Let’s all do the al chet (1)

[A slight variant of this page appears here 10 times. In each the text remains essentially the same. However, I will add a link to a new “survey” each time.]

I have writ­ten else­where, that I came to the rab­binate out of “poli­ty” not “piety”. My involve­ment was as a com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­er.

Nonethe­less, I recall sit­ting one Yom Kip­pur day in the late 1960s with a num­ber of friends who had formed a group called Or Hadash (New Light). There we were on a blan­ket in the heat of the day, some­where beyond the end of Alta Dri­ve or Fair Oaks Ave. in Ange­les Nation­al For­est above Altade­na, Cal­i­for­nia. We read the Al Chet to each oth­er. (I sent the papers I had that relat­ed to this group to the Amer­i­can Jew­ish Archives in 2007.) We actu­al­ly framed that expe­ri­ence as both poli­ty and piety. We felt that by talk­ing with each oth­er how we had hard­ened our hearts we were both ful­fill­ing the pious “oblig­a­tion” to recite our peo­ple’s text and at the same time build­ing a stronger more cohe­sive group.

ten times al chet

The Al Chet, an alpha­bet­i­cal acros­tic, is recit­ed as many as ten times through­out Yom Kip­pur. If we include its recita­tion on Seli­chot (the last Shab­bat before Rosh haShan­nah), that is even more. Per­haps we can approach this list in a dif­fer­ent way. How can we read these lines in a man­ner so that they retain their new­ness and urgency?

all twenty-two

  • א We have erred against You by אמוץ הלב hard­en­ing our hearts.
  • ב We have erred against You by בטוי שׂפתים speak­ing per­verse­ly.
  • ג We have erred against You גלוי ובסתר pub­licly and pri­vate­ly.
  • ד We have erred against You by דבור פה cor­rupt speech.
  • ה We have erred against You by הרהור הלב evil thought.
  • ו We have erred against You by ודוי פה insin­cere con­fes­sion.
  • ז We have erred against You זדון ובשׁגגה inten­tion­al­ly and unin­ten­tion­al­ly.
  • ח We have erred against You by חלול השׁם des­e­crat­ing your name.
  • ט We have erred against You by טפשׁות פה fool­ish talk.
  • י We have erred against You יודעים ובלא יודעים know­ing­ly and unknow­ing­ly.
  • כ We have erred against You by כפת שׁחד bribery.
  • ל We have erred against You by לשׁון הרע slan­der.
  • מ We have erred against You in מאכל ובמשׁתה eat­ing and drink­ing.
  • נ We have erred against You by נטית גרון false pride.
  • We have erred against You by שׂקור עין wan­ton glances.
  • ע We have erred against You by עזות מצח effron­tery.
  • פ We have erred against You by פלילות per­vert­ing jus­tice.
  • צ We have erred against You by צרות עין envy.
  • ק We have erred against You by קשׁיות ערף being stub­born.
  • ר We have erred against You by רכילות tale bear­ing.
  • We have erred against You by שׂנאת חנם cause­less hatred.
  • ת We have erred against You by תמהון לבב con­fu­sion of val­ues.

In the day of R. Ila’i, the entire con­cept of recit­ing such a list was fresh, new and chal­leng­ing. As oth­ers learned about his prac­tice, it is pos­si­ble that what at first may have been a free asso­ci­a­tion became more for­mal. It is not uncom­mon for what begins as “descrip­tion” to devel­op into “prescrip­tion”. (“I was with R. Ila’i at Yom Kip­pur last year and he did….”) What might hap­pen in our con­gre­ga­tions if we scrapped the litur­gi­cal read­ing of these lines and dis­cussed their con­tent instead?

al chet chart

al chet chart

how many different ways can we approach the al chet so that it retains its relevance?

I have used the tools of the Web (in par­tic­u­lar Sur­vey­Mon­key) to devel­op a num­ber of ques­tion­naires that may help us focus our atten­tion on dif­fer­ent aspects of the al chet. I’ll add a link to each one on a dif­fer­ent day. Feel free to take the “sur­vey” and share the link with oth­ers. As of this post­ing there are ten dif­fer­ent sur­veys. If you can think of anoth­er one, please add your thoughts in the com­ments.

1.
who participates in this kind of behavior, and how often?

Click here to enter your responses.

Respond to each state­ment (there are 22 of them, one for each Hebrew let­ter) by select­ing with whom (at which lev­el of com­mu­nal liv­ing) you have expe­ri­enced and/or par­tic­i­pat­ed in this error and at what fre­quen­cy.

We may be able to rank these (as to seri­ous­ness) lat­er.

This ver­sion, illus­trat­ed above, is avail­able as a down­load­able PDF.


2.

rank the errors from most egre­gious to the least egre­gious


3.

this error was a par­tic­u­lar prob­lem for me when I was…

If a par­tic­u­lar cat­e­go­ry does not match your life, feel free to ignore it.
(If at some lat­er time it does, I expect to keep this online… as long as these phe­nom­e­na can remain online. If you can think of bet­ter cat­e­gories for the col­umn head­ers, please let me know.)


4.

how do I feel when I expe­ri­ence a par­tic­u­lar chet hap­pen­ing?

Do I respond with anger, sor­row, or am I apa­thet­ic?


5.
rank all 22 errors in terms of which is the hardest (for me) to avoid

Is it eat­ing and drink­ing or per­haps false pride?


6.

how do I respond when I see an error done?

Do I point out the error or ignore it?


7.

age spe­cif­ic errors

Is a par­tic­u­lar behav­ior a chet at a spe­cif­ic age, but not when done at anoth­er age (for exam­ple: fool­ish talk)?


8.

do we per­ceive some of these errors as more com­mon­ly asso­ci­at­ed with men or women?

You might want to do this with a part­ner of the oppo­site sex; then you can com­pare respons­es to see where you agree and dis­agree.


9.

it has been x amount of time since I have seen a par­tic­u­lar error done

Either I live in a rar­i­fied world, or I may not be pay­ing atten­tion.


10.

rank all 22 errors in order of most com­mon­ly done to least

I and my friends may not do this one or that one, but when I look at the larg­er world I see these as most com­mon and those as least com­mon.


let’s all do the… what?

Let’s all do the Cherkessia!” was the intro­duc­to­ry line of an “Israeli” line dance we learned as chil­dren. The only ref­er­ence to the dance on the Web is on a page that con­sists of no more than links to three oth­er pages that either no longer exist or no longer con­tain the infor­ma­tion orig­i­nal­ly promised.

Posted in holidays, judaica, ritual | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Fake News vs. Truth a case of Goliath vs. David

Is Fake News vs. Truth a case of Goliath vs. David?

Once we knew one truth

Over forty years ago, Rab­bi Richard N. Levy wrote a para­graph that entered the Gates of Prayer Sid­dur. I quot­ed from it in a ser­mon dur­ing the Clin­ton impeach­ment hear­ings that dealt with “what is truth”.

Once we learned one truth, and it was cher­ished or dis­card­ed, but it was one. Now we are told that the world can be per­ceived by many truths; now, in the real­i­ty all of us encounter, some find lessons that oth­ers deny. Once we learned one kind of life, and one real­i­ty; it too we either adopt­ed or scorned. But right was always right and wrong was always wrong. Now we are told that there are many rights, that what is wrong may well be wrong for you but right for me.

I have been think­ing about this text along with a num­ber of oth­ers that have been part of my per­son­al anthol­o­gy as our aware­ness of fake news sto­ries has grown.

We live in a world remark­ably dif­fer­ent from the one that exist­ed through most of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry. We are still reel­ing from Albert Ein­stein’s dis­cov­er­ies of a cen­tu­ry ago. They marked a turn­ing point in how we have under­stood our world ever since. Ein­stein tru­ly con­vinced us that every­thing is rel­a­tive on the phys­i­cal plane, and from that we’ve gen­er­al­ized to the eth­i­cal and moral plane in our “post mod­ern” world. Now we talk about “sit­u­a­tion­al ethics,” and are puz­zled when “we are told that what is wrong may well be wrong for you but right for me.”

Among the ear­li­est songs I learned was:

I’m Proud To Be Me, by Hy Zaret (which is includ­ed in the Songs for [Girl] Scouts Web page)

I’m proud to be me but I also see;
you’re just as proud to be you.

We might look at things a bit dif­fer­ent­ly,
but lots of good peo­ple do.

It’s just human nature,
so why should I hate you for being as human as I.

We’ll get as we give, and we live and let live
and we’ll all get along, If we try.

I’m proud to be me but I also see,
you’re just as proud to be you.

It’s true, you’re just as proud to be you!


Click the link to lis­ten: I’m Proud To Be Me The song will open in a new page.

I also grew up with the sto­ry of the Churk­endoose. The sto­ry was intend­ed to teach tol­er­ance of var­i­ous peo­ple. A strange egg was found in the hen house. No one knew whose egg it was so they each took turns sit­ting on it. Even­tu­al­ly, the egg cracked and out stepped the strangest crea­ture they’d ever seen: part chick­en, turkey, duck, and goose: they called it the Churk­endoose. When every­one was shocked to see what a strange being it was, the Churk­endoose broke into song:

It depends on how you look at things,
It depends on how you look at things,
Is the baby chim­panzee any pret­ti­er than me
It all depends upon, begins and ends upon,
It all depends on how you look at things.

Of course, the con­cept of being aware of dif­fer­ent facts based on our per­cep­tion long pre­dates mid-twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry children’s lit­er­a­ture. Even before Einstein’s rel­a­tiv­i­ty John God­frey Saxe intro­duced the West­ern world to the con­cept of mul­ti­ple pos­si­ble truths when he appro­pri­at­ed Indi­an sub-con­ti­nent tra­di­tions to write his poem “The Blind Men and the Ele­phant”:

It was six men of Indostan
To learn­ing much inclined,
Who went to see the Ele­phant
(Thought all of them were blind).
That each by obser­va­tion
Might sat­is­fy his mind

maybe, gray, warm, or…

Even though so much of our world is shaped by com­put­ers that func­tion by com­bin­ing only ones and zeros, we know that we should not be con­strict­ed by false bina­ries. The world is not only

  • One/Zero
  • Yes/No
  • On/Off
  • Black/White
  • Hot/Cold
  • True/False

When you mix enough ones and zeros togeth­er, you can cre­ate a near-infi­nite num­ber of shades of gray and oth­er col­ors. As my sis­ter has taught me to think, we don’t need to say: “yes, but” instead, we can say: “yes, and”. The for­mer clos­es off pos­si­bil­i­ties, while the lat­ter opens us to more.

So, does that mean that there is no such thing as fake news? Is any­thing any­one says equal­ly valid? No. Some things are facts and oth­ers are not. Cer­tain state­ments are true and oth­ers are false. You can­not choose whether or not some­thing is a fact. Facts sim­ply exist.

In my opinion, that’s a fact.

Our father used to say, quot­ing one of his clients in jest: “In my opin­ion, that’s a fact.” How­ev­er, opin­ions and facts are of two dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories. As Daniel Patrick Moyni­han said: “You are enti­tled to your opin­ion. But you are not enti­tled to your own facts.” Amaz­ing­ly enough approx­i­mate­ly ten years after our father died, Lan­ny J. Davis used the exact phrase our father quot­ed, but in all seri­ous­ness. In the chap­ter “The View From The White House” in the book The Clin­ton Pres­i­den­cy and the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Sys­tem, he wrote:

There was no legit­i­mate basis to impeach Pres­i­dent Clin­ton on per­jury. In my opin­ion, that’s a fact.

Odd­ly enough the phrase turns up every now and then, as though peo­ple have dif­fi­cul­ty dis­tin­guish­ing between facts and opin­ions.

But there’s a dif­fer­ence between devel­op­ing var­i­ous opin­ions based on per­ceiv­ing con­trast­ing facts about an ele­phant and believ­ing that ele­phants can fly based on a fic­tion or an image that some­one has cre­at­ed.

Our drift from acknowl­edg­ing fact to believ­ing fic­tion has hap­pened over at least the past 16 years. Stephen Col­bert was among the first to make note of the sub­sti­tu­tion of opin­ion for fact to a mass audi­ence when he coined the word “Truthi­ness”.

Yes, well,” he huffed. “You can prove anything with facts, can’t you?”

Actu­al­ly the sit­u­a­tion goes deep­er and fur­ther back than the begin­ning of this mil­len­ni­um, at least as ear­ly as 1992. The issue is not sim­ply Truthi­ness, but “post-truth”. It appears as though a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of our fel­low cit­i­zens are will­ing to live in a world in which facts are not real. While Amer­i­cans have joked about Truthi­ness, among the Russ­ian polit­i­cal elite, a dif­fer­ent idea has grown. The con­cept of “post-truth pol­i­tics”.

The British news­pa­per The Guardian described the phe­nom­e­non in March of 2015 (rec­og­niz­ing this as a prob­lem even before Trump announced his can­di­da­cy on June 16, 2015): The Guardian view on Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da: the truth is out there

It is a tac­tic straight out of Mr Putin’s KGB play­book from the 1970s. Gen­er­ate a plu­ral­i­ty of nar­ra­tives, so the truth can be obscured. In such cir­cum­stances, the very idea that there is such a thing as “the truth” can itself be called into ques­tion. “There is no objec­tiv­i­ty – only approx­i­ma­tions of the truth by as many dif­fer­ent voic­es as pos­si­ble” is how Mar­gari­ta Simonyan, the edi­tor-in-chief of state-backed Rus­sia Today, puts it. This is weaponised rel­a­tivism [empha­sis mine, MH].

One of the fore­most ring­mas­ters of this post­mod­ern author­i­tar­i­an­ism is Putin advis­er and trendy for­mer TV exec­u­tive Vladislav Surkov; he is as com­fort­able talk­ing about per­for­mance art and rap music as he is about con­tem­po­rary pol­i­tics. For him, all news is com­ment, all truth lit­tle more than opin­ion. There is the BBC view. The Fox News view. The Rus­sia Today view. All are expres­sions of spe­cial inter­ests, not so much attempts at the truth as indi­vid­ual per­spec­tives and localised nar­ra­tives.

Mr Surkov grasps that all this chimes close­ly with the idea, famil­iar in the west, that any and every per­spec­tive can be legit­imised as a mat­ter of indi­vid­ual opin­ion. On the basis of this lazy phi­los­o­phy, the idea that one view is right and anoth­er wrong can be made to sound like some unwar­rant­ed impo­si­tion of author­i­ty. You can already hear the objec­tion to the asser­tion of truth: “Who is to say who is right?”

Fly­ing seem­ing­ly under the radar, even The New York Times wrote about the process before @realDonaldTrump per­fect­ed its use in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. In an OpEd col­umn pub­lished in Decem­ber of 2014, Peter Pomer­ant­sevdec wrote Russia’s Ide­ol­o­gy: There Is No Truth:

The Kremlin’s goal is to con­trol all nar­ra­tives, so that pol­i­tics becomes one great script­ed real­i­ty show. [empha­sis mine; sound famil­iar? MH] The way it wields pow­er illus­trates and rein­forces this psy­chol­o­gy. Take Vladislav Y. Surkov, an advis­er to Pres­i­dent Vladimir V. Putin who is said to man­age, among oth­er things, the pub­lic image of the Russ­ian-speak­ing sep­a­ratist lead­ers in east­ern Ukraine. He helped invent a new strain of author­i­tar­i­an­ism based not on crush­ing oppo­si­tion from above, but on climb­ing into dif­fer­ent inter­est groups and manip­u­lat­ing them from the inside. On his desk in the Krem­lin, Mr. Surkov had phones bear­ing the names of lead­ers of sup­pos­ed­ly inde­pen­dent par­ties. Nation­al­ist lead­ers like Vladimir V. Zhiri­novsky would play the right-wing buf­foon to make Mr. Putin look mod­er­ate by con­trast.

With one hand Mr. Surkov sup­port­ed human rights groups made up of for­mer dis­si­dents; with the oth­er he orga­nized pro-Krem­lin youth groups like Nashi, which accused human rights lead­ers of being tools of the West. In a nov­el pre­sumed to be writ­ten by Mr. Surkov, who is also an art-lov­ing bohemi­an when not wag­ing covert wars, he cel­e­brates the tri­umphant cyn­i­cism of a post-Sovi­et gen­er­a­tion that has seen through the illu­sions of belief in any val­ues or ide­ol­o­gy.

Create Two, Three, Many Fires

Don­ald Trump seems to have learned a les­son from both Vladislav Surkov and Che Gue­vara. Instead of many Viet­nams that Gue­vara called for in Octo­ber 1967, Trump starts two, three, many fires that keep all of us off guard. In the words of one of his sur­ro­gates Scot­tie Nell Hugh­es on Novem­ber 30 at 10:28 AM: “Every­body has a way of inter­pret­ing them [facts] to be the truth, or not truth. There’s no such thing, unfor­tu­nate­ly, any­more as facts.” As The New York­er sum­ma­rized at the end of Novem­ber:

It nonethe­less war­rants remem­ber­ing that there is noth­ing nor­mal about what we are wit­ness­ing. In the past two weeks, the Pres­i­dent-elect has set­tled a fraud law­suit over Trump Uni­ver­si­ty and assailed the cast of “Hamil­ton” on Twit­ter, while the neo-Nazi Nation­al Pol­i­cy Insti­tute held a gath­er­ing in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., at which some of its atten­dees offered the Nazi salute in praise of Trump. The U.S. Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al Muse­um has issued a state­ment remind­ing Amer­i­cans that the Holo­caust “did not begin with killing; it began with words.” Two years ago, any one of these events would have been seen as extra­or­di­nary. In the cur­rent crush of the absurd, they come dan­ger­ous­ly close to blend­ing into the back­ground in the way that police sirens can become ambi­ent noise in New York City.

Many of the fires Trump starts are nui­sances in garbage cans. With enough of them burn­ing, they have the abil­i­ty to dis­tract us from larg­er poten­tial con­fla­gra­tions smol­der­ing near­by. And, as hard as it is for many of us to accept, huge swaths of the Amer­i­can pub­lic accept the lies that the Pres­i­dent-Elect tells.

I’ll have some Flynn Jr. on mine

It feels almost as though Trump decid­ed to make Michael J. Fly­nn, Jr. a scape­goat because of “Piz­za­gate” to take don­wn one fake news sto­ry so that many oth­ers could con­tin­ue to spread.

 

Yet, why do some (so many) peo­ple con­tin­ue to believe false­hoods, despite the exis­tence of con­tra­ven­ing facts that I, and so many of the peo­ple I know, accept as fact? Accord­ing to an arti­cle in Alter­net: An Insid­er’s View: The Dark Rigid­i­ty of Fun­da­men­tal­ist Rur­al Amer­i­ca; In deep-red white Amer­i­ca, the white Chris­t­ian God is king.

Edu­ca­tion is the ene­my of fun­da­men­tal­ism because fun­da­men­tal­ism, by its very nature, is not built on facts. The fun­da­men­tal­ists I grew up around aren’t anti-edu­ca­tion. They want their kids to know how to read and write. They are anti-qual­i­ty, in-depth, broad, spe­cial­ized edu­ca­tion. Learn­ing is only val­ued up to the cer­tain point.

A Pew Research Cen­ter exam­i­na­tion of the exit polls from the 2016 elec­tion indi­cates the widest gap between col­lege-edu­cat­ed vot­ers and non-col­lege-edu­cat­ed vot­ers since 1980. It is amaz­ing to see Trump vot­ers explain them­selves and the world they encounter. (Yes, I wrote “them” and “they”. I feel as though we inhab­it dif­fer­ent realms.)

In fact, stud­ies indi­cate that many peo­ple like myself also believe fake news sto­ries.

And, as hard as this may be to accept, they have believed such sto­ries for years… which may be one of the rea­sons that Hillary Clin­ton lost the elec­tion.

When does fake news become a big lie?

We Jews have seen this before, the rep­e­ti­tion of big lies to con­vince a pub­lic of some­thing that is bla­tant­ly false. We need to sup­port all those who will shine light on the false­hoods and their per­pe­tra­tors. There are tools already avail­able to us. Among them, we need to sup­port seri­ous jour­nal­ism… even though we know that these insti­tu­tions have their own bias­es. And, because so many of us receive our updates of what hap­pens in the world from social media, we need to be more dis­cern­ing about what we share. Tools have recent­ly been devel­oped to help sift and sort what is real from fake. Among them, if you use Google’s Chrome brows­er are Daniel Sier­ad­ski’s B.S.Detector or FiB, a tool devel­oped by four und­grads. In addi­tion, if you have any ques­tion about the verac­i­ty of a sto­ry, you can always check snopes.com, Poli­ti­Fact, or factcheck.org. We can also take a les­son from Tim O’Reil­ly who wrote recent­ly about how we can detect fake news (using our own brains and encour­ag­ing tech com­pa­nies to devel­op the appro­pri­ate algo­rithms). For, as visu­al jour­nal­ist Fred Ritchin has writ­ten:

Demo­c­ra­t­ic soci­eties can­not sur­vive with­out the abil­i­ty to have rea­son­able con­ver­sa­tions on issues and events, and these can­not occur with­out agreed-upon sources of infor­ma­tion.

We need to recon­gize fake news as a tool, or instru­ment of destruc­tion of a “post-fac­tu­al” world and tell the emporor that he is naked. Those who deny that actu­al facts exist should be remind­ed that there are actu­al dif­fer­ences: that fire burns and rods beat as expressed in Avi­cen­na’s law of non-con­tra­di­tion:

Any­one who denies the law of non-con­tra­dic­tion should be beat­en and burned until he admits that to be beat­en is not the same as not to be beat­en, and to be burned is not the same as not to be burned.

Goodnight…

Today’s date offers a tie-in to a time when news seemed sim­pler when Wal­ter Cronkite held forth on CBS while Chet Hunt­ley and David Brink­ley host­ed the news on NBC. Today, Decem­ber 10, hap­pens to be the birth­date of Chet Hunt­ley. Every evening, as they end­ed their broad­cast, they would say to each oth­er:

Good­night, David.
Good­night, Chet.

Their salu­a­tion became such a stan­dard phrase in Amer­i­can pop­u­lar cul­ture that when the 1967 Six Days War in Israel end­ed some­one was saavy enough to have a but­ton pro­duced (made in Japan of all places) and dis­trib­uted here in the Unit­ed States.

As we approach the dark­est days of the year, may the light of truth slay the big lies that loom large around us.

Good­night, David” “Good­night Goliath”

Date: 1967
Size: 4.6
Pin Form: straight
Print Method: litho
Text “Good­night,
David”
“Good­night
Goliath”

your lapel buttons

Many peo­ple have lapel but­tons. They may be attached to a favorite hat or jack­et you no longer wear, or poked into a cork-board on your wall. If you have any lay­ing around that you do not feel emo­tion­al­ly attached to, please let me know. I pre­serve these for the Jew­ish peo­ple. At some point they will all go to an appro­pri­ate muse­um. You can see all the but­tons shared to date.

Posted in family, how, lapel buttons, music, politics, what, when | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jews and Campaign Buttons: A Time-Honored Tradition

a selection of Jewish-themed campaign buttons 1940-2016

a selec­tion of Jew­ish-themed cam­paign but­tons 1940–2016

A briefer ver­sion of this blog post, with few­er illus­tra­tions, was pub­lished as “Ten Min­utes of Torah” on Octo­ber 27, 2016 on ReformJudaism.org.

Strangers don’t often inter­act on New York’s streets. Yet, this elec­tion sea­son, I am often stopped and asked about my polit­i­cal lapel but­ton.

Gen­er­al­ly, I have found that while col­lege stu­dents and 30-some­things wear lapel but­tons for many caus­es year-round, old­er adults tend to do so only in elec­tion sea­sons. It is not sur­pris­ing, then, that polit­i­cal par­ties and com­mer­cial but­ton mak­ers design but­tons to attract the votes of Amer­i­can Jews.

The first con­firmed pres­i­den­tial cam­paign to aim but­tons at Jews was in 1900 when William Jen­nings Bryan ran against William McKin­ley. The Bryan cam­paign released a but­ton in Yid­dish. Only two copies are known to exist now.

1900 Bryan-Stevenson jugate; translation (from a

1900 Bryan-Steven­son jugate; trans­la­tion (from a “Ger­man­ized” Yid­dish with spelling errors): “I’m vot­ing for Bryan also Steven­son”

Forty years passed before Jew­ish cam­paign but­tons reap­peared. In 1940, Wen­dell Willkie’s Repub­li­can sup­port­ers dis­trib­uted one with his name in Hebraized let­ters. So many were made that they still sell inex­pen­sive­ly on eBay. Sur­pris­ing­ly, no but­tons appeared that year in sup­port of Roo­sevelt.

from the Wendell Willkie campaign of 1940

from the Wen­dell Willkie cam­paign of 1940

Sup­port­ers of Repub­li­can can­di­dates appealed to Jew­ish vot­ers by pro­duc­ing but­tons with Jew­ish texts and themes, includ­ing Eisen­how­er but­tons in Yid­dish and Hebrew. Oth­ers in sup­port of Nixon appeared in 1968 and 1972.

I like Ike (Hebrew)

I like Ike (Hebrew)

I like Ike (Yiddish)

I like Ike (Yid­dish)

Nixon in Hebrew

Nixon in Hebrew

I'm voting for Nixon and Agnew (Hebrew). Comparable buttons appeared in various languages.

I’m vot­ing for Nixon and Agnew (Hebrew). Com­pa­ra­ble but­tons appeared in var­i­ous lan­guages.

Through­out the 1960s com­mer­cial, nov­el­ty, and advo­ca­cy as well as polit­i­cal cam­paign but­tons pro­lif­er­at­ed, both Jew­ish and gen­er­al. In 1968, McGovern’s admir­ers stressed his sup­port of Israel fol­low­ing the 1967 Six-Day War, though it was prob­a­bly not an offi­cial cam­paign but­ton. His detrac­tors also pro­duced a but­ton.

McGovern is Behind Israel 1,000%

McGov­ern is Behind Israel 1,000%

McGovern means McArab

McGov­ern means McArab

Although nei­ther appears to be an offi­cial but­ton, in the 1976 cam­paign there was one but­ton sup­port­ing Ger­ald Ford and one sup­port­ing Jim­my Carter. Ford’s said, “Jew­ish Amer­i­cans for Ford.” Mean­while, some­one made a series of but­tons in 15 lan­guages stat­ing: “All Good Peo­ple Need [Jim­my] Carter.” The one labeled “Jew­ish” by the man­u­fac­tur­er actu­al­ly was translit­er­at­ed Yid­dish: “Goo­ta Menchen dar­fen Carter.” In 1980, the Rea­gan cam­paign cre­at­ed a but­ton spelling his name in Hebrew.

Jewish Americans for Ford

Jew­ish Amer­i­cans for Ford

All Good People Need Carter (in

All Good Peo­ple Need Carter (in “Jew­ish”)

Reagan (in Hebrew)

Rea­gan (in Hebrew)

Odd­ly, I have nev­er seen a Jew­ish-ori­ent­ed but­ton in sup­port of either George H. W. Bush or Michael Dukakis from the 1988 elec­tion.

Begin­ning with the Clin­ton-Gore elec­tions, the num­ber and diver­si­ty of Jew­ish-themed but­tons grew tremen­dous­ly. Nei­ther the sup­port­ers of George H.W. Bush in 1992 nor Bob Dole in 1996 cir­cu­lat­ed Jew­ish-ori­ent­ed but­tons to counter Clinton/Gore in either elec­tion. The Clin­ton cam­paign worked with the Nation­al Jew­ish Demo­c­ra­t­ic Coun­cil (NJDC) to cap­ture Jew­ish votes with a series of 50 but­tons stat­ing “Jew­ish Demo­c­rat and Proud,” indi­vid­u­al­ized with the name of each state.

Jewish Democrat and Proud (Ohioans support Clinton & Gore)

Jew­ish Demo­c­rat and Proud (Ohioans sup­port Clin­ton & Gore)

When Vice Pres­i­dent Al Gore select­ed Sen­a­tor Joe Lieber­man as his run­ning mate in 2000, but­ton mak­ers rel­ished the nov­el­ty of a Jew­ish can­di­date. The cam­paign pro­duced at least one offi­cial Jew­ish-themed but­ton. In addi­tion, inde­pen­dent but­ton man­u­fac­tur­ers gen­er­at­ed an unprece­dent­ed num­ber of but­tons with Jew­ish slo­gans. These includ­ed “Bentsh with the best…” and “Chutz­pah! Gore Lieber­man 2000,” as well as “A bagel in every pot.” Even Liber­man’s wife Hadas­sah’s name was used cre­ative­ly. The Bush-Cheney tick­et did not counter with but­tons. Yid­dish puns and word-play con­trast­ed the two can­di­dates with “Gore vs. Gore-nisht” (Gore vs. Noth­ing).

Bentsh With The Best Gore Lieberman 2000

Bentsh With The Best
Gore Lieber­man 2000

Chutzpah! Gore Lieberman 2000

Chutz­pah!
Gore Lieber­man
2000

Gore-Lieberman in 5761 A bagel in every pot!

Gore-Lieber­man in 5761
A bagel in every pot!

Hadassah It's Not Just an Organization Anymore Gore Lieberman 2000

Hadas­sah
It’s Not Just an
Orga­ni­za­tion
Any­more
Gore Lieber­man 2000

5761 גור גור-נישט

5761
גור גור-נישט

The 2004 elec­tion saw both the Bush and Ker­ry cam­paigns cre­at­ing Jew­ish but­tons. While some emerged from the offi­cial cam­paign or its sur­ro­gates, oth­ers were pro­duced out­side the cam­paigns. The Yid­dish word-play con­trast for this elec­tion was “Real Deal [Ker­ry] vs. Schlemiel [Bush].”

Republican Jewish Coalition of Northern California [for] President George W. Bush

Repub­li­can Jew­ish Coali­tion of North­ern Cal­i­for­nia [for] Pres­i­dent George W. Bush

DEMOCRATS FOR ISRAEL, LOS ANGELES 210-285-8542 www.DFI.homepage.com KERRY קרי 2004/5765

DEMOCRATS FOR ISRAEL, LOS ANGELES
210−285−8542 www.DFI.homepage.com
KERRY
קרי
20045765

The Real Deal [vs] Schlemiel www.NJDC.org

The Real Deal [vs] Schlemiel
www.NJDC.org

In 2008 Jew­ish-themed but­tons appeared dur­ing the pri­maries in sig­nif­i­cant num­bers for the first time. The Oba­ma and Clin­ton cam­paigns released Hebrew but­tons. By that time, online stores enabled any­one to print a but­ton and the vari­ety of offer­ings expand­ed from tens of but­tons to hun­dreds. Most of the but­tons – and cer­tain­ly the most cre­ative ones – sup­port­ed Oba­ma. Sarah Sil­ver­man orga­nized “the Great Schlep,” and cre­at­ed a but­ton encour­ag­ing mil­len­ni­al Jews to fly to Flori­da to con­vince their grand­par­ents to vote for Oba­ma. The 62nd Latke-Haman­tash debate at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go pit­ted “Pota­toes for Change” against “Cook­ies First,” which played on Obama’s slo­gan: “Change We Can Believe In” and McCain’s “Coun­try First.” Anoth­er but­ton tout­ed the “thun­der and light­ning” of the Rahm רעם Emanuel and Barack ברק Oba­ma team. This campaign’s Yid­dish con­trast, again from the NJDC, pit­ted the “O” [of Oba­ma] and Joe [Biden] against the “Shmoes” [McCain and Palin].
The Great Schlep

The Great Schlep

Potatoes for Change Latke'08

Pota­toes for Change Latke’08

Cookies First

Cook­ies First

RAHM [רעם] = THUNDER BARAK [ברק] = LIGHTNING

RAHM [רעם] = THUNDER
BARAK [ברק] = LIGHTNING

O” & Joe
or
The Shmoes

Obama’s 2012 re-elec­tion cam­paign was sig­nif­i­cant­ly more restrained, releas­ing only a few Jew­ish-ori­ent­ed but­tons. The Rom­ney cam­paign? None. Inde­pen­dent but­ton mak­ers also made few­er that year. Though the Her­man Cain but­ton, “Her­man Cain is Able,” was per­haps the most cre­ative (even though it presents a strange men­tal image: after killing his broth­er he becomes him?), the slo­gan proved untrue and he was unable to win the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion. That campaign’s Yid­dish but­ton from inde­pen­dent but­ton mak­er Adam Fine con­trast­ed “Barack” and “Schlock” [Rom­ney].

Jews for Romney

Jews for Rom­ney

Herman Cain Is Able 2012

Her­man
Cain
Is
Able
2012

Barack [vs] Schlock Obama 2012

Barack [vs] Schlock
Oba­ma
2012

Odd­ly enough, this year, nei­ther the Trump nor the Clin­ton cam­paigns have dis­trib­uted offi­cial Jew­ish-themed but­tons. When Trump was invit­ed to speak at the AIPAC con­ven­tion in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. in March, a group of rab­bis walked out wear­ing a but­ton: “Rab­bis Against Trump”. The Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee pro­duced one (with the [ahem!] orig­i­nal Trump/Pence logo) for the Con­ven­tion, but the Repub­li­can Jew­ish Coali­tion has been silent. The NJDC has cre­at­ed a cou­ple of but­tons in dif­fer­ing sizes, and the Jew­ish Women for Hillary Face­book group has also pro­duced a but­ton with its logo. Numer­ous inde­pen­dent but­ton mak­ers have dis­trib­uted as many as 40 dif­fer­ent Jew­ish-themed but­tons sup­port­ing Clin­ton or Trump, as well as the many also-rans. For this cam­paign Adam Fine released a but­ton con­trast­ing Hillary [Men­sch] with Trump [Meshuggen­er].

With only a few weeks until the elec­tion, when you pin on your Jew­ish-themed lapel but­ton, you will know you are par­tic­i­pat­ing in a time-hon­ored Amer­i­can-Jew­ish tra­di­tion.

Rabbis Against Trump #RabbisAgainstTrump

Rab­bis
Against
Trump
#Rab­bis­Again­st­Trump

טראמפ Not Just Our Candidate He's Mishpocha! NRC 2016

טראמפ
Not Just Our Can­di­date
He’s Mish­pocha!
NRC 2016

אני איתה [I'm with her] njdc.org

אני איתה
[I’m with her]
njdc.org

הילרי [Hillary] njdc.org

הילרי
[Hillary]
njdc.org

Joe and Hadassah Lieberman showing off their

Joe and Hadas­sah Lieber­man show­ing off their “Jew­ish Women for Hillary” but­tons.

Mensch [vs] Meshuggener Hillary 2016

Men­sch [vs] Meshuggen­er
Hillary
2016

Most of these but­tons are from my own col­lec­tion. I am not one of the two peo­ple who owns the William Jen­nings Bryan but­ton. I do not (yet) have the Hebrew “I Like Ike” but­ton. I do not know of any­one who has the Trump but­ton released at the con­ven­tion.

If you do not have time — before the elec­tion — to pur­chase but­tons you can wear on your clothes, feel free to share the images of these but­tons on your Face­book pages.

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may our cups overflow

Psalm 23:5b

May our efforts in the New Year
overflow with goodness
and help create a world of wholeness and peace.


 

Linoleum cut pro­duced by Mark, Sep­tem­ber 2014
The “cup” is brown, “over­flow” is in shades of blue.

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crossover

through a sea of sound

Shab­bat Shi­rah usu­al­ly marks the begin­ning of Jew­ish Music Month. How­ev­er, I’ve not seen any ref­er­ence to it this year. Nonethe­less, it is appro­pri­ate that this week marks the cel­e­bra­tion of a sig­nif­i­cant anniver­sary in Amer­i­can Jew­ish music.

from חזן to opera star

The fam­i­ly in which I grew up was (to put it mild­ly) not par­tic­u­lar­ly com­mit­ted to Jew­ish rit­u­al life. My father was an athe­ist who attend­ed “Red Seders” (odd, I can find no ref­er­ence to these on the Web) in his youth. My moth­er was an agnos­tic whose favorite “proof for the pos­si­ble exis­tence of God” was that peo­ple were able to cre­ate beau­ti­ful sus­pen­sion bridges. While we attend­ed Sun­day School wher­ev­er our father taught adult edu­ca­tion cours­es, we were not mem­bers of a syn­a­gogue until our father’s army bud­dy con­vinced him that I should have a Jew­ish edu­ca­tion that would lead to cel­e­brat­ing becom­ing bar mitz­vah. [“You nev­er know, it might prove valu­able.”] On Rosh haShan­nah we would attend ser­vices at a hall in Hol­ly­wood where Arno Tan­ney sang; I think our moth­er had a “crush” on him. After ser­vices we’d dri­ve out to Venice Beach and spend the late after­noon watch­ing to near equinoc­tial sun set in the Pacif­ic ocean.

In lat­er years we would skip ser­vices com­plete­ly and lis­ten to can­to­r­i­al music. Among our favorites, even though it did not have High Hol­i­day music was Richard Tuck­er singing Can­to­r­i­al Jew­els.

richard tucker sings cantorial jewels

richard tuck­er sings can­to­r­i­al jew­els

While Tuck­er was not the only Jew­ish vocal­ist who moved between opera and chaz­zanut (Jan Peerce imme­di­ate­ly comes to mind), he is by far the most famous. He even has a “square” (actu­al­ly a tiny tri­an­gle) named after him across from Lin­coln Cen­ter in Man­hat­tan with his bust.
http://myupperwest.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/tuckerparkconcerts7109-1024x685.jpg

lin­coln square busi­ness improve­ment dis­trict free con­cert at richard tuck­er park

In 2011 I noticed a cou­ple of lapel but­tons that referred to the Richard Tuck­er Music Foun­da­tion. I had nev­er heard of it before. The year 2013 marked the 100th anniver­sary of his birth. The Foun­da­tion cel­e­brat­ed with a num­ber of events. In par­tic­u­lar a gala at Lin­coln Cen­ter: Richard Tuck­er at 100: An Opera Cel­e­bra­tion which will be broad­cast on PBS Fri­day evening Jan­u­ary 10, 2014 at 9:00 PM (check your local list­ings).

tucker power

tuck­er pow­er

Date: 1980s?
Size: 7.62
Pin Form: clasp
Print Method: cel­lu­loid
Text Tuck­er Pow­er
The Richard Tuck­er Music Foun­da­tion

your lapel buttons

Many peo­ple have lapel but­tons. They may be attached to a favorite hat or jack­et you no longer wear, or poked into a cork-board on your wall. If you have any lay­ing around that you do not feel emo­tion­al­ly attached to, please let me know. I pre­serve these for the Jew­ish peo­ple. At some point they will all go to an appro­pri­ate muse­um. You can see all the but­tons shared to date.

Posted in holidays, judaica, lapel buttons, music, ritual, who | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

…let’s experiment

with minor updates

100!

As Jay writes:

There’s some­thing about round num­bers, even if they don’t actu­al­ly rep­re­sent any­thing par­tic­u­lar­ly spe­cial.

Were she alive, our moth­er: Faye [Avrunin] Hurvitz, would be 100 years old today [in 2013]; one day before the win­ter sol­stice.

i'm a Scientest

Faye Hurvitz wear­ing her “I’m a Sci­en­tist” but­ton

For some­one as mod­est (about her­self) as she, she has quite a pres­ence on the Web and not only at our fam­i­ly sites. In hon­or of the date, I col­lect some of them here.

On what would have been her 4th Yahrtzeit:

Faye Avrunin Hurvitz ז“ל

At Jay’s Boi­dem

Com­mu­ni­ty as Place
…and “Push Tech­nol­o­gy”

Her role in pub­lish­ing books:

…which has entered the aca­d­e­m­ic dis­course

At the Jew­ish Wom­en’s Archive pho­to col­lec­tion about moth­ers

Faye Hurvitz (mid­dle row; right) among the Jew­ish Wom­en’s Archive project Jew­ish Moth­ers: The Way We Were, The Way We Are.

When doing a Google search for Ruth Seid (AKA Jo Sin­clair), the first image pre­sent­ed is of these two young women as high school friends (a pho­to scanned and post­ed on the orig­i­nal Davka site, and the sixth page list­ed is the one pub­lished here in 2001 where that pho­to appears.


and more.

in her honor

Today, I’m wear­ing her but­ton.

i'm a scientist

I’m a sci­en­tist… Let’s exper­i­ment!

Date: 1970s
Size: 5.6
Pin Form: clasp
Print Method: cel­lu­loid
Text Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion for the Advance­ment of Sci­ence
I’M A
SCIENTIST
Let’s exper­i­ment!
Sci­ence Books & Films

your lapel buttons

Many peo­ple have lapel but­tons. They may be attached to a favorite hat or jack­et you no longer wear, or poked into a cork-board on your wall. If you have any lay­ing around that you do not feel emo­tion­al­ly attached to, please let me know. I pre­serve these for the Jew­ish peo­ple. At some point they will all go to an appro­pri­ate muse­um. You can see all the but­tons shared to date.

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building tabernacles of peace

May our efforts spread clouds of glory as we build true tabernacles of peace.


וּפְרוֹשׂ עָלֵינוּ סֻכַּת שְׁלוֹמֶךָ

וּפְרוֹשׂ עָלֵינוּ סֻכַּת שְׁלוֹמֶךָ


Sifra to Psalm 18:11–12 and Sid­dur: Ma’ariv: Hashkiveinu

Linoleum cut pro­duced by Mark, Sum­mer 2004.

©Mark Hurvitz
2004

this year’s card

the list of cards

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#blogelul — hear

wow, and how!

Briefly put. Sup­port Women of the Wall (and the New Israel Fund).

Be sure you can…
hear
wom­en’s
voic­es!

women of the wall mem­bers blow the sho­far at the back of the west­ern wall plaza dur­ing its month­ly rosh chodesh ser­vice, aug. 7, 2013. (miri­am alster)

Here’s a Yeshi­va world per­spec­tive.

And an appro­pri­ate but­ton:

women should be seen & heard

women should be seen & heard
new israel fund [also in hebrew and ara­bic]

Date: 2012
(from NIF at the Israel Day Parade in NYC)
Size: 6.35
Pin Form: clasp
Print Method: cel­lu­loid
Text WOMEN SHOULD BE
SEEN
&
HEARD
New Israel Fund

your lapel buttons

Many peo­ple have lapel but­tons. They may be attached to a favorite hat or jack­et you no longer wear, or poked into a cork-board on your wall. If you have any lay­ing around that you do not feel emo­tion­al­ly attached to, please let me know. I pre­serve these for the Jew­ish peo­ple. At some point they will all go to an appro­pri­ate muse­um. You can see all the but­tons shared to date.

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#blogelul — believe

siblinghood

Espe­cial­ly since Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, we’ve heard a great deal about the com­mon bonds among the Abra­ham­ic reli­gions. It is a love­ly idea, and some­thing worth work­ing towards. How­ev­er, even a sim­ple glance at one of the most icon­ic sto­ries of Abra­ham illus­trates how dif­fer­ent the three major “Abra­ham­ic” reli­gions are (the fourth is the Bahá’í faith).

The Nation­al Con­fer­ence of Chris­tians and Jews was found­ed in 1927. The sum­mer I returned from my “gap year” on the Young Judaea Year Course in Israel (1965, imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing the Watts Riots) I par­tic­i­pat­ed in the NCCJ’s youth camp Any­town USA. Teenagers from all over Los Ange­les were tak­en up to the moun­tains in order to “get to know each oth­er”. I know that I felt good about the expe­ri­ence. I don’t know how the kids from the racial minori­ties felt. In the 1990s, the NCCJ changed its name to the Nation­al Con­fer­ence for Com­mu­ni­ty and Jus­tice in order to broad­en its scope.

When I grew up I knew that the third week of Feb­ru­ary was “Nation­al Broth­er­hood Week”, spon­sored by the NCCJ. But, my time at Any­town was a real “broth­er­hood week” …even though “it only last[ed] one week”.

Once again, one of my favorite com­men­ta­tors, Tom Lehrer:

Here’s a Britishized ver­sion:

i believe

i believe

Date: 1990s
Size: 5.6
Pin Form: clasp
Print Method: cel­lu­loid
Text I BELIEVE!

NCCJ — San Diego

academically speaking

Two recent books have exam­ined the con­cept of “Abra­ham­ic reli­gion”. They are worth exam­in­ing as we eval­u­ate our beliefs now that the new year begins. Here are reviews of each:

  • Jon D. Lev­en­son. Inher­it­ing Abra­ham: The Lega­cy of the Patri­arch in Judaism, Chris­tian­i­ty, and Islam. Prince­ton: Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 2012. 288 pp. $29.95 (cloth), ISBN 978−0−691−15569−2.
    Reviewed by David Sand­mel
  • Aaron W. Hugh­es. Abra­ham­ic Reli­gions: On the Uses and Abus­es of His­to­ry. New York: Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 2012. 208 pp. $55.00 (cloth), ISBN 978−0−19−993464−5.
    Reviewed by Davis Han­k­ins

Check your local library.

your lapel buttons

Many peo­ple have lapel but­tons. They may be attached to a favorite hat or jack­et you no longer wear, or poked into a cork-board on your wall. If you have any lay­ing around that you do not feel emo­tion­al­ly attached to, please let me know. I pre­serve these for the Jew­ish peo­ple. At some point they will all go to an appro­pri­ate muse­um. You can see all the but­tons shared to date.

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#blogelul — be

mad man

Ad man William Bern­bach devel­oped a num­ber of famous cam­paigns. For our pur­pose today, his most impor­tant is that for Levy’s bak­ery.

Cor­rec­tion (Jan­u­ary 14, 2014): the woman behind the man!

Judy Por­tas died Tues­day, Jan­u­ary 7, 2014 at the age of 91. As the sto­ry in the New York Times reports:

As Ms. Pro­tas, a retired adver­tis­ing exec­u­tive at Doyle Dane Bern­bach who died on Tues­day at 91, well knew, a cam­paign spent sell­ing rye bread to Jews would be a cam­paign squan­dered in preach­ing to the con­vert­ed.

We had a local bread, real Jew­ish bread, that was sold wide­ly in Brook­lyn to Jew­ish peo­ple,” she told The New York Times in 1979. “What we want­ed to do was enlarge its pub­lic accep­tance. Since New York is so mixed eth­ni­cal­ly, we decid­ed to spread the good word that way.”

And thus, from Ms. Protas’s large­ly anony­mous pen sprang a slo­gan — “You don’t have to be Jew­ish to love Levy’s Real Jew­ish Rye” — that has far out­lived the actu­al cam­paign, which began in 1961 and ran through the 1970s.

one of the

one of the “you don’t have to be
jew­ish…” cam­paign posters

I’ve not been able to learn exact­ly when the phrase was first used, but a Google Engram search sug­gests that the meme took off some­time around 1962 or 1963. After rock­et­ing to star­dom the use of the phrase seems to have plateaued by the end of the decade. Nonethe­less, when you do a Google search on the phrase now, it takes only a quar­ter of a sec­ond to return over a mil­lion ref­er­ences.

[you don't] have to be Jewish - engram

[you don’t] have to be Jew­ish — engram

let me count the ways

The phrase has been used in many dif­fer­ent con­texts. These include a com­e­dy album of which there are over 700 clips and vari­ants on YouTube as well as oth­er uses, both com­mer­cial:

you don't have to be jewish to love atlantic

you don’t have to be jew­ish to love atlantic

Date: 1960s
Size: 5.1
Pin Form: straight
Print Method: cel­lu­loid
Text YOU DON’T
HAVE TO BE
JEWISH
TO LOVE
ATLANTIC

and polit­i­cal:

you don't have to be jewish to vote for gore/lieberman

you don’t have to be jew­ish to vote for gore/lieberman

Date: 2000
Size (3 vari­ants): 3.2, 5.5, 8.7
Pin Form: [straight] clasp
Print Method: cel­lu­loid
Text YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE JEWISH
TO VOTE FOR
JOE LIEBERMAN —— AL GORE
for Vice Pres­i­dent —— for Pres­i­dent
2000
AMERICA’S TEAM

and more per­son­al­ly (and sea­son­al­ly time­ly, because the Hurvitz fam­i­ly pro­duced a leaflet we dis­trib­uted at Yom Kip­pur ser­vices in Los Ange­les in 1966) polit­i­cal:

you don't have to be jewish to oppose the war in vietnam

you don’t have to be jew­ish to oppose the war in viet­nam

Date: 1960s
Size: 3.5
Pin Form: straight clasp
Print Method: cel­lu­loid
Text YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE
JEWISH
TO OPPOSE
THE
WAR IN VIETNAM

extending (or paraphrasing) hillel

So, while you don’t have to be Jew­ish…

…if not you, who?

And, if not now, when?


on “do” and “be”

My col­league and friend Phyl­lis Som­mer who ini­ti­at­ed and set the prompts for #Blo­gElul may not have con­sid­ered the spe­cial nature of the sequence.

There are a cou­ple of places on the Web that explore the “pro­gres­sive” rela­tion­ship of “do” and “be”:

  • Hen­ning Schürig shared this in June of 2006:
    • To be or not to be. – Shake­speare
    • To do is to be. – Niet­zsche
    • To be is to do. – Sartre
    • Do be do be do. – Sina­tra
  • A vari­ant appears at the Eng­lish Lan­guage and Usage pages of Stack Exchange
    • To be is to do. —Socrates [Odd, did Sartre pla­gia­rize Socrates?]
    • To do is to be. —Pla­to [And, did Niet­zsche pla­gia­rize Pla­to?]
    • Do-be-do-be-do. —Sina­tra

We do not have Socrates, Pla­to, Niet­zsche, nor Sartre speak­ing their wis­dom in their own voic­es, how­ev­er, we do have Sina­tra. While it may seem a bit odd, Frank sings of appro­pri­ate con­cerns at this time of year: of face to face com­mu­ni­ca­tions as well as of “doing” and “being”. Pay spe­cial atten­tion at minute 2:17.

your lapel buttons

Many peo­ple have lapel but­tons. They may be attached to a favorite hat or jack­et you no longer wear, or poked into a cork-board on your wall. If you have any lay­ing around that you do not feel emo­tion­al­ly attached to, please let me know. I pre­serve these for the Jew­ish peo­ple. At some point they will all go to an appro­pri­ate muse­um. You can see all the but­tons shared to date.

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