It’s never too late to try bacon for the first time.
In a new short documentary posted on the New Yorker’s website Tuesday, an elderly Toronto Jewish woman named Razie Brownstone discusses her intention to end her lifelong observance of the dietary laws of kashrut on her upcoming 90th birthday.
“Every once in a while I think it would be nice to have a bacon and tomato sandwich,” she muses at the start of Bacon & God’s Wrath.
Lying on the couch as if in psychoanalysis, Razie explains that after a strict observant Jewish upbringing, she discovered “the Google” late in life, and lost her faith. The Internet giant’s predictive search function, which anticipates what you’re going to type into the search engine, played a major role. Seeing that her most intimate questions were shared by others made her feel part of a community.
“That feeling of connectedness, it was more than I ever got from going to synagogue,” she says. “Well, as you can imagine, it was a first step on a slippery slope, and I went very quickly from Julia Child to Christopher Hitchens. It soon became very difficult for me to believe such incredible nonsense anymore.”
By the end of the nine-minute film, directed by Sol Friedman, Razie moves beyond her personal story and begins discussing the meaninglessness of life like an inspired philosophy major. Things get a little surreal.
Ultimately, though, she has to make a concrete choice Jews have faced for generations: bacon or no? If you’re from Toronto, you’ll recognize the diner Razie visits once she makes up her mind at Bathurst and Dupont streets.
The film was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in January and was named one of Canada’a top 10 short films for 2015 at the Toronto International Film Festival. Brownstone has long been active as a performer, costume designer and set decorator in the Toronto theatre scene.