Shabbat Shalom everyone!
Passover ends today for Israel and most reform Jews, but lasts an eighth day for other Jews. Yet another thing we can’t seem to get all Jews to agree upon. Apparently the rift goes way back to the world’s first ever phishing scam. Based on physical observation of the crescent moon, the rabbis used signal fires to announce the start of a new month. But, those silly Cutheans decided to undermine this process and set signal fires on the wrong days to deliberately throw people off. The rabbis responded to this phishing scam by sending foot messengers to announce the new month. Since it sometimes took days for that communication mode to work beyond Israel, it was decided that, to play it safe, the first and last days of Passover would be 2 days. Hence, the first and second seder’s, and the eighth day of Passover came to be!
Seems like today’s Republicans, and I use that term loosely these days, don’t like to play ball by the rules, and rather than compete in the free market of ideas, they have adopted the strategy of competing by changing the rules to suppress voting around the country in their last desperate attempts to hang onto their power base: old white guys, racists, and fringe lunatics. Do we need secure elections? Of course, but this sham is so transparent, and so wrong, even the business community is rejecting it, and Major League Baseball just announced it has pulled the All Star Game from Atlanta. Shit’s getting real, and this is just the beginning. Republicans are doubling down on the strategy and, rightly and shamefully so, view this as an existential issue for the party. Fasten your seat belts everyone. And let’s hope some moderates within the Republican party can step up and save the grand ole party from self annihilation.
So, what’s new with Jews this week you ask? Well, here it is, your weekly summary, courtesy of The Forward. This being a holiday week, I would say that Jodi (Forward editor) deliberately selected some light fare for the week. Enjoy!
- King Kong vs Godzilla: Who should Jews root for? I have never been a Godzilla fan (reptiles creep me out in general), and I always respected the overgrown ape for his taste in women. He also seems to have more Jewish connections than Godzilla! And there is some credence to the big ape helping to create the empire state building as the iconic symbol of New York and the world. So, despite some vague, unproven reference to Hitler being a big Kong fan, my money is still on Kong, but you should read this fun piece and draw your own conclusions.
- American Jews doing enough for social justice? We do a lot now, but the point is, if you have watched any of the trial this week, we clearly need to do more. Seeking justice is inherent in the Jewish philosophy and religion, encoded in Deuteronomy “tzedek, tzedek, tirdof,” or “Justice, Justice, you shall pursue.” The black Jewish author of this piece asks the question, “We Jews are no strangers to injustice. So isn’t this our fight too? Or has the pursuit of justice become another empty slogan?” Good question. Read on if you want to add a little Jewish guilt to your matzah this week.
- The role of live streaming in synagogues post Covid – Pandemic, shmandemick. Enough already. I skipped this one.
- Cool Jew: A Black female Rabbi in Brookline, Mass – Good to see one of our locals making headlines in The Forward! Interesting little bio about this black rabbi, a former southern Baptist who converted to Judaism in her sophomore year of college. What took her so long? Despite converting over 20 years ago and now a rabbi at Temple Beth Zion in Brookline, she is still regarded by many in the community as an outsider. Some interesting insights here.
- Plastics: the eleventh plague? A little over the top treating plastic as chametz? Maybe not. We’ve come a long way in understanding the harm this common substance causes to the environment.
- Name the first Jewish Major League Baseball pitcher – It’s not Sandy Koufax! Hint: his name is Leo Fishel. Leo pitched his first and only game in the Majors for The New York Giants on May 3, 1899. His mother made him quit baseball to become a lawyer!
- Shtisel: Season 3 – Sandy and I started watching the new season, and enjoying it! Timeless themes intertwining life and art set in this orthodox community, well acted and written. Kind of a soap opera, following the trials and tribulations of the family, but much better.
That’s all for this week! Yom Tov! And hey, everyone be safe out there.
Brad out. https://assets.forward.com/pdfs/shabbat-0402.pdf