You are now entering the Jewish Currents archive.
A SHORT PLAY
by Joel Schechter
[Note: On February 22, Vice President Mike Pence visited a Jewish cemetery near St. Louis where gravestones had been desecrated. He helped a community group restore the headstones. The rest of the story is told here for the first time.]
Trump: I’m sending you to Missouri on a special mission, with a few Secret Service men and a rabbi.
Pence: I would prefer a minister of my own faith, if it’s all the same to you, Sir.
Trump: Normally I would support your freedom of choice in religion a hundred percent, as long as you didn’t choose radical Islam -- but we live in extraordinary times.
Pence: End times.
Trump: That too. So I’m sending you on a special assignment to negotiate with the Dybbuk of Chesed Shel Emeth.
Pence: Negotiate with a dybbuk?
Trump: Misguided reporters at the New York Times and CNN say the cemetery was desecrated by antisemites, but I don’t’ want to rush to judgment on this one and condemn some of my supporters for the work of a dybbuk.
Pence: A dybbuk? I’m new to this religion, Mr. President
Trump: A Jewish ghost. My son-in-law can explain it better.
Pence: A dybbuk desecrated the cemetary?
Trump: One of my Jewish friends, a big, big funder of our campaign, thinks a dybbuk in the cemetery was disturbed after I cautioned Israel on building new settlements.
Pence: You hardly condemned the settlements, Sir.
Trump: I know that, but does the dybbuk? Anyway, science has no convincing explanation for dybbuks. For climate change, either, but that’s another story.
Pence: Could you send someone else to the cemetery, Mr. President? I had to visit Dachau last week. I wouldn’t want this to become my specialty.
Trump: I’d go myself, Mike, but I have a date in Florida. Don’t worry about the danger. You’ll be accompanied by a specially trained Navy Seal team of exorcists, and Anita Feigenbaum, the executive director of the cemetery, will translate things into English for you.
Narrator: And so the Vice-President of the United States went to look for the dybbuk of Chesed Shel Emeth, near St. Louis. His encounter with the dybbuk has not previously been reported.
Trump: Blame the failing press again!.
[Dybbuk appears on the scene. Weeps and looks a lot like Meryl Streep]
Dybbuk: Reb Mike of Indiana, I know how powerful you and your friends in Washington are. I know that you can command a majority of Congress and even the Supreme Court — but neither can you sway me. I once loved a man in Palestine, long, long ago, and while there are worlds without number, there was no place for him to settle.
Pence: We’ll build him a settlement.
Dybbuk: He was a Muslim, Reb Mike.
Pence: Let’s not go there.
Dybbuk: Yes, your people wouldn’t let him go there. But you must have pity. Do not conjure or compel. Recognize the forgotten men and the women who wander endlessly in the Mideast! Accommodate them!
Pence: I feel great pity for you and the other wandering souls, but I cannot change foreign policy all by myself. We need a higher power, someone who knows how to make the deal of the century.
Trump: That’s me, Reb Mike. I’ll take over, now. [To chorus of ten men suddenly surfacing with ritual songs] That all right by you?
Ten Men: Reb Trump, we give you the authority to exorcise the spirit of this wandering soul who refuses to leave of her own free will.
Trump: So be it. I will do all in my power to drive off the spirits of evil and destruction in America, and in Syria and Iraq and Iran too. The military budget will be increased accordingly. Get me Paul Ryan and my generals on the phone. We’re going to war against evil. This is not Obama’s war, mine will be more religious, and more expensive. And let’s check that dybbuk’s immigration papers. Mike, you rake up the cemetery and restore a few headstones. [Hands rake to Pence, who immediately goes to graveyard and sweeps the grounds with others. Trump exits with golf club.]
Narrator: The Dybbuk of Chesed Shel Emeth was duly deported to a secret site in the Mideast, and the desecrated cemetery in Missouri was completely renovated by the Vice-President’s ground crew, not long before another cemetery in Philadelphia was desecrated.
Trump [with golf club, practicing swing and teeing off everyone]: Another dybbuk? Get me Mike Pence.
Joel Schechter is a contributing writer to Jewish Currents and the author of Radical Yiddish and Eighteenth-Century Brechtians.