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Day schools open, Israelis face High Holidays lockdown, Abu Dhabi orders kosher food
Daily Update

Day schools open, Israelis face High Holidays lockdown, Abu Dhabi orders kosher food

Chef Shalom Yehudiel of The Humble Toast kosher restaurant in Teaneck, NJ, will be a contestant on “Chopped,” a competition cooking show on the Food Network. A mashgiach, or kosher supervisor, will be on set certifying that his ingredients are kosher. The episode featuring Yehudiel will air at 9 p.m. on Sept. 22. (Courtesy of The Humble Toast)
Chef Shalom Yehudiel of The Humble Toast kosher restaurant in Teaneck, NJ, will be a contestant on “Chopped,” a competition cooking show on the Food Network. A mashgiach, or kosher supervisor, will be on set certifying that his ingredients are kosher. The episode featuring Yehudiel will air at 9 p.m. on Sept. 22. (Courtesy of The Humble Toast)

Join UJA-Federation and The Jewish Week on Monday, Sept. 14, 6:00 pm, for a virtual conversation with Natan Sharansky and Gil Troy, authors of the new book “Never Alone: Prison, Politics, and My People,” and hear about Sharansky’s extraordinary life and the lessons about freedom he has learned along the way. Register here.

Jewish day schools throughout the New York area opened this week, with cautious optimism but no guarantees that the resumption of in-person instruction will last all year, let alone a whole week.

In Bergen County, N.J., several schools have already had to quarantine certain classes due to positive Covid cases or exposure among students, JTA reports.

According to a survey conducted by Prizmah, the average Jewish day school spent a total of $173,031 on Covid-related expenses, including the protective equipment, cleaning supplies and building modifications. One school surveyed spent $909,000 on Covid-related expenses.

“No one knows what tomorrow’s going to bring,” said Stephanie Ives, head of school at Beit Rabban, an elementary school on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. “But we are very grateful to be open in person now.”

Israel appears poised to return all of its citizens to lockdown just before Rosh Hashanah next week, as the country’s coronavirus outbreak spirals out of control.

The country recorded more than 4,000 new cases Thursday and 22 new deaths, both records. Israel hurtled past the grim 1,000-death threshold last weekend, and it has the highest per-capita new infection rate in the world. The daily case total would be the equivalent of nearly 150,000 new cases in the United States.

The lockdown talk follows days of political jockeying: Charedi Orthodox leaders resisted any restrictions that would target their communities specifically.

According to Israeli media reports,  the lockdown would prevent in-person prayer services during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, two of the biggest holidays in the Jewish calendar.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is questioning the sale of the official residence of the U.S. ambassador to Israel.

Lawmakers are wondering whether the $87 million property, whose buyer appears to be the Jewish businessman and top GOP donor Sheldon Adelson, was sold in compliance with regulations. The Trump administration reportedly fast-tracked the sale of the residence near Tel Aviv in order to make it harder for a future administration to reverse its decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

The committee has submitted several requests for information about the sale to the State Department, The Associated Press reported, citing an unnamed congressional aide.

Benjamin Netanyahu bowed to pressure and dropped plans to fly to Washington on a private plane to attend Tuesday’s signing ceremony of Israel’s normalization deal with the United Arab Emirates.

He’ll fly instead with the official Israeli delegation, the Times of Israel reports. The prime minister’s office originally said he would fly in a private jet to avoid coronavirus infection, but the cost of the flight ($145,000) and objections from the public and media convinced him to reverse course.

Related: President Donald Trump said Thursday that “another country” may join the signing ceremony at the White House, although it wasn’t clear whether he meant as a guest or as another party to the normalization agreement.

Kitchen diplomacy: Apparently anticipating hordes of Jewish tourists in the aftermath of the peace treaty, authorities in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday instructed all hotels in the city to prepare kosher food options.

The scramble to replace Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) as chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is fully underway.

The Democratic Majority for Israel, a pro-Israel advocacy group, is seeking to interview the three declared candidates seeking its endorsement: Brad Sherman of California, Joaquin Castro of Texas and Gregory Meeks of Queens, JTA reports.

Engel lost his primary to progressive Jamaal Bowman, but unusually for an outgoing congressman he’s going down swinging: Engel has launched contempt proceedings against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for not complying with subpoenas related to alleged wrongdoing connected to the firing of the agency’s inspector general.

Stephen Miller, the architect of the Trump administration’s restrictionist immigration policies, honed his nationalist worldview as a student pro-Israel activist, a new book reports.

Jean Guerrero, the author of “Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump and the White Nationalist Agenda,” speaks to The Jewish Week about Miller’s journey to the White House, and his mentorship by David Horowitz, the strident conservative and pro-Israel activist.

“The way he interprets Zionism is not the way most American Jews interpret it,” she says of Miller. “His is a full-throated nationalism that won’t take the other side into account at all.”

At age 87, Rabbi Yitz Greenberg is making a career move.

The Modern Orthodox philosopher and groundbreaking Holocaust theologian is joining the faculty of Hadar, the post-denominational, egalitarian Jewish learning institute.

“In many ways, Hadar is based on the same belief as that of my personal life and career,” Rabbi Greenberg told The Jewish Week’s Gary Rosenblatt. “It’s the idea that the Jewish future depends on ensuring a high level of education and meaningful experiences. And Hadar provides both while also reaching a wider audience. It’s a natural fit.”

In these perilous times, pizza is the perfect Rosh Hashanah food, according to writer Molly Tolsky.

If you’re finding it too much to put out a traditional High Holiday spread, she writes in The Nosher, consider the pizza: It’s round like a holiday challah, it has roots in Jewish cuisine (really!) and, most of all, it’s comforting when that’s what everyone needs right now.

Shabbat Shalom

This week’s Torah portion, Nitzavim-Vayelech, says God’s face is turned away in anger from the rebellious Israelites. But tradition suggests that the Holy One may also be shedding tears; writes Freema Gottlieb in a Jewish Week essay, God “empathizes with the pain of His creatures,” even when they rebel.

More wisdom: Rabbi David Wolpe writes about the power of introversion and “the experience and contribution of those who are often seen as sitting on the sidelines.”

Candlelighting is tonight at 6:53 pm.

Around the Agencies

The Bronfman Fellowship is accepting applications for the 2021 Fellowship. The Bronfman Fellowship selects 26 North American teenagers for a year of programming that begins with a free, five-week trip to Israel in the summer between the Fellows’ junior and senior years of high school, followed by monthly virtual experiences and a winter and spring seminar in the U.S. This past summer, the fellowship conducted a successful virtual program for its 2020 cohort, although leaders hope that the 2021 Fellowship year will proceed normally and that Fellows will be able to meet in person and travel to Israel.  If international travel is not possible, the Fellowship will continue  through domestic travel options and/or virtual programming. Applications are due Dec. 3, 2020, and are available online at The program was founded by the late Edgar M. Bronfman, formerly CEO of the Seagram Company Ltd.


The Conservative Movement will come together in a cross country virtual Selihot night on Saturday featuring over 60 rabbis and cantors from more than 200 congregations and the new chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Shuly Rubin Schwartz. A variety of Selihot services will be offered throughout the evening. Every individual who registers will receive an email today, Sept. 11, with an up-to-date schedule and links for three Zoom rooms and two live stream YouTube channels, as well as links to text sheets and services. Sept. 12, 8:30 pm to 12:00 am.

The J.J. Greenberg Institute for the Advancement of Jewish Life and the Hadar Institute present “Living and Loving in the Image of God,” a conversation between Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg and Rabbi Shai Held, moderated by Arna Poupko Fisher. Rabbis Greenberg and Held will dive into the greatest passions and deepest doubts surrounding ideas about human dignity and being created in the image of God. Register here. The event will mark the official joining of the J.J. Greenberg Institute for the Advancement of Jewish Life with the Hadar Institute, and Rabbi Greenberg’s first program as a member of Hadar’s Faculty. Sept. 13, 9:30 am.

The Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life at Rutgers University presents Dr. Edwin Seroussi, who will explore the history of “Hatikvah,” focusing on unexpected and lesser-known interpretations of the text. Seroussi is the Emanuel Alexandre Professor of Musicology and director of the Jewish Music Research Centre at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Sept. 13, 2:00 pm.

The Chabad Seminary/Ben Weider Memorial Lecture Series presents “The Impossible Spy: The Story Of Legendary Mossad Agent Eli Cohen” a live online encounter from Israel with his only surviving sibling, Avraham Cohen. Sept. 13, 3:30 pm.

The Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County present a discussion of the novel “The Takeaway Men,” with author Meryl Ain in conversation with Holocaust survivor Irving Roth, director of the Holocaust Resource Center at Temple Judea of Manhasset, NY, and Thane Rosenbaum, novelist and Distinguished Professor at Touro College, where he directs the Forum on Life, Culture, & Society. “The Takeaway Men” explores the impact of immigration, identity, prejudice, secrets and lies on parents and children in mid-20th-century America. Sept. 13, 7:00 pm.

Hershey Felder will perform “George Gershwin Alone” live from Teatro della Pergola in Florence, Italy. Directed by Stefano de Carli and Felder, “George Gershwin Alone” tells the story of America’s great composer, who with the groundbreaking “A Rhapsody in Blue” made a “lady out of jazz.” Tickets are $55 per household and are available for purchase online. Sept. 13, 8:00 pm.

The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan and Base MNHTN present Sounds of the Shofar: A Virtual Concert, featuring New York City’s rabbis, cantors, comedians and musicians in a celebration of Rosh Hashanah 5781. Sept. 13, 8:00 p.m.

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