News from October 19 to October 25

Sudan, F-35s, and honorable mentions

Hey everyone! As always, feel free to reach out to me with questions, comments, or concerns at If you need good Jewish/Israeli shows or movies, make sure to check out this newsletter.

Also, I will be moderating a conversation for Hillel at Home/Jewish Life at Duke this Wednesday at 6:00 with former Member of the Knesset Nachman Shai, Washington Institute Middle East Expert Dana Stroul, and Dr. Eli Sperling. We’ll be discussing the implications of the election for the American-Israeli relationship. You can register for the event here (be sure to submit questions!).

Israel and Sudan agree to begin normalizing relations: 

What happened? On Friday, President Trump announced that Israel and Sudan had agreed to “the normalization of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerent between their nations.” They also “agreed to begin economic and trade relations, with an initial focus on agriculture.” As part of the deal, the United States will remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism and grant Sudan a significant aid package. In turn, Sudan transferred $335 million into an escrow account that will compensate the victims of past Sudanese terror and will also designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Sudan is now the fifth Arab state to normalize relations with Israel and the third in the past few months. 

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Source: France 24.

Is this really a normalization deal? Yes, but not in the same way as the UAE and Bahrain. As every country is different, each state requires a different approach. Following the ousting of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir, Sudanese leaders set up a transitional government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Chairman of the Sovereignty Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (whose name you may recall from a surprise February 2020 meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Netanyahu in Ethiopia). According to Sudan’s acting Foreign Minister Omar Gamareldin, for the normalization deal to become fully “functional,” Sudan must first set up a legislative council to approve it. Put simply, Sudan, as an emerging democracy, must democratically approve the deal. However, it may not be easy–former Sudanese prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi, who leads the country’s largest political party, has expressed opposition to the normalization deal. Thus, in the long-term, it remains to be seen how fully Israel and Sudan implement the normalization agreement. In the meantime, however, Israel and Sudan are moving ahead with their initiative. Officials from the two countries will meet soon to arrange bilateral agreements and Israel has already announced a $5 million shipment of wheat to Sudan. 

Why is Sudan significant? In 1967, Sudan hosted the Khartoum Conference, during which the Arab League declared the “three nos” of no peace, no recognition, and no negotiations with Israel. Now, as Netanyahu highlighted, instead of the three nos, “Khartoum has said, ‘Yes to peace with Israel, yes to recognition of Israel and yes to normalization with Israel.’”

Analysis (commentary): What’s interesting about the Israel-Sudan-United States deal is that it is perhaps the clearest example of the Trump administration’s new approach to Middle East politics. Specifically, this agreement is emblematic of the Trump administration’s willingness to use unconventional “levers” to pressure countries and get results. American administrations have historically linked Arab normalization with Israel to a final-status agreement with the Palestinians. Now, the United States is taking a different approach. By linking other issues like Sudan’s removal from the state sponsor of terror list and the Emirati purchase of the F-35*, the Trump administration has added more tools to its Middle Eastern geopolitical toolbox. To be clear, I’m not passing a normative judgment on the deals, but it’s worth noting that, for better or for worse, this new approach is getting results. 

*No American, Israeli, or Emirati official has confirmed the linkage but come on…

Further reading:

Israel withdraws its protest of the United States’ F-35 sale to the United Arab Emirates:

Background (for sources in this section, see this newsletter from a few weeks ago): As you may recall, the United Arab Emirates has been eager to purchase the F-35 weapons system from the United States. When reports indicating the UAE’s desire to buy the systems emerged shortly after President Trump announced the Abraham Accords, Israel formally objected to a potential F-35 deal. Israel had good standing to oppose the sale of the F-35; according to American law, the United States government must consider Israel’s quantitative military edge (QME) before selling weapons to any country in the region. In other words, the United States cannot give other Middle Eastern countries advanced weaponry that could pose a risk to Israel. 

When the Abraham Accords were announced in August, many were surprised, including Israeli Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi. Netanyahu, who relied on his Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer for negotiations, brokered the deal while keeping senior government officials (and coalition partners) out of the loop. So, when the reports began spreading shortly after the Abraham Accords that the United States would sell the UAE the F-35, some criticized Netanyahu for failing to consult the Israeli defense establishment about a potentially game-changing arms deal. Others questioned if the F-35 sale was part of the normalization agreement because it would undermine Netanyahu’s claim that the agreement was “peace for peace.” Responding to claims that he did not consult with the defense establishment, Netanyahu said that he had spoken with a high-ranking officer in the IDF about the sale. Even if he did speak with the IDF officer, some suggest he was still breaking protocol by not consulting with Gantz or the IDF Chief of Staff, Aviv Kochavi. 

What happened? Earlier this week, Gantz traveled to Washington for talks with U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Following their meeting, Gantz and Netanyahu released a joint press release indicating that they no longer oppose the United States’ F-35 deal with the UAE. They also said that the United States had committed to improve Israel’s military capabilities. Some have speculated that the United States will maintain Israel’s QME by selling it the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, providing Israel with equipment that could detect Emirati F-35s, or weakening the Emirati F-35s. 

Was that all? Nope. In addition to his joint statement with Netanyahu, Gantz released a press release accusing Netanyahu of leaving the defense establishment (which he leads as the Defense Minister) out of negotiations over the F-35. Gantz’s statement implies that Israeli approval of the F-35 sale was part of the normalization negotiations with the UAE. As I mentioned before, including an arms deal in the agreement changes the Emirati normalization narrative from “peace for peace” to “weapons for peace.” Netanyahu denied the link in a television appearance, saying the two deals were unrelated.

Anything else? Now that Israel has given the green light on the Emirati F-35 sale, expect other regional players to request their own F-35 deals. Qatar, which provides Hamas with hundreds of millions of dollars in funding (though with Israel’s blessing), is also rumored to want the F-35. Israeli officials believe the sale will happen if the Qataris are determined and willing to pay for it. 

Further reading: (Jerusalem Post)

Honorable mentions:

4 Jews are running for Senate in 2020 — including 2 who could help turn it blue. Here’s what you need to know about them.” by Ron Kampeas (JTA)

An anti-Semitic cake, a Holocaust survivor and a whole lot of Hebrew: All the Jewish moments in ‘Borat 2’” by Gabe Friedman (JTA)

‘The Great British Baking Show’ has a Jewish dessert problem” by Shannon Sarna (The Nosher) (And here’s another article about the Great British Baking Show’s rainbow bagel challenge from a few weeks ago)

Human trials for Israeli coronavirus vaccine to begin November 1” by Judah Ari Gross (Times of Israel)

U.S. and Bahrain Agree to MOU Saying Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism” by Aaron Bandler (Jewish Journal)

The Republican Jewish Coalition has funneled more money to Lindsey Graham than any other group” by Molly Boigon (Forward)

Ivanka Trump visits the tomb of the Lubavitcher Rebbe as election nears” by Ron Kampeas (JTA)

The 160-year history of rabbis addressing Congress” by Melissa Weiss (Jewish Insider)

Alexander Treisman, accused of plotting to kill Joe Biden, is son of prominent Jewish attorney once called ‘Schindler for Tibetans’” by Ben Sales (JTA)

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News from October 12 to October 18

Gal Gadot, Bahrain, and honorable mentions

Hey everyone! As always, feel free to reach out to me with questions, comments, or concerns at If you need good Jewish/Israeli shows or movies, make sure to check out this newsletter.

Israeli actress Gal Gadot cast as Cleopatra in an upcoming film, stirring controversy over the Egyptian Queen’s heritage:

What happened? Last week, reports emerged claiming Israeli actress Gal Gadot had been cast to play Cleopatra in an upcoming movie. Gadot, who is known for the titular role in Wonder Woman, confirmed the news and said she was excited to make the film with Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins “through women’s eyes, both behind and in front of the camera.” 

What’s the big deal? Why is this controversial? Some have suggested that it is inappropriate for Gadot, who is Jewish, Israeli, and has a fair complexion, to play the Egyptian queen. To the critics, Gadot’s casting is another example of Hollywood “whitewashing” a historical figure and denying an important role to women of color. Similarly, others have said it is a step in the wrong direction for Hollywood representation.

USA Today via AP.

Was Cleopatra Egyptian? It’s complicated. Cleopatra was certainly born in Egpyt and ruled over Egypt, but she was not necessarily Egyptian. She came from a long line of Macedonian Greeks on her father’s side and she was actually the first in her line to learn to speak the Egyptian language. At the same time, historians do not know much about her maternal ancestry, so some have speculated that she could have been half-Egyptian. Either way, History (The History Channel) described her as “not ethnically Egyptian,” and the Smithsonian Magazine says she would have spoken Greek and followed Greek customs. 

Anything else? Here’s a new video of Gal Gadot teaching Hebrew slang!

Further reading: (JPost)

Israel and Bahrain formally agree to establish relations:

What happened? Yesterday, Bahrain and Israel signed a “Joint Communiqué,” establishing “diplomatic, peaceful, and friendly relations.” The document, signed by Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, codifies Israel’s fourth peace agreement with an Arab state. United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin flew to Bahrain and attended the ceremony as well. 

Did they sign any other agreements? What did they say? Delegates from both countries signed between eight memoranda of understanding, including the core peace and normalization agreement. The memoranda touched on topics ranging from justice to agriculture. According to reports, however, the agreements will not include any reference to the Palestinians. Still, in remarks after the signing ceremony, al-Zayani said, “The Palestinian question must be solved through direct negotiations between the two sides to reach a solution which satisfies both parties and brings about a two-state solution, according to the principles of the Arab Peace Initiative and the relevant international law.”

Anything else? Israel and the United Arab Emirates agreed to allow 28 flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi and Dubai every week. Elsewhere, Sudan is rumored to be on the brink of striking another normalization agreement with Israel.

Further reading:

Honorable Mentions:

Facebook Bans Content About Holocaust Denial From Its Site” by Sheera Frenkel (NYT)

Twitter will ban Holocaust denial posts, following Facebook” by Jacob Kastranakes (The Verge)

Stop Being Shocked” by Bari Weiss (Tablet)

Saeb Erekat rushed to Israeli hospital as COVID-19 condition worsens” by Khaled Abu Toameh (JPost) (Saeb Erekat is a former Chief Negotiator for the Palestinians and is currently the Secretary-General of the Palestinian Liberation Organization)

‘It’s totally irresponsible’: How New York Jews feel watching the unrest in Borough Park” by Ben Sales (JTA)

Cuomo holds call with Jewish leaders amid tension over large gatherings” by Jacob Kornbluh (Jewish Insider)

In Hungary, the left and the far right have united to defeat Viktor Orban. He says Jewish groups are giving them a pass on anti-Semitism.” by Cnaan Liphshiz (JTA)

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says he is being treated for cancer” by Ben Harris (JTA)

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News from October 5-October 11

Borough Park protests, Israel-Hamas ceasefire, and honorable mentions

Hey everyone! As always, feel free to reach out to me with questions, comments, or concerns at If you need good Jewish/Israeli shows or movies, make sure to check out this newsletter.

Jewish journalist assaulted in Borough Park riot:

What happened? Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new set of Coronavirus-related restrictions on New York City neighborhoods, including areas with high ultra-Orthodox Jewish populations. In response to the new rules, hundreds of protestors gathered in Borough Park on Tuesday for a chaotic protest that included a crowd burning masks and a mob beating a Hasidic counter-protestor with rocks (although he was in critical condition, he is recovering). The violent protest was organized by radio host Heshy Tischler, who told a crowd of protestors, “You are my soldiers. We are at war.”

Earlier that day, Tischler published a video on his Twitter accusing Jewish Insider reporter Jacob Kornbluh of being a snitch and calling him a rat. When the protesters returned on Wednesday, Kornbluh, who was reporting on the protests, said that Tischler instructed a crowd to surround him. A group of protesters proceeded to pin Kornbluh against a wall and hit him while yelling insults. Kornbluh managed to escape with the help of the NYPD and community members. 

Kornbluh said that he is okay and that he would press charges against Tischler. The NYPD arrested Tischler last night on charges of inciting a riot and unlawful imprisonment.

How have people reacted? Here are some reactions from high-profile individuals:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio: “I saw the video of the attack on Jacob Kornbluh, it’s absolutely unacceptable. Disgusting, really. I mean, here’s a journalist who really cares about doing the work of informing people what’s going on and here’s a mob of people attacking him. It’s just unacceptable. There need to be consequences for that.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called the protests “irrational, illogical, [and] ugly.” He also described the violence as “disgusting behavior.”

Representative Jerry Nadler (NY-10): “While this may be a small minority within a small community, it is disgusting and those responsible must be held to account for such violence.”

CEO of the Anti-Defamation League Jonathan Greenblatt: “Violence and incitement are inexcusable. Our hearts go out to [Jacob Kornbluh], a mensch and member of the free press. Differences should be settled by exchanges of ideas. The Jewish community must strive for civility and dialogue.”

Representative Max Rose (NY-11): [Jacob Kornbluh] showed tremendous bravery in a dangerous & terrifying situation. We cannot allow violence against journalists or anyone to be tolerated, encouraged, or go unpunished.

Representative Carolyn Maloney (NY-12): “Glad to hear that [Jacob Kornbluh] is okay after being attacked. This violent behavior has no place in our city and I’m deeply disturbed that a journalist was targeted.”

Personal note: Jacob Kornbluh is a terrific reporter who does incredible work for his readers and his local community. As you may know, I frequently cite his articles in News of the Jews (including in the honorable mentions today). I 100% support him, and I encourage you to call out violence against journalists when you see it. On a separate note, please know that these violent protestors, as Representative Nadler said, represent only a small minority of a small community. Avoid painting all ultra-Orthodox Jews with a broad brush; many have gone out of their way to help people during the pandemic. Lastly, be sure to follow CDC recommendations so we can end the pandemic and avoid dangerous situations like this past week’s unrest.

Further reading: (Times of Israel)

Israel and Hamas reportedly reach 6-month ceasefire agreement:

What happened? Last week, Israeli media reported that Israel had agreed to terms for a Qatari-mediated ceasefire with Hamas. According to the reports, Hamas has agreed to stop violently attacking Israel for six months in exchange for 100 million dollars delivered by Qatar. Hamas said Israel would also reportedly “implement projects,” though they did not provide details. This is not the first time Qatar will pay Hamas in exchange for a temporary cease-fire; Qatari officials regularly deliver suitcases full of cash to Hamas to dissuade violence at Israel’s request.

What’s going on here? Hamas is a difficult strategic challenge for Israel. The terror group has large caches of rockets, anti-tank missiles, and mortars, and has repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to fire them at civilian population centers within Israel. Accordingly, there is broad consensus in Israel that its Gaza strategy should focus on preventing flare-ups that cost lives and necessitate the use of Israel’s Iron Dome, an expensive missile defense system. Yet, while most agree on the overall goals, many disagree on the tactics. Some argue for a comprehensive campaign in Gaza to find and destroy the weapons systems and terror cells. Others, like those in the current Israeli government, believe that the best way to handle Hamas is to manage the situation rather than attempt to solve the situation. With regard to the ceasefire, Israeli leaders have evidently determined that the national security risk of a Hamas cash windfall is less than the potential damage of a large-scale conflict. There is a certain logic to that approach; by repeatedly signing interim agreements, Israel and Hamas may create behavioral norms that could lead to a long-term truce, all while avoiding violence. 

Further reading: (i24)

Honorable Mentions:

This 102-Year-Old Jewish Grandma Is Going Viral for Voting and It’s Amazing” by Maddy Albert (Kveller)

American Jewish poet Louise Glück wins Nobel Prize in Literature” (JNS) (One of the winners of the Nobel prize in medicine, Harvey J. Alter, is also Jewish)

Israel will oppose any US F-35 sale to Qatar, intelligence minister says” by Lahav Harkov (Jerusalem Post) (Qatar formally requested to buy the F-35 last week)

North Korea’s massive new missile could help Iran threaten Israel” by Seth Frantzman (Jerusalem Post)

Joaquin Castro pledges to bring Palestinian voices to the Foreign Affairs Committee” by Marc Rod and Jacob Kornbluh (Jewish Insider)

Unholy heat: Data shows Jerusalem’s endless summer may be the fiery new normal” by Joshua Davidovich and Sue Surkes (Times of Israel)

That Jewish fisherman running for U.S. Senate in Alaska is tightening the race” by David Ian Klein (Forward)

Tobia Zevi is a rising star in Rome’s Jewish community. Can he become the city’s next mayor?” by Simone Somekh (JTA)

Samuel L. Jackson joins Israeli filmmaker in docuseries on global slave trade” by Jordan Hoffman (Times of Israel)

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News from September 28 to October 4

AOC, Netanyahu at the UN, and honorable mentions

Hey everyone! As always, feel free to reach out to me with questions, comments, or concerns at If you need good Jewish/Israeli shows or movies, make sure to check out this newsletter

AOC cancels her planned appearance at a Yitzhak Rabin memorial:

What happened? Just before Yom Kippur, Alex Kane, a writer for Jewish Currents, posted a tweet criticizing Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s planned appearance at an Americans for Peace Now memorial for the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Kane pointed out that while many Americans remember Rabin for his peacemaking, many Palestinians remember him for violent military policies during the First Intifada. In response to the tweet, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez said that she would “[take] a look” at her decision to participate. She later withdrew from the event. (Keith Ellison, the first Muslim Congressman, will participate in the memorial)

Who was Yitzhak Rabin? Rabin was a commander during the 1948 Independence War, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff during the Six-Day War, and Israel’s Prime Minister from 1974 to 1977 and again from 1992 to 1995. Rabin indeed enacted very harsh policies in his role as a senior IDF officer and defense official; he is infamous for having reportedly ordered soldiers to punish Palestinian militants by breaking their bones (For more information on this scandal, read this article). At the same time, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for “[abandoning] the use of force in favor of negotiations to achieve peace with the Palestinians.” He negotiated and signed the Oslo Accords in which Israel recognized the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as a negotiating partner and created the Palestinian Authority to administer the West Bank. However, the momentum building for the peace process came to an abrupt halt when Rabin was assassinated in 1995 by a far-right extremist who opposed the Oslo Accords. After he was killed, former head of the PLO Yasser Arafat secretly met with Rabin’s wife and told her that “We lost a brave man who made the peace of the brave with us. He was our partner.” 

How have people reacted to Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’s cancellation? Here are a few notable quotes:

Americans for Peace Now’s President, Hadar Susskind, said, “We are sorry to hear that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez will no longer be speaking at our Oct. 20th Yitzhak Rabin memorial. Her participation would have added to the event.”

J-Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said, “As an admirer of Rabin’s and a long-time Peace Now supporter, I am hurt and troubled by [her] decision to withdraw her participation and urge her to reconsider. Rabin’s transition from warrior to peacemaker epitomizes the kind of transition on w/c history can turn. His memory is not just a blessing, it’s an inspiration. As we work to preserve democracy in 2020, his murder reminds us where right-wing extremism and incitement lead...There are many important lessons that @aoc could have imparted by speaking. To choose not to speak teaches the wrong lesson. It empowers those who shut down rather than engage in dialogue. On October 20, let's honor Rabin’s memory and vow to complete his unfinished work.”

Adalah Justice Project, a Palestinian advocacy group, tweeted, “It's official. @AOC has withdrawn her participation from an event memorializing Yitzhak Rabin. His legacy is one of violence and dispossession for Palestinians. Thank you AOC for listening to the lived experience of the Palestinian people.”

A Biden campaign official said, “She could have rejected the invitation for any number of reasons. But if she agrees and then pulls out, she’s creating problems for her own party.”

Further reading: I highly recommend these articles! The first explains a better approach to the situation and the second details Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’s relationship (or lack thereof) with Jewish groups.

Netanyahu exposes Hezbollah missile factory during UN General Assembly speech:

What happened? In a televised address to the United Nations General assembly on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu displayed images and the GPS coordinates of a facility he claimed was a Hezbollah precision-guided missile factory in Beirut, Lebanon. Citing the recent blast in Beirut’s port, Netanyahu appealed to the residents of Lebanon to investigate the facility because it lies next to a gas station and civilian housing. He suggested that an explosion at the site could be catastrophic.

Source: JNS

Did the Lebanese people investigate the site? After Netanyahu’s speech, Hezbollah distanced itself from the site, saying it was a civilian-run facility. Still, it organized a controlled tour of the building for journalists, who reported that they did not see any weapons or missiles at the site. However, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) later released a compilation of media clips from Hezbollah’s tour which shows how the terror group could use the facility’s equipment to convert short-range unguided missiles into precision-guided weapons. Specifically, it identified a cutting machine used to create missile parts, a bending machine to shape engine casings, and a rolling machine that forms warheads. The IDF also identified the manager of the site, Muhammad Kamil Fuad Rimal, as a Hezbollah operative. 

Why did Netanyahu reveal the factory last week at the UN? Netanyahu has always enjoyed using the annual General Assembly meeting to make big proclamations. In 2018, he used the UN platform to reveal a previously undisclosed Iranian nuclear facility in Tehran, and in 2012, he famously called for the international community to enforce a red line against Iran’s nuclear program. Netanyahu loves the UN because it is a global platform and he can use it for strategic diplomacy.

The timing of the announcement is significant. Still reeling from the August 2020 Beirut port explosion, Lebanon has attempted and failed to form a new government. According to French Presiden Emmanuel Macron, Hezbollah is responsible for preventing the formation of a new government because it insists on holding the finance portfolio. Hezbollah was already in a precarious position in Lebanon because international actors have blamed it for the port explosion. Israel’s attempt to expose the missile factory added more charges onto an already defensive Hezbollah. In Israel’s view, the more marginalized Hezbollah is within Lebanon, the better–especially while Lebanon is forming a new government. 

Anything else? On a more positive note, Israel and Lebanon formally agreed to enter negotiations mediated by the United States over its maritime border. It’s good to see that the two nations are working together on something!

You can find the full text of Netanyahu’s UN speech here.

Further reading:

Honorable mentions: 

Jewish student seriously injured in attack outside synagogue in Hamburg, Germany” by Marcy Oster (JTA)

Bibi Shapiro, the 6-year-old whose ‘Avinu Malkeinu’ went viral, sang at Central Synagogue’s Yom Kippur services” by Philissa Cramer (JTA) (This refers to the same clip that I shared last week!)

NY mayor announces shutdown plan for 9 neighborhoods, including Jewish areas” (AFP) (I included a story about Mayor De Blasio’s threat last week)

White supremacists: Trump tested positive for COVID-19 because he’s too close to Jews” by Molly Boigon (Forward)

NYU settles with Education Department; will revise discrimination policy following antisemitic activity on campus” by Melissa Weiss (Jewish Insider)

5 Sukkah Mobiles to travel throughout the state of Wisconsin during the upcoming holiday of Sukkot” by Adriana Mendez (WTMJ-TV Milwaukee)

Are the Proud Boys anti-Semitic? Your primer on the far-right group Trump told to ‘stand back and stand by’” by Ben Sales (JTA)

Lab tests suggest Israeli-made face mask eliminates over 99% of coronavirus” by Zachary Keyser (JPost)

Gov. Newsom vetoes California ethnic-studies bill requiring high school anti-Israel curriculum” bu Jackson Richman (JNS)

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News from September 21 to September 27

Yom Kippur edition

Hey everyone! As always, feel free to reach out to me with questions, comments, or concerns at If you need good Jewish/Israeli shows or movies, make sure to check out this newsletter. Also, if you plan to fast on Yom Kippur, I hope you have an easy fast!

Since tomorrow is Yom Kippur, I decided I would send out an abbreviated newsletter a day early. I’ll provide you with some top-notch Yom Kippur content and many links to news from the past week.

Be sure to check out this clip of a kid in Australia singing Avinu Malkeinu! 

When the Jerusalem Post asked his mother why his rendition of the prayer about forgiveness brightened so many people’s days, she said, “He is such a passionate little boy. He’s been singing all his life, all the time, from when he was a baby. When he heard an advert on TV he would copy it. He’s very sensitive and very passionate and I think it comes across. I realize there were a few mistakes. If I had been planning to share I would have made sure it was perfect before I posted worldwide — but this shows things don’t have to be perfect to have real impact and that also made me happy. His purity and his innocence and his passion are touching.”

News from last week:

Ocasio-Cortez withdraws from Rabin memorial event after backlash” by Jacob Magid (Times of Israel) (There is obviously a ton to say about this, and I plan to cover it more extensively next week once people have reacted). 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes history as the first woman, Jewish person to lie in state at Capitol ceremony” by Christal Hayes, Deirdre Shesgreen, and Rebecca Morin (USA Today) (Check out this audio recording of Ginsburg reciting the “Prayer for our Country”)

Want to attend an online Yom Kippur service? Here are some options, based on your interests.” (JTA)

Zoom cancels talk by Palestinian hijacker Leila Khaled at San Francisco State University” by James Vincent (The Verge) (I mentioned this a few weeks ago. After Zoom canceled the event, YouTube took down a livestream of the event. Facebook also took down an event page for the talk.)

A Google search for ‘Jewish baby strollers’ yields anti-Semitic images. An extremist campaign may be to blame.” by Ben Sales (JTA)

Allegations of racism have marked Trump’s presidency and become key issue as election nears” by Greg Miller (Washington Post) (President Trump reportedly said that Jews “are in it only for themselves” and “stick together,” prioritizing their collective wellbeing over other loyalties)

New York Threatens Orthodox Jewish Areas With Lockdown Over Virus” by Liam Stack and Joseph Goldstein (New York Times)

Over 100 Jewish leaders and officials offer ‘enthusiastic’ support for Biden” by Jacob Kornbluh (Jewish Insider)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Washington for talks to ensure Israel’s military edge” by Yaakov Lappin (JNS)

Meet the top 15 Jewish political donors in this election cycle” by Ron Kampeas (JTA)

Congressional Democrats concerned about potential F-35 sale to UAE” by Marc Rod (Jewish Insider)

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