👋 Good Monday morning!
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we look at the Heritage Foundation’s policy shifts in recent years and feature an interview with Rep. Jake Auchincloss on our podcast. Also in today’s Daily Kickoff: N.C. Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, Rabbi Marc Katz and Wolf Blitzer.
Who killed Kesher’s rabbi? This morning, we’re bringing you the third installment of an investigation from Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch into the 1984 murder of a prominent Washington rabbi. Catch up on the first two parts here.
Known and beloved for his generosity, Rabbi Philip Rabinowitz lived his values by helping Jews in need. But after he was killed and suspicions mounted, some would begin to question: Had he been too generous? More below.
Hours before the kickoff of the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly in Tel Aviv last night, attendees (and the press corps) received an email that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had been slated to address the gathering’s opening session along with President Isaac Herzog, would no longer be appearing at the confab, JI’s Melissa Weiss reports. The cancellation came as leaders of Israel’s protest movement and American activists planned a demonstration to coincide with Netanyahu’s address. Earlier in the day, one of the chief architects of the judicial reform proposals, MK Simcha Rothman, was disrupted by audience members with shouts and groggers while he was speaking at a meeting of the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors.
Netanyahu, however, did appear on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” where he discussed judicial reform efforts and fielded questions about his coalition partners. “I think a lot of them have changed over time,” Netanyahu said of the coalition members who have garnered attention for past involvement in extremist groups and derogatory comments about different factions of Israeli society. “And they themselves say that. But the important thing to understand is they joined me, I didn’t join them. We have by far the largest party in the Knesset, and certainly in the coalition. They’re smaller parties. The mainstream policies are decided by me. And that’s what I’m doing.”
Netanyahu also told CBS’ Margaret Brennan that he is open to meeting with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis later this week in Jerusalem. “I’ll meet with everyone. Why not?” Netanyahu said. “I meet with Republican governors and Democratic governors… I think it’s my job, and I think it’s important for Israel’s bipartisan support in the United States. I make a point of it.” Neither the Prime Minister’s Office nor DeSantis’ office responded to inquiries about an official meeting.
Speaking last night at the GA in Tel Aviv, Herzog addressed what he described as “fierce debate over Israel’s direction in recent months,” cautioning that “there is no greater existential threat to our people than the one that comes from within: our own polarization and alienation from one another.”
Herzog also announced the launch of a new initiative that seeks to improve dialogue among Jewish communities and identify new young Jewish leaders, eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross reports. Read more here.
The JFNA GA was not without protest, even with Netanyahu’s absence. A panel Monday morning featuring Rothman, Israel Democracy Institute President Yohanan Plesner and One Million Lobby founder and CEO Alex Rif was punctuated by frequent outbursts from audience members and occasionally heated exchanges between Plesner and Rothman over some of the government’s more contentious efforts, including its judicial reform proposals and discussions to revoke Israel’s “grandfather clause.”
Rif, who moved to Israel from Russia with her family in the 1990s, directly addressed Rothman regarding the grandfather clause, which currently allows individuals with one Jewish grandparent to make aliyah. “I think the biggest danger for changing the Law of Return today is for the ones that are here in Israel, the 400,000 Israelis that are not Jewish by halacha,” Rif said to Rothman amid applause. “When you change the law of return, you close the door for them forever for the Jewish people. You’re telling them, ‘You’re here by mistake.’”
Israeli Opposition Leader and former Prime Minister Yair Lapid is slated to address the gathering this afternoon.
Among the many travelers to Israel ahead of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, this week is House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who, along with a delegation of House members, met with U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides yesterday.
The House is set to vote on Tuesday on a resolution, introduced by Reps. Ann Wagner (R-MO), Kathy Manning (D-NC), Mike McCaul (R-TX) and Brad Schneider (D-IL), celebrating the 75th anniversary of the U.S.-Israel relationship, encouraging the strengthening and expansion of the Abraham Accords, affirming support for the U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding and supporting Israel’s “robust involvement as an active member of the community of nations.”
In Pittsburgh today, jury selection begins for the trial of the man charged with murdering 11 congregants at the Tree of Life synagogue in October 2018.
Inside Heritage’s foreign policy evolution
The Heritage Foundation was once a bastion of interventionist foreign policy in the Republican Party. But on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, the influential conservative think tank has shifted toward what its president, Kevin Roberts, described to Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod as a more “selective” U.S. foreign policy — one in which Israel and Taiwan land at the top of the list of U.S. priorities; Ukraine, which for more than a year has struggled against a Russian invasion, does not.
Grand strategy: Roberts described Heritage’s grand strategy for foreign policy as “what we call the third way… which is to say neither interventionism nor isolationism.” The strategy aligns with the populist national conservative movement, which promotes a more isolationist foreign policy coupled with protectionist trade measures. The current approach, Roberts said, stems from “recognizing that America is a lot weaker 40 years after [Ronald] Reagan’s presidency. It’s weaker financially, it’s weaker socially and culturally, every branch of the services has a very difficult time not just in recruiting, but in retaining.” Roberts argues that the current policy remains consistent with Reaganite values. “We hope that we can help change [the current situation] by saying, ‘We believe in peace through strength, we want a very strong, robust American military,” he said, “but we have to be a heck of a lot more selective and just and constitutional when we decide to deploy the people’s resources.’”
Israel in focus: Although the prime focus for Heritage and its keynote speakers has been on shifting resources toward Taiwan and away from Ukraine, Roberts emphasized that Israel remains a key interest — and another example of why the U.S. needs to conserve the resources being sent to help Kyiv fend off the Russian invasion. The Heritage president classified Israel as “near the top of the scale” or potentially “at the very top” of vital U.S. interests because it is among the U.S.’ most “consistent all[ies] in world politics,” “geopolitically important for those of us who appreciate the shared [Judeo-Christian] heritage we have” and because the U.S. and Israel share the same existential enemies.
Eye on Iran: Iran received scant attention at the conference — at odds with the level of concern many in the GOP’s more traditional foreign policy wing hold about the regime in Tehran. But Roberts pointed to the potential threat from the Islamic republic as an additional reason the U.S. needs to cut off Ukraine, placing it alongside China as one of “our biggest enemies.” “This is a pie and these military resources are not infinite, and we have to be able to keep some of them in case the Iranians become an even bigger issue than they are,” he said. “I would actually say Iran is a much bigger threat to us than Russia.”
who killed kesher’s rabbi?
Love the Stranger
This is the third installment of a five-part series that we’re releasing over two weeks. If you missed Parts One and Two, catch up here.
A cloud of grief hung over Rabbi Philip Rabinowitz in the years before his murder. The Georgetown rabbi maintained his stature as the spiritual and intellectual beating heart of Kesher Israel Congregation, but after his wife died, something fundamental had changed. He was broken.
The rabbi had to navigate the difficult halacha, or Jewish law, around burial and matrimony in a way that few others had done before. He wanted his daughter to be able to enjoy life as a newlywed as much as possible while also mourning her mother.
After a period of intense emotional whiplash, Rabinowitz was left to reenter normal life on his own.
“At the time of her death, I’m reasonably certain that Rabbi Rabinowitz had no inkling of how to boil water, no idea how to do any cooking at all,” said Dan Klein, a longtime Kesher member. “But he learned, and there were a few members of the congregation who helped him out a little bit, and he eventually got to the point where he could invite a few people over for a Shabbat meal.”
The rabbi did not regularly have guests over, though, and congregants began to walk or drive him home after evening prayers. The neighborhood wasn’t particularly unsafe — Georgetown was spared the worst of the violent crime that racked Washington in the 1980s and 1990s — but Rabinowitz’s residence was closer to The George Washington University campus than it was to the multimillion-dollar Georgetown homes, and besides, “it was pitch black,” said Howard Rosen, who often walked with Rabinowitz on his way back to the GWU dorms.
Still, Rabinowitz was not willing to only accept congregants’ pity and shrink from his duties. In 1979, he quit his teaching job at a local Jewish school to focus full-time on the congregation. He continued his responsibilities as a religious leader, but he also doubled down in his commitment to pastoral care. This, congregants say, is where he really shined: remembering the names of all of your kids, or visiting you when you were sick, and making it clear he saw you as a person, and not just as the 10th member of a prayer quorum.
“It’s incredible that people like this, who have gone through a life like that… He went through the worst experience in life — he was a survivor and refugee and it just made him more kind and generous,” said Rosen. Some would later question, only in hindsight, whether he had been too generous.
Read the rest of Part Three, ‘Love the Stranger,’ here. Part Four will land in your inbox on Thursday.
Auchincloss on the China-Iran-Russia axis against U.S. and allies
On the most recent episode of Jewish Insider’s podcast, co-hosts Rich Goldberg and Jarrod Bernstein were joined by Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA), a newly appointed member of the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, for a discussion on China, American foreign policy and the recent Pentagon document leaks.
The goal of the House Select Committee: “The goal of the committee is to rise above day-to-day politics and chart long-term sound strategy to outcompete the Chinese Communist Party,” Auchincloss said. “And to do that, it needs to, one, create shared awareness within the halls of Congress about the scope and severity of the challenge posed by the CCP, ideological, military, economic. And two, it needs to create shared conviction about a discrete set of policy recommendations that 70% of Congress can get behind. I say 70%, because that means that it’s a durable consensus that will guide foreign policy, regardless of who’s in the White House, and that has majorities within both caucuses — Democrat and Republican as well as of course, within the House itself. That’s really the goal here. We need members to be paying attention, and then we need members to be largely aligned on what to do about it.”
On the importance of global engagement: “I would reject the premise that global engagement is a zero-sum, or even a costly endeavor,” Auchincloss told Goldberg and Bernstein. “The Abraham Accords, for example, are a positive-sum endeavor. The United States is stronger, Israel is stronger, Arab states are stronger because of the Abraham Accords, and spending diplomatic time and spending American prestige on supporting and cultivating the Abraham Accords, that doesn’t cost us anything, that has huge returns, that is beneficial to us. Same thing with engagement with Latin America through Mercosur [the Southern Common Market] or the Organization of American States. That’s to our benefit. What costs us money is when we lie about weapons of mass destruction and spend 15 years fighting in the Middle East. That is expensive. That is why we need members of Congress who are going to call foul on commanders in chief who try to dissemble to the American people and get us bogged down in unwinnable wars.”
Mark Robinson’s run for N.C. governor to test GOP in battleground state
For the second time in his brief political tenure, Mark Robinson, the polarizing lieutenant governor of North Carolina, stands poised to test the limits of acceptability as he seeks higher office in a key battleground state. The 54-year-old Republican formally announced on Saturday that he is running for governor, setting up what is expected to be a fiercely contested race for the state’s top job, Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel reports. “The establishment is scared because I can’t be controlled,” he told supporters in Alamance County, near his hometown of Greensboro.
Exception to the trend? Robinson launched his campaign with an extensive and well-documented history of antisemitic comments and derogatory remarks targeting Muslims and trangender people. The lieutenant governor, who first took office in 2021, has refused to apologize for his rhetoric, which has raised questions over his appeal in the general election. But while several GOP prospects struggled with electability issues in high-profile gubernatorial and Senate contests last cycle, Robinson’s candidacy will demonstrate whether he is an exception to that trend.
‘A lot of concern’: His campaign will also be a test for North Carolina’s overwhelmingly Democratic Jewish community, members of which are now privately weighing how to respond to an increasingly powerful figure who enters the race as a clear Republican frontrunner. “There’s a lot of concern about it,” one Jewish leader told JI, speaking anonymously to discuss a sensitive topic. “We really think he could get elected.”
Favorable polling: Even as Robinson’s past statements have drawn condemnation, early polling suggests that the controversial conservative lawmaker, who would be North Carolina’s first Black governor, remains popular among a majority of Republican primary voters. “Any candidate who gets out of either party’s primary has a chance to win the governor’s mansion in North Carolina, even someone with extreme, polarizing rhetoric like Mark Robinson,” Chris Cooper, a professor of political science at Western Carolina University, said in an email to JI.
The battlefield: Robinson will face at least one opponent in the GOP primary. Dale Folwell, the state treasurer of North Carolina, announced his campaign in March. Former Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) is also reportedly planning to launch a bid soon. The primary winner would almost certainly go up against Josh Stein, the attorney general of North Carolina and a moderate Jewish Democrat. In a campaign launch video released in mid-January, Stein accused the lieutenant governor of sparking “division,” igniting “hate” and fanning “the flames of bigotry.”
Lawmakers come out in force behind funding for U.S.-Israel cooperative defense programs
Lawmakers from both parties and both chambers of Congress have come out in force in recent weeks to express support for continued funding for a range of cooperative U.S.-Israel defensive programs as part of the 2024 appropriations cycle, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports. A series of four letters, which express support for cooperative counter-drone, counter-tunneling and missile-defense programs, highlight the continued robust support that these programs and the U.S.-Israel relationship broadly maintain in Congress. The funding itself is approved annually with little fanfare.
Missile defense: The letter from 170 House members on missile-defense funding affirms support for the $500 million in missile-defense systems, including Iron Dome, Arrow and David’s Sling, scheduled to be provided annually under the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding. It also acknowledges GOP efforts to pursue sweeping budget cuts: “During these challenging budgetary times we must prioritize federal funding for programs where federal involvement can have the greatest impact on the safety and security of the American people, our troops, and our allies. These highly advanced missile defense systems have consistently been a key factor in Israel’s self-defense and further technological and operational advancements will be crucial moving forward.”
Counter-drone: One of the counter-drone funding letters, led by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Ted Budd (R-NC) with a dozen cosponsors, urges Senate appropriators to approve $40 million for counter-drone funding in the 2024 Defense Appropriations Bill. A nearly identical letter in the House, led by Reps. Pat Ryan (D-NY) and Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), makes the same funding-level request, with 63 other co-signers.
Tunnel trouble: Another House letter, led by Reps. Brad Schneider, Kathy Manning (D-NC), August Pfluger (R-TX) and Doug Lamborn (R-CO), urges support for $47.5 million for counter-tunneling projects, the same amount included in last year’s bill. Fifty-six additional lawmakers joined this letter.
Bonus: The Senate passed by unanimous consent a resolution — sponsored by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Tim Scott (R-SC) — recognizing the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
on the hill
Legislators condemn lack of accountability for Iranian schoolgirl poisonings
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is calling out the Iranian government for failing to probe the poisonings of thousands of schoolgirls across Iran — in what experts believe to have been deliberate gas attacks — over the course of several months, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports. Twenty-three lawmakers introduced a resolution last week condemning the Iranian government over the issue and outlining steps to seek answers. Lawmakers also announced last week, in connection with the resolution, the formation of the Iranian Women Congressional Caucus.
Pointing blame: The resolution outlines the role that the students and women more generally have played in leading protests in the wake of the September death of a 22-year-old Iranian woman in regime custody. The text echoes accusations by “angry parents” that the attacks are “‘targeted and deliberate’ to keep girls from getting an education,” accuses the regime of having “ignored the attacks for more than 100 days and has responded with blaming protestors for the gas attacks on schoolgirls” and outlines efforts by the regime to suppress information about the poisonings. The resolution calls on the U.S. government to “initiate a formal process” to launch an independent investigation of the poisonings, including a United Nations fact-finding mission and a World Health Organization report to determine who is responsible for the attacks.
Coming together: The resolution and the caucus are being led by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). Other co-sponsors include Reps. Nancy Mace (R-SC), Deborah Ross (D-NC), John Curtis (R-UT), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Don Bacon (R-NE), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Scott Peters (D-CA), Al Green (D-TX), Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Troy Carter (D-LA), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Lance Gooden (R-TX), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-CA), Young Kim (R-CA), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Mike Garcia (R-CA) and Judy Chu (D-CA).
Bonus: In Politico, Foreign Affairs editor Daniel Block looks at disputes within the Iranian diaspora community over engagement with Tehran.
Bonus: The Senate passed by unanimous consent a resolution — sponsored by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Tim Scott (R-SC) — recognizing the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
🕍 Preparing for the Worst: In The New York Times, Rabbi Marc Katz, whose New Jersey synagogue was the target of an antisemitic attack earlier this year, writes about how he and colleagues are addressing both physical attacks and anticipatory fear of future incidents. “A generation ago, before I became a rabbi, Jewish communities did not expect or plan for synagogue attacks, assaults against Jews walking down the street, or swastikas painted on local playgrounds. When they happened, the events were outliers, aberrations. My great-grandparents who fled pogroms in Europe may have expected that, but this country felt different. Now we too have come to anticipate violence and hate. The fear of these potential threats has become a mainstay within the psyche of modern American Jewish life. It is exhausting. We can’t make these threats more predictable. But that doesn’t mean we have to live in perpetual anxiety. If we are going to do anything about these stochastic threats — in other words, the drumbeat of falsehoods and hate-mongering against Jews that produce both concrete terrible action, and the vague threats that haunt our dreams — we have to find tangible actions that supply agency and purpose amid the tumult.” [NYTimes]
👀 Crow Controversy:The Wall Street Journal’s Barton Swaim visits the home of real estate developer Harlan Crow, whose relationship with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been scrutinized in recent weeks, and looks at his extensive collection of historical items, including a section devoted to American Judaica. “His archive and library, as I learned this week on a visit to his home, is head-spinningly large and diverse, housing roughly 15,000 books and 5,000 manuscripts. One of his interests among many others: paintings by political leaders. On his walls are original paintings by Winston Churchill, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Mr. Crow’s friend George W. Bush. Not displayed are two paintings by Adolf Hitler, which are archived, along with other items pertaining to Nazi-era Germany, for the benefit of historical research… At Old Parkland, a kind of Americana-themed office park and research campus owned by Mr. Crow, he tells me about the debates regularly hosted at the site. We sit down first in the campus café. ‘We’ve had a lot of speakers here,’ he says, ‘President [George W.] Bush has spoken here many times, but Bill Clinton has spoken here. Beto O’Rourke was here. [House Minority Leader] Hakeem Jeffries was here.’” [WSJ]
🖼️ Art History: The Financial Times’ Victor Mallet asks Laurence de Cars, the director of the Louvre, about the obligation of museums to return Nazi-looted art. “Before we leave and I pay the bill — which is mercifully about half what it would be à la carte without the special staff menu — I ask her about one of the most vexed issues for the world’s museums today: restitution. Ultimately the decision on whether to return a work of art is up to the owner — in this case the French state — rather than the museum that houses it, but Des Cars says there is no argument about the need to give back stolen paintings, including the Gustav Klimt she agreed to return from the Musée d’Orsay to the heirs of a Jewish woman who lost it to the Nazis in Austria and died in the Holocaust… She is proud of having bought the first pieces of African art for the Louvre in Abu Dhabi and of having the Jewish Torah from Yemen shown there alongside Koranic and Christian texts. ‘I think it’s very important because you say something about tolerance, about recognition,’ she says before we part. ‘And the world needs a little bit of mutual understanding and respect.’” [FT]
✡️☪️ Mounting Tensions: In Newsweek, Itay Milner, the consul for media affairs at the Israeli Consulate in New York, addresses recent tensions at the Temple Mount. “With only an ancient stone wall separating these two massive groups, tensions are understandably high. That’s why long-standing security measures designate separate visiting hours for Jews and Muslims at the Temple Mount to prevent conflict. But recent years have seen another component of Al-Aqsa-related incitement aiming to obstruct visits by Jews to their holiest site, the Temple Mount, portraying them as ‘taking over’ and ‘defiling’ the area with their ‘filthy Jewish feet’ and encouraging Palestinian youth to ‘defend’ against fabricated Israeli threats… Passover blood libels are nothing new, but their dissemination through social media has intensified their potential for harm. It is essential to counteract the rapid spread of falsehoods with an equally effective campaign that reveals the truth. The media plays a critical role in delivering accurate and impartial information, preventing the perpetuation of deceptive rhetoric and false narratives that only make things worse. Every year, there are claims of a Jewish takeover of Al-Aqsa, which amount to crying wolf. One would expect that by now, the world would recognize that if such an event has not occurred, it is likely not true.” [Newsweek]
Around the Web
🤝 Bennett in D.C.: Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with House Democrats last week in Washington.
🇸🇩 Closed in Khartoum: U.S. diplomats were evacuated from Sudan and the U.S. mission in Khartoum closed indefinitely amid escalating conflict in the East African nation.
📢 Charleston Shuffle: West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, is expected to announce a challenge to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) this week.
📓 Reporter’s Notebook: CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Dana Bash, both descendants of Holocaust survivors, reflect on their experiences at Auschwitz-Birkenau and participation in the March of the Living.
🏡 Frightful Find: Florida Rep. Randy Fine posted on Twitter that his son found an antisemitic flyer on their driveway celebrating Adolf Hitler’s birthday.
🏫 Hateful Mark: Jewish leaders in Nevada are raising concerns after a Jewish teenager with autism was discovered to have a skin injury that resembled a swastika, which his family believed was intentionally inflicted by an unknown individual.
💻 Larger Leak: The Massachusetts Air National Guardsman accused of leaking classified information is believed to have shared the documents to a larger distribution group over a longer period of time than previously thought.
👋 Shell Out: NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell announced his departure from the company following an external investigation into inappropriate conduct.
🎒 In Defense of Yeshiva Education: In The Wall Street Journal, Agudath Israel’s Avrohom Weinstock expresses appreciation for a recent column by William McGurn calling for media to “leave New York yeshivas alone,” and writing that “parents send their children to private schools precisely because they want something substantially different.”
🇬🇧 Across the Pond: Labour party whip Dianne Abbott was suspended from her post following a letter to the U.K.’s Observer publication in which Abbott suggested that Jews don’t experience racism.
💍 District in Decline: The New York Timesspotlights Manhattan’s Diamond District as the area, once home to thousands of jewelry businesses, facing changing demographics and closing shops.
💎 New on Netflix: The Jewish Chronicle interviews Flemish producer Pieter Van Huyck about his new Netflix show “Rough Diamonds,” about Antwerp’s diamond trade and the Chasidic community that traditionally dominated the industry.
🚓 Cross-border Trouble: Israeli officials reportedly arrested a Jordanian lawmaker accused of smuggling weapons and gold into the West Bank.
🚮 Trash Tensions: The Wall Street Journal looks at the growing use of illegal dump sites across the West Bank amid tensions and a lack of coordination between Israeli and Palestinian officials.
🇮🇷 Losing Faith: The daughter of an Iranian-American environmental activist who has been imprisoned in Iran for five years said she has lost confidence in the U.S. government’s ability to secure her father’s release.
🪧 Cycle of Violence: The Washington Post reports on lethal force used by Iranian security forces at mourning events for citizens killed protesting.
🕯️ Remembering: Attorney Nancy Lieberman, who at age 30 became the youngest-ever partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, died at 66. Photographer Jessica Burstein, whose images spotlighted classic New York institutions and social events, died at 76. Former Dun & Bradstreet CEO Robert Weissman died at 82.
Pic of the Day
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) (center right) and a House delegation met with U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides (center left) yesterday in Jerusalem. From left to right: Reps. Stacey Plaskett (D-USVI), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Nanette Barragan (D-CA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Sara Jacobs (D-CA), Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Joe Neguse (D-CO).
Emmy Award-winning television writer, producer and film screenwriter, known as the co-creator and showrunner of the television series “Lost,” Damon Lindelof turns 50…
Rabbi emeritus at Washington’s Adas Israel Congregation, he is a former president of the Rabbinic Assembly, Rabbi Jeffrey A. Wohlberg turns 82… Emmy-, Grammy-, Oscar-, Tony- and Peabody Award-winning singer and actress, Barbra Streisand turns 81… Delray Beach, Fla., resident, Phyllis Dupret… Former president and publisher of USA Today, Lawrence S. Kramer turns 73… Israeli designer, architect and artist, Ron Arad turns 72… President of Cincinnati-based Standard Textile, Gary Heiman… Former president of basketball operations for the Washington Wizards of the NBA for 16 seasons, himself an NBA player for nine seasons, Ernest “Ernie” Grunfeld turns 68… Columnist for Foreign Policy, Michael Hirsh turns 66… Managing director at global consulting firm Actum, and author of books about Bernie Madoff and Rudy Giuliani, Andrew Kirtzman turns 62… CEO and President of Wells Fargo, previously the CEO of Visa, Charles Scharf turns 58… VP at Bernstein Private Wealth Management and rabbi of Baltimore’s Shomrei Mishmeres HaKodesh, Rabbi Chaim Carl Schwartz… Deputy chief of staff for Councilmember Sidney Katz, Montgomery County Council in Maryland, Laurie Mintzer Edberg… National outreach director at AIPAC, Mark H. Waldman… Israeli actress, entrepreneur and lecturer, Maayan Keret turns 47… Film and television actor, Eric Salter Balfour turns 46… Brandon Hersh… Partner at Apollo Global Management, Reed Rayman… Tech and innovation reporter at Automotive News, Molly Boigon… Journalist and Israel Policy Forum board member Dana Wechsler Linden…