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Faith Kaplan

Faith Goes to the Movies – at Herzlia!

Faith Kaplan,written Jan 15 and posted Feb 19, 2012


[This article was submitted Jan 15, 2012, but due to the Editor's overcrowded mailbox it was missed, which is why it  is being posted now. Like a fine wine, it has aged well.].

I love a good story, and when I watch a movie, I want to be entertained. We subscribe to all the movie channels and Netflix. Hart and I try to see major films as they come out. When I want to stay current, I watch the news, read the papers, listen to CBC One, and follow a variety of columnists and pundits to help me make sense of the back story. I don’t favour documentaries, because they infuriate me. Either I’m offended by the blatant propaganda on the part of the film maker, or I am enraged by the corruption that is uncovered. However, I couldn’t resist attending last week’s film at the Adam Anhang Memorial Fund Jewish Renaissance Film Series at the Herzlia- Adas Yeshurun synagogue, when “Inside Job”, the Academy Award winning best documentary of 2010, was screened and followed by a question and answer session with Asper School of Business Dean Michael Benarroch.

40 adults watched the film in a surprisingly comfortable venue – the social hall, while several children attended a family movie downstairs. The 120 minute documentary was infuriating, as expected. It chronicled the conditions that led to the 2008 economic meltdown, and made a persuasive argument that our current financial mess could have been avoided. Rather easily in fact, if ethics and good governance had trumped greed. This particular road to hell wasn't really paved with good intentions, though the Reagan administration was successful in creating the conditions for unprecedented economic growth. Successive administrations continued to relax financial regulations so that the shift from a manufacturing to service based economy happened under our noses and with the support of every American government since 1981. The power of the financial lobby is staggering, and ensured that the house of cards came crashing down just as President Obama took charge of the White House amid promises of change and hope and integrity. I am not an Obama fan. I was suspicious of his credentials and thought he was a big talker with little substance. Turns out I was right. Since his inauguration, he has stacked his cabinet with the same financial miscreants from Ivy League Academia and Wall Street who were responsible for pillaging the American Dream and the middle class.
Dr. Benarroch updated us on what transpired since the film was released. He then fielded questions and helped put the film in perspective. Three facts stood out for me: the Canadian Parliament narrowly escaped relaxing financial restrictions on Canadian banks because of the collapse in the US, no one anticipated how interconnected the global economy really is, and the foxes are guarding the hen house they built. I doubt the Americans will ever find a leader to clean up the mess that is their financial sector, and believe it will be years before the middle class rebounds.
Kudos to the sponsors and the committed volunteers of the Jewish Renaissance Series, under the capable and enthusiastic leadership of Board member Batya Gall, for creating a thoughtful, provocative and entertaining winter program of events. The Herzlia itself is experiencing a renaissance with Rabbi Ellis and Board President Dr. Earl Hershfield at the helm, and there are classes, lectures, dinners, and films available on a regular basis.
See you at the movies – corner of Brock and Fleet, in River Heights. Visit for more details.
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