Camp counselor tests positive, Holocaust cartoon pulled, yeshivas protest possible closures


A Modern Orthodox camp in Pennsylvania is delaying its opening date after a counselor tested positive for coronavirus upon arriving at camp, in a scenario that could foreshadow the rocky path ahead for child care settings amid the deepening pandemic, JTA reports. Camp Seneca Lake, one of the few Jewish overnight camps to open this year in the Northeast, was due to welcome campers yesterday and on Monday, but that was pushed back two days following the counselor’s positive test at staff orientation, according to an email the camp sent to families on Friday.

The camp, which serves campers largely from New York and New Jersey, is testing all the staff with whom the counselor was in contact, and has quarantined them as well.

A weekly newspaper in Kansas yesterday removed a political cartoon comparing Gov. Laura Kelly’s order requiring state residents to wear masks to the Nazis ordering Jews to board cattle cars taking them to death camps, JTA reports. The Republican Party county chairman who owns the Anderson County Review said he created the cartoon, which was posted on the newspaper’s Facebook page Friday, the day that Kelly’s order requiring face masks in public places went into effect.

“Mr. Hicks’s decision to publish anti-Semitic imagery is deeply offensive and he should remove it immediately,” the governor said in a statement.

Hicks initially defended the cartoon in written comments that he posted online, where he said he “intended no slight” to Jews or Holocaust survivors but would not apologize. The cartoon would run in the paper’s print edition Tuesday, he wrote.

But after a flurry of critical attention, Hicks removed the cartoon.

Knesset member Moshe Gafni of the charedi United Torah Judaism Party has threatened to withdraw the party from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition if the government decides to close down yeshivas in the face of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Times of Israel reports. Following reports that both the Health Ministry and National Security Council were pushing for the closures ahead of Monday’s coronavirus-focused cabinet meeting, Gafni said that action would force him to turn to his party’s rabbinic leadership and “advise them not to be partners in such a government.”

Israel’s yeshivas are due to close down for summer vacation in less than a month. Charedi Orthodox schools started reopening after lockdowns eased in May, with students split up into small groups separated by plastic barriers. More than 200 students at the Beit Matityahu Yeshiva in Bnei Brak have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in recent days, according to Hebrew media reports, and parents have alleged that yeshiva head, Rabbi Baruch Weisbecker, has prevented some students from being tested for the virus.

Israel’s Health Ministry fears that a lack of sufficient flu vaccines may pose a challenge this winter when trying to differentiate between coronavirus and influenza patients, the Jerusalem Post reports. In light of a global shortage of flu vaccines and the higher demand this year due to the coronavirus, the Health Ministry is already estimating that major parts of the population won’t be able to be vaccinated at all.

Ministry officials told hospitals that the goal is 4 million vaccinations, with 2.2 million vaccines already purchased. With the expected shortage, the Health Ministry defines people between the ages of 45-65, above 65, children up to the age of 5 and pregnant women as high-risk groups, meaning that younger people under the age of 45 will have a hard time getting their hands on a vaccine.

The NewCAJE virtual summer conference kicks off this week, with individual learning sessions, deep-dive longer-term courses, social gatherings, cohort networking, spiritual events, and entertainment for Jewish educators. From now through August 2, participants can choose from more than 400 unique events.

NewCAJE is expecting more than 750 Jewish educators from across the U.S. to take part. Presenters are from both the U.S. and Israel.

The schedule and pricing are available here.

Recommended Reading

How to Make Jewish Summer Camp at Home.” Humorist David Kilimnick offers some advice for parents who will lead at-home camps this summer for children whose more-standard camps are cancelled by the pandemic.



The 92nd Street Y will sponsor an online showing of the television miniseries “Unorthodox,” followed by conversations with some of the production’s producers and actors, on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

Rabbi Marc Schneier, founder of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, will hold an online series of conversations this week with civil rights leaders. Participants will include Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton.

Yeshivat Chovevei Torah will hold a series of online lectures on “Changemakers,” men and women who have made a significant difference in the Jewish community, on Tuesdays during July.

A series of online learning programs for women sponsored by the Orthodox Union’s Women’s Initiative begins on Monday.

Join Jewish Week editor-in-chief Andrew Silow-Carroll and Jodi Rudoren, editor-in-chief of The Forward, for an exit interview with Amb. Dani DayanIsrael’s departing Consul General in the New York area, on Wednesday, July 8 @ 12 p.m. ET. The three will discuss American Jewry and its relationship with the Jewish state, and how Dayan’s experience changed his understanding of U.S. politics — and Israel’s. Register here.

And we hope you’ll join Jewish Week cultural editor Sandee Brawarsky on July 9 at 6 p.m. for the next event in The Jewish Week Folio series, presented with UJA-Federation of NY, featuring a virtual conversation with Sanford D. Greenberg, author of the new book “Hello Darkness, My Old Friend.” This is the remarkable story of a Columbia U. undergrad from a poor Jewish family who, after losing his eyesight to disease during his junior year, finds the power to break through the darkness and fulfill his vision for a life of great professional success and distinguished public service. The event is free but you must register.