August 4

The Bulletin

Olympics: Let the Games Begin
In case you haven't heard, the Olympics start tomorrow. In Rio. And with the fanfare there are stories to be told. I'll leave the Zika virus and polluted water pieces to another publication and instead focus on -- what else -- the Jewish angle.

Jibril Rajoub,chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee and notorious PLO chieftain, may not be the best man for the job Jeff Jacoby of The Boston Globe writes: "But Palestinian athletes deserve a better leader than Rajoub, a man so toxic with hatred that he applauds terror attacks and denounces games that bring Arab and Jewish kids together."    

At 22, Aly Raisman is the Grandma of the US gymnastics team. She's cool with the moniker. She'll be even cooler with some medals to show for her elite athleticism when the Games conclude. Go, Aly!

Israel's largest ever delegation is ready for Rio with 47 athletes competing in 17 sports. The contingent will be cheered by thousands of Israeli tourists and Jews from around the world.

And in other sports news, NBA star Amar'e Stoudemire retired as a Knick and signed a two-year deal  with the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team this week. Stoudemire is no stranger to Israel. He has been a minority owner of the team since 2013. With the deal and the move, the athlete can more fully embrace his faith as a Hebrew Israelite. Amar'e makes Aliyah? Stranger things have happened.   


When Jeffrey Goldberg Tweets

Goldberg, a correspondent for The Atlantic who writes frequently about Israel and Middle East affairs, ruffled some feathers this week when he tweeted, "I think I'm getting ready to leave Ha'aretz behind, actually," in response to an article in the left-leaning Israeli daily. The piece, written by two American-Jewish historians, speaks to why they have "left Zionism behind." Read more on this in JTA.

My first newspaper job was with Ha'aretz Group (the name then). In my first job in the US, I worked with Jeffrey Goldberg. In the most recent tweet spat (so fun) between the writer and the news source, I stand with Jeff.
Bibi, a Man of Many Ministries

In a recent New York Times op-ed piece we learn that for the past 18 months, in addition to his prime ministerial duties, Benjamin Netanyahu has served as Israel's communications minister (as well as its foreign minister, economy minister and minister of regional cooperation). He is either very good or very bad at his job of communication minister, depending on your point of view. Ruth Margalit, an Israeli writer living in New York and author of the NYT op-ed, would argue for the latter. She shares that in its annual report released this spring, Freedom House, an American democracy advocacy organization, downgraded Israel's freedom of the press ranking from "free" to "partly free" and goes on to detail why.

Liel Leibovitz's response to Margalit's "lengthy dirge" in a Tablet Magazine rebuttal is also lengthy and equally opinionated.  
Jewish History of Local Discount Stores

If you remember Mars Bargainland, Arlans and Cove Discount Center, you will appreciate this look back at the Rise and Fall of New Bedford's discount stores. Before there was, there was the local store that stocked everything a household might need. In New Bedford, we can thank Jewish businessmen Lester and Herbert Palestine, Hyman Feinstein, Matthew Tatelbaum, Louis Queen and James Faulk for that convenience. All but one store have since closed. Only the former Mars Bargainland in Dartmouth, renamed and transformed into Big Value Outlet, survives as a Tatelbaum family holding.
Random Act of Kindness, Practiced

A Facebook post by a Muslim-American woman about the kindness of a 90-year-old Jewish man has been attracting the attention of thousands of social media users. Lenny approached Leena Al-Arian, a young Muslim mother shopping with her two daughters, in a Boston-area bookstore.

His message? "A heartfelt apology for the general anti-Muslim sentiment in our society today. He had tears in his eyes and told me that it must be so hard to turn on the news, that he feels awful about the bigotry my kids might one day experience, and that as a Jewish man whose parents didn't speak any English growing up, he personally understands what it feels like to be rejected and discriminated against," Al-Arian wrote in her Facebook post. Read more about their meeting here
Matisyahu and the Busker

In Maui for a music festival last week, Matisyahu, the Jewish American reggae star, happened upon one of his songs being performed by a coffee shop singer. As the man sang One Day accompanied by his ukulele, Matisyahu harmonized with the performer, only to reveal his identity after the song was over. The serendipitous encounter was filmed by a member of Matisyahu's party.  In this Billboard interview, the musician talks about the coffee shop duet that went viral. 

September 25
Campaign launch!

The documentary On the Map will take place in September with exact details to follow.


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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