The Bulletin

Myriam's Memorial Vandalized

When vandals damaged a Holocaust sculpture at Milton Cemetery this week, stealing two bronze Stars of David, artist Fred Manasse was understandably upset.

Manasse, who was a guest speaker at our Federation in 2010, created Myriam's Memorial to honor his sister, who died in a Nazi concentration camp as a child, and the one-and-a-half-million children who died in the Holocaust.

A Waltham resident who was born in Germany and last saw his sister in 1939 when she was a toddler, Manasse said the theft "has to be considered a hate crime, because it's clearly a Jewish symbol."
Netanyahu and the UN, Like Oil and Water

[Note: This Bulletin was written prior to the prime minister's early afternoon speech. Should anything of significance come out of the speech, I will communicate that with you separately.]

Netanyahu will speak at the United Nations General Assembly today. Prior to leaving for New York, he shared his thoughts with the Israeli public. "I expect one standard from the international community in the war against terrorism," he said. "The international community says there is a need to fight terrorism with determination and in an uncompromising manner. Therefore they also need to support Israel's determined and uncompromising struggle against terrorism."

After arriving on Tuesday, however, Netanyahu was greeted by a speech from the head of the UN that slammed Israel. "As a friend of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, it pains me that this past decade has been 10 years lost to peace," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "Ten years lost to illegal settlement expansion. Ten years lost to intra-Palestinian divide, growing polarization and hopelessness. This is madness."

On Wednesday, Netanyahu met with Obama, likely for the last time. Though the two leaders have made little pretense about their less than cordial relationship, they put a good face on it for this get-together.  Bibi even invited Obama to play golf at an Israeli course -- just not with him, as Bibi doesn't do golf.
Defying the Nazis

The extraordinary story of Americans Waitstill and Martha Sharp is told in Ken Burns' new film Defying the Nazis: The Sharps' War, premiering September 20 on PBS.

Unitarians who left their two children and a quiet life in New England, the Sharps traveled to Nazi-occupied Europe and smuggled hundreds of Jews to safety.

Co-directed by Burns and Artemis Joukowsky, a grandson of the Sharps', the story is told through archival footage, interviews with those saved by the Sharps, and written recollections by the Sharps. Tom Hanks narrates.

Burns is best known for sweeping documentaries on broad topics, including Civil War, Jazz and Baseball. But when confronting the Holocaust's enormity, Burns said the best approach was to focus on narrow, resonant stories like that of the Sharps rather than statistics that can mask the pain of mass atrocity.

For more on this compelling project, read this JTA article and for more on the couple's exploits in rescuing people read this Washington Post article and Yad Vashem account. (On September 9, 2005, Yad Vashem conferred upon the late Waitstill and Martha Sharp the title of Righteous Among the Nations.)

When Civil Divorce is Not Enough

Divorce makes good copy. Just ask the former Brangelina, the celebrity power couple whose divorce was announced this week. What it doesn't make as often is criminal headlines.

Yet in a Forward article called Murder Plot Sheds Light on Orthodox Divorce Underworld
we get a glimpse of how a get (or lack thereof) gets one young woman and a rabbi with expertise in religious divorce issues in trouble with the law.

Josh Nathan-Kazis writes, "In 2013, New York's tabloids were enthralled with the case of the 'Prodfather,' an Orthodox rabbi who led a kidnapping ring that charged hefty fees to use cattle prods on recalcitrant husbands who 'chained' their wives by not giving them a religious divorce.

"Today, the 'Prodfather' is in a federal prison in New Jersey, but a new ring of ultra-Orthodox men stands accused of plotting another violent conspiracy that, if it had been carried out, would have made the 'Prodfather' look like a yeshiva boy."

Even with a civil divorce decree in hand, a woman is not divorced in the Orthodox Jewish world until her husband gives her a get. Until then, she is an agunah, a "chained" woman. If she falls in love and decides to remarry without the get, she would be considered an adulteress, and her children from that union would be shunned. For more insight into the modern agunot crisis read this Newsweek article.
Make Reservations

Conde Nast Traveler published its 207 of the Greatest Restaurants in the World list this week. (207? Clearly they did not get the memo that everything must be in increments of 18, but I digress.) 

Good news from Massachusetts --three restaurants made the list.

Even better news from Israel. The magazine in prior years totally ignored the food capital of the world (that's my personal view), but this year several Israeli restaurants made the list.

And not only that, Israeli food establishments outside of Israel made the list as well. Chef Eyal Shani (for example) has restaurants in both Tel Aviv and London included. Readers of this Bulletin and those who came to our event "In Search of Israeli Cuisine" remember Mike Solomov of Zahav in Philadelphia. Others may recall Alon Shaya's New Orleans restaurant Shaya.
All in all the complete list is very interesting. Personally I'm eight down, 199 to go.
Bon Appetit!
Transparent Opinion

Transparent, the comedy series about a Jewish family whose father comes out as transgender, won Emmy Awards for Jewish director Jill Soloway and lead actor Jeffrey Tambor earlier this week. At an event in which the Emmys took a shine to Jewish talent, Soloway made headlines for something other than her directorial achievements. Speaking to reporters backstage following her acceptance speech, Soloway compared Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler.

In this Tablet Magazine article, writer Jonathan Zalman looks more closely at Soloway's words, exploring the concept of "other-izing people" and the lessons history imparts about this inherently dangerous practice.

On the Map Event Canceled
You should have received an email earlier this week with news that the screening of On the Map, to have been held this Sunday, September 25, at UMass Dartmouth has been canceled.


October 5
6:30 - 8:00 PM
#Israel: Advocating for Israel in 140 Characters or Fewer
An event hosted by the Israel Consulate featuring speaker William Daroff, senior vice president of public policy for JFNA , who was named the "#1 Influencer on Jewish Twitter" by JTA. Other panelists include Jeremy Burton, JCRC executive director and Lironne Koret, new media director at the Israeli Mission to the UN. The panelists will provide insights on how to successfully build a following, share the difficulties of, and offer practices in advocating for Israel.
CIC Cambridge, One Broadway, Cambridge
RSVP to http://tinyurl.com/bostonisrael

October 6
7:00 PM
Internationally renowned, best-selling author Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie) presents Giving Is Living lecture followed by book signing
Angus Bailey Auditorium, UMass Dartmouth
Reserve $25/pp tickets here. Space is limited.

October 6
7:00 PM
Screening of The Consul of Bordeaux, a film about Aristedes de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese consul in Bordeaux who saved over 30,000 lives from Nazi persecution
Bristol Community College, Fall River campus, Jackson Art Center, Room H-209


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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