Batman and Soviet Jewry

Batman and Soviet Jewry

In the mid-80’s, the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (SSSJ) at Yeshiva University organized a trip for volunteers to travel to Washington, D.C. to educate members of congress as to details of what the struggle was actually about. They split us up into pairs and we wandered the halls of congress seeking congressmen that would listen to us. In most cases we were politely attended by the Legal Aid of each congressman, who would give us a few minutes of their time, listen to our rehearsed speech, take dutiful notes, and tell us earnestly that they would convey are message to the congressman. We repeated this routine from office to office.

However, in one office the story went a little differently. We were sitting with the Legal Aid, giving our schpiel, when someone walked out of the Congresswoman’s office. The Legal Aid turned to us and said: “Do you know who that is? That’s Adam West, Batman!” My friend and I looked at each other, turned to the Legal Aid and said, “Excuse us for a moment.” He nodded in comprehension. We ran out of the office and down the hall to catch up with the long strides of the tall celebrity.

He must have heard us coming (he was Batman after all). He turned around and as we came within arm’s reach, he grabbed each of us by the lapel of our suit jackets and in his deep Batman voice declared: “You villains, you!”

I wanted to respond with something witty like “Holy mackerel, Batman!” but we were simply awestruck and dumbfounded and merely gazed at him in open-mouthed, wide-eyed adulation. He smiled a big heroic smile, turned around and continued on his way. This was the highlight of our Soviet Jewry trip.

We returned to the congresswoman’s office and now the Legal Aid ushered us into the office of the congresswoman herself, Barbara Vucanovich of Nevada. She was a gracious host. The reason Adam West had been visiting is because their children had just gotten engaged to each other. Congresswoman Vucanovich then proceeded to inquire about Soviet Jewry and after our talk she promised to vote in favor of whatever legislation would help the cause.

We all know how the struggle for Soviet Jewry ended and now you know that Batman himself had a small, if not heroic, part in this battle of good against evil. May he rest in peace.



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