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Controversy greets DADay video
Today's Madonna/James Bond/religion pop quiz: The video for her song in the upcoming Bond movie "Die Another Day” - is (choose one):
- A condemnation of capital punishment.
- A testament to the virtues of not having an ego.
- An affront to Jewish tradition.
"Madonna doesn't like to explain her videos in great detail, but I think there are many messages there and her intention in making this video was honorable,” says Liz Rosenberg, her longtime rep. At intervals, the video features Madonna with Hebrew letters tattooed on her arm, wearing the leather straps associated with the Jewish tefillin and being electrocuted in a chair emblazoned with Hebrew markings. "The Hebrew word on the electric chair, with a lamed, an alef and a vav, means ‘No,' so the message seems to be ‘Say no to capital punishment,'” says Ken Jacobson, associate national director of the Anti-Defamation League. Rosenberg says Madonna told her the letters are from Kabbalah teachings. They are a "sequence” in a spiritual tool called "the 72 Names of God." In Kabbalah teaching, each of the "72 Names of God” is comprised of a three-letter sequence, and each sequence "is a conduit that transmits various blends of energy and spiritual light into our physical world,” says Elisheva Kelman, a spokeswoman for the Kabbalah Center, where Madonna and husband Guy Ritchie study. The lamed-alef-vav sequence, Kelman explains, "is about eliminating ego from your soul.” But because Madonna is wearing leather straps associated with tefillin -- traditionally worn only by male Jews -- some observers worry she will be accused of being an anti-Semite. "Some people could be offended not just because it's a woman, but also because she appears to be using it for something other than Jewish prayer,” says Jacobson, who added the ADL doesn't see the video as anti-Semitic. (source: Newsday)
Jewish outrage for DADay video
Having apparently grown bored with antagonizing Catholics, Madonna is now giving offense to Jews. Some scholars of Judaism are riled by the sacred text and religious objects that appear in her violent new video, which showcases the theme song to the James Bond movie 'Die Another Day'. The video features Madonna with Hebrew letters tattooed on her arm and tefillin - small leather cubes, containing biblical verses and worn with straps during morning worship - while she's being electrocuted by Nazi-like goons. The mock execution leaves three Hebrew letters on the electric chair - lamed, aleph and vav - part of the "72 names of God" taught in the kabbalah, mystical Jewish teachings studied by Madonna and her husband, director Guy Ritchie. Ken Jacobson, associate director of the Anti-Defamation League, says he doesn't find the video "anti-Semitic," but argues: "There are some people who can be - and are - offended by using Jewish religious articles for these purposes. Many Jews, especially Orthodox, believe it is not a tradition for women [to use tefillin]. There are certain sensitivities that are offended by what she did. Then there is the question about the Hebrew lettering, and what they mean."
Rabbi Sue Fendrick, managing editor of MyJewishLearning. com, adds: "To a very traditional Orthodox Jew, even the mere image of a woman putting on tefillin might be offensive. This really seems to be about a non-Jewish person putting on a symbol for purposes of entertainment. Some people won't find it interesting one way or another. Others will find it deeply offensive to Judaism and Jews."
Rabbi Michael Berg, who teaches at the Kabbalah Center in L.A., where Madonna has studied, admits that "Jewish law prohibits tattoos. But, for one thing, this tattoo is not permanent. For another, we teach in kabbalah that every person is free to make their own choices." Berg explains that the Hebrew letters represent "her fighting her ego. The tefillin are used to diminish the ego. Unfortunately, Orthodox Judaism has put a diminished role on women. The kabbalah sees women as no different than men. For me, the video was inspiring." (source: NY Daily News)