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Michael Twitty’s ‘Koshersoul,’ a memoir of food and identity, named Jewish book of the year



(JTA) — “Koshersoul,” chef Michael W. Twitty’s memoir about his career fusing Jewish and African-American culinary histories, was named the Jewish book of 2022 by the Jewish Book Council.

Subtitled “The Faith and Food Journey of an African American Jew,” Twitty’s book provides “deep dives into theology, identity, and, of course, food, allowing one to reexamine the way they think about the Jewish community and giving them permission and impetus to reflect on their heritage and religion in a new way,” the council said in naming “Koshersoul” the Everett Family Foundation Book of the Year.

The winners of the 72nd National Jewish Book Awards were announced Wednesday at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan as part of its inaugural Books That Changed My Life festival.

Dani Shapiro won her second National Jewish Book Award, and her first JJ Greenberg Memorial Award for Fiction, for her novel “Signal Fires.” Her first novel in 15 years traces the effects of a fatal car crash on a family over a 50-year time span. 

Ashley Goldberg won the Goldberg Prize for Debut Fiction with his novel “Abomination,” about a scandal at a Jewish day school and the paths taken in its aftermath by two of its students, one secular and one religious. Miriam Ruth Black won The Miller Family Book Club Award for her novel “Shayna,” a novel of early 20th-century immigrants set in a shtetl and New York’s Lower East Side.

In other nonfiction categories, Michael Frank was the winner in both the new Holocaust Memoir category and the Sephardic Culture category for his book “One Hundred Saturdays: Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World.” The book is based on his conversations with Levi, a Holocaust survivor who remembers the once-vibrant Sephardic Jewish community that had thrived on Rhodes, an island in the Aegean Sea. 

American Shtetl: The Making of Kiryas Joel, a Hasidic Village in Upstate New York,” by Nomi M. Stolzenberg and David N. Myers, won for best book in American Jewish studies.

Jonathan Freedland won the Biography Award and Holocaust Award for “The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World,” about Rudolf Vrba, whose eyewitness report of the death camp was largely ignored by the various allied government officials who read it. Kenneth B. Moss’ “An Unchosen People: Jewish Political Reckoning in Interwar Poland,” won the Gerrard and Ella Berman Memorial Award in history.

Danya Ruttenberg’s “On Repentance and Repair,” a rabbi’s rumination on apologies and forgiveness in contemporary culture, won the Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice Award.

The council also honored Ellen Frankel, who served as the editor in chief and CEO of the Jewish Publication Society for 18 years, with its Mentorship Award in Honor of Carolyn Starman Hessel — given in honor of the council’s longtime director, who retired in 2014. Frankel, who herself stepped down in 2009, was cited for mentoring authors, staff and students at the Philadelphia-based publisher, as well as championing women scholars.

Other winners include:

The inaugural Hebrew Fiction in Translation Jane Weitzman Award: Mayan Eitan, “Love” (self-translated)

Children’s Picture Book Tracy and Larry Brown Family Award: Shoshana Nambi, “The Very Best Sukkah: A Story from Uganda,” illustrated by Moran Yogev

Young Adult Literature Award: Susan Wider, “It’s My Whole Life: Charlotte Salomon: An Artist in Hiding During World War II”

Middle Grade Literature Award: Stacy Nockowitz, “The Prince of Steel Pier”  

Jane and Stuart Weitzman Family Award for Food Writing and Cookbooks: Benedetta Jasmine Guetta, “Cooking alla Giudia”

Berru Poetry Award in Memory of Ruth and Bernie Weinflash: Sean Singer, “Today in the Taxi”

The complete list of the 72nd National Jewish Book Award winners and finalists can be found here.

The post Michael Twitty’s ‘Koshersoul,’ a memoir of food and identity, named Jewish book of the year 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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