A tzaddik in Hollywood

Would Noah have made the grade in Hollywood?

Tzvi Fishman

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Hollywood sign

While forest fires are raging in North California, the fires of immorality are raging in Los Angeles, more to the south. What’s new? When I was a screenwriter in Hollywood, things were not any different. The movie business in America exists for three reasons: to make money, to entertain viewers, and for producers, directors, and star actors to take advantage of actresses who want to advance their careers.

That’s the way it is. Everyone knows it. The only difference is that now the media has set its sights on a morally corrupt Jewish producer, when in the past, the hundreds of similarly immoral sagas were accepted as par for the course.

Now, mimicking a scene from a funny Mel Brooks comedy, in a hilarious outcry of hypocritical indignation, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Seduction has expelled Harvey Weinstein from its ranks. Why only Harvey? If sexual misconduct is the reason, the whole Academy should shut down and all of Hollywood should be evacuated before the next natural disaster strikes. 

Which brings us to this week's Torah reading, Parshat Noah, when the world is destroyed for the very same immoral practices which occur every day in Hollywood and all over California. Not to mention the flood waters of the recent hurricanes which have devastated other parts of America and the Caribbean.

My family lived on a Caribbean island for 28 years, and I can vouch that there, too, immorality is as common as palm trees and coconuts.

Which brings us to Israel. Our Sages teach that everything that Hashem does in the world is for the sake of the Jewish People. Obviously, we are to learn from these events and take heed. Surely, what goes on in Tel Aviv is child’s play compared to Hollywood, but, after all, this is the Holy Land, and a higher standard is called for if we are to be a light unto the nations.

Only recently, an Israeli movie, “A Pair of Doves,” more pornographic than any American-made movie of late, and heavily funded by the Israel Ministry of Culture, appeared on movie screens all over the country – except Jerusalem where the producers were afraid to be stoned.  

For certain, my movie, “Stories of Rebbe Nachman,” is not the greatest film ever made, but at least the actors didn’t take off their clothes, and I didn’t attack any actresses. It is the job of the Israel Ministry of Culture to make sure that the fires and floods in America don’t spread to Israel.

Moviemaking can be holy and entertaining as well.  

Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Culture and Creativity. Before making Aliyah to Israel in 1984, he was a successful Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbis A. Y. Kook and T. Y. Kook. His other books include: "The Kuzari For Young Readers" and "Tuvia in the Promised Land". His books are available on Amazon. Recently, he directed the movie, "Stories of Rebbe Nachman."