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Brooklyn Orthodox protest Covid rules, Stephen Miller tests positive, UJA opens social service center in Queens
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Brooklyn Orthodox protest Covid rules, Stephen Miller tests positive, UJA opens social service center in Queens

UJA-Federation of New York President Amy Bressman speaks at the opening of Queens Hub, right, a new center in Elmhurst providing job training, social services and emergency food to thousands of New Yorkers, Oct. 6, 2020. (UJA-FEderation)
UJA-Federation of New York President Amy Bressman speaks at the opening of Queens Hub, right, a new center in Elmhurst providing job training, social services and emergency food to thousands of New Yorkers, Oct. 6, 2020. (UJA-FEderation)

Protests by Orthodox Jews against New York’s coronavirus crackdown on gatherings in their neighborhoods turned tense Tuesday night as throngs of young men demonstrated in the streets of Borough Park, setting fire to a pile of masks and at one point running a reporter out of the area.

The late-night protest took aim at new restrictions that would close schools, limit attendance at synagogues services and close nonessential businesses in areas with upticks in Covid-19.

Many in the community believe that city and state officials are unfairly targeting Orthodox Jews. The protests came in response to Gov.  Cuomo’s announcement Tuesday afternoon of new restrictions on a large swath of Brooklyn that is experiencing an uptick in Covid cases.

In a statement Tuesday evening, local Orthodox lawmakers accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of  going back on assurances he made in recent calls with community leaders.

Background: A New York Times columnist says the city’s outreach efforts in Orthodox neighborhoods “seemed to lack the sensitivity and attention to difference that was necessary.”

RelatedUpstate Orange County closed schools serving students from Kiryas Joel, a community made up of mostly Satmar chasidic Jews, after the village recorded a Covid positivity rate of 27.6% among those tested.

In Israel: Police officers attempting to enforce coronavirus lockdown regulations met fierce resistance in the charedi Orthodox settlement of Modiin Illit and Jerusalem late Tuesday and early Wednesday, in the latest outbreak of violence between the community and authorities.

Stephen Miller, a top adviser to President Trump, tested positive for the coronavirus as the pandemic proliferates among Trump’s circle.

Miller is the latest of around 20 White House personnel, including the president, who have since last week tested positive for the virus. Miller, who is Jewish, has shaped Trump’s restrictive immigration policies.

Perspective: Rabbi Aaron Brusso of Bet Torah congregation in Mount Kisco says a White House reception for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett — now seen as a super-spreader event for the coronavirus — was an insult to clergy like him, who have spent months following precautions that keep them from properly administering to their congregants.

The Department of Homeland Security named white supremacists as the biggest domestic terror threat in the United States.

The Homeland Threat Assessment, released on Tuesday, details an array of violent domestic threats in the United States. It also notes that, among other qualities, white supremacists are characterized by their hate of Jews, or by “their perception that the government is controlled by Jewish persons.”

It comes a week after President Donald Trump declined to denounce white supremacists from the presidential debate stage, telling the Proud Boys, a far-right group, to “stand back and stand by.”

The latest report was published a month after a whistleblower alleged that high-ranking Homeland Security appointees told officials in the department to downplay the threat posed by white supremacists. In the foreward to the report, Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said white supremacists are his main focus.

Related: Facebook and Instagram are removing all pages and accounts representing the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory, which among other things has anti-Semitic elements.

Meanwhile: YouTube removed the video channel of the Nation of Islam, the organization led by Louis Farrakhan, citing its policies against hate speech, according to the Jewish Journal.

Conspiracy theories surrounding liberal Jewish philanthropist George Soros constitute an “astounding” proportion of a recent deluge of online anti-Semitic attacks against Jewish members of Congress, the Anti-Defamation League said Monday.

ADL’s latest report reviewed 6,000 tweets directed at the 30 Jewish incumbents up for re-election in November. The review deemed 10 percent of those posts “problematic” due to the inclusion of explicitly or implicitly anti-Semitic content.

UJA-Federation of New York, in partnership with Commonpoint Queens, opened a new 9,600-square-foot social service center that will offer employment resources, social services and access to food in Elmhurst, Queens.

Open to all New Yorkers starting today, the Hub is expected to serve 6,000 clients in its first year. The Hub also offers case management, mental health counseling, benefits screening and enrollment, emergency cash assistance, and access to the Commonpoint Queens Digital Food pantry.

UJA has invested nearly $10 million to build the Hub and committed an additional $1.4 million per year for a total of five years in operating costs. The remainder of funding will be sourced from public grants. Commonpoint Queens manages Hub programming, and staff includes nearly 40 professionals from Commonpoint and other UJA partners.

In addition, UJA allocated $4.6 million for six satellite Hub locations that will open their doors in November across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island, and Westchester. While the Queens Hub will be permanent to respond to perennial poverty, the satellite Hubs will serve as a shorter-term COVID recovery response. UJA is also working towards building a permanent Brooklyn Hub.

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, U.S. Representative Grace Meng, and a number of New York City and State elected officials took part in the virtual ceremony Tuesday opening the Hub.

Around the Agencies

Morgan Stanley’s charitable giving vehicle, Morgan Stanley GIFT, will work with the Jewish Future Pledge to educate clients and advisers about their financial, estate and charitable planning. More than 500 people haved signed the Jewish Future Pledge, which calls on Jews to commit  half or more of the charitable giving in their estate plan to Jewish causes.

Streaming Today

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum presents a Facebook Live virtual event with Alejandra Morales Stekel, the former director of the Interactive Jewish Museum of Chile, on Latin America as a place of refuge, both for Holocaust survivors and perpetrators. Coinciding with Hispanic Heritage Month, the live program will be in Spanish. 9:30 am.

YIVO will host Yiddish Children’s Literature Today, featuring a conversation between Miriam Udel, Naomi Seidman, and Jennifer Young, moderated by Rokhl Kafrissen (Tablet Magazine). The publication of Miriam Udel’s new book of translated Yiddish children’s literature, “Honey on the Page,” is an opportunity to celebrate the history of Yiddish children’s literature, a subset of Jewish children’s literature, and to examine the role it can play for children today. 1:00 pm.

Temple Beth El of Huntington, N.Y., presents “Gertrude Stein and The Literary and Artistic Icons Of Modernism,” with historian and educator Mary Dano. Gertrude Stein, American novelist, poet, playwright and art collector, hosted the leading figures of the Modernist movement in literature and art in her Paris salon. 7:00 pm.

Zionist Organization of America presents best-selling presidential historian and former White House aide Tevi Troy discussing his new book, “Fight House: Rivalries in the White House From Truman to Trump.” From 2007 to 2009,  Troy was the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service – the second in command and chief operating officer of the largest civilian department in the federal government. Before arriving at HHS, he was President George W. Bush’s main adviser on Jewish issues. 7:30 pm.

Join the Jewish Week and UJA-Federation of New York on Oct. 13, 12:30 pm for a conversation with A.B. Yehoshua, one of Israel’s finest novelists, and Stuart Schoffman, the translator of Yehoshua’s new novel, “The Tunnel.” Recently named an “Editor’s Choice” by The New York Times Book Review, “The Tunnel” is a suspenseful and poignant story of a family coping with the sudden mental decline of their beloved husband. Moderated by Sandee Brawarsky, culture editor of The Jewish Week. Free to UJA donors, $18 for new donors. Register here.

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