Saturday, October 10, 2009

On Thursday, the Rabbi played bridge

In 1964, Harry Kemelman started the Rabbi David Small series with Friday the Rabbi Slept Late. I played at the bridge club Thursday, and we have our own Rabbi. His first name is Martin, but everybody calls him Marty.

Our Rabbi's retired now. In fact, he's 90 years old, but you wouldn't know it -- looks much younger, and sharp as a tack. I asked him if he were born around here. Nope, born in Philadelphia and went to school in Cincinnati. Then how did he end up in the South? His first congregation was in Lexington MS. He said he liked the South, so he just stayed. Alexandria LA was his longest tenure -- 30 years.

Two days ago (Thursday), I played this deal against him (low cards are approximate).

J 2
K J 4 3
9 3 2
J 4 3 2
6 5 4 3
A 10 9 8 7 6 5
8 7 A K 10 6 5 4
Q 10 8 7 A K 6
A K Q 10 9 8 7
Q 2
9 5

The Rabbi was East and he had opened 1, and rebid 2. I was declarer in 2, and West led the 8. East won the first two diamonds, then carefully cashed two high clubs, watching his partner's signals. Only then did he lead the 10 to try and promote a trump trick for his partner. If he had done that sooner, I could discard a club loser to foil the promotion (on a different layout).

As you can see, it didn't matter. I always had eight tricks, and made my contract. But his thoughtful defense was impressive, even if unrewarded.

Question: If you are non-Jewish, do you still call him Rabbi?
Answer: Of course, it's a title. Call a Rabbi a Rabbi, a Bishop a Bishop, a Politician a Liar.

Here's a joke the Rabbi told last week:

Two men worked in the same building. Each day this happened:
Cohen: "O'Sullivan, how are you?"
O'Sullivan: "I'm doing great -- luck of the Irish."

This went on for five years. Finally:
Cohen: "O'Sullivan, for five years I've asked you how you are. Not once did you ask me how I'm doing."
O'Sullivan: "You're right, how rude. Cohen, how are you?"
Cohen: "Don't ask."


  1. Love the sunny photo of the Bellagio - always a favorite place to stay for us, even if we can't afford the tables.