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Antisemitism lurks in Supreme Court affirmative action ruling + New York mayor insults Holocaust survivor

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The Supreme Court handed down three decisions on Thursday, two of which caught our attention – but for different reasons.


Ruling in Sabbath work case will have major benefits for observant Jews: The Supreme Court unanimously expanded protections for religious workers, siding with a Christian postal worker who refused to work on Sundays. The justices ruled that most requests for religious accommodations should be granted, even if it comes at some cost to the employer — a change from a 1977 decision that religious groups said had too many loopholes to be meaningful. Jewish groups that often argue for church-state separation had lined up on the side of the mail carrier in this case, and Orthodox advocates said the ruling will help Jews seeking flexibility for daily prayer, kashruth and holidays. Read the story ➤


Related: Michael A. Helfand, an expert on religious liberty and a frequent contributor to the Forward, broke down the nuances of the case, Groff v. DeJoy, in this essay and on our podcast.

Antisemitic conspiracy theorist cited in decision hobbling affirmative action: In another ruling on Thursday, the court effectively barred the explicit consideration of race in college admissions. The original complaint in the case repeatedly cites an essay that makes dubious claims about Jews and college admissions. The Anti-Defamation League says the author of the essay, Ron Unz, “has denied the Holocaust, endorsed the claim that Jews consume the blood of non-Jews, and has claimed that Jews control the media, hate non-Jews, and worship Satan.” Read the story ➤



New York City Mayor Eric Adams. (Getty)

NYC mayor compared 84-year-old Holocaust survivor to a ‘plantation’ owner: At a community forum on Wednesday, Mayor Eric Adams got into a heated exchange with a longtime advocate for tenants rights named Jeanie Dubnau. Many denounced Adams for invoking slavery, implying she was a racist — especially after our Beth Harpaz pointed out her background. Dubnau, a microbiologist on the faculty of Rutgers University, told Beth in a telephone interview that her mother was nine months pregnant when she escaped Nazi Germany for Brussels. Asked to comment on the mayor’s rhetoric, Dubnau said: “I want to talk about what the mayor has done as an enemy of the tenants. He was deflecting.” Read the story ➤


Opinion | In an absurd twist, Iran is being rewarded for torture and terror with plush United Nations roles: “Inside the U.N., too many delegations seek to go along to get along,” writes Hillel C. Neuer of UN Watch, a human rights group. “In their closed world of backroom deals and geographic rotations, a bloody dictatorship is every inch the equal of a liberal democracy.” Read his essay ➤





Israeli President Isaac Herzog met with President Joe Biden at the White House in October. (Kobi Gideon)

🇺🇸  A bipartisan group of leaders from the House and Senate invited Israeli President Isaac Herzog to address Congress on July 19, in honor of Israel’s 75th anniversary. Herzog is also expected to be invited to meet with President Joe Biden at the White House; Benjamin Netanyahu has not had such an invitation since he started his latest term as Israel’s prime minister in December. (JTA)


⚖️  The man who massacred 11 Jews at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue thought he deserved medals and a parade for perpetrating the nation’s deadliest antisemitic attack, a psychologist testified during the penalty phase of his trial Thursday. The witness called the defendant “blatantly psychotic.” (CNN)


🪦  Johanna Ruf, believed to be the last survivor of Hitler’s bunker, died at 94. Ruf was a teenaged nurse at the time and wrote in a 2017 memoir that she once slapped Joseph Goebbels’ young son, Helmut, for being “cheeky.” (Newsweek, Independent)


🩺  A Florida law set to take effect this weekend will allow health care providers to deny patients treatment if it goes against their religious beliefs. The Human Rights Campaign called it an “extreme license to discriminate.” (Tampa Bay Times, HRC)


🎒  A federal judge rejected a family’s claim that a Utah high school’s lax attendance rules during the last week of school violated their religious freedom. The family is Mormon, and sued the school district after their son used his free time to have sex with his girlfriend in the school parking lot. (Salt Lake Tribune)


💪  A British fitness guru who said that Hitler “did nothing wrong” and shared online posts encouraging violence against Jews and Muslims was sentenced in London to four years and eight months in prison. (Jewish Chronicle)


🍽️  Thousands of people gathered at the first-ever Kosherpalooza, where 125 vendors hosted cooking demonstrations and wine tastings, and gave away free food samples. The event was held in the same suburban New Jersey expo center as Kosherfest, a trade show that shuttered after 33 years. (NY Jewish Week)


🦸  Warner Bros. cast actor David Corenswet to play Superman, making him the first Jew to play the role in a movie. Rachel Brosnahan, who is not Jewish but is most closely associated with her role as Jewish comedian Midge Maisel, will play Lois Lane. (Rolling Stone)

Long weekend reads ➤  Jewish audiences and Samuel Beckett revered Grock the clown  — as did Adolf Hitler Inside the Mormon church’s globe-spanning real-estate empire … An artist lives in a “Hermit House” built into a cliff north of Tel Aviv. The government wants to evict him.



In this weekend’s edition of our print magazine: A reader asked our Bintel Brief advice column what to do about a friend who told her she talks too much. Our Mira Fox dove into the Jewish linguistics of “cooperative overlapping,” and the “bumps along the way” that can occur when conversational styles collide.” Plus: Is The Clash’s Mick Jones the only Jewish guitarist who matters? A music critic who saw one of the punk band’s first shows investigates. Download your copy now ➤



Andrew Carnegie, at left, and state militia passing the railroad station to disperse strikers. (Wikimedia)

On this day in history (1892): The Homestead strike began in Pittsburgh. No Jews participated in the strike against Carnegie Steel, but there was a strong Jewish presence in Homestead, Pennsylvania at the time. One scholar suggested that the history of violence against Jews during labor disputes in Eastern Europe led the Jews to keep a low profile during the strike. 


It’s the last day of Pride Month. Check out some of our stories…





The editor of the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, Toby Tabachnick, shared her take on the death-penalty trial of Robert Bowers, who was found guilty of killing 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue. “I don’t know if we ever move on from this,” Tabachnick told us. “But I think that we can move forward from it.” Watch our conversation above, or subscribe to That Jewish News Show wherever you get podcasts.



Thanks to Mira Fox, Tani Levitt, Matthew Litman and Talya Zax for contributing to today’s newsletter. You can reach the “Forwarding” team at


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