St Paddys Day Weekend - 2014
Getting Ready For Dinner at Muldoons

Broke me damn toe!
Met Andy At Sharey Tikvah for Megillah Reading
March 16, 2014
Of Purim and St. Paddy's, Land, Rebellion and Booze

Jewish Daily Forward
March 16, 2014, 1:16pm
Of Purim and St. Paddy's, Land, Rebellion and Booze
By J.J. Goldberg

Purim falls this year on March 16, and St. Patrick´s Day on March 17. It appears that Jews will be nursing their hangovers on Monday morning just as the Irish are getting to work on theirs. What´s significant, year after year, is that the two peoples that did so much to define modern America have these overlapping holidays characterized by intoxication.

I wrote the following Op-Ed piece in the Los Angeles Times exactly 30 years ago, on March 16, 1984, when Purim and St. Patrick´s Day both fell on the 17th. I was reflecting on the holidays´ many parallels and echoes: drinking, partitioned homelands, revived languages, rebellion against the Brits.

As I re-read it now, I´m struck by how much has changed, how much no longer applies. Besides the passing of the generations that witnessed liberation, I sense a full generation later that Ireland has dealt with the temptations of religious passion more temperately than Israel has. Ireland resolved to put its religio-territorial war behind it and get on with things, while Israel´s territorial wars have become ever more religion-driven and seem increasingly insoluble.

It´s striking, too, how the revolutionary impulse has spread beyond the realm of teenage nothing-to-lose bravado to a new world of middle-class, middle-age families taking to the streets worldwide.

Most of all, I´d sort of forgotten how hopeful things used to seem. Anyhow, here it is (with apologies for the headline—I didn´t write it):

Begorrah and Shalom! Jews, Irish Should Celebrate as One

St. Patrick´s Day and Purim both fall on March 17 this year, a coincidence that merits some reflection.

St. Patrick´s Day honors the man who brought Christianity to Ireland a millennium and a half ago. Over the years the day has evolved into a symbol of the eternal spirit of Erin, and many of her sons celebrate, at home and throughout their diaspora, by imbibing.

Purim is quite different in origin. The holiday commemorates the events recounted in the Book of Esther, when Persian Jews were threatened with mass murder under the wicked prime minister, Haman. As the story goes, the massacre was averted through the political maneuvers of Mordecai the Jew and his niece Esther, who managed to turn the tables and slaughter their enemies. The Talmud recommends that Jews commemorate their deliverance each year by getting so drunk that they can´t tell the difference between “blessed be Mordecai’ and “cursed be Haman.’

Liquor and carnage. Diaspora yearnings and partitioned homelands. President Chaim Herzog of Israel is Dublin-born and so is Mayor Gerald Y. Goldberg of Cork. But the spiritual bond between the Jews and the Irish runs deeper than that. There also is a common understanding of what it means to struggle to hold onto your identity, to glory in it, to want to wipe that condescending smirk off the faces of neighbors and oppressors.

An old family friend, who today is a distinguished Israeli diplomat, used to tell me romantic tales of growing up in Belfast in the 1930s. It seems that there were two underground movements in the city in those days, the Labor Zionists and the Irish Republicans. Both groups were hounded by British soldiers. They shared safe-houses, weapons and dreams of revenge and bloody glory. They were all teen-agers.

Let´s face it—it´s the adolescents who make revolutions. It´s the teen-age boys in their first flush of manhood, unencumbered by wisdom or responsibility—boys with nothing to lose who are the first to throw the bombs and raise the flag of rebellion. In the adolescent mind, freedom and honor are indivisible and dearer than life.

Thanks in part to all those angry young men, the Jews and the Irish have made great strides in this century. Two nations that once lived in shadows are now represented in world councils. Ancient languages have been revived, ancient peoples have reentered history. Every Irishman and every Israeli who was alive before independence remembers how it felt to wake up one day and know, suddenly, that you come from somewhere.

Much remains to be done in both countries. The fate of the Irish language still hangs in the balance. Israel has yet to win acceptance from her neighbors. Both countries wrestle with painful decisions about the role of religion in national life. Both countries are wracked by debate over partition—whether or not to accept territorial compromise, to settle for a dream only partly fulfilled.

But the basic revolution has been won for both Ireland and Israel. The flags fly. The states have achieved sovereignty, the people have won the freedom to decide their destinies. So much has been gained that there is a great deal to lose. Now it is up to wise leadership to pursue destiny on a road that may require compromise.

The parallel is imperfect. Scholars will see a comparison between apples and oranges. The issues are not the sames, the wars have different causes, and yet … Sure, it´s only the Purim musings of a cab driver from Queens. But isn´t it grand that we have days when we can take a drink to think our silly thoughts, and another drink to forget the pain, and another drink for the devil of it, and be blessed for our drinking in the bargain?

So on Saturday night let´s all raise a glass to freedom. We´ll drink to Mordecai the Jew and O´Connell the Liberator, to Connolly and Trumpeldor and DeValera and Ben-Gurion, to all the brave and bloodied dreamers who dared to shake a fist at tyranny for land and liberty.

And then, come Sunday morning, let´s brace ourselves with a cup of strong coffee and get on with, the work of the real world.

A Heck Of A Cake
A Heck Of A Plant
Back To Muldoons For The Wearin' Of The Green
Old Time Candy At All City Candy
Candy Dots On Paper, Candy Cigarettes, Plastic Bottles with Crap You Suck Out, Etc
March 16, 2014
How the Jews Made America Irish

How the Jews Made America Irish
Sons of Erin and Abraham Have a Long History Together
By Robert F. Moss
Published March 16, 2014, issue of March 21, 2014.

Even with St. Patrick´s Day upon us, it´s hard to say just when and where the first major alliance between the Jews and the Irish was forged in this country, but the Chicago office of Dankmar Adler, architect and engineer, back in 1879, might be a good place to start.

There, Adler decided to hire young, visionary Louis Henry Sullivan, and over the next decade and a half the two men basically rewrote the vocabulary of American architecture. Sullivan, the son of a dancing master from Cork, Ireland was the grand artificer, and Adler, whose father was a German rabbi, was the pragmatic technician who made girdered reality of his partner´s elegant dreams.

The result was nothing less than the modern glass-and-steel skyscraper. Eschewing the ornate, detail-heavy Victorian masonry of the period, they substituted a Promethean steel structure — featuring massive windows and semicircular archways — that was, in Sullivan´s words, “a proud and soaring thing.’ The Sullivan-Adler aesthetic, with its emphasis on simplicity and organic form, foreshadowed the “international style’ by 30 years.

Sadly, this brilliant duo quarreled and split up in 1895, never to achieve individually what they had accomplished together.

Not all pairings of Irish and Jewish talent were as momentous as Sullivan and Adler´s, but many had their own historic resonance. For a number of years after the resurrection of the Olympics in 1896, New York-area athletes could only gain access to the games through amateur athletic organizations such as the Irish American Athletic Club.

Thanks to Hibernian tolerance, a fleet-footed son of Polish-Jewish immigrants named Abel Kiviat was allowed to compete in the 1912 Olympics, where he captured the silver medal in the 1500 meters and shared in the team gold in the 3000 meter relay.

But of course, mergers of Jewish and Irish talent were much more common in show business than in sports. Dublin-born operetta king Victor Herbert interfaced frequently with Jewish colleagues, especially later in his career when he contributed songs to Irving Berlin´s “Music Box Review’ and to the “Ziegfeld Follies.’

In the same epoch, George M. Cohan and Sam Harris presented over 50 Broadway shows, including “Little Johnny Jones’ in 1904 and most of Cohan´s other best-known works. “Proud of all the Irish blood that´s in me,’ crowed Jimmy Cagney as Cohan, bouncing off the walls in the beloved 1942 biopic “Yankee Doodle Dandy,’ while the film barely hinted at Harris´s Jewish identity.

Appropriately, Cohan´s last hour of theatrical glory came in 1937 in “I´d Rather Be Right,’ a musical by the Jewish team of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.

The chemistry between the Irish and the Jews cannot be replicated in a lab, but it can nonetheless be reasonably explained on the basis of similarities in cultural DNA and parallels in historical experience. Both peoples suffered oppression in the Old World and the New, with a resulting sense of “outsider’ status (see the fiction of John O´Hara and Saul Bellow) and an inevitable embrace of reform-minded, even radical, political ideals. “Red Emma’ Goldman, the first lady of anarchism, mentored Margaret Sanger (née Higgins), the pioneer of the American birth control movement, and inspired Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, the “Rebel Girl,’ union agitator, and, eventually, the president of the American Communist Party. Sanger, a nurse, also apprenticed with Lillian Wald, a major force in the establishment of Settlement Houses. Each had her own political habitat, but they were strong allies in the crusade for social justice and women´s rights.

Nor were ethnic alignments very different in the headquarters of organized labor, though queen bees like Goldman, Sanger, and Mother Jones (Cork-born Mary Harris Jones) were not so common. Samuel Gompers, a Jew from England, has long been consecrated as the founder of the American Federation of Labor, but he acknowledges in his autobiography that the Irish played an inceptive role too, specifically P.J. McGuire, founder of the International Brotherhood of Carpenters, and John McBride, head of the United Mine Workers of America. Another Irish American labor leader, William Z. Foster, fused the professional with the personal, marrying fellow union activist Esther Abramowitz.

In his rise to power in the 1920s, New York Governor Al Smith, by far the most prominent Irish Catholic politician of his day, quickly recognized the talents of a shrewd social reformer, Belle Moskowitz, and made her his chief aide, installing her in a corner of his office. She, in turn, recruited another politically gifted Jew, Robert Moses, who became the single most important — though polarizing — urban planner in the history of the state. On a few occasions, though, the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick have been less than friendly toward Jews. During World War II, Irish hooligans assaulted numerous Jewish youths on the streets of Boston, perhaps due to the influence of Father Charles Coughlin, the anti-Semitic radio priest of the 1930s and ´40s. Many decades later, the Coughlinite Pat Buchanan accused American Jewry of fomenting the first Gulf War, acting as surrogates for Israel.

In each instance, however, the more enlightened elements in the Irish community prevailed. The Catholic hierarchy, which had never approved of Father Coughlin´s broadcasts, finally ordered him off the air in 1942. Two years later, James Michael Curley, then a congressman from Boston, spent 20 minutes reading a list of Jewish war heroes — from the Revolutionary War to the Battle of Anzio — into the Congressional Record. House Majority Leader John McCormack rose to commend his colleague´s speech, hailing Curley as “a man who has always condemned intolerance and bigotry in any form.’

As for Buchanan, his canard was vigorously rebutted by William F. Buckley in his book “In Search of Anti-Semitism.’ The work received a highly nuanced review in The New York Times from Nathan Glazer and his friend Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

That Glazer-Moynihan pairing is illustrative of the keen interest these ethnic secret sharers have taken in each other´s culture. “Trinity,’ by Jewish American Leon Uris, is one of the most popular novels ever written about Ireland (it was a great favorite of Bobby Sands), while Joyce´s “Ulysses’ might be the most famous novel about a Jew. Both Bellow and Norman Mailer admired the work of William Kennedy, the author of the “Albany Trilogy,’ while Kennedy has expressed gratitude for the support he got from Bellow during his long struggle to get published. Thomas Cahill, yet another philo-Semitic Irish American, schepped nakhes aplenty for his own people in “How the Irish Saved Civilization,’ and, in his next book, “The Gifts of the Jews,’ performed the same service for world Jewry. But perhaps the most poignant nexus of Irish-Jewish literary history was the fate of director Alan Schneider, the leading American interpreter of Samuel Beckett´s work. In 1984, he was killed by a motorcyclist in London while crossing the street to mail a letter to Samuel Beckett.

Boston, the scene of so much intolerance in the 1940s, was the setting for a very different sort of interaction in 1957. In that year, Dublin´s first Jewish Lord Mayor Robert Briscoe planned a visit, but was not going to be able to arrive in time for the St. Patrick´s Day Parade.’No problem, said Beantown´s mayor, John B. Hynes, who postponed the parade for two days just to accommodate Briscoe. The Lord Mayor felt even more welcome when he saw the headline in one of the local newspapers: AARON GO BRAGH, printed in English and Yiddish.

Robert F. Moss has written for the New York Times and The New Republic.

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