(JTA) — When readers of Mishpacha magazine opened up the Passover issue, they found two surprises. The first was the unsung, mysterious story of a prolific American philanthropist, Jennie Miller Faggen, who supported dozens of European yeshivas before World War II.
The second was a rarity in the world of haredi Orthodox publications: Miller’s photograph.
Mishpacha and other haredi magazines have long refrained from publishing photos of women, though some exceptions have been made. The publications’ editors cite traditional haredi mores regarding modesty and shielding women’s appearances. Feminist groups in the Orthodox world and elsewhere, however, say such policies demean women and aid in their erasure from the public sphere.
Mishpacha did not respond to requests for comment as to why and how it decided to include the picture of Miller, who donated tens of thousands of dollars to Orthodox educational institutions in the 1920s. Nor did Dovi Safier, who authored the article as well as a book about Miller called “Mother of all Yeshivos.”
But Orthodox feminists took notice of the photo, which depicts Miller wearing a hat and is shaded in blue. The cover of Safier’s book features the same image and design. The print version of the article also included a photograph with the face of another woman — Rebbetzin Temi Kamenetsky, the late wife of Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, a prominent Lithuanian haredi rabbi who lives in Philadelphia.
“How wonderful to hear and see that @themishpacha included these images in this week’s edition,” Chochmat Nashim, an organization that fights extremism and sexism in the Orthodox community, posted on social media last week. “We CAN come back from the trend of erasing women and include the entire Jewish family & community in our visual depictions. Ken Yirbu [the more the better].”
Historian Rivka Press Schwartz tweeted, “I’m one of those Orthodox feminist nudniks who doesn’t buy your publication because of no pictures of women. Bought your Pesach issue because of @safier’s article about Jenny Miller Faggen–and because I saw you included pictures of her. Incredible.”
Safier uncovered Miller’s philanthropic pursuits through a three-year-long reporting effort that took him through archives, letters and a Rolodex of prominent rabbis. Miller Faggen, who was born in New York but spent much of her life in the Philadelphia area, funded dozens of yeshivas across Europe and the United States, and hosted prominent rabbis at her 18-room home in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood of Philadelphia. Widowed twice, she inherited the bulk of her wealth from her first husband’s business in the city’s booming textile and real estate industries. Many of her contributions were forgotten when the yeshivas she supported were destroyed during the Holocaust.
This is not the first time Mishpacha has published photos of women. Articles in 2021 about a turn-of-the-20th century Jewish nursing home in New York City, and about the Holocaust in Telz, Lithuania, each contained prewar photos of women. Responding to a tweet about the photo of Miller in his latest article, Safier wrote, “Far from the first time. But I guess because the story is about a women [sic] it’s getting more attention.”
Mishpacha attracted particular attention in November 2016, ahead of that year’s election, when its cover image included profile views of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton facing each other, both in negative exposure and both covered in collages of their campaign symbols. After the issue was published, an editorial from Hamodia, an Israeli haredi paper, denounced the decision, arguing that a “true” haredi publication would never show an image of a woman.
“There are no – there haven’t been, and there won’t be – any pictures of women in the true haredi press, not of those who have reached high positions of sovereignty and power in their countries, and also not pictures of women in Jewish life,” the editorial read. “These are our ways of life, these are the fences that surround them, and they don’t change, and aren’t connected to political circumstances.”
A contributing editor for Mishpacha, Sruli Besser, responded at the time that the magazine engaged in “hours of conversation and deliberation with real rabbanim,” or rabbis, before arriving at the decision to print a version of Clinton’s picture.
The post In rare move, haredi magazine publishes photo of a woman — a forgotten donor to European yeshivas appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
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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