. Tzipi, an intellectually gifted young woman, travels with intentions of clarifying her problems with Orthodox interpretations of Jewish law. Jake, a musician, wants to follow the religion but doesn’t see how he can reconcile his faith with his professional ambitions. Chaim, a half-Dominican bad-boy, undertakes his year of study without thinking about the possibilities of religious growth; he goes to Israel because tuition is paid for by his rabbis. In addition to documentary cinematography shot in the US and Israel, Tzipi, Chaim and Jake film themselves throughout the year with video diaries, offering an incredibly vivid and intimate glimpse into their lives. Narration throughout the film weaves Anna’s own story—of leaving the modern Orthodox community—with that of the three subjects, lending a very personal glimpse into the world of Orthodox Judaism.
They're looking to gather many small donations to complete the project, which is most of the way there already (all filming was completed, etc.). If you're interested in seeing this, read about it and donate!

Speaking of unorthodox, Chana sums up the YU Beacon story best: Writing a (poor) weak erotica-style piece with some confusing details about a girl's first-or-not time having sex with a guy she is-or-isn't in a serious relationship with is about attention-seeking, not about discussing an issue seriously. If they wished to discuss the issue of pre-marital sex among Orthodox people seriously, they could have done so by actually discussing it as a serious piece [much as Chana did with other aspects of the subject, as she notes]. Yes, there would still be much objection to this - a reasonable argument could be made for or against YU's school newspapers being the proper forum for such discussions - but at least it would be defensible [I should disclose that I did not think even Chana's were all necessary/appropriate, but they were at least defensible]. Oh, and in case it wasn't clear this was about attention, leaking it to national media is rather immature as well: Deal with the fallout within the context you wrote a piece, don't seek media to try and force and/or embarrass your university. Kudos to YU and its students for standing strongly against this, and it seems that the general consensus even from media was "...that was crappy writing."

And finally, singer/rapper Matisyahu shaved his beard. He's also still Orthodox, not "Un-Orthodox" (and looks really tired). So... who cares?

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