Gov. Hochul announces $25M in security grants • WhatsApp outage hits hard among Orthodox Jews • Nazi hunter Neal Sher dies


Good morning, New York! Today we’re thrilled to welcome Julia Gergely as the latest member of our team. Julia will be covering Jewish life and institutions throughout the city, as she explains:

  • “My name is Julia Gergely and I am the newest reporter for the New York Jewish Week and JTA. A recent graduate of Dartmouth College, I am joining the team after internships at The Forward and Betches Media. I’m excited to work at this historic publication and tell the important stories of the New York Jewish community, from its food and art to its history and politics. You can send tips, comments or story ideas to  or find me in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.”

‘I WILL PROTECT YOU’: In a presser at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced $25 million in grants to boost security at nonprofits and a new system for tracking hate crimes. (JTA)

CUT OFF: Monday’s social media outage brought into sharp focus the degree to which many Orthodox Jews depend on WhatsApp for business and everyday communication.

  • The Jewish Week and JTA spoke to Jews in New York and beyond after Facebook and its Instagram and WhatsApp siblings went dark for about seven hours.
  • Why it matters: Many haredi Orthodox have filters on their phones to prevent them from accessing external websites and social media platforms, so they receive all their information — and sometimes misinformation — through WhatsApp, says a community leader in Brooklyn.

INTO AFRICA: New Yorkers Mark Gerson and Rabbi Erica Gerson have become possibly the largest private funders of Christian-provided medical care in Africa. (JTA)

  • The Gersons talk to Asaf Shalev about the impact of their giving to the African Mission Healthcare Foundation, their decision as Jews to fund missionary medical work, their love of evangelical Christians and how the couple responds to those who suppose they are Messianic Jews.


The cover of Curt Leviant's translation of "Moshkeleh the Thief."

The cover of Curt Leviant’s translation of “Moshkeleh the Thief.” (The Jewish Publication Society)

New Yorker Curt Leviant‘s new book is the first-ever English translation of a forgotten Sholom Aleichem novel about a misunderstood horse thief. (JTA)

  • It’s like “Fiddler on the Roof” meets “The Sopranos,” Penny Schwartz explains.
  • Leviant talks about the book at a virtual YIVO event, today at 1:00 pm ET.

Ron Kampeas remembers Alan Kalter, the mild-mannered synagogue president from Westchester who often played an enraged, foul-mouthed sidekick on David Letterman’s late-night talk show. (JTA)

A 4K restoration of “Hester Street” — the 1975 Jewish love story infused with the flavor of the Lower East Side — is now playing in select theaters, after a recent screening at the New York Film Festival. (Alma)

Brooklyn-born actor and comedian Adam Sandler, at 55, is the most popular celebrity among teenagers, according to a new survey. (JTA)



Neal Sher, an attorney who hunted Nazis as head of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations in the 1980s and ’90s, died Sunday. The New Yorker was 74. As the executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee from 1994 to 1996, he corralled support for the Oslo Accords. More recently he asked the Internal Revenue Service to strip the Whitney Museum of American Art of its tax-exempt status, after the museum appeared to bow to pressure from anti-Israel protesters.


The Orthodox Union won’t certify Impossible Pork as kosher, and that’s a good thing, writes David Zvi Kalman, a scholar at New York’s Shalom Hartman Institute: “[W]hen a new technology threatens to undermine Jewish tradition, the rabbis have tended to respond appropriately.” (JTA)


Show your appreciation to frontline and essential workers at a virtual benefit for The Workers Circle. The evening will include performances from Daniel Kahn, The Peace Poets and Alfre Woodard, along with greetings from other celebrities and more. Register here. Tonight, 8:00 p.m.


Learn about the national identity of Christians in modern Israel from Rima Farah, who is pursuing a doctoral degree in the department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. The talk is part of the Fall 2021 Schusterman Seminars, presenting the latest research in Israel Studies. Register here. 12:15 p.m.

Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin speaks with Scott Rechler, chair of the Regional Plan Association and CEO of RXR Realty, at a free, virtual 92Y event today. Register here. 7:00 p.m.

Hear the story behind the discovery of a treasure trove of thousands of glass photographic plates that offer a glimpse into the everyday lives of Jews and Poles before 1939, with Piotr Nazaruk, curator at Poland’s Grodzka Gate–NN Theatre. Register for this Yiddish Book Center virtual public program here. 7:00 p.m.

NEXT WEEK: Join UJA-Federation of New York and The Jewish Week for a conversation between Dara Horn — author of the new essay collection, “People Love Dead Jews: Reports From a Haunted Present” — and Abraham Foxman, national director emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League. Their wide-ranging conversation will touch on Jewish memory, history, identity and antisemitism. Monday, Oct. 11, 6:00 p.m. Register here.

Photo, top: Gov. Kathy Hochul announced grants for boosting security at nonprofits during a news conference on hate crimes, held Oct. 6, 2021 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan. (Governor Kathy Hochul Flickr)