“For a long time, I dreamed of being free. Of making a separate peace and standing on my balcony and watching the sun set on my city with no greater thought than “this is my city in the dark.” But I can’t stop caring and worrying. I can’t stop arguing. I know that I’m an individual free to make my own decisions and choose my own path, but I feel I’m being defined by something bigger than myself. I know a little of what my grandparents knew. My worries are older than I am—ancient, the old history closing in. Ebb tide. In the afternoon, you swim above the sand in the clear water, but in the evening the sharks come in to feed in the oceans, white with foam.”
Source: Rich Cohen, “Ebb Tide in the Golden Country: Why All Is Not As It Was for the Jews in America” (Tablet)
“Well, it has taken a long time for Henry Johnson and William Shemin to receive the recognition they deserve. And there are surely others whose heroism is still unacknowledged and uncelebrated. So we have work to do, as a nation, to make sure that all of our heroes’ stories are told. And we’ll keep at it, no matter how long it takes. America is the country we are today because of people like Henry and William — Americans who signed up to serve, and rose to meet their responsibilities — and then went beyond. The least we can do is to say: We know who you are. We know what you did for us. We are forever grateful.”
Source: President Barack Obama, Remarks at the Presentation of the Medal of Honor
Every Friday My Machberet presents an array of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.
This week, however, I’ve been exceedingly busy with BookExpo America. So please forgive me for being unable to provide the usual round-up.
Never fear–come next Friday, the links will be here!
Over the Shavuot/Memorial Day weekend, I watched an extraordinary film. In its simplest terms, the film might be described (as a New York Times reviewer has written) as follows: “Produced by Nancy Spielberg (sister of Steven Spielberg), the documentary ‘Above and Beyond’ recounts the story of Jewish American pilots who, beginning in 1948, secretly fought for Israel in its war of independence, when the Israeli military was nascent.”
It’s an amazing story. To be sure, it’s not without its discomforts. For starters, the American Jews who participated in this effort were risking their U.S. citizenship. But by the end of the film, one can’t help thinking of the devastating consequences had they not made the choices that they did.
The same NYT reviewer mentioned above also notes that “the movie’s one-sided view of history is bound to start arguments.” Maybe. But if this is a “one-sided view of history,” it’s also an accurate view of history. For instance, the Arab countries’ 1947 rejection of the U.N. Partition Plan that would have created the first-ever Palestinian state is included as part of the prelude to Israel’s War of Independence. Not everyone is cognizant of this pre-history to Israel’s declaration of statehood. Is its inclusion what the reviewer means by “one-sided”?
Regardless, I strongly recommend this film, especially for anyone who wants to learn more about the establishment of the State of Israel and the contributions of American Jews to that achievement. Above and Beyond can be viewed via (some) on-demand cable companies, iTunes, and at screenings. You’ll find more information on the film’s website.