Let me begin by wishing you and yours a happy and healthy new year.
I actually penned this column a week ago Tuesday, the day after the first presidential debate. What I witnessed confirmed what I already knew — I was going to have to pray extra hard on Rosh Hashanah. I think it’s reasonable to say that you might share my sentiment no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, both politically or at your place of worship.
Speaking of which, I like an aisle seat during the High Holidays because I’m always under the illusion that it will provide a quicker exit out of the parking lot. But inevitably, every year, I somehow end up being that one car surrounded on all sides, wedged in between the last four families to leave the synagogue. The upside is that it gives me an extra 45 minutes to share some quality time with my wife and kids.
Meanwhile, I’ve been wondering how Marc Mezvinsky and Jared Kushner are faring this High Holiday season. They are the Jewish husbands of Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump, respectively. I can’t help but think that while sitting in shul this year, they are asking themselves, “How did I get myself into this mess?”
Chelsea didn’t convert to Judaism. However, the ceremony was officiated by a rabbi and a reverend under a chuppah. Unreliable sources tell me that Bill Clinton ducked out of the ceremony during the reciting of the wedding vows because they made him uncomfortable. I couldn’t find any information on whether Judaism will play any role in Chelsea and Marc’s kids’ upbringing although my source did confirm that despite being born into a political family, the couple plan on raising them to be honest.
It’s well known that Ivanka Trump converted to Orthodox Judaism. Mazel tov! She and Jared welcomed their third child this past March. Proud zaydie Donald Trump was not only over the moon — he bought it. Donald was quoted as saying, “The boy is beautiful, believe me, beautiful; maybe the most beautiful tax exemption my daughter has ever given birth to — although the kid is a little chubby.”
I hope you enjoyed what I considered a little bipartisan humor. I always aim to be an equal-opportunity satirist. But because of our current state of political discord, I’ve noticed that folks are having a tougher time laughing at political humor, even when doled out evenhandedly. And that makes my job as a “humorist” a little more difficult.
Make no mistake, I recognize the current presidential campaign has made many of us feel skittish about expressing our views. There are many tough issues confronting us and, obviously, it’s simply not possible to see eye to eye on everything.
Nothing profound being said here. But in my humble opinion, this time around the blame lies more on the messengers than the messages. Set aside the candidates in this election and you just might find yourself back being comfortable agreeing to disagree and be no worse for wear.
This is the closest I’ll ever come to editorializing. It’s not so much that I’m afraid to express my point of view. It’s … it’s … um; no, no, actually it is because I’m afraid to express my point of view. I shamelessly admit that at the end of the day I just … want … everyone … to … like … me. Is that too much to ask?
Here’s to a new year of civil conversations and the continuing ability to laugh at ourselves. L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu. *
By Alan Muskovitz, who is a writer, voice-over/acting talent, speaker, emcee and a regular guest host on the Mitch Albom Show on WJR AM 760. Visit his website at laughwithbigal.com and “Like” Al on Facebook.