Author Archives: Jacob Kornbluh
Standing on the steps of City Hall, OU Advocacy-Teach NYS, together with a group of elected officials and leaders from faith-based schools, called for the specific inclusion of private and faith-based schools in any universal pre-k (UPK) legislation. Both Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have proposed initiatives for UPK, but neither proposal contains specific language including non-public schools.
A group of approximately 200 students from the Bobover Yeshiva Bnei Zion in Borough Park had an opportunity to see their government in action Tuesday during a tour of the State Capitol hosted by State Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn).
A State Capitol tour guide accompanied the 8th and 9th grade boys and their chaperones through the Capitol’s museum, the Senate Chamber, the Executive Chamber (also known as the Red Room), the Hall of Governors, and the Flag Room, which displays over 1,000 different flags from various wars. The students also had a chance to pose for pictures with Senator Felder on the Million Dollar Staircase, which is made up of 444 steps.
The IDF responded with force to a barrage of at least 60 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip at the Israeli south on Wednesday, striking at least seven terror targets from the air and with artillery fire. 31 terror targets have been hit in the north of the Strip and in its south – two in an IDF artillery strike and 29 more in an Israel Air Force strike later on in the evening. Palestinian sources said IAF planes hit two Islamic Jihad bases, one of them in Rafah.
More than 10 members of the New York City Council attended Tuesday morning a breakfast roundtable with Agudath Israel of America’s board members and community leaders to discuss issues of great concern to the diverse Orthodox Jewish communities. The meeting, organized by Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group, took place at Agudah’s HQ At 42 Broadway.
For over an hour, 20% of the new Council sat patiently and listened intently to the issues raised by the various members seated at the table. Council member Mark Levine, head of the Jewish Caucus in the City Council headed the event along with his colleagues Chaim Deutsch, Inez Dickens, Ben Kallos, Rory Lancman, Brad Lander, Stephen Levin, Carlos Menchaca, Ydanis Rodriguez, Helen Rosenthal and Mark Weprin.
As Purim approaches and millions of Jews across the United States are preparing to dress up for the holiday, the Board of Directors of the Shivtei Jeshurun Society for the Advancement of Jewish Racial & Ethnic Diversity (SJS) launched a petition would to remind members of the Jewish community that they should wear costumes, not cultures. “We formally condemn the use of black-face, yellow-face, brown-face, and all its iterations and incarnations.,” the group writes.
More than 1,400 prominent business and philanthropic leaders from across the country gathered Tuesday evening at the historic Waldorf Astoria Hotel for the FIDF National NY Gala Dinner, demonstrating their love and support for the soldiers of Israel and FIDF and raising $20 million. National Chairman Emeritus Arthur Stark served as the Gala Chairman, and author and nationally syndicated radio host Dr. Monica Crowley served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign for universal Pre-K falsely used the names of several Orthodox Jewish rabbis without their authorization, several rabbis told The Jewish Week and JP.
According to The Jewish Week’s inquiry, only 6 of the 18 rabbis listed in the letter confirmed they authorized their inclusion. Seven other rabbis from Brooklyn did not return calls or refused to comment.
The City Council’s Brooklyn delegation elected freshman Councilman Carlos Menchaca as its co-chair Wednesday, taking over ranks from Borough council member David Greenfield, who now chairs the prestigious Land Use Committee. Mayor Bill de Blasio held the position when he won the 2009 race for public advocate.
Brooklyn Councilwoman Darlene Mealy also retained her post as co-chair of the delegation.
Rep. Charles Rangel called today’s building explosion and collapse in his home district in E. Harlem, New York the most “horrific” thing that has hit his home district in his time in Washington and his community’s Sept. 11.
“I’ve never had anything this horrific that’s happened in my community since I’ve been in Washington,” Rangel told NBC4. “I hope that soon, and very soon, it will be contained and we can go back to some degree of normal normalcy.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Israel would respond “forcefully” against a barrage of rocket fire launched against Israel.
“It appears that a rocket salvo came in response to the preventative (air force) strike yesterday. We will continue stopping attacks and hitting those who wish to harm us, and will act against them with full force,” Netanyahu wrote on Facebook shortly after the barrage. “The number of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip in the last year has been the lowest in a decade, but this is not enough for us. We will continue acting to ensure the security of the people of Israel both in the south and across the country.”
The Knesset passed the Referendum Law in the second and final reading moments ago. The is the first Basic Law that was passed in the past 22 years.
The Referendum on sovereign land concessions passed its final vote with 68 in favor and 0 opposed. The bill does not cover the West Bank, where a decision on territorial concessions, precedent suggests, would remain the prerogative of the government.
At least two people were killed Wednesday after a massive explosion and raging fire in Manhattan’s East Harlem, authorities said.
The Fire department arrives at the scene two minutes after the first call was received.
“At approximately 9:30 a.m., there was a major explosion that destroyed two buildings. The explosion was based on a gas leak. The impact affected buildings around the two that were destroyed–very heavy impact on the surrounding buildings. Heavy fire has ensued as well,” Mayor de Blasio said at a press conference.
British Prime Minister David Cameron told the Israeli Knesset Wednesday that he was resolutely opposed to any boycott and delegitimization of the State of Israel, and would steadfastly oppose threats to shechita and Jewish practices in Britain.
“Let me say to you very clearly: with me, you have a British Prime Minister whose belief in Israel is unbreakable and whose commitment to Israel’s security will always be rock solid,” said Cameron. “Delegitimizing the state of Israel is wrong. It’s abhorrent. And together we will defeat it.”
DEVELOPING… At least 32 rockets have now been fired from Gaza into Israel in recent minutes, Walla News reports. The IDF has instructed all residents in all communities within 40km (24 miles) of Gaza to remain in safe rooms and shelters.
“We know that 25 rockets were fired in close succession all over the south,” a senior Israeli official told AFP. Of those, at least five were launched at Sderot. No injuries have been reported.
Two buildings have collapsed after an explosion Wednesday morning in East Harlem, injuring more than a dozen people. It happened around 9 a.m. on Park Avenue on 116th Street, the FDNY said. The first call regarding a possible explosion came at 9:31 a.m. The fire began inside the Absolute Piano store at 1646 Park Ave. and was followed by the blast.
[VIDEO IN EXTENDED ARTICLE] British Prime minister David Cameron got a taste of Israel’s vibrant Democracy on Wednesday during his first visit to Israel.
Cameron’s speech to the Knesset was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, amid an internal political rift over the Israeli coalition’s maneuvers on legislation. He later joked that while he thought he had escaped the weekly grilling PMQ session in the British parliament, he clearly didn’t didn’t choose the right place.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) said Tuesday in a statement that he has every confidence in Mayor de Blasio’s pledge to our community to restore Priority 5, 6 & 7 school vouchers. “I take Mayor de Blasio at his word. He has said time and again that he will restore these vital vouchers to our community,” said Hikind.
“As a councilman and as Public Advocate, Bill de Blasio never stopped fighting for our community,” said Hikind. “When it comes to our children’s education, Mayor de Blasio will not disappoint us. There is no doubt that he will see his pledge through to fruition.”
The Knesset passed moments ago the controversial legislation to draft ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students into the army. The bill passed its final two readings in the plenum with 67 voting in favor and just one against. There were zero abstentions since opposition lawmakers boycotted the vote.
The sole “nay” vote came from MK Yoni Chetboun of Bayit Yehudi. Chetboun was the sole coalition member to do so.
Moshe Abutbul was declared the winner in the Beit Shemesh recall elections with at least a 960 vote margin over his rival Eli Cohen. Abutbul received 19,190 votes to Cohen’s 18, 181, according to an unofficial tally.
“Love and truth won,” Abutbul told Kol Chai radio moments ago.
“This is a victory for Am Yisrael,” Shas leader Harav Ariye Deri told Kol Chai.
UPDATE 08:04: Agudath Israel projects Haredi Mayor Moshe Abutbul won the mayoral election with 3.5% over his Secular/Zionist rival Eli Cohen.
UPDATE 07:54: Abutbul has extended his lead over Cohen with 1000 votes (17,632-16,632).
UPDATE 07:40: Abutbul currently leading with 659 votes (16,250-15,591).
The Jewish Press, the oldest Orthodox newspaper in the U.S., fired its senior online editor Monday after publishing an offensive opinion article critical of the Haredi community.
On Monday, Yori Yanover, the online editor for The Jewish Press, published an article headlined “50 Thousand Haredim March So Only Other Jews Die in War.” The author referred to the mass rally in Manhattan on Sunday. The offensive headline drew complete outrage on Twitter. The Yeshiva World also published an Op-Ed against Yanover.
Lincoln Restler, the former Williamsburg district leader who ran against Vito Lopez’ Brooklyn’s Democratic machine, has joined the de Blasio administration as a senior policy adviser, sources told Politicker.
Restler will serve as policy adviser in the mayor’s office of operations, a source told JP.