And if you're not Italian, you'll still enjoy it because it's one of his funnier ones.
But seriously though...underneath the brilliant wit, he answers dilemmas I had regarding whether it's okay to vote for an intermarried assimilated Jew, and how to prioritize for whom to vote, and...it's so current because Cuomo the Son is big in politics in New York—and despite the Q&A discussing Cuomo the Father, it is still as pertinent as it was in 1982.
"Nothing new under the Sun," eh?
Also, in her Holocaust memoir From the Depths, Lea Fuchs-Chayen recalls the Italian prisoners-of-war she met after liberation, and they were indeed a cheerful & decent lot, often singing opera, and did a lot to bolster the atmosphere, which helped the healing of the young death camp-survivors. (And without behaving inappropriately with these young survivors, as the Rumanians & Poles did when Lea and her friends found themselves in DP camps with them.)
Here's Rav Avigdor Miller in full from the daily email sent by Toras Avigdor:
How should we view the endorsement given to Cuomo (Mario Cuomo, father of current New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo) by Jewish personalities?
When you see Jewish personalities who endorse Cuomo – even some Orthodox personalities – they have their reasons; but we have our reasons.
And our reasons for not endorsing Cuomo are because of Jewish self-interests.
Our Jewish interests require the preservation of Jewish lives.
And in order to save Jewish lives that are being destroyed constantly by wanton murders, it’s important to restore the death penalty – at least on the books.
I will explain something to you before I go on because there’s another question here that someone passed up on a piece of paper.
It says, “Is Lehrman’s intermarriage any reason not to vote for him and to vote instead for Cuomo?” (Editor’s Note: Republican Lewis Lehrman ran against Democrat Mario Cuomo in the 1982 New York State Gubernatorial race).
Now, pay attention to what I’m going to tell you.
You know, Cuomo is an Italian and the Jews owe a debt of gratitude to Italy.
First of all, Italy is the oldest continuous civilization in Europe; it means that Italy is the most civilized country in Europe.
The Jews in Italy lived most happily, more than any other country.
Even under the shadow of the pope, the Jews were more protected than anywhere else.
When they personally appealed to the pope, they got results.
When Mussolini took over Italy, the Jews had nothing to fear.
And even when Hitler became the master of Italy – there’s a book called The Destruction of the European Jews by Hilberg and he brings there statistics that show how the Italians were most active in defying Hitler’s demands for handing over Jews.
More than any other country that was under Hitler’s domination the Italians resisted and saved Jews.
And therefore we Jews should have a certain affection for Italians.
But besides for being good neighbors, the Italians are excellent for public office.
And since Cuomo is an Italian, actually we ought to vote for him just because of that. Italians are the very best people when it comes to public office.
Our Italian councilmen are the best people; they’re the most reliable.
But that’s only as long as they remain Italians!
The problem is that Cuomo is not an Italian anymore! He went to college!
Now, there are some that survive college and still remain Italians. Some don’t go to college altogether.
There are still a lot of common sense, hard working Italians around.
That’s why even today I say that if we would take the justices of our State Supreme Courts and from the United States Supreme Court and we would put them to work pouring concrete on sidewalks, and instead we would take the the Italian construction workers and put them on the Supreme Courts, they would do an excellent job and the country would be much better off.
Why? Because they have common sense.
They wouldn’t make society so disturbed with the laws defending criminals and making it impossible to apprehend violators of laws.
Today a policeman has to be first of all a lawyer and he has to be a judge too; he has to know the whole book before he can even arrest somebody.
So he thinks, “Why should I bother?”
And even after he arrests the criminal, the lawyers and the judges are on the side of the criminals.
But if we had Italians there – if we took let’s say the the construction workers and the ones who sell bananas on the street, and put them onto the Supreme Court they’d restore society! I mean it seriously! They’d restore society to a normal kind of existence.
However when an Italian like Cuomo is against the death penalty, so he’s not an Italian anymore.
I think Lehrman is the real Italian!
He married a gentile woman and he supports the death penalty; he’s the real Italian.
And I think that all the Italians should vote for him, besides for the Jews. He’s for the death penalty so he deserves our vote because every person today is in danger of his life.
It’s terrible what’s happening in the streets today. Wanton murder just for the fun of killing people. They’re poisoning candies today. It’s fun to murder people, to shoot into a crowd of people, to drive your car into people.
Nothing will happen to you anyway.
Even if you get a tough judge so you’ll be sentenced to let’s say ten years in a hotel at the state's expense. You’ll get color television, you get good food – nutritionists take care of your food; they plan out your meals. You get free medical and dental care. So why shouldn’t you? And after a while you’ll get out anyhow.
So if you vote for Lehrman, it’s a vote for your own safety, for your own self preservation.
So you’ll ask me, but Lehrman has a non-Jewish wife.
Imagine a murderer is coming at you with a knife.
What are you going to do?! You’re in terrible danger!
Suddenly a Jewish policeman is rushing towards to save your life.
Will you say, “Stop! You’re a Jewish policeman? I have to know first to whom you are married!”?
If he’s going to save your life you have no kashas to ask.
And therefore the man who is for the death penalty that’s the man we want to elect! And Lehrman is for the death penalty.
There’s another thing of course that’s also a very serious matter.
Cuomo has committed himself that when he becomes governor he’s going to issue an executive order for the entire state of New York in favor of gays. It means the gays are going to have special rights; it’s going to flood the state with the most terrible immorality.
And don’t think that New York is just one state. New York is a keystone for the union.
All over America it’s going to have a tremendous effect. And therefore in the best Jewish interests I think that everybody should try to try their best to help Lehrman become elected.
All the Italians should feel that’s their man. He is the closest to their hearts because he’s more Italian than Cuomo!
And the Jews? Of course; why not? All the Jews should also vote for him.
TAPE # 431 (August 1982)
[Used with permission.]