Daily Kickoff: Sharpton says Rahm should resign | Jane Sanders profile | Peyton Manning hires Ari Fleischer | What it’s like to attend the Matzo Ball

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LongRead: “War of Words: A woman’s battle to end stoning and juvenile execution in Iran” by Laura Secor: “Amini’s e‑mail in-box regularly overflowed with terrible stories from remote Iranian towns, from relatives and lawyers of the condemned who had heard of her work. Three men in Semnan province, she was told, were to be executed. She referred the case to another activist group. But one morning at five o’clock their lawyer called Amini to say that the men had been hanged.” [NewYorker]

NYTimes Editorial: “Hard-liners in Iran and the United States still want to torpedo the nuclear deal. It would be folly for the United States and other major powers to refuse to lift sanctions as promised under the nuclear deal, which 36 Republican senators have demanded. That would kill the deal, which, Iranian and American officials say, Tehran is starting to carry out.” [NYT• “Iran threatens response to new U.S. visa restrictions” [Reuters]

TOP TALKER: “Israeli liberals cry foul over funding disclosure bill” by Josef Federman:“Israeli Cabinet ministers gave preliminary approval Sunday to a bill that imposes new disclosure requirements on nonprofit groups that receive foreign funding — drawing accusations the government was trying to crack down on government critics, rattling relations with Europe and deepening an increasingly toxic divide between liberal and hawkish Israelis.” [APReuters]

Channel 2’s Dana Weiss: “Ruvi Rivlin is my man of the year” [ToI]

“Maintaining empathy: ‘New York Times’ Jerusalem Bureau chief says goodbye” by Laura Kelly: “Sitting in a café – over coffee and shakshuka on a rainy Jerusalem morning – Rudoren looks back on her reporting and experiences here and the challenges of writing about the people and events in one of the most contentious and followed conflicts in the world. She’s written hundreds of pieces from both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, but says the criticism is always the same. “I’ve had people tell me, ‘Everyone knows the Times hates Israel,’ or ‘Everyone knows the Times is pro-Israel.’ – I respond, ‘Everyone you know!’ Just go on Google or Twitter, it’s not hard to find people who say the exact opposite thing from you about the exact same article.”” [JPost]

2016 WATCH: “Jane Sanders Knows Politics, and How to Soften Husband’s Image” by Jason Horowitz: “In Iowa, Jane Sanders schmoozed with supporters and reminded her husband to lighten his long, dark stump speeches. (“Doom and gloom!” she said she tells him. “Any hope at the end of the tunnel?”) She spent hours helping him prepare for this month’s debate, she reviews campaign aids, and come January, she will start venturing out alone as a surrogate for her husband in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina… A philosophical compatriot of her socialist husband, Ms. Sanders is also, like him, a Brooklyn native. Born Mary Jane O’Meara to Irish Catholic parents, she was the youngest of five children brought up in Bedford-Stuyvesant.” [NYTimes]

Bernie Sanders: ‘The Sheldon Adelson Caucus’ Was First GOP Primary: “Many people think the first caucus of the presidential election is held in Iowa. That is wrong. The first caucus was held right here in Nevada (in April). It was called the Sheldon Adelson caucus.” [JewishInsider] • “Andrea Mitchell Presses Sanders: You’re ’Far Behind’ Hillary in Polls on Foreign Policy” [Mediaite]

“How Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio Are Battling for the Future of GOP Foreign Policy” by Jonathan Chait: “Now a full-scale hawk poised to restore the banished Bush doctrine, Rubio has surrounded himself with neoconservative advisers, using buzzwords like “moral clarity,” and promised to stand up to Russia, China, Cuba, and North Korea, unworried by the possibility that standing up to some of the bad guys might require the cooperation of other bad guys. “I’m ready for Marco,” enthused William Kristol… The Paul version of isolationism, inherited by his floundering son, emphasizes the live-and-let-live principle. Cruz’s version is more bloodthirsty, putting him in touch with the current, freaked-out conservative mood while reviving the bombing obsession..” [NYMag]

“Rabbi Shmuley to Host Christie for Conversation on Israel” by Jacob Kornbluh: “Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie is expected to take off a day of campaigning in New Hampshire to discuss foreign policy and the Middle East in New York City next month. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the founder of The World Values Network, will be hosting Christie for a conversation on “Foreign Policy, Israel, American Values and the Middle East” on January 7, 2016.” [JewishInsider]

“Christie Spins His Version of Security Record on Trail” by Alexander Burns and Charlie Savage: “A close examination of Mr. Christie’s record as New Jersey’s top federal prosecutor from 2002 to 2008 shows that he did acquire greater counterterrorism experience than his current rivals. But it also shows that he has, at times, overstated the significance of the terrorism prosecutions he oversaw — he has called them “two of the biggest terrorism cases in the world” — and appears to have exaggerated his personal role in obtaining court permission for surveillance of terrorism suspects.” [NYTimes]

Page Six: “Eliot Spitzer and Lis Smith break up” by Carl Campanile: “It’s all over between the former Governor and Smith, who is now a spokeswoman for Democratic presidential contender and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.” [NYPost]

“Al Sharpton says Rahm Emanuel must go as mayor of Chicago” by Kelly Riddell: “The Reverend Al Sharpton called for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to step down because of his poor management of race and policing in his city since the release last month of a video showing a white Chicago police officer firing 16 shots into a black teenager and subsequent officer violence.” [WashTimes]

**Good Monday 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: “Cash Pile on Menu at Kravis and Schwarzman’s Kazakhstan Dinner” [Bloomberg] • “Questions on Direction of Adelson’s Paper in Las Vegas” [NYTimes• “Israel’s Biggest Money Managers Say It’s Time to Buy Bank Stocks” [Bloomberg

SPOTLIGHT: “Here’s a Brand Name: Scooter Braun” by Joe Coscarelli: “Scooter Braun, the grandchild of Holocaust survivors and once a teenage party promoter in Atlanta, is now on a first-name basis with his oft-mentioned industry heroes like David Geffen and Jimmy Iovine. By shepherding Mr. Bieber, 21, down the rocky path to grown-up fame — and guiding other viral infernos like Psy’s “Gangnam Style” (2.5 billion YouTube views) and Ms. Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” (759 million) — he has become the defining music executive of the social media era, known for aggressive online cross-promotion between clients.” [NYTimes]

HOLLYWOOD: “British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen and his wife are donating $1 million (900,000 euros) to help Syrian refugees, the charities receiving the money announced Sunday.” [Yahoo]

STARTUP NATION: “Israeli app BLINDSPOT allows anonymous flirting” by Roy Goldenberg: “The messaging app’s founders include Dor Refaeli, brother of the more famous Bar, and its backers include Roman Abramovich.” [Globes]

FIRST PERSON: Confessions of a rabbi’s wife: “I wanted to hide behind a husband and a wig” — by Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt: “No doubt this new position, this plot twist, has quieted me. No doubt I have grown paranoid — especially in the face of the world’s obsessive voyeurism with the inner lives of the Orthodox, with our bedrooms, our ritual baths, our wigged women and skull-capped men. Eyes eyes eyes, everywhere. Every word second-guessed. Tight-lipped is the new modus operandi. To my surprise, my husband has become nervous — what had happened to the flippant young woman he had dated? “I beg you, write something controversial,” he tells me one night. “Anything, just write.”” [Salon]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Makes me wanna challah, or the tale of a Jewish bread tradition gone awry” by Bonnie Benwick: “Pan challah is a beautiful slightly sweet and delicious bread perfect for any time of the day, touts the store-brand package I pick up at my local Giant Food. But not this loaf, which, as it turns out, is unfit for the consumers who are most familiar with challah and whose ancestors have ushered in the Sabbath with it for thousands of years. Bread, sure. Challah, not so much.” [WashPost]

SPORTS BLINK: “Peyton Manning retains Ari Fleischer amid HGH allegations” by Bradford Richardson: “Peyton Manning has enlisted the services of former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer amid allegations that the Denver Broncos quarterback was sent human growth hormone (HGH) while recovering from a neck injury in 2011… Charlie Sly, the source behind the Manning allegation cited in the investigative report, “The Dark Side,” posted a video late Saturday saying that he had been videotaped without his knowledge or consent by Al Jazeera’s Liam Collins, a former British hurdler.” [TheHillWashTimes]

DESSERT: “What It’s Like to Attend a Jewish Singles Dance on Christmas Eve” by Hannah Orenstein: “At 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve, when most people were stashing last-minute Christmas presents under the tree or spending time with their families, I was waiting in line outside a New York City club to meet my future husband. Or something like that. Let me explain… My parents met at the first annual Matzo Ball on Christmas Eve in 1987. Twenty-eight years later, I’m following in their footsteps.” [Cosmopolitan]

BIRTHDAYS: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee, born Stanley Martin Lieber, turns 93… Actor Jared Gilman turns 17… Seth Meyers (paternal grandfather was Jewish) turns 42…

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