NEW YORK NEWS
The New York State Supreme Court Tuesday ruled that the state must reinstate all employees who were fired for not getting the COVID-19 vaccination, ruling the state violated rights and acted arbitrary and capricious. “Being vaccinated does not prevent an individual from contracting or transmitting Covid-19,” the court included in its ruling. As a part of the decision, the court ordered the state to reinstate all fired employees and provide them with back pay. New York City alone saw over 1,400 city workers terminated, many of whom were police officers, firefighters, and sanitation workers. The city and state saw a worker shortage for months after the mandate went into effect. Mayor Eric Adams, when lifting the mandate on athletes and performers back in March, said that he would not rehire unvaccinated city workers. The decision is a major win for anti-mandate advocates, and it comes a week after Pfizer admitted that they never tested if the vaccine stops transmission of the disease before it went to market.
Congressman Lee Zeldin has closed the gap on Governor Kathy Hochul, with one poll showing him up by 1 point in the upcoming election. Zeldin, who was down by an average of 18 points as recently as September 2, has seen a surge in the past few weeks as New Yorkers become more familiar with the Congressman from Long Island. Zeldin attributes the bump to the fact that he is focusing on the top issues on New Yorkers minds, as opposed to Hochul pushing abortion and Trump onto the ballot. “She has been answering that question of what is the most important issue or issues based upon what she wants those issues to become,” Zeldin said. “It’s not how it works. The top issues are not based on what I want the top issues to be. Or what she wants the top issues to be. The top issues are based on whatever New Yorkers say.”
A federal judge in the Western District of New York temporarily blocked part of the new gun laws passed by the New York State legislature and signed by Governor Kathy Hochul, declaring that the restrictions were, “inconsistent with the nation’s historical traditions, impermissibly infringing on the right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.” Judge John L Sinatra, Jr. issued the ruling when two religious leaders in Buffalo, joined by the Firearms Policy Coalition and Second Amendment Foundation, challenged the law declaring that places of worship or religious observance were “sensitive” locations that gun rights did not apply. This lawsuit is one of several brought after New York passed these laws in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning a century-old concealed carry law. Another lawsuit, backed by the New York Jewish Gun Club, is expected to have its preliminary hearings this week.
Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams announced the “Cops, Cameras, Care” initiative, a plan to add additional police officers and surveillance cameras to the subway system. The plan was announced at Grand Central Terminal, but many were quick to point out that the action is being taken two weeks before Election Day and the day after a poll showed Congressman Lee Zeldin up by one point against Hochul. The Hochul campaign denies any connection between the two, yet Zeldin hammered the point during a campaign speech. “17 days before an election she’s putting NYPD on the subways,” he told the crowd at Beth Gavriel Community Center in Forest Hills, “not August 2021 when she comes in, not February 2022 when everyone is begging for it. 17 days before an election, the day after she gets a bad poll.” Adams was similarly criticized to be “victim-blaming” when he commented on “Good Day New York” that subway riders should not use headphones or look at their phones while in transit.
Yeshiva University announced the formation of a new student club that “presents an approved traditional Orthodox alternative to YU Pride Alliance and a commitment to strengthen our on-campus support services,” according to a school announcement email. The club, which will be called the Kol Yisrael Areivim Club, comes after a lengthy lawsuit that has garnered the attention of religious freedom advocates nationwide. After the Supreme Court ruled that YU could not stop the formation of the YU Pride Alliance until the proper legal options had been exhausted, the University shut down all student clubs awaiting a judge’s ruling. This decision is seen as a compromise between the University and its LGBT undergraduates, who seek affirmation by the Modern Orthodox school. In a statement, Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University, said, “We are eager to support and facilitate the religious growth and personal life journeys of all of our students to lead authentic Torah lives, and we hope that this Torah-based initiative with a new student club tailored to Yeshiva’s undergraduate LGBTQ students will provide them with meaningful support to do so.” Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva University, stated further, “I add my blessing to this initiative and new student club, which we hope deepens our students’ commitment to the Torah and leads to harmony in our Yeshiva University community.” Yeshiva said they will continue to defend against the claim that it is not a religious institution in court.
Former Yeshiva University basketball star Ryan Turell took a major step toward realizing his dream of becoming the first Orthodox Jew to play in the NBA. Turell was drafted 27th overall by the Motor City Cruise, the Detroit Pistons’ affiliate in the G League, which is the NBA’s minor league organization. After going undrafted during June’s NBA draft, Turell is now officially part of an NBA franchise and has drawn closer to the highest echelon of professional basketball.
The Center for Disease Control’s independent vaccine advisers voted to add COVID-19 vaccines to the childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization schedules. The 15-0 vote was part of an annual update of vaccination schedules that are expected to go into effect the following year. While the CDC has no power to enforce any vaccine, the schedule is used as the standard by states when deciding which vaccinations are required for students to attend schools. Partisan lines were immediately drawn, with many Republican state leaders vowing to never force students to take a COVID -19 vaccination until the data suggests that it is necessary - something that the CDC did not provide. In New York, which is going to the polls to decide a new Governor, the stark contrast between the two sides was evident. While Governor Kathy Hochul demurred when asked, saying, “That will be something that the state legislature will be reviewing in consultation with our Commissioner of Health in the next couple of months,” her opponent Lee Zeldin was far more emphatic. “As Governor,” he tweeted, “I will oppose mandating the COVID vaccine for grade school, college, employment or otherwise. Kathy Hochul needs to let the public immediately know exactly where she stands on this issue that is extremely important for so many New Yorkers.”
President Joe Biden announced that he will again tap the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve ahead of the midterm elections in a bid to keep down the price of oil as Saudi Arabia announced that it will be cutting back on production. Biden told reporters that the move is “not politically motivated at all,” which caused critics to scoff. Former Energy Secretary Rick Perry wrote in an op-ed, “The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was created as a backup energy supply in emergency scenarios. Historically, tapping into the SPR has not been taken lightly. Before Biden, U.S. presidents have authorized emergency sales from the SPR only three times – during the first Gulf War, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and to counter supply disruptions from Libya’s civil war. It is unacceptable for the Biden administration to use our emergency oil reserves as a political tool to temporarily lower gas prices ahead of the election.” The SPR is at the lowest levels since the summer of 1984.
The Coalition for Jewish Values called on Anti-Defamation League President Jonathan Greenblatt to resign after the organization accused Fox News host Tucker Carlson of going “full nazi.” “Tucker Carlson has again used his platform to stoke racial tensions, falsely and dangerously accusing a Black MSNBC host of instigating a genocide against white people,” the ADL tweeted. “His incitement and his trivialization of the Rwandan genocide must be forcefully condemned.” Tucker was criticizing host Tiffany Cross for her consistent segments on the evils of white people, which many see as anti-white racism. “Minimizing the Holocaust is never acceptable, “ said CJV President Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld, “and to compare anyone to a Nazi does just that unless that person is calling for genocide or at least inciting violence. Were the ADL even minimally competent, it would call out, not endorse, a ridiculous tweet claiming that Tucker Carlson ‘went full Nazi.’ Under Greenblatt, the ADL is incompetent to fight antisemitism at a time when it is on the rise. He must step down.”
The National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the “nation’s report card,” released data showing the nation’s math and reading scores have plummeted after the COVID lockdowns. No state or big city saw an increase in math test scores, while the national average math score for fourth grade fell five points since 2019, from 241 to 236 out of a possible 500, and eight points for eighth grade, from 282 to 274. “These mathematics results are historic,” said Peggy Carr of the National Center for Education Statistics, the research branch of the US Department of Education that administers the test. “[T]hey are the largest declines in mathematics we have observed in the entire history of this assessment.”
Adidas has terminated its relationship with rapper Kanye West (also known as Ye) after a series of anti-Semitic comments, a move that could cost the apparel company $650 million, according to Forbes. “Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the company said in a statement Tuesday. “Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.” This move was preceded by West’s blocking on social media sites like Twitter, being dropped from JP Morgan Chase as a client, as well as talent agency CAA.
Israelis are headed to the polls for the fifth election in three years, and the first since the coalition government disbanded. Polling in the Jewish State currently has the country split yet again, with former PM Bibi Netanyahu’s block with 60 seats, 1 short of recapturing the majority. PM Yair Lapid, in an effort to rally the Arab vote to his Yesh Atid party, vowed to not allow Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, which is the current law. Speaking to an Israeli Arab news channel, Lapid re-affirmed that the status quo will not be changed. “We allow Jewish visits. We do not allow Jewish prayers on the Temple Mount,” he said. “We allow Jewish visits. They visit. It is under supervision so that the status quo is not violated. The status quo is not violated.” Muslims are allowed to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, but Israeli police prevent any Jewish prayer from occurring.
The British Parliament has undergone another leadership change this week as Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned after only 45 days on the job, and was replaced with Rishi Sunak. Sunak, the United Kingdom’s first non-white Prime Minister, is also the first Prime Minister to achieve the blessing of the new monarch of England, King Charles III. The former Finance Minister, at 42, is the youngest PM in over 200 years, and is seen as someone who can pull Britain out of its economic tailspin. With a net worth of around $825 million, Sunak is wealthier than the King of England.
Xi Jinping secured a historic third term as the leader of China on Sunday, cementing his status as the country’s most powerful figure in decades and extending his authoritarian rule over the world’s second-largest economy. Xi’s third five-year term became official when he was the first to walk out onstage at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, where a twice-a-decade congress of the ruling Chinese Communist Party wrapped up Saturday. He was followed in descending order of rank by the six other members of the new Politburo Standing Committee, China’s top leadership body. Xi is breaking with tradition by remaining in office, having amended the Chinese Constitution in 2018 to remove the two-term limit on the presidency. The Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping introduced the limit in 1982 to prevent a return to a Mao-style cult of personality.