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Orthodoxy’s ‘shy’ Biden voters • Jared and Ivanka switch Jewish schools • A rabbi remembers Alex Trebek
Daily Update

Orthodoxy’s ‘shy’ Biden voters • Jared and Ivanka switch Jewish schools • A rabbi remembers Alex Trebek

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE: Students at The Friedberg Jewish Community Center in Lynbrook marked Veterans Day by making cards to distribute to veterans, Nov. 11, 2020. (Courtesy)
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE: Students at The Friedberg Jewish Community Center in Lynbrook marked Veterans Day by making cards to distribute to veterans, Nov. 11, 2020. (Courtesy)

Some Orthodox Jews — especially younger ones — are turned off by their community’s embrace of Donald Trump.

“It blows my mind that so many highly educated people chose to vote in such an evangelical way,” a 30-year-old woman in Washington Heights told The Jewish Week, referring to the widespread, although not unanimous, support Trump received from New York’s Orthodox voters.

The “shy” Biden voters among the Orthodox say they feel alienated from their fellow community members, and disappointed that support for Trump became a badge of belonging.

RelatedRabbi Yosef Blau, the Senior Mashgiach Ruchani (spiritual advisor) at Yeshiva University, has written an essay saying support for Trump among the Orthodox comes with an “ethical cost.” “Pragmatic political alliances should not replace moral and ethical standards,” he writes. “When a religious community becomes committed to a problematic personality for practical gains, it risks losing its fundamental character.”

Benjamin Ginsberg, a veteran Republican election lawyer, said that the Trump campaign “was a long way from nowhere” in its quest to overturn the outcome of the election.

The CNN analyst, who was George W. Bush’s lawyer in the 2000 recount, has become perhaps the most vocal GOP critic of Trump’s quixotic attempt to deny the 2020 election results.

“To win cases, they have to put enough results into play to change the outcome of the election in individual states and in none of the suits they have filed around the country are they anywhere close to doing that in any state,” Ginsberg said on CNN’s “The Situation Room.”

Related: Alaska’s Senate race was called a week after polls closed, and Al Gross, the bear-killing Jewish doctor and Democrat, fell short in his bid to unseat the incumbent Republican, Dan Sullivan.

Meanwhile, in Georgia: Pro-Israel voters are debating the Israel views of the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the Democrat seeking to unseat Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a January run-off. Detractors point to Warnock’s past statements in deep sympathy with the Palestinian cause. Supporters, including Jewish leaders in Atlanta, say that he is a staunch supporter of Israel who believes in a two-state solution to the conflict that brings justice and security to both sides. JTA reports.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump pulled their children out of a Jewish day school after an outbreak of Covid-19 cases in and around the White House.

Sources say parents at the Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital objected that the president’s daughter and son-in-law were not complying with the school’s coronavirus protocols, JTA reports. Parents were particularly alarmed after the Sept. 26 ceremony at the White House nominating Amy Coney Barrett for the U.S. Supreme Court, now seen as a “super spreader” event for the virus.

The children now attend a different day school, the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy in suburban Maryland.

RelatedThe number of Israelis diagnosed with the coronavirus rose to its highest daily value in over a week; the government is mulling evening curfews as one way to bring virus cases back down. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Israel was set to sign an agreement with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer within days for a potential coronavirus vaccine, hours after holding two phone calls with the firm’s CEO. Times of Israel reports.

One of the leaders of the Proud Boys, the far-right group that President Donald Trump told to “stand back and stand by” during a presidential debate, is trying to rebrand the organization as explicitly white supremacist and anti-Semitic.

Kyle Chapman, the founder of a “tactical defense arm” of the Proud Boys known for engaging in street violence, claimed in a message on the encrypted chat app Telegram that he has staged a “coup” against the current leader of the Proud Boys — a Black man named Enrique Tarrio.

“We will confront the Zionist criminals who wish to destroy our civilization,” Chapman wrote after using other bigoted language. “We recognize that the West was built by the White Race alone and we owe nothing to any other race.”

Several young women are being heard in their effort to end a Jewish youth group culture that they charge is rife with toxic masculinity, misogyny and sexual pressure.

In a piece published in September in eJewish Philanthropy, the six co-authors describe a “rampant heteronormative hookup culture and hyper-sexualization” in Reform, Conservative and pluralistic Jewish youth groups. Since then, The Times of Israel reports, a number of youth groups have reached out to the women and announced policies and efforts to address what some had previously dismissed as “teens being teens.”

A rabbi who competed on ‘Jeopardy!’ remembers Alex Trebek as a mensch who loved learning “for its own sake.”

Rabbi Joyce Newmark was a “Jeopardy!” champion in 2011, and says the quiz show’s late host was “very kind. The show is not mean, and there are so many shows on TV now in which people are just mean.”

Newmark also tells The Jewish Week what it takes to compete — and win — on the iconic show.

The American editor of the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks remembers how he could tailor his wisdom to whatever audience he was addressing.

In an essay for The Jewish Week, Altie Karper, the editorial director of Schocken Books, recalls her long professional relationship with the former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, who died Saturday at age 72.

“Rabbi Sacks was my lodestar and role model for how to live a meaningful and righteous life in both the religious world and the secular world,” she writes. “I will miss him more than I can say.”


David Horovitz of The Times of Israel has advice for President-Elect Biden when it comes to the Middle East. “Where Israel and this region are concerned, the Trump administration bequeaths him a far more realistic approach than it inherited,” he writes. “While he settles in, he might want to consider a Middle Eastern diplomatic application of the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm.”

Around the Agencies

Repair the World and Hillel International are collaborating to mobilize thousands of college students in volunteer service and learning through the national Serve the Moment initiative. About 100 Hillel “Campus Corps Members,” with the resources of the Jewish Service Alliance, will engage in 10 hours of service/week and will lead service efforts addressing four key areas—hunger, education, employment, and mental health.  The program will offer training, resources, and best practices.

Streaming Today

The Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University presents “Books and Babies: Reproductive Literacy among Haredi Women in Israel,” with Dr. Michal Raucher, an assistant professor of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University. For her new book, “Conceiving Agency: Reproductive Authority among Haredi Women,” she conducted ethnographic research on reproductive ethics of ultra-Orthodox Jewish women in Jerusalem. Registration required. 12:00 pm.

The Jewish Museum invites educators and students for an online screening of “They Ain’t Ready for Me,” a fan-favorite at the 2020 New York Jewish Film Festival. The documentary tells the story of Tamar Manasseh, a Black rabbinical student who is combating gun violence on the South Side of Chicago. The screening will feature a live Q&A with director Brad Rothschild and Manasseh. Film available for streaming November 9-12. Register here. 12:00 pm.

Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation and The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy present a discussion of “Anti-Semitism in the Academy” with ISGAP Senior Research Fellow Dr. Ellen Cannon and ISGAP Executive Director, Dr. Charles Asher Small. Register to receive the Zoom link. 8:00 pm.

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