👋 Good Friday morning!
For less-distracted reading over the weekend, browse this week’s edition of The Weekly Print, a curated print-friendly PDF featuring a selection of recent JI stories, including: The retirement community that was a microcosm of the Florida special election; Meet the creator of the tool that aims to predict — and prevent — suicide; Threading a needle on social media reforms in Israel and The new rabbi in Charleston, S.C., is stuck in Gibraltar. Print the latest edition here.
Prompted by reports that Republicans are delaying scheduling a hearing for Deborah Lipstadt, the Biden administration’s nominee for special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, the Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Federations of North America and Orthodox Union sent a letter urging the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to “immediately” hold a hearing.
Lipstadt tweeted in response that she is “Very grateful for this show of support.”
RepublicanSens.Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rick Scott (R-FL) and Mike Lee (R-UT) are the three senators who initially objected on Tuesday evening to Tom Nides’s confirmation to become U.S. ambassador to Israel, Hill sources informed Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) relayed the objection on the Senate floor while indicating he was doing so on behalf of colleagues. None of the three senators responded to a request for comment.
The Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting kicked off last night in Las Vegas. Former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley are set to address the gathering, as are Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rick Scott (R-FL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) told reporters that Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s loss in Virginia’s gubernatorial race “told us pretty clearly… that people want us to act. They want us to get things done for them, common-sense things. They want us to work together, Democrats and Republicans.”
Gottheimer added that passing the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill “would be a great place we can start acting.”
Israel’s Knesset approved the 2022 budget early Friday, following a successful vote Thursday on the 2021 budget plus its accompanying legislation, giving Israel its first state budget in three years and stabilizing the government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. The 2022 budget, which includes some sweeping reforms, passed by a 59-56 vote. The 2021 budget is NIS 432.3 billion ($139 billion), which then increases to NIS 452.5 billion the following year, according to a statement from the Finance Ministry.
after action review
Why DMFI entered the Florida 20 race
Before Omari Hardy declared his opposition to supplemental Iron Dome funding and came out in favor of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in mid-October, Israel was a non-issue in Florida’s 20th Congressional District special election. Two weeks later, Democratic Majority for Israel was on Hardy’s case. “Until Hardy emerged as an anti-Israel candidate, there was not a compelling reason for us to be engaged in the race,” Mark Mellman, DMFI PAC’s president, said in an interview with Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel. “Once he emerged as an anti-Israel candidate, there was a compelling rationale to make sure that he did as poorly as possible.”
Sixth place: Hardy, a staunch progressive who identified with the coalition of outspoken far-left House members known informally as the “Squad,” placed sixth in the 11-way primary, garnering support in the mid-single digits. “This is a guy who, more or less at the last minute, changed his position on Israel issues to try and cultivate an anti-Israel audience,” Mellman charged. “It was critically important to us not only that he not win, but that his vote be held down as low as possible.”
Last laugh: Hardy did not respond to a request for comment from JI. But he seems to have relished his position as DMFI’s latest bête noire. Last week, Hardy returned fire on social media. “Hey, @DemMaj4Israel!,” he tweeted. “The next time you do a robocall attacking me for supporting human rights in Palestine, you might want to remove me from the call list!” Mellman seemed unbothered by the provocation. “Our goal was to make sure he lost,” he said of Hardy. “He went down in flames. He can make whatever jokes he wants. But we’re the ones that are laughing last.”
Graham, Bolton criticize Trump’s execution of ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and former National Security Advisor John Bolton criticized the Trump administration’s execution of its “maximum pressure” sanctions strategy targeting Iran during a virtual conference on Thursday hosted by United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), reports Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod.
Destination uncertain: Graham, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, said the Trump administration consistently failed to provide an explanation of its ultimate end goal for Iran. “The criticism for the Trump administration that’s valid to me the most is, ‘What was the endgame? You withdrew from the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], which I didn’t like, so what is an acceptable end state?’” Graham said. “I pushed the Trump administration; they would never give me what the end state looks like.”
All in: Bolton said during a separate panel discussion that the administration executed a “less than perfect performance” in the maximum pressure campaign. “There was much more we could have done,” Bolton said. “I won’t get into all the internal reasons here. But not everybody was onboard with a real maximum pressure campaign. Notwithstanding that, the effective use, nearly, of U.S. unilateral sanctions had a devastating effect on Iran’s economy.”
Out of options: Graham’s panel also included Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), with whom Graham has proposed an alternative to the 2015 nuclear agreement involving a regional nuclear fuel bank. “The only other Plan B, short of having another diplomatic initiative such as the one Sen. Graham and I are suggesting, is either a comprehensive multilateral sanction regime that would move quickly that our allies have not been willing to [agree to],” Menendez said. “And/or you have to think about how else to stop this program from marching forward? And I think there are very few options left after that.”
Hard line: “We need to do two things to the Iranians: make real the possibility of a military engagement, which they will lose, and give them an opportunity to have nuclear power without enrichment… and let them choose which way they want to go pretty quickly,” Graham said. “If they go down this [current] path, Israel eventually has to do something. This is unsustainable.”
Bonus: “What Biden did [in Afghanistan] was essentially what Trump would have done had he been reelected,” Bolton said. Video here.
How Secretary Mayorkas’s mother’s mantra guides the Department of Homeland Security
In a panel discussion at the Aspen Security Forum in Washington, D.C., yesterday, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas spoke about the department’s focus on rooting out domestic extremists in its ranks and the lessons from his parents that he applies to his government work, reports Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch.
New life: Mayorkas’s mother, who fled Europe for Cuba before the Holocaust, believed “that every day is a new life — that something tragic can occur, something magnificent can occur. By reason of that, we have an obligation to make ourselves better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we are today,” Mayorkas told the several hundred attendees gathered at the InterContinental Hotel at the Wharf. “We have an obligation at DHS to be better tomorrow than we are today, and we have to drive to that betterment. And so that very much influences how I am as a government employee.”
Bonus: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice weighed in on what she called “salami tactics” in dealing with China, while Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) talked about the American electorate, in their respective appearances at the Aspen Security Forum.
YIVO is professionalizing, growing and reviving a lost world
One digitized page at a time, until four million pages of books and other documents are clickable online, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York is capturing for a new generation what life was like in the Jewish intellectual center of Vilna, Lithuania, before the Holocaust, YIVO CEO Jonathan Brent told eJewishPhilanthropy’sHelen Chernikoff. The effort, called the Edward Blank YIVO Vilna Online Collections Project, is salvaging Jewish memory at a time when those who remember that long-ago world fade away.
Meeting deadlines: Brent said he is hoping to start improving YIVO’s professional image with its execution of the digital project. “The Vilna project is a way to keep alive for future generations the Ashkenazi Jewish history, culture and way of life before the Holocaust — the one my parents knew and brought with them from Eastern Europe, but which has been fading with each new generation,” Blank said.
Presented by Sapir
A Warmer Welcome: Darcy Fryer encourages greater attention to conversion: how could making Judaism and Jewish communal life more accessible, open, and relevant inspire more people to engage with Jewish life, whether they are already Jewish or not? “We need to paint a richer picture of who is drawn to Judaism, connect with them in more creative ways, and articulate a vision of Jewish peoplehood that embraces all who wish to be part of Jewish life, wherever and whoever they are… Prioritizing the social integration of those who are new or otherwise on the margins will enrich all our institutions, making them places that are more vibrant, innovative, and welcoming.” Read here.
Optimism: Managing editor Felicia Herman concludes the issue with her summation of the key takeaways from each article. “The Jewish people have survived because of our ability to adapt to new circumstances while retaining a connection, in some form, to the past.” The challenge is to balance “tradition and change” without tipping too far in either direction. She sees the articles in this issue as “freighted with concern, but… ultimately optimistic. The authors know that Jews have survived much worse, and they sketch out prescriptions and policies to create confident, knowledgeable Jews, varied in background and practice, who can still chart a resilient, adaptable path into the future.” Read here.
🏛️ Center Lane: In The Atlantic, Matthew Ygelsias and Steven Teles make the argument for a centrist bloc of U.S. senators to avoid giving either major party a monopoly on power and to keep the most extreme elements from holding undue sway in Washington. “Moderate members of Congress hold immense power. But today, they use that power mostly to veto elements of the agenda advanced by their own party’s activists. They could and should instead use that power constructively to tear down the institutional obstacles to legislative creativity and to refocus the political system on practical ways to improve people’s lives rather than culture-war posturing. To accomplish that, though, they will need to stop pursuing their own agendas and instead work together toward a common goal.” [TheAtlantic]
⚛️ Atomic Account: In the Financial Times, David Bodanis reviews Ananyo Bhattacharya’s new biography of John von Neumann, whose genius led to advancements in nanotechnology, the development of the computer and Cold War strategy. “As the European world that he loved began to collapse with the rise of fascism, he made it across the Atlantic, a star of the Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies alongside Einstein, albeit a generation younger. While the two men had some similarities — both enjoyed telling Jewish jokes — von Neumann loved money and association with powerful establishment figures: something that Einstein found ridiculous.” [FT]
🌎 God’s Metaverse: In the Wall Street Journal, Jim Towey, founder of the nonprofit Aging with Dignity, writes that Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse is not a new concept and does little to address the loneliness created by aging. “The metaverse is not an original idea. It is a counterfeit version of the spiritual world that for millennia people of faith have understood and occupied. Love, faith, hope, friendship and compassion are real, albeit invisible, and humans interact in this sphere of life daily until death. But in the metaverse, nothing dies because nothing lives. It is all fake. Videogames, Workrooms, Siri and Alexa, and all the technological inhabitants thrust on modernity seem increasingly authentic and real, but they aren’t… Where will the elderly poor, disabled, or dying in our world fit into Mr. Zuckerberg’s metaverse? They won’t. Their real-world isolation and suffering, and the groans and dreams of the developing world, will find no place in a make-believe playhouse ruled by a pioneering Meta-billionaire and his programmers and technocrats.” [WSJ]
🎰 Gambling Ties: Michael J. Koplow, chief policy officer at Israel Policy Forum, looks at the new phase of the U.S.-Israel relationship, noting that both sides are avoiding difficult conversations about the issues they disagree on. “Nearly six months into the reset that naturally occurred with the combination of a new American president and a new Israeli prime minister, we are at an odd moment in U.S.-Israel relations. Both sides remain committed to keeping any disagreements at no higher than a bare simmer, but those disagreements are beginning to pile up. Rather than address the issues at the heart of the widening gap between the two sides in a substantive way — which may risk the current amicable atmosphere — each side is putting its chips behind a specific bet that looks more like a wish. If these bets pay off, then the relationship between the Biden administration and the Bennett-Lapid government will continue relatively smoothly. If they do not, each side may wish that it had decided to have some hard conversations early on as a way of avoiding even harder conversations later.” [IPF]
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Around the Web
💰 Money Matters: Following the death earlier this year of her husband, Sheldon, Dr. Miriam Adelson has disclosed just one contribution: $5,000 to the PAC started by former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley.
💵 Big Business: Jared Kushner’s new investment firm reportedly plans to hire two senior partners and is looking to raise several billion dollars to fund operations.
🏢 Work Woes:New York magazine looks at the pandemic office culture at Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street institutions, where executives have bumped salaries and provided some perks to counter the long hours and difficult working conditions, but largely left analysts feeling unsupported and unhappy.
🖥️ Zoom Rabbi: Rabbi Sholom Mimran, newly appointed rabbi of the Orthodox Congregation Dor Tikvah in Charleston, S.C., is spending his first few weeks meeting with colleagues and congregants on Zoom from Gibraltar, on Spain’s southern coast, due to difficulties obtaining a U.S. visa.
🎥 Silver Screen: The Cohen Media Group acquired U.S. and Canadian rights to Israel’s entry for the 2022 international Oscar awards, “Let it Be Morning,” which examines Palestinian-American identity.
☢️ Standing Firm: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said Iran will not back down “in any way” from defending its interests, ahead of nuclear talks in Vienna.
🇪🇬 Regional Diplomacy: Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel told Israeli journalist Barak Ravid during a cigarette break at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow that Egyptian and Israeli officials are in daily contact and that Cairo is working on a long-term cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas that would include prisoner swaps.
☁️ Innovation Nation: Israeli startup High Hopes Labs has developed a balloon system that traps carbon in the atmosphere and sends it back to earth for recycling.
🚀 Sky’s the Limit: Israel has begun testing an inflatable missile-detection system, which will hover in the air to uncover long-range threats.
💍 Better than Tylenol: A Byzantine-era amethyst ring discovered near the Israeli city of Yavne is believed to have been worn to combat hangovers, according to Israeli archaeologists.
👮 Monthly Meetup: Hundreds of haredi protesters clashed with Israeli police as the Women of the Wall held services at the Western Wall on Friday morning. Knesset members who had planned to attend the protest canceled following a request from Israeli President Isaac Herzog.
✉️ Join the Party: Reps. Marc Amodei (R-NV), Garret Graves (R-LA), Troy Nehls (R-TX) and Don Young (R-AK) joined an updated version of Rep. Lee Zeldin’s (R-NY) letter opposing the proposed reopening of the Jerusalem consulate. Just five Republicans have not signed.
Wine of the Week
JI’s wine columnist Yitz Applbaum reviews the 2020 Gito Soreqa:
“After a six-week sojourn in the Middle East, it is great to be back, legally drinking wine again. After so much time spent in the desert, I felt the 2020 Gito Soreqa become my elusive chimera. At one point the longing became so intense the phantasm had taken on a palpable taste. The 2020 Gito Soreqa is a blend of French Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. The Colombard and Sauvignon Blanc are fermented in steel tanks and fill the front of the palate with a deep concentration of pears and apricots. The Chardonnay is aged for eight months in Austrian casks and is crisp, and full of melon notes. The Chardonnay calms, wrapping itself around the brain cells, counteracting the deprivation of a three-day trek in the desert. Enjoy this wine now and for the next three years, ideally with ripe figs.”
Song of the Day
Singer, poet and actor, best known as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, Art Garfunkel turns 80…
FRIDAY: Former hedge fund manager and Olympic fencer in Munich in ’72, he once described both activities as having to “Defend, Adjust and Attack,” James Laurence Melcher turns 82… Former governor, legislator and supreme court justice, all in the Oregon state government, Ted Kulongoski turns 81… Co-founder and chairman of Rexford Industrial Realty, Richard Ziman turns 79… Television and film critic, Jeffrey Lyons turns 77… French public intellectual, media personality and author, Bernard-Henri Lévy turns 73… Economist and former director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, Jeffrey Sachs turns 67… Israeli ceramic artist and sculptor, Daniela Yaniv-Richter turns 65… Psychologist and wife of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sara Netanyahu turns 63… Director at The Gottesman Fund and VP of the Chatham Synagogue Netivot Torah, Diane Bennett Eidman turns 63… Music producer and entertainment attorney, Kevon Glickman turns 61… Chairman of Israel’s Yesh Atid Party in the Knesset, where he serves as the alternate prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, Yair Lapid turns 58… CEO at Healthcare Foundation of NJ, Michael Schmidt turns 56… Senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, Benjamin Wittes turns 52… Host, anchor and correspondent for CBS News and CBS Sports, Dana Jacobson turns 50… General counsel of The Jewish Theological Seminary, Keath Blatt… Jerusalem-born pianist, Orli Shaham turns 46… Former deputy secretary of the U.S. Treasury, Justin Muzinich turns 44… Executive director of Chaya Community, Tara Khoshbin turns 32… Senior reporter covering legal affairs at Business Insider, Jacob Shamsian turns 28… Talia Katz…
SATURDAY: Belgian theoretical physicist, a Holocaust survivor and 2013 Nobel prize laureate, François Englert turns 89… Former president and CEO of American Jewish World Service, prior to that she served as the Manhattan borough president, Ruth Wyler Messinger turns 81… Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Andrew Saul turns 75… Former longtime Clinton aide, Sidney Blumenthal turns 73… Research scientist at NYU’s Langone Medical Center, Barbara Volsky turns 71… Chairman of Sullivan & Cromwell, Joseph C. Shenker turns 65… Actress and cellist best known for her lead role in the 1984 film “Footloose” and the television series “Fame,” Lori Singer… and her twin brother, founder and music director of the Manhattan Symphonie, Gregory Singer both turn 64… Managing director of the NFL Players Association, Ira Fishman turns 64… Founder of Nourish Snacks, she is the host of NBC’s “Health & Happiness” and author of 12 New York Times bestsellers, Joy Bauer turns 58… Principal in Douglass Winthrop Advisors, Andrew S. Weinberg turns 58… Managing director and SVP of investments in the Beverly Hills office of Raymond James, Seth A. Radow turns 58… Chairman at IDTFS Bank in Gibraltar, he is a partner in Covenant Winery, Geoffrey Rochwarger turns 51… Executive at Elliott Management, author of Start-up Nation and host of the “Post Corona” podcast, Dan Senor turns 50… Program director for Jewish life at the William Davidson Foundation, Kari Alterman turns 49… Film producer together with her husband Robert Downey Jr., Susan Nicole Levin Downey turns 48… South Florida entrepreneur, Earl J. Campos-Devine turns 41… Head cantor of Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York City, Yaakov “Yanky” Lemmer turns 38…
SUNDAY: Neuropsychiatrist, a 1944 graduate of Yeshiva of Flatbush and 2000 Nobel Prize laureate in Medicine, Eric Kandel turns 92… Former United States senator from Minnesota from 1978 to 1991, Rudy Boschwitz turns 91… Stage, screen and television actor, Barry Newman turns 83… MIT professor in electrical engineering and computer science, Barbara Liskov turns 82… Senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former Governor in the Federal Reserve System, Donald Kohn turns 79… Pulitzer Prize-winning author and professor of the humanities at Harvard, Stephen Greenblatt turns 78… Founding president of Santa Monica, Calif., synagogue, Kehilat Maarav, and senior partner in the West Los Angeles law firm of Selvin & Weiner, Beryl Weiner turns 78… Constituent affairs representative and community liaison for Congressman Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Laurie Tobias Cohen turns 65… Volunteer coordinator for the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, Marcy Meyers turns 57… Canadian entrepreneur and CEO of Canada Goose, Dani Reiss turns 48… Managing director of global public affairs at Blackstone, previously a deputy White House press secretary, Jennifer B. Friedman turns 41… Founder and co-editor at The Intercollegiate, Daniel Libit turns 39… Ph.D. candidate at the Yale University Department of Nursing, Avi Zenilman turns 37… National political reporter at Politico, Elena Schneider turns 31… Founder and CEO at Swipe Out Hunger, Rachel Sumekh turns 30… Founder and CEO of Count Me In, Shane Feldman turns 27… Co-founder and CEO at NYX Technologies, Tomer Aharonovitch…