The Bulletin

1. Anti-Semitism In Our Face and Outside Our Door

The most recent example of anti-Semitism in America hit very close to home when  59 (not 30 as first reported) gravestones at the Hebrew Cemetery in Fall River were vandalized. They were covered with Nazi symbols and defaced with the most horrific version of hate. It hits close to home not only because it is 12 miles away from our office here in New Bedford, but because these are the graves of family members of people we see every day -- people we work and study and pray with every week. And it is different because of that.

I offer our support to those who were personally hurt by these bigots and offer our sympathy as we stand together, remaining united. I trust that law enforcement will find those responsible and that they will be punished. Our Federation has always been focused on education. We were reminded again this week just how much more work on that front we have to do.

I want to use this opportunity to ask all of you to join us on May 5th for our annual Yom HaShoah memorial service at the Holocaust Monument in Buttonwood Park. Let us show our strength in numbers as we remember the past and educate (and when necessary combat) those who have not learned from it.
We understand that a community cleanup event is planned for next week. Details are not currently available. Check The Herald News in Fall River for more information as it becomes available.

I visited the cemetery earlier this afternoon and ran into reporter Kim Kalunian from Providence's Channel 12. I spoke to her and learned that she had talked to BCC Holocaust Center director Ron Weisberger before me. It's possible that the piece will run on the 5:30 news tonight. Check it out.

2. Rockets' Red Glare

Exactly three minutes after last week's Bulletin hit your in-boxes two rockets hit the greater Tel Aviv area. It has been four years since rockets were fired in the direction of Tel Aviv. It is commonplace for rockets to hit areas inside Israel that are near Gaza. This was different.

It was also different for me because it was the first time it happened while I was there. I had just arrived earlier that day. Most people in Tel Aviv (as far as I could tell) went ahead with their previously planned evening. I thought about just how bizarre that was and what would have been the reaction if two rockets were fired at a U.S. city. What do you think?

3. A Bridge We Have Built: Local Muslims, Jews and New Zealand

Over the past few years we have hosted several delegations here in New Bedford from our partnership region of Afula-Gilboa. Israeli residents (both Jewish and Muslim) in the region exemplify shared living and tolerance. And just like they do there, they collaborated when they visited us here. They cook, sing, dance, debate and take pictures together there and they did so when they came here. At the time I invited members of the Muslim community in New Bedford to join us for the first events. They shared a meal and songs with us. They invited us to visit and take pictures with them a few months later. We have since been in regular communication, participating in events organized by both communities.
When I read the news from New Zealand last week while in Israel, I quickly sent a note to our friends in the New Bedford Muslim community saying, in part, ". . . I'm stunned and saddened and sending my deepest condolences to you and your community. A house of prayer must be a sacred place for everyone - everywhere. I stand with you in solidarity as is everyone in our community. I hope we find more peaceful days ahead. In New Zealand, in Israel and in America . . ."   
They wrote back: "We deeply appreciate the sympathy and support from you personally and from the whole Jewish community. Hatred is generated from ignorance. We are grateful for all your efforts to combat ignorance through interfaith exchanges and events. Places of worship should be sanctuaries of peace where we can reconnect to God's infinite Mercy and Love each in our own way.  May God give us strength and patience to endure every test and hardship. May God give us greater opportunity to create understanding and friendship between us. Thank you. Shalom. May God protect you in your travels."
I choose to remember hope, offer sympathy and feel grateful to share this, particularly during difficult times.
4. There Were Hamantaschen

Last week we challenged you to send in your pictures of Purim hamantaschen fun. Thank you to the Glicksman and Schudrich families for being game and to the office fairy who brought us halva and spanakopita hamantaschen. As promised, we're sharing here!



5. Passover Appeal

In the coming days you will receive the annual Passover appeal. I hope that you will respond generously, helping the Federation provide kosher-for-Passover food to local community members in need. The families and individuals we assist are always deeply appreciative. Thank you in advance for your support.
6. Scholarship Applications Available

Children and grandchildren of Federation members are invited to apply for scholarships for undergraduate and graduate programs from teh Federation adn New Bedford section of the National Council of Jewish Women.

To request an application write to office@jewishnewbedford.org or call (508) 997-7471.
March 21- 24, 7:30 PM (2:30 PM Sunday matinee)
Your Theatre, Inc. Playhouse, 136 Rivet St., New Bedford (St. Martin's Episcopal Church)
Tickets are $18 general admission and $15 for senior citizens, students, and military personnel.
For further information call Your Theatre, Inc. at 508-993-0772 or send an email to info@yourtheatre.org
Thursday, April 4, 4:00 PM
Speaker Carolyn Enger, concert pianist and director of the multimedia program Mischlinge Exposé 
Jackson Art Center, H-209/210, Bristol Community College
Friday, April 12, 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Conference on Women and the Holocaust featuring keynote speaker Sheri Sandler, managing director of Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, Rwanda and workshop leader of Echoes and Reflection, a resource center for the teaching of the Holocaust
Jackson Art Center, Bristol Community College 

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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