(New York Jewish Week) – Hip-hop music blasted through loudspeakers as about a dozen models strutted up and down a makeshift runway. Some of them wore cream knit loungewear, while others were clad in modest but elegant dresses accessorized with silk scarves.
The models, many of them student volunteers from Chelsea’s Fashion Institute of Technology, were donning “The Jewish Uniform,” at least as defined by the minds of Havurah, a cohort of self-described “frum” (religiously observant) New York-based 20-somethings aspiring to create a “renaissance of Jewish art.” In addition to the fashion show, Havurah has hosted readings, Torah study and concerts, and the group recently launched “Verklempt!,” a Jewish literary magazine.
Last Thursday evening, “The Jewish Uniform” highlighted 13 Jewish designers whose levels of experience ranged from amateurs to well-established brands like Batsheva, whose signature modest dresses and ultra-feminine womenswear first made a big splash in 2016. Directed by Havurah co-founders Daniella Messer and Eitan Gutenmacher — both 20-year-old students at New York University — the show’s looks were curated by Ashley Finkel, a 26-year-old e-commerce coordinator at La Perla and styled and staged by Lily Paige Sausen, 26, who runs an online vintage store.
Havurah’s motive is to create Jewish art and to understand the intersection of art and Judaism. The fashion show, in particular, aimed to celebrate and explore what makes an outfit Jewish — at least through an observant lens.
“The intention of the show was to use fashion as a medium to bring together a community of creatives in NYC,” Finkel told the New York Jewish Week. “We’re very happy with how the evening turned out.”
Around 120 people attended the show, which took place in the outdoor space underneath the bulbous curve of the architecturally unique Tribeca Synagogue (49 White St.), an Orthodox congregation. The downtown neighborhood is now known for its hip loft buildings, but it was once a center of the textile and cotton trade industries in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
“I thought it was really cool to be able to show my looks in a Jewish show,” said Yarden Sopher-Harelick, a 24-year-old designer and FIT graduate who had three outfits in the show, including a blazer dress fashioned out of bubble wrap and a seatbelt.
Batsheva Hay, the Orthodox designer who runs the eponymous brand, donated four dresses to the show, though she wasn’t able to attend herself.
Each “Jewish Uniform” runway look had a tongue-in-cheek title and description that was presented in an accompanying program for the show, allowing the creative directors to build on their thesis about what makes an outfit Jewish — and to poke some lighthearted fun at Jewish customs as well. Take “The Yenta,” who wears a white blouse, pearls and a long black skirt: “She attends shul for one purpose: the tea. It’s piping hot, just like her outfit,” the program read.
The “Shabbat Snoozer” — a loose, comfortable, matching set in navy — was described as “the classic combination of a food coma and a few hours to spare before Havdalah,” while the “Cholov Yisroelnik,” described as “the kosher version of a milkmaid,” consisted of a headscarf, a pink gingham skirt and white top, with the model carrying a carton of milk instead of a clutch.
For first-time model Tara Dietzel, an 18-year-old first-year student at FIT, walking in the show and seeing clothes designed by Jewish designers was a way for her to envision how she might combine her Judaism, her love of modeling and her professional goal to become a fashion designer.
“It was so much fun and a good first step to figuring out how I can accomplish all of these dreams at once,” Dietzler told the New York Jewish Week after the show.
Guests included many of the designers’ friends and family, who cheered enthusiastically as their models walked the runway. After the presentation, everyone came together over wine and seltzer. The designers posed with their looks and models walked through the crowd to show off their clothes’ texture and details up close.
At the event, Elke Reva Sudin, a Brooklyn-based designer and painter, launched “The Crown Collection,” a limited collection of silk head scarves. Nearly a decade ago, Sudin ran a similarly-missioned organization to Havurah called Jewish Art Now before founding Drawing Booth, a non-Jewish arts vendor where artists live-sketch guests at events. The scarves are her first foray into fashion.
Sudin said that designing scarves — an item popular among Orthodox women, most of whom cover their hair after marriage, as per Jewish law — was a way for her to explore her own Jewish identity and spirituality as a married Orthodox Jewish woman. She found out about Havurah through a mutual artist friend.
“I’ve been out of the Jewish world for a while now and I appreciate that there was a Jewish space I could turn to launch my scarves, which are sort of my return to Jewish art while entering into the world of fashion,” Sudin, 35, told the New York Jewish Week. “Both my designs and Havurah have the same intent, which is to be inclusive and to create something not only beautiful, but meaningful to the Jewish community.”
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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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