From:                              Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford

Sent:                               Thursday, February 18, 2016 1:56 PM

To:                                   'Jewish Federation NB'

Subject:                          The Bulletin -- A Community Update for February 18, 2016

The Bulletin - A Community Update for February 18, 2016


While You Were Freezing

Since last week s Bulletin I ve spent almost the entire time in Israel, returning just this morning. Not only did I miss the frozen temperatures here, but I experienced an unusually warm February week in Israel.

Mira Awad and David Broza perform together

It is always interesting in Israel. My six days there included a wonderful night in East Jerusalem with New Bedford favorite David Broza. I met many of the people we saw in the movie East Jerusalem West Jerusalem, listened to their music, and enjoyed a tremendous amount of food served at the event in the Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem. Turns out the album and the movie we saw here last month were the beginning of what is now a periodic party and get together. I was fortunate to be invited and, having watched the movie as many of us did last month at the Whaling Museum, I felt as if I knew many of the musicians. It truly is a great way to start and continue a dialogue.

Also while in Israel I got a chance to see the BDS movement from a different angle. Perhaps more than any other business, SodaStream has become a poster child of BDS attacks. The outcry resulting from the 2014 Super Bowl ad featuring Scarlett Johansen was just one chapter in the story. The BDS movement has targeted SodaStream for nearly 10 years. This incredibly successful company recently moved its manufacturing facility from the West Bank to the Negev in part because of regulations, pressure and boycotts in many countries against products manufactured in that area.

New facility in the Negev and employees at work there

The SodaStream story has some ridiculous consequences and elements to it, however. Most of them sadly go against what (I think) even BDSers intended. Since the pressure began the company was forced to manufacture in China (yes, China, that bastion of human rights) to satisfy regulations by some European countries. But that is not even the main story.

Before moving inside the pre-Six-Day War borders of Israel, SodaStream employed more than 600 Palestinians. These employees, many of them women with little to no other employment opportunities, worked in a variety of positions including management. All but 74 of those positions have now been eliminated because of the company s relocation, with the remaining 74 likely to lose their jobs soon. More than 6,000 Palestinians  family members of those employees  are facing a dire financial reality because of . . . you guessed it . . . BDS.

But there is more. A key population that will benefit from the relocation is Israeli Bedouins. The new facility employs many, including Bedouin women who, much like those in Palestinian society, suffer for lack of opportunities. Enter BDS and what was a strong lobbying effort by the mayor of Rahat (a Bedouin city in southern Israel) to build the new facility near Rahat for exactly such employment opportunities. This move has been described by some on the BDS side as an  Israel land grab.

SodaStream is a fantastic company and a model for coexistence. It was when it operated in the West Bank and it will continue to be in the Negev. The BDS movement succeeded in making it hard for SodaStream to succeed but in the process also hurt many Palestinian families and took away a prime example of collaboration, trust and coexistence flourishing in the West Bank.

Justice Antonin Scalia

May 2005 - Justice Scalia sandwiched by Israelis at the US Supreme Court

Ten years ago I was fortunate to join a group of Israeli Knesset members on a visit to Washington, D.C. The purpose of their visit was to learn about the Constitution and our government. One of the highlights was a visit to the U.S. Supreme Court where we met Justices Scalia and Bader Ginsburg. When we met Scalia he was charming and funny and answered every question. He also asked some questions as we walked through the SCOTUS hallways. It was perhaps a sign that his time with us ended at the conference room where we gathered to listen to his friend Justice Ginsburg. He smiled and said goodbye.

While on opposite sides of most legal issues the two were close friends and opera buddies. Bader Ginsburg s tribute to Scalia is indeed moving particularly in this age of political polarization. Jewish Week comments on cases that will be impacted by his passing.

Come Sail Away

Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Azores

The year after a large, prestigious delegation from Massachusetts crossed the Atlantic Ocean to São Miguel for an historic cultural dedication, the Azorean-Jewish Heritage Foundation recently announced an invitation for a one-week return voyage.  The 2016 trip will celebrate the one-year anniversary of the exciting rededication of the Ponta Delgada synagogue, built in 1836, and restored last April in partnership with the City of Ponta Delgada, reads the invitation to area residents.

The Heritage Foundation, with leaders that include state Sen. Michael Rodrigues, D-Westport, Paula Raposa of Fall River and its president, Gideon Gradman, has a mission  to support the restoration of Jewish heritage sites in the Azores region of Portugal.   Interested in learning more about the synagogue and the island s Jewish population? Check out this 2015 article.



Campaign 2016


Many of you have already pledged and sent in your gift for the 2016 campaign. Thank you! We are 59% of the way toward our goal and need 94 more individual gifts to reach our second goal of 240 gifts this year. Your Federation is counting on you.

Please send in your gift or make a pledge today. Donate online at; call 508-997-7471; or email me at




Program Change

Vanessa Hidary (The Hebrew Mamita) who was scheduled to perform February 25 at our next Federation event at the Zeiterion PAC will have to withdraw for medical reasons. We are working on a new and exciting program to substitute for this lost opportunity. Stay tuned.






Calendar: Save the Date

¡% Henry Horenstein Animalia

Henry, board member Ruth Glicksman s brother, is a professor of photography at Rhode Island School of Design. He has exhibited around the world and published more than 30 books.

University Art Gallery, UMass Dartmouth, Star Store Campus, 715 Purchase Street, New Bedford

·         February 18  March 20, 9:00 AM  6:00 PM, gallery show (free and open to the public)

·         Thursday, March 3, 6:00 PM, reception, talk and book signing w/ artist

¡% The Art of Biblical Translation with Everett Fox, author, sponsored by the Center for Jewish Culture and the Religious Studies Program

Every biblical translation is also an interpretation.  Should the goal be to make the text understandable or communicate the rhythms of the Hebrew?  This lectures explores some examples from Moses birth and early life.  Light refreshments.

UMass Dartmouth, Charlton College of Business, Room 115 (parking lots 13 & 14)

·         Thursday, March 3, 2:00  3:15 PM

¡% Holocaust Survivor: Martin Weiss, sponsored by the BCC Holocaust Center

Bristol Community College, 777 Elsbree Street, Fall River (Jackson Arts Center)

·         Thursday, March 3, 4:00 PM

¡% Etty, A One-Woman Theatrical Play by Susan Stein, sponsored by the BCC Holocaust Center

Based on the diaries and letters of Etty Hillesum, the play is based in 1941 when Etty, a young Jewish Dutch woman, is living in German-occupied Amsterdam.

Bristol Community College, 777 Elsbree Street, Fall River (Jackson Arts Center)

·         Wednesday, March 30, 2:00 PM

¡% Tenement Museum and Katz s Delicatessen

Manhattan's Lower East Side

·         Sunday, April 10, day trip

¡% Reverend Dr. Robert Lawrence Civic Engagement Summit

A discussion on race, religion and service, building bridges that empower and strengthen our communities.

UMass Dartmouth, Woodland Commons

·         Friday, April 15, 8:00 AM  12:00 PM

¡% David in Art, with speaker Dr. Memory Holloway, art history department

UMass Dartmouth, Liberal Arts, Room 110

·         Thursday, April 28, 2:00 PM

¡% Lawyers Without Rights

The Lawyers Without Rights exhibit begins to provide a portrait of the fate of Jewish lawyers in Germany  stories that speak to how the Nazis purged Jewish lawyers as one of the early steps to attack the rule of law in their country.

UMass Dartmouth, Claire T. Carney Library Living Room 

·         Monday  Monday, May 2  9, 10:00 AM  6:00 PM daily

¡% New Bedford Jewish Convalescent Home 50th Anniversary Celebration

·         Sunday, September 18, 5:30 PM

SPECIAL REQUEST:  If you have Convalescent Home memorabilia (pictures, brochures, etc.) that you are willing to donate/share, please contact Carol at the NBJCH at 508-997-9314.

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