Shabbat Shalom, New York. On Monday, The Jewish Week will announce its “36 Under 36,” our list of young people who are making a difference in philanthropy, the arts, Jewish learning, campus life, social action, inclusion, justice and education. Watch this space for their inspiring stories.
And not to bring you down, but today begins the Nine Days, a period of mourning for the first and second Holy Temples. Find out more about them and the upcoming fast day of Tisha B’Av from our partners at My Jewish Learning.
Jewish groups are planning a rally against antisemitism in Washington on Sunday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Organizers of “No Fear: A Rally In Solidarity With The Jewish People” say the goal is uniting the Jewish community following a wave of antisemitic and anti-Israel attacks. (Sign-ups and travel info here.)
- Who’s in: Local sponsors include UJA Federation of New York, East Side Synagogue, The Jewish Center and dozens of NY-based national groups. Rabbi Menachem Creditor, UJA Federation of NY scholar in residence, will speak.
- New Yorker Elisha Wiesel, son of Elie Wiesel, was instrumental in planning the event, saying, “Bombs were falling on our brothers and sisters in Israel, and we were being attacked on streets in New York and restaurants in Los Angeles.”
- Who’s out: Some left-wing groups, including J Street, T’ruah and Americans for Peace Now, declined invitations to cosponsor the rally, worried that the organizers were conflating criticism of Israel with antisemitism, our partners at JTA report.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Israel’s Olympic baseball team — which has a fighting chance to medal in Tokyo, in its first-ever Olympics appearance — is kicking off an American barnstorming tour on Sunday at 4:00 pm in Brooklyn.
- Read about how the team is bringing together Israeli and American Jews; tickets to the game at Coney Island’s Maimonides Park (no kidding!) are available here or here.
Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-Queens/Nassau), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is leading a visit by 10 lawmakers Monday to Israel, Qatar and other Mideast countries.
- Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island) will take part.
- Quotable: “The trip will allow members to explore the challenges posed by the recent outbreak of violence in Gaza; assess Israel’s current security needs; and evaluate the Biden Administration’s attempts to restart assistance to the Palestinian people,” said Meeks.
- Background: Meeks has ties to AIPAC and J Street, and is seeking to balance establishment support for Israel with the concerns of his party’s dovish wing.
Rockland County, with its large haredi Orthodox population, has the highest concentration of Jews (18%) of any county in the United States.
- A massive new survey of religions also says Rockland is seventh among the 10 most religiously diverse counties in the country.
- The counties with the 10 highest concentrations of Jews included six in New York, two in New Jersey and one each in Florida and Maryland.
Learn more about Mark Levine, Manhattan’s next Borough president, and his plans for COVID-19 recovery.
Among the long-shot candidates for NYC mayor in the fall is Stacey Prussman, who is running as a Libertarian. The Jewish Brooklynite is a stand-up comedian, radio host and animal rights activist who has spoken on campuses about eating disorders.
PEOPLE AND PLACES
Hazon, the New York-based Jewish environmental organization, is merging with Pearlstone, the Jewish retreat center and outdoor education site near Baltimore.
- Why it matters: The latest post-COVID merger of Jewish organizations strengthens both groups’ leadership of the JOFEE (Jewish Outdoor, Food, Farming & Environmental Education) movement.
- The details: The combined organization, to be called Hazon, will have an estimated $12 million budget and over 200 staff. Jakir Manela is the inaugural CEO, and Hazon founder Nigel Savage will continue in a new part-time role, based in Israel starting in 2022.
- The first board chair will be Marina Lewin of New York.
TODAY’S BIG IDEA
Germany’s post-Holocaust restitution program provides a roadmap for reparations, writes The Jewish Week’s editor in chief, Andrew Silow-Carroll.
People often make vows they cannot or should not keep. In this week’s Torah portion, writes Rabbi Avi Weiss, there is divine permission for making a fresh start.
- More wisdom: Laughter is often the glue that binds people together, writes Rabbi David Wolpe.
A Jewish ritual was performed in Israel today for perhaps the first time ever. What was it?
- The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design held an exorcism outside the Prime Minister’s Residence, celebrating Israel’s new government.
- The Galilee Culinary Institute held a bar mitzvah for a sourdough starter that has been incubating for 13 years.
- The Biblical Museum of Natural History held a public kiddush to celebrate the birth of two baby snakes.
(See answer below.)
Jewish Currents Editor at Large Peter Beinart will speak live with Omar Barghouti, an independent Palestinian researcher, commentator and human rights activist. Register here. Today, noon.
Torah in Motion presents its 13th Annual Jewish Medical Ethics Conference, a full day of virtual learning about healthcare and halacha. Register here. Sunday, 9:00 am – 8:00 pm.
(Answer to the quiz: 3.)