Saturday, February 20, 2010

Eyes Wide Open

So last week I saw this movie playing in the Village- an Israeli film entitled "Eyes Wide Open". Shout out to you, who I saw it with. The premise of the movie is a secret gay relationship taking place between two Hassidic Jews in Meah Shearim, Jerusalem. One is married, one a single young struggle Yeshiva Bochur being moved from Yeshiva to Yeshiva b/c he is a sinner.
The dotted section is a spoiler, so if you plan on seeing the movie, do not read the dotted line section.

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From a religious perspective it was frightening. The community gets wind that the owner of a butcher shop is harboring a student who was kicked out of his Yeshiva for "a sin". There are "rumors", they say, though the community never mentions the word or sin itself. They also put signs up announcing their is a sinner in their midst. They are 'fearful' for their community and their children, letting such a sin inside. The butcher shop owner, with a wife and children, falls into a relationship with the Bochur, and after they threaten to take away his family and livelihood, he is forced to have Ezri leave.

From a homosexual perspective, the relationship is real, loving, and wrought with the pain and guilt that each party feels, knowing their love is a sin. My favorite part of the movie was when the married man, confronted, by his Rav, claims that before his relationship with Exri, he "had never felt alive, now he finally feels alive". It made it all very real, that there was more to them than simply sexuality or a physical "ta'avah", it was true love.

The ending was the married man entering a purification spring, where he once went with Ezri, dunking three times, then a fourth, and never coming up for a period of about fifteen to thirty seconds and then credits rolled. In my opinion it felt as if it didn't matter whether he came up alive, whether he was killing himself or not, b/c without Ezri, back in this loveless and life void of happiness, it didn't matter, his life might as well have been over.
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As opposed to the ultra-Orthodox that the movie portrays, my recent experiences have taught me to thank Hashem that I am Modern Orthodox. I fear, that for me to have grown up more ultra-orthodox, rather than modern, I would not be able to stay frum. It is simply too hard, in a black and white world, to have feelings that are gray and let them in. You either go one way or the other. Being Modern has allowed me to accept the gray areas, explore the gray, and embrace everything- even if it doesn't fit into the strict black and white categories religion often imposes upon us.

14 comments:

  1. Unfortunately, we live in a world that idolizes "love". Many movies end with the message that love conquers all- family, religion, everything. As religious Jews however we know that is not true. If a person loves, truly loves a non-Jew, that doesn't make it right to act on it or even want it. I know the comparison with homosexuality isn't exactly the same because homosexuality is in most cases beyond ones control, while it's usually a persons own fault for getting involved romantically with non-Jews. But my point is, is that saying something is "true love" as opposed to just a physical ta'avah shouldn't make the feelings any more right (a man "loving" a man is just as wrong from a halachic and hashkafic perspective as a man wanting a base physical relationship with an animal) That's just a rationalization brought on by a secular culture that idolizes "true" love.

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  2. Thanks for your comments. I don't really know what true love is, but I understand your perspective. And no, love, doesn't make it okay, but it makes it more emotional and real than "just sex" would have.
    But personally I hate it when people blame secular culture for anything. Sorry.

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  3. Simchas Beis Ha"Toaiva"February 21, 2010 at 3:24 AM

    Frum Gay, I think the movie EYES WIDE SHUT is the movie for you. It should solve many of your issues.

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  4. I preferred Prayers for Bobby ;)

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  5. If someone happens to view it as too hard to have "grey" feelings or ideas in a "black and white" world, then that person is underdeveloped, weak, and in their locale for all the wrong reasons. I would assume that such a person would have difficulties with personal differences in any setting, not just in what you call a "black and white" world. As someone who lives in such a place, I can attest to the fact that it is not at all as "black and white" as it seems from the outside. There is plenty of grey, and the people who are the most knowledgeable, dedicated, and actual leaders are full or grey, and often love the grey. The people who scream the loudest (on both sides) tend to be the biggest idiots.

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  6. FrumGay you fell into the exact trap the movie is attempting to ensnare, there are no chiddushim in ur review, u basically said all the things the movie "said" without u being there to explain it...
    good luck in life, me thinks u'll need it

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  7. McGreevey, you're comments tend to be filled with angst. I'm sorry you've gone through something to make you such an angry person. Also, I wasn't trying to give chiddushim in the review, not sure where you got that idea, but sorry you wee disappointed.

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  8. For all those that commented besides FrumGay, all of you act so self righteous you do not have to deal with the constant struggle and none of you have the right to stand in the shoes you stand in and judge. The point of this article is not any chiddushim or to change the world rather to shed a little light to a darker place. For those of you who blame secular culture for all your problems grow a pair and move on with your lives you have free will and if you are so weak as to admit you cannot retain your identities in such a world than lock yourselves in a bubble but admitting that is nothing more than the deepest of indictments on your character. FrumGay, I personally am not gay but your blog is truly inspirational, each and every entry, and I hope you continue to bring your light and maybe open up the eyes of the myopic individuals commenting and maybe shed some light on their dim and bitter lives.

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  9. Dear Anonymous,

    For you to think that no one else is frum and dealing with issues rooted in sexuality is what is myopic.

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  10. BeeZee,
    That was a real witty comment you sound very educated. Your ability to infer things that were not said or intended is incredible.

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  12. It sounds more educated than your comment, which was rife with spelling mistakes, grammar errors, disheveled thoughts, and assumptions. I am only basing my comment on what you said in your comment, most notably, "For all those that commented besides FrumGay, all of you act so self righteous you do not have to deal with the constant struggle [sic]". I happen to have commented, and I also happen to not be FrumGay, so your comments were directed to me, whether you meant them to be or not. If they were not directed to me, as I made absolutely no judgement of FrumGay and asserted no self-righteousness on the issue, then it would behoove you to be specific in your criticism. Regarding what you call an inference on my part, since it is the topic of the whole blog, I assumed that your comment regarding "constant struggle" was made in reference to being frum and dealing with same-sex attraction, and it therefore made it sound as though you were claiming that no one had any right to comment since no one else commenting was frum and gay, which is wrong. Perhaps I should have assumed that you were talking about a struggle that is totally irrelevant to this blog, and something not on topic at all. Would that have been better?

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  13. I dont think anon intended to hurt those struggling and commenting, he was referring to those who have commented from a clearly limited perspective- you two are on the same side! But thanks for keeping the conversation lively.

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It Gets Better- Gay Orthodox Jews