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Biden vows to fight anti-Semitism, leaders mark Jewish-Catholic milestone, meet the ‘Jewish Faucis’
Daily Update

Biden vows to fight anti-Semitism, leaders mark Jewish-Catholic milestone, meet the ‘Jewish Faucis’

UNDER THE FALLS: One of the earliest churches in Israel was recently discovered at the foot of breathtaking waterfalls in the scenic Banias Nature Reserve in Israel’s north. The rare circa 400 CE Byzantine church was build on top of a Roman-era temple to Pan, the Greek god from whom the park takes its name. (Yaniv Cohen/Times of Israel)
UNDER THE FALLS: One of the earliest churches in Israel was recently discovered at the foot of breathtaking waterfalls in the scenic Banias Nature Reserve in Israel’s north. The rare circa 400 CE Byzantine church was build on top of a Roman-era temple to Pan, the Greek god from whom the park takes its name. (Yaniv Cohen/Times of Israel)

Joe Biden marked the second anniversary of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting with an essay calling anti-Semitism “a cancer that has fueled a dangerous rise in hate crimes over the past four years.”

In an essay for JTA, the Democratic presidential candidate writes that, if elected, he will lead a “comprehensive strategy” for battling anti-Semitism. “We will restore funding for programs to address domestic extremism, prosecute hate crimes and substantially expand investments in protection for our houses of worship,” he writes.

Related: Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Donald Trump, will travel to Pittsburgh today to take part in a conversation with local supporters of her father’s campaign. No word yet if the Tree of Life anniversary will be on the agenda.

Related: Rabbi Barry Kornblau, a Modern Orthodox rabbi from Queens, tells The Jewish Week why he is voting for Biden, and why he believes many of his fellow Orthodox Jews feel the same way.

Down ballot: JTA has a guide to the 10 Jewish Republicans running for the U.S. House of Representatives this year, including Rep. Lee Zeldin of Long Island.

Israeli Holocaust survivor organizations are calling the right-wing Israeli politician nominated to lead the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum “unfit” for the job.

Effi Eitam, a former lawmaker who has called Arab Israelis a “cancer” who should not be allowed to serve in Israel’s parliament, is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s choice for the role.

Survivor organizations say the role should be above politics, and that Eitam’s anti-Arab views and lack of experience in running a similar institution are disqualifying.

Israel’s rate of positive coronavirus tests is at its lowest in more than four months, although the Covid-19 daily death toll is still very high.

The reports come a week after a second national lockdown was eased. The so-called coronavirus cabinet on Monday approved the further reopening of schools for grades 1-4 early next week, and the easing of some more restrictions on businesses. The Times of Israel reports.

Related: JTA profiles physicians in New York’s Orthodox community who are trying to combat resistance and disinformation about the coronavirus. One of the doctors, Stuart Ditchek, said they have been referred to by community members as “Jewish Faucis.”

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) announced bipartisan legislation to strengthen Israel’s qualitative military edge, including the possibility of procuring massive “bunker bombs” to deter a nuclear Iran.

Gottheimer discussed the U.S.-Israel Common Defense Authorization Act — cosponsored by Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) – at a news conference Tuesday alongside Elan Carr, the U.S. Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism.

Jewish and Catholic leaders exchanged public messages in commemoration of the 55th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the milestone document of the Catholic Church that explicitly rejected discrimination and violence against Jews and anti-Semitic church teachings.

Both statements, issued Wednesday morning, noted the rise in global anti-Semitism and Catholic-Jewish cooperation in fighting it.

In his statement, Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, called the 1965 document the “‘Magna Carta’ of Catholic-Jewish relations.”

Rabbi Noam Marans, chair of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, said progress in Catholic-Jewish relations is seen in “the depth of relationships between Catholic and Jewish leaders and those mirrored by their constituents. Our friendships have assured open and candid communication that are essential in addressing challenging issues.”

Rakefet Ginsburg will become the first female executive director of Israel’s branch of the Conservative-Masorti movement.

The 51-year-old, who has served in several top positions in Israel’s branch of the movement, will succeed Yizhar Hess, who will assume his new position as vice-chairman of the World Zionist Organization, Ha’aretz reports.

For the past four years, Ginsburg has served as deputy director for community outreach at NATAL, the Israeli trauma center. She and her family are members of Yedid Nefesh, a congregation in Hod Hasharon.

Around the Agencies

Repair the World‘s #RepairTheVote initiative offers resources enabling people to exercise their right to vote. The guide includes volunteer opportunities to ensure that every eligible American can safely cast their ballot by Nov. 3, including in-person and virtual opportunities done in partnership with local service organizations. For more information and resources, visit the #RepairTheVote website here.

Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association have released a resource for rabbis and congregations to help them navigate the potentially tumultuous American election season. It includes tips on messaging and guidance on restrictions and opportunities for 501(c)(3) institutions.

The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan announced the lineup for its 14th Annual Other Israel Film Festival, which presents cinema that looks into Palestinian society and underrepresented populations in Israel. The week-long festival will take place online from Dec. 3-10, and include 24 feature length and short films. For more information about films and purchasing tickets, visit

The Charles Bronfman Prize was awarded to Brazilian chef David Hertz, who founded an organization that uses food to improve the lives of vulnerable people around the world. The prize, which includes an award of $100,000, is presented annually to a humanitarian under 50 “whose innovative work, informed by Jewish values, has significantly improved the world.” Charles Bronfman presented the prize to Hertz during a virtual ceremony on Oct. 21. Hertz’s organization, Gastromotiva, trains residents of low-income neighborhoods to work in the food service industry.

Village Preservation launched an interactive online tool that offers free, guided walking tours of the “South of Union Square” area, which was home to several significant places and figures in Jewish history. The app includes nearly 40 tours encompassing Third to Fifth Avenues between 9th and 14th Streets. The area includes the former sites of Temple Emanu-El and The Village Temple, Congregation B’nai Israel. For more information, visit their website,

Streaming Today

American Associates Ben-Gurion University of the Negev presents a webinar about scientists who are studying prawns to improve food security and eliminate disease, while reducing long-term environmental impact. Learn how “super females” can combat a deadly parasitic disease and how the all-male prawn could increase a farmer’s income by 60%. Featuring Prof. Amir Sagi, Department of Life Sciences, National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev. Moderated by Doug Seserman AABGU’s CEO. Details are provided upon registration. 12:00 pm.

Eshkolot–A Taste of Ideas will mark the release in Russian of “Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel” (Knizhniki Publishing House) with a virtual discussion with its author, former AP Israel bureau correspondent and ex-IDF soldier Matti Friedman. “Spies of No Country” details the little-known history of “the Arab Section,” the precursor to today’s Mossad, and how it foreshadowed Israel’s challenges and complexities. Register here. 1:00 pm.

American Friends of Rabin Medical Center presents Global Connections, a monthly leaders forum moderated by Robert Siegel, former host of National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. October’s forum focuses on breast, ovarian and prostate cancer treatment and research, with top researchers in the field. RSVP here. 4:00 pm.

Bend the Arc presents an online event marking the second anniversary of the mass shooting at Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh, featuring Sen. Bernie Sanders and dozens of Jewish leaders, rabbis and clergy from diverse faith traditions, elected officials, and leaders of social and racial justice movements. Click here to register. 8:00 pm.

Click here for The Jewish Week’s full calendar of events.

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