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Morning Briefing: Feb 3 – Walken Closets, Madoff, and the Park Slope Coop

ABC TV in North America will premiere a miniseries on the life of convicted felon Bernie Madoff on Wednesday night. Watch as he bilks rich investors and Hadassah out of their savings. Actor Richard Dreyfuss plays Madoff (pictured above). Blythe Danner plays his wife, Mrs. Ruth Madoff. Liz Larsen plays a Hadassah CFO, with whom Bernie Madoff has an extra marital affair. The miniseries is produced by Linda Berman and Joe Pichirallo, and it is based on the book “The Madoff Chronicles.”

Speaking of alleged affairs, Professor Jason Lieb, a prominent molecular biologist at the University of Chicago has resigned after a university recommendation that he be fired for violating the school’s sexual misconduct policy. Some accuse the university of hiring Lieb even though other schools, such as Princeton and UNC, investigated him for alleged sexual harassment or unwelcome advances. Lieb, who has received millions of dollars in federal grants over the last decade for amazing research, stepped down in January before any action was taken. Yoav Gilad, a molecular biologist at Chicago who was on the committee that advocated hiring Dr. Lieb, said he and his fellow faculty members knew that in February 2014 Dr. Lieb had abruptly resigned from Princeton University, just seven months after having been recruited from the University of North Carolina to run a high-profile genomics institute, but when the committee contacted Princeton, there was no information on a sexual harassment investigation. More and more, universities are having to deal with issues of sex and alcohol, in addition to education and fundraising.

The New York Times real estate section reports on a new home for Congregations Beth Simchat Torah in New York City. The LGBTQAS congregation has had many home in the past 43 years, but will now settle into a new home that is located in the old midtown Manhattan Fur District, behind a 1929 facade highlighted with two lions heads and an Assyrian chariot relief (Refer to 2 Kings 15:29 – “When King Pekah ruled the northern kingdom of Israel, the Assyrians invaded, occupied its cities and took its people captive to Assyria.”) If all goes according to plans, members of the congregation will move their torah scrolls to their new home on April 3 from its current West Vilage – WestBeth location in the Bethune Street artists colony building.

An anti-Israel group distributed about 10,000 copies of a 4 page parody New York Times on Tuesday. Stories, headlines, and maps focused on what it stated was an NYT pro-Israel, anti Palestinian bias, and pretended to apologize for being too pro-Israel. Commuters at Grand Central and Times Square were told they were free copies or supplements of The New York Times. The piece listed names of Palestinians reportedly killed by Israelis. Their twitter and websites accounts were suspended later in the day. A spokesperson of The New York Times wrote that, “We’re extremely protective of our brand and other intellectual property and object to this group (or any group’s) attempt to cloak their political views under the banner of The New York Times…. We believe strongly that those advocating for political positions are best served by speaking openly, in their own voice.” Who was behind the spoof?? Jews of course. Jane Hirschmann – who deems Israel an apartheid style state, of “Jews Say No!,” and Jewish Voices for Peace funded the parody.

Speaking of the BDS movement, the members of the Park Slope (Brooklyn) Food Coop(erative) held a vote which makes it harder for those members who seek to boycott Israeli product from the store. Members voted 294 to 192 to require a 75% super majority, instead of 50%-plus-one, to boycott anyone or any product. The Coop’s mission statement states that it “We oppose discrimination in any form. We strive to make the Coop welcoming and accessible to all and to respect the opinions, needs and concerns of every member.” In the past, an effort to boycott Sodastream and other Israeli products divided the popular food market.

The News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Indiana reports that 55 gravestones at the Fort Wayne Jewish Cemetery were toppled over. No graffiti had been left anywhere to give a hint of why the crime was committed.

After a dozen year, journalist Shmarya has retired from his blog, FAILED MESSIAH He has sold his famed blog which focused of haredi Jewish life, both the good and bad, from celebrating successes to pointing out the criminality of hidden Jewish community sex abuse and kosher slaughter processing.

Many were elated with the news from Iowa. For the first time in U.S. history, a presidential candidate that publicly identifies as Jewish nearly won the caucus for a major party’s delegates. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders now moves on to primaries in Nevada and New Hampshire. Also in Iowa, a crafty kippah salesperson who sells kippah with political candidates’ names cornered U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and asked him to say “Gut Shabbos.” In my opinion, the kippahs were rendered unkosher since he embarrassed a person for his own monetary ends.

In unrelated news, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu renounced the remarks by Israel’s Minister of Tourism, Yariv Levin, who disparaged American Jews and accused the movement to which most American Jews belong of assimilation. Netanyahu wrote, “I reject the recent disparaging and divisive remarks by ministers and members of Knesset about Reform Jews. Reform and Conservative Jews are part and parcel of the Jewish people and should be treated with respect.” Levin had said that, “The Reform Jews in the United States are a waning world.” The Central Conference of American Rabbis said Levin has broken his obligation as a cabinet minister to support the religious practices of all Israelis, and revealed a partiality against a religious movement that includes over a 1.5 million people.

The Washington Post’s front page reported on Airbnb and Israel’s West Bank Settlements. The headline stated the Airbnb was being “slammed” for offering rooms or space on the West Bank. Slammed? A letter from the PLO to the CEO of Airbnb does not connote being “slammed.”

Speaking of the PLO, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon opined in The New York Times, Don’t Shoot the Messenger, Israel.” The title was confusing. He writes that, “Nothing excuses terrorism. I condemn it,” and the unacceptable levels of violence and polarized public discourse. But he back peddles on how his words at the UN last week appeared or were misunderstood to support resistance and violence against occupiers. Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Daon replied HERE.

A Jerusalem court indicted a Border Police officer for turning over the identities of a Jewish woman to extremists. The woman was in a car with two Arab men on their way to an Eilat vacation. Matan Amihai pulled over a vehicle and discovered two Jewish women in a car with two Arab men. He secretly snapped a picture of one of the womens’ ID cards and forwarded it to extremist group leaders in the hope they would “discipline” the woman.

NPR’s Linda Gradstein shared her story of early menopause, doctors, and a cure. In “The Hasidic Witch Doctor’s Chinese-Herb Menopause Cure” she tells how doctors said she could not conceive, but the herbs of a Hasidic woman in Jerusalem proved them incorrect.

Ads for this weekend upcoming football Superbowl are being released. No word on whether any Jewish organizations will spend the $5 million needed for a spot on the telecast. But Queens, NY born actor Christopher Walken will star in an ad for KIA MOTORS about a Walken Closet and a pair of colorful Stance socks.

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