👋 Good Friday morning!
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we talk to Daniel Gordis about his upcoming book and the debate around Israel’s judicial reform efforts, and feature former Israeli MK Einat Wilf on JI’s podcast. Also in today’s Daily Kickoff: Nikki Haley, Alison Roman and Jeff Zients.
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 Jewish Insider, eJewishPhilanthropy and The Circuit stories, including: Boy Meets Congress; Chicago’s Jewish community could swing mayoral race; After praising Netanyahu, Porter ‘concerned’ about ‘far-right voices’ in his coalition; What’s next for Israel’s judicial reform protests?; Vertical farming rises to new heights in the UAE and Saudi Arabia; Biden admin considering new Middle Eastern census category that would include Israelis; Jewish students from across U.S. duke it out in N.Y. to see whose robots reign supreme; and Cooking up connection and cuisine, Our Big Kitchen feeds thousands in L.A. Print the latest edition here.
Three prominent members of the Republican Jewish Coalition are circulating a letter urging colleagues to support Nikki Haley for president and donate to her campaign, calling the former governor of South Carolina and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations “the best candidate for Jewish Republicans, the Republican Party and America,” Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel scoops this morning.
“While the 2024 presidential contest has barely begun, we have decided not to wait,” the signatories write in their letter, which was obtained by JI on Thursday. “The best candidate for Jewish Republicans, the Republican Party and America is already in the race. We are committed to backing former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley for president, and we encourage you to join us.”
The letter is signed by Phil Rosen, a leading corporate attorney and Jewish leader in New York City; Cheryl Halpern, a partner at the production company HQ Creative LLC and a former national chairwoman of the RJC who lives in New Jersey; and Fred Zeidman, a Houston-based GOP donor and businessman. Zeidman told us yesterday that he is “all in” for Haley’s campaign, adding, “I far and away think she has the best chance of defeating any Democratic candidate.”
The exhortation comes as Haley’s campaign prepares to release its first-quarter fundraising numbers in the coming weeks, indicating whether she is gaining traction as the first major Republican challenger to run against former President Donald Trump in 2024. In recent weeks, Haley has courted support from the Jewish community at several events, including a widely attended campaign stop at a synagogue in Palm Beach, Fla., as well as a fundraiser in New York City, where she met with Orthodox Jewish leaders.
Since her campaign launch, Haley has shied away from targeting Trump, whose reputation among Jewish Republicans has suffered amid fallout from his dinner with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes last November — and whose political future was otherwise complicated on Thursday when he was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury. Read the full story here.
The State Department’s top Middle East official said on Thursday that Arab leaders have expressed concern that the recent protests and domestic unrest in Israel are distracting from the urgent need to address security concerns in Israel and the West Bank during Ramadan.
“The complete distraction that was inevitable during these last weeks and actually last three months would also mean that there was a distraction away from the kind of urgent issues that need addressing in terms of the Palestinians, in terms of the West Bank, in terms of the issues that we’ve all been preoccupied with going into the holy month of Ramadan,” Barbara Leaf, the assistant secretary of state for Near East Affairs, told reporters.
“Leaders across the region have expressed their concern to me regularly over these last two months about the insecurity, instability on the West Bank,” said Leaf. “Certainly the ability to deal with that I think was to some degree — to some degree, not entirely, but to some degree — compromised by the issues related to public protests and the public disagreement, if you will, over the judicial restructuring plan.”
Leaf recently returned from a 10-day trip to the region, which included an Israeli-Palestinian security summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and stops in Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia. “A key theme of our work in the two years ahead” is to help foster regional integration in a region that “has really suffered from a lack of integration, lack of economic, political, security integration,” Leaf said. “Certainly we are keen on fostering integration of Israel further and further into the neighborhood, into the region.”
welcome to miami
Saudi financial conference opens in U.S. with star-studded cast
Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative is running a miniature version of its annual Davos-in-the-Desert business conference in Miami, The Circuit’s Jonathan H. Ferziger reports.
Who’s there: The two days of panel discussions and high-level networking bring together a cast of prominent U.S. investors including Silicon Valley’s Marc Andreessen, Wall Street’s Nelson Peltz and Josh Harris, and WeWork and Flow founder Adam Neumann. Top Saudi figures at the FII’s Global Priority Summit include the governor of the kingdom’s $650 billion Public Investment Fund, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, and the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Princess Reema Bint Bandar. The Miami confab also attracted senior Trump administration figures, including Jared Kushner, the former White House senior policy advisor, and ex-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
What they’re saying: In his appearance on Thursday, Mnuchin spoke mostly about the U.S. economy and the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, which was rescued and sold off by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. “I think this was a complete failure of management and it was also a failure of the regulators,” Mnuchin remarked. “This should have been seen way in advance, and it should never have occurred.” Kushner is scheduled to speak today about the prospects for extending the Arab-Israeli normalization agreements known as the Abraham Accords that he spearheaded at the White House in 2020.
Riyadh reflection: Al-Rumayyan, who is chairman of Saudi Aramco, the kingdom’s national oil company, opened the proceedings with Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez in an onstage chat. In October, Suarez spoke at the main FII conference in the Saudi capital of Riyadh and announced the agreement to host FII in Miami. Speaking as head of the sovereign wealth fund, Al-Rumayyan said he expects the PIF to grow to $1 trillion in assets by 2025 and at least $2 trillion by 2030. As head of Aramco, whose 2022 net income of $161 billion was the highest in the world of any publicly traded company, Al-Rumayyan said the shift to sustainable energy sources has to be handled gradually. Because of climate change concerns, he said, “some of the governments around the world bullied the oil and gas companies.” Al-Rumayyan said the world needs to recognize that “it takes time to have a transition from fossil fuels to renewables,” adding that “oil, gas and fossil fuels are not such a bad thing.”
What the FII crowd is reading: Wealth funds in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have reportedly invested a collective $400 million in Jared Kushner’s Affinity Partners.
The chaos roiling a luxury Passover getaway in Atlantic City
Tickets were purchased, hotel rooms booked, outfits picked out — all that was left for hundreds of Orthodox Jews planning to spend Passover at a luxury hotel in Atlantic City was to show up. Or so they thought. Their hopes for an easy, relaxing holiday where their only responsibility would be to arrive before sunset next Wednesday were dashed this week, when the operator of the extravagant Passover program sent a cryptic email suggesting something had gone seriously wrong, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports.
Scam watch: “We were hit with a huge financial scam, and we are not sure at this point if we can continue,” said the Wednesday night email from Aryeh Hospitality, a tour company that has for years operated retreats for Passover and other Jewish holidays at hotels in New York and New Jersey. The email was first published by Yeshiva World News.
Contract clash: The Claridge Hotel, where the 10-day program was slated to take place, insists there was no scam — only an alleged breach of contract on the part of Aryeh Hospitality and its owner, Heshy Goldstein. “The only thing I can say is, the client that we were dealing with was in breach of contract. There was just no other choice but to cancel the event,” Jeff Marshall, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing, told Jewish Insider. Goldstein did not respond to multiple requests for comment from JI.
Growing trend: Weeklong Passover programs at hotels in the United States, Israel and exotic locations around the world have exploded in popularity in recent years. The programs vary in terms of religious observance, and the one at the Claridge was among the strictest level of observance. Its guests must now make new plans for the weeklong holiday. It is unclear if they will receive a refund.
Why Daniel Gordis thinks American Jews need to be ‘morally clear’ about situation in Israel
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced last fall that he had established a coalition government with several far-right ministers who had espoused anti-Arab and anti-LGBTQ views, Jerusalem-based author Daniel Gordis wasn’t pleased. But the American-born rabbi and scholar did not think it was the end of Israeli democracy; not even close. “That’s what happens in a democracy when you lose an election,” Gordis conceded. Four months later, he is singing a very different tune. In an interview with Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch this week, Gordis called the recent mass protests in Israel and Netanyahu’s decision to stand down — for the moment — on his proposed judicial reform legislation an “unbelievable accomplishment.”
Potential danger: “My feelings about the government changed from it being distasteful to it being potentially disastrous for the Jewish state,” said Gordis, whose latest book, Impossible Takes Longer: 75 Years After Its Creation, Has Israel Fulfilled Its Founders’ Dreams? will be released on April 11.
Say something: In another major about-face, the centrist writer and commentator thinks it isn’t only Israelis who should be speaking out, but Jews in the diaspora, too. “I think to whatever extent this thing isn’t over, it would reflect well on American Jewish organizations to understand that there do come certain moments when, if Israel has a purpose, its purpose is to save the Jewish people. And Israel can’t save the Jewish people if it’s not a Jewish and democratic state,” said Gordis, Koret Distinguished Fellow at Jerusalem’s Shalem College, Israel’s first liberal arts college.
Read the full interview here.
Bonus: Weeks after urging their colleagues not to speak out about Israel’s judicial reform efforts, Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) said in a statement to Jewish Insider, “Over the last several months, we have witnessed Israeli democracy at work — citizens of many backgrounds have demonstrated and made their voices heard, committed to Israel’s vibrant democratic ideals. We welcome the news that Israel’s government has temporarily suspended consideration of the judicial reform package. At this unique juncture, and after meeting with Ambassador [Michael] Herzog, we urge calm and consensus to include the voices of Israel’s civil society, and we look forward to democracy in action through dialogue and compromise.”
Einat Wilf: ‘Anti-Zionism is a destructive idea by its very definition
Einat Wilf has been in the public eye for nearly 15 years as a prominent voice espousing liberal Zionism. A former foreign policy advisor to then-Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Wilf sat in the Knesset from 2010 to 2013, first with the Labor party and later with the Independence party, which she helped form. Wilf, 52, who in August 2022 published her most recent book, a collection of essays titled, We Should All Be Zionists: Essays on the Jewish State and the Path to Peace, joined Jewish Insider’s podcast this week to discuss Zionism and anti-Zionism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the state of Israeli democracy today.
On the state of Zionism today: “It’s a kind of revival of secular Zionism that for so many years, even decades, was almost taken for granted, viewed as something that is no longer relevant. Zionism became associated with the more religious, even extreme right-wing elements of Israeli politics and society. And you could hear them even say things like that the descendants, the heirs of the secular Zionism that basically built the state, were a bunch of ‘left-wing globalists, rootless cosmopolitans, who have no real connection to the land. If anything doesn’t go their way they’re gonna leave at the first opportunity. They all hold second passports.’…Even when the first protests happened, much of the commentary from the right was like, ‘this is a bunch of aging people, the median age of the protests is 75. They’re just lamenting a country that is no longer theirs,’ and what I think has happened is that all of that was just proven to be absolutely and completely wrong. And in many ways, this is the most hopeful thing that I take from what’s been happening.”
Zionism versus anti-Zionism: “Zionism is essentially a constructive idea. It’s an idea about imagining a future and then building that future, and it’s all about construction, it’s all about building. And this is why Zionism has been a remarkably powerful idea, and I would argue in many ways, the only idea that ultimately triumphed as a successful way to be a Jew in the modern era… Anti-Zionism is a destructive idea by its very definition. It’s an idea that sees something vibrant, something that was built, and believes that it shouldn’t exist, that it must be destroyed… The problem was always, and remains, with the Palestinian goal. As long as the Palestinian goal remains the same that it has always been, and to their credit they have been consistent about making clear that that’s their goal, that the goal was no Jewish state in any border whatsoever between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.”
On the Abraham Accords: “The Abraham Accords represent a refocusing of Arab priorities away from anti-Zionism, away from supporting Palestinian rejectionism. It’s not really about us, I sometimes call the Abraham Accords a ‘collateral benefit’ of a bigger shift in the Arab world, and certainly in the Gulf countries, much more towards focusing on fighting extremism, developing a vision of a moderate Islam, serving their citizens, and in that process, they find that anti-Zionism is no longer as useful to them as a scapegoat, as a way of redirecting anger, as they once needed it.”
on the hill
Lawmakers press for strategy to prevent U.S. parts in Iranian drones
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced a bill this week that seeks a multi-department strategy from the administration to prevent Iran from acquiring components from the U.S. and its allies for use in weaponized drones, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports. Reports earlier this year indicated that a significant number of the parts used in Iranian-made drones and missiles used by Russia in Ukraine were made by U.S. companies, in spite of wide-ranging sanctions.
What it says: The legislation, titled the Block the Use of Transatlantic Technology in Iranian Made Drones Act of 2023, acknowledges that it is “difficult for manufacturers and government regulators alike” to control the ultimate destination and usage of “highly ubiquitous” dual-use components, but emphasizes that the U.S. and its allies “must ensure that technology designed or produced by United States entities is not used to support the Russian federation’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”
Lawmakers speak out: The bill is sponsored by Reps. Bill Keating (D-MA), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Claudia Tenney (D-NY). “It is inexcusable that American products are being used on Iranian drones which are deployed to attack our allies and murder civilians. We must use every tool at our disposal to stop American innovation from being weaponized by our adversaries,” Wilson said in a statement. Phillips highlighted that the drones are “wreaking havoc worldwide” and have been used “from gathering intelligence on Ukrainian military positions for Russia to attacking U.S. personnel in Syria.”
🗳️ DeSantis’ Decisions:Politico’s Sally Goldenberg spotlights Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ efforts to woo blue-state donors, including a recent meeting in New York in Ronald Lauder, as he entertains a 2024 presidential bid. “DeSantis’ message was simple: He is the only Republican who could defeat President Joe Biden in a general election. In meetings with other wealthy businessmen, DeSantis has been even more explicit, portraying himself as an obvious choice for anyone frustrated by the former president Donald Trump’s legal troubles and antics. In the case of Lauder, DeSantis’ audience was well-chosen. The businessman has not been shy about his frustration with Trump, whom he backed in past races… The outreach by DeSantis provides a window into the early calculations he and his team have made as they ready themselves for a presidential run. The governor has made a name for himself castigating corporate America, while also leaning on top finance figures for financial support. His team sees New York donors as prime turf, not only for their deep pockets but also because many of them backed Trump out of convenience rather than a shared ideology with his MAGA base.” [Politico]
🏦 Banking on It: The New York Times’ Rob Copeland and Maureen Farrell look at how JPMorgan Chase head Jamie Dimon is leading the effort to save First Republic from collapse, 15 years after the executive played a similar role in 2008. “Mr. Dimon is the only current chief executive of a big bank to have held that position during the 2008 financial crisis, giving him a long history with federal regulators and officials at the Treasury and the Federal Reserve. He is ‘acting as a senior statesperson who is helping to shore up the financial industry in a time of crisis of confidence,’ said Mike Mayo, a longtime banking analyst. ‘With that comes potentially higher prestige but also potential backlash.’ Although Mr. Dimon got a lot of publicity for orchestrating the $30 billion rescue plan for First Republic, he was hardly acting solely of his own volition. Both in 2008 and this month, the JPMorgan boss acted at the behest of the federal government. ‘When the Treasury secretary suggests you do this, you have to think pretty hard before saying no,’ said Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard economics professor who has written on financial crises.” [NYTimes]
🌐 New World Order:Semafor’s Jay Solomon observes how recent agreements and restorations of ties have changed Iran and Syria’s political positioning in the region. “Current and former Iranian officials have hailed its recent diplomatic developments as key wins for Tehran in its global chess match with the United States. In a column in Iran’s Mashregh news site, a senior military advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called the Saudi deal “a political earthquake and an end to American hegemony” in the Middle East. An exaggeration? Sure. But there’s also a grain of truth beneath the boasting. The U.S. has spent years erecting a network of sanctions and diplomatic blacklistings that up until just a few weeks ago had increasingly isolated Iran as well as Syria, with whom Tehran controls a network of regional militias and proxies. Thanks to these recent deals, those walls are threatening to crack, giving Iran leeway to advance its nuclear program and crack down on months-long anti-regime protests.” [Semafor]
❓ What’s Next?: The Wall Street Journal’s Elliot Kaufman considers how Israeli leaders could proceed following a halt in moving forward on judicial reform and the onset of negotiations between different Knesset factions. “In the wreckage lies more than right-wing dreams of comprehensive reform. Israel’s reputation has suffered, even among friends. Further, precedents have been set: If Israelis resent a political change enough, they can threaten the country’s military readiness. They can call on foreign allies to pressure their government. They can block the country’s key nodes and menace its economy. They can turn to the military brass to intervene in nonmilitary matters. Will Israel’s rising right-wing, ‘national-religious’ officer corps take note? What will its rapidly growing Haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, population have learned about democratic norms from this affair? Judicial reform has stalled, and it could sink altogether if it requires agreement on a formal constitution. Most likely, the right will settle for modest changes, which may have been what Mr. Netanyahu preferred all along. Conservatives, after all, are supposed to understand the advantages of reform over revolution. Changes made over a longer period, in a process of trial and error, are more likely to last and succeed.” [WSJ]
🙏 Prayer Reflection: In an interview with The Atlantic’s Yair Rosenberg, actor Ben Platt, who stars as Leo Frank in the Broadway revival of “Parade,” explains how he approaches the role, which includes the recitation of the Shema prayer just before his character’s lynching. “I went to Jewish day school and summer camp, and so the Shema is so reflexive. For me, that moment just becomes a moment of pure instinct. Even I, who have tried to get as much into Frank’s mind space as possible to play the role, obviously could never imagine what that moment might feel like. But what I can guess is that a lot of your facilities go and what’s left is just what’s truly reflexive and instinctual in your mind. What’s nice is that the Shema really is that for me. I know it like the back of my hand, the way that all my family does. So it feels like a comforting, just impulsive thing to get to do, in the sense that I get to lean back on the comfort of this prayer and know that it’s in the annals of my mind all the time, always. When you have no facility to be making choices or to wrap yourself up in any kind of satisfying way, what’s left is what’s always just kind of repeating in your mind, and I certainly can relate to that being the Shema.” [TheAtlantic]
Around the Web
👍 Backing Bibi: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) released a statement announcing his support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom the California Republican described as “an Israeli statesman, a patriot, and most importantly, a great friend of the United States of America.”
👨 In This White House: Axiosobserves White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients’ management style as he settles into his new role at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
☎️ Call Time: A State Department readout from Secretary of State Tony Blinken’s call with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said the two “discussed shared challenges including Iran, as well as efforts to advance mutual interests, such as Israel’s further regional integration.”
📖 Passover Passage: In The Wall Street Journal, Ruth Wisse reflects on key passages in the Passover Haggadah.
👎 Peach State Politics: Legislation in Georgia to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism failed to garner the requisite support ahead of the end of the legislature’s session.
🎓 Campus Beat: Yale University is changing the name of its Judaic Studies program to Jewish Studies, reflecting what its undergraduate director described as an emphasis on “the social and global aspects of Jewish life.”
💸 ESG Ethos: In the Washington Examiner, Melissa Braunstein considers the concerns about anti-Israel bias in environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) investing.
🥘 Roman Holiday: Food writer Alison Roman shares her Passover recipes ahead of the holiday next week.
📺 Coming Soon: Netflix will premiere “Jewish Matchmaking,” the streaming service’s latest reality TV dating show, on May 3.
✍️ Letter of the Law: In The New York Times, Yuval Levin suggests that Israel could learn from the U.S.’ experience in drafting its own constitution.
🇮🇱 Looking Ahead: In Foreign Policy, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Aaron David Miller and former Amb. Daniel Kurtzer lay out potential scenarios for Israel amid ongoing negotiations over judicial reform.
🎖️ Still Here: Despite the announcement of his firing on Sunday night, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant remains in his role, with his future uncertain.
💥 Syria Strategy: The Pentagon said that eight militants were killed in airstrikes aimed at Iran-backed fighters in Syria last week in response to attacks that killed one U.S. contractor and injured seven servicemembers, six of whom suffered traumatic brain injuries.
Pic of the Day
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield attends a mock Seder hosted by Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Gilad Erdan this week in New York. Seventy ambassadors attended the event, which featured readings from the Passover Haggadah and food traditionally served on the holiday.
President of Baltimore-based HealthSource Distributors and chairman of the Orthodox Union’s Advocacy Center, Jerry L. Wolasky turns 65 on Saturday…
FRIDAY: Music producer, band leader of the Tijuana Brass, Herb Alpert turns 88… New York Times best-selling novelist, poet and social activist, Marge Piercy turns 87… Former Democratic congressman from Massachusetts for 32 years, Barnett “Barney” Frank turns 83… U.S. senator (D-VT) for 48 years until this past January, Patrick Leahy turns 83… Former syndicated talk radio host on 400+ stations under the name Michael Savage, he is also a best-selling author and nutritionist under his real name, Michael Alan Weiner turns 81… U.S. Sen. Angus King (I-ME) turns 79… Comedian, actor and professional poker player, Gabe Kaplan turns 78… Retired professor of special education at Long Island University, Joel E. Mittler… Emmy Award-winning actress, Rhea Jo Perlman turns 75… Ice dancing coach and former competitive ice dancer, Natalia Dubova turns 75… Chairman of Apple, Inc. since 2011 and CEO of Calico, Arthur D. Levinson turns 73… New Jersey attorney, Steven L. Sacks-Wilner… Scottsdale, Ariz., resident, David L. Freedman… Chairman of Danaher Corporation, Steven M. Rales turns 72… Israeli singer and songwriter, Ehud Banai turns 70… Former deputy chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency, David Breakstone, Ph.D. turns 70… Author and advertising executive, Joseph Alden Reiman turns 70… President at the Detroit-based Nemer Property Group, Larry Nemer… Rabbi of Kehillas Ohr Somayach and lecturer at Ohr Somayach Yeshiva in Jerusalem, Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz turns 69… Show-jumping equestrian and 10-time American Grand Prix Association Rider of the Year, she is a 2009 inductee into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, Margie Goldstein-Engle turns 65… Emmy Award-winning writer and producer, Howard Gordon turns 62… Consultant for synagogues, Judah E. Isaacs… Two-term mayor of Chattanooga, Tenn., he is now a special representative for broadband in the U.S. Commerce Department, Andy Berke turns 55… Chief economic correspondent for Politico and co-author of its “Morning Money” column, Ben White turns 51… Rabbi of the Jewish community of Turkey, Menachem Mendel Chitrik turns 46… Chief legal correspondent at MSNBC, Ari Naftali Melber turns 43… Footballer for Beitar Jerusalem, who has also played for Chelsea, Manchester City and West Ham United in the English Premier League, Tal Ben Haim turns 41… Tal Meir Levine… Co-founder and former CMO of Tinder, Justin Mateen turns 37… British-French journalist, author of This Is London and Fragile Empire, Ben Judah turns 35… 2010 contestant on “America’s Next Top Model,” she went on to join the IDF, Esther Petrack turns 31… Howie Keenan… John Jacobson…
SATURDAY: Physicist and 1997 Nobel Prize laureate Claude Cohen-Tannoudji turns 90… Psychotherapist in South Florida, Annie Schlachet Garfield, LCSW… Former member of the Knesset for the Likud party, he is a nephew of Moshe Dayan, Uzi Dayan turns 75… Research associate and lecturer at Harvard University noted for her studies in animal cognition, particularly in relation to parrots, Irene Maxine Pepperberg, Ph.D. turns 74… Former president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy, Gilda Z. Jacobs turns 74… Singer-songwriter best known as the original lead guitarist for Sha Na Na and as the youngest person, at age 18, to play on the main stage at Woodstock in 1969, Henry Gross turns 72… Producer and director including the “Men in Black” trilogy, Barry Sonnenfeld turns 70… Retired NYC-based attorney, Freddie Berg… Lecturer at Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism, Jonathan P. Friedman… Six-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida, he is the founder of the Ben Gamla Charter School network in Florida and now lives in Ra’anana, Israel, Peter Deutsch turns 66… Author of over 200 children’s books, Mark Shulman turns 61… Former member of the Knesset for the Kadima party, Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich turns 59… VP of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress and a leader of the Jewish community of Kyiv, Alexander (Aaron) Levin turns 55… Lawyer turned political thriller novelist, Brad Meltzer turns 53… Principal deputy director in HHS’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Jessica “Jess” Smith turns 46… Four-year star basketball player at the University of Maryland including a national championship in double overtime against Duke, she was drafted by the WNBA but played mostly in Israel, Shay Doron turns 38… Associate at Debevoise & Plimpton, Noah L. Schwartz… Former deputy White House communications director in the Trump administration, now on the staff of Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Julia Aviva Hahn turns 32… Ronald Lippman…
SUNDAY: Olympian, holder of the world record in the 50-mile walk which stood since 1972, he is a concentration camp survivor via the Kastner train and a professor emeritus at Ben Gurion University, Shaul Paul Ladany turns 87… National security advisor under President Clinton, then executive director of UNICEF, he converted to Judaism in 2005, William Anthony Kirsopp Lake, best known as Tony Lake, turns 84… Israeli businessman, with a portfolio in mining, energy, diamonds and real estate, Beny Steinmetz turns 67… Deputy U.S. attorney general (and later acting AG) during the Trump administration, now a nonresident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Jeffrey A. Rosen turns 65… Academy Award-winning film director, screenwriter and producer, David Frankel turns 64… Acting Supreme Court judge in Brooklyn, she is the founder of Ezras Nashim all-female volunteer ambulance corps in NYC, Rachel “Ruchie” Freier turns 58… On-air ice hockey analyst for NESN during pre-game, post-game and intermissions of the Boston Bruins, Billy Jaffe turns 54… Singer, songwriter, guitarist and composer, he is a founding member of the Jewish rock band Moshav, Duvid Swirsky turns 47… Producer and screenwriter including for “Breaking In” and “The Goldbergs,” Adam F. Goldberg turns 47… Actress, producer and singer, she and her husband, Guy Nattiv, won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 2019, Jaime Ray Newman turns 45… Metro reporter for the NYT covering NYC politics, Dana Rubinstein… Director for international economics at the White House’s National Security Council, Brian Janovitz… Ph.D. candidate at NYU, Isaac Roszler… Chief field officer at the Israel on Campus Coalition, Elisabeth Rosenfeld… Rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Evan Lerner Traylor… Officer of both the annual Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival and the Warsaw Jewish Film Festival, Magda Strehlau… Attorney and strategic counsel at Medtronic, Rhona Shwaid… Miriam Rosen… Judith Berman…