From:                              Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford

Sent:                               Friday, February 20, 2015 1:00 AM

To:                                   'Jewish Federation NB'

Subject:                          The Bulletin - A Community Update for February 20, 2015

NOTE:  The following Bulletin was prepared by Michelle Poirier while Amir is with family in Israel.


The Bulletin - A Community Update for February 20, 2015


Is Hate Contagious?

In 2000, measles was declared eliminated from the United States.  In the first two months of 2015, 141 people from 17 states and Washington, D.C., were reported to have this highly contagious disease.  There is a vaccine for measles.  Some refuse it out of fear, ignorance, an abundance of caution, personal belief.  And so the disease with potentially deadly side effects, that affected three-to-four million people in this country each year prior to the 1963 introduction of the vaccine, has gained a foothold here.  Again.

If there were a vaccine for hate, an insidious disease of the spirit and mind, are there those who would reject that too?  Following the Holocaust, when 11 million people – six million of them Jews – were killed in Europe for being “other,” the world vowed not to forget.  Countries sought immunity from such unimaginable acts of inhumanity.  Yet here we are:  Copenhagen, Paris, Brussels, Toulouse.  European Jews dying for being Jewish.  Anti-Semitism.  Again.  Still.   

Is hate contagious?  And what can we do to protect ourselves from the ravages of this disease?  Are there lessons to be learned from history?  In this Saturday Essay featured in The Wall Street Journal, Jonathan Sacks examines the return of anti-Semitism in Europe in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Denmark last weekend that seemed to be modeled after the attack in France just one month ago – first target, media; second target, Jews.  Provocatively, he challenges, “The real tragedy would be if the West continued to see anti-Semitism as a strictly Jewish problem.  It isn’t.  Jews die from it, but it isn’t about Jews.”

Benjamin Netanyahu has simple advice for the Jews of Europe:  Aliyah.  Come home to Israel.  For an alternative answer to the growing problem in Europe and an American perspective, read this editorial in The Forward that asserts, “But by their nature, Diaspora Jews reject such binary choices, selecting instead to identify with their home country and Israel, to situate their Jewishness within a pluralistic environment.”

Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC Director of International Jewish Affairs, spoke this week at The White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism.  In his remarks, he offers perspective on Europe and what might be done to improve the situation.

There is no vaccine for hatred.  But there is a cure.  As a Federation and a People, let us never stop working toward it.  Europe, we see and hear.  We stand with you. 

David Twersky Journalism Award Winner Announced

Jane Eisner, editor-in-chief of The Forward, has been named the winner of the 2015 David Twersky Journalism Award for her June 2, 2014, editorial Why Is It So Hard to Convert to Judaism?   

Established in honor of Twersky’s distinguished life in journalism, the award – now in its fourth year – recognizes the work of journalists at The Forward and New Jersey Jewish News, the two publications where Twersky worked for nearly two decades. Amir, a colleague of David Twersky during his tenure with both publications, founded the award in his friend’s memory.


St. Luke’s Hospital Closes Blood Bank

Media reports this week shared news of the closing of the St. Luke’s Hospital blood bank, effective February 11.  The American Red Cross will now supply the hospital’s blood and coordinate area blood drives to be hosted at another site within the hospital or in a vehicle outside the building. 

Many Federation members have been long-time blood bank donors.  The Federation has hosted an annual blood drive on the last day of Hebrew School.  Not to fear.  The tikkun olam tradition will go on.  We are in communication with the Red Cross and will schedule a blood drive this spring.  Details to follow.  


Can You Say Hamantaschen?


While Esther and Mordecai might not have appreciated hamantaschen with modern flair, you may. Whether celebrating Purim at home or giving mishloach manot, change things up with these recipes for Rice Krispie Treat Hamantaschen and Rosemary Hamantaschen with Balsamic Caramelized Onion Jam.

The Federation will share Purim spirit (and, okay, hamantaschen) with Autumn Glen’s seniors on Monday, March 2, from 2:00 – 3:00 PM.  Rabbi Satlow has invited UMass Dartmouth students to join us.    




Paradigm Shift or Fancy, You Decide

Writer Jay Michaelson sees opportunity for American Jewry in the evangelical megachurch model.  Read this forward thinking opinion piece from The Forward and be either inspired or entertained.  #NumbersGame

Campaign 2015

If you have not yet sent in your gift, please consider doing so now with the return envelope you recently received in the mail or by donating online here.  Our goal is to surpass last year’s total by the close of the campaign on June 30, 2015.  Please make your gift or pledge today to help us reach our goal!



Calendar:  Save the Date


WHAT:  Escape from Auschwitz:  Rudolph Vrba and the Writing of the Auschwitz Chronicles – BBC Production and Robin Vrba

WHEN:  Wednesday, March 11, 2:00 PM

WHERE:  Bristol Community College, 777 Elsbree Street, Fall River, Jackson Arts Center

HOW:  Open to the public; free admission.  Sponsored by the BCC Holocaust Center and funded in part by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford


WHAT:  Surviving Auschwitz:  A Conversation with a True Holocaust Survivor (Esther Bauer)

WHEN:  Thursday, April 9, 4:00 PM

WHERE:  Bristol Community College, 777 Elsbree Street, Fall River, Jackson Arts Center

HOW:  Open to the public; free admission.  Sponsored by the BCC Holocaust Center and funded in part by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford


WHAT:  Nazi Hunter: Simon Wiesenthal

WHEN:  Thursday, April 16 (Yom HaShoah Remembrance Day), 8:00 PM

WHERE:  Zeiterion Performing Arts Center

HOW:  tickets $20.00/$25.00/$29.00 @


WHAT:  pre-performance book club discussion of Branded on My Arm and in My Soul: a Holocaust Memoir by Abraham Landau

WHEN:  Thursday, April 16, 6:00 PM

WHERE:  Zeiterion Performing Arts Center

HOW:  free and open to the public


WHAT:           Spielberg in New Bedford!

No, not Steven – kid sister Nancy, with her spectacular film Above and Beyond

WHEN:           Wednesday, May 6, 7:00 PM

WHERE:         Stay tuned for a surprise venue . . .

A Program of the Jewish Federation of Greater 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