From:                              Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford

Sent:                               Friday, August 01, 2014 1:00 AM

To:                                   'Jewish Federation NB'

Subject:                          The Bulletin - A Community Update for August 1, 2014

The Bulletin - A Community Update for August 1, 2014


Israel at War


The war in Israel is in its fourth week and has so far claimed the lives of 56 soldiers.  The loss of life on both sides is tragic.  Yet Hamas has turned down five ceasefire opportunities and the rockets directed at Israel continue to fill the sky.  The leadership in Gaza is not just a threat to Israel but, in truth, to its own citizens, whose deaths are seen as acceptable collateral damage in gaining the world’s sympathy. 

Many in the Arab world remain quiet because they are not unhappy to see Hamas take blow after blow.  Those who do not remain quiet wish to focus on Gaza – to the exclusion of other conflicts in which Muslims are being killed in far greater numbers by other Muslims – to shape an anti-Israel world view.  More than 170,000 people have died in Syria’s civil war.  Where is the outrage and daily press coverage? 

If the anti-Semitic voices around Europe that grow louder and louder are an indicator, there is little doubt that the anti-Israel rhetoric will gain steam as the conflict continues. 

I am not trying to paint a picture in which Israel is perfect. Civilian casualties, regardless of how hard Israel works to avoid them (and how little Hamas does to prevent them), weaken the moral basis of this war.  Israel’s right and obligation to protect its citizens is paramount but not without a price.

Outpouring of support for Israeli soldiers and deeper bonds and ties between Israel and world Jewry are always strongest in times of war.  But there is a troubling trend.  Despite strong voices of support from people you might not expect (listen to Mosab Yousef, the son of Hamas founder Sheik Hassan Yousef, or Howard Stern), fewer Americans under the age of 29 support Israel’s position than ever before.

One thing that helps me deal with the current situation is the fact that I am convinced that had Israel waited longer, a 9/11-style attack utilizing the vast tunnel network would have killed hundreds of Israeli civilians in southern Israel and perhaps made possible the kidnapping of many more.  The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) response to such an event – and the death toll on both sides - would have been far greater than what we are seeing now.

I hope and pray for a quick conclusion and that on the morning after the voices of reconciliation are strong.  It is, however, very hard to be optimistic. Negotiating with Hamas grants it recognition and credibility this terrorist group does not deserve.  Not negotiating with Hamas leaves us exactly where we are.


What We Can Do

Support Israel directly TODAY.  Send a donation to the Federation and indicate that the funds be directed to the Israel Emergency Campaign.  These funds will be sent to Israel immediately and help fund programs that provide relief and assistance for those in need during this war.  Your funds will support temporary housing for families who had to leave their homes near Gaza; counseling for people suffering from trauma; activities for children in shelters; and much more. THANK YOU in advance for your support.



I Read This Week

David Brooks (finally) wrote about Gaza this week. “No War Is an Island” was by far the best piece I read this week. Liel Leibovitz provides a different perspective in this Tablet article. J.J. Goldberg in the Forward and Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic rarely disappoint. 

Too Many Cooks Do Not Spoil the Broth!

If you would like to participate in a future cooking lesson and/or are willing to host, please contact the Federation at  Groups of three to four people are ideal.  This is a fun and fulfilling way to support our mission of strengthening ties between our community and Israel.  Culinary school degrees and toques are not required; enthusiasm and an appetite for bonding through food are!

For Your Calendar

August 3, Sunday, 1:30 PM, Temple Beth El, 385 High Street, Fall River

Out of the Whirlwind:  Jewish Songs of Lament, Protest, and Resistance:  1933 – 1947

Lecture and recital by Brian Nedvin  (Free and open to the public.)

August 5, Tuesday, 7:30 PM, Falmouth Jewish Congregation, 7 Hatchville Road, Falmouth

“One of the finest European films in recent memory,” A.O. Scott, The New York Times.  A moving and intimate drama about a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland who, on the verge of taking her vows, makes a shocking discovery about her past. ($10.00/ticket)

August 13, Wednesday, 7:00 PM, Tifereth Israel small social hall

National Council of Jewish Women, New Bedford Chapter, Scholarship Awards Night

Please RSVP to Saralee Salk at 508-992-8245.

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