Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: October 31, 2018

Natalie Portman speaks about Israel in Vanity Fair | Republicans and Democrats fight for the Jewish vote in upcoming midterms | Mourners attend funerals for victims of Pittsburgh shooting

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Natalie Portman at the 73rd annual Venice International Film Festival, in Venice, September 8, 2016
Natalie Portman at the 73rd annual Venice International Film Festival, in Venice, September 8, 2016Credit: Claudio Onorati/EPA
JI Staff

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TRANSITION — SoftBank Hires a Veteran Corporate Image-Maker — by Michael J. de la Merced and Andrew Ross Sorkin: "SoftBank plans to announce on Wednesday that it has hired Gary Ginsberg, a former top adviser to Rupert Murdoch, as its global head of communications. He will be based in New York and report to Masayoshi Son, SoftBank’s founder and chief executive, and Marcelo Claure, its chief operating officer... Mr. Ginsberg’s most recent job was at Time Warner, where he was in the middle of the fight to defend its sale to AT&T." [NYTimes]

Ginsberg commented"I have admired SoftBank’s evolution and growth for many years, and I’m thrilled to be joining them now at such a dynamic time when the Company’s mission to invest in some of the world’s most critical and defining new technologies has never been more important.”

DRIVING THE CONVO — Republicans and Democrats Struggle to Own Conversation on Jewish Vote — by Jacob Kornbluh: For the Republican Jewish Coalition following the U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem and the decision to back out of the Iran deal, Trump’s pro-Israel bona fides speak for themselves. But while the GOP feels confident in its appeal to pro-Israel voters, it struggles to dismiss what the Jewish Democratic Council of America describes as a troubling pattern of lending a sympathetic ear to neo-Nazis and white supremacists. In a set of dueling interviews with Jewish Insider, Matt Brooks and Halie Soifer, serving as executive directors of their respective organizations, parried each others’ criticisms and pounced on the vulnerabilities of the other side.

Brooks cited Trump’s achievements since taking office as proof that Republicans are the pro-Israel party. “The consequence of Donald Trump being elected president is that we now have a United States Embassy in Jerusalem, we now have recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. We have ended the flawed Obama deal with Iran,” he listed. Democrats, however, see a growing culture of hatred as the larger issue affecting Jews. “What we have seen since Trump came to office is really, to some degree, the legitimization of Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, Holocaust deniers, who all appear to have come out of the woodwork,” JDCA’s Soifer charged. 

In turn, Brooks pointed to the Democratic Party’s acceptance of candidates “who advocate virulently anti-Israel positions,” singling out Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, House candidates running unopposed in the general election. “Their silence and their unwillingness to stand up and to push back on these views and on these candidates fosters an environment in which people believe that holding these views and espousing these views is now part of the acceptable dialog,” he stated.

Soifer denied moral equivalency, saying she “would not equate Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and Holocaust deniers, all of whom are running for office as Republicans, with those on the left who may have espoused different views with regard to Israel.” Read in full here [JewishInsider]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) discussed the future of support for Israel among Democrats during a panel — along with Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX, Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Juan Vargas (D-CA) — titled "Legislative Priorities and Decisions for the upcoming 116th Congress" hosted by Ken Fisher and Ezra Friedlander Tuesday morning in Midtown Manhattan.

"I do not think that support Israel in Congress has eroded," said Nadler. "I do believe there's a long-term threat of that happening, but not now. And the threat goes back a long ways. I helped form an organization called Liberal Democrats for Israel at the 1976 Democratic Convention. So, as far back as then, we saw developments that necessitated in our opinion that we have an organization of liberal Democrats for Israel. And the truth is there is, on the far left, a very strong anti-Israel opinion, and very slowly and very gradually that's been seeping to the less far left. And it is starting to seep into the Democratic party."

"Now, I have said for a long time, I don't worry about this generation of Democratic Congressmen with respect to Israel. I worry about the people who are now in college or law school who'll be Congressmen 20 years from now because that's where I see a possibility of change. Then you have the Republican Jewish Coalition, which for partisan reasons seeks to do everything to say that Democrats are not pro-Israel and that becomes part of a self-fulfilling prophecy. So, we are fighting to maintain Democratic support Israel and we have." 

"There have been headlines recently about various people winning primaries who are not pro-Israel. And it's true. And some of these people, maybe we can work with and some maybe we can't. That remains to be seen. But it's a small number. You're talking five or six people out of 435 districts. So, this should be kept in perspective." [Pic

MIDTERMS —  The Hope of Rashida Tlaib — by Esther Wang: "No profile of Tlaib fails to note that she will become the first Muslim American woman in Congress (along with Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar if she wins, as she is likely to do), and the first Palestinian American woman... It is clear that America’s progressives are ready to anoint Rashida Tlaib as one of the new national faces of the left flank of the Democratic Party... And while much has been made of her ethnicity and her religion, Tlaib credits her victory in large part to her message, pointing out that less than five percent of her district is Arab American."

"But is Tlaib’s district ready for her? She won her primary by less than 900 votes... The party establishment, and Detroit’s political class, were almost uniformly united against her. If there had been just one or two fewer candidates in the race, there’s a good chance we wouldn’t be talking about Rashida Tlaib at all." [TheSlot]

Iowa Jewish Leaders Condemn Steve King After His Meeting With Far-Right Austrian Org — by Gideon Resnick: “We are writing from the depths of our grief, in horror at the news of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh,” wrote Alan Steckman, of Adas Israel, and John Pleasants of the Ames congregation, according to a draft of the letter viewed by The Daily Beast. “We feel we must speak out because our Congressional Representative, Steve King, is an enthusiastic crusader for the same types of abhorrent beliefs held by the Pittsburgh shooter.” [DailyBeast]

Stivers ‘could not stay silent’ on Steve King — by Rachael Bade and John Bresnahan: "Steve Stivers, who leads the National Republican Congressional Committee, had been briefed on racially charged comments made recently by Iowa Republican Steve King... And so with not even a heads-up to GOP leaders, Stivers went on Twitter and blasted his colleague. He “could not stay silent,” said one source familiar with his thinking." [Politico]

King responded in a statement posted on Twitter: "These attacks are orchestrated by nasty, desperate, and dishonest fake news... Establishment Never Trumpers are complicit."

— King tells Jewish Insider via email that his tweet comprises his response to Stivers until after the election. "Then I will have more to say." 

How the 2018 midterms became the most expensive in history — by Fredreka Schouten: "Large Republican donors are helping make up the difference in crucial races... Among big donors, Nevada casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, lead the way. They have handed out more than $113 million to groups aiding GOP candidates. It's the most money the Adelsons have ever disclosed spending in an election cycle. Democratic mega-donors also are giving big sums... Tom Steyer had donated $51 million to federal races through mid-October. And... Michael Bloomberg also is writing large checks to help Democrats." [CNN George Soros, undeterred by bomb threat, leaves the door open to more midterm contributions [CNBC]

Republican Campaign Mailer Fuels Anti-Semitism Complaints In State Senate Race — by Neil Vigdor and Shawn Beals: "A campaign mailer showing a Jewish candidate for state Senate with a fistful of money is drawing condemnation for what critics say is its blatant anti-Semitic imagery. It was sent out by Republican Ed Charamut and targets Democratic state Rep. Matthew Lesser, his opponent in the race for the 9th Senate District seat... “I started getting text messages about it when I was at a forum with teachers in Cromwell [on Monday], people said they got an anti-Semitic flyer,” Lesser said. “I did not believe them, I thought there was a mistake. Someone showed it to me and I think it would be a gross understatement to say I was surprised." [HartfordCourant]

Instagram Is Teeming With Anti-Semitism — by Taylor Lorenz: "While many users see Instagram as a bastion of lifestyle, entertainment, and humor content, the platform is also rife with anti-Semitism. Before it was removed, a search for the word Jews revealed 11,696 posts with the hashtag “jewsdid911,” The New York Times reported on Monday. It took me only three clicks to find a slew of anti-Semitic memes on Tuesday morning." [TheAtlantic

TALK OF OUR NATION ― The Jews of Pittsburgh Bury Their Dead — by Emma Green: "When one person dies, members of the Jewish community often step in to care for the body and the family. When 11 people die, the whole community becomes part of the mourning process. The logistics are complicated. Eleven bodies have to be accompanied, washed, and buried. Eleven funerals have to be planned. Families move into an intensive period of mourning, called shiva, that lasts for up to seven days after the burial. In many circles, the fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters of the dead will say a special prayer, the kaddish, in the year following the death. For them, and for the Pittsburgh Jewish community, the sense of loss will likely last far beyond that. As one rabbi said, now there will always be a time before the shooting, and a time after." [TheAtlantic] At a Pittsburgh Crime Scene, Jewish Volunteers Guard the ‘Bodies of Holy Martyrs’ [NYTimes

Pittsburgh Honors Two Brothers, ‘Gentle Giants’ of the Community — by Emma Green: "The Tree of Life building is still closed, so other synagogues in the area have opened their doors to host funerals. A letter from a friend of the family’s was read at the brothers’ funeral on Tuesday at Rodef Shalom, a historic reform synagogue in Pittsburgh. It was from a Catholic priest. Addressing Cecil and David’s parents, he wrote that God had “created your sons in his image,” a sentiment that captured the core theme of the funeral." [TheAtlantic]  Armin Rosen on the funeral of David and Cecil Rosenthal [Tablet

MOURNING TOGETHER — Hundreds gather in Miami Beach to remember synagogue shooting victims — by Liane Morejon: "There is simply no place for hate, not here, not anywhere, and furthermore there are absolutely no good people who stand on the side of hate. Period," said Norman Braman, the former president of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation." [Local10]  Andrew Cuomo says fabric of America is ‘stressed and frayed’ during synagogue shooting vigil [NYPost]

‘I’m Dr. Cohen’: The powerful humanity of the Jewish hospital staff that treated Robert Bowers [WashPost]

Pittsburgh Unites in Grief, Even as It Splits Over Trump’s Visit — by Campbell Robertson, Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Trip Gabriel: "The presidential visit, welcomed by some in Pittsburgh, unwanted or vigorously opposed by many others, began with a motorcade into the city and a visit to the Tree of Life synagogue. Mr. Trump lit memorial candles in a vestibule near where the shooting unfolded, and placed stones and white roses from the White House outside... Mr. Trump was accompanied by the first lady, Melania Trump, his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner. They were greeted by Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, the spiritual leader of the Tree of Life congregation... Later, Mr. Trump... sat for about an hour with Peg Gottfried, the widow of Richard Gottfried, one of those killed on Saturday." [NYTimes]

— "Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., accompanied the president and first lady during their visit, as did... White House advisers who are Jewish, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin." [TheHill; Pic]

Josh Marshall"This is a touchy subject. Many will disagree with me. But I find it offensive and bizarre that this was choreographed so that the Israeli Ambassador is the one who greeted the President first at the Tree of Life synagogue. The President is not visiting Israel." 

BEHIND THE SCENES — Amid Scrutiny, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Shaped Trump’s Pittsburgh Response — by Katie Rogers and Maggie Haberman: "[Trump's] son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who keeps a photograph of his grandparents, both Holocaust survivors, in his West Wing office, and a mezuza on the doorway, as well as his daughter Ivanka... have quietly and persistently shaped the president’s response to one of the nation’s deadliest cases of anti-Semitism... And it has been Mr. Kushner, in particular, who has been phoning Trump allies and encouraging them to support the president." [NYTimes]

Meet Jason Greenblatt, the longtime Trump attorney sent to Pittsburgh after synagogue shooting — by John Fritze: "Though he initially planned to speak at Hillel Academy, a private Orthodox Jewish day school in the neighborhood where the shooting occurred, school officials said they didn’t want to subject students to speeches. Instead, Greenblatt attended morning prayers and spoke with students and staff individually. Rabbi Sam Weinberg, principal at Hillel Academy, said Greenblatt’s presence was “very low key” and “very apolitical.” Greenblatt's message as he wandered the halls was that “the world Jewish community” was grieving with Pittsburgh, according to Weinberg. “He didn’t come with a photographer,” Weinberg said, adding that Greenblatt asked permission before noting his visit on Twitter. “I found him to be very sensitive.” [USAToday]  Greenblatt writes: What I learned from my visit to the Tree of Life Synagogue [FoxNews]

Pittsburgh Jews Give Trump a Furious Reception — by Allison Kaplan Sommer and Amir Tibon: "While Trump and his family lit candles in memory of the victims, thousands of people rallied outside to protest Trump's divisive rhetoric... Protesters held signs that read, "President Hate, Leave our state," "Words matter," "Ban assault rifles, Be a leader" and "Trump will lie about this too." [Haaretz

Trump tweets this morning: "Melania and I were treated very nicely yesterday in Pittsburgh. The Office of the President was shown great respect on a very sad & solemn day. We were treated so warmly. Small protest was not seen by us, staged far away. The Fake News stories were just the opposite-Disgraceful!" 

GOP Jewish leader says community is 'comforted' by Trump: "I think the president is great on our issues," Neil Boylan Strauss, national spokesman for the Republican Jewish Coalition, told Hill.TV... "We're also comforted by the fact that he has plenty of Jewish voices around him, and we're comfortable with how he has acted on Jewish issues, whether it's support for Israel, whether it's something like condemning the attacks," he said." [TheHill

ZOA's Mort Klein tells us... "It was the absolute right thing to do, for Trump to go to Pittsburgh to show his own devastation by this horrific massacre. As you know, there are many extreme left-wing Jews who have told him not to go to Pittsburgh, I assure you if he did not go to Pittsburgh they would condemn him for insensitivity and lack of concern. These are not people who are looking at this rationally, they despise Trump and they'll attack him no matter what. They have not gotten over that their heroine Hillary Clinton is not president. They are very upset that he's trying to keep illegals out of the country. They want to appease our enemies like Abbas."

HEARD ON CABLE — Former Meet the Press host David Gregory on CNN with Wolf Blitzer: "I think when the president uses what I consider to be anti-Semitic tropes, when he talks about himself as a nationalist, when he gives in any way comfort to those who would express anti-Semitic views, I think it's dead wrong. I think he has an obligation in the name of his Jewish son-in-law and daughter, who's a convert, and his Jewish grandchildren, to specifically denounce anti-Semitism and go farther... There are a lot of Republican Jews who look at him and say he's a stalwart supporter of Israel, we're behind this guy and that has created the split.”

"What I don't like is that Jews are dividing politically instead of saying, 'Let's remember Jewish virtues. You know, we can talk about Israel. There's divides about Israel. But it's also about hold up the treatment of the stranger, the treatment of immigrants, and be able to find some consensus... I've said it privately to Israeli representatives in this country, I think they have an obligation to not just stoke the political divide in this country that Trump has created among Jews. I just think it's bad for the Jewish community writ large in America." 

Gloria Borger remembering 97-year-old Rose Mallinger on CNN Newsroom: "You know, everyone has a Bubby in their family." 

Israel's Minister of Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett tweets"Using the horrific anti-Semitic massacre to attack President Trump is unfair and wrong. As Israel’s Minister of Diaspora, I came to Pittsburgh to offer the State of Israel’s support and sympathy to the Jewish community and all the American people... President Trump is a true friend of the State of Israel and to the Jewish people. With President Trump we never have to worry if he has our backs. He has delivered on every promise. This is something we will never forget." 

HAPPENING TODAY — The Council on Foreign Relations will host Bennett for a conversation with CFR Distinguished Fellow Martin Indyk.

Michael Oren writes... "What Israel Owes American Jews: Threatened by rising anti-Semitism, American-Jewish communities need to know that Israel is behind them and not only in words... By recognizing Conservative and Reform Jewry, Israel will not only defy the anti-Semites but also, more important, reaffirm itself." [NYTimes

Brian Cuban writes about his childhood experience with his brother Mark in Squirrel Hill: "Mark and I  battled for control of the black and white television. I preferred cartoons. Mark preferred movies. I changed the channel. Mark pushed me aside and turned it back... Our grandmother’s basement meant hidden treasure. Books written in Russian or Yiddish. They smelled of must and mold, but to a ten-year-old child, it was the smell of adventure and places far away." 

Jews assail 'Christian rabbi' who appeared with Pence, and so does his own movement — by Corky Siemaszko: "Loren Jacobs, who was invited onstage by Vice President Mike Pence to speak at a rally in Michigan for a GOP congressional candidate, was defrocked 15 years ago, according to a spokeswoman for the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations... Meanwhile, mainstream Jewish leaders and experts on the faith said they could not fathom why GOP congressional candidate Lena Epstein, herself a longtime member of a Detroit–area synagogue, invited Jacobs at all to her rally Tuesday because in their eyes he’s not even a real Jew, let alone a rabbi." [NBCNews

TOP TALKER — Denmark Says It Foiled Iranian Assassination Plot — by Laurence Norman: "Danish authorities this month arrested a Norwegian citizen of Iranian descent for allegedly planning the assassination of the leader of an ethnic Arab separatist group, Denmark’s Security and Intelligence services said... Tuesday’s announcement was the latest in a series of allegations that Tehran is sponsoring acts of violence in Europe." [WSJ]

Barak Ravid"Israeli Mossad gave Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) the information about the assassination attempt planned by Iranian intelligence service against the leader of the Iranian opposition organization ASMLA, Israeli official tells me." 

** Good Wednesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Wilf Family Launches Investment Firm For Sports, Entertainment [PatchBradley Tusk, a political ‘fixer’ for tech companies, has a plan to make voting from your phone a reality [Recode]  Mark Zuckerberg Is Still Losing Users [VanityFair]

TV venture from Katzenberg and Whitman draws inspiration from Dan Brown's 'Da Vinci Code' — by Alex Sherman: "Speaking alongside Quibi CEO Meg Whitman on Tuesday at Axios' Smarter Faster Revolution event, [Jeffrey] Katzenberg said that after reading Brown's mystery thriller, a light bulb went off in his mind about media consumption. "The Da Vinci Code" has more than 100 chapters... "Publishers and editors have said to authors, if you don't want to stop in the middle of a chapter, don't write them longer," Katzenberg said, in an interview with Dan Primack of Axios, at the University of California at Los Angeles. "A series for us will be two to three hours in length but comes in breaks or chapters that can be watched on the go." [CNBC; Axios

SPOTLIGHT — Campbell Soup and Executive ‘Accelerate’ His Exit After George Soros Tweet — by Amie Tsang: "Campbell said the company and the executive, Kelly Johnston, the vice president of government affairs for 16 years, had agreed to “accelerate” his retirement after he said on Twitter last week that a foundation led by George Soros... was the driving force behind a caravan of thousands of migrants headed toward Mexico’s border with the United States... Keith R. McLoughlin, Campbell Soup’s interim chief executive, wrote to Patrick Gaspard, the president of Open Society Foundations, last week to tell him that Mr. Johnston’s remarks did not represent the company’s position and were “inconsistent with how Campbell approaches public debate.” [NYTimes

PROFILE — Adam Grant Is (Not) Superman — by Emily Goulet: "[Grant] has to field his emails — he gets up to 200 a day — which include advice requests from strangers and high-level conversations with some of the world’s most influential business leaders, who look to him as a confidant and trusted friend. He also has to prep for season two of his popular TED podcast, WorkLife; write an op-ed for the New York Times; and contribute to the many groups that count him as a member... and Wharton People Analytics, a research initiative he co-directs. And at some point, he needs to go home to his grand French-country-style spread on the Main Line and spend time with his wife and three kids..." [PhillyMag]

COVER STORY — Natalie Portman: Voice of Light — by Dorga Chew-Bose: "She was born Neta-Lee Hershlag, in Jerusalem, in 1981. Her parents relocated to the United States in 1984 and Portman became a dual citizen... Portman has not shied away from expressing her political opinions, which have made headlines, especially when it comes to her country of birth. She describes her relationship to Israel as “very complicated, like family—you love it more than anything else in the world and you also are more critical of it than anything else in the world.”

“Last spring, there was an uproar when she declined to accept the 2018 Genesis Prize in person. “I’d like to clarify I have no issue traveling to the country. They may have issues with it now, but I don’t,” she says. “I was choosing not to attend an event where I was supposed to be onstage with Prime Minister Netanyahu, sitting next to him, which felt like an endorsement. So there is a distinction.”

"It’s more than just a footnote that “Harvard graduate” occupies part of Portman’s biography. (She was one of many research assistants to Alan M. Dershowitz, who recently consulted for Weinstein’s legal team and came out in support of Brett Kavanaugh. “I pretty much disagree with him on everything he’s doing right now,” says Portman, adding, “Maybe it shouldn’t be surprising to see.”)"

“She reads everything—there is no end to her curiosity. It’s never homework, it’s pleasure,” says her Jackie co-star, the writer and director Greta Gerwig, recalling that Portman threw the cast and crew an “epic” Hanukkah party." [VanityFair]

— Flashback to May 11, 2018: What we’ve learned about the Natalie Portman and Genesis Prize Foundation saga [JewishInsider]

INTERVIEW — Maggie Haberman interviews Barbra Streisand about her new album, the musical embodiment of her singular dislike of President Trump: "I would lie awake at night with Trump’s outrages running through my head, and I had to do another album for Columbia Records, so I thought, why not make an album about what’s on my mind? And that became the title of the first song. I am so grateful to have music in my life as a way to express myself."

"The interview was conducted before the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh. Asked about it on Monday via email, she sent a response that faulted Trump for divisive rhetoric and added: “My heart aches for these innocent people and the centuries-old attitude of somehow blaming Jews for all the ills of the world.” [NYTimes]

SCENE THE OTHER DAY — Kim Kardashian West was honored Monday night with the first Gift of Life Impact Award at the Gift of Life Marrow Registry gala at the SLS Beverly Hills in Los Angeles. Kardashian was recognized for her tweet in support of a young Jewish father named Adam Krief, who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of blood cancer and required a life-saving bone marrow transplant. Adam’s widow, Lia Mantel Krief, presented Kardashian West with the award for leveraging the power of a single person to mobilize many to act.“I made a simple tweet. Knowing that it could change someone’s life, that’s the easiest thing that I could possibly do,” Kardashian West said in in remarks after receiving the award. [Video

MAZEL TOV — Rob Saliterman, a former Bush administration official and Google and Snap alum, and Lara Crystal, co-founder and co-CEO of Minibar Delivery, emailed friends and family: "We are grateful and thrilled to announce the arrival of Samuel Charles Saliterman [Tuesday] at 12:56 p.m. at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York." [Pic] h/t Playbook

Mazel tov to Yossi Raskas, Deputy Director of the City of David, on his engagement yesterday to Gila Chernick.

DESSERT — What does it take to make a restaurant kosher? (Hint: It’s intense) — by Karon Liu: "A rabbi walks into a restaurant carrying a blowtorch. There’s no punchline, it’s literally part of Rabbi Mendel Brogna’s job. As the head mashgiach of the Kashruth Council of Canada, Brogna’s job is to supervise the kosher status of restaurants and catering venues to ensure the food and cooking equipment is up to the standards of Kashrut... Brogna keeps a giant blowtorch attached to a propane tank in the trunk of his car ready to heat up the inside of ovens as well as pots and pans." [TheStar]

BIRTHDAYS: Founding partner at Lanx Management, former President of AIPAC (2006-2010), Chairman of the Orthodox Union and father of Sir Alex, Howard E. (Tzvi) Friedman turns 53... Entrepreneur, bestselling author and philanthropist, he is CEO and co-founder of Mission U and founder of Pencils of Promise, Adam Braun turns 35... Actor with a lengthy career in film, television and theatre, Ron Rifkin turns 79... British historian, born in Baghdad, emeritus professor of International Relations at Oxford, Avi Shlaim turns 73... Author, historian and journalist, formerly editor of The New York Times Book Review, he is the writer-at-large for the UK-based Prospect Magazine, Sam Tanenhaus turns 63... Journalist and author, she is a staff writer for The New Yorker and has contributed articles to Vogue, Rolling Stone and Esquire, her 1998 book was made into the award-winning movie Adaptation (2002), Susan Orlean turns 63...

Finance and real estate executive, managing partner of Arel Capital, a private equity real estate firm based in NYC, previously he was the chief investment officer of Gottex Fund Management, Richard Leibovitch turns 55... National Director for Progressive Engagement at AIPAC, Marilyn Rosenthal... British lawyer who has served in many communal roles including as CEO of the Board of Deputies of British Jews (2005-2013) and COO of World ORT (2014-2015), Marc Jonathan (Jon) Benjamin turns 54... Director of development for Foundation for Jewish Camp, he describes his role as a "gelt-shlepper," Corey Cutler turns 51... Rabbi-in-residence at the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester (NY), she is the founder of Midrash Manicures, combining Jewish education and creative nail art, Yael Buechler turns 33... Global marketing campaign manager for PwC, Spencer Herbst turns 27... Pittsburgh native, Masha Shollar turns 26...