The Jew News Review – July 16, 2022 – Dibs on the ribs!

Shabbat shalom! 

Another gorgeous day here in New England, and a great day to launch our book club with a southern style backyard BBQ, a thematic food choice supporting this month’s selection, “Where the Crawdads Sing”, by Delia Owens. So, while gnawing on a few ribs and chowing down some peppered cornbread, we will be discussing the themes of the book, a major one being that intolerance is limiting and the more you accept that notion, the more you can grow as a person.

That theme resonated with me this week as I contemplated the throwing of the Presidential gauntlet by California Governor Gavin Newsome in the direction of the brute from Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis. The “telegenic” governor from California sent a not so subtle message to the “punchy populist” governor from Florida in the form of a TV advertisement on DeSantis’s home turf. “Freedom is under attack in your state,” Newsom declares in the ad, citing moves by Florida’s Republican leaders to ban books, limit classroom discussion of controversial topics, and roll back access to abortions. “I urge all of you [living in Florida] to join the fight, or join us in California.”

I love this potential matchup. It would be the ultimate in tribal warfare and could potentially rid the country of the orange turd once and for all, (although his stench will continue to stink up the country for decades). With old man Biden’s popularity stuck in Trumpian territory, no one else waiting in the wings, Gavin seems like a decent choice, a fresh, young, Kennedy-like candidate who could certainly motivate the base as well as the center, although he will be slammed for the homeless issue, and tax policies that are driving companies out of the State. Rather than slamming DeSantis for his anti-gay shenanigans, and letting the main stream media influence my judgement, I have checked my intolerance at the door and dug in a bit on DeSantis, and here is what I have learned: he is not just a smarter, more hard working Trump. In fact, he is not very Trump-ish at all. And while I can’t stand the guy, he is at least a credible candidate who will take our democracy and constitution seriously. For a more balanced review, here is a link to Andrew Sullivan’s Substack entry on the “DeSantis Dilemma”, where he basically argues that DeSantis is our best hope at being rid of the orange turd. Click here.

If books are not your thing, my sister pointed out a great new TV Series from Masterpiece Theater called “Hotel Portofino”. You will easily be seduced by the lush landscapes of this gorgeous part of Italy, or by the equally gorgeous cast showing us the privileged life of the 1920’s in this part of the world. Two thumbs up from Sandy and I. Very reminiscent of the Australian award winning 1950’s period piece we both loved, “A Place to Call Home”, offered on Acorn TV or Hulu, I think.

But by far, the most compelling and entertaining media these last several weeks have been the January 6 hearings. Watching these hearings makes me once again feel some pride in our government and it’s ability to actually come together and do something right that is above tribal politics. The committee will rightfully wrap things up next Thursday, and we can only hope the Justice Department will indict the turd and his enablers so we can see them all in orange. 

Now, how about some Jew news! And lots of it, including our dear President fist bumping his way through the middle east! Way to go Joe! Israel has welcomed US President Joe Biden with all due official pomp and circumstance, and he has been busy, paying a poignant visit to Yad Vashem, viewing Israel’s defense technology, and meeting with Prime Minister Yair Lapid, Nutt-and-yahoo, and other dignitaries. But some analysts are scratching their heads trying to figure out why he is really there and what he hopes to accomplish with this trip to the Middle East. One of the stops on Biden’s itinerary is a rare evening appearance for the opening ceremonies of the Maccabiah games. Some 10,000 Jewish athletes and support staff have arrived in the Holy Land to participate in a variety of sporting events over the next three weeks. What’s Biden’s role there? But, the question on everyone’s mind is whether the trip will result in an expansion of the Abraham Accords to Saudi Arabia. Is this just media hype, or a realistic achievement? 

How interesting to see our human rights-minded President cozying up to Saudi’s Kashoggi killer, MBS, otherwise know as Mohammed “Bone Saw” bin Salman. Kidding aside, I am ok with Uncle Joe and MBS playing nice. We have cozied up to much more undesirable leaders in the past, and we really do need to lower the gas prices and get inflation under wraps. So, do what you must Joe, but make sure you come back with all your organs.

Now, for some other carefully curated news of the Jews, courtesy of The Forward, The Jewish Times, and other Jewishy sources. To wit:

  1. President Biden announced Friday that Saudi Arabia would soon allow direct flights from Israel – A small step toward normalizing relations between the two countries. The news came hours before Biden himself was to make that trip, as he visited an East Jerusalem hospital and Christian holy sites in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, where he met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. “Isn’t it time for this occupation to end?” Abbas asked pointedly after the meeting. He called on Biden to remove the Palestine Liberation Organization from a U.S. list of terrorist groups and reopen the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem and Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington that were shuttered by President Trump. “The key to peace and security in our region begins with the recognition of the state of Palestine,” Abbas added. “The opportunity for the two-state solution along the 1967 borders may be available for today only.” But Biden, who had upset many Palestinian activists with his blunt embrace of Zionism as he arrived in Israel on Wednesday, said: the ground is not ripe at this moment to restart negotiations.”
President Joe Biden met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday in the occupied West Bank….
  1. Joe Biden shook hands in Israel despite planning not to. Then a pop star left him hanging. (JTA) — For the first day of Joe Biden’s visit to Israel, the buzz about handshakes was that, despite a pandemic-related plan, he was giving them at all. That changed on Thursday afternoon. That’s when Yuval Dayan, an Israeli pop star, left the U.S. president hanging after Biden extended his hand to her. Dayan and another singer named Ran Danker had just performed a rendition of the classic song “Lu Yehi,” or “Let it Be,” at a ceremony marking Biden’s receipt of Israel’s highest civilian honor. Afterwards, Biden and Israeli president Isaac Herzog approached the artists to thank them.Danker took Biden’s outstretched hand, but Dayan bowed instead, clasping her hands together and smiling. What Biden didn’t know was that Dayan has committed to refrain from touching members of the opposite sex. She is famous in Israel in part for becoming more religiously observant, embracing the principle of shomer negiah, a prohibition on opposite-sex touching that some Orthodox Jews believe is required, as well as not performing on Shabbat or Jewish holidays.
  2. 💻  Follow up to the Mapping Project Boston controversy – “The Mapping Project,” a website that drew wide outrage for its website labeling hundreds of Jewish nonprofits, companies, individuals and police departments as complicit in “the colonization of Palestine,” uses a web-hosting company in Iceland. The Anti-Defamation League asked Iceland’s foreign minister this week to take down the site. (AP)
  3. 🇨🇦  Anti-semitism in Canada, eh? During a trial of a Canadian man accused of promoting hatred against Jews, the judge admonished prosecutors for failing to show how Nazism led to the Holocaust. Jewish groups are now calling on Canada to train judges on antisemitism. “Every Canadian should be appalled,” said Sam Goldstein of B’nai Brith. (Globe and Mail
  4. Biden and Lapid jointly pledge to deny Iran weapons, but they diverge on the details – The “Jerusalem Declaration” is the most concrete commitment to come out of Biden’s two-day visit to Israel. The document released on Thursday, the second day of Biden’s visit to Israel, is a 1,500-word statement titled “The Jerusalem Declaration on the US-Israel Strategic Partnership.” It states that the United States is committed “never to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon” and is “prepared to use all elements of its national power to ensure that outcome.” But after the leaders’ meeting Thursday, Biden and Lapid gave a joint press conference in which Biden said that in working to prevent a nuclear Iran, “I continue to believe that diplomacy is the best way to achieve this outcome.” Lapid struck a different note, showing some of the daylight between Israel and the United States on the issue of what is widely understood to be the biggest threat in the region. “The Iranian regime should know that if they continue to deceive the world, they will pay a heavy price,” Lapid said. “Words will not stop them, Mr. President. Diplomacy will not stop them. The only thing that will stop Iran is knowing that if they continue to develop their nuclear program, the free world will use force.”
  5. 🇷🇺  The world is watching the case of Brittney Griner, the WNBA star being held in a Russian prison after authorities found hashish oil in her luggage. To better understand what Russian President Vladimir Putin may do, people are turning to Naama Issachar, an American-Israeli who spent 10 months in a Russian prison for having cannabis, and is now speaking out for the first time since her release in 2020. (NBC News)
  6. 50 years ago, a Jewish Hall of Famer testified on behalf of a Black player seeking free agency – Hardly anyone in professional baseball wanted to stand up for Curt Flood, a Black outfielder who sued MLB in the early 1970s over a contract clause that tied players to teams indefinitely. Hank Greenberg, known as the “Hebrew Hammer,” was one of the few to stand up for Flood, who lost the lawsuit but paved the way for free agency. “I do not feel that I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes,” Flood wrote. Read the story ➤

That’s enough for now. And hey, this B5 variant is spreading like a California wildfire, and has already sickened my 2 nieces Molly and Carrie for a few days. So, let’s continue to be careful out there! Masks on!

Brad out.

The Jew News Review – July 9, 2022 – My brain hurts

Shabbat shalom everyone!

Yours truly is hurting this morning from a little too much wine and scotch last night. It was a lovely evening with friends and family ending with a hearts card game and French accents. Quest-ce que c’est “hangover”?

So, this will be brief, and will end with a tip of the hat to John Keats:

My head hurts, and a drowsy numbness pains

         My sense, as though of too much Dalmore I had drunk,

Or emptied some dull rosé into my brains

         One scotch too many, and then I was sunk:

A stunningly beautiful day here in Sharon. Great day to celebrate my niece Natalie’s graduation/good-bye party, as she leaves for her west coast gig shortly. Another tip of the hat to Natalie and congratulations on this milestone and the many more ahead. 

I’ll be back next week in full JNR mode. Until then, stay safe out there.

Bye Bye BJ!

Brad out.

The Jew News Review – July 2, 2022 – Happy 4th!

Shabbat shalom! Another crazy week in the news, but I am taking a break from it all, and enjoying my family in Virginia this weekend. I hope you all have a great holiday weekend!

The Declaration of Independence was actually finalized on July 2, but subsequent to that the congress spent 2 further days debating and revising the wording of the Declaration to remove its vigorous denunciation of the slave trade, finally approving it two days later on July 4. A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:

“The second day of July 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

Based on the Jan 6 hearings, we came very close to losing what’s left of our diminishing democracy by the devious hand of the orange turd and his enablers. I will leave you with this image, based on the compelling Hutchinson hearing this last week:

Let’s be careful out there!

Brad out.

The Jew News Review – June 25, 2022 – The Hound and the Fury

Shabbat shalom. Late edition this week due to a delayed Fathers Day celebration. Shout out to my great kids (and grandkid!) for a wonderful morning in Boston.

Another shout out today to Trumpet, who is the first blood hound to win “Best of Show” in the long history of the Westminster Kennel Club’s coveted show. The Westminster show began in 1877 and is now the 2nd longest continuous running sporting event in the country, behind only the Kentucky Derby. Trumpet beat out Winston, the French Bull Dog, and I for one, am glad of it, as I have always been a fan of the hounds.

Trumpet shown here tooting his victory horn. He celebrated with a steak at Tavern on the Green.

I am not, however, a fan of our Supremely Injudicious Court. Even though the SJC decision overturning Roe was not a surprise, I still felt like I had received a gut punch on hearing the news. No matter how you feel about when life begins, the notion that the state can control women’s bodies is pretty damn scary. I am pretty sure we won’t be seeing the kind of back alley abortions and deadly Lysol induced abortions of the pre-Roe era, but, at least half the states are expected to make abortions illegal, (some beginning with conception!) and many, like Texas, will pay a bounty to their citizens that turn in anyone performing or providing aide to an abortion inside or outside of Texas. That is F’d up. It is pretty shocking that our constitution, which was written by people who considered women to be property, is now being interpreted, at least in part by women, with a ruling that reverses a 49-year precedent in order to give us fewer rights! WTF!

In Israel, abortion is largely permitted if it is less than 24 full weeks, although it is not considered an absolute right, and instead is approved by a committee (two docs and a social worker) on a case-by-case basis only. Abortion was illegal in Israel until 1977, at which point the law changed to allow them under the following specific set of circumstances:

  • If the woman is younger than 18 or older than 40.
  • If the woman is unmarried or the pregnancy is not from the marriage.
  • If the pregnancy is the result of illegal or incestuous relations.
  • If the child is liable to be born with a physical or mental birth defect.
  • If continuing the pregnancy will endanger the woman’s life or cause her physical/emotional harm.

Jews worldwide are largely in favor of abortion, and recall last weeks JNR story about the Florida synagogue suing the State given that abortion is required under Jewish law if necessary to protect a woman’s health. The suit states that the ban “prohibits Jewish women from practicing their faith free of government intrusion.”

It is pretty clear from recent SJC decisions (Roe, Catholic School funding in Maine, Guns) that we are regressing and tilting the country toward states rights which will further divide the country. If you don’t care about separation of church and state, want to haul your concealed guns with you to the supermarket, don’t want to teach your kids about race or LGBQT issues, and want your women to stay at home and be good baby breeders, then you need to move to Texas, or any other red state for that matter. What if you are a parent of teenage girls? What should you advise them? Should they apply for and select only colleges located in a blue state? What other crazy shit will emerge from the wake of this horrible decision?

In an emotional news conference, an angered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi quoted Israeli poet Ehud Manor’s “I Have No Other Land” (“Ein Li Eretz Aheret” in Hebrew), which she previously read during a speech in the wake of the January 6 attack:

I have no other country
even if my land is aflame
Just a word in Hebrew
pierces my veins and my soul –
With a painful body, with a hungry heart,
Here is my home.

I will not stay silent
because my country changed her face

I will not give up reminding her
And sing in her ears
until she will open her eyes

“Clearly, we hope the Supreme Court will open its eyes,” Pelosi concluded.

Life goes on. And in the “life is Tov” category, Sandy and I had the pleasure of attending Jewish Heritage Day at Fenway Park this last Wednesday with some favorite family members. Here we are pictured below in our new Hebrew Red Sox jerseys. We were on the Jumbo Tron at least 4 times and had a blast!

Top row: Ian, Lauren, Sandy, Me Bottom row: Aidan, Natalie, Nathan

Before I hit the couch for my afternoon schnooze, here are a few other news for Jews, not so carefully curated this week. Enjoy!

  1. UN concludes Israeli military killed Palestinian journalist-Israel continues to fight that claim – (JTA) – The United Nations Human Rights Office concluded that a Palestinian-American journalist was killed by Israeli security forces last month, and said Israel’s failure to conduct a criminal investigation into her death was “deeply disturbing.” In response, the Israel Defense Forces called the UN probe “biased” and reiterated its call for the Palestinian Authority to hand over the bullet that killed Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh in early May. Still not a good look for our Israeli friends. Read the story
  2. The Hong Kong bagel wars are more intense than you could imagine – The Schragel’s vs. Mendel’s rivalry involves a legal dispute over ownership at the Joy Lox Club Ltd and who has claims to the legacy of a guy named Michael Mendel. Things got toasty recently when one bagel shop was accused of sending security guards to the other to intimidate customers. Meanwhile, a few Hong Kong residents have accused both stores of “offensive Jewish cosplay” because of their liberal use of bacon and pork products and schticky marketing. Read the story ➤ 
  3. ⚖️  A new study found that the Supreme Court has become the most pro-religion it’s been since at least the 1950s – Seven of the nine Justices on the Court are Catholic. Last Tuesday’s ruling allowing religious schools in Maine to receive public funds is the latest example of decisions eroding the separation of church and state. Religious groups win 85% of the time, according to a forthcoming study. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in a dissenting opinion in this week’s case, wrote: “This Court continues to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state that the Framers fought to build.” (New York Times)Meanwhile, Orthodox leaders applauded Tuesday’s ruling as they hope to leverage the decision in other states where public dollars are currently not allowed to go toward religious school programs. But Rachel Laser, president of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the decision could amount to “religious coercion.” Read the story ➤
  4. 🇮🇱  Nov. 1 is emerging as the likely date for Israel’s upcoming elections – This would be the country’s fifth in three years. Meanwhile, some in the Knesset are trying to rush through legislation that would ban anyone who has been charged with serious crimes — like former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing corruption charges — from becoming prime minister. (Times of Israel)
  5. Your weird uncle department: 🤦‍♂️  Eric Greitens, a Jewish Republican running for Senate in Missouri, released a TV ad in which he hunts for “RINOs” — Republicans in name only — while carrying a shotgun. Greitens was formerly the governor of Missouri and resigned in 2018 amid revelations that an extramarital lover accused him of abuse and blackmail. (New York Times)
  6. Buy that property in Italy for 1$ – 🤔  Which European countries are best for Jews? A new, first-of-its-kind study offers unexpected answers. Italy and Hungary, where reports of antisemitism are relatively high, topped the chart. Belgium, Poland and France got the lowest marks. The European Jewish Association, which sponsored the survey, plans to  make individual recommendations to each country surveyed. (JTA)

That’s all for the week. The couch beckons. But hey, don’t forget to be careful out there!

Brad out.

The Jew News Review – June 18, 2022 – A Mel with a wrench

Shabbat shalom everyone! Quick shout out to our beloved Boston Celtics, a young but great basketball team that lost to a better team this year, but a Celtics team I am sure will bring us more joy and a championship flag or two in the near future. And happy Juneteenth, and happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there. 

I miss my Dad, who passed back in 1999 (and was a great Celtics fan!) One of my many fond memories of him was working by his side for the many odd jobs he would do around the house. From his work in the trades, Mel had an old Grossman’s Lumber carpentry apron he would wear around his waist to hold nails or maybe a tool or two, and he would teach me the basics in carpentry and make me clean up after every job. He always tackled each project with infectious enthusiasm, and if I ever had any feelings about wanting to be somewhere else, they quickly faded. He often boasted about his keen ability to solve household problems with cunning efficiency and Yankee ingenuity, and every challenge to him was just another “Micky Mouse operation”. I never understood the reference back then as none of the jobs seemed that trivial to me. So, this is a posthumous “thanks Dad”, for teaching me the basics in carpentry, and in life. Your time here was too short, but your impact lives on. I hope this mensch with a wrench makes you proud.

Me, Dad and brother Bill

I have not been watching the January 6 hearings, but have read quite a bit about them. For those of you not following closely, here is my summary: Trump is an egomaniac sore loser a-hole, who, along with a circus clown bus of enablers almost toppled our democracy. The committee is very logically and methodically laying out the case for the DOJ that he is guilty of many crimes, and he and his sick-o-phants should all go to jail. I loved and recommend this essay from the conservative Andrew Sullivan, who believes it falls on the Republicans to save our asses from any further assaults on our democracy. Click here for the full essay, a short excerpt below:

And the truth is: we would not be where we are now without Donald Trump, and Donald Trump alone. He is unique in American history, a president who told us in advance he would never accept any election result that showed him losing, and then proved it. He tried to overturn the transfer of power to his successor by threats and violence. No president in history has ever done such a thing — betrayed and violated the core of our republic — from Washington’s extraordinary example onwards. The stain of Trump is as unique as it is indelible.

Shifting gears, I was struck by a number of Jew news items this week. One I want to highlight draws an interesting comparison between Pride celebrations in the USA vs Israel, and also exemplifies, in my humble opinion, the quintessence of our cultures. In Tel Aviv last Friday, a Gay Pride parade drew over 100,000 celebrants, who immediately and peaceably disassembled in order to make it home in time for lighting the Shabbat candles. Compare that to a Pride in the Park day celebration in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where police arrested 31 armed and shielded Patriot Front members, caught in the back of a U-Haul, apparently en route to the Pride in the Park celebration to do who knows what?! The news footage also shows armed men in military style fatigues lurking around the celebrants, just being intimidating jerks. What a country. 

But, there was also some good Jew news to share this week, and without any further delay, here are some of the more interesting ones to share this week:

  1. Stephen Curry wore a Hebrew sweatshirt at the NBA Finals – No, Curry isn’t Jewish. But during Friday’s Game 4 postgame press conference, following a Warriors victory, he did don a Hebrew sweatshirt for the cameras — one that matches his own Hebrew tattoos. It features the phrase “האהבה לא תבל לעולם אך”, which translates to “love never fails” — a reference to the New Testament passage 1 Corinthians 13:8 (though with the Hebrew letters written in the reverse order). It’s also one of Curry’s two Hebrew tattoos, which he shares with his wife. The sweatshirt also features an image of Curry’s wrist, visibly emblazoned with the same Hebrew tattoo. Curry’s second Hebrew tattoo is simply his last name rendered in Hebrew: “קרי”. 
  2. On this week in history: The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York on June 17, 1885. Shipped from France in pieces, the statue was reassembled and dedicated on Oct. 28 of the following year. Ten days later, the statue’s famous torch was snuffed, because Congress refused to allocate funds to keep it lit.What got the torch burning again was the intervention of M.B. Curtis, a Hungarian Jewish actor who declared he would pay for the torch to stay lit through the run of the play he was in. Eleven days after Curtis had the torch relit, Congress agreed to fund the torch in perpetuity, “ensuring,” as Grisar wrote, “Curtis’s distinction as the only individual American citizen to keep Lady Liberty lit.”
  1. On this week in history Part 2: The Magna Carta was signed 807 years ago, on June 15, 1215, and wasn’t so good for the Jews. Of the 63 clauses in the historic document, which laid out British rights and liberties, three touched on Jewish life. It included restrictions on Jews owning or working land; a provision ensuring that “much if not all” of the estates of the Jewish dead reverted to the crown; and, perhaps most egregiously, the establishment of Jews as chattel — or the personal possession — of the monarchy. King Edward I expelled all Jews from England 75 years after the Magna Carta was signed. God save the King?
  2. Who will greet Biden is Israel? I continue to follow the slow-motion train wreck that is the Bennett coalition – who might not hold on to the reigns long enough to greet President Joe Biden when he arrives in Israel in less than a month. Speculation is not if, but when the government will fall. And because of the way Israeli Parliament rules are written, Bennet could be replaced by Lapid or Nut-and-Yahoo. And there is now talk of Bennet forming a new coalition with the Likud. Politics does indeed make for strange bedfellows. Read the Story
  3. Synagogue sues over Florida’s new 15-week abortion ban: Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor of Boynton Beach claims the new law, which has been signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and is set to take effect on July 1, violates the religious rights of Jews. Given that abortion is required under Jewish law if necessary to protect a woman’s health, the suit states that the ban “prohibits Jewish women from practicing their faith free of government intrusion.” Read the story ➤
  4. WhatsApp’s reclusive founder has quietly become a megadonor to Jewish causes – WhatsApp’s inventor, a Ukrainian-born Jew whose creation made him one of the wealthiest people in the world, has kept conspicuously quiet throughout the conflict. Jan Koum, who controls a multi-billion-dollar charitable foundation, has not uttered a public word even as many other wealthy Ukrainians and Russians announce donations toward humanitarian relief efforts. But based on an examination of tax returns filed by Koum’s foundation before the war, the publicity-shy WhatsApp founder, who arrived in California as a teenager, is more entwined than meets the eye with the events rocking the country he left behind as a 16-year-old. His donations, only a sliver of which have been previously reported, include tens of millions of dollars to Jewish organizations now involved in relief efforts in Eastern Europe. Read the story.
  5. Massachusetts Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren and Ayanna Pressley, condemn pro-Palestinian project mapping Boston Jewish groups – This is a follow-up to last week’s news item regarding this disturbing anonymously funded group. Massachusetts’ two Democratic Senators have joined at least four Democrats in Congress, including one vocal critic of Israel, in speaking out against a Boston pro-Palestinian activist group’s initiative mapping “local institutional support for the colonization of Palestine,” saying the map, which includes the names, addresses and staff members of many Jewish organizations, could incite violence against the Jewish community. Read the story.

That’s enough! Dyanu!

And hey, it never goes without saying, but let’s be careful out there!

Brad out.

The Jew News Review – June 11, 2022 – Wow…

Shabbat shalom! Shout out this week to my nephew Jake who on Friday graduated High School, packed his bags, and started a cross country trip to the new family home in Staunton, Virginia. Congrats Jake! Watch out Virginia and Longwood University!

Wow. My jaw literally dropped listening to the opening remarks at the Jan 6 hearing on Thursday evening. Smart, succinct and clearly aimed at setting up the DOJ to file criminal actions against the disgraced former President. The orange turd should look good in an orange jump suit. Liz Cheney summed it up best for me when she directed this comment to her Republican colleagues “who are defending the indefensible,” as she put it. “There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.” Mic drop.

I have recently started exploring outside my media bubble, and have been surprisingly pleased with many of the conservative bloggers and writers I am following. I highly recommend Bari Weiss, Andrew Sullivan, and Matt Taibbi for real and thoughtful positions that may be contrary to your own. What’s interesting is that they, and other conservatives in the blogosphere have been pretty quiet on the Jan 6 front, and are taking up a new distracting cause in going after some of the craziness in the Transgender community or trying to pivot to discussing the economy and rising crime rates. The latter are clearly legitimate issues that most Americans care deeply about, but for goodness sakes, you would think the existential threat to our democracy and the on-going threat from Trump world would get some of their attention? Here is what Bari Weiss had to say about the topic, “I want all this to be sorted out, but a confession: I have to force myself to follow this story still because I care more these days about other topics (the economy and rising crime). It seems like lots of Americans feel this way.”

While the recent focus by the right on Transgender issues may seem like a distraction, I actually think the conservatives have a point. The idea that our biological sex is a social construct is a bit ridiculous. And I am not in favor of allowing transgender folks to compete in sporting events of their identified sex. (see this NYT story on swimmer Lia Thomas”) Don’t get me wrong: I believe firmly in advocating for the rights, dignity and respectful treatment of all LGBTQ folks, but I am having a hard time wrapping my progressive brain around proper use of pronouns and providing a growing number of children with puberty blockers and calling it “gender affirming” therapy, a euphemism for a sex change. There seems to be a fairly radical wing of the LGBTQ+ world that has taken this extreme view which is causing a backlash against them even by members and leaders of the gay and lesbian community. Which is a bit ironic since it was the Gay and Lesbian community that fought so long and sacrificed so much for same sex marriage rights and to get the Bostock decision by the Supreme court that prevented employment discrimination. If you are interested, here is a link to a great podcast with Bari Weiss (a lesbian woman) and Andrew Sullivan (a gay man) going deep on the topic and questioning the legitimacy and media bias on this issue. Click here.

Enough. Let’s talk Jew news. And, as usual, there is been plenty of it. Israeli Prime Minister Bennett’s coalition government hangs by a tallis thread as important legislation, such as the renewal of Israeli law to settlers on the West Bank, gets mired in ugly politics. A single Knesset Minister, Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, is refusing to vote along party lines, leaving the coalition government short by one vote to pass anything. Here are a few other carefully curated headlines for your reading edification:

  1. Bazooka Joe Jewish? Chew on this story of the Jewish roots of Bazooka Bubble gum. Started as a tobacco company by Russian Jewish immigrant Morris Chigorinsky, the company was failing when his 4 sons decided to open a penny candy division, Topps Chewing Gum. The product sold well, but in 1953, Topps made an alteration to the design that proved to be a game changer: the inclusion of small comic strips starring Bazooka Joe, a swashbuckling kid who donned a black eye patch and got into various scrapes and adventures with his crew of streetwise companions. That blew the bubbles off their competitor Dubble Bubble!
  2. Avocados practicing Judaism? I always thought being Jewish was kind of hip and cool, but who knew that avocados would jump on the cool Jew bandwagon?Parents: Don’t let your children take out student loans to be studio artists.That’s because computers, which already have proven their ability to beat humans at playing chess and delivering junk mail, now can produce custom oil paintings — or photographs, or pictures in the style of your favorite Chinese dynasty— simply in response to a description. The algorithm enabling this phenomena has been around for a while, but recently Noam Zur, an Israeli who who identifies himself as “a proud Jewish orthodox,” asked the machine to produce such images as “Avocado mom and and avocado daughter, lighting Shabbat candles together” and “Avocado returns to the land of Israel after 2000 years of exile, oil painting” and “A Jewish avocado looking at the night sky” and, you get the point.
  1. ✝️  Jews in the Vatican – No, not my nieces and nephews who just visited the Vatican as tourists. The Pope hosted Yad Vashem Director Dani Dayan last Thursday. The first-of-its-kind meeting took place as a new book shines a light on Pope Pius XII’s silence during the Holocaust. (JTAForward)
  2. Buffalo Republican: Hitler is ‘the kind of leader we need today’ – This guys a real doozy. Last week, Carl Paladino, a congressional candidate in New York who has rallied against gun control legislation, shared a since-deleted Facebook post that promoted conspiracy theories about the recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde and also about COVID-19 vaccines, CIA mind control and the assassinations of John Lennon and the Kennedys. He also made racist remarks about Michelle and Barack Obama, which he never rescinded. Click here for more.
  3. Boston Jews say a pro-Palestinian group’s map of local ‘Zionist leaders’ is a guide to antisemitism: A Jewish arts group. A Jewish high school. A Jewish newspaper. A pro-Palestinian collective aligned with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has listed all these and more on an interactive map that Jewish leaders in Massachusetts and beyond say is an effort to intimidate Jews — and puts them in danger. With its list of addresses and employees of these organizations, says Jeremy Burton of the Jewish Community Relations Council “they are choosing” to “essentially point the finger at the Jewish communal infrastructure of Greater Boston as responsible for every evil under the sun.” JTA ➤ 
  4. 📈  Young American Jews report feeling as “favorable” toward Palestinians as toward Israel – This is not a good trend. The data comes from new findings from the Pew Research Center. Jewish educators are working to confront this dramatic generational shift in attitude by urging young adults to appreciate subtlety when considering the Middle East. (Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle)

Probably enough for this week. Enjoy the weekend everyone, and hey, let’s keep our eyes on the road, and let’s all be safe out there.

Brad out.

The Jew News Review – June 4, 2022 – Fluffy, not stuffy

Shabbat shalom! Hey! And happy Shavuot everyone! For those that need a refresher, as I did, Shavuot is the celebration of the delivery of the Torah to Moses on Mt Sinai. According to Wikipedia, when Moses descended from Mt Sinai with the Ten Commandments, he admonished all the Jews to eat only cheese blintzes to commemorate the day. Here is a link to a classic blintz recipe, FYI Click here.

So, no heavy topics this week, no politics, no guns, no bad news. After suffering the horrors and sadness of last week, how wonderful was it to watch the Celtics come from behind victory against Golden State last Thursday! I am admittedly a lapsed fan, having fallen off the green wagon shortly after the Bird era, but I am falling in love with this team. Unselfish ball, great passing and ball movement, amazing defense, and guys with character and great team chemistry. And a coach who should win Coach of the Decade! I don’t think Curry and company knew what hit them after the 4th quarter. So, stay tuned for more excitement and don your favorite green swag for the next game this Sunday night. 

I know you are all getting a little verklempt wondering what else is going on in Jew land, so without further delay, here is a quick summary of carefully curated jewish news:

  1. Bat-Mitzvah Porn: Debbie Does Deuteronomy – In the “you can’t make this shit up” category, check out this story of bat-mitzvah embarrassment reaching new heights. Apparently, during a Zoom celebration of a young Minnesota woman’s entry into adulthood, a couple participating via Zoom neglected to turn their camera off, and provided the party with an adult mitzvah of their own. For about 45 minutes, and despite pleas from the congregation, the couple went at it in their bed upholding the Talmudic tradition of having sex on Shabbat. According to one participant, “Most people were not on camera except like, the old bubbes … who don’t know how to turn off their camera, and these two people. So the boxes were pretty big and everyone could see who was on camera.” For more click here. 
  2. A Confederation for Peace in the middle East: Rainbows and unicorns? There is a new push for a twist on the two state solution making rounds among US policy wonks. The idea of an Israeli-Palestinian confederation has been around for some time, but the concept is getting new life as pressure mounts to do something. Under the new “confederation concept”, Israel and Palestine would be independent, sovereign states with a border roughly along the Green Line. The biggest difference between this idea and the two-state solution that has dominated discussion since the 1990s is that the border would be an open border, like the borders within the European Union, and would not cut through Jerusalem, which would be a wholly shared city and, likely, a dual capital. This would go a long way toward addressing two of the thorniest obstacles to two states: what to do about the millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants yearning to return to the land of their ancestors, and about the 650,000 Israeli Jews now living in settlements in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank. Let’s hope some daylight here might lead to something.
  3. Boston to Tel Aviv: Delta now offering direct flights! Book your tickets now! Delta Air Lines launches nonstop service to Tel Aviv on May 26, part of a larger initiative to expand its Boston presence. Flights will run three times per week, landing at Ben Gurion Airport, making it even easier for New Englanders to visit Israel. These nonstop routes are in addition to newly reinstated Boston to Tel Aviv flights on El Al, Israel’s official airline carrier, which offers two flights per week. Those routes first launched in 2015 but had been put on hold during the pandemic. (New York and Miami are the only other cities in the U.S. with two carriers flying nonstop to Israel.)
  4. Happy Birthday Scotch Whisky!  June 1, 1494 marked the first recorded historical mention of scotch whisky. Scotland’s exchequer rolls noted that one Friar John Cor had been given a portion of malted barley with which to make “aqua vitae,” or distilled spirits. As the Scottish liquor’s renown spread in ensuing centuries, Jews were among its acolytes and the golden liquid has become quite popular among US Jews. But the kosher bottlings from prominent whiskey labels, the growth of “kiddush clubs,” and the spread of national events like Whisky Jewbilee suggest that the Jewish love of whiskey is bigger than a few post-service drams.
  5. More on the good news front: 💰 An interfaith coalition erased $6 billion in medical debts owed by more than 2,000 people in the Chicago area. The group was inspired by an ancient Jewish custom – the Biblical law to release people of debts during the shmita year. “I fell in love with it,” said Pastor Chris Harris. “And I said listen, let’s keep this thing rockin’.” (JTA) Of course, if we had a national health plan, this money could have gone to another charitable cause, but a good deed nevertheless. 
  6. Good from the bad – 🏫  Rabbi Shlomo Noginsky, the Boston rabbi stabbed last summer in front of a Jewish day school, has raised $1 million to launch a rabbinical school. Noginsky plans to train eight rabbis a year – “one for each stab,” he said. (Jewish Journal)
  7. Israeli Update: In Jerusalem, the annual flag march through the Old City passed with no major violence, despite some clashes between Palestinians and the Jewish nationalists celebrating Jerusalem Day by chanting  “death to Arabs” as well as early warnings of violence by Hamas. But Israel’s governing coalition remains unstable as it approaches its first anniversary. The leadership postponed an important bill that would extend emergency regulations for Israel’s civil authority in the occupied West Bank, after the Islamist party Ra’am refused to back the legislation. The opposition, led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, announced it would oppose all legislation, and a new pollfound a plurality of voters preferring Netanyahu as a leader over current Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Oh, nooooo, not Nut-and-Yahoo again???!! 

That’s all folks! And hey, I know I say it every week, but let’s please be careful out there. And go Celtics!!!!

Brad out. 

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The Jew News Review – May 28, 2022 – A Modest Proposal

Shabbat shalom.

A tough and tragic week for the country, a horrific one for the friends and families of those children and teachers that were brutally assassinated in the Robb Elementary School. This is the 215th mass shooting in the country just this year, and its still only May! If there is such a thing as existential despair, I think our nation may be in it. I know I am personally feeling it. 

If you haven’t listened to NBA basketball coach Steve Kerr’s lament after the tragedy, you should. Here is a link. Kerr speaks with the moral authority of a man whose own father was assassinated by gun violence and pleads with Mitch McConnell and the 50 Senators to do something, specifically calling out HR 8, a law passed in the House for background checks on gun purchasers. There are so many things that could be done to curb this kind of killing if only the “do nothing” Republicans would just do their jobs instead of offering “thoughts and prayers” or their many useless, glib and insulting slogans. We need to update the definition of insanity to now be “doing nothing, over and over and expecting a different result”. The satire magazine, The Onion, has now run this headline over 20 times:

This gruesome groundhog day needs to end. HR 8, banning assault rifles, red flag laws, raising the age to buy a gun to 21, and many other ideas would certainly not eliminate this madness, but COULD help! If not, then I have my own Swiftian satirical thoughts on the topic, and offer the following “Modest Proposal For Preventing the Assassination of School Children and Making Republicans Beneficial to the Publick”. To wit:

  1. Put a M1A2 Abrams tank in every school parking lot – this would act as a deterrent to any would-be attackers as well as fuel the military industrial complex with a new sales channel.
  2. Train kindergartners in the use of AR 15 assault rifles with Sesame Street characters used as target practice – In addition to giving more good guys guns, and toughening up our little ones, this has the added benefit of increasing the USA’s chances of winning gold in the winter biathlon skiing and shooting event.
  3. Have all school children wear protective armor plating or kevlar uniforms – In addition to the obvious protection, this idea could spawn a completely new fashion industry. Check out this bullet-proof hoodie, eg.
  1. Harden our schools by bricking over all windows and eliminating all but one door for entering and exiting. On that door, put an effigy of Ted Cruz armed with an AR15 as a greeter and guard – In addition to its deterrence effect, this might help the useless Senator add some value for a change. 
  2. Finally, “The only thing that can stop a bad politician with a vote is a good citizen with a vote.” Vote any of these a-hole Republicans that do not support gun safety measures out of office.

I hope my lame attempt at satire has not offended anyone, but this is where we are at with Republicans these days who think the only answer to this problem is more guns and “hardening” our schools, as if training children in “active shooting” drills is something we should normalize. And I am 100% certain that the framers of our constitution were not thinking of arming 18 year olds with military assault rifles when they drafted the 2nd Amendment. 

Check out the latest polling from Politico/Morning Consult poll out Wednesday:

  • 88% of voters strongly or somewhat support background checks on all gun sales, while only 8% strongly or somewhat oppose such checks. 
  • 84% support preventing gun sales to people who have been reported to police as dangerous by a mental health provider while only 9% oppose it.
  • 77% support requiring guns to be stored in a safe storage unit, while only 15% oppose such a requirement.
  • 75% approve of a national database for gun sales while only 18% disapprove. 
  • 67% approve of banning assault style weapons like the AR-15 while only 25% disapprove.
  • 54% percent of voters approve of arming teachers with concealed weapons, while only 34% oppose it.

The only regulation supported by Republicans? Arming teachers. 

Israel, a well armed country that understands threats and violence, has developed sensible gun laws that require a mental health exam, local police approval, training and certifications in firearm use and safety, and so on. In fact, over 40% of those applications are rejected, and if they are approved, they limit the amount of firearms to only one per individual and also limit bullets to 50. Sensible stuff.

Let’s leave it at that this week. But hey, let’s also be careful out there. 

Brad out.

The Jew News Review – May 21, 2022 – “Replace them all!”

Shabbat shalom! 

The skies are gray here in New England, and a heat wave is moving in over the eastern seaboard. The heat and humidity should help the gardens, but will not do much to improve my mood which has been taking a beating from all the doom and gloom I cannot avoid due to my addiction to the news, podcasts, and social media. Wars, both real and cultural, baby formula shortages, a tanking stock market, Monkey Pox, a new Covid surge, mass shootings, replacement theory, and blah blah blah. But, a few rays of hope emerged during the week as well. Shout outs to my niece Natalie, who graduated from Northeastern with a rainbow of honor chords around her graduation gown and a cool job lined up at Apple, and another shout out to my brother Bill and family, who closed on their new house in Staunton, Virginia. Mazel tov! 

While I was horrified by the Buffalo mass shooting, I was not shocked. It was, in my opinion, the inevitable and hateful extension of the Great Replacement conspiracy that has become the mantra for mainstream Republicans and Fox media in order to incite the base and make money respectively. There is clearly blood on Fucker Carlson’s hands, and he knows it.

“His response was telling: the greatest threat to Americans is not the hateful rhetoric espoused by the shooter — which Carlson admitted was “definitely racist, and bitterly so,” while dismissing the shooter as “diseased.” No: it’s the “ruthlessness and dishonesty” of Democrats, whom Carlson claims want to limit the proliferation of any speech they hate. Mere minutes after Carlson’s segment on the shooting, his show pivoted to a video of a long line of immigrants seeking shelter: Carlson’s guest decried that “migrant encounters” were on the rise, as if immigrants are wild animals rather than human beings in search of a better life.”

Well, I hate Fucker Carlson, and I proclaim to be one of many Jews who want him replaced. I am thinking we need to replace the replacement conspiracy with a new one: Jews That Greatly Want to Replace Racist Pigs. Probably could come up with something catchier, but you get my point. The real problem here is that we are still dealing with the ripple effects of the Orange Turd and his mainstreaming of racism, anger and hate, all historical threads of this country that used to be part of the 10-15% fringe on the right, but because of Trump and his sycophants, are now part of the mainstream of the Republican party. Think I am exaggerating? Latest poll shows nearly half of Republicans believe in the replacement bullshit Carlson is peddling. Scary. After the Anti-Defamation League called for Fox to fire Carlson, Republican whack-job Matt Gaetz called the ADL a “racist organization”. 

To end on a positive note, I was very heartened by the Buffalo Jewish Community’s response to the shooting and their support of the black community. Since the only supermarket in the area is now indefinitely closed, the JCRC and other Jewish organizations have focused on donations to food charities to help close the retail food gap, and they have been attending prayer vigils and services in support as well. 

Meanwhile, back in the homeland, Israeli Prime Minister Bennet’s coalition is clinging to life, while most Israelis are still squawking about the incompetence and insensitivity of the Jerusalem police in their response to the funeral procession of the Palestinian journalist killed in crossfire over a week ago. I assume a certain level of competence and confidence in all things Israel, but based on the facts, I need to revisit that assumption. According to reports, during what was probably the most potentially volatile event in recent history, the chief of the Jerusalem police was on a junket in Germany, and it wasn’t even his Deputy that gave the order to rush the procession, but his Deputy’s Deputy. So far, there is no official response from Jerusalem police or the politicians. The PR on this could not be worse. Come on Israel, you can do better.

What else? Without further ajieu, here are some carefully curated selections for your reading enjoyment:

  1. During Jewish-American Heritage Month, the White House celebrated a great (Jewish) American tradition. Shawn Green was an early-aughts baseball icon: A power hitter who recorded one of the best single-game performances in Major League history. He’s also a Jew who consulted Sandy Koufax about whether to play on Yom Kippur. At a Zoom talk Thursday, Green spoke about the Rosh Hashanah where he stepped up to the plate and greeted the opposing team’s Jewish catcher — only to learn the umpire was Jewish, too. “I was proud,” he said, to “always have a small little fan base in every city of Jewish kids.” Read the story ➤ 
  2. 🇮🇱 Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s embattled government lost its Knesset majority Thursday when an Arab lawmaker in the leftist Meretz party quit the coalition over what she called its “hawkish, hard-line and right-wing positions.” The lawmaker, Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, cited recent police actions in clashes on the Temple Mount and at the funeral of a slain journalist. Separately, a right-wing activist was indicted for allegedly sending bullets to Bennett and his family as a threat. (HaaretzTimes of Israel
  3. Forever in Blue Jeans – On this week in history: The German-born Jewish businessman Levi Strauss and his Latvian-born Jewish associate, a tailor named Jacob Davis, received a patent on May 20, 1873, allowing them to make a new type of garment: blue jeans. At the time, the denim pants were most notable for the metal rivets on their pockets, which made them more durable for the gold miners who wore them. But jeans eventually came to symbolize much more: American capitalism, rugged individualism and a rebellious spirit. They became so culturally powerful that during the Cold War, East Germany banned the sale of Levi’s Jeans until economic problems forced the government to begin allowing them again. As of 2015, Levi’s controls about 11% of the United States denim market, a $15 billion industry.
  4. Borat for kids – “Chelm: The Smartest Place on Earth” is an animated HBO Max special featuring Sacha Baron Cohen. Chelm, the real-life Polish shtetl, took on a mythic identity as a village of fools: a land populated and governed entirely by idiots, who solve problems in hilarious counterintuitive fashion. “This unique project will breathe new, hysterical life into the nonsensical Chelmic wisdom that originated from this imaginary city of folks who aren’t quite the sharpest tools in the shed,” Amy Friedman, head of kids and family programming at HBO parent company Warner Bros., said in the release. Click here for more.
  5. 🇮🇱  Lag B’Omer celebrations at Israel’s Mount Meron stayed peaceful and safe — with 8,000 police officers on hand, a year after a stampede killed 45 people at the festival popular with Orthodox Jews. Police made multiple arrests of people they said intended to force their way into the event without tickets. (Associated Press)
  6. What the Buffalo shooter’s screed says about Jews: Saturday’s supermarket massacre targeted Black people, and 11 of the 13 people shot were Black. But the 180-page diatribe the 18-year-old suspect posted online spends more space demonizing Jews, mentioning the word more than 100 times and emphasizing his antisemitism with bold, capitalized letters and exclamation points. Read the story ➤
  7. ‘Nazi Billionaires’: New book chronicles the exploits of wealthy dynasties who cozied up to the Third Reich – Financial incentives fostered popular support for the Hitler’s regime from families that today own German auto companies such as BMW, Porsche and Volkswagen; European luxury hotels; and American brands including Krispy Kreme, Panera Bread and Dr Pepper. “It is galling to learn how readily these businessmen — whose 1930s empires included weapons manufacturing, energy, transportation and banking — agreed to fund the Nazi Party,” Julia M. Klein writes in a review. Read the story ➤

That’s all folks! And I know I say this every week, but believe me, this latest surge is no joke. Be careful out there!

Brad out.

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The Jew News Review – May 14, 2022 – “There are judges in Jerusalem”

Shabbat shalom to all my JNR friends!

Well it seems as though the mysterious man behind the curtain decided to flip the New England weather switch and turned the dial to the summer setting before we could even get used to spring temperatures. We will hit the 80’s today, which should make for some sweaty gardening this afternoon.

Shout out today to the Bruins and Celtics. While our Red Sox continue to falter and try to find their footing, there is nothing like two game seven playoff matches to make the weekend a magical one for New England sports fans. I am admittedly a fair weather fan, having lost interest in the NBA shortly after the Bird era, but I have recently renewed my interest in the Bruins, mostly out of respect for my son Michael’s crazy passion for the home town hockey team. I grew up during the Big Bad Bruins era and was just as crazy about them back then. The poster of Bobby Orr flying through the air while scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal hung in my bedroom for years, and I still remember the old saying, “God saves, but Esposito scores on the rebound!”

Immediately after scoring the game and 1970 Stanley Cup-winning goal, Blues defenseman Noel Picard tripped Orr with his stick. This is considered by many the most famous goal in hockey history. 

Speaking of fanaticism, what a freaking awful week in Israel. More on that in a bit, but before I go there, amidst last week’s abortion kerfuffle, I neglected to mention Israel’s celebration of their Independence day. Israel turned 74 years young on May 4th, and what I find interesting is that the country deliberately timed their independence day celebration immediately following their Memorial day, as a reminder that freedom and independence come at a price. And therein lies an interesting and I think uniquely Jewish duality, the happiness and bitterness of life. 

Memorial day is considered one of the holiest of days in Israel, and usually transcends politics, except this year. Naftali Bennett, Israel’s Prime Minister currently ruling over a very tenuous coalition, was delivering a speech to the bereaved families of the fallen, a yearly tradition in Israel. While delivering his speech, ironically on the topic of unity, he was interrupted by hecklers from the bereaved families and by a Nut-and-yahoo supporter. During the endless 5 minutes of heckling, Bennett stood silent with his hand over his heart, never responding, until the heckling stopped. That my friends, is a demonstration of true leadership. 

But, no sooner had the independence day celebrations worn off, the following week was one of tragedy, bitterness and a really bad look for Israel. A little context: over the last 6 weeks, 19 Israelis have been killed by terrorist attacks. In the midst of this violence, the IDF has been pro-actively conducting anti-terrorist actions in and around the west bank. During one of those actions, a well know and respected Al Jazeera journalist, Shireen Abu Aqleh was shot to death during a battle between the IDF and terrorists in Jenin. Fingers started pointing right away, and after 4 days we are no closer to the truth of what actually happened. But that’s not the worst of it. While I am certain the IDF did not wake up on Wednesday and decide it was a good day to assassinate a Palestinian journalist, (there are actually some making this claim), I am also certain it was not a good idea for Israeli police to start brawling with mourners at her funeral procession, throwing stun grenades and almost causing her coffin to tumult to the ground. I have watched the video, and it is horrifying, and no matter what excuse is given, a really bad decision and tough one to explain. Let’s hope the latest agreement to a 3rd party investigation helps to quell the situation and that justice somehow prevails. 

By now, I am certain you must all be clamoring for more news on the Jews, carefully curated by myself for your reading pleasures. Clamor no more, here you go:

  1. What happened to Shireen Abu Aqleh? This opinion piece gives you a sense of the dynamics fueling this tragedy. I agree with her that an independent, international inquiry into Abu Akleh’s killing, launched immediately with the full cooperation of Israeli and Palestinian authorities, is the best way to help Palestinians, journalists — and Israel. I believe the Palestinian Authority thankfully agreed to this earlier today. Click here for more.
  2. 🇮🇱  With funding from a hedge fund billionaire, a new group is aiming to be a New York version of AIPAC – The new group is called the New York Solidarity Network and is trying to establish a counter balance to the the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and the Democratic Socialists of America. They intend to funnel money to stridently pro-Israel candidates in the state. “You put three Jews in a room,” said Liz Krueger, a state senator from Manhattan, “and you get four or five organizations, because none of them can get along.” (New York Times)
  3. Is “The Music Man” the last great goyish musical? One of my favorite musicals as a kid, there is a new version out now starring Hugh Jackman in Robert Preston’s role as Professor Harold Hill. This critic believes the new version ain’t great, but the score carries the day anyway. But why did it win the Tony against the even more iconic “West Side Story”? “Despite its reputation as a bland feel-good musical, The Music Man harbors a deceptively complex message. It’s about insiders and outsiders, and the difference between illusion and delusion.”  Click here for more.
  4. 🍷  Manischewitz a gateway drink? Selma Blair, the actress best known for “Cruel Intentions,” wrote in her new memoir that her decades-long battle with alcoholism began with “small sips” of Manischewitz at a Passover Seder. “The first time I got drunk it was a revelation,” she writes. “A light flooded through me, filling me up with the warmth of God. But the year I was 7, when we basically had Manischewitz on tap and no one was paying attention to my consumption level, I put it together: the feeling was not God but fermentation.” (People)  
  5. On Culture: Israel’s Bridgerton, can it succeed even if it’s not good history?Throw some steamy sex into a period piece, and my guess is the answer is a profound yes! ‘The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem’ spans the decades from Ottoman rule to nationhood. Yet somehow, the politics and events of the era are missing from the show. For more click here.
  6. ✍️  More than 100 prominent Harvard faculty and alumni have denounced the student newspaper’s recent endorsement of a boycott of Israel.  The Harvard Crimson’s recent endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movementhas attracted far more wide-ranging attention than a typical student paper’s editorial page, as faculty and alumni of the Ivy League institution have lined up to denounce the student paper’s op-ed and condemn the shift in Israel discussion on college campuses. The open letter – signed by Alan Dershowitz, Larry Summers and others – said that the editorial “merely coarsens the discourse on campus and contributes to antisemitism.” (JTA)

Finally, best wishes to the Queen of England, who at the age of 96, appears to be having some health issues. She was notably absent from the opening of Parliament this year, the first time ever during her 70 year reign she has missed this important formal event. 

That’s all I have for the week. But hey, the surge continues here in New England, so continue to be careful out there. 

Brad out.