Daily Kickoff: Sen. Warren Defends Israel | ISIS Laptop Found | Kapler: MLB on Jewish holidays | Schottenstein’s Mizzen & Main | Rise of Kosher Food

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— Jewish Insider (@J_Insider) August 28, 2014

ISIS CRISIS: A group of moderate Syrian rebels chanced upon a laptop belonging to a Tunisian ISIS member containing over 35,000 files in English, Arabic, and French, detailing an elaborate plan to unleash biological warfare upon the region. Politico reported that President Obama “has asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to prepare a range of options to counter Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and has instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to travel to the region to build a coalition in opposition to the group.” However, Obama himself admits we don’t have a strategy yet, and many US lawmakers have urged the administration to better outline its strategy in the region. ISIS has killed more than 150 in Syria in the last two days.
2016 WATCH: Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren defended her vote in support of increased Iron Dome funding, citing the strategic importance of the US-Israel relationship, the indiscriminate nature of Hamas’s rocket attacks, and Israel’s right to self defense. Senator Ted Cruz is adding political powerhouses to his staff, including Nick Muzin, adding fuel to rumors that he might seek a presidential run.
ELECTION WATCH: Senator Al Franken is doing his best to dodge reporters and keep his Minnesota re-election campaign under the radar. Polls show Franken maintaining a slight advantage over Republican challenger Mike McFadden.HAPPENING TODAY: Representative Tammy Duckworth of Illinois will address an audience at Congregation Etz Chaim in DuPage county.

TALK OF OUR NATION: Israeli police have confirmed that the body found in a forest near Jerusalem is that of the missing Jewish-American. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said there is no evidence of foul play and the funeral will be held in Beit Shemesh. A trailer has been released for Jon Stewart’s first film, Rosewater, which explores journalist Maziar Bahari’s 118 days in an Iranian jail. The head of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty David Frankel is stepping down. The council has been struggling ever since several top members admitted to stealing from the organization a little over a year ago. Two billionaire chairs of the Center for Jewish History have also stepped down, citing issues with transparency and success in their own businesses. Joan Rivers is recovering in Manhattan’s Mount Sinai hospital after she stopped breathing during a medical procedure.

TOP-OPS AND INTERVIEWS: Douglas Bloomfield contends that Republican support for Israel is primarily financially motivated. RCA Rabbi Yuter posits that the racial profiling and police violence in Ferguson are intolerable according to Jewish principles of justice. Reform Rabbi and democrat Richard Block cites grossly biased and misleading reporting in the recent Israel-Gaza conflict as the reason he’s unsubscribing from the New York Times. Jeffrey Goldberg writes on his decision stop boycotting German-made cars.

**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**

STARTUP NATION: During Operation Protective Edge many Israelis and Americans alike used Red Alert, an Israeli app developed during the 2012 conflict to alert people of incoming rockets, to stay informed and, for the over 240,000 users in the United States, develop an empathy with Israeli suffering. Israeli streaming video app Glide was used to verify that the gunshot sounds analyzed in the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri were not fabricated. Apple is set to open a new marketing and sales office in Herzliya. Apple regards the Israeli market as vital for research and development. Mizzen and Main LLC, a mens clothing startup that designs tailored clothing with the feel of athletic wear, has raised $1.2 million in Series A funding in an effort led by Astor & Black founder David Schottenstein and VegasTechFund, as well as other individual investors.

RISING STAR: Haute Living profiled recent Las Vegas casino mogul Sam Nazarian on his most recent real-estate projects and his vision for SBE’s future. “I think that the biggest thing for me is having time to do the things that I love to do, having the opportunity to not work as hard as I used to, and being able to enjoy the moment,” he says of this stage of his personal and professional life.

REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: In an ironic event, Manhattan Congregation Habonim is receiving $45 million for a Jewish building project of a non-spiritual sort: Extell Development, run by Jewish real estate developer Gary Barnett, is planning the construction of a large condominium tower in collaboration with Megalith Capital Management.

JEWISH CULTURE: A new study reports that the demand for kosher products nationwide is increasing significantly, with percentage growth reaching double digits each year. Currently, approximately 28% of new food products in the US bear a kosher symbol. The International Center of Photography in New York and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. have joined forces to make public a vast archive of photographs showing Jewish life in Eastern European communities pre-Holocaust.

SPORTS BLINK: Former major league outfielder Gabe Kapler discusses athletes that chose to play — or not — on major Jewish holidays.

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew turns 59 today. Israeli-American violinist Itzhak Perlman turns 68 on Sunday; he shares his birthday with JI editor Laura Adkins.

That’s all folks, have a great Friday! 

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


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