Violence, hatred, terror, disaster. The murder of innocent teenagers, intent on saving their friends. It was another hard week in America, and in the world. Here are a few of the beautiful, hopeful Jewish moments from this week.
If you have a tip for a Jewish news story that brought you joy, please send it to Singer@forward.com.
Our very own Forward archivist, Chana Pollack, was recognized for her work in “rescuing Yiddish history” in our fellow Jewish publication, Tablet. Writer Rokhl Kafrissen captured Pollack, who started at the Forward in 1999, calling her, “The anti-gatekeeper, an archivist who only wants you to look closer, to ask more questions, to get hooked on the mysteries of the archive.” You can read that piece here.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is closer than ever to radically empathic legislation that would be the first of its kind in America to end the criminalization of drug possession. “Possession is different than dealing,” he told Axios. “We are talking about people who are using drugs. The vast majority of them suffering from addiction. I do not see value in convicting people like that.” Aspiring Nice Jewish Lawyers, take note.
American veterans handling Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) found healing in Israel over Passover, Haaretz reports, doing archeological digging with AVAR (American Veterans Archaeological Recovery,) a new organization that helps rehabilitated traumatized and injured veterans through vital archeological work. “They’re part of a mission, and as veterans, that suits them,” explained US veteran Nicole Fuentes. “They’re used to sleeping in tents for a week without showers, with field toilets, eating in field conditions.” The small group assisted Israeli archeologists at the Khirbet Amuda excavation site, digging up objects that date back as early as the destruction of the first Temple, in 586 BCE. “Nothing deterred them,” said dig co-director Michal Haberman, of the veterans. A group of AVAR veterans will continue the work in Israel next Sukkot.
The Philadelphia Israeli restaurant Zahav was named the best restaurant in the United States this week. The exceptional eatery, founded by Israeli chef Michael Solomonov and Jewish-American Steve Cook, won the highest award of the year from the James Beard Foundation. Mashwe, halloumi, coal-grilled eggplant…get your reservation if you can.
How the other one million lives
The mesmerizing Shtisel family will return to Israeli TV and Netflix, creators of the hit show about ultra-Orthodox Israelis have announced. Let your preconceived notions of Haredi Jews (Netflix &) chill, and get ready to enjoy a bisl more “Shtisel.”
You are holy, God tells us, in this week’s parsha, Kedoshim. You are holy, because I am holy. This is followed, as is God’s typical preference, by a slew of commandments. Personally, I am fond of the Christian version, “Love each other, as I love you,” which comes with fewer strings attached. But you get what you get and you don’t get upset, so!
Besides, this is one of God’s coolest runs of commandments:
Revere your parents.
Keep the sabbath.
Leave the corner of your fields (for people who need them more than you.)
Don’t trick each other.
Don’t keep pay from your workers overnight.
Don’t diss deaf people.
Don’t trip blind people.
Do not profit on the blood of your fellow.
Don’t eat nasty old meat, for god’s sake!
And then, one more. “Love others like you love yourself.”
Here it is, folks, the line we’ve been waiting for. “That’s Torah,” our great teacher Hillel famously said, practicing turn-of-the-millennium yoga. “The rest is commentary — now go and study it.”
“You shall not let your cattle mate with a different kind!” is the actual next line in the Torah, however.
Humans do beautiful things every week. Now go and study them.
Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny