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Florida man arrested for attacking Chabad center in Cape Coral in March



(JTA) – Police have arrested a man who allegedly espoused conspiracy theories about Jews in connection with a March attack on a Chabad center in Cape Coral, Florida.

Maron Mark Raymon was arrested April 20 and has been charged with attempted burglary and criminal mischief to a place of worship, a third-degree felony in Florida. The arrest came more than a month after Raymon allegedly threw bricks at the front door of Chabad of Cape Coral as Shabbat services were wrapping up. Unable to break the glass, he allegedly broke a lock on the front door, before damaging the rabbi’s car and destroying a large wooden menorah on the outside of the Chabad center, housed in a shopping center along a main thoroughfare in central Cape Coral.

Rabbi Yossi Labkowski, head of the Chabad center, said the assailant fled when two people from the synagogue who had seen the incident approached him.

“Thank God we caught the individual, and I guess we don’t have to be worried anymore about this guy,” Labkowski told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Labkowski has lived in Cape Coral, a city of about 200,000 on Florida’s west coast, for 19 years and said he had never before experienced any antisemitism in his city. “Having this incident happen here, it was really out of the norm,” he said.

Local police say they have not yet been able to determine if Raymon has any links to extremist groups. But the arrest report, obtained by JTA, indicates that Raymon had been caught trespassing at a nearby church days after the Chabad incident. He then shared with law enforcement his belief that Jews were conspiring with the government “to keep medical marijuana down.”

In a statement, the Anti-Defamation League’s Florida chapter characterized the attack as an antisemitic incident.

Labkowski, who appeared at a press conference Friday alongside the local police chief and others, said the rarity of antisemitic incidents in the area made it easier to identify the suspect. “As soon as you hear somebody speaking against Jews in the area, you try to connect the dots,” he said.

“This case was priority No. 1,” chief of police Anthony Sizemore said at the press conference.

“We realize this was a horrific act,” he said. “It shook the confidence in the core of our community.”

The Chabad-Lubavitch center, one of two synagogues in Cape Coral alongside several others in nearby Fort Meyers, has several hundred members, Labkowski said. Local police provided it with an updated security camera system ahead of Passover after the attack.

The arrest adds to a growing list of arrests connected to antisemitic activity in the United States. In the last week a Massachusetts woman was arrested for distributing swastikas in front of the home of a Jewish lawyer, and three neo-Nazis were arrested after making online death threats against a Florida sheriff who vowed to take on antisemitism in his county.

The incident in Cape Coral followed a different incident at anotherFlorida Chabad center, in the Orlando area, where neo-Nazis who are active in the area gathered there to intimidate attendees in February. There, the rabbi said supporters soon outnumbered the neo-Nazis.

Debbie Sanford, director of the local Jewish federation serving Cape Coral, praised law enforcement for its handling of the incident. She said that, in general, police have been responsive and attentive to the needs of Jewish security.

“We have a very wonderful relationship with our local law enforcement,” she said. “We have full faith in them to keep our Jewish community safe.”

Labkowski said the community was “quite relieved” that the man had been caught. He added, “We didn’t believe it would happen in such a city.”

In the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area, residents are still recovering from the effects of a devastating hurricane last fall. The Jewish federation has given aid to the broader community and has not seen requests for help diminish at all in the past six months, according to Sanford. She hopes that by providing aid, they can show non-Jewish locals that Jews are there to support them.

“The federation concentrates on serving the community, and the entire community. It’s what our Jewish values teach us to do,” she said. “So the more we’re out there helping, the more I think we are preventing antisemitism.”

The post Florida man arrested for attacking Chabad center in Cape Coral in March 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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