By Hannah Reich Berman
My most recent thoughts are so inappropriate for Elul that I may have to klop extra hard on Yom Kippur. Lately, there is nothing I want to do more than to give somebody a good potch. (I say a good potch because, so far as I know, there is no such thing as a “bad potch.”) Sadly, there is more than one “somebody” that I have in mind for a potch. While potch is the Yiddish word for slap, it is far more meaningful. A slap can be gentle and playful. A potch is a more forceful smack and is given in anger.
As a confirmed news junkie, I listen to every press conference and news bulletin, and I pay rapt attention to what political analysts and commentators have to say–be they Democratic or Republican. Since I don’t like what I hear, being hooked on the news is not a good thing. It messes with my head at a time when one’s thoughts should be pure and kind.
When I was recently informed that President Obama attempted to block aid to Israel, I wanted to smack someone silly! Then I learned that maybe this wasn’t true, that it was Republican senators that tried to block aid to Israel. The lesson learned here is that maybe I’m watching the wrong news channel. I like Wolf Blitzer, but I never felt that CNN has treated Israel fairly, so I stopped watching that station and cut to Fox News. I adore Charles Krauthammer, but I have to face the fact that Fox doles out a lot of misinformation and is way too far to the right to suit me. Maybe I should rethink this habit of watching and listening to so much news!
When I saw Obama climb back into his golf cart and head back to the fairway only minutes after speaking to the nation about the beheading of American journalist James Foley, I nearly plotzed. It isn’t hard to imagine how Foley’s parents must have felt. A week later, when questioned about it, did the president apologize for his insensitivity? No! Instead, he gave a “yes and no” type of answer, which is how he typically responds to questions that are put to him.
It’s hard to pin this guy down on anything. His apology for getting out of his suit and back into his golf garb so quickly was to blame the press, whom he accused of creating “theater.” He said that he didn’t like theater or understand it. That being the case, why did he become president? Did he think he was going to live life under the radar, as a private citizen?
The man makes me so crazy that I am even annoyed when he says “ISIL” instead of “ISIS” when referring to the Islamic State terrorist group. He has to be different from everyone else, so since the majority of people refer to that savage group as ISIS, Obama does not. He is just not in touch with us. But all is not lost. Objectivity is important so, giving him credit where it is due, I will acknowledge that he is consistent. As of this writing, I have yet to hear him make a sincere apology, give an acceptable explanation, or take responsibility for anything he has said or done–or, more likely, anything that he has not said or done.
Al Sharpton is another person who grizures me. He and Obama are in a close race for the title of “person who drives me craziest,” and right now it looks like a dead heat. Sharpton is another candidate for a good potch! Trying to catch him in a lie is like trying to grab on to a drop of mercury. It can’t be done. In 1987, when a misguided teenager known as Tawana Brawley made a false claim of rape, Sharpton was front and center. He immediately took up her cause and, along with a dynamic duo known as attorneys Alton H. Maddox and C. Vernon Mason, eventually he named Steven Pagones as one of the attackers. Pagones’s life has never been the same since. Eventually he was cleared of the (false) charges and was awarded a large amount of money for his trouble, but it is doubtful that he considers it worth what he had to endure for a very long time.
Maddox and Mason are still hanging around, doing whatever it is that they do, but not Sharpton. Al has come a long way since then. He ditched those awful sweat suits that he wore for years, lost weight, and managed to become more popular than ever–and to cause more trouble than anyone could have imagined. Who would have thought he could shine on after the Brawley charge was exposed as a hoax? But the good reverend managed to do it. He rode it out, never looked back, and came out ahead.
Obama has done even better. Like Sharpton, he too makes errors, makes false claims, and never apologizes for anything, but he is the number one guy in this country. Right now his popularity is at an all-time low, but he is still our commander-in-chief. Vey iz mir! It doesn’t appear that Obama really wants the job. Who knows if he ever wanted it? Maybe Michelle nagged him. Maybe she just wanted to live in the White House because it has high ceilings, is tastefully furnished, and has the perfect-sized lawn for an annual Easter-egg hunt. Being a good husband, maybe Barack decided to accommodate her by getting himself elected so that they could move into that prime piece of real estate.
He may be her hero, but not everyone feels that way about him. Some of us see a man who lacks enthusiasm, seems totally detached, and shows little interest in what is going on in the world around him. From Benghazi to the advancement and growth of ISIS, according to him, everything is everyone else’s fault, and he does not acknowledge that he has known about ISIS for more than a year, during which time he was repeatedly briefed on the group’s progress.
I have morphed into an Archie Bunker-type personality. It was just reported that the mosque in Boston where the marathon bombers worshipped is also frequented by several known ISIS members and ISIS wannabes. Obviously someone in that place is a recruiter. Archie, who was a little extreme, would have some ideas for handling that situation. Where is that Archie when we need him?
The state of Minnesota has also given birth to several jihadists, people who are out to get us. Two of the newest ones were friends in high school, so it appears that there is a recruiter in that area as well. We may be in trouble. Hopefully by the time this is in print, Obama will change his strategy–or get a strategy.
All of this venting hasn’t done what I had hoped it would do. I still cringe every time I see Obama. And that also goes for Sharpton, a man who has done as much as is humanly possible to foment race riots and poor race relations. Martin Luther King must be turning over in his grave. I dislike and distrust both Obama and Sharpton. Sharpton does absolutely everything and Obama does just about nothing, but the common denominator is that they both make life dangerous and they both make me crazy. This is not a good way to feel during Elul. But that’s the way it is. v
Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and is a licensed real-estate broker associated with Marjorie Hausman Realty. She can be reached at or 516-902-3733.

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