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NJ teen plotted synagogue attacks • Lakewood kids wear racist Purim costumes • Where to get your kosher BBQ
Daily Update

NJ teen plotted synagogue attacks • Lakewood kids wear racist Purim costumes • Where to get your kosher BBQ

Men dressed in costumes celebrate Purim in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, Feb. 28, 2021. (Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images)
Men dressed in costumes celebrate Purim in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, Feb. 28, 2021. (Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images)


A New Jersey teen admitted to organizing the vandalism at two Midwestern synagogues.

Richard Tobin, 19, of Brooklawn (that’s near Philadelphia) admitting on Friday that he coordinated members of the neo-Nazi network The Base in a plot he called “Operation Kristallnacht,” the Associated Press reported.

In Sept. 2019 attacks, a synagogue in Hancock, Michigan, was daubed with swastikas and SS symbols, and a synagogue in Racine, Wisconsin, was defaced with an anti-Semitic slogan and the insignia of The Base.

Related: A Colorado man who prosecutors say is a self-identified neo-Nazi was sentenced to more than 19 years for a plan to blow up one of the state’s oldest synagogues.

A local NAACP chapter complained that Jewish children in Lakewood, N.J. dressed in racist costumes during Purim.

The chapter is seeking a meeting with leaders of the township’s large haredi Orthodox community, saying children wore blackface, Afro wigs and “Black Lives Matter” sweatshirts during Friday’s celebrations.

On Sunday, the Lakewood Vaad, or rabbinical association, issued a statement, first reported by The Lakewood Scoop, condemning the wearing of blackface and explaining the religious and evolving cultural context for the celebrations.

Related: Zev Eleff, associate professor of Jewish history at Touro College, recalls how the annual Purim Ball became an institution for the 19th century’s New York Jewish elite. Fun fact: New York statute forbade masquerades, so the event was publicized to wealthy New Yorkers as a “Fancy Dress Ball.”

Susan Feingold, a Holocaust survivor who created preschool programs that changed the lives of thousands of New York children, has died at 95.

The New York Times said Feingold died Sept. 27 at her home on the Upper West Side, although it was not widely reported at the time. Feingold launched the Bloomingdale Family Program for underprivileged kids in the 1960s, which grew to include three early childhood centers in Upper Manhattan, including its first site on Columbus Avenue.

Born in Germany to a wealthy family, she was sent to England through the Kindertransport children rescue effort, and arrived in New York in the mid-1940s.

Dr. Robert Lefkowitz, Bronx-born physician and scientist who won the 2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry, has written a memoir.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Stockholm: The Adrenaline-Fueled Adventures of an Accidental Scientist” recalls his journey from Bronx High School of Science and Columbia University to groundbreaking discoveries of the nature of hormone and drug receptors.

In his first-person biography on the Nobel website, Lefkowitz notes that in 2012, he was the 39th graduate of a New York City public high school to win a Nobel Prize — and one of 35 who are Jewish.

The Wall Street Journal profiles Izzy’s Brooklyn Smokehouse, the kosher barbecue restaurant on the Upper West Side.

Owner Izzy Eidelman said he opened his new Manhattan location “because it allowed him to tap a solid market of observant Jews on the Upper West Side and it also brought him closer to patrons in some parts of New Jersey and New York.”

In Other News

Israel’s defense minister blamed Iran for the explosion that damaged an Israeli-owned cargo ship in the Gulf of Oman early Friday morning.

Israel’s attorney general froze plans to supply Palestinians with the COVID-19 vaccine, saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had skipped over mandated legal steps to issue the decision.

Kentucky became the first state to officially adopt a definition of anti-Semitism that has ignited debates worldwide over the extent to which criticism of Israel should be considered anti-Semitic.


Join 70 Faces Media for a week of special reflections and conversations to mark “one year in” to our collective pandemic experience in the U.S. Today, hear from rabbis from across the Jewish spectrum as they offer guidance for sustaining ourselves during these times. Register here. Noon.

With only four active members living in their city, it would be easy to overlook the only synagogue in Selma, Alabama. Over the last five years, ethnographer Dr. Amy Milligan has worked alongside of the remaining members of the congregation, capturing their stories. The Carolina Center for Jewish Studies presents Milligan in a lecture about being Jewish in a small community in the Deep South. Register here. 7:00 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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