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March 1, 2015 / 10 Adar , 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘NYC’

NYC All Prepped Up But ‘No Snow Go, Mayor DeBlasio’

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

It was supposed to be “the historic storm that was,” one of the “biggest in half a century” in New York City.

By 9pm Monday night Mayor Bill DeBlasio had ordered all vehicles off the streets by 11pm, warning there would be certain punishment for citizens who disobeyed. The snow plows would need room to move, he said; salt trucks would have to be able to get through to keep the slippery streets safe. Emergency vehicles would need a clear path to be able to get by to help those who were stuck around the city.

Residents were told to “stock up” just to make sure, in case their electricity went out or the stores stayed closed. Thousands of tax dollars were spent on city preparations for the big event.

But as morning dawned Tuesday, New Yorkers discovered they were not really snowed in at all. In fact, there was little more than a coating of the white stuff on lawns in front of most homes around town. Most areas in the Big Apple were barely covered in fact, with only 5.5 inches (13 cm), max, seen in the city’s Central Park.

Grim weather forecasts were quickly downgraded (“oops!”) and the city’s transport bans were quietly lifted even as blizzard warnings remained in effect along the New England coast from Long Island to Maine.

All nine MTA bridges and tunnels are already open to traffic, according to the MTA website. The Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, NYC Transit Bus and Subway Service and Staten Island Ferry were all gradually being restored on a Sunday schedule Tuesday, with full weekday service to return by Wednesday.

Unapologetic, “This is a better-safe-than-sorry scenario,” de Blasio told CNN. “We did what was necessary to keep everyone safe.” Public transportation is expected to return to normal in New York City on Wednesday, officials added.

The situation was not nearly as rosy elsewhere along the eastern seaboard. At least 7,500 flights have been canceled at airports along the coast, both for arrivals and departures. Schools remain closed up and down the coast as well.

More than two feet of snow (60 cm) dropped in Massachusetts alone, where thousands are still without power local media report, and Connecticut saw nearly as much, 20.5 inches (52 cm).

The National Weather Service warned at midday Tuesday there were still life-threatening conditions along the New England coastline with gale-force winds and almost zero visibility in New Hampshire.

Terror Threat Puts Kibosh on Sony’s NYC Film Release

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

The threat of a possible terror attack put the kabash on a Sony Pictures Entertainment release across the United States of “The Interview,” a comedy depicting an assassination attempt on North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.

Sony’s cancellation of the December 25 release followed a direct threat of terror from North Korea against theaters nationwide if they were to screen the movie, and against those who went to the theaters to see it. It came against the backdrop of a decision made by the studio’s largest theater affiliates in the United States and Canada not to show the film.

“We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers,” Sony said.

North Korea’s leadership was outraged over plot of the movie, to the point that in June, Washington received demands from Pyongyang to nix the film. That did not happen, and in November a hacker group calling itself the “Guardians of Peace” launched a massive cyber attack against Sony in retaliation for continuing with production of the movie.

At first diplomatic and cautious on the topic, within days Sony officials acknowledged that it appeared likely the North Korean government was be behind the attack. The ongoing siege of Sony Pictures involves increasing data dumps of sensitive personal and business information and threats of further similar “gifts.”

Following last week’s Los Angeles studio premier of the film, the threats took an even more ominous turn. The hackers vowed a 9/11-style attack on movie theaters across the U.S. that dared to screen “The Interview,” and moviegoers who chose to attend.

“Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made,” the hackers wrote in a long-winded warning posted on the internet. “The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave,) the hackers added. Another dump of personal data files accompanied the warning, these linked to Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Landmark Theaters’ Sunshine Cinema on New York City’s Lower East Side was the planned venue for the NYC studio premier for the film this coming Thursday evening. At midnight Tuesday night local time, Landmark was telling media that it still planned to continue with the premier as scheduled.

But New Yorkers awoke on Wednesday to the news that the East Coast premier for “The Interview” had been canceled by Landmark Theaters for the Big Apple. No explanation was given for the decision.

Just to be on the safe side, the film’s two co-stars, Seth Rogen and James Franco have scrapped their promotional tour for the film and canceled all public appearances.

But for Israelis who are either staying in New York or visiting the area for Hanukkah, terror threats are nothing new. In Israel all public venues are typically secured by armed individuals with military experience, trained to stop potential threats.

“Americans are not accustomed to such security measures,” which are accepted as a way of life and have saved countless lives in Israel, an IDF veteran told JewishPress.com on Wednesday, but requested his name not be used. “This may be the future there someday as well, but because of the numbers and the diversity of targets, security may become much more difficult.”

The FBI meanwhile has told media in a statement, “There is no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters within the United States.” Nevertheless, to its credit, Sony notified its associated theaters about the threat immediately and said they had the option of choosing not to screen the film.

New York Police Department officials were not willing to toss in the towel on the film, however. “We have been down this road before with other films, about [former Al Qaeda leader Osama] Bin Laden and others,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter Terrorism John Miller told the New York Post. “We will be beefing up security anywhere there’s a marquee, with patrols, critical response vehicles and the Hercules teams.

Artist Robin Antar ‘Envisions’ America in Stone

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

What does the child of Brooklyn Syrian Jews have in common with Manhattan glitterati on a freezing cold night in an Upper East Side mansion?

Diamonds and other stones. Art and design.

This past week New York’s top interior designers gathered in a house on East 63rd Street and Fifth Avenue to celebrate the season and raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Among the artists whose creations were requested by designers who contributed their skills to the cause was sculptor Robin Antar. Her work had been noticed by designer Michael Tavano during a show at the Waterfall Mansion, where some of her other pieces are still on display.

Tavano removed her “detached retina” from that show for the room he created at Holiday House NYC. The event shows off the best in interior design and holiday entertaining, and is open to the public from now until December 21. Tavano’s eye-catching room was packed on opening night.

Few of those in their suits and evening gowns at the gala, however, realized the petite Antar wielded a jackhammer and a seven-inch diamond blade saw to carve the stone for her larger-than-life-size sculpture.

“I did it just before I went into surgery for a detached retina,” Antar told JewishPress.com in an exclusive interview. “It was my interpretation of vision.”

But Antar takes the long view in her art. She began her love affair with stone carving as a Brooklyn teenager and created as her first piece a graceful alabaster swan which she has kept in the family collection.

She is also known for the sleek silver Sephardic Torah cases she creates. Not one is left sitting on a shelf unused. The first was cast from a mold formed from a limestone sculpture of a prayer shawl draped on two “shoulders” of the Western Wall.

Little did she know that some day she would use that same mold as the basis for a one-of-a-kind tribute to her youngest son that only an artist mother could produce – sadly, for a tombstone. Antar’s son passed away last year at age 26 of a drug overdose after years of struggling to overcome emotions from early childhood abuse suffered at the hands of a daycare operator. Two more sons — a married businessman and an artist with a special flare for color and design — carry on the family traditions.

Salt from the tears that were shed for the life cut short eventually was poured (in a virtual sense) into unique semi-precious salt cellars she now creates for the light and joy of the Sabbath table. Antar had a huge pile of stone chips left over from other sculptures carved from stone such as blue onyx, rose alabaster and honeycomb calcite, and “didn’t want to waste them,” she says. What began as an experiment is now functional art for the interiors market, with those and larger table bowls both much in demand.

But her pride and joy is the Realism in Stone series, she says; a line of art she calls the “virtual record of contemporary culture” in America.

“I ask myself, ‘Will a bottle of Heinz ketchup really exist in another hundred years?’ and then I begin to see the product emerge from the stone,” Antar explains. Different sculptures are carved from different types of stone, depending on what she is creating – but all require heavy power tools that demand precision in their use.

“You cannot do this work without the right equipment,” Antar warns. “Don’t even THINK of starting to carve stone without a face mask for breathing, and especially not without goggles to protect your eyes.”

New York City Hospital Testing Patient for Ebola Virus

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

New York’s Bellevue Hospital is running tests for the Ebola virus on a healthcare worker who returned to the United States from West Africa with suspicious symptoms.

The healthcare worker arrived with a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms within the past 21 days from either Sierra Leone, Guinea or Liberia, the city’s health department said.

Preliminary results from the testing are expected within 12 hours, according to a statement released by the NYC Dept. Of Health and Mental Hygiene.

All of the patient’s contacts are being tracked down in order to identify anyone who may be at potential risk of contracting the virus. The patient, who is being isolated, was brought to the hospital from the airport by specially trained staff who wore protective gear.

The virus has claimed more than 4,500 lives around the world to date, although most of the victims were in the three West African countries listed above. The virus currently has a 70 percent death rate.

At least two cases were identified so far in Texas; both were linked to a traveler who arrived in the U.S. from Liberia. One of the two patients died shortly after being diagnosed and hospitalized with the illness.

India, Israel PMs Pledge Closer Ties Ahead of UN General Assembly

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi met late Sunday night in New York shortly after Netanyahu arrived in the city to prepare for his address to the United Nations General Assembly, set for Monday September 29.

Modi is making his first visit at the UN General Assembly since he led his Hindu nationalists to a sweeping victory in April-May elections.

The first such meeting in more than 10 years, both leaders were smiling as Netanyahu expressed “delight” at meeting Modi, and immediately invited him to visit Israel. If the Hindu prime minister of India agrees, it will be a “first.”

The two discussed the threat of Islamic terror in the face of a recent statement by Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri announcing the establishment of a new branch of the international terror group in southeast Asia.

Also on the agenda were other security and development issues, among them the matter of international sanctions on doing business with Iran. India is one of the nations that has reduced its import of Iranian oil in compliance with the sanctions – Netanyahu reinforced the importance of that move with an explanation of the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear development program.

“I believe that if we work together, we can do so with benefits for both our peoples and well beyond,” Netanyahu said during a press briefing held during their meeting. “We are very excited by the prospects of greater and greater ties with India. We think the sky’s the limit,” he added, describing both nations as “ancient civilizations” that are also democracies. Modi echoed Netanyahu’s words. “I agree with you that the ties between Israel and India are historic ties.” He added that, “India is the only country where anti-Semitism has never been allowed to come up and where Jews have never suffered and have lived as an integral part of our society.”

Trade between Israel and India at present stands at approximately $6 billion, according to figures published in New Delhi. India is one of Israel’s largest defense industry clients.

Jewish Carpenter Sues NYC Over Alleged Anti-Semitism

Monday, May 12th, 2014

A Jewish carpenter is suing New York City’s Housing Authority (NYCHA) after allegedly being threatened and insulted with anti-Semitic epithets while working for the city.

Manhattan resident Mitchell Imberman, age 60, had trouble for years with men working under him, according to papers filed in a federal lawsuit in the Brooklyn District Court. The problems began in 2009 at Bushwick Houses, the New York Post reported Sunday.

Imberman alleged that one employee said, for example, “I don’t like taking orders from a Jew supervisor.” A second worker was fired after months of leaving numerous threats on Imberman’s cell phone, court papers allege.

His superiors added to the abuse when he asked for their help, Imberman charged.

In the lawsuit he said he was called a “filthy Jew,” a “dumb kike” and other obscenities. His tools were stolen, swastikas were painted on walls where he was assigned to work, and feces were placed on his chair.

Imberman is still employed by the Housing Authority and is seeking unspecified damages in compensation for the abuse. The NYCHA refused to comment in response to requests by the New York  Post and The Associated Press.

Coalition Chair’s Letter of Praise for 100 Shofars Protest in NYC

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Protesters who plan to demonstrate today at the world’s largest shofar-blowing event in history in New York City have drawn praise from the Israeli government coalition chairman, who expressed his admiration for their “courage.”

Israeli government coalition chairman MK Yariv Levin  is “deeply moved” by demonstrators who are to gather to protest participation in the Israel Day Parade of groups promoting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

In a letter sent to Richard Allen, founder of JCCWatch – organizer of the rally being held in New York – Levin praised the rally, set for Tuesday April 29 at  5 pm, “courageous stance of so many friends of Israel involved in the parade, calling to delegitimize those who delegitimize Israel.

“It is not logical or reasonable for Israel supporters to condone or overlook or indirectly cooperate with BDS groups which represent the antithesis of support for Israel. Refusing to recognize the State of Israel’s sovereign right to develop and maintain an independent legal position on any issue of national importance is not legitimate.”

The UJA-Federation and Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) which sponsors the annual Israel Day Parade, agreed this year to permit a number of anti-Israel groups to march this year in the parade, setting off a tsunami of protest over their participation. Among those  are:

  • Partners for Progressive Israel: which encourages the public to boycott Ahava Cosmetics, SodaStream and wine from nine Israeli vineyards.
  • The New Israel Fund: which finances NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that promote BDS activities against Israel. NIF funds Machsom Watch, the Coalition of Women for Peace, Women Against violence, Social TV and Mossawa, all of which signed a letter to the Norwegian government pension fund, urging it to divest from Israel.
  • B’Tselem: A major recipient of funds from NIF, the group has produced the anti-israel video shown at Israel Apartheid Week events held at various universities around the world. The organization’s board chairman, Oren Yiftachel, has publicly called for “effective sanctions” against Israel.

The rally, promoted as the “largest shofar blowing event in Jewish history,” is set to take place this afternoon (April 29) at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time (New York City) in front of the UJA-Federation building at 130 East 59th Street, between Park and Lexington Avenues. Participants are urged to bring their shofars to the rally. Those who do not have a shofar but who wish to participate can receive one to use on site.

Scheduled speakers include Rabbi David Algaze from the World Committee for the Land of Israel / Havurat Yisrael; Richard Allen, JCCWatch; Dr. Paul Brody of the Jewish Political Education Foundation; Helen Freedman of Americans for a Safe Israel; Beth Gilinsky of National Conference on Jewish Affairs; Mort Klein, head of Zionist Organization of America; Robert Muchnick of Manhigut Yehudit, and Lauri Regan of Endowment for Middle East Truth.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/coalition-chairs-letter-of-praise-for-100-shofars-protest-in-nyc/2014/04/29/

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