(JTA) — Playing saxophone in the sukkah. Discussing Judaism over coffee. Hanging out with his brothers and friends in the basement on Shabbat.
These are a few of the memories that have emerged of Elan Ganeles, 26, the recent college graduate, raised in Connecticut, who was killed Monday when a gunman shot at him on a road near the Palestinian West Bank city of Jericho. Those who knew Ganeles remembered him as quiet and loyal, funny and down-to-earth.
“He was the kind of guy you could call, and you’d be sure he’d pick up and have a few minutes to talk if you needed something,” said Rabbi Yehuda Drizin of Chabad at Columbia University, who knew Ganeles as an undergraduate there. “For everyone that knew him, this is a kick in the gut. This really hurts.”
Ganeles grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut, where his family attended the local Orthodox Young Israel synagogue a block away from their home. As a teenager, Ganeles read Torah for the community. The synagogue has launched a fundraiser for his family and is bringing in grief counselors to help the community.
“Elan HY”D was a member of our [community] when we lived in Connecticut,” Shimshon Nadel, a rabbi in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof, wrote on Facebook, using a traditional Jewish acronym denoting when someone is murdered. “I remember him as a sweet boy with a great sense of humor. He played the saxophone and we would ‘jam’ together in the Shul’s Sukkah, during Hallel on Chanukah, and musical Havdalahs. Heartbreaking.”
Ganeles attended Modern Orthodox schools and the local Camp Gan Israel, and was involved in NCSY, the Orthodox youth group. At Hebrew High School of New England, he was an honors student and volunteered with the local Jewish Family Services, according to an article published about him in 2014. At the time, he said he was deferring enrollment at the University of Michigan and enlistment in the U.S. military to spend a year in Israel.
“You see so many different people,” he said, according to the 2014 article in We-Ha.com, a local online publication. “You can’t judge them. Everyone has their own story and you need to be more accepting of all.”
That year in Israel turned into more than two, as he enlisted as a “lone soldier” in the Israel Defense Forces and lived on a religious kibbutz in northern Israel with his fellow recruits from abroad. A compilation video of photos from the group’s time together, on Ganeles’ YouTube channel, is filled with pictures of him smiling as the group toured Israel. According to his LinkedIn page, Ganeles also worked for several months in the kibbutz dairy farm.
In the IDF, according to his LinkedIn, Ganeles rose to the rank of sergeant and worked as a computer programmer on financial monitoring systems. He did work for the Knesset Finance Committee and Israeli Ministry of Finance.
Penina Beede, who was in the class above Ganeles at their high school and spent many Shabbat afternoons with him and his brothers, said Ganeles stood out for his sense of humor.
“Everything he did and said came from a place of kindness and sweetness. But he had the most ridiculous sense of humor,” Beede said. “It was so uniquely Elan. … He would just say things that if anybody else said [them], you would be like, ‘Why would you say that?’ But his delivery was so perfect.”
Like Ganeles, Beede too, served in the Israeli army, and they compared notes and experiences.
Years after Beede finished her service and returned home to Connecticut, she tutored Ganeles’ youngest brother in Hebrew, and found herself back in the basement on Shabbat, hanging out with the family like she had back in high school. “It was good to see him that night,” she recalled.
Ganeles returned to the United States in 2018 to attend Columbia University where, according to a statement from the campus Hillel, he threw himself into student activities. He was involved in Tamid, a student group focused on Israeli business, as well as Jewish learning programs. The statement said, “We will miss his wry humor and thoughtful manner of discussing challenging or controversial topics.”
He spent a summer in Beijing and worked as a geospatial analyst at a campus center. Ganeles graduated in 2022 with a degree in sustainable development and neuroscience, according to his LinkedIn account.
He had traveled to Israel this week to attend a wedding, according to a statement from the Jewish Federation of West Hartford.
“He was a very good friend, and a loyal friend,” Drizin said, describing Ganeles as “a nice person, an easy person. After every interaction with him, you walked away feeling happy.”
Ganeles is survived by his parents Andrew and Carolyn, both physicians in West Hartford, and two younger brothers, Simon and Gabriel. The rabbi of Young Israel of West Hartford traveled to join the family in Israel, where Ganeles will be buried, and accompany them home to Connecticut later this week to sit shiva.
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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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