From:                              Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford

Sent:                               Monday, June 20, 2016 9:16 AM


Subject:                          The Bulletin -- A Community Update for June 17, 2016

The Bulletin - A Community Update for June 17, 2016





With less than two weeks left in the 2015-16 Campaign, every gift counts! 

If you have not yet contributed or made a pledge (payable by December 31), I urge you to do so now. 

Donate today at; or call 508-997-7471; or mail to 467 Hawthorn Street, Dartmouth, MA, 02747. 

Thank you.

Deadliest Mass Shooting and Perspective



J.J. Goldberg breaks down the issues and the motives (as only J.J. can) surrounding the Orlando mass murder earlier this week. Guns, Islam and homophobia – hot button topics all – are on people’s minds following the tragedy in which 49 people were killed and 53 injured. 

And Idit Klein, daughter of Federation members Judith and Andrei Klein, shares her personal thoughts following the attack in this Times of Israel interview. Klein serves as executive director of Keshet, a Boston-based national non-profit organization that works in some 200 communities for LGBTQ equality and inclusion in Jewish life.

“In this country and many countries around the world, historically leaders of faith communities have acted in opposition to the gay community,” Klein said. “It is particularly vital for people to hear that there are Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders who say this is horrific and anathema to our religion.”


The Important Thing Is Not to Stop Questioning

Graduation is in the air. We see the colorful caps and gowns in the news and in our families and we breathe in the promise surrounding these young adults. It’s heady stuff. For some, it is a graduation beyond academia; it is the start of career and financial independence. For others, our high school graduates, it is a leap into higher education and personal independence. What they will learn on campus is far more than what is offered in the classroom.

Jewish students in particular face a debate on many American campuses that they may not have been exposed to prior. It is a debate about the very right of Israel to exist. Faced with pro-BDS and anti-Zionist movements, Jewish students need answers to questions before they are asked. Gary Rosenblatt of The Jewish Week writes here an open letter to the college-bound in which he advises them to “lean on heritage in campus wars.”   

When Chefs Came to Town

You’ve seen Israel and Tamar, the Israeli chefs from our SNEC partnership region of Afula-Gilboa who visited us in April, before. Some of you met them at the dinner at TI and others of you met them here in our Bulletin coverage of the visit.

Now you can have a brief glimpse of their time working with Culinary Arts students at Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech thanks to the Media Technology students who covered the visit on this VTTV newscast. (Scroll to 2:29 in the video for the start of coverage.)




And News (From and About) Walls

Jerry Silverman, CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, provided a synopsis of yesterday's Kotel-related events.

An egalitarian service was planned for 5:00 PM Thursday in the Kotel Plaza. In an effort to prevent the service from taking place, the Administrator of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, sought to ban the event on the basis that regulations prohibit “conducting a religious ceremony not in accordance with customs of the site which harms the sensitivities of worshippers at the site.”  

However, the legal advisor of the Ministry of Religious Affairs responded that there was no room to use his authority under the regulations for protecting the holy sites to ban a mixed prayer service in the upper plaza.  According to the Jerusalem Post report, Attorney Yisrael Pat noted in his letter that, “the decision to allow the service to take place was in accordance with the views of the attorney general.”  AG Avichai Mandelblit until recently served as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Cabinet Secretary, and was responsible for managing the three years of negotiations with all parties that culminated in the January 31, 2016, government resolution to upgrade and recognize the egalitarian prayer section at the southern Kotel.

Shortly before the start of the prayer service, PM Netanyahu issued the following statement to the press in both English and Hebrew: “As I have said many times before, the unity of the Jewish people is a source of our strength and one of the values closest to my heart. As we continue to work towards a solution that will allow all Jews to feel at home at the Western Wall, there are those who would prefer to divide our people and even to say that other Jews are wicked or aren’t Jews at all. We all must unequivocally reject these inappropriate words and deeds, which run counter to the basic spirit of the State of Israel.”

The egalitarian service took place as planned, lasting approximately one hour, with several hundred people taking part. As many as 200- 300 Haredi protestors were on site as well.  The event was widely covered by the media with both sides trying to out-dance and out-sing each other. While there was a lot of jostling, along with some spitting and name calling, there were no arrests and no injuries reported.

Thank you Jerry for the report and well done to Mr. Netanyahu for his words of support.

At the same time, the Forward’s J.J. Goldberg reported that Mr. Netanyahu may want to stand watch on another wall as his ousted Defense Minister used the prestigious stage of the Herzliyah Conference to launch his bid to become Israel’s Prime Minister.


Almost ten years ago Sh’ma, A Journal of Jewish Ideas was added to a portfolio of publications for which I had the honor and pleasure of serving as publisher.

Digital publishing and the financial downturn in 2008-09 made life very hard for Sh’ma, but under the leadership of its editor, Susan Berrin (I too helped), it persevered.

Recently it began a new print relationship with the Forward (another former stop on my personal journey – imagine that) and its most recent issue was published this week.

Like every issue, this one is dedicated to an idea. In this issue it is “Shevirah” (embracing the brokenness within and around us).

Profound and timely. The final item, perhaps my personal favorite, is an opportunity to incorporate this idea into our own conversations. I hope you like it too.

Volunteer Shout-out

Ruth Glicksman, chair of the Family Services Committee, would like to thank Joan Farrow, Barbara Glicksman and Kala Joblon for their participation in the Shavuot program at Autumn Glen last week.

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