Happy Rosh Hashanah, Sen. Allen
It's certainly been a confounding week for Sen. George Allen (R-VA).
Allen confirmed that his maternal grandfather, Felix Lumbroso, an Italian businessman jailed by the Nazis in North Africa, was Jewish. He then followed that by noting that while he took "great pride" in his newly discovered ancestry: "I still had a ham sandwich for lunch. And my mother made great pork chops," a comment that some found insensitive to Jews, and others found simply odd.
"From a Jewish perspective, he is as Jewish . . . as I am," Rabbi Tzvi Weinreb, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, the largest association of Orthodox synagogues in the United States, told the Washington Post.
As the Post noted: "Why should anyone be offended upon being asked if he or she has Jewish ancestry? Does acting huffy in response to such a question (as Allen did when first asked, during a debate this week) imply that one believes there is something wrong with being Jewish? Or did Allen think that the questioner was implying that there was something wrong with being Jewish, since the questioner brought it up just after asking how he had learned the French slur "macaca," which some have suggested could have come from his mother, who was raised in French-speaking Tunisia, and who was, as it turns out, born Jewish . . . ? Oy."
Like I said, it's been a confounding week.
As Jews worldwide -- myself included -- prepare tonight for Rosh Hashanah, we hope for a Happy New Year or a Sweet New Year. (Rosh Hashanah meals often include apples and honey, to symbolize a "sweet new year.")
Regardless of whether he prevails over Democrat Jim Webb this November, or succumbs because of "macaca" and other issues, perhaps Allen can have a Sweet New Year as he incorporates his newfound knowledge into his 54-year-old "good ol' boy" soul. (Or at least he can learn to make better quips.)
Happy Rosh Hashanah, Sen. Allen.