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Resident, firefighter dead in blaze at kosher senior home • Netanyahu victory is razor-thin • Actor George Segal dies
Daily Update

Resident, firefighter dead in blaze at kosher senior home • Netanyahu victory is razor-thin • Actor George Segal dies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, vote in Jerusalem on March 23, 2021. (Marc Israel Sellem/Flash90)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, vote in Jerusalem on March 23, 2021. (Marc Israel Sellem/Flash90)


Exit polls from Israel’s election show Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a good chance of being reelected — but by the narrowest of margins.

Netanyahu’s Likud is expected to be the largest party, with 31 to 33 seats — slightly smaller than its current size of 36. The next-largest party is projected to be the centrist Yesh Atid, an opponent of Netanyahu, with 16 to 18 seats, also slightly smaller than its current 19 seats.

Analysis: “Tuesday also marked a more profound failure for Netanyahu than Likud will admit,” writes Haviv Rettig Gur. Despite successes in battling COVID, major peace agreements with the Gulf states and a rebounding economy, “every member party in the outgoing government except Shas shrank in size.”

Related: Reform Rabbi Gilad Kariv, number four on the Labor Party list, made history by becoming the first non-Orthodox rabbi elected to serve as an Israeli lawmaker.

One resident and one volunteer firefighter died in a massive blaze that destroyed a kosher adult home in Spring Valley.

More than 100 residents of the Evergreen Court assisted living facility were evacuated by firefighters and police during Tuesday morning’s fire; about two dozen residents were rescued and several were seriously injured, reports.

Volunteers from Hatzolah, the Jewish emergency medical service, were among the first responders, according to ABC New York. Rockland County has a large Orthodox Jewish community.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla spoke of his sudden “rock star status” as the leader of a company that developed a COVID-19 vaccine in record time.

Bourla — a Greek Jew — spoke Wednesday at a webinar arranged by UJA-Federation of New York. “It’s something that I was not ready to deal with,” he said of his new-found fame. But the “overwhelming gratitude” of people who write and thank him “brings tears to my eyes.”

“I had the same feeling of relief and liberation and that’s only when I realized how much it meant to them,” he said. “And I consider that a blessing.” 

Carol Ackerman, a Rockland County EMT, lost her father to COVID early in the pandemic, but still sees at least one suspected COVID patient every shift. 

Her story is one of several in a series looking back at a year into the pandemic. Read how Sasha Kopp, a community education consultant for the Jewish Education Project, has been helping Jewish day schools in the greater New York City area pivot to teaching outside of the classroom.

The German government is providing $13.5 million to get Holocaust survivors to COVID-19 vaccination locations around the world.

The new Holocaust Survivor Vaccine Assistance Program (HSVAP) will be administered by the New York-based Claims Conference, which announced the program today, through its network of more than 300 agency partners.

Funds will cover the costs of organizing vaccination appointments, transporting seniors to and from appointments, and coordinating follow-up care and counseling as needed.

Slate profiles the Brooklyn Orthodox activists who consider far-right conspiracist and Georgia lawmaker Marjorie Taylor Green an “ally.”

Yechezkel Moskowitz and Nachman Mostofsky — directors of the Orthodox pro-Trump Chovevei Zion group that gave her a tour of Brooklyn last week — “just want her to understand that they are on her side,” writes Joshua Shanes.

Jewish federation leaders in Virginia objected to a planned campus talk at Virginia Commonwealth University by Peter Beinart, the liberal Zionist and professor at the Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY.

Beinart spoke Tuesday at the invitation of VCU’s Center for Judaic Studies. The Jewish Community Federation of Richmond complained that Beinart is a frequent critic of the Israeli government and said the “other side” should be presented as well, The Washington Post reports.


During the pandemic, Esther Sperber’s synagogue has been welcoming Shabbat with an outdoor service, on a paved plaza beside Riverside Drive. Amidst the sorrow and pain of the past year, she writes, “The reclaiming of public space has been one of the surprising joys of the pandemic.”


George Segal, one of the screen’s biggest stars in the 1970s when he starred in a string of lighthearted adult comedies, has died. He was 87. Born in Great Neck, Long Island and trained at the New York theater Circle in the Square, Segal scored hits in nearly every decade of his career, including “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” (1966), “A Touch of Class” (1973), the long-running NBC series “Just Shoot Me” (1997 to 2003) and as grandfather Albert “Pops” Solomon on “The Goldbergs” (since 2013). He also starred opposite Ruth Gordon in Carl Reiner’s 1970 comedy “Where’s Poppa?”, a dark, twisted satire of the mother-son bond and New York City life.

People and Places

The Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an interfaith organization founded by Rabbi Arthur Schneier, presented its 2021 World Statesman Award to Shinzo Abe, the former prime minister of Japan, and its 2021 Appeal of Conscience Award to Dr. Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO of Pfizer. Watch the 56th Annual Appeal of Conscience Awards here.


The Nosher’s series of Passover workshops continues with Israeli pastry chef Lior Mashiach, showing how to prepare a non-dairy Passover Pavlova with jam and berries. Today at 10:00 am. Register here.

Streaming Today

Jewish Federations of North America presents a post-election analysis of Tuesday’s national election in Israel with Lahav Harkov, senior contributing editor at The Jerusalem Post. Register here. 2:00 pm.

Historian and author David Nasaw will discuss the gripping yet little-known story of the million displaced persons left behind in Germany following the end of World War II in a Zoom program hosted by the Center for Jewish History. Register here. 4:00 pm.

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