We received the announcement in a late-night conference call placed from the foundation’s offices in Chicago. Gershom was slaving at his computer meeting a tight deadline; I was adding up my household accounts for the fifteenth time. The woman on the Chicago end, who introduced herself as the Foundation’s managing director, read us the following statement:
In a little more than two short weeks, the South Jerusalem blog has established itself as the freshest, most intelligent, most intriguing source of facts, opinion, and high-quality writing in the entire left-wing Zionist Orthodox Jewish world. In fact, its effect has been felt well beyond.
It has come to the attention of the MacArthur Foundation that the blog’s two authors, Gershom Gorenberg and Haim Watzman, are struggling freelance writers who live in tiny apartments and do not own cars. Between them they have seven children with unusually voracious appetites. Their bank accounts periodically dip into overdraft. It is the intention of this Foundation to provide these two fine journalists with the financial support that will enable them to maintain and expand their blog and to begin work on their third books, as well as pursue their callings in poetry and fiction.
A careful empirical study of their writings has produced an astounding finding: Gorenberg and Watzman are right about nearly every issue and, astonishingly, they are also both right even when they disagree. In the rare cases where they have been wrong, they have been wrong in unusually clever and endearing ways.
We see this grant as merely as seed money and urge our colleagues in the world of foundations, and in particular our friends on the Nobel prize committee, to take careful note of the South Jerusalem blog.
Gershom and I are so grateful.
If you haven’t gotten it yet, this is a joke. Happy Purim.
Wait a second, the phone is ringing …