Orthodox woman here and in Israel are facing a “barrage of disinformation” trying to dissuade them from taking the Covid-19 vaccine.
In Brooklyn and Lakewood, NJ, where large families are prized, women who are either pregnant or hope to be are confused about the vaccine and don’t know whom to trust, Shira Hanau reports. “People have more of a fear of the vaccine than the virus,” said Dr. Mark Kirschenbaum, a pediatrician with a practice in Borough Park and Williamsburg, both with large Hasidic communities.
Orthodox health care professionals who spent last year exhorting their communities to take pandemic guidelines seriously are now turning their attention to building confidence in the new vaccines.
Related: Thousands of Haredi Orthodox Israelis defied public health guidelines and thronged the streets of Bnei Brak on Sunday night for the funeral of Rabbi Chaim Meir Wosner, the dean of the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed to the request of Donald Trump’s defense attorney to pause the former president’s impeachment trial proceedings for Shabbat.
Washington lawyer David Schoen, a member of Beth Jacob, an Orthodox synagogue in Atlanta, has taken on a number of “Jewish” cases in his career, including suing Jimmy Carter unsuccessfully for “false and misleading statements” about Israel and seeking damages from the PLO for terrorist attacks.
The trial begins tomorrow in the Senate.
The Association of Jewish Libraries has given New Yorker Max Gross its annual award for best Jewish fiction, for his debut novel “The Lost Shtetl.”
The latest recognition for Gross’s tale of a rediscovered Jewish village was announced Monday by the professional organization of Judaica librarians. “To Be a Man: Stories,” by Nicole Krauss, and “Apeirogon: A Novel,” by Colum McCann, also received honors.
Gross, who will receive a $1,000 cash prize, also earned an honorable mention from The American Library Association, which awarded its outstanding achievement in Jewish literature to “The Memory Monster” by Yishai Sarid.
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) led a bipartisan letter urging President Biden to swiftly nominate a State Department envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.
Earlier this month, a bill elevating the position to “Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism” became law. Biden must pick a successor to Elan Carr, who served as envoy in the Trump administration.
Meng was joined by 52 other Members of Congress.
In Other News
Palestinians cleared a major hurdle in getting prosecutors at the International Criminal Court to try Israel for alleged war crimes.
Prosecutors in Germany indicted a 95-year-old woman who served as a secretary to a Nazi death camp’s commander during the Holocaust.
Rabbi Zvi Gluck, the CEO of the New York-based crisis center Amudim, remembers the late Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski and how he inspired frank discussion of substance abuse and mental health in the Orthodox community. Rabbi Twerski “made a tremendous impression as a Torah scholar, a psychiatrist, a rabbi, a clinician and a mentor, a man whose sage advice was a godsend to so many, empowering individuals and families and giving them strength even during their darkest moments,” writes Gluck.
Ruth Dayan, a social activist and peace proponent and the first wife of famed Israeli defense minister Moshe Dayan, died Thursday night at the age of 103. The couple was married for 37 years, divorcing in 1972. Ruth Dayan led numerous projects to benefit minorities, including immigrants and Arabs, Times of Israel reports. She also helped found Variety Israel, an organization helping special needs children, in the 1960s. Dayan was the mother of late Israeli actor and director Assi Dayan, late sculptor Udi Dayan and publicist and author Yael Dayan. The Jewish Week spoke to her in 2015.
George Shultz, who during six years as President Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state worked hard to put Israel and the Palestines on a course to a peace agreement, died Saturday at age 100. The New York City native, who grew up in Englewood, NJ, served as the honorary chairman of the Israel Democracy Institute.
Black History Month
Temple Emanu-El’s Streicker Center presents Avishai Mekonen, who chronicled his journey from Ethiopia to Israel as part of Operation Moses and on to the United States in the documentary film “400 Miles to Freedom.” The talk is part of a Black History Month series called “This is What Jewish Looks Like,” celebrating the diverse Jewish experience through the personal stories of four prominent Black Jews. Register here. Today, 6:00 pm.
YCT Rabbinical School’s Winter Learning Series presents a panel exploring Jewish perspectives on vaccine development, the ethical challenges in various types of trials and the ramifications for different distribution models. With Rabbi Dr. Jason Weiner, director of the Spiritual Care Department at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles and a member of its bioethics committee; Dr. Kenneth Prager, professor of Medicine and chair of the Medical Ethics Committee at Columbia University Medical Center; and Dr. Alise Reicin, CEO of Tectonic Therapeutic. Register here.
Join the Jewish Week, UJA-Federation and Central Synagogue tomorrow, Feb. 9 at 1:00 pm as we present Rabbi Steve Leder, the senior rabbi of L.A.’s Wilshire Boulevard Temple, discussing his new book, “The Beauty of What Remains: How Our Greatest Fear Becomes Our Greatest Gift.” He’ll talk to Abigail Pogrebin about how to think about loss, and what we can learn from it. Register here.