Thursday, March 21, 2013


We have a Passover family tradition at our house. Every spring, whenever the holiday happens to fall (seriously, 2013? End of March?), a few days beforehand, the kids and I watch “The Prince of Egypt.”

This DreamWorks animated film released in 1998 is one of my favorites for bringing the annual story to life in a–more or less–accurate manner. Did rebellious teens Moses and Rameses really drag-race their horses and chariots around the pyramids and drop watermelons off of balconies? That answer, alas, is lost to history. (Though I was surprised to learn that watermelons were, in fact, mentioned in the bible as a food eaten by Israelites while they were in bondage in Egypt, and that watermelons are also depicted in ancient hieroglyphics. Who knew?) But, a rabbi friend did tell me that, because the bible says God spoke to Moses in his own voice, that’s Val Kilmer playing both Moses and God in the movie. Cool, huh? (Said the geek with the Masters in Media Analysis.)

I’m also a musical theater geek, and I happen to love the score to “The Prince of Egypt.” Here is a tip: Don’t listen to “Through Heaven’s Eyes” while postpartum and hormonal. You will cry. And scare the kids.

There are other things about this movie that might scare the kids, too. Or at least upset them. Pharaoh sobbing alone on the banks of the Red Sea after the Israelites–including his one-time “brother”–have crossed is a poignant image that might be too much for sensitive children (and postpartum mothers). And the plagues, including the Death of the First Born, are not glossed over, but dramatized about as graphically and realistically as a children’s cartoon can get (this isn’t Wile E. Coyote style violence; it’s pretty real). It prompted my then 4-year-old daughter to ask, “I thought God was supposed to be the good guy in this story?”

Read my entire piece (also featuring Rugrats that look like Nazi caricatures and using "The Ten Commandments" to learn English) at:

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