Good Friday morning!
Speaking at the White House yesterday, Jared Kushner declared “this is a time of crisis.” He added, “what a lot of the voters are seeing now is that when you elect someone to be a mayor, a governor, a president, you’re trying to think about who will be a competent manager during a time of crisis. And you’re seeing certain people are better managers than others.”
President Donald Trump, meanwhile, sent a scathing letter to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), accusing him of pushing a “ridiculous impeachment hoax” that resulted in New York being ill-prepared for the pandemic.
Former Vice President Joe Bidencalled for sanctions relief on Iran due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Yesterday, New York State approved a package of legislation designed to combat antisemitism and domestic terrorism.
Following Robert Kraft’s delivery yesterday of 1.2 million N95 masks from China, the Patriots owner is sending 300,000 of the masks to New York’s Javits Center later this morning. Kraft, an avid Daily Kickoff reader, emailed Jewish Insider the following:
“The purpose of this humanitarian mission was to help protect the healthcare heroes who are risking their lives in the fight against COVID-19. But the greater story is one of teamwork and people uniting to get things done, and that is what we need as a nation right now. It’s more important now than ever before that we work to build bridges, and I am proud of the way Boston and New York came together here to support each other. We have a long way to go before we overcome this virus, but I am grateful my family and the Patriots could play a small part in doing some good and bringing some hope in these unprecedented times.”
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The USAID official pushing self-reliance as the highest level of ‘tzedakah’
Bonnie Glick, the No. 2 official at USAID, the U.S. Agency for International Development, was planning to spend this year pushing “to apply technology and innovation” to better the economies of emerging countries. But that was B.C. — “before coronavirus,” as Glick describes it. Now, she explained to Gabby Deutch for Jewish Insider, USAID’s sole focus is the global response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bio: Glick attended Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School, a “Conservadox” school on Chicago’s South Side where she learned Hebrew as a second language. Her sister, Caroline Glick, is a well-known conservative journalist in Israel who ran for the Knesset last year. Glick joined the U.S. Foreign Service “driven by a curiosity that I have about the world,” serving in Ethiopia and Nicaragua before returning to Washington in 1998. After several years working for IBM, Glick joined USAID as its deputy administrator in January 2019.
Starts at home: Last week Vice President Mike Pence put a hold on all shipments of personal protective gear overseas, saying it is needed in America first. This is an adjustment for USAID, which is used to handling outbreaks of diseases like Ebola and Zika in other countries — but not here in the U.S. “When I hear about doctors and nurses in the United States having to reuse their masks and gowns, that is disheartening to me as an American,” Glick says. The order from the Trump administration to first dispatch this gear within the U.S. is meant “to help the international response while simultaneously protecting the home front,” Glick explains. “We can’t do anything to stop coronavirus if we’re not healthy ourselves.”
Self reliance: Several days before Passover, this “plague all over the Earth” feels “almost biblical” to Glick. There are locusts in Africa, and illness around the world, and this, she says, makes USAID’s work more important than ever. “I think that it comes down to Maimonides’s levels of tzedakah, with the highest level of his eight levels being exactly what we do at USAID,” Glick explains. “The highest level of giving is helping give a person the capability to fend for him or herself, and that is the story of self-reliance, and it’s what we do everyday and work toward at USAID.”
No controversy: Glick defended the Trump administration’s 2019 decision to cease USAID assistance to the Palestinian Territories, saying the Palestinians chose to give up USAID funding rather than giving up support for terrorism. “It actually isn’t controversial except it’s portrayed in a controversial way,” Glick says. “The Palestinians, through [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas, asked us to stop our assistance to the Palestinian Authority, because under congressional legislation it would’ve meant that they would be on the hook to pay reparations to American terror victims.”
Heard on cable
Shalala compares rejecting coronavirus cruise passengers with refusing Jews fleeing Nazis
Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL) compared the prospect of turning away cruise ships carrying coronavirus-infected passengers to the U.S. turning away ships of Jews fleeing the Nazis during the Holocaust.
“It’s immoral not to let them come,” the Florida congresswoman told CNN anchor Jim Sciutto on Thursday. “We Americans don’t turn people away,” she added. “We did once, and to our shame — we turned Jewish refugees, desperate Jewish refugees away. We turned those ships away from New York — we will never recover from that shame. In this case, we must let people in and we must take care of them.”
in the race
Melissa Mark-Viverito’s campaign shifts gears amid pandemic
Melissa Mark-Viverito has been trying to make herself useful in recent weeks as the novel coronavirus rips through New York City. The former speaker of the City Council — now running for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 15th district — has, for the most part, suspended regular campaign operations in an effort to address the pandemic. “I can’t in good sense think about asking people for money,” she told Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel. “That just does not seem to be appropriate or sensitive.”
Different role: Though she can only do so much as a private citizen — a position the former longtime city councilmember isn’t used to — Mark-Viverito has been checking in with constituents to address their concerns and using her knowledge of city resources like food pantries to help out where she can. “It’s a different role,” she said. “You don’t have the same level of access, clearly, but you do have your relationships that you’ve built and you have your understanding and knowledge of how the system works.”
Background: Mark-Viverito, who is 51 and lives in East Harlem, was born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. She served as a city councilmember from 2006 to 2017, holding the position of speaker during her final three years on the council. She was a campaign surrogate during Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential run, and before entering the South Bronx race worked as interim president of the Latino Victory Project.
The field: Mark-Viverito is competing in a crowded Democratic primary race that includes more than a dozen candidates vying to replace outgoing Rep. José E. Serrano. The former speaker’s estimable political profile should make her a natural frontrunner, but she has a tough race ahead. Her primary opponents include city councilman Rubén Díaz, Sr., the 76-year-old Pentecostal minister — also from Bayamón — running as a conservative Democrat; 37-year-old state assemblyman Michael Blake, vice chair of the DNC; and Ritchie Torres, the 32-year-old city councilman who describes himself as “the embodiment of a pro-Israel progressive.”
J Street over AIPAC: Mark-Viverito told JI that her politics regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were “more aligned with J Street over AIPAC,” adding that she sat with J Street to discuss its endorsement process but has not been backed by the liberal advocacy group. “The development of settlements is problematic,” said Mark-Viverito, who supports a two-state solution and has visited Israel twice. “I’m a humanitarian at the end of the day, and I believe that there are concerns about the violations that are happening to the rights of Palestinians.”
‘THE JEWISH NIELSEN’
Week 2 of Zoom events, who is watching what?
This week on Jewish Zoom, the impact of the federal stimulus package — with $350 billion allocated to small business and non-profit loans — was the main event, with thousands joining the Jewish Federations of North America for a series of webinars breaking down the application and approval process. But non-profit professionals and clergy members were not the only ones tuning into webinars this week — students and families joined learning sessions with Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, enjoyed a concert with Israeli singer Ishay Ribo and heard from European experts on how the coronavirus crisis is affecting countries across the continent.
🏥 Spiritual Aid:New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss profiles the hospital chaplains tending to dying coronavirus patients in New York’s hospitals, despite not being allowed in their rooms. “My new world is faceless,” said Rabbi Kara Tav, who called her current role “tele-chaplaincy.” [NYTimes]
🕵️♂️ Still Waiting: Iranian-American journalist Jason Rezaian — who was imprisoned in Iran for almost two years — writes in The Washington Post that there are “too many questions” surrounding the death of Robert Levinson. The family deserves answers, he says, “having been wronged by the regime in Iran and failed by the U.S. government for far too long.” [WashPost]
🙏 Divine Intervention: Christian, Muslim and Jewish faith leaders spoke to USA Today about looking for divine answers to the current crisis. Rabbi Chaim Bruk, whose father and three uncles are battling the virus, says “something of this magnitude requires introspection on some level.” [USAToday]
👨⚕️ Road to the White House: New York Times reporters Kevin Roose and Matthew Rosenberg profile Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, a physician from Kiryas Joel in upstate New York, who has become a star among Trump supporters after directly appealing to Trump about an experimental coronavirus treatment. [NYTimes]
Around the Web
🔍 Keeping Up Kosher: With passenger flights all but ground to a halt, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod looks at how kosher certification agencies are still working to carry out inspections around the world.
🍽️ Going Hungry: Jewish lawmakers and advocates are criticizing the city of New York for being slow in providing kosher and halal meal options for Jewish and Muslim schoolchildren no longer attending classes.
🍗 No Quacks: Empire Kosher, the leading kosher poultry supplier in America, has shut down its processing facility for at least two weeks after two employees tested positive for the coronavirus.
🍕 Pick a Slice: D.C.-based journalist Bethany Mandel has spearheaded an initiative to provide kosher food to Jewish health care workers.
🏥 Task Force: Forbestalks to Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison, who offers details about his partnership with the White House to create a data entry system to fight COVID-19.
👨 No Going Back: Aperture’s Peter Kraus tellsThe Financial Times that the current crisis is “going to shake up the traditional [investment] industry.”
💱 Turning Private: Israel has turned to the private-placement bond market, increasing its debt sales to counter the coronavirus pandemic.
✍️ Looking for Answers: U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman writes in The Jerusalem Post about searching for an “underlying divine message” to the current crisis.
📦 Protection Matters: NPR’s Daniel Estrin details efforts by Israel’s defense and spy agencies to contain COVID-19. Meanwhile, the Mossad has been sent abroad to acquire ventilators and other medical supplies from countries without diplomatic ties with Israel.
🔒 Locked Up: Israel has sealed off Bnei Brak due to the high coronavirus outbreak in the Haredi city, and will be evacuating residents over age 80 to hotel isolation.
🎯 Ground Zero: Borough Park has the highest rate of confirmed coronavirus cases in Brooklyn and the third-highest in New York City.
🚑 Dealmaking: The Orthodox ambulance service Hatzolah has resolved a conflict between Maimonides Medical Center in Borough Park and Jewish patients over broader and longer use of ventilators amid equipment shortages.
⚰️ Bidding Farewell: Members of the Jewish and Muslim communities in New York City have been struggling to adapt to new funeral and mourning arrangements amid the ongoing pandemic.
🍷 Virtual Seder: Jews across the U.S. are gearing up for virtual Seders amid the lockdown, though Israel’s Chief Rabbinate ruled that using Zoom on the holiday is still banned.
💻 Reconnecting: Rabbi Avi Olitzky of St. Louis Park, Minnesota, writes in The New York Times how the coronavirus led him to use his computer on Shabbat for the first time in 20 years.
🏅 Pushed Off:The 21st Maccabiah Games, scheduled to take place in Israel in summer 2021, have been postponed by a year.
🎮 Sports Blink:San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler said he’s playing a baseball video game to stay sharp amid the coronavirus lockdown.
🗳️ Play at Home: The University of Missouri Hillel has created a March Madness-style bracket of famous Jews with some eye-catching matchups — and will be awarding wins based on Twitter polls.
🥬 Matzo Crumbs: Food writer Jackie Varriano says the origin story of the Seder staple Hillel sandwich “helps people remember… that even in hard times there’s hope.”
🗞️ End of an Era:The Canadian Jewish News will cease operations next week after 60 years of publication.
📰 New Hire: Rob Eshman, the former editor-in-chief and publisher of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, has been hired to lead the Forward’s national expansion and write a regular “Letter from Los Angeles” column.
Wine of the Week
Yitz Applbaum’s Passover Picks: For this year’s Passover edition, I am choosing wines that will excite your palate, keep you from dozing off during the Seder and partially make up for the smaller attendance around the table this year.
*We’ve partnered with KosherWine.com. Jewish Insider will earn a commission on wine purchased via the links below. Use coupon code: JewishInsider for an additional 5% off all purchases.
1. 2018 Flam Classico: This Bordeaux blend is confusing on the palate. That is why I suggest drinking it for your first cup, as I find the story of the Four Sons challenging and, sometimes, confusing. The dominant grape in this wine is a rich Judean Hills cabernet, which spreads the taste of blackberry jam everywhere in your mouth. The petit verdot and syrah are slight reminders of the bitterness that will be discussed throughout the Seder; in this case, though, it is a bitterness you will want to keep drinking. Enjoy this wine with the potatoes and salt water.
Click here to read Yitz’s recommendations for the second, third and fourth cups.
Actress, comedian and singer, Rachel Bloom — who became a mother this week with the birth of her first child — turns 33 today…
FRIDAY: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, including a stint as New York Times executive editor, Max Frankel turns 90… Democratic political strategist, Gina Glantz turns 77… Member of the Los Angeles City Council since 2009, Paul Koretz turns 65… Dean at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University, Eliot A. Cohen turns 64… Singer and music producer, Craig Reid Taubman turns 62… Jazz pianist and composer, he has scored over 75 movies, James Gelfand turns 61… Rabbi and dean at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, Bradley Shavit Artson turns 61… CEO of Phase 2 Media, Sandy Grushow turns 60… Member of Knesset for Likud, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Minister of Environmental Protection, Ze’ev Elkin turns 49…
Executive director of public affairs at Jewish United Fund — Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, Daniel Goldwin turns 49… Award-winning Israeli classical pianist, Ran Dank turns 38… Washington correspondent for Israel’s public broadcasting, Nathan Guttman… NYC-based independent filmmaker, who, together with his younger brother Benjamin, directed and wrote the 2019 film “Uncut Gems,” Joshua Safdie turns 36… Television and film actress, Amanda Bynes turns 34… Professional tennis player currently on the WTA Tour, Madison Brengle turns 30… Product growth manager at Persona and tech entrepreneur, Eva Sasson turns 28… The Paul E. Singer Foundation’s Harry Z. Cohen turns 27… Jewish Insider Ambassador with dozens of sign up referrals, incoming freshman at Emory, Zach Pearlstone turns 18…
SATURDAY: Author of books detailing her childhood experiences as a Jewish girl in the Netherlands during the Holocaust, Johanna Reiss turns 88… Retired MLB player for the Orioles, Senators, Athletics, Rangers and Angels, Mike Epstein turns 77… Sherman Oaks resident, Gloria Margulies turns 77… French-German politician who is a Green Party leader in Europe, Daniel Cohn-Bendit turns 75… Hungarian dramatist, novelist and essayist, György Spiró turns 74… Author and political historian who teaches at American University in D.C., Allan Jay Lichtman turns 73… Literary scholar and professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, Charles Bernstein turns 70… Visiting fellow at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, he was previously chief of staff to former Australian PM Julia Gillard, Bruce Wolpe turns 69…
Petah Tikva-born, Emmy Award-winning film director and producer, Simcha Jacobovici turns 67… Founder and president of Sacramento-based Stutzman Public Affairs, Robert Stutzman turns 52… Tel Aviv-born animator and film director, Tatia Rosenthal turns 49… Former member of the Knesset, Yoel Hasson turns 48… Actress since she was six years old, Natasha Lyonne turns 41… Israeli journalist and senior analyst for The Times of Israel, Haviv Rettig Gur turns 39… Actress and YouTube personality, Lisa Schwartz turns 37… Israel’s top men’s tennis player, David “Dudi” Sela turns 35… Writer at Big Shot and young leader in the LA Jewish community, Leslie Schapira… NYC-based freelance editor and lifestyle writer, Daisy Melamed Sanders turns 33… Phyllis Wilner…
SUNDAY: Former professor and vice-provost at the California Institute of Technology, David Goodstein turns 81… CEO of the Ontario Genomics Institute and lecturer on Jewish medical ethics, Mark J. Poznansky turns 74… Marketing consultant, Eugene Kadish turns 72… Engineer, inventor of the Segway and holder of hundreds of patents, Dean Kamen turns 69… CEO of Hess Corporation, John Barnett Hess turns 66… British novelist, his Alex Rider series is estimated to have sold 19 million copies worldwide, Anthony Horowitz turns 65… Israeli actress and model, Sendi Bar turns 44…
Assistant managing editor for CNN Politics, Dan Berman turns 41… Deputy chief of staff and legislative director for Representative Dina Titus (D-Nevada-1), Benjamin J. Rosenbaum turns 37… Program director at ed tech company 2U, Adam Maslia turns 31… Jerusalem Post diplomatic correspondent Lahav Harkov turns 32… Congressional reporter at GovTrack Insider and box office analyst at BoxOffice Media, Jesse Rifkin turns 28… Speechwriter at the U.S. Department of State, Wilson Shirley turns 27… Marketing manager at Rogers & Cowan in Los Angeles, Camila Seta turns 27… Editorial assistant at TheNew York Times, Adam Ross Rubenstein turns 25…