('Eating Kosher' experience)
They were all chomping on succulent roast pheasant, roast potatoes, and garnished beans.
I, alone, was not indulging. My vegetarian dish tarried, perhaps because the engraved place card that bore my name had been misspelled. It read "Yeduha...?"
Gen. George S. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was sitting two chairs to my right and Barbara Walters to my left. He caught sight of my still empty plate and craning his neck to mark my place card, boomed, "Yeduha, not eating with us tonight?" With that, a butler stepped forward and placed before me a fiesta of color consisting of:
A base of lettuce as thick as the Tanach,
Topped by a mountain of diced fruits,
Capped by a blob of cottage cheese,
And crowned by a scoop of whipped cream.
The whole thingamajig stood about a foot high.
In contrast to everybody else's drab roast pheasant, it glittered and sparkled like a firework!
"Wow!" chimed Barbara Walters at the top of her voice, drawing everybody's attention to my extravaganza. President Ford half-rose to note it. He whispered something into Yitzhak Rabin's ear, and Rabin whispered something back into his. Instantly, the president rose to his full height, held his glass high, and exuberantly called out to me, "Happy
birthday, young fella." Whereupon, the entire Lincoln Room stood up and began chorusing in fullthroated gusto, "Happy birthday dear Yeduha." And as they sang, their glasses aloft, I slunk sheepishly into my chair, mortified.
Back at Blair House where we were lodging, I asked Rabin why on earth he had told the president it was my birthday. He shot back, part in jest, part in earnest: "What else should I have told him — the truth? And tomorrow there would be a headline that you ate kosher and I didn't. And then the religious parties would bolt the coalition.
Am I crazy?"