Saturday, February 05, 2005

Is Rob Eshman Hopeless?

Friday I received in the mail an envelope from the Jewish Journal containing a photocopy of a 1986 article from the paper about the Brandeis-Bardin institute. It was a gesture typical of editor Rob Eshman's generosity.

As I walked home, I contemplated sending him a quick thank you note. I decided not to. I didn't want to seem like a suck-up.

Friday night, walking home from shul, I picked up a copy of the latest issue of the Jewish Journal. The cover read: "Is France Hopeless!? By Rob Eshman"

I immediately thought, "Is Rob Eshman hopeless? Is the Jewish Journal hopeless? Why are they writing more articles about France when they've already done the subject to death and secular papers like The New York Times have already covered the topic far better than the Journal can. Is Rob Eshman hopeless?"

As I walked towards my hovel, I stoken my anger at the Journal, hoping that it would still be warm by Saturday night so I'd have enough emotion to blog about it. Too often I read the Journal Friday night, determine to write an angry blog about it, then 24 hours later, I just don't have enough anger left.

Assembly my tasty Shabbat dinner of a cold bagel and soy milk, I started reading Rob's article, looking forward to tearing it apart.

I figured I already knew what it would say. It'd be the same as all the paper's previous articles on the topic -- that France was by no means a hopeless cause for Jews.

I decided I'd fire off a polite email to Rob asking who paid for his trip.

I imagine that the French government paid for his trip and provided him with all sorts of non-kosher delicacies (you can read into these words what I'm really thinking and resenting. why doesn't anyone try to bribe me with cute little pastries?).

Then I began reading the article and found I was immediately hooked by the anecdotal lead.

"Harumph," I think. "Rob's a good writer."

I read the thing all the way through and consider that maybe Rob does know what he's doing with the paper.

So where am I going to direct all my hatred now that I can't direct it this week at Rob?

As I lay down on my floor at bedtime, I felt a disturbing yet familiar emptiness. It was the sinking feeling I get every time I find a large part of the Jewish Journal interesting.