From:                              Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford []

Sent:                               Friday, September 05, 2014 1:01 AM

To:                                   'New Bedford Jewish Federation'

Subject:                          The Bulletin - A Community Update for September 5, 2014

The Bulletin - A Community Update for September 5, 2014

Great Start – Let’s Keep It Up!

It was very encouraging this week to see checks arrive in the mail in support of the Israel emergency fund.  Jewish Federations across North America are making a significant impact on the rebuilding and recovery of southern Israel. 

Please consider supporting this effort with a donation of your own.  Mail your gift today with a check made out to Jewish Federation with the memo line Israel emergency fund or go to our website to make your contribution there. 

Remember:  The Federation’s executive committee has approved a 1:1 match for every dollar donated, up to $5,000, using our reserve fund.  Every dollar you donate will be worth twice as much.  Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Steven Sotloff – May His Memory Be Blessed

The brutal murder by ISIS of Steven Sotloff, a Jewish journalist with dual American and Israeli citizenship, captured the headlines this week.  Sotloff is the second journalist to be publicly executed by ISIS, an extreme Sunni jihadist group and self-proclaimed caliphate of all Muslims.  Like many who watched the execution of Steven Sotloff, James Foley before him, thousands of innocent civilians, as well as 1,500 prisoners of war in one weekend last month, I am filled with rage and thoughts of revenge. 

A more restrained Jay Michaelson writes about the questions to consider before rushing to avenge Sotloff’s death in this Forward article.  Thomas Friedman also argues the merits of a measured US response in this New York Times op-ed.  Friedman questions the ability to definitively accomplish anything diplomatically or militarily in “a region where kinship and sectarian loyalties overwhelm any sense of shared citizenship.”  

Another article I read and want to share this week (from JTA) interestingly contrasts the two vantage points – the Israeli and the American – of the conflict in Gaza this summer.

Ruth Gruber:  Pioneer, Legend, Friend

On Tuesday, September 2, Cindy and Mel Yoken visited with Ruth Gruber, who will be 103 at the end of the month.  Ruth brought 985 children, Jewish refugees, from Italy to the United States in 1944.  In 1947, she also accompanied Holocaust survivors on the ship Exodus 1947 to Palestine.  She was an important journalist and photographer who wrote several books and articles.  Approximately 10 years ago she came to the area as a guest speaker at the Center for Jewish Culture at UMass Dartmouth.  The Yokens frequently visit Ruth in her NYC home and are inspired by her joie de vivre and her recollections of her long and fruitful life.  To learn more about Ruth Gruber, check out this NPR blog post.


The Risk of Reading

Robert P. Waxler’s The Risk of Reading:  How Literature Helps Us to Understand Ourselves and the World, published by Bloomsbury Academic, is now available for purchase at

A professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and co-founder and co-leader of the Changing Lives Through Literature Program (a nationally recognized alternative sentencing program for criminal offenders), Waxler argues that we need fiction to give our so-called real life meaning and that reading narrative fiction remains crucial to the making of a humane and democratic society.

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