(New York Jewish Week) – International Holocaust Remembrance Day is on Friday, marking 78 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp. In commemoration of this day, there are numerous events across the city to remember victims and honor survivors of the genocide.
The United Nations designated International Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2005 and, in contrast with Yom HaShoah, which usually falls in late April, the day draws considerable attention from non-Jewish audiences. Since its founding, the day’s capacity to spread messages of stopping bigotry and antisemitism has grown significantly around the world.
Below are concerts, panels and exhibits happening in New York this week aimed at commemorating the day, honoring victims and preventing hate and antisemitism with education and awareness.
1. Yad Vashem’s Book of Names at the United Nations
At the United Nations Headquarters in New York, Yad Vashem is debuting its Book of Names exhibit, which contains the names of 4.8 million victims of the Holocaust. The names come from Yad Vashem’s central database of victims’ names, which they have been collecting since 1954. The opening of the exhibit will be broadcast on UN Web TV on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. and will include remarks from United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan and Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations Gilad Erdan. The exhibit will be open to the public until Feb. 17 at the United Nations (405 East 42nd St.). Free.
2. “Talking About the Holocaust in the 21st Century”
Fordham University will bring historians, authors and scholars together at their Lincoln Center campus for a panel discussion on how governments, media and educators can combat Holocaust denial and antisemitism. The panelists include former PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff, Fordham’s Shvidler Chair in Judaic Studies Magda Teter, Professor of Jewish History at University of Virgina James Loeffler, author Linda Kinstler and Holocaust survivor and educator Eva Paddock. In partnership with the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Under-Told Stories Project of the University of St. Thomas. Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the McNally Amphitheater at Fordham University (140 West 62nd St.). Free and livestream available. Find more information here.
3. “Unmasking Antisemitism”
The Center for Jewish History will host an in-person and livestreamed panel discussion on past and present antisemitism, in collaboration with the United Nations and its new exhibit “#FakeImages: Unmask the Dangers of Stereotypes.” The exhibit, on view until Feb. 21, “challenges antisemitism, stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination and racism by explaining mechanisms of disinformation: propaganda, framing, fake news and conspiracy theory,” according to the UN website. The panel features historians Jonathan Brent (YIVO Institute for Jewish Research), Jason Guberman (American Sephardi Federation), Uffa Jensen (Technical University Berlin), Pamela Nadell (American University), Gavriel Rosenfeld (Center for Jewish History and Fairfield University) and Veerle Vanden Daelen (Kazerne Dossin). Thursday at 6:15 p.m at the Center for Jewish History (15 West 16th St.). $20. Find more information here.
4. “We Are Here: Songs from the Holocaust”
Broadway stars Harvey Fierstein, Chita Rivera and Steven Skybell and other performers will sing 14 songs written in concentration camps and ghettos during the Holocaust at Carnegie Hall. “What better way to say ‘We Are Here’ than to carry on somebody’s voice from 1940, who was murdered?” co-producer Rabbi Charlie Savenor told the New York Jewish Week. Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Carnegie Hall (881 Seventh Ave.). Tickets starting at $18.
5. “Violins of Hope”
Hear the sounds of resilience, via a collection of violins once played by Jewish victims of the Holocaust that were later restored by Israeli father-son duo Amnon and Avshalom Weinstein. Around two dozen of these violins will be played at a special Friday night Shabbat service at Temple Emanu-El by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s before being displayed in an exhibit at the Upper East Side synagogue until March 28. Friday at 6:00 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El (1 East 65th St.). Register for the Kabbalat Shabbat service here. Get the livestream here. Free.
6. “Brundibár” performed by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City
The Museum of Jewish Heritage will host the Young People’s Chorus of New York City as they perform “Brundibár” (“Bumblebee”), which was a children’s opera by Jewish Czech composer Hans Krása that was performed by the children of the Theresienstadt concentration camp. The operetta will be performed by YPC choristers ages 8-11. The program, which will be livestreamed, will also feature covers of songs by Leonard Cohen, Simon & Garfunkel and Leonard Bernstein. Sunday at 3:00 p.m. at the Museum of Jewish Heritage (36 Battery Pl.). Tickets from $5-$36. Register here for the livestream.
7. “The Role of Mass Media in Holocaust Portrayal”
UJA-Federation of New York will host a panel with film producer and director Nancy Spielberg and author and podcaster Mark Oppenheimer about how the Holocaust has been portrayed in the media and the rise in Holocaust denial. The panel is part of the organization’s “Witness Project,” which aims to instill the memory of the Holocaust in the next generation. The virtual event will take place on Monday at 7:30 p.m. Free. Register here.
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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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