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Natalie Portman in “Spicy” New Movie

portman.jpgNew Yorkers visiting a certain patch of real estate in the East 20s known affectionately as Curry Hill know the secrets of kosher vegetarian Indian food – in fact, you can hardly throw a dosa without hitting Madras Mahal, Chennai Garden, or another Indian restaurant serving hecshered, meat-free fare.

Now, Israeli-born, vegetarian actress Natalie Portman will star in Mira Nair’s new movie, “Kosher Vegetarian” – exploring the interfaith romance between a Gujarati guy (actor, Ifran Khan) and Jewish girl (Portman).

Like Nair’s last movie (The Namesake), the love between these two characters will undoubtedly be fraught with disapproving parents and inter-cultural conflict. But at very least, the couple will know where to eat.

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20 Responses to “Natalie Portman in “Spicy” New Movie”

  1. Richard Schwartz Says:

    As president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, I hope this movie helps stir up a lot of discussion of Jewish vegetarianism. This is an issue that the Jewish community seems to prefer avoiding, perhaps because it seems the consumption of meat and other animal products violates basic Jewish mandates. For more information, please see my over 130 articles at JewishVeg.com and/or see our new one-hour documentary A SACRED DUTYL APPLYING JEWISH VALUES TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD at ASacrdDuty.com.How about Hazon organizing a respectful dialogue/debate on “Should Jews Be Vegetarians?” It would be a kiddush Hashemin many ways and would greatly enhance Hazon’s reputation. Thanks.

  2. Michael Croland Says:

    This is so exciting … It appears that the title Kosher Vegetarian is a commentary on the culture clash of a vegetarian Indian and a kosher Jew. But this film will provide an excellent opportunity to discuss just how well Judaism and vegetarianism DO go together, as evidenced by the first three chief rabbis of Israel, authors Isaac Bashevis Singer and Jonathan Safran Foer, Natalie Portman herself and fellow actor Alicia Silverstone, and musicians Pink, Joey Ramone, Mick Jones (The Clash), and Ian Grushka (New Found Glory).

    “A Vision of Vegetarianism and Peace” by Rav Kook (the first chief rabbi of pre-state Israel) is a great example of that:
    http://www.jewishveg.com/DSvision.html (OR http://tinyurl.com/2dq3ut)

  3. Rabbi Shmuel Says:

    Hey Richard – does intermarriage violate any Jewish taboos? Or is it just eating meat? I’m curious since you seem so eager to “enlighten” the Orhtodox community. That’s like the PETA campaign which disapproved using animals as suicide bombers (notice they weren’t that concerned about the victims of the bombings)

  4. Leo Fishman Says:

    Shalom Rabbi Shmuel

    Are you willing to debate about intermarriage?

    I’am sure I can find many source in the Torah in favor of it, like in the parasha ci titze and many examples in the Bible were intermarriage were held (in a few days we will be celebrating Purim were because of intermarriage not only the all Jewish people were saved but also marked the beginning of the Geula for that time with the reconstruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem).

    I have the feeling that you were be more than happy to held such a debate, because deep inside you know that God Will is not intermarriage.

    However, I wonder if you are willing to debate if Jews should be vegetarian today.

    If feel that is the orthodox community (al least some of them) trying to enlighten us about the mitzva of eaten meat, in the meantime we are paying a very expensive price for that “mitzva”

    Can you answer this simple questions:
    How many people in your congregation are fighting against the mahala?
    What do you think about climate change, I live in Buenos Aires and yesterday and without any previous warning, we had a Tornado for the first time in history, also last year we had snow in the city.
    What about your city? what about Israel?
    What do you think about Tzaar Baaley Haim and current animal rising methods?

    If you are so confident about that mitzva, why not debate?
    Please rab Shmuel, we need a debate right now!

    All the best,
    Leo

  5. Rabbi Shmuel Says:

    1. Are you willing to debate about intermarriage?

    What is there to debate about it?

    I’am sure I can find many source in the Torah in favor of it, like in the parasha ci titze

    That’s a proof for intermarriage? I would respectfully suggest that it stands for the contrary position and deals with the consequences (far reaching) of an otherwise indefensible act.

    and many examples in the Bible were intermarriage were held (in a few days we will be celebrating Purim were because of intermarriage not only the all Jewish people were saved but also marked the beginning of the Geula for that time with the reconstruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem).

    Esther was essentially abducted at gunpoint – wouldn’t an intermarriage presuppose the willing consent of the parties?

    I have the feeling that you were be more than happy to held such a debate, because deep inside you know that God Will is not intermarriage.

    Why do I feel like I’m being baited?

    However, I wonder if you are willing to debate if Jews should be vegetarian today.

    As soon as I’m done debating intermarriage.

    If feel that is the orthodox community (al least some of them) trying to enlighten us about the mitzva of eaten meat, in the meantime we are paying a very expensive price for that “mitzva”

    Freedom ain’t free, baby! Every mitzvah in fact has a price tag.

    But hey there’s another sucker punch – a case could clearly be made that eating meat is more of a “concession” than a mitzvah and like everything else should be done in moderation.

    Can you answer this simple questions:
    How many people in your congregation are fighting against the mahala?

    Pardon me , I’m a simple maple farmer – what is a mahala?

    What do you think about climate change,

    More days to sugar without my jacket on:) I guess you’re unfamiliar with the work I do in that field.

    I live in Buenos Aires and yesterday and without any previous warning, we had a Tornado for the first time in history, also last year we had snow in the city.
    It’s only gonna get worse so bundle up!

    What about your city?

    Getting’ hotter

    what about Israel?

    Heatin’ up:)

    What do you think about Tzaar Baaley Haim

    That depends on how you define TBC – the halachic definition or the popular co-opted usage

    and current animal rising methods?

    Could probably stand improvement

    If you are so confident about that mitzva, why not debate?

    Which mitzvah – you’ve listed nearly half a dozen – not engaging in a debate does not imply lack of confidence in my position – I am a Torah, halachic Jew – with all due respect, what would be the sense of debating halachic positions with those who either don’t accept halacha or who have altered it to meet their own needs – where would that get either of us?

    Please rab Shmuel, we need a debate right now!
    Why don’t you debate Richard Schwartz directly – he too seems hankering for a debate with anyone who will debate him – (let’s just cut out the middleman)
    Good luck

    shmuel

  6. Leo Fishman Says:

    About intermarriage:
    You won, You are right and there is not enough evidence to support it, so now we can debate about vegetarianism.

    Lets cut the middle man, you or your rabbi can debate with Richard Scwhartz directly any time.

    We are following the Halacha as much as you do, I don’t understand why you say that we are not.

    Leo

  7. Rabbi Avi Finegold Says:

    I think what is really being debated is that many people view (and im not saying this is my personal opinion) jewish vegetarian activists, as one trick ponies (no pun intended), that tend to overlook some of the bigger issues affecting the jewish community.

  8. Rabbi Shmuel Says:

    Reb Avi (how have you been?)

    you hit it right on the head!

  9. Rabbi Shmuel Says:

    1. About intermarriage:
    You won, You are right and there is not enough evidence to support it, so now we can debate about vegetarianism.
    Whoa there just a minute Leo – I wasn’t even aware we were debating! Now I find I won? What if I had actually participated? Again, am I being baited here – is this like “draw the lumberjack” wow – you won a scholarship to the art correspondence school – now just send us $395 for materials . . .

    That’s like Hillel and the ger – who wanted to learn the entire Torah while standing on one leg – Hillel gave him the battle but won the war – are you pulling that one on me?
    Lets cut the middle man, you or your rabbi can debate with Richard Scwhartz directly any time.
    My rabbi also doesn’t want to debate him – life is far too short
    We are following the Halacha as much as you do, I don’t understand why you say that we are not.
    If I intimated that you and yours (I don’t know who the “we” is kemosabi) are not adherents to halacha then I apologize – that was not at all my intent – I was referring to the readership of the blog the majority of whom are probably not halachic hardcorists are are you and I. what shul do you go to? I have friends there.
    BTW – what ar we talkin’ about here – are you the “we should never eat meat because the animals have the right to blah blah blah” type vegetarian or the “I’d eat meat if it were more thoughtful and it weren’t for the factory farming thing blah blah blah” type?
    Just curious.

  10. Leo Fishman Says:

    Shalom Rab Finegold,

    I don’t really understand what you say, but if its a people view difference, maybe it would be very healthy for our society to held a respectful debate and really see what are each other points as we use to do always in the Yeshivots in the old times.

    As for Rab Shmuel, I don’t know if he is really a rab, it doesn’t look by the way he writes.
    But don’t worry, I take no offense, I am like use to get that sort of answers from people that like to consume meat to satisfy their lust, I hope you don’t offend by that, I don’t mean it in a bad way.
    I think you should respect all readers of this blog, even those hardcorsit that don’t follow the halacha, but its just my opinion.
    If you really want to know, I go to chabad shils for lack of a better option, and also I used to work as a chabad mashgiaj, but after working for a while and seen whats really going on, I quit because I don’t want to be part of that, I don’t want to deceive people that trust me, as the midrash of last week parasha says, its better to have a good name that good oil.
    If you now people donwhere, you can easily find out who I am, please ask them my address and send me the $395 for the materials ;) .

    Tell your rabbi that life is longer for vegetarians.

    I won’t eat meat whatsoever, but, If you really want to follow the Halacha and tell your community to eat meat ONLY in Shabat and High Holidays, I may settled for that.

    Regards,
    Thanks,
    Leo

  11. Jean Says:

    I am personally excited for this movie, since my daughter, Kat, will be Natalie’s head double in the movie. She had to have her head shaved for her “role”. Remember, people, it’s just a “hollywood” movie!!

  12. Henry Frisch Says:

    While it is true that eating meat is a concession to Noah following the flood and might be thought therefore to be a mitzvah begrudged by God, the fact is that probably 30-40% of the talmud is concerned with animal sacrifice. Also the true observance of the most important holiday –Passover — depends (in times when the Temple exists) on the communal sacrifice of the lamb.

    I understand vegetarianism and agree that animals should not be made to suffer unnecessarily , but do not comprehend the militant wing of vegetarianism trying to argue against Jewish law, which actually requires meat to be eaten under certain circumstances. If one cannot eat meat for physical reasons or his own psychological difficulty eating meat, he ought not argue against all meat eating using a Jewish basis for his argument.

  13. Leo Fishman Says:

    Hello Henry,

    You have very good points here, let me just correct you on 1, vegetarians are not trying to argue against Jewish law, we just want to adapt it to face the current challenges we live in.
    We also have very strong arguments and that’s why we imperatively need to debate the issue.
    Today the law does not require to eat meat, the law state that we must have oneg Shabat and be sameaj in our holidays and the sage say that meat bring oneg, thats the reason of that “mitzva” but, remember that is not same holy act, its only to satisfy a selfish pleasure.
    We as people concerned with our planet, environment, health, how we treat animals, think its time to review the halacha and take in consideration how the world and the community had changed. It won’t be the first time, the law is the result of many debates during centuries based on Torah teachings and present reality.
    For example, polygamy is allowed in the Tora, but latter on in same communities decided that it is not longer valid. We are forbid to charge interest in loans, but our sage had permitted the state of Israel to issue bonds to finance the state in 20 century and there are many examples.
    Besides, if jews were eating meat only to fulfill the law, it would be only on Shabat and Yom Tov, not during the week, and maybe in that case, we wouldn’t have any argument, but sadly it is not a case, I leave in a country that people don’t consider a proper meal unless it has same meat on it.

    We just want to make our Creator proud of us, we want to fulfill the deepest values of the Holy Torah, which state that we must treat animals with compassion, we must take care of our planet, our health, hungry people, which are in contradiction with modern method of intensive farming.

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