The Bulletin


Eden Yerushalmi

24 Year-Old Hostage

Day 125

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Montana Tucker (right), in a hostage-supporting dress made by an Israeli designer, stole the show at the Grammys. That is unless you (like me) think the speech by the Academy's CEO Harvey Mason Jr.- that included the Nova Festival and a mention of the hundreds murdered there - was an even bigger moment.

Annie Lennox (after butchering "Nothing Compares 2 U") surprised no one with a ceasefire call, which means Israel should stop defending itself and nothing else. The years she was married to an Israeli did nothing to educate her and the years since have done her voice no justice. Other musical performances were largely dull. Stevie Wonder (duh) and Billy Joel (a fabulous "You May Be Right" to close the evening) were sensational, but it was a very early performance that was my #1. Tracy Chapman (Spotify #1 since Sunday) performed "Fast Car" with Luke Combs and I was thinking about my brother Yuval who played it in his Tel Aviv café. It was almost the place's anthem. Needless to say, there were tears involved. Enjoy it again here.

2.End of an Era

Fall River's Temple Beth El is up for sale. It is the city's last synagogue. "According to a message from Stephen Silverman, president of Congregation Beth El, the congregation has 'come to a crossroads' and must sell its synagogue at 385 High St. The congregation itself will continue.

"The move comes after years of decline in the number of congregants and the rising expense of maintaining Temple Beth El, a large, aging building."


"It wasn’t so long ago that we would see at least 200 people at our High Holiday services,” Silverman wrote. “This year, there were 30. Even including those who watched the livestream, the total didn’t reach 50, in a sanctuary that seats 650.” 

In "Memories of Fall River's Beth El in Happier Times," M. Charles Bakst writes, "When I recently saw that Fall River’s once-flourishing Conservative Temple Beth El has decided to sell its building on High Street and seek a smaller space, I was hardly surprised, but even so it was a punch to the gut. It makes sense, sure. The building, with its gorgeous sanctuary, is badly in need of repair and the congregation has dwindled to almost nothing.

"I grew up in the temple, and I do not want to remember it this way. I prefer to bask, gratefully, in memories of the golden years I experienced as a youngster – a student in its thriving Sunday School and thriving Hebrew School, a son of parents who were among its most active members."

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3.( See Left)

"Hamas delivered a long-awaited response to an Israeli proposal for a hostage deal on Tuesday, eliciting cautious optimism from some involved in negotiations even as Israeli officials dimmed hopes about how many hostages could ultimately return alive.

"Israel has not responded officially to the counterproposal, which reportedly lays out a 135-day path for the release of all Israeli hostages held in Gaza. An end to the war would be required for the hostages’ complete release, but some would be released in earlier stages if Israel makes various concessions including pulling out of occupied areas in Gaza and releasing Palestinian security prisoners, including some serving life sentences, according to reports about the counterproposal," reported Forward in "Hostage deal talks continue as Israel says more captives might be dead than previously known."

Eetta Prince-Gibson, familiar to our community, writes for Moment in this piece, "Is There Really No Price Bibi Will Pay for the Return of Hostages?", excerpted below.

"Since the 'Iron Swords' war began, Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that Israel has two intertwined and simultaneous goals: to wipe out Hamas and to bring the hostages home. Initially, there seemed to be extensive support for the two, bolstered by the fact that the army was able to extract one captive soldier in a daring rescue.

"But as the fighting continues and the Israeli casualties—more than 200 at the time of writing—increase, there is growing doubt about whether Israel can actually decisively defeat and destroy Hamas. More than three months into the war, which has killed over 25,000 in Gaza, Hamas is still standing and firing rockets into Israel. While Israel has assassinated mid-level Hamas commanders, Hamas leaders are still alive and able to call the shots.

"According to a survey conducted for the Families Forum by Midgam, a market research and opinion polling company in Israel, 72 percent of the general public supports the families’ calls to make the return of the hostages Israel’s top priority."

4.Zoom With Former Prime Minister Olmert

With Netanyahu being prime minister for all but a few years since the turn of the century, a conversation with a former one is a rare opportunity. There simply aren’t that many. After his term as PM Olmert was convicted and served jail time but remains a very interesting character and great speaker. I have little doubt he will be very critical of Netanyahu and hope he speaks about the likelihood he too will end up in jail. The conversation, which is brought to us by the Jewish Agency, is titled: "Ehud Olmert on the War with Hamas & the Road to a Brighter Future."

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will offer crucial insights into the war with Hamas, shedding light on strategic decisions, military operations, and the complex international dynamics at play. Learn about how we are supporting Israeli victims affected by the recent October 7 attacks, providing immediate aid and ensuring the long-term rehabilitation of affected communities, individuals, and businesses.

Date and time: Monday, February @ 12:30 PM

To join, use THIS LINK.

Since October 7th Jewish Federations like ours have raised $775 million dollars of which $58 million (including $50,000 from New Bedford) has already reached the Jewish Agency’s fund for victims of terror.

Monday at 12:30 PM is a popular time slot this week and JCRC and JAFI have not coordinated - so that both offer programs at the same time. If you prefer to spend your early afternoon Monday raising your voice join Meredith Jacobs (of Jewish Women International) and Miriam Schler from the Tel Aviv Sexual Assault Crisis Center for Sexual Violence and Hamas War Against Israel by using this link.

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5.Climb Every Mountain

If you've ever gone on a hike, this is the article for you: "Jews in the Wilderness." One Theodore Seixas Solomons, from a Jewish-American family that dates back to the American Revolution, was mostly robbed of credit due for his lifetime work finding a way over California's Sierra Nevada range. Tablet is doing its part to include him in the history books.

"Yet in 1915, when California officials finally commissioned the footpath that Solomons envisioned, they chose to instead name it in honor of the Scottish-born conservationist hero and Sierra Club founder John Muir. It was Theodore Solomons, however, a fifth-generation Jewish American, who first conceived of the trail and navigated its most challenging sections. Solomons’ role in the development of the John Muir Trail has long been overshadowed by the legacy of its namesake. 

"When Solomons reached the age of 18, with no educational or career goal otherwise occupying or distracting him from his love of the mountains, he made his first trip to Lake Tahoe. His family was hardly thrilled at this fairly unconventional choice of pastime. By the early 1890s, however, his father had died, his siblings had already launched their careers, and his mother, Hannah Marks Solomons—she, too, was lineally connected to a storied early Jewish American clan—had made her peace with his quirky interests." 

6.It's All About the Food Anyway

While we folks living in New England have no stake in the big game, there are the commercials, half-time show and food to entertain us. The recipes below score and are definitely not a fumble (see what I did there) with a Jewish spin on appetizers.

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Honey Horseradish Wings With Dijon Ranch

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Caesar Salad Latkes

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Matzo-rella Sticks

For Your Calendar

Through February 23

Marion Art Center's Winter Members' Show's article describing the show that includes artwork by David Danis, a member of our community.

February 14

Visit our website

Shabbat Shalom and Am Israel Chai,


The Bulletin is a weekly email from Amir Cohen, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford. I welcome your feedback at 

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