The Bulletin

Israel on Fire

A new form of terrorism was directed at Israelis last week. FIRES.

While it is unclear how many of the 1,773 fires that burned were arson, it is very clear that some were. What is also clear is that thousands of people were left homeless and that the impact of these devastating fires will be long lasting.

Twenty-two countries from around the world offered firefighting help in an extraordinary show of support, but it wasn't until the weather shifted earlier this week with rain throughout the country that the battle was finally won.

Prime Minister Netanyahu called the fires "terror in every way" and here in North America Federations have lined up emergency funds. If you would like to support those in need, you can do so here at the Jewish Federations of North America website.

And a close-up perspective:
one writer's view from Israel as featured in The National Review.
Pillars of the Community Remembered 

l-r: Dr. Irving Fradkin, Ruth Gruber,

On November 19, philanthropist Dr. Irving Fradkin died at the age of 95 at his home in Fall River. Dr. Fradkin was a member of our Federation's Holocaust Education and Memorial Committee and started the Interfaith Committee in Fall River in 1976. He is more well known for the scholarship foundation he started in his office in 1958 that has since spread to the entire nation. Scholarship America is the largest scholarship organization in the country. It oversees 500 chapters of Dollars for Scholars and advises or administers 1,300 other scholarship programs. The group has given out $3.5 billion to 2.2 million students. Not bad for "an optometrist with vision," as Dr. Fradkin liked to call himself.  

Ruth Gruber died in New York on November 17 at 105 years of age. She was a journalist, photographer, writer, humanitarian, and a United States government official. Gruber's extraordinary life is documented in the 2001 television film Haven and the 2010 documentary Ahead of Time. If you aren't familiar with her accomplishments, read this New York Times article, Ruth Gruber, a fearless chronicler of the Jewish struggle, dies at 105.  
Christmas Meal Volunteers Needed

It's the most wonderful time of the year to practice tikkun olam. When Jews serve Christians a classic holiday meal, it makes for a most beloved holiday tradition in our community. Volunteers are needed to serve turkey dinners to area senior citizens in the parish hall of Holy Name of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, 121 Mount Pleasant Street, New Bedford, and to deliver additional meals to those who are homebound.

If you are interested in supporting Ellen Hull and Stan Levine, co-directors of the annual event, by volunteering a few hours between 8:00 AM and 2:00 PM on Christmas day, please call Ellen at 508-993-5742 or email tucker1300@gmail.com. Servers and drivers needed.
Birthright Israel in Action

Our Federation's allocations committee voted to include Birthright Israel among the organizations that receive funds raised by our community. Since 2000 Birthright has provided free 10-day trips to Israel for more than 500,000 Jewish young adults.

In 2011, Birthright Excel was launched, offering a 10-week internship program with business and technology tracks. A new track, Ventures, focusing on entrepreneurs, was launched this year. Israel will provide one-third of the funding for Ventures. Start-up nation in action. Read more here.

Tal Brody Stands Tall, Still

A few months ago we planned to have a program in our community featuring the On The Map, the David and Goliath basketball story of Israeli champions Maccabi Tel Aviv over the mighty Russians of CSKA Moscow in 1977. We pulled back with disappointment with no RSVPs to the event. At the time, we were hoping to have the East Coast premiere (yes, here in New Bedford). That ship has since sailed; the movie has made its way to select theaters, a film festival in New York and will be featured in Boston and Hartford early next year. The reviews have been great. 

In this week's Forward, Curt Schleier reminds us people continue to stop Tal Brody (rhymes with Tom Brady) on the street to shake his hand 40 years later. I have, but Tal and I are buds, as the fact that he is one of my 919 Facebook friends definitely proves. On the Map and six other documentaries are in Sara Trappler Spielman's article "7 Cool New Jewish Documentaries to Watch For."

NAFTA and Its Jewish Author

Twersky Award winner Larry Cohler-Esses tells the story of Jaime Zabludovsky, a prominent Mexican Jew with a PhD in economics from Yale who helped forge NAFTA, in this article. "Hard years ahead" is Jaime's prediction. He goes on to suggest Jews do better in open societies and NAFTA has opened Mexican society. His is a tale of a family that escaped Eastern Europe and a strong belief (which to me sounds a lot like level-headed capitalism) that economic openness and political freedoms rise and fall hand in hand.
Ellison and Israel: Friends or Foes?

Keith Ellison is the first Muslim elected to Congress and now a possible Democratic National Committee chair. Professor Alan Dershowitz, a liberal Democrat by his own words, describes Ellison as having an anti -Israel voting record. The Jewish Week spoke to Ellison about his record.

Sunday, December 4                                      12:00 - 4:00 PM
Thursday, December 8 (AHA!)                    5:00 - 8:00 PM
8th Anniversary, fine art group exhibit, Judith Klein Art Gallery
127 West Rodney French Boulevard, Door #31, New Bedford


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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