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“The Jewish Vote” Endorses Pro-BDS NYC Candidate and Other Orwellian News

A NYC-based group calling itself “The Jewish Vote” has endorsed a pro-BDS Latinx Jewish female candidate for New York State office. The group, which is affiliated with “Jews For Racial and Economic Justice” endorsed Julie Salazar (a JFREJ organizer), a North-Brooklyn-based candidate for the NY State Senate in Albany. Salazar will run in a primary race against current four-term liberal State Senator Martin Malavè Dilan, who had fought unsuccessfully to keep Salazar off the ballot, claiming (wrongly, according to a judge) that Salazar had not resided in the State of New York for the required five years. Both Dilan and Salazar identify as Latinx, and both are liberals.

Salazar, who writes that she hails from a secular Catholic-Jewish family in Miami, is a Columbia University graduate, with familial roots in Colombia. She is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America party. Her full-time job is as an organizer for “Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ).” At Columbia, she founded a chapter of J-Street and worked with IfNotNow.

Will voters care that she is not for a two state solution in the Middle East? Probably not. Some will be more attracted to her platform of advocating universal rent control and state funding of reduced cost housing; universal health insurance; increased state funding of NYC subways; and the decriminalization of sex work, since she says it targets black women, Latinax and transgender people who are accused of “loitering” or earning a living selling sexual relations. The Orwellian maed group – “The Jewish Vote” – has made four endorsements: Actress/Activist Cynthia Nixon for Governor; Jumaane Williams for Lt Governor; Julia Salazar for State Senate District 18; and Alessandra Biaggi for State Senate District 34. The current mayor of New York, who refers to himself as a progressive, has endorsed Salazar’s opponent.

UPDATE: AMNON ROSEN IN TABLET MAGAZINE questions the reported (Jewish, immigrant) identity of Ms Salazar. The Tablet Magazine article details that her comments to friends in New York City over the past few years have been a jumble of claims of being christian and traveling to Israel with CUFI Christians United For Israel and being an immigrant from Colombia to saying that she quickly converted to Judaism and was born in Miami. Tablet tracks down her uncle who stated that one of her father’s brothers is a Jesuit priest and that he was unaware of anyone in their family being Jewish. The candidate’s brother told Tablet Magazine that both he and his sister were born in Miami.

The tale continues. See you at the polls.

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Speaking of progressive political candidates… Natalie Portman will direct and star in a film about two advice columnist identical twin sisters: Dear Abby Van Buren (nee Pauline Esther Friedman) and “Ask Ann Landers” (nee Esther Pauline Friedman) Portman will act as both sisters. Katie Robbins wrote the script. Peter Saraf and Dani Melia will produce. In 2015, Portman directored the Israeli drama “A Tale of Love and Darkness.”

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Speaking of identical twins who give advice… or triplets… The Wall Street Journal reports that Allen Weisselberg, longtime Trump Organization CFO, was granted immunity in Michael Cohen probe. Earlier this week, President Donald J. Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges including hush-money payments for women during the 2016 presidential. Another Member of the Tribe, David Pecker, of American Media Inc / National Enquirer fame, has reportedly been granted immunity.

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Speaking of Jews and Storms… it is a year since Hurrican Harvey hit Houston before Rosh Hashana and drowned and damaged many homes, synagogues and institutons. The Houston Chronicle takes a look – one year after and sees how the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center, United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston and Seven Acres Jewish Senior Care, as well as Congregations Beth Israel and Beth Yeshurun are faring. Brian Strauss, the Senior Rabbi of Beth Yeshurun (and a grandson of my father’s WWII foxhole mate) said. “Now it’s a tormentor. The water isn’t flowing, and it’s a shame. A lot of people were affected.” Beth Yeshurun was flooded by 6 feet of water during the storm. All the seating in the sanctuary had to be replaced, as well as the dry wall, carpet, doors and furniture. Beth Israel sustained $1.8 million in damage. Repairs will be radery for Selichot services. Rabbi Jill Levy told the reporter that the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC had 10 feet of water flowing through its lower levels. In all, the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston counts seven major Jewish institutions that suffered extensive or catastrophic flood damage during the storm, estimating that institutional damage exceeded $50 million

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Adweek reports on some ad agency interns that are doctoring up the street signs in San Francisco. Take for example HAIGHT STREET. Nearly everyone thinks (well, anyone who thinks about this) that HAIGHT street is named for the former Governor of California, Governor HENRY HAIGHT. But the street was named for MRS WELTHA HAIGHT. So these interns are illegally adding MS. before street names, so KING STREET is MS KING STREET, and HAIGHT is MS HAIGHT.

Can you do the same in Yerushalayim? Would KING GEORGE STREET BE QUEEN GEORGE? COULD REHOV SHLOMO HEMELECH be BATSHEVA STREET?

Which reminds me of a story. I was once in Jerusalem and I asked “Where is Shlomo HeMelech?” The Jerusalemite replied to me, “He’s dead.”

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Speaking of which, The BUFFALO NEWS of New York State reports that the leader (of many decades) of the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies has resigned. Peter Fleischmann was CEO of the $190,000,000 fund.

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Speaking of Jewish Philanthropies… Mazel Tov to Erika Rudin-Luria, senior vice president and chief strategy officer of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. She has been promoted to president, effective January 1, 2019. She will succeed Stephen Hoffman. They raise about $80 million a year.

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We didn’t see much coverage about the MACCABI YOUTH GAMES in ISRAEL this Summer. In 2019, the Atlanta JCC will host 1200+ youth in America. This Summer’s event had delegations from Israel, Canada, the USA, the Netherlands, France, Hungary, Great Britain, Italy, South Africa, Spain, and Argentina. England sent over 70. Among the TEAM USA winners were Olivia Roth, 16 years of age, of Cooper City, Florida who won a gold medal in women’s soccer (football). Leah Finkelman, 13, of Coral Springs, Florida also won as part of the team. Max Hattem, 14, of Boca Raton, Florida won gold for men’s basketball. Joseph Milberg and Charles Modlin of Weston, FL won silvers in men’s baseball. By the way, Team USa is looking for swim coaches for Summer 2019.

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An Israeli Druze restaurant has returned to Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Gazala’s has reopened on the Upper West Side (Amsterdam Ave. at 81st street). Chef Gazala Halabi has new dishs… such as…. shrimp hummus, ummm.. well there is also a cauliflower tahini salad. The original restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen remains open.

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Writing an Op-Ed in the FORWARD, Nylah Burton (@YumCoCoNutMilk) writes “Black Jews Are Being Chased Out Of the Jewish Community By Racism. Here Are Their Stories.” And it isn’t just about black Jews integrating with difficulty into Orthodox communities. The Forward’s @PopChasid writes, “BTW on this very day, I’ve had Jews try to justify blackface as a valid Purim outfit. None of this should come as a surprise. But it should still be heard, and we should be screaming on the top of our lungs about it.”

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The family of U.S. Senator John McCain announced that he is ending medical treatment for his brain cancer. His friend a near running mate for the White House, (former Senator) Joseph Lieberman said, “Becoming John McCain’s friend has been one of the great blessings of my life. Today I am praying for him and his family.

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About 20 miles northeast of several Cincinnati Ohio synagogue sits Lebanon, Ohio, a town of 20,000 in Warren County. Jamie Oliver Shaul petitioned the court for a name change, as did another teen, and Elliot John Whitaker. All three identify as transgender, and according to an expert witness, their families, and the teens, their lives would be better if they could be officially – in school records – use a name that matches their gender identities. Judge Joseph Kirby rejected their requests, as he has done with all transgender related cases that reached his bench. In his opinion he discussed broader issues of lavatories and that children and their families do not always know what is best for them. Ohio does not allow gender changes on birth certificates, but it does allow name changes and geneder changes on official documents, such as school records and drivers’ licenses. Ohio has made it a felony for a school teacher to not report to the parents of a student if they think the student is acting in a manner that does not match their birth-assigned gender. Attorney Joshua A. Engel is suing the judge for alleged intentional discrimination.

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The Jewish Advocate, covering Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and New England reported on a decision by a Superior Court judge that contained a scathing attack on a Chabad rabbi and his associates, who were accused of “taking over” a Conservative, egalitarian congregation and their seven figure valued property in Sharon, Massachusetts.

Richard Kramer, a former president of Adath Sharon was the lead plaintiff in the three year old case that was decided in July 2018 by Judge Brian Davis in Norfolk County. Documents that were placed into evidence during the four days of testimony portrayed a synagogue with a declining membership, lapsed dues, a failure to mail out dues-payable notices, and less than $5,000 in case in its bank account. Their mortgage was about $125,000 and they needed $50,000 to fix the sewage system. The then president and a defendant, a respected pediatrician and sailor, was said to have come up with a special plan to increase membership and funding. he had befriended a Chabad rabbi and contributed more to that congregation than his own. The plan was to invite Chabad to assume the debts of the congregation, and hire the son-in-law of a key defendant to be the rabbi. The current Conservative congreagtion would be allowed to meet in the basement for a year. The congregation voted down the plan.

The judge wrote that after the defeat of the plan, the synagogue president conspired and colluded with a Chabad rabbi in an “elaborate and deceptive scheme” to lockout current synagogue members, reduce their voting powers, and accept new voting members at discounted membership fees to vote in the Chabad leaders and change the congregation from Adath Sharon to Chabad Sharon. The judge wrote that it was like “a mini-dictatorship than a religious organization founded upon democratic principles.”

Chabad movement representatives, based on Brooklyn, NY, disagreed with the judge’s decision and characterization.

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Speaking of schools, three years ago, NY schools chancellor was told of 39 yeshivas that were especially deficient and substandard in teaching secular subjects to its students. Then=chancellor Carmen Farina said she wold investigate the allegation and report back in 60 days. That was thre years ago. This month, current chancellor Richard Carranza published his team’s findings that showed that the schools are deficient, and 15 of the schools and all six of the high schools “stonewalled” and did not let investigators visit the schools. Avi Schick, an attorney representing the yeshivas said that all were welcome, and there was no stonewalling. City officials disagreed as did reporters who asked to visit. Rabbi Dovid Zweibel helps lead a group called PEARLS (Parents for Educational and Religious Liberty in Schools). It was formed to defend the yeshivas from government laws and investigations. It is creating curriculum materials to improve the schools and Zweibel has said that parents who don’t like the schools and switch their children to another school (yeah, right)

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