Shabbat shalom! Hey! And happy Shavuot everyone! For those that need a refresher, as I did, Shavuot is the celebration of the delivery of the Torah to Moses on Mt Sinai. According to Wikipedia, when Moses descended from Mt Sinai with the Ten Commandments, he admonished all the Jews to eat only cheese blintzes to commemorate the day. Here is a link to a classic blintz recipe, FYI Click here.
So, no heavy topics this week, no politics, no guns, no bad news. After suffering the horrors and sadness of last week, how wonderful was it to watch the Celtics come from behind victory against Golden State last Thursday! I am admittedly a lapsed fan, having fallen off the green wagon shortly after the Bird era, but I am falling in love with this team. Unselfish ball, great passing and ball movement, amazing defense, and guys with character and great team chemistry. And a coach who should win Coach of the Decade! I don’t think Curry and company knew what hit them after the 4th quarter. So, stay tuned for more excitement and don your favorite green swag for the next game this Sunday night.
I know you are all getting a little verklempt wondering what else is going on in Jew land, so without further delay, here is a quick summary of carefully curated jewish news:
- Bat-Mitzvah Porn: Debbie Does Deuteronomy – In the “you can’t make this shit up” category, check out this story of bat-mitzvah embarrassment reaching new heights. Apparently, during a Zoom celebration of a young Minnesota woman’s entry into adulthood, a couple participating via Zoom neglected to turn their camera off, and provided the party with an adult mitzvah of their own. For about 45 minutes, and despite pleas from the congregation, the couple went at it in their bed upholding the Talmudic tradition of having sex on Shabbat. According to one participant, “Most people were not on camera except like, the old bubbes … who don’t know how to turn off their camera, and these two people. So the boxes were pretty big and everyone could see who was on camera.” For more click here.
- A Confederation for Peace in the middle East: Rainbows and unicorns? There is a new push for a twist on the two state solution making rounds among US policy wonks. The idea of an Israeli-Palestinian confederation has been around for some time, but the concept is getting new life as pressure mounts to do something. Under the new “confederation concept”, Israel and Palestine would be independent, sovereign states with a border roughly along the Green Line. The biggest difference between this idea and the two-state solution that has dominated discussion since the 1990s is that the border would be an open border, like the borders within the European Union, and would not cut through Jerusalem, which would be a wholly shared city and, likely, a dual capital. This would go a long way toward addressing two of the thorniest obstacles to two states: what to do about the millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants yearning to return to the land of their ancestors, and about the 650,000 Israeli Jews now living in settlements in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank. Let’s hope some daylight here might lead to something.
- Boston to Tel Aviv: Delta now offering direct flights! Book your tickets now! Delta Air Lines launches nonstop service to Tel Aviv on May 26, part of a larger initiative to expand its Boston presence. Flights will run three times per week, landing at Ben Gurion Airport, making it even easier for New Englanders to visit Israel. These nonstop routes are in addition to newly reinstated Boston to Tel Aviv flights on El Al, Israel’s official airline carrier, which offers two flights per week. Those routes first launched in 2015 but had been put on hold during the pandemic. (New York and Miami are the only other cities in the U.S. with two carriers flying nonstop to Israel.)
- Happy Birthday Scotch Whisky! June 1, 1494 marked the first recorded historical mention of scotch whisky. Scotland’s exchequer rolls noted that one Friar John Cor had been given a portion of malted barley with which to make “aqua vitae,” or distilled spirits. As the Scottish liquor’s renown spread in ensuing centuries, Jews were among its acolytes and the golden liquid has become quite popular among US Jews. But the kosher bottlings from prominent whiskey labels, the growth of “kiddush clubs,” and the spread of national events like Whisky Jewbilee suggest that the Jewish love of whiskey is bigger than a few post-service drams.
- More on the good news front: 💰 An interfaith coalition erased $6 billion in medical debts owed by more than 2,000 people in the Chicago area. The group was inspired by an ancient Jewish custom – the Biblical law to release people of debts during the shmita year. “I fell in love with it,” said Pastor Chris Harris. “And I said listen, let’s keep this thing rockin’.” (JTA) Of course, if we had a national health plan, this money could have gone to another charitable cause, but a good deed nevertheless.
- Good from the bad – 🏫 Rabbi Shlomo Noginsky, the Boston rabbi stabbed last summer in front of a Jewish day school, has raised $1 million to launch a rabbinical school. Noginsky plans to train eight rabbis a year – “one for each stab,” he said. (Jewish Journal)
- Israeli Update: In Jerusalem, the annual flag march through the Old City passed with no major violence, despite some clashes between Palestinians and the Jewish nationalists celebrating Jerusalem Day by chanting “death to Arabs” as well as early warnings of violence by Hamas. But Israel’s governing coalition remains unstable as it approaches its first anniversary. The leadership postponed an important bill that would extend emergency regulations for Israel’s civil authority in the occupied West Bank, after the Islamist party Ra’am refused to back the legislation. The opposition, led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, announced it would oppose all legislation, and a new pollfound a plurality of voters preferring Netanyahu as a leader over current Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Oh, nooooo, not Nut-and-Yahoo again???!!
That’s all folks! And hey, I know I say it every week, but let’s please be careful out there. And go Celtics!!!!
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