Mort Laitner
Mort Laitner

‘The Kennedy Curse’

“I never knew the Kennedy curse story. I think that it is a story better left untold! Believe me it will only ignite the anti-Semites.” Maurice read the words off of his iPhone. Then added, “Mort, I  really liked that piece, especially the part about the Kennedy curse. I don’t think it should be left untold or that it will ignite anti-Semitism. I totally disagree with that reader’s comment.

Ya know why, Mort? Because the story smells like a crock of shit.

Yeah, in the 1937, Joseph P. Kennedy was aboard an ocean liner crossing the Atlantic to get back to the States.

Yeah, Joseph P. Kennedy hated Jews and was pro Nazi and pro Hitler.

Yeah, the Kennedy family has suffered more than most.

Yeah, rabbis and yeshiva students were fleeing Germany on ocean liners in 1937.

Maybe the ship carried a Rabbi Israel Jacobson, a poor Lubavitcher, and six of his yeshiva students.

Maybe Kennedy complained to the ship’s captain about the distracting noises coming from the mouths of those Yids.

Maybe Kennedy demanded, ‘Captain, forbid those damn f’ing Jews from making that racket. I don’t care that it’s their high holidays. It’s annoying and  bothering me and my fellow passengers.’

But Rabbi Jacobson never got even with Kennedy.

Why because rabbis don’t put curses on people. It’s not part of their job description nor our religion.

Because if rabbis could successfully put curses on people, they’d be millionaires.

Anyway, Rabbi’s would never curse the innocent children of anti-Semites.

Why because it would be unjust.”

As Maurice paused to catch his breath, I jumped in.

“But based upon my reader’s comments, I decided to do some more research on the Kennedy hex.

From William Buckley and Edward Klein, I learned that there are several versions of this casting a spell story, but the most popular is that Rav Aharon Kotler, who in 1939, during the voyage of the MS St. Louis, asked Joe Kennedy, who had President Roosevelt’s ear, for assistance in obtaining entry certificates for European Jews and to help lobby the president to work on saving them. Kennedy, a rabid anti-Semite, refused, and Rav Aharon cursed him. The curse mandated that Kennedy should never see joy from his descendants. Other versions attribute the curse to Rav Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, or to the Ponevezher Rav.”

“That’s a whole bunch of rabbis taking credit for the same curse. That’s pretty suspicious,” Maurice ventured.

“I doubt all those stories,” I added.

“You know what they say about successful curses?”

“No, what do they say.”

“Successful curses have a thousand rabbinical parents—in this case four— but unsuccessful curses are orphans.”

“Funny. That kinda reminds me of a JFK quote.

So Mort, what did your research teach you?”

“That all the Kennedy curse stories are a pile of crap. No eye witnesses, no diary entries, not even second-hand accounts collaborating the stories. Nothing to backup any of these urban myths.”

“Come to think of it, they don’t teach, How to Curse Anti-Semites in rabbinic college,” Maurice interjected.

“But I heard that witchcraft schools are heavy into curses. Witches, warlocks, witch doctors and fortune tellers have figured out how to earn a livelihood on the curse scam. We Jews aren’t into poking voodoo dolls with pins and needles.

Well Mort, I guess your reader doesn’t have to fear this story being left untold because it’s totally fake.”

“Yeah Maury, but those who believe Jews or their rabbis have magical powers will always believe it.”

About the Author
Florida's Jewish short-story writer, speaker, film producer and retired attorney. He has authored, "A Hebraic Obsession", "The Hanukkah Bunny" and "The Greatest Gift." He produced an award-winning short film entitled, "The Stairs". Movie can be viewed on my TOI blog. Mort is a correspondent for the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel Jewish Journal.
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