The Bulletin

Super Bowl Sunday and the Jews

For the second time in six years both teams that made the Super Bowl are owned by Jews. Falcons owner and Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank is known for his philanthropy as is Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Both are also famously competitive. As they head into the biggest Sunday in American sports, Arthur Blank shares his view on why Jews score as NFL owners.

Tablet's Matthew Fishbane, a Patriots fan, has tough words for Kraft regarding his relationship with newly elected President Trump in a passionate and interesting (not to mention Kraft family and Patriot history-filled essay) open letter to Robert Kraft.

Kraft meanwhile suggests that preparing for the Super Bowl is like studying Talmud.
Never Again?

The executive order that bars citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days and suspends the admission of all refugees for 120 days was  - no surprise here - not well received to say the least in the Jewish community. "Love thy neighbor as thyself we are commanded. There is no commandment greater than this, and no more pressing moment to live up to its charge," writes Liel Leibovitz for Tablet Magazine in "Trust This Immigrant: Trump's Ban Is a Moral Crisis."

In response to the order Jews across the U.S. joined airport protests of the refugee ban. In JTA, Ron Kampeas pens, "In the plight of those refused entry, many Jews saw something akin to what their forebears endured as they attempted to flee Nazi-occupied Europe. Some noted cruel irony in the president's order coming down on Friday, which was International Holocaust Remembrance Day."

"When folks say 'never again' or 'we remember,' it is important for us to actually do so," Russel Neiss and Rabbi Charlie Schwartz told The Atlantic about their Twitter project. For twenty-one hours, starting last Thursday night, the Twitter handle @Stl_Manifest tweeted out variations of this heartbreakingly simple sentence: "My name is Eva Dublon. The US turned me away at the border in 1939. I was murdered at Auschwitz." Read more here about how refugees aboard the SS St. Louis are tweeting from the grave.

The ban hit very close to home when two UMass Dartmouth professors, husband and wife, returning from an academic conference in Paris were held at the airport. Yesterday, the professors detained at Logan issued their first statement.

One of two UMass Dartmouth professors detained at Logan Airport greets a family member.
Holocaust Denial?

In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Since that time, United States presidents have issued statements each year recognizing the day.

This year's statement, however, did not specifically mention the Jewish people, which many have called Holocaust denial.

An excerpt from the Vox article the controversy over the White House Holocaust statement, explained follows:

"As critics quickly noted, there was no mention that 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust, or an acknowledgment of the virulent, state-sponsored anti-Semitism that led to their deaths - details that are crucial and commonplace in most discussions of the Holocaust.

"Then, on Saturday, the White House said that Jews had been omitted from the statement on purpose because other victims also suffered and died in the Holocaust, an explanation that seemed to minimize the effects of a genocide that killed two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe. Sen. Tim Kaine called it 'Holocaust denial.'"

Please, don't stop scratching your head just yet. The statement issued by the POTUS was written by Trump aide Boris Epshteyn, who is Jewish.

In the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum response -- Holocaust was unprecedented genocide of six million Jews -- we are reminded, "As Elie Wiesel said, 'Not all victims were Jews, but all Jews were victims. ...' The Holocaust teaches us profound truths about human societies and our capacity for evil. An accurate understanding of this history is critical if we are to learn its lessons and honor its victims."
Going to the Movies

It's that time of the year, with an awards ceremony just about every week, when all good movies are recognized. Or maybe not.

Scrosese's Silence is one of the greatest Jewish flims ever made asserts Liel Leibovitz, writing for Tablet Magazine.  "Ignored, foolishly, by the Academy in this year's Oscars race, and celebrated, rightly, by Catholic commentators for being a pure and profound meditation on faith, the film is not only a masterwork but also one we Jews would do well to take seriously. That's because the idea at the core of the film is the thick theological trunk both Jews and Catholics share, and with which both have wrestled for millennia: the problem of doubt."
Audrey Hepburn, A Rose By Any Other Name

Did you know that after the Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1940, Audrey Hepburn used the name Edda van Heemstra, because an "English-sounding" name was considered dangerous during the occupation?

While there is no historical consensus, some believe that  Audrey Hepburn fought the Nazis as a teen. What is known is that her family, like so many others in occupied countries, was affected by life under the Nazi regime.

Hepburn witnessed the transportation of Dutch Jews to concentration camps, later stating that "more than once I was at the station seeing trainloads of Jews being transported, seeing all these faces over the top of the wagon. I remember, very sharply, one little boy standing with his parents on the platform, very pale, very blond, wearing a coat that was much too big for him, and he stepped on the train. I was a child observing a child."

During the famine in the winter of 1944, Hepburn's family, like others, resorted to making flour out of tulip bulbs to bake cakes and biscuits. She developed acute anemia, respiratory problems and edema as a result of malnutrition.

Hepburn survived World War II and went on to achieve great fame as an actress and humanitarian. Grateful for her own good fortune after enduring the German occupation as a child, she dedicated the remainder of her life to helping impoverished children in the poorest nations. Hepburn's travels were made easier by her wide knowledge of languages; besides being bilingual in English and Dutch, she also was fluent in French, Italian, Spanish, and German.

Monday, February 27
12:00 - 1:30 PM (lunch included)
Jewish Culture Book Club, reading The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
UMass Dartmouth, Claire T. Carney Library, Room 314


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.

Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford, 467 Hawthorn Street, Dartmouth, MA 02747
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