The Bulletin

1. What We Do

On Sunday, I will Pause with Pittsburgh.
On the first anniversary of the brutal attack at the Tree Of Life synagogue, together with people from around the world, I will join a virtual memorial service at 5:00 PM. I invite you to participate as well. 

If you have passed my door in the past year, you might have noticed a list there of the 11 people who died in the anti-Semitic attack.
It will stay there even after this first Yahrzeit because what we do, how we honor, and our duty to remember continue on.

By Monday you will most likely receive the first annual campaign mailing for the 2020 Campaign. This week nothing can better explain what we do, our mission, and our cause for being better than a stand of solidarity with Pittsburgh. And on most other days of the year it will be things like Jewish education, caring for the elderly, commitment to the memory of the Holocaust and Jewish continuity here in our community and worldwide.

Just like Pause for Pittsburgh. Join me. Remember. Support.
2. A Precursor

At the end of her important talk at BCC about the Armenian Genocide and Germany's role in it during WW I, Manya Bark, the president of our Jewish Federation, left this slide on as people were taking in all that they had heard and learned. My first thought was, "We are."

In this political climate when 100 years later Turkey is focused on driving out the Kurds, it is even more important to speak of the past. It educates our present and determines our future.
Listening yesterday with the knowledge of WW II history and the Holocaust that followed, it was hard not to think that the Armenian Genocide was perhaps a learning experience for the insanely homicidal.

In 1943 Raphael Lemkin (a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor) coined the phrase "genocide." Turkey has fought the term Armenian Genocide, but 49 of our 50 states (Mississippi-why?) as well as many nations have introduced legislation with significant consequences for its denial.

Yesterday in Fall River we were all reminded and will never forget.

3. Benny and the Change

After failing to form a government Prime Minister Netanyahu returned his mandate to President Rivlin who in turn gave Blue & White leader Benny Gantz his chance of becoming Israel's first prime minister in more than a decade not named Bibi Netanyu. It does not look promising, but there is hope that sanity will prevail and a unity government will in fact be formed. If Netanyahu isn't part of it but his Likud party is, it would more than likely be better for Israel. Term limits exist in many countries and they exist for a reason.
In the meantime let's hope they find a way. More on the possibility and the key partner who might determine if it happens in this Ha'aretz articlethis Ha'aretz article.
4. Up 10%, Older, Whiter and More Liberal
A new Jewish population study is out and there are 10% more Jews now than seven years ago. "The prophecy of the vanishing Jew has not come to fruition," said Leonard Saxe, director of the Steinhardt Center.
Of the 7.5 million Jews in America (the range is 7.1-7.8), 1.8 live in the New York metropolitan area (which includes NJ suburbs). Ninety-one percent of all Jews live in 40 metropolitan areas which makes the 2,000 Jews in Wyoming rare. We are older: 26% of us are over 65 (20% in the general population) and more than 10% are not white. More about the study in this JTA article.
5. A Walk in the Space

In the first ever all-female spacewalk Swedish-Israeli-American Jewish Astronaut Jessica Meir and fellow astronaut Christina Koch made history.
Kveller had some fun facts about Jessica:
  • Jessica is the first Swedish woman, the fourth Jewish woman, and the 15th Jewish person to participate in a space mission.
  • She started working towards this moment when she was 5 years and went to Space Camp for the first time after middle school.
  • She is the youngest of five and is from Caribou, Maine.
  • Her father is an Israeli Iraqi and her mother is Swedish. 
  • The family identified as Jewish and went to synagogue
  • On Judaism: "I'm not a religious person, but I think my Jewish cultural background is obviously a big part of my culture and especially traditions." 
  • If she could only bring three personal items to space, what would they be? Israeli flag, menorah-printed socks (she loves novelty socks) and a piccolo. (Jessica plays the piano, flute and saxophone, but settled on the piccolo because of its small size.)
  • She spent a year preparing for this monumental mission, including training in Russia and learning Russian, exercising on anti-gravity treadmills (to prevent muscle loss in space), and numerous medical tests.   
Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir reflect on the first All Woman Spacewalk MP4 
Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir reflect on the first All Woman Spacewalk MP4
6. Lovato - A BDS Dummy

In a few short days Demi Lovato's spiritual journey in Israel turned into yet another BDS apology. In the process, the Teen Choice Award singer, who has 74 million followers on Instagram, suggested she did not realize that her visit might hurt people.
The truth is, Demi, that it actually doesn't. But how an experienced artist with platoons of PR and management support allows herself to be played silly by BDS is frankly comical.

7. Scene from the Region

At the end of Sukkot on "Shmini Atzraeret," we ask for rain. The common Hebrew expression is: "Gishmei Bracha" (blessed rains), which reflects the longing for the water to irrigate the fields.
This hot air balloon picture - taken by Adi Dado, the operations coordinator at our Afula-Gilboa Partnership, from her backyard at K'far Yehezkel - is a typical view of the Gilboa region's landscape.
At this time of the year the fields in the Yizrael Valley are brown and the soil ready. All that is now needed is rain. Wishing everyone (yet again) a blessed year!

Wednesday, November 13, 12:30 - 1:45 PM
Lunch lecture: "Preserving Czech-Jewish History: Honorable Friendship During the Holocaust"
Dr. Ilana Offenberger, professor of Holocaust History, UMass Dartmouth


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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