Ian Thal is a playwright, performer and theater educator specializing in mime, commedia dell’arte, and puppetry, and has been known to act on Boston area stages from time to time, sometimes with Teatro delle Maschere. Formerly the community editor at The Jewish Advocate, he blogs irregularly at the unimaginatively entitled From The Journals of Ian Thal. He is a senior contributor to The Arts Fuse, Boston’s online arts magazine, in which this column originally appeared.
Ironically, those who smeared former Theater J artistic director Ari Roth with allegations that he is “anti-Israel” accomplished a feat that anti-Israeli activists could only dream of doing: making a Jewish Community Center boycott Israeli culture. Read more »
(With gratitude to the editors of Jewschool, I will be blogging 1-2 times per month on the challenges of parenting about Israel and Palestine to two boys in Jewish day school and who live within an active Jewish community, but doing so from the political left.)
On the way home from a recent Friday night Shabbat dinner, our family’s conversation stumbled on to a mention of the Holocaust.
“What’s the Holocaust again?” my younger son, nearly 8, asked.
My wife and I gulped and quickly looked at one another. We each knew the topic had come up before, both in discussions after hearing something on the news and because there are passages about the Warsaw Ghetto in the family Seder we attend every year. But we could not remember what we had told him and, I think, were both silently unsure what about what we should say next.
“Not now, Adiv. This late at night isn’t the best time to talk about the Holocaust.”
Before my wife or I could speak, these words came from my older, 10-year old son. Gentle, caring, and mature beyond his years. Read more »
Have you battled an eating disorder or another form of disordered eating?
Have you grappled to make peace with your body?
Have you struggled to live within your body in an embodied way?
Have you had difficulty navigating transitions in your body due to development, life stage or lifestyle?
Have you suffered as you made peace with your sexuality, sexual identity or gender identity?
Are there ways in which you have resolved these issues?
We are currently in the midst of collecting soulful personal narratives from Jewish individuals for an upcoming anthology about the ways in which body, body experience and the related struggles intersect with one’s religion or identity. We will then edit, compile, and anthologize this collection of stories of soul and spirit and hope they will foster courage, communication, connection and compassion – both for ourselves and for others. We want to represent the full breadth of experience in a non-hierarchical way without sensationalizing suffering. Everyone is worthy and deserves to share their story. You don’t have to earn it with suffering at some pre-set benchmark. Length is not a factor as we want you to feel free to tell your story in as full or brief a form as feels complete, poignant and fulfilling to you. Longer may be better for some people to feel that they have fully expressed a true and full narrative that explains the arc of their journey. Others may choose to focus on a particularly meaningful or touching moment, anecdote, or experience and we want to leave room for all of those voices and perspectives in this compilation. Read more »
I’m feeling conflicted about the lighting of the White House hanukkiah (Hanukkah menorah) by two students from Jerusalem’s Hand in Hand school. I think the school is wonderful, and I’m so glad it’s getting attention from the President of the U.S. His comments were beautiful, and giving publicity and support to such groundbreaking organizations is good for Israel and the Jews.
But I also feel like there’s a time and place to make political statements about Israel – which is unarguably the effect when you have students from an Israeli Jewish-Arab school light the President’s Hanukkah candles (including one student who is not Jewish), with a hanukkiah made by Jewish and Arab Israeli students.
On Thursday, my union as a graduate student at Berkeley, UAW 2865, is going to vote on a BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) resolution against Israel. I’m going to vote “no,” although I oppose the occupation and support selective, non-BDS branded boycotts targeting the occupation. I vote this way ambivalently. The Israeli occupation is more than 45 years long and involves deep injustice, and it ought to be resisted. One may not oppose BDS without offering an alternative vision for ending the occupation—my vision involves selective boycotts, investment in progressive elements in Israeli society and politics, political lobbying in DC. But I cannot sign onto the BDS proposal for reasons detailed below, and I hope that other union members will also vote “no.” Thursday, December 4, Sather Gate all day.