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Florida high school pulls graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary, saying it is ‘not age appropriate’



(JTA) – A public high school in Florida has removed an illustrated adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary from its library. It is the second known instance of this particular edition of the famous Holocaust book being swept up by conservatives seeking to purge schools of literature they deem inappropriate.

The principal’s office of Vero Beach High School, which is located in a community on Florida’s east coast, recently decided to remove “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation” from its school library, according to Cristen Maddux, a spokesperson for the Indian River County school district. Maddux told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency the book was determined to be “not age appropriate.”

Last year, a school district in Texas ordered its librarians to remove the same book before reversing course a week later following public outcry. Other books about the Holocaust recently removed by public schools include Art Spiegelman’s “Maus,” which a Tennessee district pulled from its middle school curriculum last year, and Jodi Picoult’s “The Storyteller,” which was removed from another Florida district last month following a parental challenge.

The removal at Vero Beach High School was spurred by at least one challenge from a parent in the district affiliated with the conservative activist group Moms For Liberty, according to the Treasure Coast News, a local publication. In the challenge, the parent had reportedly written that the book was “not a true adaptation of the Holocaust.”

The district backed up that sentiment, Maddux told JTA. “That’s not the actual diary of Anne Frank,” she said. “It’s a fictional novel that has some inappropriate content in it.” Maddux added that the book “was removed due to minimization of the Holocaust,” and said, “Library spaces in the district currently have factual accounts of The Diary of Anne Frank.”

Maddux said that she herself had not read the book and did not immediately know what the “inappropriate content” in question was.

In a statement to JTA about various challenges to the graphic adaptation, the Anne Frank Fonds, the Switzerland-based foundation that controls the copyright to her diary, said it was “generally concerned that ignorance about the Shoah, relativization or denial of history are on the rise, especially in the United States.” 

The foundation also defended the inclusion of Frank’s original writing by saying, “We consider the book of a 12-year-old girl to be appropriate reading for her peers.”

The graphic novel adaptation of the diary was released in 2018 with the full authorization of the Anne Frank Fonds. Adapted by Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman and illustrator David Polonsky and intended for young readers, the book compresses Frank’s actual diary entries into a condensed version of her true story. While it does contain some invented dialogue and surrealist scenes, reproductions of Frank’s actual diary in the book hew to her exact words.

The graphic novel has attracted some scrutiny for reproducing passages of Frank’s diary that had been edited out of its original publication in 1947. (The diary was first published in English in 1952.)

First restored to editions of the diary in the 1980s, and published in English in 1995, those passages relate Frank’s latent feelings of attractiveness toward another girl and her description of her own genitalia. Another Florida parent in a different school district has told JTA they filed a request to remove the graphic adaptation because of objections to these passages.

Florida in particular has seen a number of book removals as Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed legislation giving parents power to challenge classroom materials, and holding educators liable for making inappropriate content accessible to students. 

DeSantis has also signed legislation mandating teaching about the Holocaust and antisemitism in the state.

The post Florida high school pulls graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary, saying it is ‘not age appropriate’ appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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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



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



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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