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Citing Brexit, European rabbinical group moves headquarters from London to Munich

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(JTA) — One of Europe’s most prominent associations of Orthodox rabbis is moving its headquarters from London to Munich in a ripple effect from the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

“Germany is one of the only countries in Europe where the Jewish community is growing and the political climate is conducive to build Jewish life there,” Conference of European Rabbis President Pinchas Goldschmidt told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an email on Wednesday, confirming that Brexit was a leading factor in the move.

The rabbinical group had been based in London since it was founded in 1956 and has around 1,000 member rabbis from across Europe, from Dublin to Vladivostok.

The announcement came on Tuesday, as the CER presented its Lord Jakobovits Prize to Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder for his “outstanding commitment to the protection and promotion of Jewish life in Europe.” The ceremony took place in Munich’s Ohel-Jakob Synagogue, which was completed in 2006 in the center of the city.

The synagogue and its community center will also be home to the CER’s planned Center for Jewish Life, which will offer educational opportunities for traditional rabbis and their spouses.

In addition, the CER plans to host international conferences in the city. The Center is to be funded mainly by the Bavarian State Government, with additional funds coming from private donors, Goldschmidt told JTA.

At Tuesday’s award ceremony, Söder reiterated his commitment to fighting antisemitism. He emphasized that the new Center was about celebrating Jewish life, which “should be able to develop free and safe in Bavaria.”

The move has been a few years in the making. After Brexit, the CER leadership “felt that the headquarters should be in the center of Europe,” Goldschmidt said. Then, the Bavarian government invited the CER to hold its 32nd congress in Munich, and Söder and Munich Jewish Community President Charlotte Knobloch invited the group to move in.

Goldschmidt said his group has been working closely with the German Jewish community, on the local and national levels, as well as with the country’s Orthodox Rabbinical Conference.

Central Council of Jews in Germany President Josef Schuster, who also hails from Bavaria, told the JTA in an email that his group was pleased with the decision by the CER, “whose goal is to promote and protect Jewish life throughout Europe.”

“The fact that it will do this from Germany in the future …will enrich and strengthen Jewish discourse in our country,” he wrote.

Knobloch, president of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria, said at Tuesday’s award ceremony that she was “proud and happy to see that my hometown of Munich has become one of the most important Jewish centers in Europe today.”

Before Hitler came to power in 1933, there were about 500,000 Jews in Germany. After World War II, when most Holocaust survivors left Europe for the United States or Israel, there were some 25,000 Jews in former West Germany. Today, there are about 90,000 members of Jewish communities in Germany and as many as 100,000 more who are unaffiliated. The vast majority have roots in the former Soviet Union. In the past decade, many Israelis have also made Germany their home. More recently, a few thousand Ukrainian Jews have found refuge in Germany.

The current Jewish population of Munich is about 9,000, according to the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

Goldschmidt, the former chief rabbi of Moscow, himself fled to Israel last year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In the future, he will be shuttling between Israel and Germany. He said that he and Schuster had been “discussing how to integrate rabbis, rabbinical schools and refugees from Russia and Ukraine in Germany.”

“To be a refugee and emigrant is never easy,” Goldschmidt said. “However, I see it as my mission to utilize these challenging times and waves of dislocated Jews and communities, to strengthen the Jewish communities of Europe. It is a one in a lifetime opportunity.”


The post Citing Brexit, European rabbinical group moves headquarters from London to Munich appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Obituaries

PHYLLIS POLLOCK

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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

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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

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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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