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October 13, 1995 - Image 60

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-10-13

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

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Price 100%

Ju Know About This Tree?

Never be embarrassed again when your date asks the Jewish
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Q: I finally get up my courage to
ask out this really, really gorgeous
girl named Sara. She agrees to come
with me to the movies. I am in heav-
So we get to the theater and Sara
tells me she wants a Coke. We're
standing at the snack counter and
I'm trying to be charming and witty
and so, without thinking (obviously),
I start singing — loud enough for
everyone around us to hear — the
"Let's all go to the lobby," song (the
one that sounds like a snappier "The
Bear Went Over the Mountain"). You
know that thing they used to show
at movies, with the dancing popcorn
and Cokes and candy?
Well, I could tell the moment I
opened my mouth that I had made
a big, big mistake. People around us
were glaring at me, and Sara hid her
face, like I was the biggest bone-
head in the world, which I was.
I quickly tried to cover my tracks,
pointing out the many delicious
kosher candies available for our pur-
chase. Then Sara asked, "Jujubes
— what's the story behind those? Is
there a Jewish connection?"
Tell Me Why, I couldn't answer.
It was humiliating.
As you may have guessed, it's all
over with Sara.
In the future I will, I hope, be able
to control my song outbursts. But I
can't risk once again appearing ig-
norant about Jujubes. Please, help
me out.

A:Friend, there's no need to be
embarrassed! Yours is about the
50th letter Tell Me Why has re-
ceived this week alone asking for
a Jewish connection to Jujubes.
Ignorance on this vital subject
apparently is widespread and
nothing of which you should be
ashamed. Here's what you
should know.
Before the jujube ever became
a snack, it was part of the won-
derful world of flora and fauna.
The tree is mentioned in Job
40:21, and today, several species
can be found in Israel. The wild
jujube is a tall tree with prickly
branches. The lotus jujube is a
desert bush bearing fruit that
can be made into bread. There
also is a cultivated jujube, which
rabbinic literature calls sheizaf,
that has a tasty, large fruit.
Just outside Ein Hazavah in
the Aravah desert grows a wild
jujube which reportedly is one of
the oldest trees in Israel.

Q:Is it true that famed movie pro-
ducer Sam Goldwyn read only one
book his entire adult life?
A: That's the rumor, anyway.

Born Samuel Goldfisch in
Poland, Goldwyn started his ca-
reer as a glove salesman in, ap-
propriately enough, Gloversville,
N.Y. With savings from the job,
he — along with Broadway pro-
ducers Arch and
Edgar Selwyn —
formed the Gold-
wyn (from Goldfisch
and Selwyn) Pic-
tures Corp.
Goldwyn made
hundreds of famous
films, and The Wiz-
ard of Oz could have
been one of them. But Samuel
Goldwyn rejected the idea after
he read the book, reportedly the
only one he ever actually fin-
ished. Labeling it a "fairy story,"
he said it would never make a
great film. So while Goldwyn did
own rights to the Wizard of Oz
script, his studio never made the
movie. Instead, Goldwyn sold it
to Louis B. Mayer at MGM.

Q: Who called Israel's pre-1967
boundaries the "Auschwitz bor-
A: Abba Eban, although not in

exactly those words.


Abba Eban knows the territory.

In an interview with the Ger-
man magazine Der Spiegel (Nov.
5, 1969), Israel's then-foreign
minister stated: "We have open-
ly said that the map will never
again be the same as June 4,
1967. For us, this is a matter of
security and of principles. The
June map is for us equivalent to
insecurity and danger. I do not
exaggerate when I say that it
has for us something of a mem-
ory of Auschwitz."

J 9r



Q: In the Aug. 11 issue, Tell Me
Why stated that David Levy Yulee
was the first Jewish U.S. senator.
In his book Judah P. Benjamin, The
Jewish Confederate, Eli Evans says
that Benjamin was the first Jew-
ish senator.
Since both can't be first, who
really was?
From reader A.B. in
Farmington Hills
A:With all due re-

spect to Mr. Evans,
it's Tell Me Why
that's right (of
course), and not the
Judah Benjamin
author. The confusion,
though, is understandable.
David Yulee (1810-1866)
was raised in Virginia, serving
from 1841 to 1845 as the Flori-
da territory's delegate to Con-
gress. After it became a state
and was admitted in 1845 to
the Union, Florida elected
Yulee senator — making him
the first Jew in the U.S. Sen-
The reason Mr. Evans, and
others, probably fail to consid-
er him is that while Yulee was
indeed halachically Jewish, he
wasn't exactly the kind of guy
you would want to bring
home to meet Mom.
He was born David Levy,
but took on his wife's defi-
nitely non-Jewish sounding
name, Yulee, after he mar-
ried the gentile daughter of
a former governor of Ken-
tucky. Yulee did not identi-
fy as a Jew and even raised his
children as Christians.
Judah Benjamin (1811-
1884) was born in England and
grew up in Charleston, S.C. He
worked first as a clerk, then
devoted himself to law and pol-
In 1852 — seven years after
Yulee took office — Benjamin,
then affiliated with the Whig
Party, was elected to the U.S.
Senate. Later, he became a De-
Like Yulee, Benjamin mar-
ried a gentile and was not ac-
tive in any Jewish groups or
affiliated with any synagogue.
Unlike Yulee, however, Ben-
jamin never identified as any-
thing but a Jew and did not
attempt to conceal his heritage.

Send questions to "Tell Me Why"
c/o The Jewish News, 27676
Franklin Rd., Southfield, MI
48034 or send fax to 354-6069.


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