Oct
27

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Daily Kickoff: Trump TV idea began as a Kushner threat to Ailes | Ivanka to speak at The Shul today | Interview with US Senate Candidate Jason Kander

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WORLD SERIES SCENE — National Jewish Democratic Council Chair Greg Rosenbaum hosted Vice Presidential Candidate Tim Kaine, along with Sen. Sherrod Brown, at his Progressive Field suite for last night’s World Series Game 2 in Cleveland. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred stopped by to spend time with Kaine and Brown. Rosenbaum is the principal owner of the Dayton Dragons and a minority owner of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. Also in attendance: Eve Rosenbaum of the Houston Astros, Nick Sakellariadis, principal owner of the Dayton Dragons, Peter Carfagna, principal owner of the Lake County Captains and Mike Savit, principal owner of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, Modesto Nuts and Mobile Bay Bears and co-owner of the Dayton Dragons. [Pic] • Commissioner Manfred visits the crowded box [Pic]

HAPPENING TONIGHT: Ivanka Trump visits The Shul of Bay Harbour in Surfside, Florida, for a conversation and Q&A on education. family issues and social structures. According to the invite, “Ivanka will start with her presentation and then will open to questions from the audience which need to be pre-submitted.” The event begins at 6:30pm and is invitation-only.

DEEP DIVE – Cover Story: “Inside the Trump Bunker, With 12 Days to Go” by Joshua Green and Sasha Issenberg: “Beginning last November, then ramping up in earnest when Trump became the Republican nominee, Kushner quietly built a sprawling digital fundraising database and social media campaign that’s become the locus of his father-in-law’s presidential bid… Most Republican Party officials ardently hope he’ll go away quietly if he loses. But given all that his campaign—and Kushner’s group especially—has been doing behind the scenes, it looks likelier that Trump and his lieutenants will stick around.”

–Trump TV: “According to a source close to Trump, the idea of a Trump TV network originated during the Republican primaries as a threat Kushner issued to Roger Ailes when Trump’s inner circle was unhappy with the tenor of Fox News’s coverage. The warring factions eventually reconciled. But Trump became enamored by the power of his draw after five media companies expressed interest. “One thing Jared always tells Donald is that if the New York Times and cable news mattered, he would be at 1 percent in the polls,” says the source.” [Businessweek]

“Trump Tells Supporters at Jerusalem Rally: Together, We Will Make America and Israel Safe Again” by Allison Kaplan Sommer: “I love Israel and honor and respect the Jewish tradition and it’s important we have a president who feels the same way,” Trump said in a pre-recorded video message to hundreds of Israeli and American supporters. “My administration will stand side-by-side with the Jewish people and Israel’s leaders to continue strengthening the bridges that connect, not only Jewish Americans and Israelis, but also all Americans and Israelis. Together we will stand up to enemies, like Iran, bent on destroying Israel and her people, together we will make America and Israel safe again.”[Haaretz; ToI

“Trump vows to fight Israel’s enemies in Jerusalem pitch” by Oren Liebermann: “David Friedman, Trump’s policy advisor on Israel, spoke at the first gathering and accused the US State Department of being “anti-Israel and anti-Semitic for the past 70 years” because of its opposition to moving the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. “When Donald Trump has his first meeting with the lifers in the State Department, they’re going to say, ‘Well, you know Mr. Trump, with all due respect, you’ve only been president for a couple of days, we’ve been living here for the last 20 years and we don’t do it that way, we do it this way. We don’t move the embassy,'” Friedman said. “The reaction from Donald Trump will be, ‘You know what guys, you’re all fired,'” he added.” [CNN] • Mike Pence says “shalom” to Israel’s Republicans [YouTube]

“The coming shift: Hillary Clinton’s plans for Israel and Iran” by Michael Wilner: “Hillary Rodham Clinton is preparing to dramatically shift the tone and tenor of relations with Israel away from a publicly disputatious posture adopted by the Obama administration, according to several of her top aides… Her team describes a former diplomat eager to reassert where Israeli and American interests converge. President Clinton’s focus, they say, will be to reconstitute an environment in which Israelis are willing to follow US leadership, motivated by the belief that tactics from the last administration proved counterproductive to its well-intentioned pursuit of peace.” [JPost]

“Clinton’s Allies Promise a Tougher Line on Iran” by Eli Lake: “The next president has an opportunity in the Middle East to reassure wavering allies, to tell them: “We’re back and we’re going to lead again.” That sounds like something you might hear this month in an alternate reality, from the Rubio-Cheney campaign. But that is a quote from Michael Morell, a former deputy and acting director of the CIA and an adviser to Hillary Clinton’s campaign… Morell said the U.S. should consider a new set of sanctions against Iran to punish its “malign behavior in the region.” Morell’s approach matches the one laid out in June by Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s top national security adviser.” [Bloomberg]

“As U.N. Ignores Jewish Ties to Holy Site, Israel Produces Ancient Evidence” by Isabel Kershner: “The Israel Antiquities Authority produced a rare papyrus fragment from the seventh century B.C., written in ancient Hebrew, that mentions Jerusalem by name. Archaeologists interpreted the two lines of text on the papyrus as a concise shipping document reading, “From the king’s maidservant, from Na’arat, jars of wine, to Jerusalem.” In an Indiana Jones-like twist, the unusually preserved fragment had been plundered from a cave in the Judean Desert by a band of antiquities robbers, the antiquities authority said. The authority’s spokeswoman, Yoli Shwartz, denied that the publicizing of the fragment at a news conference here had anything to do with Israel’s diplomatic campaign against Unesco, calling the timing “completely coincidental.” The unveiling of the document had long been planned around an annual archaeology conference scheduled for Thursday at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.” [NYTimes

“GOP Senators Call on Obama to Suspend Ties with UNESCO” by Jacob Kornbluh:“Given that U.S. law already forbids Amercian taxpayer money going to UNESCO, we urge your administration to join Israel in suspending ties to UNESCO,” the letter, signed by Senators Marco Rubio, Johnny Isakson, Mark Kirk and David Perdue, reads. “Because UNESCO continues to deviate from its founding mission and adopt one-sided, anti-Israel resolutions, it is time for the U.S. to stand with Israel and suspend our ties with UNESCO.” [JewishInsider

JI INTERVIEW: Jason Kander, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Missouri, discusses his race against the incumbent Republican senator, Roy Blunt, and how his Jewish faith influenced his public service and political life. The outcome in red-state Missouri could help determine control of the Senate. “I don’t think about that all that much, because I’m going to be the exact same senator from Missouri no matter who’s in the majority or the minority and no matter which party owns the White House,” Kander told us in a phone interview. “It’s pretty clear that my opponent, Senator Blunt, is very focused on which political party does what, because that seems to be mostly what his approach to politics is. For me, it’s just really not something I think about, because it’s not going to change how I represent Missouri.”

On Iran deal: “I did not think that the Iran deal made sense for America as it was constructed. So far, I have not seen a lot of evidence to the contrary of my view, and at the same time I feel that I just hope that it turns out that both Senator Blunt and myself were wrong and that it does work out well. If that happens, that would be a good thing. So far, it hasn’t been particularly encouraging. I think, in the short term, what has to be done is there’s a deal in place that I didn’t really agree with, but that means that we should make sure that every single aspect of that deal is enforced as stringently as possible. Again, it’s not something I’m particularly optimistic about. That’s why I opposed it in the first place.”

On foreign policy as an issue in the election: “I think that what voters want is the same thing that I want, which is for foreign policy to be kept separate from domestic politics. There was a time in this country, the majority of history in fact, where politics stopped at the water’s edge and foreign policy was not something that got wrapped up in partisan political maneuvering. Unfortunately, now we seem to be in a time where we don’t even bother to lament the fact that politics doesn’t stop at the water’s edge. I strongly believe that when we allow partisan politics to dictate our foreign policy, no matter which party is in charge, it makes us less safe, because it hinders our ability to adequately respond to changing events around the world.”

On his first and only trip to Israel at age 26: “I went on a birthright trip, and it meant a lot to me. My wife came to the United States as a refugee from religious persecution in the Soviet Union, in Ukraine, when she was eight years old. Some of her family went to Israel, and so, for her, it was definitely a connection with her familiar history and with her Jewish identity through being able to visit family there. We went together. For me, it was really an opportunity for me to, and it really did this for me, to really connect with my faith and with my own personal identity as a Jew, because I can remember at one point being at a kibbutz and opening up the prayer book at Sabbath services and seeing that the first page of the prayer book was saying that the prayer book was there due to a sponsorship from a congregation in Kansas City, Missouri and in particular a certain congregant. That congregant was actually a distant cousin of mine. That, for me, was a moment that I’ve never forgotten because it definitely was an affirmation for me of just how connected I felt to other folks in the Jewish faith.” Read the full interview[JewishInsider]

Lisa Spies explains to Chris Cillizza why Donald Trump’s decision to stop fundraising is a huge problem for Republicans: “It is important to note that Hillary has a well-developed finance team and specifically surrogates that are doing events for her. Similar to Hillary’s traditional campaign, and in contrast to Trump, in 2012 around this time I could use Ambassador John Bolton to do targeted Jewish and pro-Israel fundraising events, and one of our big-league assets was Ann Romney, who we used to raise over $20 million through the “Women for Romney” effort. So while it isn’t unusual for the candidate to shift from fundraising events to political rallies in the closing weeks of a presidential campaign, the reason the Trump abandonment of fundraising events is such a big deal is because he doesn’t have an organization or surrogates to pick up the slack for him.” [WashPost]

John Podhoretz: “His refusal to help fill party coffers just as the last push for voters commences — which is an expensive process and requires cash on hand — is the perfect capper to 16 months in which Trump has gleefully terrorized weak-kneed Republican officials, forced them to comply with his wishes and then screwed them.” [NYPost]

“House GOP group rakes in checks even without more Adelson money” by Theodore Schleifer: “Perhaps concerning to national Republicans, casino titans Sheldon and Miriam Adelson — who have given almost half of the money that the group has raised this cycle — did not choose to reinvest in the super PAC during the homestretch… The largest donor to the Congressional Leadership Fund in the first three weeks of October was Stephen Schwarzman, the head of Blackstone, who gave $1.7 million.”[CNN]

“Behind the retreat of the Koch brothers’ operation” by Ken Vogel: “it has irked some of its donor constituencies who agree with the Kochs’ animating issue — fiscal conservatism — but disagree with the brothers on other issues. For example, some neoconservative donors who had previously given to the Koch network were upset by an event hosted by the Charles Koch Institute in mid-May. The event included a pair of academics whose writing about the power of the Israel lobby has led to charges of anti-Semitism. A fundraiser with knowledge of the situation said the event “was clearly an issue to Adelson. It was made evident that was a problem, but it’s impossible to know for sure if that’s why he didn’t give to the network.” [Politico

“Trump booster Alex Jones: I’m not anti-Semitic, but Jews run an evil conspiracy” by Zack Beauchamp: “They run Uber, they run the health care, they’re going to scam you, they’re going to hurt you,” he said, per Media Matters. Jones listed a series of prominent people with Jewish backgrounds he believed to be working with this mafia — Rahm Emanuel, Madeleine Albright, George Soros — and accused them of being part of a “global, corporate combine” in alliance with the Japanese, Communists, and other evil factions. “I guess I better do some exposés on the Jewish mafia,” Jones said. He described Emanuel as “a guy foaming at the mouth with knives at Cabinet meetings, basically threatening the president, totally crazed. Who’s got his fingers in everything, screwing us over.” But, Jones insisted, “I’m not against Jews.” [Vox; MediaMatters

 
**Good Thursday 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: Casino mogul Adelson says no certainty over Las Vegas stadium for NFL’s Raiders[Reuters] • A casino magnate is spending millions to fight legal marijuana in three states [WashPost]• Israel slips to 52 in ease of doing business index [Globes]

SPOTLIGHT: “The Information’s Jessica Lessin on how she’s scaling an already-expensive subscription product” by Laura Hazard Owen: “The subscription-only technology site The Information is a niche product, at $399 a year. But now it’s expanding both up and down. Founder and CEO Jessica Lessin announced at the company’s Subscriber Summit last week that The Information is launching two new products: a student edition for $19.50 per month, and an extra-premium product called “The Information for Investors,” which is $10,000 a year.” [NiemanLab]

“Who was at the private Rolling Stones event? The secretary of state, for one” by Mark Shanahan: “The Rolling Stones played, not surprisingly, a hits-heavy set for the 150 or so folks invited to the private party thrown by Patriots owner Robert Kraft at Gillette Stadium Tuesday night. The band performed for a crowd that included Secretary of State John Kerry (and a phalanx of Secret Service agents), designer Tommy Hilfiger, and Combined Jewish Philanthropies boss Barry Shrage.”[BostonGlobe]

DESSERT: “Old Jewish beer gets new life in Quebec” by Neil Herland:“Nathan McNutt, master brewer at Montreal’s Resevoir Brewery, re-created Quebec’s first Jewish beer and named it L’affaire Hart beer. And for those who fear it might taste like the beer equivalent of Manischewitz, Kosher wine, they’re in for a surprise. “I find it absolutely fantastic,” said McNutt. “It’s a big malty beer, not hoppy, not bitter.” The recipe was sitting on the website of the Bibliotheque et Archives nationales du Québec and discovered by Toronto lawyer and beer blogger Gary Gillman. It caught the attention of the Museum of Jewish Montreal, which decided that someone had to brew it again. McNutt said it wasn’t an easy recipe to follow.” [CBC]

“Pardes Restaurant Has Closed in Brooklyn” by Dani Klein: “Brooklyn’s Pardes Restaurant may have been the most revered and innovative kosher restaurant, possibly ever, thanks in part to the creativity behind Chef Moses Wendel. The downtown Brooklyn restaurant announced this morning that it has permanently closed its doors.” [YeahThatsKosher; Facebook]

BIRTHDAYS: Producer and director of many popular films including Animal House, Meatballs, Stripes, Ghostbusters and Twins, Ivan Reitman turns 70… Rabbi at Miami Beach’s Temple Beth Sholom since 1985, Gary Glickstein turns 69… San Diego attorney, Gordon Gerson… Author, actress and comedienne, Fran Lebowitz turns 66… Television meteorologist, currently working for The Weather Channel, Stephanie Abrams turns 38…

 

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Oct
26

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Daily Kickoff: Dems get pass on Iran thanks to Trump | Charles Bronfman on Seagram’s demise | Lerer, Tisch, Kushner: New Class of NYC Power Investors

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REVIEW: “Democrats Will Have Trump to Thank for Getting a Political Pass on the Iran Nuclear Deal” by Dan De Luce, Molly O’Toole: “The Iran nuclear accord was supposed to be political kryptonite for Democrats in Congress. But Trump’s toxic candidacy helped sideline the issue. Although the Republican Party is hitting the issue hard in Senate and House races across the country, conservative Jewish organizations and activists have mostly pulled their punches and resisted funding rivals of lawmakers who voted for the Iran agreement.” [ForeignPolicy]

“U.S. House to vote on Iran Sanctions Act renewal as soon as November” by Patricia Zengerle: “Obama’s administration had asked Congress to hold off on renewing the ISA, saying it has enough power to reimpose economic sanctions if Iran violates the nuclear agreement even if it expires. White House spokesman Josh Earnest declined to say how Obama would respond to the bill if it passed both houses of Congress and reached his desk. White House opposition to the bill could generate resistance from Democrats in the Senate, making it more difficult for any legislation to garner the 60 votes needed to move ahead.” [Reuters]

“For Iran, Exerting Force While Making Nice Is Part of the Plan” by Thomas Erdbrink:“Publicly, Ayatollah Khamenei often criticizes the nuclear agreement, but the most influential hard-liners understand that he was the architect of the pact. He also did not stop discussions between Boeing and the national carrier, Iran Air, even though the deal that is emerging will mean large-scale business relations with the United States… Both Iran’s partial opening up to the West and its involvement in Middle East conflicts are directed by Ayatollah Khamenei, analysts say.” [NYTimes]

TOP TALKER: “Unesco adopts controversial resolution on Jerusalem holy sites” by Peter Beaumont: “The final version of the resolution – which has sparked furious claims and counter-claims – passed easily on Wednesday after Israel pressed for a secret vote. Despite containing some softening of language following Israeli protests over a previous version, Israel continued to denounce the text. Israel says the resolution’s exclusive use of Arabic terms to describe parts of the site deliberately airbrushes out the Jewish connection to the site of the Second Jewish Temple – destroyed in 70 AD.” [TheGuardian]

–Barak David: “Even though the motion passed, Israel gained some diplomatic points since it was able to “force” a vote on the resolution. In recent days, the Palestinians and Jordan softened the wording of the resolution in attempt to reach consensus among the panel’s member states and approve it without a vote. A senior Israeli official said that the United States helped Israel to try to recruit countries that would demand a vote, thereby enable countries interested in doing so to vote for or against, or to abstain.”[Haaretz] • In Protest of Latest UNESCO Resolution, Netanyahu to Recall Israel’s Ambassador for Consultations [Haaretz]

“Clinton Condemns ‘Outrageous’ UNESCO Vote on Jerusalem” by Jacob Kornbluh: “It is disappointing and wrong to see that UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee is considering a resolution on Jerusalem that fails to recognize and respect the deep and historic ties of the Jewish people to Jerusalem and its holy sites,” Clinton said in a statement. “I have always stood with Israel to reject these biased actions at the United Nations, and I always will.” [JewishInisder

“Jewish Federations to debate travel to West Bank settlements” by Eitan Arom: “In an Oct. 26 conference call, JFNA’s board of trustees will be asked to “authorize the entry of JFNA missions, including federation community missions planned through JFNA, into Israeli-controlled territories beyond the Green Line (e.g., Ariel or Gush Etzion, etc.),” JFNA president Jerry Silverman wrote in an email to trustees, naming two Jewish settlements. It was unclear whether the trustees would be asked to rewrite federation policy or simply lend their approval to the IAN trip. But even if the vote applied only to the IAN trip, it would set precedent, since federation missions currently avoid the West Bank entirely.”[JewishJournal

OVER THE WEEKEND — “How mega-donors helped raise $1 billion for Hillary Clinton” by Matea Gold and Anu Narayanswamy: “The top five donors together contributed one out of every $17 for her 2016 run: hedge fund manager S. Donald Sussman ($20.6 million); Chicago venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker and his wife, M.K. ($16.7 million); Univision chairman Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl ($11.9 million); hedge fund titan George Soros ($9.9 million); and SlimFast founder S. Daniel Abraham ($9.7 million).” [WashPost] • “The liberal billionaire philanthropist George Soros has given $13.5 million, far more than he gave to support Mr. Obama four years ago.” [NYTimes

“Trump stops holding high-dollar fundraisers that were raising big cash for the GOP” by Matea Gold: “Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s national finance chairman, said in an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday that Trump Victory held its last formal fundraiser on Oct. 19. “We’ve kind of wound down,” Mnuchin said, referring to formal fundraisers. New York financier Lew Eisenberg, the top fundraiser for the RNC and chairman of Trump Victory, said that he has been working “in a united effort” with Mnuchin to “continue to raise money from major donors” through phone calls and impromptu events.” [WashPost; AP]  Trump Campaign Says Fundraising Operation Moving Full Steam Ahead[Bloomberg

“President Obama Attends Fundraiser at Home of Jeffrey Katzenberg” by Ted Johnson:“This was expected to be Obama’s final fundraiser with Jeffrey Katzenberg before Obama leaves the White House. Katzenberg has been among Obama’s most prolific fundraisers.”[VarietyHollywoodReporter

“Jewish donors fill candidates’ war chests, especially Clinton’s” by Eric Cortellessa:“Trump’s second biggest donor is Bernard Marcus, the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants who co-founded Home Depot. He’s given $7 million to the former reality television star.” [TimesofIsrael

“In Miami, Bill Clinton tries to explain the whys of the wild presidential race” by Patricia Mazzei: “In South Florida, Bill Clinton appealed to traditionally Democratic constituencies — black and Jewish voters — with the plea that they go vote… To Jewish ones, he mentioned tikkun olam, the idea of doing good in the world through acts of kindness. “If there are any group of people in this country that should understand the threat to the fundamental character of the nation and the future of our children and grandchildren posed by the choice in this election, it should be members of the Jewish community,” Clinton said. “No one should sit it out.”” [MiamiHerald] • Shmuel Rosner: “What Bill Clinton understands better than many Jews” [JewishJournal]

“In Miami Beach, Donald Trump’s Orthodox support is increasingly on the down-low” by Ron Kampeas: “No one’s going to talk to you,” he explains. “You can’t be for Hillary in this community. But how can you be for Trump? What he said was disgusting.” [JTA]

“Poll: Israelis split on which US presidential candidate is looking out for them” by Lahav Harkov: “When asked which candidate will better serve Israel’s interests, 34% of the respondents chose Trump and 29% Clinton. Jewish Israelis’ responses were even more evenly divided, with 49% of those with an opinion choosing Clinton and 51% choosing Trump, but Arab Israelis were almost three times more likely to say that Trump (74%) is looking out for Israel than Clinton (26%).” [JPost• Meet Hillary Clinton’s Biggest Cheerleaders in Israel [Haaretz

In Florida, Trump blasts Hillary for emboldening Iran: “Hillary also started the negotiations that led to the Iran deal – and thus ultimately leading to the $1.7 billion ransom for American hostages. Clinton gave Iran everything they wanted and more – including Iraq. Now, Iran is emboldened as never before. In the latest insult to America, the government of Iran is demanding “many billions,” in new ransom payments for an American businessman and his ailing father.”

Bret Stephens: “My Former Republican Party: Where, amid Mr. Trump’s routine denunciations of our allegedly freeloading allies, or Newt Gingrich’s public doubts about defending NATO member Estonia against Russian aggression, or the alt-right’s attacks on “globalism,” or Sean Hannity’s newfound championship of WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, is that Republican Party today?” [WSJ

“How White Nationalists Learned To Love Donald Trump” by J.M. Berger: “Users on the forums mostly saw Trump as annoying or entertaining, but they frequently speculated that he was secretly Jewish, or close enough to Judaism be worthy of hate: In the fevered white nationalist worldview, it’s inconceivable that a New York real estate magnate could make billions of dollars without support from a Jewish financial conspiracy. In 2009, when Trump’s daughter Ivanka began converting to Judaism, hardcore white nationalists believed their suspicions were confirmed… Stormfronters debated whether Trump was sincere in his birtherism; some said he was a Jewish plant, intended to deceive gullible white nationalists into supporting him, or just to make them look like idiots by association.” [Politico]

Jeffrey Goldberg on NPR’s ‘Morning Edition’ on being one of the journalists named by the ADL who’ve been targeted the most with anti-Semitic tweets: “I am glad that Nazis hate me. I consider that a compliment. These are neo-Nazis. I’m inured to it, but I also think this is a challenge for Twitter in a way. I don’t want to be on Twitter as much because I find it a little bit dispiriting to start my day with that kind of discourse. It doesn’t scare me, but it just is dispiriting… I link this phenomenon to the rise of Trump-ism and I wish that the Trump campaign would make a definitive statement against this kind of neo-Nazi horror. But so far, I have not had satisfaction on that front.” [NPR]

Trump’s Israel adviser denies anti-Semitism among supporters: “David Friedman told Israel’s Channel 2, “No, there’s anti-Semitic sentiment among Clinton supporters.” When it comes to anti-Semitism, Friedman said, “The danger in the United States is not on the right…. The movement that you ought to be concerned about is the movement on the left.” As for anti-Semitic attacks online targeting Jewish journalists, as highlighted in a recent report by the Anti-Defamation League, Trump’s aide said, “I can’t speak about a particular group of victims.” Friedman lashed out at the ADL, saying the organization “has lost, frankly, all credibility” under its new director, whom he called “a former J Street advocate.””[TimesofIsrael] • Trump’s Israel advisor calls Clinton a “nasty person” [JerusalemOnline]

“The big donors behind ads in Missouri Senate race” by Deirdre Shesgreen: “The Senate Leadership Fund has shelled out more than $8 million in recent weeks on ads attacking Kander. The biggest donors to the McConnell-linked super PAC include: Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam Adelson, who have each contributed $10 million. Wealthy hedge fund executives Paul Singer, who donated $3 million, and Ken Griffin, who gave $2 million. Top donors to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee include Soros Fund Management, the firm founded by liberal billionaire George Soros, and NewsWeb Corp., a publishing company founded by Chicago media mogul Fred Eychaner.” [USAToday] • A Democrat Deft With a Firearm Tightens the Race for the Senate[NYTimes]

“Rubio, Murphy Senate race attracting big campaign dollars” by Andy Reid: “Some of Rubio’s top contributors through September include Goldman Sachs ($79,800), the hedge fund Elliot Management ($72,900) and sugar producer Fanjul Corp. ($72,660). Some of Murphy’s biggest contributors through September included the pro-Israel group JStreetPAC ($72,898).” [SunSentinel

“Top Democrats steamed that party letting Rubio skate” by Burgess Everett, Marc Caputo and Kevin Robillard: “Stephen Bittel, a top Florida fundraiser who has hosted Obama at his Miami home, called Schumer recently to complain about the DSCC backing away from Murphy. Bittel said Schumer “thought he could get a bigger return on his money in other races.” Bittel is now considering withholding further contributions to the DSCC unless it helps Murphy. “Going forward, we should certainly consider building a big beautiful wall around Florida that the DSCC pays for,” Bittel quipped.”[Politico

More Podesta emails – Podesta on draft of speech Hillary Clinton was going to deliver at the Saban Forum in DC: “On page 16, in the graph beginning Many Americans feel a deep emotional connection…the paragraph is about Israel, but evokes how people feel about how Israel is treating the Palestinians. I think I’d cut or rework.” [12-05-2015]

Tom Donilon: “At page 5 I would take out the shot at the Egyptians ( “heavy handed tactics may play into the hands of extremists”). Will sound a bit inconsistent to this audience with later good point on Israeli/Egyptian >> cooperation v. ISIS on the Sinai… At page 4–not sure that “take to the next level” is strong enough. Maybe something like ” Take our already strong relationship and continue to deepen and perfect it. The US and Israel must always do the work necessary to ensure that we are the strongest of allies.”” [12-06-2015]

What Saban thinks of Rubio: “Naughty boy the republican establishment’s golden boy!” [01-19-2016]

Was Huma ignoring Saban’s emails? – Saban: “Is Huma still on the team?” Podesta: “You bet.”Saban: “Strange,,,maybe my mails are going to spam,,,,she’s not responding.” [06-18-2015]

Saban clarifies comment on ‘more scrutiny’ of Muslims immigrants: “What I said was that we should scrutinize the Muslim immigrants ,,,,,if we take France as an example of what happens when millions of people enter a country w/no scrutiny, our lives are put in jeopardy,,,,, Life before liberty,,,,, I am not aware of what her position is on this.” [11-19-2015

 
**Good Wednesday 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: Activist Paul Singer Expects Positive Change at Samsung [WSJ] • Jason Goldberg’s Fab was valued at $1 billion before it collapsed. What can today’s startups learn from his failure? [Bloomberg] • Opponents of Beverly Hilton project allege voter fraud [LATimes] • The Secret Language of George Soros [TabletMag] • Sumner Redstone Suing Former Companions [WSJ] • Scenes from Robert Kraft’s swanky private party featuring the Rolling Stones at Gillette [BostonGlobe]SPOTLIGHT: “‘Nobody wins in a family war’: Billionaire Charles Bronfman on Seagram’s demise” by Anna Maria Tremonti: “As one of the heirs to Canada’s whisky empire, the Seagram company, Charles Bronfman grew up surrounded by unimaginable wealth. “I didn’t think a lot of the trappings of wealth were perks at all because it seemed to me that was the way life was led.” Now in his mid-80s Bronfman looks back at his life as a billionaire businessman and owner of the Montreal Expos in his new memoir, Distilled: A Memoir of Family, Seagram, Baseball and Philanthropy.” [CBC]

STARTUP NATION: “Israel’s Silicon Wadi Is Bringing In Billions from Investors” by Jonathan Kandell: “In less than 30 years, Israel, once better known for its agricultural kibbutzim, has transformed itself into a high-tech industrial nation with a per capita income of some $35,300, just behind France’s and nearly 9 percent greater than Japan’s. Silicon Wadi, a 125-mile corridor stretching from the plains around the northern port of Haifa to the Negev Desert in the south, has spawned more high-tech start-ups than all of Europe.” [InstitutionalInvestor] • Uber’s Israeli Self-Driving Truck Startup Otto Makes Its First Delivery: 50,000 Beers [WiredMag]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “A New Class of Power Investors Makes Its Home in New York” by Christopher Ross: “When Ben Lerer leaves his office at New York’s Broadway and Prince Street for a meeting at the haute bagel bakery Sadelle’s, four blocks west in SoHo, he might run into any number of fellow venture-capital investors: perhaps Joshua Kushner, founder of Nolita-based Thrive Capital, or David Tisch, founder of BoxGroup, whose offices are just to the north in Union Square… Their ties are like a game of connect-the-dots: Lerer, 35, and Tisch, 35, attended the University of Pennsylvania together. Lerer, Tisch and Kushner, 35, have all invested in Oscar health insurance, co-founded by Kushner, which is now valued at $2.7 billion. They also have overlapping investments with Scott Belsky, 36, a partner at Benchmark Capital.” [WSJMag]

PROFILE: “Heretic.” “Maverick.” “Opportunist.” “Advocate.” Who is the real Simcha Felder? — by Frank Runyeon: “Impervious to the steady thwack of newsprint-wrapped bombshells before Election Day, Felder is running unopposed for his state Senate seat in the 17th district – on the Republican, Democratic and the Conservative party lines. Political analysts call him an anomaly, an outlier, a maverick even. He’s been called worse. But despite donning a yarmulke and being ordained as a rabbi, Felder does not define himself by religious conviction either. “I don’t consider myself the ‘Jewish senator,’” he said. “That part is irrelevant – except that it is very important to my upbringing and my background.”” [City&State]

SPORTS BLINK: “The Chicago Cubs are the Official Team of Jews—Also Christians, Buddhists and Muslims” by Andrew Beaton and Kevin Helliker: “A rabbi who is a columnist for the Jerusalem Post recently hailed the Cubs as “the Jews of the sports world,” an idea seconded by the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, who made a stop at Wrigley Field on a swing through Chicago this month. “The Cubs might be the most Jewish team in America,” said Mr. Dermer. “They’ve experienced a long period of suffering, and now they’re hoping to get to the promised land.” There are Cubs-themed yarmulkes and caps spelling the team’s name in Hebrew.” [WSJ] • “Bet you Indians are real MOT” by Regina Brett [ClevelandJewishNews]

BIRTHDAYS: South African judge who led the 2009 UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, Richard Goldstone turns 78… Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton turns 69… Actress who has appeared in 25 films plus 68 episodes of Will & Grace, Shelley Morrison (born into a Separdic family as Rachel Mitrani) turns 80… Actress best known as one of Charlie’s Angels (1976-1981 TV series), Jaclyn Smith (family name was Kupferschmidt) turns 71… Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff turns 55… Figure skater who won a 2006 Olympic silver medal, plus three World Championship medals and the 2006 U.S. Championship, Sasha Cohen turns 32… Founding Partner and President of of Global Strategy Group, who also serves as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s SIPA, Jefrey Pollock turns 46… Director of Communications at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, formerly at Hillel, Jeffrey Rubin (h/t TWI Comms/Dev team)… Albert Calo… Evie Sullivan… Evan May…

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Daily Kickoff: JI Interview with Joe Lieberman | Clinton, Trump trade punch lines at Al Smith Dinner | Shabbat 2016 Dinner Tonight in San Francisco

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Ed note: We’ll be back next Wednesday following the conclusion of Sukkot. 

HAPPENING TONIGHT: The #Shabbat2016 series, a collaboration between Jewish Insider, OneTable and the Schusterman Foundation’s REALITY Initiative, will continue this evening in San Francisco at aFriday night dinner hosted by the magnificent Jason Friend. The evening will feature Kabbalat Shabbat, Jason’s delectable homemade challah as well as remarks from Erin Schrode on Redefining Civic Engagement. Special thanks to the Paul E. Singer Foundation for their kind support [RSVP] • Read “Dinner Party Politics” by OneTable’s Zoe Plotsky [OneTable]

HEARD LAST NIGHT: “Clinton and Trump Trade Punch Lines Instead of Punches at the Al Smith Dinner” by Ashley Parker and Matt Flegenheimer: “Breaking with decades of tradition at the gathering once he took the microphone, Mr. Trump set off on a blistering, grievance-filled performance that translated poorly to the staid setting, stunning many of the well-heeled guests who had filed into the Waldorf Astoria hotel for an uncommon spectacle: an attempted détente in a campaign so caustic that the candidates, less than 24 hours earlier, declined to shake hands on a debate stage. Relations did not much improve.” [NYTimes] • “At charity roast, Donald Trump delivered what might as well be a campaign eulogy” [WashPost]

Cardinal says candidates exchanged kind words: “Dolan told NBC’s “Today show” Friday that at one point at the dinner, Trump leaned in and told Clinton: “You are one tough and talented woman.” According to Dolan, Clinton responded by saying: “Whatever happens, we need to work together afterward.” At the dinner, Dolan called his seat between Trump and Clinton the “iciest place on earth.””[AP]

— Trump acknowledged Schumer at the start of his remarks: “Hi Chuck. (thumbs up). He used to love me when I was a Democrat.” Schumer: “There’s still hope, Donald. Come on.”

Hillary dings Trump: “It is great, also, to see Mayor Bloomberg here. It’s a shame he’s not speakingtonight. I’m curious to hear what a billionaire has to say.”

Alfred E. Smith IV joked: “It could not be done without… the amazing support of the many devoted Catholics on stage, Catholics like Henry Kissinger, Howard Rubenstein, Mort Zuckerman (laughter).”[YouTube] • Not mentioned but also on stage: Jim Tisch.

Howard Mortman: Hillary Clinton and Henry Kissinger embrace at the Al Smith Dinner. [CSPAN] • Chris Donovan: “Bernie Sanders would probably not approve.” [Twitter

“Trump and Obama agree on one thing: Aleppo is a lost cause” by Josh Rogin: ”Given the latest White House decision to delay any action to respond to the crisis, President Obama may be ensuring that Trump’s vision of a fallen Aleppo becomes a reality. And like Trump, Obama seems to have concluded there’s not much the United States can or should do about it. One senior administration official pointed toward the slow pace of the bureaucracy in responding to the Aleppo crisis as evidence the White House has decided that Aleppo can’t be saved and therefore the United States should not try.” [WashPost

JI INTERVIEW with Joe Lieberman: The former Senator discussed his support for Hillary Clinton, the Jewish vote, and who his friends McCain and Graham will vote for while he campaigned in South Florida for the Clinton-Kaine ticket in the Jewish community.

On the final TV debate: “I thought that Secretary Clinton won the third debate in a row. In other words, I think she proved she’s smart, she’s experienced, and she’s ready to be a leader. I thought Trump actually, for part of it, did better than before. He seemed a little more disciplined, and then he made a couple of big mistakes. And obviously, the biggest was that he got, I think, caught on his own campaign rhetoric, which lately has been focused on the election being rigged, and hesitated to say he would support the winner, which is really a violation of a kind of broadly-held nonpartisan American ethic that in the end, you accept the results of the election, and there’s the peaceful transfer of power. That’s what is one of the great things about America. So I think that will worry people. It probably won’t upset too many of his supporters now, but I think for people who may have thought at some point about supporting Trump, and have grown increasingly concerned in recent days about his focus on the election being rigged, which there’s no evidence of that whatsoever. What he said last night, will, I think, persuade the persuadables that Hillary Clinton is their best choice.”

On the 2000 election outcome: “I am in Florida this morning, so I always think about it. The 2000 campaign was a wonderful experience for me and my family, obviously until election night. And to have the honor of being the first Jewish-American on a national ticket, and that ticket actually got 544,000 more votes than the other ticket really was proof of the openness and fairness and acceptance of the American people… It was very close in Florida, and to me what was frustrating, disappointing, at the time infuriating, was that the decision was made by the U.S. Supreme Court, five justices, not ultimately by the votes of people in Florida being counted. But I do want to say this: the U.S. Supreme Court decision did open a door to another step for Al Gore, which was to go back to the Florida Supreme Court and ask for a recount of all the votes in the state. And Vice President Gore, to his credit, I remember we talked about it, late on the night that the Supreme Court of the U.S. decision came down, he said it’s time for the good of the country to end this… That was not easy, but Al Gore really did the right thing. That’s why what Trump said last night was so surprising and troubling.”

On the Orthodox Jewish vote: “The modern Orthodox are probably already trending more towards Hillary based on not only on feeling that she is a more proven, reliable, predictable supporter of Israel, but also because they are troubled by the way in which Donald Trump has campaigned. I think we may be surprised by this. I think some of the same may be happening among the ultra-Orthodox/Hasidic community. And here’s the other thing about Hillary which is unique: She was the senator from New York for eight years. She got to know the Hasidic community. And I think, generally speaking, people had a good feeling about their relations with her. She tried very hard to be supportive. So I think the way this race is going within the Jewish world, one of those surprising results will be that Hillary Clinton will get a much higher percentage of the Orthodox vote than a Democratic candidate has gotten for a while.”

Q: Do you believe that the Jewish vote in Florida will make the difference in Clinton carrying the state?

Lieberman: “There is no question the Jewish vote in Florida will matter significantly. Hillary has pulled ahead here, but it is not over, and of course, as I know, as Al Gore was here last week, and he offered himself as Exhibit A for the fact that every vote counts in Florida. I offer myself as Exhibit B from 2000. One important thing here is that turnout, generally, is higher among Jewish voters than generally in the country. I think the Jewish vote will be very important here. So I am very glad to be here today to be helping. I feel very strongly she is the right choice.”

Q: Do you also feel, when you interact with voters, that people trust Hillary Clinton on Israel more than others in the Democratic Party?

Lieberman: “I do. I do. Look, I will be very blunt about this. There has been a kind of movement in parts of the Democratic Party toward what I would call a skepticism toward our relationship with Israel, and that troubles me a lot. But Hillary Clinton is not part of it. In fact, the best evidence is at the Democratic convention and the platform. She and her supporters defeated attempts to really alter the platform positions on Israel from what they have been affected. This platform is quite strong in support of Israel. I think Hillary Clinton as president offers the hope of the party becoming what it has been when it has been at its strongest and best, which is again, a center-left party, not a left party. I think that is the kind of party that can win, but also that can get things done for the country.”

Q: Who do you think your friends, Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain, who condemned Trump and unendorsed him, will vote for?

Lieberman: “I really don’t know. Well actually, I do know. Unless they say something differently, they both, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, have made clear that they are not voting for Hillary Clinton, and as you said, they are not voting for Donald Trump. So who they are voting for? I suppose if you see one write-in vote in Arizona and one in South Carolina for Joe Lieberman, you will know who those votes came from.”

Q: Not Hillary?

“No, I don’t think so. These are two lifelong, really quite sincere Republicans. So it’s a most unusual turn of events that they have said that they would not vote for the Republican nominee. And in McCain’s case, he really held onto the idea of supporting Trump until that tape where Trump was so disparaging, disrespectful to women and he said he can’t be associated with him anymore. That is typical of what’s happened. One of the big stories will be, assuming Secretary Clinton wins, what happens to the Republican party. There is going to be a big fight for the heart and soul and future of that party.”

Q: Secretary of Defense or Secretary of State?

Lieberman: “I would say that the title that is most appealing to me is eighty.”

SCOOP: Jewish Insider has learned that Lieberman will be featured in a new highly targeted campaign kicking off this weekend by the “Jews for Progress” super PAC, aimed at Jewish voters who are still undecided or persuadable. [JewishInsider]

“Importance of undecided Jewish voters dwindles as White House race approaches” by Michael Wilner: “Persuadable Jewish voters in this election appear to be more conservative, observant, and concerned over US relations with Israel, according to several Democratic and Republican operatives. “The bigger the margin, the less important any specific group is,” said Mark Mellman.”[JPost

“Trump spent massive amounts in September just before donors grew jittery” by Teddy Schleifer: “In recent weeks, according to multiple people familiar with his thinking, Adelson has grown frustrated with his candidate’s performance on the campaign trail. People who have spoken with him say he has bemoaned Trump’s lack of focus and what he sees as squandered opportunities, instead choosing to launch intra-party attacks on Republican leaders such as House Speaker Paul Ryan. “Sheldon’s got to protect the House and the Senate, and Trump’s going after that isn’t helpful,” said one person who has spoken with Adelson recently. “He’s really upset with the way Trump’s been running his campaign.” Another Adelson associate noted that he, along with other high-powered donors, are more animated these days by the battle for control of the Senate.” [CNN

“Hedge-fund manager S. Donald Sussman gave $21 million to pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA” by Matea Gold: “Sussman has given a total of $21 million to the top super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton, putting him on track to be the Democratic nominee’s biggest political backer this cycle. In an interview with The Washington Post, Sussman said he gave Priorities USA $6 million in September and another $2 million this month. Other top donors for the month included hedge fund founder Steve Mandel ($2.5 million), Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz ($2.5 million) and Chicago venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker and his wife M.K. ($2.5 million), according to a Federal Election Commission filing released Thursday night.” [WashPost

“Will Donald Trump Stain Jared Kushner Forever?” by Ross Barkan: “Before Trump’s presidential bid, he was known as a fiscally conservative, socially liberal Democratic donor, whose only real burning political passion was Zionism. In that sense, he was just like any other multimillionaire trawling Manhattan, looking to deal… If Kushner had any political consciousness, Trump’s anti–free trade, anti-immigrant campaign must have rattled him, at least briefly. Or he must have wondered how he could silently stand by after his father-in-law said he would remain “neutral” in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, breaking with the Republican tradition of backing Israel at all costs.” [VillageVoice]

“Dirty money: Trump and the Kazakh connection” by  Tom Burgis: “On the face of it, Mr Trump was not a beneficiary of the apartment sales. The vendor was another limited liability company, Bayrock/Sapir Organization LLC. It was named after the developers that jointly built Trump Soho: the Sapir Organisation, founded by Tamir Sapir, from Georgia, and Bayrock, founded by Tevfik Arif, a Kazakhstan-born former Soviet official.” [FT]

“Let Fran Lebowitz Soothe All Your Election-Related Worries” by Emily Jane Fox: “The only thing I’ve ever liked about Donald Trump, the only saving grace, is that he’s not Jewish. . . . Because he’s an anti-Semite’s idea of a Jew.” [VanityFair]

More Podesta emails – Paul Begala, who served as a strategist to the campaign of Isaac Herzog in the 2015 election, to Podesta: “I have never seen anything like Bibi’s furious surge to the right in the last 4 days. Nothing like it in America. He had robo-calls calling the President “Hussein Obama, the Muslim,” he had ads saying the Arabs will vote in droves. He accused Herzog of wanting to divide Jerusalem. Bibi did not win because of Iran. He won because of race… All the smart guys in Tel Aviv thought Bibi was having a nervous breakdown. In the US you could never get away with those kind of racist appeals. But, man, did it work.” [03-18-2015]

Jewish Members of Congress Denounce UNESCO resolution denying Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem: “As Jewish Members of the United States House of Representatives, we strongly condemn any effort to blatantly disregard the religious histories of Jews, Christians, and Muslims.  That is why we fervently denounce the efforts of certain Member-States of UNESCO to continue denying Jewish and Christian claims to holy sites in Jerusalem, which have irrefutable historic significance for both religions.” [PressRelease]

“Jewish settlers invited Palestinians over for the holidays. Everything went better than expected” by William Booth and Sufian Taha: “The Efrat mayor, Oded Revivi, who is also a colonel in the Israeli army reserve, invited Palestinians from surrounding villages to come to his house and celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. A couple dozen Palestinians accepted the mayor’s invitation this week to share brownies, grapes, cookies, apples and coffee, alongside 30 Israeli settlers. This was a first. Everyone talked about peace. Nobody really talked about one state or two states.” [WashPost] • PA intel grills Palestinians who visited settler leader’s sukkah [TimesofIsrael]

“US, Egypt warn Palestinians not to push Security Council on Settlements before US elections” by Jack Khoury: “Both Egypt and the United States have warned the Palestinian leadership not to advance any moves at the UN Security Council until after the US presidential election next month. According to a senior Palestinian official, “the messages were sent both directly and indirectly to the Palestinian Authority, through Western and Arab intermediaries. The messages stressed that until the US election is over, Washington will veto any resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, including a denunciation of the settlements.”” [Haaretz

**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: WeWork CEO Adam Neumann Expands Co-working Empire To India, Latin America [Forbes] • Barry Diller Reflects On Old Hollywood, His Paramount Days, and Philanthropy[VanityFair] • Kurt Cobain’s Estate: Maverick’s Guy Oseary & Live Nation’s Heather Parry to Co-Manage[Billboard

STARTUP NATION: “New venture capital fund to invest $5 million in haredi startups” by Jeremy Sharon: “Called 12 Angels, the new fund has amassed $5 million from some of the most prominent Israeli investors in the hi-tech sector, including Chemi Peres, co-founder of Pitango Venture Capital; Adi Soffer Teeni, general manager of Facebook Israel; and Dov Moran, whose company invented the USB flash drive. The “Start-up Succa” event brought entrepreneurs from the haredi community together with investors, entrepreneurs and partners from Israel’s tech community. KamaTech, a nonprofit organization that works to integrate haredim into the hi-tech industry, was founded four years ago by haredi entrepreneur Moshe Friedman and Zika Abzuk, vice-president of Cisco Israel with the help and guidance of Dr. Yossi Vardi, one of the founding fathers of the Israeli high tech industry.” [JPost]  

SCENE LAST NIGHT IN NYC: Councilman David Greenfield hosted Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan at the Sukkah of Mendy Reiner, founder of Renewal, in Borough Park. SPOTTED: Amir Sagei, Inon Elroy, Andrew Gross, Assemblymembers Nily Rozic, Phil Goldfeder and Steven Cymbrowitz; Mark Levine, Alan Maisel, Mark Weprin, Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Margery Perlmutter, Jason Koppel, Tiffany Raspberry, Aron Wieder, Kalman Yeger, Jenny Berger, Chanina Sperlin, Ben Barber, Alex Rappaport, Larry Spiwak, Oren Yaniv, Simcha Eichenstein, Pinny Ringel, Joel Eisdorfer, and Moshe Indig.

SPOTTED IN DC, at Avi Goldgraber’s Sukkah Party: State Dept’s Matt Nosanchuk; Slate’s Josh Keating; Elanit Jakabovics, president of Kesher Israel; John Doty from Rep. Jerry Nadler’s office; Amb. Norm Eisen; Georgetown Prof. Lindsay Kaplan; Sarah Arkin; NJDC’s Barbara Goldman Goldberg; Foreign Policy’s John Hudson; Abby Deift, Homeland Security; TOI’s Eric Cortellessa; Bluelight’s Debbie Rubin; Professor Ethan Porter, GW; AIPAC’s Elliot Brandt; Johnny Powell, Sec. John Kerry; Aaron Keyak, Steve Rabinowitz, many other friends, family, and residences of West End Place.

Jeffrey Goldberg: “I love America, part 4,392: A beautiful sukkah in the heart of the (Jesuit) Georgetown University campus.” [Twitter]

“Miri Regev’s Culture War” by Ruth Margalit: “She is often called “colorful,” a charitable description of her internal contradictions. She has amassed considerable political clout but views herself as a perpetual underdog. She rails against Ashkenazi and leftist elites yet is married to an Ashkenazi man who used to vote left. She uses a well-worn phrase to characterize Israel as “a villa in the jungle,” assailing the Palestinians, but speaks in glowing terms about Arab Israelis who “respect the laws of the country.” She identifies as conservative but sees herself as a champion of gay rights. She grew up in a traditional family — “ ‘feminist’ is a word I can’t relate to,” she has said — but spent 25 years in the Israeli military, rising through the ranks to become chief censor and then spokeswoman for the Israel Defense Forces.”[NYTimes]

New on YouTube — “”Just Jenna” is a story of Jenna Jameson journey to the Jewish faith and using her life experience to help others.” [YouTube]

SPORTS BLINK: “U of Maryland football offers a handy workaround for Shabbat-observant fans” by Gabe Friedman: “As Mitzpeh, the school’s independent Jewish newspaper, reports, the university allows students to obtain wristbands (instead of traditional tickets that require scanning) days before Shabbat.  There will always be some gray areas at a game, such as the inescapable jumbotrons that broadcast the action happening below. As one of Maryland’s Hillel rabbis, Aderet Drucker, told Mitzpeh, some Jews will see the giant TV screens as a deal-breaker while others will be happy that they can watch a screen on Shabbat without having to turn it on themselves.” [JTA; Mitzpeh

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu turns 67… Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy at Harvard University, Shaye J. D. Cohen turns 68… Emmy Award winning reality courtroom personality, “Judge Judy,” Judith Sheindlin turns 74… Russian born classical composer and pianist, emigrated to NYC at four years old, a graduate of Julliard, Lera Auerbach turns 43… Director of Data and Evaluation at NCSY and the Orthodox Union,Dan Hazony… Dori Tenenbaum… Jerusalem Fellow at the Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought, Eliana Rudee… Mitch Davis… Brian Rosman

Australian billionaire, philanthropist and Chairman of Westfield Corporation, owner of shopping malls across the globe, Frank Lowy turns 86… Actor who starred in many high-grossing films such as Jurassic Park, Independence Day and sequels of both of those, Jeff Goldblum turns 64… Washington insider, political pundit and communications consultant, Hilary Rosen turns 58… EVP and chief professional officer of the Orthodox Union, Allen Fagin… Michelle Gordon… VP at West End Strategy Team’s NYC Office, Samantha Kupferman… AIPAC’s Associate Area Director for Bergen and Rockland counties,Ayelet Kahane… Richard Rubenstein

 

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