The heat and humidity may have broken around here, but the news cycles are red hot this week with a new episode of the orange turd eroding our democracy and dividing the nation. Just when things were returning to normal, and Congress was actually getting shit done, we get the news that the former disgraced President, in addition to instigating a treasonous coup, is now dabbling in espionage! WTF! Whatever is in all the boxes labelled “Top Secret” and “Really Wicked Top Secret” that the FBI pulled out of the basement and toilets of Mar a Lago, doesn’t worry me. But what does worry me is the right wing responses and the evolving excuses coming from the usual bunch of sycophants and spineless cowards still more worried about their hold on power than the fate of our great nation. The Republican Party, the once great “Law and Order” Party, in its deranged zeal to defend the indefensible is now doubling down on their active contempt for the rule of law! In their view, Democrats and liberals have so thoroughly seized control of major American institutions (“The Deep State”) — including the federal bureaucracy and law enforcement apparatus — that nonpartisan governance is functionally impossible.
But what is more troubling to me is how eerily this current legal search scenario resembles the lead up to the violence that erupted on January 6. The Republican leaders/cowards that continue to promote the conspiracy bullshit will have more blood on their hands, as already witnessed by the maniacal MAGA nut that went after the FBI office in Cincinnati. MAGA world is erupting and calling for civil war without even waiting for the evidence. On right wing social media, there are countless references to “lock and load” and statements like this: “It certainly feels like they’re treating it as a hot civil war. When this is all said and done, the people responsible for these tyrannical actions need to be hanged.” Ben Collins, who covers disinformation, extremism, and the internet for NBC News, wrote on Monday evening, “The posts on these pro-Trump forums tonight are as violent as I’ve seen them since before January 6th. Maybe even more so.”
Yikes. Let’s hope cooler, more rational heads will prevail and we eventually get more facts around this historic search of a former President’s home. I’m not sure it was the right political thing to do, but I thought Merritt Garland did the right thing by holding the press conference and releasing the information. From what I have seen of Garland so far, his temperament, smarts, and respect for the rule of law, it’s a shame his Supreme Court seat was stolen from him and given instead to a beer guzzling cry baby.
Well, enough of my venting, and let’s get to some news of the Jews! Finally! Here are a few more carefully curated gems of the week! Enjoy!
- 📺 The showrunners behind Hulu’s “The Patient” are defending their choice to cast Steve Carell, who is not Jewish, as a Jewish therapist. “I think our feeling has always been, as television writers, that we’re kind of in an area where people are pretending to be other people,” said co-creator Joe Weisberg. The casting of non-Jewish actors in decidedly Jewish roles has caused criticism in recent years, with Sarah Silverman denouncing the practice as “Jewface.” I for one, am not buying it, but that’s just my humble opinion. (JTA, Variety)
- 🍻 Torah and Tonic please? Opaque plastic wrap covers the windows of a nondescript storefront in Somerville, Mass., Cambridge’s less haughty neighbor, leaving passersby to guess what business might soon open here, less than a mile from Harvard. A minimalist poster tacked to the window offers a very brief explanation: “Lehrhaus, a Jewish tavern and house of learning. Opening soon.” Torah study during the day and beer, schnitzel and kugel in the evening. “We want to build on-ramps to Jewish learning in an environment that people understand and want to spend time in,” said Rabbi Charlie Schwartz, a co-founder. (Jewish Insider)
- Shiva Call: the secret Jewish life of Olivia Newton John – The Australian actress and singer, perhaps best known for her role in “Grease,” died Monday at 73. Her Jewish grandparents fled Nazi Germany and then helped others escape as well. You may have heard of Newton-John’s grandfather: He’s Max Born, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist. She often quoted him saying: “The belief that there is only one truth and that oneself is in possession of it, seems to me the deepest root of all that is evil in the world.” And she added: “I have a real problem with people killing each other for what they believe, so my grandfather’s words put it all into perspective for me.” Read the story ➤
- Getting in their licks – 🍦 A group of Israeli students have sent a cheeky letter to Ben & Jerry’s, accusing it of hypocrisy for pulling out of the West Bank while “occupying” land in Vermont that once belonged to Native Americans. “Justice, morality and boycotts are not just slogans and antisemitic weapons for your food company to point at the Jewish community in Israel,” the students wrote in a letter organized by the hard-right legal organization Shurat Hadin. “Justice and morality must begin at home.” (New York Post)
- The best Jewish Deli’s in the US – I did not see my two favorites, Reins in Connecticut (tubs of pickles on your table), a convenient half way stop on our way to New York, and the amazing Sherman’s Deli in Palm Springs. The latter passed the Gary Gekow test for having Jewish style rice pudding that ranks right up there against the best Deli’s in NYC. Not surprisingly, many of the best are in NYC according to this author, and my favorite on the list is “Call Your Mother”, a DC favorite. So, what are you waiting for, call your mother and take her to a deli! Read the story
- 🎸 Following a passion – Joe Resnek is a Harvard Law School grad who became a White House speechwriter. Nowadays you can find him in long dreadlocks busking on streets in his hometown of Chelsea, across the Mystic River from Boston. His first album was released this summer. “Moving a crowd is the principle,” Resnek said. “Obama was a rock star – and not because he sang.” (Boston Jewish Journal)
- 🔥 “I’m melting, melting. Ohhhhh, what a world, what a world” – On the fifth anniversary of the “Unite the Right” rally in which neo-Nazis chanted “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville, Virginia, the city approved a plan to melt down its bronze statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and replace it with a public art installation. A prior plan to remove the statue from a downtown park was what sparked the white supremacist gathering, in which a counter-protester was killed. (NPR)
That’s all I have this week! Hope you are all enjoying the summer and not hiding any top secret documents! And hey, let’s still be careful out there!