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Upper West Siders protest homeless hotels, Israel needs teachers, Trump raps Adelson
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Daily Update

Upper West Siders protest homeless hotels, Israel needs teachers, Trump raps Adelson

The Lucerne Hotel on W. 79th St. in  Manhattan was converted into a homeless shelter during the Covid-19 crisis. (Upper West Siders for Safer Streets)
The Lucerne Hotel on W. 79th St. in Manhattan was converted into a homeless shelter during the Covid-19 crisis. (Upper West Siders for Safer Streets)

A group of nearly a dozen local rabbis asked to meet with Mayor Bill de Blasio over complaints that temporary homeless shelters on the Upper West Side have brought crime and open drug use to the neighborhood.

Residents of the neighborhood have been complaining after three area hotels — the Belleclaire on Broadway, the Lucerne on W. 79th St., and the Belnord on W. 87th Street – were converted to house 700 homeless men in the city under a contract between FEMA and the city. Hotel rooms are necessary to protect the homeless from Covid-19, officials explain.

In Facebook groups and petitions, longtime residents complain that the shelters have “turned the area into a spectacle of public urination, catcalling and open drug use,” the New York Post reports. Residents are also wary of the mentally ill, recovering drug addicts and alleged registered sex offenders who are being housed next door.

One Facebook group, Upper West Siders for Safer Streets, has over 5,700 members. “We are for homeless assistance & compassion but we are against registered sex offenders and drug use in our community,” its home page declares.

Broadway is now a “halfway house,” Upper West Side parent Mira Gross told the Post. “It’s not just people loitering. They’re either passed out or they’re menacing.”

The rabbis have not heard back from the mayor, according to the Post.

Another view: In a letter to her congregation, Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Hermann of SAJ-Judaism that Stands for All shared a petition supporting the shelters and calling for “systemic solutions to the problem of homelessness.” She warned that the lack of the “normal community engagement process” has led to “misinformation and mistrust,” and that reports of harassment of shelter workers and residents by opponents of the shelters “betray our Jewish values.”

Norman Rosenbaum, who spent decades seeking justice after his brother Yankel was killed during the Crown Heights riots, has died at age 63. 

In an appreciation, former Jewish Week writer Adam Dickter remembers the Australian chasid and former prosecutor who “declared he’d never rest until every last member of the mob that set upon his brother that night was identified and prosecuted. And when you saw his passion, you believed him.”

President Trump reportedly lashed out at Sheldon Adelson, one of his biggest donors, for not donating more to his campaign.

According to a report in Politico this weekend, “the 87-year-old casino mogul had reached out to Trump to talk about the coronavirus relief bill and the economy. But then Trump brought the conversation around to the campaign and confronted Adelson about why he wasn’t doing more to bolster his reelection, according to three people with direct knowledge of the call.”

Another view: Allison Kaplan Sommer of Haaretz tweets, “Who else is old enough to remember how in 2016, Trump stood in front of Adelson and Republican Jewish donors and said ‘I don’t want your money’? Now he’s yelling that they aren’t giving him enough.”

Israel needs to hire 15,000 new teachers to pull off its plan to reopen schools safely this fall.

The hiring spree will begin in earnest next week, in hopes of delivering half of the needed educators to classrooms by January — five months into the school year, JTA reports. The country’s school system is already reeling from a rocky reopening this spring that was characterized by dozens of outbreaks connected to schools.

Related: Cabinet ministers on Sunday approved new coronavirus restrictions and extended existing ones in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19, as the country’s death toll since the start of the pandemic climbed to 600, the Times of Israel reports.

Opinion

Stuck between those who only vilify Israel and others who defend it unquestioningly are young Jews trying to engage with Israel with love and nuance. In an essay adapted from her address to graduates of The Jewish Week’s Write On For Israel program, Abigael Pogrebin writes that “The world doesn’t need any more extremists or uninformed pontificators. We do need you: measured, thoughtful, patient, passionate, new voices, who don’t shy away from nuance or dueling narratives, who don’t fold when simplistic summations are leveled —from any direction — against a nation many still want to see disappear.”

Jewish Week readers respond to comments about Israel by the actor Seth Rogen, in Letters to the Editor. Writes one: “Who exactly decides that certain ‘Jews merely by birth- have views that need to be disseminated?”

Streaming

Hadar and My Jewish Learning present an online learning event to mark the completion of Tractate Shabbat of the Daf Yomi cycle. The event will feature Rabbi Avi Strausberg, Rabbi Asher Lopatin, and Rabbanit Dasi Fruchter. August 10, 12:00 p.m.

Jewish Theological Seminary of America presents Rabbi Jan Uhrbach, director of the Block Kolker Center for Spiritual Arts, discussing stories of crisis, brokenness, disappointments and failure, both human and Divine, in the first book of the Torah. She will mine the Book of Genesis for strategies for living through difficult times, and as the grounding of a hopeful and resilient theology. Aug. 10, 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

American Jewish Committee presents a conversation with Nick Cannon, an American comedian, rapper, producer, and television host who recently came under fire after making antisemitic comments on his podcast and YouTube show, Cannon’s Class. Cannon has repeatedly made public apologies and has spent the past few weeks going through a process of multiple meetings with AJC and others to gain a deeper understanding of Judaism and antisemitism. The conversation,Cannon’s first appearance on a Jewish program, will touch on his commitment to learning from this experience; his fight against anti-Semitism, racism and all forms of hate — and the importance of Black-Jewish relations. Aug. 10, 2:00 p.m.

Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center presents Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk, two of America’s most experienced diplomatic specialists in the Middle East, to discuss where we’ve been, where we are and whether there’s anywhere left to go to find peace. Moderated by Richard Salomon. August 10, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm.

The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy presents a talk on Zoom with real estate expert Jason Haber. Haber will explore historic moments that speak to us now, and will offer his thoughts on how the city can emerge as a more just, affordable, sustainable, and livable city. Aug. 10, 7:00 p.m.

Princeton University’s Julian E. Zelizer, author of the new book “Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party,” will be in conversation with comedian David Cross. Zelizer argues that Donald Trump is “a culmination, a logical conclusion of the rhetoric and tactics of the Republican Party.” Sponsored by Book Soup. Aug. 10, 9:00 p.m.

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