The Jew News Review – Quarantine Week 57 – The new normal, DMX and the ramblings of an old fart

Shalom everyone! And disregard my first email for the JNR this week as I mistakenly pushed the send button before I even had my first cup of coffee! Sorry about that.

Yesterday I spoke with my Brazilian colleagues and got an earful about how horrible their Covid situation is right now, and it reminded me of the moronic approach our previous administration had taken to managing the crisis. And that in turn led to more thoughts about how different things are now, that despite Republican attempts to continue disrupting progress with divisive culture wars, I feel much more positive about the direction of the country and am starting to get a sense that, outside the beltway, we are starting to pull together as a country! Go USA! Don’t get me wrong, we have many a crisis brewing on multiple fronts, but at least we don’t have a president insulting and picking fights with friends and foes alike. We are making our way back to “normal”, i think. 

One more sign of normality was that I ventured out to Newbury comics and picked up a few new albums, Bruce Springsteen’s latest “ Letter to You”, and an iconic classic from Bob Dylan “Blood on the Tracks”, which I already own on CD, but wanted to add it to my vinyl collection as well. While both albums present deeply brooding tones and reflections of loss, they also present an interesting contrast to sounds of the recently departed DMX, a famous rapper who the NYT dubbed “Snarly and Soulful”. I am not a huge fan of rap and hip hop, (call me an old fart if you wish), but I made an effort to listen to DMX’s greatest hits on Amazon Music, and can honestly say, I was not impressed, and did not hear much in the way of “soulful”. My rap to the younger generations on this has always been wether any of his music, or any rap music for that matter, will be played 200 years from now? Will it last the test of time? I will stick with Dylan, Bruce and the Beatles on that front. 

Now, many of you are by now thinking, enough of this drivel, and let’s get to the good stuff! What of the news for the Jews this week, you ponder? Well, ponder no longer, here you go, courtesy of The Forward”

  1. In search of the perfect Bagel – Brooklyn’s finest bagel spots are reviewed with a very anti-hipster and discerning eye. Is it really the NYC water that makes them so special? Can our former Brooklyners weigh in here? Molly? Ben?
  2. Will Evangelicals be allowed to visit Israel? Evangelicals have consistently made pilgrimage to Israel for religious and other reasons. Israel has strict requirements around proof of vaccine to enter, and the Evangelicals in general (45%) have said they will not take the vaccine. Should make for some interesting dynamics as Israel will need to decide on letting them in or not. Stay tuned.
  3. The Hatfields vs McCoysteins? Crazy and idiotic behavior in a predominantly Jewish and wealthy gated community in west Del Ray beach, Florida, pitting one christian family against the Jews. You really can’t make this shit up. But, it is Florida….
  4. Shtizel and it’s presentation of issues around reproductive rights – An interesting look at how the 3rd (and very good!) season of Shtizel deals with abortion, and other reproductive issues within the orthodox community. Spoiler alert: The Torah sides on the side of the health of the mother. 
  5. Hunter Biden’s book and what it says about his Jewish wife, Melissa Cohen – Love at first sight apparently. They were engaged about 3 days after they met and share a tattoo of “Shalom”.  Interesting story.
  6. Paul Simon a historical footnote? – No way says this music critic and fan of the singer/song writer. I happen to agree with the writer, Paul will get more than a footnote, maybe an entry in the bibliography.
  7. The Rabbi bringing Judaism to Saudi Arabia? First of all, i thought it was against the religion to proselytize? Originally from Greenwich Village, Rabbi Yaakov Herzog is helping the Saudi’s frame what religious community life will look like in the new Egypt-bridging city being built there, specifically working with the many Jewish expats, tourists, and business people that will be living and working there. 

Well, that does it for the week. And hey, it never goes without saying, be careful out there!
Brad out.

The Jew News Review – Quarantine Week 56 – “Play Ball” Just don’t do it in Georgia…

Shabbat Shalom everyone! 

Passover ends today for Israel and most reform Jews, but lasts an eighth day for other Jews. Yet another thing we can’t seem to get all Jews to agree upon. Apparently the rift goes way back to the world’s first ever phishing scam. Based on physical observation of the crescent moon, the rabbis used signal fires to announce the start of a new month. But, those silly Cutheans decided to undermine this process and set signal fires on the wrong days to deliberately throw people off.  The rabbis responded to this phishing scam by sending foot messengers to announce the new month. Since it sometimes took days for that communication mode to work beyond Israel, it was decided that, to play it safe, the first and last days of Passover would be 2 days. Hence, the first and second seder’s, and the eighth day of Passover came to be!
Seems like today’s Republicans, and I use that term loosely these days, don’t like to play ball by the rules, and rather than compete in the free market of ideas, they have adopted the strategy of competing by changing the rules to suppress voting around the country in their last desperate attempts to hang onto their power base:  old white guys, racists, and fringe lunatics. Do we need secure elections? Of course, but this sham is so transparent, and so wrong, even the business community is rejecting it, and Major League Baseball just announced it has pulled the All Star Game from Atlanta. Shit’s getting real, and this is just the beginning. Republicans are doubling down on the strategy and, rightly and shamefully so, view this as an existential issue for the party. Fasten your seat belts everyone. And let’s hope some moderates within the Republican party can step up and save the grand ole party from self annihilation. 
So, what’s new with Jews this week you ask? Well, here it is, your weekly summary, courtesy of The Forward.  This being a holiday week, I would say that Jodi (Forward editor) deliberately selected some light fare for the week. Enjoy!

  1. King Kong vs Godzilla: Who should Jews root for? I have never been a Godzilla fan (reptiles creep me out in general), and I always respected the overgrown ape for his taste in women. He also seems to have more Jewish connections than Godzilla!  And there is some credence to the big ape helping to create the empire state building as the iconic symbol of New York and the world. So, despite some vague, unproven reference to Hitler being a big Kong fan, my money is still on Kong, but you should read this fun piece and draw your own conclusions.
  2. American Jews doing enough for social justice? We do a lot now, but the point is, if you have watched any of the trial this week, we clearly need to do more. Seeking justice is inherent in the Jewish philosophy and religion, encoded in Deuteronomy “tzedek, tzedek, tirdof,” or “Justice, Justice, you shall pursue.” The black Jewish author of this piece asks the question, “We Jews are no strangers to injustice. So isn’t this our fight too? Or has the pursuit of justice become another empty slogan?” Good question. Read on if you want to add a little Jewish guilt to your matzah this week. 
  3. The role of live streaming in synagogues post Covid – Pandemic, shmandemick. Enough already. I skipped this one.
  4. Cool Jew: A Black female Rabbi in Brookline, Mass – Good to see one of our locals making headlines in The Forward! Interesting little bio about this black rabbi, a former southern Baptist who converted to Judaism in her sophomore year of college. What took her so long? Despite converting over 20 years ago and now a rabbi at Temple Beth Zion in Brookline, she is still regarded by many in the community as an outsider. Some interesting insights here.
  5. Plastics: the eleventh plague? A little over the top treating plastic as chametz? Maybe not. We’ve come a long way in understanding the harm this common substance causes to the environment. 
  6. Name the first Jewish Major League Baseball pitcher – It’s not Sandy Koufax! Hint: his name is Leo Fishel. Leo pitched his first and only game in the Majors for The New York Giants on May 3, 1899. His mother made him quit baseball to become a lawyer! 
  7. Shtisel: Season 3 – Sandy and I started watching the new season, and enjoying it! Timeless themes intertwining life and art set in this orthodox community, well acted and written. Kind of a soap opera, following the trials and tribulations of the family, but much better. 

That’s all for this week! Yom Tov! And hey,  everyone be safe out there. 
Brad out.

The Jew News Review – Quarantine Week 55 – Happy Passover!

Chad Sameach, and Shabbat shalom one and all! 
Passover is my favorite Jewish holiday for a variety of reasons, among them the themes of freedom, redemption and the telling and retelling of a great story for generations to come (L’dor v’dor!). And bringing family and friends together for a great meal aint so shabby either! Add to that the many hopeful signs of recovery on many fronts, and I had a really great feeling heading into the weekend. And then came Georgia. And I just can’t get the image of 6 old white guys in the Governor’s office signing a voter suppression law under a portrait of a slave plantation out of my head.  So, on this beautiful Saturday Passover morning, I have mixed emotions as I spin Randy Newman’s “Redneck” album on the turntable, but I am hopeful that in the end, the theme of freedom (and some gefilte fish with Davora’s home made “purple chrain”), so inherent in the Passover celebration, will carry the day and my mood to a better place. 

As you can imagine, the news of the Jews this week has been dominated by Passover as well as the Israeli elections. I am not a close follower of Israeli politics, but it seems they are stuck in a spiral of “Bibi, rinse and repeat”, without a clear majority to remove him. The risk is that Bibi will continue to embrace even more radical right wingers in his bid to form a coalition and those radical fringe groups will gain strength. Sound familiar? Anyway, here is the news of the week, courtesy of The Forward:

  1. Was “The Last Supper” a Seder? Were Jews really slaves in Egypt? For answers to these and two other offbeat questions, this is a must read!
  2. RGB’s influence lives on – The story of how RGB inspired and influenced one of the newest members of New Jersey’s Supreme Court
  3. The impact of Covid on the grandparent-grandchild relationship – Read all about the need to “honor thy father and mother” during this difficult time, or at any time for that matter!
  4. Boulder’s Jews dealing with the mass shooting – More than holding vigil, they have also reached out to the islamic community
  5. How macaroons became a must for Passover – Not for me. Give my Ruth’s chocolate covered matzah any day of the week! But if you are interested in the origins of this traditional Passover treat, read on!
  6. Jewish publications on Substack? What the hell is Substack anyway? – Read about one person’s Jewish publication she launched on this user-friendly newsletter publishing platform. Sounds like a new platform for the JNR? Probably not, as I am now investigating creating a Non Fungible Token (NFT) on the Ethereum platform to monetize the JNR. More on this in future blogs!

All for now, and hey, let’s keep being careful out there, vaccine or no vaccine.
Brad out.

The Jew News Review – Quarantine Week 54 – Having a “bad day”?

Shabbat shalom JNR peeps!

Yesterday I participated (virtually of course) in our annual Fantasy Baseball draft in which we bid on major league baseball players and put together our teams that compete statistically for a cash prize. This morning I am regretting drinking too many beers and taking my eye off the draft-day ball but what I won’t do is run out and buy myself a gun and go on a rampage murdering my many Asian-American neighbors because I “had a bad day”. Now, maybe we should cut some slack for the knuckle-headed police captain that made that regrettable statement, but what I will never understand is why we allow people to buy guns without a waiting period, but the same state legally requires a waiting period for women seeking an abortion. That is some fucked up logic. Lord only knows why the sick sack of shit did what he did, but here we are once again bemoaning another mass shooting and doing nothing to change the laws and challenge the right wing nut jobs that believe the second amendment requires the country to suspend rational thinking and ignore placing appropriate regulations around that right. 

Meanwhile, our new President is getting kudos on the vaccine front, but facing another tough humanitarian crisis on our southern border. And across the pond, there is another Covid surge in Europe due to new variants, and here in Florida, college kids are storming the sunshine state, without any precautions, to celebrate spring break. I worry that new variants, new freedoms, and relaxing our precautions might spur another surge here in the US. Stay vigilant people!

On the good news front, Sandy and I are getting our first Covid vaccination on Monday! Woohoo! I hope all of you have received your jab or are scheduled to do so soon. It’s such an uplifting feeling knowing that after we get the shot, we can breathe a little easier and look forward to getting our family together again, especially in time to hold our first grandchild due at the end of April. And the timing is perfectly aligned with the Passover holiday, as it is another symbol of freedom for all of us, to put this awful pandemic behind us and get back to whatever the new normal might be.

Speaking of Passover, I have been going crazy ridding the place of chametz. Not sure why this custom requires a feather and a candle, but I am sure there is a logical explanation. I did a quick google search and also discovered there are now websites available where you can sell your chametz, as long as a rabbi acts as the brokering agent and the chametz is sold to a non-Jew. I do not kid. For the orthodox among us, we have until two hours before midday of the 27th to eat up that babka and challah bread before the matzah needs to take over.  Lately I have been fielding a lot of questions regarding the addition of an orange on the Seder plate. I am not sure when we started the practice, but one source claims it was inspired by Prof. Susannah Heschel, daughter of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who came up with the idea after some curmudgeon dismissed the idea of women rabbis by saying, “A woman on the bimah is like an orange on the Seder plate!” 

So, what about the news for the Jews this week, courtesy of The Forward? Here you go, without further ajieu:

  1. Dating and Israel: Is the topic a high stakes litmus test for dating Jewish couples? First of all, finding dating Jewish couples is hard enough, we need to add a litmus test? This one ranks high on the nerd scale, but does beg the question about going deep on politics before going deep in a relationship. If Sandy were a supporter of the orange turd, would I have married her? Stay tuned for next week’s JNR to find out!
  2. Kosher Dog Food? Not! – Unless you want Fido to get sick from consuming something mushy and inconsistent with it’s normal diet, stay clear of the kosher for Passover dog food. The craziness surrounding some of the measures followed by those adhering to strict kosher rules are compiled in a book, considered the bible on such matters, by Rabbi Avrohom Blumenkrantz. The section on pet food spans four pages. The bottom line is this: Most dry dog food contains some sort of chametz – wheat, oats or grain – which makes the standard fare verboten. If a dog’s main diet is dry food, and you suddenly switch him to canned meat, well you can kind of guess what happens next. 
  3. A statue of RBG in a mall? The author makes a point, that perhaps placing this statue honoring the late supreme court justice inside a shopping mall, might not have been the best location. Despite the obvious traffic it is getting (20 minute waiting lines for a selfie), a more suitable spot would have been gracing some public outdoor space rather than a tawdry, indoor shopping mall.
  4. An American version of “Shtisel” on the way, courtesy of CBS – We love the Israeli show for it’s unromantic depiction of the Heredi community and the characters with all their flaws and idiosyncrasies. Will the American version stay true to this structure? Read this for one point of view.
  5. Remembering Yaphet Kotto – Who you may ask? This charismatic actor and proud Jew passed away last week. Better known for his acting in Alien, and Live and Let Die among others, he was also a black Jew, with an interesting backstory. Worth a read.
  6. Borat 2 vs Nomadland, which should get the Oscar? You be the judge. The fact that Borat 2 is even on the list is quite incredulous, and says a lot about the state of Cinema in the USA.
  7. Rank choice voting in NYC and it’s impact on Jewish influence? – I am a little hung over this morning, so this is one I couldn’t even wrap my head around. Skip over this one.

That’s all this week, but, hey, be careful out there!
Brad out.

The Jew News Review – Quarantine Week 53 – Buy your fireworks now!

Shabbat Shalom to all my JNR friends! 

Uncle Joe signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) into law this week which is supported by approximately 75% of the country but was unable to garner a single Republican vote. So much for bi-partisanship. But, as vaccines continue to jab their way into more arms around the country at an escalating pace, Uncle Joe is indicating we may be in for a special July 4th, one that celebrates our independence from Britain as well as from the tyranny of Covid. So, hugs all around (thank you CDC) and start planning that family backyard BBQ!  Hence, Sandy and I will be making our annual trek to New Hampshire for fireworks earlier this year in order to beat the rush and avoid the potential stockout situation. Let’s go America!
Make no mistake about it, Biden’s ARP is a big-ass, audacious and historic piece of legislation that hopefully will bring much needed relief to millions of people and set the nation on a path to normalcy. But it’s also much more than that. It is the antithesis of the only significant piece of legislation passed by the orange turd – that being the tax relief bill that transferred billions to the richest folks in the land and added trillions to our deficit. The ARP on the other hand, directs most of it’s funds to those that need it most, and hopefully, much of this largesse will find it’s way back into the economy, unlike the trickle-down nonsense that has proven over and over again to be a false, misleading hope.  JFK talked about a rising tide “lifting all boats”, and I believe the ARP has a chance to do just that.  And assuming it works, (most economists think it is likely to overheat the economy and enable growth greater than China’s!), hopefully, along with the success of the federal drive for vaccination, it will symbolize that our government can function and do great things on behalf of our people. Now if we could just get a change to the filibuster rules, institute term limits, make sure our citizens can easily exercise their right to vote…… 


So, what’s going on in news about Jews this week you may be asking? Well, here is your answer, courtesy of The Forward:

  1. You’ve read about Pandemic Puppies, how about Pandemic Babies? – The expected baby boom turned into a baby bust during the pandemic. Read about a few couples experience coping and dealing with pregnancy during the pandemic. Based on a data point of one, I’d say it’s a mixed bag, but mostly a royal pain.
  2. An interview with the NYT’s Maggie Haberman – A nice Jewish girl had to stomach covering an orange turd for 4 years. Stockholm syndrome? What’s next? When does the book come out?
  3. Why you should know about Leonard Cohen’s Cantor – Frankly, not sure you should, but interesting nevertheless. Cantor Zelermyer provides back up vocals on Cohen’s grammy winning single “You Want It Darker” from the album of the same name. Cohen was pretty sick when this was released, and the song is deeply religious and riffs on the Mourner’s Kaddish. 
  4. Why are Jews in Georgia happy about eliminating Daylight Savings Time? For the orthodox that translates into it being light outside when walking to services on a winter Saturday morning, summer Shabbats that don’t stretch past 9 p.m. and the ability to start the Passover Seder while young children are still wide awake. But it’s also a good sign that the Georgia legislature is actually listening to the needs of the Jewish community.
  5. The origins of the “Kike” slur – The slur was recently surfaced by an NBA player during an intense game moment. But, where did this term come from? Most dictionaries will say “origin unknown” but this article provides a few alternative origins. Whatever the origin, never good to hear it.
  6. The Hitler Haggadah? You must be joking! – No joke. Penned around 1943 by someone with the pseudonym, “Simon Coiffeur”, it’s a Passover story that equates Hitler with Pharaoh, and the allied forces delivering plagues upon the Axis of evil.  Those plagues included the “Flying Fortress” (Boeing B-17s), flamethrowers and the Royal Air Force. Interesting bit of history around a part of the Jewish world we don’t know much about.
  7. Israel’s new ambassador to the US a die hard Republican learning to love the Democrats – Gilad Erdan says “not every disagreement should lead to a crisis”. Sounds diplomatic for sure. Yawn.

Well, that’s all folks! And hey, let’s be careful out there!
Brad out.

Jew News Review – Quarantine Week 52 – The Covid Silver Linings Playbook

Shabbat Shalom hey! Or for my Canadian friends, Shabbat shalom, eh?

First, a warm shalom and welcome to a new JNR devotee, Merrill Herbster!  A cousin of a cousin is a cousin of mine? Not sure how all that works, but welcome Merrill, first cousin to the Millstone cousins. 

This week marks what most would consider a grim anniversary we would rather not be “celebrating”. It was one year ago this week we started a nationwide lock down/quarantine, and terms such as PPD, N95, social distancing, self-isolation, orange turd (ok, that one might not be so common), cov-idiot, zoombombing, and quarantini became part of the everyday lexicon. And we have all suffered through the last year, some of us more than others, and some have probably done just fine in some privileged sort of way. But for the most part, the nation has had a tough year, mourning the loss of a half million people, dealing with job loss, remote schooling and work challenges, and giving up many social privileges that helped keep us sane and enrich our lives. BUT, as I am a “glass half full” kind of guy, I look over the last year, and the challenges still ahead, with a positive outlook. It was John Milton who first coined the term “silver lining” in his Comus work in 1634 (“Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud Turn forth her silver lining on the night?”) so if an almost totally blind poet from the 1600’s can see light in the literally enveloping darkness, I feel motivated to do the same, and summarize some of the silver linings from our own pandemic-induced, sable cloud that hopefully will endure in the post-pandemic world.  To wit:

  1. Zoomification – The world has become more flat due to this virtual meeting technology, and others it has spawned. While most of us are tired of Zooming all day, the technology has given access to so much more and enabled new forms of gathering for family, holiday and religious celebrations. While it will never be as intimate as a personal live connection, it has opened so many possibilities for connecting people that tend to be more isolated, and is a lot easier than getting on planes, trains and automobiles. And given my stock portfolio includes Zoom at $40/share, let’s hope for it’s continued growth. 
  2. Pandemic Pets – Were it not for Covid, our adorable Ruby, fabulous Fred, and the handsome duo of Duck and Goose would not be the newest members of our family. I couldn’t imagine life without them, and I am sure there are millions of other families that feel the same.
  3. The Joy of Cooking – I honestly believe that like myself, many have taken on the challenge of the culinary arts and found their own attempts at cuisine can sometimes be as good or better than what we pay big bucks for in fine dining establishments. If only there were someone to clean up the mess!
  4. Together Time – Many people have been forced by Covid restrictions to slow down their pace, and discover each other (make a few babies perhaps?!), or have discovered more ways to chill in their own homes. Bingeing on shows from the many streaming services, playing board games, jigsaw puzzles (at one point they were sold out at Costco!) and just slowing down the pace. Maybe that will continue, or for Sandy and I, probably stay just about the same, as that was pretty normal life for us before the pandemic.
  5. Earth’s Vacation – With the slowdown in business and all forms of travel, we have reduced our carbon emissions and enabled the Earth to take a deep breath without belching. That probably won’t continue for much longer, but businesses are already rethinking the need for travel, so maybe some of the benefits will endure.
  6. Walking – So many of us have found venturing out beyond the mailbox has virtue beyond the exercise. We look forward to walking with the Sharon crew as much as possible, and getting in 3-4 miles to manage the guilt associated with sitting and eating Dove bars all day.
  7. Things that matter – Lastly, there’s nothing like a national crisis to get folks focused on things that really matter and mobilizing to do something about it. Let’s hope the Biden administration can continue its relentless focus on vaccinating everyone as soon as possible, that all Americans get vaccinated and we achieve herd immunity, and that we keep the ugly politics out of the process. 

So happy Covid anniversary everyone! 
Now let’s check out the weekly blurbs from this week’s Shabbat edition of the Forward:

  1. Fully vaccinated Bubbies and Zadies on a mission – It’s been a long gap year for those anxious grandparents longing for a hug and a real life connection with their grandkids. This is a story about how vaccinated grandparents are getting on planes and taking on risk to do so. 
  2. Jewish giving is way up despite pandemic – Not so interesting story about what folks are doing with their money now that there is not much else to do with it. Good to know that our fellow Jews are generous souls. Have you given lately?
  3. Ordaining intermarried Rabbis – Who new? Apparently the policy of not ordaining Rabbis that come from interfaith marriages has had a disproportionate impact on Jews of color.
  4. The ethics of vaccine line jumping – Slightly misleading story around the ethics of going over state lines to get vaccinated. The protagonist in this saga was actually eligible in both states. I wish I were eligible in any state! 
  5. Ruth Dayan, wife of the famous Israeli General, was famously a larger than life humanitarian – Great story of an honorable and principled woman who died recently just shy of 104. Really got a sense of the early idealism of the kibbutzim. 
  6. Dr Zeuss: Racist? Teacher? Both? – The cancel culture and anti-cancel culture nonsense is sucking the air out of the Fox blow-hard machine. Stupid distraction from real issues. This piece is pretty spot on in my humble opinion.
  7. Watching Bridgerton good for your sex life? Clearly my favorite for the week, an interview with Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus, a sex therapist for the Haredi community, who dishes out wisdom on everyone’s favorite topic. One of her videos points out items you should have in your “sex basket” include “ a vibrator” and “a bigger vibrator”. That should get the JNR community buzzing!

All for now folks. And hey, especially grandparents, let’s be careful out there!
Brad out.

The Jew News Review – Quarantine Week 51 – Spring is in the air!

Shabbat Shalom and happy Purim JNR people! 

Swaths of green grass are beginning to appear amidst the receding and melting snow, the birds are aflutter around the backyard feeders, more vaccines are on their way, and the temperature and humidity levels are both on the rise. These factoids, along with the celebration of Purim, and Sandy’s incessant pronouncements that spring has sprung, lead me to feel upbeat this week, despite the batshit crazy CPAC nonsense happening in Florida this weekend. So, I am setting aside my usual political secular scribblings this week and attempting to focus more on the positives. For example, the $150 investment I made while demonstrating to classes of college kids how to buy bitcoin, has now vaulted me into the billionaires club (as well as a higher tax bracket). One in 10 Americans have now been vaccinated for Covid, and the numbers are ramping up! (Watch out Israel!) And more good news, Megan Markle and Prince William saved a women’s homeless shelter from the Texas storms (nice neighbors to have!) and the Red Sox reported for spring training!  So, boo loudly and clap those groggers  at the mention of Haman, celebrate Esther saving the Jews, but don’t eat too many hamantaschen cookies. And think spring!

Now, for the news of the Jews in review, courtesy of The Forward:

  1. “The most important Biden appointment you never heard of” – Elan Carr left a legacy, mostly positive, as the Orange Turd’s anti-semitism czar, but like most everyone in the Orange Turd’s stench-ridden circle, he didn’t leave without the aroma of a reputational besmirching. This piece summarizes some of the challenges Biden’s pick for this position will face both broadly, and from within the Jewish community. And, you can also learn the term for the opposite of anti-semitism: philosemitism. You gotta love us Jews!
  2. Haredi Jews find it easier to crowdfund for dead families than wear a mask to prevent it – I guess we all have that branch of the family we would rather saw off the tree. Sometimes I wonder what Jewish planet these folks descended from – Jewpiter maybe?
  3. HBO and Woody Allen’s violence laid bare – I have no interest in watching this show, or reading about it. So I have nothing to add here.
  4. Cancel culture: are bible characters next? – I also have no patience for the cancel culture, but this tongue-in-cheek piece calling out certain biblical characters for their transgressions was kind of funny and clever satire.
  5. Jewish Pride and Gay Pride: A tribute to Ari Gold – Never heard of him? Think Ru Paul with a Star of David necklace. Mostly known for his childhood vocals, he just passed from Leukemia at age 47.
  6. Don’t boo Haman this Purim? Do not fall for this ridiculous new call for cancellation of a favorite nemesis and object of our grogger scorn. You should instead provide a loud Bronx cheer for the hateful Haman. But do feel free to be as equally positive in your applause for Queen Esther! 
  7. From the Schmooze: Britney Spears the Esther of our time?!! Please, give me a freaking break. Did Esther embrace her sexuality not to please men but to achieve her goals? Did this new documentary on Britney get released to coincide with Purim? For answers to these ridiculous and scintillating questions and more, read this piece!
  8. Jesusland – This satirical piece really got me thinking. Might not be a bad idea! But there are serious right wing nut jobs promoting this nonsense.  Check it out, and find out who might be the winners and losers in such a redrawing of our national borders. As for me, sign me up for the United States of Canada, eh?

That’s all for now. And hey, it’s still risky out there without your masks, so let’s be careful out there!
Brad out.

The Jew News Review – Quarantine Week 50 – A special place in Hell

Shalom, shalom, shalom! 
What a week! While snow in Israel may seem like a fun anomaly, the snow and cold in the once great state of Texas was rather deadly and no fun at all. A quick shout out to our friends in the Houston area who may still be struggling with recovery. Meanwhile, here on the Sharon home front, the latest 5 inches of fluff has left a picturesque, snow globe-like vista all around us, but once I start shoveling, that charming feeling will quickly fade and be replaced by the harsh reality of sore muscles and an aching back. And speaking of harsh realities, it is never a good idea to speak ill of the dead. But I make an exception for myself in the case of the recently departed and big fat liar, Rush Limbaugh. Most of the mainstream media were rather polite in their obits to this monster of a human, as is expected in the world of professional journalism. But, hey, I’m no pro, so here it is in black and white: Rush Limbaugh was the country’s biggest a-hole and did more harm to the country than any other human since, well, you know who. And what does it say about our country that such an evil, stupid, racist, sexist, dishonest, evil man can be so influential for so damn long? Don’t answer that. But if you believe in a hell, there must be a specially reserved spot for Rush, and it probably has a very large “Douche Bag” sign above it. Nuf said. 


This is a really fun week for Jew News in the weekly Forward review. Runs the gamut from Everything Bagel cream cheese ice cream, to the Israeli bobsled team, to reading Thucydides. So, let’s get on with the show:

  1. Is bagel ice cream good for the Jews? I shit you not, there is actually an ice cream shop in New York, famous for it’s fantastic flavors, that came out recently with the Everything Bagel offering. Despite the choppy editing, this is a really fun read! And it really makes you wonder how the “Everything”  version of the great Jewish english muffin has tapped so deeply into our secular culture. Makes me want to run out to Life’s a Bagel, our Cobb’s Corner bagel shop!
  2. Will Jewish Camps open this summer? Well, I am past the point of caring a hoot about this issue, but I know that these camps provided an awesome experience for my nieces and nephews, so let’s hope they do.
  3. Cool Runnings: The great hope for the Israeli olympic bobsled team is from Florida! I can’t help but reflect upon our dear reader Beth’s husband Michael who once tried to recruit me to try out for the Israeli olympic ski team. Well, that was one of my life’s great regrets that I never did so, but I do not regret reading this great story about Jared Firestone who has overcome personal hardships and became an Israeli citizen who is now on the Israeli skeleton team.
  4. Vaccine mitzvahs – Students in GWU Hillel help to get seniors that vital shot in the arm. Nicely done kids! There is hope for the millennials yet!
  5. The secret Jewish history of Rock and Roll hall of famers – Yes, once again, The Forward has found a Jewish angle on a slew of Rock and Roll artists being inducted into the Hall. There are a few gems in here, (Jay-Z, Chaka Khan, to name a few), but as usual, their Jewish connections are, let’s say, rather flimsy.
  6.  Novelist, essayist, Andre Aciman revealed: This Egyptian sephardic Jew started reading Proust when he was 14. I think i was just reading the sports pages at that age! I never heard of Aciman before this article, so I did learn something new. I probably wouldn’t invite him to a party.
  7. Biden does Yiddish! Last but not least, Auntie Millie will love this one. Apparently Biden was introduced by a Yiddish scholar at a recent appearance in Milwaukee, and Biden told him he knew some Yiddish! At which point Andersen Cooper chimed in with, “It would be a shanda if you didn’t”. Nicely done Andersen!

Finally, a culture tip for the week. Sunday morning at 4:00AM, TMC will be airing the Barry Levinson (Diner, The Natural, etc) film, Avalon, about Jewish assimilation in America. I suggest you record it on the DVR. Also, I am now subscribing to another popular journal called, Israel 21c, “an English-language online news magazine recognized as the single most diverse and reliable source of news and information about 21st century Israel.” So, future JNR’s may be peppered with additional content from another source as I endeavor to broaden our sources of Jewish news. 

So, let’s all be careful out there!
Brad out.

The Jew News Review – Quarantine Week 49 – Is that a yarmulka?

Shabbat Shalom family and friends! And a big-time JNR welcome to two new members, dear friend and Paul’s better half, Sheila Horwitz, and Ruthie Weiner, friend of cousin Marilyn. 
I am staring out my office window at the snowy backyard landscape and my gaze is temporarily distracted by a black capped chickadee trying to scavenge the last of the seed languishing in the bottom of the feeder.  My feathery winter friends love to chill and get fat courtesy of Costco’s 20 pound back-breaking bag of bird trail mix I use to feed them. This wonderful scene of nature plays out while a very unnatural scene unwinds on Capital Hill – Washington DC this morning. Our week has been brutalized by images, videos and other evidence of how four dark, fear-mongering years and a big lie resulted in a most disturbing and historically horrific attempted insurrection that left behind a trail of death, destruction and, yes, even more division. In a few minutes, both sides will provide closing remarks, the cowardly Republicans will vote to acquit, and then we can all thankfully move on with our lives, and hope that soon we will see some grass again, (and maybe a few robins), and hopefully, this ugly history will not repeat itself. And for those of you still wondering, no, that is not a yarmulka on Jamie Raskin’s head, it’s a bald spot!

Hard to believe this painful week began with a Super Bowl victory for the ageless Brady and his swashbuckling band of buccaneers! Love him or hate him, you have to respect him. The GOAT delivered, but in my opinion, the MVP should have gone to the GRONK!!!!! Boy do I miss that knucklehead!  And to make Sunday even more super, some of you received, courtesy of JNR editorial staff, GOAT swag to help commemorate the official launch of the JNR website!!! For those that have not yet received theirs, fear not. We will get something to you in the not too distant future!
For those wanting to explore the website, here is a link, and please feel free to follow us.  The site is chock full of fabulous content, including downloadable personalized Passover Haggadahs! 


Fluffy, but not stuffy. That is my summary of what The Forward offers up during this ugly week. Yarmulkas, the new CDC director, Serbian film review, Jews in Q-Anon, and mikvehs in Saskatchewan, and not too much more. Here is your weekly summary:

  1. To Kippah or not to Kippah? That was attorney Schoen’s challenge this week, as people tried to figure out what was up with his hand on his head every time he took a sip of water. Wearing the kippah is a reminder that God is above watching over us, but Schoen, an orthodox Jew, decided it wasn’t worth the bother of wearing it on the Senate floor, “It’s just an awkward thing and people stare at it”.  How ironic that it was the lack of wearing it that caught our attention!
  2. Bald or Jewish?  This female author confesses to a parlor game her and her Jewish friends would play in college around Cambridge and Somerville. Really? 
  3. New head of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Newton, MA resident, got her start at camp Yavner, a popular Jewish camp in New Hampshire. Smart lady, very well respected at MGH, otherwise known as Man’s Greatest Hospital? Also known as Mass Goverman Hospital, where several Goverman’s got their start!
  4. A Jewish Q-Anon supporter? WTF? She was eventually hauled off to a funny farm, so there you go. 
  5. A viral video helps rejuvenate a Chicago Jewish Neighborhood – Sounds an awful lot like the story of Mattapan, Dorchester and Sharon, here in our home state. Barry Goverman should post the video they made of those old neighborhoods and maybe we will all be moving back to Blue Hill Avenue. I can just taste those hot dogs at Simco’s on the Bridge, and maybe take in a flick at the Oriental Theater with the amazing tiki statues. 
  6. Is the new Serbian film on the Croation holocaust a nationalistic propaganda piece or real art? Damn if I could figure that out, but sounds like there won’t be any Oscars coming their way too soon. Interesting historical note: the camp in Croatia was the only non-German run camp, apparently.
  7. Mikvehs in remote parts of the world – If you can’t take Miriam to the Mikveh, take the Mikveh to Miriam! Believe it or not, Saskatoon will be getting their own Mikveh, as well as other remote places, courtesy of a program sponsored and paid for by the Chabad center.
  8. Biden’s Hebrew translated name – Some wacko pastor decided to transliterate Biden’s name to Hebrew and got a funky result. 

Well, that’s all for now. And hey, even if you had your vaccine already, let’s be extra careful out there!
Brad out.

The Jew News Review – Quarantine Week 48 – The Jewish Space Laser Agency responds: “We didn’t start the fire”

Shabbat shalom JNR crew!   And a hearty welcome to our new member, Alexandra Spencer, a friend of me mumsy.

To be sure, Jews who reside in the Georgia congressional district where the shmegegge-spewer resides, have to put up with her hateful anti-semitism. Probably not fun or funny for those folks. But, I can’t help but indulge in finding humor in this reprehensible character. First of all, I have multiple sources verifying that the Jewish Space Laser Agency has an impeccable safety record in their years of operating in strict compliance with FAA and the newly formed Space Agency regulations. Most importantly, according to a spokesperson at the Agency, “use of the laser is reserved for lighting Shabbat candles, performing precision circumcisions, and for helping the elderly locate the gallery view button on Zoom. And of course, we do not operate on Shabbat.”  
Not so funny is the fact that Republican leadership supports this whack job, and most of their members actually gave her a standing ovation in a private meeting! It’s pathetic that the once proud party of “Individual accountability” must kowtow to Q-anon and the Christian right and to pass more restrictive voting laws in order to enable the last generation of majority old white guys to hang on to any semblance of power in the country.  But you gotta love Joe so far whether you agree with his policies or not, he and his administration are keeping their heads down getting shit done.  And I don’t wake up every day wondering what crazy bullshit tweets have undone our democracy and values. The change in tone is huge and I love the symbolism of the new President replacing the Orange Turd’s tanning booth with a Peloton bike. God bless America!
 Great week for JNR news from the Forward, which has a wide range of offerings that include stolen grape juice, a deaf Rabbi, Marjorie Taylor Green and the Jewish Space Agency response, the Jewish influence on Ground Hog day, and other fun stuff! A JNR smorgasbord this week!  So, here you go:

  1. Rikers Island grape juice theft – The Cantor at the infamous prison found himself in the middle of a black market trade war. Most interesting to me was hearing that there were ANY Jews in Rikers!
  2. From Twisted Sister to the Pulpit – Deaf Rabbi Darby Leigh finds his voice in Concord, MA and was inspired by the heavy metal band who he supported as a sign-language performing artist. Signing to heavy metal?
  3. Jews in Greens district don’t think she’s funny – The congregation has had their share of antisemitism, and has beefed up security over the last 4 years, but they are weary of her and don’t think Green is funny and don’t think the media should enable her and her platform.
  4. Pakistani court releases Daniel Pearl’s killer – Horrible news from Pakistan. Let’s hope enough international pressure can prevail to put him behind bars for the rest of his life. 
  5. The Jews of Punxsutawney – Only The Forward could shed light on the Jewish impact on this holiday. Top hat and tails at the ceremony? Thank a Jewish coal miner!
  6. The Jewish Space Agency responds: “We didn’t start the fire” – Funny as well. Couldn’t help but borrow this as a theme for the week.
  7. Did the Bernie meme become sexist? – Who cares. They were pretty funny. 
  8. An ode to Ellis Island: Review of a poem reissued recently – So dense I lost interest within the second paragraph. Read at your own peril.

And that’s a wrap for the week! And hey, let’s continue to be extra careful out there!
Brad out.