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A Jewish governor needed a Hebrew Bible to be sworn in. Jewish educators came to his rescue.



(JTA) — A conference of Jewish educators became first responders of sorts when Colorado Gov. Jared Polis had an emergency: The Jewish Democrat was about to be sworn in for a second term and he couldn’t find his Tanakh, or Hebrew Bible.

It ended well — “when looking for a Tanakh, there’s never one too far away,” a Polis spokeswoman said later — but for a while it was fraught. With 30 minutes to swearing-in, folks attending Tuesday’s inauguration for Polis, Colorado’s first Jewish governor,  put out frantic calls to Denver’s Jewish community.

David Foster, a politically involved lawyer attending the swearing-in, texted Emily Hyatt, the associate rabbi at the city’s Temple Emanuel, where Foster’s father, Steven, is rabbi emeritus. Hyatt was lunching at a Jewish deli, Zaidy’s, with the Temple’s cantor, Elizabeth Sacks.

It occurred to Hyatt that there was a hotel packed with Tanakh-toting folks just two blocks from the Capitol, where Polis was to be sworn in. She texted Avi Halzel, who heads the Denver Jewish Day School and who was attending the annual national conference of Prizmah, a network of Jewish day schools.

Halzel approached Paul Bernstein, the Prizmah CEO, who immediately went into process-of-elimination calculations: Who at the conference was present at the hotel over Shabbat? (Those conference-goers were likelier to have the entire Hebrew Bible, which is necessary for Shabbat services, than those who attended only on weekdays.)

“We quietly went around some of the participants who might have a Tanakh,” Bernstein said in an interview.

Halzel realized a more obvious answer lay in the vendor at the Mesorah Publications booth. Halzel secured a Tanakh (the Stone edition) from the vendor.

“I figured, what what is the fastest way I can get a hold of a Tanakh?” Halzel said in an interview. Walking over to the booth, Halzel wondered if he could adequately explain the dilemma to the vendor in time to get the bible to the governor. “He immediately just smiled at me,” Halzel said. “I mean, it’s the kind of story that’s too crazy to not be true. And so he just turned around, grabbed a Tanakh, and handed it to me.”

“I dashed to my car, drove to the Capitol building, got clearance from security, and finally delivered the Tanakh to a member of the Governor’s staff–just seconds before he was sworn into office,” Halzel said in a post on the Denver Jewish Day School Instagram feed.

“We are so grateful that Avi was able to get hold of a copy of the Tanakh from Mesorah Publications, which was among the exhibitors at the Prizmah Conference, and deliver it quickly to the Capitol,” Bernstein said.

In a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Polis invoked the ancient Jewish encomium about Jews coming together for one another.

“In the excitement of this important day, it became clear that when looking for a Tanakh, there’s never one too far away,” a spokeswoman said. “Gov. Polis was honored to be sworn in with a Tanach that truly represented the Jewish value of ‘Klal Yisrael Aravim Ze La Ze,’ each person is responsible for one another — the Jewish community lent a helping hand at this historic moment.”

The swearing-in reflected the firsts Polis brought to his home state: In addition to being its first Jewish governor, he is also its first openly gay governor. His Jewish husband, Marlon Reis, stood by his side, holding the Tanakh; Polis’s mother, a poet, Susan Polis Schutz, read poetry. Two local gay men’s choruses provided music, and Rabbi Tirzah Firestone of Congregation Neveh Kodesh delivered the benediction.

Also being sworn in were two Jewish Democrats who won reelection to statewide office: Phil Weiser, the attorney general, and Jena Griswold, the secretary of state.

The post A Jewish governor needed a Hebrew Bible to be sworn in. Jewish educators came to his rescue. 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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