Daily Kickoff: Sheldon finally endorses a candidate | How Jeffrey Schottenstein & LeBron came up with TACKMA | Israel’s lab for growing desert wines

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SCENE LAST NIGHT: Approximately 700 guests of the Israeli Embassy gathered last night at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in D.C. for the annual Israeli Independence Day celebration. ‘Machers, Schnooks and D.C. Cave Dwellers’ schmoozed and networked over Israeli wine and Italian fare. Ambassador Ron Dermer thanked White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough for attending noting, “Having worked in a similar position for Prime Minister Netanyahu, I know that it is never easy to get away – so Denis, I appreciate you being with us.”

Amb. Dermer on differences with the White House: “Now, ladies and gentlemen, there is no denying that Israel has had differences with the Obama administration over the best way to block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon and over the best way to advance a secure peace with the Palestinians. But the test of a relationship between two countries is not how strong it is when their two governments see eye-to-eye but rather how strong it is when they don’t – and the relationship between Israel and America has passed that test with flying colors.” [Transcript]

Ed note: Apologies in advance if we missed you at last evening’s event. Tevi Troy joked that today’s Daily Kickoff would simply state “Spotted: Everyone” while Rabbi Jack Moline suggested we only list the few folks who were not at the event. 

SPOTTED: Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer, new JLOTUS Chanan Weissman, Cruz Chief of Staff Paul Teller sporting his new handmade Lucchese boots [Pic], DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, AIPAC’s Howard Kohr and Bob Cohen, Alan & Judy Gross, State Department’s Ira Forman, Ambassador Norm Eisen tweeting up a storm, Congressman Ted Deutch, Douglas Feith, Schusterman Foundation’s Lisa Eisen and Mary Ann Weiss, State’s Matt Nosanchuk, Brookings’ Dan Arbell, Phil Rosen, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, MassChallenge’s Clara Scheinmann, Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Joshua Landes, OU’s Nathan Diament, Victoria Coates, David Milstein, Rabbi Sid Schwarz, William & Heidi Krizer Daroff, Gabriel Scheinmann, Liz Leibowitz, Congressman Eliot Engel, Eli Lake, Noah Pollak, Embassy Chief of Staff Jordana Cutler, Steve Rabinowitz, Jeremy Deutsch, Aaron Weinberg, Yarden Golan, Katie Glueck, Rep. Jerry Nadler, Ambassador David Saperstein, Sarah Arkin, B’nai B’rith’s Dan Mariaschin, Jonny Fluger, Jeremy Furchtgott, Ezra Friedlander, AEPi’s Andy Borans, Joseph Raskas, Ezra Gontownik, Julia Schulman, Melissa Weiss, and Mira Kogen Resnick.

Flashback to last year’s event: “White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough was spotted coming out from backstage, minutes before Biden’s speech, to grab a few kosher potato puffs off the buffet.” [JewishInsider]

TOP TALKER: “I endorse Donald Trump for president” by Sheldon G. Adelson: “I’ve spent time talking to Donald Trump. Do I agree with him on every issue? No. But it’s unlikely that any American agrees with his or her preferred candidate on every issue… Despite being the grandson of a Welsh coal miner and the son of a Boston cab driver, I’ve had the remarkable experience of being part of almost 50 different businesses in my more than 70-year business career. So, tell me I’m not a conservative enough Republican or I’m too hawkish on Israel or whatever else you may think, but I think I’ve earned the right to talk about success and leadership.” [WashPost]

TWEETS — Shane Goldmacher: Still pretty surprising that Sheldon Adelson’s first endorsement of 2016 is for Donald Trump” • Maggie Haberman: “No mention of Adelson’s primary issue beyond his casinos – Israel – in this op-ed” • Jon Ralston: “Sheldon loves Donald, endorses him in WaPo. Um, Sheldon, you could have done that in your own paper!”

“Journalists Wait for Donald Trump, but Meet Only His Papier-Mâché Model” by Ashley Parker: “As the crowd waited for Mr. Trump, the diverse group of demonstrators — a gaggle of undocumented immigrants, a small cabal of women from the protest group Codepink, and a lone man holding a “Rabbis Against Trump” sign — all vied for attention.” [NYTimes• Shofar sighting [Video]

“No, Donald Trump has not softened his stance on banning Muslims” by Jenna Johnson:“The latest confusion over Trump’s position stemmed from two meandering interviews on Wednesday that led to reports he was retreating in some way from his anti-Muslim policy… Except that Trump has not actually walked anything back. The presumptive Republican nominee still wants to ban nearly all members of the world’s fastest-growing religion from entering the United States in an effort to prevent terrorist attacks.” [WashPost]

David Petraeus: “Anti-Muslim bigotry aids Islamist terrorists” [WashPost]

“Temporary Job Opening” by comedian Gary Rudoren, spouse of the NYTimes’ Jodi Rudoren: “The United States of America and Israel are currently looking for a qualified professional to fill the job opening of “President of the United States” in January 2017. Qualified candidates should submit resumes highlighting their experience and thoughts on the U.S.-Israel relationship as well as examples from their past and sober (or outrageous) declarations on the future.” [MomentMag]

“Can Ted Cruz Make Friends, Influence People, And Run For President Again?” by Rosie Gray: “Former Bush administration deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams, who was one of Cruz’s national security advisers, also encouraged Cruz to do more work for the party. “He will spend the next few years I assume doing a lot of appearances around the country and I think the best way for him to combat this constant series of hits, particularly from other Republican senators, is just to make himself better known,” Abrams said, suggesting Cruz “get around the country making speeches for Republican state parties, and for candidates running for [the] House and Senate who invite him.”” [BuzzFeed]

Ted Cruz in today’s NYTimes: “America cannot stand idly by while Iran threatens our ally Israel” [NYTimes]

“Trump called Lindsey Graham to discuss national security” by Jessie Hellmann: “The conversation, which lasted about 15 minutes according to the statement, “centered on the national security threats” facing the United States. “I gave him my assessment about where we stand in the fight against [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] and the long-term danger posed by the Iranian nuclear deal. He asked good questions,” Graham said.” [TheHillPolitico]

“White House defends aide, fires back at House GOP” by Kathleen Hennessey: “White House spokesman Josh Earnest did not rule out the possibility that deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes would testify before the House oversight committee at a Tuesday hearing on “White House narratives on the Iran deal.” But Earnest tried to brush off the request from Chairman Jason Chaffetz by casting the Utah Republican’s hearing as political theater and challenging the GOP case against the agreement. “I think there are some people who have some explaining to do when it comes to the wildly false accusations that they made about the Iran deal. And it’s not the administration. It’s Republicans who are demonstrably wrong when it comes to the Iran deal,” Earnest said.” [AP]

**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**

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “It’s the Billionaires vs. the Millionaires in This Hawaiian Resort War” [Businessweek] • David Geffen buys Hamptons home to the tune of $70M [NYPost] • “Ultra-Orthodox rabbis in Israel are losing the Internet war” [WashPost• “Israel: The going gets rough for diamonds — Exchange is urged to beef up regulation after a trader was accused of fraud” [FinancialTimes]

SPOTLIGHT: “What TACKMA means on LeBron James’ hat and on the billboard outside Quicken Loans Arena” by Joe Vardon: “Jeffrey Schottenstein wanted you to know what the part-T, part-lightning bolt on LeBron James’ hat means. So Schottenstein put up two billboards in Cleveland, including one near The Q, visible from the I-90 bridge heading into the city, with the logo featured prominently on both. And TACKMA stands for “They All Can Kiss My (expletive)… James calls not just Jeffrey Schottenstein, but his brothers and father – modern-day patriarch and entrepreneur Jay Schottenstein – his “family.” He said he met the Schottensteins playing state championship basketball games for Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary at “The Schott,” the main hoops arena on Ohio State’s campus.”

“James learned to tune out his critics in 2011-12, his first of two championship seasons. You could say he adopted a TACKMA attitude, and it worked for him. But the mantra is not his. Schottenstein said he developed it in 2010 while frustrated in his attempt to make his own mark as an entrepreneur and step outside the family’s shadow. He started using TACKMA on shoes and shirts he created through the Nike ID program, and handed them out to family and friends. “I wanted to do something on my own,” Schottenstein said. “I have the capital, I’m blessed to have the capital to do this. I wanted to do something entrepreneurial, grow something from the ground up. TACKMA is bred from that frustration.””[Cleveland]

TRANSITIONS — JDC Names David Schizer its New CEO: “The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is delighted to name David Schizer as its next CEO. Schizer – the Dean Emeritus of Columbia Law School and a noted Jewish community leader – will take the helm of the global Jewish humanitarian organization on January 1, 2017, pending his approval by the JDC Board at its regular Board Meeting next week.” [JDC]

New White House appointment: “Dr. John Ruskay, Appointee for Member, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Dr. John Ruskay is a partner at JRB Consulting Services, a position he has held since 2014. Dr. Ruskay is currently the Executive Vice President-Emeritus of the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, where he previously served as Executive Vice President & CEO from 1999 to 2014.” [WhiteHouse]

HUMANS OF NEW YORK features _super_avi — “I’ve thought about what I would say if I could go back in time, and talk to myself before I got cancer. I’d say get ready to not be who you are right now. And get ready to deal with a lot of disappointments and pain. And just keep strong. And never give up. And don’t lock yourself in your room if you get sad or angry. Because nobody can help you if you’re in your room and the problem will get worse. And stop fighting with your brothers and sisters. Because you’re really going to need them soon and they are going to help you so much. And keep watching sports. Because those are really going to cheer you up.” [Facebook]

DESSERT: “Desert wines: How to grow grapes where the ground is a griddle: Daniel Kish once speared fish for a living. Now he makes wine in Israel’s Negev desert. Sipping on Shoshanna, a spicy blend of petite sirah, zinfandel, merlot and shiraz named after his mother, he explains why winemaking there can be so hard. The ground is rocky and parched. The sun is fearfully hot. And the local Thomson’s gazelles adore grapes. “You’ve opened a restaurant in the desert. So of course animals are going to eat,” he says. Mr Kish produces between 6,000 and 7,000 bottles of wine a year; he reckons each costs 45 shekels ($12) to make. They sell for just over twice that at his vineyard on Kish Farm. Keeping the process kosher is costly.” [Economist]

“From Chile to Tokyo: The boom of kosher restaurants worldwide” by Yaniv Pohoryles: “According to Jonathon Myron, the founder of the free mobile app, the precise number of kosher restaurants in the world is constantly changing due to the rapid turnover of openings and closures. The most recent numbers, however, indicate that there are between 3,500-4,000 kosher restaurants in the world, at least 800 of which are located in New York alone.” [YNet]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Actress, writer, producer and director, best known as the creator, writer and star of the HBO series “Girls,” Lena Dunham turns 30… Lawyer, businessman and philanthropist, Sir Sydney Lipworth QC turns 85… Film, television and stage actress, Zohra Lampert turns 79… Actor and producer Harvey Keitel turns 77… UK Labour Party MP since 2010, Luciana Berger turns 35… Technion professor of computer science, Orna Grumberg turns 64… ESPN’s SportsCenter anchor and football sideline reporter, Suzy Kolber turns 52…  Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Howard Wolfson, former Deputy Mayor of NYC, turns 49… Facebook’s chairman, CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg turns 32… Canadian molecular biologist and pioneer in human genetics, Louis Siminovitch turns 96… Actor David Krumholtz turns 38… Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler, known for her role as Tony Soprano’s daughter, Meadow, turns 35… Google’s Raquel Saxe, alum of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy…

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