(JTA) — When The New York Times reported earlier this week that virtually the entire resume of George Santos, recently elected as a Republican congressman from Long Island, appeared to be a fabrication, it left untouched one detail: his claim to Jewish heritage.
On his website, Santos said his maternal grandparents were refugees from the Nazis when they arrived in Brazil. He also said that he counted as his own his mother’s “Jewish background beliefs” as well as his father’s Catholicism.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on Monday that Santos’ claim that his mother was Jewish had no evidence and was suspicious given her name, common among Brazilian Catholics, and her online obituary, which did not mention any Jewish identity.
“I asked him about this. He identifies as Jewish,” the head of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which had been feting Santos as one of two new Republican Jews in Congress, told JTA at the time.
Now, the Forward has identified records indicating that Santos’ grandparents had not in fact fled Ukraine or the Nazis in Belgium. Santos’ claim to be the descendant of refugees of anti-Jewish persecution, it appears, is also a lie.
Both of Santos’ maternal grandparents were born in Brazil, according to the records identified by the Forward, which also obtained a 1954 Brazilian newspaper article reporting that his great-grandfather immigrated from Belgium in 1884. The great-grandfather was listed in church records on the occasion of his daughter’s marriage in 1928, according to the Forward, which obtained a photograph of the family in Brazil that appears to be from the early 20th century.
Jewish Insider, meanwhile, obtained records from a Brazilian national civil identification database further undermining Santos’ story. And CNN scrutinized multiple databases about people persecuted by the Nazis and found no record of Santos’ family.
“There’s no sign of Jewish and/or Ukrainian heritage and no indication of name changes along the way,” Megan Smolenyak, a professional genealogist, told CNN after researching Santos’ family history.
Robert Zimmerman, the Democrat who conceded to Santos after losing by 8 points, told the Forward that Santos’ apparent fabrications about his Jewish heritage was especially galling, even amid a string of apparently false claims about his career, education and even address.
“That he would actually lie about the Holocaust to try to promote himself, it’s not offensive — it’s sick and obscene,” Zimmerman told the Forward. “It’s one of the most vile things you can do, to actually use one of the world’s greatest tragedies, the death of 6 million, as a political stunt.”
There are many reasons why someone might lie about being Jewish. Some people falsely claim Jewish identity out of a desire to identify with those who are oppressed. There can also be opportunistic reasons, to derive benefits available to Jews. And a small group of people simply lie a lot, about all kinds of matters, according to researchers who found that 5% of people report telling half of all lies. (That finding was recently reported in a New York Times article about the former chief of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, who resigned from a subsequent role after his own fabricated resume was exposed.)
Santos has not offered any insights about what drove his many apparent lies, which troubled some but were not reported in full until after his election. He did not respond to JTA’s efforts to reach him through multiple pathways on Monday and has not commented publicly since.
But it is clear that laying claim to a Jewish identity could easily have been seen as a selling point in New York’s Third Congressional District, home to a large and growing Orthodox Jewish population. Zimmerman is Jewish.
For now, the Republican Jewish Coalition, which hosted Santos at a Hanukkah party the night before the New York Times story broke, has adjusted its earlier nonchalance about Santos’ background.
The group “is aware of the claims being made against Congressman-elect George Santos, and we have reached out to his office directly to ascertain whether they are true,” CEO Matt Brooks said in a statement Wednesday. “These allegations, if true, are deeply troubling. Given their seriousness, the Congressman-elect owes the public an explanation, and we look forward to hearing it.”
Meanwhile, scrutiny of Santos’ claims is continuing, with new information calling into question his self-identification as having been openly gay for more than a decade. The Daily Beast broke the news Thursday that Santos had not disclosed a marriage to a woman that ended in divorce in 2019, and said it had been unable to find a marriage record for the man Santos says is his husband.
The post Congressman-elect with fabricated resume also lied about having Nazi refugee grandparents appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
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.
The post Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.