MIAMI (JTA) — Hours before Israel and the Dominican Republic were to take the field as competitors in the World Baseball Classic, players and management gathered at a local park to promote friendship between the two countries and to raise awareness for the common fight against hatred and antisemitism.
Hosted by the Israel Association of Baseball and the Philos Project — a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that promotes Christian relations with Israel — the ceremony brought together players and coaches representing both countries, along with a group of local teen baseball players, including from the nearby David Posnack Jewish Day School.
Earlier in the day, Israel and the Dominican Republic also signed a memorandum of understanding to emphasize the friendship between the two countries.
The event was a follow-up to an Israel trip a number of Dominican players took last fall, with the Philos Project. And later this year, there will be a charity softball game in the Dominican Republic between Dominican and Jewish-American players.
“We are unfortunately living in a time when antisemitism and racism are still in vogue, perhaps more popular now than ever in the U.S.,” IAB president Jordy Alter said in his remarks. “It is imperative that young individuals such as yourselves internalize the message you hear today and create your own nonviolent resistance against all forms of hate and racism.”
Alter said the gathering was inspired by the White Rose Holocaust resistance movement, a group of non-Jewish German medical students who spoke out against the Nazi regime. The leaders were eventually executed by the Nazis. Organizers of Tuesday’s event handed out white roses.
The crowd heard from Alter, Philos’ director of Hispanic affairs Jesse Rojo, as well as Israel manager Ian Kinsler, Israel player Dean Kremer, the Dominican team’s general manager, MLB star Nelson Cruz and Dominican player Jeimer Candelario.
Rojo, who grew up in New York’s Washington Heights, spoke about the historic relationship between the Jewish and Dominican communities, from his neighborhood in Manhattan all the way back to 1938, when the Dominican Republic was the only country to welcome in Jewish refugees fleeing Europe.
“Today more than ever, we need to bring that back,” Rojo told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “When there’s so much hate, so much polarization. Where we already have the historical heritage, and take that from our ancestors and take it to the next generation.”
For Kremer, the first Israeli player drafted into Major League Baseball, the event was a sign of baseball’s power as a platform for unity.
“It represents a lot for both sides, between the peace and the growing of the game, and antisemitism and all of it together,” Kremer told JTA. “It means a lot having another ally. That, I think, is the biggest thing, in not only growing the game but also making friends with countries that may not know about our history.”
Cruz, an 18-year MLB veteran with almost 500 career home runs, spoke about the importance of spreading love.
“Right now, what’s connecting us is baseball, and a love of baseball,” he said, addressing the teens. “God created us all equal, it doesn’t matter what color, what gender you’re coming from. We should all stay together.”
Maor Elbaz-Starinsky, Israel’s consul general in Miami, has been supporting Team Israel throughout the WBC, and was also at this morning’s ceremony.
“Israel is a leading country in technology and agriculture and security, but now to learn from [the Dominican Republic] about baseball, and certainly to work here with kids on fighting racism, antisemitism, all the virtues that sports brings — tolerance, sportsmanship — that’s a great event,” Elbaz-Starinsky told JTA.
After the opening remarks, the teens had a chance to ask questions — mostly about baseball.
“I think it’s really meaningful to see Team Israel at the World Baseball Classic,” said Ryan Novick, a 17-year-old player on the Posnack School’s varsity baseball team.
Novick, who works in data analytics with the Miami Dolphins and will soon attend Vanderbilt University, added that it’s great “to see that Israel’s relations across the world are starting to flourish,” and that it’s an added bonus when baseball can serve as a vehicle to that end.
Wayne Stofsky, the athletic director at the Posnack school, and a gold medal-winning Maccabiah baseball coach, highlighted how special it is for his players to meet Jewish players like Kremer and Kinsler.
“It’s not every day they get the opportunity to see professional athletes, and athletes that are Jewish, just like them,” Stofsky told JTA.
Following the Q&A, the entire group gathered on the field to take photos, pose with the two countries’ flags and hear the national anthems for Israel, the Dominican Republic, and the United States.
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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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