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Muckraking Hasid exposes Covid deaths • Manhattan D.A. race heats up • Conservative shuls debate the future of Zoom
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Daily Update

Muckraking Hasid exposes Covid deaths • Manhattan D.A. race heats up • Conservative shuls debate the future of Zoom

AGAINST ALL ODDS: A few of the 241 teens enrolled in the Alexander Muss High School in Israel pose at JFK Airport before their April 6 flight to Israel on an El Al plane chartered by Jewish National Fund-USA, the program’s sponsor. JNF-USA worked closely with Israeli government ministries, health authorities, El Al and Ben Gurion Airport to gain special permission for the students to enter the country. (JNF-USA)
AGAINST ALL ODDS: A few of the 241 teens enrolled in the Alexander Muss High School in Israel pose at JFK Airport before their April 6 flight to Israel on an El Al plane chartered by Jewish National Fund-USA, the program’s sponsor. JNF-USA worked closely with Israeli government ministries, health authorities, El Al and Ben Gurion Airport to gain special permission for the students to enter the country. (JNF-USA)

 

Every Friday, The Jewish Week has 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 New York State budget triples the amount of support for Holocaust survivors living in poverty throughout the state to $1.5 million.

UJA-Federation of New York, the lead advocate on the issue, praised the $1 million increase from last year’s allocation of $450,000. The additional funds, contained in a budget agreement reached Tuesday, will be used to increase access to health care-related case management services for survivors.

Gloria Steinem and the National Organization for Women-NYC endorsed Tali Farhadian Weinstein for Manhattan district attorney.

A former general counsel to the Brooklyn district attorney and counsel to former Attorney General Eric Holder, Farhadian Weinstein came to the United States as a child from Iran, via Israel. NOW-NYC Executive Director Sonia Ossorio said in a statement that “no other candidate is better equipped to reform our criminal justice system, empower survivors of sexual assault, and keep our communities safe.”

Gothamist reports that Farhadian Weinstein has amassed a $2.2 million war chest, thanks to support from “leading finance and real estate players.”

Meet the candidates: AM NY speaks to eight candidates for Manhattan D.A. ahead of the June 22 Democratic primary. The New York Jewish Agenda will hold a Candidates Forum for the Manhattan D.A. race on Tuesday, April 20 at 7:00 pm. Registration is free at this link.

The Atlantic profiles a muckraking Hasidic journalist who exposed high rates of Covid-19 transmission in his Brooklyn community.

Known only by his pseudonym, “Reuven” publishes Der Veker, a Yiddish-language magazine. This spring it concluded that the death rate in NYC Hasidic neighborhoods was three to four times higher than the state average.

Quotable: “You feel you have to gather, so gather,” says Reuven. “But wear masks. Why do you ignore everything? I don’t understand. I can’t answer that.”

Conservative rabbis are debating whether to continue to offer streaming services on Shabbat and holy days after the pandemic subsides.

A temporary ruling allowing such broadcasts was adopted last year. Critics worry that permanently lifting the ban on electronics and offering people the permanent option of watching services from home will weaken communal bonds and desecrate Shabbat.

Sutton Place Synagogue was one of the first Conservative congregations to Zoom Shabbat services at the start of the pandemic. Rabbi Rachel Ain says she will take into account whatever guidance the movement’s law committee ultimately provides, but notes that thanks to the technology, “we have reached people that we didn’t even know we could reach.”

Deaths

Rabbi Meir Mitelman, who led Hofstra University’s Hillel program from 1985-2008 and continued as an educator there, died March 24 at a hospice in the Bronx from complications after a fall. He was 74. He was ordained at Yeshiva University; under his leadership, Hofstra Hillel received numerous awards and accolades, including two UJA-Federation of New York continuity grants. According to Newsday, he spearheaded Hofstra’s AIDS Quilt Project.

People and Places

Repair the World is spearheading a month-long celebration of volunteer service as part of Global Volunteer Month. Sunday, April 11, is Good Deeds Day; Repair the World will host in-person and virtual volunteer opportunities that include family-friendly food-insecurity neighborhood walks with Asylum Arts, food justice service projects, a celebration of food-insecurity-themed murals with JCC Harlem and Asylum Arts, and visits to local food pantries and community gardens. Go here for events and opportunities.

New York residents Dimitry Ekshtut, Rachel Fried, Arielle Krule, Rozeeta Mavashev, Aiden Pink, Sarah Pollack and Jericho Vincent have been selected as part of Class 33 of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship/Davidson Scholars Program. Outstanding students pursuing graduate programs in Jewish communal service will be exposed to different approaches to leadership and tools for addressing pressing issues in the Jewish community.

Three New Yorkers are among the 18 executives at North American and Israeli Jewish organizations chosen for the new 18×18 Executive Fellowship, launched by M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education. Sarah-Key Lacks, senior director of Institutional Programs, JCC Manhattan; Avi Orlow, vice president of Innovation and Education, Foundation for Jewish Camp, and Michal Smart, chief program officer, Institute for Jewish Spirituality, will take part in the 18-month fellowship, which aims to advance policy considerations and new discussions across the field of Jewish education.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is the 2021 recipient of the Albert D. Chernin Award from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. The Chernin Award honors an American Jew whose life work best exemplifies the social justice imperatives of Judaism, Jewish history and protection of the U.S. Bill of Rights. The award will be presented at the JCPA2021 National Conference on April 26. For JCPA2021 registration and agenda, including the award presentation, click here.

David Drimer, a former national executive director of the Zionist Organization of America and former associate publisher and general manager of the Forward, was named the new executive director of the Jewish Federation of Ulster County.

Shabbat Shalom

The number 8, from which this week’s Torah portion takes its name, has mystical qualities. It’s a symbol urging us to reach for a higher, newer, more spiritual plane, writes Rabbi Avi Weiss.

More wisdom: The very first and very last mitzvahs in Maimonides’ famous enumeration shows that ego is integral to our characters — and its distortions common to our struggles, writes Rabbi David Wolpe.

Streaming

Abraham Foxman, vice president of the board at the Museum of Jewish Heritage and former national director of the Anti-Defamation League, will join Temple Emanu-El’s Friday Night Shabbat Service. The program, hosted in collaboration with Temple Emanu-El’s Streicker Center, will be introduced by Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson and will include a discussion about Foxman’s life, his work and keeping Jews and Judaism alive. Register here. Today, 6:00 pm.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage‘s Annual Gathering of Remembrance, in observance of Yom Hashoah, will feature music, remarks from Holocaust survivors and young people, and a candlelighting ceremony. The program will also feature reflections from Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff; U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer; Elisha Wiesel, son of the late Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel; Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Holocaust survivor and Museum Trustee; and other public figures. Register here. Sunday, 2:00 pm.

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