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What is the Jewish American heritage? – Washington Jewish Week

Posted By on May 25, 2020

Girls march against child labor in a May Day parade, New York City, 1909Photo Library of Congress

Black History Month was announced in 1969. Womens History Month came about in 1987. Irish-American Heritage Month was created in 1990. Compared to its predecessors, Mays designation as Jewish American Heritage Month found recognition relatively late when President George W. Bush announced it in 2006 on the heels of national celebrations marking the 350th anniversary of Jews arriving on these shores.

Its purpose is to both commemorate the contribution that American Jews have made to the fabric of our American culture, society and history and also to mark the gratefulness of American Jews to America, said Misha Galperin, interim CEO of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia and a former CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

Galperin, whose museum leads a coalition that observes Jewish American Heritage Month each year, said the month can be thought of as part of the philo-semitism being promoted by the State Departments special envoy for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism, Elan Carr.

Telling stories about what American Jews and Jewish people Jewish culture has contributed to this country is a way to combat anti-Semitism in a positive way rather than just a defensive way, said Galperin.

While celebrations include events hosted by Jewish institutions, Galperins framing underscores the extent to which the month is meant for a non-Jewish audience. In addition to a presidential proclamation, federally designated months often include instruction that government agencies provide relevant education to their employees.

American University history professor Pamela Nadell said she once delivered a lecture to a group of federal workers as part of one agencys recognition of the month.

This isnt really meant for the Jewish community, Nadell said. Its meant for America to learn more about Jews.

The external audience and desire to promote American Jews throughout history in a favorable light may explain how the month got its name, emphasizing heritage over history. The distinction might seem trivial, but holds weight in academia.

I have to say that I actually prefer the word history, said Jonathan Sarna, Brandeis University professor and author of American Judaism.

Sarna said that heritage is generally thought of as a fixed part of ones past to be admired from a distance.

People do genealogy and say, Oh its part of my heritage, Sarna said. But you have no intention of raising your own children within that culture, you dont see a need to internalize it Its part of my heritage, I just want to know something about it.

Heritage is also often used to describe favorable stories that communities tell themselves about their shared past, said Nadell, noting that these stories are often used to make particular claims.

One example is that of 18th-century financier Haym Solomon. Solomon helped finance the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War and was arrested repeatedly by the British, dying penniless possibly due to his extensive purchases of government debt.

His story really got elevated as a way of showing how Jews were patriots during the Revolutionary War, said Nadell. For a long time you would have heard a lot about him.

No longer particularly concerned with overt displays of communal patriotism, Solomons story has largely faded from contemporary American consciousness.

Regardless of which word you use, many scholars believe that American Jewry was significantly shaped by the nations early separation of church and state. That division not only allowed Jews to immigrate to the United States for much of its history and worship freely, but meant that the Jewish community and religious practice is far more diffuse than in many other countries with significant Jewish populations.

The absence of a chief rabbi or formal relationships between Jewish community leaders and government officials spawned an unprecedented diversity of denominations in the United States, Sarna said.

Just as there were infinite ways of being a Protestant in America, so it seems natural that there should be many ways of being a Jew in America, Sarna said. We have a kind of free market in religion and that is enormously important in understanding the distinctiveness of the entire Jewish American experience.

Sarna added that while Jews were often the most prominent minority group in European nations, that wasnt the case in America. Catholics, Irish-Americans, German-Americans, Asian-Americans and many other groups faced periodic discrimination starting early in American history, and African Americans faced the brunt of sustained persecution.

Jews have been one of many, many, many people over the course of American history to suffer prejudice and opprobrium, Sarna said. Thats very unfortunate, but it does mean that it wasnt all focused on one out group the Jews as was common in many other countries where Jews previously lived.

The freedom that diffusion of bigotry provided may have made American Jews more comfortable engaging in the political system. Rabbi Sarah Krinsky of Washingtons Adas Israel Congregation said that civic engagement is a part of American Jewish identity in a way that is not found elsewhere.

Theres a particular version of how civic engagement is married to Jewish peoplehood and identity in the United States, Krinsky said. Part of that is because American has such a strong sense in its founding principles of civic participation and service that its only natural the Judaism born here would be responsive to that.

Krinsky said that the American Jewish community has distinguished itself in other ways as well, with many American Jews developing more progressive attitudes on, for example, women and gay rights.

An embrace of individual rights and identity fits well within the American Jewish story, said Nadell, the American University professor whose recent book Americas Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today, won the 2019 National Jewish Book Award.

Women but this is true for men as well saw themselves as Americans and as Jews and those identities informed one another, Nadell said. They were inspired by both their Jewish traditions and by Americas freedoms to think in very strikingly different ways.

Nadell offered the example of Grace Nathan, a colonial-era woman who wrote an ethical will calling for her son to trim his beard seven days after her death, rather than keeping it for the 30 days or even full year that Jewish custom calls for.

Even though she was a typical wife and mother she was also changing Judaism and adapting it to America, Nadell said.

Nathans great-granddaughter was Emma Lazarus, the Jewish activist and poet who wrote the sonnet New Colossus inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty.

Krinsky is skeptical of the premise that the defining traits of American Jews are exceptional.

What the American Jewish community has done is what every Jewish community has always done, Krinsky said. American Judaism has taken particular forms, but in the broadest strokes thats not so different from whats happened in other places at other moments.

But she understands why celebrations of Jewish heritage can be so meaningful, with a sense of the past often helping ground Jews in a larger identity. Krinsky first moved to Washington immediately following college for a year-long job, and found the city to be largely transient.

She didnt return until taking the job at Adas Israel, one of the citys original congregations,and has developed an appreciation for that history.

This institution is not transient. Its rooted and grounded and has a sense of a bigger expanse of time, she said. Its the sense of something that existed before us and will exist after us and it provides a sense of home in a city that lacks a lot of those things.

Galperin, the museum CEO, said that the months focus on heritage can provide a similar resource to American Jews who are proud to be Jewish but struggle to articulate why or tie their pride to a specific history.

It gives American Jews the tools and information to understand what theyre proud of and what they can identify with.

Arno Rosenfeld is a Washington writer.

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What is the Jewish American heritage? - Washington Jewish Week

The Best Live Theater to Stream Online Today – Time Out

Posted By on May 25, 2020

The current crisis has had a devastating effect on the performing arts. Broadwayhas shut down, and the ban on gatherings in New Yorkextends to all other performance spaces as well. So the show must go onlineand, luckily, streaming video makes that possible. Here are some of the best theater, opera, dance and cabaret performances you can watch today without leaving home, many of which will help you support the artists involved.

Events that go live today are at the top of the list; be sure to scroll down past the daily listings to find major events that you can still stream for alimited time and, below that, a bonus section of videos that have no expiration date. We update this page every day, so please feel free to bookmark it and check back. (Refresh the bookmark every week or so for optimal use.)

NT Live: A Streetcar Named DesireNow(available through May 28 at 2pm EDT / 7pm BST)Thanks to its NT Live series, Londons venerable National Theatre has a treasure trove of excellent recordings of past productionsand now it is streaming one play per week for free, every Thursday on YouTube. The latest offering is Australian director Benedict Andrewss much-buzzed-about 2014 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williamss 1947 portrait of hard times in the Big Easy, starring Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) as Blanche, Ben Foster (X-Men: The Last Stand) as Stanley and Vanessa Kirby (The Crown) as Stella. This take on Tennessee Williamss great American tragedy is often imbued with the air of a waking nightmare, a visceral physical manifestation of heroine Blanche DuBoiss disintegrating mind, wrote Time Out London of the production. The last half hour is a horrorshow tour de force, as a drunk, fragmenting Blanche staggers through a house that shifts and spins nauseatingly under her feet.

A Streetcar Named Desire | Photograph: Johan Persson

Stars in the House: Laura Benanti and friendsMonday 2pm EDT / 7pm BSTShowtune savant and SiriusXM host Seth Rudetsky (Disaster!) and his husband, producer James Wesley, are the animating forces behind this ambitious and very entertaining new series to benefit the Actors Fund, in which they play host to theater stars in live, chatty interviews interspersed with clips and songs. (Rudetsky is an expert at sussing out stories.) Dr. Jon LaPook, the chief medical correspondent for CBS News, provides periodic updates on public health; surprise virtual visitors are common as well. Todays matinee is guest-hosted by Broadways strong-voiced and sharp-witted Laura Benanti (She Loves Me), who is always a plum delight.

Laura Benanti | Photograph: Jenny Anderson

Maries Crisis Virtual Piano BarMonday 4pm9:30pm EDT / 9pm2:30am BSTThe beloved West Village institution keeps the show tunes rolling merrily along every night of the week. Read all about it here. Join the Maries Group page on Facebook to watch from home, and dont forget to tip the pianist and staff through Venmo. Tonights scheduled pianists are Alex Barylski (@Alexander-Barylski) and Brandon James Gwinn (@brandonjamesg).

Brandon James Gwinn | Photograph: Lauren Gunn

JoyceStream: And Still You Must SwingMonday 5pm EDT / 10pm BST (available for 24 hours)The Joyce Theater hosts a continuous rotation of top dance companies from across the country and around the world. To help pass the time while it is shuttered, the Chelsea venue is sharing archival recordings of full-length productions from artists who have appeared there. (Theyre calling the program JoyceStream, but may we suggest Re-Joyce?) This video, which remains live for only one day, celebrates National Tap Dance Day with selections from And Still You Must Swings, in which the sensational Dormeshia, Derick K. Grant and Jason Samuels Smithall of whom appeared in Broadways Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk, among many other creditstap, tap, tap their troubles away in a group show devoted to the history of their art form. Dancer-choreographer Camille A. Brown (Once on This Island) joins them as a special guest.

And Still You Must Swing | Photograph: Christopher Duggan

The Metropolitan Opera: La Damnation de FaustMonday 7:30pm EDT / 12:30am BST (available for 23 hours)The Met continues its immensely popular rollout of past performances, recorded in HD and viewable for free. A different archival production goes live at 7:30pm each night and remains online for the next 23 hours. Tonight the series begins its 11th week with the visionary Qubcois director Robert Lepages eye-popping 2008 production of Hector Berliozs La Damnation de Faust, starring Marcello Giordani as the antihero whose damnable ambition leads him to strike up a deal with the Devil. (Who doesnt love a bargain?) James Levine conducts the performance, which also stars John Relyea as Mphistophls and Susan Graham as the innocent and doomed Marguerite.

La Damnation de Faust | Photograph: Ken Howard

Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show: Quarantine EditionMonday 7:30pm EDT / 12:30am BSTSponsored by the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus gang, this exhibition of curious human endeavors features everything from stripping clowns to heavy-metal magicians. A remote edition of the vaudevillian variety pageant now hits YouTube every week. This time, Bindlestiffs Keith Nelson hosts a lineup that comprises the Damm Family Circus, magician Lou Johnson, contortionist and juggler Kira DiPietrantonio, clown and painter Rich Potter, aerialist Candice Storley, German Wheel manipulator Chris Delgado, hula hooper Leonid the Magnificent, juggler Niels Duinker, daredevil Reggie Bugmuncher and circus historian Hovey Burgess. Contributions are welcome via Venmo (@BindlestiffFamilyCirkus).

Chris Delgado | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

BandstandMonday 8pm EDT / 1am BST (through June 2)If you missed the original musical Bandstand on Broadway in 2017as too many people did!you now have a chance to see what you were missing. In honor of Memorial Day, Broadway on Demand is streaming the show in its entirety starting tonight, in a performance that was filmed for cinematic release in 2018. Richard Oberacker and Rob Taylor's resonant musical dances a delicate line between nostalgia and disillusion in its depiction of postWorld War II soldiers, led by the engaging Corey Cott, trying to get back into the swing of things through musicwith help from a comely singer played by Laura Osnes. Director-choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler's group numbers burst with snazzy individuality, but Bandstands heart is in the shadows that its band of brothers can't shake. Rentals cost $6.99 and last 24 hours; a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). In a free preshow event that goes live at 7:30pm tonight, Cott discusses the show with Blankenbuehler, Oberacker, Taylor and costume designer Paloma Young.

Bandstand | Photograph: Jeremy Daniel

Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast PartyMonday 8pm EDT / 1am BSTPart cabaret, part piano bar and part social set, Birdland's long-running Monday-night open mic fest Cast Party offers a chance to hear rising and established talents step up to the spotlight. The waggish Jim Caruso presides as host. Now he brings the show online via YouTube; this weeks guest list includes Broadway leading lady Betty Buckley, CBS Sunday Morning wit Mo Rocca, singer-impressionist Christina Bianco, Kenya-American singers the Moipei Triplets, musical-theater performer Bonale Fambrini and the married song-and-dance team of Nicolas Dromard and Desire Davar. It's free, but tips are welcome (Venmo: @Jim-Caruso-1).

Betty Buckley | Photograph: Scogin Mayo

Marty Thomas Presents DivaMonday 8pm EDT / 1am BSTPower vocalist and human spangle Marty Thomas (Xanadu) hosts this weekly showcase for big-voiced girl singers who perform show tunes as well as pop gems. During the isolation crisis, hes bringing the show to YouTube Live. (If the spirit moves you, you can tip him through Venmo at @Martythomaslovesyou.) This week's edition features Marissa Rosen, Samantha Duval and Lisa Ramey, plus a guest shot by the big-voiced Bonnie Milligan, who made a triumphant Broadway debut in last seasons Head Over Heels.

Bonnie Milligan | Photograph: Jenny Anderson

Stars in the HouseMonday 8pm EDT / 1am BSTSee Monday 2pm. The guests at tonights episode have not yet been announced.

Mondays in the Club with LanceMonday 9pm1am EDT / 1am5am BSTHes worked with Alan Cumming, Liza Minnelli, Kylie Minogue and just about every downtown act in NYC. Now the songwriter, pianist and performer Lance Horne hosts his own wild night of piano-bar singing, storytelling and dancing at the East Village nightlife hub Club Cummingtransposed, for the time being, to the key of Crowdcast, where loyal regulars and curious visitors can keep the flame burning by making requests and singing from home. Expect show-tune geekery and advanced community spirit. The broadcast is free, but contributions to the nonprofit Orchard Project arts collective are encouraged if you can afford to give. You can also tip Horne directly via Venmo at @LanceHorne.)

Mondays in the Club with Lance | Photograph: Jason Eason

Stars in the House: Judy Gold and friendsTuesday 2pm EDT / 7pm BSTTodays matinee edition of the interview and performance show is guest-hosted by the brash stand-up comedian Judy Gold, whose long list of accomplishments includes two Emmy Awards (for producing The Rosie ODonnell Show) and specials for HBO, Comedy Central and Logo.

Judy Gold | Photograph: Eric Korenman

Signal OnlineTuesday 2:30pm EDT / 7:30pm BSTThe quarterly London showcase for emerging musical-theater writers is now a live bimonthly virtual event. This edition includes tunesmiths not only from the U.K. but also from the U.S., Canada and Australia; Writers from Australia, Canada, USA and across the UK will present work on 26th May including: Luke Bateman and Michael Conley, Stu Barter and Amber Hsu, Christian Czornyj, Sean Donehue, Francesca Forristal & Jordan Clarke, Tim Gilvin and Alex Kanefsky, Matt Harvey and Jessie Linden, Julian Hornik, Germaine Konji and Ben Page, Laura Murphy, Jonathan ONeill and Isaac Savage, Emily Rose Simons, Zoe Sarnak and Sheep Soup. The concert is free but if you choose to pay for a ticket, the proceeds will help support writers.

Michael Conley | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Maries Crisis Virtual Piano BarTuesday 4pm9:30pm EDT / 9pm2:30am BSTSee Monday 4pm. Tonights scheduled pianists are James Merillat (@James-Merillat-2) and Franca Vercelloni (@Franca-Vercelloni).

CyberTank Variety ShowTuesday 4pm EDT / 9pm BSTThe Tank, one of NYCs premiere incubators of emerging talent, rolls forward with a weekly multidisciplinary variety show and discussion group, in which artists are welcome to participate remotely. The theme of this weeks episode is rejected ideas.

The VT Show: Brandon Victor DixonTuesday 5pm EDT / 10pm BSTIn its distinguished history, the East Villages Vineyard Theatre has given us such shows as How I Learned to Drive, Three Tall Women, Avenue Q and the recent Dana H. In this brand-new weekly series, past and future Vineyard artists offer insights into their creative process. Today, The superb singer-actor Brandon Victor Dixonwho has memorably appeared in The Color Purple, Shuffle Along, Hamilton and the TV broadcast of Jesus Christ Superstarshares stories and songs from his career, including the Vineyards premiere production of The Scottsboro Boys.

Brandon Victor Dixon | Photograph: Dario Calmese

The 24 Hour Plays: Viral MonologuesTuesday 6pm EDT / 11pm BSTSince 1995, the 24 Hour Plays series has set itself a challenge: to write, cast and perform new playlets in the span of a single night and day. In this weekly variation on that theme, writers create 24 monologues or two-handers for actors who record them and send them in for online broadcast. On Tuesdays from 6pm through midnight, a new piece goes live every 15 minutes on the 24 Hours Plays Instagram feed, where they remain viewable afterward.

54 Below at Home: Another Opening, Another Debut!Tuesday 6:30pm EDT / 11:30pm BST (live only)The citys top supper club, Feinsteins/54 Below, offers shows from its archives, streamed live on YouTube for one night only, in its ongoing series 54 Below at Home. Tonights edition is a 2018 group show that spotlights performers who took their first Broadway bows in the season beforeincluding Once on This Islands Isaac Powell and Hailey Kilgore, Frozens Jelani Alladin and The Bands Visits Ariel Stachel (who won a Tony a month later), plus Colin Anderson, DeMarius R. Copes, Jenny Laroche, Cheech Manohar, Kate Marilley, Mike Millan, Brian Ray Norris, Rachel Prather, Ayla Schwartz and Abby C. Smith. Ben Caplan is the musical director.

Isaac Powell | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Caf La MaMa Live: Take 7Tuesday 7pm EDT / 12am BSTIn the spirit of the coffeehouse culture from which much of the Off-Off Broadway scene emerged, La MaMas weekly series gives writers, dancers, poets and musicians a digital stage in real time. This weeks edition, curated and hosted by Kate Siahaan-Rigg, celebrates Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month with performers including Marc de la Cruz, Kristina Wong, EJ Zimmerman and thejoyfully scandalous Raven O.

Kate Siahaan-Rigg | Photograph: Courtesy Helen Tansey

Piano Bar Live!Tuesday 7:15pm EDT / 12:15am BSTBefore the current isolation situation, Scott Barbarinos Piano Bar Live! was already devoted to streaming piano bar entertainers at Brandys and the Duplex to folks cooped up at home. Now the series goes fully virtual. Michael McAssey hosts a lineup that includes Marta Sanders, Leanne Borgeshi, Amy Armstrong, Freddy Allen, Collin Yates and Michael Kirk Lane.

The Metropolitan Opera: ErnaniTuesday 7:30pm EDT / 12:30am BST (available for 23 hours)See Monday 7:30pm. In tonights selection, Verdis Ernani, Angela Meade stars as Elvira, a young woman torn among three suitors: the sexy bad boy Ernani (Marcello Giordani), the rich and old de Silva (Ferruccio Furlanetto) and the King of Spain (Dmitri Hvorostovsky). Marco Armiliato conducts this 2012 telecast.

Ernani | Photograph: Marty Sohl

Ganymede RevisitedTuesday 7:30 pm EDT / 12:30am BSTIn this online offering from the Tank, playwright Frank J. Avella presents a triptych of short works on queer neoclassical themes, set in the past, present and future. Ganymede explores the possible May-December (or is it July-August?) relationship between Julius Caesar and his nephew Octavius, the future Augustus; Catamitus looks at a modern film star and a victim of his sexual misconduct; and Gaia imagines a future in which women run the world without men.

Cast member Carlotta Brentan | Photograph: Ashley Garrett

New York City Ballet: Donizetti VariationsTuesday 8pm EDT / 1am BST (available for 72 hours)Instead of its planned six-week season at Lincoln Center, City Ballets is providing a month and a half of digital offerings, including workshops and movement classes as well as streamed recordings of pieces from its repertoire every Tuesday and Friday. The final weeks first offering is George Balanchines fast-paced and light-hearted 1960 Donizetti Variations, a 25-minute ballet set to music from Donizettis final opera, Dom Sbastien. Ashley Bouder and Andrew Veyette lead the company in this recording.

Donizetti Variations | Photograph: Paul Kolnik

Amber Martin: AmbyokeTuesday 8pm EDT / 1am BSTThe multitalented Amber Martin, a chameleonic performer with a killer voice, is a significant player in the downtown alt-cabaret scene, and shes not going to let a little quarantine slow her down. Currently nesting with her mother in Texas, Martin holds a weekly hang session on Facebook, in which she sings favorites and requests to karaoke tracks and chats with fancy guest stars.(You can tip her through Venmo at @Amber-Martin-101.) This week's remote visitor is the usky-voiced rock belter Large, who made her name on the TV show Rock Star: Supernova and is also known for her vagina-power novelty hit 8 Miles Wide and her work with the cabaret supergroup Pink Martini.

Amber Martin | Photograph: Rayon Richards

Stars in the House: Star Trek: Voyager 25th-anniversary cast reunionTuesday 8pm EDT / 1am BSTTonights edition of Stars in the House strays from the seriess usual theatrical focus to reunite spaces cases from the late-90s UPN adventure series Star Trek Voyager, including Kate Mulgrew, Jeri Ryan, Roxann Dawson, Robert Beltran, Robert Duncan McNeill, Robert Picardo, Ethan Phillips and Garret Wong.

Kate Mulgrew | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Peter Galperin: Concert in QuarantineTuesday 8pm EDT / 1am BSTMusical-theater composer Peter Galperin performs a live concert that includes material from two New York Citythemed shows: Bulldozer: The Ballad of Robert Moses, which was produced Off Broadway in 2017, and the work-in-progress The Last of The Mannahattas: A Musical Tale of the 22nd Century. Donations to the National Jewish Health COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund are encouraged.

Peter Galperin | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

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The Best Live Theater to Stream Online Today - Time Out

COVID-19 UPDATE: County Executive Bellone Optimistic As Downward Trends Point Toward Imminent Reopening –

Posted By on May 25, 2020

Sunday, 3:30 p.m.: County Executive Bellone Optimistic As Downward Trends Point Toward Imminent Reopening

While the weather is not cooperating, the official start of summer in the Hamptons is not canceled and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said he is confident that a slow, smart reopening will only build its momentum, as long as overall COVID-19 metrics continue to decline.

Our beaches are open and they will stay open. We are going to have a summer here, he said during a press conference. Our families and kids are going to enjoy our beaches this year.

On Sunday afternoon, Mr. Bellone reported 162 additional positive COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours, bringing the county total up to 38,964. But for the first time since March 27, hospitalizations have dipped below 400, to 374, which he said is very good news.

That is a very good thing, as we approach phase one of opening this week, he said. Getting those numbers down and seeing those numbers go as low as possible is important as we begin to put more activity into the economy.

Slated to begin this week, phase one is expected to include construction, agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, curbside or in-store pickup retail, manufacturing and wholesale trade.

We are on the downward trajectory. We have been for weeks now and we see progress happening everywhere, and what I would say to people in our county is continue to be smart, he said. We are on the road to recovery. Progress is being made every day. If we continue to be smart, then we will make that progress quicker, faster, and come out of this stronger than we otherwise would.

The East End can still expect Long Island to reopen by Wednesday, despite an increase in COVID-19 deaths on May 23 an uptick from 84 to 109 reported Governor Andrew Cuomo during an update on Sunday morning.

Long Island is on track to meet the numbers on Wednesday, he said during a press conference from Jones Beach Theatre in Wantagh. We have to get the number of deaths down on Long Island and we have to get the number of tracers up, but were doing that.

New York State beaches are currently open, and campgrounds and RV parks will follow suit tomorrow. The Long Island Rail Road and MTA bus system are also readying for a new mode of operation, which will include a mandatory mask policy, additional train cars for social distancing, and daily cleaning and disinfecting of all trains and buses for the first time ever, Mr. Cuomo said.

Were now, decidedly, in the reopening phase, and weve been following the numbers from day one, not emotions following the science, not the politics, he said. This is not a political ideology question, this is a public health question. Its about a disease, stopping the disease, stopping the spread of the disease, and thats science, not politics.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone echoed Governor Cuomo's statement that if the metrics continue the way they are going Long Island could reopen by Wednesday.

"The Governor today spoke about a timeline ... so Wednesday, the Governor specifically mentioned, is the date that if we continue on this track, which I believe that we will, that we are looking at reopening Long Island. That is great news. Hitting the first phase."

Bellone stated the county is on track with training contact tracers, "We intend to have over 1,000 people trained by the time we get to Wednesday, when we need to meet this metric ... We will get everyone trained and we will be ready. Tracing will not prevent us from reopening."

On Friday the county opened up camping reservations and the response was so overwhelming the website crashed.

"We have these sites opening again on June 1, said Bellone. "We have reservations from the 1st through the 15th, We reopened last night at 7 p.m. for June 15 moving forward, unfortunately we had so many people hit the site it crashed. We are working and have been working with our vendor to get that repaired. We will get that back up and running this week and we will give people plenty of notice before opening up the site once again so everybody has a fair opportunity to get a reservation,

Governor Andrew Cuomo stated in an update this morning that Long Island could reopen by Wednesday if the number of COVID-19 deaths continue to decline and corona virus tracers are in place.

The number of deaths in New York State dropped below 100, with 84 in total, 62 in hospitals and 22 in nursing homes.

"What we are doing is working," said Governor Cuomo. "You look at the new York curve, you look how low it is, you look at the number of deaths, you look at the decline. Compare that with the rest of the nation where you still see the rest of the nation's curve going up."

On Friday evening Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order to allow groups of 10 or less to gather, provided they observe safety and social distancing rules.

For several days, the countys interactive map has reported numbers in excess of the data related by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone during daily media updates. On Friday, he reported 38,672 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Suffolk County, up 119 from Thursday. However, the GIS map lists cases at 43,069. Apprised of the disparity, Mr. Bellone said he was unsure why the numbers were different but said he would get it clarified.

That in mind, the map shows cases in Southampton Town topped 1,004, with 276 confirmed cases of coronavirus depicted for the Town of East Hampton.

Reporting hospitalization data for May 20, Mr. Bellone said general hospitalizations were down by 28 patients to 425, with intensive care unit admissions up by two patients to 131. Hospital capacity was right at the metric, he said, with ICU capacity at 65 percent. Each region in the state must meet or exceed seven metrics before reopening may occur. Long Island has met five of the seven. A metric related to contact tracing is expected and a metric related to a decline in the number of deaths remains elusive.

Fifty-eight patients have been discharged from area hospitals. Twelve patients died in the 24 hour period ending Friday afternoon, bringing total fatalities in Suffolk County to 1,814.

Echoing comments made earlier in the day by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the county executive said Long Island was on track for Phase 1 reopening in a week. We are ready, he said.

Discussions with the business community have been underway for a long time now, he informed. Businesses adapt and adjust and they make it work.

Mr. Bellone spoke of Memorial Day weekend as more than the unofficial beginning of summer; in 2020 its the unofficial beginning of the reopening of the economy. As the county this weekend demonstrates it can reopen beaches safely, he said, so, too, can we reopen businesses safely.

The county will reopen its campgrounds beginning June 1, Mr. Bellone said. The reservation system for booking sites is slated to open Friday night at 7 p.m. Reservations are available for spots beginning July 15. A county camping committee has developed safety rules. Only self-contained units may visit the sites, bathroom and shower facilities will not be provided. Tents will not be permitted and no visitors to the site will be allowed. The sites are just for families, not gatherings or parties.

A letter from a low-level bureaucrat with the U. S. Department of Veterans Administration rejected Mr. Bellones request for permission to place flags at the graves of veterans this weekend.

This is a decision I cannot fathom, he said.

He acknowledged it was likely made with an overabundance of caution, but said officials should bend over backwards to find ways to accomplish the traditional activity. The county executive said he thinks President Donald Trump would be appalled if he was aware of the underlings determination.

Now that the county has stepped forward to fund the drive-up testing site in Southampton, would it also underwrite the site in East Hampton? It opened earlier this month, thanks to funding from a private non profit. Mr. Bellone said one testing site was envisioned for the South Fork, as officials considered spreading them out across the region.

Long Island could reopen next week if deaths continue to decline and the region trains enough contact tracers, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday morning.

In anticipation of phase one of reopening beginning in a week, the governor said construction staging is now allowed on Long Island and in the Mid-Hudson region. That includes delivering construction materials to work sites and putting safety precautions in place.

In addition to construction, phase one of reopening includes agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, curbside or in-store pickup retail, manufacturing and wholesale trade.

According to the New York State Regional Monitoring Dashboard, Long Island has had eight consecutive days of decline in COVID-19 hospital deaths as of Wednesday. To reopen, a streak of 14 days is required. Alternatively, the region could reopen if it has fewer than five deaths per day, based on a three-day average. Long Island now has 10 per day on average.

Long Island still needs more contact tracers to reopen, but according to the dashboard, the region is expected to meet that requirement.

The governor also announced that the state is making $100 million in small business loans available, targeting businesses with 20 or fewer employees and less than $3 million in gross revenue.

Also, New York State is making its contact tracing training curriculum available at no cost to all states.

Thursdays one-day COVID-19 death toll in New York State was 109, with 82 deaths in hospitals and 27 in nursing homes.

Since testing began, East End officials have been urging county counterparts to host a testing site on the South Fork. Last month, confronted with governmental inertia, Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren collaborated with the Hamptons Health Society to amass funding to create a testing site on property owned by Stony Book Southampton Hospital.

The society collected donations sufficient to run the site for the month of May and into the first week of June. Located at the Krause Family health center, the site is operated by Hudson River Health Care. HRH offers free testing to uninsured residents at sites through out Suffolk, assisted by county funding.

On Friday, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman announced that the site will stay afloat. He reached out to Legislator Bridget Fleming and County Executive Steve Bellone, hoping the county would pick up the funding of the site. The response was affirmative.

Said Mr. Bellone in a release announcing the measure, Access to widespread testing is one of the most critical tools in the battle against COVID-19. As we get closer to reopening, Suffolk County will continue to work with all of our partners to ensure our testing sites remain open and anyone who needs to be tested has access.

Testing is a key metric in the reopening plan, Ms. Fleming observed. With more testing, we are able to determine the extent of the spread of the disease.

Jays wonderful, said Dr. Peter Michalos of the Hamptons Health Society. He convinced the county to chip in and help the East End. Its amazing he was able to do that.

Continuing, the doctor added,Im happy East Hampton has been able to duplicate what weve done, setting the precedent of public/ private partnership.

Earlier this month an HRH popup site in East Hampton thats funded by the East Hampton Healthcare Foundation opened.

The Southampton testing site runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 3 p.m. the East Hampton site is open on Wednesdays and Fridays. Both require appointments. Call 845-553-8030.

All three of us have worked incredibly closely together throughout this unprecedented pandemic, County Executive Steve Bellone said Thursday during a Zoom meeting with counterparts Laura Curran of Nassau County and George Latimer of Westchester County. Representing a combined total of 4.5 million people, the trio leaned on each other, communicated with each other, and shared ideas, Mr. Bellone said.

In some ways, Ms. Curran said, reopening is more complicated than operating on crisis mode during the coronavirus surge. As the healthcare crisis begins to subside, the focus is on putting the pieces back into some kind of new normal, she said.

Residents have done a fantastic job acting in compliance with NY PAUSE, she said. She believes theres room for recalibration in the metrics necessary for reopening.

People are ready, she said.

The Long Island region dropped down from meeting five of seven metrics to meeting four. The number of hospitalizations increased once the facilities were opened up to elective and other non-COVID-related procedures. Mr. Bellone said he was confident the region would meet the metric nonetheless.

Introducing Mr. Latimer, Mr. Bellone noted Westchester was at the epicenter of the outbreak at the outset. He said he was grateful for his colleagues leadership. Mr. Latimer offered that theres a benefit in shared experiences and emphasized that the regional approach is the way to go. The downstate economies are interconnected, he underscored.

Each county is following a similar protocol with beach openings as the holiday weekend approaches.

Demand is going to be strong, Mr. Latimer cautioned.

But, like Mr. Bellone, both he and Ms. Curran made the decision to open to their own county residents only.

In Westchester, Mr. Latimer said tough decisions were made in terms of other summer attractions Playland amusement park will stay closed trough July, with social distancing and sanitizing impossible at such a venue.

So, too, are myriad summer ethnic festivals where, by definition, people cluster together. The July 4 fireworks shows have been canceled in Westchester ; in Suffolk, the decision has yet to be made and in Nassau all summer events in Eisenhower Park have been canceled. No formal decision about fireworks shows has been made in Nassau, Ms. Curran qualified. Stay tuned, she said.

Were trying to rise to a moment that none of us has ever experienced, Mr. Latimer said.

Asked whether he sees the upcoming weekend as a litmus test for how Suffolk County will handle the rest of the summer, Mr. Bellone said, Every new step we take is sort of a test.

Eleven people died from COVID-19 in the 24-hour period from Wednesday to Thursday, bringing Suffolks death toll to 1,802. Mr. Bellone reported 142 new confirmed cases during the same time frame, for a total of 38,553 cases countywide.

Summer school across New York State will be done through distance learning, and it is too soon to determine if classrooms can welcome students in the fall, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

During his daily COVID-19 briefing, Mr. Cuomo said the facts have changed on schools because while it was once believed that children are not affected by the coronavirus, now it appears they are.

The New York State Department of Health is now investigating 157 cases of an illness in children that may be related to COVID-19. It is an inflammatory disease that has symptoms like Kawasaki disease or toxic shock syndrome and causes inflammation in blood vessels that can also affect the heart. Mr. Cuomo said New York was the first to investigate cases of the illness, and now 25 states and Washington, D.C., have reported cases as have 13 countries.

This is one of those situations, where the more they look, I believe, the more they are going to find, Mr. Cuomo said.

The governor said schools have high-density issues in classrooms, cafeterias and school buses and density is how coronavirus spreads.

Summer school is not going to open statewide for in-class teaching, Mr. Cuomo said. It will be through distance learning, and meal programs and child care services for essential employees will continue. In terms of opening up schools for the fall, its still too early to make that determination.

The governor said more information on the inflammatory syndrome is needed and the state is waiting to see how development of a vaccine proceeds. The state will issue guidelines in early June for schools and colleges to make plans to possibly open in fall, he added, and the state will approve or not approve those plans in July.

Mr. Cuomo advised that the states contact tracing program is beginning, and he urged New Yorkers who have tested positive for COVID-19 to take the call if their caller ID identifies an incoming caller as NYS Contact Tracing.

The governor said employees who believe their employer is not following PPE, hygiene and social distancing guidelines may call the New York Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065.

Total hospitalizations and the number of intubated COVID-19 patients were both down statewide Wednesday. The number of new COVID-19 hospitalizations on Wednesday was just 246, based on a three-day rolling average. Mr. Cuomo said that is lower than the number was in the early days of COVID-19s emergence, before the spike in cases.

There were 105 deaths attributed to COVID-19 reported statewide Wednesday. That matches the low that was set on Monday. Of Wednesdays reported deaths, 78 occurred in hospitals and 27 occurred in nursing homes.

Long Island has eight consecutive days of decline in hospital deaths as of Wednesday, with an average daily death toll of 10. Fourteen days of decline are required to reopen a region.

Long Island reports 1.43 new COVID-19 hospitalizations daily per 100,000 residents. That number must stay under 2 per 100,000 in order to reopen, and for the past few days Long Islands number keeps getting lower.

Long Island has moved in the wrong direction on the availability of hospital beds. A region must have at least 30 percent of its bed capacity available, and at least 30 percent of its ICU beds, specifically, available. The region has 33 percent of its ICU beds free, but just 27 percent of its total number of beds free. However, this appears to be due to both Suffolk County and Nassau County hospitals being allowed, as of this week, to resume elective surgeries, and not due to an increase in COVID-related hospitalizations.

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COVID-19 UPDATE: County Executive Bellone Optimistic As Downward Trends Point Toward Imminent Reopening -

The Happiest Day of the Year is… Yes, Shavuos. Here’s Why – Yeshiva World News

Posted By on May 25, 2020

By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for

Most people think it is Purim or Simchas Torah but Shavuos?? And the answer is, Yes, Shavuos.

Rav Yerucham Olshin Shlita explains that the Gemorah in Psachim 68b tells us: Rabbi Elazar says, All admit that on atzeres we require lachem it should be for you as a holiday. What is the reason? Because it is the day that the Torah was given.


The Meforshim explain that this Gemorah means we should be happier on this yom tov than on others. Indeed, Rav Yechiel Yehoshuah Rabbinowitz, the Biala Rav, in his Seder HaYom writes this explicitly that we should be happier at this Yom Tov than any other time during the year. The yesod veshoresh haAvodah (Shaar HaTzon 10) develops this idea explaining that it is because we received this remarkable treasure of the Torah.

The Shla HaKadosh (Meseches Shvuos Ner Mitzvah 18) adds another level of insight. He writes that it is the day we merited the Crown of Torah. He cites the Gemorah in Psachim where Rav Yoseph states that were it not for this day, he would be just another Joe in the marketplace.

It is not just the fact that we received the Torah that makes us happy it is the fact that we merited its crown.

To understand this thought, the Rambam tells us (Hilchos Talmud Torah 3:13), Even though it is a Mitzvah to learn Torah day and night, a person only learns the majority of his Torah at night. Therefore, someone who wishes to merit the crown of Torah should be careful to study it each night not missing even one of them in sleeping, eating, drinking, conversation etc. He should only engage in Talmud Torah and Divrei Chochma. This is called the Rina of Torah.

The Av Beis Din of Ponovech explained (cited in Zichron Shmuel p. 574) that there are two aspects of studying Torah.

There is the aspect of studying it in fulfillment of the Mitzvah of Limud HaTorah.

There is also an aspect of learning it as, HaShira HaZos.


In other words it is the song of the life of the person. In it the person delights and takes pleasure. The person does not delay in sticking to it on any account. Any difficult situation, the person engages in it and sleeps in the depth of its halacha. Even when a person is tired the Torah study goes on.

This is the fundamental idea of the Crown of Torah.

We can now better understand the Shlas explanation of Shavuos.

The custom of Klal Yisroel learning all night is now also understood better. It is not just to make up for the fact that we slept then. No, the essence of the problem in that we slept was that we were not yet at the state where it was the song of our life. We are thus correcting this flaw in who we were or are as a nation.

We should take greater pleasure and joy in this Yom Tov because it symbolizes the song of our lives. This is why Shavuos should be the happiest of all Yom Tovs.


The practice of learning all night is mentioned in the Zohar (Parshas Emor 98a). There it even describes the reward that awaits one who studies Torah all night. The all-night learner receives no less than seventy divine blessings from above and is crowned with a special celestial crown of the upper heavens. Then they are inscribed in a special Sefer HaZikaron, a book of memory.


The Arizal writes in Shaar HaKavanos that whoever stays up all night learning is assured that he will certainly live out the year. The Chofetz Chaim records this statement lhalacha (Mishna Brurah 494:1).


There is another interesting point too. Rav Dessler zatzal writes in Michtav MEliyahu that time is not a straight continuum. Rather, the nature of time is like a carousel that turns in circles. He writes that each Yom Tov is actually the very same Yom Tov that Klal Yisroel experienced in thousands of years ago in the year 2448. Each day on this carousel of time has its own special unique aspect to it. With this thought of Rav Dessler in mind, let us examine the words found in the Siddur Etz Chaim (page 46a). There it states that fulfilling this practice of learning all night makes it as if we ourselves received the Torah when we hear the Krias HaTorah of Shavuos. It is therefore, as if we were actually there at Har Sinai on the actual day of Matan Torah itself.


The question is, however, what should one learn? There is a special Tikkun Lail Shavuos that much of Klal Yisroel studies each Shavuos night. It encompasses Torah, Neviim, Ksuvim, Midrashim, and certain mystical parts of Torah. The Tikkun was established by the AriZal HaKadosh. And here is exactly where the controversy begins.


The Shlah HaKadosh (Tractate Shvuos 47) writes that this order of what to learn has become a Minhag in Klal Yisroel and this is what we should all certainly learn. The Shvus Yaakov, however, (Chok Yaakov 494) writes that this Tikkun was only enacted for the masses of people, and those that are capable of doing so should learn their own study regimen.

What is the common custom? Chassidim generally learn the Tikkun, but, generally speaking, Litvaks generally learn their own study regimen. Although, both the Steipler Gaon ztl and lehavdil bain chaim lchaim Rav Chaim Kanievsky actually did the Tikkun Leil Shavuos (See Teshuvos Rav Chaim #216). The Sefer Tefilah KHilchasa rules that an Avel, a mourner, recites the Tikun Lail Shavuos.

Sefardim also generally learn the Tikkun, particularly because the Chida writes (Lev David 31) that one should do so. Indeed, he writes that a group of people who changed the study regimen to studying the Rambam did the wrong thing. He compares what they did to building a Bamah an unauthorized sacrificial platform.


The minhag in virtually all of the Litvish Yeshivos, however, is to study what the Yeshiva itself studies during the regular Zman. What about the Chidas point against the group of people that studied the Rambam? We should note that this group created a new regimen for Shavuos. They did not continue their regular yearly regimen. Our Yeshivos, however, are continuing their regular regimens.

It is interesting to note that the Vilna Gaon himself learned the Arizals special Shavuos regimen. It is also interesting to note that in the time of Rav Aharon Kotler zatzal in Lakewood there were many bochurim that learned Torah on both nights of Shavuos.

So what should one be studying on this night? The Gemorah tells us (Avodah Zarah 19a) that a person does not learn except for where his heart desires. The Yeshivos should therefore continue their practice, and the places that study the Tikkun should continue their practice too.

The author can be reached at [emailprotected]

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The Happiest Day of the Year is... Yes, Shavuos. Here's Why - Yeshiva World News

Three Chareidi Batei Dinim Rule that Eliezer Berland is Guilty and Should be Ostracized – Yeshiva World News

Posted By on May 25, 2020

(By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for

The Talmud Yerushalmi in Kiddushin 4:1 states that a Kiddush Hashem is greater than a Chillul Hashem. It is clear, however, that the simple meaning of this expression is too obvious a statement to be an insight of the Talmud Yerushalmi.

Rather, the meaning of this passage reflects the idea that when both a chillul Hashem and a Kiddush hashem are present in the same action, the Kiddush Hashem outweighs the Chillul hashem.

A few hours ago, in Eretz Yisroel three separate Chareidi Batei Dinim, after 18 months of (two of them) meticulously collecting evidence and testimony, issued a devastating ruling and declaration against R. Eliezer Berland. One such Beis Din was Zichron Meir Tzedek (Rav Shmuel Vosners Beis Din) which included Rabbi Shriel Rosenberg. Rabbi Shmuel Eliezer Stern, and Rabbi Yehuda Fisher, from the Eida HaChareidis Beis Din in Yerushalayim.

The Batei Dinim described the content of the testimonies that they had heard as untoward acts and very serious behaviors. They concluded that according to the opinion of our of holy Torah everyone must stay away from

After describing the content of the testimonies in plain language as acts that are not done and most serious acts, the judges state: It is clear that according to the opinion of our holy teachings, anyone who violates the three cardinal sins and their derivatives, someone who values his soul must stay away from him and one is obligated to act in this way.

The second Beis Din was Rabbi Yitzchak Tuvia Weiss, the head of the Eida Chareidis, Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, and Rabbi Chaim Meir Halevi Vozner. The third Beis Din that signed onto the conclusions of the other two were Rabbi Shevach Tzvi Rosenblatt, Rabbi Yehuda Silman, and Rabbi Menachem Mendel Lubin.

They further accused Berlands followers of heresy for claiming in public and in writing that the crimes and sins he committed were permitted.

In the past, Rav Chaim Kanievsky advised people that Rabbi Berland was a rasha. Berland has also told cancer patients not to proceed with medical treatment and that if they donate vast amounts of money to him and take certain pills (later found to be Mentos) they will be cured.

Translation of ruling:

Special Beis Din

Authorized by the Central Batei Dinim in Our Holy Land

BSD Wednesday, 26 Iyar 5780

Psak Din

At the request of many, a special Beis Din was convened to investigate the rumors that have come out against the leader of the Shuvu Bonim community. In its proceedings explicit testimony was collected and proofs to actions that must never be done, some of them of the most serious nature. It is clear that according to our holy Torah a person who does not observe matters of the three cardinal sins and their derivatives someone who is concerned about his soul must stay away from him and we are obligated to observe this.

The matter is very serious since some of his students and followers have Heaven forbid rationized that it is permitted for a Tzaddik to perform any matter of sin, and this has even been publicized in published works. These matters are to considered complete heresy in the fundamentals of our religion. We must uproot and remove this apikorsus from within us.

Doing so will fulfill the verse (Shmos 18:23), and all this people also shall go to their place in peace.

Rabbi Shriel Rosenberg. Rabbi Shmuel Eliezer Stern, Rabbi Yehuda Fisher, Rabbi Yitzchak Tuvia Weiss, the head of the Eida Chareidis, Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, and Rabbi Chaim Meir Halevi Vozner, Rabbi Shevach Tzvi Rosenblatt, Rabbi Yehuda Silman, and Rabbi Menachem Mendel Lubin.

(YWN World Headquarters NYC)

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This Jerusalem Day, we need unity in more than just our government – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on May 25, 2020

For 2,000 years, our ancestors prayed and yearned for a return to Jerusalem at the most meaningful moments of the year: at the conclusion of the Yom Kippur service and of the Passover Seder.As we celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem on this Jerusalem Day, let us examine some classic sources on the citys deep, spiritual meaning in our faith.Psalm 122 is filled with King Davids strong emotions about Jerusalem. In verse three, he sings that it is a city united together. The Jerusalem Talmud (Chagiga 2:6) explains that this means it is a city that makes all of Israel into friends.While the rest of Israel was divided with each of the 12 tribes receiving its own portions of land, Jerusalem is shared by two tribes: Judah and Benjamin. Judahs mother was Jacobs first wife, Leah, while Benjamin was born to Jacobs second wife, Rachel. There was a strong rivalry between the sons of the two mothers, to the point that Leahs sons sold Joseph into slavery. Jerusalem being shared between these two camps demonstrates a reunification and recognition that while we may be different in how we live our lives, we must remain unified.The deeper level of Jerusalems unifying power relates to the three times a year when Jews from every tribe and background were commanded to come to Jerusalem to worship God together. The Malbim, a 19th-century biblical commentator, explains that this triannual gathering reminded the Jewish people that despite their differences they were one nation that shared a God whom they were coming to praise and worship. The Malbim compares that event to different organs and limbs coming together to form a single body. Jerusalem reminds us that when all is said and done, all we have is each other and our joint faith, and we must not let our differences tear us apart.This message can be seen in the word Jerusalem, a combination of two words: yeiraeh, which means appear, and shalem, which means complete (based on Genesis 14:18 and 22:14). When we look at others, we should not focus on their flaws and that with which we disagree, but they should appear to us as complete even if we know they arent perfect. It can also mean that when the Jews come together to worship in Jerusalem they appear complete because of the unity that is generated.THERE IS a traditional story that captures one last dimension of Jerusalem. There were two brothers who lived next door to one another. One was married with many children and the other was single. Both had fields which yielded strong harvests, and both were very wealthy. The single son was troubled by the fact that his brother had so many mouths to feed, and would sneak into his brothers field from time to time to give him extra crops from his own field. The married brother felt bad for his single brother and since his crops were all that he had in his world, he would sneak into his brothers field to give him more crops from his own. They were both perplexed about the extra crops that they would find from time to time. One night the two bumped into each other as they were delivering crops to the other. They suddenly realized what was happening, and cried with tears of joy and love as they hugged one another. At that moment, God decided that this was where his Temple would sit.See to it that the other has completion. That can be another way of translating the two words that form the name Jerusalem. Be kind. Be loving. Be giving. Jerusalem reminds us of the importance of living lives of selflessness and making sure that we take care of the needs of all who live around us.Jerusalem Day this year follows the formation of the unity government between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz. After more than 500 days of tearing each other apart, a fourth election would have been catastrophic for Israel. Creating this government was not easy for either of the sides, and each had to make heavy compromises. And for this government to work, they will have to continue making compromises on a near daily basis, as they try to work through their differences on the issues of the day.But, as Jerusalem everlastingly reminds us, we need unity. We need to put aside the harsh rhetoric and find ways to work together. We need to stop harping on that which divides us and make progress regarding that which unites us.We must also get back to the most basic lesson of Jerusalem: caring for the needs of others. Seeing how we as a people, and the ministers as members of this wide-ranging government, can heal the wounds in our society and help the most needy especially in light of the coronavirus crisis when so many need assistance.As we celebrate this Jerusalem Day and give thanks to God for the miracles He performed 53 years ago, we should also be thankful for the miracle that took place in Jerusalem this year, with two political adversaries coming together to try to unite and help a country filled with individuals who are in great need.On this Jerusalem Day, let us offer a public prayer that they be successful in this mission.The writer served as a member of the 19th Knesset.

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This Jerusalem Day, we need unity in more than just our government - The Jerusalem Post

The Jewiest (and least Jewish) Muppets The Forward – Forward

Posted By on May 25, 2020

Some Muppets dont even have lower bodies. But they might all have faith traditions.

Last night, Twitters favorite rabbi, Danya Ruttenberg, invited the internet to speculate on the religious affiliations of every Muppet ever.

This is a daunting task worthy of at least another tractate in the Talmud. There are SO many Muppets and, technically, even the awful, flocked foam characters in The Happytime Murders, which were produced at the Henson Creature Shop, count in the canon. Still, the subject could not be scuppered due to the sheer size of the task. Therefore, we must list the Muppets from most to least Jewish.

For the purposes of this exercise, we will stick to named Muppets no Muppet extras, no singing vegetables and nothing outside the core Muppet franchise. So, no Labyrinth, no Dark Crystal and no Fraggles. If Kermit has not made an appearance in the show or film they come from, they dont count. So: Sesame Street is in and anything else that doesnt have Muppets in the title is out. OK, lets get going.

Getty/Alberto E. Rodrigue...

Statler and Waldorf

Originally Stavisky and Waldman, these loge-sitting critics started on Second Avenue before hanging up their act to critique other artists. Its a shame, because their two-hander, Two Motls, One Kishka, reportedly showed promise. Its no mistake that these two resemble some notable Jewish senators.

As Ruttenberg points out, it was Baer in the Old Country. Sources tell us he is actually a relation to World Heavyweight Champion Max Baer. Fozzies side of the family remained committed to religion and his father was a cantor. But Fozzie soon broke with tradition to become an entertainer in the Borscht Belt, leaving his tenement home with nothing but a bindle and a seltzer bottle. Hes since abandoned most of his faith traditions. His father was appalled that he shared the stage with a pig.

Getty/Neilson Barnard/Str...

Oscar the Grouch

Oscar is a sometimes ill-tempered but large-hearted monster with relations in Israel (cousin Moishe Oofnik) and a member of Bnai Brith. Why he elects to live in a trashcan is his business, but many believe its a political statement.

The porcine diva is Jewish and heiress to the Piggys department store fortune. How can such a treyf creature be Jewish? She just is.

The Muppets longtime stage manager was shul-shopping for a while before he landed here. But once he discovered Reconstructionism, it just made sense to him, yknow?

Snuffy gets docked points for not being real nevertheless, here he is blowing the shofar.

He was taken out of Hebrew school for hyperactivity, but as a profusion of childrens books can confirm, he is still very involved in Jewish tradition, and always learning lessons on Tikkun Olam. Grover is actually his last name, so this ones pretty obvious.

Bert is a typical beleaguered Jewish Manhattanite though apparently many Episcopalians count him among their ranks. Hes on the board of the New Shul. Ernie, meanwhile, is Unitarian.

Gonzo only discovered his Space Judaism in 1999s Muppets in Space, but once he did, he realized his rich cultural heritage and annoyed the chickens in his act by taking Space Shabbos (Thursdays) off.

Bandleader of the Electric Mayhem, Doctor Teeth used to hang around Benny Goodman and was an intern at the Brill Building before Motown changed his life. When Chevy Chase left Steely Dan for SNL, Teeth was briefly their replacement drummer. He left on sour terms and Donald Fagen still owes him money.

Getty/Scott Dudelson/Cont...


She went in to have her deviated septum fixed and walked out without a nose. A lifelong addiction to quaaludes followed after one fatal visit to an Esalen retreat, where she went in an attempt to recapture what she experienced at Camp Solomon Schechter.

Sweetums is dangerous and should be avoided.

Getty/Neilson Barnard/Str...


Kermit has some neuroses to be sure, but he actually is a member of the Society of Friends.

Like Jews, Big Bird is plagued by doubt and full of questions, but his mannerisms all indicate that he comes to them through Catholicism and may someday consider the priesthood.

A Jew does not play drums this way.

Getty/Paul Zimmerman/Cont...

Cookie Monster

We would love to claim this blue-haired monster as a Member of the Tribe, but, alas, it was not to be. He gladly eats hamantaschen, though, and often goes to churches of different denominations to sample their communion wafers. Hes yet to find one he likes and briefly floated the idea of developing one where gorging on cookies was a sacrament.

Needs no explanation, but in case you were wondering, he is a staunch supporter of Israel.

Getty/Thomas Cooper/Contr...

The Yip-Yips

Asked about his faith journey in Swedish daily Aftonbladet, the Chef described his journey in these terms. bork der flicke stbin yubetcha!

Not a Jew. In fact, problematic.

PJ Grisar is the Forwards culture fellow. He can be reached at

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The Jewiest (and least Jewish) Muppets The Forward - Forward

Community Briefs: KleinLife Adds Telephone Talk Therapy and More – Jewish Exponent

Posted By on May 25, 2020

ADL Criticizes Berks County GOP Facebook Posts

Anti-Defamation League Philadelphia Regional Director Shira Goodman issued a statement on May 15 condemning two recent posts on the Berks County Republican Party Facebook page.

The first post, made on May 14, calls Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf a Nazi and links to a news segment from WHP CBS 21.

This analogy is offensive and wrong, and trivializes the suffering of six million Jews and millions of others who died at the hands of the Nazis, the ADL statement reads. We are dismayed to see this shameful analogy deployed by a significant political organization in Pennsylvania just 10 days after Jewish organizations across the commonwealth condemned a state legislator for comparing the Wolf administration to the Nazi Party. Holocaust analogies should only be used when referring to actual genocides, full stop.

The other post the ADL responded to, posted on May 13, shows a cartoon of a man in the style of Rosie the Riveter posters from the 1940s wearing a MAGA hat and displaying the OK hand gesture.

While in most cases this gesture is innocuous, it has been adopted by white supremacists as a trolling tactic and as a symbol of white power, the statement said.

The ADL demanded that Berks County Republican Party issue an apology, make a commitment to learning more about extremism and the Holocaust and take down both posts.

Exponent Wins Journalism Award

Former Jewish Exponent web editor and reporter Selah Maya Zighelboim placed first in the SPJ Keystone Pro Chapter journalism contests environmental reporting category for Shore Homeowners Contend with Rising Seas. The article appeared in the Exponents July 18, 2019, issue.

Zighelboim now edits the Baltimore Jewish Times.

DJOP, Black Clergy Join to Maximize Voter Turnout

Democratic Jewish Outreach PA and the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity announced a joint effort to maximize turnout in the June 2 Pennsylvania primary election.

Rev. Robert Collier, president of the Black Clergy, and DJOP Chair Jill Zipin said in a statement that they are committed to working together to protect access to the ballot and to encourage our constituents to vote by mail.

They said their organizations would work with elected officials to encourage their constituencies to register to vote by mail at prior to the May 26 deadline.

KleinLife Adds Telephone Talk Therapy

KleinLife in Northeast Philadelphia announced the addition of a telephone talk therapy program to stay closely connected to its senior members.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, KleinLife shut down its daily senior center operations, which included congregant meals.

Our goal is to keep in touch with our members during the pandemic health emergency to help them cope and manage the issues related to anxiety and depression which is often problematic within this active elderly population, said Andre Krug, president and CEO of KleinLife.

Mariya Keselman-Mekler, KleinLifes counseling and program manager and certified art therapist, is overseeing and implementing the program. Nearly 60 members receive talk therapy.

For details, contact KleinLife at 215-698-7300 or visit its website at

Rutgers Honors Jewish Studies Students

Three Rutgers University students were honored by the Department of Jewish Studies for their achievements.

Graduate student Steven Weinberg of Elkins Park, a 2022 doctoral candidate, received the Harold and Betty Perl Award to fund a dissertation project planned for Berlin.

Junior Anuska of Voorhees, New Jersey, who is majoring in political science, received the Dr. Benjamin F. Glasser and Lillian Glasser Award to fund a study abroad program in Berlin.

And sophomore Brianna Newman of Burlington, New Jersey, a political science and Jewish studies double major, received the Baruch S. and Pearl W. Seidman Award.

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Husband of ReOpenNC leader says hes willing to kill people to fight government control – Winston-Salem Journal

Posted By on May 25, 2020

With the ReOpenNC group planning protests in five North Carolina cities on Memorial Day including Greensboro, the husband of one of the groups founders published a Facebook video that says violence shouldnt be ruled out.

Are we willing to kill people? Are we willing to lay our lives down? We have to say yes, Adam Smith said in a Facebook Live video posted on Friday.

Later in the 17-minute video, he said, If you bring force, were gonna bring force. If you bring guns, were gonna bring guns. If youre armed with this, were gonna be armed with this.

Smith, husband of ReOpenNC founder Ashley Smith of Morganton, took the video down after it was first reported by the Raw Story website. But Ashley Smith reposted the video Sunday afternoon on the ReOpenNC Facebook page.

Maybe you agree with him and maybe you dont, but we have nothing to hide, Ashley Smith wrote on Facebook. This group is built on the Constitution and that includes free speech and the second amendment. He is simply stating to protect his family and our freedom he is willing to take up arms like our forefathers did.

Reached late Sunday night by the News & Record, Ashley Smith said that her husbands comments have nothing to do with the rallies occurring today.

"In no way was it in any context with any rallies," she said.

Weve done five events in Raleigh ... and theres not been firearms at any of them, she said. Its going to be very patriotic, very family friendly.

The Greensboro rally will be at 11 a.m. at the Phill G. McDonald Plaza, 110 S. Greene St.

Ashley Smith said her husband is an ex-Marine who remains willing to die for all of you too, as he was when he was enlisted.

Adam Smith was also present along with other armed Blue Igloo demonstrators in downtown Raleigh on May 16. Blue Igloo is likely a play on the word Boogaloo, which the Anti-Defamation League describes as a slang term for a coming civil war.

The ReOpenNC group formed on Facebook on April 7, quickly growing to its current 78,900 members. The group has held numerous protests in downtown Raleigh, near the Legislative Building and the Governors Mansion, in opposition to Gov. Roy Coopers executive orders aimed at slowing the coronavirus spread.

State Capitol Police arrested Ashley Smith at one of the ReOpenNC rallies in Raleigh for disobeying an executive order. In a video of the incident, Adam Smith calls police little thugs for arresting her. Look at these thugs, people, arresting her for walking on the sidewalk, Adam Smith says.

Even as Cooper relaxed social restrictions on Friday, moving the state into Phase Two of his reopening plan by allowing more businesses to open and restaurants to resume indoor dining at reduced capacity, the group planned Memorial Day Freedom Rallies today. In addition to Greensboro, rallies are planned in Charlotte, Asheville, Raleigh and Wilmington at 11 a.m., according to the groups Facebook page.

The group seeks an end to all social restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected 23,222 people and led to 744 deaths in the state since March.

In the Facebook Live video, Adam Smith calls suggestions to wear masks and practice social distancing as part of an indoctrination test.

It is a test run to see how much liberty were willing to give up without a fight, Adam Smith said. Boy, you know what I say? Not an inch. Not an inch, Mr. Cooper.

While calling anyone who took issue with her husbands comments disgraceful, Ashley Smith said Sunday that he maybe could have chosen his words better.

Could he have said it better? Ashley Smith said on Facebook. Maybe, but thats not for anyone to decide how a free person should speak their mind. Our founding fathers would not be pleased that we gave up so much for so little. Look how hard we are having to fight to get our freedom back!

The News & Observer reached out Sunday to police departments in the five cities where ReOpenNC plans protests today.

Ron Glenn, public information officer for the Greensboro Police Department said: Im not sure if anyone is aware of that video, but the group has a permit to use the space (for the rally).

We have officers assigned to work that event and enough resources in place to handle that event," he said. "Were not expecting any issues from that group. The organizers have followed the protocol required to be in that area.

Police from the other four cities have not responded to the News & Observer.

Walt and Stephanie Emery of Winston-Salem were on hand for the protests in Raleigh on Tuesday, where demonstrators demanded restrictions be lifted on businesses in North Carolina.

Protesters gather at the corner of Jones and Wilmington streets across from the legislative building in Raleigh on Tuesday. Most called for North Carolina to reopen businesses shuttered due to the COVIID-19 pandemic.

Staff writer Jonas Pope IV and News & Record reporter Kenwyn Caranna contributed to this report.

This article is published through the N.C. News Collaborative, a partnership of Lee Newspapers, Gannett and McClatchy newspapers in North Carolina that aims to better inform readers throughout the state.

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Husband of ReOpenNC leader says hes willing to kill people to fight government control - Winston-Salem Journal

Dozens of Windows Shattered at Illinois Synagogue – Jewish Journal

Posted By on May 25, 2020

Police in Peoria, Ill., are investigating nine broken windows at a synagogue in the city.

Authorities believe the vandalism at Congregation Anshai Emeth, which houses the Hebrew Day School, occurred between Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, when it was reported to law enforcement.

It is under investigation by a detective, and at this point, there is no suspect information, said Officer Amy Dotson, public-information officer for the Peoria Police Department. No entry was made, and nothing in the chapel appeared to be disturbed.

She said the windows were broken by either rocks or bricks, and among the rooms impacted were classrooms and a kitchen.

Dotson added that we do have issues with kids and vandalism. I wouldnt say its prevalent to houses of worship, but it isnt completely uncommon. It is typically a juvenile delinquent situation.

Synagogue president Steven Marx told a local television station, WMBD, that the vandal or vandals used bricks or rocks to break a lot of windows and tried to break one door. It just seems to be simple vandalism, but the target, of course, makes you wonder. He confirmed this on Friday with JNS, noting that estimates for the damage have not yet been made.

As of press time, no motive had been associated with the incident. Officials have said as of now there is no indication of anti-Semitism.

Indeed, following a post on Facebook about the incident in which some expressed concern that this was a hate act, someone using the synagogues Facebook account responded, Maybe they didnt target us as Jews.

On Thursday evening, the Anti-Defamation League Midwest indicated its awareness of the incident and planned to speak with both law enforcement and members of the congregation.

On his personal Twitter account, David Goldenberg, ADLs Midwest regional director, said: The investigation is underway and motives for this vandalism are unknown at the moment, but we know it occurs at a time when anti-Semitic incidents are up 340 percent in Illinois since 2016.

Read more here:
Dozens of Windows Shattered at Illinois Synagogue - Jewish Journal

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