Shabbat shalom! Always good to be back in the writers saddle after a wonderful Passover pause that featured a lot of Govermans (old and new), a beautiful Seder, and reconnecting with fabulous friends and family. I hope you all enjoyed the holiday!
This week I am introducing a new feature to the JNR I am calling “Schmuck of the Week”. I typically begin each JNR with a “tip of the kipah”, a positive homage to someone newsworthy, usually within the JNR readership. And I will continue to do so. But each week, I am also dumbfounded by the volume of nincompoops who seem all too willing to demonstrate a level of stupidity that goes beyond chutzpah. I have been toying with the notion of “Schmuck of the Week” for some time, but put it off thinking the concept had already become a blogosphere cliche. That was until Jack Teixeira decided to share top secret documents with his teenage pals on a Discord server. Thanks Jack, you dumb ass, for being an iconic schmuck, and for setting a high bar for those schmucks that may follow in your schmuck-steps. Because of you, people will surely die, our alliances will be shaken, and who knows what else may befall our great country as a result of your wanting to impress your teenage gaming boy friends. But, I should probably reserve this premier award for the lame, faceless, yet-to-be-named morons that approved a 21 year old access to this level of secret documents. What on earth were they thinking, and who wrote the security screening protocols that allowed this kid to slip through, Benedict Arnold? Here are a few questions they need to incorporate into updated top secret screening protocols, courtesy of the JNR:
- Are you old enough to wipe your own ass?
- If you answered yes to question 1, are you still living with your parents?
- Do you still enjoy a good fart joke?
- You just met your new boss and his name is Ben Dover. How do you react?
- Do you still order a “Happy Meal” at McDonalds?
These questions will surely address the emotional IQ qualifications for top secret clearance, and assuming the NSA incorporates them into updated security protocols, we will all be able to rest a lot easier knowing our secrets are safer!
On the Jew news front, Passover did not put a pause on the troubles brewing in Israel over the last few weeks. Rocket attacks from Lebanon, terror attacks in Tel Aviv, two sisters and their mother brutally slain in a West Bank shooting. Ugh.
Violence between Israelis and Palestinians has intensified since a series of Palestinian stabbing attacks on Israelis were followed by Israeli army raids on Palestinian centers in recent months. The tensions flared in December after Benjamin Netanyahu formed the most right-wing government in Israel’s history and appointed ministers who favor further restrictions on West Bank Palestinians. At least 16 Israelis and close to 100 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of this year.
The latest round of violence started a week ago Tuesday night when Israeli troops subdued Palestinian worshippers who were occupying Al-Aqsa mosque in the Temple Mount, a site in Jerusalem holy to Muslims and Jews. The worshipers threw fireworks and stones at the troops, who beat the worshipers in scenes caught on phone video. The worshipers were violating a rule against spending the night in the mosque because of reports that Jewish extremists planned on sacrificing an animal on the Temple Mount to mark Passover. Jewish worship on the Mount is limited by a decades old arrangement to silent prayer, and attempts top breach that norm have in the past led to tensions and violence.
But, what about all the other Jewy newsy stuff you may be asking? Well, here you go, more carefully curated stuff from the likes of The Forward, Times of Israel, Kveller, and other Jewy journals:
- Jewish students at Massachusetts middle school faced widespread harassment –Adding further insult to Massachusetts reputation injury, my home state made headlines in The Forward this week for a widely reported incident of anti-semitism. Dozens of students at a Massachusetts middle school are accused of harassing their Jewish peers, including by performing Nazi salutes and making references to the gas chambers and Holocaust. The incidents took place over the course of several months, according to a parent’s letter to city officials in Belchertown, a small town outside Springfield in western Massachusetts. That same letter claims that a school investigation has uncovered video, social media posts and Google Docs made by the offending students that verify the allegations. Experts have warned that antisemitic sentiments promoted by celebrities like rapper Kanye West and basketball star Kyrie Irving “often correspond to increased bigotry in school settings.”
- Clarence Thomas’ close friend Harlan Crow collects Nazi artifacts. The reason why could be even darker than it seems – Good ole Clarence was a serious runner up for Schmuck of the Week with all his questionable ethics surrounding his acceptance of gifts from billionaire Crow. Crow owns paintings by Adolf Hitler and a signed copy of Mein Kampf and claims the collection is testament to his hatred of communism and fascism, and some conservatives have suggested it memorializes Hitler’s victims. But Sam Weinberg, who runs a think tank for Generation Z, says that if that is Crow’s intent, “he is doing a very bad job.” The display in Crow’s Dallas home “indicates a bizarrely simultaneous disconnect with the legacy of the Holocaust,” Weinberg argues, “and also a deep fascination with its horrors, almost to the point of reverence.” Read the essay ➤
- The Marvelous Midge is back! – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel returned for the 5th and final season, and so far, so good! While the show has always been a bit silly, I loved the settings and kitschy characters portrayed, especially her agent Susie. Here is what The Forward’s culture maven Mira Fox had to say: “Of course, it’s all a little goofy, but it’s hard to mind too much. After all, the show has never excelled at realism. Mrs. Maisel has always been best as a heavily stylized piece of nostalgia, and the final season really leans in. Bouncing between the 1960s, where the show left off last season, and visions of the future, we’re treated to all eras of costumes and references — and even some pretty funny photoshop, leveraged to write Midge into various historical events.” Read the story
- Science explains Passover constipation — and how to fix it – You really can’t make this shit up! While no formal, peer-reviewed studies have been published on the link between Passover and constipation, there is ample science to back up what many suspect: matzo literally gums up your digestive tract. “There’s certainly a lot of logic to there being problems if you eat too much matzo,” said Stan Drake, a recently retired Jewish gastroenterologist who used to practice in Virginia. “Matzo is basically white flour and water and there’s like zero fiber.”That explains everything. Read the story
- 🙏 After a spate of recent violence, Israel’s government banned Jews from the Temple Mount for the last 10 days of Ramadan. Last week, Israel forces were filmed beating Muslim worshippers they had removed from the site, which is often the site of clashes during Jewish holidays and Islam’s holy month. (JTA)
- Al Jaffee’s MAD Magazine was my personal Talmud – I grew up with Mad Magazine and recall the back cover, inspired by Al Jaffee, which was a novel “fold-in” when other magazines were doing “fold outs”. Al was also the originator of “Snappy answers to stupid questions” which use to make me laugh out loud. Here is a tribute to Al from The Forward’s Culture Editor, PJ Grisar. Read the story.
- 📚 A public high school in Florida has pulled an illustrated adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary from its library shelf, calling the graphic novel “not age appropriate.” A Texas school district that ordered the same book removed last year reversed its decision after public criticism. (JTA)
Enjoy the rest of the weekend everyone! And hey, let’s continue to be careful out there!