News Briefs: Edelman First Jewish Super Bowl MVP

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Julian Edelman First Jew to Be Named Super Bowl MVP

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was named the Most Valuable Player in Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3, becoming the first Jewish player to receive that honor, JTA reported.

Edelman caught 10 passes for 141 yards in a defense-dominated game won by the Patriots 13-3. Eight of his receptions resulted in first downs.

Edelman, 32, has a Jewish father, but was not raised in the religion, although he has often displayed his Jewish pride. Earlier this year, he wore cleats with Hebrew on them to honor the victims of the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh.

Airbnb West Bank Policy Draws Florida’s Scrutiny

Because Airbnb removed listings of rentals in West Bank Jewish settlements, Florida placed it on its list of scrutinized companies, JTA reported.

“This is not a policy that applies to all these disputed territories evenhandedly,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Jan. 29. “It singles out Israeli Jews in the West Bank. It does not apply the same delisting to Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank, and that is wrong and that runs afoul of Florida law.”

Airbnb said in November it was removing 200 listings in the settlements, but not in Palestinian communities.

DeSantis and his cabinet placed Airbnb on the scrutiny list after a state Board of Administration recommendation. Airbnb has three months to respond.

If Airbnb becomes a public company, Florida could ban its pension fund from investing in it. In addition, DeSantis has prohibited state employees from staying at Airbnb homes while on state business.

Airbnb responded to the news via a statement.

“We unequivocally reject and oppose the BDS movement and are disappointed by today’s vote,” the company said.

ABC Orders Two Pilots Based on Israeli Shows

Two new ABC pilot programs are based on Israeli television series, according to The Times of Israel.

Until the Wedding is based on a show of the same name, while The Baker and the Beauty is based on the show Lehiyot Ita, or Being With Her.

The former explores how a couple’s marriage decision impacts everyone in their lives, while the latter is a romantic comedy about an international superstar and a blue collar baker.

Jewish Actor Jussie Smollett Reports Assault

Jewish actor Jussie Smollett, who is best known for his role in Empire, told police he was assaulted Jan. 29 by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs, nbcnews.com reported.

The assailants allegedly wrapped a rope around Smollett’s neck, punched him in the face and poured a chemical believed to be bleach on him. The event occurred in the early morning hours in the upscale Streeterville neighborhood.

Smollett, 36, went to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Chicago police said they are treating the incident as a possible hate crime and are looking for video and potential witnesses as they search for the suspects.

Smollett, who is black, came out as gay in 2015. He was born to a Jewish father and a black mother, according to JTA. l

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Andy Gotlieb is the managing editor of the Jewish Exponent. He holds 31 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too. Prior newspaper stops include the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Tampa Tribune and the Philadelphia Business Journal. The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various times, business, politics, crime and government, among other beats. The final 2.5 years in that stretch was an editor at the Philadelphia Business Journal, where my responsibilities included complete control over a weekly section and working with both staff writers and freelancers. In late 2005, I switched gears and began working in public relations for the next decade. I learned the ins and outs of public relations -- including being on the other side of the media-PR equation -- and made numerous contacts. I rejoined the ranks of journalism in March 2016, starting as the managing editor of the Jewish Exponent.

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