Daily Kickoff

Jewish Insider Kickoff

FIRST LOOK – cover of the New Republic, “The Feminists of Zion – An unlikely alliance between Orthodox and progressive women will save Israel from fundamentalism” – “This week’s cover story is about the Orthodox women of Beit Shemesh, a Jerusalem suburb. They dress modestly and hardly consider themselves feminists. But they also live among an increasing number of ultra-Orthodox Jews, who have a fundamentalist view of women. Ultra-Orthodox men have perpetrated a series of gruesome assaults on Orthodox women. Just yesterday, they attacked three buses in Beit Shemesh with hammers and demanded that female passengers move to the rear.

Our story, by Dahlia Lithwick and Allison Kaplan Sommer, chronicles the radicalization of these Orthodox women. They have decided that they won’t tolerate abuse anymore. Their quest for justice has thrown them into the arms of unlikely allies, feminist activists from the Reform and Conservative movements. This battle against the ultra-Orthodox wlll shape the future of Israel.” [New Republic]

Iran Seen Trying New Path to a Bomb: “Iran could begin producing weapons-grade plutonium by next summer, U.S. and European officials believe, using a different nuclear technology that would be easier for foreign countries to attack.Until now, U.S. and Western governments had been focused primarily on Iran’s vast program to enrich uranium, one path to creating the fissile materials needed for nuclear weapons. Now, the West is increasingly concerned Iran also could use the development of a heavy water nuclear reactor to produce plutonium for a bomb. A heavy-water reactor is an easier target to hit than the underground facilities that house Iran’s uranium-enrichment facilities.” [Wall Street Journal]

Netanyahu lampooned for failing to fill top central bank job: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his finance minister, Yair Lapid, were pilloried by Israeli media on Sunday for their failure to fill the job of central bank chief and their lack of a proper vetting process, after two candidates withdrew. Analysts and many lawmakers see Karnit Flug, Fischer’s deputy and acting Bank of Israel governor, as the best choice but she said in a letter to bank staff on Sunday: “I intend to serve as acting governor until the appointment of a new and permanent governor and the completion of an overlap period.” [Reuters]

BBC: Shimon Peres on turning 90: “President Shimon Peres, the world’s oldest head of state, is even older than his country. And he’s played a decisive role at every juncture of Israel’s 65-year history as it’s lurched from war to peace, or, at least, in an embattled peace process. President Peres was the driving force behind the building of Israel’s formidable military machine, including its nuclear power. And he was also a main negotiator on its peace treaties, including the interim Oslo accords with the Palestinians signed 20 years ago.

So is he a hawk or a dove? “I was a hawk as long as there was a danger to Israel,” he told me in a BBC interview to mark his 90th birthday. “If someone wants to kill you you are a hawk. If someone wants to make peace with you, you are a dove. It’s as simple as that.” [BBC]

JPost: “The Yanks are coming: ​ “If it’s August in Israel on an odd numerical year (2013), that can only mean one thing: The congressmen are coming. And, indeed, on Sunday a group of 36 US Democratic congressmen arrived for a one-week tour. They will be followed a week later by a group of 26 Republican representatives. All told, some 62 congressmen – or about 15 percent of the 435-member US House of Representatives – will visit the country over the next two weeks. The weeklong trips are sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. For years, AIEF has brought groups of congressmen to Israel during Congress’s summer recess in August in non-election years.” [Jerusalem Post]

U.S. senators McCain, Graham to visit Egypt today amid ongoing crisis: “In an attempt to break through the political impasse in Egypt, U.S. senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham are expected to arrive in Cairo on Monday to meet with Egypt’s interim leaders. The two Republican senators will meet with interim President Adly Mansour, Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and interim Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, said Egyptian foreign affairs spokesman Badr Abdelatty. McCain and Graham are making the trip at U.S. President Barack Obama’s request.” [CNN]

Mosaic Magazine: You Only Live Twice – Vibrant Jewish communities were reborn in Europe after the Holocaust. Is there a future for them in the 21st century? [Mosaic]


Diller Sells Newsweek To Digital News Publisher IBT Media: “Newsweek is no longer Barry Diller‘s problem. IAC has struck a deal to sell the troublesome newsmagazine to IBT Media, publisher of a slew of little-known but fast-growing business news websites, including International Business Times. The sale price wasn’t disclosed.” [Forbes]

NCH Says GP Should Take Lesson From Warren Buffett on Pay:  “GP Investments Ltd., the private-equity firm founded by Brazil’s richest man, should take a lesson from U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett and cut executive pay, shareholder NCH Capital Inc. told the company. NCH, which was founded in 1993, manages about $3 billion of assets invested in equity, real estate, agribusiness and private equity, mostly in Russia and Eastern Europe, according to the New York-based company’s website.”[Businessweek]

No meet & greet: “A bitter battle between two prominent Jewish families over American Greetings Corp., the world’s largest publicly traded greeting card company, is coming to a head. On Wednesday, shareholders of the Cleveland company will vote on a $19-a-share takeover offer from the Weiss family, which controls American Greetings and wants to take it private. The offer — led by American Greetings’ chief Zev Weiss; his chief operating officer brother, Jeffrey; and his chairman father, Morry — represents a 32 percent premium to share price on the day prior to the Weiss family’s first buyout proposal last September.

Despite the double-digit premium, the deal is getting push-back from Daniel Tisch, whose TowerView investment company owns a 6.2 percent stake. Tisch is an heir to the founders of hotel chain and insurance company Loews Corp., and his TowerView manages family money. Tisch has argued that the deal shortchanges shareholders, who have seen the stock depressed due to one-time charges and impending expenses, including the Weisses’ plans to spend $172 million on a brand-new headquarters.” [NYPost]

Rumblings on West End Ave. – Jared Kushner’s family Kushner Cos. and Gary Barnett’s Extell Development closed on the purchase of 80 West End Ave. this week for $84 million, The Post has learned. The nearly empty industrial building was purchased directly from Walter & Samuels, which had paid $91.36 million in 2008.” [NYPost]

Adler Group could lose Sunrise office at foreclosure auction: “Developer Michael M. Alder could see an office building he manages in Sunrise lost at auction after a lender won a $3.8 million foreclosure judgment. Representing a commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) trust, LBUBS 2007-C1 Sunrise 400 LLC filed won the judgment against Sawgrass Flexxoffice Investors over a $3.38 million mortgage, plus interest and fees. Only the plaintiff’s attorney appeared at the hearing. Adler is the CEO of Adler Group, a Miami developer. He’s the chairman of Mount Sinai Medical Center and the vice chairman of the Florida International University Board of Trustees.” [South Florida Business Journal]

DESSERT – In Catskills, City Buyers Recolonize Bungalows: “Bungalow colonies became a part of lower- and middle-class Jewish life at the turn of the last century, when Jewish farmers in Orange, Ulster and Sullivan Counties began renting rooms, and then cottages, to boarders. As these expanded into full-blown developments, each one owned and operated by a single family, bungalow colonies began to offer resort-like amenities — tennis courts, pools, communal buildings called casinos, featuring Saturday evening entertainment — in an enclave of humble, close-knit cottages, some renting for as little as a few dollars a week.

Eventually the area became known as the Jewish Alps, with as many as 500 bungalow colonies dotting the landscape at midcentury, the heyday of the borscht belt, according to Phil Brown of the Catskills Institute, which promotes research and education on Catskills history. As Jews assimilated and global travel expanded in the 1970s, this part of the Catskills descended into economic decline, and colonies were either taken over by Orthodox sects or abandoned; today their architectural carcasses litter the landscape.

But about a dozen former bungalow colonies became co-ops, and have attracted a new crowd:Teachers and writers, carpenters and artists, many from the city’s brownstone precincts, who are, in effect, recolonizing the colonies. Allison Pennell, a writer from Park Slope, Brooklyn, bought a unit at the Lake Huntington Summer Community, once Sharon’s Bungalow Colony, in Lake Huntington, N.Y., in 2006. She describes it as “The Park Slope Food Co-op moves upstate.” (A founding member of the Food Co-op is, in fact, a resident.)

If anyone is eating heirloom vegetables, they brought them from home. Fancy markets are a rarity in this neck of the woods; Sullivan County has the fourth highest rate of poverty in New York State, and specialty foods in markets tend to be kosher, catering to the Orthodox crowd. There are few televisions, and Internet and cellphone service can be limited. In most colonies, kitchens are diminutive, there are no granite countertops, and an entire unit might be smaller than a resident’s apartment back home. At every colony residents uttered a similar refrain: The Hamptons, it’s not.” [NYTimes]

Thats all folks, have a great Monday! 

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