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Interfaith rally for Asian Americans • James Levine dies • Tips for better Zoom Seders
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Daily Update

Interfaith rally for Asian Americans • James Levine dies • Tips for better Zoom Seders

LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS: Renya Glab, a nursery school teacher at the JCC of Mid-Westchester in Scarsdale, lights a memorial candle at an outdoor ceremony marking the anniversary of New York’s first recorded case of COVID-19, March 12, 2021. Behind her are, left to right, National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Ryan, coronavirus victim Cathy Klein's daughter Lauren Klein and New Rochelle Detective Francesco Provenzale. (JCCMW)
LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS: Renya Glab, a nursery school teacher at the JCC of Mid-Westchester in Scarsdale, lights a memorial candle at an outdoor ceremony marking the anniversary of New York’s first recorded case of COVID-19, March 12, 2021. Behind her are, left to right, National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Ryan, coronavirus victim Cathy Klein's daughter Lauren Klein and New Rochelle Detective Francesco Provenzale. (JCCMW)

 

Jewish groups are rallying in support of Asian Americans following a gunman’s spree Tuesday in Atlanta that left eight people dead, including six women of Asian descent.

Today at 4:00 pm, New York’s Commission of Religious Leaders presents “An Interfaith Conversation: Supporting Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities.” Jewish speakers at the event include Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president, New York Board of Rabbis, and Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, senior rabbi, Central Synagogue. Register here.

Dov Wilker, the regional director for the American Jewish Committee in Atlanta, said he was reaching out to Asian-American partners who joined local Jewish groups in pressing for the passage last year of a Georgia law that would enhance penalties for hate crimes.

James Levine, a cantor’s grandson who led New York’s Metropolitan Opera as artistic director for more than 40 years, has died.

The cause of death was not announced, although Levine had been in ill health for years. He was 77 and passed away on March 9.

Levine was one of the dominant figures in opera and American classical music until being fired in 2018 in the face of sexual misconduct allegations dating back to the 1980s. Rumors about Levine and sexual abuse, some dating to the 1960s, had circulated for years.

Levine was often compared to Leonard Bernstein as a conductor who was well known outside the rarefied precincts of classical music. New York magazine once wrote that “Levine is known for quietly establishing an extraordinary rapport with his musicians” and his “single-minded devotion to a composer’s conception.”

But his fall from grace was precipitous. After being fired by the Met, he fought back with a defamation lawsuit and never conducted again.

How can we energize ourselves and others to create meaningful Zoom Seders — again?

Rabbi Yael Buechler of The Leffell School in Westchester has 10 tips for improving your Zoom seder. Here’s one: “Think about how to make people at a distance feel more included this year. Prepare a list of who is leading which readings and who is asking which questions.”

The adult children of a COVID-19 victim want to honor his memory by popularizing a word he made up. 

Neil Krieger, who grew up in Newark, Brooklyn and Manhattan and lived in Boston, died last May at age 78. A neuroscientist and biotech entrepreneur, he coined the term “orbisculate” to describe the moment when a citrus fruit accidentally squirts a person in the eye.

His children, Hilary and Jonathan, have launched a campaign to get the word into the dictionary, the Times of Israel reports. They’ve already succeeded in getting the word into a crossword puzzle, mentioned on a podcast, into the name of a cocktail and engraved on a grapefruit spoon.

JTA remembers a Long Island man who made sure his fellow retirees made it to their doctors’ offices and other appointments.

Joe Elowsky was a volunteer at the Mid-Island Y JCC and a stalwart at the Plainview Jewish Center. If he saw that someone he was picking up wasn’t looking well, he told the people who ran the retirement community at the JCC to check in on them.

“They adored him, and he adored them,” his wife Marsha said of his charges. “They gave him a reason to get up every day.”

Elowsky died of COVID-19 on March 21, 2020, at age 85.

In Other News

Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff (that’s Vice President Kamala Harris’ husband) talked small business relief at a Jewish bagel shop in Denver.

A Jewish leader in Krakow and a U.S. Holocaust scholar have proposed a third day of Holocaust remembrance — one devoted exclusively to Shoah survivors.

Passover

The Orthodox Union has released its guidance for synagogues and communities on the celebration of Passover amid the pandemic and vaccination efforts. The guidance reflects CDC guidelines on gatherings of those who are fully vaccinated, and warns that while “the end of the pandemic is in sight, we are not quite there yet.”

The Nosher‘s series of Passover cooking classes continues today with Instagram food star and cookbook author Jake Cohen showing how to make his French Onion Brisket and answering questions about how to make perfect brisket every time. Register here. 7:30 pm.

In a live edition of Responsa Radio, Rabbis Avi Killip and Ethan Tucker of Hadar will answer halachic questions about Passover. From the details of how much matzah you need to eat to the big questions of the Seder, it’s all on the table. Register here. 8:00 pm.

Streaming Today

American Sephardi Federation presents a series focusing on experiences of Sephardi modernization in different places and times. Today, Yaakov Yadgar of the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies, University of Oxford) discusses Sephardim in Israel and the critique of secularism. Register here. 11:00 am.

In his 2019 book, “Standing for Reason: The University in a Dogmatic Age,” Dr. John Sexton, former president of New York University, argues that a “secular dogmatism,” impenetrable by dialogue or reason, has come to dominate political discourse in America. Jewish Theological Seminary Chancellor Shuly Rubin Schwartz will join Sexton for an online dialogue inspired by his book, moderated by the host of public radio’s “On Being,” Krista Tippett. Register here. 1:00 pm.

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