Gerald A. Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive
doctoral studies in Middle Eastern Affairs. He has created and
conducted counter-Arab propaganda programs for college youth, has
lectured on numerous campuses and other platforms, and has publicly
debated many Arab spokesmen. His articles and op-eds have been
published in dozens of newspapers, magazines, academic journals and
websites all around the world.
Read more by the Author
All of us have regrets in life. Some have more than
I’ve probably shot myself in the foot more than
should ever be allowed...and hurt my loving parents
and others as well in the process.
Sure, my "luck" was not the best, I was naive in
many ways, and there were, at times, truly nasty and
unbelievable things being done to me. Still, my own
shortcomings contributed to the problems--no doubt.
A different person, perhaps, could have found a way
to overcome those obstacles or may have not had to
face them in the first place.
I think about all of this as I ponder the fact that
this year will mark twenty years since my Father's
passing. I realize how hard he worked for us all of
his life--often endangering his own life in the
process. Lieutenant Edward Honigman, of blessed
memory, passed away on December 2, 1992. I remember
that horrible night as if it was yesterday.
Dad had put twenty-seven years in on the
Philadelphia Police Department. He joined the latter
not long after returning from fighting in several
theatres for four years in World War II. There's a
few brief stories of his days in the U.S. Navy that
I’d like to share at this time because of their
relevance to today’s events in the Middle East.
As a gunner in the Armed Guard, his duties included
the protection of merchant shipping crossing
dangerous waters. When I was a teenager, this very
“macho” man had no qualms revealing to me that he
spent many a night at sea worrying about whether
he’d be alive the next morning. German U-boats were
sinking ships all around him. Indeed, his sister
ship went down. There but for the Grace of G_d go
But I’m not writing now simply to recall war
One evening, while on shore leave during the Allied
North African Rommel Campaign, Dad visited a cafe in
Alexandria, Egypt. While sitting at a table with his
buddies, he happened to notice several soldiers who
walked in with Star of David patches on their
Curious, Dad walked over, introduced himself, and
inquired about the patches. It turns out that he had
met up with members of the Jewish Brigade, a
fighting unit consisting mostly of “Palestinian”
(which in those days meant exclusively Jews...Arabs
called themselves Arabs) Jews attached to the
British Army. These were besides tens of thousands
of other Jews who served in Allied militaries.
Towards the end of their conversation, Dad’s new
friends had some chilling words that he later
repeated to me. They said that when the war was over
for him, G_d willing, he’d be able to return home
and all would be calm. But when World War II was
over for them,www.ekurd.net
it would simply mark the beginning of yet another
major conflict--the battle for the rebirth of the
Jewish State...the answer to all the would-be
Hitlers our people have been periodically confronted
with for thousands of years. Those words haunted my
Father from that day onwards.
During one of Dad’s later stops in Aden near the
southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, his friends
decided to play what they considered to be a joke on
their Jewish shipmate. Now, keep in mind that these
were the same guys who repeatedly fed non-Jews more
ammo in fleet gunnery competition so that the Jew
wouldn’t beat them. They told Dad to call one of the
Arab attendants over and address him as “Yahudi.”
After my Father did this, the distressed Arab then
said, “ curse me, curse my mother, but please,
please sir... never call me that!”
My Father had called him a Jew.
A look at those last five paragraphs tells you much
about what Jewish existence was like over much of
the world, in the Muslim East as well as in the
Christian West, before the rebirth of Israel. And
Dad had experienced both versions firsthand.
Many years later, I had become the father of three
children of my own.
On one of the last of our hundreds of fishing trips
together over the years, Dad asked me why I wasn’t
thinking about having another child. I kind of
jumped on him for that...one of my many
above-mentioned regrets. I told him that I was much
older than he was when he had his first child, was a
teacher living from hand to mouth with nothing too
much to spare in Florida (having what we do have
largely due to the generosity of my wife’s and my
own parents), etc. and so forth.
A few months later, Dad was gone.
After partially recovering from the pain, Mom and I
had to eventually go to the rental storage facility
where Dad had stored lots of stuff in a zillion
different boxes. We had to weed through the latter
to decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Hours
later, we opened a box that had something wrapped in
newspaper on the bottom of it. And, as I unwrapped
it, I was in shock....
Yehudit is Hebrew for Judith, the female form of
Yehuda, Judah...Dad’s Hebrew name. It is customary
for Jews to name children after deceased loved ones.
There is no letter "J" in the Hebrew languge.
And here in Dad’s box was a statue of Judith, the
ancient Hebrew defender of her people.
Did Dad know? Was that the reason why he wanted so
much for me to have a fourth child...so that he
would have a name?
Well, Dad probably had a number of good reasons why
he wanted this. But what a truly amazing,
My grandfather, of blessed memory (a veteran of
World War I), was a “collector” of all kinds of
things. Dad used to make jokes about Pop’s
“collections.” But the best I can make out from all
of this is that Dad acquired one of those
“collectables” from his father and, for some reason,
held onto it for who knows how long.
Elana Judith Honigman, G_d bless--the “unplanned
baby” and fourth child--was born on February 9,
1993...about two months after Dad passed away. She
just completed her sophomore year in college. And,
like my other children, Abigail Zipporah, Jessica
Beth, and Jonathan Ze'ev--whom I am also especially
grateful for as I, myself, get older--I am amazed at
what a blessing she has truly turned out to be.
What else is new? Dad was right again.
I can only hope that G_d permits the soul of my
Father to know how this story has turned out.
Gerald A. Honigman is a Florida educator who has
done extensive doctoral studies in Middle Eastern
Affairs. He has created and conducted counter-Arab
propaganda programs for college youth, has lectured
on numerous campuses and other platforms, and has
publicly debated many Arab spokesmen. His articles
and op-eds have been published in dozens of
newspapers, magazines, academic journals and
websites all around the world. Visit his
Gerald A. Honigman, a longtime contributing writer
for ekurd.net. Honigman has published a major book,
Quest For Justice In The Middle East--The
Arab-Israeli Conflict In Greater Perspective."
By Gerald A. Honigman for EKurd.net, May 13, 2012. You may reach the
author via email at: honigman6 (at) msn.com.
Copyright © 2012 ekurd.net.
All rights reserved