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Barrett joins Supreme Court, Israeli rabbi blasts Trump, Max Rose in dead heat
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Daily Update

Barrett joins Supreme Court, Israeli rabbi blasts Trump, Max Rose in dead heat

U.S. President Donald Trump (2R) watches as U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett (L) is sworn in by Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas (R) as her husband Jesse Barrett (2L) holds a bible during a ceremonial swearing-in event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on October 26, 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump (2R) watches as U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett (L) is sworn in by Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas (R) as her husband Jesse Barrett (2L) holds a bible during a ceremonial swearing-in event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on October 26, 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Today is the second anniversary of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, where a far-right gunman killed 11 Jews. 

An interfaith group in Pittsburgh will mark the anniversary tonight with a virtual commemorative event at 8:00 pm Eastern time. A new anthology of essays, “Bound in the Bond of Life: Pittsburgh Writers Reflect on the Tree of Life Tragedy,” co-edited by Eric Lidji and Beth Kissileff, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Week, brings together reflections by local writers on how the shooting affected them. Bret Stephens remembers the tragedy in The New York Times, focusing largely on anti-Semitism on the left.

A major Israeli Orthodox rabbi with a large following in the United States strongly condemned President Trump in an interview this week.

Rabbi Mosheh Lichtenstein, head of Yeshivat Har Etzion in the West Bank, questioned Trump’s mental and moral fitness in an interview with the Israeli magazine Makor Rishon.

“This is a mentally disturbed person without any inhibition or judgment who controls the button of the the most powerful nuclear weapons in the world — and here people applaud him for opening an embassy in Jerusalem,” Lichtenstein, the grandson of the late Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, said. Polls show the majority of Orthodox voters here favoring Trump.

Related: JTA covers a pro-Trump rally in Woodmere, L.I., one of several such events organized last weekend across the metropolitan area by Orthodox Jews. At one point, a rabbi’s diatribe against mask-wearing caused a leading Orthodox politician, former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, to threaten to walk out of the rally.

Perspectives: The Jewish Week begins a new series, Decision 2020, featuring diverse perspectives on the Jewish vote in the 2020 presidential elections. First up: Barbara Dobkin, a veteran Jewish communal leader, agues that “innocent Americans have paid the ultimate price for Donald Trump’s incitement of violence and instigation of hateful conspiracy theories.” Martin Oliner, co-president of Mizrachi-Religious Zionists of America, asserts that “there are many more reasons to vote for Trump” than his support for Israel.

Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in at the White House as a Supreme Court justice, replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the liberal Jewish justice who died last month.

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican majority leader, rushed through Barrett’s nomination before the Nov. 3 elections, when polls suggest Democrats might take the presidency and the Senate.

A number of liberal Jewish groups joined others in speaking out against Barrett, citing evidence in her past statements that she favored overturning Roe v. Wade and undo the Affordable Care Act. Halie Soifer, executive director for the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said that the vote for Barrett is “a ‘shande’ — a shame to our democracy and judiciary.”

Conservative Jewish groups and figures, however, indicated their approval of Barrett, saying she would protect “religious liberty.”

Background: Supporters of Barrett invoke religious liberty as “a de-regulatory force” allowing individuals and corporations to opt out of laws by invoking faith, on issues like abortion, hiring LGBT people and same-sex marriage, Religion News Service reports.

Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.) is neck-and-neck with his Republican challenger Nicole Malliotakis in New York’s 11th congressional district.

Malliotakis, a member of the State Assembly, leads Rose, who is Jewish, by a 48%-46% edge among likely voters, according to the NBC 4 New York/Marist College poll published Monday. The district spans all of Staten Island and a sliver of southern Brooklyn. The survey has a 4.7% margin of error.

Rose, a 33-year-old U.S. Army veteran, unseated incumbent Republican Rep. Dan Donovan in 2018, and has been running as a centrist Democrat with bipartisan appeal. The Daily News reports.

Israel’s state comptroller issued a damning report on the country’s coronavirus response.

Released on Monday, the report says Israel is underprepared for winter, is quarantining the wrong people, and has frustrated businesspeople who aren’t accessing benefits on time and schoolchildren without access to the internet, the Times of Israel reports.

Matchmaker

Newlyweds Dov Lebowitz-Nowak and Amber Bloom ignored advice that actors shouldn’t marry actors. In the Jewish Week’s latest Matchmaker column, the couple describe how they met in 2012 while rehearsing for a play in a little theater around the corner from their current Brooklyn apartment.

Around the Agencies

The Religious Zionists of America named Rabbi Ari Rockoff of West Hempstead, N.Y. as its executive vice president. Previously he served as the founding director of leadership development and strategic partnerships at the Orthodox Union. Rockoff also spent more than a decade at Yeshiva University, where he was on the founding team of the Center for the Jewish Future.

The Newswomen’s Club of New York awarded its Martha Coman Front Page Award for Best New Journalist to New Yorker Emma Goldberg, for her work in The New York Times covering the coronavirus pandemic, non-consensual pelvic exams across the United States, and physical and sexual abuse at the Human Resources Administration. Her mother, Shifra Bronznick, founded Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community; her father, J.J. Goldberg, is editor emeritus of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief from 2000-2007.

Streaming Today

Yaffed presents a panel in its UnEducated series on the challenges yeshiva graduates face after being denied a basic education in many ultra-Orthodox and chasidic yeshivas. Medical professionals and yeshiva graduates will discuss the correlation between the lack of science instruction and the resultant public health outcomes, with a particular focus on the charedi response to Covid-19 in New York. This event is free of charge; donations are appreciated. 12:00 pm.

Israel Policy Forum will mark the 25th anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination with a discussion with Ambassador Itamar Rabinovich, who served as Israeli envoy to the U.S. during Rabin’s second government and as chief negotiator with Syria. He will examine Rabin’s policies and impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Register here. 2 pm.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust presents a book talk on Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s “Strongmen: Mussolini To The Present.” Ben-Ghiat, American historian and cultural critic, is an expert on the “strongman” playbook employed by authoritarian demagogues from Mussolini to Putin―enabling her to predict with uncanny accuracy the recent experience in America. This program will be moderated by “How Fascism Works” author Jason Stanley. The program has a suggested donation of $10 but can be accessed for free. 7:00 pm.

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