#NoahMovie – Aronofsky Did Something Extraordinary

I wanted to love the movie and I did. It wasn’t only because of the luxurious recliner that I sat in, or more accurately reclined in, but because the movie was beautifully interpretative, psychologically compelling and surprisingly on-target in many of its bold readings of the Chumash.

The critics reviews that resonate most with me are Peter Travers’ review in Rolling Stone, and this review by YU professor Eric Goldman in the Jewish Standard- he has some good inside scoops, and this one in the Atlantic. This one in Slate is also helpful.

Interesting interviews with Aronofsky include this one in the Washington Post and this one on NPR

As I watched the movie I was transfixed by the conflict between Noach and Tuval-Cain that Aronofsky portrayed as the primary conflict of the film. Noach was concerned about God’s earth and Tuval Cain who was concerned more with man’s progress. Continue reading

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Common Core Critique Creates Critical Questions

Another thought provoking piece in the NYT today. Jennifer Finney Boylan talks about common core and raises an interesting question about the purpose of education: Is it: For some parents, the primary desire is for our sons and daughters to wind up, more or less, like ourselves. Or is it: For others, education means enlightening our children’s minds with the uncensored scientific and artistic truth of the world.

There are many nafka minas to those two views. In terms of Jewish education it seems like the more traditional approach is to promote the first position i.e. perpetuating a community committed to the Torah values of the previous generation. A Modern Orthodox approach includes both positions. That makes it stronger and more complicated, no?

Creativity vs. Safety

This morning Timothy Egan wrote a provocative piece on the NY Times op–ed page. Egan laments the ubiquity of big data as it creeps into every facet of our lives, from Amazon’s aggregation of our buying habits which is used to promote those same buying habits as well as the push toward accountability in schools preoccupied with standardized test scores. Egan points out that creativity is unquantifiable and that our emphasis on numbers may be squashing it or at least ignoring it.  Continue reading