The Bulletin


215 Days - Bring Them Home

1.All About the Hostages: May 22 Program

On October 7th Jessica Steinberg's Times of Israel editor assigned her a new desk - Hostages. After serving as the Arts and Culture editor for a number of years, Jessica abruptly pivoted to this new uncharted space, speaking to and creating relationships with the families.

A former New Yorker, she has been living in Israel for the last 28 years, reporting on the conflicts and situation in Israel and focusing on how Israeli society handles war in art, music, TV, film, culinary arts and design. She even wrote a kids book Not this Turkey for PJ Library.

When I set up this program a couple of months ago I didn't think we'd still be waiting on the hostages' release, but reality has been very cruel to them.

Join us on May 22nd at 12:30 PM at UMASS Dartmouth for a conversation with Jessica.

2.Nova Live

It's one of the most vivid exhibits I have ever seen. Imagine the first time you went to the iMax. Walking through it I could feel and breathe the dusty Negev earth. The tents and sleeping bags, the abandoned shoes and clothes, the shot-up portable bathrooms, burnt cars and the cell phones and video screens playing real footage . . . overwhelm the senses and soul. Some footage was taken by the terrorists, other videos by the victims (their last ever). Watch this piece from CBS News below and if you can make it to New York before the 25th please do.

3.Never Forget

On Monday we gathered at the Holocaust Memorial in Buttonwood Park to commemorate Yom HaShoah. It was an unusual one in many ways. The mayor, who recently came back from Israel, spoke about his experience there. It was impossible not to see how the Holocaust, the birth of the State of Israel and the recent attack by Hamas all joined together in his mind and words. Thank you, Jon Mitchell, for being one of only three mayors who made the trip when so many others canceled or did not sign up. And thank you for being with us on this important day. Here is the link to local TV so that you can see the entire service and hear words from Federation President Manya Bark and me at the start and at the end. Rabbi Kanter and Cantor Schudrich were both unavailable to lead us in prayer and I was honored to read (not sing) them. I have read them many times before, but this year after October 7th it did not feel the same. Thank you for all who joined on Monday to help us again stand together and say We Will Never Forget and Never Again. 

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4.Sinwar's Poker

In fooling the world and Israel that a deal for the hostages had been agreed upon (it was not) Yahya Sinwar made Israel's limited incursion into Rafah seem disproportionate. Furthermore, it may have also contributed to a rare move by the Biden administration to withhold bombs to Israel in an effort to influence the Rafah operation. “'We have paused one shipment of weapons last week,' a senior administration official told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Wednesday in an email. The shipment, the official said, included 1,800 bombs weighing 2,000 pounds each, and 1,700 bombs weighing 500 pounds each.” It is doubtful that the move had a significant tactical impact, but it sure has a very significant political one. Netanyahu’s Mr. Security image (if anything is left of it) has taken another big hit.

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5.Not Right Now

Participation in Birthright Israel trips by Americans is down by half this summer. I'm surprised the number isn't higher, truthfully.

"About 5,000 to 6,000 Americans and Canadians signed up for Birthright trips scheduled to run between mid-May and September this year, compared to 12,508 last year, according to statistics provided by Birthright. Overall, Birthright expects to bring 13,500 people to Israel from around the world this summer, a 13% decline from the 15,573 who went last summer. Birthright Israel has brought more than 850,000 young adult Jews to Israel since its first trip in 1999. The 10-day sightseeing trips are designed to foster a connection to Israel and to Jewish culture and heritage. 

"While much of the decline in trip participation is undoubtedly related to safety concerns, many parents who spoke to the Forward in March about opting out of camp trips also said they didn’t want their kids in Israel at a time when the country is at war and so many people there are still processing the trauma of the Oct. 7 attacks. "

6.Hard to Shake

"There's a reason Rod Serling is considered one of scripted television's most daring and incisive storytellers and much of it comes from his experiences in WWII. The Emmy and Peabody Award-winning creator of The Twilight Zone spent three years as a paratrooper during WWII. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his bravery and a Purple Heart for shrapnel wounds he suffered to his wrist and knee.

"Serling (who was Jewish) enlisted to fight the Nazis the day after he graduated from Binghamton Central High School in New York. Even though he was a slight 5'4, he completed his training as a paratrooper and was assigned to the 11th Airborne of the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He was sent to the Philippines to fight the Japanese.

"Not long after he returned from the war in 1946, Serling attended Antioch College on the G.I. bill. There, in his early 20s, he penned First Squad, First Platoon, a short story which is being published for the first time Thursday iThe Strand. It was one of his earliest stories, starting a writing career that Serling once said helped him get the war 'out of his gut'."

Read more about his experience in the war in: "A WW2 story by The Twilight Zone's Rod Serling is being published for the first time." Below is a clip from an episode called The Purple Testament, "set in the Philippines and permeated with the same sense of dread found in First Squad, First Platoon."

7.Al Dente

There's always an angle. That's what I first thought when I saw this headline: "Why Pasta Salad Is Actually Really Jewish." Turns out, it's not such a reach.

"Cookbook author Marcia Freidman agrees, explaining that pasta salad evolved as a clever Italian Jewish invention intended to make cold pasta more palatable on Shabbat, when it is prohibited to cook. This prohibition has particularly shaped Saturday lunch fare, which traditionally consists of slow-cooked dishes assembled before Shabbat begins on Friday night, or cold dishes. It’s worth noting that pasta salads are very popular among Orthodox Jews in the U.S. for this reason, and often skew more American than Italian when it comes to flavor and ingredients (hello, mayo!). 

"Part of the reason Italian Jewish cuisine is so distinctive is due to Italian treatment of the Jews in the 15th and 16th centuries. Jews were often discriminated against through social and economic restrictions, and were segregated in ghettos. In these ghettos, Jews crafted a cuisine that adhered to their dietary restrictions and incorporated local ingredients that were disliked by non-Jews (and thus cheap and plentiful), like eggplant, artichokes, fennel and onions. They transformed them into delectable dishes like caponata, fennel gratin and — yes — pasta salad."

We'll put this one in the category of "the more you know." Be inspired - as I am - by the pasta salad recipes shared below. Summer picnics and BBQs are just around the corner.

Orzo With Roasted Vegetables

Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad

Creamy Fennel Pasta Salad

8.Apply Now for Scholarships

If you are an active member of the Federation who has made a gift to the annual campaign in the current fiscal year, please encourage your student(s) - children or grandchildren - to apply for a higher education scholarship. Write to to request a 2024-25 application now.

There are also summer camp scholarships available.

For Your Calendar

Monday, May 20 - 7:00 PM: Speaker, 8:00 PM: Wine & Dessert Reception

Ziskind Memorial Lecture 2024: Featuring Rabbi David Wolpe

"The Campus, Antisemitism and Israel: Where Do We Stand?"

Tifereth Israel, Free Live Event


Wednesday, May 22 - 12:30 PM

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel journalist, was put in charge of covering the hostages and their families back in October. Jessica will join us at UMass Dartmouth for a lunchtime event. Don't miss out.

Through September 2

"Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away."

For its regional premiere, the most comprehensive exhibition ever presented on Auschwitz is coming to Boston and The Saunders Castle. The exhibition features more than 700 artifacts of immense value to world history and all of humanity.

Tickets at The Castle at Park Plaza

Visit our website

Shabbat Shalom and Am Israel Chai,


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
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