From Generation to Generation:

 

Screenplay by Barry ‘velvel’ Silverberg

 

Check out these two, seemingly unrelated news items!

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The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg   is sending a mission  to Israel this  October.  It is their most serious enterprise of  2003. .  .

 

          / The Canadian Jewish News

 

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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

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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 Living Bridge, sir!;    He’ll be right up.

 

(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 Winnipeg.

 

 (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) 

   “No kidding’       

   ‘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 Davven Port, sir. 

 

(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.

          Alvin  Macher.  And he told the following story:

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*** Sincere apologies, both to Isaac Asimov and the Asper family.  / V.

 

THIRD

An unkosher tale,

In honor of  Orson Scott Card’s visit to Israel, Sukkos, 2003

 

          I’ve watched through his eyes.  I’ve sniffed through his snout, and I tell you, he’s the one.

          -- That’s what you said about the other brothers.

          The other two had the ability.  They just made faulty choices.  Too flimsy.  To brittle.  Unable to stand up against the force of the Enemy.

 

Third.  Third.  Third.

He was the Third.

It was not his fault he was a third.

The First had gone out and built a house of straw.

In the first invasion, the Enemy just blew him away.

 

The Second had learned his lesson.  So he thought.  He built his house of sticks.  He hadn’t lasted past the first puff.

 

Now, it was all up to him.

He smiled.

 He hadn’t asked to be a third.

He could hear the taunts of the enemy through the brick wall:  “First little piggy was roast beef, the second little piggy is gone, the third little piggy runs wee wee wee all the way home! Ayyo Porquinho!  You’re nothing but a pig of Card’s!! ”  The whole edifice shook with the knocking:  OPEN THE DOOR AND LET ME IN!

As he gave the ritualistic reply, he forced himself into the mind and paws of his enemy.  How it felt to watch the house fall down, to tear at porkchop with his canines.  Through the tiny window, he watched as his enemy began to climb. 

And then, it came to him: 

The Enemy’s tale is down!  With his last strength, he pushed the huge cauldron of water into the fireplace.

                      The wolf came down the chimney like Assyrians on the fold. . .

Plop! Into the pot!    For a moment ,  all was  quiet.  Then, the surface began to ripple and bubble.  There was a gout of an explosion, hurling gobbets of minced wolf organs against the walls of brick.

          Eeuaghahgh!

          The third little pig turned his snout to the wall and wept  .

 

          When he opened his eyes, Chazzer Rack-ham was hugging him: “You’re a hero!  You’ve saved us all!”

          The third little piggy hurled punch after punch at his teacher.  “I didn’t want to kill him! He sobbed.  “I didn’t want to kill anybody!”

          “Take it easy,” said Chazzer.  “There’s somebody back on Earth who is dying to see you.”

          The hatch opened.  Miss Piggy squeezed through and pressed her pliant hams against his.  “My hero!” She squealed.

          “Oui, oui, oui,” said the Third Little Piggy, all the way home.

                                                          The Ender

 

 

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 –

                        No!  No!!

Spock: (has sprouted huge sidelocks to match his ears) Aye Aye Captain!  Ay Ay Ay Ay AY!  (fade out to:  )

 

úéáú č÷ńč: And so the Federation crew must fight off the threat of assimilation on one hand, yet resist the tempting lure  of ultra Orthodox zeal on the other.

Continued Next Generation,

         

                  

 

 

 

 

 

 

                    I should live so long and Prosper.* )

Notes to you:

(The author was born in Winnipeg, Canada, 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 Israel 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.)

    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 Haifa.

 

 

 

 

 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 Winnipeg, 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.

 

·        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:  Winnipeg’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 Hebrew School.       Today both buildings are Baptist schools, which I suppose is more appropriate for the periodic flooding of the 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.

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