👋 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: In Ukraine, Jewish leaders mobilize to provide essentials to a community in crisis; Bennett warns Iran deal will create ‘more violent’ Mideast; Nides: Israel’s hands won’t be tied by deal with Iran; Maccabee Task Force director David Brog puts his chips on congressional run; Ro Khanna reflects on his first trip to Israel as a congressman; J Street endorses Casten over Newman in Illinois Democratic primary; and Israel-Bahrain cooperation on display in Munich. Print the latest edition here.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine early Thursday morning, Jewish organizations around the world have begun mobilizing to provide aid and assistance to the more than 100 Jewish communities in the Eastern European nation. Despite weeks of unease and days of warnings, Thursday’s invasion, which came in the predawn darkness, took those in the country by surprise.
“Everyone’s talking about preparing for a war, but… it just came suddenly,” Rabbi Mayer Stambler told Jewish Insider’s Melissa Weiss in a Zoom call yesterday from his home in Dnipropetrovsk in the central part of the country. “You know, you don’t really think it’s going to happen, you hope that diplomacy is gonna win. And 5:30 in the morning, to hear people bombing you… It’s unbelievable.”
Stambler is the chairman of the Chabad-affiliated Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine, which serves Jewish communities across the country.
When COVID-19 first hit Ukraine, Stambler oversaw the creation of support networks to provide ritual items and kosher food to families and individuals celebrating Jewish holidays in isolation. Two years later, the rabbi has been forced to mobilize those same volunteer networks — this time to provide basic necessities to Jewish community members, many of them elderly and homebound, around the embattled country.
“We didn’t just stay here with our families just to stay here. We feel responsible… We’re going to make sure to feed people,” Stambler said. “If we have to risk our lives to do it, we will do it. There’s no question about it.” Read more about Stambler’s efforts.
Israeli Diaspora Minister Nachman Shai announced a 10 million NIS ($3.1 million) aid package to help Ukraine’s Jewish community. The funds will go to support security assistance, food distribution, transportation efforts and absorption of refugees.
Robert O’Brien: ‘Unclear’ if U.S. can confront two great-powers wars
Appearing on Jewish Insider’s “Limited Liability Podcast,” former National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien warned that the United States’ ability to fight two and a half wars — previously the standard for U.S. military preparedness — was in doubt.
Playing doubles: While the former top White House national security official in the Trump administration maintained that the U.S. could continue to deal with two major international crises at once, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine and increasing Chinese encroachment in Taiwan, O’Brien questioned whether the U.S. could effectively deal with two great-power wars at once. “The old days of being able to fight, having a defense budget and having an Army, Navy, Air Force [and] Marine Corps strong enough to fight two and a half wars — which used to be our doctrine, that we could fight two full wars and a regional war at the same time — we’re now down to the capability to maybe fight one, one and a half or so,” he said.
New Munich? With negotiations in Vienna underway over a new nuclear deal with Iran, O’Brien criticized the Biden administration’s efforts to reach an agreement with the Iranian regime. In pointed terms, he called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), entered into under former President Barack Obama in 2015, “basically a religion” for Democrats who disagreed with the Trump administration’s decision to leave the agreement in 2018. “The Russians see us racing to appease Iran and willing to do anything to revive the JCPOA,” O’Brien added. “Maybe Vienna is going to replace Munich as the new symbol of appeasement.”
Invader beware: Calling the December 2019 NATO summit in London — in which Trump castigated other members for paying less than their promised share of the defense budget — the “best thing that’s ever happened” in strengthening the organization, O’Brien recommended the expansion of NATO to other European non-members. “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin is trying to weaken NATO and drive wedges into NATO, get on NATO’s border, push our advanced weapon systems out of Poland and Romania and the Czech Republic,” he explained. “Bringing in Sweden and Finland would be an utter defeat for Putin.”
New North Carolina congressional map shores up Manning, other incumbents
North Carolina’s latest congressional map, issued Tuesday, gives freshman Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC) a strong chance of keeping her seat, following a series of successful legal challenges to prior versions that were deemed too partisan, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Balancing scales: The new map likely creates seven Republican districts, six Democratic and one swing district, according to Chris Cooper, the director of the Public Policy Institute at Western Carolina University. Should North Carolinians vote similarly to the way they did in the 2020 election, the state could end up sending seven Republicans and seven Democrats to the House next year, J. Michael Bitzer, a politics professor at Catawba College, told JI.
Looking up: Manning’s newly drawn district is split 56% Democratic/44% Republican under the latest map and includes her entire home county, Guilford, according to Cooper. The Republican state legislature’s original map cleaved Manning’s current district into three. “It’s good for Kathy Manning in almost every way,” Cooper added. Manning plans to officially file for her reelection race upon returning from a delegation to Israel, a campaign spokesperson told JI.
Change of plans?: The new map complicates Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s (R-NC) plans to run in a newly drawn Charlotte-area district. The new map, which places Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and state House Speaker Tim Moore in the Charlotte-area district, may foreclose that possibility. “It would be a pretty good leap for him to move to another district right now,” J. Michael Bitzer, a politics professor at Catawba College, said. Should Cawthorn remain in his current district, Cooper said, the freshman Republican will likely be on a glide path to a second term.
Finish line: The trial court’s decision triggered the reopening of candidate filings for congressional hopefuls. But the Republican-controlled state legislature may still seek to appeal the trial court’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, its last avenue to block the map’s implementation for the 2022 cycle.
The New York Sun rises again
The New York Sun, the long-defunct daily broadsheet, marked its return to the city’s hypercompetitive local media market this week, Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel reports, launching an updated website featuring dozens of newly hired staffers and an editorial vision highlighting a range of traditionally minded journalistic principles. “The Sun eschews cynicism,” Dovid Efune, the publisher, wrote in a mission statement announcing the paper’s revival. “We prefer the teaching of Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, that darkness is best countered with light, falsehood with truth.”
Jewish values: The reference to the late Lubavitcher rebbe may seem unusual for a newspaper like the Sun, which was first published in 1833 and is probably best known for its “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” editorial. But Efune suggested that the publication’s emphasis on Jewish values was in keeping both with his own experience as the former top editor of a Jewish newspaper in New York City, The Algemeiner, as well as a broader conviction — put forth in his announcement — that the Sun has been “on the right side of history.”
‘Steadfast’ commitment: For the new publisher, that includes a fierce dedication to Jewish causes. “The Sun is a general-interest paper, but it’s also a Zionist newspaper,” Efune, who is in his mid-30s and still holds a seat on Algemeiner’s executive board, explained in an email exchange with JI this week. “The cause of the Jewish people and the Jewish state,” he said, “is a cause that the Sun is steadfastly committed to.”
Lipsky’s leap: The Sun possesses a distinctly yiddishe kop, not least because its 76-year-old editor, Seth Lipsky, is a veteran newspaperman with experience at the intersection of Jewish and mainstream journalism. He founded the English-language edition of the Forward before launching a previous iteration of the Sun, in 2002, that ran for six years. Lipsky — who sold the paper to Efune in an undisclosed cash and stock deal last November — had been without a fully staffed newspaper until the relaunch this week. But his long-standing commitment to the old-fashioned art of newspapering, combined with a passion for Jewish issues, remains core to what he describes as editing “in the light of Sinai.”
Third act: As the Sun enters its third act, Efune expressed confidence that the paper would prevail because of a belief that it is addressing a largely unmet need in modern American journalism. “Today, there are many consequential stories that are ignored or sidelined, and many substantially unimportant stories that dominate headlines,” Efune told JI. “We’ll be prioritizing stories that are of interest and consequence to everyday Americans, and, on our editorial pages, addressing the questions that most impact our future as a country.”
🇦🇪 Futuristic Thinking: The Associated Press’ Aya Batrawy gets an early look at Dubai’s Museum of the Future, a new museum opening today in the Gulf city. “The museum’s Arab thumbprint flows throughout, including in a meditation space that is part of a larger sensory experience guided by vibration, light and water. These three elements underpinned life for tribes in the Arabian Peninsula. The oil-fueled cities of the Gulf that have emerged from the desert over the past few decades unearthed seismic changes in the ways people in the region live, interact and connect with nature. ‘It’s always important to continue to evolve and develop and understand what parts of the culture actually push development forward,’ said [UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology Sarah] Al-Amiri. ‘Creating new norms and new ways of living and new ways of coexisting is OK.’” [AP]
📘 Separation Anxiety: The New Yorker’s Gideon Lewis-Kraus reviews the new book American Shtetl, which chronicles the creation and growth of the Satmar enclave of Kiryas Joel in upstate New York. “Contemporary critics of the political order — most often from the right, though also from precincts of the left — have gained purchase with an increasingly bold case for the spiritual or moral bankruptcy of liberalism… But, if American Shtetl provides an unambiguous historical refutation of the idea that liberalism renders meaningful community impossible, it can also be read as a cautionary tale about exactly how these dynamics are wont to unfold. For one thing, the Satmar ability to secede was predicated on the sect’s access to the capital they needed to purchase real estate, a privilege out of reach for many minority communities. For another, the liberal ideal of a healthy community requires that associations are voluntarist — that individuals retain a foundational right to exit; the Satmars have used access to resources, including the custody of children, for the illiberal purposes of coercion, and, though in theory anyone can leave, in practice a departure comes at a tremendous personal cost.” [NewYorker]
Around the Web
🏀 Patriot Pep Talk: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft delivered a pep talk to the crowd prior to Tuesday evening’s Yeshiva University’s basketball game against Purchase College. “Other than the love for my family, the pride I take in my Jewish identity is greater than any other emotion that I have… Rarely do I have the opportunity to feel that pride when it comes to the athletic accomplishments of our people,” Kraft quipped. “Following the accomplishments of the Maccabees over the last couple of years has brought me enormous Jewish pride.”
💼 Business Beat: Former White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner is touting his success in negotiating the Abraham Accords in his pitches to potential investors in his new firm, Affinity Partners, the Wall Street Journal reports.
✍️ Tracking Trends: The FBI recorded 57 bomb threats against houses of worship, faith-based buildings and historically Black academic institutions from Jan. 4 to Feb. 16.
🥗 Vegan Venture: TimeOut New York spotlights restaurateur Guy Vaknin’s new vegan kosher restaurant, Coletta.
🎞️ Coming Soon: Apple+ released a trailer for “WeCrashed,” its upcoming film about WeWork founder Adam Neumann.
🎨 Decor Donation: The Greenwich Village studio used by pop artist Roy Lichtenstein will be donated to the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program.
🇫🇷 French Connection: None of the candidates seeking to oust French President Emmanuel Macron’s have garnered the required number of signatures from elected officials to join the presidential ballot, with just six weeks until the country’s election. Macron himself has not announced his reelection bid, but is expected to do so before the deadline next month.
🚢 Sea Sale: In an attempt to boost competition and lower prices, the Israeli Finance Ministry announced it will sell a 100% stake in its seaport in Haifa to a private entity.
☢️ Deal Watch: Iran’s top security official said that a final agreement over its nuclear program is within reach, but would require “Western political decision-making.”
🛫 Emergency Exit: Iran is reportedly preparing plans to evacuate its citizens from Ukraine, following Russia’s invasion of the Eastern European country.
🕯️ Remembering: Children’s book author Leonard Kessler, whose work inspired a young Jeff Bezos, died at 101.
Pic of the Day
UAE Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba (left), Jewish Insider’s Washington correspondent Gabby Deutch and Gen. Miguel Correa attend an Insider Access event last night in Washington, D.C. The event, held at Compass Coffee’s new 50,000-square-foot roastery, featured Correa and Deutch in conversation following last month’s story, “The general who coined the Abraham Accords.”
Readers of Jewish Insider and The Circuit were able to meet and hear behind-the-scenes stories from the general and later received an exclusive tour of Compass’ facility from its founder.
For more information on our Insider Access event series, email [email protected]
Chief baseball officer for the Boston Red Sox, Chaim Bloom turns 39 on Sunday…
FRIDAY: Former talk show host, Sally Jessy Raphael turns 87… Owner of the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Bulls, Jerry M. Reinsdorf turns 86… Former president of the Associated in Baltimore, later EVP of the UJA – Federation of New York, then CEO of United Jewish Communities, Stephen Solender turns 84… Science and medicine reporter for The New York Times and author of six books, Gina Bari Kolata turns 74… Visiting scholar at NYU, formerly CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Steve Gutow turns 73… Jerusalem-based attorney and chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel, Marc Zell turns 69… Former minister of foreign affairs for Israel and chief of the general staff of the IDF, Gabi Ashkenazi turns 68… Opinion columnist and podcast contributor for The New York Times, Andrew Rosenthal turns 66… VP of communications at CNN, Barbara Levin turns 66… Policy editor at The Bulwark, Mona Charen turns 65… CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo, Rob Goldberg turns 63…
Co-president of Paterson, New Jersey-based JNS-SmithChem, Michael F. Smith turns 61… U.S. ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides turns 61… Mayor of Burlington, Vt., since 2012, Miro Weinberger turns 52… Founder of “News Not Noise,” Jessica Sage Yellin turns 51… Director of strategic communications for Facebook, Anne Elise Kornblut turns 49… Travel planner, Lauren Raps turns 49… Comedian, actress and writer, Chelsea Joy Handler turns 47… Actress best known for her roles in NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” and Fox’s “Boston Public,” Rashida Jones turns 46… Managing director of Covenant Wines in Berkeley, Calif., Sagie Kleinlerer turns 45… Assistant director at San Francisco-based EUQINOM Gallery, Lyla Rose Holdstein turns 40… Founding partner of Parallel Capital and board chair of the Holocaust Museum of Los Angeles, Guy Lipa turns 39… Actor best known for his role in Fox’s “Malcolm in the Middle,” Justin Berfield turns 36… CNN’s Jerusalem correspondent, Hadas Gold turns 34… 2013 U.S. national figure skating champion, Max Aaron turns 30… Julie Goldman…
SATURDAY: Senior fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, Chaim Isaac Waxman, Ph.D. turns 81… Businessman, art collector and political activist, president of the World Jewish Congress since 2007, Ronald Lauder turns 78… Las Vegas resident, Chantal Reuss turns 76… Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, Michael Bolton turns 69… Julie Levitt Applebaum turns 65… Member of Knesset for the Likud party, Tzachi Hanegbi turns 65… Partner at Arnold & Porter, Paul J. Fishman turns 65… Professor of sociology and bioethics at Emory University, Paul Root Wolpe turns 65… CEO and Chairman at Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals, Jonathan Sporn, M.D. turns 64… U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) turns 64… Partner at Unfiltered Media and digital strategist at turner4D, Alan Rosenblatt, Ph.D. turns 60… COO of the Paramus-based Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, Lisa Harris Glass turns 56… Former president of MLB’s Miami Marlins, David P. Samson turns 54… Motivational speaker, focused on anti-bullying, Jon Pritikin turns 49… Concertmaster for the D.C.-based National Symphony Orchestra, Nurit Bar-Josef turns 47… Founder and editor-in-chief of Tablet Magazine, Alana Newhouse… Brett Michael Kaufman turns 28…
SUNDAY: Performance artist and filmmaker, Eleanor Antin turns 87… Writer and illustrator of children’s books, Uri Shulevitz turns 87… William Drykos turns 83… Investor, chair of Julliard, vice chair of Lincoln Center and on the board of the Metropolitan Opera, Bruce Kovner turns 77… Haverford, Pennsylvania-based attorney, mediator and arbitrator, Judith Meyer turns 77… Professor of physics at MIT, Alan Harvey Guth turns 75… Michael Gervis turns 75… Member of the British House of Lords, she is a retired rabbi and the chair of University College London Hospitals, Baroness Julia Neuberger turns 72… U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) turns 64… Suzy Appelbaum turns 60… Film and television actor, Noah Emmerich turns 57… President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, David S. Waren turns 59… Founder of Spanx, she is also a part owner of the Atlanta Hawks, Sara Blakely turns 51… Senior Washington editor for NBC News, Rebecca Sinderbrand turns 45… Singer-songwriter, composer and prayer leader, Sam Benjamin “Shir Yaakov” Feinstein-Feit turns 44… Member of the Knesset for the Religious Zionist Party, Bezalel Smotrich turns 42… Massachusetts state senator and candidate for lieutenant governor, Eric P. Lesser turns 37… Alana Berkowitz…