Shabbat shalom, hey! (or eh? for my Canadian friends).
It seems as though spring has sprung in a major way over the last week. Even the lazy, late-blooming oak trees have come to life, and most of our garden perennials are popping. So, all this new life and growth and warmer weather has lifted my spirits, and I hope all of yours as well. Alexander Pope (yes, I was a nerdy English Major in college) wrote in his Essay on Man in 1733 that “hope springs eternal”, which has transcended the centuries as a popular expression of hope even in the face of adversity. Thus, I will remain hopeful that these harbingers of Spring will offset the creeping darkness that is surrounding and threatening to destroy our democracy. The orange turd thankfully may have been evicted from social media platforms, but while he stews and whines in Florida, his treasonous followers continue to perpetuate the Big Lie, and evict anyone from the party that does not subscribe to it faithfully. Webster’s defines treason as “the crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government”. That is precisely what these morons are attempting to do, by ridding the party of anyone not buying the Big Lie, pushing and passing voter suppression laws around the country, and eventually putting themselves in a position where a republican controlled congress would not validate any election they did not win. That is a direct threat to our Democracy, our constitution, the rule of law, and the peaceful transference of power that separates us from the banana republics and dictatorships of the world. We need to call out and remove from office anyone in Congress that still subscribes to the Big Lie, and the mainstream media needs to wake up to this reality, and start asking why these folks are not considered traitors and removed from office. And real Republicans, the few that still believe in facts and live in the real world, should hold a massive press conference and call for the Big Lie proponents to be removed from office. This shit has gone on long enough and needs to be ended before it’s too late. Hope springs eternal?
Other than those cheery thoughts, what else is happening in the news for Jews this week you may be wondering? Well, your wait is over, courtesy of The Forward:
- The Yeshiva University not inclusive of LGBTQ? A thorough, well written, but lengthy piece about discriminatory behavior and the lack of inclusion at this Jewish institution of higher learning. What does the Torah say about homosexuality you may ask? Well, to sum it up for you: Sex Good, same gender sex Bad. But, in the most traditional sectors of Orthodoxy, empathy has grown only in a very limited way, but in the center and left of the movement there is a slow but steady shift toward more understanding and inclusive attitudes and policies. Hope springs eternal?
- Cicadas and Jews: what could we Hebrews possibly have in common with this cacophonous breed of insect? They emerge every 17 years around Shavuot, but did you know they are the only insect considered kosher? And their low level, high decibel buzzing is actually a mating call? (I am thinking of trying to use a shofar to attract Sandra) But not only do they make music, they also inspire it, think Dylan “Day of the Locusts”. Come to think of it, Dylan’s nasally vocals do sound a bit similar to the sounds of the Cicada.
- George Floyd’s Yahrzeit: “Say his name” – May 25th marks the yahrzeit for George Floyd and the author suggests one way to honor his death and is to light a candle, say the kaddish, or just say his name.
- The streets of New York – Where did those street names come from? A new book “Names of New York” has all the answers, and probably not the answers you expected. But, who really cares? Another New York- biased story from The Forward. One interesting tidbit: There is a street near Manhattan beach called Corbin Place, named for a raging anti-semite and real-estate developer, Austin Corbin. It so happens that Corbin was a prominent member of something called the Society for the Repression of Jews. In 2007, residents of the now heavily Jewish neighborhood hit on an unexpected way to address Corbin’s legacy: they added the initial “M,” renaming the street for Margaret Corbin, one of the few female soldiers in the Revolutionary war.
- Did getting the Covid vaccine change the way you pray? Well, I am not much of a praying type, but I do confess that there are moments and events that somehow instill a sense of wonderment that transcends the physical. And while we are greatly relieved to now be vaccinated, getting the second shot was not one of those moments for me. Should it have been?
- TikTok and Jewish heritage month – For the life of me I still do not understand this particular platform. How many silly pet videos can anyone tolerate? Is this the equivalent of 15 seconds of fame? Anyway, this story is about how TikTok tried to do a good thing, but it ended up creating an anti-semitic backlash of sorts.
- “Here Today” reviewed – A Billy Crystal produced and acted new Jewish-themed movie, sounds like it might be good. Being a Crystal fan, I might not be as critical as this critic and just try and enjoy it for what it is, a schlocky comedy with alot of Jewish characters and themes.
Well, there you have it. That’s all for now, and hey, let’s still be careful out there.
Brad out. https://assets.forward.com/shabbat-0507.pdf