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The new Supreme Court case that could make keeping Shabbat easier

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Opinion | A new case before the Supreme Court could make Shabbat observance easier: Up until now, employers could deny a request for a religious accommodation like leaving work early on winter Fridays by demonstrating that allowing it would cause a “minimal hardship” to their operations. But the justices are now considering a case that seeks to more fully define a minimal hardship and to raise the bar for employers to prove it, which our legal analyst Michael A. Helfand says will provide “ people of faith in the workplace with more expanded protections.” Read his essay ➤

In a new documentary, Adolf Eichmann hangs himself with his own words: The architect of the final solution was living in Argentina in 1957 and giving interviews. Tapes of those interviews, a crucial piece of missing evidence in his 1961 trial in Jerusalem, are now part of The Devil’s Confession, which debuted last week at a Holocaust museum in Illinois. While the audio from the tapes is damning, PJ Grisar wrote in his review, “their presentation is often cheesy, relying on voiceover and recreations when interviews and the archives can suffice.” Read the review ➤

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Comedian Sam Morrison’s new show tackles grief, guilt and glucose monitors. (Arin Sang-urai)

Opinion | A Jewish comedian’s new special about his partner’s death from COVID is hilarious: “The big thing about doing jokes like that is that the audience has to know that you’re OK,” said the comedian, Sam Morrison. Over time, Morrison polished his pain over the loss of his boyfriend into what our Nora Berman calls “a raucous, raunchy, and heartfelt exploration of love and grief.” At one point, Morrison recalls an Apple Store employee trying to comfort him and preserve photographs of his late partner from his computer, saying: “He’s safe with us in the cloud!” Read her essay ➤

 

Founded by New York social workers, this non-profit rescues Israeli youth from suicide, prostitution and despair: ELEM helps thousands each year — religious and secular, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian — who are coping with trauma. But the group also recognizes that Arab Israeli teens are suffering from much higher rates of poverty than their Jewish peers, along with the added pressure of being a minority. Read the story ➤

And one more: Rep. Ilhan Omar and her fellow Democrats pushed back Wednesday on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s attempt to remove her from the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee based in part on her past comments criticizing AIPAC that some saw as antisemitic.

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Laura on the tarmac this morning at Joint Base Andrews, en route to Europe with Doug Emhoff.

Our opinion editor, Laura E. Adkins, departed this morning from Washington, D.C., with Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff to cover his visit to Krakow, Poland, and Berlin. During the six-day trip, which includes International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Emhoff plans to visit Auschwitz, stop at the factory where Oskar Schindler saved more than 1,000 Jews, have Shabbat dinner with local Jewish leaders and visit a United Nations center housing refugees from Ukraine.

 

Laura will be sharing updates throughout the trip in this newsletter, as well as on the Forward’s social media channels.

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WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

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📱  Meta announced Wednesday that it would reinstate the Facebook and Instagram accounts of former President Donald Trump, who was knocked off the social media platforms two years ago after the insurrection at the Capitol. The Anti-Defamation League, already a fierce critic of both Facebook and the former president, was among the outraged. “This is a business decision to platform bigotry and divisiveness to drive clicks and engagement, plain and simple,” CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. (ADL)

 

💻  A Jewish student group in Europe is suing Twitter over its handling of antisemitism and Holocaust denial. The case aims to leverage Germany’s laws to compel Twitter to enforce its own moderation policies. (JTA)

 

💰  Nearly half of America’s largest philanthropists are Jewish, but few give much to Jewish causes, according to a calculation by Forbes. The list of donors – including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sergey Brin – are mostly donating to global issues including climate change and disease. (JTA)

 

🇵🇸  Israeli troops killed nine Palestinians and wounded several others early this morning after being confronted by militants as they entered the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. Palestinians called a general strike in response. (Haaretz)

 

🇮🇱   Israeli Prof. Daniel Kahneman, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned judicial overhaul signified “the end of Israeli democracy” and is turning the country into a place where he does not want his “grandchildren to grow up in.” (Times of Israel)

 

🇳🇱  A majority of Dutch residents do not know that the Holocaust affected the Netherlands, where about 75% of the country’s Jews were killed, according to a new survey. Researchers also found that 12% of Dutch people think the Holocaust was a myth or greatly exaggerated. This follows a report showing 47% of Americans don’t know how many Jews were killed. (JTA, Forward)

 

😲  Police are investigating an attempted child abduction on Wednesday at a Brooklyn synagogue. Police sources said a 9-year-old boy was attending a bris with his family when a stranger dressed in Hasidic garb tried to carry him out of the building. The suspect is in custody. (NBC New York, CBS News)

 

🏫  Remember the recent controversy at Minnesota’s Hamline University, where an art instructor did not have his contract renewed after showing images of the Prophet Muhammad in class? After the instructor sued and the person who made the decision said it was a mistake, the vast majority of the school’s faculty members are now calling for the university president to resign because of it. (Star Tribune, Religion News Service

 

😷  Back in 2020, a conservative legal group sued a Mississippi school district over its policy banning religious or political slogans on face masks, representing a girl who was told not to wear one that said “Jesus Loves Me.” The group said Wednesday the district had agreed to retract the policy. Of course, masks are now optional in the district’s schools, only recommended for those returning from school after having COVID-19 or coming into close contract with someone who has it. (AP)

 

Mazel Tov ➤  To Yotam Polizer, the CEO of IsraAid, a global humanitarian aid organization, for being selected as the 2023 recipient of The Charles Bronfman Prize. 

Shiva calls ➤  Moishe Smith, the former president of B’nai Brith International, died at 72 … Ian Black, an author and former Middle East editor at the Guardian, died at 69 … Robert Somerfeld, a playwright known for absurdist one-acts, died at 90.

ON THE CALENDAR

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On this day in history (1929): The first comic in Rube Goldberg’s “The Inventions of Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts, A.K.” series was published in Collier’s Weekly. The Jewish cartoonist became synonymous with the hilariously complicated gadgets of his drawings, which carried out simple tasks. In recent years, tinkerers have built operable “Rube Goldberg machines” to push metal balls into cups, open drawers, and as you can watch in the video above, at the Technion in Haifa, to showcase the 10 plagues of the Passover seder.

 

In honor of Paul Newman’s birthday, read about the film he directed on the stage of a Yiddish theater.

In honor of National Spouses Day, check out this very specific recent query sent to our Bintel Brief advice column: My friend matched with my cousin’s wife on a dating app. Do I tell?

VIDEO OF THE DAY

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Marilyn Stafford’s journey from aspiring actress to noted photojournalist began at the Princeton home of Albert Einstein. The year was 1948 and she was tagging along with two friends who were interviewing the Nobel Prize-winning physicist. They handed her a 35-millimeter camera. “I’d never used one before,” she recalled in 2021, “and I went into a panic.” She needn’t have worried: The photos she took that day of the world’s favorite genius kicked off a decades-long career covering refugee crises, celebrities and the fashion industry. Stafford died this month at 97.

I Shot Einstein is an eight-minute documentary about Stafford’s iconic start. You can watch it above.

 

Thanks to Laura E. Adkins, Nora Berman, Jacob Kornbluh, Rebecca Salzhauer and Talya Zax for contributing to today’s newsletter. You can reach the “Forwarding” team at editorial@forward.com.

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