ISTANBUL (JTA) – After initially sounding the all clear in the hours after a devastating earthquake Monday, the Turkish Jewish community now says that two prominent members remain missing in Antakya, a city near the Syrian border with a long Jewish history.
The leader of the Jewish community of Antakya, Saul Cenudioğlu, and his wife Fortuna have been missing since their apartment building collapsed in the first of two quakes on Monday morning, according to Cenudioğlu’s niece Ela.
Ela Cenudioğlu described her uncle as “a visionary leader committed to the Jewish community and the values it represents.” She said he had, since his birth in 1941, lived in Antakya, where the family operated a textile business.
Saul “did everything in his capacity to have the small Jewish community of Antakya thrive and connect with the rest of the communities in Turkey and the world,” she told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “I deeply hope that he and his wife (who has always been a mother to me) come out of this safely, for all I wish is to see his kind smile and hug him again.”
A grim toll is continuing to mount in Turkey, where the official death toll has already exceeded 5,000 and the WHO warns it could surpass 20,000. More than 1,200 buildings were destroyed in Antakya’s province alone and over 6,000 are estimated to have been destroyed across southern Turkey, and rescue teams are racing against time to identify people who might be buried alive under the rubble.
Saul’s brother, Azur Cenudioğlu, was in Antakya during the quake but managed to get out safely, according to Ynet. About his brother and sister-in-law, he said, “I am going back there to look for them and fear I may not find them alive.”
Antakya’s 100-year-old synagogue was also heavily damaged. Video circulated on social media showing community members retrieving Torah scrolls that appeared to be damaged.
— Rabbi Mendy Chitrik (@mchitrik) February 7, 2023
Jews have been present in the city, known in antiquity as Antioch, for millennia, since its founding under the Selucid empire. The city was governed by Antiochus, the villain of the Hanukkah story; is frequently mentioned in the Talmud; and was a major center of Jewish scholarship in ancient times. Once closely associated with the larger Jewish community of neighboring Aleppo, the city’s Jewish population had dwindled to just 14 in recent years.
Now, Turkish Jews say, it’s unlikely that any will remain.
“The end of a 2500 year old love story,” the Turkish Jewish Community’s president, Ishak Ibrahimzade wrote on Twitter.
“Along with our historical Antakya Synagogue, 2500 years of Jewish life came to an end with this great pain…,” the Turkish Jewish community tweeted with a picture of the synagogue’s Torah scrolls being removed from a severely damaged room.
Israeli aid workers from a variety of organizations have landed in Turkey and plan to assist in search, rescue and recovery in the devastated southeastern portion of the country. Many expect to be in the region for weeks to come.
“We’re headed to Gaziantep with emergency relief supplies including water filters, water filtration systems, hygiene kits, mental health and resilience kits,” IsraAid’s spokesperson told JTA. “In the first two weeks we’ll assess the needs on the ground, and explore a wider range, longer term response.”
An immediate concern is providing safe shelter for those who were displaced by the quakes.
“We woke up at 4 a.m. and the house was shaking,” Azur told Ynet. “We left in our pajamas and slippers and were unable to take anything with us. Our prayer shawls and tefillin are all buried under the rubble and we are left with nothing.”
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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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