The Bulletin


GettyImages-1241535491-2400x1350 image

1.Landis, Where Art Thou?

You don’t know this about me - I had The Blues Brothers memorized years ago. My brother and I didn’t plan it, but we watched it so many times it just happened. It would be too easy to go nostalgic with a Ray Charles or Aretha clip. The one I recalled this week instead was when Jake and Elwood drive the demonstrating Illinois Nazis off the bridge. Belushi’s “I hate Illinois Nazis” is one of my favorite (still memorized) lines.


So when Republican nominee for Illinois governor Darren Bailey did his best Marjory Taylor Greene impersonation and said, “I believe that abortion is one of the greatest atrocities of our day and I believe it’s one of the greatest atrocities probably forever . . . The attempted extermination of the Jews of World War II doesn’t even compare on a shadow of the life that has been lost with abortion since its legalization" - that's where my mind drifted. Perhaps the only way to respond to outright stupid and racist is comedy. Few are better than IL native John Landis. For the full story here’s this Forward article

F220415STR06-880x495 image

2.Before His Country Dies

When I first listened to George Harrison’s song about Bangladesh I was perhaps 12 and learning English (mostly from the lyrics of The Beatles). I remember the line "before his country dies" hit me more than any other. Not people or hunger, the country was dying. Years later near Beirut I watched (about a half a mile away) Syrian soldiers pulling a frozen body out of a foxhole. There they were, like me, 100 miles from their country fighting for (who knows what). And probably thinking they might be the ones freezing to death the following night. I was fortunate to have been in a bunker with heat.


These two stories contributed to my (admittedly cynical) approach to borders and nationality. While I acknowledge most people usually feel more passionately about a country's boundaries and enforcing them, it's not as easily done as drawing a line on a map.


With borders in mind, here is Thane Rosenbaum - novelist, essayist, law professor and Distinguished University Professor at Touro University – who shares his strongly worded opinion in Jewish Journal.


"Let’s get something straight at the outset: I am a child of immigrants and a first-generation American. I need no convincing that America was built by people from other lands. The Pilgrims, Puritans, Calvinists and Quakers did a nice job during those early American Thanksgivings, but without the industry, initiative and intelligence of immigrants who started arriving in ever increasing numbers from the 1880s until after World War II, the United States would simply be another Canada—with far fewer decorous people.


"And, yet, the sprawling crisis along our southern border, with two million immigrants having crossed into and remained in the United States over the past two years, is a desecration of American law and moral principle," he writes in "Border Crisis Beyond Belief."


Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Israel is issuing "Job Seekers" entry permits to Palestinians. The policy is designed to decrease the number of illegal border crossings. It enables Palestinians to enter Israel 15 times over the course of two months in order to seek out employment.


Where do you stand?

united-states-and-israel-two-flags-together-textile-cloth-fabric-picture-id1093197970-729x486 image

3.American Zionists

"When academic and author Walter Russell Mead gave lectures as a guest speaker for the State Department to audiences around the world, he was surprised by recurring misperceptions about American Jews, the U.S. government and Israel."

“People were constantly arguing that somehow American policy toward Israel was radically different than policies toward other countries and the only possible explanation was that the American Jewish community—maybe with some help from the evangelical Christians—was influencing the American policy discussion,” Mead said. “It just did not make sense to me, I have to say.”

In a new book, he explores the real reasons for American policy on Israel. Read "Dismantling Antisemitic Beliefs About the U.S., Israel and Zionism" for more.

4.Ana's Report 

I did not really need Ana’s Facebook post to remind me that war is still raging in Ukraine. As you know, we use the 4th item in the Bulletin to keep the yellow and blue flag flying while tyranny threatens that nation – call it my never again tribute. I did however find this video about how the war threatens the world's breadbasket. Did anyone say food crisis?


5.Remembering Two Greats

In the wake of his death, broadcaster Vin Scully's classic call of Koufax's perfect game has been revived. "The legendary voice of the Dodgers, who died Tuesday at 94, helped generations of fans fall in love with baseball, from his first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950 to his final call in Los Angeles in 2016.

"Scully was not Jewish. But over the course of a 67-year broadcasting career with the Dodgers, one that spanned from Jackie Robinson to current Dodger great Clayton Kershaw, the Hall of Famer covered the entire career of Jewish superstar pitcher Sandy Koufax."

"There's 29,000 people in the ballpark and a million butterflies," he said. Want to hear the final inning for yourself? Listen to the broadcast at "Scully calls Koufax's perfect game."

2a09f257841a18c6ce6cc35c7c1ce9ed935f904a-2000x2301 image


The story of Ida and Louise Cook, two opera buffs who lived with their parents while running a scheme to rescue Jews from Hitler, almost reads like fiction. For the 29 people they rescued, it is thankfully not.

"The Cook sisters hid in plain sight. They forged documents, lied (just a little), cornered diplomats, and painstakingly 'organized' small financial contributions from many Brits in order to 'guarantee' room and board for their escapees. They also came up with some ingenious schemes.

"Jews were not allowed to take their possessions out of Nazi Europe. The sisters found a way. After a night at the opera in Frankfurt, Berlin, or Vienna, they would wear Jewish furs and jewels—watches and bracelets on each hand, rings on every finger, necklaces and brooches on their bosoms—and carry the excess diamonds, pearls, and rubies, in their handbags as well. This was their creative way of smuggling Jewish wealth out of the bloc to deposit it.

"Their disguises and cover stories were well suited for a comic opera. If questioned, they were prepared to say: 'We are two nervous British ladies and we will not leave our jewels behind. We take them with us wherever we go.' ”

Read Tablet's article, "Spinster Sisters Versus Nazis," for the full story.

For Your Calendar

This is very early, but since this space is free let’s have an early Save the Date:

January 29, 2023

"The Elephants in the Room: Israel, Palestine, Zionism, and the Role of Religion in America 

Can we talk about them? We can, and we do."

Visit our website

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 

Jewish Federation of 
Greater New Bedford

467 Hawthorn Street, Dartmouth, MA, 02747
Join our Mailing List