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Cases surge (again) in Israel, NYPD rabbi mugged, Art Shamsky mourns Tom Seaver
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Daily Update

Cases surge (again) in Israel, NYPD rabbi mugged, Art Shamsky mourns Tom Seaver

The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Soup Kitchen reopened at the university's Manhattan campus for outdoor, socially distanced service. (HUC-JIR)
The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Soup Kitchen reopened at the university's Manhattan campus for outdoor, socially distanced service. (HUC-JIR)

Israel is bracing for a new spike in coronavirus cases.

The Health Ministry reported this morning that yesterday over 3,000 new cases were recorded in one day for the first since the pandemic began. Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem warn that the health system could be overwhelmed due to the rising number of coronavirus patients requiring hospitalization.

Ministers at a meeting of the coronavirus cabinet on Thursday will be asked to expand the list of highly infected cities and towns and impose sweeping restrictions, including a full lockdown on some areas, to stem the virus outbreak, according to Hebrew-language media reports.

Opposition lawmakers will grill Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week on “the prime minister’s disgraceful failure in managing the economic and health crisis.”

The Gaza Strip recorded 98 new coronavirus cases today; there are currently 500 active cases in Gaza. Its first coronavirus cases were detected early last week after an effective months-long lockdown.

NCSY, an Orthodox youth group, has removed its name from a Jewish letter in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, citing the movement’s politicization.

No mainstream Orthodox Jewish group remains among the letter’s 600 signatories, although several liberal Orthodox groups, such as Uri L’Tzedek and Torah Trumps Hate, have also signed the letter. Signers include the governing bodies of Judaism’s three other major denominations, as well as large national organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

“BLM’s platform includes values we do not share,” NCSY International Director Rabbi Micah Greenland told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. NCSY said in a statement that the original decision to sign was approved by a student participant in the group and not the organization’s national leadership.

The 2016 platform of the Movement for Black Lives accused Israel of genocide and called for the end of U.S. military aid to Israel. Its 2020 platform, released Monday, does not mention Israel.

The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York did not sign the ad but issued a separate statement on racial injustice.

Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law, campaigned for Laura Loomer, a Jewish congressional candidate who calls herself a “proud Islamophobe.”

Loomer, a conspiracy theorist, is the Republican nominee in Florida’s 21st district, a liberal area that also includes Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s resort. Loomer has been banned from Twitter and Facebook for her far-right activism, and has also been banned by the rideshare apps Uber and Lyft for complaining about Muslim drivers.

Lara Trump, Eric Trump’s wife, visited Loomer’s campaign Tuesday and posed with her. In August, President Trump tweeted his support for her campaign after she won the Republican primary.

A man believed to be homeless was arrested and charged in the mugging of the New York Police Department’s chief chaplain, Rabbi Alvin Kass.

Rabbi Kass, 84, was taking his daily early morning walk on the city’s Upper West Side Tuesday when he was approached by an individual who told the rabbi that he was hungry and needed food. The mugger pushed the rabbi down and took cash from his pocket, but dropped it and fled when he saw Kass’ police shield, according to the reports.

Rafael Diaz, 39, was taken into custody on Tuesday while in possession of a crack pipe, WABC-TV reported. He was charged with attempted robbery and criminal possession of a controlled substance.

The rabbi, who has served in the NYPD for 54 years, making him its longest-serving officer, told WABC that he would be out walking again.

“I hope to continue to do my walk and go about my routine,” Kass said. “I’m not gonna let some bad actor stop me.”

Art Shamsky, a Jewish star of the 1969 “Miracle Mets,” mourned his legendary teammate Tom Seaver, who died Monday at age 75.

“Words cannot express the sadness I feel with the death of #TomSeaver,” the former Mets first baseman tweeted Wednesday.Not just a teammate but a true friend. History will show he is one of the greatest pitchers ever I am so glad myself & a few teammates spent time with him in 2017 RIP #41 #TomTerrific #GreatestMet.”

A new book tells the story of Sarah Brandon Moses, who was born enslaved to a Sephardic Jewish family, converted to Judaism and eventually married into the upper ranks of New York’s Jewish community in the early 1800s.

“The Art of the Jewish Family” (University of Chicago Press) unravels the complex family tree of Moses, whose story seems particularly relevant at a time when Jews of color have become insistent on their rightful place in Jewish life. Author Laura Arnold Leibman talks to The Jewish Week.

Jewish groups are rushing to establish themselves in the United Arab Emirates, as the Gulf state moves toward a normalization agreement with Israel.

The World Zionist Organization will send permanent emissaries to the Jewish community in the United Arab Emirates for the first time.

American Jewish Committee yesterday announced plans to open an office in the UAE. 

On Monday, the Jewish Agency for Israel and Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal, an Israeli humanitarian group, announced that they would begin providing services to the UAE Jewish community of over 1,000.

Perspective: David Horovitz, of the Times of Israel, says this peace deal is different: “[F]or the first time, an Arab state — and a thriving, influential Arab state at that — is telling its people, ours, and the world that it is not merely resigned to our existence, or prepared to tolerate us, but inclined to actually like us. Israel. The Jewish state.”

Around the Agencies

The Orthodox Union arranged a call with the U.S. surgeon general to discuss precautions when planning High Holiday services this year. Dr. Jerome Adams advised synagogues to consider virtual services, though they are not an option for Orthodox synagogues, or organize outdoor services with strict distancing and mask wearing. He also cautioned about reopening in places where Covid test positivity rates are still high. Adams also offered advice about specific holiday practices, for instance bringing your own bread for tashlich and keeping the shofar blower far from others at Rosh Hashanah services.

The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Soup Kitchen reopened for outdoor, socially distanced service last month. Student volunteers at the campus at One West Fourth Street provide guests with to-go bags of sandwiches, milk, fruit, and cookies, as well as socks and small toiletries when available. The Soup Kitchen operates with new safety procedures to ensure the health and safety of volunteers and guests. During the last few months, HUC-JIR has made several in-kind donations of food and supplies to the nearby Bowery Mission.

Streaming Today

92nd St. Y presents statesman and historian Michael Oren in an online survey of  the main features of Israel’s political system—its institutions, its personalities, its fault-lines. The former Israeli ambassador to the United States and a member of the Knesset will place special emphasis on the unique aspects of Israeli political culture and new ways of understanding the present situation, including the current UAE deal with Israel. $20. 7:00 pm.

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