On Wednesday evening, the New York State Democratic Party resolved to boot State Senator Simcha Felder out of the Democratic party becuase he caucuses and votes with the the state Republicans, giving the Republicans a one vote majority and control in the state Senate. Felder represents the state’s 17th senatorial district, which comprises heavily Orthodox Jewish areas of Borough Park and Midwood in Brooklyn. The resolution is non binding, and mostly a symbol of the party’s displeasure that Felder – in their opinion – runs as a Democrat but votes with the GOP, and uses he power to “sway” to fund yeshivas and limit the state’s power to push Jewish schools to teach secular subjects. Later in the evening, the assembled politicians resolved to push for the legalization of marijuana in the state.

On Friday morning, Harvey Weinstein, 66, arrived at and surrendered to a NYPD precinct and was arrested and arraigned on charges of sexual abuse. The city charges that Weinstein raped one woman and forced another to perform oral sex on him. The takedown of the powerful, independent film production mogul kicked off the #MeToo movement last year.


The BBC reported that a Chabad outpost on New York’s Long Island was a link in Russian and Ukranian outreach to President Donald J. Trump. Did the ex-Soviets confuse Port Washington, Long Island with Washington, DC? Or was an aide to the Ukranian president merely impressed by Chabad’s reputation for outreach? The BBC alleged that President Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, received at least $400,000 to arrange conversations – not just a simple photo-op – between President Trump and the president of The Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. Attorney Cohen denied this to the BBC. And a spokesmodel for Chabad of Port Washington told the BBC that they were not involved as the conduit.

Bakers at a Publix supermarket in South Carolina were flummoxed and perplexed when a proud family asked them to make a graduation cake for their son, Jacob, who will graduate summa cum laude. The ordering system rejected the Latin “cum” as a naughty word, so the bakers just dashed out the word. It is mostly the fault of Publix, which probably does not allow its front-end customer-facing associates agency to make their own decisions. Store management issued an apology, refund, and gift card to the family when their error was realized.

In related news, Jacob Putz had his cake decoration rejected by a kosher baker, when his family asked the bakers to wrote, “Happy B’Day to Our Beloved Putz.”

Christianity Today reports on the phenomenon of evangelical and charismatic Protestant Christian tourists in Israel blowing shofars. Kate Shellnutt writes how American media personality Mike Huckabee blew one while he visited Israel for the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. The enjoy incorporating the sounding of a ram’s horn in order to echo biblical references to sounding a as found in Judges 7:15–22; Joshua 6; Isaiah 58:1; Hosea 8:1; Joel 2:15; BaMidbar 10:3; and various Psalms.

And in belated news from Brazil… the Brazilian reality TV show, Fabrica de Casamentos, creates weddings for their contestants. But they ran into a problem in Rio, when Carol and Allan were selected to be on the show, and they could not find a rabbi who would participate in the wedding… since Carol is not a member of the Tribe. Hosts Chris Flores and Carlos Bertolazzi give tasks to a team of wedding experts who have to create a wedding party within just seven 7 days (every Saturday at 9:30 PM).. and couples are given $300,000 to spend. Allan Pavlovsky of Boucherville Borges of Brazil – a court employee – is Jewish. He was engaged to Carolinne Salvio Fróes. The TV show producers stated that they approached a septaguant of rabbis (70), but all declined to participate since Carolinne is not Jewish. DRAMA!! The couple made some changes in their dream ceremony. They had a chuppah. They had kippahs. Allan donned a talit. The couple broke a glass (a tradicional quebra do copo). The guests shouted Mazal Tov in Portuguese. The huge cake was decorated with Stars of David (Estrelas de Davi). They all danced the Hora. A replica of the Kotel in Jerusalem appeared in the reception room. Rabbi Gilberto Venturas of Sinogoga sem Fronteiras (Sinogoga without Borders) offered blessings to the couple, but did not participate fully in the ceremony.

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