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NY burial societies ready to assist Florida’s Jews • New Yorkers thank Israel’s outgoing president • Harvey Keitel plays Meyer Lansky
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NY burial societies ready to assist Florida’s Jews • New Yorkers thank Israel’s outgoing president • Harvey Keitel plays Meyer Lansky

American Jewish community leaders gathered at Manhattan's Moise Safra Center to thank President Reuven Rivlin for his service on behalf of the State of Israel and world Jewry, June 27, 2021. (@PresidentRuvi, via Twitter)
American Jewish community leaders gathered at Manhattan's Moise Safra Center to thank President Reuven Rivlin for his service on behalf of the State of Israel and world Jewry, June 27, 2021. (@PresidentRuvi, via Twitter)

 

Good morning, New York. We and our partners at the Jewish Telegraphic Agency are following the tragic story of the Florida building collapse. Check in here for updates throughout the day.

SURFSIDE TRAGEDY

Hundreds of burial society volunteers in New York have signed up to travel to Florida if they are needed to care for the bodies of the victims of the building collapse in Surfside.

  • After more than 100 hours since the collapse of the Champlain Towers, more than 150 people are unaccounted for, including at least 35 members of the local Jewish community.
  • “I have eight children of my own, and thinking that children were sleeping in those beds over there, it’s heartbreaking. But somebody’s got to do the work, so that’s what we’re here for,” Rabbi Mayer Berger, who leads the New York-based Chesed Shel Emes burial society, told our partners at JTA.

In a Jewish Week essay, novelist Thane Rosenbaum, who grew up a few blocks south of Surfside, describes the role the Miami area plays in the Jewish imagination, now and then, and how a civic disaster there feels like a family tragedy here.

  • Quotable: “Miami Beach has served as a refuge for some, and as a playground for others. An infinite coastline of condos always seemed to be rising from the sand. Today, unimaginably, we know that one can come crashing down.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

In a video message Friday, Curtis Sliwa responded — but didn’t apologize for — remarks some considered antisemitic.

  • Sliwa, the Guardian angels founder and Republican nominee for New York City mayor, had given a speech in 2018 warning that Orthodox Jews were trying to “take over your community” and are a drag on the tax system.
  • Agudath Israel of America, the Haredi Orthodox group, called his remarks “age-old misrepresentations and distortions that those who hate Jews have used for centuries.”
  • In a response on video, Sliwa invited Orthodox Jews to sit down with him to “resolve our differences.”

An explosion outside a synagogue in Queens frightened worshippers Friday night, but police said there’s no clear connection to the shul or indication that it was targeted.

  • Police said two people in a van tossed a firework out their window during a fight with another person in front of the Bukharian Torah Society in Kew Gardens shortly after 8:30 p.m., The New York Post reports.

Outgoing Israeli President Reuven Rivlin bid farewell to the American Jewish community at an event Sunday in Manhattan.

  • Jewish leaders gathered at the Moise Safra Center to thank Rivlin for his service, the Times of Israel reports.
  • Rivlin, president since 2014, repeated his notion that Diaspora Jews are the “fifth tribe” of Israel, and thus “an integral part of Israeli society.”
  • Rivlin, 81, will be succeeded by Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog in the largely ceremonial position next month.

Chuck Schumer asked the British government to prevent doctors from taking a 2-year-old Jewish girl off life support.

  • Background: Alta Fixsler has been on life support in a Manchester hospital since her birth due to natal complications. Her Haredi Orthodox parents want to take her abroad for treatment after medical authorities decided to take her off the machines keeping her alive.
  • Quotable: “I urge that all health decisions that are against the wishes of the family be suspended until the citizenship process is complete and Alta can travel to the U.S. with her U.S. citizen father, Mr. Abraham Fixsler,” the New York Democrat wrote.

NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea visited Manhattan’s Park East Synagogue Saturday to address efforts by the NYPD and FBI to combat antisemitism in New York City.

REMEMBERING

Rabbi Reuven Bulka, who served as spiritual leader of Ottawa’s Congregation Machzikei Hadas for 48 years, died of cancer Sunday in New York. He was 77. Known to some as “Canada’s rabbi,” Bulka founded Kind Canada, a non-profit that encourages kindness, and led Holocaust memorial efforts. He moved to New York to be closer to his five children following a cancer diagnosis earlier this year.

THE ARTS

Harvey Keitel plays the Jewish gangster Meyer Lansky in a new film.

  • The Jewish actor and New York native was a student of Lee Strasberg, the legendary acting coach who played a character based on Lansky in “The Godfather Part II.”
  • The director is Israeli-born New Yorker Eytan Rockaway, whose father Robert, a historian at Tel Aviv University, wrote a history of Jewish mobsters. 
  • Lansky, who arrived in New York from Russia in 1911, operated criminal rackets from Miami to Las Vegas to Cuba.

THE NOSHER

Rainbow sprinkle-covered chocolate pretzels from Fatty Sundays. (Fatty Sundays via Nosher)

Our partners at The Nosher highlight three Jewish, New York-based, female-owned bakeries ready to ship their signature sweets anywhere in the U.S.

  • Shop Fatty Sundays’ complete collection here. Order your Baked By Melissa cupcakes here. And find Dani Beckerman’s handcrafted dessert jars here.

WHAT’S ON TODAY

92Y presents “Understanding The New Israeli Government, Prospects For Peace, And The Role Of The U.S.,” with Aaron David Miller, Khalil Shakiki and David Horovitz in Conversation with Elise Labott. Tickets: $10. 1:00 pm.

Professional genealogist Janice Sellers will show you how to research your historical LGBTQ+ relatives. Register for this Center for Jewish History event here. 2:00 pm.

Dr. Raymond Scheindlin will touch on both the external and internal journeys of Hebrew poet Judah Halevi through his letters and poems. Register for this Jewish Theological Seminary event here. 2:00 pm.

The 23rd annual Funniest Jewish Comedian contest concludes tonight, with up-and-comers and special guest comedians from “SNL,” Comedy Central and HBO. Broadway Comedy Club, 318 W 53rd St. Buy a ticket online or at the box office. 6:30 pm.

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