Good morning, New York. We’re continuing our updates on how synagogues are adapting to COVID-19 ahead of the High Holidays. (All five counties that comprise New York City are considered “high transmission” areas by the CDC, although the lion’s share of risk lies with the unvaccinated.) Share your congregation’s plans at firstname.lastname@example.org.
REALITY SHOW NEWS
“The Real Housewives of New York City” featured a “Black Shabbat” dinner at the New Jersey home of Archie Gottesman, a founder of a nonprofit that aims to “rebrand Judaism.”
- Eboni Williams, the first Black cast member on the Bravo reality TV series, hosted the dinner and initiated a conversation about Black and Jewish relations in the United States. Guests also toasted Leah McSweeney, a cast member who is in the process of converting to Judaism.
- Quotable: “There have been Jewish Housewives and Jewish producers on the show, and I think it’s really beautiful that it’s a non-Jewish Black woman who said this should be on TV. It was brave,” Gottesman told our colleague Philissa Cramer.
- Gottesman is chief branding officer of Manhattan Mini Storage and co-founder of JewBelong. Read here about JewBelong’s controversial billboard campaign to fight antisemitism.
The fashion choices of Julia Haart, the star of “My Unorthodox Life,” have become a “flashpoint,” The New York Times reports.
- The fashion mogul regularly punctuates her complaints about her strict Orthodox Jewish upbringing by “flaunting generous expanses of what her daughters would call ‘boobage’ and greeting visitors in metallic leather hot pants and thigh-high skirts,” fashion reporter Ruth La Ferla writes.
- Why it matters: Some viewers consider the show a feminist cri de cœur, while critics say she is smearing mainstream Orthodoxy.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
A 6-year-old Jewish boy who went missing during a day camp trip to a park in Flatbush was found safe following a massive search on Wednesday evening.
The NYPD is searching for a man who was caught on camera slapping an elderly Jewish plumber over an apparent parking dispute. The incident took place Wednesday morning in Borough Park, according to BoroPark24.
State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) is hopeful that a measure that would make it easier for adult victims and survivors of sexual abuse to file lawsuits will gain a vote in the state Assembly next year, State of Politics reports.
- Advocates for the Adult Survivors Act were shocked when the the bill wasn’t put to a vote in the last session. Like the Child Victims Act, the law would allow people to file lawsuits despite the statute of limitations.
- Related: The Reform movement’s three main bodies have each hired different expert law firms to investigate harassment and abuse cases, an acknowledgement that the current process for handling allegations hasn’t ensured accountability, JTA reports.
How local synagogues are adapting High Holiday services to the COVID-19 surge:
- Congregation Shearith Israel, The Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue, will offer both indoor services in its main sanctuary and outdoor services next door. Members who traveled by air within seven days of attending services must present a COVID-19 test with negative results taken at least three days after their arrival in NYC. Those coming to services within seven days of traveling need to wear a mask and sit in the “masks required” section. Those arriving less than three days in advance of services and are symptom-free may join the outdoor service and be seated in the masks required section. Get details here.
TODAY’S BIG IDEA
The Jewish Week’s Andrew Silow-Carroll imagines a “multiverse” featuring the characters from all the recent hit Israeli television series. “If ‘Fauda,’ ‘Srugim,’ ‘Shtisel’ and ‘Unorthodox’ were edited into one long series,” he writes, you’d have an “accurate mosaic of Israeli society” — and a lot of pensive cigarette smoking.
PEOPLE & PLACES
Major General (Res.) Nadav Padan is the new national director of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. The former commander of the Central Command and head of the Cyber Defense Directorate will work alongside FIDF CEO Steven Weil.
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Did your ancestors pass through Canada on their way to the U.S., or did a branch of your family settle in Canada? Bill Gladstone, a professional genealogist, publisher and author based in Toronto, will provide an overview of major resources for Jewish genealogy research in Canada. Register here for this Center for Jewish History event. 2:00 pm.
Combatants for Peace presents a discussion on antisemitism featuring Peter Beinart, editor at large of Jewish Currents. Register here for this online event. 8:30 pm.
Photo, top: Eboni Williams, left, convened her fellow cast members for a Shabbat dinner on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York City,” in an episode that aired Aug. 11, 2021. (Screenshot from show)