It is the best of Jewish times, it is the worst of Jewish times.
Talk about going from the ridiculous to the sublime. Make that from the slime to the sublime.
Jews, as they so often are, were big in the news lately. In ways that were the ultimate shandah and the ultimate kvell. Shandah, as in a disgrace to the Jewish people, kvell, as in a source of pride for the Jewish people.
Let’s begin with the elephant in the room, namely one Harvey Weinstein. Pronounced WeinSTEEN, or is that WeinSTINE? I’m not sure and evidently neither are most anchors on TV since some say STEEN, others say STINE. There hasn’t been this much confusion since all the way back a couple of months ago when another Jew brought another shandah on the Jewish people. That would be Rod RosenSTEEN (or is that RosenSTINE?) the deputy attorney general who was a pawn in Trump’s lie about why he fired FBI director James Comey. First he said it was because RosenSTEEN/STINE recommended that he do so, and then he said no it was all his idea.
I know Jews have a lot on their plate what with Trump about to blow up the Iran deal, which not one top national security official in either Jerusalem or Washington thinks is a good idea, but which Trump and Bibi, brothers in boneheadism, really want. Not to mention Trump saying this week he has no intention of moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, like he promised us he would during the campaign. No, now he says he wants Prince Jared to make Middle East peace, no big whoop, and then he’ll think about moving the embassy. That is assuming he knows how to think.
Still even with all that on the Jewish agenda, I really believe we need to convene a task force to resolve this whole STEEN/STINE confusion once and for all.
Which brings us to Harvey either WeinSTEEN or WeinSTINE. However you pronounce it, he’s got a very Jewish name, it is clear to the whole world he is Jewish and he has brought a whole lot of shame down upon us.
What a creep, what a pig. For more than 30 years, he has used his power in Hollywood to harass what is undoubtedly dozens if not hundreds of women and done so in the most disgusting ways possible, from asking young actresses to watch him take a shower to telling a young TV reporter to stand there while he unzipped his pants, showed her his bris and proceeded to pleasure himself, to telling young actresses they had to sleep with him to get a part in one of his movies, and the nauseating list goes on and on.
On top of that, there are all the people he bullied, threatened, was mean to, degraded, demeaned, screamed at, verbally abused. He had power and money and fame and he used it not for good but for self-serving evil, treated other human beings exactly as Judaism teaches us we are never to treat other human beings.
The very essence of Judaism is to not do unto others as you would not have done unto you, and yet Harvey with the very Jewish name did a whole of things unto others that he knew his power immunized him from.
And his behavior was not the only Jewish shandah in all this. There was his reaction when the whole world learned what a shmuck he is. He hid behind the non-excuse excuse that he grew up in the 60s and 70s, which he claimed were a very different time, when the rules were very different. As if it was ever acceptable to coerce young women into watching you shower and watching as you took out your bris.
Harvey with the very Jewish name seems to have known nothing about eternal Jewish values, values that go back to Mt. Sinai, values that don’t change with the times and apply even in Hollywood, even if you are rich and powerful.
If you are a Jewish man you are supposed to know to treat all women, all people, with respect, with dignity, for they are creations of G-d, whether or not they are famous or wealthy. The soul of each person is as valuable and to be cherished as every other person, and that was as true in the 60s as it was 3,000 years ago.
And then we have other Jews in this messy little saga who have covered themselves, and us, with shandah. Take Harvey’s brother, Bob WeinSTEEN/STINE. He evidently was the one who was the one who let the New York Times in on all the women Harvey harassed over the years, all the women he paid off to keep quiet. Now, on the one hand, you can give Bob credit for finally bringing Harvey down, except he did it not for noble motives, but because he wanted to get Harvey out of their company so he could run it on his own. And there just seems something not right about one brother turning on another. You would have thought we’d have learned that from Cain and Abel, again a lesson for all times.
And then we have the truly yucky Lisa Bloom, a lawyer who has spent her career defending women who have been sexually harassed by powerful men. Bloom has had a very public profile going after very high profile men who have treated women in abusive ways.
But the minute Harvey, the creep of creeps, indicated he wanted to be her client, could afford to pay her $2,000 an hour legal fee, needed her help, she overthrew all the concerns she’s expressed over the years about the rights of women and the scourge of powerful harassing men and signed up to defend Harvey.
Even more disgusting, Lisa, the Jewish lawyer who is icky even by the very low standards of Jewish lawyers, was ready to use the obscene line of attack so many lawyers use in protecting powerful harassers and which Lisa used to condemn. She told Harvey they should put out photos of Harvey’s accusers posing in very friendly ways with Harvey, to undercut their credibility and make the claim that because they took a nice picture with him, either he couldn’t have done what he did or they asked for it and had it coming.
I wish I had the words to describe how despicable what Lisa Bloom did is. I do know she is another Jew in this whole tawdry story that reflects very badly on Judaism, on Jewish values, on Jewish behavior. Harvey, Bob and Lisa, three of the worst Jews alive, three Jews who dominated the headlines and who made all of Judaism and all Jews seem depraved, dirty, disgusting. The amount of shandah they have covered the Jewish people in is incalculable.
And Jewish organizations have not exactly covered themselves in Jewish values. Take the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The minute the Harvey news broke, many politicians to whom he had contributed over the years said they would be either returning the money he gave them or donating it to charity. Groups who had honored him said they would remove his name from buildings or walls and would rescind their awards.
But not Wiesenthal. It sickeningly announced that it has not even considered withdrawing an award it gave to Harvey a couple years ago. Weinstein received the 2015 Humanitarian Award from the group, and was honored at its annual gala dinner. Weinstein received the award due in part to his contributions to the group, which have totaled nearly $100,000.
“We honored Harvey Weinstein because he and his company, like many other leaders in the entertainment world, have been longtime supporters of the Wiesenthal Center and its work,” Simon Wiesenthal Center spokeswoman Marcial Lavina said. Asked whether the group would withdraw the award, Lavina said, “That hasn’t been up for discussion.”
In his speech accepting the award, Weinstein said of anti-Semites that Jews “better stand up and kick these guys in the ass.” Harvey, always a class act.
All in all, not a shining moment for the Jewish people.
Which is why I thank G-d for Gal Gadot.
Gal Gadot is an Israeli actress best known for her starring role in the movie ‘Wonder Woman.’ Meaning though she was born and grew up in Israel, she is now a wealthy, powerful and famous Hollywood star.
Just two days after we learned about Harvey’s treatment of women, Gal Gadot hosted ‘Saturday Night Live.’ What absolutely amazed me, brought tears to my eyes and big time kvelling to the Jewish people, is that in her opening monologue, she told the TV audience that she is from Israel.
When you think about that, that is amazing in itself. It wasn’t that long ago that most Jews in show business changed their very Jewish names to very non-Jewish names and did not exactly talk about the fact that they were Jews. Gal Gadot has kept her very Israeli name and very publicly told everyone she’s from the Jewish state.
Even more amazing, she then told the TV audience she wanted to say something to all the Israelis who were watching the show back home in the Jewish state. And she proceeded to look right in the camera and speak in Hebrew for more than minute. Yes, she spoke Hebrew while she hosted ‘Saturday Night Live’ while tens of millions of people watched.
Talk about being the anti-Harvey. Talk about showing the beauty of Judaism, proudly saying she was from Israel, proudly speaking in Hebrew, proudly announcing she was talking to her countrymen back home in the Jewish state. All this from this absolutely gorgeous looking Jewish woman with the very Israeli name.
If Harvey showed the world the worst of us, Gal showed the world the best of us. Showed the world a strong Jewish woman, proud of her heritage, proud of her people, proud of her country, proud of its language. And in so doing and being, she made us all proud.
Gal Gadot was exactly what we needed during the week of Harvey, was a ray of Jewish sunshine amidst the dark piggish shmutz of HarveyWeinsteen/stineism.