From:                              Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford

Sent:                               Thursday, October 08, 2015 2:15 PM

To:                                   'New Bedford Jewish Federation'

Subject:                          The Bulletin -- A Community Update for October 8, 2015

The Bulletin - A Community Update for October 8, 2015

Two Years

Two years ago today the board of this Federation voted to approve my position as executive director. It marked a significant shift in thinking as the Federation adjusted to a new fiscal reality with a part-time executive director. While the requirements of the job hardly changed, it presented a new challenge and two years later we are stronger for it. It is a juggling act to have more than one job (any job) and in fairness communal jobs are such that one is never truly off. In the past two years, we have published this Bulletin more than 100 times. Since keeping you, the readers and donors and members of the Jewish community informed and connected is one of the most important aspects of the job, I consider this vehicle a success story.

The other key to success is collaboration. We have been fortunate to have Michelle Poirier at the Federation. A part-time employee as well, Michelle is invaluable to everything that we do and I can’t imagine how this Federation would work without her. And while on the subject of collaboration, I owe a great deal of gratitude to our board, our executive committee, and all who volunteer and give their time to make our programs and events successful as well as to Carol Raposa-Farias, our bookkeeper.

And finally I want to thank all of you who make the meaningful contributions that make it all possible. Your support makes our important work possible.




Unrest in Israel Again

After a month of growing tensions, this week saw a significant escalation in terror attacks throughout Israel. Some fear this may be the start of a “Third Intifada” given the volume of incidents.  (This timeline provides details of events.)

Attacks have now spread beyond Jerusalem, with stabbings of Israeli civilians in Tel Aviv, Kiryat Gat and Petach Tikvah following a serious incident in Jaffa earlier in the week. Many incidents have been reported, including shootings, rock throwing, stabbings, Molotov-cocktail attacks and more. In one attack, gunmen shot and killed Eitam and Na’ama Henkin in front of the couple’s four young children. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled a planned trip to Germany marking 50 years of diplomatic relations. Police and other security have been significantly boosted, particularly in Jerusalem. AND, in a highly unusual move, security forces have restricted entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City to Israeli citizens, tourists and Old City residents, thus preventing outside Palestinians from entering the area.

The impact of these measures remains to be seen and I encourage you to follow the news on sites such as: JNS, Times of Israel, and JTA.


The articles below provide more insight:


“A personal intifada, not a mass uprising” by Avi Issacharoff

“Palestinian rebellion underway”  by Yossi Melman

“Netanyahu and Abbas supporters enraged by perceived weakness from leaders” by Elhanan Miller

Israel Police chief: Despite public fears, less violence in Jerusalem than last year” by Ben Hartman


Inciting or Insightful, Up for Debate

Ta-Nehisi Coates, 2015 MacArthur “genius award” fellow and colleague of The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg mentioned here last week, remains newsworthy this week as other writers internalize and comment on his recent book Between the World and Me.  In The Forward, there is a sympathetic analogy between black Americans and Palestinians as viewed in the context of Coates’ words.  In Commentary, there is a completely different take-away about the author and how “a bestselling polemic riven with hatred thrills the liberal elite.”

Some Things Weren’t Meant to Last

Like news of another failed Hollywood marriage, the headline announcing the end of the partnership between American Jewish philanthropists Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban in this Forward article can be surprising only to someone waking from a Rip Van Winkle-esque nap.  Apparently what is right is not left.  The bipartisan idyll born of an anti-BDS initiative announced just three months ago has quietly come to an end.  No word from their attorneys on the prenup and custody arrangements.

No Visa to Tourists with an Israeli Passport Stamp

Tomb of Esther and Mordechai in Hamadan; tomb of the prophet Daniel in Khuzestan; Iranian Jews

With the Iran Nuclear Deal feeling like yesterday’s brouhaha to some and salt-in-the-wound fresh to others, it is either welcome or unsettling news to read about the “Persian Excursion” travel trend in The Forward.  A handful of American tour operators hope to make Iran into a prime vacation site for lovers of history, archaeology and nature.  And according to one of these proponents of “citizen diplomacy,” at least half of the visitors are Jewish, interested in Jewish pilgrimage sites, the Jewish community and Iran itself.

One caveat:  If you’ve been to Israel, you are not welcome in Iran. 


Bar Mitzvah for a Cause

Well-known actor James Franco became a bar mitzvah and a man at last in support of a charity event raising funds for Alzheimer’s disease.  Franco’s mother is Jewish.  Mazel tov, James!



Echoes & Reflections workshop

When: Friday, October 23

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM – workshop, Holocaust curriculum education for middle, high school and college instructors and interested community members

1:00 PM – talk by historian and novelist Ronald Florence on his book Emissary to the Doomed dealing with the fate of the Hungarian Jewish population during the last year of WW II  

Where: Jackson Arts Center, BCC, 777 Elsbree Street, Fall River, sponsored by Bristol Community College Holocaust Center

Screening of Treblinka’s Last Witness

When:  Wednesday, November 4, 6:30 PM

Where:  U Mass Dartmouth, Claire T. Carney Library, sponsored by Holocaust Education & Memorial Committee

Manya Bark speaks about the plight of the gypsies during the Holocaust

WHEN:  Friday, November 6, 11:00 AM

Where:  800 Purchase Street, 2nd floor, New Bedford, sponsored by Bristol Community College Holocaust Center

Ruth Oppenheim talks about “persistence of memory” in describing her family’s experience on Kristallnacht and their escape from Germany

When:  Sunday, November 8, 3:00 PM

Where:  Tifereth Israel Synagogue, New Bedford, sponsored by Bristol Community College Holocaust Center

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