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Satmar leader ill with Covid, Trump’s debate remarks alarm GOP, why your shul video went dark on Yom Kippur
Daily Update

Satmar leader ill with Covid, Trump’s debate remarks alarm GOP, why your shul video went dark on Yom Kippur

Artist Marilee Shapiro Asher, seen at her home in Washington, D.C., in 2015, survived both the Spanish flu in 1918 and Covid-19. She died this week at age 107.  (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Artist Marilee Shapiro Asher, seen at her home in Washington, D.C., in 2015, survived both the Spanish flu in 1918 and Covid-19. She died this week at age 107. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

A major leader of the Satmar chasidic community was put on a ventilator Wednesday morning after becoming critically ill with COVID-19.

Flyers circulated online calling for prayers for Mayer Rispler, a community leader in the Aronim faction of the Satmar community, according to Yeshiva World News.

An accountant by trade, Rispler has long been one of the community’s most important leaders and a major donor to Satmar institutions. He has also served as a spokesperson for the community at times.

In April, after a large funeral prompted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to lash out at the community in a widely criticized tweet, Rispler defended the mayor and called for compliance with government health regulations.

Related: CNN  reports that large Orthodox Jewish communities in New York have seen “startling rises” in Covid-19 cases and test positivity rate in recent weeks.

Perspective: An editorial in Brklyner says Orthodox Jews are being unfairly singled out for the rapid increase in the infection rates in what they call the “Ocean Parkway Cluster.”

The rabbinic leadership of Israel’s Sephardic Orthodox Shas party called for prayer services to be held outdoors to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

It marked the first time that the Shas Council of Torah Sages has ordered the closure of all synagogues since the start of the pandemic, Haaretz reported.

On Tuesday, the Committee of University Heads in Israel announced that the academic year for colleges and universities would begin with online remote learning, Channel 12 reported.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, called it “unacceptable not to condemn white supremacists,” following President Trump’s failure to do just that during Tuesday night’s presidential debate.

McConnell did not mention the president by name, but joined a number of Republican figures alarmed by the president’s failure to disavow the Proud Boys and other extremists who support him, The New York Times reports.

Related: Joe Biggs, a Florida-based organizer of the Proud Boys, the far-right organization told by President Trump during the debate to “stand back and stand by,” said the group was encouraged by Trump’s comments during Tuesday’s presidential debate.

Deborah Lipstadt and Abraham Foxman defended Joe Biden’s comment that President Trump is “sort of like Goebbels,” the Nazi propaganda minister.

Lipstadt, a Holocaust historian, said it was fair game for the candidate to warn about the “use of hatred for political purposes and the numerous signs that Donald Trump is doing the same.” Foxman, the former national director of the ADL, said the intensification of hatred, including the rise of anti-Semitic attacks and attacks on other minorities, did not have to rise to the level of Nazism to set off alarms, JTA reports.

The Republican Jewish Coalition has called on Biden to retract and apologize for his reference to Goebbels, and condemned a new 30-second ad released Tuesday by the Jewish Democratic Council of America that draws parallels between the rise of fascism in Germany and the Trump presidency.

Israel delivered the first of two Iron Dome missile defense system batteries to the U.S. Army.

The U.S. and Israel signed an agreement for the purchase of two batteries a year ago from its developer, the Haifa-based firm Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.

Synagogues across the country vented their anger at the web services company Shul Cloud after their websites went dark on Erev Yom Kippur.

The outage came just as countless congregants were preparing to tune in virtually to what is normally one of the most well-attended synagogue services of the year, JTA reports. Shul Cloud declined to specify how many synagogues were affected by the outage this week, but announced  Wednesday that it was taking steps to shore up its systems.

Shul Cloud provides  tech services to about 1,200 synagogues around the world. Parent company CEO Neil Platt acknowledged that the company had made mistakes in its planning, attributing it to the unprecedented nature of a mostly online Yom Kippur and the surge in web traffic it generated.

A 6-year-old Australian boy who sings “Avinu Malkeinu” in a viral video joined the virtual Yom Kippur services at New York City’s Central Synagogue.

Bibi Shapiro led the congregation in the iconic High Holiday song at the invitation of Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, who was touched by the passion Shapiro brought to his performance.

A new book explores how American Jewish philanthropy grew into a multibillion dollar “complex” in ways that aligned it with American capitalism – and not always for the better.

The Jewish Week interviews the author, historian Lila Corwin Berman, who warns that Jewish endowment funds capture capital in ways that may not be fully in the public interest.


Miriam Levinger, 83, who with her late husband Moshe led a return by Jews to Hebron after the 1967 Six-Day War, has died. In 1979 she led a group of women who holed up in Hebron’s Beit Hadassah and demanded that Jews be permitted to settle within the city itself. About a year later, in the wake of the murder by Arab terrorists of six yeshiva students in an ambush, the government gave in and allowed the establishment of the Jewish settlement of Hebron.

Singer Helen Reddy, a Grammy Award winner for the feminist anthem “I Am Woman” that soared to No. 1 in the early ’70s, has died. Reddy, who converted to Judaism before marrying her second husband, was 78.

Marilee Shapiro Asher, an acclaimed artist who survived both the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and Covid-19, has died at age 107. Asher made national headlines in May when she survived Covid-19.

Around the Agencies

The Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion has received a major gift in memory of Dr. Jack Gottlieb, an internationally recognized composer of Jewish liturgical music and choral, opera, theater, and orchestral works. The gift from the Theophilous Foundation, which was established by Gottlieb’s bequest, will create the Dr. Jack Gottlieb Jewish Music Studies Endowment Fund. It will promote and nurture the development of music for the synagogue. “A Celebration of the Legacy of Jack Gottlieb, z”l, in Honor of His 90th Birthday” will take place on Oct. 13 at noon.

The Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America have provided a detailed document with their guidance for synagogues for Sukkot and Simchat Torah in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Streaming Today

The Workers Circle presents a special Jumpstart Justice for the Sukkot holiday: Protect Farmworkers Ahead of the Harvest, featuring Gerardo Reyes Chavez of the Florida-based Coalition of Immokalee Workers on the upcoming harvest during Covid-19. Learn about the issue and take action for these workers in under 15 minutes. 2:00 pm.

The Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County presents “The Latin American Response to the Holocaust: The Examples of the Dominican Republic and Mexico,” honoring Hispanic Heritage Month with a presentation by Christina Chavarria, Coordinator of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Conference for Holocaust Education Centers. She will draw from the USHMM archives to reveal how the Dominican Republic and Mexico responded to the events in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. (This program is co-sponsored by the Nassau County Office of Hispanic Affairs, the NAACP Freeport Roosevelt Branch #2147, and La Fuerza Unida.) 6:00 pm.

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