This is a guest post by Gila Drazen.
This past Shabbat, the rabbi at my congregation here in New York spoke on last week’s parsha, Va-era Vayera. This parsha includes the Akeidah, the binding of Isaac, and the rabbi spoke on this topic for the first time in several years. He spoke about sacrifices; he sang a song that Leonard Cohen wrote (see below) but Judy Collins covered; he talked about parents sending their children as soldiers; he spoke about violence that parents send their children into.
Is anyone surprised that I immediately thought about reality television?
I thought first of the Heene family; while there has been ample writing about this family in the month since the balloon escapade, I almost can’t help myself. Where do parents separate their own dreams from their hopes for their children? Where does the hope for fame end?
I thought of Paul Peterson and the work that he does to advocate for children in show business; I thought of the recent memoirs that came out from Andre Agassi and Jodie Sweetin (you know, Stephanie Tanner?); I thought of the Gosselin kids and the Octo-Mom. I thought about it again on Sunday when I read about the parents of kids who are currently on Broadway, and the changes they’re making for their kids.
Ultimately I thought about the culture we live in, where instead of hoping to excel people hope to be weird enough to get on television for being themselves. And I got to thinking about the kinds of ways it’s possible to sacrifice – and who we’re trying to answer in those actions. (pause)
On a lighter note, I wanted to make sure everyone had seen this week’s Google doodles – celebrating the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street. Not so Jewish, but definitely made me happy.
It’s part of pop culture, but one I don’t really live in – can someone please explain to me why sports fans feel compelled to refer to their teams in first person plural? You personally didn’t play the game – why did “we” do well? (I’m sure many of you think I’m joking, but one of my birthday resolutions for this year was to understand this a little better.)
Next week, watch for information on Natalie Portman as a Hasid. Have a fabulous week!
PS – please, someone, tell me you know the source of the title. Please.