From:                              Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford

Sent:                               Friday, February 27, 2015 1:36 PM

To:                                   'Jewish Federation NB'

Subject:                          The Bulletin - A Community Update for February 27, 2015

The Bulletin - A Community Update for February 27, 2015

Groundbreaking Decision by a New York Jury

A federal jury in New York found the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization liable for their role in knowingly supporting six terrorist attacks in Israel between 2002 and 2004.  The jury awarded damages in the amount of $218 million, which is tripled to $655 million under a special terrorism law.  The decision is a victory for dozens of plaintiffs and strengthens Israel’s long-standing position that many Palestinian forces that appear to be moderate are in fact directly linked to terrorism.

Israel This Week

My travel circumstances aside, time spent in Israel is always unique . . .   

From an 8-inch snowstorm and record cold in Jerusalem – not to mention snow in Be’er-Sheva – one day to 72 degrees two days later, the weather was as newsworthy there as it has been here. 

Election fever is everywhere. Polls for the upcoming elections come out every day, but the statistic I found most interesting was that more than a third of the people who plan to vote for one of the three larger parties think it is likely they will end up voting for another party.  And the elections are 18 days away!  The leader of one of those parties – that  between them will get more than 50 percent of the votes – will be asked to form the next government.

Bibi’s should-he-or-should-he-not-speak-to-Congress debate is as big an issue in Israel as it is among American Jews. 

The mayor of Jerusalem personally disarmed a terrorist

The soaring housing market is making it very hard for many to afford homes in many parts of the country.  Plans to reduce taxes on home sales are stuck because of early elections.  As a result, home sales and housing starts have slowed to a standstill.  Several months in, young families and first-time home buyers are looking at a market that is 50 percent higher than it was six years ago, while wages have not increased.

A shocking statement from one of the spiritual leaders of Shas (a party with significant political influence) that the national anthem, HaTikvah, is stupid raised eyebrows.  These were not the words of a music critic but an insensitive statement by a small-minded individual who should know better.

I was also reminded in Israel of Ofra Haza,  an outstanding talent who passed away 15 years ago this week.  It is almost Passover (even if Purim is this week).  Ofra’s extraordinary voice was never more profound than in Prince of Egypt, the beautiful 1998 DreamWorks movie.

And while on the subject of talent and the ever-present question of survival (not to mention boycott), it was announced this week that Gloria Gaynor will defy calls to boycott Israel and perform in Israel this summer.  Good for you, Gloria.  What better message than “And I grew strong” and “I will survive.”

 

 

Scholarship Applications Available

Members’ children and grandchildren are encouraged to apply for scholarships from the Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford and the New Bedford section of the National Council of Jewish Women.  If interested, please write to office@jewishnewbedford.org or call 508-997-7471.  

 

 

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:  Vigil for the Victims of Prejudice and Violence

WHEN:  Tuesday, March 3, 5:30 PM

WHERE:  UMass Dartmouth, Claire T. Carney Library, Grand Reading Room

HOW:  Sponsored by the Center for Religious & Spiritual Life.

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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.

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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.

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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 @ http://www.zeiterion.org/

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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.

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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

PREVIEW:  http://aboveandbeyondthemovie.com/trailer

One Last Note

I want to thank everyone who sent in notes and contributions in memory of my mother who passed away on February 16.  Two of the programs I’m involved in were particularly meaningful to her when I told her about them – the support our New Bedford community provides for the Haifa Rape Crisis Center in Afula and the work I have done for a dozen years for American Friends of Magen David Adom.  Medics from Magen David Adom arrived within minutes of my father’s call last week and did their best for 40 minutes to revive my mother.  Contributions made in her memory to our Federation will be equally distributed to these organizations unless otherwise specified.

Shabbat Shalom,

Amir

 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