Hodesh tov and Gong hei fat choy, New York! Today marks the Lunar New Year, celebrated in many Asian communities, and it’s also Rosh Hodesh, the start of the Jewish month of Adar. The holidays tend to line up because the Chinese and Hebrew calendars are hybrids of the solar cycle and the lunar cycles timed to the new moon. (It’s also the first day of February, which is a complete but happy coincidence!)
Campus scare: Yeshiva University students received an alert Monday morning that the NYPD was investigating an “unsubstantiated phone call threat” near its Morningside Heights campus. Students were advised to “stay indoors, if possible.” The NYPD gave the campus an “all clear” at 9:52 a.m. It is unclear if the threat was antisemitic. Six historically Black colleges and universities also received bomb threats early Monday.
They persisted: We got a sneak peek at a new museum exhibit celebrating 50 years since the ordination of the first American woman rabbi. “Holy Sparks,” opening today at Hebrew Union College’s Greenwich Village campus, pairs 24 female rabbis — all “firsts” of some kind — with 24 female Jewish artists asked to portray their stories.
- Photo, top: Joan Roth’s photograph of Rabbi Sally J. Priesand, America’s first female rabbi, includes a quote from the rabbi. (Joan Roth)
The Not-So-Great Resignation: Judaism’s Conservative movement is warning that there are many more vacant pulpits than rabbis available to fill them, JTA reports. According to the Rabbinical Assembly, at least 80 Conservative synagogues anticipated rabbi vacancies this year, while, at most, 50 to 60 rabbis would be looking for new jobs.
Together against “apartheid” charge: Major Jewish groups in New York rejected Amnesty International’s report describing Israel as an “apartheid” state.
- Quotable: “The report is brimming with substandard analysis, factual inaccuracies and consistently omits and distorts context in order to demonize Israel and denigrate its vibrant democracy,” according to the groups’ joint statement.
- It was signed by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, UJA-Federation of New York, Anti-Defamation League NY/NJ, the New York Board of Rabbis and American Jewish Committee New York.
Remembering: Esther Pollard, who spent decades fighting to see her husband Jonathan live free in Israel after he was convicted of spying on the United States, has died at 68 from cancer. The couple were restricted to residency in New York after his release from prison in 2015, and allowed to moved to Israel in December 2020.
Map shot: A new redistricting plan proposed by New York State Democrats would expand Democrat Rep. Ritchie Torres’ 15th Congressional District to include Riverdale. Democrat Jamaal Bowman currently represents the heavily Jewish Bronx neighborhood. (Jewish Insider)
WHAT’S ON TODAY
The Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Fritz Ascher Society present a virtual lecture exploring the Holocaust in art with German art historian and curator Eckhart Gillen. Gillen will ground the discussion in the Museum’s exhibition “Boris Lurie: Nothing To Do But To Try.” Register here. 2:00 p.m.
Charles McDew is the “Black Jewish civil rights leader you never heard of.” Robin Washington, editor-at-large of the Forward, shares McDew’s life, their personal connection as Black Jews and an excerpt from McDew’s posthumously published memoir, “Tell the Story.” Presented as part of 92Y’s Black Jewish History/Black Jewish Futures Month. $36. Get tickets here. 7:00 p.m.
Historian Laura Arnold Leibman, author of “Once We Were Slaves: The Extraordinary Journey of a Multiracial Jewish Family,” unravels the mystery of a famous New York Sephardic Jewish family whose ancestors were Christian, enslaved people of color in Barbados. The virtual talk is sponsored by the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life at Rutgers University. 7:30 p.m.