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The Bulletin
07.30.2020
1.Our New Bedford
My favorite part of the Bulletin is receiving your feedback. We’ve been getting some great responses to the weekly series focusing on local Jewish history, with people recognizing faces, places and pieces of personal family history. 

In response to last week’s story about Chesed Shel Emes, Michael Zeman wrote: “My best recollection of family lore is that my great grandfather Michael Wishnetsky (for whom I'm named) was the first shamas of Chesed Shel Emes. As a child I remember on High Holidays going up to the balcony to visit my mother and grandmother and then back downstairs to sit with my father. My parents joined TI around 1957 for me to go to Hebrew school because Cheses Sel Emes did not have one.” He also shared: “Michael (my paternal grandmother's father) was a peddler who on Sunday would take his cart on the ferry from New Bedford to Martha's Vineyard where he would sell his wares. He stayed with Jewish families (who kept kosher) on the Island. He would take the ferry back to New Bedford on Fridays so he could be with the family for Shabos.”

I wish to again recognize and thank Marty Lipman, Federation’s immediate past president, for initiating this project.

As for this week’s edition? In 1964, just prior to Tifereth Israel’s move to the West End, a group of more than 40 individuals established a Reform Congregation -  Temple Sinai  - in downtown New Bedford.

In 1968 the congregation purchased a church at 169 William Street to hold services.The congregation operated there from about 1965 to 1977, and then the members came back to the new Tifereth Israel on Hawthorn Street.
2.He Sure Is Young
Nine years ago, while still at Brown University, Alex Morse was elected mayor of Holyoke (the one in MA). Now he wants to challenge U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, in the 1st Congressional District. It will more than likely be a failed attempt since Neal chairs the influential House Ways and Means Committee and has been in Congress since Reagan was POTUS.

That said, it is always good to see young Jewish professionals do well even when aligning one's aspirations in circles where the anti-Jewish Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib exist. Here’s what JTA had to offer:  "Alex Morse was elected mayor at 22. Now the gay Jewish progressive is running for Congress."    My favorite line/joke from the interview is, “If this Congress thing doesn’t work out, maybe I’ll just bake more." Morse is (apparently) a carrot cake aficionado, and in case you are wondering that happens to be my favorite too.
3.Beyond Stupid
When a person suggests that wearing a mask with a swastika is a way to protest - saying, "If you vote for Biden, this is what you are going to have: socialism!” - there is no way around it no matter how reluctant the Jewish Journal is to call it. Stupid is as stupid does. Just ask Forrest Gump.

Read about the disturbing incident here:   "Minnesota Couple Wears Swastika Masks Inside Walmart."  

A Minnesota Jewish social justice organization tweeted in response, “Comparing public safety measures to Nazism while wearing Nazi masks in protest is confusing to say the least. It’s ahistoric & deeply offensive. Don’t do this.” What he said. 
4.Go Your Own Way
He was born Peter Greenbaum and as a teen dropped the Baum when the kids in school beat him up for being Jewish (Cockney London in the '50s). Green, Fleetwood Mac founder and brilliant, troubled guitarist, died this week at the age of 73.

Long before Fleetwood Mac became the average pop band most people know - remember "Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow . . ." from Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign? - Green set a different vibe when the group came together in 1967. He was the genius behind one of the greatest British '60s blues bands at the time.

It was Green (perhaps because of his Jewish values?) who insisted on the name Fleetwood Mac, combining the names of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie (drummer and bass player). He purposely avoided the Clapton-esque guitar god image that was not his thing by omitting his own name - a classy and humble move by perhaps the best Jewish guitar player ever. My introduction to Green was  Albatross. (See video below.) It's an extraordinary piece that I always thought sounded like it belonged on Abbey Road.

Sandra Elsdon (the subject of Black Magic Woman which Green wrote, not Santana) shared, " I think he’d suffered a lot as a child. He once opened up to me about the pain of the discrimination and bullying he’d suffered as a Jewish boy living in the East End. I think he drew heavily on that pain in his music." More on Green in this  2017  Rolling Stone  article  "Before the Landslide: Inside the Early Years of Fleetwood Mac."
5.If It Were Not Rogen
If any one of us critiques Israel’s policies (which I often do) our words are usually there to make a point in a reasonably contained circle. Along comes Seth Rogen with a bigger stage (and questionable knowledge), ranting and repeating opinions many have said many times before about many aspects of modern Judaism.

All is nice and well other than the fact that his celebrity (no matter how unoriginal or uninformed) attracts the attention of those even less informed. While the stated intent to “piss off a bunch of Jews” may seem funny to comedians like him and Marc Maron, there is power and perhaps fuel in his words best left unaired.  " Seth Rogen says 'Israel doesn't make sense' and opens up about his Jewish identity in interview with Marc Maron. "
6.And the Nominees Are
It's Emmys time. (If you haven’t watched The Kominsky Method you’ve missed the show that has my vote.)  Here are more Jewish actors, shows and themes worthy of the nod. I'm curious what the 72nd Emmy Awards ceremony on September 20th, quarantine-style, is going to look like, aren't you?  
FOR YOUR CALENDAR
Monday, August 17, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Zoom workshop: Anti-Semitism: Past and Present
Led by Tom White, Cohen Center, Keene State College
BCC Holocaust and Genocide Center
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.  
Jewish Federation of 
Greater New Bedford

508.997.7471
467 Hawthorn Street, Dartmouth, MA, 02747