Plus One: George Allen

By Forward Staff

Published November 10, 2006, issue of November 10, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

George Allen George Allen
The 20th century was a cataclysmic era for Jews — a time of cosmic tragedy, transcendent rebirth, mass migration and millions of individual journeys of every sort. Nobody knows that better this month than Senator George Allen of Virginia, a conservative Christian whose Jewish origins, hidden for a lifetime, popped out to ambush him in the midst of a critical re-election campaign. Allen’s inexplicable use of a North African Jewish slang insult on the campaign trail last summer was a rare bump in what promised to be an easy glide to victory. His clumsy response when he was asked about his rumored Jewish background — calling it an “aspersion” — turned a minor curiosity into a national embarrassment. Whether his political career will survive the gaffe was unclear at press time. What Allen, 54, ultimately makes of the discovery, only time will tell. But Allen’s back-story — the tale of how his mother, Etty, a Tunisian-born Jew, escaped the Nazis and vowed to leave behind her Jewishness — offers a sobering lesson for all of us. Nobody knows how many thousands or millions of Jews decided during World War II to discard the identity that Hitler had pronounced a capital crime. Some have since returned to their origins. Others never looked back. All of them are part of us, even the junior senator from Virginia.






Find us on Facebook!
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.