The first instance of affirmative action in American Jewish history occurred when Abe Lincoln selected a New York Jew named Chemie Levy to a military position because, the president wrote, “we have not yet appointed a Hebrew.”
In 1986 Leonard Nimoy interrupted an extremely hectic day of post-production of the latest Trekkie epic, “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home,” to welcome me to the Paramount lot in Los Angeles. Besides continuing his role as Dr. Spock, he was also director of the film. On his desk I noticed a book, “Hannah Senesh: Her Life and Diary,” with an introduction by Abba Eban.
Eli Herschel Wallach, who died in New York on June 24 at age 98, was expected to follow his brother and two sisters who became teachers. After he earned a master’s degree in education from the City College of New York, he surprised his Polish immigrant parents, Abraham and Bertha, when he announced he’s going to become an actor instead.
Jerome Robbins first discovered the shtetl when he was six years old. He was born on the Lower East Side, home of immigrants from Eastern Europe. His father took him to Poland to see where his Rabinowitz family came from.
“Harvey is the only one who can get me here,” said Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, as American Friends of Tel Aviv University honored Harvey Krueger, a Wall Street legend who’s currently vice chairman of Barclays Capital at the Pierre Hotel.
But Harvey was nowhere in sight in the ballroom packed with 400 friends and fans.
Yossi Klein Halevi made aliyah from the U.S. at the start of the Lebanon war in August 1982. That was a time when the country was defined by a right-wing narrative and left-wing narrative.
He found people from Peace Now and Gush Emunim fighting together in the war and fighting each other in the street.
“After the Six Day War of 1967,” he said, “We were still a family but a dysfunctional family. The schism between left and right could be very bitter but it cannot lead to annihilation because we share the same tent.”
Eugen Gluck, a major supporter of the town of Bet El located in Shomron, a stone’s throw from Ramallah, appealed to Israel “not to make any concessions to divide Jerusalem which could cause it to deteriorate into the terrorist base that Gaza has become.”