Raised in Arkansas
Gen. Wesley Clark
getting to be the thing to do as we enter the 21st Century.
Everybody’s looking at their roots to see where they really come from.
Secretary of State Madeline Albright
found Jewish relatives. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton
also laid claim to Jewish relations. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Richard
Holbrooke proudly told about his
wife, author Kati Marton,
a refugee from communism who, late in life, found
out she’s not only Hungarian but also a Jew.
like a fashion statement to be Jewish, even if you’re not. If you’re
not, you can always take a Jewish name, like Whoopi Goldberg.
Or put a mezuzah on your door, like pop star Michael Jackson
reportedly did. (He also recently
attended a Friday night Shabbat service at the Carlebach Shul on Manhattan’s
Upper West Side.)
Now comes Wesley K. Clark,
Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, who was the American general who led
NATO’s first and only war, in the Kosovo air campaign against Serbia.
Some say it was the first air campaign ever won without ground power,
which pleased the air force general immensely.
Clark revealed his roots at a
combined dinner at the Pierre Hotel for Be’er Hagolah (under president Marc
Ratzersdorfer and vice president Richard Hirsch), a school in
Brooklyn for Jewish immigrant children from the former Soviet Union, and
Re’uth (under chairman Ursula Merkin and president Rosa
Strygler), which maintains medical centers and senior homes in Israel.
The general said he was born in
Chicago where his father was a lawyer. Four years later his father died,
and his mother, not Jewish, moved back to Arkansas where she remarried.
His stepfather adopted Wesley.
“I asked several times about my
father’s family,” Clark said, “but was never really told for various
Malcolm Hoenlein, Sy Syms,
and Malcolm Thomson
(from left), Malcolm
Hoenlein, Richard Holbrooke, Gen.
Wesley Clark, Ronald Lauder
In recent years Clark began to
hear from his Chicago relatives. He found that his grandparents came here
in the 1890s from Minsk. They were Neveroski, but changed to Kannie before
they arrived at Ellis Island.
“What a marvelous discovery it
has been,” Clark said. “How proud I am of this great Kannie
family and all of my cousins throughout the United States, really round
the world. I am very proud of my father’s family, and what they stood
Alan "Ace" Greenberg (from left),
Richard Holbrooke, Gen. Wesley Clark,
Schick, dinner chairman and executive vice president for corporate
affairs & communications at American Express, was duly impressed: “There
aren’t too many four-star generals with his Jewish lineage.”
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