(JTA) — A Seattle congregation that was vandalized with anti-Israel graffiti the day before Holocaust Remembrance Day left up the message for more than a day as a reminder of the hate that still exists in the world, its rabbi said.
It’s a familiar scene for Temple De Hirsch Sinai, the last major Jewish congregation located in the city’s once-heavily Jewish Capitol Hill neighborhood, just up the hill from its downtown and historic Pike Place Market. The historic Reform synagogue had also been tagged with antisemitic graffiti six years ago.
The synagogue said the latest vandal spray-painted a number of phrases and imagery on Sunday night. The messages were put up in a fenced-off part of the congregation, meaning the perpetrator had to breach synagogue property to leave them, and security cameras captured the act on video.
Among the messages left on the property: a Star of David, the word “apartheid,” a phrase that appears to read “Israel has lied,” and a face with “Im [sic] still here” written underneath.
“It was with great deliberation, great preparation,” Rabbi Daniel Weiner told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “They were very nonchalant and very deliberate about what they were doing. It was timed to be as hurtful as possible.”
The FBI and the local police department are investigating the incident, but Weiner said the temple didn’t clean up the graffiti right away. They wanted to remind the community about the present dangers of antisemitism.
“With people oftentimes downplaying its significance amongst the various ‘isms’ that are out there, I thought it was important to understand, even in deep-blue Seattle, that these feelings, these perspectives, exist,” Weiner said. “And people are willing to act on them in criminal ways.”
Back in 2017, the congregation had been vandalized with graffiti reading “Holocaust is fake history,” employing the dollar sign instead of an “s” as emblematic of a common antisemitic trope linking Jews to the idea of inventing the Holocaust for financial reasons.
Then, too, Weiner made the decision to leave the graffiti up for a day before bringing in local “artistic teens” to cover it with colorful, positive murals. The temple erected a plaque commemorating those murals, which this week’s vandal ripped down — though the murals themselves were left untouched.
Weiner said he doubted the two incidents were perpetrated by the same person. He attributed the 2017 incident, with its invoking of the “fake news” phrase used frequently by former President Donald Trump, as “a more direct reflection of the Pandora’s box that the previous president reflected in our society.” He also doesn’t think the people targeting the temple have any connection to it, but are simply choosing “the most identifiably Jewish institution in the city” to reflect a hatred of Jews and Israel.
What has been clear to the congregation both times, Weiner said, is that the level of support they receive from the local community far outweighs the work of “marginalized haters.”
“We yet again are so incredibly grateful for the immense outpouring of support that confirms for us that the vast majority of people in our community stand with us,” he said.
The synagogue wasn’t the only one to be hit with graffiti on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Greater Synagogue of Barcelona was also targeted with anti-Israel messages this week.
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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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