Who would you choose? Tell us in the comments!
A king among virologists, Jonas Salk researched and developed a vaccine for polio, one of America’s deadliest diseases. Salk did not patent the vaccine, allowing it to be used widely, and was considered a miracle worker who saved millions of lives. He would be knowledgeable and cautious in the face of illness and would probably trounce anti-vaxxers on Facebook if he wasn’t so busy with his work. 10/10.
Before I went off to college, I read “Atlas Shrugged” cover to cover to impress a boy. It took me two-and-a-half months and was not worth it in any way. Being stuck inside with Ayn Rand would be like being stuck with that guy from your high school philosophy class who used the word “bootstraps” once every 10 minutes. Rand would decry essential workers while writing lengthy think pieces for her blog. She would not do the dishes. 0/10.
An incredible Jewish singer-songwriter, Debbie Friedman is known for “The Aleph-Bet Song” and “Miriam’s Song,” as well as many others. She was extremely prolific, recording 22 albums in 40 years. If you love a Zoom jam session, Friedman is the perfect quarantine buddy. She was also a lesbian, which is always a plus. 8/10.
You know Albert Einstein’s work with relativity, but could you count on him to help entertain the kids and pick interesting movies to watch? I feel like he would be game for doing a face mask and maybe a puzzle, but the conversation would get a bit too deep after a while. 6/10.
The Israeli American actress Natalie Portman is best known for her roles in “Atonement,” “V for Vendetta” and the “Star Wars” prequels, as well as many, many others. Her profane performance of “Natalie’s Rap” on “Saturday Night Live” only serves to make her more endearing, if possible. Portman would absolutely compliment your matzo ball soup and regale you with stories of what it was like to kiss Oscar Isaac in “Annihilation.” 10/10.
No. Absolutely not. 0/10.
Robert Pinsky is a widely renowned poet, translator and poetry critic who characterized poetry not as an intellectual’s game, but a meaningful part of life itself. He was named America’s Poet Laureate in 1997 and teaches at Boston University. Delving into poetry would be a great way to spend those long hours, and maybe you could get him to break out the saxophone one evening to annoy the upstairs neighbors. 9/10.
Leslie Feinberg’s semi-autobiographical novel “Stone Butch Blues” is required reading for every young lesbian, and hir work as a revolutionary communist catapults hir to the upper echelons of LGBTQ+ history. I can imagine spending long afternoons in conversation with Feinberg, discussing butch/femme relationships and literature into the small hours. 9/10.
Yes, Marilyn Monroe converted! She was a practicing Jew until her death in 1967, and who among us wouldn’t love to hang out with her? In addition to being a cultural touchstone and film goddess, Monroe was well-read and whip smart, rereading her favorite book, James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” every year. She would probably do your makeup for her YouTube channel a lot, though. 7/10.