He was jewish?

Paul Newman
Paul Newman
With the passing away of Paul Newman this week I was reminded of a scene in Exodus, in which Newman plays a British intelligence officer.

In this scene, another British officer complains to Ari Ben Canaan (Newman) about the constant stream of illegal Jewish immigrants trying to get thru to the then Palestine. “I can smell a Jew a mile” away he quips.

Ari immediately places his face under the Officers nose and complains of dust in his eyes and could he, the officer, see away of helping him clear it.

Of course the fact that this officer and many like him in the British Government would have preferred an Arab population to a Jewish one, Newman’s simple act highlights how often Jews have simply ignored the prevailing winds, and snuck in under the guard of the powers to be.

Often our ability to melt into the population as assimilation takes hold of our generations creates a mystique about the unseen influential Jewish lobby. Anti Semitism seems to be able to find any device to ply its hatred.

Even the U.S. Congress had to hold off on voting this week, on the rescue package, because of the many senators who had gone home for Rosh Hashanah. I am sure the Jewish Conspiracy world, had a field day with that.

I find it important especially at times like Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, to try and understand what makes me proud to be Jewish and why as a Nation we have continued to survive against all odds. Why G-d has without a doubt chosen us to continually lead the world in so many of its endeavours.

Just some quiet musings I thought I would share with you.

In the week when we seek to ask G-d to forgive our transgressions, and seal us in his book of life for another year, perhaps we should also ask him to forgive the rest of the world, for their mistakes and open their hearts to see that we are all on this planet together.

May you all have a Shabbat with your families and those that you love.

Shabbat Shalom

PS: Paul Newman while only half jewish on his fathers side considered himself Jewish because ‘it was challenging”


3 thoughts on “He was jewish?

  1. Eli this blog reminded me of my mother who after gave birth to my brother in 1939 on a Betar ship escaping Czechoslavakia. Upon arriving on the shores of Palestine was confronted by a british officer who told my mother who was holding my brother in her arms to go back to the ship or he will shoot her/ She refused and kept walking inland she looked at him and said shoot and showed him the baby..he let her go as well as the others ..there were some with a consience.

  2. I remember that scene well—it was great the way Paul Newman got as close as right under his nose, after this officer explained how you can pick a Jew anywhere at any time by describing in vivid detail a Jewish stereotype with such an attitude of disdain. My overall feeling in reacting to that scene was “up yours! and people like you” and it was especially poignant for me because Paul Newman himself was Jewish, and played it so “cool” —that was a classic moment that highlighted the prejudice of the world and totally emphasised the need for a country that Jews could call our own.
    That was a very powerful scene amongst many which sent a strong and memorable message, and I saw in him a very proud performance.
    It’s important to keep the memories of our past and feel free to achieve and live our lives to our full potential, whilst retaining our identities and holding our dignity as Paul Newman and the character he played had done, in order to expose the less than admirable bigots of this world to be unworthy of any respect from anyone.

  3. That photo is from “Cool Hand Luke” which was also a very powerful performance by Paul Newman.
    I loved the way he just kept on bouncing back from the absolute worst treatment he continued to receive, and hated the “hero” status endowed upon him, just feeling what an extra burden that was.
    The contrast between him being an individual with individual strength and acting on his own behalf, and the rest of the prisoners relinquishing their personal power, living precariously through him, demonstrates how eventually that can weaken a person with even the greatest resolve.
    Support requires more than just cheering on someone.

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