(JTA) — With just a few weeks before his planned return to Tel Aviv after resigning in March as Israel’s consul general in New York City, Asaf Zamir set out Friday for an iconic Israeli experience: getting married abroad.
Zamir and his wife Maya Wertheimer, the Israeli actress and model, had a Reform Jewish wedding in 2017 in Israel. But Israel does not recognize non-Orthodox Jewish weddings and does not have the option of civil marriage, so their union had never carried legal weight.
That changed after the couple’s ceremony on Friday at the New York Public Library, which was officiated by New York City Mayor Eric Adams and witnessed by two Jewish friends, comedian Alex Edelman and artist Rebecca Moses. Now, when the couple returns to Israel after nearly two years in New York, their marriage can be recognized by their native country following some paperwork.
The couple’s choice was a common one among young Israelis — many of whom choose to wed abroad. Some couples travel to tie the knot because their marriage is not allowed under Orthodox Jewish law, as in the case of same-sex marriages or interfaith marriage. Others do so because of an aversion to getting married under Israel’s haredi Orthodox Chief Rabbinate, which has a monopoly on legal Jewish weddings in Israel. A recent study found that about a third of Jewish Israelis who got married abroad could have qualified to be wed in Israel, but chose not to.
But the entire enterprise was something of a surprise to Wertheimer, who documented the day for her 535,000 followers on Instagram.
“He suggests to me in a taxi: ‘What do you say we’ll get married?’ I didn’t get it … here in the taxi?! Like this and without prior preparation?!?!!” she wrote. In fact, Zamir — whom Wertheimer called “the most romantic man in the world” — had worked with Moses and the designer Vera Wang to produce a two-piece gown for Wertheimer, and the couple תalong with their toddler daughter Asiaת were soon in front of Adams exchanging vows. They emerged onto the library’s wide steps alongside Bryant Park for photographs.
“A dreamy day, a dreamy couple, a dreamy ceremony and love reigns!” wrote Moses, who said her job had been to conscript Wang, one of the most well-known wedding dress designers, to make a bespoke gown for Wertheimer with just two days’ notice.
The wedding is a splashy capstone for an eventful two years in New York City for the couple. Zamir moved ahead of Wertheimer in 2021 after being appointed to the consul general role, Israel’s top diplomatic position in the city with the biggest Jewish population, by the short-lived centrist government that had unseated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Wertheimer, a model and actress, joined him with Asia several months later.
Their time in New York overlapped with the pandemic; the death of Wertheimer’s father, one of Israel’s most prominent businessmen, of cancer at age 70; and Netanyahu’s return to power. Although Zamir’s appointment was for a three-year term, he was summoned to Israel after criticizing the proposed judicial reforms of Netanyahu’s right-wing government and resigned in protest soon after. Wertheimer had just appeared in a Tel Aviv fashion show and protest, carrying an oversized plane ticket showing a return flight from New York to Israel.
In recent months, the pair has embraced spring in New York City, with Wertheimer chronicling their adventures in New York, including frequent meals out with Israeli and American friends. (The pair decided to stay to finish out Asia’s preschool year.) She wrote recently that she had fallen in love with New York after initially being apprehensive.
“I did not understand New York. Winter here was so harsh. There’s no sun, there are no friends, there is no family,” she wrote in Hebrew. But then, she went on, “As soon as the end began, I lifted my head and realized that this city is actually really amazing.”
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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