Menachem's Writings Follow theKuch on Twitter

Tying Up a Few Loose Ends

I made a radical change to my home page. I came to the realisation that what I have here on this site is not at all a log, diary or weblog. It is a series of (sometimes related) good yarns. So take a look at the new home page too.

I received some interesting correspondence regarding recent stories. I wanted to share a few with you.

My short readers weren't too happy with my article about short people. Funny, no tall people wrote back to to congratulate me -- only the vertically challenged had something to say.

Charlie wrote:

Menachem mate

Us shorties have understandably had to develop egos that compensate for our lack of height, but it pains me that as my hair recedes (at the moment just under my kippah), I will come under the category of the short and the bald. You could use that for a title of a series.

Although you may be right . . . my own shorty story of the week concerns a prominent Jerusalem businessman who also is short, and wears a kippah so I don't know if he's also going bald, is fair dinkum actually taking me to court because I don't want to make him a partner in a building project that I've got going.

I mean, I'm flattered that he thinks the project is so good that he will go to these lengths to be my partner . . . 

Now I have had my share of ego humbling experiences, so I accept the short bit . . . but a bit of mercy mate!!! Leave off the bald!!

As for the surname first. The people who made up the questionnaires back in the old days were clearly Hungarian (or close to) and one doesn't mess with tradition here.

Keep on writing!!

I replied,

Yeah, you need to cover yourself. Good luck with that short one.

I actually appreciate short people since the time I was out walking one night at Bnei Akiva camp with a then, still short, Izzy Aaron. He was slightly in front of me and wham, I fell to the ground. I had hit my head on a wire that I didn't see in the dark; Izzy had just walked right under it, unscathed. Until then I thought short people were useless, now I also knew they were also dangerous to follow.

But seriously, my real loathing is balding, obese men with shaved heads (you see the beads of summer sweat clearly sprouting out of their pores and pouring down their faces, running like rivulets through their double chins). But I didn't want to identify my victim directly. When I wrote that piece, I had just read the stats on short people in US management which I mentioned, so short was a good substitute to protect the guilty (and save getting my head bashed in! Everyone needs cover.)

And, no, I believe the originals were Russian and Polish communists who were not accepted at home because they were Jewish so came here to practice what they wished to preach (and not for any ideological love of the Holy Land) -- all the Huns living here before WWII were located in Batei Ungarim in 100 shearim.

Baruch [vertically challenged, but with a full head of hair] phoned to complain about my anti-shortie diatribe. He wasn't too happy so it was lucky I was in the Beth Midrash at the time. When I returned home late at night, I sent him the reply I had sent Charlie. He replied, "how about a short, bald, fat sweaty man? my dad wouldn't have liked you . . . ." I could see this tack was getting me into trouble, so I wrote back, "It's the initial reaction -- people can warm themselves to me, but . . . "

It's getting quite warm here on this short issue, so I'd better drop. Rotund men with no hair, please don't write to me -- I just made that all up. The people I really can't tolerate are tall skinny men with moustaches! No, no! Actually I love all of the Creator's works. Even Isaac's spiders.

Re the Great Synagogue books story, I wanted to send the link to everyone involved in the incident but haven't been able to locate them all. If you know how to contact any of these wonderful people, please send them a link, and my warm regards.

The rabbi, who became the chief minister of the Great a little over a year after the events I related, wrote to me. Following his retirement, he wrote a book on the history of the synagogue, including a chapter on the Library. I should be receiving a copy of the book shortly.

The rabbi, whom I have known for many years, wrote,

I enjoyed reading your article, which your mother-in-law emailed to my wife. Might I suggest you check it with Greer Fay Cashman [a Jerusalem journalist who at the time worked in Sydney for the Jewish News], who was also involved, and also look at the relevant section in my Great Synagogue history, which your in-laws have. This will possibly suggest a few corrections and improve the final paragraph. I would of course like to see the finished product.

I replied to the rabbi as follows:

Dear Rabbi,

Thank you for your response to my article.

I must say first off that whatever I write is my take on events and sometimes, though not in this case, I may distort the truth to improve the story. In general I do not claim to be writing a history.

I spoke to my mother-in-law earlier today with a view to borrowing your book, which I look forward to reading, not just the section on the present episode.

I think there may be some misunderstanding. My mother-in-law read me the section from the book concerning the library. I believe this was written by Ms Rosenberg, who I don't think I know. Just to set the record straight on the organisations involved. The JIM was not an ad hoc organisation. It was very organised and the people involved were not hidden in any way. They were interviewed by the Jewish press and, though the communal establishment was worried that some crime was about to be committed, none ever was nor even threatened. Now that I have been reminded of JIM's activities, I intend to write a chapter on this phenomenon. Everyone involved in JIM was a university student. JIM was a reaction, but most of the participants thought it was a revolution.

The people behind the Falk Library story were a totally different group. Of this group (which had a lifetime of ten days) I think I was the only "student" involved, and other than the Rabbi who was in the background of both groups, I was the only one who was also a "member" of JIM. The library committee was indeed ad hoc and I believe until my post this week, no-one ever knew who was on the "committee". Press contact was indirect, and there was no direct contact with the shule.

Greer had an involvement with JIM, but I am not aware that she did with the library.

I'll post more on this and related stories, so please stay tuned to my website.

Thanks again for taking the time to write.

Regards and keep reading my blog at :-)


See my latest photographs & benchers at

Funny that both Howard and Elisha, when they started reading the library narrative, thought (in Howard's words) I was "going to have another go at the Lubes but you got to the Great. That's even better . . .  I loved that door in the library -- we used to get into the [G.S.Y. -- Great Synagogue Youth] dances that way [gratis]. Sam showed it to me at our teacher's wedding.

He went on to relate to me more of his experiences at the Great.

When I came back to Sydney for your wedding, my Mum was living in Rushcutters Bay. I stayed the first Shabat at home, so I went to the Great with Joe.

The service went well (just a couple of hours longing than Kibbutz) and we were all invited to the Kiddush.

The President with his Top Hat on, called Joe over to complain about my wearing sandals to the Synagogue.

Well Joe's mistake was that he told me, so I went over and told the "Pres" off, "When your wife comes with some sleaves on her dress and you don't drive here, then I will think about not coming in sandals".

I never intended on going there again but whatever you say you are not going to do -- you do. My sister got married there in December and I had to get all dressed up in a fancy suit just like the "Pres" wore.

I can show you the pictures some day. We were driven to the Great in an old Bentley.

Oh . . . memories of our past life in Sydney . . . .

Menachem Kuchar, 7th August, 2008    

  Follow theKuch on Twitter

Please enter your comments on this article to Menachem:

  Your name:  
  Your email:

Don't forget to stop by my site to look at my latest (and classic) photographs.


Previous posts:


Be part of the new Internet tapestry phenomenon:
      Help us sew the Logo Quilt. Add a patch with your logo.
      And add some Word Links to your site.