You've heard, I presume, the old line about the briefest, yet accurate summation of Jewish history, right?
"They tried to kill us. They failed. Let's eat." And I must tell you, with a particular focus on "Let's eat", that is precisely how I began my celebration of the sixty-sixth anniversary of Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel Independence Day.
The "strict constructionist" in me had planned a historical, polemical analysis but its "loose constructionist" counterpart demurred-setting the tone for this piece-after battling a several days bout with "writer's block". Besides, I reasoned, the world needs another historical, polemical analysis like a "loch un kop"-am I right?
So after enough redo(s), restarts, rewrites and erasures that would have filled the old classrooms of our day with a cloud of yellow chalk dust, I finally happened upon an idea I hope you and I like. My intent was to steer away from redundancy.
Picture this. There I am sitting next to the vendor's tent from which I had bought my lunch, thinking 'Damn! I hate it. I absolutely hate it!' And I hadn't even written it yet.
Remember the first speech your English teacher gave before the class about "taking notes?" It was something along these lines: "If you really wish to succeed in college, as you all do, then pay strict attention because note taking is an absolute must.
Rule 1: You cannot write down every word, so don't even try. Listen for key expressions, important vocabulary. Review regularly.
Rule 2: What Rule 2? There was only Rule 1!. See above.
And so I did … take notes, that is. Want to see for yourself? Unofficially, I am reentitling this piece “How I spent my Yom Ha'atzmaut and other weird stuff".
[Unsung heroes-no neither Mann nor woman. Shoot what then? Rio, the dog. A German Shepard actually. Note on the use of German shepards by nazis.
Bomb sniffing dog, rio
MFirst song haleli
West her, sunny warm slight breeze,
Jewish rock radio, Lee Epstein demand apparently emcee
Start of Israel fest, month long celebration
How many men from minyan this morning did I see here's? 3
Estimated attendance according to cook city sheriff 's deputy Kevin singletsry, twenty-four year veteran of the sheriff's department with who I had the pleasure of talking for about fifteen minutes.
Abram lee, mark lee not related, 47 American citizen three
South Korean missionary, youth with a mission? Miss ionize, many Koreans know god thrust Jo, mark student, 30Abram wanted to follow the
Joy, New Brunswick pr missionary with youth with mission, pray or the people of Jerusalem, sham Israel be
24 years, corrections. Officer Kevin single tary labeled them the "lost generation"
Sheriffs academy orange valley]
As I was about to say before I interrupted myself, Milt's Barbeque for the Perplexed, is not a book title although it does attempt to pun on the English translation of the Rambam's opus magnus which is rendered in English as A Guide for the Perplexed.
Rather, Milt’s is an upbeat kosher restaurant at 3411 N. Broadway on "da city's nort-side" as Chicago's linguistically authentic "sout-siders" say. You'll enjoy the ambiance and menu selections. A+ all the way. However, Milt’s at Daley Civic Center, C-. Partaking of a mound of brisket placed between the upper and lower halves of a plain hamburger bun reminded me of the "Sloppy Joe's" we used to eat as kids. No further comment.
My suspicion is we witnessed an example of “expectation exceeding actuality”.
In a city the size of Chicago, with as large a kosher market as we have, you wouldn't expect to hear "I hear that Milt's is going to be there. At long last, kosher food in the city" sold and served on the plaza named for “Da (late) Mayor of the City of Chicago", Richard J. Daley.
If I may make two suggestions: kosher consumers, bring a bottle of water next time. Suggestion to Milt's, bring a "washing station".
"Chag Yom Ha'atzmaut Sameach (Happy Israel Independence Day)," blared Lee Epstein, radio personality of Jewish Rock Radio who made a point of drawing out the "ach" in "sameach" so that it became "achchchch."
It is always good to see large gatherings of Jews and especially on a joyful occasion.
"Kinda puts you in the mood for a few bars of Ps. 133, "Henay ma tov uma naiyim, shevet achim gam yachad." ("How good and how pleasant is the dwelling of brothers, moreover, in unity."
"Chag Yom Ha'atzmaut Sameach," Lee Epstein again shouted out, trying to enliven a crowd that was not going to win any awards for "exceptional enthusiasm".
Meanwhile the crowd grew as more “Loop” workers stopped by on their lunch break. Many, many Jewish school kids. Happily, "calm” ruled the day, although under-attended, I think, by the absence of a counter-demonstration.
I am, by nature, a people watcher. I was reminded of the simple fact that others are too. I sat down at one of the tables to work up my notes when an Asian man ran up to me excitedly and, in a heavily-accented though understandable English, wanted to know if he and his group of South Korean and one Canadian Christian missionaries, calling themselves "Youth With Mission" might share my table and some conversation.
His name, as it happened, was Abram. When I asked him how a Korean man comes by such a name, he explained he had chosen it because, in his study of the "Old Testament" he learned that Abraham had left his home so that he might bring the knowledge of G-d to others. That, Abram explained, was the work he sought as a missionary. Fascinating.
Additionally, I wish to thank Cook County Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Singletary for his kindness in answering my many questions about police work and law enforcement.
Well, that pretty much wraps it up. You already know this lesson but my experience in celebrating the sixty-sixth anniversary of Israeli independence reminded me of just how many good folks there are in our world: non-Jew and Jew, and that it is to our detriment that we shut our eyes to this fact.
Am Yisrael Chai!