I wonder how many of you would be alive today if your immigrant ancestor(s) had been subjected to the proposed entry requirements put forward by the Trump administration. I doubt my father, who fluently spoke four languages (Yiddish, Polish, German and Hebrew) would have passed the English language proficiency hurdle.
I wonder if Donald Trump’s grandfather, Friedrich Trump, a 16-year-old German immigrant, would have qualified. What we do know is that Friedrich was a draft dodger in Germany, stripped of his citizenship when he returned to live in his native land 15 years later, necessitating his re-entry to America in 1905.
After 27-year-old Kopel Fuersetzer came to New York in 1939 from Danzig (Gdansk), he enrolled in night school to improve the rudimentary English he procured during his voyage to America. He was sufficiently fluent by the time he was inducted into the army in December 1942, barely two months after marrying my mother. Sylvia Gerson was four when she arrived in New York from Lodz, Poland.
Immigration, both the legal and illegal kinds, is a hot-button topic these days. I don’t mean to wade into that roiling issue at this time other than to suggest, as others have done, that with the exception of Native Americans all of us are descendants of immigrants. African-Americans were brought against their will, but most others came voluntarily with little in their pockets but big dreams to the potential of life in America.
Guess Who: The most widely played political parlor game 45 years ago was: “Guess who is Deep Throat?,” the secret and revelatory source of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s detailed reporting on the Watergate break-in coverup that ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Suspected leakers included Martha Mitchell, wife of Attorney General John Mitchell, and former White House counsel John Dean. It was not until 2005 that we learned Deep Throat’s true identity—Mark Felt, the number two man at the FBI. Imagine that: A top FBI official was the patriotic leaker.
Fast forward to 2017 and Deep Throat II is waiting to be unmasked. Could it be deposed White House chief of staff Reince Priebus or the comical former White House press secretary Sean Spicer? Both would have been privy to details included in the Washington Post bombshell that during the flight home from the G-20 summit in Europe Donald Trump authored his son’s initial response to the inquiry about a previously undisclosed meeting with Russians during the presidential campaign.
Who else could it be? Sarah Huckabee Sanders? Kellyanne Conway? Steve Bannon’s boy wonder Stephen Miller? Steve Mnuchin? Gary Cohn? Surely it must be someone privy to the inner doings on Air Force One or one of their confidantes.
It is deliciously ironic that Trump, a consummate practitioner of leaks, is being tormented, and perhaps could even be toppled, by leaks.
Thou Shalt Not: My rabbi is fond of noting that many societal rules found in the Bible, such as prohibitions on bestiality or the drinking of blood or the ripping of a limb from a live animal for food, are there because they were practices common to mankind at the time and God wanted the children of Israel not to do them.
Which brings me to Trump’s tweet Monday, “No WH chaos!” It seems to me that if there were no chaos the chaos-creator-in-chief would not have seen the need to proclaim serenity where he now resides and is, heaven please help us, the titular head of the free world.
Sticking With the Bible: A recent article in The New York Times (https://nyti.ms/2tNdzuC) started with the following: “There is a story in the Hebrew Bible that tells of God’s call for the annihilation of the Canaanites, a people who lived in what are now Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and the Palestinian territories thousands of years ago.
“You shall not leave alive anything that breathes,” God said in the passage. “But you shall utterly destroy them.”
Accurate as far as it goes but then the author is seemingly amazed that descendants of the Canaanites are reportedly to be found in Lebanon.
Duh! Had the writer turned a few more pages in the Bible, to Judges, Chapter 1, he would have discovered repeated references to Canaanites living within the land promised to the children of Israel.
Here’s just one example, verse 27 (King James Bible): “Neither did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of Bethshean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns: but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.”