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Israel expands attacks on Gaza • Day school kids get vaccines • Study ideas for Shavuot
Daily Update

Israel expands attacks on Gaza • Day school kids get vaccines • Study ideas for Shavuot

Jewish and Arab women walk in a demonstration for coexistence in northern Israel on May 11, 2021. The sign in the middle says "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Jalaa Marey/AFP)
Jewish and Arab women walk in a demonstration for coexistence in northern Israel on May 11, 2021. The sign in the middle says "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Jalaa Marey/AFP)


The two-day holiday of Shavuot begins Sunday evening. The Daily Update will return on Wednesday, May 19.

Israel’s army unleashed a wider military attack on Gaza Thursday night, inaugurating a new phase in a conflict that has claimed dozens of lives in the last several days.

The latest on the crisis:

About 119 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Sunday by Israeli airstrikes retaliating for rockets fired by Hamas and other militant groups into Israel. Nine Israelis have been killed.

Clashes between Israeli Arabs and Jews have caught many in the country by surprise.

The violence this week undermined the efforts of Jews and Arabs who had been working towards coexistence.

Anti-Israel protests were held across Europe.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx/Queens) joined a bloc of pro-Palestinian lawmakers to decry Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. “This is not about both sides. This is about an imbalance of power,” she said on the House floor Thursday, “The president stated that Israel has a right to self-defense… But do Palestinians have a right to survive?”

Pro-Israel lawmakers defended Israel’s right to self-defense and decried the rocket fire from Gaza, Ha’aretz reports.

Meanwhile: Brooklyn Assemblywoman Phara Souffrant Forrest tweeted a map that shows “Palestine” where Israel should be and the hashtag #Free Palestine. She deleted the tweet after being called out by Queens Assemblyman Dan Rosenthal, The New York Post reports.

The Lower Manhattan chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America tweeted, “From the River to the sea, Palestine will be free!”

RelatedState Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-North Hills), whose Iranian family sought refuge in Israel before coming to the U.S., issued a statement defending Israel’s right to defend itself, lamenting the loss of life on both sides, and expressing concern for “the rise in anti-Semitic and Islamophobic rhetoric and actions that has exploded since this crisis began.”

A Cedarhurst man was arrested and accused of making a string of death threats against several rabbis, Nassau County police said.

A new kosher restaurant in Red Hook will include an in-house synagogue. “Bass & Bourbon” says customers can pray there and hold Jewish lifecycle events, COLLive reports.

Student Sophie Gribbetz gets her first COVID-19 vaccination dose at SAR Academy in the Bronx, May 13, 2021. (Courtesy)

Three-hundred students at SAR Academy in the Bronx received the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday. UJA-Federation of New York and Esco pharmacy facilitated the vaccines at the Riverdale Jewish school, which was the first school in the area to close at the start of the pandemic.

Quotable: “We coordinated, got our ducks in a row and launched registration minutes after the CDC endorsed Pfizer for 12-15 years old — within four hours, we had filled all 300 appointment slots,” said Rabbi Binyamin Krauss, the principal.

The JOC Mishpacha Project hosts the National Jews of Color Shabbaton, tonight through May 16. In addition to a commemoration ritual in memory of George Floyd, the virtual Shabbaton will feature a slate of community-building programs for Jews of color, their families and their supporters.

UJA-Federation is among the sponsors; local partners include Romemu, B’nai Jeshurun, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, Flatbush & Shaare Torah Jewish Center, and Hannah Senesh Community Day School.

Quotable: “We felt as Jews of color on this anniversary, it was important to lift up the racial justice work that’s being done across the country and to also lift up George Floyd’s memory,” said Harriette Wimms, who heads the Jews of Color Mishpacha Project.

Shabbat Shalom

Under COVID, time felt like a blur, with one day bleeding into another. The countdown between Passover and Shavuot, writes Shuly Rubin Schwartz, “lifts our spirits and propels us toward restoring treasured activities and relationships.”

More wisdom: The idea of hearing messages from beyond the grave isn’t foreign to Judaism, writes Rabbi David Wolpe.

Every Friday, The Jewish Week emails a downloadable, printable digest of the week’s best stories, perfect for Shabbat reading. Sign up for “The Jewish Week/end” here. Get today’s edition here.


The Book of Ruth, read on Shavuot, offers lessons on the mysterious character of unconditional love. “It was Ruth who first taught us that deep human connection and compassion, despite its paradoxical, unexplainable character, can be the source of our individual and national redemption,” writes Rabbi Stu Halpern.

A DIY ricotta recipe is the perfect Shavuot activity for kids.

Join Rabbi Gordon Tucker and Jewish Theological Seminary alumni for 24 hours of streaming Torah learning leading up to Shavuot. Go here to register and for full schedule. May 16 , 12:00 pm – May 17 , 12:00 pm.

The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan presents the 18th annual Paul Feig z”l Tikkun Leil Shavuot, a free night of virtual study, music, dance, learning, celebration, conversation, and deep thought. For scheduling details and more information, visit May 16, 8:30 pm – May 17, 5:00 am.

Join My Jewish Learning and its partners for a line-up of Shavuot programs: events, classes, and learning opportunities, including “Sinai Slam” from Sixth & I, Steven Wise Free Synagogue’s Shavuot Baking Class and Temple Israel of Boston’s “Mixtape Midrash.” Sign up here for updates and details. May 16.

Streaming Today

American Jewish Congress presents a discussion with Israel Nitzan, Israel’s Acting Consul General, about the most recent developments in Israel and Gaza. RSVP here. 12:00 pm.

Democratic Majority for Israel holds a virtual briefing with retired IDF Major General Amos Yadlin on the rapidly evolving situation on the ground in Israel. Register here. 3:00 pm.

Candlelighting, Readings

Friday, May 14, 2021
Sivan 3, 5781

Light Candles at 7:48 pm

Saturday, May 15,
Sivan 4 

Torah Reading: Bamidbar: Numbers 1:1 – 4:20
Haftarah:Hosea 2:1-22

Shabbat Ends 8:54 pm


Sunday, May 16
Sivan 5 

Light holiday candles at 7:49 pm

Monday, May 17
Sivan 6 

Light holiday candles after 8:55 pm

Tuesday, May 18
Sivan 7 

Holiday ends 8:56 pm

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