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Weekly roundup of world briefs

 

March 13, 2020



‘Judge Judy’ to end after 25th season, but Judy will be on a new bench

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—“Judge Judy” will stop banging her gavel after 25 years on the TV bench—but she won’t stop meting out justice.

Judy Sheindlin, the Jewish judge on the popular court television series, told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres in an interview that aired Monday, March 2, that the series will wrap up in 2021. But she also said a new show, “Judy Justice,” will premiere the next year, Deadline reported.

CBS, she said, plans to continue to screen “Judge Judy” in reruns.

“CBS sort of felt, I think, they wanted to optimally utilize the repeats of my program,” Sheindlin told DeGeneres. “Now they have 25 years of my reruns. What they decided to do is sell a couple of years’ worth of reruns. But I’m not tired, so Judy Justice will be coming out a year later.”

Sheindlin, 77, said she cannot say where the new show will be airing.

“Judge Judy” is the top-rated daytime syndicated program, averaging over 9 million viewers daily. It was renewed by CBS-TV Distribution in 2018 through 2021 in a deal that reportedly included a $47 million a year salary for Sheindlin and CBS acquiring the “Judge Judy” library from her for $80-$90 million, according to Deadline.

Bernie Sanders says pro-Israel lobby has ‘a lot of money’ and ‘a lot of power’

By Marcy Oster

JTA)—Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said the pro-Israel lobby has “a lot of money; they have a lot of power” in a television interview.

Sanders was responding to a question on the CBS News program “Face the Nation” from moderator Margaret Brennan, who asked the Vermont senator if he sees a “a political cost in taking on the pro-Israel lobby,” referring to his recent war of words with AIPAC.

Sanders, currently the front-runner in the Democratic race, told Brennan he is not anti-Israel and is concerned about the suffering of the Palestinian people.

“Look, I’m Jewish and I’m very proud of my Jewish heritage,” he said. “As a kid, I spent time in Israel. I am not anti-Israel. I will do everything I can to protect the independence and the security and the freedom of the Israeli people. “But what we need in this country is a foreign policy that not only protects Israel, but deals with the suffering of the Palestinian people as well.

“I want to bring people together to finally achieve peace in that region.”

Sanders announced late last month that he would not attend the annual conference held by AIPAC because he is “concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.”

Jewish Hall of Fame wrestler Bill Goldberg, at 53, takes WWE title in Saudi Arabia

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—At 53, Bill Goldberg is a world championship wrestler again.

Goldberg won the World Wrestling Entertainment universal title last week in Saudi Arabia.

Hundreds of Saudi Arabian wrestling fans were on their feet cheering as the Jewish grappler defeated Bray Wyatt, also known as “The Fiend,” during the main event of the WWE Super Showdown.

It’s the second WWE universal Championship for Goldberg, who had been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2018.

Goldberg, the grandson of Romanian and Russian immigrants, had his bar mitzvah in his native Tulsa, Oklahoma. He played in the National Football League from 1990 to 1995 before becoming a professional wrestler.

During his career he has won multiple heavyweight championship belts.

Auschwitz museum does not want visitors from countries affected by coronavirus

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—The Auschwitz Memorial and Museum has called on organizers of trips to the historical site to refrain from bringing visitors from countries that have been affected by the coronavirus.

In a statement posted last week on its website, the museum said it is “monitoring this issue on an ongoing basis. The Museum has recommended travel agencies and organizers of trips to the Memorial to desist from the arrival of people from places found to be infected.”

Poland has remained free of coronavirus cases as of Saturday, though the country’s health minister has warned that it is “inevitable” that the virus will make it to the country.

Last week, Israel’s education minister, Rafi Peretz, ordered the cancellation of all high school trips to Holocaust memorial sites in Poland due to the global spread of the coronavirus. Over 3,000 students were set to travel to Poland in the coming weeks.

Tens of thousands of Israeli high school students visit Poland every year, often accompanied by Holocaust survivors.

The Vatican unseals secret archive on Holocaust-era Pope Pius XII

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—The Vatican unsealed its secret archive relating to the controversial Holocaust-era Pope Pius XII.

Critics accuse Pius of having turned a blind eye to Jewish suffering, and researchers hope the archive will reveal why the pope did not intervene to help the Jews during the Holocaust. The Vatican maintains that Pius worked behind the scenes to save Jews.

Jewish and other scholars have long called on the Vatican to open its secret archives to clarify the issue.

The archive was unsealed Monday after archivists spent 14 years taking inventory of its contents, the French news agency AFP reported. Some 200 researchers requested access to the archive before its opening.

Pius was the pope from March 2, 1939 to Oct. 9, 1958, and his role during the Holocaust has been a bone of contention for years.

Pius, when he was still Eugenio Pacelli, served as the Holy See ambassador to Germany in 1917-29, where he witnessed the beginning of the rise of Nazism.

The pope may have alluded to the systematic murder of the Jews during his Christmas radio message on Dec. 24, 1942, according to AFP.

Without naming Jews specifically, Pius referred to “hundreds of thousands of people who, without any fault of their own and sometimes for the sole reason of their nationality or race, were doomed to death or gradual extermination.”

The decision to open the archive was announced a year ago.

El Al to cut 1,000 jobs due to coronavirus

(JNS)—El Al Airlines CEO Gonen Usishkin has asked the company’s human-resources department to prepare to let go 1,000 of the company’s 6,300 employees, citing financial losses due to the global coronavirus outbreak and diminished travel, according to Israeli media reports.

El Al had reported to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that the epidemic could result in $70 million in lost revenue from January to April, according to a report by the Israeli business daily Globes on Thursday.

The estimate was made before El Al was forced on Friday to stop flights to Italy for two weeks. Flights to Bangkok are being canceled until the end of March starting on Monday, while the launch of the carrier’s new new flight to Tokyo is being delayed until April, the report said.

The global travel industry is being hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, with German carrier Lufthansa announcing that it is cutting its short-haul flights by up to 25 percent as demand drops, according to a report in the Financial Times on Friday. British Airways parent company IAG said the situation meant it could not provide a profit outlook for 2020.

Many companies are deciding to cancel scheduled events, and the Swiss government has banned all events expected to be attended by more than 1,000 people, including the Geneva Motor Show, the report said.

Quentin Tarantino and Israeli wife Daniella Pick name their son Leo

By Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA)—Quentin Tarantino and his wife, the Israeli model and singer Daniella Pick, have named their son Leo—but it’s not for Leonardo Di Caprio.

Some suspected the name of the newborn, which was revealed at his bris, Channel 12 reported Sunday morning, was for the actor who has starred in two of Tarantino’s films, including his most recent, “Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood.”

But little Leo, who was born on Feb. 22, is named for Pick’s maternal grandfather, Ari Shem-Or. Ari is a lion in Hebrew.

The baby is the couple’s first. They currently live in Israel. In November, they rented a home in an affluent neighborhood in the northern part of Tel Aviv for nearly $23,000 a month.

Tarantino, 56, and Pick 36, married under a huppah, or Jewish wedding canopy, in 2018, shortly after Tarantino finished filming “Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood.” A Reform rabbi participated in the ceremony and Tarantino wore a yarmulke.

They started dating in 2009 when the director was in Israel promoting his movie “Inglorious Basterds.”

Pick is the daughter of the popular Israeli singer and composer, Svika Pick.

Coronavirus triggers closures, mass quarantines for New York Jewish community

By Laura E. Adkins

NEW YORK (JTA)—Four Jewish day schools have temporarily closed, while 600 congregants and two university students have been required to self-quarantine as a result of the coronavirus.

Here’s what we knew as of Tuesday afternoon: There have been two reported cases of coronavirus in New York, and one is a 50-something Orthodox Jewish attorney from suburban Westchester County. One of his sons is an undergraduate student at Yeshiva University who has not been on campus since Feb. 27, the university told students and staff on Tuesday, and at least one of his children attends the Modern Orthodox day school SAR Academy in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.

SAR, Westchester Day School and Westchester Torah Academy have all closed temporarily due to possible coronavirus exposure, and Temple Young Israel in New Rochelle, also in Westchester, is being required to halt its services immediately. The state is requiring self-quarantine for congregants and those who have attended recent events at the synagogue.

In Orthodox communities, men are required by Jewish law to pray with a quorum of at least 10 men three times daily, so synagogues typically offer several daily services during the week in addition to Shabbat and holiday services.

2 Yeshiva University students in self-quarantine due to coronavirus

By JTA Staff

NEW YORK (JTA)—Two Yeshiva University students are in self-quarantine as a precaution after potential exposure to coronavirus.

According to an all campus alert sent by the university on Tuesday, the second confirmed case of coronavirus in New York—a Westchester County attorney in his 50s—is the father of a male undergraduate student at Yeshiva. The student is currently in quarantine with his family, and the campus alert noted that “the student has not been on campus since Thursday, February 27th.”

A student at the university’s Cardozo Law School is “in self-quarantine as instructed by their doctor, as a precaution because of contact with the patient’s law firm.” The student is asymptomatic.

Yeshiva University said it was coordinating with relevant government agencies to “to take every necessary precaution to ensure the safety of our community,” including disinfecting all relevant common areas, but said all classes and university events will continue as usual.

As the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported, three Jewish day schools in New York—SAR Academy, Westchester Day School and Westchester Torah Academy—closed on Tuesday due to possible coronavirus exposure.

Update March 4: On Wednesday morning, Yeshiva University president Ari Berman informed the YU community that the quarantined YU undergraduate student had tested positive for COVID-19. All classes at the Wilf Campus in upper Manhattan were canceled for the day, including graduate courses and the boys’ high school.

James Lipton, longtime host of ‘Inside the Actor’s Studio,’ dies at 93

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—James Lipton, who hosted the “Inside the Actors Studio” on the Bravo channel for 23 seasons, has died. He was 93.

Lipton interviewed about 275 actors, writers and directors. In the first season alone his guests included Paul Newman, Alec Baldwin, Neil Simon, Sally Field, Dennis Hopper and Sidney Lumet. His later years included one-on-ones with Robert Downey Jr., Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper.

The show was nominated for 21 Primetime Emmys during Lipton’s years as host—he left before the show moved to Ovation TV in 2019—and he received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Daytime Emmys in 2007.

On the 200th episode of the show, this son of Jewish parents professed to be an atheist.

Lipton died Monday at his home in Manhattan of bladder cancer, The New York Times reported, citing his wife, Kedakai Mercedes Lipton.

He became associated with the Actors Studio, a membership organization in New York City for professional actors, theater directors and playwrights best known for its work refining and teaching method acting, in 1992 when he was invited to observe a session. He came up with the idea of taping the sessions as seminars for the New School’s drama students. But he also recognized the potential for marketing and made the connection with Bravo, according to The Times.

Lipton was a professional actor, including a decade on the soap opera “Guiding Light” as Dr. Dick Grant. He has written scripts for soap operas, a novel and a made-for-television movie.

He was frequently mocked by Will Ferrell on “Saturday Night Live,” and a cartoon version of Lipton was murdered on “The Simpsons.” He voiced himself on the episode.

Trump to speak at Republican Jewish Coalition conference for second straight year

By Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA)—President Donald Trump will speak at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual conference for the second consecutive year.

The venue for the March 14 appearance, the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, is owned by Sheldon Adelson, a major benefactor of the RJC and Republican campaigns, including Trump’s. Unlike his predecessors, Trump rarely enters into neutral or hostile political territory and thus mostly speaks to groups that favor him.

That preference extends to pro-Israel groups. Trump has not attended an American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference since 2016, when the group rebuked him for disparaging then-sitting President Barack Obama from its stage. In the last year, however, he has spoken to two groups that are favored by Adelson: the RJC and the Israeli American Council.

National Museum of American Jewish History files for bankruptcy protection

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—The National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia filed for bankruptcy protection, saying it owes more than $30 million to bondholders.

Much of the debt is from the construction of its building on Independence Mall, the museum said in its Chapter 11 filing, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The museum, which is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, opened in 2010.

The proceedings launched Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Philadelphia will not affect museum operations or staffing, according to the Inquirer, which cited museum officials.

Fundraising for the museum hit a recent high of $7.4 million in fiscal 2017, the newspaper reported, citing the museum’s audited financial statements. The museum raised $5.9 million in 2018 and $4.8 million in 2019.

Its revenue has fallen from a recent high of $9.4 million in 2017 to $6.3 million in 2019, and attendance has fallen from 108,745 in 2017 to 82,950 in 2019, according to the report.

1,000-plus students, soccer fans in Israel potentially exposed to coronavirus

(JNS)—Israel’s Health Ministry on Wednesday issued a directive ordering all 1,150 students at a high school in Givat Brenner, as well as dozens of people who attended a recent soccer match in Tel Aviv, to self-quarantine immediately due to possible exposure to the coronavirus.

The move comes after the ministry announced that the number of confirmed cases in the country had risen to 15.

After discovering that one of the Israelis diagnosed with coronavirus, a ninth-grade student, had attended a soccer match on Feb. 24 at Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield Stadium, health officials initially ordered all those who sat in the stadium’s Gate 8 section, which holds some 5,000 people, during the match to self-quarantine, according to Ynet. 

After phone calls to the ministry crashed the help line, it was decided to reduce that figure to a few dozen.

The ministry ordered all 1,150 students and staff at the teen’s school to self-quarantine until March 2, the report noted.

 

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