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NY lawmakers move to ban corporal punishment in schools — and spark a Twitter fight



(New York Jewish Week) — A group of New York State Assembly members and state senators are proposing a ban on corporal punishment in schools in the wake of a lengthy New York Times investigation of yeshivas published last October that included several allegations of teachers hitting students.

Multiple bills were proposed in the senate and assembly last week to outlaw the practice, which is already banned in public schools but not explicitly within private schools. One bill deemed likely to garner the most support, according to the New York Times, defines corporal punishment and prohibits it across educational settings in the state. The bill’s lead sponsors are State Senator Julia Salazar and Assemblywoman Emily Gallagher, both Democrats who represent the heavily Hasidic Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg.   

But after the Times published its coverage of the bill, Salazar found herself in a Twitter spat with Eliza Shapiro, one of the reporters who wrote the story and many of the articles in the paper’s monthslong investigative series on Hasidic schools. That, in turn, led to Orthodox activists disputing the claims of another Hasidic lawmaker, Simcha Eichenstein, on the social media platform. 

The first installment of the Times’ investigative series, published in September, reported that yeshivas that had received a total of $1 billion in taxpayer funding over a period of four years were providing less than adequate schooling in secular subjects. The article also reported on 911 calls and interviews with alumni who said that some teachers in Hasidic schools regularly use corporal punishment in class.  

Leading Hasidic groups claimed that the investigation encouraged antisemitism. In response to the article and its followups, Agudath Israel of America, an umbrella haredi Orthodox group, launched a campaign called “Know Us” to push back on the findings of the Times investigation.  

The investigation, however, has spurred officials into action to address its claims. Last week, the  Times story on the corporal punishment legislation said that it came in response to its reporting. 

Salazar then wrote on Twitter that “the use of physical or violent methods to ostensibly discipline students has happened in many schools. I haven’t seen any evidence of it being a pattern in yeshivas.”

Shapiro, who co-wrote the investigation with Brian Rosenthal, replied by posting a statement by Salazar in which the state senator said the legislation was, in fact, a response to the Times investigation. Salazar then responded: “Reports – which must be addressed, hence the bill – are different from a pattern. I hear more about CP [corporal punishment] in other non-public schools.”

Eichenstein, who represents Borough Park, a large Hasidic enclave in Brooklyn, retweeted Salazar’s tweet, suggesting that the bill’s goal is “no corporal punishment at any school.”

“As a yeshiva parent/former student, I’m not familiar with the use of corporal punishment at yeshivas, nor would I tolerate it,” Eichenstein wrote. Echoing the claims of haredi groups, he added, “Sadly, @nytimes needs to continue its onslaught against Orthodox Jews & prop up their mudslinging.” 

Eichenstein’s tweet led dozens of Hasidic people on Twitter to respond with stories of experiencing or hearing of corporal punishment while they were students at yeshivas. The stories ranged from someone having his braces smashed into his cheeks to someone being thrown against a blackboard to students being slapped or having chalk thrown at them.

Eichenstein later posted another tweet saying:“I have not and will not cast doubt on anyone’s lived experience.” 

“What I will not tolerate is this notion that corporal punishment is somehow accepted as a routine disciplinary tool in today’s era at yeshivas,” Eichenstein wrote. “That is an outright lie.”

Eichenstein told the New York Jewish Week on Monday that he had never experienced corporal punishment when he was a student at a yeshiva. He reiterated that he wasn’t disputing people’s personal stories.

“If you’re going to talk about something you saw that happened 30 years ago, clarify that it happened 30 years ago,” he said. “I can’t sit here and tell you that there may not be a singular instance a week from now. It could happen, we’re a very large system. But the idea that [corporal punishment] is an acceptable tool with no consequences is not true…If an educator raises their hand on a child, there should be zero tolerance. That educator should no longer be allowed in the building, let alone a classroom.”

The post NY lawmakers move to ban corporal punishment in schools — and spark a Twitter fight 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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