Yom Kippur begins Sunday at sundown. The next Jewish Week Daily Update will arrive on Tuesday, Sept. 29. Gmar tov!
After days of warning about rising Covid-19 cases in Orthodox neighborhoods, New York City is threatening drastic enforcement measures starting as early as Tuesday, the day after Yom Kippur.
Patrick Gallahue, a spokesperson for the city’s health department, said Thursday that if progress in slowing the spread of infection was not made by Monday evening, the city would take serious action, including prohibiting all gatherings of more than 10 people, issuing fines for refusal to wear a mask, ordering private schools and childcare centers that do not meet city standards to close and shutting down all nonessential businesses immediately.
The city also plans to begin inspecting private schools in areas with high COVID-19 rates to check that they are conforming to the city’s rules, which include shutting when there are two unrelated cases in the same building.
The department pointed to continued increases in positive COVID test results in the six neighborhoods cited on Tuesday — Williamsburg, Borough Park, Midwood, Bensonhurst/Mapleton, Kew Gardens, and Far Rockaway — as well as two other neighborhoods, Gravesend/Homecrest and Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay.
Related: JTA asks why more people in charedi Orthodox neighborhoods are not wearing masks. And a federal government agency has recruited Shulem Lemmer, a popular chasidic singer, to “bring awareness of anything Covid-19 related to the Orthodox Jewish community & beyond.”
A yeshiva elementary school in Brooklyn and a girls yeshiva in Queens were closed due to an outbreak in Covid-19 cases.
The Jewish Week reported that Magen David Yeshivah in Brooklyn told parents Tuesday that the Department of Health has “instructed us to close our Elementary School building effective tomorrow.” Torah Academy for Girls (TAG), a yeshiva high school in Far Rockaway, Queens was also forced to close due to Covid-19 on Wednesday night.
Related: An anonymous WhatsApp message is encouraging parents of Jewish day school children in New York City not to have their children tested for Covid-19 to prevent the schools from being shut down.
A sweeping new lockdown went into effect in Israel at 2 pm on Friday, as lawmakers continued to argue over possible restrictions for protests and public prayers.
Worshippers can meet up for a socially distanced outdoor prayer session of up to 20 people. On Yom Kippur, 10 people will be allowed inside synagogues at a time, but otherwise, they will be shut.
The lockdown is slated to last two weeks, including the holiday of Sukkot. It may be extended if infection rates do not slow considerably, the Times of Israel reports.
Related: Nathan Jeffay reports that the Israeli government wants to rebuild public trust in its virus fight, but it’s done just the opposite with the chaotic and unsettling way it adopted stricter measures.
A Chabad-run charity is providing door-to-door service for people who need a live chicken to perform a controversial pre-Yom Kippur ritual.
The Jewish Week reports that the National Committee for Furtherance of Jewish Education will deliver the chickens for Jews in Crown Heights to perform the ceremony of kapparot: symbolically transferring their sins to the live bird, before it is returned to the butcher for slaughter. Covid-19 has made it harder for the observant to gather for such ceremonies. Animal-rights activists have long objected to the ritual, which they say can lead to abuse of the fowl.
Jewish members of the House of Representatives — led by New York Democrats Eliot Engel and Nita M. Lowey — signed a letter to the House minority leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., saying “gotcha politics” “makes the fight against anti-Semitism harder.”
The 26 signers are objecting to a maneuver by House Republicans that attaches a no-brainer anti-anti-Semitism amendment to a piece of majority legislation in order to slow its progress. In this case, the main legislation called for greater hiring diversity in federal programs; Republicans attached a rider expanding options for Jewish students on university campuses to file complaints about discrimination. Democrats then voted against it, knowing their main bill would have stalled.
Confused? JTA’s Ron Kampeas explains here.
Yom Kippur, which begins Sunday at sundown, is an occasion for recalling that life is fleeting, and that our destinies can change in unexpected ways. In this week’s Torah portion, writes Rabbi Charles Savenor, Moses reflects on the sudden turns in his own life — a message to prepare for and embrace life’s interruptions.
More wisdom: Rabbi David Wolpe, in his Jewish Week column, has a blessing for people feeling anxious after a difficult year.
ICYMI: Actress Mayim Bialik reflects on the story of Jonah, which teaches us to be “slow to anger and quick to forgive.”
Around the Agencies
The NYU Bronfman Center and The iCenter for Israel Education is offering a new online high school certificate program in entrepreneurship. Led by Dr. Nir Tsuk, founder of NYU’s Institute for Impact and Intrapreneurship, EdVenture follows a similar curriculum as NYU’s innovation courses, with special adaptations for high school students. The curriculum consists of eight online 90-minute workshops over four weeks, which are held in groups of up to 30 high school seniors (some exceptional high school juniors may also be selected). Applications are open at www.edventure.academy until Oct. 7. The program launches Oct. 14.
The Jewish Museum is reopening to the public Oct. 1 with an exhibit on how artists have historically responded to the rise of authoritarianism and xenophobia as well as racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry. “We Fight to Build a Free World” is curated by Jonathan Horowitz, a New York-based artist who for three decades has made work that engages critically with politics and culture. Featuring more than 80 works of painting, sculpture, photography and video, the exhibition includes examples of American social realism from the 1930s and 1940s, new works by Horowitz, as well as 36 commissioned protest posters by contemporary artists. On view through Jan. 24, 2021, the exhibition also addresses issues surrounding immigration, assimilation, and cultural identity. Admission is free through Dec. 31, 2020; timed tickets required.
Jewish Council for Public Affairs presents a memorial service for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with a special eulogy by Nadine Epstein, editor in chief and CEO of Moment Magazine. With remembrances by Michael Fromm, Jewish Council for Public Affairs; Meredith Jacobs, Jewish Women International; Sheila Katz, National Council of Jewish Women; David Luchins, Jewish Council for Public Affairs; Yolanda Savage-Narva, Operation Understanding DC; Jodi Schwartz, Jewish Federations of North America; Janice Weinman, Hadassah; and Rabbi Ellen Wolintz-Fields, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism. 1:00 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.