Howie Goldschmidt

United States ON America

She got it wrong. If Ivanka was trying to channel Sacha Baron Cohen’s hopeless foreigner, Borat, she should have said “U.S. AND A”

He got it wrong. The US ambassador, whose full name is David MELECH Friedman (somewhat grandiose), described the biblical David as “the first Jewish King of Israel.” Did he learn this at Columbia or yeshiva day school? Every reader of Dan Silva’s Gabriel Allon thrillers knows that Mossad headquarters is on King Saul Boulevard in Tel Aviv.

They got it wrong. The newspaper of record was yet again hoodwinked by Hamas’s cynical manipulation. The headline implied that peaceful demonstrators, not armed terrorists, were trapped in a snipers’ kill box. In subsequent days, they tried to make amends by publishing pro-Israel op-eds and letters to the editor. They even introduced the concept of “Nakba Culture.”

He got it wrong. Reverend Jeffers invoked “The Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ”. Tell that to the souls of the doomed Jewish communities of York, Mainz and Worms, victims of Crusader drive-by murders in England and the Rhineland.

Bibi got it right. Almost. He appropriated Amos Oz’s idyllic early childhood in Talpiot. He recalled vivid memories, from age 3, of his father’s teacher, Professor Joseph Klausner, sitting in synagogue with S.Y. Agnon. Maybe Bibi was subtly tweaking the nose of uber left-wing Oz, the grandson of Klausner.  Benzion Netanyahu and Klausner were eminent historians, and Bibi’s idetic memory stretches back to age 3.

In our post-modern, post-truth world, we accept that not all wrongs are ultimately righted. We bite our tongues when we speak to Christians and Germans while we remember the Crusades and the Shoah. We move forward and build a future. We don’t wallow in paralyzing Nakba self-pity.

We benefit from tribalism. We benefit from globalism. Wednesday morning, I listen to the US Embassy “tekes” on YouTube while running circles in Votee Park. (Despite my earlier snarky comments, the ceremony had some great moments and Friedman was a terrific MC) Twelve hours later, we fly to Tel Aviv via Zurich. Thursday night, we go to the Modiin mall, where we inhale the energy of the young startup nation and cones of Golda’s ice cream.

Friday morning, I am reading Matti Friedman’s piece about Hamas. A Hebrew pop-up ad appears: a Berlin law firm is offering its services to Holocaust Ghetto survivors who recently became entitled to pensions. A few minutes later, while running circles in Wadi Anaba Park, I hear Bob Dylan’s “With God on our side” on the iPod. It’s 97 degrees, but the Sharav wind makes it surprisingly pleasant. Random synapse activation, facilitated by jetlag, triggers thoughts about my great-grandmother, Etta Posen. In the Spring of 1943, she disappeared from Earth, last whereabouts a train from the Westerbork “Transit Camp”, bound for Sobibor. Her family had owned a silver shop on Unter Den Linden in Berlin, seized by the Nazi’s in the 1930s. In 2012, my sons and I got German citizenship, a warped form of compensation.

Running circles, The Great Gilgul. Am Yisrael Chai.

Chag Shavuot Sameach

About the Author
Dr. Goldschmidt , a graduate of Columbia University, is an American cardiologist who resides in Teaneck, NJ and Atlantic Beach, NY. He is the proud grandfather of 4 Sabra boys who live in Modiin. He volunteers one month a year at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, teaching and practicing cardiology. He also serves on the board of The American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center