The Bulletin

Under Siege BB

This one will reverberate for a while, but moments ago (as of noon Thursday) Israel's attorney general announced that his office plans to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges after a two-year investigation.
The prime minister faces one count of bribery and two counts of fraud and breach of trust. (The prime minister has denied the allegations since news of the investigation first broke. And again today in a lengthy television statement.) While this is hardly a surprise after such a lengthy investigative process, with the general elections only 40 days away Netanyahu's future beyond April seems more questionable with every passing day.  
Right? Or Very Wrong?
I was crossing Lexington Avenue one night 28 years ago (at 47th street like in Elton John's Island Girl). I was on my way to see my father at his hotel room when ambulances and police gathered a couple of blocks up. New York being New York, I did not give it much thought, but on TV in my father's room I learned of the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane. Known for his extreme militant racist views, Kahane and other members of the Jewish Defense League he founded were convicted of acts related to terrorism. He served prison terms, but was also elected to the Knesset in 1984 despite initially being rejected by Israel's Election Committee on racist grounds. Overturning the decision of the Election Committee, the Israeli Supreme Court suggested that the Knesset pass a law that would authorize the exclusion of a racist party in the future because at that time in 1984 barring Kahane was outside their jurisdiction. During Kahane's only term, the Knesset did pass such a law and he was prevented from running again.
Why the history and civics lesson you may ask? Last week Prime Minister Netanyahu worked as a matchmaker to bring together extreme followers of the racist Rabbi with members of a new right wing party (not his own) as part of his pre-election maneuvering. In "Relax, Otzma hasn't ruined U.S-Israel ties" the Jerusalem Post's Yaakov Katz (please read this) makes this story easier to understand.  For those of you not as attuned to Israeli politics as I am, here is a primer: "What do Otzma Yehudit and its leaders stand for?" The elections are scheduled for April 9th. In the coming weeks I will point out what I find worthy ahead of the elections.
Shahs of Sunset?

Iran is not a country to fly under the radar, at least not from a world-stage news perspective. While more recently we read about a deal perceived both good and bad depending upon whom you ask, 40 years ago Jews and just about everyone else also had cause to look toward this pivotal country in Central Asia. The Iranian Revolution was 40 years ago. Persian Jews in Los Angeles are still feeling the pain.

While the Bravo reality show Shahs of Sunset shines a light on Persian (AKA Iranian) success stories in L.A. (with one Jewish cast member and one whose father was Jewish - both pictured below), it would seem that for the older Jewish Iranian immigrants life here has not been as easy.


And Her Hebrew Name Is Bat-Sheva

Selma Blair made news at the Oscars on Sunday. I'm not sure how, but I knew the Legally Blonde actress who played the WASP-y Vivian Kensington in the film is Jewish. Selma Blair Beitner -- University of Michigan graduate, youngest of four daughters of Judge Molly Beitner, mother to a 6-year-old boy -- is an actress with a disease and a cause. From The Forward: "Selma Blair Made Glowing First Appearance After MS Diagnosis."

By going public with her MS diagnosis and her resulting challenges, Blair may help bring some serious attention to a condition that currently affects an estimated 2.3 million people around the world and 1 million people in the U.S., according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Actress Selma Blair opens up about 'tears' and 'relief' of MS diagnosis l GMA
Actress Selma Blair opens up about 'tears' and 'relief' of MS diagnosis l GMA

Stereotypes Endure

It takes a historian and theorist of the face and body (yes, that's really a thing) to denounce this one: the myth of the Jewish nose. The Tablet Magazine article takes itself very seriously and perhaps that's just what this subject needs. Debunking.

"There is no such thing as a Jewish nose. There are Jews, and they have noses, just like almost everyone else. Those noses are in no way remarkable or significantly different from the noses of the general population. The big (often hooked, frequently grotesque, generally repulsive, and highly caricatured) Jewish nose is a myth," writes Sharrona Pearl as she warms up to her topic.
Highlight of the Week - BCC Holocaust Center

Maybe you've contributed some buttons for the mural project or have attended an event. You've certainly seen calendar items here as we proudly promote the work of the Bristol Community College Holocaust Center. I encourage you to take some time to follow the links and look more closely at the commendable work Ron Weisberger and his staff are doing to keep this part of our history relevant and present.  

Ron Weisberger

Through March 9
Judith Klein Art Gallery
"About LOVE" exhibit of students and mentors
Hours: Tuesday - Thursday, 2:00-5:00 PM; Saturday, 9:30 AM - noon (or by appointment) 
127 W. Rodney French Boulevard, Door #31, New Bedford  
Monday, February 25, 4:30-5:00 PM
Unveling of Button Murals
Designed and constructed by Professor Melissa Millard and art students and alumni.
Jackson Art Center Lobby, BCC
Thursday, March 7, 4:00 PM
Speaker Marsha Ikonomopoulas on:
"The Plight of the Jewish Population in Greece During the Holocaust"
Jackson Art Center, H-209/210, BCC

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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