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Covid spikes in Orthodox areas, Senate on fast track to replace RBG, Israeli completes Tour de France
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Covid spikes in Orthodox areas, Senate on fast track to replace RBG, Israeli completes Tour de France

MAKING IT COUNT: Ari Weisenfeld, Agudath Israel's development coordinator, and Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, Agudath Israel's director of New York government relations, at a pop-up census drive in Borough Park on Sept. 17. Weisenfeld organized the drive in order to encourage more community members to fill out the census before the deadline of Sept. 30, 2020. (Agudath Israel of America)
MAKING IT COUNT: Ari Weisenfeld, Agudath Israel's development coordinator, and Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, Agudath Israel's director of New York government relations, at a pop-up census drive in Borough Park on Sept. 17. Weisenfeld organized the drive in order to encourage more community members to fill out the census before the deadline of Sept. 30, 2020. (Agudath Israel of America)

Six heavily Orthodox neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens are currently contributing 20% of all new Covid-19 cases in New York City.

The rising cases there are cause for “significant concern,” the NYC Health Department announced Tuesday. The data corresponds to what doctors on the ground in the neighborhoods are reporting — that the number of cases is rising sharply in areas that were hit hard in March and April, JTA reports.

In several neighborhoods in south Brooklyn, including Midwood, Borough Park and Bensonhurst — which the health department is now labeling the “Ocean Parkway Cluster” after the avenue that connects them — as well as in Williamsburg and Far Rockaway, cases tripled from Aug. 1 to Sept. 19. In Kew Gardens, a neighborhood in Queens, cases doubled in the same period.

Many Orthodox Jews — who shun media and electronics during Shabbat and holidays — didn’t learn about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death until Rosh Hashanah ended Sunday night.

JTA reports on how the observant — and disproportionately conservative — community processed the death of a jurist who many liberal Jews regard as a secular saint.

Related: Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that Republicans have no right to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Ginsburg ahead of the November election. With Trump lining up the Senate votes to confirm a justice, Schumer said at a news conference Tuesday, “The American people don’t want Republicans to move forward with a confirmation. They know this is wrong.”

Required reading: Yair Rosenberg writes that Ginsburg’s career as a trailblazing jurist was inextricable from her Jewish identity, “though you wouldn’t know it from some of the odder obituaries.”

Reps. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Max Rose (D-NY) co-sponsored a resolution in memory of Sara Duker, 22, a Teaneck, N.J. woman, and others killed in a bus bombing in Jerusalem in 1996.

The resolution “calls on the international community to condemn Palestinian Authority payments to terrorists and reaffirms the penalties for such activity as laid out in the Taylor Force Act,” Jewish Insider reports. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will seek an immediate and significant tightening of restrictions in Israel, as the Health Ministry announced a massive surge in virus infections.

His cabinet debated such measures as reducing economic activity; limit prayer and political demonstrations, and closing Ben-Gurion Airport, the Times of Israel reported.

The cabinet debate came as the Health Ministry said on Wednesday morning that 6,923 new virus cases had been diagnosed in Israel the previous day, a massive surge to a record-high number of infections. A further 31 fatalities took the death toll to 1,316.

The latest figures pushed the number of Israel’s confirmed cases since the start of the outbreak past the 200,000 mark — 200,041 — only a month after the country hit 100,000 cases.

A rapid Covid-19 screening test developed in Israel will be used to screen passengers in several European airports.

The test, by Virusight Diagnostic, involves gargling with a small amount of special mouthwash and spitting it into a test tube. A trial of the test last month involving some 400 people at Sheba showed about 95% accuracy, The Times of Israel reported.

President Trump told the United Nations General Assembly that other nations will soon sign peace deals with Israel.

“We intend to deliver more peace agreements shortly, and I have never been more optimistic for the future of the region. There is no blood in the sand. Those days are hopefully over,” said Trump.

Guy Niv became the first Israeli to complete the Tour de France, the premier event in world cycling.

Niv, 26, a member of the Israel Start-Up Nation team, finished in 139th place among the 146 cyclists who completed the three-week race on Sunday.

A mixed martial arts and kickboxing champion from India is moving to Israel, and he plans to represent the Jewish state in international competition.

Obed Hrangchal, 26, who has won national medals in India in several martial arts, is religiously observant and a member of the Bnei Menashe Jewish community. He is set to immigrate with his parents and sister right after the High Holidays.

“I have always dreamt of making aliya to the Land of Israel and I am very excited at the prospect of doing so,” he said in a statement released by Shavei Israel, an organization that helps “lost” communities of Jews or descendants of Jews to rediscover their roots and come to Israel. JTA reports.

Watch

Need a laugh? Comedian Joel Chasnoff offers a “Coronavirus Confession” for you to recite during Yom Kippur.

Around the Agencies

Agudath Israel of America held a pop-up census drive in Borough Park on Sept. 17 in order to encourage more community members to fill out the census before the deadline of Sept. 30, 2020. The drive was organized by Ari Weisenfeld, Agudath Israel’s development coordinator.

The Jewish Agency for Israel is gathering the prayers of Jews from Israel and around the world and placing them among the stones of the Western Wall. To submit a note, visit here.

Hadar presents “Preparing for Forgiveness: A Pre-Yom Kippur Experience,” a full day of learning, song and prayer centered around forgiveness on Sunday, Sept. 27, from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm.

The Westchester Jewish Film Festival will be held online from Oct. 14-27, featuring 12 films—11 of which were originally slated to screen as part of the in-person festival this past spring—and five live virtual Q&As. Festival passes will be available to purchase on the Jacob Burns Film Center website for $60 (members) and $75 (nonmembers). Links for each of the films in the festival will be distributed via email to passholders in advance of the festival’s start date.

Streaming Today

America-Israel Friendship League presents an online concert from the Israeli Opera, streamed in celebration of the Jewish New Year. Featuring David Sebba, Musical Director, and the Raanana Symphonette Orchestra. Register here. 12:00 pm.

American Jewish Committee presents “One Year Later: The UN’s Historic Report on Antisemitism,” a conversation with its author, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. 12:00 pm.

American Friends of Rabin Medical Center presents Global Connections, a monthly leaders forum moderated by Robert Siegel, legendary former host of National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” September’s forum focuses on How Do We Emerge From This Economic Crisis? and features Dr. Stanley Fischer (Senior Advisor, BlackRock; former Vice Chair, US Federal Reserve; former Governor, Bank of Israel) and Abby Joseph Cohen (Advisory Director & Senior Investment Strategist, Goldman Sachs). The forum includes a Covid-19 update from Dr. Michael Drescher, Director of Emergency & Trauma at Israel’s Rabin Medical Center. RSVP here. 4:00 pm.

The Jewish Institute for National Security of America is hosting a  webinar to discuss the Abraham Accords  and their implications and prospects for the region, featuring IDF MG (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, former National Security Advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a Distinguished Fellow at JINSA’s Gemunder Center, and JINSA President and CEO Dr. Michael Makovsky. RSVP here. 4:00 pm.

92 Y presents  Rabbi Peter Rubinstein in conversation with New York State Attorney General Letitia James, in a discussion about the challenges confronting New York City and State and reasons to be hopeful about the future. Free with registration. 6:00 pm.

The Stanton Street Shul presents a Shabbat Shuva Drasha via Zoom by a Rabbi Leead Staller, its newly appointed rabbi of The Stanton Street Shul. 7:00 pm.

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