From:                              Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford

Sent:                               Thursday, September 10, 2015 2:13 PM

To:                                   'New Bedford Jewish Federation'

Subject:                          The Bulletin -- A Community Update for September 9, 2015

The Bulletin - A Community Update for September 9, 2015



Happy New Year


As we welcome a new Jewish year (this is the last Bulletin of 5775) many of us will spend time with family and friends around tables loaded with (too much) food and go to shul in greater numbers than at any other time during the year. It’s what we do.

My time at shul this week begins before the holiday with the celebration of my son’s bar mitzvah on Saturday.

There will be more people than usual around our table this year, some coming from Israel and others coming from California, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina and two doors down.

The weekly Parsha this week has a theme of forgiveness which is always a good one as we enter this period on the Jewish calendar. By the time we emerge on the other side with our first Bulletin of 5776, Yom Kippur we will on our minds and with it forgiveness in overdrive.

For me it has been all about the boy and his bar mitzvah, so pardon me 5775 or 5776 for that matter.

I laughed as I read this about a son who won a court battle against his mother for a $5,000 bar mitzvah gift from grandma his mother never gave him. And you'll laugh (a lot) when you read this response to the former news by Andrew Silow-Carroll, New Jersey Jewish News editor-in-chief and first winner of the David Twersky Award for Jewish Journalism. (An award I founded in memory of my friend and colleague.)

I read another bar mitzvah article (yes I’ve been reading a lot of them these past few weeks) by one Neal Pollack in the Forward about Why My Son Won’t Be Having a Bar Mitzvah and after reading it my only question is Why Did You Write It? And to the folks at the Forward, who usually bring us good reads, why did you publish it?

And finally there’s this Rosh Hashanah image that made me smile as it is not just apple and honey any longer because, like everything else, there’s an app (and honey) for this.



Refugee Crisis, Humanitarian Crisis


“Seventy years ago, who could have imagined that the country that nearly annihilated God’s Chosen would one day be chosen as a light among nations? Who could have foreseen that the place that almost destroyed the Jewish tradition would come to embody some of its most essential, enduring tenets: Teshuvah, change is possible.”

So wrote Danielle Berrin for the Jewish Journal as she explores (with some wonder) Germany's moral courage in the face of millions of desperate refugees surging toward Europe and its’ relative peace and prosperity.  Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country she leads are expected, this year alone, to receive 800,000 stateless refugees fleeing from war, persecution and oppression in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries.  In contrast, though contributing financially to relief efforts, the United States will allow 1,500 refugees to enter the country.

Israel, too, is part of the conversation about the humanitarian crisis unfolding on its borders.  While opposition leader Isaac Herzog publicly voiced his support for aiding refugees, Netanyahu reiterated that Israel is in no position to take them in.  In this Forward article, an Israeli activist writes about her conversation with three Syrian brothers stopped in Hungary about the potential for a new day in Israeli-Syrian relations.

Better for the Jews than Jon Stewart?

Can the argument be made that Stephen Colbert, a Catholic of deep and abiding faith, is better for the Jews than that other talk show host, a member of the tribe by birth?  In The Gospel of Stephen Colbert in Tablet Magazine, one writer goes there.

Marjorie Ingalls writes, “Jon Stewart . . . is more Jewy or Jew-ish than Jewish. Stewart reminds us that Judaism is a culture as well as a religion. His Jewishness is cultural and mensch-y, and his humor comes from a Borscht Belt tradition, but I suspect he’s not overly familiar with Jewish texts.”

Ingalls adds, “What I most love about Colbert-the-person-of-faith is that he is an intellectual who chooses to believe in things that can’t be proven. . . . connected to his faith tradition, but with a theological and social outlook that’s liberal rather than conservative.”

What think you?  An honorary kippah for Colbert?

Filter Fish and Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks liked his mother’s gefilte fish.  He liked the “filter fish” his talented African-American, Christian housekeeper made for him midlife.  And in his final weeks of life, the one food he could stomach was, you guessed it, gefilte fish, delivered daily from local New York delis.  Check out this man of many talents’ fond fish stories

A British neurologist and author who spent his professional life in the United States, Sacks died August 30. He was widely known for writing best-selling case histories about his patients' disorders, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.

Here a fellow physician and New Yorker staff writer shares his memories of his relationship with Sacks.

For more on Sacks and links to op-eds he wrote for The New York Times in the final months of his life, follow this link.   

Shabbat Shalom, Chag Sameach and a Sweet, Happy and Healthy New Year


The Bulletin is a weekly email from Amir Cohen, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford.  I welcome your feedback at