Daily Kickoff: How Kushner plans to roll out the peace plan | Schultz says country is ready for a Jewish POTUS | RJC’s Vegas weekend
ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — How Dumbo Heights provides a clue to Kushner’s peace plan rollout — Earlier this week, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, revealed in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that the Trump peace plan has been completed and will likely be rolled out soon after Israel’s elections on April 9th.
The Key Questions: What? When? And How? — While Danon shed some light on the question of timing, key questions remain about what’s actually in the plan (which, we’re told, is likely to include land swaps involving the cooperation of neighboring countries Egypt and Jordan) and how it will be released.
Kushner’s playbook — Many real estate deal analogies have been made given the professional backgrounds of Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and White House Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt. Trump himself has called Middle East peace “like a real estate deal.” While the comparisons have often focused on the contents of a possible deal, there’s another real estate technique that, according to sources who’ve been briefed, Kushner is likely to deploy: marketing films.
Flashback — On a late afternoon in the spring of 2014, Jared Kushner walked up to the podium at a Brooklyn real estate gathering to deliver a rare public presentation. Kushner kept his remarks brief and instead let a slickly produced two-minute film — featuring a deep voice over and futuristic renderings of his company’s Dumbo Heights development — do the talking. “That really gives you a flavor of what we’re trying to create,” Kushner concluded following the video. You can watch Kushner’s remarks here, along with the film.
‘Has to be the best’ — Kushner Companies later used the same marketing firm, Creative Soldier, founded by self-described ‘real estate ad genius’ Joshua Abehsera, to create a film promoting the penthouse residences of the Puck Building. In the video, Jared Kushner can be seen explaining, “we started with the premise that this project can’t be good, this project can’t be great, this project has to be the best.”
From Brooklyn to Bethlehem — Economic incentives are expected to be the centerpiece of the Trump peace proposal. Kushner toured the region last month in an effort to secure financial pledges from Gulf countries and Turkey. As we previously reported, according to former U.S. Ambassador Martin Indyk, the number Kushner has in mind to raise is $65 billion. Starting with showcasing what life in the region could look like with peace and financial prosperity, and painting a picture for ordinary Palestinians, appears to be one of the ‘unique’ approaches that Kushner plans to introduce to the peace process.
Whether the futuristic renderings bringing the Dumbo spirit to Gaza and the West Bank will win support for the overall plan remains to be seen. We’re living in the age of the Fyre Festival, which famously sold tickets for thousands of dollars entirely on a flashy promo video featuring Instagram models in the Bahamas. Producing teaser films to sell Middle East peace might not be such a stretch… [JewishInsider]
HAPPENING THIS WEEKEND — On Saturday, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are expected to address the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) National Leadership Meeting held at Sheldon Adelson’s Venetian Resort in Las Vegas.
Additional speakers at the weekend confab include House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jim Risch (R-ID), Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), David Perdue (R-GA) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND); Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Billy Long (R-MO), Denver Riggleman (R-VA) and Dan Crenshaw (R-TX); South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, and U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism Elan Carr.
RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks tells us: “We are deeply honored and humbled to be able to host both President Trump and Vice President Pence at our annual RJC conference. This is the most pro-Israel President ever in history and when he steps in front of a crowd of nearly 2000 people he will feel the love of the crowd and know that his leadership and historic accomplishments are appreciated. This is the biggest event for the RJC in our history and it will be the most memorable.”
ON THE HILL — Yemen war powers vote turns partisan on Israel language — by JI’s Laura Kelly: Democrats succeeded in passing a resolution on Thursday directing the removal of U.S. troops in Yemen despite an effort by Republicans to invoke the motion to recommit (MTR) on antisemitism and BDS. The Yemen bill, which passed the House 247 to 175, directs the removal of all U.S. troops from hostilities in Yemen unless authorized by Congress. The bill heads to President Trump’s desk where it will likely be vetoed, marking the second time the president has used such authority.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) called into question the motivations of Republicans as a “cynical and dishonest tactic” to block the bill. “The American people will not be fooled or misled by this tactic,” Leader Hoyer said on the floor. “No one can accuse me of failing to defend the U.S.-Israel partnership and strongly opposing BDS and I will be voting against this motion and I urge all my colleagues to do so as well.”
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), chair of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa and International Terrorism, took to the House floor to say that he carries “the legacy of the history of the Jewish people. There is no one in this chamber, no one, who would question my commitment to opposing BDS or fighting antisemitism or supporting our ally Israel,” Rep. Deutch said to loud applause from the Democrats. “But I also strongly reject… what my colleagues are doing here today.”
The Republican motion failed by a vote of 228 to 194, although at least seven members broke ranks with their parties. Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Justin Amash (R-MI) voted no on the motion to recommit and five Democrats voted in favor, including Reps. Jefferson Van Drew (D-NJ), Anthony Brindisi (D-NY), Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Elaine Luria (D-VA) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ).
“This is a matter of principle for me,” Rep. Gottheimer told Jewish Insider. “I have always stood strong against antisemitism and always will.”
Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), speaking before seeing the vote on the MTR, told JI, “I would just emphasize how important it is that we figure out how to keep this a bipartisan issue,” he said regarding antisemitism. “One of my worries is that I’m seeing this kind of being fractured into a Republican issue and we really need to keep it a bipartisan issue and I’m hoping we can do that.”
Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), a member of the Democratic Israel Working Group caucus, explained to JI, that the majority of Republicans voting against the Yemen bill showed their motion to recommit was disingenuous. “I listened to the Republican [Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)] make his case about BDS and it’s exactly why I do oppose BDS But this was about trying to undermine a bill about Yemen and the starving, hungry children in a war torn part of the world.” Read all the responses here [JewishInsider]
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), speaking at a press conference following the vote, called the defeat of the GOP’s BDS motion, a “turning moment for America” and called on the House leadership to introduce S.1 – the Senate-passed bill which includes a provision barring the government from doing business with individuals or organizations that boycott Israel. “Today was a day in history I didn’t want to see in America. Today, every Democrat but five voted against an amendment to reject the BDS movement. Every Democrat but five would not stand with Israel today. This is a turning moment for America.” [Video]
Rep. Eliot Engel, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, posted: “I’ve spent my entire career fighting anti-Semitism and championing the U.S.-Israel relationship. The Republicans’ MTR today hurts these important causes, with the true aim of gutting a critical bill to help the Yemeni people.”
DRIVING THE CONVO — Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) reacted to the American Action Network ad campaign targeting him and three of his colleagues for not acting to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “As I’ve said many, many times, I think the worst thing we can do, if we care about the US-Israeli relationship, is to turn it into a partisan issue,” Malinowski told Jewish Insider’s Laura Kelly.
Former U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro tells us: “The logic of trying to tag strong Democratic supporters of Israel with the remarks of others that they have condemned escapes me. It makes little sense if you care about bipartisanship in support for Israel, and it will convince no one but those who want to use Israel as a political football. Fortunately, most voters don’t. This will be money poorly spent.”
Norm Coleman, Chairman of the American Action Network, responds to the criticism: “We are not politicizing Israel. We are calling out antisemitism,” Coleman stressed. “The tragedy is that calling out antisemitism has been politicized — by the far-left — who have muzzled reasonable Democrat voices through fear of pushback from the Democrat base.” According to Coleman, AAN is only challenging Rep Omar over her repeated use of antisemitic tropes, not for her criticism of Israel. “Shame on those who don’t have the courage to call out as antisemites those who traffic in accusing Jews of dual loyalty, hypnotizing their critics, and using ‘the Benjamin’s’ (money) to buy Israel’s support. This is Ilhan Omar, and this is classic antisemitism.”
An AAN official argued that the strategy behind targeting thought to be “reasonable Democrats” is because they are the most likely to feel pressure in their respective district to do something to spur action. [JewishInsider]
Anti-Semitism Is Back, From the Left, Right and Islamist Extremes — by Patrick Kingsley: “‘Today, mainstream European and North American politicians, even presidents, premiers and prime ministers, don’t hesitate to flirt with or embrace overtly anti-Semitic messages and memes,’ said David Nirenberg, dean of the Divinity School at the University of Chicago and an expert on Jewish history. ‘This electoral utility of anti-Semitism feels new to me, newly flexible, and therefore newly dangerous,’ Mr. Nirenberg added.” [NYTimes]
BUZZ ON BALFOUR — Final polls published days before the April 9 election show a tight race between Netanyahu’s Likud Party and Kachol Lavan. Though all polls project the Likud would be able to form a right-wing coalition, Netanyahu has warned his supporters that he’s on the brink of losing his bid for reelection.
Netanyahu is boasting about his ties with President Trump in his final pitchto voters. In TV commercials and on campaign posters, the Netanyahu campaign is featuring a Trump endorsement from 2013 with recent statements made by the president about Netanyahu’s leadership.
Asked by The Jerusalem Post in an interview whether Trump and Putin were trying to help Netanyahu get reelected, Gantz replied: “One could think like that. I hope that’s not the case.” Gantz said he did not request a meeting with Trump while in D.C. for the AIPAC conference last month knowing he’d be rejected. “I knew the answer in advance. If the White House thought it would be important to meet me, it would have happened,” he said.
Kachol Lavan co-leader Yair Lapid traveled today to Paris to meet with President Emmanuel Macron. “During the meeting, the two will discuss the situation in the Middle East, including the threat from Iran, and the rise of antisemitism in Europe,” the party said in a statement.
Anshel Pfeffer writes: “Benjamin Netanyahu is almost certainly about to win a fifth election. He deserves to win. He has won a ruthless and brilliant campaign, anticipating nearly all his rivals’ moves. No one has even come close… Israelis are like smokers who would really like to quit but don’t believe they can function without the constant dose of nicotine. It’s not just Netanyahu who has created such a compelling narrative for his indispensability. It’s his opponents on the center-left who have lost their narrative.” [Haaretz]
Oren Liebermann and Andrew Carey: “‘King Bibi,’ as he was described in one recent documentary film, is the master of Israeli politics, and he knows how to use the system to his advantage. In short, don’t count him out just yet.”[CNN]
THE POWER OF POT — Former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin is expected to be one of the surprises of the April 9th election, if recent polls turn out to be accurate. “The [cannabis] legalization issue has got people listening to me,” Feiglin told The Washington Post. His party Zehut is projected to get around 5 seats in the next Knesset. Feiglin’s support comes from an unusual coalition of right-wing voters and disaffected young people who see little difference between PM Netanyahu and his challenger, Benny Gantz, WSJ’s Dov Lieber explains.
Feiglin hasn’t committed to supporting either candidate for prime minister, giving him the chance to wind up as the post-election kingmaker in all likelihood. “Unless a miracle happens, I won’t become prime minister, so our [campaign] is focusing on social issues,” Feiglin told Lahav Harkov — writing for the Wall Street Journal — in response to criticism that he is hiding his radical right-wing positions. “Given the likely outcome of the political jockeying, the many Israelis who enjoy their cannabis may find themselves smoking legally later this year,” Harkov concludes.
JI INTERVIEW — Ami Ayalon, former Shin Bet chief and co-founder of the Israeli NGO Blue White Future, sat down for an interview with Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluh in New York. They discussed what’s at stake in the upcoming election, the future of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and the much-anticipated Trump peace plan.
“The way I see it, my children will live in a two states reality, the reality I believe we should hope for. The only question is how much we will suffer on the way,” Ayalon said. Israeli society is afraid of changing the status quo, he explained why offering solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian was not an election issue this cycle. “It is too painful and too complicated. We are in a state of denial. We want to believe that the status quo is sustainable. But it is clear that it is not.”
Ayalon doubts Netanyahu would annex the West Bank if elected to a 5th term as head of a right-wing coalition government. “Bibi will do everything in his power not to annex. He does not believe in annexation,” he opined. “I spent probably hundreds of hours with Netanyahu. I saw him in very unique moments. So I believe he will do everything to sustain the status quo. On the other hand, he will do everything possible in order to make sure that Hamas and Fatah remain divided between Gaza and the West Bank to proclaim there’s no Palestinian partner. And he will do anything to remain in power.”
Despite the mutual denials from both sides, Ayalon believes that Netanyahu’s wish is to create a government with Kachol Lavan (the Blue and White party), headed by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid. He predicts, however, that it won’t happen because of the political environment Netanyahu himself has created — even if President Trump releases his peace plan immediately after the April 9 election. Read the full interview here [JewishInsider]
REPORT — The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has inspected a “secret atomic warehouse” in Tehran that Israeli PM Netanyahu revealed in his United Nations General Assembly speech last September, Reuters reported on Thursday. The IAEA had been to the site more than once last month, a diplomat told Reuters. The tests theoretically could show the presence of nuclear material at the site. But experts say that given the amount of time that has elapsed and the likely removal of equipment, it will be hard to clearly identify whether the Israeli claims are true. “It will be very difficult to find anything now,” one of the officials told the Wall Street Journal.
HEARD YESTERDAY — Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz discussed the Iran nuclear deal, antisemitism and U.S. support for Israel during a live town hall hosted by Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier on Fox News. “I don’t believe there is an antisemitic strain” in the Democratic Party, Schultz said. “I was at AIPAC last week. For some reason, most of the Democratic candidates who are running for president decided not to go. I think they are making a statement that was more about foreign policy that was more about Iran, but it wasn’t about being antisemitic.”
“I have been asked the question, is the country ready for a Jewish president, since I am Jewish? And the answer is: yes! I believe strongly in the goodness and kindness of the American people. And if I were to run for president and be fortunate enough to win — I am not running for president as a Jew. I am running for president as an American who happens to be Jewish. I am concerned that there’s been a 61 percent rise in antisemitism in America today, and that bothers me a great deal and is something that I think we should be dealing with.”
On whether he would re-enter the 2015 Iran deal: “I would discuss that with my advisors and make that decision, but I would not have pulled us out of the Iran deal. I think that was a strategic mistake.”
‘NOT NUTS’ — Schultz said during a Boys’ Club of New York fundraiser on the Upper East Side on Wednesday that he will make a decision on independent presidential bid by July 1 and that he and his wife are “cautiously optimistic.” Barry Sternlicht, chief executive officer of Starwood Capital Group Management, expressed his support for Schultz in a conversation with Bloomberg News. Sternlicht cited Ross Perot getting 19 percent of the vote in 1992 as evidence that Schultz could win in a three-person race. “He was a little nuts,” Sternlicht said of Perot. “Howard is not nuts.”
2020 WATCH — Mayor Pete Buttigieg brings pro-Israel, ‘religious left’ message to 2020 Democratic primary… Joe Biden slated to make his first public appearance since complaints about his behavior surfaced… Trump mocked Biden with an altered video of his apology… Is Bill de Blasio running for president? Sure looks like it…
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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Elon Musk in Talks to Bore Tunnels in Israel, Netanyahu Says [Bloomberg] • David Bistricer’s Clipper Equities buys out Chetrit at 720-unit Greenpoint project [RealDeal] • WeWork inks lease at Isaac Chetrit’s Times Square Building [RealDeal] • Can Technology Stop the Duane Reade-ization of New York? [NYTimes] • Steven Lowy’s Scentre exit signals end of era [TheAustrailian]
STARTUP SPOTLIGHT — Private investors buy out shares of Custom Ink, which built a fortune on T-shirts — by Aaron Gregg and Thomas Heath: “Major investors in Custom Ink, Washington’s homegrown online T-shirt company that began 19 years ago in a Bethesda basement, are cashing out their shares under an agreement with the private-equity firms Great Hill Partners and HarbourVest… Custom Ink co-founder and chief executive Marc Katz, 42, will continue to run and own a significant stake in the company… Katz quit Wall Street two decades ago in pursuit of an idea that would make the simple T-shirt into something more. Custom Ink customers go online and design T-shirts for family reunions, small businesses, youth sports teams, religious groups or student associations online… At first from a basement in Maryland, Katz and others built a company with 1,700 employees based in the upscale Mosaic District in Fairfax County, Va. The company also has facilities in Charlottesville, Dallas and Nevada.” [WashPost]
LONG READ ― Where Rudy Giuliani’s Money Comes From — by Stephanie Baker: “Dan Pickard, a partner and FARA specialist at the Washington law firm Wiley Rein LLP, declines to discuss Rudy Giuliani specifically, but he says that if someone is paid by a foreign political group to give a speech in the U.S. to influence policy, he should file as a foreign agent. ‘FARA is so much broader than just lobbying,’ he says. Giuliani told me he’s getting paid not by the MEK but rather by an American organization of Iranian dissidents. Is it the Organization of Iranian-American Communities, which is allied with the MEK, I asked? ‘I can’t remember the exact name,’ Giuliani said. He dismissed concerns about FARA, saying, ‘It’s no different than if you did work for an American Jewish group that has strong views on Israel.'”[Bloomberg]
SPORTS BLINK — Sixers Co-Owner: Robert Kraft Now Better Understands Racial Profiling After He Was Busted For Solicitation — by Gabe Fernandez: “At a sports business conference on Wednesday, Michael Rubin, a minority owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, was asked about Robert Kraft’s recent troubles with the law, given that the Patriots owner is a friend of his. In his response, Rubin reported that the incident has sparked a sudden sociopolitical awakening in Kraft… ‘The biggest thing that I talk to Robert about every day these days is, he’s finally seeing what it’s like to be a player in the NFL and a player in the NBA, when you have experiences with law enforcement that aren’t the way that you thought they were going to be,’ Rubin said.” [DeadSpin; BostonGlobe]
Citi Field Stand will have Kosher for Passover options during Mets vs. Phillies Series. [YeahThatsKosher]
Putting ‘Soul’ Back in the Hebrew Bible — by Blaire French: “Recently the word has gone out of fashion with scholars and translators. They argue that the traditional Hebrew word for soul—nefesh—should be translated as ‘life breath,’ ‘the essence of a human being’ or ‘person’ … Berkeley scholar Robert Alter, in his new translation of the Hebrew Bible, has made a decisive statement against soul … Since God has a nefesh, it cannot only be tied to earthly flesh. Dualism is not foreign to the Hebrew Bible. To exclude ‘soul’ as a definition for nefesh because it sounds too Christian does not do justice to the original text. Emphasizing the Hebrew Bible’s concrete approach to life should not obstruct its occasional reach toward otherworldliness. Nefesh deserves to have its soul restored.” [WSJ]
WINE OF THE WEEK — 2012 Terra di Seta Special Reserve Chianti Classico — by Yitz Applbaum: “Yesterday I had a conversation with a close friend about what it takes to create great experiences that can always be remembered and cherished. We agreed that it is always about the people involved. l further posited that the wine shared during these experiences is of paramount importance. During this particular conversation, I was blessed to be drinking a great Italian wine.”
“The 2012 Terra di Seta Special Reserve Chianti Classico is made from one hundred percent Sangiovese grapes. One might expect a certain coarseness from this single variety, but the eighteen months in new French oak mellows this wine, giving it a supple and serene mouthfeel. The one place where the edginess of this grape captivates you is in the mid-palate and then, only for a nanosecond. No surprise, drink this wine with linguine and ravioli and drink this wine in the next twelve months.” [Terradiseta]
MAZEL TOV — A Business Trip Yields the Investment of a Lifetime — by Vincent Mallozzi: “When Julian Olidort returned to his Manhattan office after a business trip to Israel five years ago, he said his first priority was ‘to assemble a team of co-workers’ to assist in the delicate handling of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that emerged 6,000 miles away in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It was an investment he was eager to pursue. Her name was Sivan Aloni. ‘She was a very beautiful and intelligent woman with a very different outlook on life,’ Mr. Olidort said. ‘She lived every day at her own pace, and that was something I deeply admired, so I thought if there was ever a chance to meet her again it would be so magical, so worth it.’ Mr. Olidort, now 29 and an associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Ms. Aloni, now 31 and the adviser to Ambassador Dani Dayan, consul general of Israel in New York, met in Jerusalem in May 2014 at the first Genesis Prize award ceremony… They were married on a Tuesday morning, April 2, by Rabbi Haskel Lookstein at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in Manhattan.” [NYTimes]
WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Vice-provost of the California Institute of Technology (1988-2007) where he also served as a professor of physics and applied physics, David Goodstein turns 80… Research scientist, science administrator, CEO of the Ontario Genomics Institute and lecturer on Jewish medical ethics, Mark J. Poznansky turns 73… Marketing consultant and owner of Newton, PA-based Strategic Decisions Inc., Gene Kadish turns 71… Engineer, inventor, businessman, best known for his invention of the Segway, he is the holder of hundreds of other patents, Dean Kamen turns 68… CEO of Hess Corporation, a global energy company, John Barnett Hessturns 65… British novelist, author of over 40 books specializing in mystery and suspense, his Alex Rider series is estimated to have sold 19 million copies worldwide, Anthony Horowitz turns 64…
Assistant managing editor for CNN Politics, he is focused on legal and justice issues, the Supreme Court and immigration policy, Dan Berman turns 40… Deputy chief of staff and legislative director for Representative Dina Titus (D-Nevada-1), Benjamin J. Rosenbaum turns 36… Operations manager at 2U (an educational technology company), he was previously a managing director of the Israel on Campus Coalition (2014-2018), Adam Maslia turns 30… Congressional Reporter at GovTrack Insider and Box Office Analyst at BoxOffice Media, Jesse Rifkin turns 27… Speechwriter for US Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), Wilson Shirley turns 26… Los Angeles-based director of public relations for the Western US at the Israel Ministry of Tourism, Camila Seta turns 26… Executive editor at Jewish Insider, Adam Ross Rubenstein turns 24… Harvey Levin…
SATURDAY: Philanthropist Jeanie Schottenstein… 1992 winner of the Nobel Prize in medicine, Edmond H. Fischer turns 99… Former justice of the Supreme Court of Israel (1981-1993), aunt of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Shoshana Netanyahu turns 96… Educator often considered the founder of the modern small schools movement, senior scholar and adjunct professor at NYU, winner of a MacArthur genius fellowship in 1987, Deborah Meier turns 88… Biochemist and molecular biologist, long-time professor and now professor emeritus at Hebrew U, Aharon Razin turns 84… Born in Amsterdam, survived the Holocaust, moved to Israel in 1978, visual artist, textile designer and art teacher, Helen Berman turns 83… Chemist, writer and professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, Mark Mordecai Green turns 82… Former president of HBO Documentary Films, she has won 32 individual Primetime Emmy Awards, Sheila Nevins turns 80… Academy Award-winning best director for Rain Man (1988), produced and directed many films including Diner (1982), Good Morning Vietnam (1987), Bugsy (1991) and Wag the Dog (1997), Barry Levinson turns 77… Santa Monica-based poet, critic and teacher, she earned her Ph.D. studying Jewish American women authors, Nancy Shiffrin turns 75… Founder and chairman of Cognex Corporation, a provider of machine vision systems, Robert J. Shillman turns 73…
Founder and CEO of Emmis Communications, a media conglomerate and owner of radio stations and magazines across the US, he was the former owner of the Seattle Mariners (1989-1992), Jeff Smulyan turns 72… Political activist, artist and author, she was adopted as a young child by philanthropist Max Fisher, she is best known for her speeches at the Republican National Conventions in 1992 and 1996, Mary Fisher turns 71… Los Angeles-based playwright, performer and teacher of autobiographical storytelling, Stacie Chaiken turns 65… Movie director, producer, writer and editor, winner of two Academy Awards for best documentary feature, Rob Epstein turns 64… Scholar of ancient and medieval piyyut (Hebrew poetry), head of the Fleischer Institute for the Study of Hebrew Poetry, Shulamit Elizur turns 64… Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law, Michael J. Gerhardt turns 63… Director, screenwriter and producer of television comedies, Steven Levitan turns 57… Manhattan Beach, California resident, Deborah Granow turns 57… Screenwriter, producer, actor, director, best known for creating, producing and writing the HBO television series Entourage, Douglas Reed “Doug” Ellin turns 51… Attorney and serial entrepreneur, he co-founded Demand Media company in 2006 (which he left in 2013) and has built, operated and sold over $1.3 billion of Internet media companies, Richard Rosenblatt turns 50…
Israel’s Consul General in New York from 2007-2010, now CEO of Israeli private equity fund Amelia Investments, Asaf Shariv turns 47… Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Hong Kong-based Oasis Management Company, he serves as Vice Chairman of the Ohel Leah Synagogue in Hong Kong, Seth Hillel Fischer turns 47… Actor, director, comedian, screenwriter and producer, best known for his role on the television series Scrubs (2001-2010), Zachary Israel “Zach” Braff turns 44… Mandolinist and teacher, he has performed with symphony orchestras in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and in Europe and teaches classical mandolin at Mannes College in NYC, Joseph Brent turns 43… Co-founder and executive editor of Modern Loss and senior editor for 70 Faces Media, Gabrielle Birkner turns 40… Chef, best known as the winner of the second season of Bravo television’s Top Chef, Ilan Hall turns 37… Minneapolis-based Midwest regional director and senior policy analyst at The Israel Project, Jacob Millner turns 35… Asher Liam Senorturns 10… AIPAC’s senior development director for New York and founder of its real estate division, Jay Haberman… Philip Seal…
SUNDAY: Political activist and former US military analyst, in 1971 he released the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg turns 88… Professor of philosophy at Vanderbilt University, Marilyn Ann Friedman turns 74… Retired president of Yale University (1993-2013), then CEO of Coursera, an education-focused technology company (2014-2017), Richard Charles “Rick” Levin turns 72… Brookline, Massachusetts resident, Jonathan Ruby turns 67… Born in Haifa, a professor at the Pennsylvania State University since 1981, folklorist, ethnologist, historian, educator and author, Simon J. Bronner turns 65… Los Angeles-based casting director, Jane Sobo turns 61… Legal recruiter at Tower Legal Solutions in Addison, Texas, Ilene Breitbarth turns 57… Chicago-based progressive activist, Oren Jacobson turns 37… NYC socialite, travel expert and founder of Pretentious Pocket, a silk pocket square business, Justin Ross Lee turns 36… Co-author of Politico’s Playbook (the indispensable morning newsletter for the political class) and most frequent hat tipper to Jewish Insider’s birthday editors, Daniel Lippman turns 29… Associate director of communications at AIPAC, Marissa Wizig turns 27… Professional golfer who joined the PGA Tour in 2015 when he won Rookie of the Year, he won the FedEx St. Jude Classic in both 2016 and 2017, Daniel Berger turns 26… David Farahi turns 25…