Sunday, February 02, 2003

Three Jewish Guys go to Iowa

It's shaping up to be an almost all Jewish democratic primary! (well, sort of).


For years, US Senator John Forbes Kerry had sought to know the true story of his immigrant grandfather, Frederick A. Kerry, the patriarch who established the family in Boston and then mysteriously took his own life.

The senator searched phone books and the Internet and quizzed his cousins, but he was only able to learn fragments of family history.

The story, it turns out, began in a small town in the Czech Republic that once was part of the Austrian empire. Birth records there show that Frederick A. Kerry was born as Fritz Kohn to Jewish parents, according to a genealogy specialist hired by the Globe. Kohn changed his name to Kerry around 1902 and emigrated to the United States in 1905, eventually moving to Boston.


Raised a Southern Baptist by his mother in Little Rock — his father died when he was 4, and his mother remarried — Clark is the grandson of a Jew, Jacob Nemerovsky, who escaped from the pogroms of Czarist Russia in about 1894-95. He remembers his father, Benjamin Kanne, a lawyer who served in Chicago's Corporation Counsel, as "a happy man who loved life." Still, it wasn't until he was in his 20s that Clark learned that he descends from "generations of rabbis" from Minsk, as he told the Forward in a telephone interview. "We did a genealogy," he said. He keeps in touch with a large Jewish family dispersed from Georgia to California.

And, of course, Lieberman.

Don't forget Mrs. Howard Dean!