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Gov. Hochul announces new unit to battle hate crimes at antisemitism summit



(New York Jewish Week) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a new “hate and bias prevention unit” to combat antisemitism and other forms of hate on Monday.

The unit will include public education and outreach efforts, a “rapid response team” to assist communities affected by a bias or hate incident, and regional councils where community members can share concerns, host events and conduct training, among other functions.

Hochul’s announcement came during a 90-minute conference held by the Orthodox Union at Manhattan’s Lincoln Square Synagogue to discuss the rise of antisemitism. The event also featured Sen. Chuck Schumer, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas.

Hochul said that the new prevention unit will be implemented statewide and embedded in the Division of Human Rights. “It’s not just going to be sitting in a bureaucratic office,” Hochul said, adding the new unit will also be used as “an early warning system.” 

“We can be in the prevention business, by educating people as to what the signs are,” Hochul said. “I’m going to make sure that this organization is actually an effective instrument for change.” 

The new unit will alsomobilize support to “areas and communities in which a bias incident has occurred,” according to a press release from the governor’s office.

The new regional councils will be organized by the Division of Human Rights.

NEW: Governor Kathy Hochul announces a new hate and bias prevention unit to ‘educate and be an early warning system’ in fighting antisemitism across the state.

— Jacob Henry (@jhenrynews) December 12, 2022

Hochul’s announcement follows her signing of a bill in late November that requires mandatory hate crime prevention training for individuals convicted of hate crimes. 

The state also made $50 million available to strengthen security measures at organizations at risk of hate crimes, as well as $46 million in federal funding for 240 such organizations across the state. 

The New York Police Department reported that antisemitic attacks in the city in November 2022 last month were up by 125% when compared to the same month last year.  

Also, a report from the Anti-Defamation Leage counted 2,717 antisemitic incidents across the country in 2021 — a 34% increase from the previous year, and the highest since it began tracking in 1979. 

During the Monday morning conference, Adams reiterated what he said last week about building up a pipeline of new relationships between the Black and Jewish community to combat hate. He also said that “there should be a no plea bargaining rule” when it comes to hate crimes.  

“I don’t believe we have one person who has been arrested for a hate crime that served time in jail,” Adams said. “That is unacceptable. That sends the wrong message.”  (An analysis earlier this year by The City news site found that between 2015 and 2020, only 87 cases, or 15% of hate crime arrests, resulted in a hate crime conviction.)

Sen. Schumer warned about the “dramatic resurgence of antisemitism” and called out former President Donald Trump for having dinner last month with Kanye West, the rapper who has shared a torrent of antisemitism in recent weeks, and white supremacist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes.

“Rather than apologize afterwards, [Trump] lectures American Jewish leaders for insufficient loyalty,” Schumer said, referring to remarks Trump made Friday on his social media platform, Truth Social. “It is incumbent on all of us to speak out.” 

Schumer said added that antisemitism is “seeping into our society” from not only the far right, but also the far left. “I must say that some, certainly not all, of the anti-Israel sentiment among some here in this country seeps right over into antisemitism,” he said.

The Orthodox Union’s managing director, Maury Litwack, who introduced the mayor and governor at the event, told the New York Jewish Week that the conference wasn’t just about denouncing antisemitism but included “concrete actions.”

“This is about tachlis,” Litwack said, using the Yiddish expression meaning “brass tacks.” “It’s not enough to simply say ‘denounce this.’ Each elected official has a responsibility. Like so many other communities, it’s our job to step and have that conversation.” 

Major players from leading New York Jewish organizations attended the event, including Agudath Israel of America, UJA-Federation of New York, the Community Security Initiative, the Hasidic Bobov sect and even former “Real Housewives of New York” cast member Lizzy Savetsky. There was a notable Orthodox presence.

Rabbi Moishe Indig, a Satmar community activist who has a close relationship with both the governor and mayor, told the New York Jewish Week that the event was important to bring awareness to the issue of rising antisemitism.  

“If you don’t speak up, if you don’t do anything about it, if you don’t bring awareness, then you barely know what it is,” Indig said. “We are calling it out and trying to do prevention.”  

Tzvi Waldman, a Rockland County activist and one of the few Jewish representatives at the meeting from outside the five boroughs, told the New York Jewish Week that it was important to show elected officials that there is an interest in these issues.

“If we’re willing to work with them, they’ll work with us,” said Waldman, who is also suing the governor for not allowing guns in synagogues and other houses of worship.

Avi Greenstein, the CEO of the Boro Park Jewish Community Council, told the New York Jewish Week that it’s important to “hold our elected officials accountable.” 

“Having the opportunity to hear from our elected leadership about their resolve to stand up for us, it brings out a cautious hope,” Greenstein said.  

The post Gov. Hochul announces new unit to battle hate crimes at antisemitism summit 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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