So many tidbits as we enter Shabbat Matot-Massei and the Eid of our neighbors
We lead with a story of pickles. In the Summer of 1939, the The Bronx, Selma Nadel, 12, would shoo the boys off her building’s roof. They were loud when they played cards. Bucky, 14 ignored her, until the next Summer when their teenage secret romance began. They shared a pickle. Their romance continued through WWII, until Slema heard a rumor and cut off their relationship for more than two years. Thankfully, Cpl. Arthur D. Bachner and Selma reconciled and married, and now, ninety and 88, they remain together… now at the Hebrew Home (for the Aged) at Riverdale in the Bronx.
Speaking of Boroughs… a cute story from Brooklyn. Sandy Schulman, now 92, kept the letters sent to her by Pvt. Hyman Schulman during WWII. After being wounded during the Battle of the Bulge, Private Schulman served as an aide to an army chaplain, Rabbi Herschel Schacter, the first Jewish chaplain to enter the liberated Buchenwald death camp. The letters from Hyman – who after the war, entered the jewelry business and sang under the name Howard Shaw, are being scanned and digitized for an archive (by Sandy’s daughter, who founded POBA, a company that helps create archives).
Atticus, Atticus… some parents who named their babies after the fictional “To Kill a Mockingbird” attorney are apoplectic. The newly published novel by Harper Lee paints him in a much more negative light. They should get over it. They should have listened to Attorney Monroe Freedman, a law professor and former Dean of Hofstra University’s Law School. Years ago, writing in a legal publication, Freedman wrote about Atticus Finch’s lack of legal ethics. The original novel clearly showed that Atticus did not take the case willfully, and he justified the actions of the Ku Klux Klan. For his article, Freedman was vilified. To Freedman, Finch’s acts and omissions defined a lawyer who lived his life as a “passive participant” in “pervasive injustice.” Now, five months after his passing, Freedman is vindicated.
Earlier this week, The Washington Post profiled the story of a homeless man. Suffering from a schizophrenic illness, he was arrested for trespassing by sleeping against a DC building at 17th and I. He was brought to court. In the hearing, he told Judge Thomas Motley that he understood the law, since he was a lawyer and graduate of Harvard Law School, Class of 1979. 1979? The same class as U.S. SCOTUS Chief Justice Roberts and former U.S. Senator Feingold? The same class as the presiding judge? OMG, Yes, the judge recognized the man before him. The man who he was obligated to send to jail. Since the story, people remember seeing him in DC and are a little more aware of mental illness. One caseworker, who recorded that he was non compliant with his medication for over a year, thought he had “grandiose delusions” when he talked of Harvard Law in a therapy session. A fascinating read that makes a complex issue more personal.
Finally, with news of a potential “IRAN DEAL,” word is that in Washington, DC, AIPAC, a pro-Israel lobby, has postponed some staff Summer vacations and is gearing up for a hot season of pro-Israel, anti-deal persuasion. They aren’t the only ones. Word is that fundraisers are composiing copy of appelas based on opposition to the Obama administration’s potential deal, and U.S. Republicans are using the issue to cultivate Jewish voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The RJC’s (Republican Jewish Coalition) Mark McNulty said the due to the potential agreement it “could be very appealing for a Jewish voter to consider a Republican in the White House.” U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) who heads the DNC (Democratic National Committee), said Republicans opposing the deal are trying to “to score cheap political points in the Jewish community.” Today, the NJDC (National Jewish Democratic Council), announced their “strong support” for the agreement, posting that “The deal was aimed at halting Iran’s march towards a nuclear weapon, and we find it will do exactly that.”