👋 Good Thursday morning!
With just weeks to go before the next series of primaries, and ahead of the April 15 filing deadline, candidates are announcing their first-quarter fundraising hauls, organizations and caucuses are dropping endorsements and campaigns are releasing internal polling.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus endorsed Rep. Shontel Brown (D-OH) over Nina Turner in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District, a reversal of its previous endorsement of Turner during last year’s special election.
Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate David McCormickraised $4.3 million in the first quarter of 2022, his campaign told Axios. Dr. Mehmet Oz, who earlier this week was endorsed by former President Donald Trump and trails McCormick, a former hedge fund CEO, in most polling, has not yet announced his Q1 fundraising total.
An internal poll from California state legislator Kevin Mullin has the Democrat leading David Canepa 31%-17% in the primary race to fill the seat left open by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), who is retiring at the end of the year.
Doug Emhoff’s pre-Passover prep
It was an hour before school let out for spring break, and the students at Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School in Washington, D.C., had that contagious last-day-of-school energy. Students erupted in cheers when Deborah Skolnick-Einhorn, Milton’s head of school, introduced Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff at the Passover assembly, held Wednesday afternoon, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports. “Passover is actually my favorite holiday,” Emhoff said, earning more cheers and applause from the students, who ranged from pre-K to eighth grade.
Jewish gentleman: As the first Jewish spouse of a president or vice president, Emhoff has leaned into his Jewish identity since he and Vice President Kamala Harris moved into the Naval Observatory last year. He hung a mezuzah on the vice president’s residence in the fall, and he and Harris participated in several Hanukkah events in December. But yesterday’s festivities marked his first in-person public celebration of Passover since before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Veep version: “During COVID, we had our own, like, little COVID Seder, just me and her,” Emhoff said of the vice president in an interview with JI following the event. Passover is a holiday they enjoy together: “She loves tradition, and she loves history, and she just loves the celebration and the joy that it brings.” (Harris does not have a favorite Passover dish, but she is “very much a good cook,” Emhoff told JI, adding, “she just makes up what she believes is traditional Jewish food, and she does a great job at it.”)
Virtual Seder 2.0: Emhoff presided over last year’s White House virtual Seder, which brought together thousands of attendees. He plans to make it a tradition; another virtual Seder will take place this evening. (Emhoff said he could not yet share the details of his in-person Passover plans.) “Still to this day, a year later, [it’s] one of the most impactful things I’ve done, especially as it relates to the Jewish community,” Emhoff said of last year’s virtual ceremony. “People still just come up to me: ‘Are you going to do it again this year? It was so amazing.’”
Matzah man: Fourth-grade students were making matzah over a small grill outside. “What stage are we at?” Emhoff asked, taking off his jacket on a sunny April day that reached above 80 degrees. “Nonexistent,” one boy said, earning a laugh. Then the students began explaining what went into matzah — how to mix the water and flour so it did not become chametz, or the leavened bread forbidden on Passover — and showing Emhoff how to knead it. After saying the Motzi blessing, he listed his favorite ways to eat matzah: “Horseradish guy. Gefilte fish on the side. Matzah brei,” said Emhoff.
Study hall: The next stop on the Milton Passover tour was the school’s beit midrash, where Emhoff participated in a discussion with eighth-grade Talmud students. He sat in front of the class with a seating chart, calling on each of the 15 students to speak about the divrei Torah they had written connecting the themes of Passover to democracy.
Don’t fall asleep: One exchange really stuck with Emhoff — so much so, he told JI after the discussion, that he plans to bring it up at the White House virtual Seder. A student named Isaac explained that he and his partner researched falling asleep at the Seder table. “That doesn’t seem like it has much to do with democracy,” Isaac said. But he learned from Jewish teachings that if you fall asleep, you could miss your opportunity to eat from the paschal lamb, “and I think that actually has a lot to do with democracy,” he explained. “Everyone’s voice is heard, I think you have experience with that, but if you fall asleep, you might miss your opportunity so you have to stand up for what you think is right.”
raise a glass
In Napa Valley, a kosher wine revolution
OneHope Winery sits on a picturesque plot of land along Northern California’s Highway 128, between the Napa Valley towns of Oakville and Rutherford. Its immediate neighbors include some of the most regal of Napa Valley wine royalty, including Opus One and Robert Mondavi. Surrounded by rows of grapevines, the winery’s new main building is a long, dark wood-paneled modern barn, with large windows overlooking the surrounding Mayacama Mountains. The entire property has the clean, refined look of a luxury travel or furniture brochure produced by Restoration Hardware. But inside, a revolution has begun. More precisely, a revolution for kosher wine in the U.S., reports Jewish Insider’s Sam Zieve Cohen.
L’chaim: Two years after announcing its entry into the world of kosher wine, OneHope has become one of only a few California wineries to produce kosher wines with the release of three wines made from St. Helena Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Demand for kosher wine has increased dramatically over the past two decades. Despite accounting for 40% of the world’s Jewish population and the fourth largest percentage of the global wine production, few kosher wineries exist in the United States and its California wine capital. The high demand and small production has made quality kosher wine generally more expensive than its non-kosher counterparts.
Affordable bottles: OneHope Winery has built its reputation at the nexus between affordability and high-end quality. Founded in 2007 by Jake Kloberdanz with a direct-to-consumer model, OneHope originally focused on producing wines at what Kloberdanz calls an “approachable price-point.” Still, despite the diversity of styles, venturing into kosher winemaking was not the obvious choice. Kloberdanz was convinced to enter into the kosher market by kosher wine aficionado Isaac “Yitz” Applbaum (who is also a weekly wine columnist at Jewish Insider).
Make it kosher: Given that OneHope was looking to build a new production facility on its Napa Valley property, Applbaum’s pitch to Kloberdanz was simple: Include space for kosher winemaking in the construction design. “It wasn’t like something where we’re up and running a certain way in the winery and then we tried to add this,” Kloberdanz explained, the day after an event at the winery with JI marking the launch of the kosher wine. “It was like, ‘We’re opening the winery and from day one, we’re opening with this in mind,’ and so it made it pretty smooth from the very beginning.”
Follow the rules: Applbaum and Kloberdanz recruited kosher wine guru Dan Levin as a mashgiach and consultant to work with OneHope head winemaker Mari Wells Coyle. Levin not only brought in the necessary staff to oversee the kosher wine process, he helped translate the rules. Together, Levin and Coyle created a process for producing kosher wine that differed from its non-kosher counterparts only in its observance of kashrut. “We’ve actually sourced some of the best grapes that we have access to, in fact, the best grapes from the St. Helena [American Viticultural Area],” Coyle added. “We’re able to achieve everything that we wanted in the non-mevushal process. There isn’t anything process wise that diverts from what we wanted to achieve.”
BDS referendum appears to fail at Princeton University
A Princeton University referendum tied to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement failed on Wednesday after a contentious campus battle, the second time in seven years that an anti-Israel measure has failed in an all-campus vote at the Ivy League school, Jewish Insider’s Melissa Weiss reports.
Background: The referendum called on the university to “immediately halt” the use of Caterpillar construction machinery on campus, “given the violent role that Caterpillar machinery has played in the mass demolition of Palestinian homes, the murder of Palestinians and other innocent people, and the promotion of the prison-industrial complex.” The university’s undergraduate population rejected a similar resolution in 2015, when 52.5% of participating students voted against an Israel divestment resolution.
By the numbers: The measure required a majority of votes cast in the referendum to pass, and according to unofficial results posted on private social media accounts and obtained by JI, 1,124 (44%) students voted in favor of the referendum, while 1,029 (40%) students voted against it. A further 424 students (16%) abstained, meaning that some 56% of voters either opposed or abstained from the measure. The website used by Princeton to conduct the referendum required students to choose between three options — yes, no, abstain — before submitting their ballots.
Wait and see: Undergraduate Student Government President Mayu Takeuchi would not confirm the leaked results, which had circulated on social media on Wednesday afternoon, saying that official results would be posted “no earlier than this Friday, April 15 at noon.”
🇺🇦 Scaling Up: In The Atlantic, Eliot Cohen, who appeared on JI’s “Limited Liability Podcast” this week, argues for greater U.S. involvement in Ukraine. “The United States has failed to take many of the symbolic actions that matter in wartime. If British Prime Minister Boris Johnson can visit Kyiv (as did Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, and heads of government and senior officials from other nations), so can Secretary of State Antony Blinken or Vice President Kamala Harris. If other countries can reopen embassies in Ukraine, so can the United States, which never should have closed its own. Instead of treating [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky’s pleas to Congress as a singular event, the U.S. should find ways, on a daily basis, to celebrate his courage and that of his people, and to continually remind the American people what is at stake here. Part of wartime leadership is theater, and the administration should embrace it.” [TheAtlantic]
⚖️ Legal Opinion: The New Yorker’s Sue Halpern spotlights attorney Marc Elias, who was flung into the public eye as a leading litigator challenging GOP voting laws. “One evening…he told me a story. It was about a man whom Elias met around the time of his bar mitzvah. ‘This guy, an American prisoner of war, who was Jewish, in Nazi Germany, was put in a work camp where he had to pick potatoes,” Elias said. ‘He and the other men would take little pieces of barbed wire from the fence, and stick holes in the potatoes’ to make them more perishable. ‘Just imagine an undernourished prisoner of war, in a thin uniform, with no gloves, in the winter, taking barbed wire in his bare hands and poking holes so the potatoes would rot and the German Army would not have fresh potatoes.’ This is what Elias recalls when people say that his litigation won’t make a difference, or that he’s bringing too many cases during a time when the courts lean overwhelmingly conservative. ‘I’m still going to try,’ Elias continued. ‘It may not work. But I’m going to poke holes in the potatoes for as long as I have to, until democracy is either safe or I no longer can serve any useful purpose.’” [NewYorker]
🇮🇶 Caught in the Middle: The Washington Post’s David Ignatius, reporting from Baghdad, warns of the dangerous combination of Iraqi government corruption and Iranian interference, which threatens to topple Iraq’s fledging democratic government. “Iraq, at the pivot point between Iran and the Arabs, remains the most tantalizing but also most frustrating challenge in the region. It’s big and fertile, blessed with energy and other resources, with a dynamic but volatile population mix of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. In [Prime Minister Mustafa al-] Kadhimi, Iraq has a leader who is strongly backed by moderate Arab nations such as Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, but also talks with Iran… Iraqis worry that U.S. interest and power in the Middle East are waning. One Iraqi quoted for me the admonition of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak: If you are a friend of the United States, you sleep without a blanket. If the Iran nuclear talks blow up, it’s going to get chilly out here.” [WashPost]
🌎 Repairing the World: In USA Today, Minnesota Vikings co-owner and Jewish Federations of North America Chair Mark Wilf, whose parents survived the Holocaust, writes about his experiences at the Ukrainian border. “We are heartened that billions of dollars are being sent to Ukraine and its neighbors, and 100,000 Ukrainians will soon be welcomed into our communities in America. But whenever peace finally comes – and it will – the refugees’ lives will never be the same. This trauma will last for decades. I know this from my parents’ own experiences that still shape my life and actions today. As Jewish tradition teaches, ‘You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.’ It’s a good motto, from the football field to our responsibility to repair the world.” [USAToday]
Around the Web
🦠 Pandemic Prep: Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is co-chairing a group calling on Washington to fund and implement a $100 billion, 10-year effort to prevent future pandemics.
👩 Washington Worry: Colleagues and former staffers are expressing concerns that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), 88, is losing her ability to remember basic interactions and is unable to carry out her duties as the senior senator representing California.
🗳️ Polling Problems: A poll conducted last month by the Jewish Electorate Institute, a Democratic-aligned group, found that 68% of Jewish Americans support the U.S. reentering the Iran nuclear deal. The poll also found that President Joe Biden has a 63% approval rating among Jewish Americans, down from 80% last July.
🏰 Asset Freeze: The English Channel island of Jersey froze Russian-Israeli businessman Roman Abramovich’s assets, worth over $7 billion, while France froze Abramovich’s chateau on the French Riviera.
🏨 Plaza Purchase: A judge ruled that Marc Holliday’s SL Green must sell its $120 million stake in the Crowne Plaza hotel in New York’s Times Square to investor Andrew Penson.
🚓 Dangerous Words: A 27-year-old man charged with attempted murder for an hourslong antisemitic crime spree in Ocean County, N.J., last week, including stabbing an Orthodox man in the chest, told investigators that Hasidic Jews are “the real devils.”
💻 Video Violence: In a since-removed YouTube video posted by Frank James, who was arrested for Tuesday’s attack on a Brooklyn subway train, James says that Jews are “the apex predator in this type of society… Look who runs this country in reality, who controls the wealth in this nation: Jews.”
🎒 In Session: The Tennessee House passed a bill prohibiting the teaching of antisemitic concepts.
✡️ Community Concern: An upcoming episode of the YouTube/SpringHill Company series “Recipe for Change” focuses on antisemitism, featuring celebrity guests including Michael Zegen, Hannah Einbinder and Rachel Bloom.
🇬🇧 Across the Pond: The U.K.’s National Union of Students will conduct an investigation amid a number of reports of antisemitism within the group.
🎞️ Silver Screen: Barry Levinson, who directed HBO’s upcoming biopic “The Survivor,” about the story of Holocaust survivor and amateur boxer Harry Heft, revealed that the movie script reminded him of his great-uncle, who experienced PTSD after surviving the Holocaust.
💸 Money Matters: BlackRock’s Larry Fink said his firm is studying cryptocurrencies, as it invests in stablecoin manager Circle Internet Financial.
🎨 Artistic Arrangement: The New York Times spotlights the Tel Aviv Museum of Art’s redesigned collection of Israeli art.
💰 Fintech Funding: Tamara Harel-Cohen’sRiseUp, which helps Israelis and others balance their budgets via WhatsApp, announced it closed $30 million in a Series B funding round, led by Michael Eisenberg’s Aleph, Saul Klein’s Latitude, Sir Ronald Cohen and Jeff Swartz.
🇸🇾 Hostage Diplomacy: The U.S. State Department reportedly appealed to Israel for help in locating American journalist Austin Tice, who was kidnapped in Syria in 2012.
🇹🇷 Bilateral Baggage: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told Israeli reporters yesterday that Turkey’s relations with Israel are tied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
🛢️ Oil Limits: Saudi Arabia and Kuwait offered to hold talks with Iran to determine the eastern boundary of an energy-rich offshore area, according to Saudi Arabian media reports.
🗣️ Tit for Tat: An Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps general said that assassinating every American leader would be insufficient to avenge America’s targeted killing of former IRGC director Qassem Soleimani.
☢️ No Deal: A group of retired military leaders signed onto a letter from JINSA opposing reentry into the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran.
Pic of the Day
Men in Beit Shemesh, Israel, work to bake matzah ahead of Passover.
Film, television and theater producer, his credits include the widely acclaimed 2016 film “La La Land,” Marc Platt turns 65…
Anne Monk turns 74… Former Securities and Exchange commissioner, Elisse B. Walter turns 72… Israeli news editor and analyst, Chemi Shalev turns 69… Media executive, majority owner of Viacom and CBS through Paramount Global, Shari Redstone turns 68… Co-founder, co-chairman and co-CEO at Canyon Partners, LLC, Mitchell Julis turns 67… Founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and author of nine books about makeup and beauty, Bobbi Brown turns 65… Birmingham, Alabama-based post-denominational rabbi, known on social media as “Deep South Rabbi,” Barry Altmark turns 65… Border czar for the first few months of the Biden administration and a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Roberta S. Jacobson turns 62… Bench coach for the Oakland Athletics, he was previously the manager of the Angels, Tigers and Israel’s national baseball team, Brad Ausmus turns 53… Los Angeles-based freelance editor and writer, Robin Heinz Bratslavsky turns 53… VP of newsgathering for CNN’s Washington bureau, Adam Levine turns 50… Emmy Award-winning actress best known for the title role on the WB series”Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Sarah Michelle Gellar Prinze turns 45… Author of four books and Washington correspondent for Monocle, Sasha Issenberg turns 42… Founder and CEO of Develop, LLC, an advisory firm focused on Opportunity Zones, Steve Glickman turns 42… Director of education at Bnei Akiva Schools of Toronto, Hillel David Rapp turns 42… Founder and CEO of Charity Bids, Israel “Yummy” Schachter turns 41… Co-founder and co-CEO of BurnAlong, Daniel Freedman turns 40… Documentary filmmaker, Nicholas Ma turns 39… Washington-based technology policy reporter at Axios, Ashley Gold turns 33… Isaac Hasson turns 31… Graphic designer, Casey Tepper turns 30… Yitzchak Tendler… Jon Fine… Moriah Elbaz…