Danish and Coffee

By Gabriel Sanders

Published January 12, 2007, issue of January 12, 2007.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Among the more exciting sessions at last month’s Association for Jewish Studies conference in San Diego was one devoted to the furor in the Muslim world over the Danish cartoons of Muhammad. The panel’s most memorable moment, however, had little to do with the cartoons — indeed, little to do with scholarship at all.

The session began at 8:30 a.m. — too early for the first of the panel’s speakers, Vassar College anthropologist Judith Goldstein, to have had her morning coffee. She half-apologetically said as much after having labored through her paper’s first few lines.

Considering the early hour, the panel was attended well; the crowd even included a number of the field’s leading lights. Along the center aisle sat Deborah Dash Moore of the University of Michigan. Emory’s Deborah Lipstadt, who had delivered a paper about the Holocaust in the court room the previous day, sat toward the front. And near the back, by the door, was Berkeley’s Judith Butler, author of groundbreaking 1990 study “Gender Trouble” and one of the most influential feminist theorists on the scene today.

At academic conferences like the AJS, it is quite common for the door to open and close. People arrive late, leave early, come to hear one speaker and leave before the next, and so the assembled thought little of it when Butler slipped out door.

The surprise, however, came some 15 minutes later when, tray in hand, she chivalrously (if such a word can be used to describe a feminist pioneer) reappeared with coffee and a separate container of cream for the caffeine-deprived — and soon immensely grateful — speaker.

Even weeks after the conference, Rutgers University’s Jeffrey Shander, who delivered the paper immediately after Goldstein’s, recalled with delight the image of the thinker’s kind gesture.

“I told Judith Goldstein, ‘You can dine out on this one for the rest of your career,’” he said. “I’m dining out on it, and I wasn’t even the one who got the coffee.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • 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.