The Bulletin


In January, Donald Trump, our newly elected president, will move into the White House following his poll-defying victory. America will not (yet) have a woman president even if for the first time a woman did receive the highest number of votes.

More than 20 years ago, en route to becoming a US citizen, I had to take an exam and show knowledge about our country, our government and our Constitution. In that exam, one is only required to know 60 percent of the answers in order to pass. I'd have suggested a higher threshold, but no one asked.

In the exam, which I successfully passed, I did not know the answer to one question. "What is the 27th Amendment to the Constitution?" they asked. I did remember there were 27 of them, but that was not enough for a perfect score. After the exam, I asked the person who administered the test what the 27th Amendment was about and he said he didn't know either. If you wonder what it is, I did learn that it states that "any law that increases or decreases the salary of members of Congress can only start on their next term in office."

Why am I telling you that, you might ask? Here's why. A few months after that interview I became a US citizen and sure enough a presidential election came around. Bill Clinton ran against Bob Dole. Living in New York at the time, I quickly realized that Clinton was going to win 60 percent of the vote and that more than a million votes in New York would have no impact on the outcome. Welcome to the Electoral College, new citizens. (There was nothing in the exam about the Electoral College I must add.)  I remembered the 27th Amendment question from the exam and on my first time in the booth started writing a 28th amendment in my head. I also learned that Maine and Nebraska addressed the issue and prorate their votes internally. (I liked their thinking, I recall -- as I did when Colorado considered a similar idea in 2004.) Meanwhile, in the years since, I have lived (and voted) in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island and my vote for president (sadly) never mattered, just like it didn't in New York that first time.
This week, for the second time in recent history, the Electoral College and the popular vote did not produce the same result. The language I started drafting in my head back in 1996 seems to be on the minds of more and more Americans after what is perhaps the most polarizing election year ever.
It is of no significance who I voted for. This is not an endorsement of a specific candidate. I would,  however, like to have my vote count no matter what state I live in. That to me is something worth an amendment -- 28th or any other.

Campaign Update -- Continued Thanks
The volume of your gifts for this year's annual campaign has increased this week. Thanks to those who made their gifts early and particularly to those who increased their gifts (even if slightly) over last year.

As you know, pledges made to the 2016-17 campaign are not due until the end of 2017. In fact, a few people who made a pledge toward the 2015-16 campaign and have not yet paid will soon receive a reminder about that pledge. Thank you for your support. 

Please note that i
f you prefer, you can make your donation online.

Kristallnacht 2016

This week marks the end of a presidential campaign and also the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht. On November 9 to November 10, 1938, in an incident known as "Kristallnacht," Nazis in Germany torched synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses and killed close to 100 Jews. The pretext for the attacks was the assassination of the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by Herschel Grynszpan, a German-born Polish Jew living in Paris. Kristallnacht was followed by additional economic and political persecution of Jews, and is viewed by historians as part of Nazi Germany's broader racial policy, and the beginning of the Final Solution and the Holocaust.

We must learn from history to come together as a nation and work together to solve our problems despite our political and religious differences. Next Tuesday, November 15th, at 11:00 AM join Spinner Publications, Marsha Onufrak and Cindy Yoken at the Whaling Museum Theatre for a talk about our own Holocaust survivor, Abe Landau, and his experience surviving 13 camps.

Submitted by Cindy Yoken, co-chair of the Holocaust Education & Memorial Committee

Not Just for Castaways Any Longer
Tom Hanks and a coconut had an epic go-round in the movie Cast Away. He launched a coconut into a cliff. More than once. He attempted to impale the fruit, only to break the stone he used as a tool. In the end, driven by a powerful thirst and man's ingenuity, he conquered the coconut.

So too have two young entrepreneurs. Israeli-born New Yorker Ira Liran and his childhood best friend, Michael Kirban, found inspiration in a barroom conversation and ran with it, founding Vita Coco in 2003. The company is now the global market leader in coconut water and recently added Israel to the list of countries in which the beverage is distributed.

Learn more in The Israeli Chutzpah Behind a Coconut Water Empire. And if you haven't tried coconut water yet, today's as good a day as any to go tropical.

November 15
11:00 AM
Branded on My Arm and in My Soul,
the story of Abraham W. Landau, concentration camps survivor
Speakers from the Jewish Federation Holocaust Education Committee and the editor of Spinner Publications
Sponsored by BCC Holocaust Center
New Bedford Whaling Museum Theatre

November 15
6:45 PM
Israeli Film Night: One Week and a Day
Organized by The Jewish Boston Film Festival and sponsored by IAC Boston and Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies at Boston University
ticket pricing: $16.00; senior/member/student discount - $14.00; group 10+ - $11.00
Coolidge Corner Theater, 290 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA
To learn more about this dark comedy and to see a film trailer, follow this link. Also see the entire schedule of the BJFF screenings.

November 28
6:00 PM
Multi-Cultural New Moon Program
Sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women, the City of New Bedford and the Council of Women's Organizations
For women only of all races, religions and beliefs, the event shares New Moon rituals from Jewish (Rosh Chodesh), Native American, Muslim and Celtic cultures. 
Event is free. Kosher refreshments provided at end of program.
RSVP to Rachel Levinson at (508) 992-7416.


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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