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Steve Bannon protege to manage Netanyahu’s campaign • The Covid death of a Jewish prisoner • Meet Amazon’s new Jewish CEO
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Steve Bannon protege to manage Netanyahu’s campaign • The Covid death of a Jewish prisoner • Meet Amazon’s new Jewish CEO

The death of an elderly Jewish prisoner this month at Woodbourne Correctional Facility in Sullivan County, above, has focused attention on the impact of Covid-19 on the incarcerated. (PrisonInsight.com)
The death of an elderly Jewish prisoner this month at Woodbourne Correctional Facility in Sullivan County, above, has focused attention on the impact of Covid-19 on the incarcerated. (PrisonInsight.com)

 

The U.S. House of Representatives stripped Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican affiliated with the often anti-Semitic QAnon conspiracy theory, of her committee memberships.

The two Jewish Republican House members, Lee Zeldin of New York and David Kustoff of Tennessee, were not among the 11 Republican representatives voting with the Democrats to penalize Greene.

Greene’s “violent rhetoric, islamophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, and blatant disrespect for the truth cannot be tolerated,” tweeted Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY). “I’m proud to join @HouseDemocrats in voting to remove @RepMTG from committees.”

Related: In 2018, Greene “liked” a tweet that implicated Israel’s spy agency in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) is among a slate of Democrats and Republicans behind a bill that would fund U.S.-Israel partnerships in treating PTSD.

The Long Island lawmaker is among four sponsors of the bill, introduced Thursday. It would establish a grant program for American universities and nonprofits to team up with Israeli counterparts to research post-traumatic stress disorder.

Zeldin, the lead spokesman on Israel issues for Republicans, said in a release, “It’s estimated that 20 US veterans per day take their own life, oftentimes due to the invisible wounds of war and we cannot afford to waste any time. Inspiring further research collaboration between our two nations will establish an international brain trust invaluable to the service members of both our great countries.”

A Jewish Amazon executive from Scarsdale will succeed Jeff Bezos as the CEO of the company.

Andy Jassy, a confidante of the Amazon founder, grew up in Scarsdale, the son of Everett and Margery Jassy, and married his wife, Elena Caplan, in a Jewish ceremony in California in 1997. At the time, her father was president of what was then called the Jewish Television Network.

Jassy, 53, a Harvard Business School graduate who worked at Amazon since 1997, is behind the most profitable part of Amazon’s business model: cloud computing.

Bezos, who will become executive chair of Amazon, said he wanted to free up more time to work on outside projects.

More CEO news: CNN President Jeff Zucker told staffers he plans to step down at the end of the year.

Lawyers seeking to expand vaccine eligibility for prisoners in New York state are citing the case of an elderly Jewish inmate who died of COVID-19.

Ira Goldberg, 72, a Brooklyn native who was serving a seven-year minimum sentence for burglary at the upstate Woodbourne Correctional Facility, died on a ventilator on Jan. 4. He suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, asthma, chronic renal failure and high blood pressure, according to his lawyers.

“He was legitimately very scared for his life and deeply concerned that the prison seemed to have no idea what they were doing as the virus spread,” Alexandra Mitter, a lawyer for the Center of Appellate Litigation, told Gothamist, a New York City news website.

Mitter’s group and others are suing and pressuring New York state to give people in its prisons and jails access to vaccines in accordance with guidance from the American Medical Association.

Related: Manhattan’s Congregation Beit Simchat Torah sponsored a letter signed by 120 clergy pressing Gov. Cuomo to include inmates in the state’s vaccine plan, as 27 other states have done.

The head of one of New York’s largest Jewish charities wants food pantry workers to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccines.

David Greenfield, the CEO of Met Council, said pantry workers should be treated like public-facing supermarket staff, who are currently eligible for the vaccine in New York State.

“These pantry workers are people who interact with hundreds of people every day at their own risk and literally hand the food to the neediest New Yorkers,” Greenfield said in a statement. “They deserve to be given immediate access to the vaccine.”

Albany-area pantries are also pushing for their workers, who are mostly volunteers, to get vaccinated.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s newest campaign manager is a Yeshiva University graduate and protege of Steve Bannon.

Aaron Klein is a former reporter for the right-wing Breitbart News site who worked with Bannon on Trump’s first presidential campaign.

Klein is the author of “The Manchurian President: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists, Socialists and Anti-American Extremists.”

Netanyahu had previously hired Trump campaign veterans Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie but fired them after only a month.

In Other News

A Northwestern University neuroscientist who caused controversy with a series of racist, misogynist and anti-Semitic social media posts killed himself.

More than 170 entertainment industry leaders, including Tiffany Haddish, Mayim Bialik and Nick Cannon, have signed onto a Black-Jewish Entertainment Alliance to foster dialogue and mutual understanding.

A Jewish lawmaker in Ukraine has initiated impeachment proceedings against the country’s Jewish president.

Despite its vaccination successes, experts in Israel say reopening the country will still take months, complicated by coronavirus mutations that have spread from Britain and South Africa, a refusal among some sectors to adhere to safety rules and wobbles in the pace of vaccinations of people under 60, the Times of Israel reports.

Shabbat Shalom

How do we heal the deep elements of resentment and radicalism that are set on tearing the fabric of the nation apart? This week’s Torah portion suggests that there “is holiness in collaboration, in bringing people together and in building community rather than shunning it,” writes Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz.

More wisdom: In an age when “menial” jobs are newly understood as essential work, Rabbi David Wolpe discusses Jewish tradition’s “many regulations about the dignity and proper treatment of workers.”

Around the Agencies

The Covenant Foundation announced that Harlene Winnick Appelman will be stepping down as executive director on Jan. 1, 2022. Joni Blinderman, who has been the associate director of the foundation since 2006, will succeed her. The foundation, a program of the Crown Family Philanthropieshas provided more than $37 million to support Jewish education in North America, and each year awards the prestigious Covenant Awards for top Jewish educators.

Streaming

NCJW-NY presents a webinar on the ins and outs of the COVID vaccine and getting vaccinated in NYC, with Dr. Susan Ball, M.D., professor of internal Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and Director of the Bernbaum Unit, Center for Special Studies at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Register here. 10:00 am.

Join the Jewish Week, UJA-Federation and Central Synagogue on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 1:00 pm as we present Rabbi Steve Leder, the senior rabbi of L.A.’s Wilshire Boulevard Temple, discussing his new book, “The Beauty of What Remains: How Our Greatest Fear Becomes Our Greatest Gift.” He’ll talk to Abigail Pogrebin about how to think about loss, and what we can learn from it. Register here.

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