A 19-year-old from West Hempstead was tragically killed in a car accident in Jerusalem. Adira Koffsky was hit by a car whose driver lost control in a rainstorm. A 2022 graduate of Yeshiva University Girls High School, Koffsky was studying in seminary Midreshet Amudim, located just a few blocks from the accident site.  Adira went to Hebrew Academy of Nassau County until 8th grade.  “The entire Amudim family is shattered, our hearts are broken and we are in shock and pain over the loss of our beloved student,” the seminary wrote in a statement. “All words of wisdom or comfort are empty at this moment.”

 New York City says that it will no longer require the Covid-19 vaccination shots for municipal employees including police officers, firefighters and teachers.  NYC once had the nation’s strictest workplace vaccination rules for Covid-19, and the easing of these mandates is the latest sign of the state finally getting into a post-pandemic reality. Visitors to city schools will also no longer be required to provide proof of at least one dose of the vaccine to enter. “With more than 96 percent of city workers and more than 80 percent of New Yorkers having received their primary Covid-19 series and more tools readily available to keep us healthy, this is the right moment for this decision,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement. This decision comes less than two weeks after Governor Kathy Hochul said she would not rehire healthcare workers who are not vaccinated.  

 An off-duty NYPD officer is in critical condition after he was shot in Brooklyn during an apparent robbery. Adeed Fayaz, 24 year, remains at Brookdale University Hospital in grave condition, according to police. New York City Mayor Eric Adams said Saturday that Fayaz -- a husband and father of two -- was “fighting for his life.” The officer was trying to buy a car with his brother-in-law on Facebook marketplace when the alleged shooter, Randy Jones, asked whether either of them was carrying a gun. When they said no, Jones allegedly put Fayaz in a headlock, pointed a gun at him, and demanded money. Fayaz broke free and Jones shot him in the head. The brother-in-law took a gun from Fayaz’s holster and returned fire, getting off six shots before Jones fled in a 2011 BMW, according to authorities. Police tracked the car to Jones’ mother.  The 38-year-old man has been arrested in Rockland County, where he was found hiding out in a hotel, according to police.


A New York State Police Trooper who patrolled the Sprain Book and Taconic State Parkways in Westchester County is charged with issuing dozens of falsified traffic tickets.  One of the tickets was allegedly made out against a person who was already dead. The Westchester County District Attorney says Edward Longo, 34, of Yorktown, is charged with 32 counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a felony, and eight counts of Official Misconduct, a misdemeanor. He was arrested on January 31.



The Chinese spy balloon that traversed the continental United States has been shot down. President Joe Biden claimed he ordered the military to shoot down the balloon when it was spotted over Montana last Wednesday, but they did not do so until it traveled all the way to South Carolina on Saturday.  U.S. officials said that improvements ordered by President Biden to strengthen defenses against Chinese espionage helped identify last week’s spy balloon — and determine that similar flights were conducted at multiple points during the Trump administration. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that after Biden took office, the U.S. “enhanced our surveillance of our territorial airspace, we enhanced our capacity to be able to detect things that the Trump administration was unable to detect.” 


Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was removed from her post on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In a straight party line vote, Republicans removed Omar after she had made what Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) recently described as “repeated anti-Semitic and anti-American remarks” throughout her time as a member of the House.  The new precedent of the Majority removing members of the Minority Party was set by Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she removed Marjorie Taylor Green from all committee assignments for comments made before she was elected.  Unlike Green, Omar is going to remain on several committees during her current term in the House.   

 A Maryland woman conspired with a Florida neo-Nazi leader to carry out an attack on several electrical substations in the Baltimore area, officials said Monday. The arrest of Sarah Beth Clendaniel, of Baltimore County, was the latest in a series across the country as authorities warn electrical infrastructure could be a vulnerable target for domestic terrorists.


Police have arrested a man suspected of firing a gun loaded with blanks inside a San Francisco Chabad synagogue. The man was arrested Friday evening in the Richmond District on suspicion of disturbing a religious assembly, brandishing an imitation firearm, and causing another to refrain from engaging in a religious service, police said in a statement. Dmitri Mishin, 51, of San Francisco was booked into jail shortly before 12:30 a.m. Saturday and was being held without bail, according to a San Francisco Sheriff’s Office website.


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) unveiled Monday a statewide plan to ban TikTok from state government-issued devices and networks, following a December order to crack down on the use of the popular social media app. “The security risks associated with the use of TikTok on devices used to conduct the important business of our state must not be underestimated or ignored,” Abbott said in a statement. “Owned by a Chinese company that employs Chinese Communist Party members, TikTok harvests significant amounts of data from a user’s device, including details about a user’s internet activity,” he added. The statewide plan would prevent the download or use of TikTok and other prohibited technologies on state-issued devices, including cellphones, laptops, tablets and desktop computers.  President Joe Biden was asked about banning the Chinese spyware app TikTok, to which he replied, “Ban TikTok? Well that—the answer I’m not sure. I know I don’t have it on my phone.”


U.S. credit card debt jumped 18.5% and hit a record $930.6 billion. On the heels of another rate hike this week by the Federal Reserve, credit card annual percentage rates are already near 20%, on average, and set to climb even higher. At the same time, more consumers are leaning on credit to afford increasingly expensive necessities, like food and rent. “Whether it’s shopping for a new car or buying eggs in the grocery store, consumers continue to be impacted in ways big and small by both high inflation and the interest rate hikes implemented by the Federal Reserve,” said Michele Raneri, vice president of U.S. research and consulting at TransUnion. Overall, an additional 202 million new credit accounts were opened in the fourth quarter, led by originations among Generation Z, or adults ages 18 to 25, and the tally of total credit cards hit a record 518.4 million. The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rates by an additional 0.25 percentage points.


Dell on Monday announced plans to lay off 5% of its workforce, or about 6,650 employees, according to an SEC filing. The cuts at Dell come as demand for PCs and laptops has slowed globally. Global shipments of PCs were down 28% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to industry analysts at IDC. Computer shipments at Dell fell 37% for that same period, while competitors Lenovo, HP, and Apple were down 28%, 29% and 2%, respectively. In a memo to employees, Jeff Clarke, co-chief operating officer at Dell, said the cuts were made in an effort to “stay ahead of downturn impacts.” He said the moves Dell had already implemented, like limiting travel, pausing external hiring, and reducing outside services spending, were no longer sufficient. “Unfortunately, with changes like this, some members of our team will be leaving the company,” Clarke said. “There is no tougher decision, but one we had to make for our long-term health and success.” 



Israel NEWS


Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s national EMS organization, and Hatzolah Air, an American aviation organization that provides emergency medical air transport, have formed a partnership that will put MDA’s flight paramedics aboard Hatzolah Air and MDA Medevac helicopters to provide medical evacuations in Israel. Hatzolah Air, headquartered in New York, operates a fleet of Medevac aircraft and receives dozens of requests each month for aviation rescues in the US, Israel, and many other countries globally. “This partnership will ensure that seriously injured and critically ill Israelis who find themselves far from medical facilities will get the lifesaving care they need,” said Eli Bin, director-general of Magen David Adom. “And it is another connection between MDA and the American Hatzolah movement, strengthening the cooperative relationship we’ve long had.” 


Israel expects to fully normalize ties with Sudan sometime later this year, Israel’s foreign minister said Thursday, after returning from a lightning diplomatic mission to the Sudanese capital. Eli Cohen spoke to reporters after a one-day trip to Khartoum that included high-level meetings with military leaders, including Sudan’s ruling general Abdel-Fattah Burhan, who led a coup that overturned the country’s transitional government in 2021. “The agreement is expected to be signed this year and it will be the fourth” such accord, Cohen said, referring to the U.S.-brokered normalization deals with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco in 2020.


Israel’s West Bank settler population now makes up more than half a million people, a pro-settler group said Thursday, crossing a major threshold. Settler leaders predicted even faster population growth under Israel’s new ultranationalist government. The report, by and based on official figures, showed the settler population grew to 502,991 as of Jan. 1, rising more than 2.5% in 12 months and nearly 16% over the last five years. “We’ve reached a huge hallmark,” said Baruch Gordon, the director of the group and a resident of the Beit El settlement. “We’re here to stay.”

 Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered Saturday for a weekly demonstration against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu government’s proposed judicial overhauls, which opponents say threaten Israel’s democratic values. The protesters marched at two locations in Tel Aviv, waving flags and chanting slogans against the justice minister. Prime Minister Netanyahu harshly criticized what he said was a “growing wave” of threats directed at himself and other officials, after a leader of the anti-government protests appeared to call for his assassination. “It seemed that all boundaries had been crossed by threats against elected officials and myself, but this is not the case, because we have now heard and seen an explicit threat to murder the prime minister of Israel,” said Netanyahu in a statement.





One of the most powerful earthquakes to hit Turkey in a century has a death toll of over 7,100 people. The quake struck 14.2 miles east of Nurdagi, in Turkey’s Gaziantep province, at a depth of 14.9 miles, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said. A series of aftershocks reverberated through the region in the immediate hours after the initial incident. A magnitude 6.7 aftershock followed 11 minutes after the first quake hit, but the largest temblor, which measured 7.5 in magnitude, struck about nine hours later at 1:24 p.m., according to the USGS. That 7.5 magnitude aftershock, which struck around 59 miles north of the initial quake, is the strongest of more than 100 aftershocks that have been recorded so far. Rescuers are now racing against time and the elements to pull survivors out from under debris on both sides of the border. More than 5,700 buildings in Turkey have collapsed, according to the country’s disaster agency.


An Istanbul-based rabbi says he has been in contact with the Jewish communities in the areas of Turkey hit by two powerful earthquakes and “they are all fine — praise G-d.” Rabbi Mendy Chitrik, the head of the Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic States, says that while the Jewish community members all seem to be safe, he is not yet sure if there was any damage to their synagogues. Chitrik, a Chabad rabbi who leads the country’s Ashkenazi Jewish community, says he is heading to southern Turkey now.


Tens of thousands of nurses and ambulance staff walked off the job in the U.K. in what unions called the biggest strike in the history of the country’s public health system. The walkout is the latest in a wave of strikes that has disrupted Britons’ lives for months, as workers — especially in the public sector — demand pay raises to keep pace with double-digit inflation. Teachers, train drivers, airport baggage handlers, border staff, driving instructors, bus drivers, and postal workers also have all walked off their jobs in recent months to demand higher pay.