(New York Jewish Week) — Jews and comic books — two deeply entwined entities — will be the subject of a new pop culture convention coming to New York this fall.
Billed as the “ultimate comics and pop culture event,” the first-ever Jewish Comics Experience, or “JewCE,” will take place at the Center for Jewish History on November 11-12. Created by Fabrice Sapolsky, a comic book creator and publisher, and Dr. Miriam Eve Mora, the director of academic and public programs at the Center for Jewish History, the event aims to be “an inclusive convention, celebrating an industry largely created by Members of the Tribe, and promoting diverse Jewish narratives in comics and graphic novels,” according to the JewCE website.
“It’s really looking at diverse Jewish representation in comics and graphic novels through Jewish characters, narratives, themes and ideas,” Mora told the New York Jewish Week, describing how the event will celebrate both Jewish comics content and creators.
According to Mora, the conference will be the first time that all the Jewish organizations that are housed at the Center for Jewish History — the American Jewish Historical Society, the American Sephardi Federation, the Leo Baeck Institute, the Yeshiva University Museum and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research — will partner on a single event.
Comics are a uniting factor among these various institutions, said Mora, due to “this abundance of riches, in terms of talent who want to participate.”
“Creators are really excited,” she said. “Scholars are excited to talk about these things. The partners are all chipping in and hosting different things. Every one of the partners is at least going to have some influence and some level of participation. There is definitely collaboration.”
The history of Judaism and comics is long and rich, with Jewish stories arising in both popular comics and more esoteric ones. For example, Marvel briefly had a Jewish Black Panther character, while a new comic features an Asian-Jewish superhero. Meanwhile, some traditional Jewish texts have gotten the graphic novel treatment.
The convention, which is still being planned, will include panel discussions, meet-and-greets, exhibits and vendors. There will also be what the organizers believe is the first-ever awards ceremony held in celebration of Jewish comics and graphic novels, dubbed “The Jewcie Awards.”
Sapolsky was the founder of another Jewish Comic Con that was held in Brooklyn in 2016, with a follow-up event in 2018. The November conference — with appearances expected from from underground cartoonist Trina Robbins, Jewish Mexican-American graphic novelist Yehudi Mercado and others — will also coincide with a new exhibit opening at CJH that will focus on the Jewish comics experience in October. “It will have both a museum element with several micro exhibits focusing on the many worlds of Jewish comics, and then also an immersive experiential learning laboratory of the Jewish comics experience,” Mora said.
JewCE will take place one month after New York Comic Con, one of the biggest pop culture events of the year, where fans come to celebrate their love of comic books, graphic novels and video games — and the movies and TV shows based on them. Last year’s Comic Con faced criticism for its perceived lack of Jewish representation.
Mora said JewCE is not a response to Comic Con’s lack of Jewish representation. Rather, she said the conference will explore how “the comic medium is becoming a place for Jews in a very different way than it has been in the past.”
“Right now there is all this content coming out that shows Jewish characters as primary characters, who are of varying degrees of Orthodoxy and practice, from different Jewish backgrounds and regions,” Mora said.
She added, “It’s really starting to represent the diversity of the Jewish world in a new way.”
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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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