Jewish Journal


June 24, 2010

Abramoff: from pork-barrel lobbying to pounding kosher pizzas



Jack Abramoff, the disgraced former lobbyist goon, is back in the news.

Two years ago he talked about doing t’shuvah during his anticipated time behind prison bars. Before that he gave The Jewish Journal one of my all-time favorite quotes:

“I had lost a sense of proportion and judgment. God sent me 1,000 hints that He didn’t want me to keep doing what I was doing. But I didn’t listen, so He set off a nuclear bomb.”

Now he is rolling dough and making kosher pizza pies:

As part of his “community service,” Abramoff will spend six months working at Tov Pizza. I’ve eaten at Tov Pizza, before and I can say that its greasy environs surely qualify as community service.

There’s talk that he should be working for the other local but higher-regarded Mama Leah Gourmet Kosher Pizza instead. Perhaps he is and just isn’t telling Tov Pizza. I’m guessing either way, this probably doesn’t bode well for Native Americans.

While it’s certainly a bizarre choice for Abramoff to be doing his community service in such a public forum (couldn’t he have worked in a quiet office somewhere?), he actually brings a lot to the table at Tov Pizza—and I don’t just mean beignets. After all, Abramoff used to own a kosher eatery in Washington, D.C. He may not have been flipping dough, but at least he knows the ins-and-outs of the kosher restaurant business. Perhaps, he’s offering some business tips to Tov Pizza owner Ron Rosenbluth.

“We’re all Jews, we’re all on the same team,” Mr. Rosenbluth told the Baltimore Jewish Times. “I’m more than happy to help a fellow Jew in any way I can.” The free and unprecedented publicity Abramoff brings to his shop can’t hurt either.

Cohen picked up on the good PR that this actually is for Abramoff. It shows him as, if not humble, a humbled man. And it’s getting attention, with The New York Times following up on Cohen’s post today.

I wonder if the great food critic, Jonathan Gold, who was a target of Abramoff’s adolescent bullying, will be eating at Tov’s anytime soon. Then again, revenge is a dish best served cold.

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