Percy Bysshe Shelley was not a Jew (sometimes, the name really is a dead giveaway.) But the poet was right when he said, “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” As polar vortexes bring arctic breezes, the warmth of Spring is already on its way. Here are five moments of pride and joy from the Jewish week, plus a few bonuses.
If you have a tip for a Jewish news story that brought you joy, please send it to Singer@forward.com.
The Jewper Bowl: As far as the game of football goes, Sunday was nothing to write home about. As far as Jewish sports news goes, Sunday was one to write in the history books. Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, a proud Jew, became the first Jewish person to ever be named Super Bowl MVP. Edelman played an outstanding offensive game. He joined Tom Brady in leading the team, owned by Jewish philanthropist Robert Kraft, to what feels like its umpteenth victory. Halftime performer Adam Levine provided even more Jewish representation, though his naked desire to make the performance memorable was, perhaps, questionable.
Representation: If Jewish comedian Billy Eichner, famous for his brilliantly irreverent “Billy On The Street” comedy show simply kept on doing what he is doing, dayeinu. If he redoubled his 2018 efforts to turn out the youth vote in 2020, dayeinu. But Eichner, whose comedy is propelled by his seething desire to overturn inequalities, has announced that he will star in a romantic comedy about gay men that he helped write. Produced and directed, respectively, by nice Jewish boys Judd Apatow and Nick Stoller, Eichner’s movie is set to be historic. And likely very funny.
Honor and Remembrance: The United States government honored and sang happy birthday to Judah Samet, the now 81-year-old who survived Bergen-Belsen only to barely miss the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Samet attended the State of the Union this week along with a police officer who responded to the shooting. “My God, my story doesn’t end,” he told the Forward the day after the shooting, explaining that he missed being in the synagogue during the shooting by four minutes.
Healing: When Sarah Grossman and Tamara Green were in their 20’s, each dealt with close friends’ cancer diagnoses. The Jewish nutritionists took on the project of feeding their ailing friends, eventually developing a meal-delivery system, “Living Kitchen,” that counts cancer patients among over a quarter of its clients. ““We really wanted the book to be comforting, to help people feel a little less overwhelmed. With cancer, a lot of people don’t know what to eat or where to start. We really tried to make things as simple as possible,” Grossman told the Forward. Now the women have published a Living Kitchen cookbook, full of cozy, nutritious meals that answer the question — “What do you eat when you’re recovering from cancer?”
Synagogue: People who go to shul are happier, according to science. A new study from the Pew Center (you know how we Jews love the Pew Center) found that “People who are active in religious congregations tend to be happier and more civically engaged than either religiously unaffiliated adults or inactive members of religious groups.” This is not the first study that has found that religious people are happier. But wait, slackers, disaffected atheists, and people who are just on the hunt for bagels, don’t lose faith — the study found that participation in a religious community, or even just affiliation, is beneficial, not just attending services. Go thank your rabbis, folks.
Torah: Linen, lapis lazuli, crimson yarns, acacia wood, and yes, dolphin skins. In this week’s Torah portion of Terumah, God goes all Tim Gunn, dictating the design of the holy tabernacle. God needs a place to dwell in the desert, among the Israelites — a place that’s portable, and beautiful. “They shall make for me a sanctuary, and I shall dwell amongst them,” God tells Moses.
And a bonus:Ranch dressing ain’t all that bad for you after all, according to nutritionists.
Zey gezunt and have a restful shabbat.
Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny