Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: PA Reaches Unity Deal; Celebrate Israel Parade – John Kerry, Samuel L. Jackson Spotted; New StartUp – GetKosher

By Jacob Kornbluh & JI Staff

SCENE LAST NIGHT: Norpac hosts Sen. Ted Cruz at Abigaels on Broadway: Nick Muzin,director of coalitions for the House Republican conference, and Howard Jonas, founder of IDT Corp, hosted the event with help from Ezra Friedlander, CEO of the Friedlander Group. $85,000 was raised for Cruz’s victory fund. Spotted: Ken Abramowitz, co-founder and Managing General Partner of NGN Capital, and Mort Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).

—Sen, Cruz: “I am no Rand Paul”: “I have pointed to two circumstances – one of which I agree with John McCain and one of which I agreed with Rand Paul. The one I had agreed with Rand Paul was in opposing the president’s unilateral strike on Syria because there was no US national security interest that was articulated. And if it succeeded in toppling Assad, if the result would have been chemicals weapons falling in the hands of radical Islamic terrorists, that would’ve undermined the national security of American and Israel. So I did not support the president’s proposed attack… On the flip side, where I agree with John McCain is with regards to Iran. I think Iran presents the gravest national security threat in the world, both to Israel and to America. And I think we should be far more unequivocal that Iran will never be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons capability and we will do whatever is necessary to prevent it.”

Israel in New York celebrated Israel’s 66th Independence Day at Chelsea Piers: NY TV personal and actress Jessica Abo emceed the event, attended by over a thousand Israelis, diplomats, elected officials and pro-Israeli New Yorkers. Comedian Elon Gold entertained the crowd with a 10-minute hilarious monologue. Other speakers included: Consul General of New York Ido Aharoni, RepsEliot Engel and Gregory Meeks, and Izzy Tapuchi, Israel Bonds president.

Sea of White & Blue at Celebrate Israel Parade: Fifth Avenue was filled with Israeli flags, American flags, kids in costumes, marching bands and folk music. The 35,000 marchers included New York Gov.Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, plus Israeli diplomats and members of the Knesset.. [CBS Local] Even the traditional anti-Zionist Neturei Karta demo seemed more subdued than usual, ceding media attention to the upstart “Jewish Political Action Committee” that stood by their side in protest against the Jewish LGBT contingent. [Chemi Shalev] Photos: [Vin News] Video [Arutz 7]

 Cuomo: Israel Is ‘Our Mishpucha’: “Today is a special salute to Israel. First the Jewish community is very important to us in New York. They’re a very large community, a community that we’ve all grown up with, our neighbors, our mishpuchah as we would say in New York. But Israel is also a very important ally to this country. Their position in the Middle East is very important for the United States. And we should remember that also. It’s not just that as New Yorkers we love the Jewish community and they’re a big part of our lives, but as Americans and from a national interest point of view it’s a very important alliance and we should always remember that.”

VIDEO: SCHUMER DEFENDS SUPPORTING HAGEL FOR SEC. OF DEFENSE: Two Jewish students asked Senator Schumer, Who was marching at the Israeli Day Parade, why he supported Hagel For Secretary Of State.? “I had no choice. You want to give the president a poke in the eye when you need him? No!,” he responded [Gifter Photos]

TOP TWEET: @SamuelLJackson: “Celebrate Israel Parade in NY today [Pic]”

—Secretary of State John Kerry was spotted in Central Park yesterday as thousands were marching nearby in the Celebrate Israel parade [JPupdates]

—Kerry expresses concern over Palestinian unity government: “During his telephone call with Abbas, Kerry “expressed concern about Hamas’s role in any such government and the importance that the new government commit to the principles of nonviolence, recognition of the state of Israel and acceptance of previous agreements with it,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “President Abbas assured the secretary that the new government would be committed to these principles.” [ToI] — Netanyahu urges world not to recognize Palestinian unity government [Reuters] — Unity government puts Mideast peace in doubt [USAtoday] — Palestinians hail unity as new government is sworn in [ToI]

HAPPENING TODAY: Ohio Gov. Kasich to Unveil New Holocaust Memorial: “Moniek Ebner, 85, and others from a shrinking group of 243 central Ohio Holocaust survivors — along with a handful of Ohio veterans who helped liberate death camps — are to bear witness to the dedication of the $2 million Holocaust and Liberators Memorial at noon Monday at the Statehouse. Gov. Kasich has visited the memorial site almost daily, sometimes with staff members and visitors in tow, since construction began in March.” [ColumbusDispatch] — Video: Kasich gave ABC a behind-the-scenes sneak peak at the memorial on Thursday [ABC6]

—Knesset Members in Boston: “The Israeli delegation will have lunch on Monday at the Harvard Club with Gov. Deval Patrick, treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Steve Grossman, U.S. Rep.Michael Capuano and members of the state Legislature. (Grossman has strong ties to Israel as the former chairman of AIPAC.) The members of Knesset represent a diverse group from across the Israeli political spectrum. They include: Itzik Shmuli and Nachman Shai of the Labor Party; Michal Rozinof the Meretz Party; Shimon Ohayon of the Yisrael Beitenu (Israel is Our Home) Party; Shimon Solomon of the Yesh Atid (There is a Future) Party; and Shuli Mualem-Refaeli of the HaBayit HaYehudi (Jewish Home) Party.” [MassLive]

—Guardian of Zion Award Ceremony Today at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem: Bar-Ilan University’s Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies will bestow its annual Guardian of Zion Award upon Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks at a gala ceremony at the King David Hotel. At the event, Rabbi Lord Sacks will deliver the Distinguished Rennert Lecture, this year entitled “Jerusalem: Home of the Jewish Heart.”

BIG JEWISH: “Israeli Cabinet Approves “Joint Initiative of the Government of Israel and World Jewry”: “At the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem yesterday, the Israeli government approved the “Joint Initiative of the Government of Israel and World Jewry.” The government decision is the first of two stages: In the first stage, the government approved the establishment of a new organization that will spearhead the initiative and which will encompass a partnership between the Government of Israel, Jewish foundations and organizations, as well as private philanthropists from around the world. The Initiative – funding for which will come from three sources: 1/3 from the Government of Israel, and at least 2/3 from the Organized Jewish World and private philanthropists – will have a budget of at leastNIS 561 million over the next three years. After the new entity is up and running, in 2016 the government will be brought the second stage of the Initiative for approval which will call for an annual budget of NIS 800 million for Diaspora programming.” [eJPhil] — TRADEOFFS: Israeli military no longer bullet-proof in defense budget battle [Reuters]

TOP TALKER: France arrests suspect in Brussels Jewish museum shooting: “A 29-year-old Frenchman believed to have returned recently from fighting with Islamist militant rebels in Syria has been arrested for the killing of three people at Brussels’ Jewish Museum last month, prosecutors said on Sunday. Mehdi Nemmouche was detained on Friday after a random check at a bus terminal in the French city of Marseille showed he was carrying a Kalashnikov rifle, another gun and ammunition similar to those used in the shooting last weekend, French and Belgian prosecutors said.” [Reuters] — Vandals Deface Jewish Graves In Northern Greece [AP] — Israel urges rising European right to shun ‘neo-Nazi’ parties [Reuters]

**Good Morning! 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**

EDWIN BLACK’S DEEP DIVE: The Inside story of J Street’s rejection by the Conference of Presidents: “Nonetheless the key Conference sources interviewed for this article, did respond with a surprisingly upbeat message. “I don’t think the Conference was subjected to a lot of criticism,” one source asserted. “Yes, there were some references, but it was not really personalized. Most people know that the chairman [Robert Sugarman] and the executive vice chairman [Malcolm Hoenlein] did not participate in the process at all. They didn’t vote, didn’t attend the meetings, they did not express themselves and have not — before or since — expressed a public view on the issue because the Conference wanted it clear that the vote was a decision of the members, and not directed from outside or from the inside.”

“J Street only received 17 votes out of 42 present. If, indeed, many were from the two synagogue movements combined, reform and conservative, then only about 9 among the others voted yes. “So,” a key source commented, “It is incorrect to reduce it all ‘Lefties or Righties’ — it was actually the center.” That source was asked again if anyone went out of their way to block or prevent J Street? “No — not at all,” that source replied, adding, “They were given — and J Street will tell you they were given — every opportunity. Asked point blank, “Is J Street invited to reapply?” the source answered, “Everyone can reapply.” [ToI]

—The J Street Decision — Steven Savitsky talks with past Conference of Presidents Chair Richard B. Stone: “Stone goes on to explain in great detail how J Street’s views differ with that of the Conference, noting, “J Street exists, virtually entirely, to alter the America/Israel relationship so that America shows a tougher love for Israel, supposedly for Israel’s own good and supposedly because that’s what pro-Israel is all about.” Listen to the full interview. [OU]

MIDTERMS: Jewish native of Moscow vies to be America’s first Soviet-born congressman:“California’s 7th congressional district, which lies just east of the state capital, Sacramento, can make history on Tuesday: Igor Birman, a Moscow-born Jew who immigrated to the Bay area with his family when he was 13, is gunning for a chance to be the first member of Congress born in the Soviet Union. In 2009, after practicing law for a few years, Birman became chief of staff for Rep. Tom McClintock, who is still the congressman for California’s 4th district. If he wins the Republican nomination, he will face off in the general election on November 4.” [JPost]

—How Jewish Campaign SuperLawyer Charlie Spies Helped David Vitter Shatter A Campaign Finance Rule: “David Vitter had a $1 million problem. Back in January, by the time the Louisiana senator announced his long-rumored run for governor, Vitter had already lined up supporters and developed a campaign battle plan. Still, one major hurdle remained: state law barred him from using the seven-figure sum he had amassed in Senate campaign funds. But through a super PAC and some creative lawyering, Vitter and his allies appear to have found a way to redirect all of that money to support his gubernatorial campaign. And in doing so, they’ve pioneered a new method for politicians nationwide to get around old prohibitions on spending federal money on state races, and vice versa… At the center of Vitter’s scheme is Charlie Spies, the same GOP attorney who helped launch Mitt Romney’s biggest super PAC… The Vitter-Spies arrangement sets precedent well beyond the bayou.” [NationalJournal]

Major Jewish philanthropist and Philly ‘Inquirer’ co-owner passed away in a plane crash late Saturday night: “The Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz and six others were killed in the fiery crash of a small business jet shortly after takeoff from an airfield outside Boston on Saturday night. The crash was just days after reaching a deal that many hoped would end months of infighting at the newspaper and help restore it to its former glory. The 72-year-old businessman’s Gulfstream corporate jet ran off the end of a runway, plunged down an embankment and erupted in a fireball during a takeoff attempt Saturday night at Hanscom Field outside Boston, authorities said. There were no survivors. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said Katz had invited him on the flight, but Rendell had another commitment. Rendell said Katz had been thrilled by the Inquirer deal and died at “maybe the high point of his life.” [AP]

—He was also active in and generous to Jewish causes, helping build Jewish Community Centers in Cherry Hill and Margate, New Jersey. He helped found a third community center, which is currently under construction in Princeton. He was also instrumental in establishing a Hebrew day school in Voorhees, New Jersey, which is named for his two children.” [Forward]

START-UP NATION SPOTLIGHT: “Israel’s newest cyberwarriors: ultra-Orthodox Jews” – CSMonitor: “On a hillside campus in Jerusalem, 16 young ultra-Orthodox men come together every evening for intensive training to defend Israel’s newest battlefront: the cyber domain. These men are more accustomed to being hunched over the Talmud, the tome of Jewish law that is the center of their life, than computers. But amid efforts to get Israel’s burgeoning ultra-Orthodox population to help “share the burden” of protecting the country and helping it prosper, they are being prepared for two-year stints as cyberdefenders in the Israeli Defense Forces, one of the most advanced cybersecurity forces in the world.”[CSMonitor]

SPORTS BLINK: Lakers’ Pau Gasol in Israel to promote coexistence, meets Peres: “Gasol who is visiting Israel for the first time with the intention of learning about the country and its people said that sport is an amazing tool with which to educate others and to compete in a fair way without even speaking the same language.” [JPost]

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TALK OF OUR NATION: Synagogues struggle in dying mill towns – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:“Once with about 300 to 400 families in the two synagogues that have long since merged, Hadar Israel is now down to about 70 individual members. The story is being repeated throughout small-town America — but nowhere more so than in the constellation of small mill cities in the Tri-State area that have long since passed their peak industrial years. Along the Ohio and Monongahela river valleys, in the Laurel Highlands and in county seats through the region, synagogues with rich legacies have been entering what some describe as hospice care. Many are already the last synagogues in town — mergers of Reform, Conservative or Orthodox congregations that once flourished separately, now using a blend of denominational liturgies. It’s often a matter of when, not if, they will close. Many are preparing for the care of their cemeteries, endowments and Torah scrolls after they close. Chalk it up to mills, malls, marriage and mobility.” [Post-Gazette]

—Local Talk of Our Nation: Nashville synagogue dedicates its new Torah scroll [TheTennessean] — Rockland County Residents Protest Planned Kosher Slaughterhouse [CBS New York] — Kansas Kosher Fest celebrates Jewish culture, traditions and food [Fox4kc]

DESSERT: Kosher-Certified Food — Delivered to Your Door: “Kosher food buyers — this one’s for you. Morris Sued, 23, and his father Charles, have started GetKosher.com, a kosher food delivery service based in Brooklyn. It works similarly to Seamless or GrubHub: you go to the site and order your food by restaurant, selecting takeout or delivery. You can create an account and save your credit card information for easier purchasing, and the site offers rewards and discounts. The key difference from other delivery food sites: Morris guarantees you are only choosing from kosher food. Untapped, perhaps, but niche — not so much. More than 11.2 million Americans buy kosher food on a regular basis. And we aren’t just talking about conservative and Orthodox Jews. Only 15 percent of kosher consumers are buying the food to observe kosher laws. The rest do so to ensure food quality, healthiness, and food safety.

“Jewish or otherwise, kosher consumers have a high purchasing power. The kosher-certified food market pulled in more than $200 billion of the U.S.’ $500 billion in annual food sales in 2009, according to a Mintel report, and is expected to grow. The Sued family is Orthodox Jewish, and they launched the site last summer to serve that community, focusing on areas heavily populated by Jews who keep kosher. They serve customers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and a scattering of other cities in NYC and neighboring New Jersey. The self-funded startup currently offers menus from 100 restaurants and reports that they have served more then 2,100 customers. For a handful of restaurants that don’t already offer delivery in the Brooklyn area, GetKosher has its own delivery service that adds about $5 to a customer’s order. This is the only added price for consumers; restaurants pay GetKosher a 15-20% commission on the subtotal of each order. [Ozy]

That’s all folks, have a great Monday!

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