Benny Jay: Some Of My Best Friends…

September 6th, 2018

In honor of Mayor Rahm throwing in the towel the other day and declaring he’s not running for re-election, I figured we’d run this piece from his Glory Days…


I’m sitting at my desk reading the newspaper when the phone rings and Frankie — an old pal — comes on the line singing, “Shabbat shalom, Shabbat shalom….”

He’s calling from Guam, Hawaii or wherever the hell he’s living these days.

“Shabbat Shalom, hey, Shabbat Shalom — hey….”

That’s a Jewish song — the lyrics mean peaceful Sabbath.

“Shabbat, Shabbat, Shabbat, Shabbat Shalom….”

Frankie’s not Jewish. He’s Catholic. But he hung out with a bunch of Jewish kids when he was a kid so he knows a little Hebrew. He just might be the most Jewish non-Jew I know.

He stops singing Shabbat Shalom and bursts into Hava Nagila.

That’s another Jewish song – but I figure everybody knows that.

Everyone wants to be my friend since Rahm got elected….

I’ve been getting a lot of calls like this since Rahm Emanuel was elected mayor of Chicago.

You see, Rahm’s Jewish and I’m Jewish – so it’s like we have this connection. Or apparently, that’s how a lot of non-Jews see it.

As a matter of fact, I’m getting calls from guys looking for city jobs.

Why, just a few minutes ago I got a call from another buddy we’ll call Frank. As in Coconate.

“Hey, Benny,” he says. “Hook me up with your guy….”

“Frank, I don’t know the guy….”

“Tell him my favorite guy in the Rat Pack was Joey Bishop…..”

“Frank — I didn’t even vote for him….”

“No, better yet – tell him that the most talented guy in the Rat Pack was Sammy Davis Jr. Tell him – fuck Frank Sinatra.…”


Frank Coconate — what a good looking guy….

I’m starting to think there’s a common misconception out there that every Jew knows every other Jew.

Not true. At best I know a couple hundred – tops.

In fact, I hardly knew any Jews until I was ten and my family moved to Evanston. Before that we lived in Rhode Island.

Back then, I thought everyone in the world was Italian — except, you know, my family.

One time years ago this other friend – who meant no harm, I’m sure – was asking me about Jewish conspiracies.

“It’s true,” I said. “There’s this group of us who meet once a week at Mort’s.”

Mort’s used to be a delicatessen in downtown Chicago. It went out of business years ago.

“Really!” she said.

Holy shit – she believed me. Like I was letting her in on this secret.

“No, no,” I said. “It’s just a joke.”

“Oh,” she said, like she wasn’t sure.

For the record, there’s no secret society that met at Mort’s.

They meet at Manny’s deli.

Just kidding, guys. It’s a joke. Oh, God, wait `til the nutcases on the Internet get a hold of that one….

Anyway, the deal with Rahm and me is this – I don’t know him. Okay, I met him once ten years ago. But it was a brief meeting and he doesn’t even remember what I look like.

I know this because a few years ago I saw Rahm jogging on the sidewalk.

True story. As opposed to that secret society thing, which is just a joke, people. Okay? As in — j-o-k-e…..

I don’t know what got into me, but I called out: “Hey, congressman – what up!”

He was a congressman in those days.

He flashed me this nasty look as if to say, who the fuck are you?

No recognition or nothing.

In contrast, Rod Blagojevich’s always amiable when I see him jogging through the neighborhood.

Why, I just saw him a few months ago.

“Hey, governor,” I hollered, even though he’s no longer governor. “What up!”

He waved and said, “how ya’ doin’, pal….”

See, and he’s not even Jewish.

Hold on – the phone’s ringing.

It’s my old friend Ed, calling from Ohio, or wherever the hell he’s living these days.

“Hey, man,” he says. “Hava Nagila, Hava Nagila….”

Oh, brother…..

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