CBS news correspondent Julie Chen (who is of Chinese ancestry) is married to CBS President Les Moonves (who is Jewish and the great-nephew of David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel).
Les Moonves: Julie, where do Chinese people in Israel go on Tisha B'Av?
Julie Chen: You're asking me? What is this -- Twenty One?
This is a special Shabbat! The Shabbat before the Ninth of Av is called Shabbat Chazon ("Shabbat of Vision") after the opening words of the day's reading from the prophets ("haftara"), which is the third of the series of readings known as "The Three of Rebuke."
Tisha b'Av is a solemn fast day on the Jewish calendar that commemorates the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.
I understand that restaurants and theaters are closed in modern Israel on Tisha B'Av to commemorate the solemn day. I wonder: Where do Chinese people in Israel go on Tisha B'Av -- all the restaurants are closed? Maybe Elena Kagan knows?
A few days ago I met with a psychiatrist Ben Bregman, M.D.; he's a psychiatry resident at the George Washington University Medical Center. He was about 30 years old. So he says to me: "What are your long-range goals?" I said I didn't have any. Now really! Long-range goals? I'm 56 years old. What kind of long-range goals is a 56-year-old man supposed to have. I was old enough to be the kid's father. The other day I was walking down Connecticut Avenue and I happened to run into my old mentor, Bob Strauss. I stopped him and said, "Mr. Strauss, what are your long-range goals?" So he said to me, "Young man, my long range goal is to make it to Tisha b'Av. That's my long range goal." Bob Strauss is 91.
You know, I'm not allowed to go to my neighborhood shul. The federal government says I pose a danger to other people. They claim I'm an angry young man. Although the issue of my youth is somewhat debatable. To tell you the truth I'm turned off by the whole minyan concept. In the Jewish religion you need a quorum of ten Jewish men to pray -- or nine Jews and two half Jews. The mathematics of the minyan. I'm schizoid. The whole idea of having to be part of a group is a real turn off to me. I think the Jewish religion is prejudiced against schizoids. I'm reminded of the Groucho Marx line: "I wouldn't be part of any group that would have me as a member." So in the end, I really don't care that I can't go to my local shul. The government did me a favor.