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Windows smashed at Riverdale shuls • Queens yeshiva tied to global tax scandal • Lox slicer is back at Zabar’s
Daily Update

Windows smashed at Riverdale shuls • Queens yeshiva tied to global tax scandal • Lox slicer is back at Zabar’s

The NYPD released security camera footage of the suspect in a series of attacks on Riverdale synagogues, which took place overnight Saturday, April 24-25, 2021. (NYPD)
The NYPD released security camera footage of the suspect in a series of attacks on Riverdale synagogues, which took place overnight Saturday, April 24-25, 2021. (NYPD)


Four synagogues in Riverdale were vandalized as rocks were hurled through their windows and glass doors.

The NYPD posted a security camera image of the suspect after the acts, which occurred overnight on Saturday. The vandalized synagogues are the Riverdale Jewish Center, Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale, Young Israel of Riverdale and Chabad of Riverdale.

Gov. Cuomo instructed the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to assist in the investigation. Added police presence was heavy around the synagogues.

According to security footage reviewed by the Community Security Service, a volunteer synagogue security group, the suspect also vandalized two of the synagogues earlier in the week.

Reactions: “An attack on any synagogue is an attack on all synagogues, all Jewish institutions, and all houses of worship.” — Riverdale Jewish Community Partnership, an umbrella neighborhood group

“The eyewitness accounts of our volunteers, coupled with footage of the alleged perpetrator days before committing the acts, represents a clear desire to inflict harm on the Jewish community.” — CSS National Director Evan Bernstein

“These acts are appalling and coincide with a rise in hate crimes across the City. These destructive crimes are not reflective of the all-accepting community I know to exist in Riverdale.” — Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernández

A federal grants program for the entertainment industry moved the relaunch of its applications portal from Saturday to today after complaints from Shabbat-observant Jews.

Jewish theater, club and cinema operators complained that the original Saturday launch by the Small Business Adminsitration put them at a disadvantage for the first-come, first-served grants. “We heard you and we are taking action,” read a tweet from the SBA.

Quotable: “There are many Sabbath observers in the performing arts industry,” Dani Zoldan, the owner of the Stand Up NY comedy club, told The New York Times before the switch. “How did they not think through this decision before making this announcement?”

German prosecutors say a former hedge fund manager made $1.1 billion in trades through a Jewish school in New York as part of a plan to deceive tax authorities.

Sanjay Shah and a partner took advantage of the tax-exempt status of Ezra Academy in Queens for the trades, Hamburg prosecutors said in a February indictment seen by Bloomberg News. The men used “purportedly authentic” documents to buy shares on behalf of the school and claim refunds, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors did not say how Shah and his partner connected with Ezra Academy, and the school did not comment. Shah, a Brit based in Dubai, is being investigated in a wider tax-fraud scandal that has engulfed multiple European countries.

Len Berk, 91, a beloved lox slicer at Zabar’s, is back on the job after a yearlong absence due to the pandemic.

The New York Post welcomed Berk back to the Upper West Side institution, where he has spent the last 26 years of his retirement behind the counter.

Quotable: “I was nervous,” said Berk, who works Thursdays. “But when I picked up a knife to slice my first salmon, it was like riding a bike. I didn’t forget.”

Alma profiles Anna Sacks, a former investment banker turned environmental activist who scours Upper West Side trash to demonstrate how businesses can minimize waste.

Known on social media as “The Trash Walker,” Sacks picks through the trash and tries to salvage every item she can get her hands on. She’s gathered more than 444,000 signatures for a petition urging CVS to minimize waste and donate unused goods.

What Else

Roberta Kaplan, the attorney leading three high-profile lawsuits against former President Donald Trump, is endorsing former federal prosecutor Tali Farhadian Weinstein for Manhattan district attorney, Jewish Insider reports.

People and Places

A Brooklyn senior receives her first dose of the Moderna vaccine in the comfort of her kitchen, thanks to UJA Federation and its partners. (Courtesy)

UJA-Federation of New York vaccinated nearly 80 homebound Holocaust survivors and their aides against Covid-19 in Brooklyn during home visits from April 21-23. The effort was a partnership with SeniorCare Emergency Medical Services, Chevra Hatzalah and several UJA nonprofit partners. To date, UJA has helped vaccinate nearly 3,000 Holocaust survivors across New York City and Long Island.

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University unveiled a new name Sunday: Americans for Ben-Gurion University. The rebranding comes with a new logo. The change was announced at yesterday’s “Celebrate the Remarkable” event, where Dr. Ruth Westheimer received her first and only honorary doctorate from an Israeli university.


Alber Elbaz, the “Moroccan-born Israeli fashion designer who rejuvenated Lanvin and had recently started a new venture, AZ Factory,” died on Saturday in Paris of complications from COVID-19. He was 59, The New York Times reported.

Streaming Today

Meet the artist and curator behind the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies’ first virtual art exhibition, “The Zionist Phantom.” In this online exhibition, the artist Dana Arieli shapes a panoramic view of a landscape “defined by its haunting ghosts, missing limbs, what should have been there and will never return.” Register here. 11:30 am.

American Jewish Historical Society and National Museum of American Jewish History present Michael Shnayerson, author of “Bugsy Siegel: The Dark Side of the American Dream,” about the life and death of the gangster who saw the potential for a casino resort in the sands of Las Vegas. Registration required here. 4:00 pm.

David Axelrod — political consultant, strategist, CNN political commentator, and former chief strategist and senior advisor to President Barack Obama — will deliver Fairfield University’s Bennett Lecture in Judaic Studies on “State of Play: The Political Future of the American Jewish Community.” Register here. 7:30 pm.

On May 5 at 11:30 am., UJA-Federation and The Jewish Week present award-winning authors Roya Hakakian and Ruby Namdar in conversation about their experience immigrating to America, what they miss about their homelands, their literary lives and the Jewish ideal of welcoming the stranger. Moderated by Sandee Brawarsky. Register here.

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