Rabbi Jonathan Sacks explains that antisemitism is a virus that has mutated over time and why its return today presents a danger not just for Jews, but for all who care about our common humanity.
Tibor Rubin has passed away. He was an authentic Jewish-American hero, a modern day Maccabee. Baruch Dayan Emet.
Tibor Rubin, a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor who joined the U.S. Army out of gratitude for his liberation from the Nazis, then earned the Medal of Honor for heroism in the Korean War, died of natural causes Saturday in Garden Grove. He was 86.
Rubin had a Hungarian accent and a Jackie Mason-like sense of humor, said his nephew, Robert Huntly. Rubin’s parents and younger sister were killed by the Nazis, and wounds and starvation had left him disabled. But his comic demeanor betrayed little trace of this history, Huntly said.
After his military service, Rubin worked for years at his brother’s Long Beach liquor store and said little of his wartime deeds, which included defending a hill single-handedly for 24 hours and saving the lives of as many as 40 of his fellow POWs in a camp in North Korea, according to his biographer Daniel M. Cohen.
Every Monday morning, my friend Rob Miller, author of the splendid JoshuaPundit blog, sends out a compelling question to invited guests.
This week’s question: How Would You Explain The Persistence Of Anti-Semitism?
Probably because I’m a screenwriter, I favor simple (and brief) narratives that ordinarily invite tortuous explanations.
Here is my answer:
In the beginning of his legendary career, Kirk Douglas (1916 – ) b. Issur Danielovitch, was almost typecast as a well-meaning but ineffectual husband as in, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, 1946, and A Letter to Three Wives, 1949. But his career exploded into mega-stardom when he played bitter cynical heroes motivated by rage: Champion, 1949, Ace in the Hole, 1951, The Bad and the Beautiful, 1952, Paths of Glory, 1957, Spartacus, 1960, and his favorite film Lonely Are the Brave, 1962,
Douglas was never a conventional leading man. Though handsome as a fairy tale prince, he wielded his masculine beauty like a weapon. There was none of the gruff charm that made Gable the King of Hollywood, nor was Douglas an elegant, urbane gentleman like William Powell.
He excelled at playing, in his own words, “sons of bitches.”
Douglas always felt like an outsider. And his fine memoir, The Ragman’s Son, touchingly reveals a chronically damaged self-image. The only son of illiterate Jewish Russian immigrants, Douglas was terrified of Herschel, his distant, hard-drinking, often violent father. But, like so many Hollywood stars, Douglas was deeply attached to his gentle, long-suffering mother Bryna. In fact, Douglas named his film company Bryna Productions.
Raised in Amsterdam, New York, twenty-eight miles northwest of Albany, Douglas describes the city as “WASP town.” For traditional Jews from the Ukraine this new world was blessedly free, however anti-Semitism was widespread. And the rage that is at the heart of actor Kirk Douglas has its genesis in his difficult childhood.
In his senior year of high school, young Issur was looking forward to attending the school prom: