Good Monday morning, New York. It’s a new year, New York City has a new mayor, and we have some new reasons for hope: According to The New York Times, “Omicron is so contagious that it will have infected a meaningful share of the population, increasing the amount of Covid immunity and helping defang the virus.” Although, we should add, at a high human cost.
PROTEST: Around 100 people protested antisemitism at a rally in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn Sunday, following the Dec. 26 attack there on two Jewish college students, including one wearing an Israel Defense Forces sweatshirt. The rally, which drew a small gaggle of counter protesters, was organized by newly elected New York City Councilwoman Inna Vernikov. (Times of Israel)
- The assault sparked an online solidarity protest, urging users to pose wearing IDF-inspired gear.
- The progressive group Jews for Racial & Economic Justice held its own action in Bay Ridge over the weekend, “handing out pamphlets with information on how to look out for our neighbors and intervene if we see someone being harassed.”
AOC NEWS: A legislative assistant to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx/Queens) called Israel “a racist European ethnostate built on stolen land” in a social media post last week. Hussain Altamimi previously served as a legislative assistant to Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin), another tough critic of Israel in the progressive caucus.
ALL GOOD THINGS: Yeshiva University’s men’s basketball team’s history-making, 50-game winning streak came to an abrupt end Thursday night as the Maccabees suffered a bruising 73-59 loss at home to Illinois Wesleyan University. “The streak is over but the quest for a championship continues,” the Y.U. athletics department tweeted. (JTA)
THE YEAR THAT WAS: Orthodox New Yorkers flee for Florida. Turmoil at an East Side synagogue. Padma Lakshmi makes latkes. These are just some of the most-read New York Jewish Week Stories of 2021.
ON THE JOB: Brad Lander was sworn in Saturday as NYC’s 45th comptroller, pledging to “ensure that City government is budgeting wisely, investing strategically, and operating effectively.” The Jewish Democrat, 52, who takes over from Scott Stringer, is a Brooklyn progressive who recently said he would try to coax Orthodox yeshivas to improve their secular curricula.
- An “overserved” Andy Cohen, the producer and talk show personality co-hosting CNN’s live New Year’s Eve coverage, went on a rant against outgoing NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio during the broadcast. He called de Blasio a “horrible mayor,” ending his remarks with, “Sayonara sucka!” (CBS News)
- Related: Bruce Blakeman, a Long Island Republican, today will be sworn as the first Jewish county executive of Nassau County. (Forward)
ON THE MOVE: The Jewishly affiliated Touro College announced plans to move its main campus to 3 Times Square, a Midtown skyscraper. Touro says eight floors of the building will be turned into classrooms, science and technology labs, offices and event space, accommodating 2,000 staff and students. Touro, with outposts around the city and elsewhere, plans to move into the new space in January 2023. (New York Post)
AROUND THE JEWISH WORLD, WITH JTA
- Israel announced Monday that it would reduce travel restrictions meant to contain the Omicron variant, but visitors from the United States are still barred from entering the country. Over the weekend, Israel began administering a second booster shot to citizens over 60 and to medical workers.
- Israel launched an airstrike on Gaza early Sunday morning after missiles launched from the Gaza strip Saturday landed off the coast of Tel Aviv.
- Criticized for attending the shiva of a late Israeli author accused of sexually abusing minors, Israel’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi called for victims of sexual abuse to bring complaints to the “relevant authorities.”
Photo, top: Ethan Lasko of the Yeshiva University Maccabees looks on in the final minutes of the team’s game against Illinois Wesleyan University, Dec. 30, 2021. (Screenshot via MacsLive)