Your First Read For Sep 29


HIAS criticizes planned cap on U.S. immigration

President Trump is “betraying” U.S. commitments to refugees for nearly halving the number the country will allow in this year from 2016, HIAS stated in reaction to an announcement by administration officials that the United States will cap the number of refugees at 45,000 for fiscal year 2018 — the lowest figure since 1980.

According to JTA, HIAS, the Jewish immigration agency, called on Congress to “act urgently to pass legislation that demonstrates the strong support for refugee resettlement in the United States and rejects this shameful approach.”

The cap for fiscal year 2017 was 54,000, and nearly 85,000 refugees from around the world legally entered the 2016. In 1980, the year the Refugee Act became law, the United States accepted 200,000 refugees.

Since 1980, the average annual ceiling has been set at 96,229 refugees. Last year the cap was set at 110,000, before the Trump administration attempted to lower it to 50,000 through two executive orders. The orders have been largely blocked by federal courts after being challenged.

Puerto Rico Jews reach out to neighbors harmed by hurricane

While most buildings in Puerto Rico’s Jewish community escaped the recent hurricane intact and members of the community are healthy, Puerto Rican Jews “have turned to helping more vulnerable neighbors,” Haaretz reports. The JCC in San Juan has collected supplies to help the Virgin Islands recover from the impact of Hurricane Irma, then took the surplus it had stored and distributed it among shelters in San Juan.

Jewish volunteers distributed clothing, canned food and 2,000 gallons of water from the JCC’s cistern.

The JCC’s fence and two of its gates were knocked down and its roof sustained damage, but it fared much better than synagogues in Houston, which sustained heavy damage in Harvey, said Diego Mendelbaum, community director at the San Juan Jewish Community Center, which shares space with a Conservative synagogue. The JCC has also launched an online fundraising campaign, where people can donate at

Puerto Rico’s Jewish community of 1,500 lives mostly in San Juan.

Israel steps up security for Yom Kippur

Heightened security will be in effect throughout the Israel today and tomorrow, with an emphasis on Jerusalem and the Old City, as tens of thousands of Jews from across the globe converge at the Western Wall, the Jerusalem Post reports. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld announced yesterday that hundreds of officers will patrol the Old City.

Additional security protocols will also remain in effect in and around Har Adar, where three security personnel were killed by an Arab terrorist from a neighboring West Bank village on Tuesday, Rosenfeld said.

ADL forms Jewish sports council

During the current controversy over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, the Anti-Defamation League announced yesterday that it is forming a Sports Leadership Council designed to promote “positive social change,” JTA reports.

Membership of the Council, which will “work directly with key leaders in the sports world, including professional athletes, team owners, and other industry leaders to increase the sports community’s efforts to build bridges of understanding, unity and respect,” will be announced in November at the ADL’s annual meeting in San Francisco. Members already included are Robert Epstein, co-owner and managing partner of the NBA’s Boston Celtics, and Mark Wilf, the owner and president of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott will chair the council.

State Dep’t., U.S. ambassador disagree over Israeli settlements

For the second time since David Friedman, who had served as an attorney for Donald Trump, assumed his post as US ambassador to Israel earlier this year, the State Department has publicly rejected remarks he made about Israel’s presence in the West Bank, the Times of Israel reports.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert yesterday said Friedman’s comments in an interview that he considers West Bank settlements “part of Israel” should “not be read as a shift in US policy … our policy has not changed.”

US foreign policy has traditionally opposed Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Canada’s first Holocaust memorial opens

Canada has opened its first Holocaust memorial, making it the last Allied nation to erect a structure of remembrance for the victims of the genocide, according to, an architectural website. The memorial in Ottawa was supported by the National Holocaust Monument Development Council as well as the Canadian government.

Seen from above, the site resembles a stretched Star of David.

Does New Jersey town’s park ban keep out Orthodox Jews?

New Jersey is investigating a rule adopted by the town of Mahwah, limiting use of a public park to state residents, which opponents say is meant to exclude Orthodox Jews from nearby New York State.

According to vosizneias, the New Jersey attorney general’s office has issued a subpoena that orders Mahwah to turn over documents related to the ban, which was issued in July after residents complained about overcrowding at parks and them being used by Orthodox Jewish families. Police Chief James Batelli raised concerns that the ban was illegal and Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir Grewal ordered police not to enforce it.