The Bulletin
1.Swastika in Fairhaven - Far From Standard Times
In last week’s Bulletin I mentioned the swastika in Fairhaven and the op-ed I wrote with Federation President Manya Bark. We hoped it would appear in The Standard-Times, but it did not. There’s No Such Thing as Just One Swastika we titled it and here are some excerpts:

“What if President Roosevelt ordered the bombing of the train tracks? Would we be talking about FIVE million murdered instead of SIX? . . . What about the cemetery in Fall River that was desecrated by antisemitic graffiti or the bagel store in Dartmouth? Did local police or the FBI ever find anything regarding these crimes? Let me answer that for you; they did not . . . So why would we make a big deal when just one swastika was painted on a tree in Fairhaven? Because we have a moral responsibility to do so in the name of the six million and if no one does I’m going to on behalf of our Jewish community and Jewish communities everywhere.”

When we submitted this to The Standard-Times last week, we thought it was important that people outside the Jewish community read this. In the past we found a receptive ear at The Standard-Times. Their writers and editors consulted with us on things that mattered to the Jewish community and reporters like Deb Ryan made reaching out a regular part of the job. No way a swastika in Fairhaven story would have appeared without them reaching out.

It is Sad Times now. The note on the door says that the building no longer serves the paper and the phone number for the newsroom rings with no answer. Online reports of high school sports somehow appear, but a local daily it is not. It is very sad for me to see because my first job as a 14-year-old was at a daily and I spent years in newspaper publishing. Coincidentally The Atlantic published What We Lost When Gannett Came to Town about the Hawk Eye, a newspaper in Iowa. It is, as they say, déjà vu.

2.Emmy Award Comes to Afula-Gilboa
Ariyela Wald-Cohain won an Emmy for costume design a couple of weeks ago. That’s her smiling and excited with the award. Her son Liad is a lone soldier serving in the Israeli Army. He is part of the Tzabar program that provides support, a home and host families for lone soldiers who come to serve when their families are not in Israel. Liad’s home is in our partnership region of Afula-Gilboa in Moledet where there is a home set up for soldiers like him.

When I got Ariyela’s number, the contact information said Liad’s mom. I told her that this is super exciting news for us to make this connection, talk about her accomplishment and about her son’s brave sacrifice. I asked her to send me a picture with him in uniform and she of course did. Thank you Ariyela, thank you Liad and congrats.

After wrapping up the part of our conversation that made this Bulletin item possible and expressing how amazing it is to see what her son is doing, I told her that my son is at school at USC and is actually much closer to her than to me. "Wow," she wrote back, "Tell him he is invited for Shabbat dinner anytime." I think he would like that.
3.GA Surprises
There was a time when the GA (General Assembly) was code for getting together in person with as many as 5,000 Jews from all over the world. When Marty Lipman and I were in D.C. a few years ago, there were more than 4,000 with us in what was an exciting event. A few months before Covid-19 changed our lives forever, Manya Bark and I were back at the same venue in D.C. and once again nearly 4,000 Jews were there with us.

Fast forward to this weekend and the 2021 JFNA General Assembly has been reduced (for me) to the 89-minute YouTube video below that I am happy to share with you. I do not expect anyone to watch the entire thing (I too skipped a few parts), but I want to suggest that you do watch three segments:
  1. At 29:40 minutes listen to Congressman Ritchie Torres of NY. I suggest this knowing full well that Torres is a progressive and it is very uncomfortable for me to say anything about progressives other than I hope they lose their next elections to someone who is not. Ritchie (and watch the video to see why) can win re-election anytime with this kind of moral compass.
  2. Interestingly, at 38:40 Ambassador Nikki Haley (appointed by 45, I know) takes center stage and while on the opposite end of the political spectrum is equally strong in her support. The first governor to introduce anti-BDS legislation, Haley speaks of her visits to Israel, her support for Israel and her strong stand against antisemitism.
  3. But perhaps the most exciting part is at the very end at 1:25:20, where the Andinet Band of the Haruv absorption center in Israel sings Hallelujah (both of them - watch it all and you’ll get it).
4.Playoff Ball
I was told that the Yankees and Red Sox started this year’s playoffs and that must be exciting news to some. Considering that Mr. October thing is in the air, it is probably not a coincidence that the St. Louis Jewish Light ran “The 12 greatest Jewish feats in baseball playoff history” (printed with permission from the Forward).

After all, their Cardinals were next to play in this playoff season (eliminated last night). So here’s to wishing this is but a distraction for a limited time and that more significant sporting events make new headlines before too long.

In other news, Bob Kraft gave Tom Brady a hug on Sunday night in what was the only Jewish moment in an otherwise rain-soaked mediocre game of football that sports journalists were desperate to try to describe as relevant. It was not. The Bucs are a playoff team with an unlikely chance of a Super Bowl repeat while the Patriots are 1:3 with no chance of doing . . . well, anything.
Comedian Sarah Silverman is fun because she isn’t afraid to cross lines or get very close to them - lines others might not imagine crossing - and because Sarah and I have the same favorite word. In her latest podcast, Sarah calls out Hollywood’s casting of women at a time when representation is EVERYTHING. “The pattern in film is undeniable, and the pattern is that if the Jewish character is courageous and deserves love she is never played by a Jew. Felicity Jones was RBG, Rachel Brosnahan was Maisel, all the Pfefferman twins in Transparent, Margo Martindale is Bella Abzug, Tracy Ullman is Betty Friedan and on and on and on . . .
“There’s this long tradition of non-Jews playing Jews, and not just playing people who happen to be Jewish, but people whose Jewishness is their whole being,” Silverman said. “One could argue, for instance, that a gentile playing Joan Rivers correctly would be doing what is actually called ‘Jewface.’
It’s defined as when a non-Jew portrays a Jew with the Jewishness front and center, often with makeup or changing of features - big fake nose, all the New York-y or Yiddish-y inflection. And in a time when the importance of representation is seen as so essential and so front and center, why does ours constantly get breached, even today in the thick of it?”
6.In Keto We Trust
What would your bubbe think? Gribenes are making a comeback - but this time around you'll find them in the chips aisle of your grocery store rather than the deli or your family's kitchen.

"While it may have become foreign to the Jewish palate, that doesn’t mean it’s entirely gone. They are now seeing a renaissance as, of all things, a diet alternative to potato chips.
Edward Chien, president of one of the first brands to get into the game, Chick N’ Skin, had never heard the name gribenes when he started.

"Instead he was first introduced to the idea of fried chicken skins in 2015 by his Thai wife as nang kai thot, a dish popular across Southeast Asia. So popular, in fact, that Asian KFC’s feature it on their menus.
Within two years from that first taste, Chien was selling his own skins at pop-up food fairs around California, and along the way learning about the different cultures and traditions which made similar foods — including gribenes.

“'It really took off,” Chien said. 'There’s something about chicken skin that touches a lot of cultures.'
He recalled customers coming up to him at the fairs and telling stories about how their grandmothers once made the same thing at Jewish holidays."
7.Jewish Mac and Cheese
Jake Cohen, Jewish food blogger with a Jewish Iraqi husband, soon discovered that a sweet Ashkenazi kugel didn't do it for his in-laws. His answer? What he refers to as his "first savory kugel baby" - Noodle Kugel With Caramelized Onions and Brown Butter. (I think I'm on Team Jake. Raisins in my pasta, not so much.)
For Your Calendar
Thursday, October 7, 4:00 PM Online (Zoom)
All the Horrors of War: A Jewish Girl, A British Doctor, and the Liberation of Bergen Belson
Lecture and discussion by Dr. Bernice Lerner, senior scholar at Boston University
Bristol Community College Holocaust & Genocide Center

Thursday, October 28, 4:00 PM Online (Zoom)
The Armenian Genocide
Lecture and discussion by Pauline Getzoyan, editor of the Rhode Island Armenian Newsletter
Bristol Community College Holocaust & Genocide Center

Sunday - Thursday, November 14-18, Any time, Online
Screen the film Passage to Sweden online for free
Bristol Community College Holocaust & Genocide Center

Thursday, November 18, 4:00 PM Online (Zoom)
Join documentarian and producer Susannah Warlick to discuss her award-winning film Passage to Sweden
Bristol Community College Holocaust & Genocide Center
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