From:                              Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford

Sent:                               Friday, January 16, 2015 1:00 AM

To:                                   'New Bedford Jewish Federation'

Subject:                          The Bulletin - A Community Update for January 16, 2015

The Bulletin - A Community Update for January 16, 2015


Jerusalem Funeral for the Paris Terror Victims




Philippe Braham, 40, Yohan Cohen, 22, Yoav Hattab, 21, and Francois-Michel Saada, 63, were laid to rest at the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

Helicopters flew overhead and soldiers stood guard.

The funeral was attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog, and other ministers, Knesset members and public figures.  The victims' bodies arrived in Israel overnight, accompanied by their families, who had requested their burial in Israel.  "This is not how we wanted to welcome you to the Holy Land; this is not how we wanted to see you return to the State of Israel and its capital Jerusalem," Rivlin told the mourners.  “I stand before you now with a heart that is broken, shaking and in pain, and a whole nation is crying with me."

Let their memory be a blessing.




Paris – the Aftermath


Too much has been said about who did attend and who didn’t, who was invited and who was asked not to attend.  The most important fact is that more than a million PEOPLE marched in Paris for freedom of speech and against terror.

It turns out (see above) that the world leaders in attendance posed for not much more than a leadership selfie.  I actually think that President Obama’s decision not to attend was the right one.  We have an ambassador in Paris and that’s her job.

Prime Minister Netanyahu was on the right track when he initially planned to not attend.  He changed his mind after some of his rivals in the coming elections decided to go – or perhaps because he was asked by the French not to attend.  Israel has a president, a ceremonial position, for exactly such occasions.  It would have been better for Israel to set an example and leave the politics out of it.  Opportunity missed.

On a separate note, it borders on the ridiculous to see Mahmud Abbas and Yilmaz Erdogan attend as they are notorious for jailing journalists and wouldn’t know free speech if it hit them in the face.



Notable Opinions


“If 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France.  The French Republic will be judged a failure.” 

-- a quote from the French prime minister made after the attack on Charlie Hebdo and BEFORE the murders at the supermarket

Jeff Jacoby writes about the increasing number (since 2012) of French Jews leaving for Israel because of anti-Semitism.  If the trend as he presents it continues, and recent events surely won’t help, it is not impossible that the numbers can reach “failure figures.”  In this interview with Rabbi David Wolpe on Al Jazeera America we hear his thoughts on rising anti-Semitism in France.

The Forward’s J.J. Goldberg brings more to the conversation about free speech and censorship.  He touches on self-censorship and the New York Times and other major American news services that are fearful of publishing the latest Hebdo images at the same time map publishers Harper Collins deletes Israel from its books as a courtesy to consumers in the Gulf.  

I particularly like the way another of the Forward writers, Dan Friedman, concludes his I Am Not Charlie — and Neither Are You piece.  On the way there he makes for good reading.

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