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Jewish philanthropist gets prison term • Hasidic mom becomes a physician • Today is Holocaust Survivor Day
Daily Update

Jewish philanthropist gets prison term • Hasidic mom becomes a physician • Today is Holocaust Survivor Day

Tom Dugan in a rehearsal for "Tevye in New York," a play, premiering in Los Angeles, that continues the story of the protagonist of "Fiddler on the Roof." (Courtesy of The Wallis)
Tom Dugan in a rehearsal for "Tevye in New York," a play, premiering in Los Angeles, that continues the story of the protagonist of "Fiddler on the Roof." (Courtesy of The Wallis)


Good morning, New York! Catch up on what’s happening in a fast 800 words:


Video from 2018 surfaced this week of Curtis Sliwa, the Republican candidate for mayor of New York City, describing Orthodox Jews as a drag on the tax system.

  • “All they do is make babies like there’s no tomorrow and who’s subsidizing that? We are,” he says in the video, taken at a meeting for the Reform Party.
  • Sliwa won the Republican primary Tuesday against Fernando Matteo, although with New York’s overwhelmingly Democratic electorate he is unlikely to win in November.

Can a Jewish organization represent a city-wide “consensus” around political and communal issues, or is the model obsolete?

  • We profile Michael Miller, who is retiring after 36 years as head of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.
  • Miller served as a go-between and widely admired “peacemaker” with political and civic leaders at time when there was widespread agreement on issues like Israel and civil rights. But that era appears to be fading, reports Gary Rosenblatt.
  • Related: The national organization representing Jewish community relations councils may be stripped of its independence, in part because it endorsed the Black Lives Matter agenda last summer. Our partners at JTA have the scoop.

Murray Huberfeld, a hedge fund founder and major donor to Jewish causes, has been sentenced to a seven-month prison term for bribing the head of the New York City prison guard union.

  • Huberfeld, 60, pleaded guilty over a $60,000 payment to Norman Seabrook — a kickback to Seabrook for having steered $20 million in the union members’ retirement money to Huberfeld’s hedge fund, Platinum Partners.
  • As philanthropist, Huberfeld had given away millions, especially to synagogues linked to the Chabad-Lubavitch movement and to haredi Orthodox institutions in Brooklyn.

Read a profile of Alexandra Friedman, a Hasidic mother of 10 in Monsey who just graduated from medical school and obtained a residency in pediatrics.

  • Dr. Friedman, 50, had studied medicine before adopting her Hasidic lifestyle, and returned to graduate first in her class of 135 students at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in Middletown, N.Y.
  • Quotable: “Being religious was kind of a full-time job, but once I got the hang of motherhood and Orthodox life, that yearning sort of came back,” she told The New York Times.

Today is the first-ever Holocaust Survivor Day, honoring the world’s remaining 350,000 Shoah survivors.

  • The day was inspired by an op-ed by historian Michael Berenbaum and Jonathan Ornstein, who heads the JCC in Krakow, Poland.
  • A free virtual conference begins at noon today, the Forward reports.
  • UJA-Federation of New York and the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty will mark the occasion with for a volunteer project packing groceries for homebound Holocaust survivors, Sunday, 1:30 pm.

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens/Nassau), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will lead a Congressional delegation in July to Israel and the Palestinian territories, Jewish Insider reports.


A new art gallery in Williamsburg celebrates the work of Hasidic artists.

  • The Shtetl Gallery, in the heart of the Satmar Hasidic community, opened June 15 with an exhibit of seven artists, Hyperallergic reports.
  • “The idea behind the gallery is to create a platform for Hasidic artists to show their work but also to get our messages, emotions, and stories to the greater public,” says artist and founder Zalmen Glauber. “I would love this to create some kind of a dialogue with other communities.”

A one-man play titled “Tevye in New York” continues the story of the beloved Sholem Aleichem character and protagonist of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

  • Set on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Tom Dugan’s play had its premier this week at the Wallis theater in Los Angeles. JTA reports.

Brooklyn novelist Joshua Cohen’s new novel imagines a disastrous night in the real-life family of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

  • “The Netanyahus” is based on a story told by the late literary critic Harold Bloom about when Benzion Netanyahu, the politician’s historian father, came to Cornell University for a job interview.
  • Quotable: “I was interested in was the sort of pre-history of the Netanyahu family and the history of of Benzion Netanyahu in Palestine, and then in New York and suburban Philadelphia,” Cohen tells Alma, our partner site. “How did he get here? Why? Why was the family here for so long?”


The pandemic made us appreciate our blessings by limiting our choices — which is exactly how keeping kosher is supposed to work, writes our editor in chief, Andrew Silow-Carroll.


(Janice Hwang)

Are cicadas, emerging after their 17-year schluf, kosher?

  1. Yes. Like locusts, the Bible is okay with eating the horrid things.
  2. Yes, but only if they are slaughtered by a certified insect butcher.
  3. Absolutely not, according to Jewish law.

(See answer below.)


François Clemmons, who created the role of Officer Clemmons on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” discusses his career as an actor, African American and gay man. Register for this Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan event here. 7:00 pm.


The Olga Lengyel Institute and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency present a webinar with experts from the U.S. and Europe on the escalation of antisemitism and what can be done about it. Register here. Noon.

Annie Polland traces how immigration law impacted the European immigrants who settled at 97 and 103 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and how they carved out new lives once they arrived. Register for this YIVO program here. 4:30 pm.

Join The Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Center for Traditional Music and Dance for an outdoor summer concert in Wagner Park, 36 Battery Place, featuring The Beary Brothers, a supergroup of three emigre musicians from the former Soviet Union. More info here. 6:30 pm.

Join the Workers Circle for “In the Midst,” a discussion that explores systemic racism in the United States as depicted through three moments in Yiddish culture: an avant garde play, a Soviet-era poem and the diverse viewpoints of the Yiddish press. Register here. 7:00 pm.

(Answer to quiz: 3.)

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