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September 30, 1988 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-09-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

11\77M MONITOR

Why Do Good Rabbis
Answer Dumb Questions

ARTHUR J. MAGIDA

Special to The Jewish News

W

e can all breath a
little easier now.
For the first time in
months, Joe Queenan, a
writer for Spy, New York's
gutsy humor magazine, has
gone back to worshipping
materialism with a clean con-
science.
This turn-around in Queen-
an's life came after he con-
ducted a phone interview
with Rabbi Harold Kushner
of Natick, Mass. Kushner,
author of the best-seller of a
few years ago, When Bad
Things Happen to Good Peo-
ple, was asked by Queenan
why good things happen to
bad people.
Although Kushner said he
had been approached with
this question many times

Rabbi Harold Kushner:
Spied upon.

before, Queenan had some
"bad people" in mind. Why,
for instance, had Kurt
Waldheim been elected presi-
dent of Austria?
"Its not a whole lot of fun
being president and and be-
ing laughed at every day of
your life," answered Kushner.
Waldheim "has made that
country a laughingstock."
And why, asked Queenan,
had God let Chilean dictator
Augusto Pinochet, a "lowlife"
and a "force of evil," survive
numerous assassination at-
tempts?
"He's an absolute louse,"
responded Kushner. "But he
loses out on the real satisfac-
tions of life."
This, commented the Spy
writer, was "the old riches-
and-power-are-not-re ally-
good-things line."
And what about Ivan
Boesky, who, said Queenan,
"began studying the Torah
right after his arrest and may

have manipulated his new-
found piety to get a light
prison sentence."
"Even without getting
caught, can you imagine how
twisted he is?" asked
Kushner. He must have been
desperately unhappy to work
18 hours a day to amass
more money."
When their conversation fi-
nally ended, wrote Queenan,
Kushner and Queenan "re-
turned to our respective jobs:
he, to worship God; I breath-
ing easily for the first time
in months, to worship Mam-
mon."

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A Jew At No. 10
Downing Street?

According to Moment
magazine, a Jewish-born
woman — undersecretary in
England's Department of
Health and Human Services
Edwinna Currie — is a strong
contender to lead Britain's
Conservative Party when
Prime Minister Margaret
Thatcher retires.
But just as the first Jewish-
born candidate for the U.S.
presidency, Barry Goldwater,
was an Episcopalian, a possi-
ble move by Currie to No. 10
Downing Street would not
mean that a Jew would be
leading England: Currie con-
verted to the Church of
England 19 years ago when
she married Ray Currie, an
Anglican.
Currie was raised in a strict
Orthodox household and won
honors for Jewish studies as
a child. But from the age of
16, she knew she did not want
to live in the Orthodox com-
munity.
"The culture didn't do for
me personally," she said. "It
wasn't that the culture failed,
and I don't think that I failed.
We just did not mesh."
Currie's father refused to
attend her wedding in 1969,
and he has not spoken to her
since. Nor has he met his
grandchildren.
"He was a traditional Jew-
ish dad;' said Currie, "and
this was 'Go and never dark-
en my doorstep again.' So I
said, 'O.K.' and off I went."
While Orthodox rabbis in
Britain have excoriated Cur-
rie as an example of assimi-
lation, their dismay has not
affected her standing in Con-
servative circles. Her political
flair is said to equal Thatch-
er's and she is the only
undersecretary with her own
full-time press secretary, part-
ly because of her provocative
manner of speaking and her
bawdy sense of humor.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

15

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