Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Barack, Have You Heard My Favorite Middle Eastern Joke About…

New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, called Barack Obama for a phone interview before the President left for a visit to the Middle East.

Friedman got to share with the President this favorite:

There is this very pious Jew named Goldberg who always dreamed of winning the lottery.

Every Sabbath, he’d go to synagogue and pray: “God, I have been such a pious Jew all my life. What would be so bad if I won the lottery?”

But the lottery would come and Goldberg wouldn’t win. Week after week, Goldberg would pray to win the lottery, but the lottery would come and Goldberg wouldn’t win.

Finally, one Sabbath, Goldberg wails to the heavens and says: “God, I have been so pious for so long, what do I have to do to win the lottery?”

And the heavens parted and the voice of God came down: “Goldberg, give me a chance! Buy a ticket!”

Friedman followed with this application:

I told the president that joke because in reading the Arab and Israeli press this week, everyone seemed to be telling him what he needed to do and say in Cairo, but nobody was indicating how they were going to step up and do something different.

Everyone wants peace, but nobody wants to buy a ticket.

Link: Thomas Friedman, Obama on Obama, New York Times, 3 June 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Tom Friedman.