👋 Good Friday morning!
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we talk to Jewish Democrats about House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ past defense of his uncle’s antisemitic comments, and look at the newest push on Capitol Hill to increase funding for the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism. Also in today’s Daily Kickoff: Yair Lapid, Josh Harris, Steven Fulop and Shari Redstone.
We hope those of you who celebrated Passover had a meaningful holiday. In Israel, the holiday was marred by several terror attacks, one of which saw Lucy Dee, a British immigrant to Israel, and her daughters Maia and Rina killed by Palestinian terrorists in a shooting in the West Bank in the hours before Shabbat last week.
Hours after the Dee family’s car came under fire in the Jordan Valley, Alessandro Parini, an Italian tourist vacationing in Israel, was killed in a car-ramming attack on Tel Aviv’s beach promenade in the area of Charles Clore Park.
Lucy Dee’s husband, Rabbi Leo Dee, called for social media users to post photos of the Israeli flag days after the killing, calling it “the sign of good. It’s the side of building something worthy.”
In Jerusalem, Israeli security forces are bracing for violence this weekend as Muslim worshippers at the Al-Aqsa mosque mark the last Friday of Ramadan, which coincides with the Iran-initiated anti-Israel Quds Day. The websites of Israel’s postal service and several Israeli banks were targeted by a hacker group named “Anonymous Sudan,” Israeli media reported.
Tensions came to a head at the Al-Aqsa mosque on the eve of Passover, when Israeli police clashed with Muslim worshippers who had barricaded themselves inside the mosque. The U.S. reportedly blocked the adoption of a U.N. Security Council statement condemning Israel for the clashes.
The events on the Temple Mount, Jonathan Spyer, director of research at the Middle East Forum and director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis, wrote in The Wall Street Journal, were, along with rockets subsequently fired into Israel from Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, part of “a continuing effort by Tehran and its various franchises to ‘unite the arenas’ of engagement with the Jewish state against the background of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.”
In an effort to quell tensions, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu barred Jewish visitors from entering the Temple Mount for the final days of Ramadan. The Prime Minister’s Office said the decision was recommended by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai. National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir blasted the ban as a “serious mistake.”
The prime minister also announced this week the reversal of the firing of Gallant, whose ouster Netanyahu’s office declared after the defense minister called for the government to halt its efforts to push through judicial reform legislation.
In Washington, top-secret U.S. intelligence documents leaked on Discord caused headaches for the Biden administration. Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old National Guardsman from the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s intelligence unit who is believed to be behind the leak, was arrested yesterday. Teixeira also reportedly filmed himself yelling “racial and antisemitic slurs” in video while at a shooting range. Among the documents was intelligence indicating that Egypt had planned as recently as February to covertly supply Russia with tens of thousands of rockets, and that the Mossad had encouraged its staff and Israeli civilians to participate in the ongoing protests against judicial reform, which the agency denied. Officials have said some of the documents were “doctored.”
Also in Washington today, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is scheduled to speak at the World Bank’s annual meeting.
Dan and Tanya Snyder have reached a deal to sell the Washington Commanders to a group led by Josh Harris for $6.05 billion.
On Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is expected to request next week that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) be temporarily replaced on the Senate Judiciary Committee, following a request from the 89-year-old California Democrat, whose absence in Washington has resulted in a number of stalled judicial nominees as she recovers from shingles. Feinstein rejected calls from Reps. Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Ro Khanna (D-CA) to resign ahead of the completion of her term, which she has said will be her last.
Jewish Democrats back Jeffries after resurfaced defense of uncle’s antisemitic remarks
Jewish Democrats who have long been staunch supporters of House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) are standing by Jeffries this week following new revelations that he publicly defended his uncle, Leonard Jeffries, in the early 1990s, after the elder Jeffries made offensive comments about Jewish people, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Background: Jeffries’ uncle, then a professor at City College in New York, made comments about the involvement of “rich Jews” in the African slave trade and alleged that Jews in Hollywood engaged in a “conspiracy” to denigrate Black Americans. CNN reported on Wednesday that Rep. Jeffries, who was in college at the time, penned an editorial in a Binghamton University newspaper defending his uncle as the subject of “a media lynching complete with character assassinations and inflammatory erroneous accusations.” Jeffries also mentioned Nation of Islam leader Rev. Louis Farrakhan, notorious for his own antisemitic comments, as another individual unfairly maligned for his opposition to the “ruling elite.” Since he was elected to Congress in 2013, Jeffries has said he only had a “vague recollection” of his uncle’s controversy and said that his parents kept him shielded from it.
Offering support: Jewish supporters of Jeffries who spoke to JI on Wednesday and Thursday largely brushed off the controversy as long in the past, and defended Jeffries’ record in office. Jeffries, who has clashed with the far-left elements of his caucus, has generally maintained strong support among mainstream Democrats, particularly in the Jewish and pro-Israel community. “I know Hakeem Jeffries. I know his record, his heart, and his soul,” Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) said in a statement to JI. “He and I have traveled to Israel together. He is a friend of mine, a friend of the Jewish people, and a friend of Israel.”
Republican response: Former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Matt Brooks, the national chairman and CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said in a statement to JI, “Jeffries owes the Jewish community an explanation as to why he lied and attempted to cover up his defense of these revolting antisemites.” Coleman and Brooks said that the revelations reflect “the Democratic Party embracing and promoting antisemites.” These criticisms have been echoed by other Republicans in recent days, including the National Republican Campaign Committee. Republicans have also criticized Jeffries for deriding Black conservatives in the op-ed.
Off the Hill: Jeffries’ Jewish supporters outside of Congress are also standing by him. Jeffries’ district includes a sizable Jewish population, with which he has maintained a strong relationship. Gideon Taylor, the executive vice president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, said in a statement to JI, “Hakeem Jeffries has been a very strong, stalwart and close friend of the Jewish community and of Israel in the long time we have known and worked with him. We look forward to continuing to work with him as we have in the past in the fight against antisemitism and hate and in seeking a safe and secure Middle East for Israel and its neighbors.”
Read the full story here.
Elsewhere: Jeffries raised $33.4 million in the first quarter of 2023, his first months as the House’s top Democrat.
Senators call for increased funding, staffing for antisemitism envoy’s office
Thirty-three senators pressed Senate Appropriations Committee leaders on Wednesday to increase funding and staffing for the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Coming together: The letter calling for the funding increase, which was obtained by JI, follows a similar call from 83 House members for $2 million in funding for the office (up from $1.5 million this year) as well as new measures to ensure continuity across administrations, reflecting concerns from both chambers of Congress that the office is under-resourced.
Serious issues: The letter notes that “antisemitism remains a serious and growing danger for Jews in Europe, the Middle East, the United States, and elsewhere in the world,” arguing that the additional funding would “support the Special Envoy’s efforts to improve the safety and security of at-risk Jewish communities, ensure public officials and faith leaders condemn antisemitic discourse, and ensure adequate staffing for the Special Envoy to coordinate and assist in developing the reports on antisemitism within the State Department’s annual Human Rights Reports and International Religious Freedom Report,” as well as enable specialization within the office.
Signatories: The letter was led by Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and joined by 32 other lawmakers — 30 Democrats and two Republicans, Sens. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND). It represents the highest total yet for such a letter in the Senate; 28 senators, including Rounds, signed onto a similar letter to increase funding for the special envoy’s office in 2022.
ON THE HILL
House lawmakers urge EU to designate IRGC as a terrorist group
House lawmakers from across the ideological spectrum pressed the European Union this week to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports. Nearly 140 House lawmakers signed onto a letter this week on the issue, followed by a resolution sponsored by 25 members, reflecting continued concern from U.S. lawmakers over the EU’s lack of action against the IRGC and other elements of the Iranian regime.
Letter writing: The letter, addressed to Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, was led by Reps. Tom Kean (D-NJ), Kathy Manning (D-NC), William Keating (D-MA) and Michael McCaul (R-TX) and was sent on Tuesday with 134 other signatories. It notes that the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in January to designate the IRGC as a terrorist group, but that the EU Foreign Affairs Council has not acted on that decision. The letter also acknowledges the “legal complexities involved in designating the IRGC” under EU law — which have been cited by EU officials in the past — but argues “there is an abundance of evidence available… to provide the necessary basis for a terror designation.”
Legislation: The resolution is sponsored by Kean as well as Reps. Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Katie Porter (D-CA), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Lucy McBath (D-GA), Zach Nunn (R-IA), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), Nancy Mace (R-SC), Nanette Barragan (D-CA), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Kathy Manning (D-NC), Mike Lawler (R-NY), Dina Titus (D-NV), Brian Mast (R-FL), David Trone (D-MD), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Mike Levin (D-CA), Susie Lee (D-NV), and Pat Ryan (D-NY). It outlines the IRGC’s history of malign activities within Iran, the region and Europe, as well as its support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and urges the Biden administration to “make European Union designation… a diplomatic priority in engagements with the European Union.”
Bicameral: The House lawmakers’ outreach follows a communique to Borrell from Senate Republicans in late March, which highlighted concerns over the same issue. The Senate letter expressed explicit “disappointment” with the EU and said that “EU reluctance both weakens our collective resolve against Russia and ignores the Iranian government’s goal of sowing terror in the West.”
Read the full story here.
In N.Y., Lapid calls for U.S. Jewish leaders to maintain ties to Israel
Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid met with top American Jewish leaders in New York on Monday night to garner support in the fight against the government’s proposed judicial overhaul and to urge them to maintain their connection with Israel despite current tensions, eJewishPhilathropy’s Judah Ari Gross reports. The gathering was organized by the Jewish Federations of North America and was attended by leaders of the country’s top Jewish organizations, across denominations and political affiliations. Lapid told attendees that the proposed changes to Israel’s judiciary presented “a threat to the democratic nature of Israel,” his spokesman said. At the same time, the opposition leader told “the heads of the organizations not to give up on the connection with Israel just because of the current government,” his office said in a statement.
In attendance: The meeting, which was held in the offices of the UJA-Federation of New York, was attended by senior representatives from the Jewish Federations of North America, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, Hillel International, Orthodox Union, National Council of Jewish Women, Reconstructing Judaism, Zioness, Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, Jewish Agency for Israel, Israel Policy Forum and National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry, according to JFNA.
Seeking compromise: During the meeting, JFNA Board Chair Julie Platt – whose organization previously criticized the government’s proposal to allow the Knesset to overrule the Supreme Court with a 61-vote majority – stressed the need for compromise. “We in the Jewish federation system have expressed our opinions where we felt it necessary to do so, as have other organizations represented here this evening,” Platt said. “But above all, together with so many other organizations in this meeting, we have expressed our strongest possible encouragement that every party must do its utmost to seek and find compromise.”
‘Disingenuous’ effort: Lapid’s visit was criticized by Am Echad, which is affiliated with the Agudath Israel of America. In a statement, Am Echad said Lapid was exaggerating the ramifications of the proposed judicial reform and claimed he was encouraging antisemitism. “It is disingenuous of you to accuse the government of undermining Israeli democracy and calling on American Jews to get up in arms to protect Israel from its own leadership,” the group said. “When you go back to Israel, we in the Diaspora will face the potential consequences of even more antisemitism, powered by your words.”
👟 The Loneliness of a Long-Distance Runner: ESPN’s Sam Borden details the experiences of Oliver Ferber, a star cross-country runner at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Maryland, who forewent the state championship when the race was scheduled for Shabbat. “Oliver cried, more than once. He changed his mind, more than once. According to [JDS coach Jason] Belinkie, even the rabbi Oliver was consulting with indicated at one point that running could potentially be a defensible choice. ‘He had the whole world against him in that situation,’ the coach said. It didn’t matter. Oliver couldn’t shake the feeling that he knew what was right. ‘You’re not allowed to do really intense exercise you don’t really enjoy,’ he said matter-of-factly. ‘And when you’re running up the hill, every step requires effort. And it’s hard and it hurts. And if you’re doing that and like, “Oh, this is fun,” then you’re not racing the right way.’ He shrugged. ‘I wanted to live my values,’ he said.” [ESPN]
👨 Knowing Nides: The New York Times’ Michael Crowley spotlights U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides as Washington’s top diplomat in Jerusalem navigates a challenging political environment. “Senior Israeli officials interviewed for this article praised Mr. Nides, saying he has handled an explosive situation deftly. Because he is close not only to Mr. Biden but also to Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Blinken, Israelis say they see him as an authoritative representative of the Biden administration… In one notable bit of outreach, Mr. Nides took steps soon after he was appointed to develop a working relationship with Ron Dermer, an Israeli ambassador to Washington during Mr. Netanyahu’s previous tenure. Obama administration officials resented Mr. Dermer for being, in their view, a de facto Republican ally. Mr. Nides’s approach, which rankled some Democrats, showed strategic wisdom, some people familiar with the situation said, given that Mr. Dermer is among Mr. Netanyahu’s closest confidants.” [NYTimes]
🔍 This Town:Politico’s Michael Schaffer looks at how politics and business intersect — or don’t — noting as an example the recent sale of the Washington Commanders to a group led by Josh Harris. “Sports inflation has pushed team ownership beyond even the sorts of ordinary tycoons who once bought in ordinary markets — the local bankers and real-estate magnates and industrial leaders. While Washington has a few members of the more rarefied 21st-century master-of-the-universe set, it never did become a hub, despite all its pretensions to the contrary. Harris, who grew up locally, left town to make his fortune. ‘Washington has a lot of money, but it doesn’t have a lot of billionaires,’ says Stephen Fuller, who spent 50 years studying the regional economy at George Mason University, where the local-economy program now carries his name. ‘A couple of hundred million doesn’t get you front-row seats anymore.’” [Politico]
📺 Misinformation in the Mideast: In Politico, H.A. Heller explores Russia’s propaganda campaign in the Middle East. “This same playbook of Russian state-funded and -supported broadcasters, which is evident in Syria, is now visible in Ukraine as well. Simply look behind many of the false claims being pumped out and spread across social media, and one will find Sputnik and RT Arabic. The latter, which is prominent in the Middle East as it once was in Europe, operates 24 hours a day across eight satellite stations, making the channel one of the five most-watched news broadcasters in the region. Not only that, RT Arabic is also one of the most popular news sites in the region, in some months outperforming even Al-Jazeera, while its YouTube channel has more dedicated subscribers than any other RT subsidiary. In total, RT Arabic’s social media platforms have garnered a combined 804 million views — a number that’s risen exponentially since February 2022. RT Arabic’s significant online presence means pro-Kremlin propaganda is being fed directly to younger generations in the Arabic-speaking world — and their methods aren’t subtle. RT Arabic often posts content at two or three times the rate of Al-Jazeera or the BBC, and often multiple times. The goal appears to be to overload the audience with a flurry of information that’s then retweeted and reposted ad nauseam and, thus, also serves to crowd out dissenting voices.” [Politico]
🇸🇾 Spotlight on Syria:The Wall Street Journal’s Benoit Faucon and Summer Said report on the challenges faced by Saudi leaders as they look to lead the reintegration of Syria into the Arab world. “At least five members of the Arab League, including Morocco, Kuwait, Qatar and Yemen, are refusing to readmit Syria into the group, the Arab officials say. Even Egypt, which has rekindled ties with Syria in recent months and is a staunch Saudi ally, is pushing back, they added. These countries want Mr. Assad to first engage with the Syrian political opposition in a way that would give all Syrians a voice to determine their future, the officials said…. Some of the countries opposing Syria’s readmission have doubled down on their demands, including calls that Damascus accept Arab troops to protect returning refugees, crack down on illicit drug smuggling and ask Iran to stop expanding its footprint in the nation, the Arab officials said.” [WSJ]
✡️ Mind the Gap: Liberties editor Leon Wieseltier highlights the dissonance between the Jewish left and the Jewish right as an obstacle to the fight against antisemitism. “The contemporary Jewish community is now faced with the prospect of a double struggle, but so far it has demonstrated only a skill for singleness. The Jewish left wants to know only one thing, the Jewish right wants to know only another thing. Right now it should be the duty of American Jews to fight the anti-Semitism outside the Jewish world and the anti-democratic decay inside the Jewish world, and on the basis of the same principles…Almost nobody acknowledges the politically non-partisan nature of anti-Semitism, its infernal ubiquity. “ [Liberties]
Around the Web
📰 Time-ly Honor: Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, the Biden administration’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, was named to Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of 2023, an honor the Holocaust historian said “advances my ongoing fight to stamp out antisemitism and all forms of hate.”
🤝 MBS Meeting: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) met with Saudi Prime Minister and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on Tuesday, describing the meeting as “very productive” and “candid.”
🇦🇪 Deepening Ties: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Peninsula Affairs Daniel Benaim and Israeli Ambassador to the UAE Amir Hayek discussed further integrating Israel into the region during a meeting in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
🗳️ N.J. Announcement: Jersey City, N.J., Mayor Steven Fulop became the first Democrat to announce a bid for governor of New Jersey ahead of the 2025 election.
❓ Santos Saga: Former Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) is considering mounting a bid against Rep. George Santos (R-NY) for the redrawn Long Island seat.
🇷🇺 ‘Wrongfully Detained’: The State Department designatedWall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich as being “wrongfully detained” by Russia, a day after outgoing World Bank President David Malpass called Gershkovich’s detention a “brazen act” by Moscow. In an op-ed yesterday, WSJ columnist Peggy Noonan described Gershkovich as “a journalist who is now a state hostage, held, it is generally assumed, for some future trade down the road.”
🥯 Bagel Bites: Politicolooks at how the bagel has risen in popularity among Washingtonians from Capitol Hill — where a group of freshmen representatives jokingly launched the “bagel caucus” — to the White House, whose chief of staff, Jeff Zients, is a co-owner of the city’s popular Call Your Mother bagel chain.
🇺🇸🇸🇦 Allies in the Air: In an interview with Al-Monitor, CENTCOM head Gen. Michael Kurilla detailed the collaboration between U.S. and Saudi air-defense units to counter potential threats from Iranian UAVs.
⚽ Footy Fanatics: Michael Rubin’s Fanatics is planning to branch into sales of soccer merchandise, with an eye toward expanding beyond its domestic market.
💲 Singer’s Say:The Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman interviews Elliott Management founder Paul Singer about potential future economic challenges and steps that can be taken — such as the cessation of unlimited money-printing — to avoid future recessions.
🎖️ Humanitarian Honor: Paramount Global Chair Shari Redstone will receive the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance’s Humanitarian Award at a ceremony in Los Angeles in May.
✍️ Campus Beat: More than 170 faculty members at Columbia University signed on to a letter supporting the school’s plans to open a center in Tel Aviv, while 95 other faculty members signed a competing letter opposing the effort.
🎓 Cambridge Conversation:The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board reacts to the decision by Harvard University to create a faculty-led Council on Academic Freedom, whose members include Steven Pinker and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who previously served as president of the university.
🎻 Crime Time: Writer Sarah Weinman reexamines the unsolved 1953 attack on Jascha Heifetz at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, after the famed violinist played a piece by composer Richard Strauss, a Nazi collaborator.
🎙️ Worthy Listen: MizMaa Ventures founder and JI wine columnist Yitz Applbaum was interviewed by “American Optimist” podcast host Joe Lonsdale about the future of the Abraham Accords and what it’s like working in Saudi Arabia as an observant Jew.
👨 Emhoff’s Emergence: The Los Angeles Times looks at how Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff became the Biden administration’s leading voice against antisemitism.
😊 Gold-en Moment: Varietyinterviewed writer and actor Brett Goldstein about his rise to celebrity following his breakout role in “Ted Lasso” and new hit series “Shrinking.”
🇬🇧 Across the Pond: Writer Richard Rubin traveled to the U.K. to learn more about the role played by the Jewish community in medieval England.
✡️ Welcome to the Tribe: Sophia Ritchie completed her conversion to Judaism ahead of her wedding to music executive Elliot Grainge.
🎭 Theater Circuit: Alex Edelman’s “Just for Us” will run on Broadway for eight weeks this summer following several sold-out off-Broadway runs.
☕ Community Café: The U.K.’s Metro newspaper spotlights a newly expanded café, run by the British Jewish nonprofit Jami in the London neighborhood of Golders Green, which seeks to provide assistance and community to individuals experiencing mental health challenges.
⚖️ Herzog’s Hopes:The New York Times interviewed Israeli President Isaac Herzog about his role facilitating negotiations over the government’s proposed judicial reforms.
🚌 Accident in Asia: An Israeli woman was killed and dozens injured when a bus carrying 33 Israeli tourists was involved in an accident in the South Korean city of Chungju.
🤝 Regional Realignment: Bahrain and Qatar will resume diplomatic relations, two years after the lifting of an Arab boycott on Doha. In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to restart flights between the two countries weeks after a Beijing-brokered agreement reestablished ties between them.
🚀 Russia’s Stockpile: Iran has been engaging in secret talks with Moscow and Beijing over the procurement of ammonium perchlorate, which is used to propel ballistic missiles.
🛫 Fight or Flight: Iran reportedly used earthquake relief flights to transport weapons and other military equipment into Syria.
➡️ Transitions: Sofia Gross, who previously served as head of policy partnerships and social impact at Snapchat, is joining Anduril Industries as director of communications. The State Department named Matthew Miller, who previously worked at the National Security Council and Justice Department, as spokesman. Eddie Meyer, who previously worked for Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA), joined Democratic Majority for Israel as a congressional liaison.
🕯️ Remembering: Attorney Ben Ferencz, the last living Nuremberg prosecutor, died at 103. Mad magazine cartoonist Al Jaffee died at 102. Israeli author Meir Shalev died at 94. Photographer Carl Fischer, whose work appeared on the cover of Esquire, died at 98. Actor Michael Lerner, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role in 1991’s “Barton Fink,” died at 82. Memory expert and magician Harry Lorayne died at 96. Restaurant critic and author Mimi Sheraton, who wrote The Bialy Eaters: The Story of a Bread and a Lost World in 2000, died at 97. Transgender writer and activist Rachel Pollack died at 77. Holocaust survivor Hedda Kleinfeld Schacter, who with her husband founded the famed bridal shop Kleinfeld, died at 99. Family Dollar founder Leon Levine died at 85.
Pic of the Day
French Consul General Rene Troccaz (right) presents Israeli author David Grossman with the French Legion of Honour award in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Wine of the Week
JI wine columnist Yitz Applbaum reviews the Rosso Negroamaro 2020:
“Pesach, sitting in Rhodes soaking up sun on chol hamoed, demanded a wine that could stand up to our family tradition of eating heavily charred shmura matzah slathered with mayonnaise. We were a large group, so a wine that scored well on the price-to-performance index was hugely important, too. The Rosso Negroamaro 2020 is an Italian wine that is made from the Negroamaro grape from the Salento region in Italy. It is ruby red; the front palate explodes with cinnamon. The mid-palate and finish are slightly syrupy with a grape jam explosion deep into your esophagus. Let this wine breathe for an hour – so wake up a bit early. This bottle will be drinkable for at least three more years.”
Psychiatrist, entrepreneur, movie producer and philanthropist, Dr. Henry George Jarecki, pictured here with his son Nicholas, turns 90…
FRIDAY: Anne Monk… Former Securities and Exchange Commissioner, Elisse B. Walter turns 73… Israeli news editor and analyst, Chemi Shalev turns 70… Media executive, she and her family are majority owners of Viacom and CBS through Paramount Global, Shari Redstone turns 69… Co-founder, co-chairman and co-CEO at Canyon Partners, LLC, Mitchell Julis turns 68… Film, television and theater producer, his credits include the widely acclaimed 2016 film “La La Land,” Marc Platt turns 66… Birmingham, Ala.-based post-denominational rabbi, known on social media as “Deep South Rabbi,” Barry Altmark… Founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and author of nine books about makeup and beauty, Bobbi Brown turns 66… Border czar for the first few months of the Biden administration, she is the former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Roberta S. Jacobson turns 63… Bench coach for the Oakland Athletics, he was also bench coach for Team Israel at the World Baseball Classic last month, Brad Ausmus turns 54… Los Angeles-based freelance editor and writer, Robin Heinz Bratslavsky…
VP of newsgathering for CNN’s Washington bureau, Adam Levine… Emmy Award-winning actress, Sarah Michelle Gellar Prinze turns 46… Journalist, professor and author of four books, Sasha Issenberg turns 43… Co-founder and president of Statt, an AI/ML enterprise software platform, Steve Glickman… Principal at Bnei Akiva Schools of Toronto, Hillel David Rapp… Founder and CEO of Charity Bids, Israel “Yummy” Schachter… Award-winning science fiction and fantasy writer, Rachel Swirsky turns 41… Co-founder and co-CEO of BurnAlong, a Tivity Health company, Daniel Freedman… Classical cellist, she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” in 2022, Alisa Weilerstein turns 41… Former professional baseball first baseman who played in the MLB, Japanese and Mexican leagues, Joshua S. Whitesell turns 41… Documentary filmmaker, Nicholas Ma… Washington-based technology policy reporter at Axios, Ashley Gold… Isaac Hasson… Graphic designer, Casey Tepper… Yitzchak Tendler… Jon Fine… Moriah Elbaz…
SATURDAY: Professor of law and public policy at Duke University since 1971, Joel L. Fleishman turns 89… Former U.S. solicitor general, now a professor at Harvard Law School, Charles Fried turns 88… Senior advisor at Covington & Burling, he was a 15-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Howard Lawrence Berman turns 82… Duke University professor, physician, biochemist and Nobel Prize laureate in 2012, Robert Lefkowitz turns 80… Retired U.S. Army chaplain who attained the rank of lieutenant colonel, Rabbi Alan Sherman… Professor of German and comparative literature at New York University, Avital Ronell turns 71… Former city controller of Philadelphia for 12 years, following 16 years as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Alan Butkovitz turns 71… CEO of DMB Strategic, David Brand… Founder and director of the graduate school in the decorative arts at Bard College in Dutchess County, N.Y., Susan Weber turns 68… Deputy counsel at the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance, Deborah R. Liebman… Former executive director at American Press Institute, he is the author of ten books, including three novels, Tom Rosenstiel turns 67…
Rebbe of the Boyan Hasidic dynasty, Rabbi Nachum Dov Brayer turns 64… Former deputy secretary of the Treasury following four years as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Sarah Bloom Raskin turns 62… Managing partner, CEO and chief investment officer of Hudson Bay Capital Management, Sander R. Gerber… CEO of the New Israel Fund since 2009, prior to that he was the executive director of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, Daniel Sokatch turns 55… Cheryl Myra Cohn… Senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and founder of the Truman National Security Project, Rachel Kleinfeld, Ph.D…. Head coach of the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos basketball program, Joe Pasternack turns 46… CEO of the American Fintech Council, Y. Phillip Goldfeder turns 42… Actor, comedian, writer, producer and director, Seth Rogen turns 41… Co-founder and co-CEO of theSkimm, Carly Zakin… Research manager at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, David May… Director of grants and operations at the Foundation for Middle East Peace, Kristin McCarthy… Founder and managing partner of Neue Urban, Zach Ehrlich… Social entrepreneur, environmental activist and human rights activist, Erin Schrode… Moshe Lehrer…
SUNDAY: Chasidic singer Mordechai Werdyger, known by his stage name Mordechai Ben David, turns 72… Olympic track-and-field athlete, and survivor of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, Esther Roth-Shachamorov turns 71… Actress and movie producer, Ellen Barkin turns 69… Chairman and CEO of private equity fund manager Jordan/Zalaznick Advisers, David Wayne Zalaznick turns 69… Physician and venture capitalist focused on biotechnology and life-sciences industries, Lindsay Rosenwald turns 68… Professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, Aaron Louis Friedberg, Ph.D. turns 67… Filmmaker Stephen Kessler turns 63… Dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School since 2016 and former director of the Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Elmendorf turns 61… Secretary of State of the United States, Antony John (“Tony”) Blinken turns 61… Television producer and writer, he co-created and produced “Will & Grace” and “Boston Common,” David Sanford Kohan turns 59… Los Angeles pharmacist, Jeffrey D. Marcus… Former mayor of Hoboken, N.J., Dawn Zimmer turns 55…
Israel’s former ambassador to the U.S., now Israel’s minister of strategic affairs, Ron Dermer turns 52… Member of the House of Commons of Canada since 2015, she represents the riding of Toronto-Danforth, Julie Dabrusin turns 52… Celebrity plastic surgeon, he is active on social media as “Dr. Miami,” Michael Salzhauer, M.D. turns 51… Board member of Jewish Community High School of the Bay in San Francisco, Ellen K. Finestone… Founder and president of Glass Ceiling Strategies, Alex Glass… Founder of Jewish Fashion Council and journalist at Fabologie, Adi Heyman… Attorney who has served as a law clerk to three Maryland judges, now an MBA student at Temple University, Geoff Middleberg… Senior product manager at Duolingo, Uriel Kejsefman… Singer, pianist, and composer, he is best known as half of the folk-rock duo, the Portnoy Brothers, Mendy Portnoy turns 31… Principal at Helena Special Investments and interim CFO at Aether, Matthew Saunders… Director of partnerships at Grow Progress, Adam Gotbaum… First baseman in the Chicago Cubs organization, he played for Team Israel in last month’s World Baseball Classic, Matthew Jared Mervis turns 25… Josh Goldstein… Sarah Wolfson…