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Kosher pantry opens in Westchester • Feds target Orthodox ‘cult’ • NYPD creates hate crimes panel
Daily Update

Kosher pantry opens in Westchester • Feds target Orthodox ‘cult’ • NYPD creates hate crimes panel

CAMPAIGN TRAIL: NYC mayoral candidate Andrew Yang visited the Torah Academy for Girls and Yeshiva Darchei Torah in Far Rockaway, Queens last week at the invitation of Dean Rabbi Meyer Weitman. (Yang for New York)
CAMPAIGN TRAIL: NYC mayoral candidate Andrew Yang visited the Torah Academy for Girls and Yeshiva Darchei Torah in Far Rockaway, Queens last week at the invitation of Dean Rabbi Meyer Weitman. (Yang for New York)


Good morning! Today at 1:00 pm, join Andrew Silow-Carroll, editor in chief of The Jewish Week, for a conversation with Judy Batalion, author of “The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos.” Register here for this YIVO event.

Federal authorities filed child exploitation and child abduction charges against leaders of an extremist haredi Orthodox sect.

Five leaders of the Lev Tahor group were charged by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and FBI Monday with crimes related to an alleged forced marriage in 2017 and a 2018 kidnapping.

According to the Justice Department, young brides in the cult-like community were expected “to have sex with their husbands, to tell people outside Lev Tahor that they were not married, to pretend to be older, and to deliver babies inside their homes instead of at a hospital, partially to conceal from the public the mothers’ young ages.”

The NYPD is creating a civilian panel to help address a rise in hate crimes in New York City.

Spurred by a spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans, the panel will help advise if incidents involving any group should be deemed a hate crime, Commissioner Dermot Shea said Monday. Its five volunteer members include Devorah Halberstam, co-founder and director of external affairs of the Jewish Children’s Museum.

Quotable: “We will be the voices of the victims who are often ignored, or at best tolerated, but today there will be change,” said Halberstam, whose son Ari was murdered by a terrorist in 1994.

Related: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) are pushing for legislation from Meng that aims to encourage people to report hate crimes.

The United Federation of Teachers endorsed City Comptroller Scott Stringer for mayor.

The endorsement of the 200,000-member union is a shot in the arm for Stringer, who trails the former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams in the polls.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., wants to slow down the sale of F-35 stealth combat aircraft to the United Arab Emirates.

Menendez, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., introduced legislation tapping the brakes on a deal closed by the Trump administration as an incentive for the UAE to normalize relations with Israel.

A Jerusalem yeshiva congratulated celebrity couple Joshua Kushner and Karlie Kloss on the birth of their son — and inadvertently leaked the baby’s name. 

The couple — she’s a supermodel, he’s the brother of Jared Kushner — hoped to keep Levi Joseph’s name a secret until they chose the date for the reveal. But Yeshivat Reishit, where Kushner was a student in 2003, congratulated the couple in an alumni email after the baby’s bris, the New York Post reported.

The HOPE Community Services Kosher Food Pantry is expected to serve approximately 100 kosher households in need in its first year. (UJA-Federation)

UJA-Federation of New York opened the first kosher food pantry in Westchester County.

The HOPE Community Services Kosher Food Pantry, located at 50 Washington Avenue in New Rochelle, offers Westchester residents free, pre-packaged bags that are available for pick up every other Thursday, beginning April 15, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. Delivery is available for homebound residents as well.

A partnership with HOPE Community Services, Feeding Westchester and Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, the pantry is expected to serve approximately 100 kosher households in need in its first year.

“This pantry is a game-changer for local kosher residents,” said Eric S. Goldstein, CEO of UJA-Federation of New York. “Individuals and families who struggle all year-round or have been impacted by the pandemic now have a new local resource to bring home nutritious, essential kosher food.”

What Else

Benjamin Netanyahu lost a procedural vote in Israel’s parliament that makes it even harder for him to form a government.

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, speaking at the J Street conference, called for conditioning US aid to Israel on Israeli policies in the West Bank. Other speakers at the liberal Mideast policy gathering included New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman.

Avi Cyperstein talked to PoliticsNY about his race for City Council in Queens’ District 29.

The New Republic reports on last summer’s fight over a homeless hotel on the Upper West Side, and the city’s “decades-long policy failure in permanent housing.”


Rabbi Rachel Timoner‘s father founded an airline, but he was still a strong supporter of organized labor. “It was evident to him that the success of his companies was dependent on the success and satisfaction of his workers,” writes Timoner, senior rabbi at Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope.

Zoom Judaism may have been necessary during the height of the pandemic, but the digital synagogue shouldn’t be a permanent replacement for real, physical Jewish community, writes Rabbi Eli Garfinkel in a Jewish Week essay. “To borrow a term from environmentalism, Zoom Judaism is unsustainable,” he writes. “Life is an in-person affair, and Jewish life is all the more.”

People and Places

Dr. Jeffrey S. Kress was named the new provost at The Jewish Theological Seminary. Currently the Dr. Bernard Heller Chair in Jewish Education at the Conservative movement seminary, he will succeed Dr. Stephen Garfinkel, acting provost, who will retire when Kress assumes the role on July 1.

YAFFED issued a report on schooling at haredi Orthodox and Hasidic yeshivas that describes “consistent delays to oversight and reform at both the city and state level.” The report outlines the group’s efforts to get yeshivas to provide “adequate secular education in topics like English, science, and math,” and delays by City Hall and the New York State Education Department in enforcing proposed regulations. Access the full report here.

Candidates Forums

UJA-Federation of New York CEO Eric S. Goldstein and UJA Board Member Merryl Tisch will moderate a virtual Meet the Candidates forum with NYC Mayoral candidates Eric Adams, Shaun Donovan, Kathryn Garcia, Ray McGuire, Dianne Morales, Scott Stringer, Maya Wiley, and Andrew Yang. They will discuss their visions for rebuilding New York City after the pandemic and issues affecting Jewish New Yorkers. Register here. Tonight, 5:00 pm.

The Jewish Coalition on Criminal Justice Reform presents a Candidates Forum for the Manhattan District Attorney race. The candidates confirmed to attend are Tahanie Aboushi, Alvin Bragg, Liz Crotty, Diana Florence, Lucy Lang, Eliza Orlins, Dan Quart, and Tali Farhadian Weinstein. Udi Ofer, director of the Justice Division at the ACLU, will moderate. Register here. Tonight, 7:00 pm.

Streaming Today

Leo Baeck Institute, with the Gross Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies of Ramapo College of New Jersey, presents a conversation with Griselda Pollock (University of Leeds, UK) and Kerry Wallach (Gettysburg College, PA) about the work and life of the Berlin-born Jewish artist, Charlotte Salomon (1917-1943). Michael Riff, Director of The Gross Center, will moderate the event. Register here. 2:00 pm.

Israel Policy Forum presents a briefing on “Iran, Israel, the US and the JCPOA,” with Dalia Dassa Kaye, Wilson Center scholar and former director of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy. Register here. 2:00 pm.

Join the Museum of Jewish Heritage for a celebration of the life and legacy of Alfred Kantor, whose hundreds of sketches and watercolors produced between 1941 and 1947 constitute one of the most prolific artistic records of the Holocaust. Featuring his daughter Monica Churchill; Zuzana Justman, a filmmaker and writer who interviewed Kantor for her film “Terezin Diary”; and Dr. Ori Z. Soltes, Professor of the Teaching of Jewish Civilization at Georgetown University. $10 suggested donation. Register here. 4:00 pm.

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