Good Friday morning.
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we preview this weekend’s Republican Jewish Coalition confab in Las Vegas, and report on calls for the Biden administration to take action on campus antisemitism. Also in today’s Daily Kickoff: Rep. Elissa Slotkin, John Kirby and Rabbi Yonah Hain.
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: Inside the kibbutz where Hamas massacred more than 100 Israelis; DeSantis crackdown on pro-Hamas rallies could be model for elected officials; Noam Peri’s life-or-death mission to Washington.Print the latest edition here.
Five years ago today, an armed white nationalist walked into a Pittsburgh synagogue that was just starting its Saturday morning Shabbat service and began shooting. Eleven people were killed in the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue, the most deadly antisemitic act in American history. Today, members of the Jewish community in the tight-knit Pittsburgh neighborhood of Squirrel Hill will gather to commemorate that horrible day and the lives lost, reports Jewish Insider Washington correspondent Gabby Deutch.
This anniversary, already a difficult day for a grieving community, comes less than three weeks after Hamas’ deadly terrorist attacks in Israel that have deeply affected Pittsburgh’s Jewish community.
“There’s deep sadness about what we saw in Israel, and I think deep sadness at what is happening in response,” said Maggie Feinstein, director of the 10.27 Healing Partnership, a community-building organization created after the shooting. “I think the community unfortunately knows what it’s like to come together in moments of horror and sadness, and I think it’s done that. I wish we didn’t have to again. I wish we didn’t have to be practiced at it.”
Squirrel Hill has this week faced troubling antisemitic incidents related to the situation in Israel. At least three families woke up on Thursday to find their “I Stand With Israel” yard signs vandalized. One had the word “NO” scrawled over the text in bright red, while on the others the word “Israel” had been crossed out and covered with the word “Gaza.” Someone spray painted “Free Palestine” on a wall outside a local public school with a large Jewish population. Read more here.
In Washington, National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby responded forcefully to a question about the Biden administration’s skepticism over the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry’s casualty count. “What’s harsh,” Kirby said, “is the way Hamas is using people as human shields. What’s harsh is taking a couple of hundred hostages and leaving families anxious, waiting, and worrying to figure out where their loved ones are. What’s harsh is dropping in on a music festival and slaughtering a bunch of young people just trying to enjoy an afternoon. I can go on and on. That’s what’s harsh. That is what’s harsh.”
Reiterating comments made earlier in the week, Kirby acknowledged that the casualty count was likely to mount in the coming days, “because that’s what war is. It’s brutal. It’s ugly. It’s messy.” Kirby noted that the White House is “in close contact with our Israeli counterparts to do everything we can to help them minimize the risk to civilians that are in harm’s way.”
“It would be helpful if Hamas would let them leave — leave their homes, leave the — leave areas, not shelter in tunnels underneath their houses and in hospitals,” Kirby continued. “And let them get out — let them get out of Gaza if they want to leave. We know that there are thousands waiting to leave Gaza writ large. And Hamas is preventing them from doing it. That is what is harsh.”
Kirby doubled down on the Biden administration’s refusal to rely on numbers provided by Hamas’ Health Ministry. “I don’t need to tell you how to do your jobs,” he told reporters, “but if you’re going to report casualty figures out of Gaza, I would frankly recommend you don’t choose numbers put out by an organization that’s run by a terrorist organization.”
gaza war: day 21
Israel’s ground offensive into Gaza has yet to start. Many are asking why
Israelis, and much of the rest of the world, have been waiting anxiously for the IDF to launch an all-out ground offensive into the Gaza Strip following Hamas’ mass terrorist attacks on Oct. 7. Yet, nearly three weeks later, despite intense Israeli airstrikes on the Palestinian enclave and a continued barrage of rocket fire against Israel from Palestinian terrorists within, a sweeping operation to remove the Hamas threat has still not materialized. The ground offensive will be coming, however, sooner rather than later, analysts tell Jewish Insider’s Ruth Marks Eglash.
American aspect: There has also been diplomatic pressure from the White House for Israel to hold back from an all-out ground invasion out of concern for the humanitarian situation faced by Gaza civilians, and also amid diplomatic efforts to release the hostages, among whom are dozens of Americans and other foreign citizens. In addition, the U.S. has been working to shore up its own forces in the region over fears that the conflict in Gaza could ignite additional fronts – the Iranian-backed Shiite militia Hezbollah in Lebanon is already threatening to join the fray – and beyond, as Israel’s arch-nemesis Iran closely watches events unfold.
Internal considerations: As well as the U.S. aspects, Neri Zilber, a Tel Aviv-based journalist and adviser to Israel Policy Forum, said that for internal Israeli reasons ramping up the military campaign in Gaza would also take a little longer. “Yes, the IDF has said it is ready, but it’s also softening up the battlespace inside Gaza via the air to make it easier for the ground forces to go in,” he said. “They also need time to prepare and better train the reserve army and the standing army for what’s to come.”
call to action
White House, Ed. Dept. under pressure to take action on campus antisemitism
Pressure is building for the White House and federal education officials to take action against rising antisemitism on American college campuses as scenes of pro-Hamas protests and university students ripping down posters of Israeli hostages continue to proliferate, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports.
Do more: The Biden administration offered a first step in addressing this unprecedented wave of antisemitism with comments from a top White House official calling recent campus incidents “grotesque.” But many in the Jewish community urged the White House to do more.
Strong words: “Amidst the rise in poisonous, antisemitic rhetoric and hate crimes that President Biden has fought against for years, there is an extremely disturbing pattern of antisemitic messages being conveyed on college campuses,” Andrew Bates, the White House deputy press secretary, toldThe Times of Israel. “Delegitimizing the State of Israel while praising the Hamas terrorist murderers who burned innocent people alive, or targeting Jewish students, is the definition of unacceptable — and the definition of antisemitism.”
Strategy season: The Hamas terrorist attacks of Oct. 7, and the swell of anti-Israel sentiment that has followed in the U.S., came months after the White House published a national strategy to counter antisemitism that is set to be fully implemented by next summer. The Biden administration has not said whether it will speed up the strategy’s implementation or supplement it with new policy directives in light of recent developments. A White House spokesperson declined to discuss the matter with JI.
Exclusive: Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) wrote to the president of George Washington University that he was “appalled that university presidents and administrators, including at GW, have yet to forcefully condemn Hamas terror and vile speech by student groups,” the letter reads. “You have not only a responsibility, but an obligation, to protect all students, including Jewish students, and ensure they can safely remain part of the campus community.” And Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA), a GW alum, told JI that she was “appalled by the hurtful and disturbing language.”
Rep. Elissa Slotkin met with Islamic center that blamed Israel for Hamas attack
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), the leading Democratic candidate for Michigan’s open Senate seat, met with members of an Islamic center in Lansing after it blamed Israel for the Hamas attack that killed more than 1,400 civilians and left thousands more wounded, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
What they said: On the day of the massive Hamas attack on Israel the Islamic Center of East Lansing posted a statement on Facebook that appeared to blame Israel for the attack. “We join USCMO [U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations] and the American Muslim community in reaffirming our support for the Palestinian people’s right to freedom and calling for an end to the Israeli occupation, which kills hundreds of Palestinian civilians every year, subjects millions of Palestinians to racist oppression, and sparks the deadly violence that we see again and again, including today,” the statement reads. The center said on Facebook that Slotkin had reached out to hear the community’s concerns on the situation in Gaza.
Response: “Rep. Slotkin believes it’s her responsibility as an elected official to listen to the views and perspectives of all her constituents, even when those conversations may be hard and even when she doesn’t always agree,” a Slotkin spokesperson told JI. “She has been doing this since she was sworn in in 2019, and she’s proud to continue that work today. The meeting at the Islamic Center of East Lansing last week was frank, tough, and important. The Congresswoman has been open about her thoughts on the situation in Israel and Gaza, and anyone trying to ascribe the views of others to her is not acting in good faith.”
More on Michigan: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) introduced a resolution to force a vote on censuring Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) for “antisemitic activity, sympathizing with terrorist organizations, and leading an insurrection at the United States Capitol Complex.” The latter refers to a non-violent protest led by far-left anti-Israel Jewish groups in a Capitol office building last week. Democrats, even those vocally critical of Tlaib, seem unlikely to support the censure given its claims about “insurrection” and Greene’s own history. “We find it rich that someone who’s had a history of antisemitism is introducing this censure resolution,” a Democratic House staffer told JI. Democrats are advancing their own censure of Greene, which accuses her of antisemitic activity.
war of words
Nikki Haley leans into fighting campus antisemitism ahead of RJC summit
Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is speaking out against rising incidents of campus antisemitism ahead of a high-profile appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership summit in Las Vegas, where more than half a dozen presidential contenders will address donors at the Venetian Resort on Saturday, Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel reports.
Enforcing IHRA: In a series of media hits this week, Haley pledged to federally adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism, which identifies some criticism of Israel as antisemitic, and said she would pull the tax-exempt status of universities that fail to enforce her proposed mandate. Haley also accused the Biden administration of equivocating over the IHRA’s definition in its national strategy to combat antisemitism, released last May.
Back and forth: In its strongest comments to date on campus antisemitism, meanwhile, the White House on Thursday denounced the “grotesque sentiments” and “antisemitic messages” of anti-Zionist demonstrations now proliferating on college campuses amid the conflict between Israel and Hamas. In response, Haley claimed that the Biden administration, which has faced pressure to implement its national antisemitism strategy in recent months, had not gone far enough. “Joe Biden still refuses to say anti-Zionism is antisemitism,” Haley said in a statement to JI on Thursday evening. “It’s time to tell the truth. Denying Israel’s right to exist and calling for Israel’s annihilation is just another form of antisemitism. You can’t fight antisemitism if you can’t define it.”
Read the full story here.
What to expect: In light of the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks and Israel-Hamas war, organizers are making several last-minute adjustments to the program, The New York Times reports. Among the changes are bolstered security and the addition of seats to accommodate a number of attendees who registered in the days following the attack. An empty Shabbat table will be positioned in the middle of the room, paying tribute to the 229 hostages being held in Gaza, and organizers will include special prayers for the missing and injured. Additionally, Israel’s national anthem, “Hatikvah,” will be played in addition to the “Star Spangled Banner.”
ADL, Brandeis Center send letter to university presidents calling on them to investigate SJP’s terrorism ties
A letter to nearly 200 university presidents that claims Students for Justice in Palestine “provides vocal and potentially material support to Hamas, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” was sent on Thursday, demanding that schools investigate the campus group. The call comes amid a rise of antisemitic incidents on U.S. campuses —— and a 388% spike nationwide — following the Oct. 7 terror attacks in Israel, Haley Cohen reports for Jewish Insider.
Letter content: The letter, written jointly by the Anti-Defamation League and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, requests that universities “investigate the activities of your campus chapter of [SJP] for potential violations of 18 USC 2339A and B, and its state equivalents, that is, for potential violations of the prohibition against materially supporting a foreign terrorist organization.” No university administration had responded to the letter as of Thursday night, the ADL said.
Money matters: Dozens of national Jewish groups and campus organizations have called on universities to withdraw their recognition and funding for groups affiliated with National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP). Most of the group’s chapters, which commonly go by the name SJP but have other names on some campuses, have celebrated or defended Hamas’ terrorist attack against Israel.
Cardin calls Arab leaders’ comments on Hamas ‘extremely frustrating,’ but says private messages are different
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) said yesterday that comments from Arab leaders, such as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Jordanian Queen Rania, defending Hamas and criticizing Israel are “extremely frustrating” but emphasized that the messages being delivered privately are much more critical of Hamas, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Public vs. private: “In private conversations I’ve had with leaders in the region of Arab states, they all recognize what Hamas is all about,” Cardin told JI during a press briefing yesterday. Cardin, who traveled to Israel and Saudi Arabia last weekend, said that Arab leaders say they can’t express those sentiments publicly because of fears about public opinion in their countries, which is generally hostile to Israel. “Leaders, to me, have to lead. So I don’t accept what they’re saying.”
Different messages: Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), who led a trip to Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain as the Israel-Hamas war was beginning, offered strikingly different messages for Erdogan — who denied this week that Hamas is a terrorist group — and Queen Rania — who said that Hamas’ atrocities could not be verified. “To Erdogan, I’d say, ‘You’re stupid. They are a terrorist organization,’” Ernst told JI. “And to the queen of Jordan, I understand the difficulty that she has in this situation. But yes, we can confirm [the atrocities] because we have body camera footage from the Hamas terrorists of the atrocities that they committed.”
Bonus: Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX) met yesterday with Colombian Ambassador to the U.S. Luis Murillo regarding Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s recent anti-Israel tweets, which have compared Israel to the Nazi regime. “Colombia is a critical U.S. partner for security, counternarcotics and migration. But the Colombian president’s rabid and relentless antisemitic remarks are simply unacceptable,” Wasseman Schultz told JI. “Beyond causing irreparable harm to Colombia’s vibrant Jewish community, President Petro’s ignorance threatens to jeopardize our bilateral cooperation.”
Ground War Fault Lines: The Washington Post’s Jason Willick considers how the Biden administration’s efforts to restrain Israel ahead of a potential ground invasion could have more dangerous implications for Israel in the future. “Biden strongly embraced Israel in the wake of Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre in the country’s south. But now fissures between Washington and Jerusalem are showing. The Biden administration has worked to hold off Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza, criticized its war plans in a media leak and warned it against opening a second front with Hezbollah in the north. I’ve sympathized with Biden’s caution on Ukraine, unconvinced that more aggressive American involvement would serve U.S. interests. But the impulse to constrain our closest Middle East ally is driven by a wishful reading of the region and Israeli politics. It’s anyone’s guess how this war will end. But if Washington ties Israel’s hands too tightly, it is more likely to end with a wounded and threatened but still powerful Jewish state — leaving the region more imbalanced than it was before.” [WashPost]
Sullivan Scrutiny: Tablet’s Jeremy Stern takes a critical approach to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s professional history, following the publication of an interview in which Sullivan downplayed the security situation in the Middle East days before the Oct. 7 terror attack. “His record includes a rapidly escalating stampede of failures: the botched Afghanistan withdrawal, the failure of deterrence in Ukraine, the failed Ukrainian counteroffensive, the economic war with China, America’s disastrous border policy, and now, decisively, U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran — which enjoyed the financial and diplomatic backing of Biden and Sullivan as it enabled the rape, murder, and kidnapping of thousands of Israeli Jews by a fascist death cult. The failure of the administration’s Iran policy, which Sullivan has shaped and promoted for a decade, has in turn forced Israel into a war of regime change in Gaza, sinking hopes for a peace deal with Saudi Arabia while promising to fill Vladimir Putin’s coffers with spiking oil prices. It is arguably the most rapid-fire set of American foreign policy failures on record, and their handmaiden, if not their author, in each and every case, was Sullivan.” [Tablet]
Fair-weather Friends: In The Wall Street Journal, Tevi Troy reflects on disappointment expressed by a number of Jewish progressives over the less-than-supportive responses of their non-Jewish allies following the Oct. 7 attacks. “I take no solace in thinking that as a conservative I have friends who are more apt to support Israel. Nor do I revel in the idea that many progressives have chosen friends who not only were fair-weather ‘allies’ but view the world through the simplistic lens of oppressor vs. oppressed — with Jews in the oppressor camp. This unfortunate designation matters. It means that nothing Jews do to defend themselves can be justified, and all actions in opposition to them — no matter how savage —are allowed. To those with this worldview, progressive Jews are at best temporary allies to be discarded the moment they choose their heritage over their politics.” [WSJ]
Climate Change: In the Columbia Spectator, Rabbi Yonah Hain, the campus rabbi at Columbia/Barnard Hillel, reflects on the atmosphere on the New York campus amid heightened tensions over the Israel-Hamas war. “For years, Columbia’s Palestinian freedom movement has differentiated between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, affirming that one can be critical of Israel without being anti-Semitic. But by using the October 7 attacks as a rallying point for the movement, attendees of the campus rally can no longer argue that their activism differentiates between the two. They are now saying the quiet part out loud: Dead Jews don’t matter. While some have gone to great lengths to clarify that Hamas did not behead Jewish babies in their attack, these disavowals overlook that children were expressly targeted by Hamas, according to a NBC News report. Callously ignoring Hamas’ inhumanity by way of rebuttal is an own goal of epic proportions. To be clear, there is no need for such binary thinking. Personally, my Zionism means that my heart breaks for the Israelis who are suffering as my stomach also turns for the Gazans who have been placed in harm’s way. I feel no joy in watching clips of suffering; I bang no drum when human life is lost. Human decency is not a sign of weakness, or of uncertainty in your beliefs, and the pain we feel watching these events unfold is real and awful. Sadly, for the Palestinian freedom movement on campus, denouncement of Hamas’ violence or acknowledgement of Jewish suffering has been deemed antithetical to the cause. This inability to see the humanity of Jews is textbook anti-Semitism.” [ColumbiaSpectator]
Around the Web
Syria Strikes: The U.S. conducted overnight airstrikes on Iran-linked military facilities in Syria, a move Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said was not linked to the Israel-Hamas war.
Phillips in the Primary: Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) launched his primary challenge to President Joe Biden.
Two-State Push: Biden is reportedly considering pushing for a two-state solution as part of any post-Hamas scenario in Gaza.
Death Toll Stats: HuffPostreports on a number of internal State Department cables that cite statistics from the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry about the death toll, despite the Biden administration’s public insistence that those figures are not trustworthy or accurate.
Qatar Rethink: Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani agreed during Blinken’s recent visit to the region to reassess Doha’s support for Hamas after the hostage crisis is resolved.
Drone Injuries: Nineteen U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and Syria have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries resulting from drone attacks by Iranian proxies in the region.
Aid Package: Sens. Roger Marshall (R-KS), J.D. Vance (R-OH), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced a standalone Israel aid package, arguing that the funding shouldn’t be tied to Ukraine or Palestinian humanitarian support. A similar push is underway in the House. Meanwhile, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) said he wants to split up the Ukraine and Israel aid packages, and plans to advance the Israel aid as a standalone bill, offsetting it with other spending reductions.
On the Hill: The Senate passed a resolution by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) condemning antisemitism on college campuses after it was blocked by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) last week.
Masters Moment: Former Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, a Republican, launched his bid for Congress in the state’s solidly red 8th Congressional District, after Rep. Debbie Lasko (R-AZ) announced that she will not seek reelection.
Holocaust Ignorance: A new poll commissioned by the Claims Conference found that nearly two-thirds of young adults do not know that 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust.
Fundraising Haul: The Jewish Federations of North America surpassed its initial $500 million fundraising goal for its emergency campaign for Israel following the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks.
Campus Beat: The parents of Jewish students filmed hiding in the library of New York’s Cooper Union are threatening legal action against the school, which they said ignored previous requests to protect Jewish students on campus.
POTUS’ Position: In The Atlantic, former Obama administration official Michael McFaul opines about the role that President Joe Biden has played and will continue to play in the Israel-Hamas war.
War Misinformation: The BBC reports on two separate cases of misinformation in the Israel-Hamas war relating to Omar, a Palestinian boy, and Omer, an Israeli boy, both of whom were 4 years old when they were killed earlier this month.
Caught in the Middle: The Washington Postlooks at how Bedouin communities in Israel, which often have familial ties in Gaza, are navigating the on-the-ground reality in the wake of the Oct. 7 attacks.
Turtle Bay Talk: Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, speaking at the U.N., warned the U.S. that it “will not be spared” if the Israel-Hamas war continues.
Moscow Meeting: Russia’s deputy foreign minister held a meeting in Moscow with his Iranian counterpart and several Hamas officials.
Remembering: Economist Anita Summers, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the mother of former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, died at 98. Artist Ida Applebroog died at 93. Former Blackstone executive Byron Wien died at 90.
Pic of the Day
The Israeli-American Council, American Jewish Committee and other Jewish groups unveiled an installation in Times Square on Thursday featuring a 222-seat Shabbat table with a chair and place setting for each of the hostages held by Hamas.
Haifa-born director and screenwriter of animated and live-action films including “The Lord of the Rings,” Ralph Bakshi turns 85 on Sunday…
FRIDAY: Pacific Palisades, Calif., resident, Gordon Gerson… Senior U.S. District judge in Maine, he was born in a refugee camp following WWII, Judge George Z. Singal turns 78… Rabbi emeritus at Miami Beach’s Temple Beth Sholom, Gary Glickstein turns 76… Author, actress and comedian, Fran Lebowitz turns 73… SVP at MarketVision Research, Joel M. Schindler… CEO of Jewish Creativity International, Robert Goldfarb… Co-chair of a task force at the Bipartisan Policy Center, he is a former U.S. ambassador to Finland and Turkey, Eric Steven Edelman turns 72… Television writer, director and producer, best known as the co-creator of the 122 episodes of “The Nanny,” Peter Marc Jacobson turns 66… Senior advisor and fellow at the Soufan Group following 31 years at the Congressional Research Service, Dr. Kenneth Katzman… Co-owner of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and English soccer club Manchester United, Bryan Glazer turns 59… New York State senator from Manhattan, Brad Hoylman-Sigal turns 58… Creator and editor of the Drudge Report, Matt Drudge turns 57… Hasidic cantor and singer known by his first and middle names, Shlomo Simcha Sufrin turns 56… Partner of the Los Angeles office of HR&A Advisors, Andrea Batista Schlesinger turns 47… Sportscaster for CBS Sports, Adam Zucker turns 47… Television meteorologist, currently working for The Weather Channel, Stephanie Abrams turns 45… Israel’s minister of environmental protection, Idit Silman turns 43… Chair of the Open Society Foundations, Alexander F.G. Soros turns 38… Israeli actress best known for playing Eve in the Netflix series “Lucifer,” Inbar Lavi turns 37… Senior director of U.S. government relations at the ONE Campaign, Elizabeth (Liz) Leibowitz… Executive producer of online content at WTSP in St. Petersburg, Florida, Theresa Collington… Senior manager of social media and content marketing at Marriott International, Stephanie Arbetter… Commercial lead at Red Balloon Security, Andrew J. Taub… Co-founder of NYC-based Arch Labs, Ryan Eisenman…
SATURDAY: Redondo Beach resident, Larry Berlin… Rabbi of the Moscow Choral Synagogue, Adolf Shayevich turns 86… Spiritual leader of the Village of New Square (Rockland County, N.Y.) and Hasidic rebbe of Skverer Hasidism worldwide, Rabbi Dovid Twersky turns 83… Former member of the Knesset for the Yisrael Beiteinu party, she also served as minister of aliyah and integration, Sofa Landver turns 74… Anthropology professor at NYU, she won a 1994 MacArthur genius fellowship, Faye Ginsburg turns 71… Rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom in Hamden, Conn., Benjamin Edidin Scolnic, Ph.D. turns 70… Billionaire philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates turns 68… Four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and assistant secretary for health, Rachel Leland Levine turns 66… Former member of the Knesset for Likud, he currently serves as mayor of Beit She’an, Jackie Levy turns 63… Manager of MLB’s San Francisco Giants since earlier this week, he has been named Manager of the Year three times, Bob Melvin turns 62… Executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass in Lexington, Ky., Mindy Haas… Actress and investor, she is also an owner of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, Jami Gertz turns 58… Owner of a Chick-fil-A franchise in the Houston area, he was a collegiate and an NFL football coach, Tony Levine turns 51… Film and television director, producer, screenwriter and actor, Jacob “Jake” Kasdan turns 49… Israeli singer in the Mizrahi style, Yaakov (Kobi) Peretz turns 48… Member of the California State Assembly, Rebecca Bauer-Kahan turns 45… Member of the Knesset for the Likud party until 2019, Oren Hazan turns 42… Scottsdale, Ariz., attorney, he was a Republican member of the Arizona House of Representatives, Adam Kwasman turns 41… President at Aurora Health Network, Elliot Schwab… Senior manager at Point32Health, Avital “Tali” Warburg Goldstein…
SUNDAY: Dean emeritus of the Yale School of Management, he has served in the Nixon, Ford, Carter and Clinton administrations, Jeffrey E. Garten turns 77… Academy Award-winning actor, who played Yoni Netanyahu in the 1976 film “Victory at Entebbe,” Richard Dreyfuss turns 76… CEO of the Center for the National Interest and publisher of its namesake foreign policy magazine, The National Interest, Dimitri Simes turns 76… Director of the social justice organizing program at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Mordechai E. Liebling turns 75… Pulitzer Prize-winning author and editor of The New Yorker since 1998, David Remnick turns 65… Bernard Greenberg… Rabbi of Temple Beth Shalom in Phoenix, Dana Evan Kaplan… Author, satirist and public speaker, Evan Sayet turns 63… Classical pianist, Susan Merdinger turns 61… Sports agent who has negotiated over $7 billion of player contracts, Drew Rosenhaus turns 57… Actor who appeared in 612 episodes of daytime soap opera “As the World Turns,” his mother, Rina Plotnik, served in the Israeli army, Grayson McCouch turns 55… Screenwriter and film director based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Andrea Dorfman turns 55… Mathematician, cryptologist and computer scientist, Daniel J. Bernstein turns 52… Emmy Award-winning television producer, writer and actor, best known for NBC’s “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation,” Michael Schur turns 48… VP for strategic communications and business development at Anchorage-based Northern Compass Group, Rachel Barinbaum… President and founder of Leigh Aubrey Communications, Leigh Shirvan Helfenbein… Senior marketing manager at Audible, Samantha Zeldin… Regional communications director at The White House, Seth Schuster… Ph.D. candidate in Russian and East European history at Harvard, Leora Eisenberg… Booking producer at NBC Universal, David Siegel…