Write On For Israel, The Jewish Week’s Israel advocacy program for high schoolers, is launching its 19th year by making the most of virtual technologies. Read how our organizers and educators are adapting to the Covid era.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted on Tuesday that for him “there is no difference if it’s a Republican or Democratic administration.”
Netanyahu, who was sometimes criticized for his doting treatment of Trump and the GOP, thanked Donald Trump for his robust support throughout his presidency during a Knesset speech before a vote ratifying the country’s recent peace agreement with Bahrain. He also applauded President-elect Joe Biden for pledging to support the peace deals that the Trump administration helped broker between Israel and two other neighboring Arab states.
Background: Biden’s victory “effectively downgraded Israel’s ranking on the list of United States foreign-policy priorities, diminished Mr. Netanyahu’s stature on the global stage and undercut his argument to restive Israeli voters that he remains their indispensable leader,” according to The New York Times.
Perspective: Columnist Joshua Hammer has advice for Republican Jews who fear “that Biden’s agenda on Iran, Israel and other issues is not our own, and that he has the power to make worrisome changes even with the check of a Republican-majority Senate.”
A New York man upset with the election results has been arrested for threatening to kill protestors, cops and “the Jew Senator from Jew York,” presumably Sen. Chuck Schumer.
On Tuesday, the FBI arrested Brian Maiorana, 54, from Staten Island, for a series of social media posts in which he advocated “extermination of anyone that claims to be democrat…as well as their family members,” according to a federal complaint.
He had a semiautomatic gun and ammunition at home, according to the FBI.
Related: Schumer was unanimously reelected leader of the Senate Democratic caucus Tuesday. In a Senate speech, he blasted Republicans for standing by President Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud and refusing to accept the outcome of the presidential election.
Perspective: Five rabbis, including Shmuly Yanklowitz of New York’s Uri L’Tzedek: Orthodox Social Justice, called on clergy of all faiths to speak out in defense of truth and democracy. “At several times during the presidential campaign, President Trump refused to commit to accepting the outcome of the election should Joe Biden prevail,” they write in the Forward. “Members of the Republican party who are complicit with this strategy of President Trump, either by echoing these allegations or by their silence, must be repudiated by every patriotic American.”
Joel Kolko, a Brooklyn rabbi who was accused of molesting students at the yeshiva where he taught for years, died of Covid-19 while in Israel.
The New York Post, could not confirm his date of death but, citing charedi media, said he had been visiting Israel when he fell ill and died at age 74.
Multiple former students of Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Brooklyn accused Kolko of molesting them over the years and, in 2016, the yeshiva paid $2.1 million to two former students who accused Kolko of sexual assault. The boys were 6 years old at the time of the abuse.
The Trump administration formally notified Congress on Tuesday that it plans to sell 50 stealth F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates as part of a broader arms deal worth $23 billion.
Top Democratic lawmakers object to a rushed process at the end of the Trump administration, and Israel, which has the F-35, has “long tried to block any other country in the Middle East from getting it.” The administration denies that the arms package is a direct reward for the UAE’s role in a peace accord with Israel, and says the deal strengthens a Sunni axis against Iran.
Two administrators at a Reform synagogue in Newton, Mass., revealed their identities as the anonymous creators of RogueShul, a parody Twitter account that chronicled the lives of synagogue administrators and poked gentle fun at the foibles of American Jews.
Ellie Klein Goldman and Caroline Dorn, the executive director and membership director, respectively, of Temple Shalom of Newton, announced that they were closing down the popular account after four years. “We didn’t want to be in a place where it was no longer fun or meaningful,” Dorn told JTA.
Israel Horovitz, author of dozens of internationally successful plays, died Monday at his home in New York from cancer at the age of 81. Horovitz, whose best-known plays include ”Today I Am a Fountain Pen” and “The Indian Wants the Bronx,” was accused in 2017 of sexual misconduct by nine women going back to 1986.
David Shneer, a Jewish studies professor at the University of Colorado known for his creative approach to the arts and visual culture, died last week at 48 following a decade-long battle with brain cancer.
Shneer, who focused largely on Russian Jewish history, was a co-founder of Jewish Mosaic, the Jewish LGBTQ organization that later merged with Keshet, where he served on the board.
Knee-jerk criticism of “the media” feeds the cynical notion that the truth is impossible to know, because all the messengers are ostensibly unreliable. In fact, writes Andrew Silow-Carroll, the editor in chief of The Jewish Week, “there are plenty of outlets doing the hard work of getting things right, shining light in dark places, telling the stories the powerful don’t want us to hear and the powerless need telling.”
Around the Agencies
Jennifer Gross, the CEO of American Friends of Tel Aviv University, marked her one-year anniversary in the post by announcing a record-breaking year of fundraising. She raised $38.6 million dollars, or $3.6 million over a $35 million goal, according to AFTAU. The university booked 29 gifts ranging from $250,000 to $10 million dollars, including 11 gifts of $1 million or more.
UJA-Federation presents a panel discussion on how Jewish day school communities have been affected by the pandemic, the challenges they face, as well as the opportunities that have arisen. With Dr. Michael A. Kay of The Leffell School, Rabbi Joshua Lookstein of Westchester Day School and Dr. Rivka Press Schwartz of SAR High School. Moderated by UJA’s Chavie N. Kahn. Register here. 7:00 pm.