Election "season" is upon us. So, what have some Jewish mamas done to help? The Yiddishe mama queen, was Senator Joseph Lieberman's late mother, Marcia "Baba" Lieberman. When her son was running for Vice President, she played matchmaker for machers and sent then some nosh. Following her son's acceptance speech for his party's nomination in 2000, "Baba" invited Senator Al Gore over for a bissel cheesecake and coffee. She also sent reporters care packages that included Manischewitz bagel chips, postcards (to write to their mamas) with the following handwritten note: "Please be kind to my son! Enjoy. Marcia Lieberman (Joe's mom!)." When reporter Charlie Gibson asked her how the press responded to this "bribery," she responded, "They love it." See – -- Jewish guilt is bi-partisan.
JEWESS BEATS WHITMAN AND TWAIN
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddl'd masses yearning to breathe free…" Many Jews take pride in the fact that this great quote, inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, was part of the poem, "The New Colossus" by Jewess and fervent Zionist, Emma Lazarus. What many don't know is that poor Lady Liberty, donated by France, laid around in pieces for several years awaiting funds to build the base and assemble "her." In 1883, an auction was held, and though Walt Whitman and Mark Twain contributed manuscripts, the highest bid, $1,500, was received for "The New Colossus" written by the young Lazarus. It was not until 1888 that Lady Liberty assumed her place in the New York harbor. Sadly, Lazarus died a year earlier at age thirty-eight38. But her words were inscribed on a tablet inside the Statue in 1903. Thankfully, instead of arriving to see a tsebrokhen arm here, a leg who-knows-where, immigrants were greeted with the mighty "stand-up" lady and words of hope and inspiration.
HE'S OUT THERE
Whether loathe or love him, Sacha Baron Cohen, who hit the big screen as Borat is, of course, Jewish, with an Orthodox upbringing, participation in Habonim and a year on kibbutz to his credit. All this, despite his wildly "anti-Semitic" antics that he believes takes on anti-Semitism, in his humor and his 2006 film, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Despite some controversy over the comic who possesses a hint of Groucho and a bissel Andy Kaufman, in 2006, The Forward named Baron Cohen one of its Forward 50, who are "making a difference in the way American Jews, for better or worse, view the world and themselves." His humor, they noted, perhaps opens a dialogue on prejudice .
A JEWISH SANFORD?
Let's face it. Until recent history, career choices for Jews were limited, generally to peddling, money lending, the rag trade, and – jun. When law schools and medical schools had "Jew quotas" it left some of our landsmen rummaging through the garbage to make ends meet – literally. Many of the wealthiest Jewish families today began by collecting junk and scrap metal and making a mint. Butk. T the biggest hauler, hands down, had to be a Jewish merchant from Emessa. According to chronicler Paulus Diaconis, after one of the seven wonders of the world, the Colossus of Rhodes fell, a Jewish merchant, in around 650 C.E., loaded it as junk on 900 camels, taking the Gold Star for Best Shlepping of Any Millennia. Is this the emmess – the truthemmes? There are other legends, but many point to the man from Emessa somewhere in the "messa."
ON ACCOUNT OF A CART
Jews have always loved shopping — almost as much as talking – almost as much as logic. Which brings us to Sylvan Goldman. Who, you may ask, is Sylvan Goldman? Only the man credited with inventing the single most important invention in retail. The Humpty Dumpty store owner in Oklahoma City noticed his customers shlepping around goods in small bags, baskets or their hands. Shlepping, while good for checking things out, is not good for checking out large cargos of merchandise. So the ingenious Goldman converted folding chairs, mounted them on wheels and introduced the first viable — shopping cart, in 1937! Ah, but at first, he miscalculated. It seems the male of the day didn't mind the shlep, while the women had "enough already" pushing baby carriages. So, the clever Goldman hired fake shoppers – with carts – to get the trend going. Shopping (and spending) went from handfuls to cartfuls (to gold cards)! Goldman's cart was put on display at the Smithsonian.
AMERICA GOES KOSHER
The "Kosherization" of America started in the 1960s when several Jewish companies began advertisingbegan advertising to a mass audience. Hebrew National hot dogs introduced their famous "We answer to a higher authority" campaign, designed to reach all Americans by symbolizing superior quality. But fewer ads were more memorable than Levy's rye bread! Their slogan, "You don't have to be Jewish to like Levy's" also featured a rye-munching Indian chief and, among others, an Irish cop. Add a Soldier, a Construction Worker, a Cowboy, and a Biker, and voila! A new song, "YMHA" could be their jingle!
"Dear God ..."
Hundreds of people a year write prayers and difficulties – and mail them – to, you guessed it -- God. The address? "God, Jerusalem, Israel." So where does the mail go? Does God get them? Let us hope. But it's a trip. First they go to the Israeli Post Office's Dead Letters Department, then each letter, collected in a velvet bag, is posted into a crack in the Western Wall. Perhaps more importantly, does God answer all the letters? Of course he does – but if people want faster service, it wouldn't hurt to include a self addressed stamped envelope.
Marnie's "A Little Joy, A Little Oy" 2008 Calendar won a gold award for Best Subject from the Calendar Marketing Association! You can pre-order her 2009, "A Little Joy, a Little Oy" calendar on Amazon now, along with her book "Yiddishe Mamas: The Truth About the Jewish Mother" in time for Mother's Day.