Yesterday, as diplomats tend to do, Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren threw a party in his Maryland residence to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, as well as, according to embassy officials, the Israeli-Irish relationship and their respective cultures. Present were dignitaries including Irish Ambassador to the US Michael Collins, Sen. Joe Lieberman, Wolf Blitzer, former archbishop of Washington Theodore McCarrick, and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.
Setting aside that St. Pats was two weeks ago, I am disappointed.
The menu was an uninteresting course of Israeli wines, or Guinness and “traditional Irish fare” like steak and potatoes. We can only pray that Ambassador Oren sprang for a keg, because I’m pretty sure serving canned Guinness to the Irish ambassador counts as a declaration of war.
The entertainment was mildly more interesting since Oren and Gov. O’Malley performed with a Celtic-influenced Israeli band Evergreen. Oren playing a Bodhrán, or Irish frame drum, and yes, there is a video, and yes, you can see it below.
But I’m still not pleased, because there is already a Jewish-Irish cultural holiday: Bloomsday. A holiday to celebrate Leopold Bloom of James Joyce’s Ulysses, the most famous Irish Jew of all time. Not to mention there is already an organization—a magazine, if you will, perhaps one of Jewish news, ideas, life and culture—which throws an annual Bloomsday party to remember that Jewish Irishman, walking the streets of Dublin, unknowingly acting out the epics of old.
Ambassador, honored guests, let me invite you to Tablet Magazine’s next Bloomsday, because relying on steak and potatoes and an Israeli band playing Celtic music for diplomacy is a mug’s game. Peace between nations requires country songs inspired by Molly Bloom’s soliloquy, selections of the novel performed in Yiddish, and a full ensemble 15 minute Ulysses shpiel, to get you up to speed. Say yes.
Earlier: Happy St. Patty’s Day!