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Trump blames indictment on Jewish billionaire + A Civil War Seder, remembered

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Civil War Passover Seder memorialized in West Virginia: Twenty Jewish Union soldiers under the command of future President Rutherford B. Hayes built an area for services, held Seders, and recalled the exodus from Egypt. They lacked charoset, but their “Yankee ingenuity prevailed,” wrote one participant. It was a “bright spot and peaceful moment” during a period marked by carnage, said Drew Gruber, executive director of Civil War Trails, a group that is unveiling a sign Monday at the site of that 1862 Seder. Read the story ➤

Dungeons & Dragons, now in Yiddish: The popular tabletop game featuring elaborate statistics-keeping, missions and monsters was long held tightly as intellectual property of the company that produced it. But pressure from fans led it to release the game to the public —which can modify it. Yiddishist Marnie Manning took advantage of the opportunity and released her own version, under the title Derfer un Drakonen (Villages and Dragons). Read the story ➤

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Marc Chagall’s portrait of his father is shown during a press preview in 2022 in London. (Getty)

How this portrait of Marc Chagall’s father finally wound up where it belonged: Of the countless artworks stolen by the Nazis, a 1911 painting of Chagall’s father has a particularly convoluted provenance. It disappeared from the artist’s studio, was purchased by the Polish-Jewish violinmaker David Cender and then looted by Nazis when Cender was forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Chagall reacquired the painting in the 1960s. How it returned to the family is “one of the most dramatic stories of 20th-century art,“ said Claudia Gould, director of the Jewish Museum, where the painting is on display through Jan. 1. Read the story ➤

 

Opinion | I made aliyah 50 years ago. The recent protests remind me of why I stay: “As this government drove Israel into a frenzy of over 141 proposed legislative bills that would effectively dismantle the Supreme Court, limit civil rights, enshrine religious extremism, and irrevocably change our society, I could no longer avoid the question: Why am I here?” writes Eetta Prince-Gibson. She says she’s choosing to stay because she is part of the country’s “transition to the next generation” because “history isn’t linear, and we can be active players in its arc.” Read her essay ➤

 

Plus…

 

Dept. of corrections: In a blurb in Tuesday’s newsletter about traveling delays due to the grounding of flights at Ben-Gurion Airport, we incorrectly attributed a quote to Menachem Engel. It was said by another disrupted traveler, Sally Gottesman.

 

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WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

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(Getty)

🤦  Moments after former President Donald Trump was indicted Thursday, he appeared to blame George Soros, the Democratic donor and Holocaust survivor. “Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, who was hand-picked and funded by George Soros, is a disgrace,” Trump said of the prosecutor who brought the charges in emails to reporters and social media posts. Bragg is among a number of liberal prosecutors backed by Color of Change, a political action committee where Soros is the largest funder. (JTA)

 

💰  Invoking Soros is a go-to for right-wing politicians and activists that many see as rooted in the antisemitic trope of a moneyed Jewish puppet master. But Alan Dershowitz, the celebrity lawyer who was Trump’s counsel during his first impeachment, recently said it’s fine to criticize Soros because “he’s not much of a Jew.” (Forward)

 

🇷🇺  Russia detained a Jewish Wall Street Journal reporter, Evan Gershkovich and accused him of spying. It’s the first such allegation against an American journalist since the Cold War, and comes a week after the U.S. arrested Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov, a Johns Hopkins University graduate student, accusing him of spying for Russia. (CNN)

 

📅  The current Israeli Knesset was elected to a four-year term in November 2022. So does it end in 2026 or 2027? Well, it depends on a quirk in the Hebrew calendar. (Haaretz)

 

📈  The Anti-Defamation League announced it is opening a new satellite office in Brooklyn after a recent survey showed that 25% of antisemitic incidents in New York last year occurred in that borough. (NY Jewish Week)

 

🎭  Philip Roth’s final novel, Nemesis, has been turned into a play that premiered this month in Paris. The plot centers around the effect of a 1944 polio epidemic on a close-knit Jewish neighborhood in Newark, the author’s birthplace. (New York Times)

 

⚾  There will be kosher-for-Passover food available at New York Mets and Brooklyn Cyclones games. (Facebook)

Long weekend reads ➤  The story behind America’s first bestselling Haggadah … The Romani’s fight for recognition as Holocaust victims is still ongoing … Bruce Springsteen’s drummer on music, prayer and what it was like growing up Jewish in Jersey.

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SHABBAT READING

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In this weekend’s edition of our print magazine: How one Black and Jewish family is rewriting the Haggadah to reflect their history; the story of baseball’s “Designated Hebrew;” a high school student reflects on her complicated relationship with Israel; the real story behind Sammy Davis Jr.’s conversion to Judaism; and an ode to that often unloved Passover staple – gefilte fish. Download your copy now ➤

ON THE CALENDAR

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(Wikimedia)

On this day in history (1951): Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted and sentenced to death for conspiracy to commit espionage for the Soviet Union. Writing for the Forward in 2016, Dave Goldiner described their execution as “one of the darkest chapters of the Cold War and the anti-Communist Red Scare that swept America.”

VIDEO OF THE DAY

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On our weekly talk show: Laura E. Adkins, the Forward’s opinion editor, and I chatted about a $25 million campaign to combat antisemitism, Israel’s political crisis, and changes coming to Twitter that may lead to more disinformation that could harm Jews. Plus: We were joined by Rabbi Norman Schloss, a veteran kosher supervisor for the Orthodox Union, who revealed some inside info about kosher-for-Passover Coca-Cola. Watch it here ➤

 

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Thanks to Samuel Breslow, PJ Grisar, Tani Levitt, Rukhl Schaechter, and Talya Zax for contributing to today’s newsletter. You can reach the “Forwarding” team at editorial@forward.com.

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