Yesterday was Veterans Day, so a shout out to all the men and women, and their families, that serve or have served bravely in the defense of our country. The draft for the Vietnam War ended in 1973, the year before I turned 18, but I had already received my draft card and that year my number in the lottery was 009, which would have certainly sent me on my way. My sister was fairly active in the Vietnam Veterans Against the War group, and my parents were probably considering sending me to Canada, as they were clearly against the war as well. I don’t know what I would have done, but I am glad I didn’t have to make that horrible decision. And I consider all who served in that debacle of a war American heroes, despite the insanity and immorality of the conflict.
A second shout out this week to the American electorate, who went to the polls and rejected some of the crazies, and helped to restore some of my faith in democracy. I recall a meme/metaphor from one of my Substack reads this week which still sticks in my brain, and summarizes how I feel about the election results.
Just once. Well, the plane didn’t crash this time around and fortunately, all the pundits and prognosticators got it wrong. The Red Wave turned into a pink puddle as the voters for the most part rejected the crazies and rallied around a women’s right to control her own body. As of this Shabbat morning, it looks as though the Dems won’t even need Georgia as Arizona already has been declared for Mark Kelly and in Nevada, it looks as though Cortez Masto will ultimately pass Laxalt and put another win in the D column. But there are gremlins on the wings of this plane and there is clearly more turbulence ahead. While the high-profile crazies mostly appear to have lost, some did win. J.D. Vance will be representing Ohio in the U.S. Senate. DeSantis cleaned up in Florida, even winning the Latino vote in Dade! More worryingly, as of Friday afternoon, the Washington Post was reporting that, “So far 173 Republican candidates who denied the 2020 election results have won their midterm race.” And, as soon as next week, the Orange Turd is expected to announce that he’s going to run for president again. That could shut down one engine on the plane completely while extremists in the courts could possibly shut down another. Hence, if there is not a fundamental reshaping of the Republican party, we could be crashing this plane in two years. Just once.
Watching and waiting on election results has been exhausting and stressful. So, let’s move on to some news for the Jews! Without further ajieu then:
- Israeli elections -Really Strange bed fellows, or “The Tyranny of the Majority” – Maybe both. In order to reclaim power in Israel, Bibi formed a coalition of crazies. With 64 seats, he has a solid majority but will be beholden to some radical crazies including Ben Gvir, who gets most of the media attention, and the leader of the equally crazy Religious Zionism faction, Bezalel Smotrich. Will Bibi be able to reign in the crazies? Or will football stop on Shabbat, hebrew prayer be allowed at the Temple Mount, and the courts get neutered from their role as a check on the legislature? All good questions. Read more in this Op Ed from David Horovitz of the Times of Israel.
- The Jewish Feminist who helped launch Ms magazine – Sandy and I listened to a wonderful interview this week with Letty Cottin Pogrebin, who helped Betty Friedan launch the Political Women’s Caucus and Gloria Steinem launch Ms magazine. It was interesting to learn how the movement was influenced by so many Jewish women and about anti-semitism within the movement. But more interesting was just listening to her life story and the forces that shaped her work. Two thumbs up from Sandy and I. Click here to listen to the podcast.
- Kentucky Fried Morons – On Wednesday, KFC Germany sent a message to users of its app with the title “Anniversary of the Reich’s pogrom night,” according to reports in the German news media and screen shots of the promotion that circulated widely on Twitter. The message invited customers to enjoy “tender cheese with crispy chicken.” To their credit, they did apologize for that they claimed was an automated push tied to national observances. The pogrom that began on Nov. 9, 1938, is known as Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass, and is widely commemorated as the start of the Holocaust.
- LeBron, Sir Charles, and Commish weigh in on Kyrie anti-semitism – LeBron James became the most influential NBA player to say Kyrie Irving’s suspension for sharing an antisemitic movie was overkill: “Help him learn,” James said, “but he should be playing.” Meanwhile, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who is Jewish, said he he doesn’t believe Irving is antisemitic. But Sir Charles Barkley had a different opinion. Read the story ➤
- Is the Orange Turd about to be flushed? Hasidic rabbi assails Trumpism rampant among the Orthodox: It “twisted the minds of so many yiden,” said Rabbi Aaron Teitlebaum, using the Yiddish word for Jews. “It brainwashed people – and that’s so painful.” The harsh rebuke from Teitelbaum, the grand rebbe of one of the Satmar Hasidic sects, also challenged Orthodox voters’ reverence for the former president. Read the story ➤
- On Culture: Jeff Wilbusch from ‘Unorthodox’ brings his past to bear on a new character in ‘The Calling’ – Meet the Talmud-quoting, hotdog-whispering detective from Peacock’s latest show. “The Calling” begins with a man in a hotdog suit booked for murder and a detective saying a Hebrew prayer over a victim’s body. It’s not your normal prime-time procedural and the detective is no ordinary policeman. NYPD detective Avraham Avraham, played by Jeff Wilbusch, whom you may remember as the gun-toting Moishe from “Unorthodox” or as slick diplomat Uri Savir in “Oslo,” was inspired by Dror Mishani’s series of novels. Series creator David E. Kelley lifted the scene from Tel Aviv to New York City, and, while keeping the details of the crimes largely the same, reimagined Avraham. For more click here.
- Jews in Congress – In addition to running the banks and the courts, we now are taking over the legislature! At least 6 Jews, possibly 7, can now help form a minion in DC, with 4 of the new members Democrats and 2 Republicans. Although Jews make up 2 percent of the U.S. population, 7 percent of the current Congress is Jewish, with 38 Jews among the total of 535 lawmakers. In the Senate, the 10 Jewish members comprise 10 percent of that body; Jews comprise 6.4 percent of the House. Nine Jews in the Senate are Democrats, the 10th, Bernie Sanders, is an Independent. In the House, all but two members were Democrats. The Republican exceptions are Reps. Lee Zeldin (lost Governor race) and David Kustoff, from New York and Tennessee, respectively. More proof of Jewish Exceptionalism! Meet the new Jews in Congress.
That’s enough already! Hope you all have a great week, and remember, make good decisions and be careful out there.