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!
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • 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:
  • 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.