Julia Haart defends ‘My Unorthodox Life’ • Major transition at American Jewish Committee • How to mark Tisha B’Av


Shabbat shalom, New York! Sunday is Tisha B’Av, the fast day marking the destruction of the Temples and other Jewish calamities. Go here for a primer on the day from our partners at My Jewish Learning, and see a listing of live and online events below.

And please join us Monday night at 6:00 pm for a launch event for “36 Under 36,” our annual list of young Jewish changemakers.  David Bashevkin, Avigail HalperinEthan Marcus and Kylie Unell will discuss new trends in Jewish life, New York’s comeback and much more, moderated by Jewish Week Editor-in-Chief Andrew Silow-Carroll. Register here.


Julia Haart defends her Netflix series “My Unorthodox Life,” telling our colleague Shira Hanau, “Before you judge the show, maybe you might want to watch the show?”

  • The reality series is taking heat online for its negative portrayal of the insular Orthodox community the fashion mogul left behind. In Glamour, Jenny Singer says the show could make Orthodox Jews even more vulnerable to antisemitism.
    In Kveller, Amy Klein writes that her modest-rags-to-riches story is not typical of those who leave Orthodoxy.
  • Haart says she has no qualms airing problems endemic to the haredi Orthodox world, where women typically marry young, have many children and rarely pursue higher education or high-power careers.
  • Quotable: “Shabbos is beautiful. You think I want people to stop keeping Shabbos? Of course not,” Haart says. “I do want them to stop telling women what to do.”


A federal judge sided with an Orthodox Jewish woman who claims that she was denied admission to the CUNY social work school because of her religious background, and her case can move forward.

  • Faigy Rachel Weiss of Brooklyn alleges that Hunter College’s Dean for Diversity and Compliance told her that “Jews from religious backgrounds are too [politically] conservative to be social workers.”
  • If the allegation is true, it “sufficiently demonstrate a racially discriminatory intent or purpose in the admissions process to support a claim,” wrote Judge Vernon S. Broderick of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the Forward reported.


David Harris, who has led the American Jewish Committee for the past 31 years, announced he will step down as CEO in May 2022.

  • “I believe it’s time to pass the baton to a successor,” he said in a statement.
  • As a global Jewish advocacy organization, AJC, headquartered in NYC, is perhaps best known for its citizen diplomacy with foreign governments, cultivating support for Israel and Jewish interests.
  • Harris, 75, is often mentioned in articles about a generational shift in major Jewish organizations, as longtime leaders of his generation reach retirement age.
  • Related: Legacy Jewish organizations are on the defensive as skeptical young Jews no longer take support for Israel as a given, our colleague Ron Kampeas writes.


Filmmaker Lacey Schwartz Delgado, who explored her identity as a Black girl raised by two white Jewish parents in her 2015 documentary “Little White Lie,” has a new special about Black-Jewish relations.

  • “Content for Change: Black x Jewish,” featuring interviews with prominent Black Jews like social media influencer Hannah Bronfman and actress Rain Pryor, will be available on BET.com beginning today.
  • Schwartz Delgado is married to U.S. Rep. Anthony Delgado, a Democrat representing the mid-Hudson Valley.


Rabbi Yoel HaKohen Kahn, who memorized and transcribed the extemporaneous talks by the late Lubavitcher rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, has died at 91. As the rebbe’s chief “chozer,” or oral scribe, Kahn was adept at the arts of memorization, repetition and transcription, Chabad.org reports. He was a teacher at the Central Lubavitch Yeshiva and lead editor of “Sefer Ha’Arachim,” an encyclopedia of Hasidic concepts.


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Without compassion, writes Eitan Fishbane, prayer and ritual are useless: “Spiritual practice must be grounded in the moral imperative of compassion and care to achieve depth and authenticity.”


(Yaakov Lederman/Flash90)

Join Judaism Unbound and The Torah Studio for a Tisha B’Av text study with Lex Rofeberg and Liana Wertman. The evening will feature chevrutah (learning in pairs) breakouts, as well as a collective creative effort to reimagine the Book of Lamentations. Register here. Saturday, midnight.

The Orthodox Union’s 20th annual Tisha B’Av program will focus on the traditional themes of the fast day, and also mourn the recent worldwide tragedies that have impacted the Jewish community. The event will feature two in-person kinot sessions, including one broadcast live from Congregation Keter Torah in Teaneck, N.J. Sunday, 9:00 a.m.

Observe Tisha B’Av online with the Hadar community. Drop in for learning sessions throughout the day with Hadar faculty, including Rabbis Shai Held, Avi Killip, Tali Ader and Avi Strausberg and break-fast with music from Joey Weisenberg. Register here. Sunday, 9:00 am9:45 pm.

Join the New York Jewish Agenda and the Inside Out Wisdom and Action Project on Tisha B’Av for an online screening of “40 Days of Teshuva,” a short documentary film about the power and necessity of incorporating Jewish spirituality in organizing for racial justice. Followed by a guided discussion about the themes and spiritual tools explored in the film. Register here. Sunday, 1:00 pm.

Photo, top: Israel’s Olympic baseball team continued its warm-up tour of the northeast with a 16-2 win Thursday over the Ocean State Waves in Hartford, Conn. Danny Valencia, above, homered twice. The team is in Harrisburg, Penn., today to play the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Team.

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