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Most of Kherson’s Jews fled when Russia invaded Ukraine. A flood could force the rest to leave.



(JTA) — Intense flooding caused by the collapse of the Kakhovka dam in eastern Ukraine is threatening to force most of the remaining 600-700 Jews in the Kherson area to leave, according to the city’s chief rabbi.

Rabbi Yosef Wolff told the Times of Israel that about 80% of the region’s Jews had already left before this week. About 20 Jewish families have been directly affected by the flooding so far, and they are taking shelter in Jewish institutions. Kherson’s synagogue has not flooded because it sits at a high elevation, 20 meters, or 65 feet, above sea level.

Russia and Ukraine are trading blame for the dam collapse; Ukraine claims that Russia blew it up to slow an upcoming Ukrainian counteroffensive in the area. Over 1,000 people on both sides of the Dnipro River have already fled their homes this week, but authorities say that the flooding could affect up to 40,000.

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, one of a number of Jewish groups providing aid in the area, said that its main service center building was flooded and inaccessible as of Thursday, but workers were still serving 382 Jews, providing them with food, water and other supplies. They also transferred people’s computers, generators, food and other emergency materials to the Kherson synagogue.

“Everything that I had is now under the water,” said a JDC volunteer named Oksana. “My home is gone. My life is gone. I do not know how to live now.”

Moshe Azman, one of multiple claimants to the title of chief rabbi of Ukraine, went viral on Thursday for a video in which he ducks for cover from Russian bombs while on an evacuation mission in Kherson.

Before falling to the ground for most of the minute-long video, Azman briefly explains that he was trying to evacuate people from the area.

Chief Rabbi of Ukraine Moshe Azman came under fire in #Kherson.

— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) June 8, 2023

Azman, who in 2019 was seen in a chummy photograph with Rudolph Giuiani during the Trump associate’s efforts to enlist Ukraine’s help in the 2020 election, founded and runs a village near Kyiv for Jewish refugees displaced from the past decade’s fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Other Jews in the Kherson area are getting aid from the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. A group of Ukrainian Jews have boarded buses and fled for Poland, where Chabad of Poland is preparing to house them in Warsaw on Friday, the Hasidic movement announced on Thursday.

RELATED: Dramatic stories of survival, endurance and escape reign as Ukrainian Jews mark 1 year of war

“Because of the war, our brothers and sisters in the Kherson Oblast area have already lost so much,” said Rabbi Sholom Ber Stambler, director of Chabad of Poland. “We must do everything possible to help them during this difficult time and ensure that they don’t also lose their hope.”

The Chabad movement’s late rebbe, Menachem Mendel Scheerson, was born about 50 miles down the river, in Mykolaiv, which has not yet experienced flooding damage, the Times of Israel reported.

The post Most of Kherson’s Jews fled when Russia invaded Ukraine. A flood could force the rest to leave. 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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