Good Friday morning!
President Donald Trumpset off a firestorm yesterday for suggesting delaying the November 3 election due to uncertainty around mail-in voting. Trump defended the idea later in the day despite pushback from Republican leaders on Capitol Hill.
Former President Barack Obamareportedly slammed Trump during recent virtual fundraisers with Democratic donors. In one call, TheNew York Times reports, Obama made “an oblique reference to Nazi Germany” in expressing his worries about American democracy.
Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelsonwrote in a letter to employees on Wednesday that he will maintain their pay and benefits through October, making it the only casino company to not furlough or lay off staff due to the pandemic.
A report in Vanity Fair reveals how Jared Kushner’s secret plan to ramp up COVID-19 testing nationwide was unceremoniously scrapped, and that some members of his team suggested a national plan was “unnecessary” since the virus was hitting blue states hardest.
Check out the latest Jewish Insider ‘Jewish Nielsen’ report to see which webcasts people tuned into this week.
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race to watch
Rep. Mike Garcia is hoping he can hold on past November
Mike Garcia didn’t imagine taking the House floor for votes before January 2021. In April 2019, Garcia announced his plan to challenge then-Congresswoman Katie Hill — who flipped the district blue in 2018 — in the general election. But only 10 months into her first term, Hill resigned amid a House ethics scandal. Instead, Garcia ran in a special election to replace Hill and defeated Democrat Christy Smith by 10 percentage points. “As far as I’m concerned, we’re seven months ahead of planned schedule,” the Republican congressman told Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel in a series of recent interviews.
Rematch: The 44-year-old Navy pilot-turned-defense contractor, who assumed office on May 19, is now readying himself for a tight rematch against Smith in the general election. Simultaneously, he said, he is taking on what he described as a backlog of casework in the 25th congressional district, which includes most of northern Los Angeles County. “We’ve been running effectively all year,” he said.
Odds: Though Garcia won by a considerable margin in May, The Cook Political Report has ranked the race a toss-up. Garcia is a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, whose sagging poll numbers could affect the congressman’s chances in a state Trump lost by 30 points in 2016. “There is likely to be a vastly different dynamic in November compared with a low-turnout special election,” said Mark A. Peterson, a political scientist at UCLA.
Ready for action: Garcia, who is of Mexican descent, believes that his experience flying combat missions in the Iraq War prepared him to become a representative earlier than expected. “This is where my background and what I’ve done in the past was a bit of an advantage, just being able to come quickly up steep learning curves in complex environments,” the freshman congressman told JI.
Seeking stability: The Iraq War veteran argues that stability in the Middle East is a “reasonable” expectation and supports a drawdown of U.S. troops in the region. “Peace in the Middle East is a longer-term goal and expectation, but I think there is a realistic near-term opportunity for stability in the Middle East,” he said. “I don’t know that that requires the U.S. to be as present as it has been over the course of the last, I’ll call it, 30 years. It certainly does involve investment and continued partnership with Israel in order to maintain, or to achieve and then maintain, stability.”
VALUES VS. POLITICS
Orthodox Jews debate how to approach the 2020 election
As a prominent rabbi called on his followers to vote for President Donald Trump, a group of leading Orthodox Jewish activists released an “open letter” cautioning members of their community against identifying themselves with a specific political party or candidate.Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluh takes a closer look at the differing approaches within the Orthodox community.
Think twice: “As Orthodox Jews, we live in a benevolent host society to which we have rightly given our loyalty. It is thus important that we not be regarded by the American public as turning a blind eye to the degradation of our moral climate in exchange for political support for parochial interests,” reads an op-ed, authored by seven activists and featured in the Cross-Currents journal and other print publications this week. While the piece does not mention Trump by name, the authors reference the president’s rhetoric and behavior. “Shameless dissembling and personal indecency acted out in public before the entire country are, in the end, no less morally corrosive than the embrace of abortion-on-demand or the normalization of same-gender relationships.”
Sending a message: Rabbi Avi Shafran, the leading author of the open letter who serves as the director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America, explained to Jewish Insider that the message the activists sought to convey in the letter was “that when Torah-dedicated Jews act in ways that others see as ‘gung-ho’ embracing of someone who exemplifies behavior that is repugnant in the eyes of Judaism, that sends a message that we don’t really care about what Judaism means.”
Taking sides: At least one prominent American rabbinic figure has unequivocally endorsed the president. “You see the matzav [situation], the anarchy… it’s frightening… We need rachamei shamayim [the mercy of heaven]. If Trump doesn’t win in November, it’s worrisome,” Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, head of the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia, said in a recent interview with Mishpacha magazine. When asked about Trump being a “less than positive role model,” Kamenetsky — a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah (Council of Torah Sages) of Agudath Israel — replied that that is “not a reason not to vote for” his reelection.
Not impressed: Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, an editor at The Forward, told JI that a number of moderate millennials in the community “are truly distraught over” the rabbi’s remarks. “Many young frum Jews don’t want their spiritual leaders getting into politics,” she said. “It distressed them to hear this from a great leader, but they will not say anything about it.” Chizhik-Goldschmidt noted that Kamenetsky’s perception of Trump and recent social unrest “is representative of how the majority of frum Jews think — largely a product of conservative media’s narrative, which is then reprinted by Orthodox media and online outlets.”
Bonus: In a Wall Street Journal column this morning, attorney Avi Schick, who serves as president of the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School in New York, looks at the two recent Supreme Court decisions regarding private schools. Schick determines that a ruling that protects religious schools from allegations of hiring discrimination will supersede recent state regulations imposed on private schools.
More than $13 million raised in race for Minnesota’s 5th district
According to the most recent filings from the Federal Election Commission, candidates for Congress in Minnesota’s 5th district have raised over $13 million ahead of the primary, slated for August 11.
Out of state: Incumbent Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has raised more than $4.2 million total, and has just over $700,000 cash on hand. Democratic primary challenger Antone Melton-Meaux has raised just over $4 million total, but has more than $695,000 remaining in his war chest. The campaign lists an unpaid loan of $75,000 from Melton-Meaux personal funds. Lacy Johnson, who is running in the Republican Party primary for the district, has raised more than $4.2 million, and has just over $850,000 cash on hand.
Prominent backers: Colorado Governor Jared Polis donated $1,000 to Melton-Meaux’s campaign. Other prominent figures backing the Democratic challenger include former Seagrams CEO Charles Bronfman, who gave $6,600; Baupost Capital founder Seth Klarman, who gave $5,600; president of Kraft Family Philanthropies Josh Kraft, who gave $2,800; and Biden campaign Jewish outreach director Aaron Keyak, who gave $250. Melton-Meaux has also received $100,790 donated through NORPAC and $352,648 donated through Pro-Israel America PAC.
On the attack: Omar launched her first negative ad against Melton-Meaux on Thursday, slamming him as being “a partner at one of the worst union-busting law firms” and accusing him of using “non-disclosure agreements to silence women.” Omar and Melton-Meaux, as well as a third Democratic candidate, John Mason (who has raised around $100,000 total) will take part in a debate on WCCO radio at 1 p.m. local time today.
Public support: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) in her re-election bid, following her endorsement of Omar earlier this month. “Pelosi views both women as an asset to the caucus,” people close to the House leader told The Washington Post.
👩 Seen it All: Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright talks toThe New York Times’s Alisha Haridasani Gupta about how she views the world during coronavirus, and her dream to see more women take up prominent roles in U.S. government. [NYTimes]
☕ Last Drop:In Marker, Steve LeVine writes about the “uncertain future” of Starbucks amid the pandemic, as earnings fall while no-longer-commuting workers make their coffee at home. CEO Howard Schultz turned the failing company around during the 2008 recession — but can they do it again? [Marker]
📺 Fake News:Renee Dudley and Jeff Kao explore in ProPublica how veteran broadcaster Larry King was duped into filming a Chinese propaganda video, through his ties to two Israeli entrepreneurs who produced a fake interview. “To me, it was just a small favor for a guy who I like… I never should have done it, obviously.” [ProPublica]
👨👩👧👦 Communal Living: In Architectural Digest, Marisa Mazria Katz wonders if Israel’s “urban kibbutz” model could be the answer to family life in a post-COVID-19 world. “This is a movement that centers on community. Something we need now more than ever.” [AD]
Around the Web
🚦 Green Light: The Justice Department has dropped its legal battle to prevent former Trump attorney Michael Cohen from publishing a tell-all book while in home confinement.
🗣️ Calling Out: In a new report, the State Department singled out Poland and other European countries for failing to compensate Holocaust victims and their families for Nazi-seized property.
🛤️ Seeking Justice: Holocaust survivor Salo Muller filed a legal claim against the former German state railway over its role in transporting Dutch Jews to concentration camps.
📋 Trip for Two: A State Department memo reveals that officials debated the justification of allowing Susan Pompeo to accompany her husband, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on a tour of the Middle East last year.
📊 Holding Back:Bloombergreports that tracking diversity in the French startup scene is stymied by rules established after the Holocaust against recording ethnicity.
👎 Double Standard: During a Knesset hearing this week, a Twitter spokeswoman defended the company’s decision to flag and censor Trump’s tweets but not those from Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The State Department’s deputy special envoy to combat anti-Semitism Ellie Cohanim weighed in on Fox & Friends this morning.
😞 Expressing Regret: Twitter apologized for being slow to act against U.K. rapper Wiley for posting antisemitic tweets. Wiley apologized on Wednesday “for generalizing” over a dispute with his Jewish manager.
👋 So Long: Twitter has permanently banned white supremacist David Duke.
🕍 Returning Home: The Sephardic Jewish community in Thessaloniki, Greece, has signed a deal with the Spanish government’s Instituto Cervantes to establish an educational center five centuries after Jews were expelled from Spain.
👩💼 Firsthand: Several prominent British Jewish women described their firsthand experiences with antisemitism to Elle magazine.
⭐ Gold Mine:Russian-Israeli billionaire Roman Abramovich has sold his stake in a Russian gold-mining operation.
💵 Cash In: Silverstein Properties raised $39 million in its Series B bond on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
💲 Respecting Elders: Investor Alan Patricof is partnering with entrepreneur Abby Miller Levy on a $32 million venture capital fund to support start-ups catering to aging Americans.
📈 Pointing Fingers: In a letter to investors, hedge fund manager Seth Klarman accused the Federal Reserve of treating investors like children by propping up stocks.
😷 Talk of the Town:The Jerusalem Post takes a close look at how the Jewish community in Florida is grappling with the coronavirus spike.
🔪 Violent Clash:A member of the Jewish volunteer safety patrol group Shomrim in Borough Park was attacked with a knife while trying to intervene in a group assault.
🧆 Time to Eat: Israeli chef Einat Admony, owner of falafel chain Taïm and couscous bar Kish-Kash, shares her experiences in the New York restaurant industry and her optimism for a post-coronavirus recovery.
💵 Helping Hand: The Israel Museum in Jerusalem is set to reopen for the first time since March due to a $4 million grant from the American Friends of the Israel Museum.
🗞️ End of an Era: The New Jersey Jewish News has ceased its print publication after 74 years.
👩 Transitions: Ruth Graham, a staff writer at Slate, has joined The New York Times to cover religion, faith and values. Emily Anne Epstein, a former editor at Bustle and The Atlantic, was hired as editor-in-chief for Narcity Media.
🕯️Remembering: Irene Pollin, former co-owner of the Washington Capitals, died at age 96. Martha Nierenberg, a Holocaust survivor who led an ongoing, 30-year Holocaust art restitution battle with Hungary, died at age 96
Pic of the Day
Egyptian-born British businessman, described as “the father of British venture capital,” Sir Ronald Mourad Cohen turns 75 on Saturday…
FRIDAY: Former assistant secretary of state for human rights, Ambassador Richard Schifter turns 97… Chairman and president of Blum Capital, the husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard C. Blum turns 85… Actress and former CEO of Paramount Pictures, Sherry Lansing turns 76… Nobel laureate in Economics in 1997, Robert C. Merton turns 76… Rabbi and filmmaker, Michael Berenbaum turns 75… Founder of Apollo Global Management, Leon David Black turns 69… Author of 33 best-selling mystery novels, Faye Kellerman turns 68… President of Ameinu, Kenneth Bob turns 68… Manhattan-based criminal defense lawyer, Ronald L. Kuby turns 64… Owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban turns 62… CEO at Leenie Productions, Helene Miller-Walsh turns 61…
Israeli politician and libertarian activist, Moshe Zalman Feiglin turns 58… Professor at USC, UC Berkeley and Pepperdine, Dan Schnur turns 57… Born in Nazareth, Israel, owner of the Detroit Pistons, Tom Gores turns 56… President at Old Town Construction LLC, Jared Spahn turns 47… Manager of MLB’s San Francisco Giants, he was an MLB outfielder until 2010 and the first player known as the “Hebrew Hammer,” Gabe Kapler turns 45… Founder and president of Stand Up America, also the president of Hudson River Ventures, Sean Simcha Eldridge turns 34… Manager of global policy communications at WhatsApp, Danielle Meister Cohen turns 32… Wastewater treatment engineer at West Yost Associates, Aryeh Samet Canter turns 30… Founder and creative director at Wide Eye Creative, Ben Ostrower… Adam Rosenberg… David Goldenberg… Richard Rosenstein…
SATURDAY: Culver City, Calif. resident, Allene Prince turns 81… CEO of 54 Madison Partners LLC, Henry Silverman turns 80… Israeli film director and screenwriter, Ram Loevy turns 80… Founder and chairman of NYC-based Midtown Equities, Joseph Cayre turns 79… Professor at Brandeis and the president of the Cleveland-based Mandel Foundation, Jehuda Reinharz turns 76… Former CEO of Marvel Studios, he won the 2019 Academy Award for best animated feature, Avi Arad turns 72… Second generation owner of a Los Angeles flooring business, Eric Kalman Biren turns 68… President of Hadassah, Rhoda Smolow turns 67… Long-time media writer, Howard Kurtz turns 67… Director of New York government relations at Agudath Israel of America, Yeruchim Silber turns 64… U.S. career diplomat now serving as Ambassador to Columbia, Philip Seth Goldberg turns 64… CEO of Atlanta’s Jewish Family & Career Services, Terri E. Bonoff turns 63…
Professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Rachel Yehuda, Ph.D. turns 61… Policy director in the D.C. office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Drew Littman turns 59… Senior Rabbi of the British movement for Reform Judaism, Laura Naomi Janner-Klausner turns 57… Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Daniel B. Shapiro turns 51… Producer for CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Shachar Bar-On turns 51… Professor of mathematics at Princeton and Hebrew U, Elon Lindenstrauss turns 50… CEO of NYC’s Quantum Media Group, Ari Zoldan turns 44… Founder and CEO of Moishe House, David Cygielman turns 39… Chief communications officer at The Center for Strategic and International Studies, H. Andrew Schwartz turns 39… CEO of National Council of Jewish Women, Sheila Katz turns 37… Chief operating officer at Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Noam Gilboord turns 35… Associate director at Finsbury, David Helfenbein turns 34… Board certified family physician in Woodland Hills, Calif., Mor Toledano Shapiro, M.D. turns 33… Analyst in the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, Yael Rabin turns 28… Law clerk on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Asher Perez turns 28…
SUNDAY: Jerusalem-born actor, Nehemiah Persoff turns 101… Harriet Cohen turns 90… Co-founder and chairman of Rockrose Development Corporation, Henry Elghanayan turns 80… Long-time member of Knesset, he is presently chairman of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Uzi Landau turns 77… Retired colonel in the U.S. Army and a recipient of the Medal of Honor, now a military analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, Jack H. Jacobs turns 75… Long-time librarian, now residing in Houston, Irene Seff turns 74… Nationally syndicated radio talk show host, Dennis Prager turns 72… Op-ed columnist for the International New York Times, Roger Cohen turns 65… U.S. senator from Nevada, Jacklyn Sheryl Rosen turns 63… Owner of Newton, Mass.-based MPG Promotions, Elliot Mael turns 55…
VP and General Counsel of Yeshiva University, Andrew J. ”Avi” Lauer turns 53… Former ATP professional tennis player, he was once ranked sixth best in the world, Aaron Krickstein turns 53… SVP of sales for Hearst Television, Eric J. Meyrowitz turns 50… Director for investment funding and global programs at Mars, Jay Eizenstat turns 50… D.C.-based national security reporter for The New York Times, Matthew Rosenberg turns 46… Research and insights manager at Google News, Stephen L. Rabin turns 42… CEO of Make It Real, a founding member of Mesila of Baltimore and The Jewish Entrepreneur, Isaac William “Zevy” Wolman turns 36… Senior director of special projects at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Julia Nayfeld Schulman turns 36… Actress Hallie Kate Eisenberg turns 28…