It’s a gray, rainy and dreary day here in the Boston area. But this week my spirits were lifted when a good friend of mine presented me with a beautiful golf jersey as part of my induction into the “No Negative Energy” club. I was informed that membership in this very select (there are currently 4 of us) club was predicated on a demonstration of unbounded positivity in the face of whatever adversity may come your way. I am honored to be a part of said group, but now must deal with the pressure that comes along with it. So this week I am resisting any mention of turds with an orange hue, or any group of politicians whose name begins with R, and whose treachery continues to explore new depths of depravity. Thus, I will remain focused like a Jewish laser beam on being my usual positive self.
Thanks to Uncle Joe’s leadership, operation warp speed, and millions of our fellow citizens, today marks a major milestone in our journey to the “new normal”. Governor Baker has announced that beginning today, we can return to pre-pandemic activities, including full attendance at sports and concert venues, restaurants etc, and masks are only required indoors for the non-vaccinated. Sounds liberating, and I think there is a palpable excitement among the citizenry, but I will continue to worry about any policy that relies on an honor system and its potential impact on those among us with underlying health problems. So, enjoy the new freedoms, but I would still advise some caution.
Another milestone this week: My grandson Max turned one month old last Saturday, and putting all bias aside, he clearly is an amazing child. His brilliant eyes are beginning to sharply focus on everything, and i think he may be right-handed, as he reaches for the squid-like mobile hanging over his crib with the right hand. It didn’t take me long to put the sharp focus and right handed-ness together to speculate that, like his grandfather, he will likely be a great shortstop someday! So, I have started shopping for a baseball glove befitting of the world’s greatest grandchild, the Wilson A2000. I am dating myself here, but for those of you that didn’t play baseball, every little leaguer growing up always dreamed about owning the Wilson A2000, as at that time it was the best glove in the world, worn by most professionals. But it also had a hefty price tag, so was out of reach for most of us that lived in the real world. But for Max, well, what’s a grandparent for anyway. And call me old fashion, but what better memories can one have than tossing the ball with your son or grandson in the back yard, or side yard, as I did with my Dad many moons ago. In my personal “field of dreams”, how amazing would it be for my Dad to emerge from the woods behind my house and play 4 generation, 4-way catch with me, Michael, and Max?
Another milestone this week: One year ago on the 25th of this month, the story of another man, a father, a brother, a son, stopped the world in its tracks and made us all take a deep look at who we truly are, and the racism embedded deep in our history and society, and for a while I felt the path to justice took on a new, re-invigorated arc. A change in our police methods is long overdue, and my hopes and unbounded optimism believe that change is possible. Let’s hope that the death of George Floyd, and so many others at the hands of our police, will lead to this long overdue change.
And now, what about the news of the Jews this week? Well, your weekly wait is over! Thanks to The Forward! But, first a word about Israel and Palestinians. Thankfully, the cease-fire has held but what are we to make of what happened, and what happens next? How should we feel about Israel amidst all the terrible publicity and popular, political shift toward support of the Palestinian cause? This is complicated shit for sure, and it is getting more and more difficult to stand by Israel, right or wrong. It is possible to still love Israel, and be critical of current policies and politicians. One American Jew called this a ““convergence moment”, fueled by the Trump and Netanyahu years, the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder and, of course, the explosion and polarization of social-media conversations about all of it.” I regret, and will not defend, some of the decisions made by Netanyahu as I have written previously. But I will always defend Israel’s right to defend herself, and strongly disagree with some of the recent criticisms about Israel as an “occupier” and certainly would never equate apartheid with the Israeli imposed restrictions and limitations on Palestinian freedoms in certain areas. Not that it makes it right, but Palestinians have more rights in Israel than most others in Arab countries! Nuf said. No Negative Energy.
- The money trail that led to the Israel-Palestine conflict – Fascinating investigation into the web of holding companies behind the real estate issue that kindled the latest conflict. What started out as an Israeli effort to evict Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem and ended in an 11 day war, has connections to a lawyer in New York. But otherwise, the investigation hit a few dead ends.
- Jewish jokes in Friends that didn’t age well? I was a decade too old for Friends, but maybe many of you can recall and validate whether the show has aged well in general, or the Jewish humor has become a little stale. Move on if you don’t care.
- Olympic-bound brothers competing in Triathlon for Israel – What i like about this story is that the 3rd younger brother is the best triathlete, but not competing since he is currently serving his commitment in the Israeli military. But, even better, is the fact that no Israeli women qualified for the competition. Sandy? Beth? If Michael Stone and I commit to the ski team, maybe we can all compete in Beijing in 2022 and Paris in 2024?
- George Floyd Square one year later – The prominent location where George Floyd was murdered has become a popular tourist spot, and location of a gazillion selfies. It is also a place of solace within the pain and anguish of waiting to see how much Black Lives really matter, as we await the sentencing of Chauvin.
- Scott Stringer, Jewish NYC Mayoral candidate’s wife is standing by her man – In a Forward exclusive, an interview with the candidate and his wife. Stringer has been accused of sexual harassment that occurred decades ago, and it has led to a number of supporters and endorsees pulling the plug on their support. Can he make a come-back? I don’t know anything about the accusations, but he seems like a nice Jewish boy?!
- A Jewish drag king walks into a bar…..(Victor, Victoria vs Faigel, Faigela?) – I never even knew there was such a thing as a “drag king” so learned something new. “Make Me a King”, a new Jewish British film, is attempting to re-define the Jewish cultural narrative. According to the author, the art of drag dates back to the early 1800’s but those making the big bucks back then were woman dressed as men poking fun at male stereotypes. The movie recounts a fictional story of Ari, a Jewish drag king rejected by her family, “who is enamored with Pepi Littman, an early-20th century Yiddish vaudeville singer and comedian, know as the fist Jewish drag king performer.” Holy shit, the first? Apparently there is a Jewish drag king genre/community and as the author points out, Jews come in all shapes and sizes. Good information here on the Jewish LGBT community in London as well. The film will air at the UK Jewish Film Festival in December, before making the international rounds.
That’s all for now, and hey, new freedoms or not, be careful out there!
Brad out. https://assets.forward.com/shabbat-052821.pdf