Good morning! We hope you had a happy Passover.
Groups that assist young people who leave the haredi Orthodox world are reporting increased demand for their services during the pandemic.
The New York-based organization Freidom saw a 50 percent increase in participation by new members in its events from last year, AFP reports. The non-profit Footsteps has seen its membership increase by around 18 percent over the past year.
Project Makom, an initiative of Jew in the City that helps former and questioning Haredi Jews find their place in Orthodoxy, says membership almost doubled from 85 in 2019 to 160 in 2020.
How come: “When lockdown happened in March 2020,” disaffected members of the Haredi community “found themselves cut off from friends and family, which gave them space and months to think about whether they wanted to take the next step and leave their community altogether.”
UJA-Federation of New York has helped 2,635 Holocaust survivors get vaccinated since the doses became available.
The philanthropy has worked with Jewish senior centers, clinics and other sites to reach the unvaccinated among the 20,000 survivors living in the five boroughs, The New York Times reports.
Quotable: “No one is more deserving of community support than these people in their remaining years,” said Eric S. Goldstein, the chief executive of UJA-Federation.
Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action applauded President Biden’s infrastructure plan for its investment in clean energy.
The New York-based group said “Congress has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver real economic stability and benefits to Americans across the country, particularly those from historically marginalized groups, while accelerating the transition to a clean energy future.”
Brooklyn Nets coach Amar’e Stoudemire’s daily routine often includes two Talmud lessons.
GQ profiles the team’s player development assistant, writing that “he likes to squeeze in a 6:45 am Talmud lesson before morning prayers.”
Quotable: “Every Jew on the face of the Earth has converted,” says Stoudemire, a Jew by choice, “because from the time we left Mitzrayim [Egypt], which is the Pesach story, we were all at Mount Sinai with Moshe, and we said, ‘Naaseh v’nishma,’ I will do and I will obey. So at that point we then converted from what we were in Egypt, to following God.”
What We’re Reading
Writer David Margolick wonders what to do with the Jewish holy books he found in a trash bin. In a New York Times essay, he laments that someone would have thrown them out, and worries that for many, “centuries of tradition, so wonderfully embodied around Seder tables this past week, are coming to an abrupt end.”
Smithsonian Magazine remembers when Albert Einstein got a hero’s welcome in Manhattan on April 2, 1921: “Admirers swarmed his motorcade as it made its way down Fifth Avenue. The mayor welcomed him at City Hall. Crowds packed an auditorium at Columbia University as Einstein delivered a lecture on his theory of relativity.”
Bret Stephens profiles Buba Stillman, 95, a Holocaust survivor in Mexico whose paintings “help us to see what we must never forget.”
Paul G. Feinman, 61, the first openly gay jurist to serve on New York State’s highest court, died on Wednesday at a Manhattan hospital. The cause was leukemia. The Merrick, Long Island native and Columbia University grad was appointed to the appeals court by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in 2017.
Commonpoint Queens commemorates Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 8) with a lecture by Michael Dobbs, author of “The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught in Between,” an intimate account of Jewish families in a small village on the edge of the Black Forest in desperate pursuit of American visas to flee the Nazis. $8 member / $10 non-member. Register here. 12:00 pm.
JCC Manhattan’s virtual Israeli food tour kicks off with a cocktail demonstration by mixologist Rami Lavy, followed by a visit to the kitchen of the acclaimed Upper West Side restaurant Bustan, where Israel Story podcast senior producer and co-founder Yochai Maitel and chef Eli “Buli” Buliskeria will cook and talk. The meal will end with a dessert recipe and tutorial shared by pastry chef Shir Rozenblat. Israel Story co-founder Mishy Harman will join from Israel in conversation with Israeli chefs Haim Cohen and Atalya Ein Mor. Recipes will be provided for those who would like to cook along. Buy tickets here. 8:00 pm.
Hadassah CEO Janice Weinman talks with Jennifer J. Raab, president of Hunter College. The show can be heard live on the TalkLine website, on WSNR 620 AM Radio in the New York City metropolitan area, and on the Hadassah website. 8:30 pm.
The Jewish Week and JTA present the North American launch of “Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth,” by Israeli actress, producer and writer Noa Tishby. Join us for a conversation with Tishby and Gideon Raff, the creator of the Israeli series that was adapted as the hit Showtime series “Homeland.” Moderated by Andrew Silow-Carroll, editor in chief of The Jewish Week. Register here. Tuesday, 4:00 pm.