Many important Jewish traditions have permeated the fabric of American culture, or so claims a controversial new book on the subject by my dear old friend David Schoffman. From the Ten Commandments to the love of Zion, Jewish law and lore have penetrated the American mainstream. But Schoffman goes further claiming that "no Jewish tradition has impacted the country more indelibly than the 'thirteenth bagel'." The book is called Between Knish and Nosh: How a small minority retaught us how to spell (Amphigouri Press 2012) and it has caused a minor literary tempest among specialists and academics.
For those of you unfamiliar with this allegedly ubiquitous tradition, next time you buy a dozen bagels count the contents of your bag.
When I recently pointed out to David that what is referred to as a "baker's dozen" dates back to Victorian England he became agitated and defensive. I stressed that whatever skills he lacked as an historian he more than made up for in his genius as a painter.
|from The Body is His Book: 100 Paintings, David Schoffman|
"Who cares about painting?" he replied indignantly.
I suppose he's right ...