Shabbat shalom everyone! Shout out to my mom this week, who is recovering from Covid and a special thank you to her friend Sandy, who flew in for a visit and ended up playing Florence Nightingale instead of enjoying a week in the beautiful Shenandoah valley with her good friend. Some chicken soup, paxlovid, and the care of family and friends should get her back on her feet in no time! And a good caution to all to make sure you schedule yourselves for the new booster available now!
The weather is nothing short of spectacular here in New England, as the kids head off to college and the Red Sox continue their dreadful decline in the standings. It would take more time than I have to cover all the news this week, but I will try and cover some key topics and balance out the usual shit show with some good news. And speaking of good news, I finally received my official Press Credentials! Yes, that is my official United States Press Agency Photographer/Reporter pass pictured below. That credential, along with my Captain Midnight Decoder Ring will enable me to get places never before visited upon by any member of the Jew News Review.
The country continues to ratchet up the volume on culture clashes as we get closer and closer to the midyear election cycle. Evidence of further treason, possible espionage and obstruction continues to mount against the former disgraced President, who continues to incite his cult followers while endorsing election denier, anti-semitic and un-American candidates. However, we can celebrate a small victory for Alaska and for the nation, as the icon of Stupid in politics, Sarah Palin, lost in a special election to a native Alaskan and now the seat is held by a democrat for the first time in over 50 years.
As I write this blurb, Old Joe and the orange turd are duking it out in strategic swing state Pennsylvania, where the orange turd has endorsed Doug Mastriano, a self-described Christian nationalist and leader of the “Stop the Steal” movement contesting the results of the 2020 election. Mastriano, who attended the march to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, has compared that riot to the 1933 Reichstag fire and some of his statements have raised the ire of Jewish leaders, including some Republicans. He has likened Democratic gun-control proposals to Nazi policies and referred to abortion as a “barbaric holocaust.” He launched his campaign with a shofar blast courtesy of a man named “Pastor Don,” who wore a Lion of Judah Messianic prayer scarf. And he has called the separation of church and state a “myth” and said Islam is incompatible with the Constitution.
Mastriano faces off against a Jewish candidate, Pennsylvania’s current Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, whose Jewishness has already become a talking point in the race, largely because of Mastriano’s open association with far-right and antisemitic groups. I don’t usually endorse any candidates, but will be making an exception in this case. Here is a link if you feel the same. Donate to Josh
I can’t help but make a connection between the orange turd’s endorsement of Mastriano and Nut-and-yahoo’s latest attempt to weasel his way back into power in Israel. The former Israeli PM has been working at creating a coalition of right wing zealots with his recent video message pleading with Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, the feuding leaders of the far-right Otzma Yehudit and Religious Zionism parties, to put aside their differences and renew the alliance that saw them win six seats in last year’s elections. Warned Netanyahu: “Only running together will ensure that these parties clear the electoral threshold” — and thus make it safely into the Knesset in the November 1 elections. Politics does make for strange bed fellows, and the shrewd Nut-and-yahoo knows he needs every seat possible in order to get back into power. I am no expert in Israeli politics, but what I read about Ben Gvir makes me cringe, and immediately think about the orange turd’s mainstreaming of fringe types such as Mastriano, who without Trump and Trumpism, would never have emerged from obscurity.
According to David Horovitz of the Times of Israel, “Netanyahu has been intervening on Ben Gvir’s behalf for the past three years, shamefully elevating an adept, dangerous provocateur into the political mainstream. Ben Gvir is an ardent admirer of the racist rabbi Meir Kahane, who advocated transferring Israel’s Arabs out of the country. He was a teenage activist in Kahane’s Kach movement and was convicted of incitement to racism in 2007 for holding a sign at a protest reading “Expel the Arab enemy.” But he has modified Kahane’s transfer demand, and dodged a parliamentary ban, by declaring he seeks to expel “only” those Arab Israeli citizens he deems “disloyal.” The Meretz party’s new leader Zehava Galon on Saturday denounced the merged far-right slate as an ‘alliance of thugs’.
Nut-and-yahoo is no Trump, but they both need to take a hint and move on. Both our countries would be better off.
Now, without any further ajieu, here is a sampling of other stories I am sure will pique your Jewish interests:
- Shabbat in the Desert: A Burning Man bash? A group of free-spirited Burning Man devotees has been hosting a shabbat on each Friday of the concert for going-on 13 years, calling themselves the “Milk + Honey” camp. Milk + Honey is one of dozens of theme camps at the annual Burning Man festival, the week-long celebration of art, music and general revelry on a barren Nevada plain. What started as a small prayer service for a few dozen desert-wandering souls is now a Kabbalat Shabbat for roughly 1,000 of them, followed by a meal. (That’s 120 challahs and 120 bottles of wine, if you’re scoring at home.) With the weeklong festival of “radical self-expression” in northwest Nevada’s Black Rock Desert returning after a two-year pandemic hiatus, Zvika Krieger — who goes by “Surrender” during the festival — is gearing up for the biggest, hottest and perhaps most spiritually transcendent service yet. For more, click here.
- High prices for the High Holidays! 💸 How much will your Rosh Hashanah brisket cost this year? Rising grocery bills, inflation, and a nationwide poultry shortage are affecting people’s High Holiday plans. One kosher caterer says he’s had to double his prices, warning “there’s definitely more of that to come.” (J, the Jewish News of Northern California)
- Shiva call: Gorby and Jews – From Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the longtime chief rabbi of Moscow: “It was he who allowed Jews again to lead a Jewish life, study Hebrew, go to synagogue and be openly Jewish,” writes Goldsmith, who recently fled Russia because of tension over the war in Ukraine. “It is bitterly ironic that his death comes at a time when the freedoms he sought to institute are being snatched away from the Russian people once again.” Read his essay ➤
- 🤝 Family members of the 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics reached an agreement Wednesday with Germany – Germany agreed to pay them the equivalent of $28 million to compensate for their losses. The 50th anniversary of the massacre is on Monday, and the families had threatened to boycott the official commemoration ceremony because they considered Germany’s prior offer of about $10 million too low. (AP)
- From the Culture files: ‘The Patient’ is one of the most Jewish shows on television – Steve Carell aint Jewish, but it’s called “acting” and it’s damn good! In the new Hulu series, Steve Carell stars as Dr. Alan Strauss, a Jewish therapist held captive in the basement of a patient who happens to be a serial killer. There’s a major narrative arc about Alan’s son’s Orthodox conversion, and the script is peppered with asual mentions of kashrut, kaddish and kibbud av v’em — honoring one’s parents — plus a soundtrack featuring Leonard Cohen and Debbie Friedman. And the series asks some very Jewish questions about fathers, sons and inherited trauma through Holocaust flashbacks. Read The Forward review ➤
- 🎤 Amy Schumer talked frankly about kids calling her Amy Jewmer and throwing pennies at her – In a new profile in The New Yorker, the comedian said she also suffered from trichotillomania, the irresistible urge to pull out her own hair, which left her with a bald spot that “a yarmulke would cover.” (New Yorker)
- 🕍 Inside the fierce battle over America’s oldest synagogue – There has been bad blood between two of the most storied U.S. synagogues since the 1880s, with sit-ins, court battles and feuding lawyers. Will peace ever break out between Newport’s Touro Synagogue and Manhattan’s Congregation Shearith Israel? Per the Associated Press: “The Rhode Island congregants who worship at the nation’s oldest synagogue won’t be evicted, as a judge ruled in their favor Monday. But the yearslong legal dispute over the historic building and a set of ceremonial bells worth millions appears far from over.” (AP)
That’s enough for now. Dyanu! And remember, let’s be particularly careful out there! Let my mom’s experience be a lesson for us all. Get vaccinated! And get boosted!