The Jewish Week is always here for you.
We need your support now.
Your contribution will help us bring you vital news
and frequent updates about the impact of COVID-19.
Riverdale vandal strikes again • Met Council hosts mayoral forum • French Jews demand justice
Daily Update

Riverdale vandal strikes again • Met Council hosts mayoral forum • French Jews demand justice

The NYPD responds to a series of attacks on synagogues in Riverdale, April 27, 2021. (NYPD via Twitter)
The NYPD responds to a series of attacks on synagogues in Riverdale, April 27, 2021. (NYPD via Twitter)


The suspect in a string of attacks at synagogues in Riverdale struck again, smashing windows at the Riverdale Jewish Center early Monday morning.

The 50th Precinct and the Hate Crimes Task Force are looking for what they think is a single suspect after rocks were thrown and windows smashed at four synagogues, including the RJC, over the weekend. The latest attack came despite a beefed-up police presence, ABC 7 reports.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea visited the crime scenes on Monday, tweeting, “There is no place for hate in NYC — @NYPDHateCrimes detectives are relentlessly investigating every one of these crimes.”

Reactions: Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that law enforcement not only has “a solid lead on the vile acts of anti-Semitism in the Bronx,” but will also “take swift action against the perpetrators.”

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., Rep. Jamaal Bowman, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, and Councilman Eric Dinowitz all condemned the vandalism.

UJA-Federation tweeted: “We are outraged by the heinous, hate-filled acts of vandalism directed at the Riverdale Jewish community.” The philanthropy thanked the Riverdale Y, the Community Security Initiative and volunteers from the Community Security Service “for their responsiveness and continued vigilance.”

Mayoral candidates talked food distribution, COVID recovery, schools and control of the subways at a forum sponsored by the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.

Politico’s Sally Gold moderated Monday’s virtual forum with Eric Adams, Andrew Yang, Ray McGuire, Kathryn Garcia, Shaun Donovan and Scott Stringer.

Yang argued the city should take over the subway system, while McGuire pushed back that New York couldn’t absorb the multi-billion dollar operating deficit on its own. Donovan touted his experience on housing and homelessness, and Garcia, who served as the mayor’s “food czar” early in the pandemic, noted that it is “astonishing that food is something that we have to actually talk about in the 21st century. We had a million people, pre-COVID, who were food insecure. We’re now over 2 million people food insecure.”

Adams seconded calls for police reform, but also said the next mayor can’t lose sight of the “uptick in gun violence or the unsafe communities that many people are experiencing.” Stringer put in a word for teachers, saying he is a public school parent who has struggled with his kids’ remote learning during the pandemic.

Watch a video of the forum here.

After seven years of lobbying by rabbis and other clergy and activists, New York State will end the use of long-term solitary confinement in prisons and jails.

In a Jewish Week essay, Rabbi Lester Bronstein of White Plains says the passage of The HALT Act — Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinemen — is a victory for Jewish values. “Solitary confinement is nothing short of torture,” he writes. “It leaves devastating mental, physical and psychological scars.”

A new biography asks how a gay, Jewish, German scientist survived the Nazis, and how his research may solve a mystery of cancer.

The Jewish Week talks to Sam Apple, the author of the forthcoming “Ravenous: Otto Warburg, the Nazis, and the Search for the Cancer-Diet Connection.” Warburg, he says, “hated the Nazis, but for not entirely the right reasons.”

What Else

Protesters at the largest Jewish gathering in France in at least a decade demanded justice for Sarah Halimi, after judges determined that her killer was unfit for trial because of the marijuana he smoked before the anti-Semitic attack.

Anti-Semitic incidents barely decreased in the United States in 2020, according to the Anti-Defamation League, but the number of anti-Semitic assaults fell sharply and no one was killed in an anti-Semitic attack.

Jewish groups welcomed President Biden’s decision to designate the Turkish massacres of Armenians during World War I a genocide. The same groups, fostering ties between Israel and Turkey, weren’t always enthusiastic about the designation.

Mandy Patinkin broke down in tears when he learned that he lost family in the Holocaust on ‘Finding Your Roots.’

People and Places

The Orthodox Union Women’s Initiative’s annual Leadership Summit, focusing on how to reimagine leadership and community in a post-pandemic world, continues today with workshops on the important role women play in the reengagement process. To register for the virtual summit, visit here.

Streaming Today

Dr. Wendy Lower’s new book “The Ravine: A Family, a Photograph, a Holocaust Massacre Revealed” explores the new understandings about the Holocaust unlocked by a rare photograph. Join Lower for a discussion about the book and her research with Paul Salmons, a Holocaust education specialist and a curator of the Museum of Jewish Heritage’s “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away” exhibition. Register here. 2:00 pm.

Inter-ethnic violence in Jerusalem came to a head last week with a far-right riot and attacks directed against Palestinian residents of the city. This followed escalating attacks by Palestinians against Jews, and Jews against Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. These events will be analyzed by Lior Schillat, Director General of the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research in a discussion arranged by Israel Policy Forum. To register, click here. 2:00 pm.

Many composers of operas have turned to themes and subjects of Jewish history, legends and sacred as well as secular literature. YIVO presents a panel discussion with four prominent composers of operas of Jewish experience: Ofer Ben-Amots, David Schiff, Bruce Adolphe and Alex Weiser. Librettist Ben Kaplan will also join the panel, introduced and moderated by YIVO’s Anne E. Leibowitz Visiting Professor-in-Residence in Music Neil W. Levin. Register here. 7:00 pm.

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership’s 2021 Critical Conversations series, “Jews and Race,” includes presentations by anti-racism activist Yavilah McCoy, Dr. Marc Dollinger of San Francisco State University and Rabbi Mira Rivera of New York’s Romemu. The two online sessions are “Talking Frankly about Race and Racism,” on April 27, and a “Workshop on Equity and Allyship,” on May 10. Tickets $18 ($10 for Spertus members/$8 for students and Spertus alumni). The two sessions are ticketed separately, and advance registration is required. 8:00 pm.

On May 5 at 11:30 am., UJA-Federation and The Jewish Week present award-winning authors Roya Hakakian and Ruby Namdar in conversation about their experience immigrating to America, what they miss about their homelands, their literary lives and the Jewish ideal of welcoming the stranger. Moderated by Sandee Brawarsky. Register here.

read more: