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Facebook bans Holocaust denial, Heshy Tischler out of jail, Israel’s oldest man dies
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Facebook bans Holocaust denial, Heshy Tischler out of jail, Israel’s oldest man dies

The Israel Defense Forces opened two civilian coronavirus wards in an underground parking complex, above, designed to be used for medical purposes during wartime. The opening of the wards at Rambam Hospital in Haifa mark the first time the military has opened medical wards for civilians. (Courtesy of Rambam Health Care Campus)
The Israel Defense Forces opened two civilian coronavirus wards in an underground parking complex, above, designed to be used for medical purposes during wartime. The opening of the wards at Rambam Hospital in Haifa mark the first time the military has opened medical wards for civilians. (Courtesy of Rambam Health Care Campus)

The Jewish Week and UJA-Federation of New York present a conversation TODAY, at 12:30 pm, with A.B. Yehoshua, one of Israel’s finest novelists, and Stuart Schoffman, the translator of Yehoshua’s new novel, “The Tunnel.” Moderated by Sandee Brawarsky, culture editor of The Jewish Week. Free to UJA donors, $18 for new donors. Register here.

For a preview, read Brawarsky’s interview with Yehoshua here.

Facebook will ban any posts that deny or distort the Holocaust, a landmark change from its previous policy.

After defending Holocaust denial as a misguided but legitimate form of expression, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post Monday that banning Holocaust denial “is the right balance.”

This summer, the Anti-Defamation League, NAACP and other civil rights groups organized a boycott of Facebook to protest its lack of action against hate speech, including Holocaust denial. The Claims Conference, which coordinates restitution and reparations payments for Holocaust survivors, organized a campaign called #NoDenyingIt in which Holocaust survivors appealed directly to Zuckerberg via video to take action against Holocaust denial. For several years, the World Jewish Congress has advocated for Facebook to remove Holocaust denial content from its platform.

Reactions: WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said, “By taking the critical step to remove Holocaust denial content, Facebook is showing that it recognizes Holocaust denial for what it truly is – a form of antisemitism and therefore hate speech.” The Anti-Defamation League said it was “relieved.” The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum said, “Freedom of speech is vital to our democracy, but it does not require any organization to host antisemitic speech that can potentially foment violence.” Yad Vashem welcomed the announcement, saying that Holocaust denial and distortion are forms of anti-Semitism and should be classified as hate speech.

The leader of Orthodox Brooklyn’s protests against new Covid-19 restrictions is out of jail.

Local activist Heshy Tischler was arrested Sunday at his home and charged with inciting a riot and unlawful imprisonment in connection with a mob’s attempt to threaten and intimidate a charedi Orthodox journalist.

“I don’t condone violence, I do not want anyone to be violent,” Tischler told a crowd from his front steps, after his release. “I want everyone to enjoy us, what we’re going to do. We’re going to continue our fight.”

Some of Tischler’s supporters called for more protests Monday night, but the rainy weather deterred others.

Perspective: In a Daily News op-ed, Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove of Park Avenue Synagogue urged fellow Jews to embrace public health guidelines, and “do everything in our power to stem the spread of Covid-19.” Wrote Cosgrove: “[O]ur decisions impact not just us, but our community. What better way to show love and respect for your neighbors than by choosing to restrain your public celebrations?”

Liberal Jewish groups signed a letter with other faith-based organizations opposing the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

The letter, signed by 41 groups and spearheaded by the National Council of Jewish Women, cites the nominee’s past opposition to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Today is the second day of Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing; Democrats have opposed the Republican-led Senate’s efforts to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsberg so close to Election Day.

Perspective: In a New York Times op-ed, a prominent New York Orthodox rabbi argues that opponents of Coney Barrett should lay off her traditional Catholic beliefs. “A judge’s jurisprudence — as well as the propriety of such a nomination so close to an election — are worthy matters of debate, and they are appropriate reasons to oppose or support Judge Barrett’s nomination. But her faith is not,” writes Rabbi Meir Soloveichik of Congregation Shearith Israel and director of Yeshiva University’s Straus Center.

A prominent Modern Orthodox rabbi in Israel said that Jewish law does not forbid LGBTQ people from building a family.

Rabbi Benny Lau released a set of guidelines for observant LGBTQ Jews Saturday evening affirming that LGBTQ couples and their children should be full members of the community and that their dignity should not be harmed.

Lau also discouraged conversion therapy, a debunked practice that seeks to change someone’s sexual orientation.

Lau is affiliated with Israel’s Religious Zionist camp, an Orthodox movement that is more integrated into Israeli society than the charedi Orthodox community. In the the past, he has drawn ire from some in his community for his progressive positions on a range of issues, including LGBTQ acceptance.

Related: A federal appeals court ruled in favor of a Jewish same-sex couple who sought U.S. citizenship for their son, who was born by surrogacy in Canada. Andrew Dvash-Banks, an American, and Elad Dvash-Banks, an Israeli, married in Canada in 2010. The State Department had denied their son citizenship and treated their children as if they were born out of wedlock. The ruling on Friday by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the integrity of same-sex marriages performed abroad.

Thousands of Israelis were forced to evacuate their homes over the weekend as a result of fires burning across the country.

Some 250 fires, including 13 identified as very large, spread throughout the country, including the West Bank. Dozens of homes were burned. Israel has been suffering from a record-breaking heatwave in recent weeks.

Israel passed the bleak threshold of 2,000 fatalities since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

New infections rose sharply Monday on increased testing, Health Ministry figures showed Tuesday, as ministers were set to meet on an exit plan from the national lockdown. On Monday, 3,107 people tested positive for the coronavirus out of 47,257 tests administered.

The reported threshold for the easing of restrictions, expected to start on Sunday, is 2,000 new cases per day, Times of Israel reported. Saturday and Sunday both saw drastically lower case tallies, 907 and 1,624 respectively, but those days also saw a significant fall-off in testing levels.

Related: Chief Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat has tested positive for the coronavirus. Erekat has quarantined at his home in Jericho, Al Jazeera reported. He met days ago with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the rest of the PLO executive committee, all of whom have since tested negative for the virus.

Israel’s oldest man died at the age of 117.

Shlomo Sulayman was reportedly born in 1903 and immigrated from Yemen to Israel with his wife and four children in 1949. He is survived by six children as well as “dozens of grandkids, great and great-great grandkids,” said his grandson.

Around the Agencies

The Jews of Color Career Development Program named its first cohort Monday. All eight participants, ages 18-25, are self-identified Jews of color or people who are exploring the intersection of their identities as a Jew and a person of color. A partnership between UpStart and the Jews of Color Initiative, the six-week part-time paid program allows participants engage in 10 hours per week of project-focused work at one of the large network of UpStart ventures and partners. “Leadership of Jewish community organizations today simply does not reflect the diversity of the Jewish community itself,” said Angel Alvarez-Mapp, Director of Program and Operations at the Jews of Color Initiative, in a statement. “To change this, we need to support people and nurture their professional growth at the earliest stages of their careers. We are excited to work with UpStart to pursue this vision.” View the eight participants and participating organizations here.

Streaming Today

Center for Jewish History presents Derek Penslar, author of “Theodor Herzl: The Charismatic Leader,” exploring how Herzl, a cosmopolitan and assimilated European Jew, become the leader of the Zionist movement. With Daniel Schwartz of George Washington University. Co-sponsored by the Leo Baeck Institute and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Free; registration required here to receive a link to the Zoom webinar. 4:30 pm.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s 2020 New York Virtual Event will feature Diane von Furstenberg as master of ceremonies and a lineup of speakers that includes Benjamin Ferencz, the last surviving Nuremberg prosecutor and the Museum’s partner in the Ferencz International Justice Initiative, and NBA All-Star Ray Allen. The event will also include celebrity readings from the Museum’s collections by Jason Alexander, Jamie Lee Curtis and Morgan Freeman. Link to register for this free event. 6:00 pm.

Fairfield University presents Judith Rosenbaum, the chief executive officer of the Jewish Women’s Archive, for a lecture in celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. The lecture will explore how and why Jews pursued voting rights for women, what motivated their activism, what barriers they faced, and finally, how their experiences in the suffrage movement ultimately influenced gender equity within their own communities. Register to attend here. 7:30 pm.

The Actors’ Temple presents weekly Torah study for adults, meeting in Zoom with Rabbi Jill Hausman, beginning with B’reisheet, Genesis. (Meeting ID: 828 5047 5649, Passcode: 552089) Suggested donation, $10/class. 7:30 pm.

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