The Jew News Review – March 18, 2023 – “Pilos 2: Make America Thin Again”

Shabbat shalom! And a tip of the Kipah this week to Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, winner of countless Oscars, (and maybe the new name for the Israeli judicial reforms?) Wouldn’t have been my choice for Best Picture, but I did appreciate the rather poignant moment where Harrison Ford presents the trophy to Ke Huy Yuan, who I later learned had co-starred with Ford in 1984’s Indian Jones as Short Round, Jone’s sidekick. Quite the comeback!

I haven’t yet seen the movie Whale, which garnered best Actor for Brendan Fraser, who plays a reclusive, morbidly obese English teacher who tries to restore his relationship with his teenage daughter. But, based on my last weight reading from the scale, if the trend line continues, I may be able to play Fraser’s role in Whale 2. It seems as though I have permanently crossed the Mendoza line, and recent efforts to lose weight and drop below the line have failed. The last time I ventured in this territory, I started my own diet called PILOS, not a Greek food-based diet, but an acronym for Penis In Line Of Sight. My objective was to lose enough weight so I could look down and see something other than my gut. And I was successful! But alas, not for long.

So, I joined the growing number of US adults, two thirds of us according to the NIH, who are either overweight or obese. The statistics are a bit disturbing, as apparently one third of us fatties are obese, and, it’s not just an American problem, as countries such as Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and even France are seeing similar trends and statistics. If the trend lines continue globally, according to the WHO, there will be approximately 4 Billion obese adults by 2035! Yikes! Could the burden cause the Earth to fall out of orbit? 

Capitalism to the rescue! Enter the pharmaceutical industry. The hot new drug on the market is a weekly injection that was approved by the FDA for treating Type 2 Diabetes, but which now has a huge off-label market for weight loss since it mimics a hormone that makes you feel full so you don’t eat as much. And it works! As long as you maintain your weekly injections at a cost of between $900 and $1200 per month! These drugs have become so popular that the stock of Pfizer and Novo Nordisk, two makers of the drug, have doubled since the drug went viral in the off-label market two years ago. And their success is raising all kinds of health policy and other issues, such as will insurance pay for it? Right now, 40 million of the 110 million obese people are covered for it, but should it be covered and for whom? Personally, I am in the camp of covering the cost for everyone, and treat obesity as if it were a chronic condition, which it is. I take a statin pill every day to help prevent heart disease, shouldn’t we think of obesity in the same way? Science and biology have pretty much proven that while it is easy to gain weight, it is next to impossible to lose it, as our bodies have evolved to retain weight, not the opposite. So, let Medicare negotiate better pricing, and, develop a pill instead of an injection. And make America thin again!

Speaking of weighty topics, the judicial reform in Israel continues to spin toward a messy conclusion. I was hopeful that the Herzog compromise might bring Bibi and his coalition of crazies to their senses, but not so far. I fear Israeli’s are living the quote from Vaclav Havel, “We stand at the edge of a great abyss, and are about to take a giant step forward”. However, the pressure within Israel and around the globe continues to mount with protests now in their 11th week and showing no signs of abating. But, Bibi has made a few comments recently suggesting the current proposals may have gone too far, so, maybe some hope!

Now for the good stuff, those carefully curated bits of Jewcy news from the likes of The Times of Israel, JTA News, Kveller, Jewish Boston, The Forward, and other fine and sensible Jewy journals. Her you go:

  1. 🇮🇱  From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: “Israeli President Isaac Herzog warned of the possibility of civil war if the government won’t agree to a compromise on judicial reform, a stunning pronouncement from a personality and an office that are both known for restraint.” But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Herzog’s proposal for a compromise. Hundreds of thousands were expected to take part in a day of “escalating resistance to dictatorship” at 150 locations across the country Thursday. (JTATimes of Israel)
  2. Nut job Ben-Gvir shuts down program to combat violence – Netanyahu nutjob, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who serves as national security minister, said on Wednesday that he was shutting down a program dedicated to reducing violence in Arab Israeli towns. His reason: The program is operated by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which he called a “leftist organization.” “JDC is a nonpolitical organization and has been so since our founding in 1914,” Michael Geller, a spokesperson for JDC, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Ben-Gvir’s characterization baffled many across the Jewish communal world who know the JDC as a nonpartisan group with an extensive track record of providing humanitarian aid to Jews in distress. For more, click here
  3. Gefilte fish: can you make silk out of a sow’s ear? Nope. But you can try, as this writer/chef did and managed to keep it on her Passover menu. “To avert extinction, the gefilte fish I loved had to evolve”, says Yona Eighenbaum, culture editor for The Forward. For me, just saying the words “gefilte fish” was a portal to another time and place. To my childhood and my parents and their history. But with that generation almost gone, gefilte fish was losing its luster, often politely described as an acquired taste. I worried about extinction, imagining a future where even the words would disappear from our lexicon, the portal closed.” For more, click here.
  1. 🇵🇸  Israel Losing ground with Democrats – Put this in the “Pisses me off” column. A Gallup poll released Thursday showed, for the first time since at least 2001, that more Democrats sympathize with the Palestinians than with the Israelis. In a separate question, a majority of Democrats said they have a favorable view of Israel. (JTA) Bill Maher raised this poll with guest Israeli actress, producer and activist Noa Tishby, whose most recent book is “Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth”. We must do something to win the hearts and minds of the younger generations.
  2. Shabbas Goy plans a comeback – Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is contemplating a political comeback after resigning in 2021 amid accusations of sexual harassment, has launched a pro-Israel advocacy group. Calling himself a “Shabbos goy,” Cuomo said non-Jewish politicians like him should speak out “first and loudest” in defense of Israel. “I am going to call the question for Democrats. Do you stand with Israel or do you stand against Israel?” Cuomo said in pre-recorded remarks at an event commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. “Because silence is not an option.” 
  3. 📈   The FBI counted 20% more anti-Jewish hate crimes in 2021 than the prior year, according to updated but still incomplete data published this week. Overall, the new report found a total of more than 10,800 hate crimes — the highest number in decades. (JTA)🔪  Speaking of which, a 22-year-old man in Lakewood, New Jersey, was arrested late Monday night on nearly two dozen charges after he wielded a machete at a group of Orthodox Jews leaving synagogue. (Asbury Park PressLakewood Scoop)
  4. Holy Bagel Blunder Batman! – Angie Gautney of DeLand, Florida tried to solve a puzzle that, for most bagel-lovers, would have been a shoo-in. The nearly completed puzzle on the board, in the “Food & Drink” category, was, “WARM TOASTED BA_ELS WITH LO_ AND CREAM CHEESE.”You see it, right? It’s plain as, well, a plain bagel. But unfortunately, Gautney’s guess was “warm toasted bagels with low and cream cheese.” Oy.

That’s all for the week fellow JNR peeps! Hope you have a great weekend! And, hey, remember to be careful out there.

Brad out.

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