The Jew News Review – Quarantine Week 58 – A backhoe and the meaning of life

Shabbat Shalom! 
And good morning to everyone.  I am looking out the window from the JNR office here in Sharon, and surveying our neighbor’s property where a backhoe has been excavating their backyard in order to install an in-ground swimming pool.  This monster backhoe seems out of place in our bucolic suburban woodlands, a mechanical Godzilla literally scraping away an entire hill leaving a messy, muddy hole in its place.  And it makes me think about what it’s like to be the guy running the backhoe, how his job has an immediate, significant and lasting impact on the earth, and hopefully one that will leave it better than it was before.  Hence, and sorry for this introspective indulgence, I ponder a philosophical question:  How does our work, our parenting, our relationships effect change in the landscape of our lives and the world? Not sure why this popped into my coffee addled brain this morning, perhaps the endless stream of mass shootings, police killings and other recent reminders of our mortality fired off a few somber, deep-thinking neurons. Whatever. Talk amongst yourselves. 

On a lighter note, how about those Red Sox? I am still skeptical, but will hold out hope they really have a pitching staff that will continue their winning ways. And how about the news of the Jews this week? Well, let’s get to it, courtesy of The Forward:

  1. “Family Business”: The new TV series about a French Jewish family now streaming on Netflix – My big question is why the sudden interest in all these shows about Jews? I haven’t seen this one yet, but I can’t recommend the new season of Shtizel enough. Put it on your watch list for sure! The new show is about a Jewish family in France that tries to convert the family owned Butcher shop into an underground marijuana operation. Sounds like it could be interesting/funny, but be prepared for lots of placement ads for Carhartt! 
  2. Whatever happened to the famous New York Knish? Inquiring minds certainly want to know more about this story, and the deep history of the knish in New York politics. Invented centuries ago in eastern Europe, eating the pastry encrusted potato or meat treat on the campaign trail became a symbolic staple of mayoral candidate schmoozing, much like walking in the St. Patricks Day parade. 
  3. Clever pandemic tax deductions for Rabbi’s and others? Working or worshipping from home might provide a few tax deductions for more than just rabbis. Can you really deduct your dining room table?
  4. Transgenders the new boogey-person for Republicans – Looking to pick more culture war fights, Republicans are passing laws limiting rights of transgender people. This is one story how the new law in Arkansas that Republicans, with an override of the Governor’s veto, will harm people by inhibiting access to healthcare for the transgender community.
  5. Robin Washington joins the editorial staff at The Forward – A “Jew of Color”, Robin Washington brings a rich history of accomplished journalism, as well as some diversity, to The Forward. Some locals might recognize him as he worked on the Boston Herald as well as the Boston Globe and WGBH.
  6. A Rabbi who “puts the bourbon in suburban” – Great story about how Rabbi Chaim Litvin went from inspecting distilleries for kosher certification, to launching his own Bourbon label, “Bourbon Rabbi”. My first question here was what a Rabbi would be doing in Kentucky since there are probably more horses than Jews there, but there is an explanation. So, read on! And head to your nearby liquor store to pick up a bottle for yourself! And stay tuned for his next Bourbon offering, “Pashta Von Pupik”.

All for now, and hey, let’s be careful out there!
Brad out.

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