Asked as a young man what he specialized in, Daniel Bell, a member of the second generation of New York intellectuals who came bursting out of City College in the 1930s blurted out, “I specialize in generalizations!” It was said with youthful intellectual exuberance at first, and then wryly repeated as the years wore on and his social theorizing grew in richness and audacity.
“Ignored by historians… the general public, even by the Jewish people, are the heroic deeds of Jewish rescuers,” Hidden Child Foundation vice president Rachelle Goldstein told the nearly 200 attendees of the organization’s seventh International Rescuers Day program, held January 19 at the Anti-Defamation League’s headquarters. “Today we honor two Jewish women, Renee Wiener and Andree “Poumy” Moreuil, who would not shrink and tremble in their hiding places.”
In the 20th century, Jews created bombs. Weapons of mass destruction. Most famously, there was J. Robert Oppenheimer who ran the Manhattan Project, which gave the world the atom bomb. After him came Edward Teller, the Hungarian Jew who engineered an incredibly destructive upgrade: the hydrogen bomb. And then there was Samuel T. Cohen, the lesser-known Jewish physicist who rounds off this troika but whose invention, the neutron bomb, has been relegated to ignominy. Like the other two, Cohen, a Manhattan Project veteran, was present at the creation.25
A video clip produced last October by the American Jewish Committee aimed to explain the reason for the repeated failures of the Middle East peace process. “The one word that frustrated over 60 years of hope for peace: no,” the clip stated, going on to detail Israeli peace efforts in the past two decades while stressing that the Palestinian response has always been negative.18
It is, perhaps, only in America that a congresswoman named Gabrielle Giffords could reclaim the Jewish identity of her father’s family — originally named Hornstein — after living much of her life apart from the Jewish community. And it is no less of a tribute to American fluidity, however ironic, that the aide who died by her side under a hail of fire was a non-Jew named Gabe Zimmerman who lived a crucial segment of his life immersed in a storied corner of the American Jewish milieu.28
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