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Jewish groups welcome Chauvin verdict • UJA quizzes mayoral candidates • Gillibrand wants anti-Semitism monitor
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Daily Update

Jewish groups welcome Chauvin verdict • UJA quizzes mayoral candidates • Gillibrand wants anti-Semitism monitor

SEEKING JUSTICE: Former State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, center, leads a vigil outside the French Consulate in Manhattan calling for justice in the case of 
Sarah Halimi, after France’s highest court ruled that the Jewish woman's killer was not criminally responsible for her death due to his having smoked marijuana, April 20, 2021. (Courtesy)
SEEKING JUSTICE: Former State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, center, leads a vigil outside the French Consulate in Manhattan calling for justice in the case of Sarah Halimi, after France’s highest court ruled that the Jewish woman's killer was not criminally responsible for her death due to his having smoked marijuana, April 20, 2021. (Courtesy)

 

UJA-Federation quizzed seven NYC mayoral candidates on homelessness, public safety, Israel and reimbursing nonprofit contractors.

The candidates — Eric Adams, Shaun Donovan, Kathryn Garcia, Ray McGuire, Scott Stringer, Maya Wiley and Andrew Yang — were interviewed for 15 minutes each by UJA CEO Eric Goldstein and UJA Board Member Merryl Tisch. (Candidate Dianne Morales is no longer taking part in candidates’ forums, Goldstein said.)

Most of the candidates were asked about the city’s process for reimbursing nonprofits, and agreed that the bureaucracy needs to be streamlined. They also outlined their fiscal plans for the money that is expected to flow into the city from the federal government for COVID-related relief. All of the candidates asked about Israel said they would be happy to visit the country as mayor.

Heimische highlights: Donovan noted that he is the “grandson of an Ashkenazi Jew” and that his sister is a Jew by choice. Yang said Israel would be “my first official trip as mayor.” Garcia noted that “Israel is our fourth largest trading partner with the city of New York.” McGuire, speaking moments after the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial was announced, quoted at length from a 1963 speech by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who said “Justice is charged with the omnipotence of God.” And Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, said, “I like to say that Brooklyn is the Tel Aviv of America.”

A video of the forum will be available on UJA-Federation’s Facebook page. See more coverage here.

Related: Many of NYC’s human service nonprofits are now “on the precipice of financial catastrophe” because of increased demand and reduced funding during the pandemic, Gothamist reports. Read a 2018 analysis of “how late, unpredictable, and costly funding under New York City contracts can be.”

Jewish groups welcomed the conviction of former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.

UJA-Federation: “We hope today’s decision brings some measure of justice, healing, and peace to our nation. We will continue to work with our broad network of nonprofit partners to help address inequities across our community in the months and years ahead for the benefit of all New Yorkers.

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah: “The triple conviction [of] George Floyd’s killer is the beginning of accountability, and we hope that it brings a small measure of relief to his family, to his community, and to all who have been watching and waiting for this moment.”

New York Jewish Agenda: “Tzedek, tzedek, tirdof. (Justice, justice, you shall pursue.) Justice prevailed today in Minneapolis, but the pursuit of justice is ongoing.” (NYJA postponed last night’s forum with NYC candidates for district attorney, which had been scheduled for shortly after the verdict was announced.)

Ann Toback, CEO of the Workers Circle: “Today’s guilty verdict is a critical counter to the culture of impunity and white supremacy that infects law enforcement in the United States.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director, Anti-Defamation League: “It is long past time for our country to tackle systemic racism, reimagine what public safety looks like, and create transformational change to ensure justice and fair treatment for all people. Black Lives Matter, and our society’s laws, practices and institutions must reflect that.”

Rabbi Sandra Lawson, Reconstructing Judaism’s Director of Racial Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: “Waking up thinking we still have so much work to do. I don’t feel celebratory, but I do feel a small level of relief. Yesterday the arc bent towards justice. Today we keep fighting for justice and accountability for all who are killed by our racist system.”

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) signed a letter urging President Biden to name a State Department monitor to combat anti-Semitism.

Twenty-two senators signed the bipartisan letter, saying, “Swiftly nominating a qualified Ambassador to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism will help ensure that the United States remains a leader in combating anti-Semitism internationally.” The position has been unfilled since the end of the Trump administration.

STAY SAFE: The Staten Island Council of Jewish Organizations (COJO) convened its Spring 2021 Security Meeting at Precinct 123 in the borough’s Tottenville section, April 20, 2021. Participants included COJO officials and local law enforcement. (Courtesy)

What Else

A powerful explosion shook an Israeli defense factory during a scheduled test. There are so far no reports of casualties.

The New York Times profiles members of Ezras Nashim, the women-only ambulance service in Orthodox Brooklyn.

A federal judge is allowing a U.S. Navy sailor who is an Orthodox Jew to keep his beard — for now, anyway.

Fox News aired an interview with author and conspiracy theorist Naomi Wolf saying Dr. Anthony Fauci is beholden to Israel rather than serving the United States.

Appreciation

Isi Leibler, an Australian Jewish leader and Soviet Jewry activist who exposed financial wrongdoing at the World Jewish Congress, died at 86 in Jerusalem on April 13. Gary Rosenblatt remembers a leader who played “an outsized role in Jewish communal life for more than six decades.”

The View From Campus

When Emily Chilton found herself stranded on campus during February’s Texas ice storms, the Hillel at Texas A&M got her through an eerie, lonely winter.

Streaming Today

Yeshivat Maharat celebrates the publication of “Navon: Torah in a Time of Plague,” with a day of online learning events. Erin Leib Smokler’s collection of essays uses Torah to grapple with our current moment of pandemic. Find the full schedule and register here. 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Zefat Academic College presents a panel, “Reflecting on Israel’s 2021 Election… The End of Great Ideas?” Featuring Dr. Alonit Bernson on Communication, Social Media, and Israeli Politics; Dr. Ofira Gruweis-Kovalsky on Israel’s Right Wing Parties and Women of the Far Right; and Prof. Esther Hertzog, Women in Israeli Politics. Moderated by Dr. Iris Canor, Zefat Academic College School of Law. Register here. 12:15 pm.

SVIVAH’s HerTorah Series presents “What’s To Come?” with Rabbi Shira Stutman, Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt and Rabbanit Aliza Sperling. What will life be like post-pandemic? What will we return to? What will we do differently? RSVP for Zoom link here. 8:00 pm.

JScreen will debunk misconceptions around genetic testing for diseases affecting the Jewish community. Learn about the history behind Jewish genetic screening and the innovations around cancer prevention through BRCA testing as well as reproductive genetic testing for family planning. Tune in here. 8:15 pm.

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