(JTA) — The journalist who was arrested in Russia last month and the Biden administration’s antisemitism envoy are among the 10 Jewish members of Time magazine’s “100 most influential people of 2023.”
The magazine’s annual list, released Thursday, includes politician, business titans, artists and innovators from around the world, from President Joe Biden to a YouTube sensation with 145 million subscribers. Each entry is accompanied by a short essay by another prominent figure. Here are the Jews who made the cut.
Sam Altman is the tech entrepreneur who is CEO and co-founder of the OpenAI artificial intelligence laboratory. In 2016, the entrepreneur Peter Thiel told the New Yorker that Altman is “culturally very Jewish — an optimist yet a survivalist, with a sense that things can always go deeply wrong, and that there’s no single place in the world where you’re deeply at home.”
Judy Blume is the children’s author whose books deal frankly with puberty and other challenges of growing up. A film adaptation of her 1970 novel “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” — one of the first mainstream treatments of interfaith families — is opening in theaters this month.
Doja Cat is a rapper and performance artist who burst onto the scene in 2020, when she won MTV’s best new artist award. The daughter of an Ashkenazi Jewish mother and a Black South African father, she is renowned for blending genres.
Nathan Fielder is a comedian and performance artist whose genre-defying 2022 series “The Rehearsal” tackled antisemitism, Holocaust denial and interfaith parenting. It also featured a Portland, Oregon, Hebrew tutor.
Neil Gaiman is a science-fiction writer whose comic book series “The Sandman” was recently made into a Netflix series. Raised by a Jewish family that dabbled with Scientology, he was also an early critic of the Tennessee school district that banned the Holocaust memoir “Maus” last year.
Evan Gershkovich is a Wall Street Journal reporter who was detained in Russian in March on spying charges that the State Department has called part of Russia’s “ongoing war against the truth.” The American child of Jewish refugees from the Soviet Union, Gershkovich was the subject of an awareness campaign urged during this month’s Passover celebrations.
Bob Iger is the CEO of Disney after returning to the company last year. “His return as CEO in 2022 ushered in a new era of transformation and creative excellence” for the entertainment company, General Motors CEO and Disney board member Mary Barra wrote in Time. He received the 2019 Humanitarian Award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, warning that “Hitler would have loved social media.”
Deborah Lipstadt was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March 2022 as the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism. A well-known academic specializing in the history of antisemitism and Holocaust denial, she welcomed Time’s recognition by tweeting, “Receiving this award advances my ongoing fight to stamp out antisemitism and all forms of hate.”
Natasha Lyonne is the writer, director and actress whose popular series on Netflix, “Russian Doll,” used sci-fi conventions to explore identity, trauma and the intergenerational effects of the Holocaust. In his Time essay, actor and director Taika Waititi, who is also Jewish, called Lyonne “the coolest person in the room.”
Janet Yellen is the first woman to hold the role of U.S. treasury secretary. Born to Polish Jewish immigrant parents, she has featured in antisemitic conspiracy theories about “globalist” control of financial institutions.
A handful of other people on the list have Jewish backgrounds. The actor and businesswoman Drew Barrymore, recognized by the comedian Jimmy Fallon for being “a true role model,” is married to a Jewish man, raising a Jewish child and said she has “embraced Judaism,” though she has not announced a conversion. Lea Michele, who last year took over the lead role in “Funny Girl” on Broadway, has a Jewish father but does not identify as Jewish. And the skier Mikaela Shifrin has a Jewish grandfather but, according to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, is “not connected to the Jewish community.”
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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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