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Feds seize Judaica from Brooklyn auction house • Bernie Madoff’s prison wages • Jewish camps beef up security
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Feds seize Judaica from Brooklyn auction house • Bernie Madoff’s prison wages • Jewish camps beef up security

In February 2021, Kestenbaum & Company, a Brooklyn firm that has specialized in Judaica, pulled off its catalogue what the Jewish Community of Cluj says is a 19th-century ledger from its Jewish burial society. (Kestenbaum & Company)
In February 2021, Kestenbaum & Company, a Brooklyn firm that has specialized in Judaica, pulled off its catalogue what the Jewish Community of Cluj says is a 19th-century ledger from its Jewish burial society. (Kestenbaum & Company)

Shabbat shalom, New York! Tonight is Tu B’Av, the Jewish day of love and courtship. Our friends at My Jewish Learning have the scoop on this ancient and modern holiday.

Every Friday, The Jewish Week emails a digest of the week’s best stories, which you can print out for offline reading. Sign up for “The Jewish Week/end” here. Get today’s edition here.

TOP STORY

Federal agents seized 17 items from a Brooklyn auction house specializing in Judaica, saying they were looted in the Holocaust.

  • The Justice Department began investigating Kestenbaum and Company in February, after allegations that 21 manuscripts and scrolls up for sale were looted from their rightful owners before and after the Holocaust.
  • Kestenbaum already sold four of the 21 items, including a memorial book from a synagogue in Bucharest, Romania.
  • No one has been criminally charged in the case, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York told The Washington Post.
  • Daniel Kestenbaum, chairman of the auction house, said the seller “rescued” the artifacts after they were “tragically” abandoned in Soviet-bloc countries. He said the auction house supports federal authorities’ efforts to resolve “this meta-historical problem.”

THE WAGES OF SIN

Bernie Madoff, who got rich scamming investors in his Ponzi scheme, earned 24 cents an hour working behind bars.

  • The City obtained the late inmate’s Federal Bureau of Prisons file, which shows that he worked nearly 3,000 hours as an orderly, earning $710.
  • Why it matters: Prison advocates say criminals, even ones like Madoff who left a trail of victims, shouldn’t be subjected to “slave labor” behind bars.
  • Madoff, raised in Queens, “died from kidney failure in a prison hospital in Butner, N.C., on April 14 after serving nine years of a 150-year sentence.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

Meet Shlomo Lipetz, a pitcher for the Israeli Olympic baseball team who also happens to book music acts at Manhattan’s City Winery, the concert venue and wine bar. 

  • Lipetz, 42, who grew up in Tel Aviv, played college ball in San Diego. He later pitched in semi-professional leagues, our colleagues at JTA report.
  • Lipetz was the third employee of City Winery, which now has venues in Chicago, Boston, Nashville, Atlanta and more.
  • Israel Baseball’s first game at the Tokyo Olympics is Thursday, July 29, vs. South Korea.

Read how Camp Young Judaea Sprout Lake is preparing for the possibility of antisemitic threats.

  • The camp in upstate Dutchess County is one of 37 camps, with a total of 80,000 campers, participating in a new security training program focused on Jewish summer camps, JTA reports.
  • Quotable: “We needed to do a switch in the way we were thinking. At camp you need chalk and lanyard and a swimming pool and security. It’s all in the same breath.” — Helene Drobenare, executive director

Dani Dayan, Israel’s former consul general to New York, was tapped as the next chair of Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum.

  • Background: Critics opposed a previous choice, a far-right politician accused of racism, JTA reports.
  • Dayan, who completed his four-year term in New York last July, is the former chair of the Yesha Council, an umbrella organization for Israeli West Bank settlements.

THE BEN & JERRY’S BROUHAHA

Officials in Oyster Bay, Long Island, said they won’t do any business with Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company Unilever after the ice cream maker said it will cease operations in “occupied Palestinian territory.”

  • Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said in a statement Thursday that the boycott Israel movement “is nothing short of smokescreen for anti-Semitism!”
  • The ice cream brand said it will sell ice cream within Israel proper but that it was “inconsistent with our values” for its products to be sold in disputed areas.
  • Related: Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Long Island) wants New York State to punish Ben & Jerry’s by enforcing an executive order that prohibits the state from doing businesses with companies that promote the boycott movement.

TODAY’S BIG IDEA

Julia Haart’s reality show dramatizes her “escape” from Orthodoxy, but what kind of Orthodoxy? Jewish Week Editor in Chief Andrew Silow-Carroll explains.

SHABBAT SHALOM

(Katharina Arrigoni)

The period between now and the High Holy Days is a time of rejuvenation, redirection and rebirth, writes Rabbi Shmuel Reichman in our weekly Torah column.

PEOPLE & PLACES

Sarah Breger has been named editor of Moment Magazine, as longtime editor in chief and CEO Nadine Epstein turns to focus on long-term creative and strategic initiatives. Breger, a graduate of Columbia University Journalism School, has served as deputy editor of the Jewish magazine since 2014.

WHAT’S ON

Join The Workers Circle today for an “Immigrants Are Essential” rally, as part of a nationwide day of action to demand a pathway to citizenship be included in the infrastructure package. Participants can meet at the Workers Circle office, 247 W. 37th St, 5th floor, at 10:00 am for sign-making or can join the rally at Columbus Park at Mulberry Street and Baxter Street at noon. More info here.

Celebrate Tu B’Av, the Jewish Day of Love, with an outdoor, in-person, interfaith  Shabbat on the rooftop of the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. A creative Shabbat ritual will be followed by a comedy performance by The El-Salomons, a married Jewish-Palestinian lesbian comedy couple. Drinks and a picnic-style dinner will be served. Co-sponsored by Out at the J.  $30; register here. Tonight, 7:00 pm.

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