In my previous post, I mentioned my mentor and friend Albert “Bud” Haas, former president of KAM Temple on the Southside of Chicago. Bud was quite a guy. During the late 60’s most of the Jews of the Southside were fleeing to the northern suburbs as the neighborhood “changed”. Virtually the entire Jewish population left. KAM temple remained behind, determined to continue to be an anchor for the Jews of the Southside of Chicago. Bud Haas happened to be the president of the Temple at some point during this period. There was a notorious gang called the “Blackstone Rangers” that intimidated Temple members (and many others) on the streets of the Southside, and people were afraid to come to Friday night services.
One day, Bud decided to visit “Joe”, the leader of the Blackstone Rangers. He knocked on the door, and one of the gang members opened it. Bud said he wanted to meet with “Joe.”
The gang member closed the door and in a few minutes, he reappeared. “Joe will see you”, he said, “but you have to bring him a sandwich.” Bud said, “A sandwich? What the hell kind of sandwich does he want?” Door closes again. Minutes go by. Door opens. Gang member says, ‘Roast Beef, mustard, hard roll.” Bud leaves. A half hour later he returns with the sandwich. The gangmember takes the sandwich inside. Door opens, and Bud is ushered in. The gang-leader, Joe, says to him, “I won’t promise you that I will leave your members alone all the time, but I will promise that I won’t bother them when they are going to the temple. Get out. Thanks for the sandwich.”
Years later, Bud would tell me that story quite often and say, “A g-ddam sandwich! What the hell did he want me to get him a g-ddam sandwich for?”
Quite a guy, was Bud Haas.