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Posts Tagged ‘NJFP’

By: Klaira

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to interview my younger brother Naum (or Numa as we call him) about his knowledge of our family history, and more specifically,  about our great grandmother Chaya. Since he has read my blog, I was expecting him to reiterate everything that I have been writing here, with his own personal spin. However,  what he said both surprised me and shed light of the nature of memory.

Numa struggles to recall what he has read and what he was told by his parents, grandparents, and myself . He recollects the facts due to their excessive repetition but can’t piece them together. Perhaps we are putting too much pressure on the importance of remembering one’s history, at such a young age. Maybe it is just too much weight for an eleven-year-old to carry on his shoulders.

Eventually –keep in mind that the original interview is close to 13 minutes–Numa admits that what  he doesn’t remember is really what he doesn’t know. This makes me wonder: what is the essence of Chaya’s story that will be passed on to the next generation?  Or will she be just a name in our family tree? 

At the end, I asked him what he thought was the moral of Chaya’s decision. Even though his answer was quite tentative, his ultimate message was very strong.  And it offered an alternative idea about Chaya’s story that I  had never thought of before.

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by Zoe Pollak

(Bolded words are revised.)

In the world of science, you would need a machine that moves faster than the speed of light to travel through time. But you involuntarily move through this dimension every day.

 You may regard the past as cemented, but it is always changing. Let’s say you have a lot of work to do. You might reminisce longingly about being in grade school, when you were free to take time for granted. But if you revisit that same moment on a different day, your naiveté might appear as a limitation.

 Your memory will always refine particular moments and blur others, and its multiple realities are as infinite as the parallel universes that exist in theoretical physics.

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by Zoe Pollak

In order to travel through time, you would have to harness the power of a star. But you involuntarily move through this dimension every day. You may regard the past as cemented, but it is always changing. If you have a lot of work to do, you might reminisce about being in grade school and think back to when you took time for granted. If you revisit the same moment on a different day, you might instead be drawn to the shortcomings of its simplicity. Your memory will always refine particular moments and blur others, and the combinations of alterations are as infinite as the parallel universes that exist in theoretical physics. The past’s fluidity is memory’s only constant.

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by Zoe Pollak

Dear Jeremy,

Thank you for your suggestions for last post’s questions. I looked up both books on Amazon, where I was allowed to read the first two pages or so of each. Reading them side by side, it was interesting to compare the author’s relationship with his subject: while Heschel starts off with the personal and (at least I’m assuming) then ventures on to the more collective, Yerushalmi starts by talking about memory in very broad terms- Jewish history and “Jewish past.” Both works helped me in looking at my own project, because I’m combining the personal and the ethereal (as Sam said) to present my “thesis” about memory and the past: I’m using home videos and my own writing, but I’m also using videos of natural processes, old music, and the writings of others (many of them happen to be Jewish) to offer different views of time and memory.

So my follow-up-question is: do you know of any other Jewish scholars, historians, or professors who have tackled large topics such as history, the past, memory, and time using a personal lens as either a starting point to ground his/her audience or to establish conceits and draw parallels?

Thanks!

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by Zoe Pollak

When the viewer first enters the Memory Paths (Zoe’s Time Machine) website, a typed introduction will appear for them to read. This introduction will establish the context for the interactive clock and its memory pods. Here’s a draft for my intro. Any feedback would be great.

Memory Paths

 Currently, physics does not allow for time travel to the past or future. In order to visit your ancestors or travel to the year 2020, scientists would have to harness the power of a star and you would have to travel faster than the speed of light. And even if time machines did exist, you would not be able to travel farther back in time than the point of their creation. But you travel back in time every day, and not solely by remembering an event that occurred a long time ago. This time travel is involuntary.

Perhaps when you think of your childhood, nostalgia distorts the positive aspects of your youth and dims the more difficult memories. If you have a lot of work to do on a given day, you might reminisce about being in grade school and think back to when you took time for granted. On a rewarding day, you may revisit that same time in the past, but will instead focus on the fact that your outlook was not mature enough to appreciate what has brought you satisfaction today.

While your past is often regarded as theoretically cemented, it changes every day – its fluidity is the only constant. Memory will always refine particular moments and blur others, but the combination of alterations is as infinite as the parallel universes that exist in theoretical physics. And because by the end of tomorrow evening you will have garnered several more new memories, your memory’s collection of refractions only increases.

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by Zoe Pollak

-Find image of clock for webpage interface

-Write intro for project (description of project that provides context for the viewer)

-Finish writing for all memory pods

-Finalize music list

-Finish recording quotations

-Find footage of time-lapsed flowers, stars

-Think of settings for new footage to shoot

-Export DVD material to computer so that I can edit it

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By Jason Zavaleta

I ask Jeremy:

My story is about my Grandfather, a gambling addict, married at 17, a father 18, he spent all his time hiding from his family, had a heart attack at 38, and finally went into recovery in the mid 70’s. At my Bar Mitzvah, he encourage me to be a “mensh”, and in his Gambler’s Anonymous speech in 1992, he said he himself was a mensh. So…

Mensh?

1.What is the meaning of the word “mensh”?

2.What did that concept mean to the people who believed in it, then and now?

3.How does it affect a situation where someone who has sinned comes out of a bad behavior and becomes someone who can face themselves?

4.Can mensh-ness be earned? Can it ONLY be earned?

5.From a society standpoint, does being a mensh define our life values?

6.If so, how does Jewish culture perceive and value a mensh? The Jewish version of Maslow’s pyramid, is that the best?

????

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