Bintel Blog

Praying for Health Care Reform

By Nathan Guttman

Democrats need you to pray for health care reform.

Well, maybe not pray. But what Senate Democrats are looking for is to hear more from religious groups in support of efforts to fix the health-care system. This was the message Senate Democrats had Wednesday at a press briefing with representatives of media outlets serving faith communities.

California Senator Barbara Boxer was perfectly clear: “My plea is that we hear more from the faith community,” she said. Boxer would like to see the issue of health care reform raised at synagogues every Saturday and at churches every Sunday.

“You got to talk to the people who are listening to you out there,” Boxer urged faith communities.

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Waxman to Weiner: ‘Speak English’

By Daniel Treiman

A little mameloshn came spilling out of the mouth of Rep. Anthony Weiner (aka the future Mr. Huma Abedin) during a discussion of health care reform. New York Daily News blogger Michael McAuliff reports:

“We’re not going to take hundreds of billions of dollars a year and give it to insurance companies who give us bupkis,” Weiner said, veins bulging.

That prompted a gavel from Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and a joking rebuke.

“The gentleman will speak English,” Waxman said.

We’re still waiting for someone to tell that to New York City Councilman Hiram Monserrate, who drew the notice of The New York Times with his mastery of Yiddish put-downs and, more recently, proved his proficiency with Yiddish as a language of political praise.

For Weiner and Waxman’s mameloshn mash-up, fast forward the following video to 6:45:

Hat tip: Vos Iz Neias

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Offbeat Israel: The Great-Great Grandfather of Jewish Law

By Nathan Jeffay

A broad alliance of people, from politicians to market traders, are worried for the heath of Israel’s less well-off, as reported in today’s edition of the Forward. Just as that row brews, we learn that the health of a staggering number of Israelis is suffering due to financial factors.

According to research released by the Israel Medical Association, 21% of people who live in the north of the country and 17% of those in areas of economic disadvantage said they forewent buying medications because of their cost.

Some 21% of Northern residents — and 15% of Israelis living in a low socioeconomic locality — passed on some form of medical care for their children for financial reasons. One in two people who forewent medical care due to financial factors said that their health had declined in the past year.


Yiddish was once the nemesis of the Zionist enterprise, but this week it entered its inner sanctum. The Knesset held its first ever Yiddish Culture Day on Tuesday, during which lawmakers were given Yiddish phrase books, treated to a Yiddish concert, and asked to take part in discussions about how to preserve the language. Ironic though, that it took longer for the Knesset to give a platform to Yiddish than to German — just over a year ago German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the chamber in German.


When Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, the most influential authority on Jewish law in Israel (if not the world) is in the news, it’s usually because of a new prohibition he is instituting or because of the political power he wields as the mentor of religious lawmakers. But now he is the subject of a cutesy human-interest fascination. He has just become a great-great grandfather. Hug Sameach!

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