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Cuomo chides chasidic weddings, rabbi blesses Trump, Amar’e Stoudemire becomes Jew by choice
Daily Update

Cuomo chides chasidic weddings, rabbi blesses Trump, Amar’e Stoudemire becomes Jew by choice

Former Knick Amar’e Stoudemire announced Wednesday in a post on Instagram that his conversion to Judaism is complete. (Instagram)
Former Knick Amar’e Stoudemire announced Wednesday in a post on Instagram that his conversion to Judaism is complete. (Instagram)

Andrew Cuomo said he’d crack down on weddings in Brooklyn’s chasidic neighborhoods if Bill de Blasio won’t.

“If the mayor is not doing any enforcement actions, then the state will,” New York’s governor said at a news conference, according to the New York Post. “We’ve had superspreader events in New Rochelle with the Jewish community, we’ve had them in the Catholic community. The virus does not discriminate by religious or racial lines, right? This is an equal-opportunity situation. So we police it in every circumstance.”

The New York Post also reported Wednesday that several wedding halls in Borough Park continue to host large Orthodox weddings, despite the bans on gatherings of more than 50 people, with people entering through side doors and with windows covered with paper.

On the third night of the Republican convention, an Orthodox rabbi asked God to bless President Donald Trump.

Rabbi Aryeh Spero said Trump “has stood up fearlessly against those who are corrupting the term social justice.” Spero, who runs a website called “Caucus for America,” asked God to give “strength and health to our president, who has splendidly demonstrated daily determination to defend and maintain the God-given rights of our citizens as enshrined in our Constitution.”

Local angle: Lee Zeldin, the Jewish Long Island Republican congressman who spoke at the convention Wednesday night, is facing a tough challenge from a political newcomer in a closely watched race.

Convention speakers celebrated Trump’s Israel policies.

Vice President Mike Pence referred to a recent breakthrough in the normalization of ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, brokered by the Trump administration.

“We’ve stood with our allies, like when President Trump kept his word and move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel, setting the stage for the first Arab country to recognize Israel in 26 years,” Pence said in the night’s closing speech.

Related: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo returned home on Thursday apparently empty-handed after stops in Bahrain, Oman and Sudan seeking their leaders’ support in normalizing ties with the Jewish state.

Kamala Harris told Jewish supporters that Joe Biden would not place any conditions on US aid to Israel.

The California senator and Democratic vice presidential nominee spoke in a call arranged by the Biden campaign for Jewish donors. “Joe has made it clear he will not tie security assistance to any political decisions that Israel makes and I couldn’t agree more,” Harris said Wednesday. “The Biden Harris administration will sustain our unbreakable commitment to Israel’s security, including the unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation pioneered during the Obama-Biden administration and the guarantee that Israel will always maintain its qualitative military edge.”

During the primary season, a number of Democratic candidates for the nomination said they were prepared to condition aid, which would represent a major change in US policy.

Harris also repeated a pledge Biden has made not just to reenter the Iran nuclear deal, but also to improve it. Her Jewish husband, Doug Emhoff, joined the call.

Israel Defense Forces soldiers raided the West Bank home of a Palestinian suspected of stabbing an Israeli man to death and began planning to demolish the structure, the military said Thursday.

On Wednesday, Khalil Abd al-Khaliq Dweikat stabbed to death 39-year-old Rabbi Shai Ohayon near the Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva, according to police, who said the assault appeared to be a terror attack. Ohayon, a father of four, was a member of Petah Tikva’s charedi Orthodox community and studied full time in the nearby town of Kfar Saba.

Students at The Leffell School in White Plains have designed a 3D-printed door handle attachment that enables people to both push and pull doors without using their hands.

The coronavirus precaution was developed by Engineering and Entrepreneurship students at the Jewish day school in a collaboration with Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM), an Israeli-based project that helps schools and other institutions develop new products for the elderly and those with disabilities.

The students have produced 23 proposals for products, apps and social ventures, ranging from a sensor to detect over-crowded rooms to a touchless vending machine. The door-opener will soon be tested at The Leffell School and the YMCA in Washington Heights. Read the Jewish Week story.

Former NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire has officially finished his conversion to Judaism.

The one-time New York Knick, who received Israeli citizenship in March 2019 while playing professional basketball there, announced Wednesday in a post on Instagram that had his final meeting with the beit din, or rabbinical court, and visited the mikvah, or ritual bath. He announced more than two years ago that he was in the process of converting to Judaism.

Stoudemire identifies with the Hebrew Israelites, African-Americans who believe they are connected to the biblical Israelites, and observes Jewish holidays.


On a vacation in the Berkshires, Jewish Week editor in chief Andrew Silow-Carroll considers the vast societal inequities exposed during the pandemic, and how the High Holidays will challenge all worshipers’ sense of complacency.

Around the Agencies

The Museum of the Jewish People has opened a virtual “airport terminal” so children and families can “travel” the world despite Covid-19 safety concerns. The museum’s new immersive and interactive experience, geared toward children ages 8-14 and their families, includes a simulated airport terminal, from which visitors embark on global travel  via two exhibits, “Hallelujah! Assemble, Pray, Study — Synagogues Past and Present,” and “Let There Be Laughter — Jewish Humor Around the World.” Upon completion of the “trip,” visitors receive complimentary tickets (one per person) to the museum’s new Core Exhibition, which is scheduled to open in late 2020. For more information about the “Museum Airlines” experience, visit

Orthodox Union Kosher has unveiled three new tools on its OU Kosher app. A new bug checking tool lists specific fruits or vegetables and describes how to inspect for bugs. The “tevilas keilim” tool offers a brief explanation of what cookware and utensils do and do not need to be immersed in a mikvah and whether doing so requires a blessing. The third tool lists grain-products that were cooked or baked under strict Pas Yisroel restrictions. The OU Kosher app for iPhone and Android is available at the Apple App Store and Google Play.


The Endowment for Middle East Truth presents a conversation with former assistant secretary for civil rights with the Department of Education, Kenneth L. Marcus, discussing, “What is the state of civil rights for Jews, among other minorities, in our nation’s educational institutions?” August 27, 12:00 pm.

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