Busy weeks mean the news chum gets pushed to the weekend, because I have no time at lunch. Here’s a collection of Jewish themed news items that caught my eye. As I say over on AAroads, ready, set, discuss.
- Jews and the Hispanic Community. One of the key factors in forming my worldview were the Wilshire Blvd Temple Camps, Camp Hess Kramer and Gindling Hilltop Camps. Here’s an interesting article on those camp’s impact on another community, the Hispanic community, forged through a relationship with the camp’s founder, Rabbi Wolf. As I wrote on Facebook, “Judaism has a long history of working with and for minority groups, all arising from the dictum (repeated every Passover) that we never forget that we were slaves at one time, that we never forget we were oppressed, that we never forget where we came from — and through never forgetting, we fight for the rights of all people and groups facing similar journeys, our brothers and sisters in arms.”
- Jews, SNAP, and Boxes. There is the oft held misconception that Jews are wealthy and have all the money. That’s a canard, spread by antisemites and believers in globalism and the New World Order (and all that implies). In reality, there are Jews across the entire economic spectrum, just as with any other religion. There are even Jews on food stamps, and if you think living on food stamps is hard, try doing it when you have to keep kosher, or have other dietary limitations. I was thinking about this the other day as I read the Trumps administration to distribute food boxes to SNAP recipients instead of food stamps. Under this proposal (which is included in the Trump administration budget request for fiscal year 2019), according to the article I read, most SNAP recipients would lose much of their ability to choose the food they buy with their SNAP benefits. Instead, low-income Americans who receive at least $90 a month — just over 80 percent of all SNAP recipients — would get about half of their benefits in the form of a “USDA Foods package.” The package was described in the budget as consisting of “shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit and vegetables.” The boxes would not include fresh fruits or vegetables. Thinking about SNAP recipients with religious dietary limitations made me realize that this box is setting up a church/state conflict, as the state is interfering with the practice of religion.
- Feminization of Jewish Names. My daughter passed this one on to me, and it will be of interest to geneologists. According to the article, there’s a strange phenomenon that pops up surrounding the last names of Jews in the Russian Empire during the 19th century. A lot of them were derived from women’s first names, which is known as “matronymics.” The existence of last names like Belkin, Dvorkin, Malkin, and Rivkin, derived from Belka (Beyle), Dvorka (Deborah), Malka, and Rivka, were extremely common and represent a real idiosyncrasy of Ashkenazic onomastics (the study of names). This is of personal interest, as my last name falls into this category and local (Faigin, which would come from something like Fayglis). The article explores how Jews came to take surnames, and the sources of those surnames.
- Modern Jewish Music. Two Jewish music items of note. First, the musical Soul Doctor, about the Jewish musician Shlomo Carlebach, is going on a short tour, hitting Los Angeles May 3-13. I may see if I can fit it in. Also, the Jewish Bluegrass duo, Nefesh Mountain, has released a new album, and it looks like they will be performing at Temple Ramat Zion on May 25.