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Schumer demands Trump’s removal • NY Jewish groups will rally for democracy • Jewish rioter is NY judge’s son
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Daily Update

Schumer demands Trump’s removal • NY Jewish groups will rally for democracy • Jewish rioter is NY judge’s son

Aaron Mostofsky, far right, the son of a New York judge, was one of the rioters who entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Screenshot from D.C. Police)
Aaron Mostofsky, far right, the son of a New York judge, was one of the rioters who entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Screenshot from D.C. Police)

Sen. Chuck Schumer said Donald Trump should be removed from the White House immediately.

In a statement, the soon-to-be Senate majority leader called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which would declare that the president is unable to perform his duties. If Pence fails to act, Schumer said, Congress should move to impeach Trump for a second time.

“What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the government. This president should not hold office one day longer,” Schumer wrote.

Thirteen days before the inauguration, the Republican Jewish Coalition recognized Joe Biden as president-elect.

In a statement Thursday condemning the rioting at the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, the group congratulates Biden and calls for a “peaceful transition of power.”

Other reactions: The New York Board of Rabbis signed an interfaith statement that, without naming Trump, calls on “our President and those in positions of leadership to create the common ground upon which we can respectfully disagree with one another without demonizing an opponent as the enemy.”

New York Jewish Agenda said its members “support efforts by Senator Chuck Schumer and many members of the NY congressional delegation to remove Trump from office immediately.” It also condemned “several U.S. Representatives from New York, who announced that they would support the demonstrably false claims of a stolen election and seek to overturn the will of the voters — a blatant violation of the oath they took to uphold the Constitution.” N.Y. Reps. Chris Jacobs, Nicole Malliotakis, Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin were among the 147 Republicans who voted to overturn the election results.

The Jewish Theological Seminary said that “a gradual but relentless tolerance of falsity has led us to this moment.”

Nearly two dozen New York Jewish groups will take part in an interfaith virtual vigil today “in support of democracy.”

The “We the People” vigil, organized by the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan in collaboration with NYJA and a multi-faith coalition, kicks off on Zoom at 3:00 pm. (Register here.) Speakers and performers include Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Mondaire Jones, Mandy Patinkin, Neshama Carlebach and Cantor Natasha J. Hirschhorn.

Among the rioters who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday is the son of New York Judge Steven (Shlomo) Mostofsky, former president of the National Council of Young Israel.

Aaron Mostofsky was photographed inside the building wearing fur pelts and a bulletproof vest and carrying a riot shield he said he found, according to Gothamist, citing the New York Post. He is one of dozens of “persons of interest” sought by Washington police for unlawful entry to the building.

Family ties: Mostofsky’s brother Nachman also attended the rally Wednesday but did not enter the Capitol. Nachman is the executive director of Chovevei Zion, a politically conservative Orthodox advocacy organization, as well as a Brooklyn district leader and vice president of the South Brooklyn Conservative Club.

Speaking to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Wednesday before his brother was identified as the man in the fur pelt costume, Nachman Mostofsky condemned the violence at the Capitol but suggested that it was carried out by the anti-fascist group Antifa — and said it was hypocritical to call out the violent protests in light of incidents of violence at the George Floyd protests over the summer.

“My brother did nothing illegal,” Nachman told Gothamist. “He definitely was not part of the riot.”

The Anti-Defamation League praised Facebook’s decision to block President Trump’s account until at least Jan. 21.

“Good on @Facebook for doing the right thing,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted. “I strongly implore @Jack [Dorsey, the Twitter CEO] and @Twitter to follow suit — and that it will be permanent. Based on his disgraceful actions, @realDonaldTrump does not deserve privilege of these platforms.”

Princeton historian Julian Zelizer believes Trumpism will outlive Donald Trump, despite the mayhem of the past week.

“Republicans might get a cleaned-up version, like a Sen. [Josh] Hawley, but Trump is in the DNA of the party or he wouldn’t have gotten 70 million votes in the last election,” Zelizer told The Jewish Week in an interview. “I’m not sure the GOP feels that if they continue this way they will suffer politically. Trump himself might disappear, but his style is not going anywhere.”

Anne Neuberger, a cybersecurity expert and Orthodox Jewish woman from Brooklyn, will be appointed to a new role on the National Security Council focusing on cybersecurity.

Neuberger, also known as Chani, is from Borough Park, where she attended the Bais Yaakov Jewish day school for girls, according to Yeshiva World News. She is a graduate of Touro College and Columbia University business school, and she worked in the White House Fellows program.

She will serve as deputy national security adviser for cybersecurity, where she will likely play a major role in responding to a Russian cyberattack from last year. Neuberger most recently ran the National Security Agency’s new Cybersecurity Directorate, according to Politico.

Editor’s Desk

Missing meaningful conversations during the pandemic? Andrew Silow-Carroll, editor in chief of the Jewish Week, suggests learning Torah with a friend with guidance from online study programs like Hadar’s Project Zug. “There’s something special about an hour or two just to ourselves, chatting about nothing and everything, and using Jewish text as a springboard for spontaneous interaction,” he writes.

Shabbat Shalom

Six women in this week’s Torah portion laid the groundwork for Jewish practice, liturgy and identity for generations to come, writes Daphne Lazar Price, executive director of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance. “The resilience, courageousness, fortitude, and bravery shown by these ancient women are met with generations of wonder and awe.”

More wisdom: Jewish time moves in a sort of spiral, writes Rabbi David Wolpe, in which we “return to where we were before, but never in the same place.”

Deaths

Howard I. Rhine, a graduate and trustee of the Yeshivah of Flatbush and a founder of the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs, died Dec. 27. He was 81. A law partner at the firm of Feder Kaszovitz LLP, he was an active member of Young Israel as well as the Orthodox Union, where he spearheaded a project to create cards for the IDF printed with the “Prayer for the Chayalim.” He is survived by his wife Miriam, children Keith, Wendy, and Gregory, a brother, Judah, and a sister, Mimi.

Streaming

National Library of Israel presents scholars Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler, discussing how and why Jews and Christians read many of the same Biblical texts – including passages from the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the Psalms – differently. The talk will examine a number of passages from the Hebrew Bible that are quoted in the New Testament, to show what the texts meant in their original contexts and then how Jews and Christians, over time, gave these same passages different interpretations. Register here. Sunday, noon.

American Sephardi Federation’s 4th Annual Ladino Day will include talks by Ruth Azaria, actor Hank Azaria’s mother, about growing up with Ladino; Rabbi Nissim Elnecavé on Ladino expressions; Ladino students on learning the language; writer Myriam Moscona; the premiere of a contemporary short play; and singer Daphna Mor. $15. Register here. Sunday, 2:00 pm.

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