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GOP Jews ridicule Cuomo aide • Giuliani has a Soros problem • Feds sue Airmont on behalf of Orthodox
Daily Update

GOP Jews ridicule Cuomo aide • Giuliani has a Soros problem • Feds sue Airmont on behalf of Orthodox

HERE HE IS: Howie Schaal, 29, from Jersey City, is Mr. February 2021 in the latest edition of the "Nice Jewish Guys Wall Calendar." Creator Adam Cohen, a Westchester native and NYU grad, told The New York Post that he looks for regular guys who "nonetheless have something special about them." (Amazon)
HERE HE IS: Howie Schaal, 29, from Jersey City, is Mr. February 2021 in the latest edition of the "Nice Jewish Guys Wall Calendar." Creator Adam Cohen, a Westchester native and NYU grad, told The New York Post that he looks for regular guys who "nonetheless have something special about them." (Amazon)

The New York Young Republican Club called Andrew Cuomo’s director of Jewish affairs a “court Jew” and tweeted that he is “working for the most antisemitic Governor in America.”

In attacking Jake Adler on Twitter, the GOP club was repeating a claim by Cuomo critics that he has been biased against chasidic communities in Brooklyn during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Court Jews defending the blatant antisemitism of Cuomo is so repugnant & vile its almost too unreal to behold,” the Young Republicans tweeted.

The Anti-Defamation League’s regional office tweeted in response that “Everyone has the right to disagree w/ public policy & political positions, but resorting to tropes should be off limits.”

The Young Republicans responded that the ADL is a “sham” and should “shut up.”

Rudy Giuliani doubled down on his attacks on George Soros’ Jewish identity, saying the liberal philanthropist and Holocaust survivor is “the last person in the world who can claim victimization as being Jewish.”

“Why would criticisms of Soros be anti-Semitic? My goodness with his history it would be just the opposite,” President Trump’s personal lawyer said in a series of messages with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency over WhatsApp, hinting at debunked claims that Soros was a Nazi collaborator. “He can be criticized like anyone else. As a human being not as a Jew.”

The former NYC mayor has previously called Soros the “Antichrist,” saying he was “hardly a Jew” and asserting that he wanted to destroy the government because of his “sick background.”

Background: Soros, a major Democratic Party donor whose Open Society Foundation funds liberal causes around the globe, frequently crops up as a villain in conspiracy theories, many of them harking back to classic anti-Semitic tropes of rich and powerful Jews pulling the strings behind the scenes.

Orthodox Jews have embraced a “religious liberty” agenda in one of the busiest years ever for attorneys representing various groups and synagogues.

A recent Supreme Court victory for Agudath Israel of America, challenging New York State’s Covid-19 restrictions, is the latest in a series of court battles by Orthodox groups. Suits have challenged other pandemic restrictions and sought public funding for private schooling, and groups have supported efforts to exempt businesses from laws and regulations that go against their religious beliefs.

“More and more, the action will be in the judicial arena,” Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Agudath Israel’s executive vice president, told JTA, “because the legal challenges to our way of life are coming up with greater frequency and we have to turn to the court to protect us.”

Related: A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday claims that Airmont, the Rockland County suburb, discriminates against Orthodox Jewish residents through land use restrictions that prevent worship services in private homes and the operation of a religious school.

Perspective: The recent Supreme Court decision does not give synagogues and churches a green light to violate Covid restrictions, writes law professor David A. Helfand. “Courts have the leeway to strike down the most onerous restrictions on religious worship,” he writes, but only if “religious communities remain committed to the demands of public health and follow Covid guidelines.”

The Forest Hills Jewish Center says it won’t skip a day of services or programs during the redevelopment of its property on Queens Blvd.

The 36,000-square-foot property is on the market for $50 million. The synagogue’s executive director, Deborah Gregor, told The Jewish Week that the sale is intended to “pave the way” for the congregation’s future, and that the Conservative synagogue will “continue to operate as part of the new development or at a facility nearby.”

Iran’s parliament passed a law aimed at pressuring President-elect Joe Biden to reenter the Iran nuclear deal almost as soon as he assumes office.

Wednesday’s bill gives the United States until early February to lift sanctions imposed by President Trump after abandoning the 2015 agreement more than two years ago. Otherwise, Iran will ban entry to international nuclear inspectors and increase uranium enrichment to a level closer to weapons-ready.

Biden has said he is ready to reenter the deal as soon as possible, and then negotiate improvements, but early February comes barely two weeks into his term.

Around the Agencies

CASJE (Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education) has released a study showing how Jewish educators and communal leaders are responding to the pandemic. Two key findings: In-person Covid restrictions on public schools have boosted enrollment at some private Jewish schools, and, with health regulations making it riskier for employers to hire part-time staff, Jewish institutions are looking to hire more full-timers. The study, Facing the Future: Mapping the Marketplace of Jewish Education during COVID-19, draws on interviews and focus groups from this summer with individuals who hire Jewish educators.

UJA-Federation of New York’s virtual Wall Street Dinner raised $31 million for UJA’s annual campaign. The November 30 event honored Marc J. Rowan, co-founder and senior managing director of Apollo Global Management, Inc., with the Gustave L. Levy Award, and Aryeh B. Bourkoff, founder, chairman & CEO of LionTree LLC, with the Alan C. Greenberg Young Leadership Award.

Streaming Today

UJA-Federation presents Chef Eden Grinshpan of Eden Eats, putting a unique spin on the traditional Chanukah latke. The popular host of “Top Chef Canada” and author of “Eating Out Loud” will lead a workshop in making sunchoke rösti — a Swiss potato fritter — with chive sour cream and roasted lemon. Register here. 12:00 pm.

Center for Jewish History presents a lecture by Serafima Velkovich, an archival researcher in the Reference and Information Department of the Yad Vashem Archives, highlighting the online Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names, its new features and sources, and offering her expert tips on how to utilize it to its fullest potential. Pay what you wish; registration required. 12:00 pm.

American Jewish Committee Advocacy Anywhere presents Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, with Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC’s Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, for a conversation on the holiday season during a pandemic, the role of religion in healing a divided America, and the threat of rising anti-Semitism and other forms of hate. Register here. 1:30 pm.

The Jewish Institute for National Security of America  is hosting a webinar to discuss the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh and Secretary Pompeo’s and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia. The briefing will feature former National Security Advisor to PM Netanyahu IDF Major General (ret.) Yaakov Amidror and JINSA Director of Foreign Policy Jonathan Ruhe. RSVP at this link . 4:00 pm.

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