SAN FRANCISCO ( – Here is a radical proposal for the New Year: Forget the guilt and instead lean into what you love to become the best possible version of yourself.

The liturgy for the Jewish New Year has us taking a long hard look at all the mistakes we have made in the previous 12 months. Soul searching is good, but for the most part, if we are honest, we already know where our faults lie and, if we were able to change them with ease, we would have already done so.

This is not to say that we should forgo striving to be our best selves. On the Jewish calendar, the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah is called Elul. One rabbinic interpretation of this name is that it is an acronym for the Hebrew Ani L’Dodi v’Dodi Li, “I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me.” A lovely romantic notion, the rabbis also take it to be a tribute to God’s love for us. It is not accidental that the month leading up to the New Year is one that takes love as a main theme. Love can be a powerful force for change, easier to embrace and more satisfying than guilt.

Film educator Eric Goldman (right), organizer of “The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film,” in conversation with Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne. /PHOTO | David Holloway/TCMFilm educator Eric Goldman (right), organizer of “The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film,” in conversation with Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne. /PHOTO | David Holloway/TCMJNS.ORG – Since 2006, the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable and satellite TV network has hosted “The Projected Image,” a month-long showcase examining how different cultural and ethnic groups have been portrayed on the big screen. At last, after previously covering African Americans, Asians, the LGBT community, Latinos, Native Americans, Arabs, and people with disabilities, the annual series is delving into Jewish film this month.

“The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film,” whose first segment aired Sept. 2, runs again on each of the next four Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST. New Jersey-based film educator Eric Goldman organized the showcase with TCM producer Gary Freedman.

JTA – The trustee charged with recovering funds for victims of Bernie Madoff’s fraud scheme said he will appeal a ruling that would decimate a lawsuit against financier J. Ezra Merkin.

Irving Picard asked a New York bankruptcy court on Sept. 5 to finalize a decision severely curtailing his $565 million lawsuit against Merkin, the hedge funder who helped fuel Madoff’s business, so that Picard could appeal to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, according to a report by the legal news website Law360.

The bankruptcy court decision, which was issued by Judge Stuart Bernstein on Aug. 12, dismissed 9 of the 13 charges filed by Picard against Merkin on the grounds that Picard could not prove that Merkin knew of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Merkin’s hedge funds were heavily invested with Madoff. Both men are Jewish.

Bernstein allowed the remaining charges, totaling $315 million, to proceed against Merkin, according to Reuters.

Picard’s move is the latest in a flurry of legal decisions and counter moves that have taken place over the last few weeks regarding the fallout from the Madoff financial fraud.

On Aug. 9, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Picard’s effort to overturn Merkin’s $410 million settlement, as well as the Fairfield Greenwich Group’s $80 million settlement with the New York State Attorney General’s office. Picard had argued that the settlements inhibited his ability to recover funds for Madoff’s victims.

Meanwhile, on Aug. 28, Picard asked in a separate case for the right to replead in a suit against several banks, arguing that a pair of district court rulings earlier in the year had altered the legal standard for such cases.

In addition, on Aug. 22, Bernstein ruled that investors whose employers had invested retirement funds with Madoff could not recover their money, a ruling that Picard supported.

Picard has recovered a reported $9.8 billion out of an estimated $17.3 billion of principal lost in Madoff’s investment scheme. 

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Don’t bring it up. If it comes up, change the subject. If you can’t change the subject, consider an outright denial.

Those are some of the strategies used by Jewish reporters working in the Arab and Muslim Middle East to conceal their religious heritage.

The dangers facing Jewish journalists in the region became evident last week after the beheading of a dual American-Israeli citizen, Steven Sotloff, by the jihadist group Islamic State, or ISIS.

It’s not known whether ISIS was aware that Sotloff was Jewish. Colleagues believe his kidnapping by ISIS-affiliated terrorists in 2013 in Syria was one of opportunity and not a deliberate targeting. James Foley, another journalist kidnapped by ISIS and beheaded last month by the terror group, was Catholic.

Emma LazarusEmma LazarusAlmost everyone knows that Emma Lazarus wrote “The New Colossus,” the famous sonnet inscribed on a bronze tablet at the entrance to the Statue of Liberty. Already a famous poet in 1883, Lazarus was asked to contribute a poem to an auction to raise money for the statue’s Bartholdi Pedestal.