A brief but memorable moment in Rock history…
…starts about 2 minutes in:
Here's how Jeffrey Goldberg describes the event:
Goldblog reader Clifford Mendelson, who made the now-famous "Hava Nagila" sign, was seated two rows behind [White House Chief of Staff Rahm] Emanuel (and near David Brooks and Andrea Mitchell and other such luminaries in an apparently all-Jewish section of the Verizon Center), courtesy of Bruce himself, who met Mendelson at the Arizona Biltmore hotel a few weeks back (I'm omitting some of the shaggy-dog qualities of Mendelson's story in order to get to the heart of the matter). In any case, Mendelson, a Springsteen fanatic, knew that Bruce would probably play Stump the Band, and, like many other concert-goers, he decided to bring a sign with him. "Hava Nagila" was chosen in deference to his daughter, a 14-year-old student at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Md.
"My daughter didn't want to go because of homework, so I figured she needed a Jewish excuse to go to the concert. I made the 'Hava Nagila' sign - I'm in the mortgage credit market, so there's not a hell of a lot for me to do these days - and we brought it to the concert," he said. "I made it like the Torah, two sticks on each side."
He went on with his tale: "I didn't have the sign up when Bruce came to our side of the stage, but I held it up and Patti (Bruce's wife) sees it, and Roy Bittan sees it - he's Jewish - and he gives me a fist pump. But I've got to get it up to the stage. Bruce then looked our way and saw it and he points at me. Rahm Emanuel turns around and sees it and he loves it and grabs the sign. He hands it to a Secret Service agent who handed it up to Bruce and then they played it."
He continued, "I turned to Rahm Emanuel and I said, `The least I can do for you as a great public servant is buy you a beer,' and he said `I'll take a light beer.' I mean, what a night."
There are those in Israel who say that Rahm is insufficiently zealous in his Jewishness. I think Mendelson's story is an appropriate response to such a charge.
[Via the JTA's Telegraph blog.]