👋 Good Tuesday morning!
Effective Friday, Israel will impose a mandatory quarantine on individuals traveling from 20 countries, including the U.S., France and Italy, as it attempts to curb the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
Today in the Democratic primary in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District, which includes Cleveland and parts of Akron, former state Sen. Nina Turner, Cuyahoga County party chair and Councilwoman Shontel Brown and 11 other candidates are on the ballot to replace former Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), who stepped down earlier this year to become HUD secretary in the Biden administration.
We first interviewed both Brown and Turner back in February, solicited answers to our candidate questionnaire from five of the candidates, covered Turner and Brown’s divergent views on the Israel-Gaza conflict in May, and broke news on endorsements, polling and efforts to get out the Jewish vote.
Here are three things to look out for when polls close at 7:30 p.m. local time in Ohio.
Will the Jewish vote swing the election? In the run-up to the primary, the Jewish Democratic Council of America, Democratic Majority for Israel and Pro-Israel America have all thrown their support behind Brown, while support among Jewish voters has been harder to gauge. Halie Soifer, JDCA’s executive director, estimates there are roughly 22,000 Jewish voters in the district — 5 percent of the district’s population. In a 13-way race, that could be enough to propel one candidate to victory, observers — including Dave Wasserman — say.
Trendlines: The race will be a second test of which direction the Democratic Party is headed. In Louisiana, where former Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), like Fudge, traded Capitol Hill for a role with the Biden administration, state Sen. Troy Carter beat out his colleague Karen Carter Peterson earlier this year to fill the rest of Richmond’s term representing the 2nd Congressional District in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. With its influx of outside money and support — Carter received the backing of Richmond, Democratic Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), among others, while Carter Peterson was endorsed by former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, EMILY’s List, the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Peace Action — the race draws parallels with today’s primary in Ohio. Brown’s campaign has been bolstered by endorsements from Clyburn, the Congressional Black Caucus and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Turner has received support from all four original members of “The Squad,” Justice Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who was in the district over the weekend to campaign on Turner’s behalf. She served as the national co-chair of Sanders’s 2020 presidential campaign. Former South Carolina State Rep. Bakari Sellers, who has aspirations to succeed Clyburn in Congress, traveled to the district earlier this week to campaign on Turner’s behalf.
The other Ohio special election taking place today: In Ohio’s 15th Congressional District, which includes parts of Columbus, two Republicans, Mike Carey and Jeff LaRe, are battling it out to replace former Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH), who stepped down earlier this year. With Carey endorsed by former President Donald Trump and LaRe backed by Stivers, the race marks the second GOP primary that pits the former president’s flank of the party against more traditional Republicans. In Texas last month, Trump endorsed Susan Wright for the Dallas-area 6th Congressional District seat previously held by her husband, who died of COVID in February, over former Texas House member Jake Ellzey. However, Ellzey won the seat 53-47%.
The Jewish Federations of North America led more than 285 nonprofit groups, including many Jewish groups, in a letter to Senate Finance Committee leaders opposing the Accelerating Charitable Efforts Act, which the letter says “would undermine important charitable tax incentives in ways that could be devastating to the vulnerable community members supported by our philanthropy” by placing restrictions on donor-advised funds.
Other signatories included the Anti-Defamation League, Agudath Israel of America, American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith International, HIAS, Hillel International, JCC Association of North America, Union for Reform Judaism and a range of regional and local organizations.
The Jewish Federations of North America has canceled the in-person component of its 2021 General Assembly, scheduled for October, over concerns over COVID-19 and its new variants.
Accounting for childhood hunger in Baltimore
It’s Friday afternoon in Baltimore City, and kids are bounding out of school, excited for the weekend. They had breakfast and lunch that day at school, but their next meal is uncertain. And there is Lynne Kahn standing in that “hunger gap” breach, like a nutrition guardian angel. Tucked inside the at-risk students’ backpacks are sandwiches and snacks provided by her expanding anti-childhood hunger nonprofit. The longtime accountant is now keeping tabs on something more precious than an average CPA’s balance sheet. “It’s so rewarding to be able to do what you are meant to be doing,” Kahn told Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch in a recent interview from the large warehouse that her nonprofit, Baltimore Hunger Project, just moved into.
To the point: Baltimore Hunger Project’s mission is simple — “eliminating weekend childhood hunger,” Kahn explained. “We focus on bridging the hunger gap from Friday afternoons to Monday mornings. The kids we support are the ones who receive free breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday at school. And when they go home, on the weekends, we help supplement what food they may have at home.”
Started in the garage: Before starting Baltimore Hunger Project, Kahn used to organize friends to meet in her garage on the weekends to make sandwiches for local women’s and children’s shelters. “Lynne’s Garage,” as she named the project, kept her busy for 10 years, but she wanted to go bigger. In 2014,she launched her nonprofit to feed some of Baltimore’s most at-risk kids every weekend. Seven years later, Baltimore Hunger Project is a one-woman, volunteer-driven operation that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and fed more than 1,000 kids over the past year.
Jewish connection: “The Jewish community certainly has supported our work, for sure, both in talent and treasure,” Kahn noted. Baltimore Hunger Project has partnered with The Associated (Baltimore’s Jewish federation) to find volunteers through the organization’s Jewish Volunteer Connection, which matches interested community members with volunteer projects.
Intergenerational values: “I think a lot of the work that she does through Baltimore Hunger Project, to me, is really kind of mitzvah-oriented work. It just comes from that place of understanding what it means to make the world a better place and the responsibility you have to do that,” added Rabbi Steven Schwartz, the senior rabbi at Baltimore’s Congregation Beth El. “Her parents are active and engaged, involved in the shul, they come regularly. Her in-laws as well. Her kids are Jewishly connected also. It just gives you a sense of how those values get transmitted through the generations of a family.”
Family values: For Kahn, this work has always been a passion; she grew up in a service-oriented family with a deep connection to Baltimore — her mother volunteered for years at a soup kitchen when Kahn was growing up — and her roots in the community kept her there even when wanderlust came calling in her 20s. “I love to travel. But no,” she said, she could never leave Baltimore. “My family’s here. That’s important to me. My siblings are here. My husband’s parents are here. My parents are here.”
on the hill
JFNA CEO Eric Fingerhut previews Senate Homeland Security Committee testimony
The rising threats to religious and faith-based organizations will be front and center this week for one Senate committee, Eric Fingerhut, the Jewish Federations of North America president and CEO, told Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod ahead of a scheduled hearing on domestic terrorism today before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Coming up: In an interview with JI on Monday, Fingerhut — who is testifying along with Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Human Rights; John Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice; Paul Goldenberg, chairman and president of Cardinal Point Strategies; and Seth Jones, senior vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies — told JI that he plans to focus on the funding shortfall for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). Fewer than half of this year’s applications for the program, which provides funding to nonprofits to upgrade their security infrastructure, were approved.
Critical infrastructure: “In our country, historically, the delivery of a safety net has been a partnership between government and the nonprofit sector,” Fingerhut said. “And should that come under security threat, it would be really debilitating to the country.” Fingerhut plans to argue that the nonprofit sector should be designated, by statute, as a critical infrastructure sector — like the communications, food and agriculture, healthcare and energy sectors. Such a designation would require the federal government to develop a comprehensive plan to protect such institutions.
Additional resources: He said he’ll also recommend to the committee that nonprofits be given greater access to protective security advisors and cybersecurity advisors through the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Such advisors assess vulnerabilities, provide training and serve as a link between critical infrastructure facilities and the federal government. “We think a more formal way of interacting between [the nonprofit] sector and Homeland Security would be helpful,” Fingerhut explained.
New legislation: The JFNA executive and former Ohio congressman will also express support for the Pray Safe Act, which the committee advanced to full Senate consideration in July. That bill would establish a national database on security best practices for houses or worship and faith-based organizations and grant programs available to them. Fingerhut said that JFNA’s Live Secure campaign has been pursuing a similar goal of distributing information about federal security grants available to them, but “we also could use additional help from the government in that regard.”
brooks on bobos
David Brooks looks at the impact of ‘elite bourgeois bohemians’ in America
In his latest piece in The Atlantic, David Brooks, a New York Times columnist, delves into the mindset of a group he calls “the bobos” — a shortening of “elite bourgeois bohemians”— a creative class of Americans who have climbed the ladder of success but “never accepted the fact that we were a leadership class, never took on the institutional responsibilities that go with that acceptance, never got to know or work with people not in our class, and so never earned the legitimacy and trust that is required if any group is going to effectively lead.”
Common values: “Like any class, the bobos are a collection of varied individuals who tend to share certain taken-for-granted assumptions, schemas, and cultural rules. Members of our class find it natural to leave their hometown to go to college and get a job, whereas people in other classes do not. In study after study, members of our class display more individualistic values, and a more autonomous sense of self, than other classes. Members of the creative class see their career as the defining feature of their identity, and place a high value on intelligence.”
Through the looking glass: “Suddenly, conservative parties across the West—the former champions of the landed aristocracy—portrayed themselves as the warriors for the working class. And left-wing parties—once vehicles for proletarian revolt—were attacked as captives of the super-educated urban elite. These days, your education level and political values are as important in defining your class status as your income is. Because of this, the U.S. has polarized into two separate class hierarchies—one red and one blue. Classes struggle not only up and down, against the richer and poorer groups on their own ladder, but against their partisan opposite across the ideological divide.”
New elite: “Atop the Democratic-leaning class ladder sits the blue oligarchy: tech and media executives, university presidents, foundation heads, banking CEOs, highly successful doctors and lawyers….Yet they tend to oppose anything that would make their perch less secure: unionization, government regulation that might affect their own businesses, antitrust or anti-credentialist policies….With their amazing financial and convening power, blue oligarchs move to absorb any group that threatens their interests, co-opting their symbols, recruiting key leaders, hollowing out their messages. ‘Woke capitalism’ may seem like corporations gravitating to the left, but it’s also corporations watering down the left. Members of the blue oligarchy sit atop systems that produce inequality—and on balance their actions suggest a commitment to sustaining them.”
Big reform: “The only way to remedy this system is through institutional reform that widens the criteria by which people get sorted. For instance, we need more pathways to success, so those who are not academically inclined have routes to social leadership; programs like national service, so that people with and without college degrees have more direct contact with one another; and an end to policies like residential zoning rules that keep the affluent segregated on top. More broadly, changing this sorting mechanism requires transforming our whole moral ecology, such that possession of a Stanford degree is no longer seen as signifying a higher level of being.”
Presented by Sapir
Today, SAPIR looks at power in the Israeli context.
Erosion of Existence: Historian Benny Morris reflects on the role of power in Israel’s early history, while lamenting what he views as the increasingly powerful threats from within and outside the Jewish State. “Periodic military blows are of no lasting avail in neutralizing the Palestinian threat to the Israeli state and to Israeli democracy, which is gradually being eroded and recast both internally and externally as a two-tier society between the river and the sea. The erosion of democracy lies at the base of the gradually diminishing support for Israel in the West, including the United States, as the possibility of a two-state compromise recedes. At the same time, the ultra-Orthodox (and Orthodox) womb is gradually but dramatically eating away at the secular and open nature of Israeli society.” Read here.
Power Prevents Perfection:Ruth Calderon grapples with the ethics of using power and the disconnect often seen between Israeli and American Jews on this subject. “In powerlessness, one can be morally perfect. But we all must wrestle with the necessary compromises that come with exercising power in the real world, with real lives at stake. The fundamental Jewish unease with power is at the core of a deep collective identity crisis. It afflicts us in both Israel and North America. We must look directly at this crisis and endeavor to understand its roots. The unifying ideas and values that once spoke to us across our communities are at stake.” Read here.
🤝 Status Quo: Aaron Magid argues in Foreign Policy that, despite media anticipation towards a warming of ties, Israel and Jordan will maintain their tense status quo. “Jordan’s ties with Israel have long been fraught. But despite the media’s focus on the dynamics between [Jordan’s King] Abdullah and various Israeli leaders, there are few signs the Jordanian government will dramatically change its policies as [Israeli Prime Minister Naftali] Bennett succeeds [former Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu. Rather, Amman will likely resume its delicate balancing act of critiquing Israeli policy toward Palestinians while pushing back against attempts to scrap the 1994 peace treaty entirely. Jordanian national interests offer no other alternative.” [ForeignPolicy]
🇮🇷 New Old Approach: Writing in National Review, Victoria Coates argues that the Biden administration is best served by adopting a Cold War approach towards Iran and its new hardline president. “By adapting the Obama-era policy of “strategic silence” in the wake of the selection of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s enforcer Ebrahim Raisi as president of Iran, the Biden administration is tacitly endorsing his appointment, presumably in hopes of persuading him to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or nuclear deal, after his inauguration in August… A more productive policy might be to revisit the successful Cold War precedent, summed up in the word ‘solidarity,’ for forward-leaning engagement with the Iranian people.” [NationalReview]
🔬 Big Ideas: Bloomberg Businessweek profiles pharma CEO Martine Rothblatt, who founded her first medical business in a desperate measure to produce a drug to save her daughter’s life. Decades later, her company, United Therapeutics Corp., is worth $8 billion and focused on solving a new problem: growing human organs in pigs for transplant. ”The body is ‘a kind of a machine,’ Rothblatt wrote in [a recent book], and, like cars and planes, could theoretically be kept going indefinitely if it were possible to swap out failing parts. Although the logistics of harvesting organs from the deceased, or from living donors, are ‘vastly more problematic than the ordering of spare parts from a manufacturer’s catalogue,’ she noted, many people were working on the problem. ‘As a result of these activities, the science of extending human life through organ transplantation will soon be as mature as the practice of extending the lives of complex machines,’ Rothblatt wrote.” [Bloomberg]
Around the Web
💰 Money Troubles: The gubernatorial campaign of Caitlyn Jenner, which has struggled to make headway in California’s recall election, owes more $156,000 in debt, after racking up large expenses that included $67,000 (with $1,800 spent at Nobu) in fees to the firm of former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and $26,000 to the firm of former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.
✈️ Safe Landing: An American Airlines flight from Miami to Tel Aviv made a successful emergency landing at Ben-Gurion International Airport following reports of a punctured tire.
📊 Merger: Pollster Mark Penn’s Stagwell will merge with MDC Partners, in a deal that will give Stagwell more than 69% of the new combined company.
💵 Big Buy: A firm backed by Blackstone and run by Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs plans to purchase Hello Sunshine, the media group founded by actress Reese Witherspoon, in a deal valuing the company at $900 million.
🎥 Silver Screen: The Jewish Film Institute announced it will provide $100,000 in grants to be split among the films “Remember This,” “1341 Frames of Love and War,” “The Liegnitz Plot,” “Sons of Detroit,” “A Reel War: Shalaal” and “I Will Take Your Shadow.”
🛑 No Go: Four Palestinian familes rejecteda compromise proposed by the Israeli Supreme Court that would have prevented the eviction of the Palestinian residents from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem, but recognized the Jewish landlords as the true legal owners of the disputed homes.
💉 False Parallels: The chair of the Oklahoma Republican Party doubled down on a Facebook post comparing vaccine mandates to the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust.
🇬🇧 Across the Pond: The U.K. and Iran have summoned each other’s top diplomats in their respective countries amid rising tensions over an Iranian attack on an oil tanker that killed two people, including a British national.
🛴 Market Watch: FENIX, a UAE-based e-scooter service backed by Israeli investors, bought Turkish e-scooter company PALM for $5 million.
📝 Finally: For the first time in over three years, the Israeli cabinet agreed and passed a national budget.
🏦 Big Business: Israel’s Bank Hapoalim will pay a $191 million cash dividend, after Israel announced lenders could resume paying dividends, ending the freeze invoked over economic uncertainty concerns during the pandemic.
Pic of the Day
Team Israel hits a single during a four-run fifth inning of its knockout stage game against the Dominican Republic. Israel currently leads 4-3 in the sixth inning. Watch live.
EVP emeritus of the UJA-Federation of New York, John S. Ruskay turns 75…
Retired head coach of both the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills, member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Marv Levy turns 96… English actor, author, playwright and theatre director, Steven Berkoff turns 84… Retired regional director and development director in the Cleveland office of the ADL, Anita Gray turns 73… Former chairman and CEO of the NYC office of commercial real estate brokerage firm Savills, Mitchell S. Steir turns 66… Voice actor in dozens of Disney films, video games and television programs, known professionally as Corey Burton, Corey Gregg Weinberg turns 66… General campaign chair for the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles and board member of JFNA, Orna Amir Wolens turns 60… Former aide to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), then senior adviser to President Clinton at the White House, now president of D.C.-based Freedman Consulting, LLC, Thomas Z. Freedman turns 58… Co-founder of Pushkin Industries podcast company, Jacob Weisberg turns 57… Israeli filmmaker, producer and director, Ilan Moskovitch turns 55… Developer of the 65-story Trump International Hotel in Toronto (since renamed) and former president of the Jewish Russian Community Centre of Ontario, Alexander Shnaider turns 53… VP of community planning at the Jewish Federation of Broward County, Evan Goldman turns 52…
Emmy Award-winning sportscaster, Suzy Shuster turns 49… Editorial page editor of the New York Daily News, Josh Greenman turns 48… U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) turns 48… Chief advancement officer at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Joshua Cherwin turns 44… General counsel at Wentworth Management Services, Brian Morgenstern turns 39… Executive editor of the Washington Examiner magazine, Seth Mandel turns 39… Director of national security policy and international government affairs at SoftBank, Jeffrey A. Dressler turns 37… Director of philanthropic outreach for the southern division of the Anti-Defamation League, Erica Greenblatt turns 37… Podcast host of “Us Among the Israelis,” Caroline Keller-Lynn turns 34… Congressional liaison development associate at Christians United For Israel, Liliya Bychuk turns 34… Director of grants and programs at The Natan Fund, Adina Poupko… Executive director of the Reducetarian Foundation, Brian Kateman turns 32… Fashion model, Karlie Elizabeth Kloss turns 29… Curated content writer and editor at the Financial Times, Emily Goldberg turns 27… First round pick of the Atlanta Braves in the 2020 Major League Baseball draft, Jared Shuster turns 23… Social secretary to the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Ariana Kaufman… Talent guide for venture capital portfolio companies of FirstMark, Leigh Bonner Levine…