The Jew News Review – Mask-less Week 1 – Thinking about Israel

Shabbat shalom.
My thoughts are with our Israeli friends, and, if I had any Palestinian friends, those same thoughts would be with them as well.  There are no winners in this violence and, sadly, there seems to be no end in sight.  A perfect storm of bad shit has resulted in an eruption of violence in Jerusalem and Gaza and many other areas with an intensity we have not seen in the area for some time. I hope the US and others can broker some kind of cease fire and at least prevent a further escalation of violence, or worse, an all out ground war.  I am saddened at the loss of innocent life, and that the prospect of peace is now probably another generation away. I am not happy with Bibi and Israeli decisions that have clearly helped to escalate the conflict, and have even managed to unite the Palestinians. And I hate that Hamas thinks that dropping bombs is a justified response to those decisions, no matter how stupid or misguided they were. But here we are, and as an optimist, I am worried that I don’t see a happy ending here.  But, I will remain hopeful that maybe this will be an inflection point for something positive.  And I will close this topic with a slightly modified reminder from Golda Meir, “If Hamas puts down their weapons, there will be no more war. If Israel puts down her weapons, there will be no more Israel.”

On a slightly less serious note, if you are reading this, I can assume you were not flattened like Wile E Coyote in a Roadrunner cartoon by uncontrolled Chinese space junk falling from the sky. Luckily, it missed Sharon by a whisker, and fell harmlessly into the Indian Ocean. It was Karl Marx who said, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” The whole Chinese space junk episode that occurred earlier this week reminded me of another very similar historic space dump that occurred back in 1979. For the younger ones on this post, a US space station called Skylab lost its orbit and was mostly incinerated before dropping some of its debris on parts of western Australia and the Indian Ocean. NASA warnings of the pending Skylab junk-drop sent many of us on a quest to protect ourselves by any means possible. Yours truly found a perfect solution, which I am modeling below. I was able to resurrect this historic helmet from a dusty basement bin in time to, once again, protect myself from uncontrolled falling space debris.  Needless to say, the helmet was, thankfully, never truly tested.

 It certainly was a Jew newsy week. Besides the escalating Israel-Palestinian violence, lot’s to read about this week, including some interesting statistics about Jews, courtesy of the Pew Research Center.  Now, what about the rest of the news for us Jews this week you may be asking? Asked, and now answered, courtesy of The Forward:

  1. American Jews (statistically speaking) – Our friends at the Pew research center provided some interesting tidbits based on their survey of over 4,000 interviews with Jews across the country. Generally, the trends seem to correlate to the population in general and there seems to be a growing divide between those that consider themselves Orthodox, and the rest of us. A few stats of note:  The rate of intermarriage continued to grow, now at 72% of non-orthodox Jews, but nearly 70% of those families are raising their children Jewish either religiously, culturally or otherwise. The tribe has grown in abslolute numbers,  but stayed stable as an overall percentage of the US population with a significant growth in diversity as the % of non-white Jews in general is 8%, but 15% among 18-29 year olds.  Overall, denomination remained about the same, 9% of us identify as Orthodox, 17% as Conservative, 37% as Reform, and the balance “Jews of no religion”. Interesting stuff.
  2. What to tell your kids about Israel-Palestinian violence – Kids understanding differs on these matters, depending on their age. Duh. Based on my deep understanding of child psychology, my recommendation is: talk to your children and make sure you don’t scare the shit out of them. If they are frightened, you can always provide them with a Skylab Protective helmet for additional security.
  3. Will you stand with Israel? A passionate piece from the son of a US Jewish dad who put his life on the line to protect Israel for over 30 years. I remember well the many years we donated money to plant trees in Israel and the many years the kids were asked for Tzedakah at Hebrew school. There are many ways the Jews of the diaspora support the Jewish state, but, would I actually put my life on the line, and die for Israel? Good question to ponder, but let’s hope it never comes to that.
  4. Jews of Color Shabbaton this weekend! You heard it here first. What started as a Facebook post has now grown to an event, sponsored by, The Jews of Color Mishpacha Project. And now that we know the facts behind our growing Jewish diversity, makes sense for these kinds of social networks and events to evolve and grow in popularity.  For more information, click here
  5. Jews on horses? In the Olympics? – Bet you thought you would never see a headline like that! Meet “Flying Feathers” Danielle Goldstein Waldman, an upper east side New Yorker preparing to compete in the Equestrian competitions this summer in Japan. With a style all her own, she weaves hand-dyed feathers from 10 different bird breeds into her hair, wears yoga pants instead of the traditional jodhpurs, and basically sounds a bit weird. But good luck to her! And don’t get hurt! Jews are not suppose to be riding on horses! She could lose an eye for goodness sakes. 
  6. Van Morrison makes me puke – Just one more moon dance my ass. If you have any of his albums, chuck them in the garbage. This guy is a nut job anti-semite, and his latest album really sucks anyway. Cancel this jerk.

Sorry to end on that note, but, hey, please be careful out there!
Brad out.

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