Here it is Thursday and we are experimenting with what the cover will be for the upcoming edition. This means Todd Feinburg, our editor and I are busy thinking, creating, experimenting with creative notions about what exactly our next cover should be. The main idea we toy with is to be compelling, riveting, eye catching and talked about - which of course, is easier said than done. Determining the front cover has become a bit more daunting since we changed the front cover of the Jewish Journal beginning in October. We did away with the rather busy and ineffectual multi-story front page and adopted a more serious and intense single issue front cover more reminiscent of a magazine cover than a sluggish every two week pot pourri of nothingness that we used to serve up. We believe the new front cover has excited many of our readers to believe that the JJ is entering a new territory of relevance and importance as a conveyor of news and messaging - and it is just that. We no longer look like your typical dying Jewish newspaper. Dying Jewish newspapers are a reflection of the national malaise that is affecting the Jewish population. Synagogues are closing, community centers are closing, Jews are not attending synagogue, the vast majority of Jews no longer have anything to do with being Jewish other than to be born Jewish. The organic Jewish community as most of us knew it when we were growing up is gone. What remains of it is vanishing. Something new is replacing it but we cannot be sure what exactly it is. Back to our front cover and the boldness of what we are attempting. We are making the JJ more exciting, more noticed, more talked about and more controversial. All of this can be achieved with a bold new front cover that brands us as statement makers and creators.
The random stabbing of Jews in Israel during the past four weeks is the clearest example of unadorned hatred and Palestinian anti-Semitism. Palestinians running around stabbing Jews, any Jew they can find, are atrocities and should be categorized as such - end of discussion. I don’t believe there is a hint of doubt that younger Palestinians by and large, who have been educated and brought up in a climate of hatred and anti-Semitism, would kill every Jew in Israel and destroy Israeli society and have a great laugh afterward if given the chance. Such actions anywhere else on this earth would be regarded as crimes against humanity. But not in the Middle East and not among the nations making up the hypocritical United Nations. Jews as criminals has a satisfying ring to it for the world’s anti-Semites. Palestinians praise their young for stabbing Jews. Hamas calls for blowing up Jews. Hezbollah does the same. Death to Jews is their credo. How much of this hate mongering and calls for genocide and extermination, for random violence against Jews by Palestinians can there be before Jews everywhere understand we are living during a changing era when it is OK to talk about erasing Jews from the face of the earth. We can take considerable consolation that the Israelis hold an arsenal of atomic bombs that could turn the deserts of the Middle East into glass in a matter to one hour - and that Israeli Air Force could deliver those bombs with great precision on every Arab capital. Gaza could be wiped out with one atomic bomb. That would certainly stop the firing of rockets into Israel, wouldn’t it? Dealing with the remainder of the Palestinian nation would be more problematic as more than a million live in Israel with Israelis and don’t want to be living with their Palestinian counterparts who practice random stabbing and suicide bombings. Obviously, unless the end is perceived to be near for the Israeli nation, atomic bombs will never be used. Still, there is no bravado on the part of Israelis when it comes to its atomic stockpile and no questions among the world’s great powers about the responsibility shown by Israel and its leaders. Compare this with the threats of the Iranians for the extermination of Israel. Israel could erase Iran overnight. In the last analysis, Israel doesn’t really have to worry about Iran as it can destroy Iran instantly. So what is the fuss? As Israel’s connection to the Holocaust fades, as the memory of the Holocaust fades from the world’s mind set, it has become OK to shout about the extermination of Israel at Friday prayers in Teheran, among nearly the entirety of the younger Palestinian population in Gaza and on the West Bank and throughout the Arab world. Jews still wear the numbered tattoos of Nazi genocide. We will always wear those numdered tattoos. The memory of all that reminds us of how far the world will go to wipe us off the face of the earth. When so many millions of people are wanting us to be erased from the face of the earth in honor of their violent religion, it is time to stand up and to be counted. Stand up and be counted, fight the hate or be gone. It is as simple as that believe it or not.
The edition now on the stands of Boston Magazine attempts to cash in on Bob Kraft’s notoriety. It also seeks to marginalize Kraft’s charity by making it appear that his charity is connected to the conscious and concerted personal effort to expand his notoriety and to assuage those who view his charity as an act intended to somehow expand his reputation and power. I have no problem with that. Kraft is a public person. Magazines like Boston can write what they want and they often do just that. Boston has become best at lists - best lawyers, best doctors, best restaurants, best private schools and on and on, ad nauseum, ad infinitum. It is when Boston drifts away from lists that it runs into trouble standing for what is right. What is disturbing in the case of Boston Magazine this month is that they get Kraft all wrong. Their premise, that his charity is something about self-aggrandizement, is preposterous. Anyone who knows Kraft understands this about him and his kids - they are class people who don’t throw their weight around when it comes to giving away their money. The Krafts are about wealth, power and charity but they are just as much about humility. I’ve known the Krafts for a long time. I have never witnessed a single instance of untoward boast or one dimensional, egotistical hyperbole from these people. Boston Magazine’s assertion that Kraft has been calling potential donors and announcing, “Hello, this is Bob Kraft. Do you know who I am?” before announcing he’s giving away $100,000 to the party he’s speaking with is rubbish. First of all, who doesn’t know Bob Kraft? Let me answer this. Many do not know Bob Kraft. Kraft, like the mortal that he is, quite often has to announce who he is just to get started with folks who don’t know him. There are some who would not believe that Bob Kraft was calling them to discuss giving away $100,000 to their organization and might well wonder: “Am I really speaking with Bob Kraft?” Boston Magazine would have its readers believe that Bob Kraft is the kind of big-feeling guy who would answer a state policeman who stopped him while driving this way: “Do you know who I am?” Those of us who know Mr. Kraft understand that he would not answer that way in 1000 years. He would watch closed mouth as the state trooper wrote him up, would take the ticket from him and put it away without asking a question. Boston Magazine tries to distort the dignified, quiet, humble, image of Mr. Kraft, which is something of unsurpassable quality for all of us who know him or who have been touched by his generosity. Boston Magazine attempts to make a mockery out of his charity. Boston Magazine might as well denounce the pope for washing the dirty feet of the poor. Or even better, what has Boston Magazine given away in its long life of selling advertisements to the people of New England? And what other than thinking they can make money off a bad piece about Bob Kraft motivated the bosses at the magazine to engineer this issue and the story about him the way they did?
Iran’s Ayatollah K has again lashed out at the United States in order to protect his weakening flank in a nation he can barely control. Yesterday, he said straight out that there would be no further negotiations with the United States about anything. Why? Because our culture, our business savvy, our interest in human rights, our protection of womens’ rights, and the rights of all those with different religions and sexual preferences is incompatible with the aging revolutionaries perverted view of the Iranian world which would seek to allow none of that..but already does. There is the rub for the Ayatollah K. Despite his best effort to pit the old revolutionaries against the half of the Iranian population that is under 30 and yearning for freedom he is failing miserably. Why, again? Because young people want their freedom. The old revolutionaries want the absence of freedom and the imposition of strict Muslim cultural and religious law and dogma that no young person has an ounce of interest in. Many older people are also very tired of Iranian dogma that keeps that nation at odds with the rest of the world, and especially with the Western World. The Ayatollah K can try to control the Internet, peoples’ private sexual lives, their public persona as Iranians and on and on but he will fail He will try to keep Western culture out of Iran but this is what young Iranians en masse want and love. There is no rational or reasonable way to keep Western culture and its pervasive imperatives - expressions of personal freedom, expressions of artistic and intellectual freedom, expressions of freedom of every kind away from younger Iranians. Cell phones, internet, Facebook, outside interests coming inside to Iran makes this impossible. Ayatollah K knows this as well as anyone. Whatever Americans may think about Ayatollah K, he is the smartest of the power brokers leading Iran. This man is no fool. He understands the world. He
We are at the point in the summer of 2015 when there is just as much summer in front of us as behind us. For those of you who love the summer, the heat, the languor of these precious weeks when we don’t need sweaters or warm clothes, the beginning of July puts us at a comfortable moment when the warmth pervades everything.
The nine innocents who died while praying inside the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, S.C., last week is a national tragedy of the first order. It is, in every way, a shocking obscenity, a horrific act of cowardice and violence. We join the nation in sending our condolences to the families who lost love ones and we also send our support to the larger community of Charleston, especially the African American community.