Summer is everywhere. You can see it in parents’ social media feeds, with pictures of them dropping smiling kids off at sleepaway camp. You can taste it in the summer drink specials at your favorite spot—rosé slushies, craft beers, chilled white wine and cool negronis. You can hear it in the pop music coming out of tiny speakers producing big sounds, so different from the foam-covered headphones on your Walkman back when. You can read about it with the seasonal newspaper tilt towards human-interest stories. Graduations are past us, and most parents aren’t shopping for school supplies just yet.
It’s not that difficulties have abated, or the severity of crises lessened. Things are still tough, mostly for tragic reasons, but there is more lightness about things, more optimism. Perhaps events, and how they’re covered in the news, are more hopeful.
How else to explain Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walking in the Dead Sea, shoes off and pants rolled up? If they weren’t who they are, they could be anybody. Just two guys catching up. Because that’s what summer bring us—less local news (everyone is away), with an increased number of broader discussions about larger topics. Think of it as a more meta to-do list talked about at a backyard bbq or, in this case, at the beach.
This week’s NYJL has a compelling article from the JTA on this budding “bromance.” As reported, “‘Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Israel is a watershed moment that reaffirms the strong political, economic and security ties between two important partners of the United States who share our interests and democratic values,’ Marshall Wittmann, the spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, told the JTA.”
Or, as I like to say, “Don’t tell me what you can’t do; tell me what you can do.”
Coverage of Israel has felt increasingly balanced lately, shifting from relentless criticism to more forward-looking engagement. Perhaps it’s a product of a changed foreign policy in America towards the region. Maybe it’s a market phenomenon, or maybe it’s a summer romance. Perhaps it’s a combination of things, as another favorite saying of mine is, “Nothing is ever just about one thing.”
Summer is also when unexplained, improbable things get started. Summer projects take root in the heat, mature in the early fall and come to fruition before winter cold dampens energy. Republican mayoral candidate, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, is (noticeably) working very hard to highlight incumbent Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio’s shortcomings. New York City has elected Republican mayors, and Nicole’s demographic—young, moderate, female, accomplished—makes her a compelling candidate. She has articulated a clear vision and rationale for her candidacy, and has literally been everywhere in the city discussing it. Mayor de Blasio, it can be reasonably admitted even by his supporters, has an arrogance that produces self-inflicted wounds and unforced errors for Malliotakis to leverage. I mean, really, why did the mayor go to Germany?!
Lastly, summer is a time for true love and real commitments. Congratulations to friends Jessica Proud and Dave Catalfamo on their recent engagement. She’s a Republican political consultant; he was Governor Pataki’s spokesman and is now a lobbyist—two great people who will, I expect, never run out of things to talk about.
We at New York Jewish Life wish you and your family a restful summer. Take a break—you’ve earned it. We’ll keep things going in the meantime, so please look for us in your neighborhood.