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Pat Robertson, pastor who personified American Jews’ dilemma with evangelicals, dies at 93



(JTA) — Pat Robertson was trying to pay Jews a compliment.

“They’d rather be polishing diamonds than fixing cars,” he said in 2014 on his show on the Christian Broadcasting Network, the station the Southern Baptist minister founded in 1960 that had grown into an evangelical Protestant powerhouse.

Robertson made his observation — while chuckling — in a conversation with a rabbi who was sympathetic to his conservative beliefs, Daniel Lapin. He clearly thought that diamond polishing was a good thing, and somehow rooted in biblical precepts.

“What is it about Jewish people that make them prosper financially?” Robertson continued. “You almost never find Jews tinkering with their cars on the weekends or mowing their lawns. That’s what Daniel Lapin says, and there’s a very good reason for that, and it lies within the business secrets of the Bible.”

Those remarks were sharply emblematic of a dilemma that has for years dogged the American Jewish establishment and that was personified by Robertson, who died Thursday at 93. Like many evangelicals with a vast television audience and political influence, Robertson was full of admiration for Jews and deeply supportive of Israel.

At the same time, Robertson’s message carried with it the baggage of age-old stereotypes that caused Jews discomfort. Those came alongside a history of statements denigrating feminism, LGBTQ people and Muslims.

“ADL genuinely values the support of Israel these leaders have demonstrated,” an Anti-Defamation League statement said in 1994 after a 60-page report it published on Robertson’s Christian Coalition drew pushback from Jewish political conservatives, led by Lapin. “But this support cannot be used as a shield from legitimate criticism.”

Robertson broadcast his hugely popular700 Club” show multiple times from Israel, and articulated the argument that biblical prophecy necessitated Christian support for the Jewish state. That view has since permeated the Republican Party.

“The survival of the Jewish people is a miracle of God,” he said in an undated speech posted on his website. “The return of the Jewish people to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a miracle of God. The remarkable victories of Jewish armies against overwhelming odds in successive battles in 1948, and 1967, and 1973 are clearly miracles of God. The technological marvels of Israeli industry, the military prowess, the bounty of Israeli agriculture, the fruits and flowers and abundance of the land are a testimony to God’s watchful care over this new nation and the genius of this people.”

Following his death, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee called Robertson “a great friend of Israel and a pioneer in the modern Christian Zionist movement.”

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Pat Robertson, a brilliant orator and faith leader and an extraordinary friend of Israel and the Jewish People,” David Friedman, former President Donald Trump’s ambassador to Israel, tweeted on Thursday. “Deepest condolences to Gordon and the entire Robertson family. May you derive much comfort from his incredible legacy.”

Yet this “genius” people kept irking Robertson. In 2014, he called the director of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which advocates against proselytizing in the military, a “little Jewish radical.” The subject of that epithet, Mikey Weinstein, was not mourning Robertson on Tuesday.

“I know quite well what it felt like to be savaged by him just for being a Jewish person who fights for civil rights in our armed forces,” he said in a statement.

In 1988, when the ADL asked Robertson to condemn the antisemitism that was emerging in protests against Martin Scorcese’s movie, “The Last Temptation of Christ,” Robertson demanded a quid pro quo: that Jewish groups condemn the movie’s Jewish producers.

In 1995, Robertson got into trouble when he tried to get out of trouble for his 1991 book, “The New World Order,” in which he blamed much of the world’s woes on “European bankers” who happened to be Jewish.

Robertson’s defense was a familiar one. The book, he told The New York Times, was “pro-Israel and pro-Jewish” because among its targets was the United Nations. He added that he had “many, many friends in the Jewish community.”

Robertson was so confident of those friends that he thought they would help propel him to the presidency in 1988. “I would anticipate, especially among Conservative and Orthodox Jews, I would have a tremendous body of support,” Robertson said then. “I’m counting on it from everything I’ve seen.”

The support never materialized; Robertson dropped out of the race early. But he consolidated a style of campaigning that mixed Christian piety with politicking, which Jimmy Carter had pioneered a dozen years earlier and that has now become ubiquitous, at least among Republicans. Mike Pence, the former vice president, has made his evangelical faith inseparable from his politics as he launches a campaign for the 2024 GOP political nomination.

Unlike Pence and other Christians running for office, Robertson was never able — our perhaps willing — to obscure the foreboding manifestations of his beliefs, preaching about an apocalypse in Israel and blaming a stroke that struck the late Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, on his withdrawal from the Gaza Strip (a view which made him persona non grata with the Israeli government for a short period).

In 2002, the ADL’s then-national director, Abraham Foxman, summed up the ambivalence many Jews felt when Christian Evangelicals were planning a Washington rally for Israel at a time when it was beset by the second intifada. Jewish groups were neither discouraging nor encouraging the event, he said.

“There is no alliance,” Foxman said. “The relationship is based on this one, specific issue.”

The post Pat Robertson, pastor who personified American Jews’ dilemma with evangelicals, dies at 93 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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