October 31st, 2005


The fingerprints of the past

Apparently the New York Times has discovered that the Askenazim aren't the only Jews around here - and they're not even the first ones to get here. Those of you who know me well know that my mother's family were Spanish Jews way back in the day, so this doesn't exactly come as a big surprise to me. In contrast to Ms. Gonzalez, though, I think Mom's people got serious about converting somewhere along the line, or maybe the habits and customs just died out, since I don't recall our family adhering to any of the customs. Most of what I know about Judaism comes from my father's fascination with it, which had its roots in his friendship with a Jewish sergeant in his section at the Pentagon, and in those days nobody knew there were any crypto-Jews in the Southwest. In fact, I have this book my mother loaned me, The Jews In Old New Mexico, which is all about the advent of peddlers and jewelers arriving from New York. I sometimes wonder what the hidden Jews thought of these newcomers and their Yiddish, which didn't have anything in common with Ladino.

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Life imitating art (Marines in politics edition)

Worth reading: an interview with James Webb, former Secretary of the Navy and author of Fields of Fire. Towards the end of the interview, Webb mentions that people have been encouraging him to run against Senator George Allen on the Democrat ticket. If he did, and if he was successful, Webb could do a lot to revive the largely defunct Scoop Jackson/Southern Democrat wing of the Democratic Party. I don't think he'd be very comfortable in that party, though; it would be a scene right out of his extremely depressing A Country Such As This were he to meet with the junior senator from New York. It says volumes about the Democrats these days that Hillary Clinton is what passes for a moderate Democrat.

Pertinent to his politics (and dwelt on briefly in the interview) is Webb's book Born Fighting, about the history and influence of the Scots-Irish in America. It's on my list; a lot of people whose opinions I respect speak highly of it.

Via Hugh Hewitt.