(JTA) — A “National Day of Hate” against Jews planned by white supremacists that triggered sweeping warnings from law enforcement and Jewish security officials came and went without significant incident on Saturday.
Synagogues and Jewish institutions across the United States had spent the preceding days shoring up their security procedures, reassuring their congregants and requesting extra patrols from local police.
But the Anti-Defamation League, which monitors hate, wrote on Twitter that a meaningful escalation of antisemitic activity did not come to pass, despite some white supremacist actions and propaganda drops around the country. “Despite concerns over increased antisemitic activity, 2/25 has so far been a pretty typical Saturday in America,” the organization tweeted.
Some Jews had said they were staying home or taking other precautions against the threats of synagogue vandalism issued earlier in the week by a small extremist group in Iowa. Police published bulletins about the threats, but law enforcement officials in New York and Chicago said ahead of Saturday that they saw no indications of concrete threats. That assessment was echoed by the Secure Community Network, a group that coordinates security for Jewish institutions nationwide.
“This is yet another example of how social media is contributing to the rise in antisemitism, this time by spreading and amplifying the activities of what is surely a very small group of people,” Julie Platt, chair of the Jewish Federations of North America, wrote in an email on Friday.
Reports from synagogues suggested that the pews were crowded on Shabbat with Jews who said they would not be deterred by hate. In some cases, they were joined by non-Jewish allies who wanted to show their support.
“It was packed,” said Rabbi Eric Woodward of Beth El-Keser Israel in New Haven, Connecticut, where a preplanned Silly Hat Shabbat was transformed at the last moment into an act of defiance.
“We are wearing silly hats tomorrow because it is the first Shabbat of Adar, the month when we are supposed to ‘increase our joy’ and get ready for the costume holiday of Purim,” Woodward had written to his congregants on Friday. “Normally, it’s hard to know how to fight these abstract forces of hate. But tomorrow, you can do that.”
Communities demonstrated defiance in other ways, too. Temple Emanu-El in New York City, for example, held its Shabbat morning services on Fifth Avenue, rather than inside its majestic sanctuary on the block. Among those attending were non-Jews who wanted to show their support.
“For me, today was a symbol of resistance, of being in solidarity with the Jewish people. With all of the threats and bad things, it’s a symbol of strength and solidarity,” Jose del Rosairo told the New York Post.
That was exactly what Jewish advocates had urged as Shabbat neared. The ADL had, encouraged Jews to turn Saturday into “Shabbat of Peace, Not Hate.” Meanwhile, social media influencers exhorted their followers to demonstrate their Jewish pride and support for Jews under threat.
“Some fringe white supremacist groups have planned a national ‘day of hate’ against the Jewish people on Saturday,” read a widely shared Instagram post by Jessica Seinfeld, who previously went viral by offering non-Jews a way to signal online that they rejected antisemitism by the rapper Kanye West.
“We are hoping our friends will help us counter this idea with their love and light,” she wrote. “Will you consider joining a Jewish friend at synagogue for Shabbat? Help us fill our sanctuaries with courage and friendship.”
One of the most prominent non-Jews to join a synagogue service on Saturday was New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who was at New York City’s Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, which primarily serves LGBTQ Jews.
“When there are people out there who think that by their words alone, by declaring a day of hate, that the rest of us, particularly those in the Jewish community, would cower and say, ‘Well, we’re afraid of them. We’re going to stay home’” Hochul said in brief remarks to the congregation. “They certainly misjudged the situation.”
The ADL said there had in fact been protests by antisemitic groups in Ohio and Georgia on Saturday and antisemitic materials distributed in at least four other states, even as feared violence did not materialize.
“We know that the threat does not magically disappear as the sun sets on this so-called ‘day of hate,’” the organization tweeted. “We know that vigilance is part of being Jewish in America in 2023. And we take great comfort in knowing we do not face this darkness alone.”
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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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