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Right spins Antifa theory around Jewish rioter • Phil Spector dies • MLK Jr. Day events
Daily Update

Right spins Antifa theory around Jewish rioter • Phil Spector dies • MLK Jr. Day events

Rabbi Jordan Hersh has been deployed as part of the Maryland Army National Guard to the U.S. Capitol since a mob of Trump supporters stormed it on Jan. 6, 2021. (Courtesy of Hersh)
Rabbi Jordan Hersh has been deployed as part of the Maryland Army National Guard to the U.S. Capitol since a mob of Trump supporters stormed it on Jan. 6, 2021. (Courtesy of Hersh)

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Jewish Week is closed; see below for community events.

Right-wing figures on Twitter, including Donald Trump Jr., are promoting the dubious idea that Aaron Mostofsky, the Orthodox Jewish man who joined the Capitol mob last week wearing fur pelts and a bulletproof vest, was a left-wing agitator.

The accounts cite Mostofsky’s registration as a Democrat in making the case that he is associated with Antifa, the loosely organized leftist anti-fascist group that right-wing media has sought to blame for the Capitol violence, JTA reports.

The FBI has found no evidence of Antifa involvement in the mob, but the idea has taken root in many right-wing circles. Mostofsky, 34, is the son of Kings County Supreme Court Judge Steven Mostofsky. Both are registered Democrats, but members of Brooklyn’s Orthodox community often register as Democrats to vote in the primaries. His brother and father have both led right-wing Jewish groups.

More insurrection news:

Scrutiny falls on Jewish-run donor-advised funds after a donor associated with San Francisco’s Jewish federation funneled $100,000 to the Tea Party Patriots, a group that helped fund the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the appearance of a “punk” wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” T-shirt week was a factor in her decision to order an investigation and a potential 9/11-type congressional commission to examine the riots.

Rabbi Jordan Hersh, a chaplain in the Maryland Army National Guard, talks about his role as one of more than 20,000 National Guard troops who have amassed in the nation’s capitol in advance of Inauguration Day.

The national Jewish fraternity AEPi responded to complaints that the CEO of its foundation Andrew Borans, is also on the advisory council of Turning Point USA, a conservative student group that enthusiastically supported the pro-Trump rally that preceded the Capitol riots.

Read a statement by an Orthodox rabbi in Teaneck, NJ, who changed his congregation’s “Prayer for the Government” to omit the traditional blessing for President Trump.

Technology company GitHub apologized for firing a Jewish employee who cautioned his colleagues about the presence of Nazis in Washington on the day of the assault, TechCrunch reported.

Phil Spector, the massively influential rock composer and producer who murdered a woman and spent his declining years in jail, died at 81 of Covid-19 complications.

The Bronx native, who grew up in Los Angeles, made his name as a producer whose distinction was the “Wall of Sound” — pop songs with layers on layers of instruments and vocals. The Crystals, the Ronettes, the Righteous Brothers and Darlene Love were all products of his factory, and the giants of the era, including the Beach Boys and the Beatles, admired and emulated him. Classics he produced and co-wrote include “Be My Baby,” “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” and “Then He Kissed Me.”

He was tried twice and convicted in 2009 in the second-degree murderof  Lana Clarkson, an actress who worked as a hostess at a nightclub, He was sentenced to 19 years to life.

MLK Jr. Day Events

UJA-Federation of NY, in partnership with The Shalom Hartman Institute, is streaming a morning of learning in honor of MLK Day, with leading scholars about Judaism, justice and our role in pursuing a more equitable world. A panel discussion will bring together a diverse group of advocates for racial equity who will discuss the moral imperative to end systemic racism and pursue justice in our country and throughout the world. Register here.  9:00 am – 12:00 pm.

Kehillat Tikvah: A Jewish Community of Hope presents its

7th Annual MLK Jr. / Mitzvah Day of Service, with virtual events split into three sections: a coronavirus and vaccines update, workshops in Zoom break-out rooms, and a special remembrance of Rep. John Lewis. Register here. 11:00 am.

Met Council presents a “Day of Service to New Yorkers in Need,” with emergency food packaging for Holocaust survivors. Four shifts are available with limited space, beginning at 10:00 am. Volunteers must register online.

UJA-Federation presents a panel of teens from Westchester County and around the country honoring the memory of Dr. King. Moderated by Rabbi Isaiah Rothstein, the panel will include professionals from Tzedek America, Etgar 36, and JYCA (Jewish Youth for Community Action). 1:00 pm.

Marlene Meyerson JCC streams “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” with a conversation about the documentary with Wanda Mosley, senior state coordinator, Black Voters Matter and Myrna Perez, director voting rights and elections, the Brennan Center for Justice. The conversation will be moderated by Brittany Luse, co-host of The Nod podcast. The screening is the closing night event in The Cinematters: NY Social Justice Film Festival, presenting films that, in the spirit of Dr. King’s legacy, promote social action that leads to positive change. Tickets $5. 6:00 pm.


National Library of Israel presents Richard Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford and author of “Burning the Books: A History of the Deliberate Destruction of Knowledge,” in conversation with Dr. Raquel Ukeles, Head of Collections, National Library of Israel. Opening remarks by Neil Wigan, British Ambassador to Israel. Register here. Today, 1:00 pm.

UJA Young Leaders presents Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, Chief Rabbi of the United Arab Emirates, in conversation with Her Excellency Shamma Al Mazrui, UAE minister of state for youth affairs. Al Mazrui, who was the youngest minister in the world when she was appointed at 22 years old, will share her perspective on the landmark peace agreement and its broader implications for the region. For more information, visit here. Jan. 18, 8:30 am.

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