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That time a dreidel balloon deflated and other Jewish tales from Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

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The secret Jewish history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade


Sure, it’s the official kickoff to the Yuletide season, but look past the singing Christmas trees and you might find some Yiddishkeit to relate to. Like in 2013, when the rare convergence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving led to an ill-fated dreidel balloon that began to deflate somewhere along Central Park West. Or that time a Jewish couple crashed the parade and marched in front of Santa’s float for about 20 blocks. (One of St. Nick’s toy soldiers eventually exposed them.)


And who could forget when Israel announced it was going to host its own Thanksgiving Day Parade through the streets of Jerusalem?. The producer of the New York event was even going to fly in to supervise, along with several giant balloons from the Macy’s collection. That 2018 parade was confusingly called “Together: Marching with World Jewry” and meant to encourage solidarity in the aftermath of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre.


But Macy’s apparently never got the memo. One news outlet sighed: “Deflating hopes, Jerusalem parade to be ‘in spirit of Macy’s.”


Read the story ➤


Got a Jewish story about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Let us know.



If you want to get up out of your seat to dance during the Yiddish ‘Fiddler,’ that’s fine. (Jeremy Daniel)

Yiddish ‘Fiddler’ returns, a stirring reminder of Jewish loss and revival: The Folksbiene’s award-winning production of “Fiddler on the Roof” opened its third off-Broadway run this month. In his review, our PJ Grisar writes how the show is as “unmissable” as before, highlighting as it does a different dimension of the musical we know. “Yiddish was a gutting cultural loss for countless Jewish families, the production makes clear, as others can’t,” he wrote, but a “central joy” is how the play serves as a kind of “revival.” Read the story ➤


Opinion | Despite childhood bullying, I’m proud of my Indian Jewish identity: Sarah Brill grew up in the Southwest, toggling between two compartmentalized parts of herself: her American Jewish experience, and the Indian experience. Brill’s mother and grandmother are from a community of Jews in India said to descend from one of the Lost Tribes, and she writes of how she suffered daily harassment from teachers and classmates. “I did not fit the mold,” she recalls. “I was the only Jewish Indian, and the only Jew, in a school swimming with people who did not understand what on Earth I was.” Read her essay ➤

Your turn: Some readers disagreed with the advice our Bintel Brief podcast hosts offered to a CEO who found a 40-year-old photo of a white employee dressed as Michael Jackson in blackface. Here’s what they had to say.



‘This was not an idle threat,’ New York Mayor Eric Adams said at a Monday news conference. (Courtesy)

A tip from a Jewish security organization helped lead to the arrest of two suspects Saturday in connection with online threats to attack a New York City synagogue. The Community Security Initiative, a group created by UJA-Federation of New York and its affiliated Jewish Community Relations Council, discovered threatening tweets on Friday morning and brought the information to law enforcement.


‘This was not an idle threat,” New York Mayor Eric Adams said on Monday, adding that the suspects had a “plan to murder members of the Jewish community in our city.” Added Eric Goldstein, the CEO of UJA-Federation of New York: “The next Pittsburgh or Poway synagogue massacre was averted.” Read the story ➤


Meanwhile, more details emerged about the two men charged in the plot. Christopher Brown told authorities that he ran a white supremacist Twitter group and that Matthew Mahrer, the grandson of a Holocaust survivor, was one of his followers. Brown also said the pair went to  St. Patrick’s Cathedral in midtown Manhattan to “get the blessings” before the attack.



Sheldon and Miriam Adelson gave $176 million to the GOP and conservative groups in the 2020 election cycle. (Getty)

🇮🇱  Birthright Israel is cutting the number of free trips it plans to offer by up to a third, the organization announced Monday. Officials cited inflation and rising travel costs, but the Adelson Family Foundation, Birthright’s largest donor, has also reduced its annual gift since the death of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson; the foundation plans to give Birthright $10 million in 2023, down from $20 million this year and an average of $35 million to $40 million over the last 15 years. (JTA, Haaretz)


🇺🇸  Kanye West said he is running for president and that Milo Yiannopoulos, a far-right provocateur, is his campaign manager. Meanwhile, Yair Netanyahu, the son of incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, responded to West’s “Shalom” tweet with a meandering thread about his own anti-globalism, fight against “woke progressive crazy cancel cloture” and fervor for “strengthening Christian identity” in the U.S. and Europe. “I understand u have a problem with a few Jews in Hollywood,” the younger Netanyahu wrote. “What does that got to do with millions of Jewish babies and children?” (NY Daily News, YouTube, Twitter)


🤔  Six months after a lawsuit accused him of mishandling an allegation of sexual assault at Camp Ramah, Rabbi Ethan Linden has a new job: director of education at the Shalom Hartman Institute. (JTA)


✍  Hundreds have signed an online petition to stop Carmen Ortega, who has 2.5 million Instagram followers, from launching a skiwear line due to recent posts that some deemed antisemitic. Ortega said she is suing The Jerusalem Post for libel for reporting on the posts. (Aspen Times)


🗣  University of Michigan police officers are searching for a man who allegedly accosted a female student earlier this month and made antisemitic statements, which they described as “ethnic intimidation.” (Jewish Journal)


💍  Jewish marriage rites are robust. Now a rabbi is innovating rituals for Jews who divorce. “One person ‘tashliched’ their wedding ring into the river,” said Rabbi Deborah Newbrun. (JTA)


Shiva calls ➤  Moris Albahari, a Holocaust survivor and one of the last Ladino speakers in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s dwindling Jewish community, died at 93 … Jay Pasachoff, an astronomer who likely saw more solar eclipses — 74 — than any other human in history, died at 79. 


What else we’re reading ➤  Zambia welcomed its first new rabbi in more than 75 years … How an old postcard helped Jewish heirs retrieve their Kandinsky painting from a Dutch museum … There was a rare sighting of endangered gazelles in Jerusalem.

What we’re listening to ➤  Our opinion editor, Laura E. Adkins, is on the latest episode of Yehuda Kurtzer’s “Identity/Crisis” podcast, talking about how Jewish media can provide a critical public square for communal discourse in fractured times. Listen here, or wherever you get your podcasts.


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On this day in history (1995): “Toy Story” was released in theaters. The animated classic features a soundtrack by Randy Newman, an Academy Award-winning film composer. Newman grew up unaware of his Jewish background, and, at age 9, even asked his father “What is a Jew?” after a friend’s family uninvited him to a country club because he was Jewish. Here are Newman’s seven most Jewish songs ➤ 

In honor of Rodney Dangerfield’s 101st birthday, we remember the comedian’s legendary sandwich.


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Our Yiddish editor, Rukhl Schaechter, is here for you on every holiday. In today’s episode, she’ll not only teach you how to say stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie, but also phrases like “Judging from the belly button, you can see how large the turkey is.” Zayt gezunt!




Thanks to Nora Berman, PJ Grisar, Lauren Markoe, Sarah Nachimson and Talya Zax for contributing to today’s newsletter. You can reach the “Forwarding” team at 


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