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A Hasidic horror movie is almost here • Merrick Garland chokes up • Queens pols denounce hate crimes
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Daily Update

A Hasidic horror movie is almost here • Merrick Garland chokes up • Queens pols denounce hate crimes

Michael Miller, executive vice president and CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council-New York, speaks at a Queens Borough Hall news conference denouncing hate directed at Asian-Americans and Jews, Feb. 22, 2020. (Queens Borough President Donovan Richards)
Michael Miller, executive vice president and CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council-New York, speaks at a Queens Borough Hall news conference denouncing hate directed at Asian-Americans and Jews, Feb. 22, 2020. (Queens Borough President Donovan Richards)

 

Queens lawmakers and community leaders gathered to denounce hate crimes targeting Asian Americans and Jews.

Borough President Donovan Richards organized Monday’s event at Borough Hall. Two Asian woman were attacked and a swastika was drawn on a Rego Park synagogue last Tuesday.

Richards condemned all three incidents and noted the recent uptick in crimes against Asian Americans, the Sunnyside Post reported.

Quotable: “We can’t just arrest away hate, or merely put up barriers to the haters,” said Michael Miller, executive vice president and CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council-New York. “We, as civic and communal leaders, need to do more. We need to tear down silos, and robustly engage in more partnering, more coalition building, more cross-cultural connecting.”

Merrick Garland choked up when he discussed his Eastern European Jewish forebears during his Senate confirmation hearing Monday.

“I come from a family where my grandparents fled anti-Semitism and persecution,” Garland said. “The country took us in and protected us, and I feel an obligation to the country to pay back — this is the highest, best use of my own set of skills to pay back. I want very much to be the kind of an attorney general that you are saying I could become.”

Defending Clark: Garland also brushed aside a question from Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who suggested that Kristen Clarke, President Biden’s nominee to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division, was anti-Semitic based on incidents when she was a college student. Garland defended Clarke and said in a rare show of annoyance: “Senator, I’m a pretty good judge of what an anti-Semite is.”

Garland would be the fifth Jewish official in Biden’s Cabinet.

“The Vigil,” a horror movie set in Brooklyn’s Hasidic community, opens this week.

The main character is a shomer, a person designated to guard a deceased body prior to burial. Mayhem ensues.

Writer-director Keith Thomas tells Forbes the script drew on his time as a graduate student of religious education at New York’s Hebrew Union College, the Reform seminary. “I did a quick search and I was like, ‘How is it that nobody has made a shomer horror movie? It’s the perfect setting. Someone with a dead body? How has this not been done?’”

The film was shot on location in Borough Park and Williamsburg. “The Vigil” will be shown in select theaters and digital/VOD platforms starting Feb. 26.

Mayoral candidate Maya Wiley talked about arts funding in a one-on-one with 92nd Street Y CEO Seth Pinsky.

Wiley, a professor of Urban Policy at The New School, said her plan to revive New York’s struggling arts and culture sector will focus on affordable housing, the revival of small businesses and renovation and rehabilitation for “important spaces” as outlined in her “New Deal New York” plan for reviving the city economy as a whole.

Pinsky noted that 92Y lost “tens of millions of dollars in revenue” during the pandemic and said “our main challenge is figuring out how we fill the deficits that we’ve incurred in order to just stay in business.” Wiley acknowledged that plugging such deficits is something “we haven’t figured out, and [is] what we have to work together and partner on to figure out.”

Watch the interview here. The conversation is part of 92Y’s “Race to City Hall” series with mayoral candidates. Next up is Shaun Donovan on Feb. 26.

In Other News

A daughter of Amos Oz, one of Israel’s most celebrated authors, alleges that he physically abused her beginning in her childhood.

CPAC, the conservative political conference, canceled the appearance of Young Pharaoh, a social media influencer with a record of anti-Semitic tweets.

Photos taken by a Jewish prisoner in occupied Poland’s Lodz Ghetto have been donated to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Around the Agencies

Penimi, a New York-based project that helps observant Jewish youth navigate the ethical and spiritual challenges of the Digital Age, is one of six nonprofit organizations that will be supported through the Orthodox Union’s Impact Accelerator. The latest cohort of Jewish nonprofit entrepreneurs will take part in a customized curriculum of business skills, coaching, funding and implementation strategies over the next 12 months.

Purim

The Selma and Lawrence Ruben Center for 20s + 30s and The Wechsler Center for Modern Aging present a night of intergenerational storytelling in celebration of Purim, focusing on stories relating to the figurative “masks” that we wear. Email jsmelansky@mmjccm.org or bfink@mmjccm.org if you’re interested in being one of the selected storytellers. Registration by email at boxoffice@mmjccm.org. 7:00 pm.

The Museum of Jewish Montreal invites you to discover the lesser-known (but delicious) tradition of eating hidden foods on Purim with an interactive cooking class with chefs and cultural activists Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz from The Gefilteria in Brooklyn. Learn to make kreplach, the Eastern European delicacy often referred to as Jewish wontons. Register here. 7:45 pm.

The BACH Jewish Center in Long Beach will be delivering 100 holiday themed care packages to the residents of the local Grandell Rehabilitation and Nursing Center  on Friday, Feb. 26. Rabbi Benny Berlin, who leads the synagogue, will hand-deliver the packages on the morning of the holiday in a socially distanced manner, along with personalized cards from the BACH community members and their children.

Streaming Today

Tel Aviv International Salon presents Merav Michaeli, the newly elected head of Israel’s Avoda Party, in an online event to be held in English with Q&A. A member of Knesset since 2013, Michaeli has been involved in feminist activism, socio-economic affairs, gender equality, religion and state, LBGTQ rights, labor rights and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. RSVP here. 1:00 pm.

Iran, Israel and the region will be discussed by Ilan Goldenberg of the Center for a New American Security and an Israel Policy Forum policy advisor. To register for the briefing, click here. 2:00 pm.

Ann Toback, CEO, The Workers Circle, moderates a Taube Center discussion with two scholars about the Jewish roots of the liquor business and the historical role of the tavern. Glenn Dynner’s landmark work, “Yankel’s Tavern: Jews, Liquor, and Life in the Kingdom of Poland,” is a comprehensive study of Jewish-run taverns in Eastern Europe. Adam Teller, a scholar of 17th- and 18th-century European Jewish history, looks at the tavern as one of the era’s central communal institutions. Register here. 2:30 pm.

92Y marks what would have been Debbie Friedman’s 70th birthday with a conversation about the singer and composer’s life, music and legacy. Scheduled to appear will be many of Friedman’s contemporaries and proteges, including Rabbi Peter Rubinstein, Rabbi Dan Freelander and Cantor Jeff Klepper, Merri and Rabbi Ramie Arian, Douglas Mishkin, Josh Nelson, Julie Silver, Elana Arian and Peri Smilow. Longtime 92Y host and one-time Kutz Camp song leader Budd Mishkin serves as host. Free with registration. 7:00 pm.

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