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Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, who claimed Jewish heritage, instead reportedly had a grandfather who fought for the Nazis



(JTA) – Florida Republican Anna Paulina Luna beat a Jewish Democrat to represent her district in Congress last fall, but she had Jewish ancestry, too — or so she claimed at the time.

The freshman representative told Jewish Insider during her campaign that she was “a small fraction Ashkenazi,” in addition to having been “raised as a Messianic Jew by my father.” While mainstream Judaism does not consider Messianic Jews, who believe in the divinity of Jesus, to be Jewish, Luna’s additional claim of Ashkenazi heritage was of interest enough for her to use it to deflect accusations that her political ally, the far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, was antisemitic.

But that detail appears to be untrue, according to a Washington Post investigation into Luna’s biography published late last week. After speaking to members of Luna’s extended family and reviewing genealogical records, the Post determined that she does not have any apparent Ashkenazi background — and that her paternal grandfather, in fact, served in the armed forces of Nazi Germany.

If Luna indeed fabricated her Jewish heritage, she would be the second Republican freshman in Congress to have done so this term. New York Rep. George Santos attracted widespread scrutiny shortly after his election when it was revealed that he had made up large portions of his biography, including claims that he was Jewish and the descendant of a Holocaust survivor. Santos, who also had a social media history of appearing to praise Hitler, has thus far resisted calls to resign, including from within his own party.

Some Democratic groups and liberal columnists have already pounced on drawing comparisons between Luna and Santos, while the Jewish Democratic Council of America tweeted, “Republicans are increasingly using Jewish Americans, our community, and our history as political props.” Both candidates represent districts with significant Jewish populations.

It’s unclear whether Luna was consciously lying about her Jewish background or simply misinformed. Heinrich Mayerhofer, Luna’s grandfather, served in the Wehrmacht, the Nazi army, before immigrating to Canada in 1954, family members told the Post. They said his Nazi past was well known among relatives. The Post also found an old photo of Mayerhofer in a Wehrmacht uniform. He identified as Roman Catholic, and told family members he had had no choice but to serve the Nazis in order to survive.

His son George Mayerhofer, Luna’s father, was raised Catholic, according to members of Luna’s extended family from whom she has become estranged. But Luna said he followed Messianic Judaism and raised her with those beliefs. Her mother Monica Luna also told the Post that George, who struggled with addiction, “started attending a Messianic Jewish church in Orange County” after he got clean, and that Luna “buried him to Jewish customs” after he was killed last year in a car accident.

Luna’s office has called the Post’s story “comical” and said she was being targeted because “anyone who is a conservative minority is a threat to Leftist control.” The Post has already issued two corrections on the story concerning other elements of her biography, but not on her claims of Jewish heritage.

Meanwhile, a different Jewish Republican last week moved in the opposite direction of their identity journey, as candidate for Michigan GOP chair Lena Epstein announced that, while she had been raised Jewish, she was now “baptized” and considered herself a “Jewish Messianic believer of Christ.” Epstein still belongs to a Reform Jewish congregation in the Detroit area, according to the Forward; after her announcement, her rabbi wrote on Facebook in all-caps that “THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS MESSIANIC JUDAISM” and that people who use the term are “camouflaging their identity.”

The post Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, who claimed Jewish heritage, instead reportedly had a grandfather who fought for the Nazis 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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