My favorite thing about being Jewish — and it’s just so hard to pick between classic hits like “unleavened bread,” “having shoulder hair at 15,” and “being used by right-wing nationalists as an excuse to justify the same kind of genocide that tends to be inflicted upon us every other century or so” — is that I’ve always felt like the religion and its attendant culture places an unusual emphasis on being alive. Six thousand years of trying not to die can do that to you. We don’t believe in heaven, and we don’t believe in hell; when someone passes, we say “may their memory be a blessing,” and when we pray on Yom Kippur (one of the few days of the year that most of us go to shul), we only ask God to write our names in the Book of Life so that we can spend another trip around the sun complaining about how much everything sucks on Earth. The fact that you’re able to keep complaining about how much everything sucks is how you know you’re alive in the first place.
Of course, the idea that this might be all we ever get can make it that much harder to appreciate our time here. There is a lot of joy in the Jewish tradition (most of which stems from the shared recognition that it’s somehow managed to survive), but happiness… well, I’ve always been slightly relieved by the notion that happiness might be for other people. God didn’t choose us for that. If we had happiness, it wouldn’t be happiness.
In lieu of that, we’ve…
Read full article: A Screwball Comedy About Life After Death – IndieWire
The post “A Screwball Comedy About Life After Death – IndieWire” by David Ehrlich was published on 01/20/2024 by www.indiewire.com