Tag Archives: Golda Meir

Jewish American Heritage Month: Americans Jews Who Made an Impact

May is Jewish American Heritage Month. With antisemitism on the rise in frightening numbers, the easier thing would be to hide who we are. Instead, we should be loud and proud of who we are. In honor of this month, I would like to offer a small list of American Jews who have made an impact on this nation.

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P.S. Last week was both Yom HaZikaron and Yom Haatzmaut. Happy Birthday Israel and may the memories of those who gave their lives for their country be a blessing.

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Helen Mirren, Golda Meir, and the Question of Jewface

Representation both on the screen and on the page is a powerful thing. For those who feel maligned or ignored, seeing themselves in the media as fleshed-out human beings is an experience that can only be described as life-changing. It also changes minds and hopefully opens the door to understanding one another.

When it was recently announced that Helen Mirren is starring in an upcoming Golda Meir biopic, some people accused her of playing Jewface.

I have mixed feelings about this. Golda Meir was Israel‘s first female Prime Minister and a woman to be reckoned with. The actress who plays her has to have that same energy and presence. Mirren is clearly up for the job.

The problem (which I understand) is that Mirren is not Jewish. When she spoke to the director before she took the role, she understood the criticism that was potentially coming her way.

“[Meir] is a very important person in Israeli history,” Mirren continued. “I said, ‘Look Guy, I’m not Jewish, and if you want to think about that, and decide to go in a different direction, no hard feelings. I will absolutely understand.’ But he very much wanted me to play the role, and off we went.”

“I do believe it is a discussion that has to be had – it’s utterly legitimate. [But] You know, if someone who’s not Jewish can’t play Jewish, does someone who’s Jewish play someone who’s not Jewish?”

This is not the first time that she has played a Jewish character. In both The Debt and Woman in Gold, the women she played were of the faith. But neither of the women who she temporarily inhabited were in the position that Meir was in. What I think makes this question of Jewface more complicated is that Ashkenazi Jews (for the most part) are Caucasian. The question of the entertainers’ skin color is less important than their ethnicity or family heritage.

I have no doubt that Helen Mirren will be nothing short of fantastic. I have been a fan of hers for a number of years. My hope is that she will do Golda justice. But for now, we can only wait and see how the movie is received when it hits theaters.

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Lilyville: Mother, Daughter, and Other Roles I’ve Played Book Review

The relationship with our parents is not always black and white. We love them, we respect them, and we are grateful for what they have given us. But we can also be plagued by their flaws and what we wished we had received from them as children.

Lilyville: Mother, Daughter, and Other Roles I’ve Played, written by the iconic Broadway performer Tovah Feldshuh, was released last month. In the book, Ms. Feldshuh talks about her life and career while detailing the sometimes difficult relationship, she had with her late mother, Lily. Born in the Bronx and raised in Westchester town of Scarsdale, she lived the comfortable life of a young lady growing up in the middle class in the 1950’s.

Trying to live up to the ideals that her mother believed in, Tovah never quite received the emotional support she craved. It was only years later after her father had died that mother and daughter finally had the connection that did not exist in Tovah’s childhood. Balancing work, marriage, and motherhood, she finally understood Lily in a way that only occurs in adulthood.

This is easily one of the best books of 2021. It’s heartfelt, its humorous, and authentic. Though the details are specific to her life, it could easily be the story of any complicated parent/child relationship. What I took from the book is that it is possible to move beyond the unspoken words between us and our parents. It would have not been unexpected to slide into CEN (Childhood Emotional Neglect). But the fact that they were able to not only get along, but understand each other, is a testament that it can be done.

I had the pleasure of seeing Ms. Feldshuh play Golda Meir in Golda’s Balcony years ago. It was one of the most powerful and enduring performances I have ever seen on stage.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Mental Health, New York City

Trevor Noah is Right and Wrong about the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

Everyone has an opinion about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

During last night’s episode of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah shared his thoughts on the topic.

I agree with him and I don’t agree with him. I agree that this is a generations old argument that cannot be so easily solved. But if there is one point in which he is wrong about, it is power.

The issue is not the power itself, it is how it is used. In the 70+ years of Israel’s existence, the country has grown from a backwater desert to a thriving democracy with an solid economy and a drive to create. The list of inventions that have come out of the Jewish state are nothing to sneeze at.

If the Palestinian leadership would use their resources to build up their country and help the people, they wouldn’t need to blame Israel or anyone else. Instead, they focus their financial, physical, and people resources on building tunnels and putting their own children in harms way.

I’m going to end this post with a quote from the late and brilliant Golda Meir.

“We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us”

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Filed under Feminism, History, International News, Television, World News

RIP Shimon Peres

Today, the world lost a giant in the world of politics: Shimon Peres.

Born in pre-war Poland, Mr. Peres emigrated with his family to what was then British controlled Palestine in the 1930’s. A former President of Israel, he saw the need for peace in the region and was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for his part in creating the Oslo Peace Accords.

Mr. Peres was the last OG of the giants who founded the modern State of Israel. David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, and others have long since left this earth. But Mr. Peres remained.

He was 93. My heart goes out to his family and those who knew him.

Todah rabah, sir for a lifetime of service. RIP.

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That’s Rich

In today’s news, the United Nations has once more proved how useless it has become.

The United Nations Commission On The Status Of Women accuses Israel of denying Palestinian women their rights.

That’s rich.

The areas that the Palestinians have claimed for their own (if claimed can be the right word) are ruled by a fundamentalist government who do not believe in democracy. In a fundamentalist society, women are second class citizens. They have no  rights.

Israel is a democratic  government. We all saw the  headlines earlier this week about Benjamin Netanyahu being re-elected. There is no law, either on or off the books that states what a woman can or cannot do. Golda Meir, a woman was Prime Minister from 1969-1974.

So please tell me how a democratic government where a woman was in charge can be accused of being anti-women. Unless, that is, the accusations are coming from the same neighbors who spread hate and lies and make no bones about wanting to destroy Israel.

 

 

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These are the people we are supposed to make peace with?

There was another bloodbath in Jerusalem today. Four rabbis, three of whom have dual American-Israeli citizenship and one who has dual British-Israeli citizenship was murdered as they prayed in a synagogue.

While Israel was again mourning for their dead,  it was  party in Gaza.

These are the same people who celebrated 9/11.

President Obama and Secretary Of State John Kerry publicly announced the usual condolences and warning. It was again, sound and fury signaling nothing.

The condemnation, forced upon President Abbas by international pressure was as it always is: false and inflammatory.

These people don’t want peace. They never have and never will. They have a specific goal in mind and will do anything, including murder, lies, incitement and destruction to reach their goals.

Golda Meir once said that “peace will come to the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us”.

Prophetic and sad and very true.

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Her Promised Road: A Novel Book Review

Sometimes, we have to make choices in life. These choices are not easy and no matter what decision we make, we loose something or someone in the process.

Efrat Israeli’s new book, Her Promised Land: A Novel is about these hard decisions. The book is loosely based on the life and career of the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. Devorah Abramson, like millions of Eastern European Jews, emigrated to the United States in the years leading up the first World War. Raised in the Midwest, she made Aaliyah (emigrated) to Israel when it was still ruled under the British Mandate.

In the early 1930’s, with her young children in tow and her marriage slowly fading away, Devorah is sent to the United States to be the emissary for the Women’s Worker’s Council in Palestine. Her goal is to not only bring in money, but to turn hearts and minds to the idea of a revival of the Jewish homeland. She often finds herself torn between her political mission, her children and her heart.

The idea of this book is interesting. Golda Meir was and still is a unique figure in not just Israeli politics, but world politics.  Using Golda as a mold for the fictional Devorah was very brave on the part of the author. It’s very difficult, when using a woman like Golda as the inspiration for a fictional character. One on hand, research is required to make sure that the details are accurate. However, this is a novel and not a documentary. The reader has to be taken in by the story and the character to finish the novel.

Did I recommend it?Yes, but only if the reader knows something about Golda and Israel before 1948. If not, then I would recommend that any potential readers first learn about Golda and then read about her fictional counterpart.

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I Get It Now

I finally get it. You would think that it would be obvious all along, but I’ve finally realized the truth.

The world and UN ( whom I consider to be useless at this point) specifically has extreme tunnel vision when it comes to how they react to what is happening around them.

When ISIS executes American journalist James Foley, it’s like hearing crickets.  No response, no outrage, no protest, no catchy hash tag that everyone on social media uses. Nada. Nothing.

But when Israel is simply trying to defend on herself from a neighbor whose everything in life is to destroy Israeli property and murder Israeli citizens, then the reactions start fast and furious.

I would like to remind you that this neighbor will say and do anything to get the press and the rest of the world in their corner. Including having citizens lying under body bags who move while they are they unaware that they are being filmed.

The late, great, Golda Meir once said the following:

“Peace will come to the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.”

Maybe’ll you’ll get it now.

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