Champions of Breakfast

A Breakfast Club, Egypt Opens Border, Bigly Smalls

After a rough couple weeks of often horrific stories with global implications, let’s start with a simple, local, bittersweet story about community, compassion, and summoning the strength to carry on. “The ‘Wednesday Breakfast Club’ tradition came about after Sam Crowe — Winckowski’s grandson — then a freshman at Bishop DuBourg High School, floated the idea to his friends. The school has a later start on Wednesday mornings, and Crowe and his classmates typically went to a diner to have breakfast before class. One Wednesday morning at the diner, Sam told his friends that his Grandma Peggy makes a better breakfast than the restaurant. So, after checking with his grandmother — who eagerly offered to host her grandson’s friends for breakfast — a small group of high school students showed up at Winckowski’s house the following Wednesday morning. And then every Wednesday since. The gathering took on a much bigger, and sadder, meaning in July 2022, when Sam was killed in a car crash at age 15.” The tradition changed, but it continued. Sydney Page in WaPo: A teen died. Now his friends visit his grandma for breakfast each week. “I’ve lost my 15-year-old grandson, but in his place, Sam gave me 30 extra grandbabies … I think Sam is directing this from above.”


A Crossing to Bear

“While dozens of people were loaded into ambulances, crowds at the border facility pushed through an open gate. Parents gripped tightly to toddlers with one hand and tried to wheel their suitcases with the other. Then they sat in plastic chairs, waiting and waiting after weeks of false dawns.” At long last, the first civilians leave Gaza through Rafah border crossing into Egypt.

+ Antony Blinken’s testimony to Congress on just one of many atrocities that took place on October 7: “The father’s eye gouged out, the mother’s breast cut off, the girl’s foot amputated, the boy’s fingers cut off before they were executed, and then their executioners sat down and had a meal. That is what this society is dealing with.” (You can protest about the way Israel is responding and mourn the innocent lives lost. But you can’t be pro-Hamas. You can’t.)

+ Meanwhile, a “top Hamas official said the militant group is prepared to repeat October’s terrorist attack on Israel time and again until the country no longer exists.”

+ Iran’s prior, existing, and future role in all this has received less coverage than one would imagine. For years, Iran’s leaders have been calling for Israel’s destruction. One of their proxies has made its move and others are getting involved. So now what? NYT (Gift Article): After Years of Vowing to Destroy Israel, Iran Faces a Dilemma. “Still, Iran does not want regional war, which carries risks for the nation and its religious rulers … The military capabilities of its allies could be significantly diminished by a protracted battle with Israel, and even more so if the U.S. military enters the fray.”

+ NYT (Gift Article): American Commandos Are in Israel Helping to Locate Hostages, Pentagon Says.

+ “Since the Israeli military issued the first of several instructions for civilians to evacuate north Gaza, hundreds of thousands of Gazans have moved to the south of the strip. But the south has continued to come under Israeli bombardment.” BBC verifies attacks in areas of ‘safety.’

+ Some US citizens have gotten out of Gaza and into Egypt, Israel moves further into Gaza. Here’s the latest from CNN and BBC.


A Return to the Familiar

“Perhaps not since the Holocaust, which saw the annihilation of about two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish community, have the Jews of Europe lived in an atmosphere of fear so acute that it feels like a fundamental shift in the terms of their existence. Across a Europe of daubed Stars of David on apartment buildings, bomb threats to Jewish stores and demonstrations calling for Israel’s eradication … For European Jews, it seems that something fundamental has shifted since the Hamas attack, as it also has for Jews in the United States.” Roger Cohen in the NYT (Gift Article): For Europe’s Jews, a World of Fear. As the son of two Holocaust survivors, this trend is deeply concerning. But so is the age-old notion that the only way to respond to antisemitism is with fear. That strategy hasn’t worked well in the past. I’m not a particularly brave person and I’ve never had to face existential threats. But let me channel my dad. When he was a teen and the only surviving member of his family, he escaped a Nazi round-up and crawled through mud and snow until he reached the edge of the Polish forest. He survived there for months, alone, often getting through the night by stealing some warmth while lying on top of outdoor bread ovens. Eventually, he got a gun. A gun meant you could join the partisans, an organized group of insurgents, protecting each other and launching attacks from their hideaways in the woods. He spent years fighting the Nazis, specializing in blowing up German trains headed toward the front. What we’re experiencing today is not the Holocaust. I’m not advising European and American Jews to escape to the forest and take up arms. But I am calling on Jews, from communities to campuses, to set fear aside and respond to the latest threats with strength, unity, and defiance. Antisemitism is all-too familiar. Our reaction to it doesn’t have to be.


Beware: It Worked

“The program covers tens of thousands of square miles. So far, the program has been a big success. It has essentially stopping the geographic spread of rabies in the eastern US.” To control rabies in wildlife, the USDA drops vaccine treats from the sky. Hopefully, raccoons don’t respond to effective vaccines as foolishly as some humans. Here’s a troubling (and highly illogical) trend. Vaccine Confidence Falls as Belief in Health Misinformation Grows. “Americans have less confidence in vaccines to address a variety of illnesses than they did just a year or two ago, and more people accept misinformation about vaccines and Covid-19.”


Extra, Extra

Running Away From Home: “Our father has told us that if he is arrested by Pakistani authorities, we should not leave even then. Because we will have no life in Afghanistan.” A reminder that there are other massive international stories taking place right now. Mass exodus of Afghans as deadline to leave Pakistan arrives. “Many of them, who have called Pakistan home for decades, say they have nothing to go back to, while others say they are terrified to be heading back to the Taliban government.” Afghan refugees forced to leave Pakistan say they have nothing.

+ A Tough Cell: “The decision by an advisory committee may lead to Food and Drug Administration approval of the first treatment for humans that uses the CRISPR gene-editing system.” NYT (Gift Article): Panel Says That Innovative Sickle Cell Cure Is Safe Enough for Patients.

+ Talking ‘Bout an Evolution: “Over the past decade, Johnson has worked and advocated for a religious theme park in Kentucky, one centered around a re-creation of the ark described in the Bible. The theme park elevates the idea that the world was created in its present form by God several thousand years ago; that there was no evolution involved in the emergence of different life forms, including humans.” Are Mike Johnson’s view extreme? It turns out a plurality of Americans believe God created humans without evolution.

+ Shooting Your Shot: “Once a social media sensation trumpeted as the best player in the 2023 class, Mikey Williams is now facing a legal fight for his freedom.” We mostly hear about the too-much, too-soon sports stories that work out. We need to hear more about the ones that don’t. Jeff Eisenberg: The rise and fall of Mikey Williams.

+ Bigly Smalls: Are Trump’s genitals too small? That wasn’t what the Supreme Court was considering today. It was just the backdrop. Supreme Court appears ready to rule against activist wanting to trademark ‘Trump Too Small.’ This seems some a bigly waste of time…


Bottom of the News

From compressed yeast to cream cheese and cornflakes: one man’s search for the world’s greatest sandwich. “What other sandwich discoveries has he made? The many uses of peanut butter, he says, though he perhaps shouldn’t be surprised when he grew up eating peanut butter and dill pickle sandwiches.” (This man knows his stuff.)

+ 25-Year Lasagna, Special Ops Oatmeal, and the Survival Food Boom.

+ The Family Recipes That Live On in Cemeteries: Around the world, recipe gravestones tell stories of love, grief, and remembrance. (Given the venue, it seems like recipes that one wished they’d cut back on would be more useful.)

Copied to Clipboard