First Read For Jan. 20
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News RoundupThe headlines American Jews are waking up to to on Inauguration Day.

First Read For Jan. 20

Protesting Trump in Tel Aviv; BHL’s warning on Trump; security advisories for JCCs.

On Inauguration day, soon to be President Trump dominates the headlines. Getty Images
On Inauguration day, soon to be President Trump dominates the headlines. Getty Images

With Donald Trump set to take the oath of office as president at noon today, the change in administrations dominates the news for a last day.

A rally in Tel Aviv, protesting the Trump presidency, is to take place Saturday night, coinciding with the march in Washington and many other U.S. cities, the Jerusalem Post reports.

“Hundreds of Israeli Americans are expected to take part in the rally, which is being organized via an invitation-only Facebook page called Pantsuit Nation Israel, which has more than 1,200 members,” according to the paper.

“Founded in the spirit of Pantsuit Nation and its message that storytelling sparks change, we are a supportive community of Americans living in Israel who are motivated by Hillary Rodham Clinton’s life of public service and dedication to progressive values,” the group’s Facebook page says.

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Bernard Henri-Lévy. Ali Mahdavi
Bernard Henri-Lévy. Ali Mahdavi

In a provocative op-ed essay in yesterday’s New York Times, French-Jewish philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy warned against a threat he sees Trump posing for the Jewish community.

While supporters of Israel were “betrayed” by President Obama’s abstaining on a U.N. resolution that condemns the building of settlements on the West Bank, “today the risk is that Israel and America’s Jews (as well as those of other countries)” run the risk of “being betrayed again, this time by President Donald J. Trump,” Levy wrote.

The “series of ostentatiously promising signals directed at Israel may have sinister effects in the long or even short term,” he wrote. They may “strengthen the most shortsighted and therefore suicidal fringe of Israeli politics. It may send the wrong signal to those who would be only too happy to see the United States set the example of making unilateral, unnegotiated decisions, thereby opening the way to other shows of force.”

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The Anti-Defamation League on Thursday issued a security advisory to Jewish institutions across the country, after a series of bomb threats to some 30 Jewish community centers in 17 states, the Jerusalem Post reports.

The ADL said while the second-such such mass disruption in two weeks did not appear to be credible, it nonetheless urged communal establishments to take serious measures.
“We are recommending that Jewish communal institutions review their security procedures and remain in close contact with law enforcement,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL’s CEO.

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Two black Jewish women were named to the Center for American Progress’ list of “12 Faith Leaders to Watch in 2017,” according to JTA.

They are April Baskin, who promotes the inclusion of historically marginalized communities in the Reform movement, and Tamar Manasseh, who founded a program to protect children in her Chicago neighborhood from gun violence.

The two were the only Jews on the list, compiled annually by the left-leaning think tank.

As vice president of Audacious Hospitality at the Union for Reform Judaism, Baskin designs initiatives to make congregations more welcoming places for interfaith families, LGBT Jews, Jews with disabilities, unaffiliated Jews and Jews of color. Manasseh, a rabbinical student at the Hebrew Israelite seminary, founded Mothers Against Senseless Killings, which organizes volunteers to establish a watchful presence in Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods.

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While the political future of the West Bank remains the subject of negotiations, a new poll in Israel finds the vast majority of the population in favor of Israeli sovereignty being applied over Judea and Samaria, according to Arutz Sheva. The poll found only seven percent of the public interested in establishing a Palestinian state in these areas.

The poll was taken ahead of the upcoming sovereignty convention, scheduled to be held in Jerusalem on February 12 by the Women in Green movement and the Besheva newspaper.

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Mexican Jews have launched a 24-hour emergency hotline for callers seeking support in cases of attempted suicide, domestic violence and other emergencies, the Times of Israel reports. The 1118 line, launched last week, “means ‘One for one, one for life,’” said Salomon Cherem, president of the Maguen David community, referring to 18, “life” [chaim] in Hebrew.

Under the auspices of the Maguen David and the Kehila Ashkenazi community centers, 1118 integrates other existing initiatives in the Jewish community to fight drug addiction, domestic violence, child abuse, eating disorders, depression and more. A free ambulance and first aid service, Hatzalah, also has been integrated into the hotline.

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The Chabad-Lubavitch chasidic movement in Toronto has started a citywide billboard campaign designed to “hasten the coming of Mashiach,” or the Messiah, the Canadian Jewish News reports.

Since December, 75 billboards have been posted around the city featuring an image of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson, along with a message that says, “Let’s welcome Moshiach with ONE additional act of Goodness and Kindness.”

The billboards of the Rebbe also point to a website, which provides articles about the Mashiach by senior Chabad rabbis, including New York Rabbis Yoel Kahan and Naftali Silberberg, as well as the late Rabbi Immanuel Schochet, who resided in Toronto.

The idea that the Lubavitcher Rebbe is the Messiah is a controversial one.

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