Daily Kickoff: George Klein rumored to become State’s Envoy to Combat Anti-Semitism | RBG reflects on rejections | The role of Jewish summer camps


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VIEW IN DEBUT: An early version of today’s Daily Kickoff was available in the app-based Debut Inbox for newsletters starting at 6:47 AM EDT and then updated throughout the morning. 

SUMMER READ: The Evolving Ideologies of American Jewish Summer Camp — by Dan Nosowitz: “Jews attend summer camp at a higher rate than Americans as a whole, though not nearly as high a rate as Mormons, but the particulars of the Jewish camping experience—begun due to exclusion, changing rapidly due to politics and social movements and the Holocaust—put it in a unique place.”

“Before the Second World War, American Jews had never seen themselves as the center of the Jewish world: that was in Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Hungary. American Jews were unsettled, immature. They hadn’t unpacked in their new home yet. But following the Holocaust, the weight of leading Jewish culture settled on the shoulders of the Americans. Summer camp was a vital part of this effort.”

“Summer camp had already proven a valuable place to shape the youth in non-religious molds, as seen in the socialist and Zionist camps from past decades. But in the wake of genocide, some of these Jews in positions of power within Jewish communities—prominent rabbis, organizers, spokespeople—decided that those tools should be applied to Jewish religion and culture.” [AtlasObscura]

PODCAST PLAYBACK — Omega Advisors’ Leon Cooperman discusses The Giving Pledge and his Jewish philanthropy on Barry Ritholtz’s Masters in Business podcast: “I have a large fund where I send a bunch of busloads of kids to Birthright Israel, I subsidize Jewish summer camps, my granddaughter and daughter-in-law preside over requests for mitzvah money, I did a major wing at Saint Barnabas Medical Center… I get more credit than I deserve. I feel blessed to be in the position to give it away. And it wasn’t always that way. As I said to Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Mike Bloomberg, I’m the first generation to be born in America in my family, first generation to go to college, up until Columbia all my education was public school-based. Columbia MBA got me to Goldman when I had a negative net worth. I like the arc of my life, I was lucky.” [BloombergPodcast

GEORGE KLEIN TO STATE? — Michael Wilner scoops: “The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism post has been left vacant since US President Donald Trump took office. Now the White House plans to name George Klein, a fellow real estate magnate from New York and a founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), to the position, two sources familiar with the discussions told The Jerusalem Post. A White House official told the Post there are “no announcements at this time.” [JPost]

TALK OF THE REGION: Israel and Hamas Clash Again, Threatening Peace Talks — by Felicia Schwartz: “Israel’s security cabinet met Thursday evening to discuss the flare-up and directed Israel’s military “to continue taking strong action against the terrorist elements.” Yoav Galant, a senior Israeli cabinet member and minister of construction and housing, said Israel is prepared to go to war with Hamas if the rocket fire doesn’t stop, but is still willing to continue to negotiate an Egyptian-backed cease-fire.” [WSJ]

Israel and Hamas Trade Blows Again. Was That a Negotiating Tactic? — by Isabel Kershner: “The sharp blows left many wondering if these were the final shots ushering in a new, if fragile, cease-fire, or the opening shots of the next war… Analysts on both sides said Israel and Hamas were trying to improve their negotiating positions for a longer lasting truce by letting their guns talk.” [NYTimes]

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon on PBS Newshour: “If it will be quiet in Israel, it will be quiet in Gaza. That’s what we told all those people who try to mediate and to bring tranquility to the region.” [PBS]

HEARD YESTERDAY — State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert at a press briefing: “We’ve been watching this as it has been unfolding, and it’s a very concerning situation that has taken place in Gaza. Overall, we condemn the launching of missile attacks into Israel and call for an end to the destructive violence… We fully support Israel’s right to defend itself and to take actions to prevent provocations of that nature.”

Washington Institute’s David Makovsky emails us… “This round seems – according to Israeli officials and media — to have been driven by a mistake. Gunfire at a Hamas ceremony triggered an Israeli attack and then Hamas fired no less than 180 rockets. So even if the interests of both sides is to prevent a war, this incident points to how miscalculation can lead to violence — especially when there is no direct contact. (I am not advocating direct contact.)”

“In absence of direct contact, this makes the role of mediators like Egypt and the UN more important. Yet gaining calm in Gaza is only the first step – stopping the incendiary kites for opening of Kerem Shalom. Who will invest in repairing Gaza’s infrastructure? Don’t believe anyone will so long as Hamas is there. This makes Egypt’s effort more important – first get calm and then work on the main event, getting a more responsible government into Gaza. I wrote a piece with my colleague Ghaith al-Omari this week explaining the challenges and possibility of the wider Egyptian effort.”

Trump’s Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt writes… “Israelis and Palestinians must unite against shared threat: Imagine a region where Israelis and Palestinians work together to not only fight fires, but to build a better future for their respective people. My colleagues and I on the US peace team are driven by this vision… Israeli and Palestinian children deserve a future in which kites and balloons are simply toys, and they can call upon their neighbors in their hour of need. Hamas has chosen to weaponize fire in its persistent but futile effort to destroy Israel, driving hopes for peace further away.” [CNN]

For Trump and Co., Few Palestinians Count as Refugees — by Colum Lynch: “Jay Sekulow wants to know one thing from the U.S. State Department: How many Palestinians who fled or were forced from their homes with the creation of Israel in 1948 are still alive today? … Sekulow has been pressing the State Department for years to publish a report it drafted in 2015 about the refugees… His obsession is largely a personal one—an activist group he runs, the American Center for Law & Justice, has been at it for some time. But it underscores how the people closest to Trump—including his ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, and his own son-in-law, Jared Kushner—hold positions on Israel that are well to the right of the American mainstream.”[ForeignPolicy]

Colombia recognizes Palestine, sparking fury in Israel — by Barak Ravid: “This is a big deal. Colombia was and still is Israel’s biggest ally in Latin America, sharing deep military, intelligence and political ties. After President Ivan Duque was elected, Israel discussed with people in his inner circle the possibility of Colombia moving its embassy to Jerusalem. Instead, Colombia recognized Palestine… Outgoing foreign minister [Maria] Holguin gave an interview last night to Colombian TV and said the outgoing government consulted the new government about the decision to recognize Palestine and got a green light for doing it… Israel still hopes the new government might change the decision.” [Axios]

KUSHNER FILE: Trump huddles with governors, other officials on prison overhaul — by Seung Min: “Trump hosted a roundtable Thursday with governors, state attorneys general and Cabinet officials on prison reform during his 11-day working vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J… Among those who attended, according to one of the officials, were [Chuck] Grassley, [Mike] Lee, and GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott of South Carolina, as well as Jared Kushner… Criminal justice reform is just one item on Kushner’s broad policy portfolio at the White House, but one that resonates personally.”[WashPost]

PROFILE: Marco Rubio Goes Nationalist — by John McCormack: “Rubio now speaks with President Trump “I would say twice, three times a month.” He worked closely with Ivanka Trump on developing a paid-family-leave bill that would give Americans the option of taking some of their Social Security for family leave in exchange for delaying retirement by three to six months. “Ivanka views her role as sort of the host of a competition of ideas,” Rubio says. “She’s trying to encourage people to come forward, so we’re going to be the first entrant into this competition on the Republican side.” … While Rubio called for a “new nationalism” in June, the speech focused heavily on the need to strengthen families and civil society. It was the kind of nationalism admired more by David Brooks than Steve Bannon.”[WeeklyStandard]

The making of a judicial phenomenon: Ruth Bader Ginsburg marks 25 years on the bench — by Joan Biskupic: “There is something in the current “Notorious RBG” fervor that offers the perfect paradox for a woman whose early career was marked by rejection and work in the trenches of anti-discrimination law. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s superstardom has not been fleeting, precisely because of what she did before and what she represents today… “I have been lucky at every turn,” she says, adding that it may have been for the better that she never landed the law firm positions she sought. “I would have been long retired from a law firm,” rather than in a life-tenured position on the nation’s highest court. “Things that look bad at the time can turn out to be the greatest thing.” [CNN]

INTERVIEW — Tzipi Livni talks to The Jerusalem Post about her new role as Israel’s Opposition Leader: Netanyahu calls himself the leader of the Jewish world. Do you see yourself as the opposition leader of the Jewish world? “The answer is yes. We represent different views about Israel and World Jewry. Much of the Diaspora, though not all of it, is not Orthodox. They need someone to represent them. I will represent the Diaspora. Those in the Jewish world who are worried about promises made to them that have not been kept should know that they have a very significant group in Israel that is their partner, their address… I don’t know what Netanyahu’s actual worldview is on Diaspora Jews but here he has his natural partners and there he might, too.” [JPost]

New tax code makes synagogues pay for employees’ benefits. Jewish groups are balking: “An Orthodox Jewish organization called on Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to delay implementing a tax code provision that requires synagogues and nonprofits to pay federal taxes on employee benefits… “This unprecedented change in the tax law is a significant and worrisome change,” the O.U. letter said.” [JTA]

SIGHTING: Mitt Romney spotted at Logan Airport with frozen yogurt — by Kaya Williams: “The former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate was spotted in Logan Airport on Thursday. In a photo tweeted by Alex Goldstein, it doesn’t appear that Romney was in a rush as he strolled past an airport Wahlburgers. Goldstein’s photo shows Romney… carrying a swirl of chocolate fro-yo from Pinkberry as he strolled through Terminal C.” [BostonGlobe]

— Alex Goldstein, former Gov. Deval Patrick’s spokesperson, tweeted“I’ve spent over a decade of my life toiling in #mapoli comms and this frozen treat will be my entire legacy.”

MIDTERMS: Write-in candidate joins congressional race to counter GOP Holocaust denier with neo-Nazi ties — by John Byrne: “Justin Hanson, 35, said he was spurred to action while watching the unopposed GOP candidate, Arthur Jones, get more than 20,000 votes in the March primary election [in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District]… “I don’t think it was the party’s finest moment to let Jones go unchecked in the primary, and I think they know that now,” he said.” [ChicagoTribune]

‘Who are we?’ Big donors battle for Democrats’ future in Florida — by Letitia Stein: “Billionaire philanthropists Tom Steyer and George Soros are pouring extraordinary manpower and money — each committing about $1 million so far — into [Andrew] Gillum’s campaign ahead of Florida’s nominating contests for governor on Aug. 28… Soros… has contributed about one-fifth of all funds raised by Gillum’s campaign and an affiliated political committee, Forward Florida… It is George Soros’ largest contribution to a single candidate this election cycle.” [Reuters

Bloomberg eyes 2020 presidential run as a Democrat, but can a centrist unite the party? — by Edward Helmore: “In 2020, sources close to the finance mogul have told the Guardian, if the now 76-year-old candidate does eventually jump into the race, he plans to run as a Democrat. But after two, and now three, election cycles in which Bloomberg has teased his interest and poured over polling data, there are still questions about his ultimate commitment to a run.” [TheGuardian]

FROM NORMAN TO CONGRESS? Democrats talking up Richard Gere as potential candidate for Congress — by Carl Campanile: “Actor Richard Gere’s name is being floated as a potential candidate for Congress in the northern suburbs, The Post has learned. The current representative of the 18th Congressional District, Sean Patrick Maloney, is running in September’s Democratic primary for state attorney general and, if he’s successful, his House seat would be open.” [NYPost]

** Good Friday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email Editor@JewishInsider.com **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Sumner Redstone Trust Restricts Sale Options for CBS, Viacom [WSJ WeWork Raises $1 Billion in Debt From SoftBank as Revenue Doubles [WSJ] • Personalized Shopping Engine Dynamic Yield Raises $32M [MediaPost] • Daniel Loeb’s activist hedge fund Third Point calls for Campbell Soup sale [Reuters] • ‘Everything Was a Struggle.’ Bethenny Frankel on How She Went From $20,000 in Credit Card Debt to a $100 Million Skinnygirl Deal [Time]

Why the Children of the Wealthy Are Vulnerable to Cults — by Doree Shafrir: “Groups like Nxivm are adept at giving rich people a sense that their lives now have meaning… Wealthy people are often brought into a cult by other wealthy people, and Nxivm is no exception. Clare and Sara Bronfman, heiresses to the Seagram fortune, have been members for years; their money has reportedly bankrolled the group’s operations and litigation for the last 10 years, to the tune of close to $100 million. Like [India] Oxenberg, their father Edgar Bronf­man Sr. initially took a five-day “VIP” course, but he never got involved to the degree that his daughters did.” [TownAndCountry]

THIS WEEKEND: Virginia governor declares state of emergency for anniversary of Charlottesville protests — by Julia Jacobo: “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and the city of Charlottesville have declared a state of emergency ahead of the anniversary of the violent Unite the Right rally. Several events are planned in the Charlottesville area beginning Friday through Sunday to mark the anniversary of the rally…” [YahooNews] • Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) Condemns Upcoming Neo-Nazi Rally[JewishJournal]

Hate, white supremacist propaganda at high level since Charlottesville: Experts — by Aaron Katersky: “Hate and white supremacist propaganda have been at a high level in the year since the streets of Charlottesville erupted in deadly violence, according to the Anti-Defamation League.” [ABCNews]

The White Nationalists Are Winning — by Adam Serwer: “Despite the controversy over the rally and its bloody aftermath, the white nationalists’ ideological goals remain a core part of the Trump agenda. As long as that agenda finds a home in one of the two major American political parties, a significant portion of the country will fervently support it… A year after white nationalists in Charlottesville chanted, “You will not replace us!” their message has been taken up and amplified by Fox News personalities…” [TheAtlantic]

Bret Stephens writes… “The Outrage Over Sarah Jeong: In February, my centrist colleague Bari Weiss celebrated U.S. figure skater Mirai Nagasu’s historic triple axel by tweeting a line from the musical “Hamilton”: “Immigrants: They get the job done.” Left-wing social media went berserk over this alleged “othering” of Nagasu… By contrast, the left has been nothing if not aggressive in its defense of Jeong. That’s the right thing to do, but it’s also rank hypocrisy coming from many of the same people who loudly demanded the ouster of Williamson, Weiss, or, well, me.” [NYTimes]

The Crown Center and the Brookings Center for Middle East Policy partner to enhance policy-relevant knowledge of the Middle East: “Launching the project, Tamara Cofman Wittes, project co-director and Senior Fellow at Brookings’s Center for Middle East Policy, said: “We are delighted to combine our first class policy scholars with the rich, interdisciplinary expertise of the Crown Center’s researchers. Washington policymakers—especially next-generation leaders—are hungry for a deeper understanding of a region undergoing dramatic change, and this partnership will help us fill that need.” [Brookings]

SCENE LAST NIGHT — Martin Greenfield, a Holocaust survivor and the tailor to many presidents and celebrities, celebrated his 90th birthday at the Friars Club in Manhattan. Participants at the event included former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Rabbi Marc Schneier. [Pic]

— Flashback: The President’s Tailor Survived the Holocaust[GreatBigStory]

DESSERT — Hasiba opens in Pico-Robertson with kosher, vegetarian fare: “A new Middle Eastern spot has made its debut in the neighborhood. Called Hasiba, the new addition is located at 8532 Pico Blvd…” [ABC7]

Mall of America’s vegan fast food joint starts slingin’ plant-based patties next week: “In a good ol’ fashioned game of Dietary Restriction Bingo, no one has it harder than a Kosher vegan with a gluten intolerance. Dining out? Tough enough as is. Finding something on a fast food menu? Forget it! But that’ll change for Mall of America shoppers on August 13, when the vegan fast food restaurant Earth Burger brings its Kosher certified burgers and chik-n tenders—plus gluten-free options—to Bloomington.” [CityPages]

WINE OF THE WEEK — Pelter Winery 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon — by Yitz Applbaum: When I see a beautiful painting I often try to transport myself into the picture. I love to make the viewing experience immersive. With no specific painting in mind, my recent trip to the Pelter Matar Winery felt just like such a moment, both idyllic and real. We drank many brilliant wines, but the winner of the show was a one hundred percent Cabernet Sauvignon.

The color was brilliant. The flavor had deep velvety plum overtones. There were tannins on the mid-palate which at first seemed unrestrained, and then the wine culminated in a burst of smoky chocolate and prunes. This wine will last a long time. What to eat it with? We were treated to an eight-course tasting menu by a great local chef. The dish that was paired with this wine was a sheep-fat soaked lamb filled pita. A great combination. [Pelter]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Maverick US District Court judge in the Eastern District of New York since 1967, he also served as chief judge of the district (1980-1988), he took senior status in 1993, Judge Jack B. Weinsteinturns 97… NYC-based real estate developer, he is the founder and principal of Clipper Equity, David Bistricer turns 69… Born in Johannesburg, she was elected to Parliament in 1994 and then served as the ninth Governor of the South African Reserve Bank (2009-2014), Gill Marcus turns 69… Conservative rabbi who serves as the Executive Director of Interfaith Alliance since January 2015, Rabbi Jack Moline turns 66… Co-leader of the securities litigation practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges and co-president of NYC’s Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, Joseph S. Allerhand turns 65… Austrian journalist, writer and the current director of the Jewish Museum of Vienna, Danielle Spera turns 61… Winner of a special election in 2015 to the California State Senate, Steven Mitchell Glazer turns 61… Early employee of Yahoo in the 1990s, then a member of the Florida State Senate (2006-2016), he is the Democratic nominee for Chief Financial Officer of Florida in the 2018 election, Jeremy Ring turns 48… Senior development officer of the NYC-based Tikvah Fund, Eytan Sosnovich turns 35… Jason Reyes… Robert Feldman… Eliza Daddario… Ella Raevskaya

SATURDAY: Massachusetts attorney who is also a co-editor of a number of egalitarian Jewish prayer books, C. Peter R. Gossels turns 88… CEO of CBS Records (1975-1990), he was the chief architect of the sale of CBS Records to Sony to create Sony Music Entertainment in 1988, Walter Yetnikoff turns 85… Member of the US House of Representatives (D-NY-16) (1973-1981) when she was succeeded by Chuck Schumer, she also served as Brooklyn DA (1982-1989) and NYC Comptroller (1990-1993), Elizabeth Holtzman turns 77… Baltimore-born financier and philanthropist, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of The Carlyle Group, David Rubenstein turns 69… US Trade Representative (1997-2001), now the chair of the international trade group at WilmerHale, Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky turns 68… Senior counsel for benefits and employment at the DC-based law firm of Keightley & Ashner, Linda E. Rosenzweig turns 66… Carolyn Dorfman turns 63… CEO, chairman and major shareholder of the Russian gas company Novatek, Leonid Viktorovich Mikhelson turns 63… Member of the Massachusetts Senate (2011-2017), he is the founder of Cape Air (an airline started on Cape Cod but that now has 43 domestic and international destinations), Daniel A. “Dan” Wolf turns 61… Venture capitalist and wine columnist for Jewish InsiderIsaac “Yitz” Applbaum turns 58… Former yeshiva student and then IDF tank commander, member of Knesset since 2015 for the Likud party, David “Dudi” Amsalem turns 58… Chief of the Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security service) since May 2016, Nadav Argaman turns 58… Conservative political and cultural commentator for The New York Times, David Brooks turns 57… Emmy nominated producer at NBC’s Meet the Press, Ilana Marcus Drimmer turns 47… MLB pitcher (1994-2002) for seven teams, he was the pitching coach for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic in South Korea and Japan, Andrew Lorraine turns 46… Yelena Shuster turns 31… General surgery resident at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Sara Ginzberg turns 27… Jacob Segal of Standard Management… Daniel Weitz

SUNDAY: Billionaire investor George Soros (born György Schwartz) turns 88… Novelist, playwright and screenwriter, winner of two Academy Awards for his screenplays, William Goldman turns 87… NYC-born historian and author, held academic positions in the UK and Australia, he was president of the Jewish Historical Society of England (2002-2004), William Rubinstein turns 72… Attorney in Ontario, Canada who served as president of the Canadian Jewish Congress (1989-1992), Lester Scheininger turns 71… US diplomat, Karyn Allison Posner-Mullen turns 67… Director of management operations at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Fredi Bleeker Franks turns 66… Buenos Aires-born, immigrated to Israel at age 18, member of Knesset since 2015 from the Yesh Atid party, Haim Yellin turns 60… British-born Israeli journalist, he is the founding editor of The Times of Israel, formerly the editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post, David Horovitzturns 56… Raised in in Santiago, Chile, now Rabbi at Brookline’s Temple Beth Zion, Claudia Kreiman turns 44… SVP for external engagement at NYC’s Educational Alliance, Anya Hoerburger turns 41… Director at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Jarad Geldner turns 35… Senior customer success manager at NYC-based Dynamic Yield, David Fine… Jay Chernikoff… Ariel Applbaum


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