Friday, October 23, 2020 5 Cheshvan 5781 Vol. 92 | No. 43 | Â©2020 $1.00 | jewishledger.com
| OCTOBER 23, 2020
ANNOUNCING THE NEW VIRTUAL
We are thrilled to be partnering with the JCC Literary Consortium to bring you the Mandell JCC Book Festival In Your Living Room, a virtual series of author Zoom talks and Q&As. Kathy Binder & Kathy Fishman - Co-Chairs
Thursday, October 22 | 8:00 pm Judy Gold
Yes, I Can Say That: When They Come for the Comedians, We Are All In Trouble
Tuesday, November 10 | 1:00 pm A Two-Author Event Rachel Beanland
Florence Adler Swims Forever: A Novel
Sunday, October 25 | 8:00 pm Harlan Coben
Book of Last Names: A Novel
Tuesday, October 27 | 8:00 pm Nancy Grace
My Dad, Yogi
The Boy From the Woods
Don’t be a Victim: Fighting Back against America’s Crime Wave
Thursday, October 29 | 8:00 pm Mike Leven
Can’t Do It Yourself: How Commitment to Others Leads to Personal Prosperity
Sunday, November 8 | 1:00 pm Natan Sharansky and Gil Troy Never Alone
Sunday, November 8 | 8:00 pm Joan Lunden
Why Did I Come Into This Room? A Candid Conversation About Aging
Monday, November 9 | 8:00 pm Esther Safran Foer
I Want You to Know We’re Still Here: A Post Holocaust Memoir
Tuesday, November 10 | 8:00 pm EST Dale Berra Wednesday, November 11 | 3:00 pm John Grisham
Monday, November 16 | 8:00 pm Ariel Sabar
Veritas: A Harvard Professor, A Con Man, and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife
Wednesday, November 18 | 8:00 pm TWO-AUTHOR EVENT Michael Ian Black A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son
A Time for Mercy
Modern Manhood: Conversations About the Complicated World of Being a Good Man Today
Wednesday, November 11 | 8:00 pm Cameron Douglas
Thursday, November 19 | 8:00 pm Rachel Bloom
Thursday, November 12 | 8:00 pm Jim McCloskey and Philip Lerman
Friday, November 20 | 2:00 pm Transgender Day of Remembrance Mimi Lemay
Long Way Home
When the Truth is All You Have: A Memoir of Faith, Justice, and Freedom for the Wrongly Convicted
Saturday, November 14 | 8:00 pm Lawrence Wright The End of October: A Novel
Sunday, November 15 | 3:00 pm Raffi Berg
Red Sea Spies: The True Story of Mossad’s Fake Diving Resort
I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are
What We Will Become: A Mother, Son, and a Journey of Transformation
Sunday, November 22 | 1:00 pm FOR KIDS! Melissa Clark
Kid in the Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Tips for Young Home Cooks
Wednesday, December 2 | 7:30 pm Ina Garten Modern Comfort Food
| OCTOBER 23, 2020
CONNECTICUT JEWISH LEDGER | SINCE 1929 | OCTOBER 23, 2020 | 5 CHESHVAN 5781
16 Around CT
18 Bulletin Board
The Family Business..................... 5 The need for affordable health care, and the fight against antisemitism are two important issues for Matt Lieberman, son of CT’s former Senator Joe Lieberman, who is running in a special election for U.S. senator from Georgia.
Wrong About Wright..................... 6 Turns out that Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church and the top Democratic candidate in the special Senate election in Georgia, defended antisemitic pastor Jeremiah Wright back in 2008.
Voice Your Vote!............................... 5 They may not be old enough to vote, but that doesn’t mean BBYO teens can’t help shape the world they will inherit by helping others exercise their right – maybe even their obligation – to vote.
20 Torah Portion
21 Business and Professional Directory
OPINION.................................................................................10 The backlash against the casting of Israeli star Gal Gadot as Cleopatra illustrates the insidious nature of the myths spawned by critical race theory and inter-sectionalism, says Jonathan Tobin.
Missing the Mark...............................................................11 Whether he intends to or not, actor Mark Ruffalo continues to repeatedly stray into the demonization of the Jewish state, singling out Israel for unreasonably high standards and lauding Hamas, recognized worldwide as a terror group.
CANDLE LIGHTING ON THE COVER:
To be sure, Nov. 3, 2020 is shaping up to be an election day like no other. Jewish groups are mobilizing to register de-registered and disenfranchised voters…and preparing to protect their communities should the day turn violent. Our 4-page coverage begins on PAGE 12. jewishledger.com
SHABBAT FRIDAY, OCT. 23 Hartford: 5:39 p.m. New Haven: 5:39 p.m. Bridgeport: 5:40 p.m. Stamford: 5:40 p.m. To determine the time for Havdalah, add one hour and 10 minutes (to be safe) to candle lighting time.
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CONNECTICUT JEWISH LEDGER | SINCE 1929 | OCTOBER 23, 2020 | 5 CHESHVAN 5781
Matt Lieberman grabs the family baton as he makes run for Senate in Georgia BY JACKSON RICHMAN
(JNS) Matt Lieberman comes from a prolific political family as his father, Sen. Joe Lieberman, served as a longtime U.S. senator from Connecticut and ran as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee in the 2000 presidential election. After two years practicing law, the younger Lieberman, 50, became a teacher and a principal at a Jewish day school, and eventually started a business to provide health care to families, small-business owners and union members. Lieberman is running in a special election in Georgia to serve the remaining two years of the term of Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). Incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp after Isakson retired in 2019 for health reasons, faces off against GOP Rep. Doug Collins and eight Democrats, including Lieberman and pastor Raphael Warnock. In accordance with Georgia electoral law, if no candidate gets at least 50 percent of the vote, a runoff between the top two finishers will be held in January. On Nov. 3, all candidates for Isakson’s seat, regardless of partisan affiliation, will be on the ballot. According to many polls, Warnock is the Democrat most likely to advance to the expected run-off unless the January election ends up being between Loeffler and Collins – a possibility with Lieberman playing spoiler to Warnock’s chances. Otherwise, the special election would likely be between the two Georgia Republican members of Congress. A single father, Lieberman has two daughters, Tess and Willie.
politics as usual or politicians as usual will get the job done for us. I think they’ll just kowtow to whoever seems to be the most politically threatening force instead of fighting for our priorities and values. That’s why I’m running. How I’m different than my father politically and ideologically when he was in the Senate? I don’t know. I leave that to other people to figure out. Q: You mention senators not representing Georgia’s values. What are those values and the specific issues that exemplify them? A: If you look at issues like doing anything to work towards universal health care, such as favoring a public option, as I do. If you look at favoring common-sense gun reform. If you look at accepting climate change as real and the human impact on it. If you look at fighting for voting rights in a real way. All of those issues – and there are more are issues where my position is where most Georgians are. Ultimately, I or any Democrat will be in a strong position to defeat either Rep. Doug Collins or Loeffler one on one in January because, politics aside, the Democratic candidate is just going to be more in step with most voters in
The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Q: Why are you running? How are you different than your father politically and ideologically when he was in the Senate? A: I’m running as a fed-up citizen of Georgia. We have been living here in this state with senators who in the most basic way don’t represent us. They don’t represent our priorities and values on the most important issues, and I don’t think jewishledger.com
MATT LIEBERMAN WITH HIS TWO DAUGHTERS, TESS AND WILLIE.
Georgia on most of the important issues. Q: What makes you different from your Democratic opponents, like Pastor Raphael Warnock? A: Warnock, until probably a couple of months ago, he didn’t have an issues section at all on his website. He has diligently avoided joint appearances. We will have two debates later this month, so perhaps we’ll flesh some things out then. I would guess that we are similar on the majority of issues, as we both are Democrats. I know that our position on school choice may be different. I believe he is opposed to more public school choice. I believe he is opposed to scholarship programs that enable parents from poor families to choose a private school if they want, so I think that’s a difference. Although he has apparently of late come around to a pro-Israel position, it shouldn’t be overlooked that his religious role model is Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and at exactly the same time U.S. President Barack Obama was distancing himself from Wright’s statements and condemning Wright’s statements, Warnock was, dafka, running CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE
BBYO teens get out the vote
BY STACEY DRESNER
TATEWIDE – Dara Sadinsky recalls accompanying her mother to the polls in West Hartford as a young girl, to observe her voting local and national elections. Now, although she is not old enough to vote in the Nov. 3 presidential election, the 17-year-old is still participating in the election process. Sadinsky, along with her fellow members of the AZA and BBG chapters of BBYO in the Connecticut Valley Region and around the country, is participating in Voice Your Vote, a national non-partisan BBYO initiative aimed at registering young voters to vote and insuring fair access to voting. In addition, BBYO members are also recruiting teen volunteers 16 years of age and older to staff voting polls in place of older volunteers who this year may stay away over concern about Covid-19. Connecticut is one of 45 states that allow 16-year-olds to serve as poll workers in order “to encourage young citizens to engage in voting, registration and democracy,” as the National Conference of State Legislatures puts it. “I really wish I could vote. I’ve been politically active for as long as I can remember,” says Sadinsky, who is now a BBYO field organizer for the election. “Having this opportunity to still help with the election is great. I knew from the get-go that I wanted to help in some way and as soon as I saw this opportunity I was excited. “The majority of our members are younger than 18,” she adds. “So, we want to get everyone who can be registered registered; those of us who can’t vote just want everyone as involved in as possible.” Jennifer Kruzansky, regional director of BBYO CVR, says signing up members to staff the voting stations is just as important as registering voters. “We’re working on having 100 BBYO teens registered to work the polls because we know that poll workers are very hard to come by now with COVID,”
CREDIT: MATT LIEBERMAN VIA FACEBOOK.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 7
OCTOBER 23, 2020
Matt Lieberman CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5
to Jeremiah Wright to defend him. I think that is of relevance to Georgia voters and perhaps Jewish voters. Warnock’s religious role model responded immediately after 9/11 by saying that “America’s chickens were coming home to roost.” I think that’s a difference, that’s certainly not my point of view. The other big difference is that, and this goes for Collins and Loeffler as well: Of the four top candidates, I’m the only one who shows up on Day One in Washington who can say that I’m working for the people of Georgia and only for the people of Georgia. Each of the other three is only in this race because someone put them there. And for this reason, Loeffler, Collins and Warnock will all have divided loyalty between the people of Georgia and one or two powerful patrons in Washington or Atlanta. The people of Georgia deserve something better than that. They deserve someone they know who will be there, fighting for them and for them only. Q: What part of President Donald Trump’s pro-Israel agenda do you agree with?
A: We need to be vigilant. We need to call out things as they happen. We as adults and young adults, we as parents, communicating to our children, can’t communicate a message to go through life with bowed heads. We need to call out anti-Semitism wherever it appears, and we need to encourage our children to be strong in the face of it. It’s something that’s always been with us. It’s a form of bigotry and hatred that will never go away, but that doesn’t mean that we need to allow it to fester or grow as it seems to have been and the biggest thing we can do is really calling it out. Would you support anti-BDS legislation, and what do you say to Democrats who say that such measures go against the First Amendment?
Q: What’s your reaction to Democrats and those who are for conditioning U.S. assistance to Israel? A: As those conditions have been outlined, I’m against that. I’m opposed to placing conditions on our support for Israel.
Q: Did you agree with the reimposition of sanctions and additional sanctions the Trump administration has placed on Iran? A: Generally, yes. I’m not going to say that I’m signed onto the “maximum pressure” campaign, but Iran is a dangerous rogue state and agent of instability in the region, and I don’t believe that additional sanctions – absent a follow-up effort towards renegotiation – are a good idea. But I don’t think they’re a bad idea as part of laying the groundwork for renegotiation of arms, as well as hostility between Iran and other countries. Q: But you supported the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran deal, correct? A: I think it was a bad deal and withdrawing from it has left the region in a better place. JEWISH LEDGER
Q: How can we best fight antisemitism, especially on college campuses?
A: I would support anti-BDS legislation. It doesn’t go against the First Amendment. It doesn’t do a darn thing to the First Amendment to say that you’re not going to support the boycott. The boycotters can still boycott. Their First Amendment rights are still intact. That doesn’t mean you need to support it.
A: I agree with the move of the embassy to Jerusalem. I agree that the nuclear deal with Iran, the JCPOA, was not a good deal, and I think that clearly the region has progressed to a place of greater stability since the U.S. withdrew from it [in May 2018]. I think the region and the world will be in a better place of greater strength than renegotiating that deal so that Iran is not able to export and finance mayhem, even if not nuclear, conventional mayhem as they had been doing aggressively since the plan was put in place. And you have to give them credit for the agreements that clearly the United States has played a big part in putting together between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain. I hope there are more.
I have not been in the Senate, so I have not been privy to the multiple layers of intelligence that go into these decisions, but I can say in hindsight there have been positive consequences from withdrawing, yes.
Q: What’s your reaction to Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), whose re-election campaigns were endorsed by House Speaker Pelosi? A: Clearly, they could be stronger in valuing the American-Israeli relationship. Generally speaking, I think they are each proud members of the extreme left-wing of the Democratic Party. They don’t represent the mainstream of the Democratic Party nationally or in Congress. Q: Has the Democratic Party become antisemitic and anti-Israel? There’s the notion that this party is no longer your father’s party. A: The Democratic Party is not antisemitic or anti-Israel. Virtually, every vote that comes up, there are strong bipartisan majorities in both the House and the Senate favoring the American-Israeli alliance. Are there a handful of voices saying things that
| OCTOBER 23, 2020
are of concern? Yes. I would say at this point, that is more of a warning flare than a problem. Q: What’s your reaction to Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is expected to be elected to Congress, despite her support for the QAnon conspiracy theory and for making bigoted statements?
A: There you have the extreme, extreme element in the Republican Party that the Republicans refuse to speak out against. In fact, Doug Collins and Kelly Loeffler, who I’m running against, have congratulated her on her victory. And they should be ashamed because as they endorsed her, they are also at least complicit. It’s at least an implicit endorsement of her various statements and positions that are disturbing and way out there.
Georgia Democratic Senate candidate defends antisemitic pastor Jeremiah Wright (JNS) The top Democratic candidate in the special Senate election in Georgia defended antisemitic pastor Jeremiah Wright back in 2008. Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, defended Wright after a tape emerged of a 2003 sermon called “Confusing God and Government” in which Wright said, “not God Bless America, God damn America.” The tape came to light during Barack Obama’s presidential run in 2008, as Obama was at the time a member of Wright’s church in Chicago. During the campaign, Obama disavowed the remarks and eventually withdrew his membership from the church. “The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisoners, passes a threestrike law, and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America,’ ” said Wright in the sermon. “No no no, not God bless America, God damn America, that’s in the Bible, for killing innocent people, God damn America for treating her citizens as less than human, God damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God and she is supreme.” In a March 2008 appearance on Fox News, Warnock, who said that he had been “dispatched” to defend Wright after the tape emerged, praised the “social transformation that’s been the hallmark of Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s ministry.” “We celebrate Rev. Wright in the same way that we celebrate the truth-telling tradition of the black church, which when preachers tell the truth, very often it makes people uncomfortable,” said Warnock in response to the sermon and other remarks. He also said, “I think the country has been done a disservice by this constant playing over and over again of the same soundbites outside of context.” Wright has a history of making other provocative statements, including ones that are antisemitic. Examples have included blaming “them Jews” for not being able to be in contact with Obama after he won the White House, and stating that “ethnic cleansing is going on in Gaza. Ethnic cleansing of the Zionist is a sin and a crime against humanity, and they don’t want Barack talking like that because that’s anti-
Israel.” Warnock is running in a special election to serve the remaining two years of the term of Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), against incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp after Isakson retired in 2019 for health reasons. He also faces off against GOP Rep. Doug Collins and seven Democrats, including Matt Lieberman, a son of former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). In accordance with Georgia electoral law, if no candidate gets at least 50 percent of the vote, a runoff between the top two finishers will be held in January. On Nov. 3, all candidates for Isakson’s seat, regardless of partisan affiliation, will be on the ballot. According to many polls, Warnock is the Democrat most likely to advance to the expected run-off unless the January election ends up being between Loeffler and Collins – a possibility with Lieberman playing spoiler to Warnock’s chances. Otherwise, the special election would likely be between the two Georgia Republican members of Congress. As of March, Warnock stood by his defense of Wright. “Any fair-thinking person would recognize that everything a government does, even the American government, is not consistent with God’s dream for the world,” he said. “And preaching at its best points out those contradictions but then shows us the path forward.” A Warnock campaign spokesperson told Fox News that the candidate “deplores and disagrees with any kind of remark that is antisemitic or discriminates against anyone.” “He doesn’t agree with all of the positions other pastors support and has said such throughout this campaign,” said spokesperson Terrence Clark. “Rev. Warnock loves this country, and he supports honoring the dignity of all people, but also finding common ground to reform our broken systems. Once again, our opponents are playing the same Washington games to try to divide and distract people instead of standing up for health care in the middle of a pandemic.” jewishledger.com
BBYO CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5
Kruzansky explains. “Most of the people who work at the polls are older and could be high risk.” BBYO has tied Voice Your Vote to its annual regional kick-off plans for the coming year. “Because of COVID we couldn’t have our usual regional kickoff where we bring 500 teens together in person,” Kruzansky says. “This year we decided if we can’t have everybody together, let’s pivot to a model where we bring the regional kickoff to your community.” BBYO CVR is now showing up to every chapter’s community with a 20-foot inflatable movie screen for a “drive-in movie” night. And every one of those drive-in movie events will have a Voice your Vote component to it. “We want to reach as many teens as possible.[We thought] ’let’s do an event that the teams are going to be drawn into and build upon it so that they have a more rounded experience. It’s fun to go to a drive-in movie with your friends and really learn about Voice Your Vote, rather than just sit at a table and register people to vote. We want to meet teens where they are at,” says Kruzansky. “Every kickoff will have a table with information about registering to vote and to get people registered to work the polls.” BBYO is thankful to have several partners helping them in their efforts, including Connecticut’s Secretary of State Denise Merrill, and State Treasurer Sean Wooden. “As Connecticut residents, your voices matter in both local and national elections, and trust me, this will be the most important election of your lifetime,” says Wooden in the BBYO video. “So remember to register to vote because we’re counting on you. For nearly a
century now, BBYO has been dedicated to improving our communities here in Connecticut, and their work is always defined by passion, creativity, and thoughtfulness, they are on the front lines of youth engagement. And this voter registration drive is yet another example of their leadership.” According to Voice Your Vote’s website, there are 47 million 18- to 29-year-olds who are eligible to vote in the 2020 election, and 15 million of them have turned 18 since the last presidential election. According to Pew Research Center, one in 10 eligible voters are between the ages of 18 and 23 (referred to as Generation Z). “The primary focus of Voice Your Vote is to teach teens how to be civically engaged from a young age,” explains Ryan Ladd, BBYO’s digital strategy manager. “Our nearly 150 teen field organizers from across the U.S. are working hard to register voters, pledge voters, recruit poll workers, and get people involved in this effort in general. Since August, more than 1,300 members of the BBYO community have taken action in one of our key campaign areas. We’re also proud that we’re quickly climbing to recruiting 300 poll workers.” Besides reaching out to BBYO members and alumni, Sadinsky is also encouraging those outside BBYO’s sphere to get involved – her extended family have all heard her pitch about the importance of voting on Nov. 3. “I definitely think that this is a very important election. No matter which way it goes. Not just our country but potentially the world could see change,” says Sadinsky. “As a woman, I know that there was a lot that went into me being able to vote. So, I don’t take that for granted. I think it’s really important to emphasize the history of how we got to where we are and why this is a right that we should exercise.”
Bennett Center for Judaic Studies LECTURES AND EVENTS: FALL 2020 Don’t Miss A Single Virtual Moment Daniel Pearl World Music Days Concert
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Virtual Events Registration required at fairfield.edu/bennettprograms. For questions, contact Virtual the Bennett Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or (203) 254-4000, ext. 2066 Event
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DORON LOWENBERG, A BBYO MEMBER FROM STAMFORD, MANS A VOICE YOUR VOTE TABLE AT THE STAMFORD JCC.
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OCTOBER 23, 2020
Briefs Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says he is being treated for cancer (JTA) – Former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks announced he has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment. In a statement posted to his Twitter feed Thursday afternoon, Sacks’ office said he had been “recently diagnosed” with an unspecified cancer and hoped to return to work “as soon as possible.” “He remains positive and upbeat and will now spend a period of time focused on the treatment he is receiving from his excellent medical team,” the statement said. “He is looking forward to returning to his work as soon as possible.” Sacks, 72, has been treated for cancer twice before, in his 30s and again in his 50s, a fact that wasn’t widely known until it was disclosed in a 2012 book. Sacks served as chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth from 1991 until 2013 and is among the most prominent expositors of Orthodox Judaism in the world, having authored dozens of books addressing contemporary spiritual and moral issues. A translation and commentary on a Jewish prayer book that he wrote has become enormously popular worldwide. His most recent book, Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times, came out last month.
Israel & Lebanon are negotiating a non-security issue for first time in 30 years (JTA) – Israeli and Lebanese officials began direct negotiations over their maritime border in the Mediterranean Sea, marking the first time the two nations have consulted over a non-security issue in decades. Officials from both sides, who met Wednesday in the Lebanese border town of Naquora, stressed that the discussions were not a step towards a normalization of relations. Two of Israel’s Arab neighbors, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, have recently signed peace deals with Israel, opening the door for full diplomatic relations and increased trade and tourism. Lebanon and Israel are technically still at war, having never signed an official peace treaty after decades of conflict beginning right after Israel’s founding. The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah is one of the region’s main violent aggressors against Israel. “We’re not talking about peace talks or negotiations over normalization, but rather about the attempt to solve a technicaleconomic problem that for a decade has been preventing us from developing natural 8
resources in the sea for the benefit of the people of the region,” Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said Monday, Oct. 12, according to The Times of Israel. At stake in the talks, which are being mediated by the United Nations and the United States, is a zone of over 300 square miles full of natural gas that is claimed by both countries. Lebanon hopes an agreement could help its ailing economy, which has one of the highest GDP-to-debt ratios in the world. The next meeting in the process is scheduled for Oct. 28.
HBO Max to air Yom Kippur War drama ‘Valley of Tears’ (JTA) – HBO Max has bought the rights to “Valley of Tears,” a drama about the 1973 Yom Kippur War that is being touted as Israel’s biggest-budget TV series to date. The 10-part series depicts the war through the eyes of young soldiers through four different plot lines. No premiere date has yet been announced. It stars Lior Ashkenazi, familiar to international audiences from his role in Israel’s acclaimed film “Foxtrot” and his work opposite Richard Gere in “Norman: The Moderate Rise And Tragic Fall Of A New York Fixer.” There is significant talent behind the scenes as well: It was created and co-written by Israeli-American writer Ron Leshem, who wrote HBO’s “Euphoria,” and Amit Cohen, who wrote the popular Israeli thriller series “False Flag.” The pair are also already at work on another Israeli series called “Traitor,” a thriller currently in postproduction.
Jewish doctor who killed a bear, raises $9M in Alaska’s Senate race (JTA) – Al Gross, the Jewish Alaska physician running to defeat incumbent Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan, raised an eye-popping $9.1 million in the last quarter, funds fueled in part by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Gross, who is running as an Independent but has been endorsed by Democrats, has been neck and neck with Sullivan in polls since late August in what is usually a solidly Republican state, making the infusion of funds especially potent. The fundraising total is astonishing in Alaska’s small media market; by way of comparison, the Anchorage Daily News reported recently that the Democrat Sullivan ousted in 2014, Mark Begich, raised less than $9 million over the two years ahead of the election. The Sullivan campaign did not release its quarterly figures, except to say that Gross had out-raised them. The Gross campaign said donations surged after Justice Ginsburg died last month. Democrats were furious that Senate Republicans are rushing to replace her before the presidential election. Gross,
| OCTOBER 23, 2020
whose father Avrum was once the state’s attorney general, was already mounting a formidable challenge against Sullivan, who has allied himself closely with President Donald Trump. Gross’ policy focus is healthcare reform. His character focus is his upbringing as an Alaskan, born just after an avalanche, and a TV ad notes that “he killed a grizzly bear in self-defense.” Also, he prospected for gold. The Anchorage Daily News confirmed the bear-killing story, and in the process discovered that a conservative opposition research outfit sought to confirm it as well.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg to get a statue in her native Brooklyn (JTA) – The late Jewish Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is getting her own statue in her native Brooklyn. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo named the members of a commission this week that would oversee the installation of a statue honoring Ginsburg, who died last month. “Her legacy as a jurist, professor, lawyer and scholar will endure for generations and we are honored to erect a permanent statue in memory of Justice Ginsburg,” Cuomo said. The New York Times also reported that there are a number of other initiatives to honor Ginsburg, including a bronze statue to be erected next year at a Brooklyn development. New York City last month named a municipal building in Brooklyn for Ginsburg. Among the 19 people Cuomo named to the commission are Ginsburg’s daughter and two granddaughters; Irin Carmon, the Jewish journalist and Ginsburg biographer who helped make popular Ginsburg’s late-in-life sobriquet, “Notorious RBG”; Nina Rotenberg, the Jewish NPR judiciary reporter who was a close friend of Ginsburg’s; and a number of her former clerks. Cuomo also named five honorary members of the commission, including Hillary Clinton, Ginsburg’s colleague on the Supreme Court bench Sonia Sotomayor, and Gloria Steinem, the pioneering Jewish feminist.
Adelsons spend $75 million on anti-Biden PAC (JTA) – In a late bid to boost President Donald Trump’s reelection prospects, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson reportedly gave $75 million to a political action committee running ads targeting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Politico on Thursday quoted someone close to the Preserve America PAC who said the bulk of the $84 million that the PAC has brought in since its creation at the end of August came from the Adelsons. Sheldon Adelson is a Las Vegas-based casino magnate who along with his wife are major givers to Jewish and pro-Israel causes as
well as to medical research. Also giving to the PAC is Bernie Marcus, the Home Depot founder who is a powerhouse in Atlanta’s Jewish community. Marcus gave $5 million dollars, the report said. The Adelsons last month indicated they were ready to pour another $50 million into efforts to preserve Republican control of the White House and the Senate.
San Diego rabbi assaulted outside his synagogue (JTA) – A rabbi was assaulted outside of his synagogue in San Diego and an Orthodox man was beaten on the street in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg. The San Diego incident occurred on Oct. 10 and was the latest in a series of escalating acts of harassment against congregants of the Shiviti Congregation, Rabbi Yonatan Halevy told San Diego’s 10 News. Halevy was the victim of the latest incident, in which a teenager riding a bicycle hit him on the head and yelled a racial slur at him outside the synagogue in University City, a large residential and commercial district next to the University of California’s San Diego campus. “Everyday they come by here, taunt us, throwing bottles at us, sitting on our roof blasting music, and then breaking a window to my van,” Halevy said. In Williamsburg, video footage posted to Twitter on Thursday night showed a man in Orthodox Jewish garb approached from behind by individuals who begin hitting and kicking him. The assailants left the scene within seconds of the assault. The Twitter account that posted the video, Williamsburg News, said the incident had occurred near the intersection of Throop Avenue and Bartlett Street and that police and local Jewish community groups had responded.
Self-described ‘skinhead’ guilty of trying to blow up a Colorado shul (JTA) – A man who plotted to blow up a synagogue in Colorado has pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes and explosives charges. Richard Holzer, a self-described “skinhead” and former Ku Klux Klan member who used Facebook to promote white supremacy, was arrested last November for plotting to blow up a 100-year-old synagogue in Pueblo, Colorado. The synagogue, Temple Emanuel, has 35 member families. Holzer was arrested after plotting with a man he thought was a co-conspirator but who was actually an FBI agent. Holzer had previously attempted to poison the synagogue’s water supply with arsenic.
Doctors perform life-saving surgery on baby during birth By Abigail Klein Leichman (Israel21c via JNS) Doctors in Israel saved a newborn’s jewishledger.com
life on Wednesday with a rare surgical procedure performed before the boy was fully outside his mother’s body. The “ex utero intrapartum treatment” (EXIT) procedure during a Caesarean-section delivery at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center was planned when prenatal imaging revealed that the fetus’s airways were blocked by a growth. They knew the fetus would be fine until his umbilical cord was cut because the placenta provides oxygen. Once the cord is detached after birth, he would not have been able to breathe. A team of some 30 physicians prepared for the EXIT procedure – previously done in Israel only a few times – using a 3D-printed model of the fetus’s neck. The multidisciplinary team of doctors and nurses delivered the baby’s head and inserted a tracheal tube that bypassed the growth. When they pulled the rest of his body from the womb and cut the cord, he was able to breathe through the tube. Mother and son are reported to be in good condition. The doctors believe the airwayblocking growth may disappear on its own; otherwise it can be surgically removed. “I’ve been an obstetrician for over 25 years and every birth is a new source of excitement, but this was one of the special ones,” said Dr. Ariel Many, director of labor and delivery at the center’s Lis Maternity and Women’s Hospital. “To be a partner in a procedure where you’re holding the head of the fetus and treating him while he is mostly still in his mother’s womb, and then delivering this new life into the world, is a supreme, uplifting, special and touching feeling that will stay with me and the team for a long time,” said Many. This article was first published by Israel21c.
Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife says Soros family ‘running the Democrat Party’ (JTA) – The latest prominent American to advance conspiracy theories about Jewish philanthropist George Soros: Ginni Thomas, a conservative activist and the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas who shared a meme on Facebook Wednesday claiming that Soros’ family is “evil” and “really running” the Democratic party. The meme, first posted by a rightwing page called “The Great American Movement,” shows a compilation of photos of Democratic figures posing with children of Soros, the Jewish-American hedgefunder and Democratic megadonor. The Democrats include Sen. Kamala Harris, the vice presidential nominee; Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; and Hillary Clinton, the 2016 presidential nominee. A caption reads, “Who is really running the Democrat Party? …The Soros family. The original post also says, “George Soros is training his family to carry on his evil legacy…” jewishledger.com
Soros has become the leading avatar of right-wing conspiracy theories that veer into antisemitism. Republican officials and activists, as well as far-right extremists and conspiracy theorists, regularly assert with scant or no evidence that he is secretly funding, or in control of, a broad array of liberal causes, or otherwise out to undermine the United States government. He is among the top funders of Democratic candidates, but is not the largest giver. The idea that rich Jews are conspiring to secretly control world leaders is an age-old antisemitic stereotype. Thomas has a history of sharing falsehoods from The Great American Movement Facebook page. In the past, she has shared false posts from the page accusing Democrats of committing voter fraud, calling California a “war zone” and claiming that Barack Obama wiretapped the Trump campaign. This year, following repeated calls from civil rights activists, Facebook is aiming to crack down on antisemitic content. It has announced that it will ban posts about Jews controlling the world; pages promoting the antisemitic Qanon conspiracy theory and posts denying or distorting the Holocaust.
Poland will end its kosher and halal meat export industry in 2025 (JTA) – Poland’s senate passed a law that will end its $1.8 billion kosher and halal meat export industry in 2025. Religious communities will still be able to slaughter meat without prior stunning, as is required by Jewish and Muslim law, as long as the meat is not for export. A vote Wednesday approved the law that was introduced last month in the government’s lower house and was originally intended to go into effect in 2022. Poland has about 20,000 Jews and a similar number of Muslims. The bulk of its many kosher and halal slaughterhouses produce meat for export. Critics say that killing animals without stunning them is cruel; proponents of the practice say it is relatively painless. Polish farmer and meat producer unions successfully fought to have the law postponed in connection with the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the head of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association, which has lobbied against the Polish legislation, has argued that Poland is a major provider of kosher meat to the rest of Europe and beyond. Margolin called the amendment delaying the bill “encouraging” but said his organization will continue to fight for the scrapping of the legislation.
OCTOBER 23, 2020
The woke world goes to war against ‘Wonder Woman’ BY JONATHAN S. TOBIN
(JNS) I’m not sure the world needed another movie about Cleopatra. And the career arc of Israeli actress Gal Gadot, who became an international superstar with her “Wonder Woman” films, isn’t something that matters all that much in the general scheme of things. Still, the announcement that Gadot would team up with Patty Jenkins, the director of her hit comic-book movie, to do a film produced by Paramount Pictures (with Gadot’s production company also playing a part) about the legendary queen of Egypt sent Twitter into a tizzy. The buzz on social media about the project revealed that a lot of people think Gadot has no business stepping in the footsteps of Hollywood legends Claudette Colbert and Elizabeth Taylor in playing the ultimate vamp role. They think it’s wrong that someone who isn’t black or Arab – or at least brown-skinned – is getting the part. A lot of those who spoke out on this issue simply resent Gadot for being Israeli, a veteran of the Israel Defense Force and that her family immigrated to the Jewish state from Eastern Europe (her maternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors, though her father is a sixthgeneration sabra). But their beef isn’t just rooted in hatred for Jews and Israelis. Speaking in the language of race theory and intersectionalism, critics say the film is yet another act of cultural appropriation by colonizers in which the heritage of indigenous peoples of Africa and the Middle East are being stolen by whites. That’s why this dustup isn’t just the usual nonsensical hype coming out of the entertainment world about a movie that is still in the planning stages. It matters because the debate about the prospective film illustrates the way ideological myths about race have distorted our public discourse and, more importantly, the way popular culture operates. The point being if studio heads and their sources of funding fear being “canceled” for casting a white Jewish woman as Cleopatra because the woke world demands a “person of color” in that role so much that they dumped Gadot, then it will be an important turning point not just for Hollywood but for so much else, too. It would be one more indication of how broken our culture has become because of the growing dominance of farleft ideologues that peddle lies about both the past and the present. 10
(CREDIT: GAGE SKIDMORE/FLICKR)
The first point to be made about the film is that, contrary to the nonsense we’re hearing from Gadot’s critics, the real Cleopatra was neither black nor Arab. She and the other members of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt were descendants of the first Ptolemy, who was one of Alexander the Great’s companions and generals. He and his successors were Macedonian Greeks. Over the course of the 250 years during which his family ruled Egypt, they almost always married their siblings or cousins. That produced a lot of the usual problems with incest but it also, despite attempts to try and justify the depiction of Cleopatra as a black woman, ensured that the last of the Ptolemys was as European as the first. Nor was Cleopatra a figure from the period before the writing of history. We know a great deal about the details of her life. She was one of the most famous persons in the world at the time and, via her romances (with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony) and political intrigues that led to her death and the end of the Egyptian monarchy, right at the center of the Roman civil war that determined the fate of the Mediterranean for centuries. There are coins with her portrait, and though they are not the same thing as a photo, they make it obvious that speculation about her ancestry is foolish. All of which is to say that having a native Israeli or any other white woman from a Mediterranean background is entirely in keeping with a desire to tell her story in a way that doesn’t entirely contradict history.
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Of course, the entertainment world rarely lets facts get in the way of a good story or a twist on a historic tale that they think might be a box-office blockbuster. So it’s a testament to Gadot’s enormous popularity that a major studio would dare to contradict those who spew Afrocentric myths about Cleopatra being black or those who claim she is an Arab. Indeed, although Twitter storms of outrage may routinely impact the decisions made by film and TV executives, the prospect of being able to cast the “Wonder Woman” star means more to them. As such, Gadot is something of a symbol of the general failure of the BDS movement. Though the woke that dominate academia have made inroads in mainstream journalism, Israel’s enormously successful “startup nation” and booming economy have shown itself impervious to the efforts of those who wish to wage economic war on the Jewish state. And as much as Gadot’s earning power may be enough to defeat her detractors, we shouldn’t underestimate the influence of those who propagate the myths that demanded the cancelation of her film project. There’s no way to know whether Gadot’s Cleopatra will have any artistic merit. Still, we should cheer her ability to withstand her critics’ abuse and play a role for which the glamorous actress is eminently qualified. In the distorted mindset of intersectionalism, Jews are not an indigenous people in the Middle East or of Israel, but foreign white colonial oppressors, regardless of the fact that the majority of them are of Middle Eastern origin. Demanding that only “people of color” be depicted in historical epics isn’t a form of affirmative action for black or brown actors, but a measure aimed at silencing accurate narratives in favor of falsified history. The aim of such efforts – and related attacks on scholars and authors – isn’t diversity; it’s revisionism based on the false premises of critical race theory that seeks to divide us in a bigoted manner that contradicts attempts to bridge the divide between groups and to spread tolerance. Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of JNS – Jewish News Syndicate. Follow him on Twitter at: @ jonathans_tobin.
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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Does Mark Ruffalo have it in for Israel? BY LANA MELMAN
(JNS) American actor Mark Ruffalo recently appeared on the Mehdi Hasan Show, slamming Israel for alleged “asymmetrical warfare acted upon [Palestinians].” According to Ruffalo, artists “have a responsibility to speak up against [injustice],” and pursuing justice is his “calling on earth.” Hasan is a former Al Jazeera journalist, and Ruffalo, among other performances, is probably best known for his role as “The Hulk” in the film series “The Avengers.” Ruffalo went on to accuse Israel of oppression, apartheid and failing to live up to the “same standards as any other nation of the world.” He also expressed dismay that people have called his similar past statements anti-Semitic. Though seemingly well-intended, Ruffalo is mindlessly parroting anti-Israel lies and distortions. He decries Palestinian death and destruction, but fails to fully educate himself on the facts. Palestinians have been offered and rejected peace and land many times including in 1947, 1949, 1967, 1995 and 2000-01. They have launched thousands of terror attacks on Israeli towns and civilians. The Israeli Defense Forces does as much or more than other armed forces in the world to protect the lives of noncombatants. Ruffalo’s condemnation of Israel lacks balance and objectivity. There is no sign of empathy for the suffering of innocent Israelis, or any criticism of Hamas’s goal to destroy the Jewish state or of its reign of terror on both Israelis and its people. There is no call for reconciliation or compromise. Whether he intends to or not, Ruffalo has repeatedly strayed into the demonization of the Jewish state and singling out Israel for unreasonably high standards – two of Natan Sharansky’s three tells for anti-Semitism. In 2014, he accused Israel of needlessly and heartlessly bombing a Gazan hospital, which is a modern-day blood libel. He seems genuinely pained that people would think that he is anti-Semitic, yet falsely accuses the Jewish homeland of heinous acts and leaps to defend Hamas’s humanity. When it came out that the terrorist organization knowingly put the patients in the line of fire, Ruffalo naively tweeted: “Do you honestly think these
MARK RUFFALO AT THE 2007 TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. CREDIT: FLICKR VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.
people [Hamas], these fellow human beings, would use their own children as shields? Use your heart.” It is time to erase the delusory line between demonization of Israel and Jewhatred, as the former feeds the latter. When people describe the Jewish state as racist and immoral, they are tilling the soil for global anti-Semitism. Ruffalo is entitled to his opinion, but as a public figure with an outsized microphone, he must get the story straight. If he spent 30 minutes reading Hamas’s charter with its pledge to destroy Israel – or researched how it treats homosexuals and regards women, and contrasts it to the rights of gays, women and minorities in Israel – he might be moved to treat all the players with a fair hand. Maybe then he may end up truly helping the Palestinian people. Lana Melman is the CEO of Liberate Art Inc., a leader in the fight against the cultural boycott campaign against Israel, and a writer and public speaker.
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L IKE U S ON
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OCTOBER 23, 2020
THE VOTE IS ON
How Jewish groups are protecting voting access in 2020 BY RON KAMPEAS
SUPPORTERS DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE AND FORMER US VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN SHOW THEIR SUPPORT BEFORE THE VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE OUTSIDE KINGSBURY HALL AT THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH IN SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH ON OCTOBER 7, 2020. (GEORGE FREY AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES)
(JTA) – If you’re in Arizona or Florida and a 585 area code pops up on your phone, you might want to answer: It could be a Jewish volunteer in Rochester, New York, whose mission it is to help you vote. The Greater Rochester Jewish Federation is one of a number of local and national Jewish organizations endeavoring to make sure eligible voters – Jewish and not – get to the polls. The organizations are for the most part tax-exempt and by necessity nonpartisan, but the virtual thumbtacks on their maps coincide with battlegrounds where Democrats have pushed back against what they say are Republican efforts to diminish minority turnout. “The goal is really to register disenfranchised voters, specifically minority communities where access to proper information on voting access, to voter education, all the stuff that you need to be informed, and really to vote in general is really at an all-time low,” said Sarah Walters, the federation’s community relations director. Volunteers are trained to explain how to safely mail in votes, where President Donald Trump and his associates have sowed distrust in the method through false claims of fraud. They are suing to expand early voting opportunities where Republicans are shutting them down. Where Trump is asking acolytes to watch polls, Jewish groups are training volunteers to de-escalate confrontation at polls. Where 12
Trump says he wants the election called Nov. 3, Jewish organizations are telling voters that a wait is likely because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), the umbrella body for public policy groups, has helped Jewish Community Relations Councils in eight states – Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – partner with “All Voting is Local,” a voter registration project run by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “We’re committed to the protection of people and the right to vote,” she said. “But it’s a fine line to walk this year because of the extreme partisan nature of the landscape.” Here are some of the protective measures Jewish groups are taking ahead of Election Day.
Registering de-registered voters Republican-led states have in recent years removed from the rolls voters who have not voted for several successive elections. Democrats and voting rights activists say that because turnout is traditionally lower among minorities and people living in poverty, the action amounts to disenfranchisement. National and local Jewish organizations are partnering with voting rights groups to tell voters in states who may have been stricken off the rolls
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how to get back on. The Rochester federation partnered with Reclaim the Vote, a project of Center for Common Ground, a voting rights group. (The Reform movement also has partnered with Reclaim the Vote.) Walters said that 150 Jewish volunteers in her city have trained so far to reach deregistered voters in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. “You’ve got a script right in front of you that is county-specific and person-specific with all the information they need to figure out if they’re registered,” Walters said. “If they believe that they are registered – in many cases people have registered before but have been removed from voter rolls for not voting enough – you’re making sure that they know how to check that and if they aren’t registered, you’re making sure they have the resources they need to find out that they’re eligible to register.”
Mitigating suppression by increasing turnout
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism wants an “overwhelming” turnout, said its director, Rabbi Jonah Pesner. “It erodes the possibility of the attempts to either delegitimize” the election “or targeted suppression,” Pesner said. “If there is an overwhelming turnout of lowerincome communities and communities of color, then that will mitigate against a lot of what will be attempts at voter suppression, like if you close polling places.” The pandemic means door-knocking is not the option it was in past elections, so Reform volunteers have used electronic means to reach voters, through texting and apps. “We had originally set as our goal 250,000 voter engagements,” Pesner said. “We’ve engaged 350,000 and we’re on track to get to half a million by Election Day.” The outreach is strategic, Pesner said, citing as an example the RAC chapter in Chicago. Illinois, solidly Democratic, does not pose a disenfranchisement threat, so the local Reform Jewish activists consulted with longtime allies in Black churches. They joined efforts to reach voters in neighboring Wisconsin, which is a critical swing state, and where Republican legislators have sought to inhibit mail-in voting and have limited polling places. “Knowing that there would be attacks on enfranchisement in the inner city of
Milwaukee in particular, this kind of interesting intersectional effort was born between the relationships that pre-existed in Chicago,” he said.
Bringing out the lawyers
Pesner’s RAC is also recruiting lawyers to join a project run by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to be on call until Election Day to report attempts at voter suppression. “The hotline has already become almost overwhelmed with calls,” said Pesner. Sheila Katz, who directs the National Council of Jewish Women, is also recruiting lawyers and others to watch polls. “We’re working to get people to polling locations that have a particular level of expertise and training to be able to advise people on their rights,” she said. “Lawyers are definitely highly preferred as people we want on the ground. But we have training that will be available to any person who wants to make sure that they’re available to be able to let people know what their rights are.” Anti-Defamation League lawyers have joined an effort led by Common Cause in Texas to overturn an order by Gov. Greg Abbott to limit ballot drops to one station per county.
Encouraging Election Day volunteering
The Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah is encouraging Jewish organizations to let staffers take Election Day off to volunteer as poll workers, and providing training for deescalation should they encounter attempts to disrupt voting. It launched its program, called Free and Fair: Our Duty to Democracy, on Oct. 13. Aaron Dorfman, the foundation’s president, said it was working with Over Zero, a group that combats “identity-based violence.” The training involves connecting volunteers from faith communities and establishing lines of communication if there is a threat. “If there are instances of violence on around Election Day they’re prepared to connect with local law enforcement of elected officials and other faith leaders,” he said. “They can think and strategize together and respond collectively.” The ADL has published a guide for state and local officials to identify possible sources of extremist violence ahead of time. jewishledger.com
“It’s a toolkit or reference for state and local officials who are confronting the challenge of the potential for threats motivated by extremism,” said Steve Freeman, the ADL’s vice president for civil rights.
Sending wish-you-werevoting postcards
The Jewish federation in Buffalo, New York, is getting volunteers to write postcards to the voters in the states designated by the Reclaim our Vote project, which cites studies that have found that handwritten appeals on the back of colorful postcards spur 25% of recipients to reregister. “Every county has specific texts that you’re allowed to use and they handwrite postcards, and they’re given an address to send,” said Mara Koven-Gelman, the federation’s community relations director. Deborah Cohen, a retired psychiatric nurse who is a congregant at Buffalo’s Congregation Shir Shalom, initiated the postcard writing, drawing in 50 of her fellow congregants. Koven-Gelman said the effort has spread throughout the community.
Addressing challenges facing the young and old
Hillel, the international organization that works with college students and young adults, has revamped its MitzVote campaign for the pandemic era, launching a website that helps students homebound by the pandemic figure out how and where to register to vote. Two years ago, “West Wing” star and Jewish Twitter celebrity Josh Malina starred in a MitzVote get-out-the-vote
video. This year, he’s joined by several other prominent (but youth-oriented) Jews in promoting MitzVote’s “Schmear Campaign,” which aims to convince college-aged voters that casting a ballot during the pandemic is as easy as toasting a bagel. To join the #SchmearCampaign, and make sure your voter registration info is up-to-date, visit http://mitz.vote. Jewish groups are also giving special attention to elderly voters, as well. Like college students, they may also face unique obstacles in casting their ballots. “I’m especially concerned that Jews who are sitting at home, who plan on voting, don’t become intimidated because they think there’s going to be rowdy people at the polling sites, that it makes them stay home,” said Ronald Halber, who directs Greater Washington’s Jewish Community Relations Council.
Getting out the party vote
It’s not all about safeguarding the vote. Partisan Jewish organizations are doing what they do every cycle: focusing on getting the vote out, especially in swing states where the margin between the winner and loser is likely to be narrow and Jewish voters could potentially influence the result. As the contours of the election have become clearer, Democrats are laboring in more states than Republicans. Matt Brooks, the Republican Jewish Coalition director, said his organization had reached over 410,000 “likely Trump and persuadable” voters in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arizona, Georgia and Michigan, all swing states where Jewish voters could make a difference. Meanwhile, the Jewish Democratic
Council of America has made 100,000 calls and sent 120,000 texts to Jewish voters in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. The hope is to reach 500,000 voters by Election Day. Bend the Arc, the Jewish social justice movement that has endorsed Joe Biden and other Democrats, has exceeded its target of reaching 250,000 Jewish voters and is now extending its phone and text campaign to non-Jews in swing states, reaching 725,000 so far, said CEO Stosh Cotler. The targeted states include Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and the hope is to reach 1.5 million voters by Election Day.
Urging patience, despite possible delays
Efforts to ensure a smooth Election Day and weeks leading up to it may not be enough to safeguard this year’s vote. Jewish groups will join public information campaigns counseling patience in the face of Trump’s stated intention to see the vote as done on the evening of Nov. 3. (Prognosticators have suggested that the count might initially favor Trump and then swing to Biden once mail-in votes are counted.) “We know that many of the votes won’t be counted on Nov. 3, and perhaps a decision will not be made and we need people to be patient, to let the process happen, we want people to be peaceful,” said Melanie Roth Gorelick, senior vice president at the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
Election Day violence. Officials worry it could target the Jews. BY BEN SALES
(JTA) – Ryan Greer used to spend his days trying to prevent people from becoming radicalized and joining ISIS. Now he and several former colleagues who used to work on combating foreign terrorism are paying attention to a threat closer to home: White supremacist violence in the United States. As Election Day nears, Greer sees that threat as growing ever more urgent. Right-wing extremist groups see the Nov. 3 election as an “apocalyptic moment” where the country’s fate hangs in the balance, Greer says. And he is concerned that Jews may be among the target of groups prepared to take up arms to ensure that Donald Trump wins the election. “We’re not necessarily predicting that there will be a civil war, but we are very concerned that there will be some violent acts,” said Greer, now the Anti-Defamation League’s director for program assessment and strategy. “As the conspiracy theories become more urgent, many of them may be directed toward Jews.” Officials that focus on Jewish security believe this election and its aftermath are going to be particularly dangerous for Jews due to a toxic mix of conditions that have been brewing for months. The election is taking place after months of street protests occasionally marked by
violence and even vigilante killing. An ongoing pandemic has led to a surge in voting by mail, making it possible the election outcome will remain unknown for days or even weeks. And the president has repeatedly questioned the integrity of the electoral process, refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power and initially declining to denounce the white supremacist groups that support him. “We’re worried about everything from simple tactics to vehicle rammings, which we have continued to see deployed across the country in protests and basic civil gatherings, to active threat events,” said Michael Masters, CEO of the Secure Community Network, which coordinates security for Jewish institutions nationwide. “Among domestic violent extremists, those who are racially and ethnically motivated, specifically white supremacist extremists, remain the most persistent lethal threat in the United States.” Recent reports from law enforcement agencies confirm this. The Department of Homeland Security reported this week that white supremacists are the “most persistent and lethal” threat in the United States, noting that such groups are characterized by hatred for Jews. In a threat assessment
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OCTOBER 23, 2020
Violence CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13
published last month, New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness sketched out various scenarios in which a disputed election prompts “racially motivated extremists [to] scapegoat minorities and government officials,” leading to violence and loss of life. A recent report by the Network Contagion Research Institute, which tracks online hate, documented how violent groups in what it calls the “militia-sphere” are using increasingly violent rhetoric – and reaching more people. On Oct. 15, the FBI announced charges against a group of antigovernment extremists who had plotted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Masters’ organization is currently focused on securing Jewish institutions that serve as polling places or vote counting sites. He estimates that there will be hundreds of polling locations either in or near Jewish institutions, and fears they could become hotspots for extremist violence. Masters has been focused on synagogue
security for years, especially since the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in 2018. But securing synagogues on Election Day will be especially risky. A large number of unknown people will be entering the building, the doors will likely remain open, and the building may have been unused and unstaffed since March due to the pandemic. “They may be opening for the first time [since the start of the pandemic], or they may be opening their doors in a way which runs contrary to established security practices and protocols that they’ve adapted over the years,” Masters said. “There can be a compounded threat both because of the concern about the potential for violence around election-related sites, compounded with the fact they are also Jewish institutions and organizations, which may increase their attractiveness as a target for some individuals.” Cassie Miller, a senior research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said extremist groups may feel even more empowered to take action after the recent presidential debate in which Trump told
ARMED GUN RIGHTS PROTESTERS, LED BY A MEMBER OF THE BOOGALOO BOYS, IN RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, AUG. 18, 2020. (CREDIT: CHAD MARTIN/LIGHTROCKET VIA GETTY IMAGES)
| OCTOBER 23, 2020
the Proud Boys, a violent far-right group, to “stand back and stand by.” Many such groups will accept nothing short of a Trump victory, Miller said, and are prepared to employ violence to ensure that result. “Within the far-right, there’s been an increasing convergence around the idea that we’re headed towards a civil war or that we’re on the abyss of some large-scale civil unrest,” Miller said. “You’re creating a combustible situation when you have people with guns who feel like they’re acting at the behest of the president and feel like what they’re doing is sanctioned by law enforcement.” Miller added that while Jews may be at risk, she also fears that communities of color could be in danger, especially in swing states as far-right groups could attempt to suppress their votes. Greer worries that Election Day violence could produce a snowball effect in which extremists on the left and right clash, leading to lethal shootings as occurred this summer in Kenosha, Wisconsin and Portland, Oregon. Those in turn could inspire more clashes and more shootings. To try to forestall this, the ADL is asking local officials to reassure voters that the election will be fair and to speak out against violence. The Secure Community Network meanwhile is urging Jewish institutions to monitor entry and exit points and even erect barriers to protect people waiting on line from possible car-ramming attacks. “It is amazing what you have to consider to allow people to exercise their basic right of enfranchisement in this country in the year 2020,” Masters said. While Greer is careful to note that extremism exists on both sides of the political divide, he says that far-right political conspiracies have already inspired the murder of Jews in Pittsburgh, a dynamic that could well play out again this year. “The individual who was the perpetrator was a believer of Jewish religious conspiracy theories related to immigration policy,” said Greer, referring to the Pittsburgh shooter. “That’s a political concern that led to an antisemitic conspiracy theory that led to the largest attack on U.S. soil that was motivated by antisemitism. You can imagine, in the political fallout, when there’s a political crisis, a similar set of conspiracy theories that go specifically after Jews.”
70% of Jews plan to vote Biden, Pew study finds BY BEN SALES
(JTA) – The Jewish vote in the upcoming presidential election should be very close to the way it has been split since 2012, a new study by the Pew Research Center found. The survey, conducted earlier this month and published Tuesday, found that 70% of American Jews plan to vote for former Vice President Joe Biden, while 27% plan to vote for President Donald Trump. If those numbers bear out, they will be nearly identical to the Jewish result in 2016, when Pew found that Hillary Clinton won 71% of the Jewish vote to Trump’s 25%. In 2012, the numbers were slightly higher for the Republican candidate: Barack Obama won 69% of the Jewish vote while Mitt Romney won 30%. The margin of error for Jewish respondents on the Pew survey is quite large, at 9.6%, which means that the result is statistically similar to the Jewish vote in previous elections. The poll is a blow to Jewish Republican hopes that Trump’s record in office – including recognizing Israeli territorial claims, brokering peace between Israel and two Arab states and pulling out of the Iran nuclear agreement – could shift the vote in his favor. The Pew poll also found that 35% of Jewish Americans approve of the job Trump has done in office, similar to his 38% approval rating among Americans overall. Overall, Pew found that 52% of Americans overall prefer Biden while 42% prefer Trump. Large majorities of Jews, Hispanic Catholics, Black Protestants and religiously unaffiliated voters support Biden. Most white Christians, including the vast majority of white evangelicals, support Trump. CONTINUED ON PAGE 16
JOE BIDEN TALKS TO REPORTERS BEFORE DEPARTING CINCINNATI/NORTHERN KENTUCKY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN HEBRON, KENTUCKY ON OCTOBER 12, 2020. (CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES)
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OCTOBER 23, 2020
AROUND CONNECTICUT Rejoicing with the Torah in Orange Orthodox support for Trump is skyrocketing, survey finds
On Sunday morning, Oct.11, Congregation Or Shalom in Orange celebrated Simchat Torah, the holiday marking completion of the annual cycle of the reading of the Torah with – with their annual “Rejoicing with the Torah” event, held for the first time outdoors. “The reason for moving our celebration outdoors was to make this event possible for a larger number of participants, in this age of pandemic awareness,” commented Rabbi Alvin Wainhaus, adding, “Besides, the weather was spectacular!”
BY BEN SALES
(JTA) – A new poll shows overwhelming support for President Donald Trump among Orthodox Jews. The poll, published Wednesday by Ami Magazine, found that 83% of Orthodox respondents plan to vote for Trump in the upcoming election, while just 13% plan to vote for Joe Biden. Those numbers represent a dramatic increase from a 2017 poll by the American Jewish Committee which found that 54% of Orthodox Jews had voted for Trump in 2016. The Ami poll, which was conducted over the past month by an unnamed firm, also found low support among Orthodox Jews for public health restrictions due to COVID-19. The survey includes 1,000 respondents and has a 3.1% margin of error. The poll’s numbers put Orthodox Jews politically out of step with American Jews overall, the vast majority of whom oppose Trump and generally vote in large numbers for Democratic candidates. According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, only 27% of American Jews plan to vote for Trump, as opposed to 70% for Biden. Those numbers are statistically equivalent to the 71% of Jews who voted for Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016, according to Pew. Orthodox Jews have trended right over the past few decades, voting increasingly for Republican presidential candidates starting with George W. Bush. They tend to view Republicans as more pro-Israel than Democrats and accord more with Republican views of religious freedom. The Ami poll places Orthodox support for Trump at a higher level than any other
other religious group in the United States. The Pew survey found that the highest level of support for Trump came from Evangelical Christians, with 78% saying they planned to vote for the president. Pew did not report a result for Orthodox Jews. The Ami poll also found that haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, Jews are far likelier to vote for Trump than Modern Orthodox Jews. A stunning 95% of haredi Jews said they plan to vote for Trump, as opposed to 56% of Modern Orthodox Jews. The poll found that Trump has shed some Modern Orthodox support since last year, when Ami found that 70% of Modern Orthodox respondents approved of the job he was doing. The margin of error for Modern Orthodox Jews in the 2020 poll was approximately 4.8%. The poll also found that Orthodox Jews support public health restrictions aimed at containing COVID-19 far less than Americans as a whole. A majority of Orthodox respondents, 58%, believe that government health regulations are excessive or unnecessary, or that the virus poses no threat at all. Only 32% said that the threat is real and that government guidelines, should be followed, and only 18% of haredi respondents. While not directly comparable, an August poll shows that a large majority of Americans supports a mask mandate. The Ami poll was published following days of unrest in Borough Park over recently imposed public heath restrictions aimed at responding to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the heavily Orthodox neighborhood.
RABBI WAINHAUS, CENTER, PRESIDENT BOB SPAULDING, LEFT, AND ONE OF THE FAMILIES IN ATTENDANCE AT CONGREGATION OR SHALOM’S SIMCHAT TORAH CELEBRATION.
Mandell JCC Annual Meeting Recap The COVID-19 crisis was the subject of much discussion at the 105th Annual Meeting of the Mandell JCC, held virtually on Wednesday, Sept. 30. Chaired by Gayle Temkin, highlights of the 2020 annual meeting included an address by JCC President Peter Fishman, in which he detailed the remarkable efforts of the JCC staff to continue to serve the community by providing over the course of the pandemic more than 1,500 hours of online, in-person and summer programming, as well as food, diaper and backto-school drives. Along the same lines, board member Josh Feldman announced that the JCC has reached its Crisis Fund goal. Feldman also thanked the many JCC members who continued to pay their membership dues throughout the crisis and facility closure. Among the evening’s other highlights, several staff were honored for their longtime service to the JCC, including Jane Pasternak, head of the JCC’s Family Center, who celebrated her 35th anniversary as a staff member, and Lia Wald, who recently retired after 33 years with the JCC. Led by board member Richard Fechtor, the tribute to Wald included a surprise appearance by her two sons and their families, direct from their State department The annual meeting also included the election of board members, including new board members Tammy Kagan Levine, Irene O’Conner and teen representative Alyssa Temkin.
MILESTONES B’nai Mitzvah AMELIA FICHANDLER, daughter of Lisa and David Fichandler, will celebrate her Bat Mitzvah on Saturday, Oct. 24, at The Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford. ARI HURWITZ, son of Michael Hurwitz and Deborah Chirnomas, celebrated his bar mitzvah on Monday, Oct. 12 at Congregation Beth El - Keser Israel in New Haven. MAX NATHAN, son of Dina and Marc Nathan, celebrated his bar mitzvah on Saturday, Oct. 17, at The Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford. 16
| OCTOBER 23, 2020
AT THE MANDELL JCC 2020 ANNUAL MEETING WERE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DAVID JACOBS AND FRANK RESNICK.
KOLOT In the Beginning
THE KOSHER CROSSWORD OCT. 23, 2020
By: Yoni Glatt
Difficulty Level: Challenging
A SHABBAT TALE BY HOWARD MEYEROWITZ
hana Bat Chava and Chava Bat Chana have been friends from the beginning of their lives. They were born at the same time, at sunrise on a bright and beautiful sunlit Sunday autumn morning, in their tiny village near the ocean shore, and from the very first time they met as infants, everyone knew there was going to be something special about their friendship. In the nursery if one girl dropped her rattle the other would pick it up and hand it back. If one hurt herself, the other would immediately offer comfort. Chana Bat Chava had eyes the color of a pale blue sky, and Chava Bat Chana eyes were as deep blue as the sea, and they both enjoyed gazing at the night sky with all that it offered of the moon and the stars. Of course, each girl developed her own personality. Chana Bat Chava helped the farmers of their village plant and harvest their crops, while Chava Bat Chana tended the animals on the farm. Chana Bat Chava always dressed in blue and wore sandals, which she often wore to the shore, and Chava Bat Chana always dressed in brown and wore sneakers that made it comfortable for her long hikes across the meadows. Because of their individual love of farming, when a small farm was up for sale they pooled their resources and bought it. The rich fertile soil was plowed and tilled and seeds were planted, and the livestock were lovingly cared for. Fruit trees of various kinds dotted the landscape. During the year from season to season, the children from the village’s Hebrew day school were invited to help on the farm so they could get a first hand knowledge of how crops are grown and harvested, and as a ‘thank you’ the children were offered food to take home that would be used for Shabbos. Howard Meyerowitz is a Ledger staff member and a member of Beth El Temple in West Hartford. He lives in Bloomfield with his wife, Susan. The father of two grown daughters, he delights his two grandchildren with his original and imaginative Shabbat tales. Readers are invited to submit original work on a topic of their choosing to Kolot. Submissions should be sent to judiej@ jewishledger.com.
ANSWERS TO OCT. 16 CROSSWORD
Curbside pick up and local home delivery available! SHABBAT DINNER TRADITIONAL DAIRY LUNCHEON DELI SANDWICH PLATTER DINNER MENU
Across 1. Entered an appeal 5. Apple alternatives 8. Some Jewish books 14. Andy Kaufman TV show 15. When Canada celebrates la Fete de la Reine 16. Antsy feeling 17. A judge on “The Voice” 19. Joseph might have been wrapped in them when he died 20. ___-Lo, a judge on “The Voice” 21. Like one who is very tzniut, probably 23. Utilize 25. Not the chorus 27. Shrink piece 31. Korach did not do this after he rebelled
33. Band whose first #1 album was “Out of Time” 36. German surname starter 37. Comic Jacobson 38. Org. that can help you get started? 40. Most up-to-date 42. Alternative title for this puzzle 45. Read Esther again 46. Victim of cancel culture on “The Simpsons” 47. Irish Rose’s hubby on Broadway 49. It could be 11 50. Perelman of “The Smitten Kitchen” 52. Something a Rabbi receives 54. Airport approximations: Abbr. 56. “Kel ___Rachamim” 58. Internet access abbr.
59. Garden tool 62. Kelly of outlaw fame 64. Make like Jehoiachin (to his subjects) when he rebelled against Babylon 67. Training exercise for an Israeli unit 71. “I didn’t ___!” (“It was an accident!”) 72. They’re fertilized, in biology 73. Prince Charles’ sister 74. Like Eugene Levy and William Shatner 75. Sip of Scotch 76. Doctors Without Borders and others, in brief
Down 1. Edu. org. 2. Yeled, in Glasgow 3. Increased the severity of 4. Roosevelt coin 5. Patient-care grp. 6. Insulin-producing gland 7. Utterances of relief 8. Layover cities, often 9. Israeli name that’s a sci. subject 10. Families share them 11. Son of one mentioned in 42-Across 12. That, in Lima 13. Good to go 18. Son of one mentioned in 42-Across 22. Ireland’s ___ Lingus
23. Home to most NHL teams 24. Topic 26. Pave the way for 28. Paying too much, perhaps 29. Some discoveries at Israel’s Qafzeh cave 30. Colonist you might unsuspectingly crush? 32. Wicked habit 34. Stand the test of time 35. Sweatshirt size: Abbr. 39. Mobile home?: Abbr. 41. Damage from continuous use 43. Testament of note 44. Launch of April 1968 45. Actress Issa 48. Right-angled shape 51. Notable car letters
53. Daughter of one mentioned in 42-Across 55. Police chief? 57. Founder of the Targaryen dynasty 60. Measure up 61. “___ about....” 63. Cohen who directed “Holmes & Watson” 64. Letters associated with Einstein 65. Union for sch. workers 66. Son of one mentioned in 42-Across 68. Storytime spot, perhaps 69. Lennon’s love 70. Genesis rival, for short
OCTOBER 23, 2020
BULLETIN BOARD Dr. Berel Lang to deliver annual lecture at UConn, Oct. 21 “Against the Lachrymose View of Jewish History” will be the subject of a lecture by Dr. Brel Lang on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m. Lang, who is professor of philosophy emeritus at the State University of New York, Albany, will deliver his the Gene and Georgia Mittelman Virtual Lecture hosted by UConn’s Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life. Lang is the author of 12 looks, including Writing and the Moral Self, and Ace and Idea in the Nazi Genocide, among others. The historian Salo Baron attacked the “lachrymose view of Jewish history” as mistakenly focused on events or practices of persecution and violence in that history – at th esame time providing strong evidence that still more basic factors shaped the history of Jewish flourishing and survival. Land will discuss how how
the same lachrymose view still dominates current popular Jewish understanding and this has severe even dangerous practical consequences. For information: avinoam.patt@uconn. edu. To register: judaicstudies.uconn.edu/ upcoming-events.
2nd Congressional Candidate Forum, Oct. 21 The Jewish Federation Association of CT (JFACTa) and the Jewish Federation Eastern Connecticut will host a 2nd Congressional Candidate Forum with Congressman Joe Courtney (Democrat) and his Republican challenger, Justin Anderson, on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. Co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Hartford and Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, the discussion will include a Q&A in which participants will have the opportunity to ask questions via Zoom’s hatbox and hear directly from the candidates about their most pressing topics. For more information, visit jfec.com.
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3rd Congressional District debate, Oct. 22 The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven will host the Third Congressional District debate, to be held on October 22 at 7 p.m, at the Vine Family Auditorium of the JCC of Greater New Haven. No live audience will be allowed due to COVID-19 safety procedures. Instead, the debate will be broadcast on News 8 and streamed live on WTNH.com. The debate will be hosted by News 8 Anchor Darren Kramer, and moderated by Paul Bass of the New Haven Independent and Mary O’Leary of the New Haven Register. The debate is co-sponsored by the JCRC of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and by the Jewish Federations Association of Connecticut (JFACT).
Contemporary Israeli Voices 2020 begins online, Oct. 22 The 18th annual Contemporary Israeli Voices, curated and organized by Dalit Katz, director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Wesleyan University, will open Thursday, Oct. 22. The 2020 series centers around Israeli artists who made their marks in Hollywood in cinema and TV. Live online multi-media presentations are followed by a Q&A session with the guest speaker. Admission is free. Thursday, Oct. 22 “Acting and The Brain’s Plasticity” Speaker: Ayelet Zurer Actress Ayelet Zurer has studied neuroplasticity and the process that occurs in the brain while actors take on different roles and personas. Zurer will discuss her work in the films “Angels and Demons“ and “Man of Steel,” and the discipline required of actors in their commitment to their art. Thursday, Nov. 12, 8 p.m. “Why Hollywood Loves Israeli TV Shows” Speaker: Ron Leshem Award-winning screenwriter and author Ron Leshem will discuss the TV shows he is writing and producing, including “Valley of Tears,” “The Syrian Civil War” and “Euphoria.” The presentation will include video clips from some of his TV show
The Mandell JCC Virtual Book Festival All the following Zoom Webinar Author Talks are held at 8 p.m. and are followed by a Q&A. Presented in partnership with the JCC Literary Consortium. For more information, visit mandelljcc.org/ bookfestival.
Thursday, Oct. 22 Judy Gold, author of Yes, I Can Say That: When They Come for the Comedians, We Are All In Trouble. In Conversation with Mara Davis, media personality. $11/virtual ticket; $30/virtual ticket and copy of book (includes shipping). Friday, Oct. 25 Harlan Coben, author of The Boy From the Woods. In Conversation with Emily Giffin, New York Times bestselling author. $23/ virtual ticket and paperback copy of book (shipping included). Sunday, Oct. 27 Nancy Grace, author of Don’t be a Victim: Fighting Back against America’s Crime Wave. In conversation with John Lemley, Sirius radio host. $11/virtual ticket; $36/ virtual ticket and one copy of book (includes shipping) Tuesday, Oct. 29 Mike Leven, author of Can’t Do It Yourself: How Commitment to Others Leads to Personal Prosperity. $11/virtual ticket; $36/ virtual ticket and copy of book (includes shipping).
Tour Zion Hill Cemetery, Oct. 25 On Sunday, October 25 at 11 a.m., Kerri Provost, a board member of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford, will when lead a small group on an in-person tour through the Jewish areas of Hartford’s Zion Hill Cemetery. Highlights will include the grave sites of Rabbis Meyer Elkin and Isaac Mayer, the Auerbach and Fox families, and of Sophie Tucker’s parents, Charles and Jennie Abuza. Space is limited for this tour. Face coverings a must. Wear comfortable shoes. Suggested donation $10. For information or to register, visit jhsgh.org.
How to talk to kids worried about the world, Oct. 26 PJ Library will host a discussion led by Dr. Abigail Gewirtz on “How to Talk to Your Kids About Things That Worry Them in a Complicated World,” on Monday, Oct. 26, 8 pm. Gewirtz will discuss her new book When the World Feels Like a Scary Place.” She will talk about big issues that make both parents and children anxious – from routine active-shooter drills at school to pandemics to social-justice issues and more. Presented by UJA/JCC Greenwich in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Upper Fairfield County and JFS.
TORAHPortion Lectures at the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies All lectures in this year’s Bennett Center for Judaic Studies at Fairfield University are virtual and free of charge. Registration required at fairfield.edu/bennettprograms. For information: bennettcenter@fairfield. edu or (203) 254-4000 x2066. Thursday, Oct. 22, 7:30 p.m. “Loving the Jews: Philosemitism and Judaizing in Contemporary Christianity,” with guest speaker Rabbi David Sandmel, PhD, director of interfaith affairs, Anti-Defamation League. Co-sponsored by Center for Catholic Studies. Wednesday, Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m. “Cantor Azi Schwartz in Concert: From Bimah to Broadway.” (see below) Tuesday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m. “Goring’s Man in Paris: The Story of a Nazi Art Plunderer and His World,” with guest speaker Jonathan Petropoulos, PhD, Jonn V. Croul professor of European History, Claremont-McKenna College. Ticket required. Open VISIONSs/espresso, in affiliation with the Bennett Center and the Judaic Studies Program.
Azi Schwartz to headline Daniel Pearl World Music Days Concert, Oct. 28 On Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 7:30 p.m., Cantor Azi Schwartz will headline the Daniel Pearl World Music Days virtual concert entitled, “Cantor Azi Schwartz in Concert: From Bimah to Broadway.” Sponsored by Fairfield University’s Bennett Center for Judaic Studies, the performance will take place on Zoom webinar. Daniel Pearl World Music Days Concert is a network of over 6,000 musical performances held annually in October, to honor the life of the slain Wall Street Journal writer Daniel Pearl, who believed that music is a powerful force that can bring people together. Born and raised in Israel, Azi Schwartz graduated from Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute, then earned a masters degree in Classical Singing and Conduction from the Mannes School of Music at the New School in New York City. He currently serves as senior cantor at the Park Avenue Synagogue, the largest conservative Jewish community in New York City, and the flagship of Jewish liturgical music in North America. According to Bennett Center Director Ellen Umansky, PhD, “This year’s concert will be our opportunity to honor the Bennett Center’s founder, Carl Bennett, on jewishledger.com
the occasion of his 100th birthday. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a man who has given so much to further Jewish causes and culture over the years.” In addition to honoring Carl Bennett, the concert will honor the memory of Harry D. Haims and Dr. Alfred Wolfsohn. Admission to the cancert is free. To register, visit fairfield.edu/ bennettprograms.
Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy to host virtual open houses The Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy of Connecticut (BCHA) invites parents to attend the school’s first-ever virtual Open House for prospective Lower School families on Monday evening, Nov. 9, 7:45 to 9 p.m. A comprehensive pre-k through grade 12 Jewish community school located in North Stamford, the open house is specifically designed for families with children in pre-K through 8th grade. A separate virtual open house for high school students will be held Sunday Nov. 8, 10 - 11 a.m.. Parents attending the pre-K through 8th grade open house will have the opportunity to hear from Bi-Cultural’s Head of School, Jackie Herman, and to learn more about Bi-Cultural’s award-winning interdisciplinary, dual curriculum from a cadre of outstanding teachers. “Health and safety consideration prevent us from hosting our open house on the school’s sprawling campus, as we normally do,” says Bi-Cultural’s Director of Admissions Miriam Sperber. “Nonetheless, we are excited to welcome parents to a virtual showcase of the many dynamic and innovative academic and communityoriented programs that make Bi-Cultural the outstanding educational institution it is. It confirms why Bi-Cultural was the only Jewish day school in the country to be designated a 2017 Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.” For information or to register for the Lower School open house and receive a Zoom link, contact Miriam Sperber at (203) 883-8968 or email@example.com. For information or to register for the Upper School open house visit bhaupperschool.org/open house or call (203) 883-8970. Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy of Connecticut is located at 2186 High Ridge Road in Stamford.
CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE
BY RABBI SHLOMO RISKIN
“And Haran died before his father, in the land of his birth, in Ur Kasdim.” (Gen. 11:28)
hen it comes to questions of belief, the agnostic is the loneliest of all. On one side stands the atheist, confident in his rejection of God. On the other side stands the believer, who glories in his faith that the universe is the handiwork of God. The agnostic stands in the middle, not knowing whether or not God exists. Our Biblical portion makes reference to two very different agnostics, Haran and Noah. The contrast between them contains an important lesson all. The Bible states that Noah went into the ark “because of the waters of the Flood” (Gen. 7:7). From this verse, Rashi derives that “Noah had little faith; he believed and he didn’t believe that the Flood would arrive.” Noah didn’t enter the ark until the water literally pushed him in. Rashi’s phrase that “he believed and he didn’t believe” describes an agnostic who remains in a state of uncertainty. As such, Noah is the first agnostic. The second Biblical agnostic appears in the guise of Haran. “These are the generations of Terah. Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran” (Gen. 11:27). Why does the text specify “and Haran died before his father in the land of his birth, in Ur Kasdim” (Ibid. v. 28)? What is the significance of citing the exact place of Haran’s death? Rashi explains by citing a fascinating midrashic tradition that details how Terah, a famous idol manufacturer, brings charges in the court of King Nimrod against his own son Abram, who destroyed his father’s idols while preaching heretical monotheism. As punishment, Abram is to be cast into the fiery furnace. Haran is present at the trial and takes the position of having no position. He decides that if Nimrod’s furnace will prove hotter than Abram’s flesh, he will side with the king; but if Abram survives the fire, then it would be clear that Abram’s God is more powerful than Nimrod’s gods, and he will throw in his lot with his brother. Only after Abram emerges unscathed, is Haran ready to rally behind his brother. He confidently enters the fiery furnace, but no miracles
await him. Haran burns to death. Is it not strange that the fate of the two agnostics should be so diﬀerent? We read how Noah was a man of little faith, and yet not only does he survive the Flood, he turns into one of the central figures of human history. He is even termed “righteous” in the Bible. In contrast, Haran, father of Lot, brother to Abraham is punished with death for his lack of faith. Rabbi Moshe Besdin, z”l, explained that while Noah and Haran shared uncertainty about God, there was a vast diﬀerence between them. Noah, despite his doubts, nevertheless builds the ark, pounding away for 120 years, suﬀering abuse from a world ridiculing his persistence. Noah may not have entered the ark until the rains began–but he did not wait for the Flood before obeying the divine command to build an ark. Noah may think like an agnostic, but he acts like a believer. Haran, on the other hand, dies because he waits for someone else to test the fires. In refusing to act for God during Abram’s trial, he acted against God. He is an agnostic who acts like an atheist. Indecision is also a decision. A person who is indecisive about protesting an evil action or a malicious statement is aiding and abetting that malevolence by his very indecisive silence. After all, our sages teach that “silence is akin to assent.” Noah reached his spiritual level because he acted, not so much out of faith, but despite his lack of it. Our Sages understood very well the diﬃculty of faith. What they attempt to teach the agnostic is: If you are unsure, why act as if you are an atheist? Would it not be wiser to act as if you were a believer? We learn from Noah’s life and Haran’s death that perfect faith is not necessary in order to conduct one’s life. Belief is never as important as action. In the World to Come, there is room for all kinds of agnostics. It depends primarily on how they acted on earth. Rabbi Shlomo Riskin is chancellor emeritus of Ohr Torah Stone and chief rabbi of Efrat, Israel.
OCTOBER 23, 2020
OBITUARIES KANTROW Norman Burton Kantrow, 80, died Oct. 10. He was the husband of Sharon Kantrow. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children, Joseph Kantrow and his wife Heather, Samuel Kantrow and his wife Melissa, and Kate Dietch and her husband Howie; his grandsons, Cameron, Benjamin, and David; and his sister Linda. PULKIN Betty Puklin, 87 of Delray Beach, Fla., formerly of Hamden, died Oct. 11. She was the wife of Richard H. Puklin. She in New Haven, she was the daughter of the late Irving and Rose Benzel. She is survived by her children, Heidi Parlato and Alan Puklin; her grandchildren, Rachel Puklin and Sarah Puklin; and her brother Stanley Benzel. She was also predeceased by her sister Florence Cohen and Jack Benzel.
STONE Elliot Stone, 89, of Boca Raton, Fla., formerly of the New Haven area, died Oct. 10. He was the husband of Paula Mae Alderman. Born in Brooklyn, he was the son of the late Louis and Ida Stone. He was a veteran of the United States Army, stationed in Germany during the early 1950’s. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children, Ira Stone and his wife Sandra, Michael Stone and his wife Melissa, and Randi Farnsworth and her husband Peter; his grandchildren, Sydney Stone, Victoria and Madeline Stone, and Jonathan and Jacqueline Farnsworth; and two nieces. He was also predeceased by his sister Ethel Aaron.
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Klezmer Brass Allstars live and in concert, virtually, Oct. 25
Ruth Sack and Tracy Taback telling their family stories. For more information, visit ctvoicesofhope.org.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust will host a live concert featuring Frank London’s Klezmer Brass Allstars, actor and Yiddish singer Eleanor Reissa and percussionist Deep Singh, on Sunday, Oct. 25, 7 p.m. Broadcast from Edmond J. Safra Hall, the event will stream live to a virtual audience via the Museum’s website. The Klezmer Brass Allstars, Eleanor Reissa and Deep Singh will perform songs about love, protest, political commentary, the Holocaust, and liberation, drawing on their previous collaborations “Vilde mekhaye-Wild Ecstacy” and “Mir geyen nisht tsurik/No Looking Back.” Sir Frank London is a Grammy awardwinning trumpeter-composer, co-founder of The Klezmatics and founder of the Klezmer Brass Allstars. He was knighted for his work celebrating multi-cultural Jewish music and honoring those killed in the Holocaust in Hungary. He has worked with many renowned artists across a variety of genres and musical traditions, and has recorded over 500 CDs. His latest release is the poetry/music extravaganza Salomé: Woman of Valor, with Adeena Karasick. Suggested donation: $20. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit mjhnyc.org.
Applications for program to educate teens about Israel due Oct. 25
Speak Up Showcase featuring descendants of the Shoah, Oct. 25 Voice of Hope, an organization for second and third generation Holocaust survivors, and Speak Up Storytelling will host the sixth “Descendants of the Shoah Virtual Speak Up Showcase” on Sunday, Oct. 25 at 2 p.m. The showcase will feature descendants of Holocaust survivors Jeff Bauer, Herb Borenstin, Lea Chayes, Stephanie Kupfer,
The Center for Israel Education’s (CIE) engagement with Jewish pre-collegiate teachers is hosting its fourth Teen Israel Leadership Institute (TILI) in November, with others in the months ahead. In partnership with Emory University Institute for the Study for Modern Israel, TILI will run over two Sundays, Nov. 8 and 15, from 1 to 4 p.m. ET. Applications from teens across the country are welcome. Space limited. The interactive online sessions offer Jewish 10th- to 12th-graders activities and experiences that deepen their knowledge about Israel’s place in Jewish history and enable them to answer how Jews sought, made and are sustaining a state. Topics include Israel’s changing borders, the connection between Jewish identity and Israel, Israel in the media, Israeli culture and politics, and what to expect about Israel on college campuses. Following the institute, each participant is asked to deliver an Israel learning program for a community, synagogue, school or youth group. Applications are due Oct. 25. Fee is $54. Students who complete the program earn the CIE Teen Israel Leadership Institute Certificate in Israel Education. For information, contact CIE’s teen program manager Michele Freesman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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CELEBRATIONS • JUNE SENIOR LIVING • AUG.
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CT SYNAGOGUE DIRECTORY To join our synagogue directories, contact Howard Meyerowitz at (860) 231-2424 x3035 or email@example.com. BLOOMFIELD B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom/ Neshama Center for Lifelong Learning Conservative Rabbi Debra Cantor (860) 243-3576 office@BTSonline.org www.btsonline.org BRIDGEPORT Congregation B’nai Israel Reform Rabbi Evan Schultz (203) 336-1858 firstname.lastname@example.org www.cbibpt.org Congregation Rodeph Sholom Conservative (203) 334-0159 Rabbi Richard Eisenberg, Cantor Niema Hirsch email@example.com www.rodephsholom.com Jewish Senior Services Traditional Rabbi Stephen Shulman (203) 396-1001 firstname.lastname@example.org www.jseniors.org CHESHIRE Temple Beth David Reform Rabbi Micah Ellenson (203) 272-0037 office@TBDCheshire.org www.TBDCheshire.org CHESTER Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek Reform Rabbi Marci Bellows (860) 526-8920 email@example.com www.cbsrz.org
COLCHESTER Congregation Ahavath Achim Conservative Rabbi Kenneth Alter (860) 537-2809 firstname.lastname@example.org EAST HARTFORD Temple Beth Tefilah Conservative Rabbi Yisroel Snyder (860) 569-0670 email@example.com FAIRFIELD Congregation Ahavath Achim Orthodox (203) 372-6529 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ahavathachim.org Congregation Beth El, Fairfield Conservative Rabbi Marcelo Kormis (203) 374-5544 email@example.com www.bethelfairfield.org GLASTONBURY Congregation Kol Haverim Reform Rabbi Dr. Kari Tuling (860) 633-3966 firstname.lastname@example.org www.kolhaverim.org GREENWICH Greenwich Reform Synagogue Reform Rabbi Jordie Gerson (203) 629-0018 email@example.com www.grs.org
Temple Sholom Conservative Rabbi Mitchell M. Hurvitz Rabbi Chaya Bender Cantor Sandy Bernstein (203) 869-7191 firstname.lastname@example.org www.templesholom.com HAMDEN Temple Beth Sholom Conservative Rabbi Benjamin Edidin Scolnic (203) 288-7748 email@example.com www.tbshamden.com MADISON Temple Beth Tikvah Reform Rabbi Stacy Offner (203) 245-7028 firstname.lastname@example.org www.tbtshoreline.org MANCHESTER Beth Sholom B’nai Israel Conservative Rabbi Randall Konigsburg (860) 643-9563 Rabbenu@myshul.org email@example.com www.myshul.org MIDDLETOWN Adath Israel Conservative Spiritual Leaders: Rabbi Marshal Press Rabbi Michael Kohn (860) 346-4709 firstname.lastname@example.org www.adathisraelct.org
NEW HAVEN The Towers Conservative Ruth Greenblatt, Spiritual Leader (203) 772-1816 email@example.com www.towerone.org Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel Conservative Rabbi Jon-Jay Tilsen (203) 389-2108 office@BEKI.org www.BEKI.org
ORANGE Chabad of Orange/ Woodbridge Chabad Rabbi Sheya Hecht (203) 795-5261 firstname.lastname@example.org www.chabadow.org
Orchard Street ShulCongregation Beth Israel Orthodox Rabbi Mendy Hech t 973-723-9070 www.orchardstreetshul.org
Congregation Or Shalom Conservative Rabbi Alvin Wainhaus (203) 799-2341 email@example.com www.orshalomct.org
NEW LONDON Ahavath Chesed Synagogue Orthodox Rabbi Avrohom Sternberg 860-442-3234 Ahavath.firstname.lastname@example.org
RIDGEFIELD Congregation Shir Shalom of Westchester and Fairfield Counties Reform Rabbi David Reiner Cantor Debora Katchko-Gray (203) 438-6589 email@example.com
Congregation Beth El Conservative Rabbi Rachel Safman (860) 442-0418 firstname.lastname@example.org bethel-nl.org NEWINGTON Temple Sinai Reform Rabbi Jeffrey Bennett (860) 561-1055 email@example.com www.sinaict.org NEWTOWN Congregation Adath Israel Conservative Rabbi Barukh Schectman (203) 426-5188 firstname.lastname@example.org www.congadathisrael.org NORWALK Beth Israel Synagogue – Chabad of Westport/ Norwalk Orthodox-Chabad Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht (203) 866-0534 email@example.com bethisraelchabad.org Congregation Beth El-Norwalk Conservative Rabbi Ita Paskind (203) 838-2710 Jody@congbethel.org www.congbethel.org
Temple Shalom Reform Rabbi Mark Lipson (203) 866-0148 firstname.lastname@example.org www.templeshalomweb.org
SIMSBURY Chabad of the Farmington Valley Chabad Rabbi Mendel Samuels (860) 658-4903 email@example.com www.chabadotvalley.org Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation, Emek Shalom Reform Rabbi Rebekah Goldman Mag (860) 658-1075 firstname.lastname@example.org www.fvjc.org SOUTH WINDSOR Temple Beth Hillel of South Windsor Reform Rabbi Jeffrey Glickman (860) 282-8466 email@example.com www.tbhsw.org SOUTHINGTON Gishrei Shalom Jewish Congregation Reform Rabbi Alana Wasserman (860) 276-9113 President@gsjc.org www.gsjc.org
TRUMBULL Congregation B’nai Torah Conservative Rabbi Colin Brodie (203) 268-6940 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bnaitorahct.org
Congregation P’nai Or Jewish Renewal Shabbat Services Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener (860) 561-5905 email@example.com www.jewishrenewalct.org
WALLINGFORD Beth Israel Synagogue Conservative Rabbi Bruce Alpert (203) 269-5983 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bethisrael/wallingford. org
Kehilat Chaverim of Greater Hartford Chavurah Adm. - Marcey Ginsburg Munoz (860) 951-6877 info@ kehilatchaverim.org www.kehilatchaverim.org
WASHINGTON Greater Washington Coalition Rabbi James Greene (860) 868-2434 email@example.com www.jewishlife.org WATERFORD Temple Emanu - El Reform Rabbi Marc Ekstrand Rabbi Emeritus Aaron Rosenberg (860) 443-3005 firstname.lastname@example.org www.tewaterford.org WEST HARTFORD Beth David Synagogue Orthodox Rabbi Yitzchok Adler (860) 236-1241 email@example.com www.bethdavidwh.org Beth El Temple Conservative Rabbi James Rosen Rabbi Ilana Garber (860) 233-9696 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bethelwesthartford.org Chabad House of Greater Hartford Rabbi Joseph Gopin Rabbi Shaya Gopin, Director of Education (860) 232-1116 email@example.com www.chabadhartford.com
The Emanuel Synagogue Conservative Rabbi David J. Small (860) 236-1275 firstname.lastname@example.org www.emanuelsynagogue.org United Synagogues of Greater Hartford Orthodox Rabbi Eli Ostrozynsk i synagogue voice mail (860) 586-8067 Rabbi’s mobile (718) 6794446 email@example.com www.usgh.org Young Israel of West Hartford Orthodox Rabbi Tuvia Brander (860) 233-3084 firstname.lastname@example.org www.youngisraelwh.org WETHERSFIELD Temple Beth Torah Unaffiliated Rabbi Seth Riemer (860) 828-3377 email@example.com templebethtorahwethersfield. org WOODBRIDGE Congregation B’nai Jacob Conservative Rabbi Rona Shapiro (203) 389-2111 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bnaijacob.org
Congregation Beth Israel Reform Rabbi Michael Pincus Rabbi Andi Fliegel Cantor Stephanie Kupfer (860) 233-8215 email@example.com www.cbict.org
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