An article of faith among many US and Israeli Jews is based on tendentious historical revisionism

Image for post
Image for post
President Roosevelt with members of the National Jewish Welfare Board. From left: Walter Rothschild, Aryeh Lev, Barnett Bricker & Louis Kraft/George R Skaddin/AP

“FDR, ymakih shemo!” wrote Harry in response to some issue in recent US history.

I was shocked.

Ymakih shemo … ?

May his name be erased….

It is a curse applied originally to Haman from the Book of Esther. Observant Jews get drunk during Purim while children use noisemakers to blot out the original anti-Semite’s name. Later examples of Y”S (opposed to Z”L, of blessed memory) might include Hitler, Stalin, Martin Luther, etc.

But Franklin Roosevelt? How was Harry equating our nation’s 32nd president with Hitler?

I asked.

Harry’s response: Roosevelt, Y”S sent the people on the St. …


What would I do….?

Image for post
Image for post
©andy katz

Because I was a boy scout and like to be prepared, I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’d say if a genie appeared and offered me one wish.

To be sure, there are a lot of ways you could go here. Wealth, perfect health, immortality, world-shaking power, happiness (whatever that means — are you going to leave that up to the genie?), and so on….

If you think it through, however, wouldn’t most of the ideal outcomes result from having the power to heal anyone of anything by laying on of hands?

How about that?

Wouldn’t it…


It’s a guy thing, or used to be….

Image for post
Image for post
Pride on the Pier, 2015/©andy katz

I felt guilty. I hadn’t seen our neighbors in a while. The weather was crap. Snow. Freezing cold temps. Then Jerry’s favorite aunt died in PA. After returning from the funeral he and Deb quarantined a fortnight.

My wife and I are new to upstate. We’re both from LA. Twenty-five years ago we moved to NYC, which is not the best way to prepare for small-town life in the southern Catskills where the silos hold grain, county fairs mean business, and folks trace their roots way back to when.

They took us…


The only way to prevent loss is to avoid being altogether

Image for post
Image for post
Pi/©andy katz, author

Pi had been going downhill for several weeks. The night before, he stopped eating.

“I think tomorrow’s the day,” Lisa said. The catch in her voice made her meaning unmistakable. I stood and held her.

He’d been with us five years by then, a rescue Lisa arranged who, we were assured, would be docile enough to cohabitate with our senior dachshund, Willie. He was, too. He was a sweet boy, focused entirely upon eating and cuddling with his new mom.

The vet appointment was just after twelve. But he declined fast. …


It takes law enforcement’s own serial killer to get white people off their asses

Image for post
Image for post
Topless March, NYC 2017/©the author

“You don’t see people marching for Tony Timpa,” some of my conservative white acquaintances sniffed while critiquing the groundswell of outrage at the killing of George Floyd.

What did they mean by that?

Timpa was the young man who called 911, stating he’d run out of his medication for schizophrenia, felt the onset of symptoms, and needed help. Dallas police pinned him down for more than 13 minutes, mocking his cries that they were killing him. Only to realize, moments later, they did. Kill him.

Timpa was white; Floyd, of course, black.

Why not march for Timpa? Perhaps because no…


Where were the parents in all this?

Image for post
Image for post
Fountain, Washington Square Park, NYC, 2016/© the author

We called them “soches”. They occupied the highest social, and often economic, levels in my mid-70s high school. You know who I mean — captain of the football team, exchange students, varsity cheerleaders, and sometimes just all-around beautiful people. They ate their lunch in a special place, took AP classes, and just cruised through the school day on a level that was as high above us drudges as heaven is above hell.

Recently one such got taken down.

And, best of all, it was her own fault.

Mostly.

Readers are probably aware of the December 26 New York Times story…


And not so simple…

Image for post
Image for post
Reg, a fixture on Union Square Park, NYC, autumn, 2013/©the author

Homelessness is on the rise. Tent cities accumulate around Echo Park, MacArthur Park, and Downtown LA. People live on the streets in other California cities all along the coast. In the rest of the country as well.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) warns that the Covid-19 crisis might undo all the gains made in eliminating homelessness since 2007.

My right-wing acquaintances join former President Trump in feeling distressed at the sight of this human pollution. If only ACLU and other liberal busybodies hadn’t conspired to open the doors of public mental hospitals — those vast and forbidding edifices…


Hint: it’s got nothing to do with distracting boys

Image for post
Image for post
Robert Kelley/Life Magazine/Archive

The Smithsonian’s Behring Center presents Schooling the Body, a history of campus dress codes as they affected women and girls. As I perused it, I remembered news stories from a year or two past about enforcing school dress codes and how some girls reacted.

One girl, Lindsay Stocker of Montreal, Canada, printed and distributed posters that read:

Don’t humiliate her for wearing shorts. It’s hot outside. Teach boys instead that girls are not sexual objects”.


Churchill’s order to strike at Mers-el-Kebir remains controversial to this day

Image for post
Image for post
French fleet docked at Mers el Kebir/public domain

July 3, 1940. The Sitzkrieg, or “phony war,” was long over. France had fallen, and one of World War Two’s lesser-known tragedies had begun. Operation Catapult sought to neutralize the French navy, considered the world’s fourth strongest. Under German control it could alter the balance of naval power in Europe, threatening Great Britain’s lifeline through the Suez Canal, and even vie for control of the Mediterranean.

The French supreme naval commander, Admiral Darlan, had vowed that his ships would never be allowed to fall into Axis hands, and the Franco-German Armistice promised the fleet would remain under French control. But…


Or so I thought…

Image for post
Image for post
Holding hands at memorial rally, Brooklyn 2014 © the author

It went like this. In the spring of 1969, my elder sister ran off with a fellow my parents didn’t like. I didn’t see her again for twenty years. By the time she re-entered my life, she had divorced the fellow our parents didn’t like and re-married. This time our parents didn’t object as much because they were dead. I had moved thousands of miles away, but we stayed in touch. Shortly after Obama’s victory in November ’08, she called. We chatted. I mentioned Obama. Wasn’t it historic?

She agreed.

Did she vote for him? I asked.

“No,” she said…

Andrew Katz

LA born & raised, now I live upstate. I hate snow. I write on healthcare, politics & history. Hobbies are woodworking & singing Xmas carols with nonsense lyrics

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store