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Asian-American Jews seek allies in fighting hate • NYC synagogues honor COVID victims • Charles Barkley dances hora at daughter’s wedding
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Daily Update

Asian-American Jews seek allies in fighting hate • NYC synagogues honor COVID victims • Charles Barkley dances hora at daughter’s wedding

Supporters of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party lift a banner depicting him at Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, March 19, 2021. Israelis go to the polls tomorrow for the fourth time in two years. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images)
Supporters of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party lift a banner depicting him at Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, March 19, 2021. Israelis go to the polls tomorrow for the fourth time in two years. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images)

 

Asian-American Jews are angry, heartbroken and exhausted after last week’s murders in Atlanta and a spate of other attacks on people of Asian and Pacific Island descent.

“There are many Jews for whom Asian heritage is woven into our identities, so what should the Jewish community do? No. 1, be in relationship,” says Rabbi Mira Rivera of Romemu, the nondenominational synagogue. “Hopefully it is not only during tragedy… We want to contribute to Jewish community, not only when we have to talk about our pigmentation or about the size of our eyes, or about whether we stand with Black Lives Matter.”

JTA talks with Asian-American leaders from around the country.

Related: “I now fear for my strong but tiny Korean mother when she goes out for a walk alone,” Rabbi Angela Buchdahl of Central Synagogue told the Forward.

New York Jews remembered the victims of COVID-19 on the one-year anniversary of the pandemic. 

The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan hosted Sunday afternoon’s online ceremony, titled “Remembering Those We Lost.” Dozens of city synagogues and Jewish institutions co-sponsored the event, which included a scroll of some of the thousands of local victims of the coronavirus.

Speakers included Rabbis Adam Mintz of Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim, Emily Cohen of West End Synagogue, Jeremy Kalmanofsky of Ansche Chesed, Angela Buchdahl of Central Synagogue, Benjamin Spratt of Rodeph Shalom and ritual leader Naomi Less of Lab/Shul.

Children from Shechter Manhattan sang “Al Kol Eleh.”

The Jewish Link, a newspaper serving New Jersey’s northern suburbs, apologized for a satirical Purim article that joked about shooting Palestinians.

The article published on Feb. 25 carried the headline “100,000 Palestinians shot by Israeli soldiers”; the “joke” was that the “shots” referred to COVID-19 vaccinations.

The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and American Muslims for Palestine of New Jersey were not amused, “Suggesting the systematic murder of 100,000 people of an oppressed minority will never make for good comedy,” Selaedin Maksut, the executive director of CAIR-NJ, said in a statement, reports NJ.com.

“We apologize,” read a short statement in Thursday’s edition of The Link. “It was offensive, in poor taste, and we regret it.”

Thirty-three House and Senate members from both parties joined MAZON, the Jewish anti-hunger advocacy group, for a Seder that focused on how the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated hunger.

“We break the middle matzah to remind us of the brokenness of our world, and that the power to repair the world rests in our hands,” said Rabbi Joel Pitkowsky of Congregation Beth Sholom in Teaneck, New Jersey, who serves as MAZON’s board treasurer and co-led Thursday’s Seder. 

In Other News

As Israel nears its fourth election in two years on Tuesday, tens of thousands of people protested outside Benjamin Netanyahu’s home Saturday night and called for him to resign due to his ongoing corruption trial and his handling of various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The New York Times detailed how two Jewish organizations, the Aleph Institute and the Tzedek Association, helped facilitate 27 of the 238 total pardons and commutations dispensed by Donald Trump during his term as president.

“Shtisel,” the popular Israeli television series about a haredi Orthodox family, is being adapted into an American version.

NBA great Charles Barkley was lifted in a chair at the wedding of his daughter Christiana to Ilya Hoffman, the founder of a marketing technology company in New York.

People and Places

Dr. Mijal Bitton, rosh yeshiva of the Downtown Minyan in Manhattan, is among the contributors to “Sources: A Journal of Jewish Ideas,” a quarterly print journal launching today. Published by the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, where Bitton is scholar in residence, “Sources” is designed “to encourage connection, conversation, and thoughtful disagreement.” For more information and to subscribe, visit sourcesjournal.org.

Passover

Rabbi Shai Held of Hadar delivers the Jerome L. Stern Pre-Pesach Lecture live from Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York. He will explore the Bible’s many visions of exodus and what it means to experience oppression and liberation from the other side. Tonight, 8:00 pm. Register here.

“Passover in a Pandemic” is the new book by Rabbi Avram Mlotek of The Base. Published by Ben Yehuda Press in both English and Yiddish editions, it may be the first Yiddish children’s book featuring video conferencing, as a grandmother and her grandchild discuss Passovers past and present over their devices.

The Nosher has a list of places around the U.S. that are offering full Seder meals (some certified kosher, some not) for pickup, delivery or shipping. Area eateries include Pomegranate Supermarket in Brooklyn, Modern Bread and Bagel on the Upper West Side, Le Marais in Manhattan and Breads Bakery at either of its two Manhattan locations.

Streaming Today

Concerned with the rise of intolerance and bigotry, Sabeeha Rehman and Walter Ruby have spent decades doing interfaith work and nurturing cooperation among the Muslim and Jewish communities. In “We Refuse to Be Enemies,” the authors share their vision for reconciliation, offering concrete principles for building an alliance in support of religious freedom and human rights. $8 member/$10 non-member. Visit commonpointqueens.org/register to register. Noon.

The Yeshiva University Political Action Club and Dunner Political Science Society present a forum with leading candidates in the NYC mayor’s race. Register here. 6:00 pm.

The NYC Commission on Human Rights’ pre-Passover event, “New York Is for All of Us: Pre-Passover Community Gathering and Social Action,” will include live musical performances and a learning and action in support of the #FundExcludedWorkers campaign for workers who have been excluded from COVID benefits. Presented in partnership with the Workers Circle, and co-sponsored by a range of organizations, including the Jewish Labor Committee. Register here. 7:30 pm.

Hadassah presents “Women of Vision,” a new radio show airing on the TalkLine Network. Hosted by Hadassah CEO Janice Weinman, tonight’s program features Dr. Georgette Bennett, the founder of the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees. 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.

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