(New York Jewish Week) — Kenneth Kronen, a cantor, businessman and Jewish leader who survived a fiery 1957 airplane crash that left at least 20 people dead at New York City’s Rikers Island, died Friday at the MorseLife senior care campus in Palm Beach, Florida. He was 95.
Kronen, his then wife and two young sons were among the 81 survivors when the Northeastern Airlines plane crash-landed on Rikers on Feb. 1, after takeoff from nearby LaGuardia Airport. The crash made heroes of the prisoners of the island’s jail who were allowed out to assist in rescue efforts.
The Miami-bound flight took off in a blinding snowstorm. After the crash, one of its wings was shorn off and the cabin burst into flames. Kronen, who was 29 at the time, recalled throwing his then 6-week-old son Mark from the burning aircraft while his wife Selma cared for their other son Richard, 2.
Prison “trusties,” meanwhile, were let out of the jail and assisted the survivors. “They were the people who rescued us,” Kronen said of the prisoners in a 2017 interview with the New York Post. “I don’t know if all of us would’ve even gotten out without them. We were all burning. It was so hot, and the plane was on fire.”
Prisoners also spotted the baby, Mark, covered in snow. The family, who had assumed the baby hadn’t survived, were reunited two days later.
In the years after the crash, Kronen and his partners built Black Stone Webbing into what became the largest elastic company in the world. He and Selma later divorced and in 1976 he married Jerilyn (née Levy), a psychologist in Manhattan.
On Wednesday, Jerilyn Kronen said her late husband “grabbed the joy of life” after the crash, but suffered from what she called symptoms of PTSD. He would shy away from loud noises and sounds of police activity. Although he returned to air travel in the years after the crash, the attacks of Sept. 11, 20o1 heightened his anxiety, she said.
He also became “very religious” following the crash. “He believed he was somehow saved, and had a purpose here,” she said. He spent years leading services at the Plainview Jewish Center on Long Island, and supported The Hampton Synagogue, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in Manhattan and the Palm Beach Synagogue in Florida. He was also a founding member, with Rabbi Leibel Baumgarten, of Chabad of East Hampton.
Rabbi Marc Schneier of The Hampton Synagogue, who led funeral services for Kronen at Manhattan’s Riverside Chapel on Tuesday, said Kronen, who grew up with his grandparents in the boarding house they ran in Rockaway Beach, embraced the second chances he was given in life and love.
“If I were to paraphrase what I would consider signature [Jerilyn] language, I wouldn’t describe him as a victim of circumstance,” said Schneier in his eulogy. “Ken Kronen was a victor of circumstance. He was a victor of circumstance because he literally rose from that negative event, and from that unspeakable horror and anguish he distilled from life a new insight, a keener understanding and a greater meaning.”
Kronen traveled to Israel at least 10 times, said Jerilyn Kronen, and served as the chairman of American Friends of Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Be’er Ya’akov, Israel.
Despite his fears of flying, Kronen “figured out a way to have a martini and get on a plane,” she said, “because he felt Hashem was with him.”
He is survived by his sons Mark and Richard; two sons he raised with Jerilyn, Ari and Josh; six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
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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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