Hollywood, Yom Kippur and Atonement

by | Sep 13, 2021 | Culture

I know no one reading this blog today will be shocked to know that there has always been tension between popular culture and biblical culture. What you may not know is that way back in 1927, as movies shifted from silent films to talking movies, the very first movie that was produced with synchronized sound was, in fact, The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson. It was a movie about a Jewish man who was torn between serving G-D in his synagogue or becoming a jazz singer. I find it interesting that of all the themes that Hollywood could have chosen as their foundational talking movie, they chose one that depicted the struggle between serving G-D and serving the world.

To add to the dynamics of this movie, and the choice of this film to be the very first talking movie, the movie is centered around Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the day observed in Judaism as the holiest day of the year. It’s the one day a year when, in ancient times and the temple stood, the high priest would enter the holy of holies after offering a sacrifice for the atonement for the people of Israel.

As I said earlier, of all the themes Hollywood could have chosen, for Hollywood to choose making a movie about choosing between G-D and money was interesting. But when you add to that the choice to make the movie centered around Yom Kippur, a day focused entirely upon repentance and forgiveness, the choice becomes even more interesting.

When you understand the roots of Hollywood and the spiritual struggle at its roots, it makes sense that nearly every movie and television program since that day has in some way continued to promote the same tension between biblical culture and worldly culture.

If you have not watched the movie The Jazz Singer, it is important to note two things. First, the lure of fame and fortune. “Money” was so strong that Al Jolson’s character was willing to walk away from his G-D and his family to achieve it. But the second and most important thing to note was that at the end of the movie on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement and repentance), Al Jolson’s character turned back to his family and his G-D and chose to sing a Hebrew prayer in his synagogue in his father’s place. The prayer he sings so beautifully is the Kol Nidre (All Vows), a prayer of forgiveness asking G-D to forgive us for all vows we have made and all commitments we have made in the past year, and restore us to right standing with Him.

Hollywood’s very first full-length talking movie was a movie about the battle between righteousness and unrighteousness, the battle between biblical and worldly cultures, the battle between life and death. Yet Hollywood (maybe without even realizing it) shared the Good News of G-D’s forgiveness and reminded us that no matter how far away from G-D we have traveled, through a simple, heartfelt, honest and vulnerable prayer asking for forgiveness, we can be restored.

So, as we are in the Days of Awe between Yom Teruah/Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur — a time when we are encouraged to return to our G-D and King — I want to remind you of two things: 1) Yeshua shared the same message as the movie The Jazz Singer, as we read in Matthew 6:24 (TLV):

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick by one and look down on the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

And 2) through true repentance, as we read in 1 John 1:9:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” {eoa}

Rabbi Eric Tokajer has served the community of Brit Ahm Messianic Synagogue in Pensacola, Florida since 2006. In addition to serving at Brit Ahm, he also helped to establish six other Messianic synagogues along the United States, Gulf Coast. He is also a sought-after speaker for both national and international conferences and events, and has authored 12 books. In addition to his duties as a rabbi, he also serves on the board of several Messianic ministries and as the theology team facilitator for the Tree of Life Version Bible.

Read articles like this one and other Spirit-led content in our new platform, CHARISMA PLUS.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

A Better Way to Witness to Others for Christ

A Better Way to Witness to Others for Christ

”Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (Rom. 2:4). Looking retrospectively at my past as an atheist, I can see where God...

Why Does God Want Us to Speak with Tongues?

Why Does God Want Us to Speak with Tongues?

Why speak with tongues? There are many reasons for speaking in a spiritual language. Primarily, though, the Scriptures require it. The apostle Paul commanded us, saying, “Pray in the Spirit always” (Eph. 6:18). Jude commanded it in verse 20, saying, “Pray in the Holy...

Why God’s Rebuilding is Better Than His Restoration

Why God’s Rebuilding is Better Than His Restoration

Often, I have prayed for the Lord to restore something in my life. Whenever I have gone through a hard season or a broken relationship, my prayers automatically petition the Lord to restore my situation. Whenever there is a loss, and you are going through the grieving...

Why America Must Adopt the Battle Cry of Isaiah

Why America Must Adopt the Battle Cry of Isaiah

A battle cry is used to summon armies to war. A loud, unified shout could intimidate the strongest of enemies. Confidence in battle often tilts the scale toward victory, whereas timidity, fear and cowardliness will surely lead to defeat. In these dreadful times, don’t...

Intentionally Raising a Godly Generation

Intentionally Raising a Godly Generation

Debbie put her faith in Christ at age 11. In fact, her whole family met Jesus at just about the same time. As her parents began growing in their faith, they nurtured growth in their children as well. Family Bible reading, prayer and talking about God’s leading in...

RECENT ARTICLES

Dream Big: How to Cultivate Divine Revelation While You Sleep

Do you have any dreams from God that you have allowed to fall by the wayside? For some of you, it’s time to dream again. For some of you, it’s time to dust off your previous dreams. For some of you,...
Prophecy: God Is Bringing About Swift Turnarounds

Prophecy: God Is Bringing About Swift Turnarounds

In the month of August, God is bringing swift turnarounds so that your hard places will become a wide-open field. God is bringing about divine connections in order to strengthen the body of Christ. He is releasing faith for radical generosity, divine strategy to...

End-Times Truth: The Rapture Reveals a Split Church

End-Times Truth: The Rapture Reveals a Split Church

There are several resurrections and raptures in the Bible. I cannot understand those who argue that because there is no mention of the word "rapture" in the Bible they do not believe in it. They only believe in the Second Coming of the Lord. Some arguments are no...

The Supernatural Secrets of Real Revival

The Supernatural Secrets of Real Revival

What does an authentic world-igniting revival look like? And, how are the seeds of revival planted? This we can learn from the life and work of William Joseph Seymour—God’s chosen vessel and apostle of the Azusa Street Revival.  Bishop William Joseph Seymour, was a...

Spiritually Speaking, How Healthy Is Your Heart?

Spiritually Speaking, How Healthy Is Your Heart?

Once a year, I go to the doctor and get a check-up. And every time, one of the things they do is check my heart. A good thorough exam will reveal if there are any problems that need to be addressed before a heart condition arises. I believe we need to do the same...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]