Earth is doomed. Aliens have come and their only mission is to destroy us. Our best hope for survival is held in the hands of brave and brilliant technology guy David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) and brave and brilliant fighter pilot Steven Hiller (Will Smith) as they fly a repaired alien spacecraft right into the center of the evil mothership to deliver a computer virus that just might save the earth. The odds are against them but they have to try.
And in those climactic action movie moments, where we don’t know if our heroes are safe, we don’t know if earth is safe, Julius Levinson, David’s father, gathers a group of frightened people to circle up and says the Shema.
Let me just say that again, in the climactic moments of a hugely famous and popular action movie those on earth are lead in prayer while they wait to find out the fate of the entire world… and it’s in Hebrew. That’s really not something you see every day.
Actually let’s rewind a few steps, where did David get the earth saving idea to give the aliens a computer virus? Well he’d given up. And his father came in and said this to him,
"Everyone loses faith at some point in their life, look at myself, I haven’t spoken to God since your mother died. But you know, sometimes we have to remember what we still have."
Well… You still have your health. Now get off this freezing concrete floor before you catch a cold.”
Which of course in the way of movies that catch a cold gives him the idea to give the aliens a computer virus. If only such things ever came from my parents reminding me to take a sweater. But before he goes up risking his life to save the planet his father hands him some airsickness bags, just in case, and he hands his father a prayer book and a yarmulke, “just in case”. And in that climactic moment, as everything is on fire and things look doomed, his father talks to God.
Look I’m not saying that Independence Day, one of the best and most beloved action movies of all time is a film in which Judaism saves the earth. But I’m not saying it’s not either.