“Please look heavenward and count the stars, if you are able to count them,” says God to Abraham in this week’s Torah portion, “so will be your seed.”
Sadly, sometimes the seed is rotten, sometimes the stars become dangerous black holes.
Cases in point: Harvey Weinstein and James Toback – two Hollywood moguls whose alleged abuse and harassment have destroyed lives. Both Weinstein and Toback are Jewish. While their Jewishness has nothing to do with their perversion, as a Jewish man I’m ashamed to be part of the same batch of seed, the same sky full of stars as these men.
While it’s so important that the accusations against Weinstein and Toback have been brought to our attention, it’s unfortunate (yet understandable) that the rotten seeds get the attention. These rotten seeds produce an all-consuming negativity that prevent us from seeing some of the brightest stars.
Lost among the headlines surrounding Weinstein, Toback and others is a story shared by film critic Nell Minow. During an interview Minow was conducting with former Friends star and an MOT (Member of the Tribe, aka – a Jew) David Schwimmer in a noisy hotel restaurant, Schwimmer hesitantly suggested that the two move the interview to his room upstairs. As he did so, he made it clear that he would ensure that there was someone else in the room with them. Minnow states:
“I haven’t thought of that since it happened, but the Weinstein stories made me not just remember it but remember it in an entirely different context, as an indicator of the prevalence of predatory behavior and as an indicator of Schwimmer’s integrity and sensitivity…This wasn’t just about his being a good guy who would not have tried anything. He understood what it is like to have to be constantly on the alert and he wanted to make sure I understood I was safe.”
I’m so proud to be part of the same batch of seed, the same sky full of stars as David Schwimmer. And, while Weinstein and Toback’s perversions should not be linked to their Jewish identity, I’d like to think that Schwimmer’s menschlichkeit (the ability to be a mentsch – a good, decent, moral human being) has something to with his Jewishness.