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Covid heroes in Orthodox areas • Supreme Court hears Holocaust case • Sheikh buys into Israeli soccer club
Daily Update

Covid heroes in Orthodox areas • Supreme Court hears Holocaust case • Sheikh buys into Israeli soccer club

GETTING INTO THE SPIN: Children at Hebrew Academy of Nassau County's Early Childhood Center in West Hempstead prepare Chanukah projects. The holiday begins Thursday at sundown. (Courtesy.)
GETTING INTO THE SPIN: Children at Hebrew Academy of Nassau County's Early Childhood Center in West Hempstead prepare Chanukah projects. The holiday begins Thursday at sundown. (Courtesy.)

A charedi Orthodox nurse practitioner fighting Covid in her Brooklyn community says she feels beaten down by the sea of misinformation and mistrust she encounters.

“I have nothing left,” Blimi Marcus told The Jewish Week’s Hannah Dreyfus, in an investigation produced in partnership with Slate. She and other health workers say members of the community have lost trust in secular authority, are wary of the potential vaccines and more resistant than ever to adopting safety protocols.

RelatedLarge crowds gathered Monday afternoon for the funeral in Williamsburg of a beloved Satmar chasidic rabbi, Yisroel Chaim Menashe Friedman. Thousands gathered at the funeral, according to the New York Post, and most did not wear masks, at the same synagogue where a massive wedding expected to draw thousands was planned and then stopped by state authorities in October.

In Israel: Charedi Orthodox Jews clashed with police in Jerusalem on Monday, as thousands demonstrated over the planned route of the city’s light rail through their insular neighborhoods. At least 25 people were arrested.

The Trump administration argued before the Supreme Court Monday that Holocaust restitution cases should be heard in the countries where the crimes occurred, and not in the United States.

In the two cases under review, Holocaust survivors and the heirs of victims of the Holocaust from Germany and Hungary are seeking restitution in U.S. courts for thefts incurred during the genocide.

The administration’s case met with skepticism from conservative and liberal justices. They asked why descendants of German Jews murdered or exiled from the country should be forced to seek remedies in Germany in the first place, and whether the administration could justify its policy on foreign policy grounds.

Why it matters: According to SCOTUSblog, the Hungary plaintiffs claim the country has failed to establish a mechanism for resolving such claims, and the Germany plaintiffs insist that the United States has stronger interests in providing a forum for their restitution case than does Germany.

Related: The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the World Jewish Restitution Organization announced the publication of data about Belgian library collections stolen by the Nazis during World War II. The publication will be a “powerful resource for individuals and organizations who seek to pursue possible claims in the future,” said Gideon Taylor, chair of operations, WJRO and president of the board of directors of the Claims Conference.

A member of the United Arab Emirates’ royal family has purchased half of Beitar Jerusalem, a Jerusalem soccer team whose fanbase is notorious for its anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan has bought 50 percent of the shares and will invest NIS 300 million ($92 million) in the Beitar Jerusalem team over the next decade, the Times of Israel reports. In a statement on the soccer club’s official website, the UAE sheikh referred to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a position not shared by the Gulf country’s leaders.

Beitar Jerusalem hailed the deal as “historic and exciting.” The partnership comes three months after Israel and the United Arab Emirates established diplomatic ties.


Does The New York Times have a Chanukah problem? In his weekly column, Jewish Week Editor in Chief Andrew Silow-Carroll asks why the newspaper marked the festival with an op-ed by a writer who says she is not Jewish and doesn’t intend to celebrate the holiday. Too often, he writes, The Times “treats Jewish traditions less charitably than other religious traditions, in part because family members often treat each other worse than they would outsiders.”

Around the Agencies

The Marcus Foundation is making a $10 million matching grant to ensure the completion of Israel’s new national blood services center. The building under construction in Ramla, set for completion this spring, is a first-of-its-kind shielded facility that will protect Israel’s strategic blood reserves against missile, chemical, and biological attack. The facility will be operated by Magen David Adom, Israel’s emergency medical service. American Friends of Magen David Adom, MDA’s U.S.-based fundraising affiliate, hopes to quickly raise the remaining funds to match the grant and enable the completion of the $130 million project. Bernard Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot, and his wife Billi previously donated $25 million to the project in 2016 before construction began.

Streaming Today

Israel Policy Forum presents “Another Israel election?”, a video briefing featuring Tal Schneider, Diplomatic and Politics Correspondent for Israel’s Globes magazine. Schneider will analyze the state of play in Israeli politics as the country enters yet another election cycle, its fourth in two years. To register, click here. Webinar ID: 978 9582 5549. 2:00 pm.

Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion presents Michael Walzer, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University. Tracing biblical sources, Jewish history, and his own family’s experiences, Walzer will discuss the current immigration policy set in place by Stephen Miller and make the case for a more generous approach. Register here. 6:30 pm.

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs is holding its first ever virtual benefit celebrating the presentation of JCPA’s Tikkun Olam: Repairing the World Award to retiring U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and to community advocate Harvey Reiter of Washington, DC. With presentations by writer Yossi Klein Halevi; historian Deborah Lipstadt; Eric Ward, executive director of the Western States Center, and Gidi Grinstein, founder and president of the Reut Institute. Hosted by actor and filmmaker Yuval David. Tickets start at $100. To register, click here. 7:00 pm.

The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene presents an evening of music and community spanning the globe with over 50 stars from Broadway and the Yiddish Stage. The Virtual Chanukah Spectacular fundraiser will include guest appearances by Emanuel Azenberg, Mayim Bialik, Billy Crystal, Tovah Feldshuh, Beanie Feldstein, Joel Grey, Carol Kane, Barry Manilow, Mandy Patinkin, Itzhak Perlman, Eleanor Reissa, Neil Sedaka, Steven Skybell, Dr. Ruth and Jerry Zaks. Register here. 7:00 pm.

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