Talk:Trembling Before G-d

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Featured article Trembling Before G-d is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on January 12, 2008.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
February 18, 2007 Good article nominee Not listed
March 7, 2007 WikiProject peer review Reviewed
March 15, 2007 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article

Good article discussion[edit]

Since I'm also a major contributor to the article, I'm not allowed to pass or fail it for being a Good Article. But I am opposed at this point, for the following reasons:

  1. There is needless repetition when discussing the languages of the movie. The lead says "Trembling Before G-d is predominantly in English, with passages in Yiddish and Hebrew that are subtitled. Also subtitled are passages with significant amounts of 'Yeshivish', Yiddish-influenced technical terms of Judaism used when speaking English; for example, posek is translated as 'judge on Jewish law', and daven is translated as 'pray'" and the synopsis section says the same thing practically word-for-word: "The language is predominantly English, with passages in Yiddish and Hebrew that are subtitled. Also subtitled are passages with significant amounts of 'Yeshivish', Yiddish-influenced technical terms in Judaism; for example, posek is translated as "judge on Jewish law", and daven is translated as 'pray'." It's just bad writing to do that.
  2. Why is the French title of the film relevant? The film isn't even in French.
  3. The images of Sandi DuBowski and Steven Greenberg don't seem to me to comply with fair use policy. The images aren't being used for critical commentary, they're purely decorative (violating criterion 8 of the policy). The image of the Haredi rabbis isn't directly relevant to the article either: they're not discussing the movie or anything, they're just some rabbis who for all we know have never even heard of Trembling Before G-d. In addition, the positioning of the image conceals the fact (at least on my screen) that the paragraph beginning "Unfortunately, though" is a quote from Rabbi Shafran, rather than being written by Wikipedia editors. Considering the non-NPOV nature of that paragraph it's very important that there be no ambiguity in that regard.

Also (this isn't a reason to oppose GA status, though) since the director is American and the U.S. is one of the listed countries of production (the other two being non-English-speaking countries), I think American spelling would be more appropriate than British. —Angr 22:02, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Well, you know what? I'm English, I wrote it, it's going to use British spelling. Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 22:08, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
I have reviewed this article before reading your comments as Dev920 requested that the GA nom be dealt with today. I broadly agree with you points as you will see. However, I wasn't unduly bothered by the French language title being included- film articles often seem to include foreign translations of the film title. In my view this adds to the worldview of the article. That being said if one foreign language title translation is included, all should be. Ultimately the point is not decisive however. I have no opinion on the British vs US English issue. WjBscribe 22:11, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

GA review[edit]

I have reviewed this article in accordance with Wikipedia's good article criteria. Unfortunately although the article has been improved considerably over the last week, I do not believe it meets the criteria and am accordingly failing it. My full review is below, with specific comment on any element which I do not feel was met:

GA review (see here for criteria)
  1. It is well written.
    a (prose): b (structure): c (MoS): d (jargon):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (inline citations): c (reliable): d (OR):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    a (fair representation): b (all significant views):
  5. It is stable.
  6. It contains images, where possible, to illustrate the topic.
    a (tagged and captioned): b (lack of images does not in itself exclude GA): [[File:|16px|alt=|link=]] c (non-free images have fair use rationales):
  7. Overall:
    a Pass/Fail:


Some parts of this article are located in odd place. The discussion about the use of "G-d" in the film title doesn't fit well with the rest of the content in production, it would seem better as part of the intro or as its own section. Also the beginning of the synopsis discusses the lack of narration and the language used, which should be a separate discussion rather than part of the description of the plot (much of this is simply repeated from the intro).

References: (and therefore OR)

I noted several issues here:

  • The statement: "Trembling Before G-d has had a wide impact especially within the Orthodox Jewish world, where the reception has been both negative and positive. Several Orthodox synagogues sponsored showings of the film all over the world, including in Israel." is purported supported by [1] however this article does not appear to confirm that statement. The closest it comes is in saying: "Eight Orthodox congregations — from Lincoln Square Synagogue to Chabad of Washington Square — cosponsored the discussions Sunday night."
  • The statement in the introduction that the film "did reasonably at the box office" is not supported by a reference and appears to be a subjective judgment by the article's editor(s).
  • The concluding statement: "Following the success of Trembling before G-d, DuBowski is now working to produce a documentary about gay devout Muslims entitled In the Name of Allah." is unsourced.
  • All entries in the Awards section are unreferenced.

Inapplicable giving short time article has been in this form.

Fair use images

The images of DuBowski and Greenberg are tagged as fair use images. However as they appear to be being used to show what those people look like, they fail Wikipedia's first fair use criteria: "No free equivalent is available or could be created that would adequately give the same information.". Images of living people used to show what they look like expressly fail this test (see counter-example 8).

Until these issues are addressed, I would rate this article as 'B' class. WjBscribe 22:11, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Damn. :) Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 22:13, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Haredi = Trembling[edit]

According to the article Haredi Judaism, the word Haredi can "be interpreted as 'one who trembles in awe of God'". I have no doubt that's what Dubowski is referring to with the title, but I'm having a hard time finding a source making the connection. I don't want to add it without a source, because at the moment it's still my own original research. If anyone can help track down a reliable source pointing out that the title itself refers to the Haredi, I'd appreciate it. —Angr 19:03, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

It comes from a verse in the psalms. "Traditional Jews routinely sway back and forth during prayer, apparently a reference to Psalm 35, which says "All my limbs shall declare, 'O L-rd, who is like You?'"" Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 19:07, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
[2] makes a direct connection between the title of the movie and the meaning of the word Haredi. Shall we add it? —Angr 19:10, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Is that an RS? It doesn't look it. Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 19:12, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Why not? It's apparently reprinted from CrossCurrents magazine, which seems to qualify as a "reliable, published secondary source" per WP:RS. —Angr 19:22, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Oh, it's a magazine? Oh, that's fine then. It looked like an essay site and though I really didn't think you would use something from such a site, I was kinda confused. But, yeah, sure stick it in, it'll be helpful background. Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 19:27, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, it's a little weird because it's not available on the CrossCurrents website without a subscription, but apparently has permission to reprint it. I definitely recommend reading the interview with SSD and Lucy Walker (who made Devil's Playground); it's really interesting. I was especially intrigued by the part at the end where he said he didn't want to be a "fly-on-the-wall" documentarist but rather was there to intervene in people's lives. He says "I felt like my job was to take that ton of suffering and hoist it onto the rabbis' chests and completely break their hearts, so that they would actually do something", and I can't help but wonder if there's some way to work that view of his into the article as well. —Angr 19:41, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
I had always thought it was from Hosea 12:3-3:
"The L-rd will roar like a lion, and they shall march behind Him. When He roars, His children will come, trembling (yechardu) out of the West."
They shall tremble (yechardu) from Egypt like sparrows, from the land of Assyria like doves; and I will settle them in their homes."

But I don't have a source for this on hand and perhaps I mis-remembered. Best, --Shirahadasha 21:49, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Why is it listed at WP:GAC and WP:FAC at the same time?[edit]

And should I take it off of that first thing?--Rmky87 21:51, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

It was listed at GAC and I asked a user to take a look at it, but the peer review went so well I skipped it and went straight to FAC and didn't take it off GAC. You can upgrade it if you want or remove it altogether, I don't mind. Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 22:02, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
I just removed it from the candidates page because you're not taking it off of FAC anytime soon and I was more concerned that someone would accuse you of double-dipping. Sorry about that.--Rmky87 00:50, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Positive reception from Orthodox?[edit]

In the section "Reception > Religious", it says "Trembling Before G-d has had a wide impact especially within the Orthodox Jewish world, where the reception has been both negative and positive", but there's no evidence of a positive reception. The fact that some orthodox synagogues agreed to show the film doesn't mean their reaction to it was positive. Was there in fact any positive response from the Orthodox community? —Angr 14:05, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Well, the fact that they agreed to both show the film and hold a dialogue about it afterwards, I find very positive when you consider the number of abusive emails Sandi was sent from Haredi Jews. Also, the foundation they sent up would have utterly failed if people were not responding to it, and I also have read a lot of interviews where Sandi has said about how many gay people are now receiving pastoral support rather than simply being shunned. So it's definitely had a positve impact, previously the Orthodox world denied there even were gay frum Jews. Now they can't deny it. Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 22:43, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Still, that's not the same thing as a positive response to the film, which is what the current wording implies. Maybe we can tweak it a bit. —Angr 23:11, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, read this. It has stuff about the positve responses he's received. Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 23:28, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, from the GLBT press and the mainstream press (Washington Post, LA Times, NY Times, etc.). But what I'm still not finding is anything to back up what this sentence says: that there was both positive and negative response from the Orthodox community. Obviously no one person can speak for the entire community, but even one positive quote from an Orthodox rabbi to counter Warren Goldstein's "intellectually shallow" comment would be good. And that's what I haven't found yet. —Angr 09:47, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
this? Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 09:55, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
And this. Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 10:02, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
And this. Amusingly, the Trembling peer review is on the second page of a google search for "Trembling before G-d orthodox positive". Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 10:12, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Why Orthodox Judaism prohibits homosexuality[edit]

The article says:

Traditionally, Orthodox Judaism has prohibited homosexual conduct, as it was believed people became homosexual in order to spite God, to be perverse, or because of a mental illness.

I think this is totally wrong. Orthodox Judaism prohibits homosexual conduct based on Leviticus chs. 18 and 20, which don't explain exactly why it's prohibited. Unless "homosexual conduct" refers to something other than intercourse and its derivatives (and this should be clarified), the statement should be given without a reason. YechielMan 02:42, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Since when has Orthodoxy ever just accepted a mitzvah without trying to find a reason behind it? Come on. Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 07:44, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
But the reason for accepting the mitzvah isn't the reason for doing so, it's just commentary. Virtually anything mandated by the Talmud is normative law in Orthodox Judaism today, by definition. Other denominations differ precisely in that they view Talmudic law as mutable at the very least, if applicable at all. So if you're going to give a reason for prohibiting homosexuality, you have to go back to the source of the prohibition, which is at least the Talmud. Even then you can't call it "the reason" for the prohibition, because the Talmud rarely discards the obvious sense of a pasuk outright (there are of course times when it does, e.g., ayin tachas ayin). Something like: "Medieval rabbis such as X and Y justified the prohibition by Z[citation]", or similar, would be fine, but this is unsourced and unsourceable, so I've removed it. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 00:50, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

If they try, and fail, to find a reason, it's still accepted. :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:52, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Love of Judaism[edit]

The statement that was just restored might be sourced, but it's from an editorial and is a subjective speculation rather than an objective truth. --DLandTALK 13:19, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

How about "Indeed, several audience members asked afterwards how they could convert." That much at least is objective truth. —Angr 13:38, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
Alright, I guess so. I'll change it.--DLandTALK 13:50, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Where's the nuance between lesbian and male homosexual practice? The Torah admonishes male homosexual behavior, but there's no such prohibition for lesbians. Why is the discussion focused on the delimiting idea of ostracizing people, rather than the Jewish idea of struggling to seek perfection in life? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:24, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Geographical scope[edit]

The article talks about the Orthodox community - presumably the community, like the Muslim ummah, transcends borders, but it isn't until the synopsis section that the location of the people involved is mentioned. I was wondering about this right from the start of the article, as I was wondering whether Orthodox gay and lesbian jews in, say, the US might get an easier reception than those in, say, Russia. Is this likely? (Just in the way there are female Christian priests in the US and UK but not in more orthodox eastern christian communities). So there are 4 US participants (David, Israel, Michelle and Rabbi Steven Greenberg), one British (Mark), one Israeli (Devorah) and three of unidentified nationality Shlomo Ashkenazy Malka and Leah. Any chance of stating what their nationality and/or location is? (talk) 10:12, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Googles* Shlomo is from New York and Malka and Leah are from South Florida. Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 12:27, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Ah, clever you. In that case, shouldn't it be mentioned in the text that virtually all the participants (7 out of 9) are American and that the film therefore has an American focus? I read the article thinking it had an international focus until I got to the 'Synopsis' section. I think that's an important factor to note. (talk) 16:53, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I've been bold and added it. (talk) 08:52, 11 January 2008 (UTC)


Might be worth mentioning in the article about the title, that Orthodox Jews do not write out the name of God, omitting a letter in print. It's obvious to those who know Judaism but not for others. (talk) 03:27, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

The last few sentences of the Production section read:

The title is an allusion to the word Haredi (Hebrew: חֲרֵדִי‎), which can be interpreted as "one who trembles" in awe of God.[12] The word G-d in the film's title reflects the Jewish practice of avoiding writing a name of God. By omitting the middle letter, the word is not written in full, thus eliminating the possibility of accidentally destroying the written name of God, which would violate one of the 613 Mitzvot of Judaism (number 8 on Maimonides' list).

So it's already in there :) GeeJo (t)(c) • 10:43, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Very interesting[edit]

I just love how Wikipedia can let you discover amazing things like this, that no other mainstream outlet would, and that this article is well written, complete, and referenced, simply because someone had an interest. Brilliant this Wikipedia thing. (ps, despite how new and wide-eyed I sound, I've been a Wikipedian since 2002.) -- Zanimum (talk) 17:53, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Yep. If there's one thing Wikipedia's good at, it's illuminating the obscure. Which sometimes happens to be interesting as well ^_* Brutannica (talk) 19:42, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Not really Cinema Verité[edit]

This film is a documentary, shot with a minimum of equipment in a consumer video format, but that alone does not make it cinema verité. It is largely composed of a string of interviews filmed at the homes and offices of subjects who are well aware they are being interviewed, with very little footage where subjects are doing anything more than addressing the interviewer, as such it may hardly be considered cinema verité. In fact, there are interstitial scenes filmed in silhouette on a sound stage, contrary to the article, which further dilute the representation of the work as cinema verité. None of this comment is intended to suggest anything negative about the film itself. I was involved with the production, working closely with Sandi, particularly during the editing and transfer. Eric Solstein (talk) 19:40, 12 January 2008 (UTC)


Uh, how come next to "running time" in the infobox, it says "Israel, France, USA"? I don't know what the running time of the movie is, so I don't know what to change it to. And I didn't think I should just take out the whole line...

CrayZsaaron (talk) 21:40, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

fixed. Rami R 22:13, 12 January 2008 (UTC)


"Orthodox jews" is not a name, therefore it should not be spelled with capitals. So I think. Is there another principle working here, that I am unaware of? --Etxrge (talk) 21:34, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

"Jew" is always capitalized in English. Capitalizing "Orthodox Jews" makes it clear we mean adherents of Orthodox Judaism, rather than Jews who happen to be orthodox in any of the senses of that word. —Angr If you've written a quality article... 21:52, 20 January 2008 (UTC)


That soundtrack section should have a very basic summary of the album in it, per the comprehensiveness criteria of WP:FA? — Crisco 1492 (talk) 08:51, 26 January 2013 (UTC)