In the years before he died, Christopher Hitchens always made a big thing about being Jewish. I saw him speak at the Holy Blossom Temple in the early days of the War on Terror and he started off by telling us why his enemies hated him and one of the reasons was that he was Jewish. I was surprised because I never considered him Jewish at all and wondered if his claim was merely a shallow ploy to get attention.
So I was surprised this morning when I read this from his brother, Peter Hitchens.
I visited him during a Reagan-Gorbachev
summit in Washington, and stayed at his tiny house on Capitol Hill. It
was then that I told him what he would never have found out himself,
that our mother was partly Jewish, a piece of information which he
always told me had changed his life. I've often been struck by the fact
that he never came to visit me when I lived in Moscow, though he would
have been welcome.
Christopher Hitchens in Toronto
This brings me to the issue of listening to intellectuals ramble on in place of religious worship. I find it really fantastic that intellectuals, even those whose opinions about organised religion aren't positive, are invited to speak by clerics in a religious establishment. I've never heard of this being done in any other religious denomination. I can't picture this event happening in a church, a mosque, or other temple of any kind so props to the Jewish faith here: never have I more wanted to wear a kippah. (The event was funded by the deep pockets of Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz. It is not lost on me that I'm jobless partly because of Schwartz's Onex, which controls Cineplex Entertainment, which acquired my former company, leading to my layoff. I don't care: I was able to come to this event without having to get up early the next day to go to work. And I was going to change jobs anyway. This has been a major digression). To add more, the event was open to the public, so goyims like me were allowed in, and we did so in large numbers, even causing a line-up outside the temple.