Jewish World Review Sept. 12, 2000/ 11 Elul, 5760
Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- THE LINE was drawn in the delicatessen. On one side you had the old-timers ("alter cockers") who believed that Gore picking Lieberman was bad for the Jews on the premise that Jews should be part of the background music, not the soloists. Max, shaking his finger at no one in particular, noted, "It's the nail that sticks up that gets hit with the hammer."
Morris said things were bad enough already between blacks and Jews, and the Lieberman nomination would only make things worse. Morris, since he is a retired bookmaker, was always ready with the numbers: "Did you know that, while 12 percent of Americans admit they are anti-Semitic, 37 to 38 percent of blacks are anti-Semitic?"
"That's because they must all live in your neighborhood," Benny, president of the under-forty -- which really means under sixty -- singles club at the Temple, shouted at Morris.
Morris had had enough and retired from the scene of battle to the safety of the pastrami counter.
Max now turned his guns on Benny and told him he was still wet behind the ears and should go back to chasing girls around the basement of the temple.
"Benny, let me read to you what the NAACP boss in Dallas, Lee Alcorn, said." Max whipped out a page from a newspaper and read, "I think we need to be very suspicious of...Jews...because we know that their interest primarily has to do with...money..."
"So what," Benny replied. "Being 'interested' is not a sin. Besides, I was always interested in money and I never got any."
Max flung back at him,"I could say the same thing about your interest in girls, particularly in the basement of the Temple."
Now wounded, Benny reached into his pocket and pulled out two crumpled pieces of paper. "Max, you think you're the only one with the numbers. You're not such a big macher." Benny read from the pages he smoothed out on the table, "Do you know that in America, 52 percent of Jews marry Gentiles, and 50 percent do not belong to any synagogue. Max, you're so good with the numbers -- except when it comes to figuring out your share of the check -- but even you can figure out at this rate, in six generations there will be no Jews at all left in America, so it's about time we asserted ourselves."
Max was sputtering, "Benny, you putz, don't you realize that it is only the separation of Church and State that lets us continue to thrive in America. In every other country where Church and State commingled, a State religion followed, which was usually followed by mistreatment of Jews. In history, more people have been killed and more wars fought in the name of religion than..."
Benny cut Max off. "So now you are also an historian. All I know is that when we have a Jewish vice president, Jews will have arrived. I agree with Lieberman when he said there should be 'a greater role for religion in American life.'"
Max shook his head, "Benny, the trouble with you is that when you hope for religion to have a greater role in American life you are dreaming of better pickings in the Temple's basement. If the lessons of history are right, eventually there may not be a Temple basement...or even a Temple."
Benny stood up, knocking his chair over and Abe, the delicatessen's owner, came from behind the counter with a baseball-bat-sized salami held menacingly in his hands.
Things were getting grim in the delicatessen. Morris, sitting
at the counter, sighed, "This looks like the start of another
08/23/00: Life's certainties