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De Blasio wants survivors vaccinated • The future of kosher restaurants • Amar’e Stoudemire never leaves home without his menorah
Daily Update

De Blasio wants survivors vaccinated • The future of kosher restaurants • Amar’e Stoudemire never leaves home without his menorah

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks to reporters at a Feb. 10, 2021 news conference, where he pledged an effort to get Holocaust survivors vaccinated. (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks to reporters at a Feb. 10, 2021 news conference, where he pledged an effort to get Holocaust survivors vaccinated. (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

Mayor de Blasio said the city will make sure that Holocaust survivors get vaccinated.

De Blasio gave few details at a news conference Wednesday, but said the city will partner with a “number of organizations in the Jewish community,” including the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.

The mayor said he had hosted a group of Orthodox Jewish leaders the night before at Gracie Mansion to talk about issues in the community.

“The presence of Holocaust survivors in our city is a reminder of just how recently that history took place, and we’ve got to be there for these people,” de Blasio said.

Selfhelp, a nonprofit that serves survivors and other elderly in New York, has estimated that there are over 38,000 survivors in the New York City metropolitan area who are older than 75.

Related: The Marks Jewish Community House in Bensonhurst organized a one-day vaccine-drive for Holocaust survivors Thursday. Hoping to vaccinate nearly 1,000 survivors, the community center said it could only get 340 shots, WNYC reports.

Andrew Yang named a hasidic political operative as Jewish community outreach director for his mayoral campaign.

David Schwartz of Borough Park is Democratic District Leader for the state’s 48th Assembly District, and is first vice chair of the Brooklyn Democratic County Committee. The announcement from Yang’s campaign included an endorsement of Schwartz from the director of government affairs of the Bobov hasidic community.

Mayoral candidate Raymond McGuire has a portrait of a rabbi on the wall of his Upper West Side apartment.

A New York Times profile of the former CitiGroup executive featured photos showing works from his art collection.

A campaign spokeswoman told JTA that the painting of a bearded Jewish man is by Henry Ossawa Tanner, a famed Black painter who traveled to Jerusalem in the 1890s and painted portraits of unidentified local residents.

Background: McGuire, looking to become NYC’s second African-American mayor, has raised more than $5 million in his mayoral campaign. The businessman has attracted a number of prominent Jewish donors, including philanthropist Laurie Tisch, who serves as a finance co-chair of McGuire’s campaign, and Jessica Seinfeld, Jerry’s wife.

Brooklyn Nets coach Amar’e Stoudemire brings an “antique gold menorah” with him wherever he travels.

In an interview with Bloomberg, the former NBA All-Star and Jew by choice says he packs the lamp “to remind me of the strength that can be found in struggle. This helps me endure anything.”

Will kosher dining survive the pandemic? 

Dani Klein, the founder of YeahThatsKosher, is confident, noting that “nearly all of Manhattan’s upscale [kosher] restaurants are still in business.”

And while a number of Upper West Side restaurants closed, he notes, successful kosher restaurants grew their footprints in 2021. The Noi Due franchise added a new location in the neighborhood in January, and Brooklyn’s Izzy’s BBQ, arguably the world’s best kosher barbecue, is opening a smokehouse/deli in the Manhattan neighborhood this winter.

In Other News

The Zoom Cat Lawyer has a Jewish connection. Of course he does.

The Arizona Jewish Post, a 75-year-old paper covering Tucson and southern Arizona, is shutting down.

Friends of a 36-year-old man in Jerusalem are blaming his death from Covid-19 on fellow Orthodox Jews who are spreading misinformation about the vaccine.

An Israeli healthcare provider that has vaccinated half a million people announced overwhelming success for the vaccine: With both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, only 544 people — or 0.1% — have been subsequently diagnosed with the coronavirus; there have been four severe cases, and no people have died.

Will he or won’t he? David Schoen, the attorney who will defend Donald Trump today in his second impeachment trial, wore his yarmulke on the Senate floor yesterday.

Shabbat Shalom

There must be a good reason why the Torah doesn’t want us to eat cheeseburgers, right? Fred Ehrman thinks he found one: The kosher law teaches us to temper our pride (the meat) with humility (the milk).

More wisdom: Hard hearts, sneers and shouts are not the way to be a light unto the nations, writes Rabbi David Wolpe.

Around the Agencies

David Bernstein, the president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, announced he will be stepping down on Feb. 26 and will continue as a consultant, as needed, through July. Bernstein has headed JCPA, which coordinates the national network of 125 Jewish community relations councils and 17 national Jewish agencies, since 2016. In a Facebook post, he said he hoped to establish the U.S. and consultancy arm of an international NGO.


The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum presents a Facebook Live virtual event exploring how love during the Holocaust gave many straight and gay couples the will to survive and to hope for a better future. With Museum historians Dr. Lindsay MacNeill and Dr. Edna Friedberg. Today, 9:30 am.

The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music features a Klezmer workshop with Klezmer fiddler Craig Judelman and Yiddish singer Sasha Lurje. Enjoy the added bonus of a 30-minute concert performed by these two musicians. Register here. Sunday, 2:00 pm.

Did you miss the Jewish Week’s conversation with Rabbi Steve Leder, discussing his new book, “The Beauty of What Remains: How Our Greatest Fear Becomes Our Greatest Gift”? Watch the video here.

Candlelighting, Readings


Light Candles at 5:09 pm


First Torah: Mishpatim: Exodus 21:1 – 24:18
Second Torah: Shabbat Rosh Chodesh: Numbers 28:9-15
Third Torah: Parshat Shekalim: Exodus 30:11-16

Haftarah: Kings II 11:17 – 12:17; Isaiah 66:1; Isaiah 66:23-24; Isaiah 66:23

Shabbat ends Saturday at 6:10 pm

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