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A year after hostage-taking, 87% of U.S. Jews ‘feel less safe’ and a security expert offers four lessons learned

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Opinion | One year after the Texas hostage incident, four practical ways Jews can protect themselves: Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and three of his congregants survived the attack one year ago this Shabbat thanks, in part, to the training they received from the Secure Community Network. SCN’s national director, Michael Masters, says there’s a lot other Jewish institutions can learn from that experience. “These suggestions for a thorough security plan,” he writes, “are the best way to save lives.” Read his essay ➤


And a new survey found that the hostage-taking has left the overwhelming majority of U.S. Jews, 87%, feeling less safe. The American Jewish Committee, which conducted the study, found that U.S. Jews were more acutely aware of the incident than other adults, despite extensive media coverage of it, and that younger Jews are more concerned about their physical safety than older Jews. Read the story ➤

Follow all our coverage from the aftermath of the hostage crisis. And read a new Associated Press interview with all four of those held hostage.


An interfaith rally against antisemitism in Miami in 2021. (Getty)

One in five Americans think Jews ‘have too much power’: A new ADL survey found that belief in core antisemitic tropes is on the rise. A majority of those polled agreed with statements like Jews “stick to together more than other Americans” and “seek to hire Jews,” while 39% said they’re more loyal to Israel than the United States and 21% that they “don’t care about anyone other than themselves.” And adults under 30 were almost as likely to share antisemitic beliefs as older Americans. ADL chief Jonathan Greenblatt called the data “stunning and sobering.” Read the story ➤

Television’s goriest Holocaust revenge fantasy got a little less gory: Three years after stoking the ire of the Auschwitz Memorial Museum and the USC Shoah foundation, the controversial Amazon series Hunters returns for its farewell season. In a surprise, it dials back on much of what made it controversial. The show’s creator, David Weil, seems to have heard the institutional complaints, PJ Grisar writes, and has “shifted gears and steered clear of Shoah shock value — even if his comments to the press belie the growth he’s made.” Read the story ➤


Playwright Paula Vogel, author of Indecent, at the 2022 Tony Awards. (Getty)

Why the decision to shut down a Jewish play in Florida borders on obscenity: A local school district canceled a high school production of Paula Vogel’s play Indecent, which tells the real-life story of a Yiddish play that was shut down a century ago because it featured a lesbian relationship. David Chack, who directed the play last summer in Kentucky, spoke with Vogel about life imitating art imitating life. “Why hurt the students who are aiming to become theater makers?” Vogel asked. “Instead of letting them discover the issues of antisemitism, intolerance, censorship and the Holocaust, the school board is censoring them.” Read the story ➤


But wait there’s more…

  • Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s governor-elect, will take the oath of office on Tuesday with a Hebrew Bible that survived the deadly attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh with no damage.


  • The man behind companies that provide special education services to several New York City yeshivas is facing charges that he embezzled almost $3 million from the state government.
  • A reader who keeps kosher asked our Bintel Brief advice column about giving shrimp to a baby as a way to prevent food allergies. Turns out there’s no need to sully the kitchen on this one — science and data from Israel have the answer!
  • Jews looking for a destination wedding spot that offers sun, sand and a fully halachic experience can now pick Jamaica, where a Chabad has opened a mikvah.

Inspired by Jewish folklore and kabbalistic rituals, The Offering is a welcome addition to a growing canon of Jewish horror films. The movie follows the son of a Hasidic funeral director and his pregnant wife as they return home to reconcile with his father, only to find an ancient evil waiting there for them. Now available in theaters and on demand!



A GWU student attends a campus vigil against antisemitism in 2021, after a replica Torah was vandalized. (Eric Lee)

🏫  StandWithUs, a pro-Israel nonprofit, has filed a Department of Education complaint against George Washington University alleging that the school failed to take action against a professor accused of antisemitism. The complaint says that the professor, who teaches a mandatory course on diversity, required students to attend a lecture by a speaker who “invoked age-old antisemitic tropes” about Jews and money; suggested a student should feel shame for being Israeli; told Jewish students they could not separate their identities from “the political;” and filed disciplinary charges against them in retaliation for their accusing her of antisemitism. (Jewish Journal) Related: Read our year-long look at what it’s really like to be Jewish at GWU


🇩🇪  The German rabbi found last year to have abused his power at rabbinical schools he created has relinquished his ownership stake in the seminaries. The rabbi, who was also accused of sexual harassment, sold his portion of the Reform and Conservative training schools for about $27,000 to the Berlin Jewish community and will no longer run them. (JTA)


🙏  The United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York, said it planned to cover a gigantic painting of Jesus in one of its conference rooms in response to a complaint filed by Mikey Weinstein, the president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. “Given the size of the painting,” wrote the school’s superintendent, “there is no other location to which it can be moved.” (DailyKos)


🇺🇸  Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff met on Thursday with the co-chairs of the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism. Among the topics they discussed was fighting misinformation and the need to continue educating people about the history of antisemitism. 


📈  More and more Haredi Israelis in recent years got over their fear of psychotherapy. Rising demand — one therapy office sees 400 patients a week — has led to long waiting lists, and unqualified therapists trying to fill the void. (Haaretz


💑  A happily married Jewish entrepreneur launched a website to help people going through a divorce. He acknowledged that it might seem a little weird for him to do this, but says he knew there was a need after witnessing friends and family go through painful separations. “At the end of the day,” he said, “you don’t have to have a bad heart to be a heart surgeon.” (Bloomberg)


🎞️  Turner Classic Movies is airing films this month honoring the “Jewish experience” – including The Chosen, Annie Hall and The Frisco Kid. The network says the goal is to show “how filmmakers have attempted to deal with such themes as assimilation, antisemitism, religion, family life and the Holocaust, sometimes with clarity and honesty, other times with varying degrees of distortion and caricature.” (JTA)

Long weekend reads ➤  Why are Hindus and Muslims in India worshiping dead Jews? … A DJ’s remixes are bringing classic Israeli songs to today’s clubs … Archaeologists find a surprising ‘moment in the life’ of prehistoric hunters in Israel.

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In this weekend’s edition of our print magazine: Yirmiyahu Danzig argues in a new essay that Hebrew Israelites are “extremists” and conflating them with Jews of color, like himself, delegitimizes his place in the Jewish community. Jews of color, he writes, “are rabbis in your local synagogue. They are members of the local chapter of the Jewish federation. They attend Hebrew day schools with your kids.” Plus: a chat with the Jewish Democrat who lost to Rep. George Santos, how a master forger used his talent to save Jews from the Holocaust, a review of Netflix’s new Bernie Madoff series and much more. Download your copy now ➤



Sophie Tucker, who the Forward once called the Yiddish Lady Gaga. (Library of Congress)

On this day in history (1886): Entertainer Sophie Tucker was born in what is present-day Ukraine. Tucker was perhaps best known for her rendition of “My Yiddishe Momme,” which was played by American soldiers as they entered Berlin at the end of World War II, but experienced widespread fame as a comedian, singer and Vaudevillian throughout her career. “From around 1907 almost until her death in 1966,” Curt Schleier wrote in the Forward in 2015, “the ribald Tucker was the Madonna of her time.”


Last year on this day, we profiled Miriam Anzovin, a TikTok star who offers irreverent and spicy daily takes on the Talmud.


On the Hebrew calendar, it’s the 20th of Tevet, the yahrtzeit of Maimonides, one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars of the Middle Ages, who died in 1204.


In honor of National Rubber Ducky Day, check out these Jewish-themed rubber ducks on Etsy.

And in honor of Friday the 13th, here are five horror movies to watch by Jewish directors.



A new film called SHTTL, debuting this weekend at the New York Jewish Film Festival, takes a dramatically different approach to telling the Holocaust story: It depicts the bustling life in a Jewish shtetl the day before it was invaded by Nazis. Adding to the authenticity, the entire film was shot in one single take. Read more about the movie ➤



Thanks to Samuel Breslow, PJ Grisar, Beth Harpaz, Jacob Kornbluh and Talya Zax for contributing to today’s newsletter. You can reach the “Forwarding” team at


The post A year after hostage-taking, 87% of U.S. Jews ‘feel less safe’ and a security expert offers four lessons learned appeared first on The Forward.

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