Saturday, August 31, 2013

Who was Janusz Korczak? I The K I N G of C H I L D R E N -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The L I F E and D E A T H of JANUSZ KORCZAK by: Betty Jean Lifton St. Martin´s Griffin -New York Who was Janusz Korczak? "The lives of great men are like legends-difficult but beautiful, " Janusz Korczak once wrote, and it was true of his. Yet most Americans have never heard of Korczak, a Polish-Jewish children´s writer and educator who is as well known in Europe as Anne Frank. Like her, he died in the Holocaust and left behind a diary; unlike her, he had a chance to escape that fate-a chance he chose not to take. His legend began on August 6, 1942, during the early stages of the Nazi liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto-though his dedication to destitute children was legendary long before the war. When the Germans ordered his famous orphanage evacuated, Korczak was forced to gather together the two hundred children in his care. He led them with quiet dignity on that final march through the ghetto streets to the train that would take them to "resettlement in the East" -the Nazi euphemism for the death camp Treblinka. He was to die as Henryk Goldszmit, the name he was born with, but it was by his pseudonym that he would be remembered. It was Janusz Korczak who introduced progressive orphanages designed as just communities into Poland, founded the first national children´s newspaper, trained teachers in what we now call moral education, and worked in juvenile courts defending children's rights. His books How to Love a Child and The Child´s Right to Respect gave parents and teachers new insights into child psychology. Generations of young people had grown up on his books, especially the classic King Matt the First, which tells of the adventures and tribulations of a boy king who aspires to bring reforms to bis subjects. It was as beloved in Poland as Peter Pan and Alicein Wonderland were in the English-speaking world. During the mid- 1930s, he had his own radio program, in which, as the "Old Doctor," hedispensed homey wisdom and wry humor. Somehow, listening to his deceptively simple words made his listeners feel like better people. At the end, Korczak, who had directed a Catholic as well as a Jewish orphanage before the war, had refused all offers of help for his own safetyfrom his Gentile colleagues and friends. "You do not leave a sick child inthe night, and you do not leave children at a time like this," he said. I first heard of Janusz Korczak in the summer of 1978 when friends who had left Poland during the war stopped by my home on Cape Codwith a theater director who had just arrived from Warsaw. As she wasdescribing what it had been like for her troupe to perform in JanuszKorczak´s ghetto orphanage, I interrupted to ask who Korczak was. I couldn´t tell if she was more shocked at my ignorance or at my mispro- nunciation of his name, but she spent a few moments teaching me to say Kor-chock before answering my question. As we spoke about him that afternoon on Cape Cod, Korczak emergedas a utopian and yet pragmatic figure preoccupied with creating a better world through the education of children. I could also see him belongingto that unique group ofwriters, along with Lewis Carroll and James Barrie, who were most at home in the company of the children for whom they created their stories. With a difference. Korczak´s children did not romp with their nannies on the manicured lawns of Kensington Gardens butlanguished in the dark slums ofWarsaw. He set up orphanages and livedamong children in real life, not just in the imagination, for he saw themas the salvation of the world. It wasn´t that Korczak glorified children, as did Rousseau, whom he considered naive. Korczak felt that within each child there burned a moral spark that could vanquish thedarkness at the core of human nature. Toprevent that spark from being extinguished, one had to love and nurturethe young, make it possible for them to believe in truth and justice. When the Nazis materialized out of that darkness with their swastikas, polishedboots, and leather whips, Korczak was prepared to shield his Jewishchildren, as he always had, from the injustices of the adult world. Hewent with them into the ghetto, although he had been offered refuge on the Aryan side of occupied Warsaw, and spent the last two-odd years of his life protecting them and other orphans from starvation and disease. The theater director described how she had watched with others from behind shuttered windows in the Warsaw Ghetto as Korczak, head held high, marched by with his little band on that last day. It seemed to her then that this man, who behaved as if he had a divine calling to savechildren, had failed, much as his fictional King Matt had failed in hisattempt to make the world a better place. And yet, by remaining true tohis principles and not abandoning the children when they needed himmost, he had achieved his own kind of victory. Korczak wrote of life as a strange dream, and sometimes my own life seemed just that as I began learning about his. Until 1978 I had been neither personally nor professionally involved with the Holocaust, but in the fall of that year my thirteen-year-old daughter and I went to live in Munich with my husband, who was beginning his study of the psychology of Nazi doctors. It wasn´t long before our small apartment was filled with books on the Third Reich and I was foraging through this grim library. Plunging into Holocaust literature, especially in Germany, was like plunging into an abyss. I seemed to be living in two time frames at once, with the past often taking on more reality than the present. Waking up in the middle of the night, I would transform the smoke stacks of the neighboring brewery into crematoria; the localtrain would become a cattle car; and Bavarian men parading in colorful costumes would metamorphose into the SS goose-stepping through the streets in full regalia. As an as- similated American Jew who had never dwelt on my Jewish identity, I was now confronted with what it meant to be a Jew during the Third Reich in Europe -and, for that matter, through all of history. Often, in the volumes describing the murderous behavior of Nazi doctors, I would find references to Janusz Korczak´s last march with the children. I wanted to know more about this man -a good doctor- who had chosen to die rather than compromise the principles by which helived. What had given him the strength to uphold those principles in aworld gone mad? But something else drew me to Janusz Korczak. I identified with him as a writer -as one who has written fantasies for children, and workingas a journalist in the Far East, reported on war-wounded, orphaned, anddisplaced children in Hiroshima, Korea, and Vietnam. Many of my booksare concerned with the right of all children to know their heritage andto grow up in a world unthreatened by war. Yet I might not have pursued my interest in Janusz Korczak any further had my husband and I not been injured in a car crash in Paris and gone to the Sinai to recuperate. On our return trip by way of Jerusalem, I heard that some of the orphans Korczak had raised and the teachers he had trained were living in Israel. And in that city of strange dreams I made a sudden decision to remain for a few months with my daughter in order to interview them. I rented a small stone house overlooking the walls of the Old City and went about with an interpreter to interview Korczakians, as they call themselves. They ranged in age from the fifties to the eighties, all having lived or taught in his Jewish orphanage during different periods after its founding in 1912. Many were alive because as Zionists they had emigrated to Palestine in the nineteen-thirties; a few had survived ghettos and concentration camps or had spent the war years in remote towns in Siberia. Others had come to Israel following the 1967 Six-Day War in the wake of the "anti-Zionist purge" that essentially swept Poland of its remaining Jews. " I dont want to talk about the dead Korczak, but the living one ," they would begin, disturbed at his being remembered for the way he died rather than for the way he had lived. It was not the martyr whom they had known and revered, but the vital, fallible father and teacher. Listening to them, I could envision Korczak as a modest, disciplined man who dismissed with an ironic quip problems that would have over whelmed others. Traveling to the kibbutzim and the cities he had visited during the two brief trips he made to Palestine in the mid-thirties, I tried to understand his state of mind then. Although not a Zionist, Korczak had been forced, like so many acculturated Jewish writers in prewar Europe, to keep one step ahead of the malevolent thrusts of history. When the rise of extreme nationalism in Poland caused him to despair about the future of his work, he turned to Palestine but was deeply ambivalent about whether or not to settle there. Believing that, to avoid being a deserter, " one has to remain at one´s post till the very last moment, " he was still in Warsaw on September 1, 1939, when the Nazi invasion of Poland settled the issue for him. Who was Janusz Korczak? I have on my desk his two best-known photographs: one of himself as a young boy that he used as the frontispiece of his book King Matt the First so that his readers could see him as he was when he was small and vulnerable like them; the other of a man whose eyes are intense and sad and whose bald head disappears into white space because an impulsive orphan ripped the photograph out of the developer before it was ready. These are the two Janusz Korczaks-the young utopian King Matt who dreamed of making a better world for children, and the skeptical Old Doctor who knew that one always falls short of attaining the dream. " It will be hard to describe Korczak to Americans, " the Korczakians had told me in Israel. I was to hear the same sentiments from Korczakians in Poland-but for different reasons. " He was very Polish, " Igor Newerly, Korczak´s former secretary and now a prominent writer, told me. " But at the same time that he was part of the Polish intelligentsia of his period, he was alone. A man with his own individualistic style and beliefs. He was warm and witty, but he was also lonely and sad. He was everything, and you have to capture that. " To capture everything, I soon realized, meant to see Korczak as both a Pole and a Jew. to be both-in the words of the novelist Tadeusz Konwicki -is more difficult than to be just a Pole or just a Jew. The problem is revealed in the semantics of the issue: a Polish Catholic is called a Pole, but a Polish Jew is called a Jew, not a Pole. Perhaps because Korczak was determined to live as both a Pole and a Jew in prewar Poland, he was not above criticism in his lifetime: many Jews saw him as a renegade who wrote in Polish rather than Yiddish or Hebrew, while no amount of acculturation could make the right-wing Poles forget that he was a Jew. The radical socialists and the communists of the interwar period saw him as a conservative because he was not politically active, and the conservatives saw him as a radical because of his socialist sympathies. There were those who considered him an eccentric, even as they sang his praises and supported his causes: unmarried, asocial, he was as intolerant of pompous and self-aggrandizing adults as he was tolerant and forgiving of mischievous children. As I talked with people in Warsaw i pondered how to write this book about Janusz Korczak. Those who do not want their Biographys written burn their papers; history had done that for Korczak. The Warsaw Ghetto, where he was confined from late 1940 until mid-1942, was destroyed by the Germans during the uprising there a year after his death. Consumed in the flames were the notebooks in which Korczak had jotted down his thoughts in his microscopic handwriting; his letters and memorabilia; his observations on children's sleep patterns, and the weight and height charts collected over thirty years that were to comprise a book on child development; his library of both literary and scientific books in French, German, and Russian, as well as Polish; and his drafts of books he planned to write. The relatives and childhood friends who would have been able to fill in the details of Korczak's early life and provide some portrait of his parents and sister died in the camps. To go in search of Janusz Korczak, as i did, was to seek a man who was no longer there in a place that was no longer there. His multi-ethnic world no longer exists. Warsaw, once called the Paris of the East, vibrant with caf‚s, fine restaurants, and cabarets, was leveled by the Germans during the uprising of the Poles in 1944. Rebuilt after the war (with the baroque Palace of Culture, an unwelcome gift from the Russians, dominating the skyline), the city resonates with economic and political discontent. During my four trips to Poland and my two trips to Israel between 1979 and 1986, the Korczakians were always generous enough to delve into their memories for one more detail about their experiences with Korczak. in the sparse archives in Warsaw and Israel I was able to find a few books of reminiscences by people who had known Korczak in one capacity or another. There were also copies of his twenty-four published fiction and nonfiction books-many of them autobiographical-as well as the newspaper and magazine articles, numbering over one thousand, that he wrote throughout his life. Other than the six dozen letters written in the late twenties and thirties that were saved by their recipients in Palestine, all that remains of Korczak's private papers is the diary that he wrote in the last desperate months of his life. Smuggled out of the ghetto after his death, it was sealed up in the walls of his Catholic orphanage in the Warsaw suburb of Bielany and retrieved after the war ended. Although Korczak died a year before the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, many of his surviving Jewish orphans and teachers returned to Poland from all over the world to honor him during the commemoration of the Uprising´s fortieth anniversary in April of 1983. They came reluctantly, some because of the imposition of martial law in 1981 and the disbanding of Solidarity, but most because of the pain of reliving the past and of seeing how little remained of the world they had known. It is this lost world of Janusz Korczak, and of Warsaw's 350,000 Jews, that one encounters when one visits the former site of the Jewish quarter. It had been walled in by the Nazis to make the ghetto, and then burned by them to make the barren stretch of rubble that for many years after the war the Poles referred to as the "Wild West." New buildings have gradually risen over the ashes and rubble. The Ghetto Fighters Monument sits in the center of this unnatural landscape, reminding one of the unnatural cruelties which were committed there. The International Janusz Korczak Association, based in Warsaw, invited its members to an unveiling of his bust that now commands the front courtyard of the former Jewish orphanage. The irony would not be lost on the Old Doctor that the four-storied white building, gutted during the war, was restored in the mid-fifties without the garret room that had served as his study. The stretch of roof is no longer broken by the graceful arc of the three-paned window through which he had peered at the children playing below and fed the wild sparrows who kept him company. When the unveiling ceremony was over, the Korczakians wandered through the orphanage, looking-for what? Themselves as children or apprentice teachers? For the Old Doctor? For Stefa Wilczynska, who had been his codirector for thirty years? The Polish orphans who live there now moved like phantoms through the halls, making room for the old phantoms who had come back. They invited us to sit in the large recreation room, which had also served for dining and studying in Korczak's day, to watch them perform two short plays: one a humorous skit based on a scene from King Matt; the other a reenactment of the march by Korczak and the Jewish orphans to the train that transported them to Treblinka. The Polish children became the ill-fated Jewish ones they had heard so much about, walking slowly with Korczak to their unknown destination, even climbing up into an imaginary cattle car and gathering in a circle around him, swaying with the movement of the train, as he told them one last story in which good prevails over evil. On the chartered bus that was taking us back to our lodgings, I sat next to Michal (Misha) Wroblewski, a teacher who was the last among the survivors to have seen Korczak alive. He bad been working on the other side of the wall -at a job Korczak had managed to find for him- and returned to the ghetto orphanage late that afternoon to find everyone gone. Misha was silent for some time, and then he leaned over to me: " You know, everyone makes so much of Korczak´s last decision to go with the children to the train. But his whole life was made up of moral decisions. The decision to become a children´s doctor. The decision to give up medicine and his writing career to take care of poor orphans. The decision to go with the Jewish orphans into the ghetto. As for that last decision to go with the children to Treblinka, it was part of his nature. It was who he was. He wouldn´t understand why we are making so much of it today. " As I worked on this book back in New York City and Cape Cod, I came to see Korczak as a man who walked without fear over what the Hasidim call the narrow bridge of life, making at each stage the moral decisions that would inform his actions. [ Index ] [ next ]

Monday, August 26, 2013

My Brother’s Keeper –'s_Keeper_(film) My Brother's Keeper is a 1948 British crime film in the form of a convicts-on-the-run chase thriller, directed by Alfred Roome for Gainsborough Pictures. It was the first of only two films directed by Roome (the other being the following year's comedy It's Not Cricket) during a long career as a film editor. The film stars Jack Warner and George Cole and was produced by Sydney Box.
Keeper My Brother’s Keeper – 1948 | 96 mins | Drama | B&W Plot Synopsis Two prisoners on their way to a West Country jail have escaped handcuffed together. One, George Martin (Jack Warner), is a hardened criminal; his companion Willie (George Cole) is a simple-minded youth who declares he is innocent of the crime for which he is awaiting trial. Martin steals a corporal’s uniform and passes Willie off as a deserter in his charge. They make their way to a garage owned by friendly Nora Lawrence, who gives them a night’s shelter. Next morning, while filing their handcuffs apart in a lonely cottage, they are disturbed by a man with a sporting gun. Martin has no compunction in killing him. A little later, their handcuffs broken, he deserts Willie. Meanwhile, the police hunt has been joined by Ronald Waring, whose news-editor disdains the fact that Ronald is on his honeymoon. While he is being shaved in a barber’s shop Martin finds. himself sitting next to the local police sergeant. Then, seeking refuge in a chapel, he. is recognised by the sergeant’s wife while Willie gives himself up and is charged with the sportsman’s murder. Martin telephones his wife for money. A sympathetic taxi-driver drives her from London to bring it to him. They arrive as the fugitive is cornered in the woods. With the police on three sides, he makes a final bid for freedom by entering a minefield. Watched by reporters, sightseers, his wife, and Nora, he nimbly picks his way. Suddenly there is a, flash, a roar, a spout of smoke; the pursuit is over. Reception[edit source | editbeta]My Brother's Keeper is a well-regarded film, with a reputation as a tight, tense and fast-moving thriller with Roome's previous editing experience being well utilised. The characterisation of the two main protagonists is praised for going deeper than the stereotypes of the tough, reckless criminal and the dim, hapless innocent. Via the 1950 film The Blue Lamp, and Dixon of Dock Green, the TV series developed from it which ran until the mid-1970s, Warner became forever engrained on the British consciousness as George "Evenin' all" Dixon, the avuncular upholder of law and order. My Brother's Keeper is often cited as an example of the dramatic range of which Warner was capable, before he became typecast. Cole's performance too is credited as one of the factors in his unusually smooth transition from child star to adult actor. The film's main weakness is cited as the interpolation of a pseudo-comic and largely irrelevant subplot involving a newspaper reporter trying to cover the story while on honeymoon in the area.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Coming of age film The Last Picture Show is a 1971 American drama film directed by Peter Bogdanovich, adapted from a semi-autobiographical 1966 novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry. Set in a small town in north Texas during the year November 1951 – October 1952, it is about the coming of age of Sonny Crawford (Timothy Bottoms) and his friend Duane Jackson (Jeff Bridges). The cast includes Cybill Shepherd in her film debut, Ben Johnson, Eileen Brennan, Ellen Burstyn, Cloris Leachman, Clu Gulager, Randy Quaid in his film debut, and John Hillerman. For aesthetic and technical reasons it was shot in black and white, which was unusual for its time. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and four nominations for acting: Ben Johnson and Jeff Bridges for Best Supporting Actor, and Ellen Burstyn and Cloris Leachman for Best Supporting Actress. It won two: Johnson and Leachman Reception[edit source | editbeta] The Last Picture Show won Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Ben Johnson) and Best Supporting Actress (Cloris Leachman). It was also nominated in the categories for Best Supporting Actor (Jeff Bridges), Best Supporting Actress (Ellen Burstyn), Best Cinematography (Robert L. Surtees), Best Director (Peter Bogdanovich), Best Picture (Stephen J. Friedman), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Larry McMurtry and Peter Bogdanovich). In 1998, The Last Picture Show was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. It also ranked number 19 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 Best High School Movies.[10] In 2007, the film was ranked #95 on the American Film Institute's 10th Anniversary Edition of the 100 greatest American films of all time. In April 2011, The Last Picture Show was re-released in UK and Irish cinemas, distributed by Park Circus. Total Film magazine gave the film a five-star review, stating: "Peter Bogdanovich's desolate Texan drama is still as stunning now as it was in 1971."[11] Stephen King's novel Lisey's Story makes repeated references to The Last Picture Show as the main character Scott Landon frequently watches the film throughout the novel during flashbacks. Home media[edit source | editbeta] The film was released by The Criterion Collection in November 2010 as part of their box set, America Lost and Found: The BBS Story. It included a high-definition digital transfer of Peter Bogdanovich’s director’s cut, two audio commentaries, one from 1991, featuring Bogdanovich and actors Cybill Shepherd, Randy Quaid, Cloris Leachman, and Frank Marshall; the other from 2009, featuring Bogdanovich “The Last Picture Show”: A Look Back, (1999) and Picture This (1990), documentaries about the making of the film, A Discussion with Filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich, a 2009 Q&A, screen tests and location footage, and excerpts from a 1972 television interview with director François Truffaut about the New Hollywood.[12] Early in Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show, as the wind from the Texas plains whips the small town of Anarene, the high school senior Sonny Crawford (Timothy Bottoms) halts his recalcitrant pickup truck—Hank Williams is warbling “Why Don’t You Love Me (Like You Used to Do)?” on the radio—to give a ride to his mute young friend Billy (Sam Bottoms). When Billy sits beside him, Sonny turns his cap backward on his head, a gesture that makes Billy smile and that Sonny will repeat several times, and his buddy Duane Jackson (Jeff Bridges) once, during the course of the movie. Sonny, Duane, and Jacy Farrow (Cybill Shepherd), Duane’s girl, later sing their high school’s song, partly in affection, partly in mockery, as they drive in Jacy’s convertible—the three joyfully united in friendship, no matter that both boys love this vain and luscious heartbreaker. It’s 1951, school’s nearly done, and anything is possible. In these moments and others throughout his wistful film, Bogdanovich seems to be making the point that people are often unaware that the times they are living are the best of times, that simple quotidian rituals and shared moments are what make the long journey tolerable. Other rituals he depicts include Sonny’s visits to Ruth Popper (Cloris Leachman), the neglected wife of the school football coach, for afternoon lovemaking that becomes more satisfying with each renewal, and the long hours spent in the Royal, Anarene’s little movie theater, and the other establishments—pool hall, café—run by the grizzled Sam the Lion (Ben Johnson). As time goes by, these validating experiences slip away or terminate abruptly, leaving Sonny high and dry, with nothing but Ruth’s anger at his desertion—that and the humbling realization that he has lost what was valuable. Though he hasn’t got the wherewithal to leave Anarene, as Duane and Jacy do, the painful rite of passage will serve him well in the future. Maybe. At least, it will give him plenty of bittersweet memories, such as of his last peaceful experience of Sam, his and Billy’s surrogate father, who takes the boys fishing at the tank and tenderly reminisces about a love affair. The Last Picture Show is like a multilayered poem in the way it indulges Sam’s nostalgia—and ours for the veteran western actor Johnson—while feeding Sonny’s future reveries about his own past. The film was revelatory when it opened in October 1971, and it has proved the most assured of Bogdanovich’s uneven career. With its eight Oscar nominations and two wins—for supporting actors Johnson and Leachman—it became a flagship of New Hollywood, though not that sprawling movement’s most representative work. It was financed by BBS, which, in its earlier incarnation as Raybert Productions, had dreamed up the Monkees and delivered the countercultural shock of Easy Rider, and had just presented the existential angst of Five Easy Pieces. This was the maverick company, run by Bert Schneider, Bob Rafelson, and Steve Blauner, and abetted by Jack Nicholson, most associated with the seventies revitalization of American cinema, partially through the rejection of classical modes of storytelling. The Last Picture Show has a foot in both camps, the old and the new. Slow and mournful, it does not seem to have much in common with the work of other directors who emerged during the decade, especially vivid stylists with urban preoccupations like Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, Paul Schrader, and William Friedkin, or a caustic observer of human foibles like Robert Altman. Yet it fully embraces the new era’s sense of personal artistic vision. And like the other Raybert/BBS productions, it powerfully depicts loss, loneliness, the failure of family, and the pipe dream of love—themes very much of the time. Sonny is as alienated in his way as Nicholson’s characters in Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces and The King of Marvin Gardens, and as Tuesday Weld’s in Henry Jaglom’s A Safe Place, which costarred Nicholson and Orson Welles. Following the decade in which veteran directors like Ford, Hawks, Curtiz, Borzage, Anthony Mann, Capra, Milestone, Stevens, Walsh, Wyler, Siodmak, and Jacques Tourneur made their final features, The Last Picture Show bids farewell, with its symbolic shuttering of the Royal, to Old Hollywood. It achieves this through its lovingly realized classical aesthetic and perfect period detail, which owe not only to Bogdanovich but also to the production/costume designer, Polly Platt (whose marriage to the director foundered when he began an on-set relationship with Shepherd). A cineaste influenced by the nouvelle vague, Bogdanovich had programmed films and written intelligently about cinema before making, under a pseudonym, his first feature, Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women, followed, more auspiciously, by Targets (both 1968). He was a self-described “popularizer” and friend of some of America’s preeminent auteurs, including Hawks and Ford, on both of whom he made documentaries. The Last Picture Show would be his Fordian film (as 1972’s What’s Up, Doc? would be his Hawksian film), and one that paid homage to Hawks in passing. In looking back to what was timeless in their work, however, Bogdanovich was also addressing what was timeless in his own era of social and sexual upheaval. Welles, who was staying with Bogdanovich at the time he made The Last Picture Show, contributed too. Their talks apparently prompted Bogdanovich’s crucial decision to have Robert Surtees photograph it in black and white, the better to facilitate deep-focus shots and evoke nos­tal­gia for an ebbing culture, in the same way Welles had fondly if ruefully recalled the aristocratic Indiana neighborhood of the early 1900s in The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). The dusty aura of The Last Picture Show suggests less the pristine Ambersons, however, than Hawks’s Red River (1948), Ford’s Wagon Master (1950), and Nicholas Ray’s The Lusty Men (1952). The use of long shots, isolating people in the arid outdoors, depriving them of intimacy, was Fordian—one thinks of Lois Farrow (Ellen Burstyn), Jacy’s mother, taking a lone walk away from Sam’s graveside. “Some of the best scenes that you make are in long shot,” Hawks said. “I learned that from Jack Ford. Peter Bogdanovich has done that very successfully in The Last Picture Show, but he sat on my set for two and a half years and on Ford’s for two and a half years, so he learned a few things.” Surtees had assisted Gregg Toland early in his career and would have been familiar with his deep-focus work on Ford’s The Long Voyage Home and The Grapes of Wrath (both 1940), and, of course, on Citizen Kane (1941). According to Peter Biskind’s book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, The Last Picture Show’s lack of master shots flummoxed BBS’s Schneider and Blauner, but Rafelson allayed their fears, saying the film would “cut like butter” because Bogdanovich was editing in the camera. Welles, who was staying with Bogdanovich at the time he made The Last Picture Show, contributed too. Their talks apparently prompted Bogdanovich’s crucial decision to have Robert Surtees photograph it in black and white, the better to facilitate deep-focus shots and evoke nos­tal­gia for an ebbing culture, in the same way Welles had fondly if ruefully recalled the aristocratic Indiana neighborhood of the early 1900s in The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). The dusty aura of The Last Picture Show suggests less the pristine Ambersons, however, than Hawks’s Red River (1948), Ford’s Wagon Master (1950), and Nicholas Ray’s The Lusty Men (1952). The use of long shots, isolating people in the arid outdoors, depriving them of intimacy, was Fordian—one thinks of Lois Farrow (Ellen Burstyn), Jacy’s mother, taking a lone walk away from Sam’s graveside. “Some of the best scenes that you make are in long shot,” Hawks said. “I learned that from Jack Ford. Peter Bogdanovich has done that very successfully in The Last Picture Show, but he sat on my set for two and a half years and on Ford’s for two and a half years, so he learned a few things.” Surtees had assisted Gregg Toland early in his career and would have been familiar with his deep-focus work on Ford’s The Long Voyage Home and The Grapes of Wrath (both 1940), and, of course, on Citizen Kane (1941). According to Peter Biskind’s book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, The Last Picture Show’s lack of master shots flummoxed BBS’s Schneider and Blauner, but Rafelson allayed their fears, saying the film would “cut like butter” because Bogdanovich was editing in the camera. The screenplay was adapted by Larry McMurtry and Bogdanovich from McMurtry’s semiautobiographical 1966 novel, the sexual frankness of which made it a highly appealing property in 1970. McMurtry had been reared in Archer City, in the Panhandle Plains region of Texas. He renamed the town Thalia for the novel, and Bogdanovich, who shot the film in Archer City, changed Thalia to Anarene—to rhyme with the Abilene of Red River. In contrast to today’s Archer City, sustained by oil, ranching, and McMurtry’s latest bookstore, Anarene in the movie appears to be dying: a tumbleweed rolls ominously across the street near the end. The opening shot that tracks from the Royal reveals how desolate the town is; the answering shot that closes the film ends on the Royal, which has closed following Sam’s sudden, offscreen death. Sam was Anarene’s bastion of moral authority, as Tom Doniphon (John Wayne) is in Ford’s analogous The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). Ben Johnson earned the role with his dignified portrayals of Southern-born U.S. cavalrymen in Ford’s She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) and Rio Grande (1950), and the protective leader of the Mormon wagon train in Wagon Master—serene, canny gentlemen of the frontier. Bogdanovich makes clear his influences. Early on, we see a Wagon Master poster outside the Royal’s box office. The last movie shown there is, anachronistically, Red River, whereas in the novel it’s The Kid from Texas (1950), which fails to divert Sonny and Duane from their thoughts about Jacy: “It would have taken Winchester ’73 or Red River or some big movie like that to have crowded out the memories the boys kept having,” McMurtry writes. Sonny and Duane watch as Wayne and Montgomery Clift start their cattle drive, which will end in rancor with their climactic fistfight. The Last Picture Show, too, proceeds to a vicious fight—between Sonny and Duane over Jacy, who soon after weds Sonny, knowing her parents will have the marriage annulled before it is consummated. She does it to succor her wounded vanity on learning that Sonny has been sleeping with Ruth; stripping in front of the Wichita Falls smart set at a pool party is a tougher (if more exciting) trial for Jacy than eloping. Jacy has been labeled a femme fatale by some critics. She is fickle, but like Sonny, she is also an innocent finding her way, a naïf, for all her manipulativeness, who defines herself in relation to men, including her mom’s lover, the opportunistic oil driller Abilene (Clu Gulager)—an Oedipal revenge if ever there was one. Whatever her caprices, in 1971 many young women viewers would have cheered her readiness to exper­i­ment sexually with different men; Ruth’s affair with Sonny is equally affirming, a better option than permanent lassitude and disappoint­ment, if not exactly a feminist statement. Acting on desire is a salve for several characters’ aimlessness, but not its every manifestation is healthy, or sane: Joe Bob Blanton (Barc Doyle), the religious kid, nearly molests a little girl. In the novel, McMurtry matter-of-factly describes the coition of teenage boys with animals; Bogdanovich necessarily drew the line at bestiality (though it is referred to in the film). The critic John Simon cited this omission and that of Lois’s having sex with Sonny as examples of the film’s romanticization of the world of the novel. But these were discreet choices: Sonny’s sleeping with Lois on-screen would have not only diluted the delicacy of his forlorn affair with Ruth but also cost the movie the touch­ing conversation between Lois and Sonny when she recalls the only man who knew her worth. It is through Ruth’s and Sam’s upbraidings that Sonny learns about emotional responsibility and through Lois’s acceptance of her past that he learns about the transience of love. The Last Picture Show contrives to be both elegiac and brutally realis­tic. The deaths of Sam and Billy, Jacy’s inconstancy (sickening to both Duane and Sonny), and the recognition that Sonny and Ruth will be unable to reignite their affair are as chilling as the northers that sweep through Anarene. All that can be cherished are those fleeting moments of happiness contained in small intimacies. Ruth, newly radiant, wears Sonny’s shirt after their second tryst (so much better than their noisy baptism by bedsprings). The kindhearted café waitress Genevieve (Eileen Brennan) serves Sonny a healing cheeseburger. Sam, during the fishing trip, offers Sonny a roll-up as if they were a pair of Hawksian cowboys. In that same interlude, Sam remembers bringing his girl to the tank more than twenty years before and swimming with her “without no bathin’ suits.” Memory confers a pleasure as precious in the present as the events being recalled. Dazzling, inventive, and trenchant though much of New Holly­wood was—and abrasive and cynical too—nothing else it came up with matches Sam the Lion’s faraway look as he dwells on his wild affair with his lost love. Fading out as he is, it’s the last picture show in his mind’s eye. Graham Fuller has written about movies for Sight & Sound, Film Comment, Vanity Fair, and the New York Times, as well as for the Criterion Collection releases of A Canterbury Tale, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Walker. Many of his articles and essays can be found online at •New, restored high-definition digital transfer of Peter Bogdanovich’s director’s cut, supervised by Bogdanovich, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition •Two audio commentaries, one from 1991, featuring Bogdanovich and actors Cybill Shepherd, Randy Quaid, Cloris Leachman, and Frank Marshall; the other from 2009, featuring Bogdanovich •“The Last Picture Show”: A Look Back, (1999) and Picture This (1990), documentaries about the making of the film •A Discussion with Filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich, a 2009 Q&A •Screen tests and location footage •Excerpts from a 1972 television interview with director François Truffaut about the New Hollywood •Theatrical trailers On its twentieth anniversary, Peter Bogdanovich’s critically-acclaimed, prize-winning piece is even more impressive thanks to the restoration of seven minutes of additional footage including a crucial sequence (a pool table seduction of Cybill Shepherd) that was deleted before the picture’s release. Bogdanovich doesn’t consider this improved director’s version to be merely a restoration of a landmark film from the 1970s, but something completely new: “the 1990s version of The Last Picture Show.” For only his second studio film—Bogdanovich made the excellent, but little seen, Targets, in 1968—the former film critic chanced directing an adaptation of Larry McMurtry’s elegiac novel about teenagers who come of age in a dying Texas town in the early fifties. It was such an unlikely project for a successful movie that it took first-time producer Stephen J. Friedman two years to get financing, with tiny BBS Productions taking the gamble. Bogdanovich himself was in a gambling mood, eschewing stars for charismatic young newcomers Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Randy Quaid, and his discovery, Cybill Shepherd, and marvelous character actors, Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman, Clu Gulager, Eileen Brennan, and Ellen Burstyn. Even more daring was his decision to make the film in black-and-white. Bogdanovich’s choices paid off. The unknown cast turned in exceptional individual performances and worked brilliantly as an ensemble: Bottoms, Bridges, and Shepherd quickly became stars, Johnson and Leachman won Best Supporting Actor and Actress Oscars, and Burstyn was voted Best Supporting Actress by the New York Film Critics, paving her way to stardom. Appreciative audiences and critics thought it most appropriate that a dying art form should be used to visualize a dying town, a dying era, and a dying way of life. Bogdanovich: “I saw the story as a Texas version of Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons, which was about the end of a way of life caused by the coming of the automobile. This was about the end of a way of life caused by the coming of television.” Even at the film’s beginning, Anarene, Texas (filming actually took place in Archer City) is already much like a ghost town or graveyard, with constant wind and dust swirling on the empty streets and into the nearly empty small business establishments. Ultimately the only movie house in town will close down (after showing Red River)—all movie fans will share the sense of loss felt by long-time customers Bottoms and Bridges—and the film’s oldest and youngest characters will be dead. Indeed, the decline of the town, which Bogdanovich effectively uses as one of his central characters, is emblematic of the personal declines, deaths, and departures of its populace. Our pivotal teenager characters, the sensitive Bottoms, best friend Bridges, and rich-bitch Shepherd, who comes between the boys for a time, may each lose their virginity, but they are so unfulfilled and confused that their rites of passage signal more the death of youth and innocence than a new-born maturity. Growing up doesn’t seem like such a good prospect to these teenagers when all the adults in town are miserable. Pauline Kael affectionately wrote: “Concerned with adolescent experience seen in terms of flatlands anomie—loneliness, ignorance about sex, confusion about one’s aims in life—the movie has a basic decency of feeling, with people relating to one another, sometimes on very simple levels, and becoming miserable when they can’t relate.” With a script by Bogdanovich and McMurtry that won the New York Film Critics award, The Last Picture Show is a strange cross between Hud (based on McMurtry’s Horseman, Pass By) and Peyton Place. The intertwining relationships, friction between youths and adults, impulsive actions, confused teenagers, manipulative females, feuds, scandals, affairs, first-time and other sneaky sex make it ideal material for an adult soap. Interestingly, a less sensitive director than Bogdanovich could have made an exploitation film using the same script. But it wasn’t his intention to dwell on the sordid goings-on in Anarene, though he’ll let us eagerly follow Shepherd into a motel room with Bridges and to a nude swimming pool party. He was more interested in creating an authentic small-town Texas milieu, by paying special attention to the decor of the various establishments: the country music that constantly plays on the radio, and the manners, quirks, dress and hairstyles of his characters. You really believe that the people who populate the screen have lived in Anarene all their lives. Bogdanovich was equally successful at establishing fascinating relationships between various troubled characters, male and female, young and old. I think that the “romance” between Bottoms and the older, unhappily married Leachman, who gives an astonishing performance, is unlike anything else in cinema. It’s true that much of Bogdanovich’s subject matter is depressing. Yet with Hank Williams on the soundtrack, exciting talent playing real characters up on the screen, unexpected humor, and Robert Surtees’ lovely black-and-white cinematography sending us back in time, we hardly notice.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dr Janusz Korczak (1879-1942) Dr Janusz Korczak (1879-1942) was a man who took his convictions and sense of responsibility so strongly that he was prepared to go to his death rather than betray them. During the Nazi liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto, having rejected countless offers from Polish admirers and friends to save himself, Korczak led his two hundred orphans out of the ghetto and on to the train that would take them to their deaths at the gas chambers of Treblinka. Korczak, who had brought up thousands of Jewish and Polish children, refused to desert them so that even as they died, the children would be able to maintain their trust in him and some faith in human goodness. Not surprisingly, most accounts of Korczak's life and work focus on this noble act. But it would be unfortunate if the legend of his heroic and tragic death was to obscure the richness of his life and work. Korczak left a legacy not only of living and topical educational ideas, he also achieved greatness as a writer. He was awarded Poland's highest literary prize, guaranteeing him a permanent place in the history of Polish literature and the hearts of hundreds of thousands of Polish readers, children and adults. One of Korczak's children's books, King Matt the First, is as famous in his native country as are Alice in Wonderland or Peter Pan over here. Korczak was a renowned doctor, who specialised in paediatrics. Medical students would travel the country just to attend his lectures. His personality and unique teaching methods can perhaps best be illustrated by the account of a lecture he gave at the Institute of Pedagogy in Warsaw, entitled 'The Heart of the Child'. One of his students recalls: 'We were all surprised by Dr Korczak's instruction to gather in the x-ray lab. The doctor arrived bringing along a four-year-old boy from his orphanage. The x-ray machine was switched on and we saw the boy's heart beating wildly. He was so frightened - so many strange people, the dark room, the noise of the machine. 'Speaking very softly so as not to add to the child's fears, and deeply moved by what could be seen on the screen, Korczak told us: çüon't ever forget this sight. How wildly a child's heart beats when he is frightened - and this it does even more when reacting to an adult's anger with him, not to mention when he fears being punished?. Then heading for the door with the child's hand in his, he added: �âhat is all for today.? We did not need to be told any more - everybody will remember that lecture forever.' Korczak devoted one day each week to defending local destitute and abandoned street children, who were often on the receiving end of long jail sentences. 'The delinquent child is still a child,' he wrote. 'He is a child who has not given up yet, but does not know who he is. A punitive sentence could adversely influence his future sense of himself and his behaviour. Because it is society that has failed him and made him behave this way. The Court should not condemn the criminal but the social structure.' Pioneer Korczak was the director of two orphanages - one for Catholic children and one for Jewish children. For most of his life, he lived in the attic above one of the orphanages, receiving no salary. He promoted progressive educational techniques, including giving the children real opportunities to take part in decision making. His children's court, for example, was presided over by child judges. Any child with a grievance had the right to summon the offender to face a court of his or her peers. Teachers and children were equal before the court; even Korczak had to submit to its judgement. Korczak envisaged that in 50 years, every school would have its own court, and that they would be a real source of emancipation for children - teaching them respect for the law and individual rights. His insights into children were unclouded by sentimentality; they were based on continuous clinical observation and meticulous listing and sifting of data. Korczak founded a popular weekly newspaper, The Little Review, which was produced for and by children: 'There will be three editors - one oldster, bald and spectacled, and two additional editors, a boy and a girl.' Children and young people all over Poland served as correspondents, gathering newsworthy stories of interest to children. This was possibly the first venture of its kind in the history of journalism. Throughout Poland, Korczak was well-known as 'the Old Doctor' - the name he used when delivering his popular state radio talks on children and education. His soft warm and friendly voice, along with his natural good humour, brought him acclaim and a sizeable audience. In the words of one former child listener: 'The Old Doctor proved to me for the first time in my life that an adult could enter easily and naturally into our world. He not only understood our point of view, but deeply respected and appreciated it.' Children's rights Korczak spoke of the need for a Declaration of Children's Rights long before one was eventually adopted by the League of Nations in 1924. Of that declaration, Korczak said: 'Those lawgivers confuse duties with rights. Their declaration appeals to goodwill when it should insist. It pleads for kindness, which it should demand.' In 1959, the United Nations produced a second Declaration on the Rights of the Child, but it was not legally binding and there was no procedure to ensure its implementation. Twenty years later, it was Poland who proposed that a new convention should be drafted on a text manifestly inspired by the teachings of Korczak. On 20 November 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child was eventually passed unanimously by the UN General Assembly; it had taken more than 50 years to hammer out the 'rights' that Korczak had set out in his writings long before. It is by chance that I stumbled into the world of Dr Janusz Korczak while studying psychotherapy. Alice Miller, who has received international recognition for her work on child abuse, had described Korczak as one of the greatest pedagogues of all time. So I tried to find out more about him, especially his theories on education and childcare. At libraries I drew a blank; I asked teachers, social workers, therapists - in fact, everyone I knew. No-one had ever heard of him. Eventually, however, through a strange set of coincidences, I was introduced to Felek Scharf, a fellow Pole, an expert on Polish affairs and one of the few living links with Korczak in the UK. He sat me down in his office and started to talk. Writer Scharf showed me two books by Korczak that had been translated into English. One was his famous children's book, King Matt the First; the other was Ghetto Diary, written at the end of his life. 'But what about his work on children?' I asked. Scharf shook his head. Very little had been published in English. Although I left that meeting with two treasured books, How to Love a Child and Respect for the Child, both were written in Polish. I realised that there was no way I could access Korczak's world until the books had been translated into English. One year later, Betty Jean Lifton's biography of Korczak, The King of Children, was published, and the brilliant film, Korczak, emerged from Poland's leading director Andrzej Wajda. And I set out to have some of his writings translated into English. Korczak's basic philosophy was a belief in the innate goodness of children and their natural tendency to improve, given opportunity and guidance. Childhood, he believed, was perceived largely as a preparation for adult life, when in reality every moment has its own importance; one should appreciate a child for who he or she is, not who he or she will become. Korczak believed in respecting and understanding the child's own way of thinking, instead of trying to understand the child from an adult's point of view. Children in the orphanage lacked the emotional support of a parental figure. As a result, they were likely to assert themselves on the basis of anti-social norms. Korczak's approach was geared to prevent such development. First and foremost, he knew the children needed to be able to trust and rely on adults; therefore, he made it his goal to return to these children the very thing that adult society had deprived them of - respect, love and care. Testimony In the 1990s, I went to Israel to interview his 'children' -- the few surviving orphans left, now in their seventies and eighties. Their faces lit up when describing Korczak. Without exception, they spoke of the feelings of warmth, kindness and love they felt in his company; of his smiling blue eyes and his great sense of humour. Korczak had been a loved father to them all, at a time when they desperately needed one. I asked how they would try to explain to people who knew nothing of him, why Korczak was such an important figure. One told me: 'It is difficult for me to explain to you in words the impact Korczak had on my life. He had so much compassion and a readiness to help all people. We used to say that Korczak was born to bring the world to redemption. What was so special about him was that he knew how to find a way to the child's soul. He penetrated the soul. The time spent at the orphanage changed my life. 'All the time, Korczak pushed us to believe in other people, and that essentially, man is good. He was an innovator of the educational system - the first to reach the conclusion that the child has the same rights as the adult. He saw the child not as a creature that needs help, but as a person in his own right. All this was not just a theory - he applied it in our orphanage. There were no limitations in the framework of the rules. The child had the same rights as the teachers. 'For example, the court's first mission was to protect the weaker child against the stronger. The rules were based in such a way that only children had the right to serve as judges. The teachers did all the paper work. When the war broke out and I was starving and ready to do anything, I didn't because something of Korczak's teachings stayed with me.' When I asked if perhaps history had been kind to Korczak, or was he really a man like this, an elderly man with a broad smile answered: 'In my opinion, this was his very nature. Maybe it was because he had witnessed such poverty and hardship among abandoned street children when he was a doctor that gave him the strength to dedicate all his life as he did. 'I cannot remember any negative side to Korczak's character, even now, when I myself am a grandfather and teacher, and understand more about children and their education. I honour the memory of a man who was my father for eight years; a man who has healed my physical and psychological ailments and who instilled a code of ethics that served me throughout my life.'


Janusz KorczakFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Janusz Korczak

Born July 22, 1879 (1878-07-22)

Warsaw, Congress Poland, Russian Empire

Died August 1942 (1942-09)

Treblinka extermination camp

Occupation Children's author, humanitarian, pediatrician and child pedagogue

Janusz Korczak, the pen name of Henryk Goldszmit[1] (July 22, 1878 or 1879 – August 1942), was a Polish-Jewish educator, children's author, and pediatrician known as Pan Doktor ("Mr. Doctor") or Stary Doktor ("Old Doctor"). After spending many years working as director of an orphanage in Warsaw, he refused freedom and stayed with his orphans when the institution was sent from the Ghetto to Treblinka extermination camp, during the Grossaktion Warsaw of 1942.[2]
Spacious apartments – first along Miodowa street, then Świętojerska – had to be given up. Henryk worked as a tutor after school.[7] In 1898 he used Janusz Korczak as a writing pseudonym in the Ignacy Jan Paderewski Literary Contest. The name originated from the book Janasz Korczak and the Pretty Swordsweeperlady (O Janaszu Korczaku i pięknej Miecznikównie) by Józef Ignacy Kraszewski.[8] In the 1890s he studied in the Flying University. During the years 1898–1904 Korczak studied medicine at the University of Warsaw and also wrote for several Polish language newspapers. After graduation he became a pediatrician. In 1905−1912 Korczak worked at Bersohns and Baumans Children's Hospital in Warsaw. During the Russo-Japanese War in 1905–1906 he served as a military doctor. Meanwhile his book Child of the Drawing Room (Dziecko salonu) gained him some literary recognition. After the war he continued his practice in Warsaw. Janusz Korczak with the children in 1920s The orphanage at 92 Krochmalna Street where Korczak worked. He lived in a room in the attic Former Korczak's orphanage, currently 6 Jaktorsowska StreetIn 1907–1908 Korczak went to study in Berlin. While working for the Orphan's Society in 1909 he met Stefania Wilczyńska, his future closest associate.[9] In 1911–1912 he became a director of Dom Sierot in Warsaw, the orphanage of his own design for Jewish children. He took Wilczyńska as his assistant. There he formed a kind-of-a-republic for children with its own small parliament, court, and a newspaper. He reduced his other duties as a doctor. Some of his descriptions of the summer camp for Jewish children in this period and subsequently, were later published in his Fragmenty Utworów and have been translated into English. During World War I, in 1917 Korczak became a military doctor with the rank of Lieutenant. He served again as a military doctor in the Polish Army with the rank of Major during the Polish-Soviet War, but after a brief stint in Łódź was assigned to Warsaw.

Sovereign Poland[edit source | editbeta] In 1926 Korczak arranged for the children of the Dom Sierot to begin their own newspaper, the Mały Przegląd (Little Review), as a weekly attachment to the daily Polish-Jewish Newspaper Nasz Przegląd (Our Review). In these years, his secretary was the noted Polish novelist Igor Newerly. During the 1930s he had his own radio program where he promoted and popularized the rights of children. In 1933 he was awarded the Silver Cross of the Polonia Restituta. Between 1934–1936 Korczak traveled every year to Mandate Palestine and visited its kibbutzim, which led to some anti-semitic commentaries in the Polish press. It additionally spurred his estrangement with the non-Jewish orphanage he had also been working for. Still, he refused to move to Palestine even when Stefania Wilczyńska went to live there in 1938. The Holocaust[edit source | editbeta] Last issue of Mały Przegląd (Little Review) dated 1 September 1939 Janusz Korczak and the children, memorial at Yad Vashem Monument of Korczak at Warsaw Commmemorative stone at TreblinkaIn 1939, when World War II erupted, Korczak volunteered for duty in the Polish Army but was refused due to his age. He witnessed the Wehrmacht takeover of Warsaw. When the Germans created the Warsaw Ghetto in 1940, his orphanage was forced to move from its building, Dom Sierot at Krochmalna 92 to the Ghetto (first to Chłodna 33 and later to Sienna 16 / Śliska 9).[10] Korczak moved in with them. In July, Janusz Korczak decided that the children in the orphanage should put on Rabindranath Tagore’s play, The Post Office. On August 5 or 6, 1942, German soldiers came to collect the 192 orphans (there is some debate about the actual number: it may have been 196), and about one dozen staff members, to transport them to Treblinka extermination camp. Korczak had been offered sanctuary on the “Aryan side” by Żegota but turned it down repeatedly, saying that he could not abandon his children. On August 5, he again refused offers of sanctuary, insisting that he would go with the children. The children were dressed in their best clothes, and each carried a blue knapsack and a favorite book or toy. Joshua Perle, an eyewitness, described the procession of Korczak and the children through the ghetto to the Umschlagplatz (deportation point to the death camps): Janusz Korczak was marching, his head bent forward, holding the hand of a child, without a hat, a leather belt around his waist, and wearing high boots. A few nurses were followed by two hundred children, dressed in clean and meticulously cared for clothes, as they were being carried to the altar. — Joshua Perle, Holocaust Chronicles [11] According to a popular legend, when the group of orphans finally reached the Umschlagplatz, an SS officer recognized Korczak as the author of one of his favorite children's books and offered to help him escape. By another version, the officer was acting officially, as the Nazi authorities had in mind some kind of "special treatment" for Korczak (some prominent Jews with international reputations got sent to Theresienstadt). Whatever the offer, Korczak once again refused. He boarded the trains with the children and was never heard from again. Korczak's evacuation from the Ghetto is also mentioned in Władysław Szpilman's book The Pianist: He told the orphans they were going out in to the country, so they ought to be cheerful. At last they would be able to exchange the horrible suffocating city walls for meadows of flowers, streams where they could bathe, woods full of berries and mushrooms. He told them to wear their best clothes, and so they came out into the yard, two by two, nicely dressed and in a happy mood. The little column was led by an SS man... — Władysław Szpilman, The Pianist [12] Some time after, there were rumors that the trains had been diverted and that Korczak and the children had survived. There was, however, no basis to these stories. Most likely, Korczak, along with Wilczyńska and most of the children, was killed in a gas chamber upon their arrival at Treblinka. A differing account of Korczak's departure is given in Mary Berg's Warsaw Ghetto diary: Dr. Janusz Korczak’s children’s home is empty now. A few days ago we all stood at the window and watched the Germans surround the houses. Rows of children, holding each other by their little hands, began to walk out of the doorway. There were tiny tots of two or three years among them, while the oldest ones were perhaps thirteen. Each child carried the little bundle in his hand. — Mary Berg, The Diary [13] There is a cenotaph for him at the Okopowa Street Jewish Cemetery in Warsaw, with monumental sculpture of Korczak leading his children to the trains. Created originally by Mieczysław Smorczewski in 1982,[14] the monument was recast in bronze in 2002. The original was re-erected at boarding school for children with special needs in Borzęciczki, which is named after Janusz Korczak.[15] Writings[edit source | editbeta] Korczak's best known writing is his fiction and pedagogy, and his most popular works have been widely translated. His main pedagogical texts have been translated into English, but of his fiction, as of 2012[update] only two of his novels have been translated into English: King Matt the First and Kaytek the Wizard. The copyright to all works by Korczak was acquired by The Polish Book Institute as of January 8, 2010.[16] As of late 2011, they have embarked on an initiative to publish or re-publish many of Korczak's books, both in Polish and in other languages.[17] As the date of Korczak's death was not officially established, his date of death for legal purposes was established in 1954 by a Polish court. As for other people whose death date was not documented, the death date was ruled to be 9. May 1946 and this date is considered by The Polish Book Institute as the beginning of 70 years copyright expiration period. As of 2012 there is ongoing court trial to move the date back to 1942, so that Korczak's works would be available in the public domain as of January 1, 2013.[18] Korczak's overall literary oeuvre covers the period 1896 to August 8, 1942. It comprises works for both children and adults, and includes literary pieces, social journalism, articles and pedagogical essays, together with some scrappy unpublished work, in all totaling over twenty books, over 1,400 texts published in around 100 publications, and around 300 texts in manuscript or typescript form. A complete edition of his works is planned for 2012.[19] Children's books[edit source | editbeta]Korczak often employed the form of the fairy tale in order to actually prepare his young readers for the dilemmas and difficulties of real adult life, and the need to make responsible decisions. In the 1923 King Matt the First (Król Maciuś Pierwszy) and its sequel King Matt on the Desert Island (Król Maciuś na wyspie bezludnej) Korczak depicted a child prince who is catapulted to the throne by the sudden death of his father, and who must learn from various mistakes. He tries to read and answer all his mail by himself and finds that the volume is too much and he needs to rely on secretaries; he is exasperated with his ministers and has them arrested, but soon realises that he does not know enough to govern by himself, and is forced to release the ministers and institute constitutional monarchy; when a war breaks out he does not accept being shut up in his palace, but slips away and joins up, pretending to be a peasant boy - and narrowly avoids becoming a POW; he takes the offer of a friendly journalist to publish for him a "royal paper" -and finds much later that he gets carefully edited news and that the journalist is covering up the gross corruption of the young king's best friend; he tries to organise the children of all the world to hold processions and demand their rights – and ends up antagonising other kings; he falls in love with a black African princess and outrages racist opinion (by modern standards, however, Korczak's depiction of blacks is itself not completely free of stereotypes which were current at the time of writing); finally, he is overthrown by the invasion of three foreign armies and exiled to a desert island, where he must come to terms with reality – and finally does. Recently (2012), another book by Korczak was translated into English. Kajtuś the Wizard (Kajtuś czarodziej) (1933) anticipated Harry Potter in depicting a schoolboy who gains magic powers, and it was very popular during the 1930s, both in Polish and in translation to several other languages. Kajtuś has, however, a far more difficult path than Harry Potter: he has no Hogwarts-type School of Magic where he could be taught by expert mages, but must learn to use and control his powers all by himself - and most importantly, to learn his limitations. Pedagogical books[edit source | editbeta]In his pedagogical works, Korczak shares much of his experience dealing with difficult children. Korczak's ideas were further developed by many other pedagogues such as Simon Soloveychik and Erich Dauzenroth List of selected works[edit source | editbeta]Fiction[edit source | editbeta] Children of the Streets (Dzieci ulicy, Warsaw 1901) Fiddle-Faddle (Koszałki opałki, Warsaw 1905) Child of the Drawing Room (Dziecko salonu, Warsaw 1906, 2nd edition 1927) – partially autobiographical Mośki, Joski i Srule (Warsaw 1910) Józki, Jaśki i Franki (Warsaw 1911) Fame (Sława, Warsaw 1913, corrected 1935 and 1937) Bobo (Warsaw 1914) King Matt the First (Król Maciuś Pierwszy, Warsaw 1923) ISBN 1-56512-442-1 King Matt on a Deserted Island (Król Maciuś na wyspie bezludnej, Warsaw 1923) Bankruptcy of Little Jack (Bankructwo małego Dżeka, Warsaw 1924) When I Am Little Again (Kiedy znów będę mały, Warsaw 1925) Senat szaleńców, humoreska ponura (Madmen's Senate, play premièred at the Ateneum Theatre in Warsaw, 1931) Kaytek the Wizard (Kajtuś czarodziej, Warsaw 1935) Pedagogical books[edit source | editbeta]Momenty wychowawcze (Warsaw, 1919, 2nd edition 1924) How to Love a Child (Jak kochać dziecko, Warsaw 1919, 2nd edition 1920 as Jak kochać dzieci) The Child's Right to Respect (Prawo dziecka do szacunku, Warsaw, 1929) Playful pedagogy (Pedagogika żartobliwa, Warsaw, 1939) Other books[edit source | editbeta]Diary (Pamiętnik, Warsaw, 1958) Fragmenty Utworów (Warsaw: Instytut Wydawniczy Nasza Księgarnia, 1978). Excerpts translated by Adele L. Milch were published in Moment Magazine, November 1979. The Stubborn Boy: The Life of Pasteur (Warsaw, 1935) Books: Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli (2003) – Doctor Korczak runs an orphanage in Warsaw where the main character often visits him Moshe en Reizele (Mosje and Reizele) by Karlijn Stoffels (2004) – Mosje is sent to live in Korczak's orphanage, where he falls in love with Reizele. Set in the period 1939-1942. Original Dutch, German translation available. No English version as of 2009[update]. Once by Morris Gleitzman (2005), partly inspired by Korczak, featuring a character modeled after him Kindling by Alberto Valis (Felici Editori, 2011), Italian thriller novel. The life of Korczak through the voice of a Warsaw ghetto's orphan. As of 2011[update], no English translation. The Time Tunnel - Kingdom of the Children by Galila Ron-Feder-Amit (2007) is an Israeli children's book in the Time Tunnel series that takes place in Korczak's orphanage. Stage plays: Dr Korczak and the Children by Erwin Sylvanus (1957) Korczak's Children by Jeffrey Hatcher (2003) Dr Korczak's Example by David Greig (2001)[20] The Children's Republic A play based on the life and work of Yanusz Korczak (2008) by Elena Khalitov, Harmony Theatre Company and School The Children's Republic by Hannah Moscovitch (2009) Musicals: Facing the wall - Janusz Korczak by Klaus-Peter Rex and Daniel Hoffmann (1997) presented by Music-theatre fuenf brote und zwei fische, Wülfrath Korczak by Nick Stimson and Chris Williams (2011) presented by Youth Music Theatre: UK at the Rose Theatre, Kingston in August 2011. Film: Korczak, written by Agnieszka Holland, directed by Andrzej Wajda (1990) Film: Korczak, written by Agnieszka Holland, directed by Andrzej Wajda (1990) Television: Studio 4: Dr Korczak and the Children - BBC adaptation of Sylvanus's play, written and directed by Rudolph Cartier (13 March 1962) Music: Korczak's Orphans – opera, music by Adam Silverman, libretto by Susan Gubernat (2003) Kaddish – long poem/song by Alexander Galich (1970) Kung Mattias I - opera, music by Viggo Edén, from writings by Korczak, given World Premiere at Höör's Summer Opera (Sweden) on 9 August 2012. 'The Little Review' from album 'Where the Darkness Goes', Awna Teixeira, 2012 Astronomy: Asteroid 2163 Korczak is named in his honor. Janusz Korczak studied psychological and educational literature from his early youth. He was very interested in the history of educational thought, he was familiar with the works of Pestalozzi and Spencer, and was attracted by the contributions of Froebel. Right from the start of his journalistic activities, he expressed respect, and even fascination for the works of these authors. In 1899 he wrote in one of the periodicals of the day: ‘The names of Pestalozzi, Froebel and Spencer shine with no less brilliance than the names of the greatest inventors of the twentieth century. For they discovered more than the unknown forces of nature; they discovered the unknown half of humanity: children.’9 Korczak frequently read the works of Tolstoy. The ideas contained in the essay ‘Who is to learn from whom how to write: peasant children from us, or we from peasant children?’ were particularly close to his own. Like Tolstoy, he proclaimed the need to rise up and open our minds to the thoughts, emotions and experiences of children.9 Korczak’s programme of pedagogical work was based on the thesis that children should be fully understood, that one should enter into the spirit of their world and psychology, but that, first and foremost, children must be respected and loved, treated in fact as partners and friends. In his own words: ‘Children are not future people, because they are people already....Children are people whose souls contain the seeds of all those thoughts and emotions that we possess. As these seeds develop, their growth must be gently directed.’11 His work as an educator and teacher Korczak’s first experience in pedagogical practice was acquired when he still worked as a physician. While a student at the Department of Medicine he accepted work in summer camps for children. In 1904 he participated in such camps for Jewish children at Michalòwka, in Ostròw Mazowiecki county. At this early stage he introduced some of his own ideas for organizing the life of a community of children. These included special duties, a system of self-control and the goodwill plebiscite.14 He worked once more in children’s camps in the summers of 1907 and 1908. This gave him additional experience and an opportunity to test new ways of solving educational problems.15 In 1910 a building lot was purchased at Krochmalna Street in Warsaw, for the purpose of establishing an orphanage. This he did, introducing his pedagogical programme into the orphanage’s everyday life during the years 1912–14. He returned to his educational work as soon as he came home from the war. He collaborated with the Nasz Dom (Our Home) Educational Institute at Pruskòw near Warsaw. He resolutely overcame numerous difficulties, mainly material in nature, of the Warsaw Home for Orphans. He helped the superintendent of the home to direct the educational programme. When this institution moved to Warsaw a few years later, he continued to be involved in its management. His contract with Nasz Dom continued until 1936. Korczak engaged in various forms of popularization of knowledge with the Warsaw Philanthropic Institution, in free reading-rooms, and through the Warsaw Society for Hygiene. From 1900 he was associated with the Flying University, a clandestine post-secondary school that operated in Warsaw during the Russian partition.17 In 1905–06 the school was legalized as the Society for Academic Courses. Later on (after 1915) the Polish Free University was founded, and Korczak soon became involved. In 1922 he gave a course at the National Institute of Special Education,18 a school that prepared educators for work with handicapped and educationally difficult children. He gave numerous courses and lectures to scientific and lay audiences. Korczak returned to practical educational activity in 1939. Working in an orphanage, he helped children made homeless by the war. He fought to maintain the orphanage, and was forced to move with the children to different buildings on several occasions. As a home for Jewish children, it was within the confines of the ghetto. Janusz Korczak and his children were transported to the Treblinka extermination camp in 1942. He remained with them and shared their tragic end. Finally, Janusz Korczak was the author of a number of literary works—novels, stories and a play. His Senat szalencòw (Madmen’s senate) was performed in 1931 by the Ateneum Theatre, and was received with great interest. Korczak’s activity as a writer waned in the 1930s. During this period he became very interested in Jewish and Hebrew culture, travelling to Palestine in 1934 and 1936. He published articles and stories in Palestinian periodicals, as well as in Warsaw periodicals for Jewish youth. As an adjunct to his pedagogical journalism he wrote minor works on hygiene, pediatrics and social medicine. He also had very popular radio talks in 1935–36 and 1938–39. These talks were published in 1939 in book form Pedagogika zartobliwa (Playful pedagogy). Written during the Second World War, his Pamietnik (Memoires) occupies a special position among his writings, as a work written under tragic circumstances, in an atmosphere of growing cruelty and aggression. True to children and true to his ideals, ever true to himself, he laid down his own life in sharing with the children their tragic fate at Treblinka. He did not take advantage of the opportunity to relinquish his charges and save his own life at that price, because he really lived for his children. Janusz Korczak exerted and continues to exert an influence on the minds and hearts of mankind, not only through his pedagogical writing, journalism, educational and medical practice, and literary works. His influence also springs from his exceptional personality, the passion of his struggle for children’s happiness, and the warm sentiment he displayed for those in his care. It springs from his life itself and the sacrifice of his life under tragic circumstances. Works by Korczak The bibliography of Janusa Korczak’s works in Polish comprises about 1,100 publications (together with new editions). Main assembled works: Pisma wybrane [Selected works]. Introduction and selection by Aleksander Lewin. Warszawa, Nasza Ksiegarnia, 1984, vol.. 1–2. Pisma wybrane [Selected works]. Introduction and selection by Aleksander Lewin. Warszawa, Nasza Ksiegarnia, 1985, vol.. 3. Pisma wybrane [Selected works]. Introduction and selection by Aleksander Lewin. Warszawa, Nasza Ksiegarnia, 1986, vol.. 4. Wybór pism [Selected texts]. Selected by Stefan Wol,/oszyn. Warszawa, Wiedza Powszechna, 1982. Fragmenty utworów [An anthology of works]. Selected by Danuta Stepniewska. Warszawa, Nasza Ksiegarnia, 1978. A full bibliography of Korczak’s works is to be found in: Janusz Korczak. Bibliografia 1896–1942. Heinsberg, Agentur Dieck, 1985. Janusz Korczak. Bibliografia polska 1943–1987. Heinsberg, Agentur Dieck, 1988. Selected Works of Janusz Korczak. Warsaw, 1967. J. Korczak: Ghetto Diary. New York, Holocaust Library, 1978. J. Korczak: Wie man ein Kind lieben soll [ ]. Göttingen, Vandenhoeck und Rprecht, 1967. J. Korczak: Der kleine Prophet [ ]. Gütersloh, Güterslohner Verlaghaus Gerd Mohn, 1988. J. Korczak: Verteidigt die Kinder. Erzählende Pädagogik [ ]. Gütersloh, Güterslohner Verlaghaus Gerd Mohn, 1978. Allein mit gott. Gebete eines Menschen, der nicht betet [ ]. Gütersloh, Güterslohner Verlaghaus, 1981. J. Korczak: Colonies de vacances [ ]. Paris, La pensée universelle, 1984. J. Korczak: Comment aimer un enfant [ ]. Paris, Eds. Robert Lafont, 1978. J. Korczak: Le gloire [ ]. Flemmenan, 1980. J. Korczak: Moïse, le Benjamin de la Bible [ ]. Paris, UNESCO, 1988. J. Korczak: Le Droit de ? enfant en respect [ ]. Paris, Eds. Robert Lafont, 1979. Bibliography Beiner, F.; Dauzenroth, E.; Lax, E. J. Korczak. Bibliographie, Quellen und Literatur 1943–1987 [×××]. Heinsberg, Agentur Dieck, 1987.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Mill & the Cross The Mill & the Cross: Berlin Review 4:26 AM PST 2/9/2011 by Neil Young Rutger Hauer, Michael York and Charlotte Rampling fail to inspire passion in this tale of 16th-century art. ROTTERDAM -- If ever a film cried out for the 3D treatment, it's The Mill & the Cross, an ambitious but frustratingly flat attempt to explore, analyze and dramatize a masterpiece of 16th-century art. The presence of stars Rutger Hauer, Michael York and Charlotte Rampling will pique some interest, and the highbrow concept -- plus some striking high-definition digital visuals -- will ensure festival exposure. But this Polish/Swedish co-production, set in what's now Belgium and with nearly all of the (often clunky) dialogue spoken in English, has too much of a stodgy Euro-pudding feel to make much dent commercially. DVD sales, ideally packaged with book that inspired it, may prove more lucrative, particular in museum stores. Summary: Pieter Bruegel’s epic masterpiece The Way To Calvary depicts the story of Christ’s Passion set in Flanders under brutal Spanish occupation in the year 1564, the very year Bruegel created his painting. From among the more than five hundred figures that fill Bruegel’s remarkable canvas, The M The Mill & The Cross focuses on a dozen characters whose life stories unfold and intertwine in a panoramic landscape populated by villagers and red-caped horsemen. Among them are Bruegel himself, his friend and art collector Nicholas Jonghelinck, and the Virgin Mary. (Silesia Film)… Collapse Movie Info What would it be like to step inside a great work of art, have it come alive around you, and even observe the artist as he sketches the very reality you are experiencing? Lech Majewski brings to life Pieter Bruegel's masterpiece The Way to Calvary, the story of the crucifixion, setting it in 16th century Flanders under brutal Spanish occupation. Rutger Hauer plays the artist, Michael York his patron, and Charlotte Rampling the Virgin Mary. As epic events unfold, bawdy country living continues unabated: couples entwine, musicians play wind instruments, soldiers torment their enemies mercilessly, and children scurry about. Using sophisticated computer technology, the filmmaker creates a brilliantly complex and fascinating multi-layered dreamscape that melds iconic moments in art, history, and religion with the quotidian lives of ordinary people. -- (C) Kino Lorber

Lore Cast[edit source | edit]Saskia Rosendahl as Lore Kai Malina as Thomas Nele Trebs as Liesel Ursina Lardi as Mutti (the mother) Hans-Jochen Wagner as Vati (the father) André Frid as Günther Mika Seidel as Jürgen Eva-Maria Hagen as Omi (the grandmother) Nick Holaschke as Peter Sven Pippig as Bauer Philip Wiegratz as Helmut Production[edit source | edit]Initially the screenplay was written by Robin Mukherjee as an adaptation of The Dark Room. A few years later Cate Shortland joined the project and re-wrote part of the screenplay. In the dying days of the second world war, the Nazis are on the run, torching the evidence and leaving their children to wander the village streets where the charred remnants of incriminating documents float like gossamer on the breeze. Australian director Cate Shortland's drama is overflowing with such poetic visual touches, conjuring up a fairytale landscape of long shadows, wafting curtains and waving fronds. And yet, as with all the best fairytales, there is a blackness and brutality at its centre. Teenage Lore (Saskia Rosendahl) leads the good Nazi offspring away through the forest. She battles starvation and fends off the advances of the Jewish runaway she regards as a wolf. Ahead lies a cottage and safety, and a supposed happy ending, with a sting in its tail.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Binding and Loosing

Binding and Loosing by Ed Nelson For New Testament (Brit Chadashah) readers, in Matthew 16:13-19 we encounter an ancient Hebraic concept called “binding and loosing.” The story unfolds this way: Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah. And still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my assembly. And the gates of Hades will not overpower it. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” This biblical Hebrew phrase, “to bind and loose,” is a commonly misunderstood concept today by New Testament readers. With the passing of time and the loss of original and proper contexts of terms and phrases in the Bible, new interpretations emerged with a different force than intended when the Bible was written. Traditional Catholicism attaches the concept to the spiritual power of the papacy to issue edicts. This is quite close to the original meaning, though it limits its use to one person. In many evangelical and Pentecostal churches is the common tendency to misapply the phrase to “binding evil spirits,” or even Satan. As we shall see, clearly this is not the biblical understanding and expression intended in the ancient Hebraic terms “bind and loose.” In the “Addenda” to this article, the subject of Satan being bound is treated as a separate conversation. Our purpose is to come to terms with the Bible regarding this phrase, “to bind and loose,” so we may understand and use it in the proper biblical intention. Original meaning of “binding and loosing.” In ancient Jewish life, the phrase “to bind and to loose” was understood as a legal designation. It is a rabbinical term for “forbidding and permitting.” Before and during the days of Yeshua (Jesus), these antonyms—bind and loose—were used to describe the authority of religious leaders to make decisions beyond the Torah for daily life in special circumstances, often involving controversy. The Hebrew expression asar (to bind by a spoken bond) parar (to annul a spoken bond) was established by Moses in Numbers 30 for a vow (neder) which prohibits doing or using something. The binding remains permanent unless it is annulled by the responsible, overseeing authority. Later, the Aramaic words asar and shera, which mean “bind” and “loose,” are often found in combination as a Jewish formula for excommunication and reinstatement, among other authoritative uses for order and discipline by Jewish leaders, usually Pharisees. The concept of asar implies binding an object by a powerful, divinely authorized act in order to prevent its use (see Targum to Psalm 58:6). It goes beyond interpreting the Torah in a given situation, but may include it. The corresponding Aramaic shera and Hebrew hattarah (for loosing the prohibition; permitting) have no parallel in the Tanakh. However, in the New Testament we find such an occasion at the immersion of Jesus (Yeshua) where John the Immerser was reluctant to immerse Him at his request. Jesus (Yeshua) said to him: “Permit it at this time. For in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”(Matthew 3:15). So John baptized Jesus (Yeshua), not for repentance but for righteousness. What prohibited John from immersing Jesus (Yeshua) was loosed for this occasion. Again, we see an occasion when small children came to Jesus in Mark 10:14. But when Jesus saw this [the prohibition of children], He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to me. Do not prohibit them. For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Pharisees functioned with this legal concept. Pharisees always claimed the power to bind and loose. Under Queen Alexandra of the Grecian Empire the Pharisees ruled, asserting their claim to divine authority “to bind and loose”: And now the Pharisees joined themselves to her, to assist her in the government. These are a certain sect of the Jews that appear more religious than others, and seem to interpret the laws more accurately… they banished and reduced whom they pleased; they bound and loosed [men] at their pleasure; and, to say all at once, they had the enjoyment of the royal authority, while the expenses and the difficulties of it belonged to Alexandra… She governed other people, and the Pharisees governed her. (Josephus, The War of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter 5) As the learned men of the queen, they acted beyond the Torah on deciding what was forbidden or allowed. In most cases, what was forbidden or permitted was self-evident by virtue of the Torah’s 613 commandments. But the Pharisees went further. What they claimed to possess was the divine right of Yahweh to exercise power to tie or untie anything. This was a right granted by kingdom authority, they taught, but not to abolish the Torah. Some matters required decision where the Torah was not clear enough under given situations. The Pharisees were ready and prepared to act in these cases by binding and loosing. As Josephus shows, they had legal power from the queen to pronounce an anathema upon any person. In the same vested power, they could “bind and loose” people, to tie them or untie them in any matter of their choosing. Or they may ban or bind the use of an object. Carried further, they exercised the power over certain days by declaring them fast-days (Megilloth Ta’anith 22.; Ta’anith 12a; Yerushalayim Nedarim 1:36c, d). This power and authority, vested in the rabbinical body of each age, was best exemplified in the Sanhedrin. This august body acted within the ideal that it received its sanction and mandate from the celestial court of justice (Makkoth 23b). The Catholic Church preserved these divine rights. With this definition in mind, we can readily see why the traditional view of Christianity represented in the Catholic Church reserved the phrase to explain the right of papacy to issue edicts, to speak ex cathedra, and to excommunicate. During the second to fourth centuries some church fathers interpreted the meaning of “binding and loosing” with slight variations, but always in the context of spiritual authorities making powerful decisions under special circumstances. Tertullian, Cyprian, and Origen viewed binding and loosing as the authority of church authorities to excommunicate persons who violated church law and the authority to reinstate them back into fellowship. Such an understanding is based on Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 18:15-18 where church discipline by leaders is imposed on those who sin. They may be forgiven or, in the case of not being forgiven, they may be excommunicated as “a Gentile or tax collector.” This understanding reflects the meaning of “binding and loosing” in the Hebrew and Aramaic languages used by many Jewish scholars before and during the first century.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Blasphemy in the First Century: Part Two Blasphemy in the First Century: Part Two Due to the size of this article, it is divided into two parts. Read Part One first. Then discover here why Yeshua (Jesus), Stephen and James the Just were killed for speaking the same Scripture verses Did Yeshua (Jesus) Ever Speak the Name “Yahweh”? A Study of Matthew 27:57-67 by Ed Nelson ( Did Yeshua (Jesus) illegally speak the unutterable Name? Likely, until Yeshua (Jesus) came to Jerusalem He never said the name of God publicly, at least where two or three hostile witnesses were in the group that could convict Him ahead of his time to die. When He drove out the moneychangers from the temple, he was in a hostile environment. What He said would be repeated in a hostile manner to the authorities. Perhaps the two eyewitnesses at the temple were false accusers, manufacturing the charge of blasphemy for revenge. Or perhaps Yeshua (Jesus) did say the name Yahweh to them in the phrase “temple of Yahweh.” We cannot be sure. We can be sure that Yeshua said something to the Sanhedrin that was clearly blasphemous according to their definition based on the “fence’ around the Torah and the Name. All you had to say was Yahweh, and that was enough to deserve the death penalty in the collective judgment of the court. The two witnesses were no more needed. The whole Sanhedrin had become eyewitnesses of blasphemy according to the Sanhedrin’s laws concerning the outlawed name of God. What did Yeshua say to turn the Sanhedrin against Him? What He said was loaded with biblical meaning to the Jewish society and reflected popular teachings in some of the apocryphal writings. He gave the high priest a statement that exhibited his apocalyptic self-understanding that only the true Messiah could say: You have said it: nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see “the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:64) The reply is a combination of Daniel 7:13 and Psalm 110:1. By looking at the broader text of Daniel 7:13-14, we understand that Yeshua (Jesus) was not just talking about just coming in the clouds of the sky, as wonderful as this, but was detailing to the high priest his ultimate authority given by Yahweh to rule all creation forever: I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming. And He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and [people of every] language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away. And his kingdom is one which will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14) Yeshua (Jesus) was claiming to be the Son of Yahweh, just as Caiaphas said it in his question. Daniel’s words, of course, recall the prophet Isaiah (19:1) telling of the foreboding wrath of Yahweh upon Egypt. The imagery is not unlike that of the statement made by Yeshua (Jesus): Behold, Yahweh is riding on a swift cloud and is about to come to Egypt. The idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them. The concept of the divine/human Son of Man “riding on a cloud” was understood during the time of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) to be a divine attribute of Yahweh. Isaiah’s prophecy recalls Deuteronomy 33:26—“There is none like the God of Yeshurun who rides the heavens to your help and through the skies in his majesty.” The Jewish view that the Messiah, the Son of Man, would “come on the clouds of heaven” is further elaborated in the Fourth Book of Ezra (aka the Second Book of Esdras), an apocryphal text written about the time of the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70. The dating of this book shows the abiding influence of the Messianic vision of Daniel 7:13 during the first century. The view of the Messiah coming on the clouds was not lost for a moment on the esteemed Sanhedrin. And it came to pass after seven days that I dreamed a dream by night: and I beheld, and, behold, there arose a violent wind from the sea, and stirred up all its waves. And the wind caused the likeness of a form of a Man to come out of the heart of the seas. And this Man flew with the clouds of heaven. And wherever he turned his face to look, everything seen by Him trembled. And wherever the voice went out of his mouth, all that heard his voice melted away, as the wax melts when it feels the fire. And after this I beheld that there was gathered from the four winds of heaven an innumerable multitude of men to make war against that Man who came up out of the sea … And I saw that he cut out for himself a great mountain and flew up upon it … And when he saw the assault of the multitude as they came, he neither lifted his hand, nor held spear nor any warlike weapon. But I saw only how he sent out of his mouth as it were a fiery stream, and out of his lips a flaming breath, and out of his tongue he shot forth a storm of sparks … And these fell upon the assault of the multitude … and burned them all up … These are the interpretations of the vision: Whereas you did see a Man coming up from the heart of the sea: this is He whom the Most High is keeping many ages and through whom He will deliver his creation, and the same shall order the survivors … But He shall stand upon the summit of Mount Zion. And Zion shall come and shall be made manifest to all men, prepared and built, even as you did see the mountain cut out without hands. But he, My Son, shall reprove the nations that are come for their ungodliness … (4 Ezra 13:1-9, 25-26, 35-36) Centuries later, Rabbi Nachman ascribed to the Messiah the title Bar Nifle, Aramaic for “Son of the Clouds.’ In the Targum, Messiah is called ‘Anani—“He of the clouds.” In a Midrash fragment He is described as “riding on the cloud.” When Yeshua (Jesus) stood before the Sanhedrin, his Cloud Rider analogy sparked an immediate fire storm of resentment against Him within this august body of leaders. But He combined his statement with Psalm 110:1, describing Himself as the Son of Man “sitting at the right hand of Power.” Psalm 110:1 is shown below according to its Hebraic literary structure and style to show the weight of Yeshua’s (Jesus’) statement to Caiphas: Frame A Yahweh says to my Lord [Adoni]: Complex forward alternating symmetry with reverse concentric symmetry A “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” B A rod of might Yahweh will send from Zion. A¹ “Rule in the midst of your enemies. B¹ Your people will volunteer in the day of your power in splendor of holiness, A² from the womb of dawn to your dew of youth.” Forward symmetry A Yahweh has sworn and will not change his mind: B “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Frame A The Lord is at your right hand [i.e., at right hand of Yahweh]. Forward symmetry A He will shatter kings in the day of his wrath. B He will judge among the nations. C He will fill [them] with corpses. A¹ He will shatter the chief men over a broad country. B¹ He will drink from the brook by the wayside. C¹ Therefore He will lift up [his] head. Psalm 110 is a quintessential psalm anticipating the Messiah. Well known and discussed among the Jewish sages before the time of Yeshua (Jesus), it gave hope to Israel’s Messianic expectations. But there is a more—the clincher regarding blasphemy. “Sitting at the right hand of the Power.” The Greek manuscripts get this right, copying the original wording as “the Power.” Any euphemism for the name Yahweh as “Power” would be “the Power.” Of course, in Jerusalem and especially in the Sanhedrin, the language of record is Hebrew. The Greek terminology for “the Power” was not used. Only the Hebrew word for “the Power” was spoken. The word is hagburah, formed by the acquiescing of the article he (“the”) with geburah (“power”). To say hagburah—“the Power”—was one of several ways to speak in direct reference to Yahweh without saying his outlawed Name. Matthew records Yeshua (Jesus) as saying hagburah. But the writer was well aware of his need to follow the Jewish conventions of the day to distribute his Gospel. He attributed the euphemism to the lips of Yeshua (Jesus) and not the name “Yahweh,” what in all likelihood, is what He said. That Yeshua (Jesus) said “Yahweh” is most likely based on his combining Psalm 110:1 with Daniel 7:13. The original charge appears to be that He called the temple “the temple of Yahweh.” As deadly as this charge was, the witnesses became secondary to the trial. Yeshua (Jesus) confirmed the charge by saying the actual, outlawed Name of his Father and not the euphemism, “the Power.” Yeshua (Jesus) apparently wanted to fully pronounce the otherwise legally unutterable Name before the Sanhedrin. He called them to task for their selling out Israel for a new tradition not in keeping with the revelation of Yahweh to Israel through the Patriarchs and Moses. Remember what He told his disciples at Caesarea Philippi? He was going to Jerusalem where he would suffer from the hands of the Sanhedrin and their peers and be put to death. Matthew 16:21 confirms his objective in Jerusalem: From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. The manner of his death would be crucifixion. The cause of his death would be blasphemy for saying aloud the outlawed Name of his Father—Yahweh. To say it another way, the reason Yeshua (Jesus) was killed is different from the reason He died. He was killed for a nouveaux law that redefined blasphemy different from the Torah. He died for the lost sheep of Israel and the world. That He spoke the ineffable Name is further confirmed by the high priest rending his garments, an action reserved for pronouncing the name Yahweh. The Mishnah states that when blasphemy of the Name occurs—that is pronouncing it aloud—“the judges stand on their feet and tear their clothing.” The martyrdom of Stephen. Acts 7 gives the homily spoken by the evangelist Stephen that led to his immediate death by stoning, the common penalty for for pronouncing the outlawed name of God. Did Stephen give public voice to the forbidden Name? The story begins in Acts 6:8-15 where Stephen is charged for blasphemy “against Moses [i.e., the Torah of Moses] and God” by those associated with the Synagogue of the Freedmen. Arrested, he appears before the high priest and Sanhedrin: Then they [i.e., of the Synagogue of Freedmen] secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council. They put forward false witnesses who said, “This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Torah. For we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Yeshua [Jesus], will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.” The high priest asked if these things were true (cf. Acts 7:1). Stephen answered with what is often called his homily or sermon. It was neither. Rather, it was his explanation for the faith of Israel in Yahweh, how his covenant people had turned against Him repeatedly even to his time, and how Yeshua (Jesus), whom they sentenced to death, was the Messiah sent to Israel to call the nation to repentance to receive the long-delayed kingdom of Yahweh. Two things incited the Sanhedrin: First, Stephen referenced the trial of Yeshua (Jesus) and the sentence of death issued by the Sanhedrin for his so-called blasphemy against God by pronouncing the name “Yahweh” in quoting Psalm 110:1 in combination with Daniel 7:13. Yeshua (Jesus) said: “I tell you, hereafter you will see ‘the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power [i.e., Yahweh] and coming on the clouds of heaven.’” Second, Stephen’s final statement was decisive for his martyrdom. Luke described the scene this way: But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Yeshua [Jesus] standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse. (Acts 7:55-57) You readily see the offense that caused the Sanhedrin, to a person, to shout and cover their ears. This was their typical response to a person pronouncing the name of God. Such was blasphemy to their ears. What Stephen saw and declared was that Yeshua (Jesus) was, in fact, already at the right hand of Yahweh, even as He said He would be according to Daniel 7:13 and Psalm 110:1. Declaring this, he used the outlawed name of God—Yahweh. Like Yeshua (Jesus) was declared a blasphemer, so was Stephen. His stoning ensued. The killing of James the Just for blasphemy. After the departure of Yeshua (Jesus) to heaven, James the Just (Ya’akov HaTzadik), half-brother of Yeshua (Jesus), led the fellowship of believers in Jerusalem. He was killed in A.D. 62, about thirty years after Yeshua’s (Jesus’) death. According to the fragmentary writings of Hegesippus (A.D. 110-180) contained in his “Commentaries on the Acts of the Church,” Eusebius quotes in his Ecclesiastical History (2:23) the story concerning the murder of James the Just. Some scribes and Pharisees demanded James, the chief leader of the followers of Messiah Yeshua, to declare from an elevated place on the temple grounds that Jews believing in Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah were wrong and must recant. Basically, he was to recant his own faith in the Messiah to lead his fellowship of believers to recant. Instead, at his own peril he declared the gospel as true. He clinched his testimony by repeating the very statement made by Yeshua, his half-brother, before the high priest and Sanhedrin: “Hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” This was the same statement made by Stephen that provoked his martyrdom. In the unfolding tragedy, James was pushed off the elevation and fell to the ground, apparently without serious injury. He, thus, arose, knelt and began to prayer for his stoners, forgiving them. The high priest, Hanan ben Hanan (Greek, Ananus ben Anamus) assembled “a council of judges,” presumably the Sanhedrin, who condemned James “on the charge of breaking the law.” No specific charge of blasphemy is recorded. But the penalty of death was the same as demanded for blasphemy of the “fence” around the Name—pronouncing the name of God. Indeed, the high priest with his council of judges passed sentence in the same way that Yeshua and Stephen was sentenced to death for blasphemy. We do know that the act of pronouncing the Name Yahweh was forbidden, an act “of breaking the law,” with death the penalty, including stoning. Did James the Just say the name “Yahweh” instead of the euphemism, “the Power”? Presumably so, for he suffered the same punishment accorded the act of blasphemy—pronouncing the outlawed name of God. The New Testament writers used euphemisms. To pronounce or write the outlawed name of God was dangerous business. To speak it where it could be heard meant certain death. Common sense says that the writers of the New Testament favored euphemisms for the name Yahweh instead of writing it on parchment where it could be circulated and read aloud. After all, the legal force of the Great Assembly, followed by the Sanhedrin, had set precedence. This body of scholars and legal authorities determined it was permissible to erase the name Yahweh from the Bible in certain places and replace it with the word Adonai (“Lord”). The substitution occurred 134 times according to the eminent Hebrew scholar, Christian David Ginsburg (1831-1914), in his magnum opus, the critical study of the Masorah. Even the plentiful places where the Name remained intact in the Bible, it was never spoken. To read aloud the Scriptures required substituting the word “Adonai” for “Yahweh” under the penalty of death—no laughing matter. New Testament writers were well aware of the legal preference for the word “Adonai” as a replacement for “Yahweh” as well as for the familiar euphemisms for the Name. To violate the legal conventions and conventions would be certain death. Generally, they conformed to the binding laws of the “fence” around the Name in their writings to preserve the lives of their readers and their own lives as much as possible. Did the New Testament writers know and use the name “Yahweh”? Yes, of course. Did they speak the Name in their immediate associations within the fellowship of believers? We may not be certain, but it seems likely. Writing about it, though, could be a dangerous business. In their writings they were fond to quote the Hebrew Bible where the name Yahweh was used. Apparently, they were permitted to copy the Name, as long as it was a direct quote, into their writings without use of a substitute name or euphemism. These were simply common sense practices. But we cannot be sure that Yeshua did not say the name of his Father, Yahweh, publicly, especially in several instances during his last fleeting days in Jerusalem by quoting or making application from the Hebrew Bible (e.g., Matthew 21:42; 22:37; 23:39). What appears to be true is that the New Testament writers copied the name “Yahweh” in many passages from the Hebrew Bible into their original Hebrew or Aramaic writings. This would be in the ancient tradition of “transmitting” (mesarah) what they had received (qibel) of the Word of God. Of course, any New Testament writings originally written in Greek would not transmit faithfully the name “Yahweh” in Hebrew. Literary devices to copy the Name. A favorite literary device used by these Jewish New Testament writers was to copy the four-letter name “Yahweh” into their writings by quoting directly from the Hebrew Bible within literary frames. These quotes or paraphrases would be in keeping with the ancient tradition going back to Moses called “receiving (qibel)” and “transmitting (mesarah).” Some of these frames are: • “It is written,” “For it is written,” “As it is written,” “According to what was written,” “It is said” (e.g., Matthew 4:4, 7; 4:10; Mark 1:3; Luke 2:23; 3:4; 4:8, 12, 17-19; 20:42-43; John 1:23; Acts 2:17-21; 15:15-18) • “It is written,” “For it is written,” “As it is written,” “According to what was written,” “It is said” (e.g., Matthew 4:4, 7; 4:10; Mark 1:3; Luke 2:23; 3:4; 4:8, 12, 17-19; 20:42-43; John 1:23; Acts 2:17-21; 15:15-18) • “Have you not read the Scripture?” “What do you read?” (e.g., Mark 12:10; Luke 10:26-27) • “The foremost of all the commandments is” (Mark 12:29, 30) • “Thus was fulfilled that which was spoken by the prophet,” where the prophet’s name is specifically mentioned or generally stated (e.g., Matthew 3:3; 27:9; John 12:38; Acts 2:34-35; 3:22; Acts 4:25-26; 7:37) • “You have heard that is was said to them of old time,” “the prophet said” (e.g., Matthew 5:33; Acts 7:48-49) • “And the angel said” (e.g., Luke 1:17; 2:11) (Angels could not be held subject to the ban) • “Filled with the Spirit he prophesied” (e.g., Luke 1:67-68, 76; Acts 4:25-26; 13:9-10) • “Which was said,” “He [Yahweh] said,” “… saying, ” “the exhortation which speaks to you” (e.g., Hebrews 2:12-13; 7:21; 8:8-12; 9:20; 10:15-17, 30; 12:5-6) The same seems to hold true for allusions to the Scriptures (e.g., Luke 17:29) and any Scripture quotation from the lips of the common people or the believers in Messiah (e.g., Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:9; 12:29, 30; Luke 19:38; John 12:13; Acts 4:24). James, the half-brother of Yeshua and writer of the letter bearing his name, was direct in his writing to fellow believers: “Take the prophets as an example, my brothers, for longsuffering with respect to your afflictions, those who spoke in the name of Yahweh” (James 5:10). Then he proceeded to quote from Exodus 34:6-7 saying, “Yahweh is merciful and compassionate.” James seems unafraid to write or speak the unlawful name of God. It would get him killed. He would die the death of a “blasphemer” in A.D. 62 at the hands of the high priest and Sanhedrin for pronouncing the Name at the temple in his presentation of the gospel of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus). The apostle Peter wrote his letters with direct quotes from the Hebrew Bible as part of the flow of his letter without citations (e.g., 1 Peter 3:10-12 is a quotation of Psalm 34:12-16). He quoted Isaiah 8:12-13 when he wrote: “Sanctify Yahweh …” The full phrase reads: Sanctify Yahweh, the Messiah, in your hearts and be ready to make a defense to all who ask you a word concerning the hope of your faith, with gentleness and fear, having a good conscience. Jude (Judah), another half-brother of Yeshua (Jesus), quoted from 1 Enoch the phrase: “Behold, Yahweh comes with ten thousand of his holy ones.” The question arises whether the author of the book of Enoch wrote Yahweh or a substitute. John, in his Book of Revelation, frequently used the name “Yahweh Tzava’oth” (“Yahweh of hosts”) similar to the prophet Ezekiel et al. One of several examples is Revelation 19:22 where he wrote: “I saw no temple in it [i.e., the New Jerusalem], for Yahweh Tzava’oth and the Lamb are its temple.” What about the apostle Paul? He spent much time among Greek-speaking Jews and Gentiles. On one occasion in Achaia when Gallio was proconsul, certain unbelieving Jews, likely Pharisees as he was, brought the apostle before the judgment seat. They accused him of persuading people “to fear God contrary to the Torah” (Acts 18:13). What strikes our curiosity is the statement made by Gallio to the accusers as he drove them from the judgment seat, releasing Paul: If it were a matter of wrong or of vicious crime, O Jews, it would be reasonable for me to put up with you. But if there are questions about words and names and your own law, look after it yourselves. I am unwilling to be a judge of these matters. (Acts 18:14-15) The whole spin was about “words and names” and how they related to the Torah. “Words and names” was a phrase concerning the “fence” around the Torah and around the pronunciation of the name “Yahweh.” Apparently and unsurprisingly, Paul saw no problem in tearing down the “fence” to allow people access to Yahweh through faith in his Son, the Messiah Yeshua. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews, it is interesting to note, referred three times to the highly volatile Psalm 110:1 which contains the name “Yahweh.” He carefully guarded his words each time, not using the name “Yahweh.” Twice he wrote: “Behold, He sits in high places at the right hand of the Shekinah” (Hebrews 1:3; 8:1). In Hebrews 12, he quotes from Psalm 110:1 again, substituting “Elohim” for “Yahweh.” The reasons for doing so are easily grasped. He did it for his Jewish audience so not offend those immature in the faith—a problem he addressed in his letter. Second, and wisely, he avoided the destruction of the letter before it could be read. Last, he maintained his personal safety, at least for a time. Yet, the writer did follow conventions of other New Testament writers regarding quotations from the Hebrew Bible where the Name was written in original form (cf. Hebrews 8:8-12 where he quotes Jeremiah 31:30-33). What extra-biblical Jewish teachings indicate Yeshua spoke the Name? The Toldoth Yeshu, a Rabbinic parody hostile to the Gospel story in Matthew and Luke, asserts that Yeshua [Jesus] did speak the name “Yahweh.” The following, though a legend, may, indeed, have some essence of truth in it in this respect: After King Jannaeus, his wife Helene ruled over all Israel. In the Temple was to be found the Foundation Stone on which were engraven the letters of God’s Ineffable Name. Whoever learned the secret of the Name and its use would be able to do whatever he wished. Therefore, the Sages took measures so that no one should gain this knowledge. Lions of brass were bound to two iron pillars at the gate of the place of burnt offerings. Should anyone enter and learn the Name, when he left the lions would roar at him and immediately the valuable secret would be forgotten. Yeshu [Yeshua] came and learned the letters of the Name. He wrote them upon the parchment which he placed in an open cut on his thigh and then drew the flesh over the parchment. As he left, the lions roared and he forgot the secret. But when he came to his house he reopened the cut in his flesh with a knife an lifted out the writing. Then he remembered and obtained the use of the letters. He gathered about himself three hundred and ten young men of Israel and accused those who spoke ill of his birth of being people who desired greatness and power for themselves. Yeshu [Yeshua] proclaimed, “I am the Messiah; and concerning me Isaiah prophesied and said, ‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.’” He quoted other messianic texts, insisting, “David my ancestor prophesied concerning me: ‘The Lord said to me, you are my son, this day have I begotten thee.’” The insurgents with him replied that if Yeshu [Yeshua] was the Messiah he should give them a convincing sign. They therefore, brought to him a lame man, who had never walked. Yeshu spoke over the man the letters of the Ineffable Name, and the leper was healed. Thereupon, they worshipped him as the Messiah, Son of the Highest. A similar legend about Yeshua [Jesus] appears in the Talmud (cf. Babylonan Shabbath 104b; Babylonian Sanhedrin 67a; Yerushalem Shabbath 11:15; Yerushalem Shabbath 13d.). Summary of the evidence. From the evidence gathered and cited, indeed, Yeshua (Jesus) did speak the name of his Father, Yahweh, but in a limited and controlled context. Publicly, he reserved the pronunciation of the Name until his last days in Jerusalem where he was tried for blasphemy for speaking the Name and was condemned to death. He became “the curse on the tree” for everyone who believed to remove their curse forever (cf. Galatians 3:13). His disciples, including the writers of the New Testament books and letters, preferred discreet and carefully controlled use. Psalm 110:1 coupled with Daniel 7:13 was the most highly volatile combination of words in the mouth of Yeshua (Jesus) and his disciples. Yeshua (Jesus), Stephen, and James the Just were all killed by sentencing of the court for using these two Scriptures in combination where it was clear the name of Yahweh was pronounced. In this dangerous environment, the writer of Hebrews cited Psalm 110:1 three times, but always used substitute words for Yahweh—Shekinah and Elohim. The final appeal of Yahweh to his people. In John’s vision of the end times, an angel announces the calamity of Babylon the Great. The end of the age of Gentile dominance is ending with a mighty collapse. The influence of the great city is crushed to the ground. Then a last cry from heaven is sounded, the voice of Yahweh to his people for them to make a profound redirection. “Get out of Babylon!” He cries. The appeal was not lost on many of his Jewish peers, especially those who had received the Messiah Yeshua. The apostle’s peering into the future showed that at the end times many of the people of Israel remained entrapped in the ways of Babylon. The ways of Babylon has taken a high toll on the covenant people of Israel. Yet the offer of Messiah’s offer remains. Listen again to the angel’s cry of the last hour of the last days: After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory. And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird. For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.” I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues. For her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. (Revelation 18:1-5)