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Jewish teen sinks putts and breaks down barriers on a Lutheran school’s golf team



This article was produced as part of JTA’s Teen Journalism Fellowship, a program that works with Jewish teens around the world to report on issues that affect their lives.

(JTA) — When the Long Island Lutheran Crusaders boys’ golf team begins their 2023 season against oher private, mostly Christian schools, they’ll boast a not-so-secret weapon: Boaz Exodus Ginzburg, the two-time Private School Athletic Association Champion. 

Ginzburg is the lone Jewish player on the team, where he has formed bonds with his teammates and broken down barriers on the golf course and beyond. A student at Schechter School of Long Island, he is able to play for “LuHi” because his Jewish day school doesn’t field a golf team.

In a time with rising antisemitism, Ginzburg’s journey is especially resonant. Though he plays on a team with a mascot that may draw concerns for its historic connections to antisemitism and Islamophobia, he feels a bond with his teammates.

“The fact that we’re the LuHi Crusaders, which feels a little bit weird, and also I have to walk into their school and they’ve got crosses everywhere, which is fine, because they’re a Christian school, but it’s just a little awkward for me,” said Ginzburg.

He began his varsity golf career in Port Washington, playing for Schreiber High School’s team while still an 8th grader in 2019, before the 2020 season was canceled. Then, in 2021, he transferred to Schechter. He was able to join the Lutheran High School Crusaders, a golf team in the same conference as his school.

Prior to Ginzburg’s arrival, no player had completed an undefeated season as Ginzburg had, nor were any of the current players champions of their league. Ginzburg accomplished both of these feats during his 2021 and 2022 seasons.

But even that celebration was tinted with otherness. “When I won the championship, it’s these very Catholic kids and the winner is ‘Boaz Exodus Ginzburg,’ which is a little bit odd,” said Ginzburg.

Ginzburg is the lone Jewish player on the Long Island Lutheran team, where he has formed bonds with his teammates and broken down barriers on the golf course and beyond. (Courtesy of Jonathan Klemp)

Ginzburg was on track to lead Schreiber’s team as a freshman during the 2020 season, but the golf team had their season canceled due to COVID-19. At Solomon Schechter, he was able to join his two siblings and study in a fully in-person environment. Other elite athletes at Schechter have been able to play sports at other schools, for which Schechter does not field a team.

Despite being the lone Jewish player on the team, Ginzburg feels totally comfortable with his teammates, and doesn’t see his religion as a barrier between him and them. While Ginzburg isn’t as close with the other players as they are with each other, he still has been able to form friendships with his teammates, finding common interests outside of golf.

“After a month, I was truly integrated,” said Ginzburg. “There’s no barrier because of religion. I only see them three months out of every year for the golf season, but I still talk to them occasionally. One of them is a pretty big Mets fan, so he and I talk about the Mets sometimes.”

Ginzburg’s coach, Jonathan Klemp, watched as he became a true member of the team, and saw it as a testament to his character. 

Upon meeting Bo, it didn’t take me long to figure out that integrating him to the team would go well,” said Klemp. “However, even the most optimistic person wouldn’t have dreamed it would go as well as it did. Bo took it upon himself to get to know each player on the team — even the young, middle school golfers. Bo has been raised right and also naturally is just a caring kid. I also think that he was intentional about making the integration go well.”

LuHi’s number two golfer, Brandon Tapia, has been playing with Ginzburg since Ginzburg joined the team in 2021, and as the team’s top players, they spend a lot of time together.

“As soon as Bo first practiced with us, he was a part of us,” said Tapia. “Bo and I would always be paired as the 1 and 2 player during the matches and in practice too. I got to know him and he got to know me well too. As the years flew by, we’d still be paired in groups together on the course and always have a great time out there.”

Tapia also sees no religious barrier between the two. “We actually thought it was pretty cool to be a team that represented different religious backgrounds,” said Tapia.

Ginzburg and Tapia have learned about religion from the other, and about making friendships across boundaries.

“I asked them a couple of questions in the beginning, and if I get curious about something I’ll either shoot them a text or ask the next time I see them,” said Ginzburg. “I have a better idea of how the different sects are split than I did before.”

Yet the golf course is also a welcome escape from religion.

“They spend all their time at school learning about religion just like I do, so it’s not really the first thing we want to talk about outside of school,” said Ginzburg.

Having Ginzburg on the team, said Coach Klemp, “has affirmed to me that though we all have different backgrounds and beliefs, that we can do wonderful things uniting together for a common purpose. In our case, that purpose is to compete on the golf course in a game we love. I think we all can do well to focus on things we have in common as opposed to dwelling on things that could drive us apart.”

The post Jewish teen sinks putts and breaks down barriers on a Lutheran school’s golf team 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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Local News

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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