As Mel Gibson made his second apology to the Jewish community yesterday for his drunken anti-Semitic rampage following his DUI arrest Friday, Jewish leaders and pundits alike suggested how the obviously troubled actor might find a cure.
"Maybe there needs to be a J.A. -- a Jewish Anonymous -- where we can work with him to show him that what he said is hurtful and what he can do to help change that perception," said Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis.
"Mel Gibson needs to truly understand... the pain of Jewish history, and he needs to learn about the Jewish people. I would start with a visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington," he added.
Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, agreed.
"Two years ago, I was told by his publicist that he wants to meet with me and have an understanding. I'm still waiting. There is no course, there is no curriculum. We need in-depth conversation. It's therapy -- and the most important step in any therapy is to admit that you have a problem, which is a step he's already taken," Foxman said.
Gibson seems to be sober and on the same page, at least for now. He apologized Monday, announcing through a spokesman that he would undergo rehab for alcohol abuse, then added yesterday that he is in the process of understanding where his repressed anger stems from, and wants to reach out to leaders of the Jewish community to make amends.
"There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark. Please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot," he said.
In addition to the remarks from prominent figures in the Jewish community, the New York Daily News has outlined a 12-Step Program for Gibson:
- Read The Diary of Anne Frank; Night, by Elie Wiesel; The Chosen, by Chaim Potok; From Beirut to Jerusalem, by Thomas L. Friedman, and Maus, by Art Spiegelman.
- See the films Life Is Beautiful, Sophie's Choice, Schindler's List, even Exodus.
- Watch Paper Clips, a documentary about Christian children who, to comprehend the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust, collected 6 million paper clips.
- Visit the Holocaust museums in New York, Washington and Jerusalem.
- Visit Auschwitz.
- Or the Western Wall.
- Read the Old Testament.
- Go to a Passover Seder.
- Or a Sabbath dinner.
- Sit shiva.
- Have a sitdown with Mel Brooks, Woody Allen and Billy Crystal.
- As atonement, eat 10 pounds of pastrami, which Zero Mostel said "killed more Jews than Hitler."