This morning, as they say, is the calm before the storm, as New England prepares for the first hurricane to hit the area in 30 years. So New Englanders, if you haven’t been battered enough lately by all the shitty news, add hurricane to your list of worries, and try and sneak in a round of golf, or some other outdoor activity, before the winds and rain commence to ruin the rest of our weekend.
Before I get to the usual JNR rant, a quick shout out to Gary G for a quick recovery from surgery and a “Hoo-ah” to my sister Phyllis for her loving presence this week, a short but fun visit with some great Max time and a trip down memory lane. Secondly, a few administrative updates for everyone:
- Substack Platform – Going forward, (starting next week) I am moving all of you to Substack, which is a popular writers platform designed to easily organize and manage a newsletter or blog. You will still receive an email from me, (specifically from, “Brad Goverman from The Jew News Review”) only the formatting may be a little better than the usual email. You will still be able to respond and I will receive your email responses just as always, the only caveat is that you won’t be able to “respond all”, but you will be able to post comments and share across a number of social platforms, if you so desire.
- The Forward is on vacation – Starting this week and next week, Jodi is on vacation, hence, there will be no weekly editions of The Forward to provide the usual platform for my smarmy commentary. I will however, try and pick out a few stories to highlight that may or may not support my rants of the week.
Not to belabor the weather metaphor, but this has been a particularly stormy week for the country. Most of us are old enough to remember the images from Saigon of helicopters falling off of ships, and the mad scramble of humanity to board helicopters on the roof of the US Embassy in order to get the hell out of Vietnam before the Viet Kong took over. Unfortunately, Uncle Joe will now have the image of Afghans clinging to American planes as an enduring image of his presidency. My prayers and sympathies go out to all the families of soldiers that gave their lives or limbs to this failed effort, and to the Afghani people, especially the women, who are surely going to be the target of serious abuse from a brutal regime with a history of treating women as chattel. There has been a serious piling on of criticism that this should never have happened, that we should have been better prepared for the evacuation, that our intelligence was bogus, blah blah blah. My take: Both the end result and the ensuing chaos was inevitable. From what I have read, the only viable shot we had at making any kind of lasting change in this “graveyard of empires” was in 2001/2002, after we cleared the country of al Qaeda terrorists and the Taliban asked to negotiate a settlement for them to take part in forming a government. Then president George W. Bush basically told them to F off, and that, in my opinion, was the beginning of the end. But, most likely, any attempt to nation-build in a country that only values family and clan would likely have failed. What a sad, and horrible waste of life and treasure.
Three other stories I want to highlight this week are far less tragic and hopefully offer up a bit of levity in an otherwise brutal week of news.
- Zebulun Simantov: The last Jew in Afghanistan – This is a real whacky story about, literally, the last Jew in Afghanistan. People are worried about his whereabouts as the last time the Taliban were in control, they threw him in jail, tried to convert him, and treated him as an infidel. He normally resides in Kabul’s only synagogue, but apparently he has gone into hiding, and according to several journalists that have had some sort of contact with him, he wants to stay, or wants to be seriously compensated with money and alcohol if he leaves. This is a strange dude, apparently a carpet dealer and former restaurant owner who grew up in Herat, and for decades has refused to grant his wife, who with his daughter moved to Israel in 1998, a divorce. Simantov had a famously bad relationship with Kabul’s other remaining Jew, Ishaq Levin, until Levin died in 2005. The two lived at opposite ends of the synagogue, and would only exchange curses. When the Taliban took over the first time, each of them went to the Taliban and accused the other of criminal behavior. According to one account, the two argued so much in prison that the Taliban released them both! Netflix needs to make a series about this guy! Read more here via this link. https://forward.com/fast-forward/474364/what-we-know-about-zebulun-simantov-afghanistan-last-jew/?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=campaign_2748570
- Butt lifts in Brazil – Brazil is known for revealing bikinis which led, of course, to the well known pubic haircut required for wearing said bikinis. Butt, did you know Brazil is also know for it’s butt lifts? In case you are worried about how your new thong sets off your posterior view, worry no more. This New York Times story explains the recent phenomenon that started with a doctor in Brazil, but slowly migrated north and eventually was made more popular by Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez and others. Although technically, nothing is being “lifted”, the procedure (not covered by insurance) involves moving fat from flanks and tummy and lower back to the derriere. Or as one happy recipient put it, “It’s like moving money from your checking to savings account”. The BBL, as it is now commonly referred, goes for about $15,000, but don’t go running to the local chop shop as there are serious medical risks involved and apparently the mortality rates for this form of vanity are very robust! Despite my hormone treatments, I may skip this trend and just stay away from my thongs until my butt is ready for public display.Stay tuned for more photos!
- Rubber Duckie, you’re so swell! – Finally, my good news of the week comes from Maine. A 25 foot high rubber duck with the word “Joy” printed on its chest appeared suddenly, and without attribution, floating in Belfast Harbor. It has since become quite the tourist attraction and has indeed brought some joy to the locals.
That’s all for now folks. And hey, now more than ever, keep up the vigilance, keep on the masks, and let’s be careful out there!