Daily Kickoff

Jewish Insider Kickoff

Driving the Day – Slowdown or Showdown en route to new Iran sanctions bill: “Concerned about a lack of support in the Senate for the administration’s plan to delay a new Iran sanctions bill, the Obama administration is dispatching top-tier advocates to press the president’s cause on Capitol Hill. The push is expected to culminate in a closed-door meeting of the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday during which Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew are slated to make the administration’s case to delay any additional sanctions legislation.” [TOI]

Top Talker – Trove of Iraqi Jewish Belongings to Go on Display at the National Archive in DC: “The exhibit of two dozen items offers a rare glimpse into a Jewish population that dates to antiquity but dispersed after Israel was created in 1948. But the decision to return the collection to Iraq after its display here has raised bitter feelings among Iraqi Jews in the United States and stirred debate about whom the materials belong to: the country where they were found or the people who once owned them?

–Iraqi Jews consider the artifacts part of their heritage and say a nation that decades ago drove out its Jewish citizens doesn’t deserve to recover sacred objects of an exiled population. Some also fear there’s no constituency of Jews remaining in Iraq to ensure the books are maintained, especially in a country still riven by violent conflict. A petition circulating among Iraqi Jews seeks to prevent the materials from being returned and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., made a similar public statement to the State Department last week. Some have written newspaper opinion pieces urging the items to be shared with the exiled Jewish community and have discussed burying torn Torah scroll pieces, as is customary for holy texts that are no longer usable. [ABC News]

Prominent Muslim Brotherhood Leader Is Seized in Egypt: “Egyptian security forces on Wednesday captured Essam el-Erian, one of the last few prominent leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood still at large after a crackdown that began with the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, another of the group’s leaders. As the Brotherhood gained power through parliamentary and presidential elections, Mr. Erian began to sound increasingly strident, even erratic. He urged Egyptian Jews who had fled the country in past decades to come home from Israel because he predicted an end to the Jewish state.” [NYTimes]

Ronald Lauder to Biden: Don’t Trust Rouhani Charm Offensive – Lauder and Vice President Joe Biden discussed the Iranian regime’s outreach efforts to the west, aimed at mitigating the worst effects of western sanctions on their nation’s weakening economy during a breakfast meeting at the Vice President’s official residence. [JPost]

Edwin Black investigates a shadowy volunteer organization of non-Israelis working ‘against the brutal occupation of Palestine’ that is tracked to a mobile home in the woods near Tampa, Florida: “A regular feature of West Bank confrontation between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians seems to be a corps of intrepid young women that villagers call “internationals.” They specialize in upfront and personal, in-your-face, and often nose-to-nose verbal taunting hoping to provoke a reaction that video cameras can record. If and when soldiers finally do react, these incidents are then uploaded to the Internet to prove “the brutality of the IDF.” These “internationals” often seem to appear out of nowhere at a village flashpoint. Just as suddenly, they melt into the background. Using false names and seemingly untrackable movements, the skilled and stealthy internationals have managed to inspire and encourage videographed confrontation far beyond their numbers. Who are they? What is the font of their financial wherewithal? Who is financing these flames?” [TOI]

BuzzFeed – Battling Cyber Attacks In Israel, One Simulation At A Time: An Israeli company has launched a training gym for companies that want to defend themselves against cyber attacks. Israeli officials estimate that their country is subject to 10,000 unique online attacks per hour. No company undergoes more attacks than Israel Electric Corporation (IEC), the country’s national electricity company which is attacked up to 20,000 times each day. [BuzzFeed]

Teva CEO Levin to Step Down After Reported Feud With Chairman Phillip Frost: “Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Levin quit after less than 18 months on the job, two days after denying he would step down amid a reported feud with Chairman Phillip Frost.” [SFGate]

First Look – Vanity Fair December Profile – Little Big Jewish Man: “Billionaire hedge-fund manager Dan Loeb calls himself an “activist investor,” but even in the rough-and-tumble financial world, his tactics—nasty, personal attacks on C.E.O.’s and colleagues—are considered extreme. After nearly losing his Third Point fund, in 2008, Loeb has come roaring back, hunting such big game as Yahoo, Sony, Morgan Stanley, and Sotheby’s. From Wall Street to Hollywood, everyone is crying foul, but as William D. Cohan reports, Loeb’s ultimate weapon may be that he doesn’t give a damn.” [Vanity Fair]

Slate – The Tragic Story Behind Victoria’s Secret – The Founder of Victoria’s Secret had a genius idea. But he couldn’t see just how far it could go: “A Stanford MBA named Roy Raymond wants to buy his wife some lingerie but he’s too embarrassed to shop for it at a department store. He comes up with an idea for a high-end place that doesn’t make you feel like a pervert. He gets a $40,000 bank loan, borrows another $40,000 from his in-laws, opens a store, and calls it Victoria’s Secret. Makes $500,000 his first year. He starts a catalog, opens three more stores, and after five years he sells the company to Leslie Wexner and the Limited for $4 million. Happy ending, right? Except two years later, the company’s worth $500 million and Roy Raymond jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge. —Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) to Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) in The Social Network (2010).” [Slate]

Wealth-X revealed a list of the 50 wealthiest American individuals by state (based on their business address) in 2013: Jewish individuals include Lawrence Ellison, California; Sheldon Adelson, Nevada; Michael Bloomberg, New York; Michael Dell, Texas;Richard Cohen, New Hampshire; David Tepper, New Jersey; Micky Arison, Florida; Leslie Wexner, Ohio; Theodore Lerner, Maryland; Samuel Zell, Illinois; Anita Zucker, South Carolina. 22 percent of States is not bad considering Jews make up about 2.2 percent of the US population. [WealthX] & [JewishInsider]

Snyder Tells Goodell Still No Plans to Change Redskins’ Name: “Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder maintained he has no plans to change the team’s name in a meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell this week.” [WashPost]

Vikings owner Wilf claims ‘anti-wealth bias’ in New Jersey court case: Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said there is an “anti-wealth bias” behind efforts to force him and his family to disclose their net worth, according to new documents released Wednesday in a civil case in New Jersey. [Star Tribune]

Jewish Delivery Man Adam Wiercinski Wins $900K In Anti-Semitism Suit After Being Called ‘Dirty Jew’ For Years: Delivery man Adam Wiercinski was subjected to horribly anti-Semitic harassment for years by his supervisors at Midtown restaurant Mangia 57, in New York City. However, he’s had his day in court, and Mangia 57 will have to pay the price for the shocking behavior of its employees to the tune of $900K, after a jury took just four hours to reach a verdict on Thursday in Wiercinski’s favor. [HuffPost]

Rabbis on casinos: ‘Prevent this evil from happening’ – “More than a dozen prominent Orthodox rabbis have signed their names to public proclamations urging their followers to vote against a referendum that would legalize Las Vegas-style casinos in upstate New York, where many of them vacation and where many of their children go to summer camp.” [Capital New York]

The Orthodox Jewish Vote – Center Of The Campaign For NYC Mayor: “In recent months, Borough Park and Flatbush has gotten used to having New York City mayoral candidates coming to campaign. Now that it had narrowed down to two candidates who are relatively close to the Jewish community, the community is being courted like never before. While the Republican candidate Joe Lhota has been more visible in his aggressive outreach to the community, de Blasio has kept his meetings with leaders of the Orthodox Jewish community out of the public eye, keeping his cards close to his chest. de Blasio is scheduled to meet with Jewish community leaders at the home of Abe Biderman, a former supporter of Bill Thompson, this coming Saturday night.” [YWN]

Jewish NYC Firm Helps De Blasio Go From Obscurity to Frontrunner: “BerlinRosen Public Affairs, the eight-year-old firm founded by Valerie Berlin and Jonathan Rosen, has built a reputation working behind the scenes for Democratic candidates and causes such as paid sick leave, limiting police stop-and-frisk tactics and universal preschool — issues that dominated de Blasio’s message and helped take the 52-year-old from underdog to frontrunner. Clients include New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver of Manhattan, the top Democratic lawmaker in Albany since 1994; 16 current and aspiring New York City Council members, Greenpeace, Cornell University and several unions. Rosen, 35, and Berlin, 46, said they began giving campaign advice to de Blasio as early as 2010.

–Other, more established, strategic communications firms have seen their fortunes rise after advising a winning candidate for mayor. Howard Rubenstein, the 81-year-old founder and president of Rubenstein Associates Inc., had been in business 19 years before advising Abraham Beame, a former city comptroller he helped get to City Hall in 1973. Rubenstein, whom former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani called “the dean of damage control,” has worked with mayors and expanded his business ever since. Berlin said she met de Blasio when he ran Hillary Clinton’s successful 2000 campaign for U.S. Senate in New York. Rosen met the candidate when he was a city councilman from Brooklyn and worked with him to stop the sale of Starrett City, a 140-acre subsidized middle-class housing complex, to a private developer. Berlin and Rosen live two blocks apart in Park Slope, Brooklyn. They are neighbors of de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, who was a speech writer for New York’s last Democratic mayor, David Dinkins. Berlin’s spouse, Amy Rutkin, is chief of staff for U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Rosen’s wife, Debbie, is New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s deputy chief of staff.” [Bloomberg]

Fred Wilpon (co-owner of NY Mets), Ben Brafman (‘celebrity’ defense attorney) help Charles Hynes’ non-Democratic D.A. bid: [CapitalNY]

​Desert – Kosher.com domain sells for $500,000: “The site was previously owned by Rosalind Davidowitz of Lawrence, NY and is in the hands of Los Angeles lawyer Eli Perlman. Perlman’s client — an unnamed company — purchased the site and plans to lease it out.” [TheJew&TheCarrot]

The Kosher Steakhouse Gets an Upscale Makeover at Reserve Cut in NYC’s Financial District: “Albert Allaham’s newest venture is Reserve Cut, a kosher steakhouse which opened this month in the heart of New York City’s Financial District and brings upscale cuisine to kosher-keepers who live and work in the area. The restaurant’s meat is sourced from the family butcher shop, Prime Cut, which Allaham opened in 2004 after his family fled Syria for the United States. (Allaham’s cousin Joey, who moved to New York from Syria in 1993, operates upscale kosher staples like Prime Grill and Prime at the Bentley) There’s an extensive playing field of upscale kosher restaurants in New York, with popular kosher steakhouses like Mike’s Bistro and Prime Grill serving as competition for Reserve Cut’s new vision. Allaham said he hopes the quality of meat he serves will be a main factor in drawing crowds. Since Reserve Cut opened October 15, they’ve seen a steady flow of bankers, family dinners, and blind dates, one waiter told me. They’ll be open for lunch later next month, and Allaham hopes to eventually be open for Shabbat dinner.” [TabletMag]

Thats all folks, have a great Thursday! 

**Have a tip, suggestion, or even an op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Email editors@jewishinsider.com**

Subscribe now to
the Daily Kickoff

The politics and business news you need to stay up to date, delivered daily in a must-read newsletter.