Good Tuesday morning!
Ed note: As the Sukkot holiday continues, we hope you are enjoying this time with family and friends. The Daily Kickoff remains on a holiday schedule and will be back towards the end of the week to catch you up on the latest.
President Donald Trump returned to the White House last night after spending the weekend at Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he was treated for COVID-19. On his way to the hospital, the president reportedly asked: “Am I going out like Stan Chera?” referencing his close friend who succumbed to the virus in April.
According to a Vanity Fair report, Donald Trump, Jr. believes his father is “acting crazy” and wants to stage an intervention — but Ivanka and Jared Kushner are opposed.
A new Anti-Defamation League report documents how Jewish members of Congress face regular antisemitic attacks on social media.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomoreversed a decision by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to close down non-essential businesses in nine neighborhoods with high COVID-19 infection rates, including heavily Jewish areas. Cuomo ordered schools in the areas to shut starting today.
In Germany, a man in army fatigues carrying a swastika attacked a congregant who was leaving a synagogue in Hamburg over Sukkot, sending him to the hospital.
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Meet the woman behind Snapchat’s push to register over 1 million voters
More than 1 million newly registered voters could cast their ballots this November — all thanks to Snapchat. The social media platform — and its parent company, Snap Inc. — has mounted a significant voter registration this election cycle, led in part by the company’s public policy manager, Sofia Gross. “We kind of walked away from the 2016 election knowing that this is definitely something our users are interested in,” Gross told Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod. “But we have to really better design and invest in civic products that really help users in that moment complete these experiences.”
Election history: During the 2016 election campaign, Gross and Snapchat focused primarily on news and information about voting, including PSAs featuring celebrities. Ahead of the 2018 election, Snapchat rolled out an in-app feature allowing users to register to vote. The company registered 425,000 voters, 57% of whom turned out to the polls — a significantly higher margin than the national average for young voters. For the 2020 election, Snapchat has continued to expand its efforts by helping voters learn about their ballots and their voting options. Gross sees the company’s work as particularly critical in a year when many students are not on college campuses due to COVID-19. “Especially with first-time voters, what I always say is that we want to make sure that showing up to vote doesn’t feel like a test they didn’t get the chance to study for,” Gross said.
Pioneers: Gross characterized the Snapchat staff working on voter registration as pioneers in a changing landscape of corporate civic engagement. “When I first started this role there wasn’t a how-to guide — there used to be corporate brand risk around doing civic engagement efforts,” she said. “And what we’re seeing now is there’s actually risk in not doing something around democracy. So you’re really seeing a cultural shift in this country around companies and brands understanding how they can help increase voter turnout.”
Good grades: Gross cites her upbringing in Jewish day schools as contributing to her sense of civic responsibility. “Such a big message and value system that they instill is really tikkun olam, and how you can leverage whatever skill you have, whatever resources you have, to really help prepare and make the world a better place,” Gross said. “I have the greatest job in the world because I get to do that through the lens of a platform that is really happy and positive in tone, and trying to help contribute to human progress.”Read more here.
on the hill
Joaquin Castro pledges to bring Palestinian voices to the Foreign Affairs Committee
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) is hopeful that members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the next Congress will hear from a wider array of voices on issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said during a J Street webcast on Monday.
Honest broker:Castro — who is one of several lawmakers vying for the chairmanship of the powerful committee — also joined a forum hosted by the Democratic Majority for Israel on Monday. In both webcasts, Castro focused on his desire to bring Palestinian voices before the committee to try to facilitate progress toward a two-state solution. Castro emphasized that the U.S. must act as an “honest broker” in the peace process between Israel and its neighbors.
Both sides:The Texas congressman told J Street he believes bringing Palestinians and their advocates before the Foreign Affairs Committee could help advance the cause of a two-state solution. “I think if you’re going to be the sole broker, then you’ve got to be willing to listen to all sides to take that in. And then as you go forward, be better in your job of brokering a peace agreement,” Castro said on the J Street call. “For the long-term stability of both Israel and the Palestinians, I think the United States — especially on the congressional level — being able to hear the different voices would actually be helpful.”
Money matters: Castro said he believes Congress should examine what Israeli activities are being funded by U.S. aid, including annexation, settlement building and home demolitions. “I think that it’s absolutely fair for Congress to consider those things,” he said. “Sometimes you have to be able to tell your friends, or their leaders — at least in this case, Prime Minister Netanyahu — when they’re wrong. And I have said that on this, I believe the prime minister is wrong. And so I do think that it’s fair for Congress to say that American money should not be used for those purposes.”
Bonus: As the Trump administration reportedly nears a deal to sell F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates, Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) introduced a bill — with 17 Democratic and Republican cosponsors — reaffirming U.S. support for Israel’s qualitative military edge and adding new requirements, including mandating the president consult with Israeli government officials before making any arms sales in the Middle East that could affect the QME.
face to face
In NJ debate, House candidates diverge on Orthodox zoning dispute
Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) and his Republican challenger in New Jersey’s 3rd district, David Richter, clashed during a debate Sunday night over an ongoing zoning dispute between the city of Toms River, and the area’s local Orthodox Jewish community. The dispute centers around a Toms River regulation requiring religious facilities to have at least seven acres of space, which the town’s growing Orthodox Jewish community has characterized as overly burdensome.
Call in the feds: “Antisemitism is such an evil that people don’t always brag about it. They implement antisemitism in very subtle ways. And there’s no question that the zoning code could be used as one of those quiet weapons,” Richter said. “And when it is used to block in and prevent the growth and expansion of a religious minority like the Jewish community in Ocean County, there’s no question that the federal government should step in.”
On the other hand: Kim said he does not support federal intervention to settle the dispute. “I’ve been trying to help bridge the community and foster those ties, make sure that they’re talking to each other,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a place right now for federal intervention, I think right now we’re trying to do everything we can to settle this at the community level.”
🤔 Catch 22:In The New York Times, David Halbfinger and Adam Rasgon spotlight the Israeli-Arabs who are excited at the prospect of doing business with the UAE, but cautious about appearing to undercut the Palestinian cause. [NYTimes]
💰 Off the Hook:The New Yorker’s Patrick Radden Keefe examines how a proposed deal between the Trump administration and Purdue Pharma’s Sackler family over its role in the opioid crisis would leave the family — and its billions — largely unscathed. [NewYorker]
👩🏿🤝👨🏼 First Second: Doug Emhoff, the husband of Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris toldMarie Claire that he has learned to recognize his own privilege from experiences with his wife. “It’s great to be with her because she has such a great perspective and she’s certainly not shy about expressing [it].” [MarieClaire]
📛 Say the Word:In The Washington Post, JTA reporter Ben Sales called on people to stop being afraid of using the word “Jew” — “‘Jew’ is not a slur. It is a descriptor most Jews will use without a moment’s thought. It’s just who we are.” [WashPost]
Around the Web
💥 Street Anger:Israel’s ongoing second lockdown has sparked renewed violence and clashes with police during both anti-Netanyahu demonstrations and confrontations in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods.
👋 No More:Israeli Tourism Minister Asaf Zamir resigned in protest of the government’s crackdown on demonstrations against Netanyahu.
🙊 Ministerial Mess:Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel is under fire for allegedly lying to Health Ministry officials about violating lockdown regulations during a contract tracing investigation after she tested positive for COVID-19.
🎩 Not the Shtreimel:Israel plans to impose new restrictions on buying and selling animal furs, with an exemption for religious purposes.
🇸🇩 Infighting: A U.S. push to convince Sudan to establish ties with Israel has sharply divided Sudan’s fragile interim government.
🤝 Growing Ties:Israeli venture capital firm OurCrowd and the UAE’s Al Naboodah Group are launching a $100 million fund to support tech investments between the countries. Former White House Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt joined OurCrowd as a partner earlier this year.
🗣️ Taking Sides:U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman claimed a Biden presidency would be bad for Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations.
👎 Rebuke:Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan said the Palestinian reaction to the recent Israel-UAE deal represented a “low level of discourse.”
🚫 No Entry:Former Justice Department official and Nazi hunter Neal Sher is urging Attorney General Bill Barr to deny entry into the U.S. to PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.
🚢 Port Proposal: U.S. officials are reportedly trying to find American companies to bid for control of Israel’s largest port in order to stymie growing Chinese influence in the country.
⚖️ Seeking Justice:A U.S. federal court has ordered Iran to pay $1.4 billion to the family of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared in the country in 2007 and is presumed dead.
🇨🇦 Chosen One: Annamie Paul was selected as the first Black and first Jewish leader of Canada’s Green Party.
👨🏾💼 Keynote: Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison will speak at an Americans for Peace Now event this month, after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) pulled out of the event following pressure from activists.
🗞️ Sign of the Times:Los Angeles Times executive editor Norman Pearlstine is stepping down after a tumultuous two years in the job.
📰 Moving On: Fortune executive editor Adam Lashinsky is leaving the publication after 19 years.
🥪 B’teavon: Jeff & Jude’s, a new Jewish deli, has opened on weekends on the northwest side of Chicago.
👩🍳 Rewind:Celebrity chef Ina Garten joked that her journey from the White House to owning a grocery store was “the wrong direction” of the Jewish-American dream of upward mobility.
👨💼 Transition:Former AIPAC Midwest director Brian Abrahams has been named the next executive director of ISRAEL21c.
🕯️ Remembering: Richard Schifter, who served as assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs and later headed the American Jewish International Relations Institute, died at age 97. Genetic counseling pioneer Joan Marks died at 91.
Gif of the Day
Under the shadow of a lockdown, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman was among a select group of 20 worshippers who practiced the “Priestly Blessing” (Birkat Hakohanim) at the Western Wall on Monday. At the ceremony, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbi of the Western Wall, recited a misheberach (a prayer for the sick) for President Donald Trump’s speedy recovery.
Actress best known for her role as Judge Cassandra Anderson in “Dredd,” Olivia Thirlby turns 34…
Scion of a Hasidic dynasty and a psychiatrist, he is the founder of the Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh, Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, MD turns 90… Former chairman and CEO of CBS, Leslie Moonves turns 71… Awarded a Ph.D. at UCSD in space science, consultant to NASA and a science fiction author, David Brin turns 70… Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel, Uzi Vogelman turns 66… CEO at Hillels of Georgia, serving 24 campuses throughout the state, Elliot B. Karp turns 65… Bexley, Ohio-based real estate agent, Jan Kanas turns 65… Former senior editor at Newsweek and correspondent on NBC, Jonathan Alter turns 63… Spiritual leader of Congregation Ner Tamid in the Las Vegas suburbs since 1988, Rabbi Sanford Akselrad turns 63…
Former member of the New Jersey General Assembly (1996-2002), he is now the managing director of Quest Associates, Joel M. Weingarten turns 61… Mayor of Jerusalem since 2018, Moshe Lion turns 59… Attorney in Lakewood, NJ, Samuel Zev Brown turns 55… Member of the Florida Senate from the 29th district, Kevin Rader turns 52… CEO of Community Security Service, an organization for the security and safety of Jewish communities, Evan R. Bernstein turns 46… Deputy chief planning officer at UJA-Federation of New York, Hindy Poupko turns 37… Senior advisor for Israel Strategies at the William Davidson Foundation, Deena Eisenberg Pulitzer turns 37… Houston area director at AIPAC, Madeline S. Burak turns 28…