From:                              Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford

Sent:                               Thursday, July 23, 2015 2:20 PM

To:                                   'New Bedford Jewish Federation'

Subject:                          The Bulletin -- A Community Update for July 23, 2015

The Bulletin - A Community Update for July 23, 2015


Diasporic Angst


Pushed to introspection by a daughter’s questions and a career move, journalist and author Gal Beckerman, soon to be the former opinion editor at The Forward, explores “ . . . the fundamental uncertainty and unease of not really knowing anymore what it means to be a Jew” in The Pathology Plaguing American Jews.

Beckerman writes, “You could say that all the debating and arguing is a sign of health, of a robust community trying to define its contours, but it’s actually a symptom of the disease, a sign of an identity so weak that it is open to attack and self-doubt from all sides.”  The only sure Jews are the Orthodox and the Israelis, he argues.  The rest of us question.  Is Beckerman on the money or blowing smoke?  Pick an idiom.  Or not.


Nuclear Iran Fallout


Congress has 60 days to review the Iran nuclear deal.  As those in the know and with the power to say yeah or nay wade through the ponderous document, three Atlantic writers debate the merits of the nuclear agreement.  For more detail on the deal itself, read the White House summary.

Meanwhile at The Forward, the role of think tank Washington Institute for Near East Policy, WINEP, in the process is covered.  WINEP, considered pro-Israel, released benchmarks prior to the signing of the deal that the Obama administration asserts have been exceeded.

Two Federations have published positions against the deal.  To read, see Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston's statement and the statement from the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.

Faigy Mayers: Lost in Transition

On Tuesday, 30-year-old Faigy Mayers, who left the ultra-Orthodox community six years ago, leaped to her death from a Manhattan rooftop. Featured in the 2009 National Geographic documentary Inside Hasidism, Mayers was known to suffer from mental illness exacerbated by the stress of feeling isolated from family and former community members. 

Talking cause and effect, this piece in The Forward takes a balanced look into the circumstances of Faigy Mayer's death.  Did mental illness push Mayers into leaving her ultra-Orthodox upbringing?  Did leaving her ultra-Orthodox upbringing push her deeper into mental illness?  And what of others on the same path who see themselves in Mayers?  There is power in connectedness, in community, to do both good and bad.

Gone But Not Forgotten   

This week we say goodbye to two iconic men in Jewish life, one who was pivotal in Israel’s bid for independence and another who lightened our spirits through song and performance.

Remembering Theodore Bikel, he of Broadway’s Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music and more.


Remembering Lou Lenart, one of the American pilots featured in Nancy Spielberg’s film Above and Beyond

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