Orthodox nurses fight anti-vaxxers • A surprise Yiddish wedding proposal • Remembering Roman Kaplan


Good morning, New York. If the surge in COVID cases feels all too much, we’re right there with you. We found some clarity in measured, sensible advice from the state’s Acting Health Commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett, which you can find here. Bottom line: Get your booster shots if you’re eligible, wear masks indoors and get tested for COVID-19 before attending any holiday gatherings.

SCIENCE AND SENSIBILITY: Launched before COVID and completed this month, a 140-page pamphlet created by nurses in Brooklyn’s Orthodox community aims to counter misinformation about vaccines. (New York Jewish Week)

TEXT APPEAL: David Frisch, 24, planned to propose to his girlfriend, Pammy Brenner, 24, at the reading room at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, where Brenner had been a research fellow from 2018 to 2020. Getting her there was a whole ‘nother story, told delightfully by our Julia Gergely. (New York Jewish Week)

ON HOLD: Last week, we reported that Mayor-elect Eric Adams shifted the time of his Jan. 1 inauguration until the evening, in order to accommodate Shabbat-observant supporters. Yesterday, in a joint press release, Adams, along with Comptroller-elect Brad Lander and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, said that they are postponing the ceremony altogether due to Omicron concerns. (New York Post)

DENIAL: Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens/Nassau) denied reports in The New York Post that he sought an alliance with newly elected anti-Israel activists affiliated with the Democratic Socialists of America. “The New York Post was 100% wrong in their reporting,” Meeks told Jewish Insider.

REMEMBERING: Roman Kaplan, whose restaurant at 256 West 52nd St., the Russian Samovar, was a gathering place for writers, artists, musicians and Russian emigres like himself, died Nov. 17 at his winter home in Aventura, Fla. He was 83. After fleeing Russia for Israel and then New York in the 1970s, he opened the Samovar and served his homemade vodka to regulars as eminent and varied as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Philip Roth, Nobelist Joseph Brodsky, Susan Sontag, poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel and Sovietologist Stephen F. Cohen. (New York Times)


How are Jewish people defining their own place within contemporary German society? Historians Atina Grossmann and Darja Klingenberg and the poet, theater-maker and essayist Max Czollek will discuss the complex and fractured history of Germany’s post-war Jewish community. Register for this Leo Baeck Institute event here. Noon.

YIVO presents “A Very Jewish Christmas: Toledot Yeshu, a Jewish Anti-Gospel,” a talk by Azzan Yadin-Israel on the history of a satirical take on the Jesus story traditionally read on Christmas Eve. The talk will be followed by an English-Yiddish bilingual reading of it by Shane Baker and Eleanor Reissa. Reservations and information here. 7:00 p.m.

Photo, top: David Frisch proposes to Pammy Brenner at the YIVO Institute of Jewish Research in Manhattan, where she was once a research fellow, Dec. 19, 2021. She said yes! (Courtesy)