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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 10, 2006 / 16 Menachem-Av, 5766

Our defining moment

By Suzanne Fields


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If "World Trade Center" were not a movie based on a real-life event, critics would tear it apart for mixing genres, comedy and tragedy, allegory and realism, documentary drama with theatre of the absurd. The script juxtaposes mind-numbing conversations between two Beckett-like characters trapped underground in darkness, barely visible, with soap-opera episodes above ground rendered in bright colors where the families of the two men eat, sleep, argue, cry and wait for the news they pray is good but fear is not.


Aristotle would not approve.


The movie is about real life, an event not quite five years old. It's a contemporary docudrama based on what happened to two Port Authority cops (played by Nicholas Cage and Michael Pena) trapped under debris at Ground Zero, who can't move in the stone and steel trappings that lock their bodies under the earth in an inferno. Everyone in the theater will recall where he was on September 11, when two airliners piloted by Islamist suicide bombers smashed into the tallest buildings in Manhattan in the name of Allah. That sunlit day, so ordinary but for the clarity of the light, was suffused in a dark drama of evil, where the fire and brimstone arbitrarily fell on innocents as well as villains hell-bent for divine punishment.


"World Trade Center" mixes personal memories with political emotions requiring the audience to bring as much to the movie as the movie delivers to the audience. It's impossible to write about it with an eye for discerning aesthetic triumphs and failures of film narrative. It's too close, too raw, too unrelenting in its inevitability to think of it as a work of art. Instead of suspending disbelief, we must patch together our beliefs; instead of enjoying an emotional catharsis that lets us go about our business, we find a solitary Marine (played by Michael Shannon) speaking out for us and our overwhelming desire for revenge against all the evil men who wrought such pain and devastation.


Oliver Stone resists the interpretation of the lone Marine, but the movie sends it in spite of the director's well-known politics. It's impossible not to watch two hours of unrelenting suffering without confirming the voice of the Marine who speaks as if a Greek chorus: "We're going to need some good men out there to avenge this." Oliver Stone was encouraged to cut this line, but couldn't because it rendered the young Marine as real.


The Marine is a man of humility, who fuses his military training with a spiritual incentive to do G-d's work. He seeks no glory. When someone asks his name and he replies with the long title, "Marine Staff Sgt. David W. Larnes," the inquirer wants something shorter to remember with his heroism. "Staff sergeant," he says. He is a generic military hero, and the filmmaker concedes that he represents the point of view of many — most — Americans.


"World Trade Center" won't receive the adulation of "United 93." It lacks the suspense, the clarity and thematic cohesion of the story of the passengers who almost foiled the suicide bombers who crashed a fourth airliner into a Pennsylvania field on September 11. "World Trade Center" is more homespun, more grounded in the sloppy everyday struggle for survival of two men who can do nothing but talk and try to stay awake, and their families who can do nothing but go on living their lives. If the trivial banter of the men suggests an allegory of the human condition as they wait for Godot, the families dramatize the human comedy as lived in ordinary pity and fear.


The two men are courageous with a little "c" for not giving up hope, but they're denied acts of heroism. They volunteered to help victims in the rubble, but become victims before they can risk anything for anybody else.


There were moments in "World Trade Center" when I felt overwhelmed by the impotence and frustration of the characters. But their ordinary humanity, like the humanity of those who rescue them, lifts their story and moves it away from the mournful fate others suffered that day. We're left to reflect upon what's important in life at the edge of death, of men who talk about love for their wives and children, the homely satisfactions of hobbies and hopes.


The advertisements for "World Trade Center" describe it as our "defining moment," one of heroism rather than terrorism. There is heroism in the work of the rescuers, but in the depiction of danger amid the debris we're reminded again of the awful cruelty of the terrorists. Our defining moment will be what we do about them.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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