Shabbat shalom. Late edition this week due to a delayed Fathers Day celebration. Shout out to my great kids (and grandkid!) for a wonderful morning in Boston.
Another shout out today to Trumpet, who is the first blood hound to win “Best of Show” in the long history of the Westminster Kennel Club’s coveted show. The Westminster show began in 1877 and is now the 2nd longest continuous running sporting event in the country, behind only the Kentucky Derby. Trumpet beat out Winston, the French Bull Dog, and I for one, am glad of it, as I have always been a fan of the hounds.
I am not, however, a fan of our Supremely Injudicious Court. Even though the SJC decision overturning Roe was not a surprise, I still felt like I had received a gut punch on hearing the news. No matter how you feel about when life begins, the notion that the state can control women’s bodies is pretty damn scary. I am pretty sure we won’t be seeing the kind of back alley abortions and deadly Lysol induced abortions of the pre-Roe era, but, at least half the states are expected to make abortions illegal, (some beginning with conception!) and many, like Texas, will pay a bounty to their citizens that turn in anyone performing or providing aide to an abortion inside or outside of Texas. That is F’d up. It is pretty shocking that our constitution, which was written by people who considered women to be property, is now being interpreted, at least in part by women, with a ruling that reverses a 49-year precedent in order to give us fewer rights! WTF!
In Israel, abortion is largely permitted if it is less than 24 full weeks, although it is not considered an absolute right, and instead is approved by a committee (two docs and a social worker) on a case-by-case basis only. Abortion was illegal in Israel until 1977, at which point the law changed to allow them under the following specific set of circumstances:
- If the woman is younger than 18 or older than 40.
- If the woman is unmarried or the pregnancy is not from the marriage.
- If the pregnancy is the result of illegal or incestuous relations.
- If the child is liable to be born with a physical or mental birth defect.
- If continuing the pregnancy will endanger the woman’s life or cause her physical/emotional harm.
Jews worldwide are largely in favor of abortion, and recall last weeks JNR story about the Florida synagogue suing the State given that abortion is required under Jewish law if necessary to protect a woman’s health. The suit states that the ban “prohibits Jewish women from practicing their faith free of government intrusion.”
It is pretty clear from recent SJC decisions (Roe, Catholic School funding in Maine, Guns) that we are regressing and tilting the country toward states rights which will further divide the country. If you don’t care about separation of church and state, want to haul your concealed guns with you to the supermarket, don’t want to teach your kids about race or LGBQT issues, and want your women to stay at home and be good baby breeders, then you need to move to Texas, or any other red state for that matter. What if you are a parent of teenage girls? What should you advise them? Should they apply for and select only colleges located in a blue state? What other crazy shit will emerge from the wake of this horrible decision?
In an emotional news conference, an angered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi quoted Israeli poet Ehud Manor’s “I Have No Other Land” (“Ein Li Eretz Aheret” in Hebrew), which she previously read during a speech in the wake of the January 6 attack:
I have no other country
even if my land is aflame
Just a word in Hebrew
pierces my veins and my soul –
With a painful body, with a hungry heart,
Here is my home.
I will not stay silent
because my country changed her face
I will not give up reminding her
And sing in her ears
until she will open her eyes
“Clearly, we hope the Supreme Court will open its eyes,” Pelosi concluded.
Life goes on. And in the “life is Tov” category, Sandy and I had the pleasure of attending Jewish Heritage Day at Fenway Park this last Wednesday with some favorite family members. Here we are pictured below in our new Hebrew Red Sox jerseys. We were on the Jumbo Tron at least 4 times and had a blast!
Before I hit the couch for my afternoon schnooze, here are a few other news for Jews, not so carefully curated this week. Enjoy!
- UN concludes Israeli military killed Palestinian journalist-Israel continues to fight that claim – (JTA) – The United Nations Human Rights Office concluded that a Palestinian-American journalist was killed by Israeli security forces last month, and said Israel’s failure to conduct a criminal investigation into her death was “deeply disturbing.” In response, the Israel Defense Forces called the UN probe “biased” and reiterated its call for the Palestinian Authority to hand over the bullet that killed Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh in early May. Still not a good look for our Israeli friends. Read the story
- The Hong Kong bagel wars are more intense than you could imagine – The Schragel’s vs. Mendel’s rivalry involves a legal dispute over ownership at the Joy Lox Club Ltd and who has claims to the legacy of a guy named Michael Mendel. Things got toasty recently when one bagel shop was accused of sending security guards to the other to intimidate customers. Meanwhile, a few Hong Kong residents have accused both stores of “offensive Jewish cosplay” because of their liberal use of bacon and pork products and schticky marketing. Read the story ➤
- ⚖️ A new study found that the Supreme Court has become the most pro-religion it’s been since at least the 1950s – Seven of the nine Justices on the Court are Catholic. Last Tuesday’s ruling allowing religious schools in Maine to receive public funds is the latest example of decisions eroding the separation of church and state. Religious groups win 85% of the time, according to a forthcoming study. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in a dissenting opinion in this week’s case, wrote: “This Court continues to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state that the Framers fought to build.” (New York Times)Meanwhile, Orthodox leaders applauded Tuesday’s ruling as they hope to leverage the decision in other states where public dollars are currently not allowed to go toward religious school programs. But Rachel Laser, president of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the decision could amount to “religious coercion.” Read the story ➤
- 🇮🇱 Nov. 1 is emerging as the likely date for Israel’s upcoming elections – This would be the country’s fifth in three years. Meanwhile, some in the Knesset are trying to rush through legislation that would ban anyone who has been charged with serious crimes — like former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing corruption charges — from becoming prime minister. (Times of Israel)
- Your weird uncle department: 🤦♂️ Eric Greitens, a Jewish Republican running for Senate in Missouri, released a TV ad in which he hunts for “RINOs” — Republicans in name only — while carrying a shotgun. Greitens was formerly the governor of Missouri and resigned in 2018 amid revelations that an extramarital lover accused him of abuse and blackmail. (New York Times)
- Buy that property in Italy for 1$ – 🤔 Which European countries are best for Jews? A new, first-of-its-kind study offers unexpected answers. Italy and Hungary, where reports of antisemitism are relatively high, topped the chart. Belgium, Poland and France got the lowest marks. The European Jewish Association, which sponsored the survey, plans to make individual recommendations to each country surveyed. (JTA)
That’s all for the week. The couch beckons. But hey, don’t forget to be careful out there!