Friday, July 17, 2009

SHVARTZEHS

When I was growing up, the only word we used to describe Negroes...that was what they were called way back when...was 'shvartzehs'. My parents and grandparents spoke a lot of Yiddish in the home and that was the yiddish word for 'blacks'.

It may not have been politically correct...but it was the only word in their language. Die Veisseh were the white people.

Our world was divided not between black and white...but rather between yidden and goyim...Jews and Gentiles.

July 1967...I was at my parents house in Windsor when the phone call came from my brother, David, in Detroit. 'Pa! Come get me! They're rioting all over the neighbourhood! Detroit is burning!'

Daddy hopped into the car and went to Detroit to rescue David and a couple of his friends and bring them back from their frat house to our place.

I had to get back to Detroit. Long story but I had to get back to Detroit. So, I hopped into my mustang and drove through the tunnel and on to the expressway. The sky was black with smoke. Huge burned pieces of debris and ash fell like wounded birds onto the expressway. It was terrifying.

The black community was rioting. The worse riots in Detroit history. I saw it. I drove through it. I was part of the people who were under curfew. The militia was called in and tanks rolled up and down the streets destroying the roads.

It took five days.

You have your blacks...and we have ours. No, our blacks don't come from Africa...mind you we do have a great community of Jews from that continent.

No, the people I am referring to have chosen to be black by the dress they wear. Black hats...black coats...black suits and shoes. Our shvartzehs are religious Jews and they are rioting.
As if Jerusalem didn't have enough problems!

My wonderful Jerusalem. They don't want a parking lot to be open downtown on Shabbat. They are protesting the arrest of a terrible lady who is suspected of abusing her young child.

So they are out in the street throwing stones and setting tires on fire and causing all sorts of trouble.

I will not discuss here right or wrong. I have my opinion. They have theirs.

But, here's what I think. You don't like something? Talk to your mayor...congressman...a good looking neighbour...the guy who runs the makolet. But, don't take things into your own hands. What the hell is wrong with you?

And, what about live and let live? My biggest problem with the religious community is that they want to be accepted in every way...shabbat...kosher...you name it they have a rule and a comment and a philosophy and a rabbi who can get his entire congregation out into the streets before the ink is dry on the page.

Ok, ok...freedom of speech. But that does not include burning, hurting our police and soldiers and throwing stones.

They're lucky. They're lucky because the rest of us...die veisseh are not amassing and picking up even bigger stones to throw at them from the other side of the street.

You don't want to park your car on Shabbat? Stay home! You don't want to eat in a restaurant? Stay home! You don't want to go the movies on Shabbat? Stay home!

The parking lot...restaurant...movie theatre is not in their neighbourhoods. So, maybe they should butt out of my business? Maybe, on Shabbat they should enjoy their cholent and their families and their day of rest.

I know...I know. Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish homeland. Jerusalem should not be like any other city in the world. Jerusalem does not have public transportation on the sabbath. Jerusalem is Jerusalem just because.

Bubbie Channah had a favourite joke. It went something like this: Bessie went with her beau, Sol to a baseball game for the very first time. All of a sudden the batter missed another pitch and started to walk to first plate. When Bessie asked what was going on, Sol said, 'That's Willie Mays. He got four balls and can walk to first base.' Bessie looked at her boyfriend, and then back at the baseball diamond. Then, standing up, she shouted at the top of her lungs, 'You walk proud Willie Mays! You got four balls! You walk proud!'

Whenever someone did anything spectacular in the family, my mother would get a twinkle in her eye and shout, 'You walk proud Willie Mays!'

I don't think my mother would be proud today of her fellow Jerusalemites. I know I'm not.

In my heart I am cheering for our mayor Nir Barkat. And hope he can juggle enough to keep Jerusalem both secular as well as religious.

Maybe I should Facebook him. 'You walk proud Nir Barkat!'

We'll see. If he manages to pull this white rabbit out of the black hat I just might send him a copy of this blog.

Shabbat shalom.

Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.







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