The Bulletin

1. That Ominous Cloud

I usually don't speak at our annual Holocaust memorial program. I leave that to those who actually experienced the Holocaust. This year I thought I had to talk, even if for a minute. Like I said to the people who gathered on Sunday, the events in Pittsburgh, Fall River and most recently in Poway hit too close to home. The possibility of violence against Jews in 2019 United States is REAL. The Nazis who burned my grandfather's apartment 85 years ago and beat him up have followers everywhere. Our job - to educate, to defend, to protect, to remember, to never ever forget - is more important than ever.
It was good to have many members from our community join us on Sunday despite the terrible weather. It was rewarding to see many of our friends and allies from outside the Jewish community stand with us. And thank you to The Standard-Times for their continuous coverage of these important events and for helping us deliver this timely message. 
Holocaust survivor Albert Garih 

2. Pause Followed by Celebration

In Israel, the day before Yom Ha'atzmaut (Independence Day) each year is Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day). Here Memorial Day means a long weekend with outdoor BBQs to celebrate the arrival of summer after visiting the fallen and refreshing flags at cemeteries. In Israel the day is more somber. There is a siren at 8:00 PM the night before to mark the start and another at 11:00 AM the following day when people stand in silence, cars stopped on the streets and highways, with a collective time to reflect. TV and radio broadcasts are limited to memorials and quiet music. There are ceremonies in every municipality to remember the fallen. That is the case in a country with hardly any degrees of separation between the average citizen and a fallen soldier - because almost everybody serves.     
Last weekend for 48 hours straight the terrorist regime in Gaza provided context with a rocket every three minutes (on average) for TWO DAYS STRAIGHT. Civilians were killed, a hospital was directly hit and two IDF soldiers were the most recent names added to a long list of those who sacrificed their lives for the safety and security of others.
When evening comes at the end of a very somber Memorial Day, the transition into Independence Day is powerful, beautiful and profound. One of the saddest days turns into a day of huge celebration. That part is very much like our 4th of July. But for me, year after year, it is the dichotomy of the two holidays and the transition that takes place between them that is remarkable. Honoring those who sacrificed for the country and celebrating that same country safe and independent all in the span of 24 hours . . . wow. 
Since the establishment of Israel as a country four holidays have been added to the Jewish calendar, all in close proximity. Yom Hashoah, which we marked last week; Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'astmaut this week; and Yom Yerushalaim which we will mark next month to remember the day in 1967 when Jerusalem was united. We honor the days and a homeland won hard. 

3. Mother's Day, Jewish Way

"What I am going to talk to you about today are the most desirable characteristics of a Jewish mother and what her kids should appreciate about her. Let's face it, when we think about a Jewish mother we think of someone who is willing to steamroll or mow down anyone in her path in her effort to assist her child in any arena of the child's life. The Jewish mother stereotypes are fraught with images of moms chasing their kids around with food while expressing their anxiety about all things that she can do to help her kid avoid real or existing problems."

So writes Dr. Barbara Greenberg in the Psychology Today article "20 Ways to Be a Jewish Mother: There Are Many Reasons Why You May Want to Be One." If you see yourself or mother or grandmother in this list, mazel tov! You have been raised well.

And there's more to get you through what promises to be a dreary, rainy Mother's Day: 13 heart-warming Jewish stories about moms for this Mother's Day.

Last, I give you a very Jewish gift guide for Mother's Day and a recipe for Bubbe's chicken soup. Don't say I didn't do my part to make the day special.

4. Winner, Winner, Israeli Dinner

Zahav means gold in Hebrew. A more aptly named restaurant there may not be. Michael Solomonov, co-owner and the creative drive behind the Israeli foods coming out of its kitchen, is surely basking in the glow.

Eleven years after opening its doors, Zahav received the James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant 2019. Not that this team is new to this sort of heady recognition: Solomonov and his partner, Steven Cook, are both previous James Beard Award winners for their first cookbook, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking. In 2017, Solomonov came home with the outstanding chef award. Last year, Zahav's pastry chef Camille Cogswell was named the rising star chef of the year.

If his name sounds familiar, it should. Several years ago we invited our community to the Whaling Museum for the screening of In Search of Israeli Cuisine, a wonderful film about the new face of Israeli food, narrated by Solomonov.   
And if you thought reservations were impossible to get before, good luck now.

5. Canada for Jews, Eh?

"Explaining the relative success Canadian Jews have had withstanding the pressures of assimilation is difficult to pinpoint," writes Ari Blaff in Tablet Magazine's thought-provoking piece, "Why Canada's Jews Are Better."  "Elevating multiculturalism as official policy of the Canadian government came with explicit instructions to nurture one's identity and take pride in ancestry." 
Many of us threatened not so long ago to move north to the land of poutine, Mounties and moose. While no one I know personally acted on this impulse, there is reason to keep the option open it would seem.
6. Scholarships Available

Each year we award children (and 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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