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Jewish middle school teacher in Wisconsin arrested for threatening students over swastika drawings



(JTA) – A Jewish teacher at a public middle school in Wisconsin was arrested last week for threatening his students with gun violence after discovering a piece of paper with swastikas in class.

David Schroeder was arrested on Friday and charged Monday with a felony count of making terrorist threats, according to the court record. Schroeder is a seventh-grade math teacher in Grafton, a town north of Milwaukee, and has been placed on leave.

A student in Schroeder’s class told local news outlets that Schroeder became angry after a student found a scrap of paper with swastikas on it. Earlier in the week, Schroeder had reportedly found a notebook with more of the Nazi symbols. The student said the teacher “went on a ramble about how that’s bad and that’s a disgrace to his people,” and “started mentioning the N-word.”

Soon, Schroeder reportedly started threatening his students, saying he owned 17 guns and was “not afraid to use them,” adding that “all Jews have guns.” He further said he would send his daughter to the students’ houses “with a baseball bat,” the student said. The teacher also allegedly threatened to “go scorched earth” on the students, and said, “I wish pain on all of you and your families.”

The school told law enforcement that Schroeder wrote a statement admitting to making the comments. He wrote that he had made the comments out of anger.

The incident represents an unusual reaction to swastikas being found in school settings, a relatively common experience in U.S. schools that often triggers intervention by local Jewish leaders or representatives of the Anti-Defamation League. The civil rights group documented 232 incidents of antisemitic vandalism in non-Jewish K-12 schools last year, up from 152 in 2021.

The Grafton police chief, Jeff Caponera, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that his department was investigating both Schroeder’s behavior and the swastika drawings that prompted it. 

“The behavior on both sides is unacceptable and we need to make sure this doesn’t become a recurring pattern,” Caponera said. But he added that because the swastikas were not specifically directed at any individual, they “don’t represent a hate crime,” which limits how police can respond to the person who drew them.

Police have yet to determine who is responsible for the swastikas, but Grafton School District Superintendent Jeff Nelson suggested that they were the work of a student. 

Nelson told JTA that the school is “continuing to work with the police to find the student or students responsible for drawing the swastika drawings.” He sent letters to families over the weekend informing them of the incident, notifying them of an investigation by the school and calling Schroeder’s behavior “inappropriate and unprofessional.” A separate joint letter from Nelson and Caponera said increased police presence would be placed at the school this week.

The criminal complaint against Schroeder added that he had already been under investigation for other “inappropriate behavior towards students,” and that the principal had previously decided not to renew his contract, although police did not have any further details about his past behavior.

Schroeder was released on Monday on a $10,000 bail posting. He was ordered to surrender all his firearms, stay at least 500 feet away from the school and refrain from contact with all district students except for his own children. His preliminary hearing is set for June 22.

Though Schroeder had reportedly told his students he owned 17 weapons, he turned over only 15 to the authorities, Caponera said.

Caponera added that his own son is Jewish, as is his son’s mother, and that he would likely have a strong reaction if he were to discover swastikas in a classroom.

“I take offense to that. And I understand where the teacher is coming from,” he said. “But at the end of the day I also understand that the teacher has the responsibility to act appropriately in situations like this.”

The post Jewish middle school teacher in Wisconsin arrested for threatening students over swastika drawings 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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