Daily Kickoff: Singer & Klarman Plan Big Midterm Push | Santorum in Israel | Rabbi’s Departure Shows Challenge Facing US Jews | This ‘Israeli’ Life

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STARTUP NATION: “Why Diaspora Tekkies Are Moving To Israel: Israel is waking up to the potential of its reputation as a high-tech powerhouse to attract young Jews from abroad seeking to gain work experience, found a startup, work on their tans and maybe find a life partner too” by Inbal Orpaz: “In the past year, many young Jews from abroad have flocked to Israel’s tech sector, drawn to the atmosphere of innovation and the rising standard of living. So what is it that makes a newly-minted graduate from a prestigious college overseas, who could find a terrific job closer to home, leave everything and come to Israel, which is not only far away but is also plagued by the occasional war? “There are countless places to work, a good social life and the beach helps too,” says Michael Eisenberg, a founder and partner of the Aleph venture capital firm who immigrated to Israel around 20 years ago. “Jewish young people have a Jewish future in this country. There’s a 55-percent rate of assimilation in the United States, and the numbers speak for themselves. It’s cool to be in Tel Aviv. It’s an amazing city, and even more amazing for young people. It’s safe, innovative, creative, and the young people’s skills are even more in the forefront there.” [Haaretz]

—Yahoo! purchases Tel Aviv-based start-up: “Internet giant Yahoo! has purchased its second Israel-based company in as many months. ClarityRay specializes in ad-malware detection, prevention, and provides internet users with ad-blocking software.” [Reuters/JPost]

TOP TALKER: “A Rabbi’s Departure Manifests a Challenge for Jews in America” by Sharon Otterman: “Leafy, affluent Park Slope, Brooklyn, embodies the challenge facing modern American Jewry: Though many Jews live there, few are observant. So it was no small feat when Rabbi Andy Bachman took the helm of Congregation Beth Elohim in the neighborhood eight years ago and began attracting a vibrant congregation of Jewish atheists and agnostics, as well as the more traditionally religious. Drawn by big-name book talks, family-oriented religious classes and the rabbi’s teaching that to be Jewish is to do good in the world, membership in the Reform synagogue doubled to more than a thousand families. It drew young literati like Jonathan Safran Foer and catapulted to national attention as a model for what might bring some of the nation’s millions of Jews who are unaffiliated with synagogues back to the fold.”

“Recently, however, Rabbi Bachman shocked many in his congregation and in Jewish circles by announcing that he was stepping down from the pulpit and out of Jewish leadership to help New York’s poorest, regardless of their religion. “I think that I deliver really good and really inspiring sermons about social justice, but is that really enough?” he said in an interview. “It’s crazy to think that’s enough.” His decision was deeply personal, but also touched on vexing questions at the center of Judaism’s future in this country as modern Jews — the secular, the unaffiliated, the questioning — grapple with what it means to be Jewish and what role a synagogue should play in that identity. Nationally, synagogue affiliation is falling as American Jews increasingly decide they do not need to live out their Jewishness in a religious context… Reform Judaism, which is the largest denomination in American Judaism, has a long tradition of social justice and activism, but it can be a challenge to convince many liberal, modern Jews of the need to live out those values in a Jewish context.” [NYTimes]

DRIVING THE DAY: “Gaza Cease-Fire Set to Expire as Talks Between Israel and Hamas Show Little Progress” by Joshua Mitnick: “A five-day truce between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip, is due to expire at midnight Monday, local time. It is the ninth cease-fire in the war, which began July 8 in response to an escalation of Palestinian rocket and mortar fire into Israel.” [WSJ] — “Agreement or no, Hamas will not shoot, Palestinians say” [ToI]

Israel Lauds New Capabilities in Gaza – Cites Fully Networked Air-Land-Sea Force: “On July 8, the first day of Operation Protective Edge, five Hamas frogmen attempted an amphibious assault on an Israeli military base bordering northern Gaza. They didn’t get far. First, they were spotted by a Navy coastal sensor, which streamed targeting data through the Army’s new command-and-control network to air, sea and ground shooters. Almost instantly, the Nahal infantry battalion commander in the sector had multiple options for these moving targets of opportunity. A Merkava Mk4 tank poised at the border had them painted in its sights, as did Israeli Air Force unmanned aircraft. At the same time, a Navy offshore patrol vessel was following the frogmen, eager for orders to launch electro-optically guided Tammuz missiles. Brig. Gen. Eyal Zelinger, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief signals officer, and C4I Directorate chief of staff, recounts what happened next. “In the end, everyone shot at the same time,” Zelinger said. “As the event was unfolding, they all shared a common picture that allowed the ground commander in charge to choreograph the strike.” [DefenseNews]

IRAN TALKS: “Iran Lures Investors Seeing Nuclear Deal Ending Sanctions” by Jeremy Kahn: “On a May afternoon in Tehran, a Russian in a dark suit sits in the crowded lobby cafe of the Espinas Persian Gulf International Hotel with his Farsi translator, sipping coffee with potential Iranian partners while discussing the price of soy fiber. No sooner do they vacate their armchairs than another group of besuited businessmen takes their place, this time conversing in Italian and Farsi about industrial motors.” [Bloomberg]

REPORT: “Arab Rock-Throwers Ambush Visiting NYC Congress Hopeful Di Iorio” by Gil Ronen: “Nick Di Iorio, 28, Republican candidate for the 12th Congressional District in New York, experienced personally the precarious security situation in Israel on his visit to the Holy Land last week. A car driving Di Iorio from a visit to Sderot toward Jerusalem came under attack by a group of Arab boys “who hurled rocks at us and laughed,” Di Iorio recalled. Also in the car with Di Iorio was New York based philanthropist Ken Abramowitz, Chairman of American Friends of Likud, who accompanied him on his visit to Israel. No one was hurt in the attack, which took place not far from Susya, near Hevron.” [INS]

2016 WATCH: “Cuomo’s Horizon Expands After Israel Visit” by Erica Orden: “By traveling to Israel when relations between the U.S. and its close ally hit a low point, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered the most explicit signal yet that he is positioning himself for a role beyond the state’s borders, political observers said. In a two-day visit last week, the Democratic governor staked out his own ground in a conflict that has confounded world leaders, giving Israel his unvarnished public support.” [WSJ]

—Rick Santorum heads to Israel with key backers: “The trip will be mainly in Jerusalem and also include a visit to an Iron Dome facility.  The delegation will make visits to Mount of Olives, City of David, Mount Herzl Military Cemetery and other sites. Santorum and the delegation will meet with Israel government and military leaders, Israeli soldiers, local residents directly affected by the violence, religious leaders, and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer. The delegation will include: Pastor Douglas M. Bankson, Pastor (Florida); Dr. Mark T. Barclay, Pastor (Michigan); Former Congressman Gresham Barrett (South Carolina); Simon Conway, WHO radio host (Iowa); Foster Friess, Businessman (Wyoming); Pastor Cary Gordon, Cornerstone World Outreach (Iowa); Quin Hillyer, nationwide columnist and writer (Alabama); Greg Rothman, businessman (Pennsylvania); Bob Vander Plaats, President of The Family Leader (Iowa); Joel C. Rosenberg, author, will join the delegation upon arrival in Israel.” [TheHill]


**Good Monday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share 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**

MIDTERMS: “Singer’s GOP super PAC plans gay-rights push this fall” by Fredreka Schouten: “A Republican group tied to hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer plans to spend at least $2 million up to Election Day to boost congressional candidates who share its views in favor of gay rights. American Unity’s midterm push comes after a string of recent victories, including little-noticed state contests in Illinois, Nevada, Minnesota and Hawaii, where it helped Republican candidates — vulnerable over gay-marriage votes — survive primary challenges… Singer, the founder of Elliott Management and a leading force in Republican efforts to legalize gay marriage, is the largest donor to the American Unity super PAC at nearly $2 million, federal records show. Another billionaire, Boston investment manager Seth Klarman, has donated $ 1 million.” [USAToday]

DEEP DIVE: “Inside the Dark, Lucrative World of Consumer Debt Collection” by Jake Halpern: “One afternoon in October 2009, a former banking executive named Aaron Siegel waited impatiently in the master bedroom of a house in Buffalo that served as his office. As he stared at the room’s old fireplace and then out the window to the quiet street beyond, he tried not to think about his investors and the $14 million they had entrusted to him. Siegel was no stranger to money. He grew up in one of the city’s wealthiest and most prominent families. His father, Herb Siegel, was a legendary playboy and the majority owner of a hugely profitable personal-injury law firm. During his late teenage years, Aaron lived essentially unchaperoned in a sprawling, 100-year-old mansion. His sister, Shana, recalls the parties she hosted — lavish affairs with plenty of Champagne — and how their private-school classmates would often spend the night, as if the place were a clubhouse for the young and privileged. So how, Siegel wondered, had he gotten into his current predicament?” [NYTimes]

REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: “Kushner, Normandy pick up downtown tech haven” [NYPost] — “Former Eaton Center office tower acquired by American Landmark Properties of Illinois” [PlainDealer] — “Sitt’s Thor Nabs Three FiDi Commercial Condos for $31.1M” [Observer

TOP-OPS: Brendan O’Neill: “It’s Britain, So the Anti-Semitism Is More Refined” [WSJ] — Daniel Gordis: “In Israel: Out of Class, Off to War” [BloombergView] — Natan Sharansky: “Don’t set a double standard for Israel on norms of war” [WashPost]

FITS: “South Carolina leaders rally in support of Israel at Charleston synagogue” by Amanda Kerr: “Community and state leaders gathered Sunday at Synagogue Emanu-El in West Ashley to discuss their support for Israel as officials from the Jewish nation head to Cairo to begin talks for a lasting peace with Hamas and the Palestinian people. More than 120 people attended the service, which featured speakers including South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, Rep. Alan Clemmons, R-Myrtle Beach, and Jonathan Zucker, president of The InterTech Group and chairman of the South Carolina-Israel Collaboration. The Charleston Jewish Federation sponsored the event.” [Post&Courier]

SOPHIE MASLOFF, 1ST FEMALE PITTSBURGH MAYOR, DIES: “Sophie Masloff, who rose from a tax clerk to become Pittsburgh’s first female mayor, died Sunday. She was 96. She good-naturedly described herself as an “old Jewish grandmother” and promised when she took office to be at work by 8 a.m. every day except Tuesdays when, she said, “I get my hair done.” Masloff also had a legendary sense of humor. When Bill Clinton was trying to stir up support in his 1992 presidential campaign, he telephoned the mayor to let her know he was coming to Pittsburgh. She was not convinced that the caller was Clinton and told him, “Right, and I’m the Queen of Sheba.” Masloff was born on Dec. 23, 1917, and was a lifelong resident of Pittsburgh. Her parents were Romanian immigrants, and Masloff spoke only Yiddish until she began attending school.” [AP]

NYTimes: “A Jewish Matchmaker Whose Hand Led Hundreds Down the Aisle” by Mark Oppenhiemer: “When I walked into Tova Weinberg’s large house here in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, she looked me up and down and asked, “Are you Jewish?” I told her I was. “Are you married?” Yes, I said. That was, apparently, the wrong answer. She wrinkled her nose and said, in a disappointed tone, “Oh, O.K. Never mind.”… At any given time, Ms. Weinberg has the names of “hundreds, maybe thousands” of single Jews bouncing around in her head, and over the years she has introduced “about 250” couples who went on to get married. That is not including those who met online at SawYouAtSinai.com, the matchmaking website she helped found.” [NYTimes]

PAGE6: “Gregory got $4M to quietly leave NBC” by Emily Smith: “Ousted “Meet the Press” anchor David Gregory was paid $4 million to leave NBC and signed a contract not to speak out against the network, sources told Page Six. A source said Gregory’s contract extended into next year, so NBC had to pay him for the rest of the term, plus an extra fee to ensure his silence. But quietly, sources say, Gregory is “angry and humiliated” at the way he was treated by NBC suits who let him twist in the wind through months of painful speculation before finally pulling the plug.” [PageSix]

WEEKEND SCENE: “Ron Perelman’s Apollo Night Is a Hit in the Hamptons” by Marshall Heyman: “And the award for M.V.P. of the Hamptons 2014 summer season unequivocally goes to the performer Jamie Foxx. He once again turned a fundraiser for the Apollo Theater at Ronald Perelman’s home into the party of the summer… Among the other guests was a grumpy Roger Waters, who was particularly mean to anyone who stood near his dinner seat perch once the concert started. (Many guests, including Howard Stern, were surprised about Mr. Waters’s presence at the party considering his sentiments on Israel.)” [WSJ]

LAWSUIT DUJOUR: “Jewish amputee sues hospital for cremating leg” by Steve Schmadeke: “An Orthodox Jew is suing Skokie Hospital for cremating his amputated leg instead of preserving the limb to be buried next to him. Some Jewish traditions suggest the deceased should be buried whole in preparation for the afterlife. Moshe Lefkowitz, 43, alleges in court papers that he told a rabbi working for the hospital and other medical staff of his wishes before surgery to remove his left leg below the knee in March 2011. He sued the hospital, its owner and the rabbi two years later, seeking more than $100,000 in damages. The suit was dismissed by a Cook County judge, but an appeals court reversed that ruling late last month and sent the case back for trial.” [ChicagoTribune]

DESSERT: “If That NPR Guy Moved to Israel and Knew Hebrew…” by Debra Kamin: “When Mishy Harman, a young Jerusalem native, decided to take a 13,000-mile road trip around the United States a few years ago, a friend offered him hundreds of downloaded episodes of a beloved podcast to help pass the time. Mr. Harman was more of a music fan. But after several solitary days in a rusty sedan with just his dog, Nomi, for company, he decided to listen. The program was “This American Life,” the hourlong public radio show created by Ira Glass and known for its slice-of-life stories and investigative features. And by the time Mr. Harman had reached Mississippi, midway through his journey, he wasn’t just hooked. He was determined to copy it. “Israel Story,” a Hebrew-language radio show modeled on “This American Life,” begins its second season in Israel next Saturday; an English version of the Israeli show will have its premiere online on Monday.” [NYTimes]

That’s all folks, have a great Monday! 

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


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