Today May 22, 2008, Obama spoke at a Boca Raton, FL synagogue, in an attempt to redeem himself, and the questionable policy statements he’s made during his campaign regarding unconditional talks with rogue nations like Iran.
The first half of his speech consisted of a lot of naming of the Jews he’s known, and (with an air of admiration and amazement) how inspiring, warm, smart, and friendly those “Jewish Americans” he’s met are. Speaking as one, and on behalf of them, I’d like to say, gee thanks, Mr. Obama. I feel the same about African Americans I’ve met.
Lest you think I’m xenophobic, I’m not at all. I just happen to have a really good sense of smell–learned from my mother–and this propped up lox opp-or-tuna-ty smells like a red herring to me. Updated: Apparently, Soccer Dad, Jennifer Rubin of Commentary, Joshua Pundit on No Quarter, and Ed Morrissey at Hot Air can smell it too. Hat tip to Joshua Pundit for the article, especially the photo, and to No Quarter for publishing it.
The remainder of Obama’s talk was a melange of nostalgia and gonna get tough on behalf of Israel talk, based on his very inspirational visit there, he said. Hitting home by relating to serving a cause, he let us know that he knows about ‘tikkum olam’ the Jewish holy duty to be of service.
But perhaps, he should have picked up a little of that Jewish warmth and hospitality that so moved him.
With thinly veiled annoyance, almost a kvetch, Obama said pointedly, as he tightened:
People have been getting emails . . . NON STOP!!!
He obviously didn’t consult with Jackie Mason, who could’ve taught him a bissel about how to use Jewish humor in his delivery. In the right hands, that line could have been a kicker. You know, something like,
“Oh booyyyy, have I been getting eee-mails like you’ve never seen. Oi, stop giving me a Hakn a tshaynik. (pron. a hock in the ch-eye-neck)
(literally “to knock a teakettle“), meaning to rattle on loudly and insistently, but without any meaning, is one of the most widely used Yiddish idiomatic phrases. It is most often used in the negative imperative sense: Hak mir nisht ken tshaynik! (literally “Don’t knock (me) a teakettle!”), in the sense of “Stop bothering me!”.
The Senator went on to assure the congregation that his position on Israel has been the victim of rumor-mongering out there, and it’s not true (you bullies)–he supports Israel–and its right to exist. (phew, glad we got that out of the way)
The One (although we don’t believe in that sort of thing) seems to have made quite an impression, because they gave him a standing ovation. There’s talk of making him an honorary Jew, he kvetched so well — about the emails, you know.
Here! Over here, Senator, have a knish, dear. Sadie, we shouldn’t bother him anymore with those emails. But, shush, we should leave him alone to eat while he’s noshing on that knish. You know how he gets. What do you mean? You know . . . about the waffle. Huh? You mean his convenient waffling winks about Canada and NAFTA? No. How he’d deal with rogue nations? No. How he’s chatting us up now that he needs us, but hasn’t tried to get our votes counted before? No. Oh, right, “Can’t I just eat my waffle?” You got it! I know what it is: low blood sugar. What? You know, he needs to eat more. Look at him, how thin he is. I think he gets grouchy when he wants to be left alone. Okay, let’s go. Let’s leave him be.