Michael Abramowitz, the president of the nonprofit Freedom House, says President Trump’s attempt to hold on to power despite his election loss is “a tactic of authoritarian leaders.”
In an interview with The Jewish Week, Abramowitz says the potential to erode American democracy is very real, but he is optimistic that our systems are resilient. “But we can’t be complacent about this, and when you see things happening around the election it is important that people speak out.”
Ron Klain, President-elect Joe Biden’s new chief of staff, was raised in a Jewish family in Indianapolis.
JTA profiles Klain, who was chief of staff for Biden when he was vice president in the Obama administration, and for Vice President Al Gore during the Clinton years.
In a video event with his old synagogue, he compared the Covid-19 pandemic to the plague of the firstborn from the Passover story.
Former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind has released a book lambasting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s performance during the coronavirus epidemic.
In “Lessons in ‘Leadership,’” Hikind accuses Cuomo of singling out Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn, like Borough Park, which Hikind represented for over 30 years, and enforcing disproportionate pandemic restrictions there.
A longtime conservative Democrat who endorsed Donald Trump for president, Hikind has taken to calling the governor “King Cuomo” — suggesting measures taken by Cuomo to slow the spread of the coronavirus are autocratic.
In May, Hikind complained that Mayor Bill de Blasio was too slow in cracking down on large public functions in Orthodox communities like Williamsburg.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to visit a West Bank settlement winery and the contested Golan Heights during a visit to Israel next week.
A stop in Psagot would make Pompeo the first U.S. secretary of state to visit a settlement and the Golan on an official visit to Israel, the Times of Israel reports.
Context: Some officials and analysts are worried — and others are hopeful — that Trump will use the last 10 weeks of his term to grant more favors to Israel and Netanyahu — especially on Iran and on Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
A Greek newspaper with a record of anti-Semitism attacked Pfizer’s Jewish CEO and compared him to the Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele.
Albert Bourla, a Greek Jew from Thessaloniki, leads the NY-based pharmaceutical company which announced that it has developed a vaccine for the coronavirus that is 90% effective. The newspaper, Makeleio, called the vaccine “poison.”
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs both condemned the publisher.
Related: Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said his ministry was poised to sign a deal today with Pfizer for the purchase of millions of doses of its coronavirus vaccine, amid indications they could arrive by the first quarter of 2021. But some experts warn that there are significant questions about the logistics of procuring and distributing a vaccine, including cooling and transportation.
Republican Jews know that Biden’s agenda on Iran, Israel and other issues is not their own, and that he has the power to make changes even with the check of a Republican-majority Senate. Priority one, writes Joshua Hammer, is to hold the line against the Democratic Party’s far-left progressive wing.
Succession is a theme of this week’s Torah portion, Chayei Sarah. “With Rebecca in the picture as the new matriarch,” writes Jerome A. Chanes, “the succession is wholly secure and the covenantal transmission can proceed.”
More wisdom: Success in life means saying “I can” when others say “we can’t,” writes Rabbi David Wolpe.
Around the Agencies
Building Together, a nonprofit organization dedicated to forging connections between Palestinian and Israeli farmers and nurturing their joint economic development, has named Roland Lewis as its first president and chief executive officer. Lewis is the founding president and CEO of the Waterfront Alliance, and the former executive director of Habitat for Humanity NYC.
Repair the World and Hillel International are collaborating to mobilize thousands of college students in volunteer service and learning through the national Serve the Moment initiative. About 100 Hillel “Campus Corps Members,” with the resources of the Jewish Service Alliance, will engage in 10 hours of service/week and will lead service efforts addressing four key areas—hunger, education, employment, and mental health. The program will offer training, resources, and best practices.
The Boston Jewish Film Festival, the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, and the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies present a conversation about the 2019 Israeli TV series “Unchained,” with creator/director Tamar Kay, lead actress Avigayil Koevary and Dr. Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, Shulamit Reinharz Director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. in “Unchained,” Rabbi Yossef Mourad works for Israel’s rabbinical courts, tracking down husbands who refuse to give their wives a get, the document required to grant women Jewish divorces. Moderated by Boston Jewish Film Artistic Director Ariana Cohen-Halberstam. Panel and screening included with purchase of ticket or all-access pass. $15. Sunday, Nov. 15, 11:30 am.
Workers Circle is hosting a live, Yiddish “schmooze” with renowned klezmer musician Daniel Kahn, a composer, playwright, activist and Yiddishist. At this special Yiddish-language schmooze, participants will meet Daniel and his family, learn his personal story of becoming a Yiddish performer, and enjoy some of his favorite songs while engaging in Yiddish conversation. Sunday, Nov. 15, 2:00 pm.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust presents a live performance by the klezmer-rock band Golem, a leading re-interpreter and innovator of Yiddish and Eastern European music. Founded by Annette Ezekiel Kogan in New York City, Golem is known for its theatrics and wild energy, combined with a boundless love of tradition. Audiences can register and watch here. Suggested donation is $20, with a minimum contribution of $5 and a maximum of $40. Sunday, Nov. 15, 7:00 pm.
Candlelighting, Torah Readings
November 13, 2020
Cheshvan 26, 5781
Light Shabbat Candles: 4:21 pm.
Shabbat Ends: 5:21 pm.