Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: October 2, 2017

Adam Neumann's $20B ride with SoftBank's CEO | Facebook leaders mark Yom Kippur | Tevi Troy for HHS? | Remembering S.I. Newhouse Jr.

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File photo: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, July 13, 2017
File photo: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, July 13, 2017Credit: DREW ANGERER/AFP

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BREAKING OVERNIGHT: At least 50 dead, 200 wounded at shooting on Las Vegas Strip: "A gunman in a high-rise hotel opened fire on a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip late Sunday, killing at least 50 people and wounded more than 200 in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history." [WashPost

FIRST LOOK: "WeWork's $20 Billion Office Party: The Crazy Bet That Could Change How The World Does Business" by Steven Bertoni: "Adam Neumann, the frenetic cofounder and CEO of WeWork, was pacing back and forth in his office in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood. Softbank boss Masayoshi Son, Japan's wealthiest man and one of the world's great investors, had promised the 38-year-old former Israeli naval officer two hours of his time for a full-blown tour of the co-working innovator's headquarters. And he was an hour and a half late. "Masa arrives, looks at his watch and tells me, 'I'm so sorry, but I only have 12 minutes,'" Neumann says in a raspy voice. And after precisely 12 minutes of walk-around, Son said he had to go. But he offered Neumann a chance to join him in his car. Neumann grabbed his pitch deck and climbed into what would become a $20 billion ride."

"Son told Neumann to put away his presentation, pulled out his iPad and started sketching the outlines of an investment. "I thought the valuation had been too high for a company its size and that someone could easily copy it," Son tells Forbes. "But no one could. The idea was easy to talk about but hard to execute--Adam proved he can do what he says." As the ride ended, Son signed his name on the iPad sketch, drew a line beside it and handed Neumann the pen. "Even today, I still get goose bumps thinking about it," Neumann says."

"There is no reason to rent office space," says Josh Kushner, the founder of the VC firm Thrive Capital and cofounder of Oscar Health, which launched its Los Angeles market from a WeWork site... WeWork has built a complex technology and logistics system to handle all that grubbiness. For Softbank vice chairman Ron Fisher, who sits on WeWork's board, this tech leap drove the investment, since it will allow WeWork to efficiently scale to hundreds of spaces and serve millions of members. "We did an enormous amount of financial modeling--how they can grow, the margins they can generate, the cash flows they can create," he says. To Neumann this technology-driven efficiency will become a product all its own, something like a WeOS, which will make WeWork indispensable even to companies that don't have an interest in co-working. Instead, WeWork will be able to design, build out and run their offices." [Forbes]

COVER STORY: "Does Even Mark Zuckerberg Know What Facebook Is?" by Max Read: "For every direct comparison, there was an equally elaborate one: a faceless Elder God. A conquering alien fleet. There are real consequences to our inability to understand what Facebook is. Not even President-Pope-Viceroy Zuckerberg himself seemed prepared for the role Facebook has played in global politics this past year. In which case, how can we be assured that Facebook is really safeguarding democracy for us and that it's not us who need to be safeguarding democracy against Facebook? ..." 

"In nearly every state he’s visited, Zuckerberg has attended religious services or met with religious leaders. In Texas, he drank coffee with pastors; in Minnesota, he ate Iftar dinner with Somalian refugees; in Charleston, he ate dinner with the entire cast of a walk-into-a-bar joke: “The reverend, rabbi, police chief, mayors, and heads of local nonprofits.” ... Asked by a Facebook commenter last year if he was an atheist, Zuckerberg replied, “No. I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important.” It was a telling way to put it. Publicly, at least, his interest in religion seems to be more sociological than existential." [NYMag

FACEBOOK MARKS YOM KIPPUR -- Founder Mark Zuckerberg: “Tonight concludes Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews when we reflect on the past year and ask forgiveness for our mistakes. For those I hurt this year, I ask forgiveness and I will try to be better. For the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together, I ask forgiveness and I will work to do better. May we all be better in the year ahead, and may you all be inscribed in the book of life.” [Facebook]

-- COO Sheryl Sandberg: “Dave and I joyfully created a home where our Jewish faith and history was celebrated with our children. We taught our children that a rewarding part of our tradition is the opportunity every year to renew our bonds with each other and with God. This is the way Dave led his life. No one was more willing to take responsibility for mistakes he made towards others or more decent or forgiving toward those who had hurt him. Today I honor his example and cherish his memory by owning the mistakes I have inevitably made over the past year – and asking my friends and family for their forgiveness. Whether it was a comment that offended or a time I failed to speak when I should have, I vow to try to do better next year.” [Facebook

DRIVING THE DAY: Palestinian PM arrives in Gaza for key reconciliation effort: "Rami Hamdallah drove through the Erez Crossing on Monday, heading a large delegation of Fatah officials from the West Bank trying to end a 10-year rift with Gaza’s Hamas rulers. In a significant concession, Hamas has offered to turn over all governing responsibilities to Hamdallah. But key sticking points, primarily Hamas’ refusal to disarm its powerful military wing, are likely to complicate or even derail the reconciliation efforts in the coming weeks." [AP]

Israeli opposition leader says Trump’s eagerness for the ‘ultimate deal’ is misguided: “I think President Trump identifies it correctly,” [Isaac] Herzog said, “except, I am doubtful as to the implementation of what he intends to do.”“There are two ways to try to resolve [the Israeli-Palestinian conflict]. Step-by-step diplomacy or by one full-fledged deal. The President insists on full deal. I’m not sure it’s possible and I would go alternatively for step-by-step if possible." [i24News

“Fatah pressures Abbas to change strategy” by Uri Savir: “A senior Israeli diplomat who was part of Netanyahu’s New York delegation told Al-Monitor that Netanyahu was double-satisfied by his visit to New York. Not only did Netanyahu feel vindicated in the case he made to Trump about the Iranian regional threat and the irrelevance of the Palestinian issue, he also senses that he now has a free pass to pursue the diplomatic policies that will keep his right-wing government intact. According to this Israeli official, one can foresee a continuation of settlement expansion, in a somewhat restrained way, and setting strict conditions for negotiations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.” [Al-Monitor]  

"Why Israel supports an independent Iraqi Kurdistan" by Ian Lee: "While Israel has gone on to establish peace with Egypt and Jordan, Seth Frantzman, a research associate at the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs in Herzliya... sees Israel's relationship with the Kurds as different. "Israel's peace with Egypt and Jordan isn't a warm peace. The average Egyptian on the street hates Israel and/or the Jews. In Jordan the feeling is [only] slightly less," says Frantzman. "With the Kurds, there is warmth on the street level, and if they got independence it would be another country that has good relations with Israel." [CNN]

TALK OF THE REGION: "A North Korean ship was seized off Egypt with a huge cache of weapons destined for a surprising buyer" by Joby Warrick: "A U.N. investigation uncovered a complex arrangement in which Egyptian business executives ordered millions of dollars worth of North Korean rockets for the country's military while also taking pains to keep the transaction hidden... The incident, many details of which were never publicly revealed, prompted the latest in a series of intense, if private, U.S. complaints over Egyptian efforts to obtain banned military hardware from Pyongyang, the officials said." [WashPost

LongRead: "How Mexico deals with Trump" by Jon Lee Anderson: "A senior White House official told me that Kushner was introduced to Mexico's Foreign Minister [Luis] Videgaray by a close friend, who saw an opportunity to “change the dialogue a little bit” between the U.S. and Mexico. Videgaray’s current influence has less to do with his financial or electoral acumen than with his friendship with Jared Kushner. The two met during Trump’s campaign, and they have worked closely behind the scenes to ease tensions between their bosses, like consiglieres for competing Mafia families. “Jared and Videgaray pretty much run Mexico policy,” the U.S. official told me earlier this year. “It’s all pretty much just between them. There’s not really any interagency relationships going on right now.” In the State Department, he explained, career diplomats were no longer kept informed: “U.S. officials sometimes learn the latest not from their own agencies but from their Mexican counterparts—especially Videgaray.” [NewYorker]

“Should Rex Tillerson Resign?” by Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky: “Belittle poor Secretary Tillerson if you must; close your eyes and make a wish that after T. Rex we’ll get another secretary who has the vision of Dean Acheson, the toughness of George Shultz, the diplomatic panache of Kissinger or the political and tactical instincts of Baker. But it’s magical thinking to believe that Tillerson’s successor could fundamentally alter the downward trajectory of the State Department or do much more to fix the world’s problems. As long as Donald Trump is president, more likely than not, the Department of State is going to remain closed for the season.” [Politico

INSIDE THE CABINET: “VA chief took in Wimbledon, river cruise on European work trip; wife’s expenses covered by taxpayers” by Jack Gillum, Alex Horton, Drew Harwell and Lisa Rein: “Nearly three days into a trip to Europe this past July, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin had attended a Wimbledon championship tennis match, toured Westminster Abbey and taken a cruise on the Thames Shulkin was in Europe for meetings with Danish and British officials about veterans’ health issues, so taxpayers picked up part of the tab. Yet he and his wife spent about half their time sightseeing, including shopping and touring historic sites The federal government paid for the flights for Shulkin and his wife, Merle Bari, and provided a per-diem reimbursement for their meals and other expenses.” [WashPost

In a tweet on Friday afternoon, talk radio show host Hugh Hewitt recommended that Trump named Tevi Troy to be the new Health and Human Services Secretary to replace Tom Price, who resigned after misusing chartered planes. Troy previously served as Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services under George W. Bush (2007-2009). 

FLASHBACK -- by Steve Clemons in 2008: "Tevi Troy‘s business card reads “The Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services.” That’s right. He’s not one of five deputies. He’s the second highest ranking guy in the Department. I wanted to share this picture I snapped of him — way back in the back of the plane — flying economy class back from Brussels to Washington, DC. He didn’t have an “economy plus” seat even though many of those were open. Indeed, lots of business class seats were open. To his credit, Tevi Troy didn’t utter a word of complaint. He worked the entire flight." [WashingtonNote]

JARED INSIDER: “The White House counsel reportedly almost resigned over concerns about Trump-Kushner meetings and the Russia probe” by Sonam Sheth: “[Don] McGahn was reportedly concerned that the frequency with which Trump and Kushner met could be seen as an attempt to coordinate their stories The White House counsel was so frustrated that then chief of staff Reince Priebus and then chief strategist Steve Bannon had to urge McGahn not to resign. He ultimately decided to stay after learning that Trump had hired a legal team tasked with handling the White House's response to Mueller's investigation.” [BI; WSJ]

“Kelly struggling to make sense of Kushner's West Wing role” by Annie Karni and Josh Dawsey: “In recent months, according to multiple administration officials, the president has also been casually surveying people close to him about whether having his family members in the government is creating too much noise. “Baby, you’re getting killed, this is a bad deal,” Trump has told Ivanka Trump, in front of other staffers, after soaking in the criticisms of the role his daughter is playing Privately, Trump has asked some senior staffers their thoughts on how Kushner and Ivanka Trump can withstand the personal attacks.” [Politico

"Jared, Ivanka shrink roles to shield themselves" by Mike Allen: "With increasing legal and practical questions about their presence in the West Wing, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are trying to remain viable by shrinking their purview and making more of an effort to "stay in their lane," associates tell us... The couple's friends say they expect them to stay for now, although they never planned to stay all four years." [Axios

“Trump kids' ski vacation incurs over $300,000 in security costs” by Laura Strickler, Analisa Novak and Julianna Goldman: “The annual Aspen ski vacation taken in March by President Trump's children, Ivanka and Eric Trump, and their families, including son-in-law Jared Kushner, left taxpayers on the hook for security costs of at least $330,000 When Ivanka Trump and Kushner took their family to a ski resort in Whistler, Canada during Passover in April, U.S. Secret Service went, too, and the cost of their portion of the trip was over $65,000.” [CBSNews]

--Spotted: “Ivanka Trump was spotted shopping for a Lulav & Etrog set for Succot in Deal, NJ. She was reportedly seen at the Etrog Center with her son Joseph, 4, and 2 secret service guards. Ivanka reportedly was just window shopping because she left without purchasing anything.” [JBN

"Trump Weighs Ex-Fed Official as Next Chair" by Andrew Soergel: "Kevin Warsh, an ex-Federal Reserve official whose father-in-law is a friend of President Donald Trump met with the commander in chief and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday to discuss the possibility of stepping in for Fed Chair Janet Yellen when her term expires in February... Warsh is married to Jane Lauder, granddaughter of cosmetics icon Estée Lauder . His father-in-law, businessman Ronald Lauder, has been pushing the White House to have the president name his son-in-law to the central bank’s highest post, said people familiar with those conversations. Mr. Lauder declined to comment." [USNews; WSJ]

2017 WATCH: “He’s a GOP insider and the party’s best shot to flip a seat this year. Where’s the money?” by Laura Vozzella and Fenit Nirappil: “Susan Kristol of McLean donated to the past two Republican gubernatorial nominees but said the party’s embrace of Trump inspired her to cut a $200 check for [Lt. Gov. Ralph] Northam. “I’m very disappointed in the Republican Party in general and its inability to stand up to Donald Trump’s behavior and message,” said Kristol, who is married to Bill Kristol, founder of the Weekly Standard and a fierce Trump critic. “I don’t think we should keep feeding the Republican pipeline with new officeholders if all they are going to do is toe the line and agree with every one of [Trump’s] policies.”” [WashPost

SPOTLIGHT: “As Argentine Elections Approach, Two Disturbing Mysteries Loom” by Daniel Politi: "The leftist former president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, is running for a senate seat, hoping to make a political comeback But the nation’s focus has already started to shift, starting with an explosive new twist in the notorious 2015 death of a prosecutor, Alberto Nisman... Now, a team of forensic experts has issued a report concluding that Mr. Nisman had been murdered” [NYTimes]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Israel's Central Bank Fills Vacant Posts on Monetary Policy Committee: Zvi Hercowitz and Moshe Hazan were appointed to the committee for four-year terms [Reuters]  Larry Ellison's slide clicker failed during his Oracle OpenWorld keynote [BusinessInsider] Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison Takes Aim at Amazon [WSJ]  Amazon to open 2 Israeli R&D centers to develop Alexa Voice Shopping [ToI]

THE NEW ESTABLISHMENT -- Vanity Fair's annual list: "In 2017 it seems that everyone is in everyone else’s business, and the list foreshadows the coming battles as various industries, and the titans who captain them, increasingly weave together into one." [VanityFair]

ANNOUNCED THIS AM: The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young [Twitter]

Rosbash was born in Kansas City, Missouri. His parents were immigrants who had fled Nazi Germany in 1938. Rosbash’s family moved to Boston when he was two years old, and he has been an avid Red Sox fan ever since. His father was a cantor at Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline, Massachusetts. [Wikipedia

ON WAY TO PUERTO RICO: A delegation from the UJA-Federation of New York flew to Puerto Rico on Sunday afternoon to deliver supplies to the victims of Hurricane Maria [Pics

TALK OF THE TOWN: "Jewish group slams Mayor de Blasio’s free school lunch plan for not offering kosher foods" by Ben Chapman: "Jewish advocates say 30,000 students in yeshivas aren’t getting the free meals because none of the food is certified kosher. “The mayor is openly discriminating against students in nonpublic and religious schools,” said Allen Fagin, CEO of the Orthodox Union... “He is failing children in classrooms across his city,” Fagin added." [NYDailyNews]

Vermont State Police: No evidence of bias when rabbi stopped: "State police and the Department of Public Safety commissioner performed an investigation of the nighttime traffic stop and found “there was no evidence from the investigation to suggest his actions were based on any type of bias or profiling,” according to a statement they issued Friday." [WashPost]

“All of New York’s members in Congress urge Tillerson to deport Nazi living in Queens” by Reuven Blau: "Jakiw Palij, 94, who worked as a Nazi guard, should be deported from the U.S., urges a letter signed by New York’s 29-member delegation — 18 Democrats and 9 Republicans in the House and two Democrats in the Senate the new letter... urges Tillerson to personally “step in to settle this long-standing injustice” to make sure Palij no longer lives here." [NYDailyNews]

TALK OF OUR NATION -- On Being Jewish, American and a Writer: "Now, three major voices in contemporary fiction — Joshua Cohen, Nathan Englander and Nicole Krauss — make an argument for the necessity of a Jewish novel at a time when white supremacists can be seen on TV chanting “Jews will not replace us.” All three writers were born between 1970 and 1980, and all have published books this year that grapple in some way with Jewish selfhood and, notably, its relation to Israel... Above all, though, their central concern is one of identity — of being Jewish, American and a writer, and how the order of those terms matters in 2017, if at all." [NYTimes]

"How America's First Jewish Commodore Saved Monticello" by Gil Troy: "In 1857 [Uriah P.] Levy became famous for championing religious equality and Jewish dignity. Barred from the navy on bogus charges of “incompetency,” Levy made his trial what some consider the first public confrontation against American anti-Semitism. “What is my case today, if you yield to this injustice, may tomorrow be that of the Roman Catholic or the Unitarian, the Episcopalian or the Methodist, the Presbyterian or the Baptist,” he warned. “There is but one safeguard, and this is to be found in an honest, wholehearted, inflexible support of the wise, the just, the impartial guarantee of the Constitution.” The court restored him to active duty, unanimously—leading to his commanding the Mediterranean fleet." [DailyBeast]

HOLLYWOOD: “‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Returns With a Vengeance—And a Fatwa” by Kevin Fallon: “It’s all too perfect that Curb Your Enthusiasm is returning, as Slate’s PJ Grisar points out, the night after Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement and the end of the High Holy Days’ period of reflection and apology to those we have wronged in the past year. “While the faithful may spend all Saturday fasting or repenting in temple,”Grisar writes, “the following day marks the homecoming of a modern day Jewish folk hero—one who never says sorry.”” [DailyBeast

"We Are All Jew-ish Now" by Devorah Baum: “Religion doesn’t play any part in my life in terms of how I live my life,” the comedian Larry David has said. “But I don’t think I’ve ever gone through a day in my life without hearing someone say the word ‘Jew’ or saying it myself.” Religion does play a part in my life, but I still know what Mr. David means. For me, too, there’s something about my Jewishness that is completely disconnected from the Torah, Shabbat or the High Holy Days. Such is the modern Jewish condition. [NYTimes]

“Greta Gerwig regrets signing letter against Israeli-backed play” by Emily Smith and Ian Mohr: “Greta Gerwig — a potential Oscar frontrunner for her upcoming directorial debut “Lady Bird” — has exclusively told Page Six that it was a mistake to lend her name to a letter asking Lincoln Center to cancel performances of “To the End of the Land,” which is being presented “with support of Israel’s Office of Cultural Affairs in North America.” ...  “This past summer, a close friend asked me to lend my name to a letter,” Gerwig wrote in a statement. “I am generally careful about the causes I support, but in this case I was not While I respect the passion and integrity of others who signed this letter, for me to put my name to something outside of my personal realm of knowledge or experience was a mistake — my mistake — and I am sorry for any confusion or hurt I may have caused.”” [PageSix

REMEMBERING: “S.I. Newhouse Jr., Who Turned Condé Nast Into a Magazine Powerhouse, Dies at 89” by Jonathan Kandell: “S. I. Newhouse Jr., who as the owner of The New Yorker, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Architectural Digest died on Sunday at his home in Manhattan Mr. Newhouse, known as Si, and his younger brother, Donald, inherited an impressive publishing empire from their father, Samuel I. Newhouse the son of an impoverished Russian-Jewish immigrant Mr. Newhouse’s new concern for the bottom line extended to The New Yorker, which was losing about $20 million a year. After he installed [Tine] Brown as its editor, moving her from Vanity Fair, she helped reduce the losses by almost half and oversaw a jump in circulation of about 250,000. She stepped down in 1998 to edit a new magazine, Talk, begun by the movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Under a new editor, David Remnick, The New Yorker eventually regained its footing and edged into the black.” [NYTimes

BIRTHDAYS: Fashion designer and the creator of the Donna Karan New York and DKNY clothing labels, Donna Karan (born Donna Ivy Faske) turns 69... Portrait photographer whose work has been used on numerous album covers and magazines, Annie Leibovitz turns 68... Member of Knesset for the Labor / Zionist Union party, he is the son of former IDF Chief of Staff and Defense Minister Haim Bar-lev, Omer Bar-Lev turns 64... Former member of the Texas House of Representatives (1993-2012), three of his brothers are news reporters: Lee (PBS), Adam (NPR) and Jeff (NPR), Scott Hochberg turns 64... Israeli billionaire, entrepreneur and philanthropist, with interests in shipping, drilling and mining, Idan Ofer turns 62... Founder of Los Angeles-based real estate development firm, Bomel Companies, and an affiliate, Bomel Israel, Ltd., Robert Rechnitz turns 62... Venture capitalist and former chairman of the Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, long-time member of the board of JFNA, Bruce Sholk turns 60... Chief Program Officer of the Union for Reform Judaism, Mark J. Pelavin turns 56... Former MLB left-handed relief pitcher, Scott David Schoeneweis turns 44... USC graduate (2013) who spent two years at Oxford on a Marshall Scholarship, now attending Yale Law School, Alexander Fullman turns 27...  Managing Partner of the Weinstein Law Firm and major Democratic bundler in Florida, Andrew Weinstein... Diana Epstein...

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