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A Holocaust cattle car in Times Square makes a moving, if jarring, statement



(New York Jewish Week) — Times Square may be best known for its flashy billboards, roving bands of knock-off Elmos and hordes of gawking tourists. But on Tuesday, Holocaust Remembrance Day, visitors to the “crossroads of the world” could also see a replica of the kind of cattle car that transported millions of Jews to their deaths in Nazi-run concentration camps. 

The cattle car was parked at the intersection of 46th and Broadway, across from a Forever 21 and the TKTS Ticket window, where curious visitors could step inside and see a film, projected on its four walls, detailing the horrors of the Holocaust. 

The “Cattle Car: Stepping In and Out of Darkness” exhibit was developed in 2020 by ShadowLight, a Toronto-based Holocaust education nonprofit, and Southern NCSY, the Florida branch of the Orthodox Union youth group. NCSY’s “Hate Ends Now” tour is traveling the country with a mission to promote Holocaust education and combat antisemitism.

“This exhibit is one of the country’s most innovative Holocaust education tools, and today we’ve brought it to the crossroads of the world,” said Todd Cohn, executive director of Southern NCSY. “If you want to make the world aware of a cause, this is the place to do it.”

On Tuesday morning, while lots of people walked by without looking up, as many in New York are wont to do, several stopped in their tracks to take a look around, snap some pictures and scan the QR code to learn more about the cattle car and the Holocaust. Others took selfies and one asked if the exhibit was a celebration of Passover, which Cohn took as an opportunity to teach about Judaism and the memory of the Holocaust.

“This is amazing to see,” said Yael Shimoni-Degani, an Israeli tourist who was walking through Times Square while visiting her daughter who lives in New York City. The pair was waiting to go inside. “It’s very important to remind people what happened,” Shimoni-Degani said.

The cattle car will be parked in Times Square until 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, or Yom Hashoah, which is marked as Holocaust Remembrance Day by Israel and Jews worldwide. Rotating groups from area Jewish high schools were invited to visit throughout the day. An event scheduled for 7:00 p.m., open to the public, was to feature Holocaust survivors, U.S. Army veterans who were involved in liberating the camps, Israeli emissaries and local politicians. The crowd will be invited to sing prayers and light yahrzeit candles in memory of victims of the Holocaust.

A group of students from The Ramaz School exits the “Cattle Car: Stepping In and Out of Darkness” exhibit in Times Square, April 18, 2023. (Julia Gergely)

Attendees are closed inside the cattle car — an effort to make tangible the experience of victims and survivors. The 20-minute video provides a timeline of the Holocaust and and includes testimonies from survivors Hedy Bohm and Nate Leipciger. The video concludes by urging viewers to take responsibility for their actions, asking questions like, “How did the world let this happen?” and “How can you raise your voice?” Statistics on rising antisemitism, racism and violence against LGBTQ communities are displayed.

“While inspiring the Jewish future is our core mission, the general public is just as much our intended audience today,” Cohn said, noting the “universal message” of the exhibit. One of the goals of “Hate Ends Now,” which has toured the Florida state capitol and will move onto college campuses in Boston next week, is to “make sure hate doesn’t go unchecked,” Cohn said, especially in a time of rising antisemitism.

There was a large security and police presence nearby, and an officer inside the exhibit.

Dini Hass, an educator at the Ramaz School who had brought a group of students to tour the exhibit, told the New York Jewish Week that visiting the cattle car was an incredible experience and an opportunity to share her family’s story as the granddaughter of four Holocaust survivors. “To have this in the middle of Times Square is one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen,” she said, admiringly.

Writer Dara Horn, however, was skeptical that exhibits like this — especially those mounted in such a public space like Times Square — actually have the power to turn the tide of antisemitism, despite their well-meaning intentions.

“I came to the disturbing conclusion that Holocaust education is incapable of addressing contemporary antisemitism,” said Horn, who recently toured the country taking stock of different Holocaust education initiatives. “There’s a bunch of reasons for that. One is that it’s been used as this case study outside of history and it’s used for public moral education. I can’t think of any other event in history where we isolate it from any kind of context and it’s become an atrocity that we are required to universalize.”

Horn noted that her comments were not specific to the “Hate Ends Now” exhibit, rather to the broader effort of Holocaust education and combating antisemitism among the general, non-Jewish public. She also conceded that, for Jewish communities, Yom Hashoah and Holocaust education exhibits are important in that they offer a moment to mourn and honor the dead.

And yet, she said, “This becomes the one thing people know about Jews — that they were murdered in the Holocaust — and now it is there to teach us something about humanity,” she added. “There’s a huge problem where the general public is taught about the Holocaust, and knows absolutely nothing about Jews who are alive today, or about the lives and contents of Jewish civilization in Europe that was lost.”

As someone who is well-informed about the Holocaust, educator Dini Hass said that she is often shocked by how little both Jews and non-Jews know about the Holocaust. “If something like this makes even one person stop for a second to think about the Holocaust and want to learn about it, then it’s doing its job,” she said.

The post A Holocaust cattle car in Times Square makes a moving, if jarring, statement appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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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.

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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.”

Raquel Dancho (left), Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St.Paul, and Nikki Spigelman, President, Gwen Secter Centre

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.)

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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.

The post Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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