The Jew News Review – Maskless Week 7 – Rock and Roll baby!

Shabbat Shalom!
And how about those Canadians, eh? The last time the Habs made the Stanley Cup finals: 1993. Can’t believe I will be cheering for one of the teams I love to hate.

No politics today as I am trying to stay positive and deal with a bit of a wine head, an unfortunate side effect from a lovely evening with a few favorite Bermans. 

L’dor v’dor and Bruce Springsteen. That’s what I am thinking about this morning, as I just listened to the Killers new cut of “Dustland Fairytale” which features Bruce singing along with the Killers lead, Brandon Flowers. Ok, I have tormented my nieces and nephews on more than one occasion about the state of music, in particular the millennials infatuation with hip hop and my lack of enthusiasm for that particular genre. It’s not that I don’t like hip hop, but I don’t think it has any staying power. Name a classic hip hop song that you might hear playing 50 years from now….see what i mean? Now back to Bruce. Yes I grew up listening to him, and yes, I am a classic rock and roll kind of guy. It’s part of my DNA, much like my enlarged prostate. But JNR peeps, I am sorry to report that rock and roll is dying a slow death and that void is being filled by mostly hollow commercial pop and too much country western crap. Anyone who watches The Voice or American Idol these days can see the trend clearly. What does Bruce have to do with this lame lament? I look to the Boss, as Brandon Flowers has, to continue to be a major influence on young bands around the world, anxious to plug their Gibson or Stratocaster into their garage amp and rip a riff that will “melt your face off” as Jack Black so eloquently described in the great movie, “School of Rock”. So tee up a few cuts for your Spotify playlists from The Killers, or Foo Fighters, or White Stripes, and do your bit to save rock and roll. 

Now, on with the news for the Jews this last week, courtesy of The Forward. Lot’s of interesting stuff including Israeli baseball, a requiem for the backyard minyan, a retrospective on PRIDE in The Forward archives, and more: So let’s get to it, shall we?

  1. Israel’s Baseball Olympic hopefuls – There may be no joy in Mudville, but there are happy baseball fans in Israel ready to cheer on their boys of summer with lots of mazel to help them win gold in Tokyo. The core of the team is comprised of retired Americans (Ian Kinsler, eg) but the big story of the team is how they have come together and developed great team chemistry despite the pandemic. Team mascot: Mensch on the Bench. Down the road, maybe the team will develop more local talent, but for now just “enjoy a couple of sabras garnishing a roster of yankees, led by a head coach, Eric Holtz, who had his Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall.”
  2. Jewish summer camps and how they are dealing with the topic of Israel: It’s complicated – Many young Jewish kids form a strong bond with Israel from their summer camp programs.  With the ongoing dilemma of the Palestinian question creeping more and more into social media platforms, the camps have tried to develop a more nuanced approach. Camp alumni have been causing a stir at some, and the younger ones are asking increasingly tougher questions.  The oldest Zionist camp in the US, Young Judea in New Hampshire, (my sister Phyllis worked there one summer long ago) hopes to use the current issue and elections to launch educational sessions on the topics. Whatever happened to archery and volleyball? Can you weave a Jewish star out of gimp?
  3. We’re here, we’re queer, we’re Yiddish! Yes, you read that right. The Forward this week recognizes PRIDE month with this interesting look back in the Forward archives at how LGBTQ was reported or not. Some good stuff here from the wayback machine provides some context on the progress we have made in the last 30 years or so. But, one of the gems here is the story of Helen Hull Jacobs, world champion tennis star and 10 time grand slam title winner. There should be a movie in the works based on her life. She later became a Navy Commander in WWII, but is more well known for defying the sexist Wimbledon rules requiring women to wear sanctioned tennis skirts on the court by donning a pair of mens short pants!
  4. A requiem for the backyard minyan? What’s a requiem anyway? During the pandemic, synagogues were closed, so many of the more religious Jews scrambled to find 10 men to fulfill the requirement for conducting services where else –  in their backyards. While some may have been challenged to hear the prayers over the neighbor’s leaf blower, others found new ways of connecting and observing. We Jews can be especially creative when it comes to observance! I wonder if any of my neighbors would volunteer to be the shamash goy?
  5. A fuller history of Alderney, a Nazi concentration camp on British soil – Seven miles off the coast of France, this British land is one of the Channel Islands occupied by the Germans from 1940-45.  Evidence has recently been uncovered from Russian archives confirming the awful presence of a Jewish concentration camp where thousands died in slavery, building the fortifications on the island that the Nazis used to pound the beaches of Normandy. Holocaust researcher Marcus Roberts has given the story legs, and it is now getting much attention in the British press. 
  6. A mother writes about her sons that never call – Let this be a lesson to you boys out there. Read this story and then call your mother!
  7. Vaxxed, waxed, and ready to go? – Will the relief of protective vaccinations give rise to an era of debauchery? Slide left or slide right, whatever floats your boat, but apparently there is a lot of sliding going on out there. But, are we ready to be social again? Or, as my sister said a few days ago, do we need to re-learn social skills after so long a social drought? Apparently Israel is in full single-mingle swingle, so my guess is we are not too far behind them. I know I am ready to Rock and Roll!

That’s all for now people. And hey, even if you are ready to party like Charlie Sheehan, please be careful out there!
Brad out.

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