(JTA) — Ohio’s department of education is investigating a homeschooling network that claims public schools are run by “Zionist scum,” teaches kids to say “Sieg Heil” in class and instructs fellow parents not to give their kids “Jewish media content.”
These are the more than 2,500 members of the “Dissident Homeschool Network,” a channel on the social network messaging app Telegram. The “dissidents” are a group of Nazi parents who share homeschooling lesson plans extolling the virtues of Hitler and white nationalism — while relying on a popular social media account run by a Jewish woman to provide ammunition for their hatred. The founders of the group were recently unmasked by a hate group monitor as a couple in rural Upper Sandusky, Ohio.
“There is absolutely no place for hate-filled, divisive and hurtful instruction in Ohio’s schools, including our state’s home-schooling community,” Stephanie Siddens, the interim superintendent of public instruction at Ohio’s education department, told Vice News. “I emphatically and categorically denounce the racist, antisemitic and fascist ideology and materials being circulated.”
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, along with Rep. Bob Latta, whose district encompasses Upper Sandusky, and Rep. Jim Jordan, all gave statements to Vice News condemning the group. But Ohio officials say that there is little to no homeschooling oversight from the state board of education. Although parents who homeschool are required to submit copies of their lesson plans to the state, a county official who oversees the area where the Lawrences live told HuffPost, “Parents who decide to home educate their child are responsible for choosing the curriculum and course of study.”
“We are so deeply invested into making sure that [our] child becomes a wonderful Nazi,” the founder of Dissident Homeschool Network, who goes by the pseudonym “Mrs. Saxon,” recently said on a neo-Nazi podcast to promote the group. She has been identified by the Anonymous Comrades Collective, an anti-Nazi group, as well as Vice News and HuffPost, as Katja Lawrence, a Dutch immigrant who currently lives in Upper Sandusky, Ohio.
Lawrence is a recently naturalized U.S. citizen who frequently rails against other groups of immigrants on social media; her husband Logan is an insurance agent. The Lawrences are so enamored of Nazidom that Katja uploaded audio of her own kids performing Nazi salutes to her Telegram channel, and baked a cake to celebrate Hitler’s birthday.
The journalists and researchers who reported on Dissident Homeschool Network were able to track the couple down after they revealed that they owned a German shepherd named Blondi — also the name of Hitler’s dog.
Launched in fall 2021, the Lawrences’ homeschooling project is explicitly labeled as a means for neo-Nazi parents to indoctrinate their kids by keeping them away from public school. Lesson plans include teaching cursive by having students write out famous quotes from Hitler and American neo-Nazi George Lincoln Rockwell; building “math” classes around racist manipulations of urban crime statistics; and praising Confederate general Robert E. Lee as “a grand role model for young, white men.” In idle chats, members of the group disparaged the Indiana Jones movies as “Jewish revenge porn.”
The group also facilitates in-person meetings between like-minded parents and children. Relatives of the Lawrences told HuffPost they found their activities “disgusting” and “heartbreaking for their children.”
Despite their near-constant stream of antisemitic invective, members of the Dissident Homeschool Network frequently share memes from the right-wing social media channel Libs of TikTok, which is run by an Orthodox Jew. The account has gained national notoriety for its demonization of LGBTQ people as “groomers,” as well as for its constant attacks on public education, a hot target for figures on the right who believe educators are indoctrinating children with “critical race theory” and “gender ideology.”
That account’s administrator Chaya Raichik, who has recently made her identity public, frequently advocates for parents to homeschool their children. Homeschooling has become a popular choice for conservatives, both for religious and ideological reasons, and lobbyists for the movement together with Republican lawmakers have made it easier for parents to homeschool their children with little to no oversight.
The “Dissident” group provides parents with instructions on how to teach Nazi material while avoiding scrutiny from the authorities. On the channel, Katja Lawrence frequently boasts about the size and strength of their Nazi parents’ movement: “There is a huge network of people like us.”
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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.
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.”
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.)
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.
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