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New York’s best bagels • Nita Lowey backs probe of Cuomo • Study confirms Purim 2020 spread COVID
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New York’s best bagels • Nita Lowey backs probe of Cuomo • Study confirms Purim 2020 spread COVID

A paper published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open concludes that the coronavirus was spreading widely in Orthodox communities across the country last spring around Purim — before public health warnings were given about the dangers of large assemblies. Above, people congregate outside of Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar in Brooklyn, where state officials halted a planned 10,000-person wedding in October 2020. (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A paper published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open concludes that the coronavirus was spreading widely in Orthodox communities across the country last spring around Purim — before public health warnings were given about the dangers of large assemblies. Above, people congregate outside of Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar in Brooklyn, where state officials halted a planned 10,000-person wedding in October 2020. (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

 

Nita Lowey said Gov. Cuomo should remain in office while an independent investigation into sexual harassment accusations is ongoing.

Lowey, long known as a champion of women during her 32 years representing Westchester and Rockland counties in Congress, said the charges against Cuomo deserve to be heard.

“Attorney General Letitia James has appointed two outstanding attorneys to conduct an independent investigation,” she said in a statement. “At least until they have reported their conclusions, the Governor should remain in office.”

At least six women have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment in the workplace and inappropriate touching.

Lowey did not seek reelection in November and retired.

A new study confirmed that gatherings one year ago during the week of Purim served as COVID-19 superspreader events.

The peer-reviewed study by four Orthodox Jewish physicians concludes that the coronavirus was spreading widely in Orthodox communities across the country last spring around the Jewish holiday — before public health warnings were given about the dangers of large assemblies.

The paper suggests that the infection rates in Orthodox communities in the early stages of the pandemic were higher than in surrounding communities, something the authors attribute to the highly social nature of the Orthodox community.

Lessons learned: “There should be specific recommendations for each religious and ethnic community,” said Dr. Israel Zyskind, a pediatrician in Brooklyn and one of the authors. “They should be culturally sensitive, which is not something we’ve seen with the pandemic, especially early on.”

A Capitol rioter was heard asking “Where’s the big Jew?” while searching for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Schumer was evacuated to a secure location during the Jan. 6 insurrection and only later found out about the anti-Semitic rioter pursuing him, The New York Times reported.

Orthodox rabbis who support Jewish pluralism signed a letter endorsing a recent Israeli Supreme Court ruling liberalizing the state’s rules for Reform and Conservative converts to Judaism.

“We share the broad Zionist commitment to Israel as both a Jewish and a democratic state,” the letter says. “This decision strengthens the democratic character of the state by treating all Jewish denominations as equal in this particular matter.”

The signers are members of the liberal Orthodox Torat Chayim organization, though they stressed they were speaking as individuals. Local signers include Rabbis Yitz Greenberg, Marc Angel, Michael Chernick, Steve Greenberg, Avram Mlotek and Rabbanit Rachel Keren.

Forget what you read in The New York Times: Food and Wine lists “The Best Bagels in America” and New York bakers still dominate the list.

Who made the cut: Absolute Bagels (Manhattan), Bagel Hole (Brooklyn), Bagel Oasis (Queens), Bergen Bagels (Brooklyn), Bo’s Bagels (Harlem), Ess-A-Bagel (Manhattan), Gertie (Brooklyn), Murray’s Bagels (Manhattan), Sadelle’s (Manhattan) and Tompkins Square Bagels (Manhattan).

Still, writer David Landsel says he found excellent bagels around the country, from California to South Dakota: “I’m a native New Yorker, but if it isn’t already clear, I don’t believe the city deserves any kind of preferred status. Being blindly pro-New York does nobody any favors.”

The Workers Circle welcomed news that the Biden administration would stop enforcing the 2019 “public charge” restrictions on green cards.

The policy, a centerpiece of former President Trump’s efforts to restrict legal immigration, denied green cards to immigrants relying — or at risk of relying — on public benefits, like food stamps.

The Workers Circle, the NY-based social action and Yiddish culture group, said the rule had discouraged immigrants from seeking public health and other essential services.

“We applaud the Biden Administration for making good on its promise to end Trump’s racially motivated wealth test,” Workers Circle CEO Ann Toback said in a statement.

New York Public Library staff has compiled a list of recent books that “reflect the diversity of the Jewish faith and experience.”

Featured authors include Etgar Keret, Ilana Masad, David Adjmi and Talia Levin. There are also recommendations for children’s and young adult books. Find the list here.

Passover

Shorefront Jewish Community Council’s annual Passover Food Package Distribution begins today and will run from 9:30 am – 2:00 pm at 3014 Brighton 6th Street in Brighton Beach. Additional distributions will be held on March 18 and 25. The program is expected to serve 1,000 indigent individuals throughout the month. “This endeavor is intended to enable those who are in serious need (exacerbated by COVID-19) to experience a measure of relief and personal uplift while observing the joyous days of Passover,” said Rabbi Moshe Wiener, executive director.

Chef Beejhy Barhany of Tsion Cafe in Harlem will offer a Passover cooking class next week. On Monday, March 15 at noon, Barhany will lead one of six online cooking lessons being offered by The Nosher. She will make Ethiopian Kik Alicha (yellow split pea stew) and share stories about traditional Ethiopian Passover traditions. Find out more about the series here.

My Jewish Learning hosts a two-part class with Noam Zion, author of the popular Haggadah “A Different Night,” on the evolving role of the Seder leader and hands-on ideas for maximizing participation at this year’s Seder. Today and March 18, 1:00 pm. Register here.

Comedian Joel Chasnoff and friends have created a “Digital Haggadah” for this year’s Pesach. Videos by a diverse cohort of rabbis, cantors, and teachers from across the spectrum of Jewish education offer a “Masterclass” about the holiday, its customs and its messages. Pay what you wish, with 50% of money raised going to Mazon and Leket Israel Foodbank.

Streaming Today

Deborah Feldman leads a virtual talk on her book, “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots,” hosted by Congregation Tifereth Israel in Glen Cove. Feldman’s book, published in 2012, was the basis for the 2020 Netflix series “Unorthodox.” RSVP for a Zoom link to office@ctionline.org. 1:00 pm.

How are innovative Jewish educators shining a light beyond COVID-19? Join 2021 Robert M. Sherman Young Pioneers Awardees — DiCo DiColandrea, Melissa Hume, Dammara Kovnats Hall, Pamela Schuller, and Avi Siegel — in conversation with The Jewish Education Project’s CEO David Bryfman to hear how they are helping their communities build for a brighter tomorrow. Register here. 7:30 pm.

Comedian, actor and writer Michael Ian Black, in “A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son,” offers a thoughtful and personal appraisal of the complicated meaning of masculinity in our times. The book blends memoir and advice, written with both weight and wit. Cost is $8 member / $10 non-member. Go to Commonpoint Queens to register. 7:30 pm.

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