Last Monday we honored those that have made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom, liberty, democracy and way of life. Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated in the years following the civil war and became a federal holiday in 1868. For me, I will always connect it with World War II, when the greatest generation landed on the beaches of Normandy and saved the world from Nazi authoritarian rule. Over eighty percent of those brave souls that landed on those hallowed beaches were cut down and killed by German gunfire. I just can’t even wrap my head around what that must have been like for those young, courageous boys, may they rest in peace. And try not to throw up when you juxtapose that enduring image of courage under fire against the spineless and shameful attempts by a certain party to overthrow the very same democracy those young heroes fought for, with their cowardly efforts to enact voter restriction and other laws to preserve their shrinking minority power. They truly suck, but let’s move on, no negative energy.
On this sunny and beautiful Saturday morning, for some unknown reason I am spinning Little Feat’s “Time Loves a Hero” album on the turntable. The first cut on the B side is “Old Folks Boogie”, and the chorus lyrics are:
And you know that you’re over the hill, When your mind makes a promise that your body can’t fill. Doin’ the old folks boogie, And boogie we will‘Cause to us the thought’s as good as a thrill
Now I am sure they were referring to really old farts, because the sporting world is chock full of very recent examples of the old folks boogieing their way to victory: Phil Mickelson (age 50) wins the PGA, Tom Brady (age 43) wins the Super Bowl, and Helio Castoneves (age 46) wins the Indy 500, and now Serena Williams (age 39) is taking the French Open by storm. The old folks still got it, and they are kicking the young one’s butts, teaching them a lesson. So, sorry Little Feat, “the second greatest generation” ain’t quite over the hill yet.
Now, what about the news of the Jews? Are we finally rid of Netanyahu? I used to like the guy. I admired his toughness, his mastery of English and ability to reach out and connect with American Jews. But his deadly decisions and continued descent into authoritarian rule have gone on long enough. Most of the secular Jews in Israel want him gone. And the new coalition seems to have achieved just that! But wait, do not underestimate the cunning of this man and his wanton lust for holding onto power. He may yet pull a rabbit out of his yarmulka and start the Israeli version of The Big Lie. But, let’s move onto the news, courtesy of The Forward:
- Inventor of the cell phone? A jew of course – The father of the cell phone, Martin Cooper, completed a book about the invention that has connected the globe and zombified teenagers throughout the world. The book will soon be premiered as a movie, which of course, you can stream to your phone. Just don’t drive while you do! This is a neat interview with the 92 year old inventor, who’s still as sharp as a ginsu knife and doin’ the old folks boogie! The most surprising thing to him about the way we use cell phones today? “People don’t use the cell phone for talking anymore”.
- Conservative Jews and ethics: A gut check needed? The article takes the Conservative movement to task for the way they handle ethical issues of rabbis. My view on ethical questions and decisions is very simple. When you are faced with a moral or ethical dilemma, ask yourself this very simple question: “Would your mother approve?” If more people followed that simple rule, the world would be a much better place for Jews and Gentiles alike.
- How a non-Zionist child deals with a Zionist dad – Can’t say this has been much of an issue in my household, but, I can see where the politics on this can get passionate and cause family feuds. After all, there are countless stories of families splitting up over differences of opinion regarding the orange turd. This “Dear Bintel” entry includes some very good explanations of both sides of the issue.
- Holocaust survivor stories as self-help books – the good and the bad – I found this a tough read, because we all love the redemptive and life affirming tales of survivors that endured horrible suffering. But is there a flip side to those redemptive feelings? Are these books committing literary malpractice? Certainly makes you think. You decide.
- A literal giant in Brooklyn politics – At 6’10”, Robert Cornegy clearly stands out in the field running for Borough President in Brooklyn. First of all, I didn’t know Jews could ever get that tall, and secondly, I don’t much care about Brooklyn politics. Suggest you skip this one.
- Sephardic Jews should thank Spain for kicking them out? Apparently, Spain has been dealing with their guilt over Ferdinand’s deportation of Jews to Turkey back in the day by granting them Spanish passports. These passports are now being used to vet vaccines in Bulgaria, where apparently there is a surplus. Made me think I would like to visit Turkey one of these days, or at least go to the island of Buyukada, where Turkish Jews go for the summer.
- Meet Shana Frankel: Jewish, single, and a farmer – Why this profile of Shana? I have no idea.
- Black Orthodox Jews launch Kamocha – Motivated by the George Floyd murder and Black Lives Matter protests, this organization runs daily virtual Torah classes and monthly separate events for men and women; a recent women’s group meeting included a lesson about how to make Louisiana bread pudding, while men held a special gathering before Passover. I would prefer the women’s group, frankly.
That’s all for this week. And hey, let’s be careful out there.
Brad out. https://assets.forward.com/forward-weekend-reads-060421.pdf