8.
15.
2019

The Bulletin


1. Kicked Out of Woke

For those who still think of it as the past tense of wake, woke is increasingly used as a byword for social awareness.

Thane Rosenbaum in the L.A. Jewish Journal explains: "How did Jews get kicked off the 'woke team'?"

" . . . the confusion is somewhat understandable in this new morning of American 'wokeness,' with its heightened awareness of social injustice and indictments of discrimination everywhere. In this universe of automatic virtue bestowed upon anyone with a history of oppression, Jews are, bizarrely, kicked off the team, their privileges suspended all because of their ostensible white privilege."

Rosenbaum adds, "Of course, any reasonably informed and intellectually honest person would not need to be reminded that Jews, who surely have thrived in the United States and elsewhere, also still remain, regionally, an ethnic minority everywhere."
2. Not Really a Holiday

Years ago in my 20s I realized (the day after) that my then girlfriend and I broke up on Tu B'Av. Bad timing. Nevertheless, it may not be too late for your romantic gesture  (yes, tonight) to mark this non-holiday. Or you can just read about it here and be content that (some) people in Israel are celebrating for all of us.

Here are the 8 quirkiest facts about Tu B'Av, the Jewish Valentine's Day. And once you are in the zone, you can read up on the true stories behind 10 best-loved Israeli love songs. It beats fasting.
3. Very Strange Bedfellows

The scope of Leslie Wexner's philanthropy and its impact on Jewish life are huge. Almost unparalleled. That said, until he fired Jeffrey Epstein for stealing some 12 years ago the man did work closely with him.  
 
Dead men tell no tales. Like Wexner, heads of state (Clinton, Trump, Ehud Barak and others whom Epstein once considered his friends) may have an easier time of it after his suicide last weekend. Salacious rumors  have a way of affecting reputations regardless of what the subject of them did or knows. JTA does a good job of covering "The relationship between Jeffrey Epstein and Jewish philanthropist Leslie Wexner, explained." I'm not sure all the details  about this case will ever be known, but I have a hard time imagining Wexner had any idea just how obscene Epstein's party life was. I certainly hope so.
4. Man, Oh Manischewitz

The New York Times brings us the scoop on how a Kosher food merger will open new chapter for a famous name. The name just happens to be your bubbe's favorite maker of matzo and syrupy wine, Manischewitz.

Earlier this month Kayco, formally known as the Kenover Marketing Corporation, announced that it had reached an understanding with the Manischewitz Company to acquire its panoply of products. An industry expert attributed the planned merger to Manischewitz's decline as "the old-time Manischewitz customer has passed on."

You know the writing's on the wall when you can't even sell potato chips: "Manischewitz's loss of market share has benefited some people. Masbia, which runs three soup kitchens and food pantries in Brooklyn and Queens, recently received a trailer-load of donations of potato chips and other products. With Wise potato chips bearing an OU seal, Manischewitz had been unable to sell its chips during the Passover season."


5. Congregation Trader Joe's?

Andrew Silow-Carroll, JTA editor, is devout. The source of his rapturous faith? A place just down the road (probably too long as it is more than 40 miles from downtown New Bedford) . . . Trader Joe's.

If you too are a fan of the quirky market with legions of devoted customers, you'll appreciate his tribute in "Trader Joe's is not your synagogue. But what if?"

 
 "Why am I so devoted to a grocery chain? Is it the friendly Margaritaville vibe? The free coffee and samples? The workers who actually stop what they are doing and walk you to the product you can't find?
  
"The answer is yes, yes and yes - and if you are suggesting that I need a hobby, know that I am not alone in pondering how this California-born, now German-owned chain earns more revenue per square foot than any of its competitors."
 
After fanboying for a bit, Silow-Carroll then makes the case for TJ to synagogue. A stretch? You betcha. But we all know he was just looking for the angle to talk Trader Joe's like I often do with the Beatles, Gal Gadot and real football (the one many of you call soccer).
 
6. Let It Be - Not

Let's enjoy this version of Across The Universe from the Havaiia Family Band. A sweet interpretation of what the music of the Beatles can inspire - and wait for the Hebrew part towards the end.
 
Now let's move over to Aubrey Graham - the artist known as Drake - who probably did not make his Jewish mother happy when he got a tattoo of himself as a 5th Beatle at Abbey Road. As Rolling Stone weighed in on the ink, "He decided to plop himself gleefully looking back at the group on his arm." Now that is conduct unbecoming and it makes my guitar gently weep.


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Shabbat Shalom,

Amir

The Bulletin is a weekly email from Amir Cohen, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford.  I welcome your feedback at amir@jewishnewbedford.org.

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