Thursday, May 3, 2018

A Jay Bushinsky memory

Jay Bushinksy
     Robert Feder reports that Jay Bushinsky died Wednesday at his home in Israel at age 85 (sixth item). That brought a smile to my face—not because of his passing, I'm not that much of a bastard. 
     But at my single Jay Bushinsky memory, which I will attempt to reconstruct.   
     For many years he was the Sun-Times Jerusalem bureau, which itself evokes a whistle of wonder. But he would get back to Chicago from time to time, and one of those visits he was speaking to a local Arab group's dinner, briefing them on the Situation in the Middle East.
     I can't remember which group or when this occurred.  But I must have been working one of those awkward evening shifts—say 4 p.m. to 12 midnight. Most reporters would bring a sack lunch but, grandiose fellow that I am, given to comforting myself with pleasures, I would take myself to dinner. And this particularly night, facing another empty evening, I had slid over to a sushi emporium and loaded up. Back in the late 1980s there were more sushi places downtown than there are today. 
     Upon my return to the paper, an editor told me to hustle my ass over to some location and cover the remarks our own Jay Bushinsky was giving, before this Arab group.
     That too was a dinner, and my memory is rolling up, bloated with raw fish and vinegar rice, and having these very solicitous Arab folks around a big table gently urging foodstuffs on me while Bushinsky spoke.
     "You must try this," they would say, "we call it hummus. It is delicious." "Please sample some of this fallafel. You will like it." 
     I tried, in my most polite fashion, to explain that I had just eaten dinner, and this fare, rather than being unfamiliar, was my own people's food as well. I wish I could but I can't. That didn't work, and I ended up having to eat a bit, just to satisfy them.
     That's it. There is a second, shadow memory, a faint echo: that the attendees at the dinner were not pleased with Jay and whatever he had to say. Maybe I wasn't either, because I remember kind of cringing. Maybe because he was telling them the truth and I was too uninformed to recognize it. Maybe because he was off-base. I can no longer recall. 



  1. Reminds me of my trip to Korea, during which I met my wife's relatives, who competed to feed us. One day, her brother's wife gorged us with Korean pancakes, such that an hour or so later, I was unable to enjoy the feast laid out by the older brother's wife and daughter. The more I apologized, the more I felt like the "ugly gauche American."


  2. Don't know about Jay Bushinsky either, but there is a case where Muslims and Jews recently cooperated in a non cringy way. The person who vandalized the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in St. Louis was caught. Alzado Harris confessed to the crime, and it turns out he is not a Trump supporter at all. The good part was some Muslims helped raise $140,000 for the restoration work at the cemetery.

  3. I still remember his 1967 report when he signed off 'this is j, b, reporting from undivided Jerusalem"


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