(New York Jewish Week) — Not quite two years ago, the Orthodox provocateur Heshy Tischler pled guilty to riling up rioters against the Jewish journalist Jacob Kornbluh during protests against pandemic restrictions in Brooklyn. On Wednesday night, the duo were locked in a more genial altercation — on Tishler’s radio show, where Kornbluh was a guest.
For more than an hour, Kornbluh, senior political reporter at the Forward, batted down a litany of far-right talking points offered up by Tischler and his co-hosts: about election denial and supporting the Jan. 6 insurrection, questioning vaccines and warning against sex education in schools.
In one representative exchange, Tischler praised the ex-president he wishes still occupied the White House: “We all think Trump did a good job,” he said.
Kornbluh responded quickly: “Yeah, he also dined with antisemites and Holocaust deniers,” referring to Trump’s recent dinner with Kanye West and white supremacist Nick Fuentes that drew widespread condemnation, including a resolution by the Republican National Committee this week.
In the course of their conversation, both men offered apologies.
“I apologize if I didn’t satisfy everyone on this radio show, but the opinions that I expressed are not necessarily my own opinions,” said Kornbluh, one of the few haredi Orthodox journalists to cover the community for a non-Orthodox news outlet. “It’s backed by facts.”
Tischler’s expression of regret was more personal. “As a fellow brother and a fellow Jew, I’m going to fight with you,” he told Kornbluh. “We are allowed to fight with each other. We are allowed to disagree. Maybe sometimes we go a little overboard. I’m sorry about that, but both of us do it.”
It was a notable public detente for two men whose conflict came to represent a moment of painful polarization in the Brooklyn Orthodox community they share. Back in 2020, Tischler burst into public view after he agitated against pandemic restrictions, cutting the locks on a closed playground and organizing protests against required masking and other public health measures.
Kornbluh, who then worked at Jewish Insider, was reporting on how the Orthodox community bucked the rules and continued to hold large gatherings. The pair clashed.
Their conflict came to a head in October 2020 during a pro-Trump, anti-mask rally that Tischler organized in Borough Park. There, dozens of Orthodox men surrounded Kornbluh after Tischler directed the crowd to attack the journalist. Kornbluh said he was punched and kicked.
Tischler was arrested and charged with incitement. After his arrest, dozens of his supporters waving Trump flags gathered outside of Kornbluh’s home. As part of his plea agreement, Tischler had to perform 10 days of community service.
Nearly two and a half years later, Tischler says that painful moment is in the past.
“Our wounds have been healed,” he told the New York Jewish Week. About Kornbluh, he said, “He’s very knowledgeable and he was a very good and interesting guest.”
Tischler added that while “everybody in the Orthodox community has seen that we have made peace,” the radio show appearance was the first time the two were seen talking publicly in the media.
“We bumped into each other many times in the last year, at synagogues, kiddushes, and weddings,” Tischler said.
Kornbluh declined to comment about his appearance on Tischler’s show, which the host opened by alluding to their past tension.
Their community “went through a tough time during Covid,” Tischler told Kornbluh.
“Maybe both of us didn’t really understand what was going on,” he added. “Maybe now we understand.”
Tischler has sought to springboard into politics now that he is a household name in his community. He ran for City Council in 2021 and last year sought a state senate seat — losing soundly each time. (He had also lost a City Council race in 2017.) But he plans to run City Council again this year — and said in an interview that he is working on himself in preparation.
“I’d like to be able to make better judgments in the future on how to control myself,” Tischler said. “I’ll make sure to control and keep myself intact and make sure that I never ever create something where my words incite anybody ever. I’m going to try to do better.”
Amber Adler, a Brooklyn Orthodox activist who ran against Tischler in the 2021 City Council Race, told the New York Jewish Week that if Tischler’s apology is sincere and Kornbluh is accepting of it, then “that’s a unique milestone.”
“What I hope it is for the community is an example of two people trying to work something out and come into some type of agreement to move past it in a productive matter,” Adler said, who is also running for City Council again this year. “I really do genuinely hope that it inspires people to apologize to those people that they’ve hurt.”
Adler also said that a public apology — just as much a public conflict — fits into the antics that have made Tischler famous in his community and beyond.
“With Heshy, you never know what you’re going to get,” she said. “That’s why he’s very watched in general. People listen to what he says, but I think everyone is just hoping for the best with the apology that just happened.”
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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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