WASHINGTON (JTA) — Lee Zeldin, the Republican Jewish congressman who mounted a stronger-than-expected but failed bid to be New York’s governor, says he has decided not to run to be the chairman of the Republican National Committee.
But in a sign that he expects to have continued influence despite exiting Congress, Zeldin, who has been the top-ranked Jewish Republican in the country, this week joined the board of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
That means he will play a key role in animating political giving by Republican Jews at a time when the future of the Republican Party is under contention. Zeldin, a Long Island Republican whose strong showing in New York is credited with flipping four formerly Democratic congressional seats there, issued a blistering statement on Wednesday morning accusing the incumbent RNC chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, of a “disappointing” performance during her three two-year terms in the job.
“The grassroots is frustrated, deflated, and defeated,” he said, referring to a string of defeats since McDaniel assumed the party leadership at the behest of former President Donald Trump in 2017. “They are tired of coming up short like what happened again just yesterday.”
Zeldin was referring to the defeat Tuesday in Georgia of GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker, the former NFL star who challenged incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. Warnock bested Walker in a runoff, becoming the only statewide win for Democrats in Georgia this cycle.
The election season has been a crushing disappointment for Republicans who anticipated a “red wave” of victories because President Joe Biden remains unpopular. Instead, Democrats gained a seat in the Senate and maintained control of the chamber; lost the U.S. House of Representatives to Republicans, but barely; and kept a number of governorships that were seen as vulnerable, flipping a number of state legislatures in the process.
On McDaniel’s watch, Republicans also lost the presidency and the Senate in 2020, and the House in 2018.
Zeldin said he was not running because McDaniel’s reelection was “baked in”; she is believed to have the support of at least 100 of the 168 party officials who comprise the voting membership of the RNC.
Zeldin said he has the support of the party’s grassroots, although how he made that assessment is not clear. He also has said that Republican donors would be more likely to give if he were elected and recently named two to the New York Post: Blackstone Group chairman Stephen Schwartzman and steel magnate Andrew Sabin. Both are Jewish. Ronald Lauder, the cosmetics heir and the president of the World Jewish Congress, poured millions into Zeldin’s gubernatorial bid.
Zeldin in his statement said there still was time for McDaniel to withdraw from the race before the election early next year and suggested he would consider running were she to do so.
“The better path forward would be for Chairwoman McDaniel to listen to and respect the wishes of the actual grassroots voters of our party, and allow the RNC to forge ahead with new leadership,” he said. “Her greatest service to the Republican Party at this time would be to make room for a new Chair.”
Both McDaniel and Zeldin were seen as close to Trump. Zeldin was on the team that defended the former president during one of his impeachment trials and also voted not to certify Biden’s election after Trump’s lies about the election results spurred a deadly insurrection at the Capitol.
Zeldin distanced himself from Trump during the gubernatorial election, not appearing with him in a state where Trump, although a native, is deeply unpopular. Now, Republicans are blaming Trump and his insistence on loyalty to his false claims about the 2020 election for their poor performance. Zeldin did not mention Trump in his statement.
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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