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NBC pulls episode with Hasidic storyline • Netanyahu talks vaccines with Pelosi • Let them eat hamantaschen
Daily Update

NBC pulls episode with Hasidic storyline • Netanyahu talks vaccines with Pelosi • Let them eat hamantaschen

Students from Yeshiva University’s Stern College signed up this week for genetic testing under a program meant to curtail genetic disease transmission in the Jewish community. (Courtesy)
Students from Yeshiva University’s Stern College signed up this week for genetic testing under a program meant to curtail genetic disease transmission in the Jewish community. (Courtesy)


Benjamin Netanyahu this week ordered the delivery of thousands of vaccines to the Palestinian territories, reportedly after pressure from the U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken.

Facing increasing criticism over the issue, including from leading Democrats in the House of Representatives, the Israeli prime minister spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Wednesday, where the two “discussed COVID response” among other topics.

Israel says that prior agreements and international law do not oblige it to vaccinate Palestinians living under the Palestinian Authority.

Related: West Bank Palestinians are seeing a dramatic rise in coronavirus infections that amounts to a third coronavirus wave in the area, Palestinian Authority health officials said on Wednesday.

NBC has pulled an episode of its Canadian-made drama “Nurses” amid an outcry over an offensive portrayal of Orthodox Jews.

In the episode, a young Hasidic patient is told he will need a bone graft to heal his broken leg, leading his devout father to recoil at the possibility of a “dead goyim leg from anyone. An Arab, a woman.”

After the news was reported by the Hollywood Reporter Wednesday, ADL chief Jonathan Greenblatt called it a welcome move from NBC.

Why it matters: “The idea that such a surgery would be problematic in general or problematic because of where the bone came from not only is categorically false according to Jewish law, it is a vicious lie that endangers men who walk around with curled side locks and black hats,” wrote Allison Josephs, who blogs about Orthodox life.

Effie Hertzke, an 81-year-old American interviewed on Israeli television after receiving her COVID-19 vaccine, has become an internet sensation.

The three-minute interview on Israel’s Channel 12, conducted mostly in Hebrew, showed Hertzke flexing her muscles and hitting the treadmill decked out in makeup, large earrings and a shirt reading “BADGIRLS.”

Her American-accented Hebrew delighted Sharon Avni, a lingustics professor at CUNY, who in a JTA essay notes “the idiosyncratic beauty of both of her languages, as well as her national identities.”

Deb Perelman, of the popular food blog Smitten Kitchen, cannot stop tinkering with her hamantaschen recipe.

That’s why, 15 years and three hamantaschen recipes later, the East Village resident recently unveiled yet another recipe for the triangular Purim cookies.

“In general, the ones I’ve gotten from bakeries are not what I want them to be,” Perelman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “And I’ve struggled with this idea of is this what hamantaschen are supposed to be and I just don’t like them? Or can they be better?”

Related: New York Times columnist Bret Stephens blasted Bon Appétit magazine for caving to complaints that a 2015 article on hamantaschen insulted Jewish tradition. Stephens called the episode “the apotheosis of Woke.”

In Other News

The Israeli government approved a plan to provide compensation of up to $60,000 to some of the families of mostly Yemeni Jewish children who were separated from their parents in state care in the 1950s. 

A former general leading Israel’s efforts to curb COVID-19 among the ultra-Orthodox warns of rising coronavirus infections among the community ahead of Purim.

Israel banned the sale of seafood from the Mediterranean Sea after a massive oil spill severely contaminated most of Israel’s coastline and killed wildlife.

“Thinking, Fast and Slow,” the 2011 book by Israeli Nobelist Daniel Kahneman, is essential reading among baseball executives because of the psychologist’s insights into how to tune out false assumptions when judging talent.


Aliza Yaillen met Josh Gross at a 2019 Purim party at the Sixth Street Community Synagogue in Manhattan, but it took them a while to get serious. Read how they got together.


Almost one year ago Sutton Place Synagogue shut its sanctuary doors to in-person, daily worship. Rabbi Rachel Ain describes what the congregation has learned since then, and the “lessons that can be and should be applied to so much of how we approach our lives today.”

Around the Agencies

One-hundred students from Yeshiva University’s Stern College signed up for genetic testing under a program meant to curtail genetic disease transmission the Jewish community. This week’s testing was conducted by JScreen, a national public health initiative based out of Emory University School of Medicine’s Department of Human Genetics. The same program will be offered to 100 male students at Yeshiva University’s Men’s Campus next month. “JScreen allows you to take control of your future and the future of your children,” said Danielle Pasternak, a senior at Stern College.


Hadar and over 40 co-sponsors from around the country present “A Year of Life Turned Upside Down: Ta’anit Esther with Hadar.” Members of Hadar’s faculty will offer Torah, workshops and teachings on “Permission to Rejoice in the Midst of Suffering,” “COVID-19 and Incarcerated Populations,” and more ending with a livestreamed reading of the megillah. Register here. 11:00 am-7:30 pm.

The Association of Gulf Jewish Communities invites you to join the Jewish communities of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE for a virtual Purim celebration. A keynote address from H.E. Dr. Sh. Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Co-existence in Bahrain, will be followed by a megillah reading by Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie and a presentation from a UAE-based calligraphy artist. Register at 11:30 am.

On Purim, 92Y celebrates the actions of courageous heroes who saved the Jewish people from destruction. 92Y’s Rabbi Samantha Frank is joined by the leaders of the Brooklyn Liberation March, Raquel Willis and Eliel Cruz, to explore how each of us has the power to create change. Register here. 7:00 pm.

Join Judaism Unbound and The Torah Studio for a two-hour creative, musical romp through the Book of Esther. Artists and thinkers will each tackle one of the 10 chapters of the Book of Esther. Register here. 7:30 pm.

Town & Village Synagogue presents an ASL (sign-language-interpreted) Purim Night Experience. Register here. 6:30 pm.

Marlene Meyerson JCC presents a Purim Shpiel featuring singer/actress Daniella Rabbani, MusicTalks Ensemble and special guests. Put on a (Purim) mask and rediscover the story of the book of Esther with sketches, songs and music from America all the way to Persia. Get free tickets here. 7:00 pm.

Hear all 10 chapters of the Megillah, chanted in the special tune for the Book of Esther, with 10 different readers. The Megillah reading will be streamed on Purim evening and Purim morning on My Jewish Learning’s Facebook page. 8:00 pm.

Find more Purim events at The Hub.

Streaming Today

American Friends of the Kaplan Medical Center presents the story of the rescue of Ethiopian Jews, and the commitment of the State of Israel to save Jews coming from many ethnic communities. Hear the story from three Ethiopian Israeli leaders, and a Rabbi who helped in the rescue. Register here. 2:00 pm.

On March 9 at noon, The Folio: A Jewish Week/UJA Cultural Series presents the North American launch of “The Slaughterman’s Daughter,” a new novel by Yaniv Iczkovits. This tale of two sisters, set in the old world of late 19th-century Russia, was praised by David Grossman for its “boundless imagination, wit and panache.” Iczkovits will be joined by Gal Beckerman, author of “When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry,” who will share a historical perspective. Moderated by award-winning journalist and author Sandee Brawarsky. Register here.

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