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No. 13: Ghostbusters

Do you believe in ghosts?

by
Liel Leibovitz
December 08, 2011
(Corbis)

(Corbis)

1984, dir. Ivan Reitman. This paranormal comedy isn’t just one of the greatest movies ever made, it’s also one of the most philosophically Jewish. As the film reaches its climax, the four ectoplasm-hunters are ordered by an evil god to choose the earthly form it will take and with which it will destroy Manhattan. One of them thinks of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man; the rest remain true to that central edict of Jewish theology—namely that the deity hasn’t a face and mustn’t ever be portrayed. Not convinced? Think of the metaphor of a band of outsiders shunned by society at large for their strange spiritual beliefs, the practice of which involves intricate rituals. Still not convinced? It was written by Harold Ramis.

Liel Leibovitz is a senior writer for Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.

Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One.

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