I have always striven to raise the voice of hope for a world where hate gives way to respect and oppression to liberation.
By showing hunger, deprivation, starvation and brutality, as well as endurance and nobility, documentaries inform, prod our memories, even stir us to action. Such films do battle for our very soul.
I prefer to make common cause with those whose weapons are guitars, banjos, fiddles and words.
We live in a world of guns, bombs and terror. To conquer hate seems a nigh-impossible task.
I know for certain of only one commandment, one obligation, that God imposes upon us, and that is to be compassionate toward other human beings.
No heirloom of humankind captures the past as do art and language.
One might have thought the world would stop ascribing moral equivalence between acts of terrorism and acts of punishing terrorism. It has not happened that way.
I am determined to give the Yiddish language a fighting chance to survive.
I am a universalist, passionately devoted to the cause of equality within the human family.
All too often arrogance accompanies strength, and we must never assume that justice is on the side of the strong. The use of power must always be accompanied by moral choice.
You don't really need modernity in order to exist totally and fully. You need a mixture of modernity and tradition.
I tried for a while to be an agricultural worker and was hopelessly bored. To me it was meaningless. I would stand around in heaps of manure and sings about the beauty of the work I wasn't doing.
For I firmly believe that Jewish life, indeed any communal life, can only be organized according to democratic principles.
Having come to live in this age is as though one were to have entered another country. Learn its language or risk being left out.
Every actor wants to direct.
But, when I toil in the field of Jewish culture which I frequently do, I am indeed a Jewish artist.
No doubt unity is something to be desired, to be striven for, but it cannot be willed into being by mere declarations.
Must we be put to shame by much smaller and poorer countries, by Ireland, France, Austria or Sweden, who have understood that a nation's support of its arts is a matter of both national pride and cultural survival?
Although I am deeply grateful to a great many people, I forgo the temptation of naming them for fear that I might slight any by omission.
After the advent of the written word, the masses who could not - or were not permitted to - read, were given sermons by the few who could.
Audiences are audiences.
As an artist I have an even more abiding interest in the compact between the Arts and Government.
I glory in the fact that a human being has multiple talents and exercises them all with a degree of integrity and artistic proficiency. That's what I do.
I do prefer the stage. It's really the granddaddy of them all.
You cannot please all of the people all of the time, and that is truer in the arts than anywhere else.
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