Good morning, New York. Lots of news, including a Jewish Week/JTA exclusive about the firing of a rabbi at a venerable Manhattan synagogue.
BREAKING: Park East Synagogue, a Modern Orthodox congregation on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, fired its popular assistant rabbi after the longtime head rabbi Arthur Schneier rebuffed a congregant-led push to “revitalize the synagogue.” (Jewish Week via Jewish Telegraphic Agency)
PARTING WAYS: In what appears to be fallout from an internal dispute over “equity and anti-racism,” an Off-Broadway show about an undocumented Syrian immigrant will open without the Jewish actor who was slated to play the part. (Jewish Week via JTA)
FATHERHOOD: How did you spend the pandemic? CUNY professor Ari Nagel — a serial sperm donor dubbed “The Sperminator” — tells Esquire that he fathered 21 children in 2020 and expected another 30 babies in 2021, bringing to almost 100 the number of babies fathered with his contributions. (JTA)
OFF HIS PEDESTAL: Our colleague Shira Hanau has more on that Thomas Jefferson statue removed from New York City Council chambers — and the Jewish military officer who donated it in the 19th century. (JTA)
POVERTY WATCH: Brooklyn has the highest proportion of Jewish poverty in the New York metro area, with more than a quarter of borough Jews “poor or near poor,” according to a new UJA-Federation study. (Brooklyn Eagle)
- Related: UJA is about to release an interactive, web-based tool that provides direct access to data from the study — from poverty, unemployment and housing insecurity to mental health, domestic violence and substance abuse.
FAINT PRAISE: Jewish Currents calls Rep. Ritchie Torres, the Bronx Democrat, the “Future of Pro-Israel Politics” — not exactly a compliment coming from the left-wing magazine. (Jewish Currents)
PICK-UP ARTISTS: The Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island hustled up a crew to clean up trash on the Joseph P. Addabbo Bridge, which connects Howard Beach and Broad Channel in Queens. (QNS)
AROUND THE JEWISH WORLD, WITH JTA
- The Washington D.C. branch of a national climate action group turned down a role at a voting rights rally because a “number of Zionist organizations” — including the National Council of Jewish Women, the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs — will be taking part.
- Former president George W. Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas were among the speakers at a three-day anti-hate summit timed to the three-year anniversary of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh.
- A Chinese state-run media outlet called for a “final solution to the Taiwan question”; a German lawmaker thought that sounded like Nazi rhetoric.
TODAY’S BIG IDEA
Rabbi Abram Goodstein of Anchorage, Alaska explains why he and his fellow “Frozen Chosen” stood up to local politicians and anti-mask activists who compared pandemic health ordinances to the Holocaust: “We are not an isolated shtetl, but rather working members of the Alaskan community.” (JTA)
PEOPLE & PLACES
Today is the second day of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York “Convening,” bringing together leaders in philanthropy, technology, the arts, journalism and politics for two mornings of conversation to amplify women’s voices. Go here for the speakers’ schedule and here to sign up for the virtual sessions. Tickets start at $36.
WHAT’S ON TODAY
UJA-Federation’s Voices of Zion series, featuring instructors from the Shalom Hartman Institute, kicks off with Senior Fellow Yossi Klein Halevi, the author, thinker and commentator on Jewish and Israeli affairs. Register here for this virtual event. 7:00 p.m.
Meet the co-editors of “Pogroms: A Documentary History,” a new volume surveying the complex history of anti-Jewish violence. Elissa Bemporad (CUNY) and Eugene Avrutin (University of Illinois) will be in conversation with Darius Staliunas (Lithuanian Institute of History) and David Myers (UCLA) at this virtual Center for Jewish History event. Register here. 4:00 p.m.
Photo, top: Park East Synagogue on the Upper East Side is in turmoil following the abrupt firing of its assistant rabbi. (Friscocali/Flickr Commons)
Photo, middle: A moose pays a visit to the grounds of Congregation Beth Sholom in Anchorage, Alaska, May 17, 2018. (Margie Bauman, courtesy Congregation Beth Sholom)