From:                              Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford

Sent:                               Thursday, August 27, 2015 6:01 AM

To:                                   'Jewish Federation NB'

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

The Bulletin - A Community Update for August 27, 2015

Welcome, Young Emissaries!

Omri, Vicki, Amir, Amit and Ron

This week I joined the new group of Israeli Young Emissaries at Camp Laurelwood in Connecticut where they were preparing for their year-long stay in several New England communities. The four emissaries in the above photo will be visiting New Bedford during the year.

For a refresher on the Young Emissary Program, look here.

Strange Bedfellows at J Street

When a young Muslim-American woman who was raised in a “fairly religious Muslim home” is elected to serve as president of the national student board of the campus arm of left-wing, pro-Israel group J Street, you can’t help but think paradigm shift.  Read about Amna Farooqi, a senior at the University of Maryland who is of Pakistani descent, in this JTA article and Tablet profile

Farooqi, who had many Jewish friends as a child and who has spent time in Israel, said, “I fell in love with Zionism, because Zionism became about taking ownership over the story of one’s people. If Zionism is about owning your future, how can I not respect that?”

For an Israeli perspective on Farooqi’s election and how it opens up the topic of ethnocentrism in Israel, check out this Jerusalem Post article.

Not a Strong Enough Response

A bulletin came across my inbox headlined “Jewish Federations of North America respond to Religious Affairs Minister David Azoulay.”

Pressed on the question of the legitimacy of Reform Jewry by interviewer Razi Barkai on Army Radio Tuesday Minister Azoulay said, “A reform Jew from the moment he stops following Jewish law, I cannot allow myself to say that he is a Jew.”

So says the religious affairs minister of Israel’s government!!! A person who considers himself an educator.

This Times of Israel article I suggest for reading covers the issue and shares quotes from JFNA CEO Jerry Silverman as well as many others, including Jewish Agency Chair and a former minister himself Natan Sharansky. But for me these are quotes (some very good ones) but not a response. I hope to see stronger language against the minister and his insulting statement that for me betrays his responsibility to the country and the office.

Of note, Orthodoxy represents 10 percent of Israelis yet controls 100 percent of religious services, an equation that continues to alienate both Diaspora Jews and secular, Reform and Conservative Israelis. Change cannot come soon enough.



Iran Now and Then

In this op-ed piece from The Forward titled “Why Federations Shouldn’t Take Sides on Iran,” the case is made for communal defense and advocacy organizations – and not federations – taking a public stance on the Iran nuclear deal.  The writer asserts, “The 151 Jewish federations, however, should play a different role. Too many are not doing so, which we believe is both a practical and strategic mistake.”

Same subject, different topic.  How different would today’s news be if the Israel Air Force had attacked Iran's nuclear facilities as it had planned to on several occasions between 2010 and 2012?

Camp Walden Revisited

You attended Jewish summer camp.  Maybe your kids did.  Or you know someone who did.  It’s a beloved tradition, strengthening community and faith.  Wax nostalgic with this writer as she recalls her years at a camp for (mostly) Jewish girls that wasn’t a Jewish camp at all in this Tablet Magazine piece

Hollywood No Longer Tolerates Anti-Semitism?


Straight Outta Compton may not be at the top of your list of movies to see, but there is a Jewish angle, believe it or not.  In this Forward article, Adam Langer writes about his own history with the music of rap group N.W.A. and how the group’s Jewish manager is reasonably portrayed in the film. 

“Given the rampant violence, profanity and misogyny, you’d expect that Straight Outta Compton would have a similarly crass approach to characterizing the band’s first manager, Jerry Heller, who has been credited with helping to get N.W.A nationwide exposure but has also been accused of mismanaging the band’s finances and ultimately causing N.W.A to break up,” Langer writes. 

Let Freedom Sing

Matisyahu sang at the Rototom SunSplash Festival last Sunday after being reinvited by event organizers who had originally bowed to pressure from the local BDS organization to remove the Jewish American singer from the lineup.  “Whoever you are and wherever you come from raise a flag and wave it in the air,” Matisyahu said before his closing song. “Let music be your flag.”

Disabled and Desirable

When Rachelle Friedman, 29, became a quadriplegic following a swimming pool accident at her bachelorette party, the one thing she did not lose control of was her voice.  Now married and a new mother, she is spearheading her #whatmakesmesexy campaign with provocative photos of herself in lingerie and a catheter bag.  She wants people to know that though the catheter bag is part of her disability, it does not define or limit who she is now.

Rachelle is one of two Jews leading the disabled sexual revolution as written about in this Tablet Magazine piece as the Americans with Disabilities Act turns 25.

Kosher with Bacon, Please.  And Don’t Hold the Cheese.

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JTA takes a look at how Hebrew National goes rogue with its “Simple Summer Skewers” recipes and videos geared to the decidedly not Kosher masses.  Obviously many (most) people who buy Hebrew National’s products do not keep Kosher.  So is there harm or foul in the company’s most recent marketing campaign? 

“At bottom, the ultimate remedy for those who feel they don’t have confidence in the degree of kashrut observed in the production of [Hebrew National] products is not to purchase them,” said a judge in a recent find for Hebrew National’s parent company.  Same could be said for those who find the most recent campaign not to their taste. 




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