Call of Duty Helps Rabbi Overcome Fear of Nazis

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Call of Duty Helps Rabbi Overcome Fear of Nazis

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Rabbi Micah Kelber has had a fear of Nazis since his childhood. Recently, he found himself not so scared anymore. That happened after he played Call of Duty: World at War.

As a child, Rabbi Micah Kelber heard tales of the grim medical experiments Nazis would perform on Jews during World War II, and since then he's been afraid of Nazis. "Jewish summer camp didn't help," Kelber wrote in Jewish newspaper Forward. But where summer camp failed him, years later a videogame saved him from his fear.

"One morning, I woke up extremely aware that I had just had a Nazi dream," Kelber recalled. He'd been having these dreams his entire life. This time was different, however. The night before, he'd been playing Call of Duty: World at War. "I was shocked that [the dream] did not scare me as it would have done in the past: The back of my neck was dry. The game had subconsciously flipped a switch."

For Kelber, the experience of his fear in a game had let him realize that that fear wasn't entirely founded in reality. "Although clearly there are still very real threats to Jews around the world, the feeling that Nazis were a threat to my existence was created by teachers and rabbis, rightly making sure that I knew my history," he wrote. "In truth, that specific anxiety was not real, but virtual. And I could vanquish it virtually, as well."

The safety zone of the game allowed Kelber to deal with his fears in a non-threatening context. "When your character dies, you may have to go back to a checkpoint, but this is simply inconvenient, never tragic or final," he said. "You will always have another chance to kill your demons."

Beyond his personal demons, Kelber believes that games like Call of Duty allow us to deepen our understanding of our greater historical ones as well. "Although on the face of it, Call of Duty: World at War rewards violent methods, its overwhelming gore and possibilities for playing the heartbreaking dilemmas of the other side, present the opportunity to put those methods into context," he said.

[Via Kotaku]

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I haven't played World at War yet, so someone clear this up for me: Does World at War show the terrible things that the Nazis did to the Jewish people? If it doesn't, then the game doesn't give a complete historically accurate picture of the Nazis. Therefore, how could this Rabbi be cured of his fear if all he faced was a watered down, inaccurate depiction of his true fear?

That's kind of silly.

Now we're gonna start seeing psychologists use video games to help "troubled" individuals.

And the idea of a rabbi playing World at War is a funny thought in and of itself.

drop2zero:
I haven't played World at War yet, so someone clear this up for me: Does World at War show the terrible things that the Nazis did to the Jewish people? If it doesn't, then the game doesn't give a complete historically accurate picture of the Nazis. Therefore, how could this Rabbi be cured of his fear if all he faced was a watered down, inaccurate depiction of his true fear?

The most important thing about the game in this case is that it moves them beyond perceived supernatural predators of the id to things which can be destroyed. A lot. It doesn't matter that the game doesn't depict the inner workings of a concentration camp, it matters that it shows ordinary petty enemies with rifles who run away when outmatched, etc.

In other words, regardless of the deeds of a few, they're seen to be just men. Nothing more.

Hee hee. This is awesome.
Eat your heart out, Jack "Douchebag" Thompson.

The game humanises German soldiers from WW2, because it shows them as human, having some points where you can show mercy to those surrendering, though I feel, too few.

Besides, not every German in WW2 was a Nazi, some were just regular soldiers, some just liked fighting... it was an army like any other, only it's dictator was what most quantify as evil.

There are also notable cases of Germans soldiers and officers helping Jewish people escape and attempting to assassinate Hitler.

As usual video games help better society and teach everyone that Nazi's can easily be stopped with an M1 garand

Resident Evil cured my fear of zombies. I think we may be on to something.

I suppose being an unstoppable killing machine in the face of Nazis would make them less scary.

Booze Zombie:
The game humanises German soldiers from WW2, because it shows them as human, having some points where you can show mercy to those surrendering.

Besides, not every German in WW2 was a Nazi, some were just regular soldiers, some just liked fighting... it was an army like any other, only it's dictator was what most quantify as evil.

There are notable cases of Germans soldiers and officers helping Jewish people escape and attempting to assassinate Hitler.

This. Everyone has been too busy turning every german soldier from the beginning and first half of 20th century into some kind of a horrible abomination out to kill your babies.

They were just people. As human as any other human. Many of them were possibly forced to go to war. And really, how nice would the idea of the pilots who dropped the a-bomb on Japan seem to an average Japanese person?

Still, a gaming rabbi sounds awesome. I bet he yelled "BOOM HEADSHOT" and all that. I imagine him playing the game wearing all the stereotypical rabbi clothes. To quote Weird Al, He's pretty fly for a rabbi.

saying that every one in the German army during WWII is like saying every Muslim is a terrorist. people do need to realize that atrocities are never committed by the majority, but by the vocal minority.
so this must be a win for video games, we cure fears.
NEXT STOP CURING CANCER!!

Booze Zombie:
The game humanises German soldiers from WW2, because it shows them as human, having some points where you can show mercy to those surrendering.

One wonders if those were the moments that helped too--seeing them as vulnerable humans, not supernatural monsters

Gormourn:

They were just people. As human as any other human. Many of them were possibly forced to go to war. And really, how nice would the idea of the pilots who dropped the a-bomb on Japan seem to an average Japanese person?

No matter how evil or not it was, dropping bombs to end a war more quickly when the peace that follows involves helping them rebuild their country so that eventually you're importing cartoon porn from them =/= rounding people up to make sure they don't mix their genes with yours.

drop2zero:
I haven't played World at War yet, so someone clear this up for me: Does World at War show the terrible things that the Nazis did to the Jewish people? If it doesn't, then the game doesn't give a complete historically accurate picture of the Nazis. Therefore, how could this Rabbi be cured of his fear if all he faced was a watered down, inaccurate depiction of his true fear?

no they still do very bad things like in the first level.. well not to ruin it but there is quit a bit of blood... and fire

on topic:

take that jack thompson! you are wrong and always will be!

GyroCaptain:

drop2zero:
I haven't played World at War yet, so someone clear this up for me: Does World at War show the terrible things that the Nazis did to the Jewish people? If it doesn't, then the game doesn't give a complete historically accurate picture of the Nazis. Therefore, how could this Rabbi be cured of his fear if all he faced was a watered down, inaccurate depiction of his true fear?

The most important thing about the game in this case is that it moves them beyond perceived supernatural predators of the id to things which can be destroyed. A lot. It doesn't matter that the game doesn't depict the inner workings of a concentration camp, it matters that it shows ordinary petty enemies with rifles who run away when outmatched, etc.

In other words, regardless of the deeds of a few, they're seen to be just men. Nothing more.

That's all very well, but considering what you just said, how do you think he's going to react when he completes the game and unlocks the zombie mode?

In that mode he'll be facing a relentless horde of "supernatural predator" Nazis, not just men, which can't be stopped. The only type of progression in that mode is how long you last before they inevitably kill you.

If he's that easily influenced by 'horror' stories and a computer game, them I can imagine him having renewed bad Nazi dreams one he plays the zombie mode.

Cheeze_Pavilion:
No matter how evil or not it was, dropping bombs to end a war more quickly when the peace that follows involves helping them rebuild their country so that eventually you're importing cartoon porn from them =/= rounding people up to make sure they don't mix their genes with yours.

The A bomb only helps demonize the U.S in the eyes of the world. Japan was surrendering when they dropped the damn thing, it was completely unnecessary.

Booze Zombie:

Cheeze_Pavilion:
No matter how evil or not it was, dropping bombs to end a war more quickly when the peace that follows involves helping them rebuild their country so that eventually you're importing cartoon porn from them =/= rounding people up to make sure they don't mix their genes with yours.

The A bomb only helps demonize the U.S in the eyes of the world. Japan was surrendering when they dropped the damn thing, it was completely unnecessary.

That's a fact I disagree with you on.

Jamash:

That's all very well, but considering what you just said, how do you think he's going to react when he completes the game and unlocks the zombie mode?

In that mode he'll be facing a relentless horde of "supernatural predator" Nazis, not just men, which can't be stopped. The only type of progression in that mode is how long you last before they inevitably kill you.

If he's that easily influenced by 'horror' stories and a computer game, them I can imagine him having renewed bad Nazi dreams one he plays the zombie mode.

Egad, that's going to be rough. Not having played the game, I had no idea. That's tragically hilarious.

Booze Zombie:

The A bomb only helps demonize the U.S in the eyes of the world. Japan was surrendering when they dropped the damn thing, it was completely unnecessary.

Strongly debatable, there were factions within Japan who made a serious play to seize the emperor and prevent any discussion of surrender even AFTER the bomb was dropped. Serious contingency plans were drawn up in detail to fight until the last man on every island, which the military people weren't happy with but hadn't out and out opposed successfully. Either way, the nation was somewhat on the tipping point, but it gave the military commanders an excuse to finally oppose continued action without shame. Not only that, but it gave the world an eyeful of what the things could actually do; if not, it might have been deployed on a greater scale and with less restraint. I have to question anyone who believes the drop to be meaningless; it's simply not the case.

zoozilla:
That's kind of silly.

Now we're gonna start seeing psychologists use video games to help "troubled" individuals.

And the idea of a rabbi playing World at War is a funny thought in and of itself.

lol yeah. What's next? A mentally challenged person is cured by playing Psychonauts?

It's still good that this guy got over his fear.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

Booze Zombie:
The game humanises German soldiers from WW2, because it shows them as human, having some points where you can show mercy to those surrendering.

One wonders if those were the moments that helped too--seeing them as vulnerable humans, not supernatural monsters

Gormourn:

They were just people. As human as any other human. Many of them were possibly forced to go to war. And really, how nice would the idea of the pilots who dropped the a-bomb on Japan seem to an average Japanese person?

No matter how evil or not it was, dropping bombs to end a war more quickly when the peace that follows involves helping them rebuild their country so that eventually you're importing cartoon porn from them =/= rounding people up to make sure they don't mix their genes with yours.

You are implying that EVERY single German soldier agreed with Hitler?

...

This is a great example of how someone can benefit from videogame violence...as strange as it might sound. also IN YOU FACE JACK!

This makes me smile; is this good or bad? I don't know. Hoorah, nazi zombie mini game.

Sewblon:
Resident Evil cured my fear of zombies. I think we may be on to something.

That's funny, Left 4 Dead brought my fear of zombies back.

Edit: Last night I dreamed I startled a witch in the middle of the road. She owned me.

Gormourn:

Cheeze_Pavilion:

Booze Zombie:
The game humanises German soldiers from WW2, because it shows them as human, having some points where you can show mercy to those surrendering.

One wonders if those were the moments that helped too--seeing them as vulnerable humans, not supernatural monsters

Gormourn:

They were just people. As human as any other human. Many of them were possibly forced to go to war. And really, how nice would the idea of the pilots who dropped the a-bomb on Japan seem to an average Japanese person?

No matter how evil or not it was, dropping bombs to end a war more quickly when the peace that follows involves helping them rebuild their country so that eventually you're importing cartoon porn from them =/= rounding people up to make sure they don't mix their genes with yours.

You are implying that EVERY single German soldier agreed with Hitler?

...

No.

GyroCaptain:

Booze Zombie:

The A bomb only helps demonize the U.S in the eyes of the world. Japan was surrendering when they dropped the damn thing, it was completely unnecessary.

Strongly debatable, there were factions within Japan who made a serious play to seize the emperor and prevent any discussion of surrender even AFTER the bomb was dropped. Serious contingency plans were drawn up in detail to fight until the last man on every island, which the military people weren't happy with but hadn't out and out opposed successfully. Either way, the nation was somewhat on the tipping point, but it gave the military commanders an excuse to finally oppose continued action without shame. Not only that, but it gave the world an eyeful of what the things could actually do; if not, it might have been deployed on a greater scale and with less restraint. I have to question anyone who believes the drop to be meaningless; it's simply not the case.

The bomb killed around 200,000 people through direct and indirect means (fire, radiation, explosion), the radiation also was picked up by the winds, probably effecting the rate at which humans world wide experience cancer.

Isn't it odd how before WW2, no one really mentions cancer very much? Then the nuke comes along and our world becomes changed without us even realising.

On my most hated list, the A bomb is right up top.

Booze Zombie:

Isn't it odd how before WW2, no one really mentions cancer very much?

The same could be said about heart attacks.

Then the nuke comes along and our world becomes changed without us even realising.

So did sugar water. What did WW2 mean? G.I.s all over the world. And what followed the G.I.s?

"See that every man in uniform gets a bottle of Coca Cola for 5 cents wherever he is and whatever the cost to the company"
.
.
.
In 1939 Coca Cola only had 5 overseas bottling plants. By 1945, they had 64.

drop2zero:
I haven't played World at War yet, so someone clear this up for me: Does World at War show the terrible things that the Nazis did to the Jewish people? If it doesn't, then the game doesn't give a complete historically accurate picture of the Nazis. Therefore, how could this Rabbi be cured of his fear if all he faced was a watered down, inaccurate depiction of his true fear?

Um... We didn't find about what the Nazis did to the Jews 'til after most of the fighting stopped. So if it was shown in a WWII video game, it would be historically inaccurate.

This Rabi is made of win.

I hope he sticks to the single player campaign, because in the multiplayer mode you sometimes play as the Nazis. Not sure what that would do for his healing process.

zoozilla:
That's kind of silly.

Now we're gonna start seeing psychologists use video games to help "troubled" individuals.

What do you mean? This has been done for years now, and quite successfully so. Therapists have been using video games to help curing phobias like arachnophobia or claustrophobia by using modded games that place their patients in the middle of their most feared situations. Not exclusively though, it's usually meant as a means to prepare them to the real situation. Seems to help though.

...and the world today think video games destroy our youth and dim our brains, proven wrong! XD

Mario cured my fear of Turtles.

Wow. Just the title of this article wins absurdity points.

Gears of War cured me of my fear of Barry Bonds.

Actually most games use the proper title of Axis forces/power rather than Nazi's who were a minority and mostly outside of the german military

Wait wait wait, am I reading this right?

A rabbi plays games?

What synagogue does he go to, I must play against him!

drop2zero:
I haven't played World at War yet, so someone clear this up for me: Does World at War show the terrible things that the Nazis did to the Jewish people? If it doesn't, then the game doesn't give a complete historically accurate picture of the Nazis. Therefore, how could this Rabbi be cured of his fear if all he faced was a watered down, inaccurate depiction of his true fear?

It's shows violent, gritty, real life imagery of executions and death.
I think it carries actual moral weight as a game.

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