Shabbat shalom one and all!
It’s Thanksgiving week, historically one of my favorite holidays, since it is simply a weekend of being thankful by eating gobs of good food, watching the Detroit Lions lose, and spending time with family. A pretty good recipe for an enjoyable weekend. And, did you know that this year marks the 400th anniversary of the day a shipload of undocumented aliens came to Plymouth, met some unidentified friendly Indians who welcomed the Pilgrims to America, taught them how to live in this new place, sat down to dinner with them, then handed over America and disappeared?
Well, with apologies to the Wampanoags, I really do enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday, and usually the only guilt I feel is over the crazy amount of food I consume and the risk of my body weight crossing the Mendoza line in the wrong direction. And this year, to continue my steady drip of sarcasm, I am also thankful for the laws of Wisconsin that allowed a jury to clear a racially motivated vigilante teenager of murdering and injuring several people. Seriously, those laws need to be changed, but perhaps the most reprehensible aspect of this case is that it represents yet another data point in the long and sordid history of the right making heroes of white vigilantes who use violence against people of color and their white friends. Honestly, if Kyle Shittenhouse was a black man, do you think he would have been found innocent and then received accolades and job offers from Republicans?
But, we still live in one of the greatest countries on the planet, so let’s have a great Thanksgiving everyone! And let’s get to some good Jew news! So, here you go!
- A Mensch with a hammer? You heard it here first! Kamala Harris and hubby Douglas Emhoff hung a mezuzah on the doorpost at the vice president’s residence. The scroll is on loan from The Temple, the oldest Jewish congregation in Atlanta, known for its involvement in the civil rights movement. Harris and Emhoff, who is Jewish, also selected a second silver mezuzah from the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the University of California Berkeley to be hung inside. I don’t recall the history of our home’s mezuzah, but I still think I prefer Amy Klobuchar. Read the story >
- Culture Vulture: Why ‘Checkout’ is the Israeli sitcom that we didn’t know we needed – Israel’s No. 1 comedy – which has echoes of “Superstore” – follows the employees and eccentric regulars at a grocery as they banter and snipe their way through daily life and workplace politics. It also includes confession booth-style interviews with the characters – think “The Office” or “Parks and Recreation.” Mira Fox, the Forward’s culture reporter, says the show is “tightly written with bits of sharp social commentary slipped in between ludicrous storylines and slapstick.” Watch the trailer and read her review >
- QAnon’s Jewish connection – QAnon conspiracy theorists traveled to Dallas earlier this month, claiming that JFK Jr. would return from the dead to Daley Plaza – where his father was assassinated – appear at a Rolling Stones concert, and proclaim former President Trump the “king of kings.” (Some are still awaiting his return at the grassy knoll.) Turns out, they were led there by a popular antisemitic social media influencer who calls himself the “Gematria General”because he uses Jewish numerological techniques to make his predictions. (Vice)
- Zucker-schmuck having trouble discerning hate speech from it’s opposite – Facebook rejected an ad for a class called “Outsmarting Antisemitism” being taught by Chabad. One rabbi said the response he got was that the ad was about “sensitive social issues” that could influence elections or pending legislation. “They have not yet figured out how to discern hate speech from its opposite and instead choose to shut down all conversations on the topic,” he said. Come on Mark, how about fine tuning those algorithms! (Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle)
- Ice Cream Watch – Clementine’s Naughty & Nice Creamery has released three new flavors for Hanukkah: Halva with Cherries, Sufganiyot and Challah Bread Pudding. They’ve also partnered with TV host Andy Cohen, for a special run of “Peppermint Andy.” Proceeds will go to Doorways, an interfaith non-profit. (St. Louis Jewish Light)
- How do you hide a nine foot Menorah? 🕎 A 9-foot menorah was stolen from outside the Chabad of Huntsville, Alabama. The same congregation was vandalized with antisemitic graffiti in 2020. But the Rabbi is doubling down and has announced, undaunted, that they will install menorahs all over the city. You go Moshe! (AP)
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
That’s all I’ve got. And hey, let’s stay safe out there.