"I was filming 'Funny Girl' with Barbra Streisand in 1967, when the Six-Day War broke out, and the Arab press called me a traitor for kissing a Jewish woman," actor Omar Sharif reminisced.
"When I told Barbra about it," Sharif added, "she said, 'You should see the letter my aunt wrote about kissing an Arab man.'"
Sharif was in town to promote "Monsieur Ibrahim," the latest of his more than 70 movies and a different kind of relationship -- between an elderly Muslim and an abandoned Jewish boy.
Seven years ago, then U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright discovered that more than a dozen of her relatives had perished in the Nazi concentration camps because they, like Albright, were born Jewish.
Albright's discovery raised an even larger question: How many other American leaders have actually been of Jewish descent, but because of records and memories eroded by time, they never knew it?
In the case of Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry -- thought by many to be a Boston Brahmin -- the answer to the question is a convoluted one. It follows a path from a small Czech village near the Polish border to a long-forgotten suicide in a posh Boston hotel. It is the story of a young man who abandoned his Jewish faith, his nation and his name to pursue the American dream.
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