Good morning, New York. We’re finding it hard not to freak out over a UN report warning climate change is happening much faster than expected and showing how the window for meaningful action is rapidly closing. The Jewish environmental group Dayenu offered these words of encouragement: “In the face of such news, it’s easy to despair. But a powerful antidote to despair is action. The month of Elul is a time when we call ourselves and our communities to account. We take stock and vow to do better.”
Feminist lawyer Roberta Kaplan is quitting “Time’s Up,” the group that has championed victims of sexual harassment, because of her role in advising accused harasser Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
- How come: Kaplan allegedly advised Cuomo on a never-published Op-Ed in which he intended to discredit one of the many women who have accused him of sexual harassment.
- Kaplan helped establish marriage equality in the United States when she represented a Jewish same-sex couple in a landmark 2013 Supreme Court case. She later delivered a sermon about the case at Beit Simchat Torah, the LGBTQ congregation in Manhattan of which she is a member.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Long Island) celebrated the resignation of Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, with a Yiddish-inflected insult.
- The Jewish Zeldin, who is running for governor in 2022, called DeRosa “Frau Farbissina” in a tweet.
- Frau Farbissina was a flunky to the villainous Dr. Evil character in the Austin Powers films. Her name means “embittered” or “sullen” in Yiddish.
- Related: When “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah mocked Ted Cruz for his frequent use of the Yiddish word “chutzpah,” the Texas senator fired back with a Yiddish expletive.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
The NYC neighborhoods with the most vaccine holdouts are mostly Black and Orthodox Jewish communities in the outer boroughs, Bloomberg reports.
- Seventeen ZIP codes have vaccination rates of 40% or less, including the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Midwood, Crown Heights and Borough Park.
- How come: There’s a baseless fear that the vaccine can cause infertility, and those who recovered from COVID believe they have immunity and don’t need the shot, according to Alisa Minkin, a pediatrician with the Jewish Orthodox Women’s Medical Association.
- Related: Due to the uptick in Delta-variant infection rates, Israel on Sunday passed a set of renewed coronavirus restrictions.
The Florida shock radio host and former Newsmax anchor who died of COVID-19 after spending months telling his followers not to get the vaccine was a Jewish man from Queens.
- Dick Farrel’s real name was Farrel Austin Levitt, JTA reports. Born to Max and Norma Levitt in in 1956, he graduated from Queens College before beginning his radio career in New York. His funeral will be held Friday at Beth Israel Boynton Beach Chapel in Florida.
- Farrel, who regularly railed against public health protocols on radio and television, made global headlines when he fell ill and privately urged his friends to get the vaccine.
Sue Bird, who played high school ball in her hometown of Syosset, Long Island, won her fifth gold medal as part of the U.S. women’s basketball team at the Tokyo Olympics.
- Bird, 40, served as the Team USA flag bearer in the opening ceremony. She has played on four championship WNBA teams, is a 12-time WNBA All-Star, and was New York State Player of the Year in high school.
- Bird, whose father is Jewish, got an Israeli passport in what she called a “very much basketball motivated” decision.
Barbra Streisand has kept busy throughout the pandemic: Her most recent album,“Release Me 2,” dropped on Friday, featuring rare and previously unreleased songs.
- Our colleagues at Kveller report on how Babs got through the lockdown.
WHAT’S ON TODAY
American Friends of Rabin Medical Center presents “How 9/11 Changed Us” as part of its Global Connections leaders forum. Robert Siegel, former senior host of “All Things Considered,” moderates a discussion with Larry Silverstein (chairman, Silverstein Properties), Alice Greenwald (president/CEO, National 9/11 Memorial & Museum) and Evan Osnos (staff writer, The New Yorker). Register here for this virtual event. 4:00 pm.
Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., presents an in-person rooftop screening of “CODA,” a new film about the sole hearing member of a deaf family whose life revolves around acting as interpreter for her parents (Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur). Health and safety details can be found here; order tickets here. 8:00 pm.
Photo, top: A protester compares local vaccine mandates to the Nazis’ treatment of Jews, during a demonstration at New York’s City Hall in lower Manhattan, Aug. 9, 2021. The Anti-Defamation League and other groups have condemned such comparisons. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)