Bernie Sanders (left) and Larry David appearing together in a Saturday Night Live sketch in 2016
Bernie Sanders (left) and Larry David appearing together in a Saturday Night Live sketch in 2016

Larry David and Bernie Sanders share some ‘Roots’? Pinch me!

This week, on the “(Is It) Good for the Jews?” podcast …

Larry Rosen: Hey, here’s something for Jews, and I might be overstating if I say it comes a huge surprise.

Eric Goldbrener: Go on. I’m interested.

LR: It finally happened.

EG: Finally! (pause) What finally happened?

LR: Larry David. You know Larry David.

EG: He’s back. [Begins a Larry David impersonation that is as committed as it is terrible] Do I know Larry David!

LR: I watched [the first two] episodes of “Curb.” First one was funny. Second one, eh. The problem is that while I’m watching, my wife is in the background saying, “I hate this. I hate this show.”

EG: That’s going to put a damper on it.

LR: Larry David goes on this PBS show called “Finding Your Roots.” Have you heard of it?

EG: [Unfortunate continuation of terrible impersonation] I have not heard of it!

LR: Celebrities go on this show and they do DNA tests and find out … like Zooey Deschanel finds out she’s Irish. So Larry David goes and on and finds out …

EG: … that he’s Jewish!

LR: That and another thing: He is actually related to Bernie Sanders.

EG: [Impersonation waning] Well that’s makes perfect sense.

LR: And Bernie, this is what I love …

EG: [Impersonation revs back up, with continued non-success] We’re also related to Jackie Mason!

LR: … and the anteater on “The Pink Panther” [cartoon]. I’m not the biggest Bernie Sanders fan, that’s common knowledge, but here’s what I like. I read this: “The normally dour Sanders threw his arms up in the air when he learned that he and David were related.”

EG: Dour? I think Bernie has a good personality.

LR: Oh, he’s dour.

EG: He certainly charmed everyone on the campaign trail.

LR: He is grouchy. He is grouchy like your Uncle Mortie when he’s run out of prune juice and nobody’s bothered to go to the store yet.

EG: I thought he was just no nonsense.

LR: Grouchy. But he threw his arms up in the air! They’re actually related!

EG: We’re all related. Every Ashkenazi Jew is related.

LR: Let me ask you this then: If I see someone named Rosen, are we related on some distant level?

EG: Yeah, you’ve got the same name.

LR: So every Rosen I see, I’m related to. I see a lot of Rosens. You know what I don’t see? A lot of Goldbreners.

EG: That’s because we all got wiped out by the Nazis.

LR: Really. Ouch.

EG: My grandfather, who’d left Poland as a teenager, fled Germany. Took all of his money, bought a ticket on a cruise, went to Jaffa, got off the cruise ship, never got back on.

LR: These guys. My great-grandfather walked out of Russia as a teenager because he’d been conscripted into the czar’s army. 5 feet 2 inches tall!

EG: He had six siblings. Three were killed, two went to Palestine, one came here. So there’s Goldbreners here that I’ve never met.

LR: Are you kidding?

EG: In San Francisco! A doctor!

LR: How have you not contacted this guy and said, “Hey, I’m Goldbrener?”

EG: We’d have a common great-grandparent, but I’ve never met any of them.

LR: That’s pretty close. That’s not like me walking up to [quarterback] Josh Rosen after a UCLA game and saying, “Rosen! My landsman!”

EG: Rosen is a more common name.

LR: Even if Goldbrener was more common, this guy has the same great-grandfather! How are you not in contact?

EG: We’d be third cousins.

LR: It’s never gnawed at you?

EG: There’s all kinds of Goldbreners I don’t know. Some of them, the Israeli ones, reached out to me on Facebook. Next time I’m in Israel, I’ll look them up.

LR: But not the local guys? You grew up with just you and your mom, right?

EG: Yeah.

LR: You could have had all of these cousins!

EG: Eh, we didn’t have any kind of relationship.

LR: I’ll tell you what: If that’s me, I’m looking them up and I’m raising my hands into the sky like Bernie Sanders!

EG: You’re welcome to do that. Over here, I’m just fine.

LR: If you say so. If not, other Goldbreners, you know where to find this guy.

Eric Goldbrener
Eric Goldbrener

Eric Goldbrener is a Libertarian, Zionist, atheist and autodidact technologist. He co-hosts the podcast “(Is It) Good for the Jews?”

Larry Rosen
Larry Rosen

Larry Rosen is a writer, husband, father and author of “The Rabbi Has Left the Building,” a memoir about his son’s bar mitzvah. He co-hosts the podcast “(Is It) Good for the Jews?”