Shabbat shalom! Shana tovah, and chag sameach!
This morning, as I did my usual tour of our backyard gardens, I looked up into an amazing blue and cloudless September sky and couldn’t help reflect on the eery resemblance it had to the sky on the exact same day 20 years ago, that started in such a beautiful way, but ended in such tragic horror. I recall the popular phrase at the time, “We will never forget” what happened on 9/11. Etched in our psyches, it was a national trauma that left most of us wondering how anyone, how any people, could hate us so much. And I think about my cousin, Robin Kaplan, a then 33 year old beautiful human being, on her way to California on American Flight 11, to help TJX set up a new store in the San Francisco area. She had recently spent a month in the hospital battling Crohn’s/colitis, but was working again and feeling better, and was also recently engaged to a fellow TJX employee. Her dreams, her aspirations, her life, were all incinerated as her plane became a missile in the arsenal of terrorism that struck our country that day and ruined so many lives and forever changed America. RIP Robin.
We are also in the midst of the Jewish high holidays, with Yom Kippur just around the corner. The days between Rosh and Yom Kippur are considered the “Days of Awe” and are meant to provide enough time for repentance in order to clean the slate of your soul and start the new year Jewish guilt-free, if that is at all possible. After researching several talmudic scholars on the topic, I have developed my own short cut process on the whole repentance thing: Say “I am sorry” three times to yourself for all your shortcomings and off you go. My research indicated that asking for forgiveness 3 times gets you off the hook, even if the subject of those transgressions does not officially accept your apology. So there you go, repent now, and you can thank me later.
Now, what about the news of the Jews you may be asking? Well, due to the high holidays, there is no pdf version to share with you all, but I will provide a link to a few interesting stories and news items for the week. By far, the biggest story capturing Israel this week, and one which I heard a lot about from my Israeli friends, is the stunning escape by 6 hard core Palestinian terrorist from a maximum security prison! Yikes! So, without any further ajieu, here you go:
- The greatest holocaust film ever made – It debuted on 9/11/2001, so largely went unnoticed. The film, “The Grey Zone”, stars Steve Buscemi, Harvey Keitel and others, and is not your typical Hollywood style holocaust film. Roger Ebert called it one of the best films of the year, and Steven Spielberg considered distributing it himself, less than a decade after making “Schindler’s List.” “The Grey Zone” is about the moral and philosophical conundrums faced by the Sonderkommando: the Jews in the death camps who worked to dispose of the victims’ bodies in exchange for slightly better treatment from the Nazis. Pretty heavy stuff. You can read more about it here Click here to read the story
- Josh Mandel is an A-hole – While we may sometimes think of ourselves as the “chosen people”, there are plenty of fellow hebrews that punch gaping holes in that unfortunate theory (think Steven Miller, for one). And now add Josh Mandel, a Jewish Republican candidate running for Senate in Ohio, to the list of those dishonoring the faith. Mandel is among the latest in a lengthening list of public figures, including Republican lawmakers, who have compared vaccine mandates and other public health regulations to the Holocaust and Nazi Germany. Holocaust scholars are united in categorically opposing such statements, explaining that there’s no comparison between public health measures that save lives and the genocide of six million Jews. Duh. What an a-hole. Click here to read more, but trust me, you don’t need to.
- Afghanistan’s last Jew: a follow up story – Mentioned on Bill Mahar’s show yesterday, this is an update from the JNR a few weeks ago. If you recall, there was concern over what would happen if the Taliban regained control of Kabul, where he lived in the only remaining synagogue. Well, Zebulon Simantov has left Afghanistan, and is headed for the US of A. Word is he rebuffed pleas from philanthropists to leave earlier in an effort to hold out for money to do so. A shrewd, and whacky man indeed.
- Jewish population on the rise! The stats are a bit confusing, but according to this Jewish agency, the number of those “identifying as Jewish” went up about 100,000, Max not yet included. So, the total worldwide now stands at 15.2 million, of which approximately 6.9 million live in Israel and about 6 million live in the US. France has the world’s third largest Jewish community with 446,000 people, according to the report, followed by Canada at 393,000 and the United Kingdom with 292,000. Next largest population? Ukraine! but the numbers don’t jive. Read more here.
- Oops!!! How the hell did six Palestinian terrorists escape from a maximum security Israeli prison??!! Six men, belonging to two separate prison cells, were found to have escaped. Inside one of the cells, the guards discovered a hole that led to a crawl space under the floor tiles. Through the crawl space, the prisoners appear to have moved under the building, which is considered one of Israel’s best-guarded penitentiaries. They hammered their way above ground once they were outside the prison perimeter, according to Ynet. As of this writing, they are still at large. This will be a movie some day, but let’s hope they catch the bastards soon so the movie doesn’t have a tragic ending. Read more here
Thats all for the week. And hey, please be careful out there, this covid variant shit is real.