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Anti-vaxxers among Orthodox • Stimulus includes yeshiva funding • Jared Kushner honored in Israel
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Anti-vaxxers among Orthodox • Stimulus includes yeshiva funding • Jared Kushner honored in Israel

A courtyard at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem was named in honor of Trump adviser Jared Kushner, in a ceremony that included Adam Boehler, the CEO of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation; Kushner; David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel; and Avi Berkowitz, the Trump administration Middle East envoy, Dec. 21, 2020. (U.S. Embassy)
A courtyard at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem was named in honor of Trump adviser Jared Kushner, in a ceremony that included Adam Boehler, the CEO of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation; Kushner; David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel; and Avi Berkowitz, the Trump administration Middle East envoy, Dec. 21, 2020. (U.S. Embassy)

Top rabbis are urging their followers to take the Covid-19 vaccination, but Orthodox health professionals and communal leaders worry that a vocal minority of their community won’t heed their guidance.

Said Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt, the chief of infectious diseases and hospital epidemiologist at Mount Sinai South Nassau on Long Island, and an assistant rabbi at the Young Israel of Woodmere: “You have a very small but vocal group that will not take the vaccine, no matter what. There’s no way to convince them. I can’t convince them and I hope God protects them.”

Blimi Marcus, a nurse practitioner in the chasidic neighborhood of Borough Park, told JTA that the best way for government officials to reach charedi Jews is to direct advocacy and education through organizations they trust. Marcus said she has yet to see the city and state taking meaningful steps in that regard.

RelatedRabbi Dov Linzer, president and rosh ha-yeshiva of the Modern Orthodox YCT Rabbinical School, has written a teshuvah (halakhic analysis and ruling) on the proper blessing to be made when receiving the Covid-19 vaccine. The blessing is meant to take “what is a genuine religious moment – so rare in our society these days – and to give it expression in a traditional form,” YCT said in a statement.

The $900 billion coronavirus stimulus bill includes $2.75 billion for private schools hit hard by the pandemic.

The parochial schools were included after a coordinated lobbying effort by Orthodox Jewish and Roman Catholic groups.

The nonpublic schools will have to apply for the funding, whose authorized uses include Covid-19 upgrades and educational technology and software.

“As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has been terribly disruptive and costly to America’s K-12 schools — the students and families they serve, the teachers and many other staffers who work tirelessly to educate our children,” Nathan Diament, the Orthodox Union’s Washington director, said Monday in a news release.

RelatedCongress is set to double security funding for nonprofits — including synagogues and other Jewish institutions — to $180 million next year as part of a $2.3 trillion spending package Congress is ready to pass. The office of Rep. Grace Meng, the New York Democrat who led the bid to increase funding, announced the new figure for 2021 in a news release Monday.

Israel’s government will likely dissolve this week after a bill to delay a crucial budget deadline was scrapped late Monday night.

Pending a last-minute deal, the country appears to be headed toward its fourth election in two years. The new election would likely take place on March 23, 2021.

What it’s all about: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White alliance have been at odds over the national budget issue, the coronavirus response and corruption charges against Netanyahu since forming a unity government in May.

Related: Gantz’s political prospects, once bright, are rapidly dimming. Although he’s still officially defense minister and “alternate prime minister,” he has been shedding Knesset partners and voters, unhappy that he partnered with Netanyahu in the first place.

Rutgers University will name a residence hall after the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Ginsburg taught classes at the Rutgers law school from 1963 to 1972 on women’s rights and gender quality. The residence hall is a former law school building and still houses some 100 law students, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

A courtyard at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem was named in honor of Jared Kushner. 

The president’s adviser and son-in-law is in the region to seal the normalization agreement between Israel and Morocco, the third such deal this year.

David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Jerusalem, did the honors on Monday at a ceremony in the courtyard. Separately, Netanyahu on Monday dedicated 18 trees in Kushner’s honor at the Grove of Nations in the Jerusalem Forest.

Christmas Eve for the Jews is a time for Chinese food, a movie — and comedy.

Comedian Joel Chasnoff is hosting the 8th annual “Christmas Eve for the Jews” comedy show, together with City Winery. Read how the virtual show came together, and what it means to do stand-up when the audience is on mute.

He was happy to become “Korean by marriage,” and she’s a “proud” Jew by choice.

Read how Aaron Applbaum met Christie Lee, in the latest installment of Jewish Week’s regular feature, “Matchmaker.”

Around the Agencies

The Jewish Funders Network released a study finding that Jewish philanthropists and foundations significantly increased their giving, broadened their giving to include more grantees in areas they had not previously funded, and loosened their reporting and application requirements in response to the Covid-19 crisis.  Key findings: 76 percent of funders increased their spending in order to provide emergency grants; 53 percent of funders broadened their grantmaking, most supporting basic needs such as financial hardship and food insecurity; and 43 percent intend to maintain emergency funding over the next 12 months. Seventy-seven percent of funders report changing their grantmaking practices to be more responsive and nimbler during the crisis.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Lower Manhattan has upgraded the technology in its Edmond J. Safra Hall to accommodate pandemic-era events. With a six-figure grant from the Edmond J. Safra Foundation, the upgrade includes multiple video cameras, new lighting, an upgraded sound system and a TriCaster video production system for polished audio and video recording and live streamed presentations.Theater companies, nonprofits and artists who wish to perform and present live – or to prerecord events – can rent the stage.

Streaming Today

Bar-Ilan University presents “Exploring The Land Of Goliath: Archaeology & Science at Philistine Gath,” a virtual excavation with Aren Maeir, ead of the Institute of Archaeology at the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies at Bar-Ilan University. Maeir’s expertise lies in the Bronze and Iron Age cultures of the Eastern Mediterranean, with special emphasis on those of the Ancient Levant. 12:00 pm.

Center for Jewish History presents Andrew Coe, author of “Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States,” in a discussion of Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese food. How did the affinity for Chinese food amongst many Jews begin? Free; register here for a Zoom link. 1:00 pm.

Israel Policy Forum presents Hussein Ibish, Senior Resident Scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, addressing how the Palestinians are responding to developments in the Middle East, including normalization between Israel, the Gulf monarchies, and other Arab states. Register here. 2:00 pm.

92Y presents the Grammy-nominated, critically acclaimed Haim sisters – Este, Danielle, and Alana — in a conversation with New York Times contributor Lindsay Zoladz about their new hit album, “Women in Music Pt. III.” $10. 7:00 pm.

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