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Tensions on Lebanon border, Israeli Covid wards at capacity, teachers plan a virtual semester
Daily Update

Tensions on Lebanon border, Israeli Covid wards at capacity, teachers plan a virtual semester

Smoke billows from the Sheba Farms area in southern Lebanon following border clashes between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, July 27, 2020. (Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty Images)
Smoke billows from the Sheba Farms area in southern Lebanon following border clashes between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, July 27, 2020. (Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty Images)

Good morning! The Daily Update has a new format, focusing on general interest stories in the New York Jewish community and beyond as well as the latest in coronavirus news. Have a tip or comment? Send it to

The Israeli army said Monday it had foiled an attempt by Hezbollah to infiltrate into Israel from Lebanon, adding that all residents of the border area had been ordered indoors for an hour after an exchange of artillery fire between the two sides, Haaretz reports.

The military on Tuesday remained on high alert amid fears that Hezbollah would try again. Tensions ratcheted up after the Iran-backed Hezbollah appeared to seek revenge for the killing of one of its members in Syria last week in an airstrike it attributed to Israel.

Coronavirus wards at four of Israel’s largest hospitals are full, with a fifth nearing total capacity.

The Health Ministry also recorded general overload in the hospitals, with two major Jerusalem medical centers and the largest hospitals in Tel Aviv and nearby Ramat Gan operating near or above full capacity, the Times of Israel reports.

Over 700 Covid-19 patients are currently hospitalized around the country, including 317 listed in serious condition, about one-third of whom are on ventilators.

Related: A union representing Israeli event hall owners threatened on Tuesday to reopen for business next week in defiance of government orders. They join restaurant owners and other businesses accusing the government of failing to provide adequate compensation for roughly five months of closure aimed at stemming the coronavirus outbreak.

Related: Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau on Monday issued special instructions ahead of Tisha B’Av, saying coronavirus patients shouldn’t fast on the day of mourning, which will begin on Wednesday evening.

An Iranian-Jewish “progressive prosecutor” wants to be Manhattan’s next district attorney. 

Tali Farhadian Weinstein, 44, stepped into the city’s crowded district attorney’s race last week with a vision for “progressive prosecution” — or what she says is applying the office as a lever to both improve public safety and increase equity.

“Pursuing cases that don’t advance public safety and that might actually perpetuate injustice instead, like racial disparities or criminalized poverty, those are things that we should stand down from,” Farhadian Weinstein told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

A former general counsel to the Brooklyn district attorney, Farhadian Weinstein came to the United States as a child from Iran, via Israel, after the Iranian revolution and now lives on the Upper East Side with her husband, hedge fund founder Boaz Weinstein, and their three children. A Rhodes Scholar, her resume includes clerkships with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and others. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, with whom Farhadian Weinstein worked at the Department of Justice, narrated a video announcing her campaign. The election is next year.

A campaign ad for a Republican Senate candidate in Georgia appeared to have been altered to make his Jewish opponent’s nose look bigger.

Sen. David Perdue of Georgia deleted the Facebook ad targeting his Jewish election opponent, Jon Ossoff. After three graphic design experts told the Forward that the image of Ossoff appeared to have been altered, the Perdue campaign called the effect an accident and said they were removing the ad from the social network.

“Anybody who implies that this was anything other than an inadvertent error is intentionally misrepresenting Senator Perdue’s strong and consistent record of standing firmly against anti-Semitism and all forms of hate,” a Perdue campaign spokesperson said.

Around the Agencies

Nearly 100 Jewish day school teachers gathered online for a two-week summit, sponsored by Hidden Sparks, to discuss the critical issues impacting struggling students following a disruptive spring semester. (Courtesy)

Nearly 100 teachers from Jewish day schools in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida and Arizona are gathering online for a two-week summit to discuss the challenges associated with distance learning and virtual classrooms for atypical learners. The event is hosted by Hidden Sparks, a nonprofit training Jewish day school teachers of struggling students, in partnership with Bank Street School of Education.

Participants noted that the spring 2020 semester, held under lockdown, was particularly challenging for children who struggle in the classroom and require individual attention and learning plans.

“One of the most important lessons emerging from this pandemic is the critical importance of classrooms that are socially and emotionally attuned,” said Hidden Sparks Executive Director Debbie Niderberg, in a statement. “Though our teachers did a fantastic job pivoting in the spring, students have experienced loss, anxiety and disorientation and teachers will have to be equipped first and foremost with how to welcome students back in the fall – either onsite or remote, and how to support them.”

Olami has announced Walk to Israel — a global challenge to inspire Jewish communities to raise funds for Jewish organizations around the world. During the event, individual walkers will need to cover 100 miles on foot  over 30 days, or 10,000 steps a day. Each team will cover the distance from the Diaspora to Israel and raise funds to support local Jewish organizations around the world. Any Jewish charity or non-profit, including schools, synagogues and youth groups, can create their team on and invite people to join as team members. Each team member will be able to set up a personal fundraising page and ask family and friends to sponsor them on their journey.

The challenge will launch with an online Worldwide Warm Up on Sunday, Aug. 2,  at 2:00 PM


The Zionist Organization of America Sovereignty Series presents Rabbi Jeremy Gimpel and Rabbi Ari Abramowitz, co-founders of Arugot Farms, discussing the importance of the Judean Hills to the Jewish people and Israel’s safety. Tuesday, July 28 at 1 p.m.

T’ruah presents its final Call of Justice virtual action this season on Tuesday, July 28 from 2:30-3:00 p.m. Following words of Torah from Rabbi Stephanie Kolin of Union Temple in Brooklyn, participants will call members of Congress to urge them to pass legislation to support frontline essential workers who are risking their lives on a daily basis during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jewish Labor Committee presents a Tisha B’Av Memorial to Frontline Workers Lost to Covid-19 event. Speakers include Sara Nelson, President, Association of Flight Attendants; Jean Ross, RN, President, National Nurses United; Mona Darby, a poultry processing worker; Rabbi Barbara Penzner, Temple Hillel B’nai Torah of West Roxbury, Mass., and Stuart Appelbaum, President, RWDSU and President, Jewish Labor Committee. Tuesday, July 28 at 4:00 p.m.

The ZBT fraternity presents “Social Identities and Systems of Oppression,” July 28, 8:30 p.m. Through personal assessment, group discussion, and multimedia, participants will learn about social injustice, discrimination and oppression. Participants will dialogue about oppression and their sense of responsibility to effect social change. Presented by Antonio M. Young, Zeta Alpha (Florida State University), 1998.

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