OF NOTE- People In The News: Thursday, November 14

November 14, 2019 Editorial Staff
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People In The News

RABBI ELI COHEN of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council attended a press conference this week hosted by Brooklyn Borough President ERIC ADAMS and the Anti-Defamation League to announce $250,000 in additional funding for anti-bias education in the borough. “No Place for Hate,” a nationwide, in-school program administered by the ADL, is getting a particular boost in Brooklyn’s schools due to a recent spate of anti-Semitic hate crimes. “The repeated violence and harassment of Orthodox Jews in this borough is unacceptable and must stop now,” said ADL CEO JONATHAN GREENBLATT, standing alongside Cohen and Adams in the Borough Hall Rotunda on Tuesday. Between 2016 and 2017, New York City saw a 90 percent jump in anti-Semitic incidents, according to an ADL audit. In 2018, 13 out of 17 reported anti-Semitic assaults in the city took place in Brooklyn. “Since extremist, hate-filled rhetoric has become awakened and stoked across this country — particularly in Crown Heights right here in Brooklyn — this unacceptable behavior is increasingly becoming the norm for some,” said Adams. With the additional funding, the “No Place for Hate” program will begin operating in as many as 40 Brooklyn schools during the 2019-2020 school year. 

Community leaders will gather Friday for the “dance-off of the decade,” the tenth annual Stars of New York Dance competition, which pairs community “stars” with choreographers from dance studios around the city, then pits them against one another to compete for charitable prize money. The victors will donate their spoils to dance education programs of their choice. This year’s competition will be hosted by NY1’s ERROL LOUIS and will honor U.S. Rep. HAKEEM JEFFRIES. State Sen. KEVIN PARKER, who took first place in the 2012 competition, has teamed up once again with choreographer ZAKIYA HARRIS of Asase Yaa African Dance Theater to reclaim his title. City Councilmember LAURIE CUMBO, Legal Services NYC Brooklyn Project President BETTY STATON and pillars of the city’s business community, including TERI COAXUM and ELWANDA YOUNG, will also take part, with help from pros at local dance studios, including Cumbe: Center for African Diaspora Dance, Dance Theater of Brooklyn, Pure Onyx Movement and more. The competition begins at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts on the LIU Brooklyn campus. Visit for tickets and more info. 

Councilmember Laurie Cumbo. Photo via Twitter; Rabbi Eli Cohen. Photo via Twitter; Founder of Coaxum Connects, LLC Teri Coaxum. Photo via

Brooklyn-based tech entrepreneurs JOE HOLLIER and KAIWEI TANG want to radically change your (probably) addictive relationship with your smart phone — by making it a little less smart. Hollier and Tang are the makers of an ultra-minimalist device called the “light phone,” a stripped-down smartphone that does little more than make calls, send texts and tell time. The founders worked out of a community workspace in Bushwick for about a year before moving in 2016 to the New Lab, an office space for tech startups at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. They raised more than $3.5 million since 2018 to build the second iteration of the phone, called simply “light,” which the pair began shipping out in September. Tang told the Brooklyn Eagle that the company has already sold “tens of thousands of units,” mostly to people interested in breaking their smartphone addiction, and to parents who want to give their young children a phone for emergencies, without all the apps. Tang and Hollier pledge the product “will never have feeds, social media, advertisements, news or email,” even as an added web portal in the latest version allows for more features. “There is no infinity, just intention,” the company’s website reads.

TALI OVADIA is also in the business of bringing minimalist concepts to Brooklyn, this time in the restaurant world. Her no-decisions-necessary Williamsburg restaurant “Whole Bowl” opened at 488 Metropolitan Avenue on Monday, with only a single item on the menu. The “whole bowl” contains rice, beans, avocado, olives, sour cream, cheese, cilantro, salsa and a signature lemon garlic sauce that one Gothamist reviewer described as “addictive.” The meal comes in three sizes — Bambino, Big Bowl and Insatiabowl —ranging in price from $8.95 to $11.95. For crowds of 8 to 10, a “Hyperbowle” size is also available for $69.95. The Williamsburg bowlery, with its clean and bright reclaimed-wood interior, is the 12th location in Ovadia’s growing rice-and-beans empire, which she founded in Portland in 2001. “Nothing has changed,” Ovadia told Brooklyn Paper. “It’s that thing, ‘If it ain’t broke’ — and it wasn’t.”

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