Is Molnupiravir the Key to Ending the Pandemic?

Molnupiravir, a new drug from Merck pharmaceuticals, is proving effective in treating patients diagnosed with Covid-19. Is this the tool necessary to defeat the pandemic once and for all?

Clinical trials showed that the drug reduced the risk of hospitalization and death in at-risk patients by 50 percent, according to the company’s interim analysis.

Although experts predict COVID-19 will become endemic, with an oral, safe, and effective drug available, many sectors of the economy such as hospitality and travel should be able to return to near-normal, pre-pandemic operations.

Available COVID-19 treatments are a miracle for infected patients and should be widely available to people at an affordable cost — but they are a second line of defense. Vaccines are a miracle for everyone…

What Are the Fault Lines in the “New” Middle East?

Iran and Saudi Arabia are in diplomatic talks. The former is a US enemy, the latter an ally. Does Israel have anything to fear from the possible détente?

The most disturbing new development is the dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates… This is extremely dangerous and is shaking up the emerging pattern of friendships between the Sunni Gulf states and Israel that had occurred under the Trump administration as a result of the Abraham Accords.

These regional realignments are helping “depressurize” an area that has been dangerously stressed in recent years. Countries increasingly are trying to solve their own problems, through regional economic links, rather than depending on U.S. military might.

The talks might not lead to such peaceful pastures. Or some convergence of crises—the reemergence of ISIS, a terrorist attack, Iranian success at developing an A-bomb, a new conflict involving Israel—might once again pull the Americans back in, and the old way of world politics with it.

Did Jon Gruden Need to Go?

After a trove of homophobic, misogynistic, and racist emails surfaced, NFL coach Jon Gruden of the Las Vegas Raiders has resigned. Is this cancel culture or accountability?

Gruden’s words are more than just offensive, and their broader importance doesn’t recede with his resignation. Despite it, they represent a reminder of how little progress has been made since they were written in 2011…

Jon Gruden resigned as Las Vegas Raiders coach before he could be fired over offensive emails sent a decade ago. Yet the lyrics sung at Super Bowl halftime shows are at least equally offensive…

Gruden’s resignation isn’t the end or the beginning, just another Rorschach test. Sadly, some will see the controversy as no big deal, while others will foolishly think this is some sort of turning point.

Who Is Responsible for Pairing Jewish Couples?

So many Jews are single and looking for love. Are they on their own? Or is it someone else’s responsibility to find them a “shidduch” (set-up)?

In the same way that an organization was created to get young Jews to visit Israel (Birthright), and in the same way that there is an organization that promotes Israel in Congress (AIPAC), and in the same way there is an organization to combat antisemitism (the ADL), we likewise need a Jewish organization that is dedicated exclusively to Jewish marriage.

Unlike standard dating websites where members communicate directly with their prospective matches, JustKibbitz turns the process over to the parents, who make accounts showcasing their adult children, then arrange and, through digital gift cards for businesses like Starbucks, AMC and Chili’s, even pay for their dates.

Mrs. Klein, a New York-based shadchan, encourages what many are hesitant to do — noodge. “I once asked another shadchan, whom do you try the most for? And she said, ‘The people who noodge me the most.’”

Has Superman Come Out of the Closet?

In a new edition of Superman Comics, the reigning Superman (son of the OG Superman, Clark Kent), comes out as bisexual.

In terms of representation, of course, this is an unalloyed Good ThingTM. As the world depicted on the comics page starts to look more like the world off of it, as more members of comics’ diverse readership gain the opportunity to see a version of themselves on that page…

Former Superman actor Dean Cain has criticized DC Comics’ decision to have the current Superman come out as bisexual. “They said it’s a bold new direction, I say they’re bandwagoning,” the 55-year-old actor told Fox & Friends on Tuesday.

Batman’s sidekick, Robin, recently acknowledged romantic feelings for a male friend (not Dick Grayson — who was Batman’s partner for over four decades — but Tim Drake, a later replacement; there are multiple Robins just as there are multiple Supermen). And a new Aquaman comic stars a gay Black man who is positioned to become the title hero.

What’s New and Delicious in Jewish Cuisine?

What can you cook with “blessed hands?”

Will anyone miss the McBagel?

Why do grocery stores get Jewish holidays wrong?

Becky Sheff has Bendichas Manos, blessed hands in Ladino. In the world of Judeo-Spanish speakers, this is the ultimate compliment to bestow on a cook. Becky, Rachel’s mother in law, is part of a Rhodesli sisterhood that faithfully bakes burekas, boyos, biscochos and other beloved Sephardic delicacies of the former Ottoman Empire.

The McDonaldization of the bagel is either the acme or the nadir of Jewish food. Once only hand-rolled and boiled in Jewish enclaves, the niche nosh reached world fame, albeit as a dull steamed alternative to a hamburger bun.

Did you hear the one about the grocery store that was selling ham (yes, actual ham) for Hanukkah? How about the supermarket that constructed a pyramid’s worth of matzo boxes just before Rosh Hashanah, or the one that stocked hamantaschen next to the honey bears?

Today’s Hot Issues

Is Molnupiravir the Key to Ending the Pandemic? What Are the Fault Lines in the “New” Middle East? Did Jon Gruden Need to Go? Who Is Responsible for Pairing Jewish Couples? Has Superman Come Out of the Closet? What’s New and Delicious in Jewish Cuisine?