From Generation to Generation:
Screenplay by Barry ‘velvel’ Silverberg
Check out these two, seemingly unrelated news items!
The Jewish Federation of
– is sending a mission to Winnipeg this October. It is their most serious enterprise of 2003. . . Israel
/ The Canadian Jewish News
The Israel Science Fiction Society is holding it’s yearly Convention during the Succot festival October, 2003. The Convention will host one of the most eminent names in the genre today, Orson Scott Card of
. Greensboro, NC
/ Ma-alieve, an Israeli daily schmatteh
From these two points, it is only natural to extrapolate the following scenario:
[Music: a few soft bars of the original Startrek, with just a hint of a horra; maybe switch one of the violins to an accordion)
(Captain’s Voice) Captain’s Log Stardate, Tishrei*, 5764. . .
We are approaching Starbase 972, one of the most strife torn areas of the entire Galaxy. With us is the eminent author and political scholar Orson Scott Card, whose great wisdom may help this planet achieve a long sought after peace. Can we deliver him to the planet before the vicious enemies of peace destroy us?
(Lt. Ohanna, the Moroccan communications officer)
Urgent! Get me Captain Kirshner of the Federation –
(Lt. Rykiss) He’s on the
, sir!; He’ll be right up. Living Bridge
(Captain) This is Captain Kirshner. We will rendezvous with Star Base 972 in just two hours . Our ten day mission: To seek out strange new souvenir shops. To exchange cultural programming. To boldly visit the final frontier . . . hopefully not our final frontier . /open onto . ..scene: bridge of the ship, The Enderprize: /
(Spock) You know, Captain, I have a niece who grew up in
(Captain) I suppose that, as a Vulcan, she was educated in bizarre customs , keeps esoteric rituals and has total emotional control.
(Spock) Quite correct, sir. Like any other Peretz Shul graduate.
( Alert sounds, of course it is a Shofar: Teroooooo-oo! Teroooo too tooo too too!!)
Captain: Blue and White Alert! We are approaching an area of instability. Please remain in your seats and fasten your seat belts.
(various passengers and crewpersons whisper or grumble sarcastically)
‘54 years of instability, vhat’s a seat belt going to help?’
What ve need is a miracle.
(Captain) Get me the Chief Religion Officer.
(Voice from bridge) : He’s on the
, sir. Davven Port
(Captain) : Zayta, We’re on alert! What are you doing?
(Zayta) Davvening, Captain. You don’t know what it’s like out here. The sun comes up. I finish Shachriss*, the ship rotates, the sun comes up again, I have to start all over .
(Captain) Well, that’s what you get for being so religious. Besides, ‘Orbit Makes the Life Sweet.’
(Zayta) Ooooh! Captain! I heard that joke a long time ago, and it stank just as bad then.
(Deanna Troy) You must be experiencing ‘Deja Phew!”
(Zayta:) Is it possible that we have fallen into a parallel universe?
(Captain): Universe shmuniverse. Look in this viewscreen. The streets down there! They drive like lunatics. The natives of this planet can’t even manage parallel parking, you want a parallel universe!
[Cut to: the passenger lounge]
(Rom) Tell me, Mr Card, we once had a Captain P Card on the ship. Are you by chance related?
(Nog) Yeah, and we have a Chief Engineer named Scottie. Your cousin, maybe?
(Mr Sulu) I think I met your uncle Orson once in the ‘War of the Worlds.’
(Somebody Shouts out) Scott Bakula!?
(Orson Scott Card) Could you guys stop with the Jewish geography? I’m not Jewish! I’m Mormon!
(Rom) Does that mean you accept the Eruv* , or you don’t accept the Eruv?
(O’Hanna): Captain! My Captain! There’s something on the screen.
The densest cloud of stellar dust that I have ever seen!
(Captain) Is it dangerous? Do we need to take any prophylactic measures?
(Spock) I see no logic in measuring, sir; doesn’t one size fit all?
(Nog) All Terrans, anyway.
(Captain) / somewhat exasperated/ I mean, can you analyze it?
(Spock) The computer has identified the dust as cremated remains of Gene Roddenbery, Timothy Leary and . . . Maya Angelou!
(Captain:) Timothy, Gene and Angelou’s Ashes!!
/but they are beginning to feel the effects of inhaling the stuff/
(Giggling) Scottie! This could mean serious tribble. Can you haul our ashes out of their ashes!!? /Hums under his breath/ Picture yourself on the bridge of a river where Vulcans feed Klingons di- Lithium pies!
(Zayta: /somwhat zonkoed himself/) I’ve been trying to understand the human concept of riddles. What do you call a young genius with antennae by A E van Vogt, sponsored by the Winnipeg Federation, and singing with the Captain ?
(Orson C Card:) A SLAN GROWING WITH FILK AND MONEY!!
(Ohanna) Captain. I’m getting a faint signal from that derelict ship!
(Captain) I think I’ll let the new Executive Directing Officer handle this. Crisco!
(Chief Ex Directing Officer) Hailing Frequencies!!
/on the screen appear a ragtag group of refugee types. One of them is speaking into a device/
(Survivor) We need. . . Help! Can anybody hear me?
(Officer Crisco) This is officer Crisco the CNN Ship, ‘The Enderprize’. We are ready to offer any assistance.
(Survivor: ) Baruch Hashem! Thank God! A tenth! We need a tenth!
(Crisco) A tenth of what?
(Survivor) Of what? A tenth of my nose, shmendrick! A tenth man! Another five minutes and its too late for Minha! We’ve been searching for light years!
(Zayta) Well, Hock me Orion!! Those must be the last remnants of /this with great awe/. . . DaMinian!!!
(Scottie) DaMinian! You mean they rrrrrrrrrealy exist? I thought it’s just a spaceman’s legend, BeGmorrah.
(Zayta) Oh Contraire, Sir. DaMinian was once a flourishing spiritual and cultural Center in the Northern Quadrant. They had a system of day schools, evening Tora classes. There was even a song, but I expect you are much too young to remember. /sings/ Why do more Vanadians shop at DaMinian, more than any other-----
(Kirschner) Spare us, Zayta. Then what happened?
(Zayta)/sighs/ Populations shifted; communities to their scattered buddies went, you know. Demographics.
/Flashback : A bunch of elderly Western Canadian Jewish types reminiscing :/
· Where we lived, it was so flat, we had no place to hide the Afikoman.
· Our synagogue was so isolated, that , we called the additional prayer ‘Musoff’ because we had to beat the Moose Off the Bima before we could start praying!
· Well, our town was so cold that I had to lower my wife into the Mikva thru a hole in the ice every month.
· Ha! Our town was so small that, on Sukkot, we had to share a succa with the next town. And if we wanted to intermarry, we had to go doubles on the Shikse!!
· Our Rebbe was so poor, he would milk the goats in the middle of Chedder! That’s where fine Canadian Chedder cheese comes from!
(Captain:) (groaning) Security! – do something! Phasers on ‘Stun!’
(Security Officer:) They look like they’ve already been hit by Phasers on Stun Frieberg!
Return to /Zayta) /. . .Some younger folks wanted adventure; others became frum and moved to the outer fringes of the Galaxy. . . /waits for the laugh which doesn’t come./ Fringes, get it? The great psychohistorian, Izzy Assimov, had to make a tough decision. As the kehilla spiralled towards chaos, he could establish centers of Jewish community life at opposite ends all over the galaxy – or erect one main campus that would include everything: day schools, a museum, swimmin’ pool, movie stars. . . “
/ fade out to: a board meeting, voices are very emotional : We can’t close that shul. My zaide was Bar Mizvah’d there. . . etc… Finally, the president gets up and says:/
(President:With growing ire) Look, if we try to fund a centre everywhere where there is a shul or a school, we’ll be spread too thin. We’ll be paying for a lot of chairs, but we’ll end up with one ass per campus!
/everybody looks at him /
Jewish studies director: ‘Ass. . . Per .. Campus.’ I like the sound of it. ***
/fade back to Zayta’s narration/ . . . And soon, the entire Federation was operating solely from the Southern Quadrant.
(Orson Scott Card) Excitedly: Some survive, others are wiped out entirely. . .This would make a fantastic ending for my novel, Ender’s Game! It’s a lot better than spraying the Buggers with Raid! In return, I’ll tell you a tale:
One of the greatest Machers in the community was named
Alvin Macher. And he told the following story:
*** Sincere apologies, both to Isaac Asimov and the Asper family. / V.
Captain: Excuse me, but our internal problems will have to wait: I have just been notified that the Borg is preparing an attack!
Lt. Rikiss: If we are defeated, we could face complete assimilation!
Crisco: Oy. I need this like another wormhole.
Captain: Evasive maneuver. Warp 18. Wait for my co-ordinates!
/ All sorts of neat ‘60’s style special effects, which, on paper, are rather pallid: Whoosh, FFFFFF, etc…/
/Return to Bridge, where relief is short lived/
Spock: You did it Captain. . . . er, I apologize for that emotional praise.
/The alarm goes off again/
Ohana: (Communications officer, remember?) Captain, relief is short lived!
/What did I tell you?/ V/ . . .We are being tugged by an irresistible force . . ./ pointing to screen/. . . from over there.
Captain: But there is nothing there except. . . blackness.
Zayta: I’m afraid sir, that you are right. It’s a Black Holey!
Look: there is the event horizon!
Dax: Really? Who’s catering?
Zayta: If we are pulled past that zone of darkness, it will be Shabbes for us – forever.
Captain: I don’t care what it is: Get us out of here, Scottie!
Scottie: ( In the engine room) Ya can’t ask me to break the laws of Moses, sir!
/From out of the blackness, a bizarre space vehicle with a Menora on top approaches the ship. Inside we get a shot of: Beings in black coats, black fur hats, swaying ecstatically./
Scottie: They’re sending a Shukkle, sir.
Captain: You mean a Shuttle.
Scottie: No, I mean a Shukkle.
/ Several members of the crew start to bend and sway in time with the music, /
Geordi: Who are those cool dudes?
Crisco’s son: (affecting a rapper’s dialect) Dey’s Hassiddim, man! Hassidim!
Geordi: Ah see dem, too, but who are dey?
Captain: NO! Stop! This must not happen! Remember your mission. /grabs crew persons, sits them back down, tears off prayer shawls that they suddenly have , and so on. But he is helpless, and begins to succumb himself/
Ay, ay , ay, biddy biddy bim bum –
Spock: (has sprouted huge sidelocks to match his ears) Aye Aye Captain! Ay Ay Ay Ay AY! (fade out to: )
I should live so long and Prosper.* )
Notes to you:
(The author was born in
, a place which became ‘stuck in time’ shortly after he made Aliah, in 1970. His name is Silverberg, but cannot be traced to Robert Silverberg, the eminent SF writer, who is considering a name change. Labeled a ‘card’ by his highschool friends, Barry bears no connection to the master SF writer Orson Scott Card, who is slated to visit Winnipeg, Canada this fall. Likewise, often called a ‘dick,’ he bears no relation to the great novelist Philip K Dick (who will also attend the convention, on the outside chance that the dead can return to life as they did in his novel, Counterclock World.) Israel
Just last month, Barry attended in the Worldcon – the most prestigious Science Fiction Coffee Klatch of the year -- in Toronto, where he was held for questioning in connection with a plot to genetically tweak Canadian beavers with vampire bat DNA, as part of a maple syrup smuggling ring. He lives in Hiding, a collective settlement near
A Philip DICKTIONARY of Alternative Meanings
· Macher: the heavies of the community. Mover + Kacker = Macher. When I was a teen, they were the in crowd and I was in the outbox, mostly because of an unpleasant personal habit of mine involving legumes and a chipmunk. Today, they run the show.
· Shachriss: Morning prayers, these take about an hour in a ‘normal’ shull. Many’s the time when I slept in and davvened at light speed, getting everything in within 5 minutes, on the other hand, since Z = mc2, as the prayer’s zeal increases he can go on forever.
· Tishrei : One of the Hebrew months, it’s on a lunar calendar so it moons us; thus ‘Tush ray’ -- A beam of light from a place where the sun don’t shine but the moon doth. Traditionally, it is a month for looking behind, retrospection and repentance. Tishrei is the seventh month of the year. How, you ask, was it chosen to usher in the New Year? Maybe it knew somebody on the committee.
The complete list of months, which no Jewish dayschool pupil has ever managed to learn is: Tishrie, Hasbro, Kissme, Trivvets, Fatso, Audi, Nissan, Ford, Bush, Of, Onn, and Simmer. Say it fast and you’re talking Hebrew already. Three additional months were surrendered to the Egyptians following intense pressure from the American State Department, in 1973.
· Eruv: By law, a Jew cannot carry objects from one ‘property’ to another on the Shabbat unless there is an eruv, a symbolic physical boundary, surrounding both properties. In
, this meant that I could not keep a tissue in my pocket outside even if it was –40 degrees in the sun! Crazy? You bet, but even crazier is the fact that, as soon as one rabbi builds an Eruv around the city, another rabbi will claim that it is not Kosher, thus creating a schism in the community that will persist for generations, after the Rabbis, the congregation, and the salmon are long gone. Winnipeg
· Blowing the Shoffar: alternative spelling, ‘Chauffeur’. On the high holidays, the Cantor Blows the Chauffeur; but in today’s progressive, egalitarian synagogs, the rabbi fresses the maid and the beadle gives the organist a foot massage.
· Peretz Shul:
’s Yiddish day school. I don’t know when it became extinct, but a lot of my cousins and friends studied there till grade six. I, of course, went to Talmud Torah, the Winnipeg . Today both buildings are Baptist schools, which I suppose is more appropriate for the periodic flooding of the Hebrew School Red River.
· Live Long and Prosper: Trekkies of the first generation recognize this as Vulcan for ‘Ciao Bambino.’ But for those of you who live where I live, Prosper is the name our ex – mayor. Every fold of his belly and each chin on his face is plastered all over our town, because municipal elections are coming up ! In fact they coincide with the day when the Winnipeg Federation is due to dock!
· Filk: Amateur songs, usually parodies of FOLK songs, on topics of science fission or fantasy.
· Shukkle: Ritual sway as you pray.