The Bulletin

1. On Loyalty and Knowing Your Audience

"If you vote for a Democrat, you're very, very disloyal to Israel and to the Jewish people," Trump said over a week ago on the South Lawn of the White House. He was amplifying a statement he had made in the Oval Office a day earlier: "I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."
WBUR's On Point provides an impressive collection of written press summarizing how the Jewish world responded.

It has become a bit of a ping pong game between the POTUS and the Jews. On the one hand (from The Washington Post), "He set about executing a pro-Israel checklist: moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing the Golan Heights as part of sovereign Israel, and taking a hard line against Iran." All the while being "flummoxed that Jewish Americans are not in turn lining up to support his reelection, according to people familiar with his thinking." It is perhaps not a surprise that between these two goal posts and the president's tendency for quick-fire responses, he suggested that Jews are DISLOYAL when/if not voting for him.
Perhaps even more critical than the political game and the attempts to influence future votes is the fact that such language was of course at the foundation of Hitler's rhetoric against the Jews as he came to power. It is ironic (to me) that this apparent blindness to possible implications and consequences is exactly the kind of rhetoric he likes to use against his political rivals.
Fact: Fewer than 30% of Jews vote Republican (sometimes fewer than 20%). More on the statistics behind this in the Forward's article - "Voters Oppose Trump's 'Disloyalty' Comments - Unless They're Republicans: Poll."

That recent tirade took an even stranger twist (perhaps comical) when using the words of evangelist Wayne Allyn Root on the radio, Trump declared himself King of the Jews. I don't know about you, but when I heard that I thought about Pontius Pilate in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical. Is life imitating art? Is it the other way around? You decide.  
Please open the WBUR link above or here and read through. There are many additional doors to open in this story and I hope many of you go through them. It is the last long weekend of the summer ahead. A great time to read.
2. Islands in the Stream

Jewniverse explores all things Jewish, from the Jewish beauty queens of India to how Nancy Sinatra missed her father's death because of the Seinfeld finale. Mostly it's fluff. This week's email just happened to hit local, though, with a feature on the Jewish ghosts of Africa's Cape Verde islands.

Why local? Because anyone who has lived in this region for even a little while knows about the vibrant Cape Verdean community here. The connection between Jews and the Azores has been shared in this space and now there is news of this other affiliation to islands where Jews settled and New Bedford families originated.    

"In the mid-1800s, a group of Moroccan Jews set sail for Cape Verde in search of economic opportunities. On the islands they found success, fortune, and some undercover Jews emerging from anonymity (but not too many Jewish women to marry). Today many Cape Verdeans have Jewish ancestors, but there are virtually no practicing Jews in the country."

Read more in NPR's "Africa's Jewish Heritage in Cape Verde" and the World Monuments Fund website Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Research Project.

3. Written in the Stars

"Despite all the misconceptions, Judaism and astrology may be destined for reconciliation. Astrology is woven into the fabric of our religion and culture-from the Torah to the Talmud to today."
Didn't see that one coming, did you? But if Moment Magazine thinks enough on the subject to publish a scholarly piece, I figured why not share. This is not about your daily newspaper fix of warning and/or encouragement, but rather a serious look at the history of Judaism and astrology and how they intertwine. Check it out: "Jewish Astrology, Then and Now." 
4. Taking a Bite Out of Recidivism

Written by an Israeli-American journalist for the Jewish Journal, this piece may inspire you to check out the documentary Knife Skills. I know I will.

Oscar-nominated documentary serves up fine dining and second chances: "This is the subject of an unexpectedly touching documentary exploring a world that is unknown to many viewers; a humbling, throat-catching, sometimes difficult to watch but ultimately uplifting journey through the eyes of a collection of newly released prisoners and their fiercely passionate teachers and leader. The film focuses on the ex-prisoners six weeks before they graduate from a program designed to teach them skills in the world of fine dining. It follows their struggles as they try to navigate the frenzy of opening a high-end French restaurant called Edwins in Cleveland."

5. Halloumi Your Way

So you don't know what dukkah is and maybe halloumi isn't so familiar either. That's okay. Trust me on this one: Do not let mere words stop you from experiencing the deliciousness that is Seared Halloumi with Peanut Dukkah and Honey. How you eat it is up to you - on a salad, in a pita, with your bare hands? I won't tell.

6. Center for Jewish Culture at UMass Dartmouth Event

Immigrants in Film
Monday, September 16, 4:00 PM
Library Grand Reading Room, UMass Dartmouth

Classic Hollywood and the Ethnic American Experience
Since its earliest days, Hollywood has created and promoted visions of what the U.S. is and means. And yet many of Hollywood's most influential storytellers and mythmakers were either not born in the United States or were profoundly inspired by immigrant parents. They brought ideas and values from the old world into the new and often depicted the conflict between these worlds on screen.

Join us for a lecture and discussion about Hollywood and the immigrant experience that will focus upon the ways in which the movies explore the experience of diversity in the United States.
Raphael Shargel is Associate Professor of English at Providence College. He has written widely about the movies. Between 1997 and 2010, he was the film critic for The New Leader. In recent years, he has taught courses on film art, film and Western Civilization, film noir, cinematic adaptation, and the Jewish experience in film. He has edited a collection of interviews with filmmaker Ingmar Bergman and recorded an audio course on the art and history of film.


November 6 - 17 (Save the Dates)


Shabbat Shalom,


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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