The Jewish Week is always here for you.
We need your support now.
Your contribution will help us bring you vital news
and frequent updates about the impact of COVID-19.
Binge-drinking at yeshiva high schools • Yang angles for haredi vote • Events for Black History Month
Daily Update

Binge-drinking at yeshiva high schools • Yang angles for haredi vote • Events for Black History Month

MASKS ON MASKS: Students at Hebrew Academy of Nassau County's Early Childhood Center in West Hempstead prepare for Purim, which begins Thursday night at sundown. (HANC ECC)
MASKS ON MASKS: Students at Hebrew Academy of Nassau County's Early Childhood Center in West Hempstead prepare for Purim, which begins Thursday night at sundown. (HANC ECC)


Mayoral hopeful Andrew Yang is leading the race for the city’s coveted haredi Orthodox vote, Hasidic leaders told Gothamist.

Yang’s hands-off approach to secular education at yeshivas has gotten the attention of the community, which bristles at attempts by the city to enforce its educational standards.

Quotable: “The things he’s saying echo with great precision what the pro-yeshiva groups are saying,” a source in the Orthodox community told Gothamist.

Meanwhile: The introduction of Ranked-Choice Voting may ultimately reduce the influence of the Orthodox voting bloc, according to Common Cause executive director Susan Lerner. The new system requires candidates to build a consensus majority, and “you don’t do that by taking extreme positions,” Lerner tells Gothamist.

Anti-Semitic, lazy or right on target? Jews are attaching their own agendas to the “Saturday Night Live” joke about Israel.

The Jewish Week’s Andrew Silow-Carroll gets Jewish comedians’ reactions to Michael Che’s joke about Israel and vaccinations.

Administrators at SAR High School in the Bronx say yeshiva day schools have a teen binge-drinking problem.

Rivka Press Schwartz and Rabbi Tully Harcstzark describe a study of 19 yeshiva high schools in the New York tristate area. Compared to the general schools population, Jewish students are nearly twice as likely to say that they have taken “more than just a taste or a sip” of alcohol in the past 30 days.

“Community organizations have done inspiring work to address substance abuse in the Jewish world, but we have not yet tackled the allegedly growing use of substances in the party and kiddush cultures — in the general social culture — of our teen community,” they write.

Related: Senior rabbis and religious authorities in Israel’s haredi Orthodox community warned against heavy drinking during Purim, which starts tomorrow night.

A celebrity performance of the Purim story raised $500,000 for the Met Council on Jewish Poverty’s COVID-19 emergency relief efforts.

“Purim: Funny Story,” which aired online on Tuesday, featured Bob Saget, Howie Mandel, Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman, Jeff Ross, Judy Gold and columnist Bari Weiss, among others. The streaming event drew more than 25,000 viewers and 2,000 donors.

In Other News

Israel is reportedly set to give tens of thousands of coronavirus vaccine doses to some 15 countries in exchange for diplomatic backing.

The Ruderman Family Foundation, synonymous with efforts to increase inclusion for Jews with disabilities, is changing focus.

The anti-Putin movement in Russia is dividing the country’s Jews.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer calls Sen. Dick Durbin “Yossel”’ because his middle name is Joseph.

The New York Times recommends Butterfield Market on the Upper East Side for its apricot, raspberry and Nutella-filled hamantaschen.


Alexander Goren, chairperson emeritus of the Board of Governors of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and a member of one of the founding families of the university, died in New York on Tuesday. He was 81. Born in Bucharest, Romania, he was a partner in Goren Brothers, a Manhattan money management and real estate company. In over 50 years of support for the university, the Cukier, Goldstein-Goren Foundation has established a scholarship endowment, the Goldstein-Goren Department of Jewish Thought, the Goldstein-Goren International Center for Jewish Thought, and the Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology Engineering. “Alex Goren was first and foremost a mensch. He was always willing to step up, always there to be counted upon,” said Ben-Gurion University President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz. Said Doug Seserman, chief executive officer, American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev: “An inspirational leader, philanthropist, and an overall great human being, I always thought of Alex as a Renaissance man with a generous spirit. Alex played a formidable role in BGU’s incredible transformation over the last 50 years and he will be deeply missed.” Goren is survived by his wife, Brooke W. Kroeger, their three children and seven grandchildren.


Nabil Ayers’ grandmother left behind a stack of stories about growing up in Brooklyn in the 1930s. “When I read Grandma’s stories now, I can hear her sturdy voice as she recounts in vivid detail her memories of New York in the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s — in some ways, very like the New York I still inhabit and love,” Ayers writes.


Sixth & I synagogue in Washington presents Chef Vered Guttman as she prepares a Persian feast for Purim. The menu includes Gondi soup – a chickpea-chicken “matzah ball” soup; Persian rice with sour cherries and saffron and a crispy bottom; Khoresht fesenjan – a chicken, pomegranate, and walnut stew; Israeli-style poppy seed hamantaschen and Turkish delight hamantaschen. $12. Register here. 7:00 pm.

Black History Month

The Lafargue Clinic was founded in 1946 by a group of Black intellectuals and German-Jewish doctorsRegister to join this Leo Baeck Institute presentation by Gabriel Mendes, author of “Under the Strain of Color: Harlem’s Lafargue Clinic and the Promise of an Antiracist Psychiatry” (Cornell University Press, 2015). He will discuss the history of the Lafargue clinic, its importance in the history of public health, and its important role in the battles against school segregation. 3:00 pm.

American Jewish Committee presents Dr. Lillie Edwards, Professor Emerita of History and African-American Studies at Drew University, and Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher, co-producers of the 2000 documentary “From Swastika to Jim Crow,” to discuss the little-known story of German-Jewish refugees, who, expelled from their homeland by Hitler and the Nazis, found new lives and careers at historically Black colleges and universities in the American South. Register here. 4:00 pm.

American Friends of Rabin Medical Center presents Global Connections, a monthly leaders forum moderated by Robert Siegel, former senior host of National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” February’s forum focuses on America’s Race Crisis: What To Do About It, with Prof. Eddie Glaude (Princeton), Prof. Annette Gordon-Reed (Harvard University) and Rabbi David Saperstein. Register here. 4:00 pm.

Streaming Today

UJA-Federation of New York presents the Westchester Women’s Symposium 2021, featuring inspiring women who are thought leaders making an impact on issues that affect the community. Register here for a list of panels/speakers and a free ticket prior to the event. 11:30 am.

The Bennett Center for Judaic Studies at Fairfield University will host a virtual lecture by Rabbi Irvin Ungar, the world’s foremost expert on illustrator-activist Arthur Szyk. The virtual lecture on Szyk’s haggadot is free and open to the public and will be delivered as a Zoom webinar. Register to attend at 7:30 pm.

read more: