September 4, 2014, - 5:35 pm

Joan Rivers, Proud American, Proud Pro-Israel Jew, Z”L; My Great Meeting w/ Her

By Debbie Schlussel

Very sad to hear of the death of comedienne extraordinaire Joan Rivers. She was a proud American, proud pro-Israel Jew, and one of the very few female comedians who was actually funny. I had the great privilege of meeting her and getting to know her for about an hour, way back when, and she was nice and classy and nothing like she was on the air. She was also a lot more conservative than people realize, totally anti-PC, and she is the one who first called Barack Obama, “America’s First Gay President.”


Joan Rivers Defends Israel on TMZ – Fabulous! . . .

Joan Rivers on Israel on Splash News – EXCELLENT! . . .

Joan Rivers on the Obamas, PETA, CNN . .

In September 1999, in my very first national TV appearance on ABC’s “Politically Incorrect,” I met Joan Rivers. I was on the show with her, Alan Dershowitz, and singer Edwin McCain. Joan and I met in the green room, and she was so nice and friendly, very unassuming. And, as always, she was dressed, coiffed, and bejeweled perfectly, looking like a million bucks. This was, I think, two faces ago–I can say that because Rivers famously joked all the time about her obvious plastic surgery, though at the time it wasn’t as obvious. On the show, we ganged up on Dershowitz who continued to defend O.J. Simpson, Bill Clinton’s impeachment-getting behavior in the White House, race-based affirmative action, and the WNBA. Joan Rivers was on my side on all of these things.

Joan Rivers Defends Israel on Planet Hollywood/X17 Online (which is owned by Muslim Arabs) . . .

Joan Rivers on Israel’s Channel 10 . . .

When I said that Bill Clinton played the race card during his impeachment, just like Dershowitz and the rest of O.J.’s legal team did during his murder trial, Dershowitz denied it. Rivers let out a loud shriek, picked up her chair and moved it away from Dershowitz, saying, “Are you kidding me? You didn’t play the race card during the impeachment?! or during the O.J. trial?!” Everybody in the audience loved it and burst out laughing. She was a great partner on that show. She and I kicked Dershowitz’s ass, and she did a lot of the “heavy lifting” kicking.

The show was taped around the time of the Jewish High Holidays, Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, and after the show, Rivers and I wished each other the traditional Hebrew greeting, “Shanah Tovah!” [A Good Year!], wishing each other a happy new year. She told me, “You’re a very smart girl. I loved doing the show with you,” which was an incredible compliment coming from her. But her responses on that show were the wittiest. She was always quick and witty. Rivers told me that I should stay in touch and come meet up with her whenever she was in the Detroit area, but to my regret, I never did. I thought some day I would, as I figured she’d be around for a long time. She had the boundless energy that people half her age did not.

The thing I’ll remember best about Joan Rivers isn’t that I met her for about an hour and what a nice person she was–so fun to talk to. I’ll remember that her Jewish New Year wishes to me weren’t just lip service. She was a proud Jew and very quick to stand up for Israel and the Jewish people, in addition to being a proud American. Yes, she was a secular Jew (she paid a million bucks for her daughter Melissa’s wedding to a non-Jew, where the meal was chock full of fancy shrimp and lobster–neither of which is kosher; and Melissa has long since divorced the guy). But when Israel fought off HAMAS’ rockets in a mini-war this summer, Joan Rivers more than once stood up for Israel to whoever would listen and did it better than anyone. She did it on TMZ and on Howard Stern and everywhere in the celebrity media (see the videos posted above). And she never backed down, regardless of the criticism she received for it.

After she made these comments defending Israel, Arab and Muslim groups attacked her mercilessly and were still calling for her head–trying to get her fired from her fashion police and other shows on E!–even as she remained in a coma these last few days.

Joan Rivers disappointed me only a very tiny bit when she made a documentary about herself that I didn’t like all that much (read my review), and when, out of political correctness, she decided to stop using a joke about Michelle Obama that I originated on this site (I called Mrs. Obama, “Blackie O,” and then so did Rivers). But that’s her only lapse. Other than that, Joan Rivers never fell prey to political correctness. She bucked it at every opportunity. And that’s one of the main reasons–along with her quick wit–that she was so popular and successful. She could make a boring, stupid, tired show, like NBC’s “The Apprentice,” entertaining, just because she was on it and was willing to say what others were thinking but wouldn’t dare say, sometimes because they were wimps.

But Joan Rivers was never a wimp. She survived the suicide of her husband and manager, the long blackball curse that Johnny Carson imposed on her and Jay Leno honored, and many other setbacks. She was a fighter. Sadly, she lost this last fight after a throat surgery mishap.

But at age 81, she lived a long and full life. She will definitely be missed.

Joan Rivers, Zichronah LiVrachah [Hebrew for “Blessed Be Her Memory,” which we Jews say when other Jews die, instead of Rest In Peace].


I will try to dig up a photo I took with Joan Rivers when we did “Poltically Incorrect” and the video from our show. If I find these, I’ll post them on this site.

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61 Responses

Like Jackie Mason, one of the truly great ones, RIP

As it turns out, some of the Obama-nik hacks tried to get revenge on her during her last week. They said that her weeklong fight to stay alive was an example of medical waste — remember that the libs kept pontificating about the massive ‘waste’ of money keeping people alive during fatal illnesses.

I suspect that after a few months of ‘mourning’ they will use her case as another argument in favor of Death Panels.

Little Al on September 4, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    I am glad that Debbie had the opportunity to meet Joan Rivers and to see perform in person. She is one of the great comics that I haven’t been able to see live. There’s something magical about watching and hearing comics perform live and the great ones establish this special connection with the audience that you can feel. (When a comic bombs, as sometimes happen, you can feel that in way that can’t be captured in recordings.)

    Al, it’s interesting that you mention Joan’s passing in connection with Jackie Mason, another of the greats who’s still performing at the top of his game, as he has for decades. They had much in common–and not just politically. Both achieved great fame as result of what were then the “kingmakers” of the comedy profession. For Joan it was Johnny Carson and for Jackie it was Ed Sullivan (though Joan also did the Sullivan show going back to the 1960s).

    But as kingmakers, they also had the power to wreck careers. Jackie was once a favorite of Ed Sullivan’s, but Jackie was turned into a persona non grata because of a misunderstanding in which Sullivan thought that Jackie needed to cut his act short for scheduling reasons and Sullivan erroneously though that Jackie made an obscene gesture in response to Sullivan’s message. Jackie’s career was nearly ruined as a result. Similarly, Joan had a close relationship with Johnny as guest host. But when she took an offer to head a competing night show without getting Johnny’s blessing, her career too was put on ice because of the influence Johnny had in the industry. Johnny never forgave Joan, though she tried to mend fences with him.

    Fortunately, for them–and for us–both Jackie and Joan were not just survivors, but “thrivers,” as they rebuilt their careers and remade themselves again.

    [To this day, Jackie continues to perform to packed houses. The last time I saw him was at the Wadsworth Theater in Brentwood, CA a couple of years ago and it is to difficult to describe to you the sensation of a packed house convulsing in laughter. It’s small wonder that such comics as Jerry Seinfeld would meet with him after the show to express their gratitude and awe for the man.]

    How many comedians can lay claim to making people laugh and see things in a fresh light for five decades? I am very saddened at Joan’s passing.

    Ralph Adamo on September 4, 2014 at 7:26 pm

I got to disagree somewhat. Joan had a radio show on WABC in New York. On
her show she went on a tirade against Orthodox Jews because a rabbi would not marry her daughter
She’ came off to me as as JIno

Jeff Z on September 4, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Great comedienne, and totally non-PC. Toxic, I can understand your fondness for her. RIP.

Steve Epps on September 4, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Truly lovedJoan Rivers ever since her appearance on Ed Sullivan’s show back in the sixties she had my brother and I in stitches.
Personally I feel this was a high tech murder since she dared cross our king and queen, this what may befall us all if we gain their notice.
She was a strong woman full of life I hate that she’s gone

The Mangog on September 4, 2014 at 6:26 pm

I absolutely loved her from the first time we never met. As a kid she would make me howl subbing for Johnny. A treasure for sure. Strong as nails she was.

#1 Vato on September 4, 2014 at 6:28 pm

I never paid much attention to her until that “gay president” remark a little while ago and then I really liked and respected her courage and honesty. I wonder if they pulled a “Breitbart” on her to teach her and others in the public eye a lesson.

DS_ROCKS! on September 4, 2014 at 6:39 pm

If I live to be 81 I pray I am half as witty as she was.

john on September 4, 2014 at 6:54 pm

I’m back as a regular! I hope y’all were able to suss out all the frauds and fakers while I was gone! I’m about that even more than ever now! No time to waste on frauds and fakes!

Nice column to return to. I was a Rivers fan because when I was in junior high school I used to listen to her comedy cassette (I’m dating myself…) to and fro and it made me very happy.

DS was right, she bucked PCness and even when I wanted to dislike her, that made me NOT dislike her. She had cojones and was truly hysterical.

May not post for a while. I have so much of DS’ columns to catch up on. I am rusty on my Jihad. I feel content that she is calling out the beheaded dude who loved Islam and yet was beheaded brutally all the same. Satanism is Satanism. I learned the truth well here and I must de-rust myself without further delay.

The forecast is not looking so good thou’. I noticed more than ever peeps are out to lunch on Islam. We have quite a fight ahead of ourselves. Not happy about that…

Skunky on September 4, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Where have you been? Was beginning to think Obama Putin caught up with you.

    john on September 4, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Welcome back Skunky! I missed you.

    Little Al on September 4, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Xenu be praised! It’s great to have Skunky back on this forum.

    As for the great Joan Rivers, she’s best known for tearing up all the celebutards that are prevalent in our culture. The Other Side will be a much happier place when she crosses over and punches the mighty Cerberus in all three faces.

    At 81, she had lived well.

    The Reverend Jacques on September 4, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Welcome back, Skunky! I think that, more and more, SOME people are getting it. When I have the time, I’ll explain that the key thing is to have SOME visible opposition. If you want to get ahead of me, the key name is Solomon Asch.

    skzion on September 5, 2014 at 3:47 am

      Thank you Skzion! And like Dottie in the Wizard Of Oz said, I missed you most of all.


      Right back at ALL the kind Willkommens! And as I always stress (I can’t say it enough so I’ll say it again) pay attention to the truth tellers out there who are being ignored and blacklisted. The lack of attention they receive does NOT discount the truth they are telling.

      Skunky on September 5, 2014 at 11:45 am

        stay frosty

        japple on September 5, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Welcome back Skunky!

    Worry01 on September 5, 2014 at 6:13 am


Your beloved dogs will sorely miss you ??????

Darrell L. Hicks on September 4, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    “While Joan Rivers was known for many things, her love of dogs and dog rescue is something that of course stood out to me. The actress was rarely without a dog by her side and was even featured on People magazine with her dog, Spike.

    After losing Spike, she got Max and when Max passed she brought home a Japanese Chin named Teegan who accompanied her often on her outings and travels. She had a total of four adorable rescue dogs, at the time of her passing: Teegan who lived with a Havanese in New York and a Jack Russell Terrier and a Border Collie in California.”


    Darrell L. Hicks on September 4, 2014 at 9:59 pm

Welcome back Skunky
I thought that ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah,the New Black Panthers, or Dick Gregory’s henchman had gotten a hold of you.

Patrick on September 4, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Thanks for sharing this, Debbie. It’s so nice to know what a lovely person she really was.

Michelle on September 4, 2014 at 8:39 pm

And oh, what I would have given to have been in the audience while you and Joan were laying the smackdown on Dershowitz.

Michelle on September 4, 2014 at 8:45 pm

I will add my name to the list of those who think there was something suspicious about her death. Had the pleasure of seeing a lot of her on Carson. She was an unapologetic, raw sort of person, on stage and evidently in life, as well. I always liked her for that, and her routines were hilarious.

May she rise to a place in The Kingdom, she and all her loved ones, at the time of The Judgment.

Alfredo from Puerto Rico on September 4, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Joan was quite a gal. Witty, clever, and no-nonsense. She will be sorely missed. Rest in peace, Ms. Rivers. Zichrono Livracha (of blessed memory).

Jeff on September 4, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Thanks for sharing this Debbie!

MominMinnesota on September 4, 2014 at 10:09 pm

Joan Rivers is the first Hollywood actress that I’ve ever she’d a tear over her passing. When the whole world and so many liberal Jews are against us it’s natural to feel alone and despair. I remember that my wife and baby were on their way to Israel the time she made those comments to TMZ. I know she turned my whole day around and I’m sure she raised the morale of so many others as well. I’m going to light a candle for her tonight.
So many people love you Joan. You will be missed!

DrBob1961 on September 4, 2014 at 10:51 pm

RIP, Joan. You will be missed.

Carol on September 4, 2014 at 10:58 pm

DS, don’t mean to derail the OT with the passing of the late Joan Rivers, Skunky, welcome back, but you made a little fallacy in your comment about Satanism, Satanism and Islam don’t correlate with eachother. Satanism is a broaf of social movements comprising diverse metaphysical ideologies and philosophical beliefs. Their shared features include symbolic association with or admiration of Satan/Devil, who Satanists see as a liberating figure, etc.

Sean R. on September 4, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    Hey Sean! And hello to all the rest who said such kind words :D.

    You’re prolly correct Sean on Satanism but I just made the reference loosely as the ultimate antithesis of good. And that is how I see Islam. Evil to the rotten and illegitimate core.

    That said, I am looking at real satanism in a way different (and more serious light) than I had in the past. But more on that later.

    In 2013, I would prolly had said Islam way way more evil than Satanism, but I have been humbled by research and at this point it’s sorta like chook (chicken) and egg for me. I don’t know which one is worse!

    But if one gathered I was comparing Islam to the most evil of evil, you’d have gotten my gist. I may be rusty but I still feel the same about Islam. I may hate it even more…

    Skunky on September 4, 2014 at 11:55 pm

      Skunky: WB from Twittergatory! I still haven’t really figured out how it works.

      DS_ROCKS! on September 5, 2014 at 2:17 am

      There’s a difference between Islam and Satanism: direct worship of Satan is still considered tacky and will not gain much traction.

      But to say that a totalitarian movement with religious trappings based on the deranged comments of an intellectually challenged pedophile, mass murderer, and thief is a tool of Satan, well that view has a lot of merit.

      Keep in mind that the average IQ in the Islamic world is below 100—inbreeding, poor diet, and the anti-intellectual and anti-work prejudices of Islam do much to keep it that way.

      Occam's Tool on September 7, 2014 at 10:34 pm

Such an awesome tribute, Debbie. You are right. One of the few women who was actually funny.

I loved the videos you posted, especially the smackdown she gave Selena Gomez.

I miss this dear, sweet, brilliant, funny lady already.

Jeff_W on September 4, 2014 at 11:39 pm

Joan Rivers Dies with Her Beloved Dogs at Her Side

I just read that her dogs were at her bedside. Melissa, you’re a class act for flying the two California dogs to NY to include them. Now, I am tearing up. <3

Darrell L. Hicks on September 5, 2014 at 12:22 am

I am stunned. Still thought she would make it. I feel a sickness in my stomach, that she was offed. That someone didn’t like her comments about Michelle and Barack Obama. Wow she was one of a kind. I feel like she was taken from us. I guess I am in denial.

bed bug on September 5, 2014 at 12:39 am

    Of course she was offed because she annoyed our child-emperor. What substance could CIA goons have forced/threatened the doctor to put in her IV that would have caused respiratory arrest?

    Bet we don’t hear of any more comics insulting his O’liness any more.

    DS_ROCKS! on September 5, 2014 at 2:15 am

    R U serious, bed bug?

    She was 81. Never have surgery over 60 yrs old if elective. Sheesh.

    Darrell L. Hicks on September 5, 2014 at 10:56 am

I am at a loss for words. Joan Rivers was amazing until the very end. She will be missed.

Worry01 on September 5, 2014 at 6:14 am

tuesday night – the night before she passed – i stopped to watch a new infomercial pitching the ed sullivan show dvd collection. they had several b&w and color clips of a young, no-surgery joan rivers… she was mesmerizing to watch and i felt a pang with her current situation in a coma. the clips also underscored her many decades in show biz… not many stars have had, or will have, this kind of staying power.

there won’t be another joan rivers coming along anytime soon, i’m afraid. RIP joan.

kirche61 on September 5, 2014 at 11:01 am

where’s my post?!

kirche61 on September 5, 2014 at 11:03 am

huh… looks like i’ll type it up again…

tuesday night i stopped to watch a new infomercial pitching the ed sullivan show dvd collection. throughout the infomercial they showed several b&w/color clips of a young, vivacious and non-surgical joan rivers. the clips were both mesmerizing to see her original schtick and at the same time i had a pang for her then-comatose condition.

i was also struck by her decades-long staying power in the entertainment biz; not many stars alive, or gone, can match this record.

there won’t be another joan rivers coming along again, i suspect. RIP joan.

kirche61 on September 5, 2014 at 11:07 am

Joan Rivers was apparently very healthy for age 81 , hopefully the cause that lead to her condition is independently investigated .
Joan Rivers might be the last free will comedian left .
RIP Joan Rivers

News on September 5, 2014 at 11:54 am

Don’t tell me there wasn’t ANY malpractice in the surgery. Even though she was 81,she was ,by all looks, still in fine health; you don’t just suddenly stop breathing and go into cardiac arrest like that without something funny happening.

CharlesMartel on September 5, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Especially when the short-acting anesthetic that they (the so-called “journalists”) keep telling us was used, was Propofol — which we use SPECIFICALLY on our Cardiac and/or Geriatric (or Pregnant — in the case of induction for C-Sections patients (i.e., INSTEAD OF the usual short-acting Tiletamine/Zolazepam) precisely BECAUSE of its Cardiopulmonic-SPARING effects (with one very-important caveat: it MUST be administered EXTREMELY SLOWLY, Intravenously — IF it IS administered at the normal, rapid rate which we employ with almost all other drugs, it CAN induce, ironically, Cardiac and/or Respiratory arrest — for this reason, when administering, it is routine for us to simultaneously monitor the Heart Rate with a stethoscope, and the Respiratory Rate, with an electronic, audible, monitoring machine). If dirty/sinister work was indeed done here, btw, the easiest (and least expensive) way to induce immediate Respiratory Arrest would be to slip in some Succinylcholine (which paralyzes the Diaphragm muscle, thereby making it impossible to breath). However, on an HONEST autopsy, Succinylcholine would be identified in a heartbeat (NO pun intended).

    Still Educating the Idiots on September 5, 2014 at 8:44 pm

She did such a big kiddush Hashem right before she died. Blessed is the True Judge

David on September 5, 2014 at 2:57 pm

I saw her at LAX about a month ago, must have been when she taped that TMZ interview because she was wearing that same outfit, i’m always amazaed at how tiny these performers are, she must have been about 5 feet tall, she had some cameras taking pictures and asking questions, i guess she was used to that

Dave in CA on September 5, 2014 at 4:35 pm

July 2014 – Joan Rivers says Obama is a homosexual and Michelle is a tranny
August 2014 – Joan Rivers is dead

Your call

Jack on September 5, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    It’s too bad, they don’t make them like that any more and the world is just that little bit more boringly PC without her.

    japple on September 5, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Who was the bigger Icon, Joan Rivers or Robin Williams is a question that was asked of me. I would say Joan Rivers because she was a pioneer. Regarding fame, I’d say they were equal.

I make the above statement because the White House released a statement regarding Robin Williams, but not Joan Rivers. I suspect that before the Obamas became the occupants of the White House, they liked Joan Rivers. Not that many people didn’t like her. The woman was funny.

We can guess that they didn’t make a statement because she made jokes about them, their feeling hurt, if this is the case, that shows nothing but weakness and the president and first lady are entirely too sensitive. Ridiculously sensitive if you can’t show the same respect to her as you showed Robin Williams. She was a comedienne, she makes jokes for a living and it shows great hypocrisy, because her style of jokes are in the same line that comedians deliver at the Correspondence Dinner.

Those speakers at the Correspondence Dinner, are no different but they would get respect if they passed. The White House releases a statement of Robin Williams but not Joan, that’s Weak. Very Weak!

MrBigBrain on September 5, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    MrBigBrain serves up a heaping helping of Tell It Like It Is.

    Alfredo from Puerto Rico on September 6, 2014 at 9:44 am

She received what she wished on the palestanians,my wish was that her death will be much slower and a lot more painful,but I am still glad with the end result.R.I.H. Joan rivers.

Kay on September 6, 2014 at 12:03 am

    As the old saying goes: there’s just no substitute for class — huh, Kay? Thanks for showing us just how much of it you are in possession of. It’s always a pleasure to have one’s own suspicions confirmed in such an unimpeachable manner. Have a great weekend!

    Still Educating the Idiots on September 6, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Kay, sweetie, don’t you have a bulldozer to climb under?

    skzion on September 6, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    K, k, Kay. Don’t miss your flight out, eh?

    Back on topic, you have to have thick skin to appreciate Joan Rivers as she savaged celebs like Elizabeth Taylor when she was in steep decline (the mass media of the day placed her high on a pedestal even when she was unable to produce any new work).

    Z”l Joan. It was nice to see Howard Stern eulogize you. You would have insulted him back if you were around, though, but that’s cool.

    The Reverend Jacques on September 7, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Hi Debbie,Thanks for sharing indeed a very sad day RIP Joan Rivers!

TIRDAD GHARIB on September 6, 2014 at 7:39 am

Ding dong the witch is dead

Muslim Troll on September 6, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Imagine A World Without Islam!

    skzion on September 12, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Never gave much thought to the Hollywood reds and assumed Joan Rivers was in that club. Her recent outbursts were a revelation that everything in that communist anti-US cesspool in California was not rotten to the core. Really wish she could have kept that date to visit the UK — Cameron and his wimps would have cowered, assuming they would have allowed such a “dangerous” and outspoken person into the realm!

Rest in Peace, Joan!

Hans Schaden on September 7, 2014 at 9:29 am

She was one of my favorites. Her comments that Obama was our first gay President and that Moochie is a tranny were great. Some think she was joking, but I am not so sure…

Concerned Citizen on September 8, 2014 at 1:04 pm

I’m not one of those 9-11 truther, Obama’s from another planet(although sometimes I wonder) tin foil hat Art Bell types but it’s kinda funny that Ms Rivers made the gay/tranny jokes about the First Couple and she’s dead not shortly after. In either case I remember her with Johnny Carson and subbing for him on The Late Show. She was funny, abrasive and witty. She was also a trailblazer who paved the way for other female comics. It’s great that you were able to meet her in person Debbie and you found out what a good person she was off stage. Sadly the Prez and his old “lady” didn’t make a statement about Joan’s passing. Odumbo can comment on Ray Rice’s ban from the NFL, aka The Nothing but Felons League. One a side note would someone tell me what’s up with players named Ray in the NFL. This idiot, Carruth and Lewis. Anyway I read somewhere that Rivers banned Moochelle O and some other people from her funeral. Maybe that’s why the Mooche and the O’Clown were miffed. Oh well rest in peace Joan Rivers. As my Filipino friend Evelyn said yesterday she funny lady. Oh and nice to have you back Skunky. Your factually funny commentary was missed.

Ken b on September 9, 2014 at 11:36 am

Joan Rivers – Pears and Caviar

If Rivers identifies in any way as a Jewish performer, it’s in the emphasis she places on survival — a skill she first learned from her immigrant parents.

“They both had to flee Russia because of the revolution, but my father left because his family was so poor, and my mother left because her family was rich — ‘court Jews’ who sold fur and bricks to the czarist army,” she says.

“My mother was only 6 years old when she left, but she remembered servants carrying big silver platters with pears stuffed with caviar in for dinner,” Rivers adds. “And then when her family came to America they were desperately poor, and my grandfather couldn’t take it. He went back to Russia and died of starvation in St. Petersburg. It was my grandmother who made the transition to life in America. And it was only in America that my parents could have met and married.”By the time Joan was growing up in Larchmont, N.Y., her father had become a physician and a founder of the town’s first synagogue, which initially met in the local firehouse. The young Joan loved to perform but was even more eager to please her parents and pursue “everything a nice Jewish girl was supposed to do.” She earned an English degree from Barnard College in 1954 and married a Jewish businessman but was “completely miserable,” she says. She divorced him six months later, and then announced that she intended to pursue acting.

“My father truly thought I was mad and threatened to have me committed,” she says.

“I left home at that point, and I didn’t talk to my parents for a year — including Yom Kippur, which was awful,” Rivers continues. “I was all alone, but I had an Italian boyfriend, and he just drove me around until we found a temple that would let me in without a ticket. God bless this little temple in the Bronx that welcomed me in.”

JOAN RIVERS/Pears and Caviar
1975 Celebrity Kosher Cookbook by Marily Hall & Rabbi Jerome Cutl

A Triumph Over Circumstances

After Melissa was born, I wanted to know everything I could about feeding a child. The doctor told me that the age that a baby learns to sit up, stand up, and walk varies greatly.
“Temperament and weight,” he said, “have a great deal to do with it. For instance, a fat baby may not have much of a yen to get moving very fast.”
Didn’t I know it! I was such a fat baby, I had barely reached the sitting up stage when it was time for me to go to camp. My parents had to take me there in a U-Haul. As a kid, I ate so many sweets and lost so many teeth at once that the tooth fairy at our house had a hernia.
I was determined that Melissa would grow up with first rate eating habits, but no matter what I did, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her. Once I prepared a great meal for her: lamp chops, spinach, mashed potatoes, ice cream, and she wouldn’t touch it. Boy, was I upset! If that kid only knew how many hours it took to stuff that into the bottle.
In spite of everything I am proud to say that Melissa has grown up with a wonderful healthy appetite. To get across the notion that eating can be enjoyable, in my house, we just say, “Eat some more, kid. It’s good. Mommy didn’t make it.” The way I figure it, if women were meant to slave over a hot stove, they would have been given aluminum hands.

Pears and Caviar

Pear halves, cored (allow 1/2 pear per person)
Beluga caviar (large grain, grey)
Lettuce leaves
Lemon wedges

Method: Poach pear halves until barely tender in small amount of water. Cool and drain. Sprinkle each pear half with sugar. Fill cavity of each with a mound of caviar. Arrange each pear half on a bed of lettuce. Decorate with a wedge of lemon.
Serve as hors d’oeuvre or as a first course for a luncheon.
When fresh pears are not in season, substitute canned pears and omit sugar.

Joan Rivers Photo:

Joan Rivers Jewish Stories on September 13, 2014 at 1:50 pm

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