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An Election First!

May 9, 2009 | by Melanie Chartoff

What if they made election history by electing America's first Orthodox Jewish President?

If you listen to the political pundits, and I don't advise you do, they will tell you that the upcoming American election is going to be the most revolutionary in history. Why, when you consider that we could have either our first woman or African American President, and that a thirty-six year old, East Indian fellow will soon be Louisiana's governor, it truly begins to seem that, in America, just about anything is possible.

This got me thinking of political possibilities of a yiddishe kind. What about a Jewish President? Or better yet, an Orthodox Jewish President? Just what would our Nation look like…

Imagine with me that it's our year 5777 and the media is schlepping out to the White House lawn to see the inauguration of our first Chassidic President Elect Eli Gellerstein. A Torah is used for the swearing in ceremony; klezmer music and cantorial oratorio rather than the traditional gospel hymnals provide the soundscape of reverence and inspiration for this radically different induction.
It's a cold winter in Washington D.C. so the fashion trend-setting new Prez is wearing his fur hat, or streimel, while he employs his peyos as make shift ear muffs. Such a fun-loving character, is our Eli. Standing beside him is his basherte Shoshana, and not since Jackie Kennedy has there been a First Lady with hair so put together in the Washington D.C. wind (although in fairness, Shoshana is wearing the culturally required wig).

This Commander in Chief, spends each Shabbos in contemplative relaxation at "Camp David Ben-Gurion."

Of course, every new president tries to remake the country to suit his culture, and Prez Eli is certainly causing a lot of shake ups in his first year in office. This Commander in Chief, who spends each Shabbos in contemplative relaxation at "Camp David Ben-Gurion," has returned the Day of Rest to our exhausted Nation in the nick of multi-tasking time. The outcry of big box stores and malls was shrill at first, and America's citizenry in an uproar, but now, a year later, once compulsive consumers stop shopping at sunset on Fridays and actually relax and read with their families. Our country is far better off. Juvenile crime is down 50%, grades are up 120%, and, because folks actually have to walk on foot to visit friends on Saturdays, obesity is down millions of tons.

Air Force One is also entitled to its Day of Rest, and on the Sabbath it's available for guided tours by the children of diplomats and foreign emissaries. There are no wars, as Eli has brokered Mid East peace to a heimisha truce, so no Friday night fight or flight is necessary for our Prez.

Who knew a Jew would one day create a kosher White House, and hang a mezuzah on each and every door? Who knew a giant spinning dreidel and a menorah of giant torches would replace the Christmas lights on the enormous fir tree on the front lawn of the White House at the end of his first year of office? So long Santa Claus. There are other traditional tales to tell Eli's ten kids, two of whom – the twins Moishe and Martin, just had their bar mitzvah bash televised live on ABC, preempting Monday Night Football.

What makes this Presidency different from all other Presidencies? Unleavened bread is being broken, and the Hagaddah read to the listening world by Alan Dershowitz, our latest mensch on the Supreme Court Bench. I am happily in attendance at the first Presidential Pesach. Jackie Mason, our first Minister of Humor, has been regaling the folks at my table. (He has already claimed the centerpiece by hiding the matza under his own place setting, then pretended to find it—Ha hah HAH!) Many well known politicos are present at this "Super Seder-" and the U.N. Secretary General just found the afikoman!

Why, just seeing Baptists Jesse Jackson and Mike Huckabee in attendance with yarmulkes perched on their venerable heads makes my eyes mist over with good fellowship. Acceptance of differences being embraced lovingly is the order of the day. This is the style of our Chasidic Prez Eli, known as the "Catcher in the Kosher Rye" when he was young, so notable was his kindness and purity of intent.

And I bow my head in gratitude that I have lived to see these changes that could happen only in America, home of the brave and free and , where folks of all stripes and sexes and ages and faiths and fashions can serve their country. Where Jewish words that have traditionally been italicized, may soon, out of frequency of coinage, like bagel and maven, appear in normal script, like American words should. God Bless America!


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