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The Bulletin
09.17.2020
1.Happy New Year
Tomorrow we celebrate the New Year. 5780 was not the year we hoped for and by the looks of it 5781 will at a minimum not start particularly well. That said I do wish you and yours the very best. More than anything stay healthy and well. 

It is a perfect time for new beginnings, always the best time to stick together, supporting one another, making a difference in your community, finding happiness - and please do vote. 

Wishing you and yours a meaningful holiday.
 
Shana Tova,
 
Amir  

NOTE: Many synagogues will be ringing in 5781 with online programming for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Tablet Magazine provides alternatives in "Where to stream High Holiday services."
2.Abraham's New Year
It has been a while since peace was the main and realistic feature in my New Year’s greeting. And somehow - almost out of nowhere, when you least expect it - change happened. Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed peace accords in Washington this week.

Bibi Netanyahu promised and delivered; Jared Kushner was ridiculed but came through; and 45 orchestrated. Not a combination I’d have placed bets on when 5780 started. Yet the Abraham Accords signed this week are not to be ignored nor minimized. This is a breakthrough in a stagnant and hostile Middle East.

In 5781 there is hope more countries will join this process. Bahrain and UAE have never been hostile to Israel and Oman and Morocco (my bets for the next two) haven’t either, but this does send a powerful message to the most hostile players. To Iran, everyone’s bitter enemy, this sign of strength and a collaborative coalition with Israel is both an ideological hit as well as a strategic one. And to the Palestinians this accord could be a sign that the cruel joke people in the Middle East tell is no longer being told behind closed doors. (The joke: "What’s the difference between Bibi and Gulf leaders? Gulf leaders really hate the Palestinians.")

Jokes aside, my explanation is all about economics (my favorite always). Oil revenues can no longer bail Gulf state leaders out and they will no longer tolerate Palestinian resistance to practically anything. Moments after the accords were signed on Tuesday, southern Israel was under missile and artillery attack from Gaza. Partnerships with Israel in education and high-tech is the only future for the region and that may be the best New Year message I’ve heard in a while.  
3.A Cipher No More
It is a long article, but I suggest you consider reading Moment Magazine’s "The Triumphs and Failures of a Jewish Son-in-Law."

The impetus for the article circles back to the Abraham Accords and Jared Kushner's instrumental role in pushing the plan forward. But if you've ever scratched your head and wondered just how this administration functions and what the inside of the relationships there might look like through a Jewish lens, this is the read for you. Thoughtful, nuanced and enlightening are the words I would use to describe it.

"As assistant to the president, Ivanka Trump would carve out policy corners she had spoken about in the past—children, economic empowerment and the education of women—but it quickly became clear that her husband would be handed a very different portfolio. The then 36-year-old senior adviser became what New York Times columnist Roger Cohen has termed the president’s 'go-to person for every known problem on the planet'."
4.Dream Big and Dare
It has been a sad 5780 for Jewish newspapers. The Canadian Jewish News, The Connecticut Jewish Ledger, The Chicago Jewish News and most recently The New York Jewish Week folded, joining the list of ceased publication that already included The Forward. When The New York Jewish Week closed, not surviving the pandemic, The New Jersey Jewish News went down with it.

Four years ago the Jewish Federation of Metro West New Jersey handed the "keys" to the Jewish News to the Jewish Week. They did not anticipate this outcome. Six weeks ago the publication that was their subsidiary for decades was gone.

For me, this one was personal. I worked at the Jewish News for many years and led its expansion in the 1990s. Fortunately, my friend James Janoff, the publisher of the Jewish Standard in New Jersey, had the appetite for it. In a few short weeks he was able to bring new life to the publication and just in time for the New Year the Jewish News is back (check out the front page).

I am also fortunate that he asked for my advice throughout the process and included me during these past few weeks as he made this happen. I’m happy for and proud of him and the team at the Jewish Standard. I’m also pleased to have helped them hire some of the former Jewish News staff that were so abruptly let go a few weeks ago.

For the first issue - a very fine 68-page launch that was printed last night - I wrote a piece about the "old days" at the Jewish News, call it my TBT. There is even a 1997 picture of me in there, but I will not comment on that haircut.

Another new beginning, a rebirth, a new start against the odds, a message of hope. Let’s continue to dream big and dare in the New Year. I plan to.
5.Get the Genius Vote Out
"What do Elana Kagan, Sacha Baron Cohen, Barbra Streisand, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Gal Gadot, Marc Benioff and Steven Spielberg have in common?

"Yes, they are all Jewish. And they all appear on the shortlist of the selection committee of the Genesis Prize to be this year’s laureate.

"This is the first time that the selection committee has released a list of potential winners, and the first time that the global Jewish community has been invited to weigh in on the choice of a winner. Voting is open now on the Genesis Prize website."

Read the full article here.

(One of the nominees made headlines this week apart from the Prize. Sasha Baron Cohen announced an Instagram freeze to protest Facebook's failure to fight hate.)
6.How Sweet It Is
From Moment Magazine, there is "Honey: How Sweet (and Holy) It Is."

"Honey is potent stuff in the Jewish world. Since ancient times, it has been a powerful trope for love, hope and promise, and it is the key ingredient of the iconic honey cake, which retains its High Holiday status to this day."

To wit, I share a honey cake recipe roundup found at JewishBoston.
And in Tablet Magazine we have "Consider the Pomegranate."

"A most Jewish fruit, the pomegranate has a history even more indelible than its juice. With its distinctive crown-topped shape, it’s recognizable to many Jews as an object, typically making its annual guest appearance on the dinner table around Rosh Hashanah. Yet its culinary fortitude tends to be downplayed by many Jews (especially Ashkenazim), its puckery flavor still on the outskirts of the American palate."

For Your Calendar
Bristol Community College Holocaust & Genocide Center presents:

Thursday, October 15, 4:00 PM
LECTURE: "The Legacy of the Nuremberg Trials in the World Today"
Dr. Michael Bryant, Bryant University

Thursday, October 29, 4:00 PM
WORKSHOP: "Lessons from the Past: Facing Difficult History in the U.S. and Germany"
Tom White, Cohen Center, Keene State College

Thursday, November 12, 4:00 PM
LECTURE: "Displaced Persons: Jewish Life in the Aftermath of the Holocaust"
Dr. Avram Patt, University of Connecticut - Storrs


For a Zoom link, contact Gary Brown at gbrown6968@aol.com.
Chag Sameach,

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

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