The Bulletin


New information suggests many hostages are no longer alive.

It confirms what we feared for a long time.

I’m not going to pick one because they may no longer be alive.

I will again say, ask, demand and cry

Bring Them Home.

1.Six F^<!#& Months

On the six-month anniversary of the war, an Israeli man and his wife ran over five demonstrators. The same day a funeral flower arrangement arrived at the home of Liri Elbag (she was our featured hostage two weeks ago) as if she had died. It may have been a cruel Hamas tactic, but it could have been an Israeli hater.

In this war that was launched with sadistic tactics, my greatest worry is the legitimacy of hate that is (for me) a direct result of incitement by Netanyahu and his collection of political cronies. Like we have seen here in the US, hate can be easily manipulated and with Passover, Independence Day, Memorial Day and Yom HaShoah coming it looks like a lot more tunnel and a lot less light ahead.

And while on the subject of tunnels, the hostages (those who are alive) have been inside one for 187 days. The political and military leadership that did not have the courage to resign remains in place and continues to fight a war with no hope. Don’t get me wrong, the heroic battle and sacrifice by Israeli soldiers is second to none. No other country would have turned things around essentially in one day, But the responsibility and failure is on them and they must go. Before they do (and they should have three months ago after the first hostage deal) empower those who are negotiating for the remaining hostages to do everything they can to Bring Them Home.


Pictured-Netanyahu with a former friend.


With Passover around the corner we will soon read the story of the four sons. When I read the story next, I will feel the bear hug of my friend Ron (a brave, elite unit commander in our time) and a classmate in elementary school who lost his son Omri on October 7th. I saw him last month in Israel and paid my respects. His face months later looked like he had just received the news the day before.


Yesterday, three sons of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh were killed in the war. They were all active soldiers in their father's terrorist groups. Golda once said that we will not have peace before "they" love their children more than they hate ours. When Haniyeh, the corrupt multi-millionaire Gaza landowner, spoke of his sons he did not sound broken like my friend Ron. He spoke of martyrdom and victory and the annihilation of the enemy.

Golda has long been gone, but it appears she is still right.

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3.Worse Than Fake

"It gives journalist Matti Friedman no satisfaction to know he was early to realize that a change had come to covering Israel, favoring fixed narratives and activist journalism over a tradition of fact-based reporting. 

"Friedman, a former reporter and editor at the Associated Press based in Jerusalem from 2006-2011, quit the global news agency after being censored by his editors, and realizing he would have to censor what he and his colleagues knew to be true about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And what was the case a decade ago is more true now, he told me."

“The press has been gutted. The bureaus have shrunk, and into that vacuum have come ideological voices," he said. "Now Human Rights Watch gives you a report, in English, and you write a story based on that report.  And you end up serving as the media arm of the hard left, the world of NGOs."

"This mattered less when the conflict had fallen out of the headlines. But now that the heated war between Israel and Hamas has come to dominate the global news cycle, this shift has dramatic consequences on regional tension amid a frightening spike in anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment around the world."

Read more here: "The 'Tectonic Shift' in Media That Changed Perceptions of Israel: 'What's Left Is a System Run by Activists' "

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4.You Are Not Alone, Joe

After making it clear he does not approve of Bibi’s handling of the war, President Biden also said that there is military intelligence suggesting Iran might attack Israel or Israeli targets and that the US and the free world have a responsibility to help defend Israel. Even at a time when Israel’s international isolation over the war continues to grow, Biden's support is unquestioned.


I agree with Joe that Netanyahu's approach to the war is a mistake and the fact that he might have his own political motivations behind the statement doesn’t make it any less true. Let’s not forget that Bibi’s motivation (and war strategy) is primarily shaped by his political survival and not the future of Israel or her people.

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5.F, Not Even a D-

Harvard, MIT and Tufts all received an F for their handling of violent campus antisemitism. So much for our neighborhood. For reference, UT-Austin and Elon got an A suggesting there is another way.

“ 'Jewish high school students and their families are seeking more information than ever before to help them navigate the college selection process this year,' said Hillel CEO Adam Lehman. The new guide comes as traffic to the college guide’s website has skyrocketed — more than tripling in the past year, according to a Hillel spokesperson. And the revisions follow a new Hillel survey showing that most Jewish parents of high school juniors and seniors say the Oct. 7 attack on Israel and its aftermath have influenced their plans for college." Learn more in "Safe schools for Jews? Hillel revamps its college guide in response to campus turmoil."

For the children and grandchildren in your world there is also some helpful advice in this Kveller article: "How to Handle Antisemitic Incidents at School."

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6.The End of a Heatwave?

Yehuda Poliker is a fabulous singer and songwriter (see the duet below where he holds the blond guitar and sings of an ending heat wave). This latest controversy involves a documentary about him.


Under court order, a Philadelphia theater screened an Israeli film that it canceled in the face of protests. "The injunction instructed the Bryn Mawr Film Institute to move forward with its planned screening of 'The Child Within Me,' a documentary about the Israeli musician Yehuda Poliker. The Israeli Film Festival of Philadelphia had reportedly filed a last-minute lawsuit against the theater, alleging breach of contract after it announced Monday night that it was no longer planning on screening the film owing to what its director called the 'current climate.'

"The blowback from the Jewish community was severe. A local rabbi denounced the move as antisemitic, while at least one Jewish board member of the theater resigned after learning of the director’s decision. The local Jewish federation and Anti-Defamation League office published a joint statement condemning the decision and urging the theater to reverse course. An online petition pushing the theater to reverse its cancellation has amassed more than 3,000 signatures in less than 24 hours, and a state Senator who serves as a special representative on the theater’s board also criticized the decision

"The Bryn Mawr blowup offers the latest example of how deepening divisions over the war have affected Jewish and Israeli cultural events that bear little direct connection to it." 

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7.Not Brothers and No Arms

"On April 1, one of Israel’s most contentious debates may—or may not—have come to an end. As of now, the blanket legal exemption from military conscription for 63,000 Haredi yeshiva students has expired." If you ask me, their military service is about as likely as Elijah joining you at the Seder table.


"Yet even though they are now subject to conscription, we are unlikely to see mass arrests of Haredi draft-dodgers in the near future, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government are desperately scrambling to find new legal ways to continue to allow Haredim to avoid the draft and to fund them while they do."


The one hope I do have is that the issue will become so politically loaded that it would perhaps contribute to the early end of the current political coalition and the worst government in Israel’s history. It may one day be possible under a future government to address this issue with a view of a modern future, but I will refrain from holding my breath.

Moment Magazine covers what has always been a controversial topic and is now more timely than ever in "Explainer: Will Israel Draft 'Those Who Toil in Torah'?"

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8.Nathan Nation

"Joan Nathan, 81, has released a 436-page autobiography, My Life in Recipes, that looks back at her storied career, from her childhood in Providence, Rhode Island, to the research and writing that has made her the undisputed doyenne of Jewish food writing."

As a nod to her contributions to Jewish kitchens around the globe, we share some of her recipes below.

Provencal Haroseth for Passover

Pharoah's Wheel: Tagliolini colla Crosta

Huevos Haminados con Spinaci (Long-Cooked Hard-Boiled Eggs with Spinach)

For Your Calendar

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

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