Livin' on a prayer... By Gregory Jacobs-Roseman (Composer-Lyricist)
Happy Passover, dear readers of Friday Crazytown. And Happy Easter if you’re still reading this on Sunday. Oh wait, today is something Christian too, isn’t it? Good Friday? TGIF to you all!
This past Tuesday on the second night of Passover I held my now annual Seder dinner. I’m not a religious person. I was raised Jewish, but over the years I have evolved from Jew, to agnostic, to full-blown atheist. But this Seder has become a tradition with me and my friends, and I am big on tradition – just not when it comes to apocryphal ghost stories and fairy tales.
My seder plate says "Pesach," Hebrew for "Passover."
I haven’t voluntarily attended religious services since I was a freshman in college. I have gone to mandatory funerals or bar mitzvahs since then but never for any religious holiday I could decline. This fact enrages my mother, who is very proud of her faith (unlike my father, who calls religion “the best story ever sold”).
Last week I reposted a post of mine from last year when my grandfather passed away containing the eulogy I wrote for his funeral. Last weekend I was back home in Delaware to attend his tombstone unveiling, the Jewish tradition of Matzevah that occurs one year after death. Needless to say, there has been a lot of religion and faith in my life in the past few weeks, and it has gotten me thinking about the role of religion and spirituality in my life.
When I was home this past weekend my mother scolded me for the fact that I don’t believe in God (and yes, it’s “God.” Not “G-d.” I’d like to think that if there was a higher power they wouldn’t be offended if you spelt out the term you use to refer to them – one of the many absurdities of religion) and that I don’t attend services. “That’s not how I raised you” she said, “and you have to do things the way you were raised.”
I replied: “let me take the time to explain to you the eight things that are wrong with that sentence.”
I don’t believe in God, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I believe in provable facts. Science. I believe in Neil deGrasse Tyson. But, I do believe in tradition. In culture. In historical background.
What makes me Jewish, why I have a traditional Seder every year without believing in the religious aspects, is that I believe there is a culture to being Jewish. The same way that tradition and culture makes someone Italian or Irish or Puerto Rican (I can say that – my best friend is Puerto Rican). There is a style of Jewish music. There is a style of Jewish food. And art, and so on. That’s my personal identity. Color me a humanist, but I believe I can be culturally Jewish and atheist at the same time.
So Happy Passover and chag sameach to all my fellow chosen people, even though no one chose you for anything except to be the target of genocide and exile for most of the history of civilization. That is, after all why we commemorate Passover in the first place.
GREGORY JACOBS-ROSEMANis a composer/lyricist and theatrical sound designer. His musical Save The Date: A Wedding Road-Trip Musical won the Overall Excellence Award for a Musical in the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival. gregjr.com EMAIL HIM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | OTHER POSTS BY THIS AUTHOR
I'm one of those people who talks incessantly back to the screen while watching films and tv shows. I will admit it.
I have a problem.
But come on. Sometimes you just know those characters could have made better choices (Jack Dawson I am looking at you), and I have taken it upon myself to tracend the barriers of fiction and reality with my loud rhetorical comments.
The guys over at How it Should Have Ended know exactly what I'm talking about. Their videos provide some much needed logic - and hilarity - to the world of film.
They've fixed the endings of some of my favorite "why-the-heck-did-they-do-that" movies.
Because you know the parents really screwed that one up.
I don't support having any regrets in life, but this one time... By Melissa Presti
I came back from my first Coachella with a mild concussion and without a phone. Standard, I suppose. No regrets? I can't look at a computer screen for long before getting dizzy so I will say, my one and only regret, was not missing almost every major guest appearance, but the most perfect set from Daughter.
"Youth" was flawless and I can't believe I missed this perfection.
And why it can make you stronger. By Laura Goehrke
Doubt pours within us in a martini of other feelings like fear, second-guessing oneself, anxiety for the future, and the ever-dreaded onslaught of “impostor syndrome.” All of these traits are common for creative souls, since they put their work out into the world for others to consume and experience. Doubt can be crippling, especially when it comes from your own negative thoughts spinning around in your head like clothes in a washing machine. The danger with these thoughts is that they can turn into a default setting, in which you automatically focus on what you’re lacking.
But doubt can be good, too.
I saw Life of Pi in theaters when it came out, and one line in particular stuck out to me. Pi said at the end, “doubt is useful. It keeps faith a living thing. After all, you cannot know the strength of your faith until it is tested. ”
I remember slyly pulling out my phone during the movie just so I could write those words down, since they struck a chord with me. It’s an interesting concept, to think that doubt can be a positive thing. It makes sense though, because with the presence of doubt, we know what it is like to truly hope and believe. Having faith in the unknown is one of the best qualities to cultivate over time, and that only begins in the face of doubt.
The key is to not feed into the negative energy that doubt can manifest. Acknowledge it, be aware of it, but then use it as a test to check and grow your faith.
The unhealthy epidemic of musical theatre piracy. By Michael Kras (Actor/Playwright/Director)
Brace yourselves. I'm about to get passionate. This is an issue that I've always been fighting, but an exchange I had with someone recently was a real prompt for me to write a little bit about it.
I was talking with a friend who also loves musical theatre, and there's an album that I recently purchased, and fell in love with, that I recommended to that friend when I saw them. A few days later, I was making conversation with them again and I asked if they'd heard the album yet. Here's the exchange:
Me: Hey, so have you had a chance to check out __________ yet?
Friend: Umm, not yet! I can't find it.
Me: What do you mean?
Friend: I've looked everywhere. I can't find it yet. I'll keep looking?
Me: It's easy to find! It's on iTunes, get it there.
Friend: Yeah, well...
Friend: I was just gonna download it.
Me: Nah man, don't do that! Buy it, it's only $10, you'll be supporting the artist and musical theatre and-
Friend: I'll buy it after! If I like it, I'll buy it for real after, that's what I do.