Friday, September 22nd 2023   |

Daniel Ellsburg, z”l

Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times in 1971, died last week at the age of 92. Ellsberg’s parents were of Russian Jewish descent, but they had embraced Christian Science and raised him in that tradition. However, he noted that “My parents always said we’re Jewish, but not in religion.” The Pentagon Papers detailed failures and lies of the Lyndon Johnson administration regarding the war in Viet Nam. Ellsberg was charged under the Espionage Act (the same Act under which Donald Trump has been charged), though the charges were eventually dismissed when it was revealed that members of President Richard Nixon’s White House staff had made unlawful efforts to discredit Ellsberg. About Ellsberg, Nixon said, “You can’t let the Jew steal that stuff and get away with it. You understand? People don’t trust these Eastern establishment people. [Ellsberg is] Harvard. He’s a Jew. You know, and he’s an arrogant intellectual.” In response, Ellsberg said, “I was a Jew and I am a Jew. By [President Richard Nixon’s] definition, I’m 100 percent a Jew, as I would be under Hitler’s.” What was the one occasion where Daniel Ellsberg was in a synagogue?

Daniel Ellsberg in 1972. Photo Credit: Gotfryd, Bernard, photographer, Wikipedia Commons

A. Ellsberg’s second wife Patricia Marx was Jewish, and her father had been an esteemed member of Temple Emanu-El in New York City. When he died, the funeral was held at the synagogue and Ellsberg attended.

B. While Ellsberg’s parents practiced Christian Science, his parents’ siblings remained Jewish. As a child, Ellsberg attended the bar mitzvah of his first cousin Ben Ellsberg, son of Daniel’s Uncle Edward.

C. Ellsberg told journalist James Rosen that the one time he ever entered a synagogue was to give a lecture about the Pentagon Papers.

D. Ellsberg attended the wedding of his friend Morton Halperin at the Adas Israel Congregation in Washington DC. Halperin had overseen the production of the Pentagon Papers for Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.

E. Ellsberg snuck into a synagogue in the Pechev shtetl in Poland to investigate a scandal wherein a young woman adopted the name Anshel and posed as a male yeshiva student who then married a woman named Hadass while falling in love with another student named Avigdor, who had been Hadass’s fiancé. Ellsberg was able to publish documents he found exposing the scandal which was known as the Yentl-gon Papers.

Click here for the answer.

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