Fired Park East rabbi fires back • Iranian rabbi visits NYC • A dreidel collection for the ages


Good morning, New York. Tomorrow is Election Day (early voting ended yesterday). Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams and Jewish progressive Brad Lander, a City Council member running for comptroller, are heavy favorites.

Today is the first Monday following the city’s vaccination mandate for almost all municipal employees; vaccination rates for those covered by the new mandate jumped from 71% on Oct. 19 to 86% on Sunday, Gothamist reports.

FIRING BACK: In his first public comments since being fired from Park East Synagogue two weeks ago, Rabbi Benjamin Goldschmidt defended himself against charges of an “insurrection” and illegal activity and said his supporters’ motive “was to help build a growing, thriving, vibrant, and young community.” (Jewish Week via JTA)

  • Background: Allies of the congregation’s senior rabbi, Arthur Schneier, accused Goldschmidt of inappropriately sharing synagogue members’ email addresses and of orchestrating a coup to replace Schneier, 91, who has led the synagogue for nearly 60 years.

PRO AND CON: Our Jewish Week colleagues, Ben Sales and Andrew Silow-Carroll, visited the new Jewish Museum exhibit on art looted by the Nazis and came away with different impressions. (Jewish Week via JTA)

  • Andy thought the “Afterlives” exhibit “sheds light not just on the Nazis’ assault on Jewish bodies but on ‘Jewish’ ideas.” Ben felt the museum should have done more to “acknowledge that the Allies could have, and should have, devoted more energy to saving people than saving art.”

THE THINGS THEY CARRIED: New Yorker Arthur Kurzweil, an author and genealogist, has a collection of about 4,000 dreidels and other ritual objects, in a private collection that paints a unique portrait of everyday Eastern European Jewish life before the Holocaust. (JTA)

ELECTION DAY EVE: Rabbi David Niederman, head of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, is urging fellow members of his branch of the Satmar movement to vote for Eric Adams and other Democrats in tomorrow’s mayoral election. (Politico)

  • Why it matters: Members of the rival Satmar factions “tend to vote as blocs in elections and Niederman, who controls more of Brooklyn than the opposing side, can generally deliver between 5,000 and 10,000 votes.”

HIS ALL HOLINESS: American Jewish Committee will honor Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Christians, with its Human Dignity Award today.

  • The awards ceremony at the New York Hilton will acknowledge Bartholomew’s “commitment to Orthodox Christian-Jewish relations,” said AJC.

IN TOWN: Yehuda Garami, chief rabbi of Tehran’s small Jewish community, visited with Chabad leaders in Queens and Crown Heights as the Hasidic movement hosted thousands of its worldwide emissaries for an annual convention. (collive)

  • Rabbis and guests from 100 countries joined online and in-person at last night’s gala at the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center in Edison.


Commonpoint Queens presents a virtual talk by Gwen Strauss, author of “The Nine: The True Story of a Band of Women Who Survived the Worst of Nazi Germany.” She’ll discuss the story of nine women under 30 who joined the resistance during World War II and eventually became a close-knit group of friends. $8 members/$10 non-members. Register here. Noon.

SVIVAH presents, in partnership with Sharsheret in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, “Our Health: Why Do We Put Our Own Care Last?” — a panel conversation featuring women’s health advocates Gabrielle Kaufman, Dr. Rachel Rubin MD, Rabbi Lila Kagedan, Elizabeth Ross. RSVP for Zoom link. 8:00 p.m.

Correction: Friday’s newsletter incorrectly identified Chesa Boudin, the district attorney of San Francisco and son of the former ’60s radical David Gilbert. Boudin is a man, not a woman.

Photo, top: Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky reads a collective prayer request on behalf of. thousands of rabbis of the Chabad-Lubavitch hasidic movement who visited the Queens Ohel, or grave, of Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the movement’s late Rebbe, during a four-day gathering of Chabad emissaries, Oct. 31, 2021. (Chaim Tuito/ via