All clear after bomb scare at Hebrew Union College • Muslim man impersonates Jewish groom • ‘The Shrink Next Door’


Shabbat shalom, New York. Twenty years ago today an American Airlines flight crashed in Belle Harbor, Queens, killing all 260 people aboard and terrifying a city still reeling from the 9/11 attacks. (Read JTA’s interview at the time with a rabbi of the local Conservative synagogue.) A memorial service will be held this morning in Belle Harbor, with a moment of silence scheduled for 9:17 a.m.

The Jewish Week emails a downloadable, printable digest of the week’s best stories, perfect for offline reading, every Friday. Sign up for “The Jewish Week/end” here. Get today’s edition here.

BOMB THREAT: New York University and Hebrew Union College received bomb threats Thursday evening, and students were evacuated from the Greenwich Village campuses. (WPIX)

  • The NYPD issued an all clear at 9:35 p.m. after concluding its investigation.
  • There has a been a spate of apparently false bomb threats targeting universities in recent days, including incident at the University of Southern California, MIT, Cornell, Brown and Yale.

WHAT ABOUT MARTY?: “The Shrink Next Door,” the Apple TV+ series starring Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell, is based on a true story set in New York City’s Modern Orthodox Jewish world. (Jewish Week via JTA)

  • Our Ben Sales tells the real story of Marty Markowitz, who became a virtual manservant to his psychiatrist, Dr. Isaac “Ike” Herschkopf, while under his care.
  • Related: Rudd, the Jewish movie star whose original family name was Rudnitsky, was named People magazine’s “sexiest man alive” for 2021. (See News Quiz, below.)

GAME TIME: Brooklyn game maker Molly Zeff has developed Jewish Card Revoked, a new card game in which players debate the less serious aspects of Jewish life and culture. (JTA)

WEDDING CRASHER: A rabbi in Lakewood, New Jersey has apologized after his son performed a wedding between a Brooklyn Jewish woman and a groom who turned out to be a Muslim imposter from Beirut. (

  • In a case that has roiled the tight-knit Syrian Jewish community, rabbis have criticized Rabbis Ezra Zafrani and his son David Zafrani for not performing a stricter background check before the wedding. The private Instagram account obtained the elder Zafrani’s hand-written apology.
  • The NYPD told that the groom’s impersonation of a Jew is not a crime and “there are no ties between this case and terrorism.”
GAME OF THRONES: Followers of a breakaway faction of the Gur Hasidic movement welcomed their leader to New York this month, with an estimated 15,000 people attending last Saturday’s rapturous Shabbat ceremony in Borough Park.
  • Rabbi Shaul Alter split with the Israel-based dynasty led by his first cousin, and is in the United States to consolidate his rival faction. The Jerusalem Post describes the main Gur branch as the “largest, wealthiest and most influential” Hasidic community in Israel

UPTOWN: A walking tour focuses on the Jewish history of Harlem. (Religion News Service)

  • Guide Barry Judelman leads visitors to former synagogues, and brownstones once inhabited by the likes of composer Richard Rodgers, magician Harry Houdini and comedian Gertrude Berg.


Tennessee Titan Anthony Firkser, who grew up in Manalapan, New Jersey, says he hasn’t experienced any antisemitism in the NFL — even if he is often the first Jewish person some of his teammates have ever met. (JTA)


News Quiz Logo JW

(Janice Hwang)

Movie star Paul Rudd is People magazine’s latest “sexiest man alive.” The list of famous Jews formerly named “sexiest man alive” is short – can you identify the celebrity, from the list below, who actually made the cut?

  1. Rahm Emanuel, 55th mayor of Chicago and former White House Chief of Staff
  2. Adam Levine, lead vocalist of the pop rock band Maroon 5
  3. Larry David, co-creator of “Seinfeld” and star of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
  4. Adrien Brody, Oscar-winning actor for “The Pianist”
  5. Ben Stiller, actor and director who starred in “Zoolander,” “There’s Something About Mary” and the “Meet the Parents” trilogy.

See answer below.


  • Dr. Steven Laufer, a researcher at the Meyers-JDC-Brookdale Institute in Jerusalem, is the new board chair of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, the Modern Orthodox rabbinical school in the Bronx. YCT also elected new board members Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus, Dr. Jeremy Novich and Ariela Rosenberg-Brafman.
  • JCC of Mid-Westchester named Elise Dowell, most recently the vice chancellor for Communications & External Affairs at The Jewish Theological Seminary, as its next CEO. Dowell will oversee all aspects of the JCC in Scarsdale, including its nursery school, aquatics and gymnastics, philanthropy and Jewish cultural enrichment.
  • New York City resident Rachel Lithgow is the new chief executive officer of ShalomLearning, a provider of Jewish online education. She most recently served as the executive vice president of ANU: The Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv. ShalomLearning currently provides 248 active partner institutions with original curriculum and teacher training and support.
  • Jacqueline L. Herman of Englewood, New Jersey is the new president of the board of trustees of One Israel Fund, “the premier organization in the United States providing support for the areas of Judea and Samaria,” according to its website.


What would you pack if you were leaving home for good? Rabbi Charles Savenor says Jacob was faced with this dilemma, and ended up taking the most precious heirloom of all: a parent’s blessing.

  • More wisdom: Judaism teaches that behind the material things of this world is something infinitely greater, writes Rabbi David Wolpe.


The Hampton Synagogue welcomes David Gill, Consul General of Germany in New York, and Dani Dayan, chairman of Yad Vashem, for an in-person Kristallnacht Commemoration, following morning Shabbat services. 154 Sunset Ave, Westhampton Beach, New York. Saturday, 11:00 a.m.

Israeli author Etgar Keret will engage in a live virtual conversation with Rabbi Sharon Brous of Ikar in Los Angeles. Their conversation is the latest installment of The Charles Bronfman Prize Speaker Series with Ikar. Register here for this Zoom event. Sunday, 12:30 p.m.

The National Library of Israel is home to one of the most significant collections of Sir Isaac Newton’s non-scientific writings. Matt Goldish, Samuel M. and Esther Melton Chair in History, The Ohio State University, explores how the Jerusalem-born Sephardic polymath Abraham Shalom Yahuda acquired the manuscripts the 1930s, and why he decided to will the material to the library. Register here for this virtual event. Sunday, 1:00 p.m.

Candlelighting, Readings

Friday, November 12, 2021
Kislev 8, 5782

Light candles at 4:22 p.m.


Torah Reading: Vayeitzei: Genesis 28:10 – 32:3
Haftarah: Hosea 11:7 – 12:14

Shabbat ends 5:22 p.m.

Answer to Friday News Quiz: 2.

Photo, top: Will Ferrell, left, plays a real-life Jewish garment manufacturer and Paul Rudd plays the psychiatrist who manipulates him in “The Shrink Next Door,” a new limited series premiering today on Apple TV+. (Apple TV+)