isaac and ishmael

so, watching the west wing over again has been interesting. it was on for a long time but it hasn't been on in a long time. this means i first watched some of these episodes 11 or 12 years ago. it feels like a lifetime. i remember how i came to watch the show - my father-in-law enjoyed the first season and thought i would too. then when i began working at the synagogue, all the women who worked there watched it. so, i started in order to have something to talk about over lunch. we all had our favorite characters - carol once said her partner understood that she would leave him in a second for tobey. june loved president bartlet. harriet loved cj. we all loved mrs. landingham. jm even watched and would join us in our discussions of the previous night's episode from time to time.

this week, when i began the third season, my heart sank. instead of picking up where the story left off, they began with an episode about muslim extremists and terrorism. it was written and filmed quickly. 9/11 had just happened and they wanted to do something. it was heartbreaking to watch, even now. its remarkable that when everyone was screaming for justice, this episode was a quiet exploration of how we'd gotten to this place.

the next day at work, the discussion of the show at lunch lasted at least two hours. on 9/11, we sat with a television in the library, quietly doing our work half heartedly, watching events unfold. rosh hashanah was a week away. we were now planning a community prayer service. work couldn't stop just because the world did. after that episode of the west wing, we were finally able to have the conversations we'd all needed to have before. 

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