Imagine my friend’s excitement when he opened up the newspaper today to find that his third favorite adult-oriented director, Steven Soderbergh (thoughtful and thought-provoking) had made a movie with his second favorite adult movie actress, Sasha Grey (porn star).
And I mean excited in a good “That’s an interesting career decision for her, hope it works out” way, not in a bad “Man sees wife, friend in porn DVD, stabs him” way.
After Elliott Gould almost destroyed his film career by mistaking Soderbergh, the Swedish surname, for Soderberg, the Jewish surname, my friend reconciled himself to the fact that Steven Soderbergh is only aesthetically and intellectually Jewish rather than physically, religiously, or identifiable so. For him though, this film raised the question of whether Sasha Grey was Jewish: raised, that is, to the level of almost acceptable discourse.
The Anglo-Jewish community was overjoyed to find out that Jordan aka Katie Price has a maternal Jewish grandmother and claim her as a member, but topless photographs are a different story from full-on adult movies. It’s like eating cheeseburgers on Yom Kippur, if you are eating when you shouldn’t, do you still need to keep kosher?
Caught on the horns of this religious and cinematic dilemma, my friend sought rabbinical guidance. How should he resolve the machlokes between on the one hand ahavas yisroel (ethnic pride) and a slight transgression of tznius and possibly a form of zera levatala (what Rashi refers to as “threshing within, winnowing without.”) on the other?
He approached the rabbi with trepidation knowing that the ruling could change his whole attitude about what constitutes avodas olam (work that sanctifies Hashem) and avodas parech (meaningless work) but she dismissed his question with a lofty wave of her hand telling him to go and treat his patients and stop wasting his time and hers with those smutty films. She has a sermon to write.