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New York City Mayor Eric Adams praises yeshiva education, pushes back on criticism



(New York Jewish Week) — Eric Adams pledged support for yeshivas and said public schools should emulate them, pushing back on scrutiny the haredi Orthodox day schools have received for reportedly falling far short of state educational requirements, among other alleged malfeasance. 

In a speech delivered last Wednesday at an event held by the Orthodox Union, the New York City mayor suggested that the city’s public schools were failing students and should follow the yeshivas’ example. 

“But instead of us focusing on, how do we duplicate the success of improving our children, we attack the yeshivas that are providing a quality education that is embracing our children,” he said. 

He added, “But we’re asking, ‘What are you doing in your schools?’ We need to ask, ‘What are we doing wrong in our schools?’ And learn what you are doing in the yeshivas to improve education.” 

Beginning last September, the New York Times published a series of articles reporting that New York yeshivas did not meet state educational standards, and that some teachers employed corporal punishment. The Times also reported that some yeshivas had used public special education funding for other purposes. 

Advocates for increased secular education in haredi schools have praised the series for drawing attention to a festering problem. But the Times’ investigative series has drawn criticism from Orthodox community leaders and others, who have portrayed it as a false and misleading attack on the haredi community. 

Conservative think tanks have published analyses alleging that the series paints yeshivas with too broad a brush, and that the reporting relies on inaccurate data and unethical journalistic practices. Agudath Israel of America, a haredi umbrella group, launched a campaign claiming that the articles were fueling rising antisemitism in the city, and charged that the Times “conducted a smear campaign against Orthodox Jewish and Hasidic private schools — and their communities’ entire way of life — in a way that can increase the already alarming number of attacks.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, echoed those complaints in a recent speech, saying the Times’ coverage has reflected ”the kind of antisemitism we know all too well.”

Adams’ speech last week appeared to give succor to critics of the investigative series, and comes as his administration is fighting a local press outlet’s effort to publicize city assessments of 26 yeshivas in New York City. The City, a local news website, went to court to force the city Department of Education to release their evaluations of teaching at these yeshivas, which have been compiled as part of a probe into the quality of instruction at the schools.

A judge ordered the education department to release the assessments, and the city says it will appeal that ruling, arguing that publicizing the assessments will interfere with an ongoing investigation. 

In his speech, Adams also said he doesn’t “apologize for believing in God,” and added, “We are a country of faith and belief, and we should have it anywhere possible to educate and to help uplift our children in the process.” The remarks recalled comments he made in March, when he said, “Our challenge is not economics, our challenge is not finance, our challenge is faith — people have lost their faith.”

Adams has drawn support from Orthodox voters. In September, Rabbi David Niederman, executive director of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn, a Satmar Hasidic organization, told the New York Jewish Week that the relationship between the Orthodox community and the Mayor is the “strongest it has ever been.” 

“You were there for me when I ran for mayor,” Adams said in his speech last week. “I’m going to be there for you as your mayor.”

The post New York City Mayor Eric Adams praises yeshiva education, pushes back on criticism 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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