Layoffs at Museum of Jewish Heritage, Israel debates tracking program, charedi towns on lockdown


The Museum of Jewish Heritage, in lower Manhattan, is laying off about 40 percent of its staff in order to weather the financial crisis brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, JTA reports. The museum’s president, Jack Kliger, made the announcement this week in a call with the staff.

Some 34 employees will be laid off and other staff will face reduced hours, according to the report. Senior and executive staff will not take pay cuts.

The museum, subtitled A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, has been closed since March because of the pandemic. It plans to reopen in September.

It received grants from the New York Community Trust and the federal Paycheck Protection Program, but those funds will be used up by the end of the month.

Israel is debating whether to renew a controversial tracking program for virus carriers that employs Shin Bet procedures that are usually reserved for counterterrorism operations.

The Shin Bet program — which used vast amounts of cellular phone and credit card data to track the movement of coronavirus patients and those in close contact with them — ended earlier this month, nearly three months after it began.

The program had been subject to Knesset oversight, but the High Court of Justice ordered the government to craft a law — instead of a temporary emergency regulation — to give the Shin Bet permission to use these tools. Ministers decided to call off the program after having failed to write a bill legislating how it would operate.

The head of the Shin Bet, Nadav Argaman, has opposed legislation regulating the Shin Bet’s role in the program, according to leaks from the high-level cabinet forum dealing with the pandemic response. He reportedly believes a private firm should be given the power instead.

Authorities imposed a partial lockdown on Elad, a charedi Orthodox town in central Israel, and five predominantly ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in the northern city of Tiberias went into effect for seven days in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.


Debbie Lewis, daughter of Polish-born Holocaust survivors, will be guest speaker on Friday at 5 p.m. of the online program of the White Plains-based Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center’s Memory Keepers Online Cocktail Hour. The Center’s upcoming schedule: July 10, William Zimmerman; July 17, Ellen Kaidanow; July 24, Julie Zilberberg.For information:

Singer Yoel Sharabi and his band will perform in a virtual Celebration of Jerusalem sponsored by Sharon Lee, acting Borough President of Queens, on Thursday at 5 p.m.

The Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv has launched a new series of videos giving a sneak peek at a few of the key artifacts that will be featured in its new Core Exhibition slated to open in fall 2020. The videos include an introduction by actor Michael Douglas. The first two new artifacts spotlighted are novelist Isaac Bashevis Singer’s personal typewriter and a 16th Century Sephardic “Book of Esther” Scroll.

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, 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.