Boston’s federation makes cuts, Palestinians reject UAE aid, a Zoom simcha goes wrong


Boston’s Jewish federation has laid off 25 employees as it plans for a year of decreased donations and increased need for services during the pandemic, JTA reports. The move, announced earlier this month, follows widespread layoffs at Jewish organizations across the country.

“While our community continues to support CJP with extraordinary generosity, we are realistic in our expectations that our next fiscal year, which begins soon, will bring greater uncertainty and need as the economic impact on us all continues to be felt, and we are planning accordingly,” Rabbi Mark Baker, president of Combined Jewish Philanthropies, and Cindy Janower, its board chair, wrote in an email to supporters.

A CJP spokesperson said the organization’s executive team would take salary reductions but declined to specify their size or how many would take them.


The Palestinian Authority this week rejected a delivery of medical supplies and other aid that arrived in Tel Aviv on a flight from Abu Dhabi, JNS reports. It was the second time in three weeks that the PA turned its back on such assistance from the United Arab Emirates.

“We refuse to receive it because it was coordinated directly between Israel and [the UAE],” PA Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh said. During a briefing with foreign media in Ramallah, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said, “If any country, whether Arab or European or international country, wants to help us, we welcome that. We don’t say no, as long as it is not conditional, and as long as it is fully coordinated with us.”

The cargo was transported on May 21 in an unmarked Etihad Airways plane. This week’s delivery of ventilators and other equipment to help deal with the COVID-19 crisis arrived on a plane with the airline’s logo.

Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General Yuval Rotem tweeted in response: “Proud of the Foreign Ministry’s role in facilitating the arrival of the Etihad cargo plane which landed in Israel after flying from Abu Dhabi, carrying humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. We hope that future ETIHAD flights landing here will be carrying UAE tourists.”

According to the Foreign Ministry, the aid was to be transferred to the PA and Gaza by the UN and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. All together, nearly 16 tons of anti-coronavirus goods have been delivered. There are no official relations between the UAE and Israel, though the countries have quiet ties and are united with other Gulf states against the Iranian threat.

A team of researchers at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University have identified short amino acid sequences – often referred to as the “building blocks of life” – that could help develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus and which they believe could stop the next outbreak, the Jerusalem Post reports. “Our study has identified a set of potential immunodominant epitopes from the SARS-CoV-2 proteome, such that these epitopes are capable of generating both antibody and cell-mediated immune responses,” according to Dr. Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern, head of the Cancer Genomics and BioComputing of Complex Diseases Lab at the University’s Azrieli Faculty of Medicine.


The Congressional Caucus on Black-Jewish Relations will convene a virtual roundtable of several prominent black and Jewish organizations, “focused on tackling systemic racism in the United States” and give members an opportunity to hear policy recommendations and perspectives from national leaders,” on Friday, June 12, at 1 p.m.

The Orthodox Union’s Women’s Initiative will hold a Virtual Summit Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. With the theme “Reimagining Leadership and Community,” it will discuss such topics as program challenges and ideas, boards and leadership, and budgets and fundraising.

The Jewish Theological Seminary will sponsor a series of online lectures by historian Jack Westheimer – on June 24, July 1 and 8 at 1 p.m. – about the history of synagogues in this country that “have reinvented themselves.” He will discuss how congregations “have rethought their fundamental missions and functions” from the Colonial Period to the present.

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Online simchas are great – until it goes wrong…” Everything was going wonderfully for Cari Rosen’s daughter, until YouTube decided to pull the plug: the London Jewish Chronicle tells the story.

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Eight Jewish day schools and high schools joined together to sing the Bill Withers’ classic “Lean on Me” to offer comfort to peers who spent their semesters at home due to the coronavirus epidemic. Participating were students from The Heschel School, Ramaz School, SAR High School, Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County, Yavneh Academy, Yeshivah of Flatbush, Yeshivat Noam and Westchester Day School.

Relax, Bro! With Rabbi Mo – Zoom.” Are you frustrated with the limitations of conducting Jewish life on Zoom? Rabbi Moshe Friedman of Aish UK offers some of its good points.

Join The Jewish Week and UJA-Federation of New York for “On the Trail of Kafka’s Literary Afterlife with Benjamin Balint,” Thursday, June 25, 2020 6:00 pm. Balint, winner of the 2020 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature for his book “Kafka’s Last Trial: The Case of a Literary Legacy,” will be in conversation with Sandee Brawarsky, culture editor of The Jewish Week. The event is free but you must register here.