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Mayoral candidates talk BDS, yeshiva education • Swastika at Rego Park synagogue • Ivanka won’t challenge Rubio
Daily Update

Mayoral candidates talk BDS, yeshiva education • Swastika at Rego Park synagogue • Ivanka won’t challenge Rubio

Kosher Palate, a kosher restaurant in Dallas, prepares thousands of free hot meals to serve to Jewish families affected by power outages during Winter Storm Uri, Feb. 17, 2021. (Courtesy of Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas)
Kosher Palate, a kosher restaurant in Dallas, prepares thousands of free hot meals to serve to Jewish families affected by power outages during Winter Storm Uri, Feb. 17, 2021. (Courtesy of Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas)


Eight out of 10 candidates for NYC mayor gave a flat “no” when asked if they support the Boycott Israel movement.

The other two candidates, former public school teacher and community organizer Dianne Morales and City Council member Carlos Menchaca, answered by saying that they supported the right of individuals to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

All 10 candidates at Thursdays’ forum by New York Jewish Agenda, however, said they opposed efforts to criminalize BDS.

Watch the whole thing on YouTube.

Yeshiva education: Asked how they would ensure that yeshiva students receive a secular education on par with city and state standards, nearly all the candidates said they would work with community leaders to ensure quality education while respecting religious freedom, offering few details. Menchaca said, “This is the law,” and civil rights lawyer and former MSNBC legal analyst Maya Wiley pledged to “ensure a quality education for every child.”

Only Andrew Yang, the entrepreneur and former Democratic presidential candidate, suggested more autonomy for the private Jewish schools, saying,” if they deliver the same outcomes we shouldn’t be prescribing rigid curricula.”

Responding on Twitter, Yaffed, a haredi Orthodox group that lobbies for higher secular education standards at yeshivas, said Yang should listen instead “to the victims of educational neglect.”

Also appearing at the Zoom forum were Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams; former U.S. Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan; former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia; banker Ray McGuire; City Comptroller Scott Stringer; and the former head of the city’s Department of Veterans’ Services, Loree Sutton.

Mayor de Blasio called the State of Israel “a fundamentally progressive concept” while criticizing the boycott Israel movement.

He also told a Bloomberg interviewer: “I consistently disagree with Netanyahu and I look forward to the day when he’s no longer prime minister.”

A Brooklyn auction house suspended the sale of a document that Jewish leaders in Romania said had been stolen during the Holocaust.

Kestenbaum & Company on Wednesday called off the auction of the 19th-century ledger from the Cluj burial society. Representatives of the Jewish community in the northern Transylvania town had written Monday saying the illuminated manuscript disappeared during the Holocaust and therefore is “stolen property.”

The World Jewish Restitution Organization also said it had asked Kestenbaum to halt the auction, which was scheduled to begin Thursday.

A Kestenbaum spokesperson said the ledger had been withdrawn “in respect to recently acquired information.”

Vandals scrawled a swastika on the outside of a Rego Park synagogue.

The police are investigating the act, discovered Tuesday at the Rego Park Jewish Center, as a bias incident, Forest Hills Post reports.

Elected officials condemned the hateful graffiti and noted that it is part of a recent wave of racist activity throughout Queens, including attacks on the borough’s Asian residents.

A Jewish activist in Queens is making his second bid for City Council.

Pesach Osina lost narrowly to now Queens Borough President Donovan Richards in a 2013 special election in District 31 in Southeast Queens. Osina is one of nine candidates on the ballot in the special election being held Feb. 23 to replace Richards on the Council.

The Far Rockway resident was a board member of the Jewish Community Council (JCCRP) and was Queens Borough Director for NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. Osina told Queens County Politics that he’s doing outreach in the predominantly Black district.

“Over the past seven years, I’ve really been a stronghold in connecting communities,” he said. “I think I’m in a much stronger position than where I was seven years ago.”

In Other News

Ivanka Trump will not run for Marco Rubio’s seat in the U.S. Senate in 2022, according to a source for the Florida incumbent.

Jews in Texas are joining the humanitarian response to the winter weather that crippled large swaths of the state.

Dr. Anthony Fauci characterized the Israeli vaccine distribution effort as a “model for the rest of the world.

Orthodox Jewish members of the Knesset said they would boycott a Reform rabbi who appears likely to win a seat in the Israeli legislature as a Labor candidate next month.

The Biden administration said it’s ready to join talks with Iran and world powers to discuss a return to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Shabbat Shalom

One year into the pandemic, Jewish communities are feeling social distancing as spiritual isolation. “I pray that we will soon return to the beloved spaces that now stand empty, with renewed appreciation for what they offer us,” writes Rabbi Julia Andelman. “The human soul needs space — both sacred and mundane — to breathe and grow.”

More wisdom: Whether you eat meat or not, Judaism demands compassion for animals, says Rabbi David Wolpe.

Candlelighting, Readings

Friday, Feb. 19, 2021
Adar 7, 5781

Light candles at 5:18 pm

Saturday, Feb. 20
Adar 8

First Torah: Terumah: Exodus 25:1 – 27:19
Second Torah: Parshat Zachor: Deuteronomy 25:17-19
Haftarah: Samuel I 15:1-34

Shabbat ends 6:18 pm.

Streaming Sunday

Join the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan for a tour into the heart of kabbalah and the Sefer Yetzirah, the Book of Formation. Renowned teachers, including Moshe Idel, Rachel Elior and Rabbi Jill Hammer, will lead the teaching on a day that includes keynote addresses, workshops and musical performances for students and seekers at all levels of experience. $20. Register at the event website. 12:00-5:00 pm.

Jerry Lindenstraus and his family escaped Germany in July 1939, barely a month before the start of World War II. Join him and the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust for a Stories Survive program exploring his long journey from Germany to New York through wartime Shanghai. Register here. 2:00 pm.

The Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv will hold a virtual gala celebrating the transformation of the 42-year-old museum, which will be anchored by an interactive, 72,000-square-foot permanent exhibition. The benefit event is free to the public. 2:00 pm.

Hadassah presents “Coming Together to Heal Our World,” a virtual global benefit for Hadassah Hospitals. Guests include Jason Alexander, Mayim Bialik, Michael Bloomberg, Billy Crystal, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Platt and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Tickets are $180. 2:30 pm.

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