LAS VEGAS (JTA) — Donald Trump changed his mind and is ready to speak to the Republican Jewish Coalition. What’s not as clear is how ready Jewish Republicans are to hear from him.
As of last week, the group said Trump had cited an undefined “conflict” in turning down an invitation to address its annual convening in Las Vegas. But that was before he announced his bid for another shot at the presidency on Tuesday, making him the first and so far the only nominee to formally do so, and on Thursday the organization said Trump would speak via satellite.
The star of the conference appears to be Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has a prime speaking slot, as opposed to Trump’s less auspicious slot. One influential conference-goer who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order not to be attached to a presidential nominee too early in the process said DeSantis was his favorite going into the weekend. DeSantis, he said, embraced Trump’s policies, but more effectively and with “discipline.”
The conference is taking place, as it has for years, in the Venetian casino resort, until recently owned by Miriam Adelson, the widow of Sheldon Adelson, who was until he died in 2021 a Republican kingmaker; his endorsement of Trump in May 2016 was seen as a sign that the entire GOP was now embracing the one-time outsider.
The conference is an opportunity for candidates to meet with donors who could make or break their campaigns. As it got underway this week, delegates wandered the halls among the slot machines and crap games reconnecting and checking in; former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was seen rolling his carry-on bag through the lobby.
Organizers said they expected at least 850 delegates throughout the event (the Saturday night dinner usually attracts more), a bigger number than last year, when travel was still depressed because of the pandemic and there were still three years before the next presidential election.
RJC conferences are often the first stop for likely contenders ahead of presidential election years, which is why Trump made personal appearances in 2015 and again in 2019. This conference is drawing national attention; organizers said they had about 100 RSVPs from the media.
Trump’s speaking slot, crammed in during a crowded Saturday-morning schedule, and his remote participation are signals that relations between Trump and the signature Republican Jewish group, which have blown hot and cold, are in a cooling-off stage. (The only other speaker phoning it in is Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, who has a government to form in a distant land.)
Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, which he lost to President Joe Biden, and his insistence that his endorsees echo the lies, are seen as a drag on the GOP. Republicans are now openly criticizing him after the Nov. 8 midterms, in which they expected to win the U.S. House of Representatives by a broad margin and retake the Senate, fell flat. Republicans barely retook the House, and the Senate remains in Democratic hands.
DeSantis stood out in those elections for wiping out the Democratic opposition in his state, on a day Republicans fared much more poorly than expected nationwide, losing a slew of statewide elections they thought would be shoo-ins.
DeSantis has the coveted Saturday night slot, sharing it with Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations. DeSantis is already making inroads among Jewish conservatives, and from the start of his governorship sought to prove his pro-Israel credentials, leading one early Cabinet meeting from Jerusalem. Haley, who has not yet made clear whether she is running in 2024, is a star for right-leaning pro-Israel groups for helping to shepherd through changes in U.S. and U.N. policy that marginalized Palestinians.
Trump is squeezed among 12 speakers on Saturday morning, a time when folks are expected to keep it short and sweet. Joining him are a number of speakers either not in contention for the presidency — Jewish Republican congressmen David Kustoff of Tennessee, Max Miller of Ohio and George Santos of New York — or long-shots such as South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and also-rans whom Trump annihilated in 2016, including Christie and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. (Miller and Santos are freshman Trump endorsees who have embraced Trump’s election denialism; Santos was at the Jan. 6 protests.)
Opening the conference Friday night are four speakers, three of whom have notably separated themselves from Trump: former Vice President Mike Pence, who has said this week that he and Trump no longer speak and that he remains angry at the president for not stopping the angry mob that called for Pence’s death during the deadly Jan. 6, 2001 insurrection; Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a consistent opponent of Trump since 2015; and Mike Pompeo, Trump’s secretary of state who has in recent days said Trump’s victim act is getting old. All three are seen as presidential contenders.
The conference is open to the public on Friday and Saturday, But it really started earlier in the week with smaller private meetings between the major Jewish Republican donors and others in the party. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who has also distanced himself from Trump, spoke privately with RJC bigwigs on Thursday night.
Trump remains popular in some Jewish conservative circles; he was honored by the Zionist Organization of America earlier this month — an event that he attended in person. Trump executed historic changes in Israel policy, among other things, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, dropping a commitment to a two-state outcome and quitting the Iran nuclear deal. Biden is keeping the embassy in Jerusalem, but hopes to restore two-state outcome ambitions and reenter the Iran deal.
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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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