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A grim milestone for Israel, Shoah survivors confront Mark Zuckerberg, Seth Rogen has regrets about his Jewish education
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Daily Update

A grim milestone for Israel, Shoah survivors confront Mark Zuckerberg, Seth Rogen has regrets about his Jewish education

Seth Rogen at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, Feb. 29, 2020. (Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
Seth Rogen at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, Feb. 29, 2020. (Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Tisha B’Av falls tonight at sundown.

Read a history of the fast day by a New York high school student who is a staff writer for The Jewish Week’s Fresh Ink for Teens program.

The fall’s enrollment picture for NY-area Jewish day schools is mixed.

Far from facing devastating enrollment declines, some Jewish day schools are finding that the pandemic is bringing them new students — particularly if their facilities enable them to space out students sufficiently to permit a full five-day schedule, JTA reports.

Still, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers have vacated their homes in recent months, often from wealthier neighborhoods, and whether and when they will return is unclear.

In Brooklyn, the Hannah Senesh Community Day School is fielding inquiries but may not be able to accommodate everyone who wants to attend. In New Rochelle, Westchester Torah Academy expects increased enrollment.

Beit Rabban, a nondenominational K-6 school in Manhattan, is bracing for a decline in enrollment this fall from the more than 140 students it had anticipated, according to a recent report in Tablet.

Luria Academy in Brooklyn also anticipates a dip from the 320 it expected prior to the pandemic even as it ramps up its search for additional space to permit the necessary social distancing.

Israel now has the fifth highest number of new coronavirus infections per capita in the world, overtaking the United States.

On Tuesday, Israel was recording 210.96 new COVID-19 cases per 1 million people, the U.K.-based Our World in Data said, behind only Oman, Panama, Brazil and Bahrain. The U.S., which has the most reported virus cases and deaths of any country, had an infection rate of 198.64 per 1 million people.

Israel was still well behind the U.S. and numerous other countries in fatalities per 1 million people, with a current rate of 0.97.

Related: Facing growing pressure to reopen Israel’s skies, health officials told the Knesset on Wednesday they were working on a plan to allow incoming travelers from countries with low rates of coronavirus infections free entry into Israel, allowing regular flights to resume beginning next month.

The head of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, whose previous job was founder of a Jewish civil and human rights group, is stepping down under the cloud of two complaints that accuse him of promoting cases that further his personal and political agenda.

One of the complaints, filed in May with the department’s inspector general by nine civil rights groups, accuses Kenneth Marcus of using his position to push through an issue close to him — recognizing Jewishness as a national origin and some forms of pro-Israel activity as protected under civil rights laws including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

The complaint also claims that Marcus gave preferential treatment to the right-wing Zionist Organization of America, to which he has personal ties, when he reopened an investigation into an allegedly anti-Semitic incident at Rutgers University, The New York Times reported.

Separately,  a department whistleblower said Marcus fast-tracked a complaint about transgender rights by a Christian group.

Marcus announced earlier this month that he would step down and return to private life. A day later he said he would become chairman of the board of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law on Aug. 1, which he founded.

The president of the Zionist Organization of America had a two-hour conversation with the rapper and actor Ice Cube.

Afterwards, Mort Klein said he was convinced the rapper was not anti-Semitic. “He called me Mort,” Klein told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “He told me to call him Cube.”

Strange bedfellows: Ice Cube drew widespread condemnation after repeatedly tweeting anti-Semitic images and support for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has disparaged Jews over the years, including comparing them to termites. Meanwhile, members of a leading Jewish group have filed complaints against Klein and the Zionist Organization of America for tweets and statements they say were Islamophobic and racist.

“Cube told me he supports condemning Black&all antisemitism& I condemned all racism,” Klein wrote in a tweet describing the conversation.

The phone call, which Klein said was set up by a mutual friend he declined to name, is the latest in a series of public rapprochements between Black celebrities accused of anti-Semitism and prominent Jews. Earlier this month, comedian and actor Nick Cannon sat down with a Los Angeles rabbi to learn about Judaism after he made anti-Semitic comments on his podcast for which he later apologized.

Actor Seth Rogen said he was fed a “huge amount of lies about Israel” as a kid attending Jewish schools and Jewish camp in Vancouver.

The star of the forthcoming “An American Pickle” discussed a number of Jewish issues in an hour-long podcast interview with Marc Maron. Rogen appeared to lament that the story of Israel’s founding was more complicated than had been presented to him by his teachers, and that they omitted the fact that there were Palestinians as well as Jews living there before the state was established.

Around the Agencies

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany launched an online campaign to pressure Facebook to remove hate speech and Holocaust denial from its social network.

Beginning July 29, the Claims Conference will post a recorded message from a Holocaust survivor to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, on various social media platforms. Participants in the “There’s No Denying It – #NOdenying it” campaign include famed Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld; Roman Kent, head of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors; Eva Schloss, Anne Frank’s stepsister; and Charlotte Knobloch, a Kristallnacht survivor.

The Claims Conference, which advocates and secures compensation and social services funding for Holocaust survivors around the world, has argued that Holocaust denial is intentional and therefore a violation of Facebook’s own community standards.

Streaming

America-Israel Friendship League presents a briefing from the head of the Israel Defense Forces’ Public Diplomacy Office, Major Liad Diamond. Diamond will include insights covering the latest data on the pandemic in Israel. Wednesday, July 29, 12 p.m.

NewCAJE presents a Free Day of Learning on Tisha B’av, on Thursday, July 30. Register here; the first class is 12:00 p.m. and the last at 5:30 p.m.

American Friends of Kaplan Medical Center presents a Zoom event with a real-life “Fauda” undercover agent on Thursday, July 30, 2 p.m live from the Tel Aviv studios of i24News. Anchor David Matlin will interview three guests as part of the third monthly “Israel’s Heroes” series: former undercover agent Shir Peled, Col. (ret.) Avner Avraham, Mossad operations expert, and Steve Friedman, national chair of AFKMC. www.afkmc.org

The Hampton Synagogue’s Tisha B’Av program will be televised on the Jewish Broadcasting Service (JBS) on Wednesday, July 29 at 10 p.m. and Thursday, July 30 at 1a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Rabbi Marc Schneier will deliver remarks followed by the Eicha reading and a bonfire kumzitz with The Maccabeats.

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