Tomorrow is New Year’s Day, and Daily Update is taking a day off. We’ll see you in 2021. Stay healthy!
In 2020, Covid-19 and a polarizing election left a Jewish community divided, exhausted and hoping for a brighter tomorrow.
The Jewish Week takes a look back at the year that was with 25 stories that capture an unprecedented time as it was experienced by Jewish New Yorkers.
Related: JTA has a feature on what the year looked like in photos.
Jared Kushner’s family real estate business wants to raise at least $100 million in capital through Israel’s bond market.
The Wall Street Journal said Kushner Cos. would sell the bonds on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
Why it matters: “The move by Kushner Cos. is likely to rekindle the criticism of the potential conflicts of interest between Mr. Kushner’s role in the White House and his family’s business. Mr. Kushner, who is also President Trump’s son-in-law, has played a lead role in advancing the administration’s Middle East agenda,” writes the WSJ.
More on Kushner: Two Forward columnists debate Jared Kushner’s legacy as White House adviser.
Howard Rubenstein, the public relations guru who represented New York celebrities, power brokers and Jewish causes, has died at 88.
His agency’s clients included Metropolitan Opera, the Archdiocese of New York, MoMA, “Saturday Night Live,” Jerry Seinfeld, J.P. Morgan, Rockefeller Center owner Tishman Speyer, media magnate Rupert Murdoch and the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, the A.P. reports. Rubenstein also worked with Donald Trump during the future president’s highly publicized divorce from Ivana Trump in 1990.
Rubenstein, who founded his firm in 1954 and for a time worked out of his parents’ kitchen in Brooklyn, helped found, and served as vice-chairman of, the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. He also served as consultant to the United States Foreign Claims Settlement Commission.
The Wall Street Journal said his PR advice could be simple. “If your left foot has a corn and your right foot doesn’t, you put your right foot forward,” he once said. “That’s a pretty good definition of what a P.R. person does.”
Tributes: “Howard Rubenstein has left a legacy for generations to come,” says Jack Kliger, President & CEO of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. “His acumen and knowledge of New York City helped create awareness and recognition for the Museum and helped to turn a project into a reality that will soon celebrate 25 years as the third largest Holocaust Museum in the world.”
“We are grateful for his invaluable public relations counsel over many years, and we extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Amy Rubenstein, a longtime Trustee of the Museum, and their three children, Roni, Richard, and Steven, and seven grandchildren,” said the Jewish Museum in a statement.
Israel’s Health Ministry said that 150,600 coronavirus vaccinations were administered Wednesday, again beating a government-set pace for inoculations and bringing the number of people who have started the immunization process to nearly 800,000.
It was the second day in a row that daily vaccinations surpassed the 150,000 mark, which the government set as a goal for this week.
The numbers came as the death toll from the virus outbreak climbed to 3,314, Times of Israel reports.
The Reform movement’s get-out-the-vote campaign is focusing on Georgia, where two runoff races on Jan. 5 will determine which party will control the U.S. Senate.
“Every Voice, Every Vote” focuses on combating voter suppression, mobilizing young voters ages 18-29, and encouraging 100% voter turnout from Reform synagogues and communities around the country.
The Forward profiles two teenage volunteers who are registering voters and handing out voter guides.
A major effort is needed to link Israel and Diaspora Jews, lest we repeat the mistakes of the past, writes Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg in a Jewish Week essay. The Torah suggests how warring tribes, and distant Jewish communities, can “speak the right words and focus on the right projects to keep Jewry — in both its centers — as one people, bound by fate and by choice and sustaining each other.”
What’s the secret to a successful family? Recognizing that each child has a unique talent, and deserves a unique blessing, writes Rabbi Shlomo Riskin.
More wisdom: “Do not wait to live,” writes Rabbi David Wolpe. “Each day during the pandemic is as real as the days that will follow.”
JCC Manhattan presents its free Annual New Year’s Day Fitness For Everybody Fair, from 10 am to 4 pm. This year’s entirely virtual event will feature a keynote by NYU professor Wendy A. Suzuki, Ph.D., on “Exercise, Mental Health, and the Brain,” along with fitness and wellness classes on posture, yoga, Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique, tai chi and nutrition. The day will close with a discussion with Dani Menkin, director of “Aulcie,” a film about Aulcie Perry, one of Israel’s biggest basketball stars. For more information, visit mmjccm.org/newyearsday.
Sousa Mendes Foundation is presenting a free, virtual panel discussion about Operation Zebra, the little-known story of World War II aviators who risked their lives and freedom in 1947-49 to prevent what they viewed as an imminent second Holocaust. The heroes include the Jewish James Bond, Yehuda Arazi; the operation’s chief pilot Sam Lewis, and its flight instructor Elynor Rudnick. Meet Arazi’s grandson and Lewis’ daughter, as well as Boaz Dvir, who captured the story in the 2015 PBS documentary “A Wing and a Prayer” and the 2020 book “Saving Israel.” Jan 3, 4:00 pm. Register here.
Friday, Jan. 1, 2021
Tevet 17, 5781
Light Candles at 4:21 pm
Saturday, Jan. 2
Tevet 18, 5781
Torah Reading: Vayechi: Genesis 47:28 – 50:26
Haftarah: Kings I 2:1-12
Shabbat ends 5:25 pm