[The newest Kosher Cooking Carnival is here!]
I am forever telling people that Billy Joel's Allentown, which described 1970's economic depression and lost jobs, was not about Allentown at all. It's about the collapse of Bethlehem Steel in the next town over, but nothing rhymes with Bethlehem, so Allentown got the song.
Now there's a new, painful riff on the classic song (hat-tip to Jameel for sending it my way). It was actually written in February 2007, but it's still applicable to today's situation, with more than 1,600 families still in temporary housing. It's about the refugees from Gaza, and it's called Shantytown. The song, written by Shifra Shomron, begins:
Well we're living in a Shantytown
And everyone is really feeling down
At SELA we're all killing time
Filling out forms
Standing in line
Well our fathers fought the Yom Kippur War
Then they settled on the Gaza Shore
Built a house and planted a tree
Life was good
For each family
And we're living in a Shantytown
And the restlessness is all around
And it's getting very hard to stay
There isn't really anything more to say.
I'll just note that a couple of years ago I announced a fundraising drive for the needs of the Gaza refugees, and was challenged by some regarding their status as refugees. They argued that the residents of Gaza could have left willingly and accepted a re-settlement package.
I have no stomach for that sort of posturing; a human being who has been evicted from his home for political reasons is a refugee, regardless of the compensation offered. There is no such thing as appropriate compensation for being kicked out of one's home.
The rule applies to the rest of the world, and it should apply to Jews as well.