A native of Detroit, Neal Schindler has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 2002. He has held staff positions at Seattle Weekly and The Seattle Times and was a freelance writer for Jew-ish.com from 2007 to 2011. Schindler was raised in a Reconstructionist Jewish congregation and is now a member of Spokane's Reform congregation, Emanu-El. He is the director of Spokane Area Jewish Family Services. His interests include movies, Scrabble, and indie rock. He lives with his wife, son, and two cats in West Central Spokane.
If a child’s mother is Jewish, the vast majority of Jewish communities will accept that child as Jewish. If a child’s father is Jewish but the mother is not, then Reform and Reconstructionist congregations, and other Jewish progressive communities (Renewal, Humanistic, etc.), will accept the child as Jewish if he or she is being raised Jewish.
So what makes this year’s films special? To me, it’s their willingness to ask tough questions, avoid easy answers, and take risks. That approach is certainly part of the Jewish intellectual tradition going back millennia.
The “V” gesture, he explained in the interview, was meant to imitate the shape of the Hebrew letter shin. That letter begins the Hebrew word shekhinah, a concept Nimoy described as “the feminine aspect of God who supposedly was created to live among humans.”