Synagogue challenges state abortion law, COVID in South Florida, Miami gets first Michelin stars
A religious institution argues in favor of abortion rights. Florida reverses decision not to preorder COVID-19 vaccines for kids amid a surge in cases. Several Miami restaurants earns high marks from the prestigious Michelin restaurant ratings.
South Florida synagogue vs. the state
Florida's new law banning abortions after 15 weeks goes into effect July 1. It comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 5 in April.
Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics have already filed lawsuits earlier this month aiming to block the law.
Now, there's another lawsuit, this time filed last week by the Jewish Congregation L'Dor Va-Dor in Boynton Beach.
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The synagogue’s lawsuit alleges that HB 5 violates Floridians' constitutional rights to privacy and religious freedom.
Rabbi Barry Silver is a former Democratic state legislator and attorney representing the congregation in the case.
"This law disregards the welfare of the mother and places the rights of a fetus above a mother and Judaism, and is not only something that we're entitled to," Silver said. "It's required of women to undergo abortion if necessary, to protect their health and well-being."
Florida’s abortion law is similar to a bill passed in Mississippi which, based on the leaked draft of the opinion, could be used by the U.S Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. That final ruling is expected near the end of June.
The congregation's websitedescribes its religion as an "all-inclusive, universal, and rational approach to Judaism."
"We interpret it according to science and according to reason, and, as the rabbi of Congregation L'Dor Va-Dor, to help shed light on a rational approach to all of these issues," Silver said. "But one thing we all agree on — and we find it arrogant and self-righteous for people to think that they need to teach Jewish people about the sanctity of life."
The state of COVID-19 in South Florida
Miami-Dade County officials announced Thursday that the county has made a deal with the Utah-based Nomi Health tocontinue free COVID-19 testing and vaccinations at more than a dozen sites across the county.
This comes just a few days after Mayor Daniella Levine Cava notified county commissioners the free services would end next month for people without insurance due to a lack of federal funding.
Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease specialist at Florida International University, joined us.
"We need to protect our children — so reversing that position is exactly the right thing for Governor DeSantis to do, and I'm very glad he's done it," Marty said.
She said we're experiencinga sixth wave of COVID, characterized by a surge in cases that has a more shallow curve than the one people saw from the original omicron variant, so an incremental change is happening more slowly. She cited a lag in testing in COVID-19 coupled with a tremendous fatigue about health measures as contributors to this surge.
"The individual always had some of the burden to protect themselves and their family, But now much more of it is on you," she said. "People are speaking as if there used to be a COVID 19 pandemic. And unfortunately, it's not over."
In addition, more people are doing rapid antigen tests at home that are going unreported, giving an unclear picture of what the total numbers are.
Miami gets Michelin stars
For decades, Miami has had its role on the global stage — hosting major events from Formula One to the FIFA World Cup (which was announced last week). Now, Miami's food scene has reached another level.
Carlos Frias, the Miami Herald's food and dining editor and recipient of a James Beard award, said the recognition reinforces Miami's preeminence as an international destination for food.
"Well, I think that the guide would never have come here, no matter how much money the state would have paid if they didn't believe Miami had world class culinary talent," said.
The restaurant Tinta y Café in Coral Gables earned one of the state's 29 Bib Gourmand awards. It's a designation that recognizes great food at a great value.
Sachi Statz, the chef and co-owner of the restaurant, said this recognition helps Miami push the envelope when it comes to food.
"A lot of people are coming down here from New York and California and Chicago. So I feel like they've elevated the expectation that people would have here. And I do think that the palate of people in Florida is changing for the better," she said.