How Meir Kahane’s ideas went mainstream • Abuse suit targets Chabad artist • Vax refusal costs Boro Park •


Good morning, New York. Remember that Monday, Oct. 18 is the deadline for the Board of Elections to receive absentee ballot applications for the general election on Nov. 2. Apply for an absentee ballot through the city’s online portal, mail, email or fax. 

ABUSE ALLEGATION: A 36-year-old woman says she was sexually abused as a young girl by the craftsman who created an iconic 6-foot-tall menorah at Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters in Brooklyn. (JTA)

  • Her lawsuit says Hirschel Pekkar, who died in July, touched her sexually when, starting when she was 5 years old, she and her father visited Pekkar’s jewelry-making studio
  • The accuser wants the menorah, which she’d consider melting down as a symbolic protest.
  • A Chabad spokesman said the movement was “saddened and sickened by the allegations.”

KAHANE CHAI: A new book about Meir Kahane suggests that the Brooklyn-born rabbi’s ideas — albeit not his extremist tactics — eventually found a home in the Jewish mainstream. (JTA)

  • From opposition to intermarriage to a chauvinistic Zionism to deep pessimism about the eradication of antisemitism, his worldview “has really dug some pretty deep roots,” writes Shaul Magid.
  • The scholar talks to our Alma colleague Emily Burack, who worked with him on the new book, about how the New York of the tempestuous ’60s and ’70s shaped Kahane’s extremism.

LAX ON VAX: Borough Park, with the lowest vaccination rate in the city, saw the most COVID-19 infections in the five boroughs this past week. (amNY)

  • Only 43% of those eligible are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the Brooklyn neighborhood with a heavily Orthodox population, compared to 65% citywide. The citywide 7-day positivity rate on Oct. 5 was nearly two-thirds lower than the Borough Park rate.
  • Two other Brooklyn neighborhoods with large Orthodox communities — East Williamsburg/Williamsburg Midwood — also saw increased spread of COVID-19 over the past week.

GRADE EXPECTATIONS: Joshua Angrist, the Israeli-American who shares this year’s Nobel Prize in economics, has studied outcomes at New York City’s elite public high schools and downplayed their benefits. (Blueprint Labs)

  • In a 2014 paper, “The Elite Illusion,” he and colleagues found that most of the students at “exam schools” like Stuyvesant and Brooklyn Tech “would likely have done well without the benefit of an exam school education.”
  • Angrist graduated from Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh, a diverse public school in the city’s heavily Jewish Squirrel Hill neighborhood that has turned out two Nobel laureates and twice as many famed rappers.


ACCUSED: A Jewish teacher at a public school in Maplewood, New Jersey was accused of pulling a hijab off of a 7-year-old Muslim girl. The teacher’s lawyer disputed the account. (JTA)

PROPOSED: Royal Wine Corp., the maker of Kedem kosher wine and grape juice, wants to open a wine-making, storage and visitor center on an 83-acre site in upstate Goshen, New York. (Times Herald-Record — paywall)



A 14th-century Hebrew Bible and a letter written by the scholar and physician Judah ha-Levi are among the objects in a current exhibit at The Met Cloisters, “Spain, 1000–1200: Art at the Frontiers of Faith.”

  • The Forward reviews the show, about the diversity of Spanish medieval art where Christians, Muslims and Jews lived side by side for centuries.

A new book about The Fillmore East, the late, legendary rock venue on Second Avenue, remembers when it had been the Commodore, a Yiddish theater. (Untapped New York)


The Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University present authors of new scholarship about Henrietta Szold, the founder of Hadassah, and Judah Magnes, the American rabbi who advocated for a binational Jewish-Arab state in Palestine. Moderated by historian Jonathan D. Sarna. Register here for this free online event. Noon.

Israel Policy Forum presents a video briefing with the authors of a new report on Arab normalization, the Biden administration and regional actors: Michael Koplow, policy director of IPF, and Shira Efron, IPF policy advisor based in Israel. Register here. 2:00 p.m.

Photo, top: “Meir Kahane: The Public Life and Political Thought of an American Jewish Radical” tells the story of the Brooklyn-born’s radicalism — from his critique of liberalism through his ever-changing Zionism. (Princeton University Press)