Emes is the Yiddish word for truth. Truth is hard to find.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Memento Mori Speech from "The Dybbuk"
From dust you came - To dust you will return. For what, o foolish man - is your strife and your sacrifice? Your restless activity and constant striving. In the end your bones will be carried to the grave. And praying and weeping will be of no avail. Everything which lives must finally pass away... Though you have your joys, soon also you will weep- For the life of man is like unto the DANCE OF DEATH.
What an awesome clip. The music is wonderful - to me it sounds like another very familiar piece of music, though I can't quite put my finger on it - maybe a mixture of Prokofiev and Saint-Saëns. The choreography is also amazing - especially the skeleton, who is played by the choreographer herself, Judith Berg.
Apparently, the toytentanz, the dance of death, was a traditional dance at Eastern European Jewish weddings as a sort of memento mori... Similar in purpose to the breaking of the glass...
There was an interesting exchange between the head of the NYC livery/cab drivers union and the leading civil rights leaders in the city after he called for "racial profiling" on the people getting into cabs. This after a cab driver was shot by a robber.
What's fascinating to me is that instead of hearing the message this guy was trying to deliver, the Al Sharptons and such cannot get past this guy's communication problem and so can only respond in the cliche rhetoric of calling him a racist.
This is funny as the guy is both a Hispanic and (part)black. Apparently he has also done quite a bit trying to help poor people in his community.
Here are some of the articles, especially here where he tries to clarify what he is saying...
And what he is saying is basically - in bad neighborhoods, don't pick up guys that are wearing hoodies where you can't see their face. Don't pick up guys that look suspicious or like they may not be the most upstanding members of society. Err on the side of caution. The race point he makes actually doesn't make sense except to say that many people that live in poor, black neighborhoods are black or Hispanic. So, frankly, the profiling can't really be race based anyway...
It's so amazing to me what you find on the Internet. Here I found a video of a woman singing a song in Hebrew about a boy who writes a letter to God asking him to keep his family safe.
I'd love to find out where this clip is from and the story behind it. To me, it is truly bizarre, because the Hebrew is actually a very loose translation of a story that started in Soviet Russia many decades before:
In 1928, a four year old boy was taught the meaning of the word "Always". And when he understood the concept, he said:
Let there always be sun, Let there always be sky, Let there always be Mommy, Let there always be I.
This little poem was captured by a journalist, who wrote about it in a magazine, which in turned made it into a book by a famous Russian writer, which in turn made it into a famous Soviet poster, which in turn, in 1962, made it into a very popular song.
But while this is a fascinating story of a proto-meme, what's bizarre is unlike the other singers in this clip who faithfully translate the words into German, French, etc, why did the Hebrew translation change the meaning - why did they bring God into it and remove the entire point of the song, which is talking about the notion of eternity. It doesn't look like the Hebrew singers in the video are religious...