The Bulletin


1.Join Us This Evening

I will be at UMass Dartmouth this evening for the screening of Three Minutes A Lengthening. Since we Never Forget we will commemorate Kristallnacht today. I look forward to seeing you at 6:00 PM. I decided to send the Bulletin out earlier this week to make sure you get my personal invitation in time.

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2."It’s Pretty #$%& Normal"

John Stewart has a good point when he reminds us that antisemitism (my addition: behavior, rhetoric, invitation to participate) has become the norm. I don’t think Dave Chappelle is a racist or an antisemite even if he has made antisemitic comments in the past, and he added a few more during his monologue on SNL last week. "The fact that singers and athletes and comedians make hateful and ugly statements about Jews is nothing new. Plumbers and poets and politicians do it too. But Che’s joke touched on an uncomfortable truth – that society is willing to let these antisemites off with a slap on the wrist at worst as long as they are willing to make even the slightest effort toward faking remorse and offering the barest pretense of regret,” notes Dan Schnur for the Jewish Journal in "The Chappelle Jewish Dance."

And here is where Stewart’s important contribution is key. We have to talk about it because when John Stewart speaks we know and recognize the comedy, but when Chapelle speaks to a national audience it feeds previously held antisemitic beliefs and behaviors in ways that are not at all dissimilar to what right wing nationalists do and that is the thing to remember. Kyrie Irving is a fool who will promote a movie he did not see and a concept he knows nothing about, but Chappelle is anything but. This is a teaching moment and an opportunity. Perhaps the John Stewarts and Jessica (and Jerry) Seinfelds of the world can help us seize it. Please watch Stewart on Colbert and see for yourself and get to the point where he talks about healing a wound.

Also check out Andrew Silow-Carroll in The Times of Israel.

We are going to continue this conversation because this is not going away. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. In fact, come to our program tonight at UMass Dartmouth and we can talk about how this is only the weekly chapter in a series that started at Mt. Sinai, went through many turns including Kristallnacht, and will sadly have a new installment next week. Antisemitism (ugh) has no season finale. When we show up we do our best to influence the ratings as we stand tall, proud and fearless.

3.The Other Racist

In 2020, a couple of elections ago, the right wing parties shunned Itamar Ben Gvir as too radical. His party received less than half of one percent of the votes and no seats in the Knesset. He first came to the public's attention 27 years ago, before the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin - when he bragged on television, "We got to his car, and we'll get to him too." - holding in his hand the emblem from Rabin's Cadillac. In the years since most of his 53 indictments for racism and incitement have been thrown out, but in 2007 he was actually convicted.

Negotiations for Netanyahu's next government are ongoing. The early signs are that his demand to legalize a variety of illegal West Bank settlements as a condition to join the government will be approved. He is heading the coalition negotiations and will be a cabinet member. It is almost a cliché to say that no election is as important as this one and that there are moments of "crossing the Rubicon" (or pick your own favorite). A future government in Israel where so many are convicted, indicted and famous for racist opinions truly is scary. Even if President Herzog only calls it a concern because he has to, and even that was said when he didn't realize the mic was on. See this Reuters story for more.

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4.American Jews Aren't Buying

"Trump looks at polls closely, and one result continues to irk him: his poor showing among American Jewish voters. He keeps saying, most recently this week at the ZOA gala, that American Jews aren’t sufficiently loyal to Israel, otherwise they would not overwhelmingly back Democrats (and oppose Trump).” It is not the first time he has said that. Now that  "Donald Trump is running for president, again. Here's what American Jews need to know." –from JTA.


He actually believes “No president has done more for Israel than I have,” but what he might fail to understand is that differences in values and morality sometimes present gaps no policies can overcome. If he wins the Republican nomination we are going to find out.

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5.Billionaire Weekly Update

I missed the rise of Sam Bankman-Fried, likely because I have no interest in crypto. That said, when a billionaire loses everything in one week it's a news item I will notice. It's a story I actually expected to read (about someone, anyone involved in cryptocurrency) months ago and now it has happened.

"One of the most striking things about the collapse of crypto exchange FTX, once counted among the world’s largest, is the extent to which it caught the supposed watchdogs of the tech industry by surprise. How could Sam Bankman-Fried, the brainiac financial visionary, crowned earlier this year the 'crypto emperor' by The New York Times, have steered his armada of crypto firms into the rocks so recklessly?"


There will be stories of fraud, and celebrity names will be thrown in, but perhaps all we want to do at this point is read the full Tablet article: "Inventing the Crypto King - How the media created the myth of Sam Bankman-Fried."

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6.The Music Man

"Now in his 50th year of conducting, the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra founder discusses the art of possibility and the power of connection" in JewishBoston's "Benjamin Zander shares the magic of music."

"Zander’s life in music began when he was a child and studied the cello. By the age of nine, he was composing music. He credits his father with handing down and inspiring his son’s musicality. 'My father was an extraordinary amateur musician. He was able to read a score the way that people read books. He could hear the music as if played on a record player. So when he was serving in the First World War on the Russian front, his mother sent him scores—even ones he had never heard—and he ‘read’ them in the trenches. That’s an amazing ability.' "

Below is Zander's TED Talk, "The transformative power of classical music."

7.Newish Jewish Cuisine

"What you have is what you use, and what’s near you becomes part of you," writes Sonya Sanford.

"In all of my conversations with longtime Jewish community members, and throughout my own culinary experiences as a chef and food writer, I’ve witnessed a Northwest Jewish food pattern emerging. Conversations around 'healthier' dishes, minimizing fat and carbohydrates, were the norm long before it was in vogue. Vegetarian and vegan options are far from an afterthought, carrot lox and tofurkeys grace festive tables, and Portland boasts one of the first fully plant-based Jewish delis in the nation. Tables across denominations and immigrant backgrounds are full of seasonal salads and Mediterranean-influenced spreads and sides. Whether out of necessity or spirit, there is a strong affinity for foods made from scratch.

"In the Pacific Northwest, the old world is often the new world. Modern conveniences are replaced with traditional food preparations. Why buy pickles when you can make your own?"

Below are some recipes for foods talked about in the article. Enjoy.

Martha Stewart's Salmon and Cod Gefilte Fish

Teriyaki-Roasted Chicken and Gravy

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Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)

For Your Calendar

January 29, 2023

"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."

Visit our website

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 

Jewish Federation of 
Greater New Bedford

467 Hawthorn Street, Dartmouth, MA, 02747
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