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June 16, 2017  RSS feed

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ICYMI: June Edition

Emilie Socash

I admit it: I kept seeing the acronym “ICYMI” on my Facebook feed and I, too, had to look it up. It is the quick way of saying “in case you missed it” and is commonly used to call attention to something noteworthy that you otherwise may have missed.

Here are a few ICYMI that I thought worth sharing. In each of these I found an interesting gem about our worldwide Jewish community.

• A recent study revealed that the general “Jewish global service sector,” which is loosely defined as services provided to Jewish people and communities outside the United States and Israel, is a $125 million industry, serving 3 million people and engaging 2,000 volunteers in international aid efforts.

• This month, the movie Wonder Woman was released starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot, grossing over $200 million in its first week or so in theatres.

• The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum launched its first-ever Kickstarter campaign on June 13, seeking to crowdfund a project called “Save Their Stories.” The drive is targeting a goal of $250,000, which will go to making diaries of Holocaust victims and survivors available to everyone by helping in the cataloging, translation, and publication online. In the first day, the campaign had raised more than $75,000.

• On June 6, a choir of 60 Canadians performed at Toronto’s Zoomerplex, delighting an audience of 150 with a performance of “Oh Canada” in Yiddish.

• Just a few days later, on June 9, the distinctive helmet prop from the Dark Helmet character in the movie Space Balls, went to auction. It’s only expected to yield about $8,000.

• Of a more serious nature, Warren Buffett this month announced that he is encouraging and participating in the purchase of $200 million in Israel Bonds. He already owns $5 million in bonds himself, and is working together with Larry Silverstein (founder of Silverstein Properties and developer of One World Trade Center) on investment-raising efforts in Nebraska and New York. Buffett also has met with investors from across the U.S. as well as Canada, Mexico, and Brazil who bought between $1 million and $5 million in bonds. Israel and the Jewish people thank you for your investing confidence, Warren.

• Making cool even cooler is the Israeli start-up Icebow, which is revolutionizing the ice cube industry (Did you know there’s one? I didn’t.) with branded ice cubes and superior cooling power. This Jerusalem-based company actually embeds the logo or message within the ice cube, ensuring that the intended brand stays until the final melt. And in typical Israeli fashion, the company has also determined that through their process (with their patented ice makers) they will reduce the energy consumed by comparably standard ice-making machines by about half.

• Fourteen-year-old Naomi Eytan has managed to single-handedly pit the Israel Cricket Association and the Maccabiah Games against one another in one unintentional and unchangeable regard: her gender. She’s been competing for years on the junior team (ages 19 and under), flanked by an all-male team. Maccabiah Games has determined cricket to be a boys-only sport and has excluded her from competing. The story continues to develop …

• This month also marks the return of the Horati Festival, a four-day dance festival put on by the Israeli Dance Institute in New York, considered something of a World’s Fair of the eifo, eifo, hippo, hippo set. One participating dance teacher noted that practicing Israeli dance is like “having a built-in Jewish community wherever you go.”

• And finally, an item I’m adding to my bucket list is screenwriter Noa Berman-Herzberg’s new in-home hachmatza events. What’s a “hachmatza” event, you’re asking? The Hebrew word has a bit of double-entendre to it, meaning both “to pickle” and “a missed opportunity.” Berman-Herzberg is inviting people to her Tel Aviv home to sit around her dining table, eat pickles, drink vodka, and tell stories of missed opportunities. This month is actually her sixth event, and there’s very little chance for me to attend, but nonetheless I’m fascinated with this idea.

This veritable buffet of likely missed news events present a current and candid story of what the Jewish community is up to right now. It’s insightful to look to what we’re drawn to, what speaks to us, what moves us, and what we respond to. Did you take issue with the young cricket athlete barred from the Maccabiah games? Were you just a touch proud of Warren Buffett’s insistence on using Israel Bonds for an investment tool? Did you share my fascination with the pickling-story-telling event?

I’m drawn to the multifaceted vibrancy of our community, around the globe and across town. Sometimes it’s easy to miss out on some of the most interesting and exciting news, and we must rely on the power of word of mouth. I hope that you enjoyed this short list of community news bites … and that you’ll share the points of interest with your own friends.

Liked it? Loathed it? Want to react? I would welcome your feedback and can be reached at

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