Good morning, New York! Hope you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.
DOCKED: A jury ordered the white supremacist organizers of the deadly 2017 Charlottesville far-right rally to pay $25 million in damages, in a victory for plaintiffs who sought to hold extremists accountable for violent events. (JTA)
- The local angle: On the winning side were New Yorkers Roberta Kaplan, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, and Amy Spitalnick, executive director of Integrity First for America, who was named this year to The Jewish Week’s list of “36 Under 36” rising Jewish leaders.
WEDDED BLITZ: Jewish weddings are back in business, and their return offers a microcosm of a global economy still mired in a pandemic, from shifting medical protocols and rising prices to staffing shortages and supply chain disruptions. (Jewish Week via JTA)
- Stewart Ain reports on the pressures facing rabbis, caterers and vendors across the New York City area who are working their way through a backlog of weddings.
WHITE LIKE ME: Alex Edelman, whose one-man show “Just For Us” runs through Dec. 19 at the Cherry Lane Theatre, wrestles with his identity as a white, Ashkenazi, Modern Orthodox Jew. (Jewish Week via JTA)
- Ben Sales talks with Edelman about the show, which was inspired by the comedian’s visit to a meeting of white nationalists in New York City in 2017.
APPOINTED: Yeshiva University named Dr. Erica Brown, a popular author and teacher, as Vice Provost of Values and Leadership and inaugural director of the Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks Center for Values and Leadership, founded by Terri and Andrew Herenstein.
- An alumna of Stern College for Women, Brown most recently served as director of the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership and associate professor of curriculum and pedagogy at The George Washington University.
- In her new role, Brown will “mentor students and early-career professionals” and “design leadership initiatives and curricula based on Rabbi Sacks’ teachings and writings.”
BALL TESHUVAH: A new episode of HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” that aired Tuesday focused on Amar’e Stoudemire and the retired New York Knicks star’s embrace of Orthodox Judaism. (JTA)
GIVING BACK: Volunteers packed over 4,000 Hanukkah gift boxes — including 2,000 boxes just for Holocaust survivors — in a joint venture by UJA-Federation of New York and the Met Council. (CBS 2)
- Related: The Brooklyn Heights Synagogue held a Thanksgiving pie drive, collecting store-bought pies to be delivered through its social service partner CAMBA. (Brooklyn Eagle)
AROUND THE JEWISH WORLD, WITH JTA
- Read how a determined Detroit-area Jewish community helped bring home Danny Fenster, the journalist imprisoned in Myanmar.
- Chile’s Jews feel under ‘siege’ from anti-Israel sentiment, so they’re backing a far-right presidential candidate.
- More Israelis support professionalizing the army and abolishing the draft than oppose the idea, according to a new poll.
TODAY’S BIG IDEA
Should non-Jewish actors play Jews on stage and screen? The question ignores the complicated ways people become or identify as Jews, writes The Jewish Week’s Andrew Silow-Carroll. (Jewish Week)
PEOPLE & PLACES
Rabbi Joe Schwartz, who moved to Israel from Brooklyn in 2020, is the new director of educational innovation at The Jewish Agency for Israel. He will direct Makom: The Israeli Education Lab, the organization’s central resource “for educating and empowering professionals to change the conversation around Israel.” Schwartz was previously a litigator at the Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel law firm and launched his own venture, IDRA, which seeks to strengthen ties between Israelis and world Jewry.
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Congregation Shearith Israel in Manhattan has been conducting Thanksgiving services since President George Washington first declared a day of thanks in 1789. Go here for their schedule of in-person services, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade viewing and annual Hunger Alleviation Pack-a-thon. Thursday starting at 7:45 a.m.
Volunteers and clergy from many faiths will assemble at the sidelines of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to pack ingredients for half a million donuts for distribution to the needy. The packaged flour, sugar, yeast, salt, jam, vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar will be delivered to the Masbia Soup Kitchen Network where they will be distributed during Hanukkah. 2 West 70th Street. Thursday, 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Lab/Shul is inviting the community to consider attending the livestream of the National Day of Mourning, an annual ceremony in Plymouth, Massachusetts to mark the colonization and genocide of indigenous peoples of the Americas. Thursday, noon.
Join the Center for Jewish History and The New York Jewish Week on Nov. 29 at 6:00 p.m. for a tribute to William Helmreich, the late sociologist, author, scholar of Judaism and distinguished professor. Featuring Jeffrey S. Gurock, the Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University, and Matt Green, who, like Helmreich, walked every block of New York City for his film “The World Before Your Feet.” Moderated by Sandee Brawarsky. Register here.
Photo, top: State Senator Simcha Felder, Masbia’s Executive Director Alexander Rapaport, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Hunger Free America’s CEO Joel Berg attend a kosher turkey giveaway at Masbia of Flatbush, Nov 23, 2021. The event marked the release of Hunger Free America’s annual survey of demand at soup kitchens and food pantries and new findings on food insecurity and hunger in New York City and New York State. (Courtesy Masbia)