Ruthie Blum of the Jerusalem Post has a wonderful interview with filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici, centered around his newest film The Lost Tomb of Jesus (made with James Cameron of Titanic fame). This small excerpt should be interesting for most FM readers:
I grew up in a spiritual, but not observant, home. As a child of Holocaust survivors, a lot of my Jewish identity had to do with reacting to negative things - you know, the Holocaust, terrorism and all that. And I had to ask myself at one point, "If everybody loved us, would there still be a reason to be Jewish?"
That led me to start studying the positive message of Torah. And the more I studied the Torah, the more it made sense to me. But it was a process. It wasn't like I was walking down the street and a lightening bolt flashed before my eyes. It took about 10 years from the time I started investigating it to the time I would say I became a full-fledged Orthodox Jew. But our first kid was born into a kosher home. So our kids are FFB, as they say - frum from birth.
Isn't being Orthodox hard for you, given the Hollywood kind of lifestyle you lead?
If anything, it's helped me. First of all, when I go on location where there's no kosher food, I eat power bars and lose a little bit of weight. And when I go to places where I insist on kosher food, I find that people are really accommodating and respectful of that. I'll go to big shots in Hollywood and they'll order kosher food and we'll all eat with little plastic knives. People are respectful of my keeping Shabbat as well. It's never happened that I've lost out on something because of it. At the end of the day, if you refuse to compromise, others come around.
The article mentions Simcha's Jewish activism as a student and his early work to rescue Ethiopian Jews (which, by the way, is how we met). Anyway, Simcha has a book out on the Lost Tomb that, he says, cites all the sources. It should be worth checking out for people on both sides of this issue.