THE SPINE SEPTEMBER 18, 2009
I received a Jewish New Year e-mail card with the greeting gezunt, parnoseh, nachus. It is not a poetic greeting. But it refers to essentials: 1. health; 2. livelihood; and 3. well, I'm having trouble picking on an adequate translation for the last of the three.
Other mayvonim (experts) fix on "pride." Yes, but it's not quite right. And certainly not without the awkward Anglo-Yiddish preface "shepping." To shep is to draw from the deepest of emotional wells. So you see why you can't really shep pride. Have any of you an alternative to pride?
There are other greetings for the new year but none as eloquently quotidian as my little trio. As we count the ten days to Yom Kippur, the wishes become more serious: gemar chatima tovah or "may your final sealing be good." That is, your final sealing in the annual book of life.
I wish that to all of you: Jew and gentile, believer and non-believer, and to Muslims who will accept my greetings.
This has not been a good year for the Jewish people and, therefore, for Jews who identify with their nation and its children.
America is still die goldene medinah, the golden country. It has our love and loyalty, uncompromised and undiluted. We American Jews know deeply what the United States means to the world because what it means to us. This is the land where for those who came here our millennial journey of persecution came to an end. Frankly, I know that some people felt it was corny when Ronald Reagan ended his speeches with "God bless America." I didn't. And I don't now when Barack Obama ends his speeches with "God bless America." God bless him, too.
Am I afraid of the coming year for Jews? Yes, very much yes.
There is a vicious anti-Semitic storm brewing at the United Nations. It is not exactly new but it is much worse than it has been ever before. Calumnies against Israel are calumnies against the Jews. And the latitude given by the West and especially the United States to the Arab states and the Muslim states in their behavior towards the Jewish nation turn my mind, our minds to the worst times in our history. That anti-Semitic lingo is the lingua-franca of Hugo Chavez and is not surprising because he has made himself and his country allies of a would-be Hitler.
And, frankly, I am mystified by Barack Obama's cool towards Israel. Here's a new year's wish: that I not be motivated to write about this again.