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The ‘Ark’ Of Current Events

The ‘Ark’ Of Current Events

Associate Editor

Biblical Hollywood has evolved through the decades, from sex-and-sandal epics, to Cecil B. DeMille extravaganzas of white-bearded prophets and a sonorous God, to the more light-hearted fare in recent years in which God and angels are likely to be an unlikely octogeneric comedian, a woman or a black man, challenging commoners to rise to uncommon grace and revelation.Morgan Freeman, “God” in the 2003 film “Bruce Almighty,” reprises that role in “Evan Almighty” (which opened last week), in which he taps everyman Evan (Steve Carell of “The Office”) to be a modern Noah and build an ark with all the two-by-twos.Like the biblical original, “it’s a heavy story done lightly,” said Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, co-president of CLAL – the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership,
Values To Heal America
but “it’s interesting that Hollywood is bringing out the ark story now because it taps into the popular feeling, ‘Wow, things are really bad. Wouldn’t it be great if we could have our own little personal ark and escape?’” The impulse to literally drown our sorrows and get rid of everything, said Rabbi Hirschfield, “is there, in varying degrees, for all of us. But the ark story reminds us that even when starting over, we start again with everything we’ve always had.“That’s the brilliance of the story,” he continued. “It’s a lifeboat story about inclusion. There will always be people who won’t make it onto our boat. But to imagine that it’s your job to include as much on as possible, changes everything.”Tom Shadyac, the director, “appreciates the spiritual longing that Americans have,” said Rabbi Hirschfield. In chaotic, uncertain times, “there’s a feeling of vulnerability. We can lash out in anger, which is God’s initial response; float above it all, which is Noah’s initial response; or follow the [Torah’s] ultimate response: ‘I understand the rage, I understand floating away, but pack as much as you can and rebuild with what was there in the first place.’”

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