Categorized | Cohen_Joel_H., Lighter Side

‘Just Kidding’: Trump tries a Yom Kippur fast

By Joel H. Cohen

Joel H. Cohen

NEW YORK– To connect emotionally and politically with Jews everywhere, President Trump tried fasting on Yom Kippur this year.

His decision to experience the nearly 27-hour ritual of self-denial came after aides discovered a highly controversial phrase in his first draft of a High Holy Day message to the Jewish community. The president had declared: “I absolutely hate, believe me, hate anti-Semitism and anti-Semites. But the anti-anti-Semites are not completely blameless, either.”

When his chief of staff, Gen. John F. Kelly, saw the comment, he told President Trump, according to witnesses to the conversation: “The press and a large segment of the public will be all over you for seeming to equate anti-Semites with the objects of their hatred. Remember Charlottesville?”

The president reluctantly heeded the counsel of advisers, who recommended he embark on a Yom Kippur fast as a symbol of solidarity with the Jewish people. He fasted for just a few hours, explaining, “I’m not one of those people who need to do the same thing hour after hour to get the point…And, by the way, fast is the wrong word for something that goes so slow.”

During his experiment, he kept up a running commentary by tweets:

“I love the Jews, believe me, nobody loves the Jews like I do, but they should have figured out a better way to fast…The Muslims, I’ll be honest with you, I love the Muslims, they know how to fast, even though it’s for a month. But they fast for just part of each day, from just before dawn until the sun sets. Then, it’s all you can eat.

“Frankly, whatever pathetic so-called expert came up with the idea of the Jewish fast — going without food or drink for more than 24 hours straight – should be told ‘You’re fired!’…Or, maybe, ‘Lock him up.’”

“When you go without any food or drink for so long, all you start thinking of is food and drink Counter-productive! Maybe you even start picturing what you’d like to have. In the first hour of my fast, I began seeing the beet soup the Russian call borsht. The crooked media will probably use that as one more evidence that my campaign colluded with Russia’

In a later tweet, he confided, “I pictured a potato in the borsht. Will they now be saying we colluded with Ireland?”

The president claimed, “I know more about Jewish customs than the rabbis do. Okay? So here’s one for you: The fasting is bad enough. But, then the Jews have this hitting thing, where you smack yourself in the chest every time you mention a sin that you or anybody else may have committed.

“I’ll be honest with you “I’ve got very, very big hands, and they can cause pain, so I’d rather hit somebody else instead of myself.  Just kidding. But Jeff Sessions would be a good one to be the target and absorb the blows. Of course, the pathetic loser would probably recuse himself.”

Finally Trump tweeted: “You’ve got to love the Jews and their amazing smarts and deal-making ability. But their hours of fasting and chest-beating sure don’t make it easy.”

San Diego Jewish World reminds readers who are new to this column that it is all in fun, and nothing above should be taken seriously.  Humorist Cohen is a freelance writer based in New York.

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