Trumpian conspiracy theories and antisemitism are closely connected. A 69 year-old man was brutally removed from a United Airlines flight in a completely unacceptable show of force (warning, video is a bit graphic.) New Mexico has banned school 'lunch shaming' as should everyone because it is fucking awful. Coming out as genderqueer. Dating bisexual men is something a lot of women seem to really enjoy. Yet more hand-wringing over travel writing. Three Russian theories on why the U.S. hit Syria. The stories about Abu Dhabi that are rarely told. Guess how many European states have a transgender sterilization requirement? Queer love and struggle in Jackson. We've been killing South Asians since they got to the U.S.
Around the Globe
Africa. Somalia's new military chief survived a bombing that killed 10 others. Egypt's Coptic Christian minority faced a horrifying dual-attack on Palm Sunday, resulting in the deaths of more than 40 people. Tanzania is cracking down on LGBTQ people and getting away with it. Migrants and refugees from West Africa are reportedly being bought and sold--in Libyan markets. The U.N. Secretary General has called for a renewal in talks over the occupied Western Sahara, which Morocco currently controls. Nigeria says it foiled militant efforts to target the U.S. and U.K. embassies in Abuja. Nigeria's government is also in talks to release the remaining Chibok girls.
Americas. JOINT WORLD CUP BID. Pot, legal and coming to a Canada near you. Floods in Peru have endangered thousands of children, per UNICEF. Venezuelans are protesting their government. Yet another man murdered a woman (and a child to boot.) The governor of Alabama resigned after allegations that he had used public funds to cover up an affair. A Black Muslim judge, the first of Black Muslim woman to serve on the highest court in New York, was found dead in the state. This week in Trump: Press Secretary Sean Spicer engaged in some low-key Holocaust denialism; related: the White House hosted a seder but neither the president nor his daughter attended; the White House accused Russia of covering up the Syrian chemical weapons attack; Paul Manafort has finally registered as a foreign agent; Trump did a 180 and now thinks NATO is important again; Trump was apparently eating chocolate cake when he ordered the missile strike on Syria; Planned Parenthood is once again a target.
Asia. In a show of force, the U.S. sent warships to the Korean Peninsula. North Korea launched a missile, but it seems to have fizzled. Japan joined the U.S. in its exercises, a clear show of alliance against North Korea. At least eight people were killed in an attack on a Philippine resort island. The Trump administration is apparently eyeing the war in Yemen? The death of a Pakistani transgender woman in Saudi Arabia has attracted the attention of Human Rights Watch. The U.S. dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal on Afghanistan. A U.S. drone strike in Syria killed at least 18 rebel allies. A British woman was stabbed to death in Jerusalem, reportedly by a Palestinian attacker.
Europe. Hungarians mass-protested against the closure of a top university funded by George Soros. Eastern Europeans are complaining because, as with many other things, their grocery stores are not offered the same quality as those available to Western Europeans. Rallies against Serbia's leader continue. Three explosions hit a bus carrying a German football team en route to a match against Monaco. Russia vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an investigation into Syria's most recent chemical weapons attack. Turkey's referendum is coming -- this Sunday. Russia is out of Eurovision after a spat with Ukraine. Montenegro has charged 14 people with a plot to overthrow the government.
Along with my dear co-worker Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani, I wrote about the diplomatic minefield Rex Tillerson waded into when he went to Moscow.
To make: MACAROONS. The understated champion of the Pesach feast, the enduring favorite of seder-goers everywhere (or so we can probably assume), the superior option to whatever you were offered recently as an acceptable kosher-for-Passover dessert. I love macaroons, as does my non-Jewish PIC, and between the two of us we've killed multiple tins swiftly in years past. Moving away from anything pre-made towards things we only make ourselves means we tackled macaroon-making this year (thanks, Deb.) And while those Smitten Kitchen chocolate ones were definitely the best we made, I also attempted more traditional vanilla coconut macaroons (vanilla, coconut flakes, egg whites, sugar, and, for most people, salt, but we do not use salt because I am a monster.) For the record: they did not hold together. Not enough egg white protein, I believe. So, I resorted to peanut butter, which was very effective, but then obviously we had peanut butter macaroons, as opposed to vanilla macaroons. Win some, lose some.
To do: Every year at our seder (we host exactly one per year, and timing has varied drastically), we encourage everyone to share what they're grateful for. It's a small moment, but in light of the current state of affairs, a necessary one -- taking a moment and really thinking about it could be beneficial for you, too.
Spoken & Written
“After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy." -- President Donald Trump, on his initial feeling that China could eliminate the threat of a nuclear North Korea. Apparently Chinese President Xi Jinping needed only ten minutes of Korea-China history to convince him otherwise.
Thoughts & Facts
This year was a special year for a lot of Reform and Conservative Jews, though really last year should have been too -- it just took awhile to kick in, which is why I spent this year messaging frantically with friends to figure out what, indeed, we were allowed to eat. In December 2015, the multi-centuries old ban on consuming kitniyot (instituted by the Ashkenazim; Sephardim and Mizrahim, etc, seem to have been spared) was lifted by two teshuvot (responses to Jewish law.)
Kitniyot are rice, legumes, beans, and generally enjoyable things that now only Orthodox Ashkenazi Jews are prevented from having. The rationale for the new rulings has varied, though the Forward article above notes that as more and more Ashkenazi-Sephardi couples form, schisms over things like kitniyot are becoming more apparent. I prefer the line of thought maintaining that there was literally no need for the ban, with much of the world's Jewry not adhering to it anyways and enjoying delightful rice and bean dishes while the rest of us suffered.
With my apologies to my Orthodox Ashkenazi friends, chag sameach, and I am very glad the rest of us have legumes back.