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Mimi Sheraton, pioneering food critic and scholar of the bialy, dies at 97



(JTA) — Growing up in a Jewish home in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, Mimi Sheraton seemed destined for a life in food. Her father, Joseph, sold wholesale fruit and vegetables to vendors in the Lower East Side, and her maternal grandmother, Greta Breit, was a talented cook who made her strictly kosher food from scratch.

Her mother Beatrice, meanwhile, had a “certain low-key snobbish pride about her Austrian style of cooking” and eschewed Jewish dietary laws in favor of culinary exploration. “My mother supplemented her Eastern European Jewish dishes with a wide repertory of American recipes from newspaper clippings: lobster Newburg, shrimp creole, her take on on subgum chow mein, creamed chicken a la king in puff pastry,” Sheraton wrote in her 2004 memoir “Eating My Words.”

Sheraton, born Miriam Schulman, combined all of these influences to become one of the best-known food critics and writers of her generation. During a six-decade career, she served as a contributing editor and critic for New York magazine and, from 1976 to 1983, as the food and restaurant critic for The New York Times. She was a frequent contributor to other magazines, and the author of some 16 books, including a classic history of an iconic Jewish food, “The Bialy Eaters: The Story of a Bread and a Lost World.”

Sheraton died on Thursday in Manhattan. She was 97.

Sheraton, the first woman to serve as the Times’ chief restaurant critic, was widely praised for the research and sense of history she brought to her role as a critic and a journalist. “The most prominent characteristic of her reviews was the vast amount of knowledge she brought to the job and the enlivened, precise language she used to convey that information,” wrote Charlotte Druckman, in her 2019 book “Women On Food.” “It was service journalism with expertise and voice.”

Sheraton brought that expertise to the bialy, the sometimes overlooked cousin of the bagel. “‘The Bialy Eaters’ is essential reading for anyone who cares about Jewish and New York food culture, a book about the sadness and horror baked into a food she loves,” Chris Crowley, a writer for Grub Street, wrote Friday. “Published in 2000, it follows Sheraton’s search for bialys first in Bialystock, from which it had disappeared because of the Holocaust, and then throughout the Jewish diaspora.”

Sheraton also explored her Jewish background and influences in her 1985 memoir, “From My Mother’s Kitchen: Recipes and Reminiscences.”

“We were cultural Jews for sure,” Sheraton told Hadassah magazine in 2015; she was known for hosting an elaborate Passover seder “filled with food but absent the Haggada,” the Jewish text for the Passover meal. In other essays, she described the lavish preparations made for the seders of her childhood, which were presided over by her rabbi grandfather and featured gefilte fish prepared from carp that had been swimming in a bathtub until hours before the meal.

Sheraton was born in Brooklyn on Feb. 10, 1926. She graduated from Midwood High School and from New York University. Her marriage to William Schlifman ended in divorce in 1954, although she kept that new surname that he used, Sheraton. In 1955 she married Richard Falcone, who died in 2014; she is survived by their son, Marc, and a granddaughter.

Before landing a reporting job at The New York Times, Sheraton wrote for an ad agency and Good Housekeeping, worked as  food editor for Seventeen magazine, and served as a restaurant critic for Cue magazine, The Village Voice and other publications.

Her books include “Is Salami and Eggs Better Than Sex?” (1985, written with the comedian Alan King), “The Whole World Loves Chicken Soup: Recipes and Lore to Comfort Body and Soul” (1995) and “The New York Times Jewish Cookbook” (2002, with Linda Amster).

In April 2016, the Culinary Institute of America honored her as a Legend of New York Dining.

In a 2009 essay in Tablet magazine, Sheraton made note of an increasingly creative Jewish cuisine and how Jewish cooks often absorbed the flavors and techniques of whatever culture they found themselves part of.

“In a way, Jews might well have been the unwitting pioneers in what is currently celebrated as fusion cooking,” she wrote. “Now, perhaps, a new worldwide Jewish cuisine is being born that, like the old Ashkenazic and Sephardic cookery, borrows from other cultures, fusing to modern tastes while still honoring their beliefs.”

The post Mimi Sheraton, pioneering food critic and scholar of the bialy, dies at 97 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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