The Bulletin

So This Happened Last Weekend

Some of you, I know, were watching the Patriots clinch a spot in Super Bowl LI on Sunday. But before that, you maybe found some time to watch the pomp and circumstance of the inauguration of our 45th president on Friday and a historic march of millions (exhausting work tallying America's largest protest) in protest of that selfsame inauguration a day later.

It is, of course, our obligation to share with you the top five Jewish inauguration moments, including how Senator Schumer and Rabbi Hier snuck Jewish dissent into the Trump inaugural.

The following day, in a sea of knitted pink caps, thousands of Jewish protesters joined the Women's March. The National Council of Jewish Women acted as a formal partner of the march and the Reform movement also represented with over a thousand participants in D.C. alone.

And as we look ahead, there are the 11 top Jews in Trump's administration to keep on your radar. How will they advocate for Jews here and in Israel? Time will tell.
An Animated Analogy

You don't have to be a fan of The Simpsons (the longest-running American sitcom and the longest-running American animated program) to have a sense of the characters. But in case you have not caught an episode in its 28-season run, I'll tell you this : Lisa, the middle child, is a precocious eight-year-old activist, intelligent, passionate and the moral center of the family.

So when Bethany Mandel, writing for The Forward, posits the question Could Ivanka Trump be the Lisa Simpson of the White House? we have reason to be encouraged.

"Poised, well spoken and thoughtful, Ivanka can exert a steadying influence on her father. Few are able to calm down Homer or the Donald but, like Lisa can calm her dad, Ivanka Trump can pacify hers," writes Mandel. "During interviews and in her public face to the world on social media, Ivanka Trump's image and persona are polished, thoughtful and deliberate. She is a Modern Orthodox Jewish woman with a strong commitment to her family." A daddy's girl for the times in which we live.
Portnoy's Latest Complaint

It's a rare writer who finds himself at a loss for words. Philip Roth, he who has often written about American Jewish life to both fanfare and censure, is definitely not in that position. Writing to The New Yorker recently, he claimed, among other things, that Trump is an ignorant con man with a "vocabulary of 77 words".

Tell us what you really think, Phil.

In case you've forgotten just who Philip Roth is, there's this: Roth is one of the most award-winning U.S. writers of his generation. His books have twice received the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle award, and three times the PEN/Faulkner Award. He received a Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 novel American Pastoral.

But it was Portnoy's Complaint that really got people to sit up and pay attention. The novel caused a major controversy in American public discourse. The two aspects that evoked such outrage were its explicit and candid treatment about sexuality and obscenities and the irreverent portrait of Jewish identity. It sparked an uproar in the Jewish community, even among New York intellectuals.

If you'd like to revisit his works, you might start with the local book discussion group (see Calendar below) reading The Plot Against America.
Kosher Food Goes
Up in Smoke

I say barbecue; you say Southern -- and definitely not kosher.

And you'd be off the mark on both counts. Exciting times ahead for Jewish fans of the smoky, sublime experience that is authentic barbecue. For now there is a kosher stamp on Texas barbecue. And it's just down the road.

From The Great Kosher Restaurants Magazine, there is this review of Brooklyn's Izzy's Smokehouse: "Sruli is front and center slicing and weighing out the meats directly in front of your eyes and salivating, dropped jaw. The ginormous Dino Rib covered in a massive chunk of beef and the Brisket are the stars of the show. Tender meat with salt and pepper bark might change your perspective on life forever- or at least your relationship with beef. You will fall madly in love." Now there's a risk-free relationship any carnivore would embrace.

Monday, February 27
12:00 - 1:30 PM (lunch included)
Jewish Culture Book Club, reading The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
UMass Dartmouth, Claire T. Carney Library, Room 314


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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