The Bulletin

This week Jewish center bomb threats top 100. Children are removed from schools. Gravestones are toppled. Institutional crisis guidelines are reviewed. What does it all mean? If nothing else, it tells us that anti-Semitism never truly goes away; it just waits patiently to rear its ugly head when the prevailing winds allow.

Last night, in his first speech to Congress, the president said, "Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week's shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms." Agreed.
banitsa (Bulgarian pastry)
Coming to a Synagogue Near You
(in 25 days) 

Save the date for Cooking a Dialogue when Jewish and Muslim Israelis visit our community to speak the common language of food on Monday, March 27.

Cooking a Dialogue is one of the projects that was created by Marching Together, an Israeli citizens' social movement of Jews, Arabs and all ethnic groups "who wish to live together in mutual respect and civil equality." Cooking a Dialogue comprises 30 women (Arab-Muslims, Christians and Jews) "who come together every three weeks to talk, laugh, share their daily lives and . . . EAT." Each of the ladies brings a dish, with the hostess teaching the others how to make one of her traditional dishes.

This year the Afula-Gilboa-SNEC Partnership2Gether program is bringing to our community (and others) four women from the Cooking a Dialogue group. They will share their personal stories, heritage and background about the movement and coexistence in the Afula-Gilboa region.

The program is brought to our community as a collaboration between the Federation and Tifereth Israel. Stay tuned for more information about our guests and how to register for this fun and exciting program.
Oscar's Mom

Oscar winners seem to always thank their moms. Benj Pasek (Best Original Song, City of Stars from La La Land) went a step further this year in what is my favorite "Jewish" moment when he said, "I want to thank my mom who is amazing and who is my date tonight. She let me quit the JCC soccer league to be in a school musical. This is dedicated to all the kids who sing in the rain and all the moms who let them." Not that we needed a reminder, but Benj did remind us Jewish moms are the best.   

Like every year,
Oscar was smiling on Jewish talent. My duty is simply to bring it to you as did the team at the Jewish Journal who made it rather easy for me.
And for the year's surprise fact? Kenneth Lonergan, "the greatest Jewish playwright you didn't know was Jewish," won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Manchester by the Sea.

That's a wrap.
A Chicago Jew in the Athens of the South

Most Jews who visit Nashville keep right on going after seeing the Grand Ole Opry House, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and the District, featuring honky-tonks with live music and the Johnny Cash Museum. But Emily Siner isn't one of them. In a piece for The Forward, she writes about how she found her Jewish soul in Tennessee, the third-most Christian state in the country.

Despite its 160-year-old community, Nashville is not known as a hub of Judaism. It has about 11,000 people. (For context, Boston is a slightly less populated city but has 22 times more Jews.)

Siner said, "I was used to feeling like a minority. But for the first time, I felt like an outsider." She countered that feeling of isolation by becoming highly engaged with other Jews in the city, a phenomenon common in small communities in which members are sprurred to a greater sense of personal responsibility. Proving you can take a girl out of her community, but you cannot take the community out of the girl finding her groove in Music City.
The Pot Calling the Money Green

However you feel about the controversial recreational marijuana law, which was approved by Massachusetts voters in November, there is no denying that the times they are a changin'. And not just at home apparently.

In Israel, one of the leading countries in marijuana research, a push to decriminalize the drug is picking up steam, with "political hawks and skullcap-wearing businessmen" leading the charge.

In Israel's Surprising Consensus: Marijuana, we read that "medical marijuana in Israel is about to become much more lucrative" with initial approval for exporting cannabis given last month. Israel will probably reap around $1 billion in the next two years. Now that's a lot of green.
Most Famous Picture in Israel's History

David Rubinger took thousands of great pictures in his long career. His picture at the Western Wall of the soldiers who liberated the Old City of Jerusalem in June 1967 is by far his best and is likely the most famous in the country's history.
As Israel is preparing for the 50th anniversary of that day he (and his work) are remembered.   
The three paratroopers (now in their 70s) posed for another shot in 2007. Here's a little more about their story.
Steven, Sue, Nancy and Anne with Mom
Nancy at the Whaling Museum

She Liked Peanut Butter

Leah Adler, mother of Nancy (and Steven) Spielberg died last week at the age of 97. We offer Nancy, who visited our community in May, 2015, for a screening of her film Above and Beyond, and her siblings our sympathies for their loss.

For a small window into the woman and matriarch, read Sruli Broocker's blog entry My Incredible Meeting with Steven Spielberg's Mom.
The People's Court

The first TV reality show, debuting in 1981, starred the son of Jewish immigrants from Romania and Russia. The People's Court made its resident jurist a household name during its 12-year run. Judge Wapner died over the weekend at 97.

Before becoming a TV judge, Wapner served as an L.A. County Superior Court judge for 20 years. He was appointed to a judgeship in Los Angeles municipal court in 1959. Two years later, Judge Wapner was elected presiding judge of the city's vast Superior Court system, in which he supervised some 200 fellow judges.

"I was the only Jew who'd ever been elected," he said in a 1982 interview, "and I don't know when there'll be another."

Dustin Hoffman's fervent "three minutes to Wapner" in Rain Man solidified his status as a cultural icon.

Learn more about the the judge's full life in the New York Times obituary.

Reader Feedback

It is always great to hear from you. I like your feedback, which I get each week.

Responding to last week's Bulletin one reader wrote that "According to the Talmud, a Bar Mitzva is any Jewish male over the age of thirteen years and one day. Therefore Aaron Sorkin is a Bar Mitzva regardless of whether he had a 'bar mitzva' ceremony or not." 

Another suggested that the speech by new UN Secretary General Antonio Guterras on January 27th , International Holocaust Remembrance Day, was perhaps a shift in direction of the embattled institution.

And one more: "Thank you for your updated weekly news via email. Your articles are interesting, educational and enjoyable."
Scholarship Applications Available

Members' children and grandchildren are encouraged to apply for scholarships from the Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford and the New Bedford section of the National Council of Jewish Women. If interested, please write to office@jewishnewbedford.org  or call 508-997-7471.

Wednesday, March 22, 7:00 PM
Judor/Shorashim/Roots: An Orthodox settler and a Palestinian activist say reconciliation begins with seeing the humanity of our enemy.
Speakers: Ali Abu Awwad and Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger
Claire T. Carney Library Grand Reading Room, UMass Dartmouth

Thursday, March 23
Speaker: Dr. Julius Menn, Holocaust survivor
Sponsored by the BCC Holocaust Center and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Room H-209, Jackson Arts Center, Bristol Community College, 777 Elsbree Street, Fall River

Monday, March 27
Cooking a Dialogue with Jewish and Muslim Israeli ethnic cooks
Cosponsored with Tifereth Israel Congregation, at TI

Friday, March 31

Native American Genocide Conference
Speaker: Karl Jacoby, author and history professor, Columbia University
Jackson Arts Center, Bristol Community College, 777 Elsbree Street, Fall River

Tuesday, April 4, 6:00 PM
12th Annual Cape Verdean-Jewish Passover Seder
Liberation stories and songs of Jews and Cabo Verdeanos shared.
Hibernian Hall (3rd floor ballroom), 184 Dudley Street, Roxbury, MA

Thursday, April 6

Reading Holocaust Survivor First-Hand Accounts
Speaker: Lawrence Langer, professor emeritus of English and Holocaust education, Simmons College
Jackson Arts Center, Bristol Community College, 777 Elsbree Street, Fall River

Sunday, April 23, 6:30 PM
Yom HaShoah annual observance
Speaker: Rabbi Joseph Polak, Holocaust child survivor and friend of Elie Wiesel
Theme: Lessons from Elie Wiesel and Other Survivors
Holocaust Monument at Buttonwood Park to Tifereth Israel Synagogue

Monday, April 24, 4:00 PM
Holocaust Memorial Day lecture: A Hard Look in the Mirror: Nostra Aetate as Catholic Self-Reflection After the Holocaust
Speaker: Dr. Arthur Urbano, Providence College
Woodland Commons, UMass Dartmouth


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 amir@jewishnewbedford.org.

Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford, 467 Hawthorn Street, Dartmouth, MA 02747
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