Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Diplomatic Response

Excerpt from "The Prime Ministers":

"Gentlemen, of dear! I see you did not eat the bird. Lyndon arranged for a special shoot this morning so that it would be fresh."

"Our friends observe kosher," remarked the Secretary of State good-naturedly. "Evidently, protocol forgot to tell you."

"No, no, they did, they did.", said the troubled First Lady. "But they told me it was only meat they weren't allowed to eat, but fowl they may. How stupid of me. Forgive me, please." She was genuinely upset.

"There is nothing to forgive," said Yaakov Herzog tactfully, and in hushed tones explained to her the rudiments of the kosher dietary laws.

"But I see your prime minister has no problem eating the bird," said Lady Bird, her chin pointing in the direction of her guest of honor.

Dr. Herzog assumed an innocent expression, and said artlessly, "May I share with you a confidence, Mrs. Johnson?"

"Of course, of course."

"The prime minister has one secret vice. He cannot resist fine gourmet. So you may take his lapse as a great compliment to your chef."

"Oh, I shall, I shall," said a charmed Mrs. Johnson, and off she went to greet her other guests. And thus ended my first tutorial as a novice diplomat on the niceties of kosher savoir faire in high places.


At October 20, 2010 at 12:15:00 PM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Dr. Herzog's skill in both responding to Lady Bird's oberservation and Prime Minister's eating habits is totally impressive.
This only shows how careful we must be with our words.

At October 20, 2010 at 12:56:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Space Cadet said...

Just one point: In case anybody doesn't know this, Yaakov Herzog was an ambassador, not the prime minister.

Yaakov Herzog a"h was a Shomer Shabbos Jew who would never have eaten treifos-neveilos knowingly.

His book "A People That Dwells Alone" is a moving collection of essays and speeches, especially the account of his debate with Arnold Toynbee!


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