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Orthodox mob attacks reporter, Pence and Harris spar over white supremacy, Jewish poet wins Nobel
Daily Update

Orthodox mob attacks reporter, Pence and Harris spar over white supremacy, Jewish poet wins Nobel

From left: Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan at the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, Oct. 6, 2020. (Michele Tantussi/Pool/Getty Images)
From left: Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan at the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, Oct. 6, 2020. (Michele Tantussi/Pool/Getty Images)

Reporter Jacob Kornbluh, a member of the chasidic community in Borough Park, was cornered and threatened by an Orthodox Jewish mob protesting new Covid-19 restrictions.

Video shows Kornbluh, a reporter for Jewish Insider, surrounded, struck and called a “moser,” or traitor, by a group led by Heshy Tischler, a local figure who has become a leader of the movement to defy Covid restrictions. Kornbluh said he planned to press charges, JTA reports.

The incident comes one day after another a member of the chasidic community was beaten up and hospitalized after taking videos of Tuesday night’s protests.

Tischler publicized the gathering  on social media Tuesday night and Wednesday as a show of civil disobedience to counter new restrictions announced by Gov. Cuomo in areas with upticks in cases of Covid-19.

Related: Following the previous night’s unrest in Orthodox Brooklyn neighborhoods, Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio urged unity and avoided singling out violations in Jewish communities, but vowed to enforce social distancing and mask-wearing regulations.

Twitter: President Trump weighed in on NYC’s Covid crackdown in Brooklyn, appearing to compare it to the actions of Nazi Germany.

Vice President Mike Pence and California Sen. Kamala Harris sparred over Donald Trump’s attitude toward white supremacists during Wednesday night’s vice presidential candidates’ debate.

Harris, Joe Biden’s running mate, said that Trump “refused to condemn white supremacists” during last week’s debate with Biden, and noted that Biden entered the race in part because of Trump’s equivocation when he was asked to condemn the deadly 2017 neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia. Pence denied that Trump equivocated, and noted that Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner and their children are Jewish.

Pence also noted that Trump had moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Harris brought up Trump’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal, arguing that it undermined alliances. Pence said the deal emboldened and enriched Iran, “the leading state sponsor of terrorism.” JTA has a wrap-up.

Rep. Lee Zeldin, one of only two Jewish Republicans in the House, faces a tough reelection campaign on eastern Long Island.

The Jewish Week’s Hannah Dreyfus reports that his Democratic opponent, newcomer Nancy Goroff, is in a dead heat with the three-term congressman. Zeldin is out front on Israel issues, but is closely aligned with President Trump at a moment when the president is trailing in the polls.

“Riding the president’s coattails may have been advantageous in previous elections, but that is not the case right now,” said a local rabbi.

The Nobel Prize for literature was awarded to American Jewish poet Louise Glück.

The Swedish Academy cited Glück “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.” Born in New York City in 1943, Glück has sometimes drawn on Jewish myths and images in her work,  including “The Triumph of Achilles” (1985) and “The Wild Iris” (1992), which is told in the voice of a Hebrew prophet. It won the Pulitzer Prize.

In a historic meeting, the foreign ministers of Israel and the United Arab Emirates met in Berlin and visited the city’s main Holocaust monument together on Tuesday.

Less than a month after signing a peace deal that normalized relations between the Middle Eastern neighbors, Israel’s Gabi Ashkenazi and the UAE’s Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan walked through the large monument of concrete blocks symbolizing the Jews killed by the Nazis in a meeting that was both symbolic and productive — according to reports, the pair discussed trade and tourism issues.

“I salute the souls of those who fell victim to the Holocaust,” Al Nahyan wrote in the monument’s guestbook, according to The Times of Israel. He also quoted from a Jewish prayer translated into Arabic: “May their souls be bound up in the binds of life.”

In another show of solidarity, the world’s tallest building, located in Dubai, the UAE capital, erected a sukkah this week, the Associated Press reported. Jews construct the hut structures as part of the Sukkot holiday, which continues through the end of this week.

The Trump administration’s top Middle East envoy led a successful effort to circumvent pandemic restrictions and bring to the United States 100,000 etrogs, or citrons, for New Yorkers observing Sukkot.

Fox News reported Wednesday that Avi Berkowitz contacted Italian authorities and asked them to lift restrictions preventing kosher supervisors from entering the country and overseeing the etrog crop. An official told JTA that the talks culminated in allowing the supervisors to enter Italy, where they inspected the fruit.

“We are extremely grateful to the Trump administration for immediately responding to our request for assistance,” Fox quoted Rabbi David Niederman, the president of United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn, as saying.

The rate of coronavirus infection spread is slowing across Israel, suggesting that a three-week lockdown is working.

Officials said the numbers are cause for “cautious optimism,” but maintain that the lockdown will remain in place until at least mid-October out of fears the trend may reverse.

Around the Agencies

The Orthodox Union Women’s Initiative is launching a podcast exploring ideas in the weekly Torah portion. The series will feature five  women scholars starting with Michal Horowitz’s exploration of Parshat Bereishit on Oct.14. The 10- to 15-minute podcasts will be geared toward learners of all levels. To subscribe to the weekly Torat Imecha parsha shiur, and to listen to archived podcasts, visit here.

Westchester Jewish Community Services has launched an Emotional Wellness College Initiative, providing Westchester college students access to evidence-based individual and family counseling and group counseling for a full range of presenting concerns, as well as WJCS’s specialized services for people with trauma, developmental disabilities, grief and bereavement, psychosis, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The initiative is a partnership with the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health. To learn more, contact William Mullane at

Streaming Today

The Workers Circle presents Jonathan Taubes, Social Justice Associate, in a program to demand the Senate act to provide adequate, comprehensive, and inclusive Covid-19 relief that supports immigrants and strengthens democracy. The event is free, but registration is required. Noon.

American Jewish University presents a conversation with American-Israeli rapper Nissim Blackwho was born a Muslim in Seattle, converted to Christianity at the age of 14 and by 2011 was on his way to becoming an Orthodox Jew. He will share his story of finding meaning and making space in the Jewish world, as well as offer a sneak peek of his new single. 3:30 pm.

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