Joe Biden’s Jewish supporters celebrated his victory in ways that reflected the uniquely anxiety-ridden and divisive nature of the 2020 presidential election.
Many joined the throngs that poured out onto New York City streets in celebration. One rabbi compared finding out the news of Biden’s victory to “that celebratory moment in the mythic Wizard of Oz” when the wicked witch is pronounced dead. “Evil, God willing, is losing its grip on our nation,” she wrote. The Jewish Week gauges reaction.
On the other hand: Meanwhile, messages casting doubt on the election results are circulating widely among Orthodox Jewish social media accounts, JTA reports. The memes reflect various and so far baseless accusations by the Trump campaign and Republican lawmakers that the election results are invalid. The social media posts also reflect the growing influence of the far-right media on the Orthodox community.
Denial: Two conservative Jewish organizations — the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Zionist Organization of America — will not call Joe Biden “president-elect” until legal challenges are settled, reflecting Trump’s refusal to concede.
A number of other mainstream Jewish groups have congratulated Biden, including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the American Jewish Committee and a number of Modern Orthodox and charedi Orthodox groups.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat died Tuesday due to complications from Covid-19 at the age of 65.
Erekat had been receiving treatment at Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem. Erekat was wedded to the idea that negotiations were a useful tool when other Palestinians felt he should have just walked out of the room.
The Jerusalem Post recalls his career.
Reaction: Yossi Beilin, a former Israeli cabinet minister and peace negotiator, calls Erekat’s death “a big loss for those who believe in peace, both on the Palestinian side and the Israeli side.”
New York State eased restrictions on parts of Brooklyn that had high Covid test positivity rates in early October.
Those “red zones” have been reduced to “orange”; one of the neighborhoods is Midwood, which has a sizable Orthodox population.
While some nonessential businesses in the orange zones are to reopen, schools remain closed. Religious services are restricted to 33% capacity, up from 25%, with a maximum attendance of 25 people, and mass gatherings can have 10 people at most. High-risk nonessential businesses like gyms and salons remain closed.
Black Lives Matter protests may have been a factor in a Staten Island congressional race, where Republican Nicole Malliotakis leads incumbent Democrat Max Rose by 58 percent to 42 percent with absentee ballots still uncounted.
Politico reports that Rose’s participation in a protest march in June after the death of George Floyd “made the already difficult task of running as a Democrat in the city’s most conservative borough all the harder.”
Rose, who is Jewish, has spoken out against defunding the police and has denounced Mayor de Blasio, but Malliotakis painted Rose throughout the campaign as anti-police.
European synagogues kept their lights on Monday night as part of a campaign that commemorates the 82th anniversary of the Nazi Kristallnacht pogroms.
Titled “Light Up the Synagogue” and “Let There Be Light,” the initiative came from the World Zionist Organization’s Center for Religious Affairs in the Diaspora, which in a statement urged community leaders to “leave the lights on to commemorate the ones that were extinguished on that fateful night, and the light they emit will shine to a distance.”
Several thousand people in Jerusalem on Monday joined a funeral procession for revered New York Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, in violation of restrictions meant to contain the coronavirus.
Police said two people were arrested for scuffling with officers and damaging a police car during clashes at the funeral. Feinstein died Friday at age 91.
Appreciation: Jonathan Boyarin, author of a recent book about Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem, Rabbi Feinstein’s Lower East Side yeshiva, remembered his late rebbe’s “extraordinary focus on study and his commitment to the welfare of the community.”
Around the Agencies
Rabbi Angela Buchdahl of Manhattan’s Central Synagogue is interviewed on the latest episode of the “Hearing” podcast, hosted by Manhattan D.A. candidate Tali Farhadian Weinstein. The two discuss the intersection of faith, personal identity and the fight for racial justice.
Eighty families will drop off ingredients for Thanksgiving baskets for families in need, homebound seniors and veterans at UJA-Federation of New York’s Families Helping Families event, tomorrow, Nov. 11 from 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m. at the Sid Jacobson JCC in East Hills. The baskets will contain all of the ingredients needed to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal for more than 400 Long Island families that receive services from UJA’s network of nonprofits.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder presented U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres with WJC’s highest honor, the World Jewish Congress Theodor Herzl Award, Monday evening. Guterres addressed world Jewry via his acceptance remarks.
American Friends of Combatants for Peace presents a discussion with policy experts to discuss the impact of last week’s election on the future of peace in the Middle East. Featuring Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace; Maya Berry, executive director of the Arab American Institute, and Galia Golan, a leading Israeli peace activist and scholar. Moderated by Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, the executive director of Churches for Middle East Peace. Co-hosted by The Foundation for Middle East Peace and Churches for Middle East Peace. Register here. 12:00 pm.
The Jewish Institute for National Security of America hosts a webinar with Natan Sharansky and Gil Troy discussing their new book detailing Sharansky’s years in prison and how it prepared him for a public life after his release. Moderated by JINSA President and CEO Dr. Michael Makovsky. RSVP here . 1:00 pm.
Israel Policy Forum presents a video briefing examining the impact of the American presidential election on Washington’s relationships with Israel and the Palestinians, featuring Policy Director Michael Koplow and Government Relations Director Aaron Weinberg. Register here. 2:00 pm.
Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust presents Ruth Zimbler, who will share her eyewitness account of Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass). Ruth was born in Vienna in 1928. On November 10, 1938, during Kristallnacht, she and her brother Walter watched the destruction of the largest synagogue in Vienna from their apartment. Ruth and Walter were on the first Kindertransport out of Vienna in December 1938. Their father, who worked for the Jewish Community of Vienna, facilitated the journey to den Haag, Holland. Ruth and her family eventually made it to New York in late 1939. Suggested donation: $10. 2:00 pm.
The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan will host the exclusive U.S. premiere screening of HBO Max’s drama series “Valley of Tears,” a harrowing, ten-episode drama series inspired by the true events of the 1973 Yom Kippur War in Israel. Ticketholders will receive a sneak preview of the first two episodes, to be accessed virtually, Nov. 8-10, ahead of the HBO Max debut on Nov.12. Tickets will also include access to a virtual live conversation with series creators and writers Ron Leshem, Amit Cohen and Yaron Zilberman on Tuesday, Nov. 10. Tickets for the virtual screening and live Q&A are available for $5 here. 6:00 pm.
Lower East Side Tenement Museum presents a free virtual talk with historian Ben Wilson, author of “Metropolis: A History of Humankind’s Greatest Invention,” in conversation with Danielle B. Wetmore, the museum’s Lead Educator of Specialty Programming. Guiding readers through 7,000 years and 26 world cities, Wilson’s new book shows how city living has allowed human culture to flourish. Register here. 7:00 pm.
The Department of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University presents Eran Kaplan, in a lecture that will explore the growing interest in religious themes in Israeli cinema and broader social and historical forces behind it. Kaplan is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Professor in Israel Studies at SFSU and the author, most recently, of “Projecting the Nation: Ideology and History on the Israeli Screen.” Register here to receive the Zoom link. 8:00 pm.