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Jewish Journal

Redemption: The American Dream

by Beit T'shuvah

January 25, 2013 | 11:02 am

By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

I have been reading the newspapers and watching some movies and I am struck by the dissonance between these two media outlets. In the news, we read about the City of Bell and how the leaders raped the city with no regard or remorse. Today I read about a party thrown by CAA at Sundance that seems inappropriate. The Wall Streeters and the Banks too Big to Fail have never really made amends and admitted guilt. No one wants to acknowledge when they have been wrong.

The Congress is too busy blaming each other to get things done. Businesses are trying to crush their competitors with lies, innuendos, corporate spying, and copyright infringements. Non-Profits are afraid to admit failures/weaknesses for fear of losing their funders. The Government, in their wisdom, has limited deductions for charitable contributions on the people who give the most. No one wants to take responsibility!

Yet, three movies that are at the top of the lists—Lincoln, Argo and Silver Linings Playbook—are all redemption stories. In Silver Linings Playbook, the main character finally realizes his wrong. In Argo, the main character forces the Government to follow through and redeem the people who got out of the embassy. In Lincoln, the 13th Amendment is the main thrust of Lincoln’s last months of his life. All of these movies celebrate the Spirit of Redemption.  Lincoln and Argo are even based on true stories. Was there subterfuge and deceit to make the ends? Yes! Is this the right way to do things? At first blush, I would say no, yet does the end justify the means? In both cases I have to say it was about saving lives. The Jewish Tradition says that saving lives is the ultimate Mitzvah.

In our world today, we are more concerned about saving our money and our “face” than about saving lives, ours and others. Without Redemption, without T’Shuvah, without admitting guilt we will never move forward and change our ways of living. I am angry that we, the people/stakeholders, allow our Government to engage in rhetoric and gridlock. I am angry that we, the people/shareholders, don’t hold our companies accountable for their failures as well as their successes. I am angry that we, the people/the consumers, watch Argo, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, etc. and don’t say NO to inappropriate behaviors and YES to Redemption.

We have the way, our country was founded on Redemption. Our faith/All faith is founded on Redemption. I am calling on you to join me in making Redemption a movement. Let’s redeem ourselves, let’s redeem others and let us all become Addicted to Redemption so we can all LIVE THE DREAM of God and us!

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