Jewish Currents is a progressive, secular Jewish magazine that has been a proud voice for labor, civil rights and the promotion of Yiddish culture. Founded in 1946 as Jewish Life, the magazine was reorganized and re-launched in 1958 as Jewish Currents, with Morris U. Schappes (1907-2004) as its editor, a post he held for four decades.
On this date in 1944, two days after occupying Hungary, the Nazis set up a Jewish Council (Judenrat or Zsidó Tanács in Hungarian) in Budapest, headed by a banker, Samu Stern. At the same time, Adolf Eichmann was meeting with Hungarian Interior Ministry officials: “That evening,” he would later write, “the fate of the Hungarian Jews was sealed.” On March 31, Eichmann assured the leaders of the Zsidó Tanács that, notwithstanding the newly imposed yellow star and numerous anti-Jewish restrictions, he would (according to minutes of the meeting) “prevent all plunder of Jewish possessions and . . . punish those seeking to enrich themselves from Jewish property.” If Jews worked for the benefit of the Nazi war economy, Eichmann promised, they would receive “the same good conditions as regards payment and treatment as all the other workers.” Meanwhile, he was planning with cooperative Hungarian officials the deportation of the country’s Jews to Poland for slaughter, beginning on April 29. By early June, 92 trains had carried over 289,000 Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where a special line had been constructed to carry the trains straight into the camp. The number murdered would grow to 450,000 — 70 percent of Hungary’s Jews — by the war’s end; Eichmann continued the mass murder even when Heinrich Himmler ordered it halted so that evidence of the Final Solution could be destroyed as the Red Army poured into the country.
“[The deportation] was a surreal scene . . . a procession of people, with carriages, old people, . . . disabled people . . . and at the head of the procession walked the rabbi, wearing his white Yom Kippur robe and holding the Torah scroll in his hands.” —survivor Rita Weiss
More video testimony from Weiss and Elisheva Zimet Stern can be heard in the following clip:
Holocaust Survivor Testimonies: Deportation from Hungary - YouTube
Discussed in this essay: Being Wagner: The Story of the Most Provocative Composer Who Ever Lived, by Simon Callow. Vintage, 232 pages, 2017
IN THIS AGE of doorstop biographies, the actor and biographer Simon Callow’s breezy 200+- pages on Richard Wagner, Being Wagner, appear to be a quirky, quixotic venture. How to squeeze so tumultuous a life and oeuvre and philosophy into so short a volume?
In fact, in this book Callow succeeds in taking us on a rapid trip through the highlights of the great composer’s life, not lingering too long over anything, but never leaving the reader feeling that any of the substantial events are ignored.
Wagner’s early life, his decision while still young to dedicate his life to composing and not performing, his discovery of his vocation as an opera composer, his trials in getting his vision of his works made reality, and his perseverance in seeing that this would finally happen, resulting in his meeting of Ludwig II of Bavaria and the construction of his custom-built theater in Bayreuth, are all well told.
The story of the writing and mounting of Wagner’s operas is a stirring one, and it is impossible not to be impressed by the composer’s dedication to his work, and his amazing output. His involvement in all aspects of the productions of his operas, their incredible germination periods, the vision behind them, are all well described in Being Wagner.
Callow also makes some interesting and valid points about the ideas underlying the operas, correctly seeing that from the time of The Flying Dutchman, “the idea of redemption — through love, through sex, through God, through art — underpinned everything he ever wrote.” In saying this, Callow does not underplay the other — and perhaps principal element — of the Wagnerian oeuvre, and what Wagner early on “recognized as the underlying source of his underlying energies — his Germanness.”
This a most definitely a popular and not a scholarly volume, so there are no footnotes. Some of the facts cited might have called for a least a mention of the source, such as Callow’s statement that Hitler allowed Jews to perform in Bayreuth even during the war, an assertion so outlandish and improbable that a source is certainly called for.
IF CALLOW does a reasonable job explicating the philosophers and philosophies that influenced Wagner’s Weltanschauung — Hegel, Feuerbach, Schopenhauer — he nevertheless betrays the superficiality of his own understanding of them by giving Hegel’s philosophy a name that does not belong to it: “dialectical materialism” is Marx’s philosophy, not Hegel’s.
Callow fails, however, to address or even understand much that is implied in Wagner’s operas. If he doesn’t evade or excuse Wagner’s antisemitism, he leaves it at the level of the personal. Yet as in the later case of Heidegger, Nazi elements can be found within the work, intimately tied to music and character and characterization, not just in the life of the individual. Wagner’s operas themselves, even if seeming to eschew antisemitism, are nevertheless carriers of the virus.
The lightest of his operas, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, in its insistence on Germanness in music, is a counterpart to Wagner’s infamous antisemitic screed of 1850, “On Jewishness in Music.” Whether the portrayal in this opera of the critic Beckmesser is antisemitic is still being debated, but the argument for antisemitism is a plausible, since Beckmesser is widely considered to be based on the anti-Wagner music critic, the half-Jewish Eduard Hanslick.
Callow also rather glibly accepts, and states as virtual fact, that the Ring Cycle is “a proto-Marxist” text — a possible way of viewing it, to be sure, but only one of many. To accept this so blindly requires ignoring its overwhelmingly völkisch character, as well as an antisemitic characterization within the work, that of Alberich, who in his love of gold bears the Jewish (and capitalist) taint. Wagner was too concerned with issues of degeneration, racial degeneration in particular ( as attested to by his affection for Gobineau), to be a Marxist or to dedicate years of his life to the delineation of class struggle. Can it be found if you look hard enough? Yes. Did he put it there? Not too likely.
When Callow stays within his comfort zone, that is, when he restricts himself to simple storytelling, Being Wagner is a fine introduction to the composer’s life and work. But there is far more to Wagner than a mere life of composing and philandering, and Simon Callow is way out of his depth when he ventures into the mind of the man.
Mitchell Abidor, our contributing writer, is a writer and translator living in Brooklyn. His May Made Me: An Oral History of 1968 in France, has just been published in England and is about to appear in the U.S.. His latest translation is Daniel Guérin’s For a Libertarian Communism. Two of his translations, about the Paris Commune and French anarchists of the 1890s, are available at our Pushcart.
In February, 1964, Jewish Currents mistakenly identified fencer Henry Kolowrat as a Jewish athlete. That error was included in Mr. Kolowrat’s Wikipedia entry. He recently wrote to us that the “attribution probably resulted from a plan by one of my Jewish friends in the fencing world. Having a sense of humor, and even back then being an apostate Catholic from a long line of Catholics, it took me a while to get around to fixing it.”
On this date in 1987, the Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of AZT (azidothymidine, also known as Zidovudine or ZDV) to inhibit the development of HIV-AIDS. The approval period was the shortest in FDA history — twenty months. Originally created by Dr. Jerome Horwitz (1919–2012) as a cancer drug in 1964, AZT proved to be an unsuccessful oncological treatment, but was revived in 1985 for AIDS treatment by Dr. Samuel Broder and a team at the National Cancer Institute, working in collaboration with Burroughs-Wellcome (later GlaxoSmithKline). Broder was born in Lodz, Poland, in 1945, and lived with his family in a DP camp before immigrating to the U.S. in 1949 and moving to Detroit. In 1987, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), founded by playwright Larry Kramer (who also co-founded Gay Men’s Health Crisis), began picketing FDA offices to demand greater expenditure and faster action on AIDS drug development and approval. By then, nearly 60,000 cases and 30,000 deaths from AIDS had been reported in the U.S., as the disease spread like wildfire in the male gay community. Today, AZT is still used in combination with anti-retroviral drugs to slow the deadly progression of AIDS and to prevent transmission of the disease from pregnant women to their babies.
“He was very upset with how ill [the first AIDS patients] were and how little there was to offer them.” —Gail Broder, describing her husband, Samuel Broder
“[ACT UP] forced the FDA to change their approval process so that new drugs — for any illness — can now be approved in one year instead of ten.” —Larry Kramer
THE TORAH’s attitude to horses reveals a range of perspectives, based on the different experiences of the ancient Jewish people. Unlike the pig and the dog, which are not only forbidden as food but are widely scorned throughout the Torah, the horse, also forbidden as a food, often symbolizes great strength and courage, as well as spectacular beauty. After the excruciating suffering that that has befallen Job, for example, he asks God the perennial question, Why do innocents suffer? In a series of awesome examples of how God’s power and glory are displayed in the animal world and other phenomena of nature, Job realizes the lesson that he is but dust and will never be able to comprehend the unfathomable mysteries of God. The breathtaking description of the horse’s immense power include: Do you give the horse his might? Do you clothe his neck with a mane? Do you make him leap like the locust?
In the Song of Songs, the spectacular beauty of the horse is used as an image to portray the comeliness of the beloved. The bejeweled Egyptian mare was by then well known to the Jews, resulting in this encomium: I compare you, my love, to a mare among Pharaoh’s chariots (Song of Songs 1:9). The theme of the great strength of the horse is also orchestrated in Isaiah, when the prophet remembers the Mighty Hand that led Israel from the Egypt through river Nile: Who led them through the depths? Like a horse in the desert, they did not stumble (Isaiah 63:13).
Sometimes horse is an image of nobility and prosperity, in keeping with the prevailing attitude of people around the Mideast. In Judea, for example, only nobles and those in wealthy circumstances rode horses. Similarly, the Parthians and Persians reserved the right for the use of horses only for their nobles; commoners had to go on foot. This verse in Ecclesiastes associates the horse with nobility: I have seen servants on horses, and princes walking like servants on the earth (Ecclesiastes 10:7). In Isaiah’s inventory of articles that denote wealth and majesty, horses are referred to a number of times: Their land is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures. Their land also is full of horses . . . (Isaiah 2:7).
Horses are also used frequently in the Bible as images of inordinate passion. Adulterers are often thought of similar to horses in their excessive libido, and idea found in Jeremiah and expressed very forcefully to bring out the unbridled nature of fornicators: They were as fed horses roaming at large; everyone neighed after his neighbor’s wife (Jeremiah 5:80) A similar image of the horse as a lecherous creature is forcefully employed by Ezekiel as an indictment of Israel for associating with its unholy neighbors, especially the Egyptians. The prophet’s own vituperative language itself borders on bawdy: She doted on their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of donkeys, and whose issue is like the issue of horses (Ezekiel 23:20).
Often an individual horse is portrayed as an example of stupidity, dullness and recklessness. In this sense the horse is synonymous with a mule, a donkey, and a human fool. A horse is presented as the opposite of a person who governs himself or herself by willing submission to God’s law; it is by nature wild and unbridled and has to be subdued with sustained training. The Psalmist echoes this idea when he says: Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you (Psalms 32:9). The Book of Proverbs orchestrates the same motif: A whip for the horse, a halter for the donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools (Proverbs 26:3).
THE EXODUS experience that we anticipate at Passover altered the Biblical image of the horse dramatically. The crossing of the Sea of Reeds, with the God of Israel leading the people with a “mighty arm” etched in the psyche of Israel the unreliability of horses and chariots compared to divine power. This caused Jews to look at the horses with some derision, and several taboos relating to horses were incorporated into Jewish law. The Book of Deuteronomy, in no unequivocal terms, forbids the use of horses: Only he shall not multiply horses to himself. (Deuteronomy 17:16). To counterbalance the use of horses by Israel’s enemies, Joshua did to them as Yahweh told them. He hamstrung their horses and burnt their chariots with fire (Joshua 11:9). The idea that the magnificent edifice of Egyptian military power, based on their horsemen and chariots, crumbled as the waters of sea engulfed them, resulted in derision towards everything that the Egyptians prized. So, in the Psalms the horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save (Psalms 33.17). The prophet Isaiah, too, expresses scorn for horses: Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses . . . (Isaiah 31:1).
For military reasons, however, this derision could to endure. The efficacy of the horses in war was a foregone conclusion, and with neighboring nations arming themselves with cavalry and chariots, it was necessary for Israel to fall in line with them. David was the first to say farewell to the taboo of horses for military use and to organize a cavalry. The horse thus emerged as a majestic creature again. After David defeated the King of Zobah and recovered his border at the river Euphrates, he reserved the horses of the defeated king for a hundred chariots. The rest he hamstrung as a remnant of the traditional Jewish taboo towards horses.
King Solomon systematically equipped himself with more horses. The proliferation of chariots and horses by King Solomon is a recurring theme in the Book of Kings: And Solomon Had forty thousand stalls of horse for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen (1Kings 4:26). Solomon not only used horses for military purposes but also sent his merchants to buy them from Egypt and run a lucrative trade in horses. The derided quadrupeds became the pride of Solomon’s military might as well as the source that filled his coffers; the vain hope of the Psalmist in the passage of time became the bastion of ancient Israel’s strength.
A. D. Paul is a retired principal of a college. He is from the the state of Kerala in South India, where he runs an English language training center called EXODUS and writes on culture, history, literature and religion. He last appeared here with “Mirrors in the Bible and Jewish Tradition.“
YESTERDAY WE VISITED Gandhi Smriti, the house, now a museum, in which Mohandas Gandhi spent 144 days before his assassination in its garden on January 30, 1948, at age 79. He had just completed a fast aimed at forcing the Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs of the new India and the new Pakistan from slaughtering one another.
I could have instead been attending the plenary of the Indian National Congress, Gandhi’s own party, because one of our hosts had obtained, with some difficulty, a visitor’s pass for me. I was unable to get into the Indira Gandhi Stadium even with the pass, however, because I was naively carrying a shoulder bag — no bags allowed — and after spending my afternoon reading about the corrupt and sometimes murderous history of the Congress, now out of power for the first time since independence, I decided to visit the political past instead of witnessing the political present. (I have a bit of a chest cold, too, and thought that 15,000 people in the packed stadium might be a bit much for me . . .)
The first college paper I ever wrote, way back in the late 1960s, was about satyagraha, “truth force,” Gandhi’s deeply conceived and embodied philosophy of using nonviolent resistance, rooted in the love of human beings, to force political change (or die trying). I have circled around this as my core political philosophy ever since, although I’ve never had the strength of character or the force of conviction to implement it in real life beyond the safe borders of my intellect: I simply care about people, try to stay modest in my material pursuits, believe that nonviolence has greater transformative potential than violence, etc.
It was Martin Luther King, Jr., of course, who drew me to satyagraha even earlier than in my college years, but Gandhi outlived King by forty years, long enough to elaborate his philosophy into a broad economic and political program for the liberation and maturation of his country. India also empowered him as the Mahatma, the “Great Soul,” father of their country, whereas Dr. King was cut down at the start of his emergence as a prophet not only of civil rights and racial justice but an agent of revolutionary transformation for America.
Here’s some footage from Gandhi’s Salt March of 1930, the massive civil disobedience that set India on its path to independence from Great Britain.
Gandhi Dandi March Salt Satyagraha - YouTube
The song being played by the violinist, “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram,” was poured into my ears by Pete Seeger and the Weavers when I was young. I never knew what the song was, however (Gandhi’s favorite hymn), or even where it came from, until Susan prepared, special for her residency, a “journey lesson” about the Salt March. (In America, she leads teachers on a journey about the Underground Railroad; in Delhi, it’s been the Salt March.)
PETE SEEGER ⑫ Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram (Live in Sweden 1968) - YouTube
THE MUSEUM contains an inspiring exhibit, with both placards and ingenious multi-media displays, about Gandhi’s life and beliefs. It includes a case of the Mahatma’s eleven possessions at the time of his death: a walking stick, his glasses and his glasses case, a small scythe, two spoons, two forks, and a butter knife. The language of the placards rightfully exalt Gandhi, but it is his own words, throughout, that constantly challenged me to be more self-aware and generous, and often made me feel tearful and wistful:
I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test: Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself if the step you contemplate will be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it. Will it restore to him a control over his own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to Swaraj [livelihood] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and your self melting away.
I suggest that we are thieves in a way. If I take anything that I do not need for my own I venture to suggest that it is the fundamental law of Nature, without exception, that Nature produces enough for our wants from day to day, and if only everybody took enough for himself and nothing more, there would be no pauperism in this world, there would be no man dying of starvation in this world. But so long as we have got this inequality, so long we are thieving. . .
I do not believe that multiplication of wants and machinery [created] to supply them is taking the world a single step near its goals. I wholeheartedly detest this mad desire to destroy distance and time. . .
And how about this excerpt from a translation of “A Servant’s Prayer,” the only poem that Gandhi wrote, according to the museum?
Thou art the ocean of humanity/You abide in the humble homes of the poor and the depressed./ Help me in my search for thee in this beautiful land/ awashed by the holy waters of the Ganga Amuna and Brahmputra./. . . Fill my heart with the desire and power to become one with the masses of India . . .
I was especially fascinated by Gandhi’s “Constructive Program,” or poornah swaraj, which included the revival of India’s native, small-scale industries, crafts, and agriculture — with the aim of self-sufficiency, sustenance for all, communality, and a very non-materialistic approach to living. I have little knowledge about the extent to which this “small-is-beautiful” philosophy has been championed and attempted in post-independence India, and until I leave Delhi and venture into much smaller locales, there’ll be no small-scale anything beyond tuk-tuk transportation to report on.
From my witnessing and reading so far, however, I fear that India today may embody Gandhi’s influence even less than I. According to today’s Economic Times (the first real newspaper I’ve read in days), not only has the world’s largest Rubber Duckie escaped from its moorings in Australia and drifted into the Indian Ocean (as I write, it’s been found), but India is second only to America — who else? — in the size of income disparity between people employed by companies, who average about $9,000 per year, and CEOs, who average $1.5 million per year.
Nevertheless, Gandhi is honored as “father of the country,” which is no small thing — his words are studied in the schools — and, perhaps, just perhaps, there is widespread aspiration to embrace and apply his version of orthodox Hinduism, in which he merged God and the masses, and then merged himself with both.
MAHATMA GANDHI VERY RARE VIDEO UNBELIEVABLE AND SUPER!!!! - YouTube
Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf, a staunch anti-war and pro-civil rights activist, was born on this date in Chicago in 1924. From 1957 until 1972 he held the pulpit at a synagogue he founded, Congregation Solel in Highland Park, where Martin Luther King, Jr. and defendants in the Chicago Seven conspiracy trial were invited to speak. The synagogue was one of the first in America to hold an annual Holocaust remembrance, beginning in the 1960s. In 1965, Wolf marched in Selma, Alabama with John Lewis. He served as chaplain for eight years at Yale University, during which time he helped to found Breira, one of the first American Jewish organizations to support a two-state solution in Israel-Palestine. From 1980 to 2000, he led K.A.M. Isaiah Israel Temple, Chicago’s oldest synagogue, across the street from the home of Barack Obama, whose candidacy for president Wolf strongly endorsed. (“For my part,” Wolf wrote, “I’ve sometimes found Obama too cautious on Israel. He, like all our politicians, knows he mustn’t stray too far from the conventional line . . . But unlike anyone else on the stump, Obama has made it clear that he’ll broaden the dialogue. He knows what peace entails.”) Wolf died shortly after Obama was elected with 77 percent of the Jewish vote. To view Sarah Jane Lapp’s Chronicles of a Professional Eulogist, based on Wolf’s words, visit our multi-media room.
“Whenever we spoke [Wolf] asked the same question, ‘Kleinman, you still Jewish?’ If I answered yes, he would ask if I could prove it. Over time I learned that, for Arnold, the right response was, ‘I’m still trying.’” —Rabbi Elliott A. Kleinman
Ben Cohen, the co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, was born on this date in 1951. He and his lifelong friend Jerry Greenfield invested $6,000 to renovate a gas station in Burlington, Vermont and open their first ice cream shop in 1977. From the inception of their multi-million-dollar business, Ben & Jerry’s sought to have a “double bottom line” of success — to make a profit while also pursuing progressive employment and business practices. Until 1995, the highest-paid officer was permitted to make no more than seven times the lowest-paid worker. Employees rotated on a “joy gang” charged with making the workplace more fun. Ben & Jerry’s contributed heavily to social justice causes and established a “1% for Peace, Inc.” national non-profit to promote peace work. Stock shares were kept affordable, and one out of every 100 Vermonters became shareholders. “I always felt we were holding the business in trust for the community,” Cohen has written. “The community allows you to exist.” When the U.S. Senate proposed opening the Arctic National Refuge to oil drilling in 2005, Ben & Jerry’s created the world’s largest Baked Alaska (over 1,000 pounds) and placed it in front of the Capitol in Washington, DC. When Vermont legalized gay marriage in 2009, the company changed their brand “Chubby Hubby” to “Hubby Hubby” for a month to celebrate. Cohen was the founder of the online activist group, True Majority.org, which has focused on cutting the U.S. military budget to free money for social needs, and on clean elections. By 2008, True Majority had 700,000 members.
“Governments need to measure strength not in terms of how many people they can kill, but how many people they can feed, clothe, house and care for.” —Ben Cohen
Characters: Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, Melania Trump, Jared Kushner, Secret Service agents, Children 1, 2, 3, Stormy Daniels and other guests.
Setting: A Passover dinner table in the White House. We hear the Trump family singing a song about Elijah.
Jared: It’s time for the prophet to enter. Open the door, please. This year we need Elijah more than ever.
Donald: If his papers are in order, it shouldn’t be a problem. Although with my new tax plan, everyone will share in the profits.
Child 1: I found the matse!
Melania (whispers): That’s been on your plate all evening. Find the hidden one.
Child 1: Can I call in Robert Mueller for assistance?
Donald: No collusion, no collusion, kids!
Ivanka: Jared says that Elijah originally came from Eastern Europe.
Melania: Like me.
Jared: Except more Jewish.
Ivanka: Like me.
Jared: Let’s not keep Elijah waiting. Open all the doors please.
Secret Service: There’s a group of rabbis outside with signs announcing they’ve been “Resisting Tyrants since Pharoh”! And a man who says his name is Eliyahu Hanovi.
Donald: Do a background check on Hanovi.
Child 2: I found the afikomen!
Melania(whispers): No, that matse has been on my plate all evening.
Child 2: You’d prefer I take some from Stormy Daniels?
Ivanka: Don’t be disrespectful to your grandmother! And don’t mention that woman again
Child 2: Yes, Mama. What about the nineteen other women who complained, can I mention any of them?
Child 3: Me too!
Donald: Your kids are too much. Where do they get these ideas?
Child 3: Mostly Daily Kos, sometimes Buzzfeed.
Child 2: One-hundred thirty thousand dollars and we’ll agree to keep silent.
Ivanka: That’s uncalled for. No Fox news for you tonight!
Jared: Someone drank Elijah’s cup of wine.
Donald: I thought the special cup was for me.
Ivanka: You are a prophet in your own time, Daddy, but . . .
Secret Service Agent: I have the pleasure of announcing the arrival of Mr. Eliyahu Hanovi.
Elijah (enters and takes off disguise and suddenly looks like Stormy Daniels): Greetings, Donald. The prophet has arrived.
Donald (whispers): I told you not to meet me here!
Melania: Elijah looks a lot like Stormy Daniels this year.
Donald: Fire those Secret Service agents immediately. Fire my Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security, while you’re at it.
Bill Clinton (coaching Donald): Tell them: “I did not have sex with that woman!”
Donald: Go away!
Stormy Daniels: But I just arrived. And I have a few questions for you, Mister President.
Children 1, 2, 3: Yes, let’s hear her questions!
Stormy: First of all: why is this night different from all other nights?
Child 1: That’s my question!
Child 2: You don’t look like an Elijah.
Stormy Daniels: In my profession we change our names and faces all the time. I’ve been called much worse than Elijah. Donald himself has called me some interesting names.
Child 3: At last, a seder that’s not boring. Say more.
Donald (whispers): All right, I’ll sign, I’ll sign, just deny everything.
Child 3: What does the prophet want?
Stormy Daniels: All I want your grandfather is a new progressive tax plan, a welcome for all refugees, renunciation of sexism and racism, Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory, equal rights for Palestinians there, an end to drone warfare and trade wars, a ban on domestic assault weapons sales, and a halt to the description of exotic dancers as pornographic actors. He should also fund Medicare for all with former military allocations, and pay more for public education, public transit and infrastructure and the arts. And your country will prosper as never before!
Donald: You didn’t vote for me, did you?
Stormy: The last group I openly supported was the Bund in Warsaw.
Jared: That didn’t save them, did it?
Child 2: Alas.
Stormy: So you’re not accepting my terms?
Donald: Not a chance.
Jared: No one listens to prophets anymore.
Robert Mueller (surprise appearance): But listen to this! I found the afikomen along with a huge, huge and starchy stack of laundered cash under the table. A few Russian rubles too.
Donald: The kids must have put it there. Or General Kelly and Melania. Take them away. Take the kids and their parents too. I could use some private time with Elijah. (To Elijah): Try some Trump wine. Your cup is empty.
Stormy (toasting him): I won’t say next year in Jerusalem because you’ve already said that. I could sing “Stormy Weather” for a finale.
Donald: But we don’t recognize climate change here.
(She sings it anyway. Curtain.)
Joel Schechter is a contributing writer for Jewish Currents, and author of Radical Yiddish.
Golda Meir (Meyerson) became prime minister of Israel on this date in 1969, after a lifetime in the Labor Zionist movement. Born in Kiev, she spent most of her childhood and teen years in Milwaukee — which helped equip her, in 1948, to raise $50 million, six times more than expected, from American Jews for weapons purchases. Meir, who came to British Mandate Palestine in 1921, was one of two women out of 24 people who signed the 1948 Israeli Declaration of Independence. Her six-month stint in Moscow as ambassador to the USSR (1948-49) helped catalyze the revival of Soviet Jewish identity at a time of severe repression. From 1956 to 1966, Meir served as Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and actively built ties with newly independent, decolonized African states. She was sometimes lauded for her “iron will,” but her tenure as prime minster (1969-1974) has been criticized due to her insensitivity to the discrimination faced by second-generation Mizrachi immigrants; her dismissal of Palestinian national ambitions; her denigrating characterizations of Arab society; and her rejection of peace overtures from Jordan and Egypt in the years preceding the October 1973 war. Meir was succeeded in office by Yitzhak Rabin. She died in 1978 at age 80.
“[F]rom the time I came to Palestine . . ., we have been forced to choose between what is more dangerous and what is less dangerous for us. At times we have all been tempted to give in to various pressures and to accept proposals that might guarantee us a little quiet for a few months, or maybe even for a few years, but that could only lead us eventually into even greater peril.” —Golda Meir
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