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Changing of the guard at NY’s JCRC • Bret Stephens edits Jewish journal • Vaccinated snowbirds flock to Florida
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Changing of the guard at NY’s JCRC • Bret Stephens edits Jewish journal • Vaccinated snowbirds flock to Florida

NEW YORK'S MOST GENEROUS: The NYPD Shomrim Society, the fraternal organization for Jewish law enforcement officers, held its Annual Passover Food Distribution, March 21, 2021. Dozens of members distributed food directly to residents in need across the city. (Courtesy)
NEW YORK'S MOST GENEROUS: The NYPD Shomrim Society, the fraternal organization for Jewish law enforcement officers, held its Annual Passover Food Distribution, March 21, 2021. Dozens of members distributed food directly to residents in need across the city. (Courtesy)

 

Gideon Taylor was named the next chief executive of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.

Taylor, currently the lay president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, will succeed Michael S. Miller, who has headed the organization for more than 36 years.

Taylor heads a commercial real estate firm, but has also held professional roles at the Claims Conference and The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

Why it matters: It’s a rare changing of the guard at the JCRC, which runs Israel trips for politicians, coordinates the annual Celebrate Israel Parade, and in general acts as a go-between for the Jewish establishment and political, ethnic, interfaith and law enforcement leadership.

Quotable: “At this critical moment, as our community faces increased levels of antisemitism, internal polarization, and a changing political landscape, we are delighted that Gideon has been selected to lead JCRC-NY into the future,” JCRC-NY President Cheryl Fishbein said in an announcement Wednesday.

New York Times opinion columnist Bret Stephens has taken on a side gig as the editor of a new journal of Jewish ideas.

The journal, titled Sapir, is an initiative of the New York-based Maimonides Fund. Its president, Mark Charendoff, said it would be “a neutral platform that could afford to present different points of view that are controversial.”

Stephens, a never-Trumper who nonetheless offers the rare conservative voice on The Times’ opinion desk, often criticizes progressives and the media on issues like “cancel culture,” climate change and their approach to Israel and anti-Semitism.

U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) wrote a letter to the German Consul General in New York asking why 16 Hasidic Jews, including five from New York, were detained at the Frankfurt Airport on March 8.

The men were detained for more than 10 hours without getting charged or being told why they had been stopped.

“The allegations are deeply disturbing and call for an investigation into the actions taken by German officials,” Torres wrote in the letter to German Consul General David Gill, Yeshiva World News reported.

A New Jersey newspaper fired the reporter responsible for a photo caption that contained an anti-Semitic slur.

The executive editor of the Asbury Park Press said the reporter, Gustavo Martínez Contreras, is “no longer with the company.” The caption, presumably meant as an in-house joke, referred to a female Orthodox nurse in Lakewood with the acronym meaning “Jewish American princess.”

What Else

In a sign of the political stalemate that followed yet another inconclusive Israeli election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not ruled out “parliamentary cooperation” with the Islamist Ra’am party.

The Democratic Majority for Israel and T’ruah, two U.S.-based groups, are dismayed at the apparent election of Kahanist (as in the late Rabbi Meir Kahane) and anti-LGBT candidates from the far-right Religious Zionism party.

Thanks to vaccinations, New York snowbirds like Debra Englander, a former editor at Money Magazine, are flocking back to Florida.

Rachel Levine, as the assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services, became the first openly transgender federal official to win Senate confirmation.

Did a Mississippi Republican lecture Sen. Chuck Schumer on the meaning of Shabbat?

Opinion

Rabbi Ben Greenfield, of The Greenpoint Shul in Brooklyn, reflects on what makes this Passover different from all others: “I’m thinking of the many we lost to the pandemic and who will not make it to this year’s (or last year’s) seder. I’m thinking of all those who, due to heroic interventions by medical professionals, will arrive in peace to this upcoming holiday. I’m thinking of individuals in my community who finally received vaccines and now, after a year, will be able to celebrate with their families not just the Exodus from Egypt, but their long-awaited exit from isolation.”

People and Places

Rabbi Daniel Nevins, dean of the Rabbinical School at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Manhattan, was officially announced as the new head of school at Golda Och Academy, a Jewish day school in West Orange, NJ. He’ll succeed Adam Shapiro effective June 30.

Passover

The White House will hold a Virtual Passover Celebration with Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff and special guests, and everyone is invited. Today, 5:00 pm. RSVP here.

UJA-Federation of New York is holding a #MatzahChallenge to encourage people to post and share photos of their matzah meals while raising money for people in need. For every photo uploaded to social media between March 24 and April 4 with the hashtag #MatzahChallenge, a donor has pledged to give $18 to UJA. UJA is also offering a free downloadable e-cookbook featuring recipes from well-known chefs and foodies, such as Adeena Sussman and Einat Admony.

Repair the World‘s “Ten Plagues of Housing Injustice” Haggadah insert discusses the ways many in substandard housing continue to be oppressed by, among other things, unclean water, domestic violence and food insecurity. Find a printable version here.

The New Israel Fund and Jewish Currents Press are publishing a Haggadah created 50 years ago by the Israeli Back Panthers – a movement that demanded social and economic justice for the country’s North African and Middle Eastern Jewish immigrants. Download a preview here to use at your seder.

Lab/Shul presents a night of “Passover Prep” hosted by Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie with Elana June Margolis and Jacqueline Nicholls and featuring a ceremonial cleanse and commitment to “clean up our acts and get fired up for collective liberation.” Tonight, 7:30 pm.

Streaming Today

Leo Baeck Institute presents Magda Teter (Fordham University), whose new history of the “blood libel” tracks its origins and spread, in conversation with fellow historian David N. Myers (UCLA) to discuss the story of Simon of Trent as a case study in how a new medium – print – accelerated the spread of of conspiracy theories. Register here. 2:00 pm.

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