Friday, February 22, 2008

Warming the cockles

What the heck does that expression mean, anyway? No one actually seems to know. Well, whatever part of my heart the "cockles" may be (although the only cockles with which I'm familiar are, I'm afraid, treif), this story warms them.

Joseph Cedar, director of the Oscar-nominated Israeli film Beaufort, and an Orthodox Jew, has resolved a thorny Shabbat dilemma.

Traditionally, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences holds a high-profile public symposium for the five finalists vying for the best foreign-language film Oscar on the day before the award ceremony.

This year, the symposium will be on Saturday morning, Feb. 23, and Cedar was uncertain whether he could participate on a Shabbat.

"I had a long talk with my rabbi in Israel," said Cedar, 39, who is in Los Angeles with his family now in anticipation of the awards. "He decided that I could attend as long as I didn't use a microphone and walked to the event at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater."

Cedar figures he can cover the two-mile distance in about an hour, an almost unheard feat for pedestrian-phobic Angelenos, but no big deal for Israelis - even for an Israeli who was born in New York, but whose parents made aliya when he was five.

Yes, it's a little thing. Kind of like a cockle. Only, well, definitely not treif.

Shabbat Shalom.