The Bulletin

1. History Lessons - Actual Facts, Please

Benny Morris, a historian and a professor of Middle East studies, ends his essay for the prestigious Atlantic Monthly in a profound and humorous fashion: "Perhaps in her prospective trip to the West Bank with the Humpty Dumpty Institute, which she announced on the podcast, she [Rashida Tlaib] can try them [her ideas/fabricated historical facts] out on the people who actually live in the area. We'll see what happens."

Earlier in the essay he reminds us that "from 1933 onward, Palestine's Arabs - led by the cleric Muhammad Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem - mounted a strident campaign to pressure the British, who governed Palestine, to bar all Jews from entering the country. To press home their demand, in 1936 they launched an anti-British and anti-Zionist rebellion that lasted three years."
Those are historical facts (read the essay and judge for yourself) that make Representative Tlaib's claims about her welcoming ancestors seem comical.
Another senior historian, Robert Rozett, of Yad Vashem also takes issue with Tlaib's recent pot-stirring efforts in JTA's "Sorry, Rashida Tlaib: Israel was not a consolation prize for Jews after the Holocaust."  Even if you know the story of the State of Israel's creation, this succinct recap is worth the refresher.
"The false notion that the Palestinians are 'paying for the Holocaust' presumes that the world granted the Jews a state primarily because it felt overriding guilt and sympathy. Serious scholars concur that politics, not morality, motivated support for the Jewish state's creation - guilt and sympathy at most played a minor role in the establishment of the State of Israel, if at all," writes Rozett.
In case you missed the initial brouhaha, this CNN article and video may help you decide.
My view on this latest of Tlaib's remarks is that it is not anti-Semitic. It is however historically ignorant. I have (since she got elected) found her to be on the wrong side of facts more often than not. I think hate is a significant source for her statements and fear that mixing facts up is simply her survival tactic. I hope it backfires and her district finds future representatives who have a greater interest in the truth.
2. One Very Big Step

Jewish astronaut Jessica Meir will take Israel's flag into space later this year when she co-pilots a mission to the International Space Station. Meir, who has joint US-Swedish citizenship and a Jewish father who fought in Israel's War of Independence, said, "Personally I'm not really a religious person, but I think that my Jewish cultural background is obviously a big part of my culture and especially traditions."

Meir's father was born in Iraq to a Jewish family that immigrated to British Mandate Palestine prior to 1948. After fighting in Israel's war of independence, he studied to become a doctor, before moving to Sweden and marrying her mother. Meir said she had wanted to go into space since the age of five, and had tried to enroll in NASA's space shuttle program a number of times before being accepted in 2013. She will become the fourth Jewish woman and fifteenth Jewish person to go into space.

3. Mamma Mia - Here We Go - Again

It was the stage where ABBA launched its stardom. Volare (here in a Dean Martin English version) became a worldwide hit after finishing 3rd in 1958. Eurovision is the biggest (non-sporting) television event on the planet. In recent years it has expanded beyond Europe to include Australia, Morocco and more.  
This year's Eurovision takes place in Tel Aviv where after two semi-final rounds (earlier this week) 26 countries have a song they hope will win. Israel is hosting this year after Netta won the contest last year with her song TOY.  Representing Israel this year is Kobi Marimi and his song Home. Not feeling very optimistic about his chances. What do you think? I guess we will all find out Saturday.
4. Golden: Globes and Memories
Peggy Lipton, who died this week, was born in New York City to an upper middle class Jewish family. She won America's heart - and had four Emmy and four Golden Globe nominations with one win (1971) - playing Julie Barnes in The Mod Squad. With long, straight, ash blonde hair, clad in mini-skirts, bell bottoms and love beads, Lipton's Julie Barnes became a fashion icon - the "it" girl of her time. For more on her life, check out this link.  
The Forward covers "The Secret History of Doris Day," luring us in with: "She was the iconic, American girl-next-door. She was wholesome, blonde, perky, Midwestern - a bubbly cheerleader who liked hunky guys. She was white bread with mayonnaise, with perhaps a frisky dollop of mustard." Doris Day was a lot of things to a lot of people and definitely was not was Jewish, but her life had many Jewish stories to tell, beginning with her name.

5. Life, Not a Bumper Sticker

Choose happiness. For Rosalee Glass, a Holocaust survivor who endured more losses than most could, happiness was an intentional decision. And it changed everything.
"Rosalee declared that she wanted to live. And not just live, but live her life to the fullest. 'I wanted to make myself happy,' she told the Jewish Journal. Despite the fact that she was already in her 80s, Rosalee starting taking piano lessons, dived into tai chi, took tango and boxing classes, and learned French. In her 90s, she got an agent and embarked on a successful acting career, starring in commercials for Google, Porsche and Hallmark, and appearing in a Super Bowl commercial for Dodge. For her 100th birthday, she went dog sledding in Alaska, started an online life-advice service and released a book, 100 Years of Wisdom."

Read more about Rosalee in "Holocaust survivor inspires in Reinventing Rosalee." The film has been shown at 92 film festivals around the world and has won 45 awards.

Reinventing Rosalee Trailer
Reinventing Rosalee Trailer

6. Forward Move

It was 29 years ago this week that I arrived in New York with plans to visit for a couple of weeks. Things turned out in such a way that my stay was extended. At the point I realized I may just have to look for a job, I found a home in the then start-up Forward. I spent three terrific years there and was of course sad (even if understanding) when the news came out earlier this year that the Forward would cease its print edition. Launched in May of 1990, it came to an end in May of 2019. I will forever be proud of that chapter. The Forward is iconic in the story of Jews in America and we must hope that it will continue to succeed in its digital-only format 120 years after it began as Forverts

7. Pucker Up

Perfection is a lofty claim. We'll credit the editor in this case and trust the writer to entertain with his foodie piece in Tablet Magazine, "Making Perfect Pickles."

This is the story of the author's grandfather's grandmother's recipe, coming to you straight outta Rozwadow, a Polish shtetl. Naturally they only became perfect with a few tweaks to the family recipe by the writer.

An excerpt: "My grandparents both gardened enthusiastically; they had his-and-hers plots on the two sunniest spots in their yard in Waban, Massachusetts. She was the head chef, no doubt, but he reigned over the grill and the smoker (his chicken was divine), and he made the pickles. As the cucumbers grew, he'd pack them in various wide-mouth jars with copious garlic and dill, fill them with brine, and then ferment them in their basement. He used round rocks, pilfered from my grandmother's flower garden and boiled to sterilize them, to weigh down the food and keep it submerged."
8. Scholarships Available

Each year we award children (or grandchildren) of Federation members college scholarships for undergraduate and graduate programs. To request an application write to office@jewishnewbedford.org or call (508) 997-7471.
Sunday, June 2, 7:30 PM
Rabbi Bernard H. and Minna Ziskind Memorial Lecture
Speaker Francine Klagsbrun, author of more than a dozen books, including Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel, The Fourth Commandment: Remember the Sabbath Day and Married People: Staying Together in the Age of Divorce. She was the editor of the best-selling Free to Be . . . You and Me and is a regular columnist for The Jewish Week and on the editorial board of Hadassah magazine. 

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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