Mum always said Jews should either be tailors or doctors. ‘When it’s time to run, you have nothing to pack. You can start anew with little problem.’
Back in Leeds, the second-generation Jews were ebbing out of the slums of the Leylands; their children were looking upwards. There was more to be seen than the view from the eye of a needle. Nevertheless, the basic tenet held fast; sons of tailors became doctors. In medicine, Jews made their presence felt worldwide. They did the same in tailoring.
Leeds Jews set up many a wholesale, ‘off the peg,’ chain of bespoke tailoring. Montague Burtons was as revolutionary to clothing as Ford to transport. Burton was so famous that he bequeathed his name to, ‘the Full Montie.’ How that came about is another circuitous blog involving Leeds Jews and the socialist party.
Burtons took seasoned artisans and placed them on the factory floor; one was my Uncle, Leslie Sherman. Leslie was a character in his own right. An understated yet intensely loyal man he stood by family and friends. His many tribulations were rewarded when our cousin Lionel finally arrived. Lionel is a doctor- of course.
Uncle Leslie was known on the shop floors; no simple manager was he. ‘Mr Sherman, I cannot make this work,’ was answered by, ‘move over, lass I’ll show you.’ – and he did. When I was accepted into med-school, I was the first in our family. Uncle Leslie told me he would make a suit. Off we went to Burton’s shop floor. He said ‘lasses, this is my nephew, he’s a medical student.’ They nodded and watched. That day I learned why the Singer Sowing Machine gained not only its reputation but its name. Leslie, the composer, made the Singer sing. His hands were like birds all over the place. My Uncle was the Messi of tailoring he could and did everything better than anyone else. He cut, measured, chalked, pinned, buttonholed, hand-stitched and all too soon it was over. I had a suit that I kept till this day.
The suit was unique. In the ’60s, where sail-like trousers were still de-rigour, my Uncle cut the pants on a Jeans pattern. ‘Somethings you can change and some you cannot.’ Explaining to me that,’ you cut your cloth according to your needs and what you have.’ The cut was new, but the fabric wasn’t. I would have liked denim, but wisdom dictated gaberdine worsted.
I listened to my parents and became a doctor. I decided not to run anymore – I came to Israel. Leslie retired quietly. His generation was replaced by a new class of slogan-spewing, devoid of reality modern managers. You know the kind; they can explain why something should happen, why it did not while avoiding all blame. The type who ‘have learned from their mistakes.’ Their tomfoolery clothed as ‘experience’ enables them to rise to the top as they hop from making small mistakes to even bigger ones. The wonder class wrecked Burtons.
Two things stuck, never listen to polished speakers claiming experience and cut your cloth according to your needs.
Israel is like my granddad’s Poland. It exists, nowhere is sure where the borders are, and it is surrounded by trouble. We are run by modern managers- their CV consists of did nothing and know everything. They are kicking around the latest self-induced problem– Annexation.
Let’s go back to Uncle Leslie- ‘cut your cloth: somethings you can change and some you cannot.’
What can we not change:-
We are not alone, and the whole world loathes the word ‘ANNEXATION.’
Whoever owns the land is responsible for those on it.
Sooner or later, often after violence, those without equal rights will gain them.
What can we change:
We can define precisely our national needs per the national consensus:-
We will control the security of all the land of Israel. In part by cooperation. The cooperation will not include the Jordan Rift.
The only armed entity within the Land Of Israel is the IDF.
The part of the Military Administration running the affairs of the Jews will be dismantled. Its role will be passed to other established authorities. The management, planning, services, policing and everything else will be placed in the hands of the adjacent existing area or local administrative bodies.
A basic law should be passed in the Knesset stating these are non-negotiable principles which must be encompassed in any future peace settlement.
Look at the cut of the cloth. It covers every aspect; it is neatly stitched to avoid any criticism. In one swoop, we capture the essence of Trump and Obama. We stay on the right side of the Saudis, Jordan and the Emirates.
Above all, we avoid the pain of fighting amongst ourselves and for no reason. A workable De Facto Annexation is as effective but far less painful than the unworkable and controversial De Jure version.
Uncle Leslie was a practical man, he belonged to the school my father belonged, ‘you kill more flies with honey than vinegar,’