Good Friday morning.
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we look at the White House’s efforts to couple fighting antisemitism and Islamophobia, and interview Kibbutz Nir Oz residents who survived the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks. Also in today’s Daily Kickoff: Rep. Max Miller, Laura Blumenfeld and Sacha Baron Cohen.
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: Record crowd on National Mall demands release of hostages, condemns antisemitism; Jews, Bedouins unite in face of Hamas terror attacks on Israel; Labour pains for Keir Starmer over Gaza war.Print the latest edition here.
When the 19th annual Manama Dialogue kicks off this evening in Bahrain, the situation some 1,200 miles away in Israel and Gaza won’t be far from mind. The summit’s first plenary will focus on “War, Diplomacy and De-escalation.” One thing that will be different this year: No Israelis will be in attendance. Top U.S. officials for the Middle East, however, are expected to attend. The weekend-long confab, which includes a second plenary, “New Arab Initiatives for Regional Peace,” comes amid deteriorating relations between Israel and Jordan.
The Hashemite Kingdom backed out of its water and energy deal with Israel on Thursday, further depriving itself in a time of severe scarcity, as Amman continues to be one of the most strident critics of Israel since the war began, Jewish Insider’s Lahav Harkov reports. Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told Al Jazeera that Amman will not give final approval to the project that his country was set to ratify last month, because of “retaliatory barbarism carried out by Israel.”
The deal,mediated by the United Arab Emirates in 2021 in the aftermath of the Abraham Accords, would have had Israel build a solar field in Jordan to test solar-energy storage solutions and export the clean energy to Israel, while the Jewish state would construct a designated desalination site from which all water would be sold to Jordan.
Israel has plenty of energy from its gas in the Mediterranean, but Jordan is “one of the most water-stressed countries in the world and…the situation is likely to deteriorate further,” according to a U.N. report.
Members of a Jordanian team at a field hospital in Gaza were wounded on Thursday, with Jordan pointing a finger at Israel. Israel evacuated its embassy in Jordan at the outset of the war over safety concerns, and Jordan recalled its ambassador, saying Israel’s would not be welcome back.
Queen Rania has since given CNN interviews in which she denied the atrocities Hamas committed against Israelis, drew an equivalence between Hamas and Israel, and accused Jews of making false claims of antisemitism. King Abdullah II published an op-ed in the Washington Post this week accusing Israel of taking “unilateral actions [that] have undermined the peace process” and saying its leadership is “unwilling to take the path of peace,” without mentioning the many actions by the Palestinian leadership that ran counter to that path.
Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad‘s front page on Wednesday featured an editorial in Hebrew with the headline “What will be after Israel?” and celebrating a “new world order” to come after a Hamas victory. Earlier this week, Al-Ghad featured a cartoon of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drinking Gazans’ blood.
While Israel and Jordan have had a peace treaty for 29 years, it has been a decidedly cold peace, with Amman even recently terminating the lease on land Israel continued to use after making peace. Jordan is ruled by the Hashemite monarchy but most of its population views itself as Palestinian.
war of words
Concerns rise over WH linkage of antisemitism, Islamophobia
When Seann Pietila was arrested in June for threatening to commit a mass shooting targeting Jewish people, a U.S. attorney described the indictment in the context of a “rise in antisemitism across the nation and here in Michigan.” This week, the 19-year-old Michigan man pleaded guilty to a federal charge for the violent threats he made online. But even though his violent threats specifically targeted only Jews, the U.S. attorney’s new comments were different: “At this moment of increased threats across the nation, we renew our commitment to prevent, disrupt, and prosecute illegal acts of hate fueled by antisemitism, Islamophobia or anti-Arab bias,” he said. Nothing in the indictment against Pietila referred to anything he had said or done that targeted Muslims, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports.
Wider shift: The change in language from the Department of Justice may seem like a matter of semantics. But it reflects a larger shift across the federal government, which in recent weeks has increasingly grouped antisemitism and Islamophobia together in its public language following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel and the resulting Israel-Hamas war — even as federal data indicates a much larger rise in antisemitism than in anti-Muslim hate crimes.
The fine print: On Tuesday, the White House released a fact sheet about actions taken to address the “alarming rise of reported antisemitic and Islamophobic events at schools and on college campuses.” An Oct. 27 statement from President Joe Biden on the five-year anniversary of the 2018 antisemitic shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue also called on Americans to speak “out against bigotry and hate in all its forms, whether it is racism, antisemitism or Islamophobia.” Similar statements from Biden in 2021 and 2022 about the Tree of Life shooting did not mention Islamophobia.
Raising questions: The imprecise language has worried some Jewish community advocates who question whether the lack of specificity in diagnosing the problem of rising antisemitism dilutes the White House’s efforts to address it.
Not clear: “I think that tying antisemitism and Islamophobia together is a way of avoiding actually addressing the way that either form of hate is manifesting, because they’re not the same,” Amanda Berman, executive director of Zioness, a progressive pro-Israel organization, told JI on Thursday.
North Carolina Democrats reject Jewish caucus, face bipartisan rebuke
In an unusually forceful intra-party rebuke, several top Democratic lawmakers in North Carolina are speaking out against the state Democratic Party amid widespread backlash over its controversial decision to reject an application from a recently created Jewish caucus seeking formal affiliation, Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel reports.
Vote breakdown: The state party’s executive committee on Sunday voted 17-16 against recognizing the North Carolina Democratic Jewish Caucus, according to a private email by caucus leaders who called the rejection “a shocking defeat” and claimed that the meeting had been “hijacked by the anti-Jewish left.” The email noted that 16 members had abstained from voting, most prominently including the state party chair, Anderson Clayton, and other high-ranking officers.
Internal divisions: The decision, a result of increasingly personal internal divisions over Israel that reached a breaking point after Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attack, is facing pushback from leading Democrats ahead of a major election year. Multiple House members are urging the party to welcome the caucus. The attorney general, Josh Stein, a Jewish Democrat running for governor, is calling for unity as he prepares for a likely matchup with the Republican lieutenant governor, Mark Robinson, who is using the controversy to deflect attention from his past antisemitic remarks.
Kibbutz Nir Oz, where Hamas’ mass terror attack became personal
For 12 hours on Oct. 7, as Hamas terrorists rampaged through Kibbutz Nir Oz, Natali Yohanan and her young family cowered in their tiny safe room. As they received heartbreaking text messages from desperate relatives and friends, who were later found murdered and tortured, or not found at all – close to a quarter of the kibbutz’s residents were kidnapped to Gaza – the Yohanans had quite a different, but no less terrifying, experience. From behind the closed steel door of their shelter, the family listened as Palestinians, seemingly from the nearby villages in Gaza, ransacked their home, stealing valuables – including personal items – but not before preparing a hearty meal in their kitchen and taking a long rest while watching TV in their living room, Jewish Insider’s Ruth Marks Eglash reports.
Cooking their food: “I heard the cheerful voice of a young woman, there were two men with her, and she asked them if they were hungry. Then I heard the fridge opening and closing and she started heating up food that I had cooked,” recalled Yohanan, 37, an English teacher. “We knew she was cooking because we could smell the food.” According to Yohanan, the group of Palestinians hung around for hours, lounging on the couch, watching her TV – switching Netflix into Arabic – all the while trying to coax the family out of the safe room by switching off its electricity, rapping on the door and banging on the window outside.
Among the worst hit: Out of the more than 20 communities brutally attacked on Oct. 7, Kibbutz Nir Oz, which sits less than two miles from the Gaza border in southern Israel, was one of the worst to be hit. With more than 100 of its 427 members either murdered or held hostage in Gaza, the lengthy attack, which saw more than half of the homes burned to the ground, felt both intimate and personal, survivors of the massacre recalled to journalists this week.
House Israel aid bill with IRS cuts was ‘disgusting,’ Max Miller says
Rep. Max Miller (R-OH) offered a blistering rebuke of House Republicans’ emergency Israel aid package, which also cut funding from the Internal Revenue Service, in an interview with Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod.
Called out: “Putting any type of cuts to a supplemental package to one of our greatest allies in the world is disgusting,” Miller said. “I think it’s stupid. I’m supportive of Israel — don’t get me wrong, I voted for it — but I think it’s a gimmick.” He said the bill, and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) were “play[ing] gimmicks with people’s lives.” Miller explained that he voted for the bill to support Israel, despite his concerns.
Losing bet: Miller said the speaker was playing a losing game with the Senate, which Miller now expects to craft the final aid package. “Now that you see it’s a gimmick, the Senate won’t pick it up,” Miller continued. “The speaker knew that. He’s trying to play chicken with a body that he’s going to lose with, and we’re going to end up swallowing a huge supplemental now that’s going to include Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and our border. And probably, because he negotiated this so poorly, possibly a humanitarian package that’s going to go to the Palestinian people.”
Bonus: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) introduced a bill seeking sanctions on Iran’s space-launch, intercontinental ballistic missile and drone programs. It requests a strategy for countering Iran’s drone program, including cracking down on western-made components in such drones and coordinating sanctions with allies. It also demands reports on the individuals and countries involved with assisting the ICBM and drone programs, Iran’s progress toward an ICBM, the U.S.’s ability to intercept a potential Iranian ICBM and Iran’s space launch and ballistic missile tests.
Protest Pivot:The New York Times’ David French suggests that people calling for a cease-fire should focus their energy on pressuring Hamas to release hostages and lay down arms, rather than the “exactly backward” strategy of pressuring Israel to halt its efforts in Gaza. “There’s a certain misguided logic in focusing most peace efforts on Israel. Israel, unlike Hamas, has demonstrated in years past that it will respond to international pressure. This means that protesting Israel feels less futile than protesting Hamas. In addition, protesters may believe that Hamas has been punished enough, or that the civilian price is just too high, even if it means that Hamas survives to attempt “a second, a third, a fourth” attack, as a member of the Hamas Politburo, Ghazi Hamad, promised in an interview on Lebanese television on Oct. 24. I have a different view. World pressure, including pressure from diplomats and from the streets, should focus on Hamas. Demand that it end the war by laying down its arms and freeing the hostages. By focusing on Israel, the protests and other forms of public pressure have the effect of undermining the core principles of the law of armed conflict and the rules-based international order itself.” [NYTimes]
Bombastic Strike: In The Wall Street Journal, Laura Blumenfeld reflects on Israel’s decision in 2003 to use lighter munitions to strike a terror target that included Oct. 7 organizers out of concern for civilian casualties — and the ramifications of that decision two decades later. “Inside the Gaza home, Hamas’s political chief, Ismail Haniyeh, was spooning rice onto the plate of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, Hamas’s spiritual founder, when the Israeli air force F-16 released its ordinance onto the roof. The explosion shook the dining room, Mr. Haniyeh told me afterward. Dust rained down from the ceiling. He looked up. ‘We are hit, Sheik,’ Mr. Haniyeh said, laughing bitterly. But at the last minute, the Israelis had replaced the 1-ton lethal payload with a quarter-ton bomb. They wanted to spare civilians. The smaller bomb, Israeli officials concluded, was a moral and public-opinion imperative. The government’s legitimacy depended on domestic and international support and sympathy. All eight Hamas leaders fled the house, alive.” [WSJ]
Hill Hullabaloo: New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait responds to congressional staffers unhappy with their boss’ support for Israel amid the ongoing war. “If an elected official hires you to look out for their interests, and instead you attend rallies and sign petitions labelling that elected official a moral monster, I’d say your professional credibility is very much in doubt. Indeed, that behavior indicates a fundamental lack of understanding of the job of congressional staffer. The revolting staff genuinely seem to genuinely believe they have a right to bring their employers into alignment with their own beliefs. ‘A lot of staffers feel like they live in an upside-down world,’ said Waleed Shahid, a former Capitol Hill spokesperson for the left-wing faction Justice Democrats. ‘They have to go into work and put their heads down and just write a statement or release a statement from their boss that they absolutely in the core of their being disagree with.’ That’s not upside-down. That’s how the world works and how it’s supposed to work. What’s upside-down is the assumption members of Congress should yield to their staffers’ issue preferences rather than vice versa.” [NYMag]
What’s Next: In Foreign Policy, Aaron David Miller looks at the challenges and opportunities facing American, Israeli and Palestinian leadership in a post-Oct. 7 reality. “Every breakthrough in the Arab-Israeli conflict that occurred within the conflict zone has been preceded by violence, insurgency, and war. Indeed, severe crisis can produce opportunity because it breaks the status quo and injects pain that can produce urgency. But that pain must be married to the prospects of gain—usually but not always generated by an outside mediator. …Leaders need not be born to lead; often, they emerge in response to the direst of circumstances. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is one such leader who comes to mind. But if the Biden administration has any hope of trying to push for a credible process to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it will need leaders on both sides with the capacity and desire to make and sustain very tough — even historic — decisions. Right now, it’s hard to see those kinds of leaders emerging quickly in the wake of this crisis.” [ForeignPolicy]
Around the Web
Suspect Arrested: A pro-Palestinian college professor was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter on Thursday in connection with the death of a 69-year-old Jewish man at dueling pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian rallies in Los Angeles last week.
Sayonara, Santos: Shortly after the House Ethics Committee released a report finding “substantial evidence” that Rep. George Santos (R-NY) violated federal law, the embattled New York Republican announced he will not seek reelection in 2024.
West Bank Worries: Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) sent a letter to the president expressing concerns about escalating settler violence in the West Bank, saying Israel “must do more” to stop such violence and warning that “extreme members of the Israeli governing coalition may be inflaming tensions and inciting violence.”
Eye on Iran: Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Rick Scott (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) urged the administration to designate Iraq-based militias linked to Iran as terrorist organizations.
Waiver Worries: Criticism from congressional Republicans of the Biden administration’s decision to extend waivers for Iraq to purchase electricity from Iran grew yesterday, with one senior House Republican arguing the House shouldn’t have left for Thanksgiving without voting to block the waiver.
Up in Arms: Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Cori Bush (D-MO), Delia Ramirez (D-IL) and Summer Lee (D-PA) introduced a resolution seeking to block the sale of $320 million in arms to Israel.
Cease-fire Call: Rep. Becca Balint (D-VT) became the first Jewish House Democrat to call for a negotiated bilateral cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. She said that all hostages must be returned and that a cease-fire can only work “if Hamas does not continue to rule in Gaza.”
Dem Divisions: The New York Times’ Michelle Goldberg looks at how debates over the Israel-Hamas war are creating fractures within the Democratic Party, putting far-left officials at risk of losing their seats.
Ads Alert: IBM will cease advertising on X, formerly Twitter, after the company’s ads appeared alongside pro-Nazi tweets.
TikTok Talk: Actors Sacha Baron Cohen, Debra Messing and Amy Schumer were among the roughly dozen celebrities who joined a Zoom meeting with TikTok executives, imploring the social media company to do more to address antisemitism and harassment on the platform.
Barred from the Beat: The Los Angeles Times is barring employees who signed onto a letter calling on newsrooms to report on “Israel’s repeated atrocities against Palestinians” from covering the Israel-Hamas war.
Bay Bridge Blocked: Dozens of protestors calling for a cease-fire were arrested after shutting down San Francisco’s Bay Bridge, snarling traffic and delaying couriers transporting organs for transplants.
Harvard Heat: More than 100 Harvard professors signed on to a letter condemning the university’s president for issuing a statement condemning antisemitism.
Campus Beat: The New York Times’ David Brooks suggests how universities can improve their efforts to create inclusive campus environments that are safe for all students.
Watching the Watch: An outgoing senior editor at Human Rights Watch blasted the organization for its work on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, writing in an internal staff email that HRW’s response to the Oct. 7 attacks “shattered professionalism, abandoned principles of accuracy and fairness, and surrendered its duty to stand for the human rights of all.”
U.N.-Impressed: Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog struck down a suggestion from Germany that the U.N. take control of a post-Hamas Gaza Strip, citing Israel’s past negative experiences with U.N. mandated forces.
Hospital Findings: Israel released video of a Hamas tunnel discovered near Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.
Bearing Witness: CNN’s Jake Tapper reports on the sexual violence that occurred during the Oct. 7 terror attacks in the latest edition of “The Lead.”
Transition: Avital Chizhik Goldschmidt is joining The Real Deal as news editor.
Wine of the Week
JI wine columnist Yitz Applbaum reviews the Misty Hills 2019 Cabernet Blend:
“I was sitting this week with my dear friend Bennet trying to shake our war-induced feelings of despair. We ended up discussing the best philanthropies to support in this time of need, and naturally found our way down to his magnificent wine cellar where the Misty Hills 2019 Cabernet Blend leaped out at us. This wine certainly put us in the mood to open our wallets to our brothers in the Israeli south. I have tasted many vintages of this wine, and the 2019 stands out as an exceptional vintage. The nose is complex and the color is a deep purple, driven by the Syrah. The front palate is all about tart cranberries, the middle palate coats the sides of your inner checks with a buttery film and the finish takes you to a cool desert evening on the Negev dunes. This bottle has another approximately 10 years till peak.”
Pic of the Day
Elected officials and faith leaders from New York travel to Kibbutz Kfar Aza in southern Israel during a solidarity mission sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.
Global editorial director of the Huffington Post Media Group, Howard Fineman turns 75…
FRIDAY: U.S. senator (R-OK) until this past January, Jim Inhofe turns 89… Rabbi of Agudath Israel of Baltimore, he is also the rabbinic administrator of the Star K Kosher Supervision service, Rabbi Moshe Heinemann turns 86… Original creator and producer of “Saturday Night Live,” Lorne Michaels (born Lorne Lipowitz) turns 79… Philanthropist and director of the William Davidson Foundation, Karen Davidson… Editor-at-large for Washingtonian Magazine and author of a biography of Bernie Sanders, Harry Jaffe… Film and television director, writer and producer, Jon Avnet turns 74… Founder and principal of ourCovenant, Diana Aviv… Operations manager at NPC Global, Daniel Gastaldi… Author and journalist, he lectures in the graduate journalism program at Stanford University, Gary M. Pomerantz turns 63… Attorney and business executive who once played on the South African national teams in both cricket and field hockey, Mandy Yachad turns 63… U.S. senator (R-PA) until this past January, Pat Toomey turns 62… Director of the Domestic Policy Council in the Biden administration until May of this year, Ambassador Susan Rice turns 59… “The Travelling Rabbi” of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies who serves 11 sub-Saharan countries, Moshe Silberhaft turns 56… U.S. ambassador to Switzerland during the Obama administration, Suzan Gail Davidson (Suzi) LeVine turns 54… Executive editor and Washington bureau chief of Talking Points Memo, David Kurtz turns 54… Segment producer at HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Michele Tasoff… Partner in Seven Letter, a D.C.-based public affairs firm, Ralph Posner… Director of human resilience at Apeiron ZOH, Michael Ostrolenk… President of NBC News until earlier this year, Noah Oppenheim turns 45… CEO of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, Halie Soifer turns 45… Partner at Thematic Campaigns f/k/a AKPD Message and Media, Isaac Baker… MLB player for 14 seasons, NL Rookie of the Year, five-time NL All-Star and NL MVP in 2011, Ryan Braun turns 40… NFL fullback for six seasons with the Bucs and Saints, he has since earned an MBA from Wharton, Erik Lorig turns 37… U.S. foreign affairs and defense correspondent for the Financial Times, Felicia Schwartz… Mortgage lender at River Holdings, Zecharya “Zack” Teichman… Student at Harvard University in the Class of 2024, Aidan Golub…
SATURDAY: Roberta “Bobbie” Goldstein… Theoretical physicist, at age 27 he became a professor and then later president of the Weizmann Institute, he is the founder of the Davidson Institute of Science Education at Weizmann, Haim Harari turns 83… Potomac, Md., resident, Richard Gorman… National director of major gifts for the American Committee for the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, Paul Jeser… Lecturer at Boston University School of Law, he was formerly SVP and general counsel of Fidelity Management & Research Company, Eric D. Roiter turns 75… Atlanta resident, Lynda Wolfe… Israeli cantor and actor, known for his Broadway performance as Jean Valjean in “Les Misérables,” David “Dudu” Fisher turns 72… Professor of epidemiology at Columbia University, Walter Ian Lipkin turns 71… Former U.S. ambassador to South Africa, she is a luxury handbag designer, Lana J. Marks turns 70… Singer-songwriter, he is also the author of a popular Passover Haggadah, Barry Louis Polisar turns 69… Long-time former play-by-play sportscaster for the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, Marc Zumoff turns 68… Former mayor of Dallas until 2007, Laura Miller turns 65… SVP and general counsel of HSP Group and ARF Financial, Robert Bruce Lapidus… Moroccan-born, member of the Knesset since 2003 for the Shas party, he currently serves as the minister of labor, social affairs and social services, Yaakov Margi turns 63… NYC-based writer, activist and performer, Shira Dicker… Washington correspondent for The New York Times covering health policy, Sheryl Gay Stolberg turns 62… Retired Baltimore attorney who devotes her time to philanthropic and pro-Israel activities, Laurie Luskin… Rabbi of Burbank Temple Emanu El and national coordinator of Rabbis Without Borders, Tsafreer “Tsafi” Lev turns 52… Member of the Knesset for the Yesh Atid party, Michal Shir Segman turns 44… Real estate agent at Coldwell Banker and a fashion Stylist for the Jenny Yoo Collection, Talia Fadis… Israeli singer-songwriter and music producer, Elisha Banai turns 35…
SUNDAY: Retired New York State Supreme Court judge, whose tenure on the television program “The People’s Court” was shorter than that of his wife “Judge Judy,” Jerry Sheindlin turns 90… Attorney, investment banker and former U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom in the Obama administration, Louis B. Susman turns 86… Professor of chemistry at Stanford University, Richard Neil Zare turns 84… Fifteen-term member in the U.S. House of Representatives (D-NY) until 2013, he is now a partner in Gotham Government Relations, Gary Ackerman turns 81… Fashion designer, Calvin Klein turns 81… Founder and president of the Washington-based Arab American Institute, James J. Zogby turns 78… U.S. ambassador to Germany after 18 years as president of the University of Pennsylvania, Amy Gutmann turns 74… Los Angeles based real estate investor, Sydney Ilene Cetner… Owner of Patty’s Piano Studio in Santa Monica, Calif., Patricia Fiden… Cosmetic dentist and chairman of pharma company Akelos, Inc., Steven Fox, DDS… California state senator until 2022, Robert Myles “Bob” Hertzberg turns 69… Dean and professor of Jewish history, literature and law at Yeshiva University, Rabbi Dr. Ephraim Kanarfogel turns 68… Academy Award-winning screenwriter, producer, director and lyricist, best known as the writer of “Being John Malkovich,” Charlie Kaufman turns 65… President of Sunrise Financial Group, Nathan Low… Retired member of the Knesset for the Kulanu party, he served as Israel’s minister of finance for five years, Moshe Kahlon turns 63… Officer of NORPAC New York and a partner in a Brooklyn-based law firm, Trudy Stern… Co-president of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Lisa Eisen… Founder of World Values Network, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach turns 57… Director of state and local government affairs for SAIC, Eric Finkbeiner… Chief impact officer at Forbes, Seth Cohen… Member of the New York State Assembly since 2005, Andrew D. Hevesi turns 50… New York Times best-selling novelist, she is also a professor at Rutgers University-Camden, Lauren Grodstein turns 48… Editor-in-chief of Time magazine, Samuel P. Jacobs… Associate director at Northwestern University Hillel, Rachel Hillman… Former congressional staffer, Michael Dale-Stein turns 36… Managing director at Climate Power, John D. Axelrod… European deals reporter at the Financial Times based in London, Ivan Levingston…