Good morning, New York. Jewish Bronx-born comedian and actor Robert Klein turns 80 today. “I was in the DeWitt Clinton High School marching band,” he has joked. “One of the worst bands ever formed. When we played the national anthem, people from every country stood — except Americans.”
Shabbat tragedy: A 99-year-old Holocaust survivor riding an electric wheelchair was struck by a motorist and killed on his way to synagogue in Brooklyn.
- Jack Mikulincer (in photo, above) was a one-time bakery owner in Brighton Beach and a gabbai, or sexton, at the Manhattan Beach Jewish Center.
- The driver, a Coney Island real estate developer, has not been charged.
- Reaction: “This is a tragedy. Imagine enduring what Jack Mikulincer did in his life only for it to end like this,” tweeted New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “We owe it to his memory to make our streets safe for all New Yorkers.”
Meatless in Manhattan: Part-time vegan Jessica Seinfeld (yes, Jerry’s wife) talks to The New York Jewish Week about the meat-, egg- and dairy-free recipes she has developed for herself and her family. “Vegan food does not have to taste like kale and spinach,” she tells Rachel Ringler.
- DIY: Our friends at The Nosher like Seinfeld’s Easy Green Hummus recipe.
Stepping down: Eric Lander, the Brooklyn-born geneticist and Stuyvesant High grad who served as President Biden’s top science advisor and head of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, resigned Monday after a White House review found he had mistreated staff.
Remembering: Todd Gitlin, the former 1960s radical who, as an academic, would later question the movements he helped found, died Saturday at age 79. Raised in the Bronx, Gitlin taught sociology and journalism at New York University and Columbia University. Our colleague Ron Kampeas remembers Gitlin as a gregarious writer and activist known for “enveloping his targets in affection even as he lacerated what he believed were their lapses of critical thinking.”
TODAY’S BIG IDEA
To read some of the comments from defenders of the book, you’d think “Maus” is a tween-friendly introduction to the Holocaust. However, writes The New York Jewish Week’s Andrew Silow-Carroll, Art Spiegelman’s complex masterpiece is not “Auschwitz for Beginners.”
- Related: Spiegelman, who grew up in Queens, spoke last night in a Zoom conversation to the Tennessee community whose school board banned “Maus” from the classroom. “What’s going on now is about controlling: controlling what kids can look at, what kids can read, what kids can see,” he told the 10,000-plus viewers who tuned in.
PEOPLE & PLACES
Associate Rabbi Greg Weitzman of Congregation Rodeph Shalom in Manhattan is headed to Albany, where he will become the next senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Emeth. The Long Island native will take over from Rabbi Scott Shpeen on his retirement in July 2023.
The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York launched a fellowship to encourage community-based approaches to hate crime prevention. The “We Are All Brooklyn Fellowship Against Hate” recruited an inaugural cohort of 18 influential leaders to represent Brooklyn’s diversity. The Fellows will “work together in finding solutions in challenging hate in New York and its neighborhoods.”
T’ruah, the rabbinic human rights organization, will honor social justice leader Heather Booth with its Raphael Lemkin Human Rights Award at its annual gala in May. Booth is the founder of JANE, an underground abortion service predating Roe v. Wade and which is currently the subject of both a new documentary and a new feature film.
WHAT’S ON TODAY
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Novelist Dara Horn got fed up with being asked to write about dead Jews in response to the recent wave of fatal antisemitic attacks across the world. She’ll talk about her new essay collection, “People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present,” with her sister, Jordana Horn, a regular contributor to our partner site, Kveller. Signup for this Streicker Center Temple Emanu-El NYC event here. 11:30 a.m.
Last December, Jewish Currents magazine provoked a controversy when it published, and then apologizing for publishing, an ad promoting a free trip to Israel for young American Jews. Today it hosts a panel discussion on “the ethics of organized travel to Israel/Palestine,” featuring Sam Bahour, Emily Siegel, Ilana Sumka and Peter Beinart. Noon.
Join The Museum of Jewish Heritage for a program exploring the depiction of teenagers in Holocaust graphic novels. The conversation includes David Polonsky, illustrator of “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation”; Ken Krimstein, author of “When I Grow Up: The Lost Autobiographies of Six Yiddish Teens”; and R.J. Palacio, author of “White Bird: A Wonder Story.” Find out how to register here. 2:00 p.m.
92Y’s “Black Jewish History/Black Jewish Futures Month” continues with a presentation by Robin Washington on Hatzaad Harishon, an effort in the 1960s to bridge the gap between African Americans who worshiped as Israelites and mainstream Jewish congregations. Get tickets here. 7:00 p.m.