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The Bulletin

01.19.2023

1.Twice the Invite - I


With two events on the 27th and 29th, I’ll use two Bulletins (today and next week) to invite all of you to join us when we commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day at UMass Dartmouth with Gerhard Leib, a hidden child and survivor. Join me and Federation President Manya Bark for this conversation on Friday, January 27th at noon.

2.Twice the Invite - II


On January 29th at 7:00 PM, join me via Zoom for a thought-provoking discussion with Imam Abdullah Antepli and Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin as they tackle the complex issues of "The Elephants in the Room: Israel, Palestine, Zionism, and the Role of Religion in America. Can we talk about them? We can, and we do."


For more information and to register, go HERE.

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3.Democracy Now Under Pressure


Led by Minister of Justice Yariv Levin, Bibi’s new government has introduced its first initiative with a set of proposals to alter the balance of power between Israel’s executive and legislative branches of government. Exposing sharp divisions between the governing coalition and the opposition (and the majority of Israelis) current Supreme Court President Esther Hayut, former President Rivlin and the Chair of the Israel Bar Association Avi Himi have voiced their concerns. Interestingly, Harvard law professor and pro-Israel activist Alan Dershowitz is also a critic.


In pouring rain some 80,000 Israelis protested the government's plan. I suspect that this is only the beginning. “Is this a revolutionary reform? Here is one example: Minister Levin wants politicians, not justices, to have the final word on who joins the Supreme Court. To Americans this might sound reasonable. But for Israel it is a huge change — from a court controlled from within, by established professionals who are resistant to outsiders and to critics, to a politicized court. Levin and his supporters argue that since the Supreme Court makes decisions that are ideological in nature, it ought to be more in line with the values of the majority. His opponents argue that politicizing the court will mean the removal of the only barrier that prevents a tyranny of the majority," writes Shmuel Rosner, senior political editor, in this Jewish Journal opinion piece.

4.Court Stands Firm


While I sound concerned in item #3 above, a release valve of sorts might have worked sooner than expected when the Israeli Supreme Court ordered Bibi to fire his ally and Shas leader Areyeh Deri. The10-1 decision is a big blow to the newly formed coalition and Bibi must now scramble to find a prestigious enough position for his important partner and convicted felon.

 

How tricky can that be? Check out this Times of Israel article trying to explain some possibilities.

5.Tiffany's Comfort


The stained-glass artist created mosaics, menorahs and bronze synagogue doors. Louis Comfort Tiffany's little-known forays into Judaica can still be seen today in museums and houses of worship.


"Tiffany, who was raised Presbyterian in great privilege (his father Charles founded the Manhattan jewelry store that bears the family name), worked with rabbis from Manhattan to Michigan. He created synagogue windows inscribed in Hebrew as well as related mosaics, bimahs, menorahs, bronze Ark doors, and embroidered textiles used as Ark curtains and Torah scroll wrappings. 


“'In all religious denominations, the desire for beauty is everywhere uppermost,' he wrote in an 1893 essay on art glass. He advertised his wares in Jewish newspapers, whose readers were commissioning eye-catching turreted structures in American downtowns. By hiring the New York tastemaker who had worked for so many Christian sects, synagogue patrons could communicate their new artistic sophistication and cultural assimilation." 


Anshe Chesed, Cleveland's first congregation, dedicated its Euclid Avenue Temple in 1912. All the windows in the sanctuary (pictured below) were by Tiffany Studios. In 1957 the congregation moved to Beachwood and the Liberty Hill Baptist Church took over the space. The windows remain intact.

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6.Please Say "Sss-choo-Gg"


Start with a long "sss" sound, continue with "choo" (imagine the way J is pronounced in Spain) and end in "Gg." If you can say it, you can order it and eat it. I will set up a pronunciation practice on Zoom during Purim.


"Jachnun is primarily known as a Jewish-Yemenite dish, but—along with malawach, another Jewish-Yemenite pastry—it has been a mainstream Israeli fast-food favorite for decades. They are both perfect comfort foods.


"Let’s start with jachnun. It is warm and mildly sweet, and gives you a fuzzy feeling. It could be mistaken for a dessert, but it’s traditionally a Shabbat breakfast food, served in Israel with an oven-baked egg, fresh grated tomato, and zhug (Yemenite hot sauce), which gives it an extra kick.


"If jachnun is the king Israeli comfort foods, malawach is surely its queen. There is nothing easier than stocking up your freezer with supermarket-bought frozen malawach. Frying a frozen malawach in a pan is so simple and satisfying that it is often the first meal Israeli teenagers make for themselves."


The origins of malawach are less clear and not as widely discussed as jachnun. Its dough is made with the same ingredients as the jachnun dough (although quantities sometimes differ) but it is pan-fried. While jachnun is cylinder-shaped, malawach is round and flat. While jachnun is brown, greasy, hearty, and heavy, with a sweet caramelized flavor, malawach is rich and chewy but less sweet and somewhat lighter. And it is flaky and golden in color."


For more, read Tablet's "The King and Queen of Israeli Pastries"

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Homemade Yemenite Jachnun

Malawach (Yemenite Jewish Pancakes)

For Your Calendar

(See items 1 and 2.)

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Shabbat shalom,


Amir


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. 

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