(JTA) — Steven Spielberg said he was the sixth-happiest person in the world after he won best director at this year’s Golden Globes awards for “The Fabelmans,” his autobiographical film about his Jewish family.
“I think … there’s five people happier than I am,” he said in his acceptance speech, which he said he had not prepared in advance out of superstition. “There’s my sister Anne, my sister Sue, my sister Nancy, my dad Arnold and my mom. She is up there kvelling about this right now.”
“Kvell” is the Yiddish word meaning to feel quiet pride in the accomplishment of others — and it’s closely associated with Jewish mothers who are proud of their children. Spielberg’s mother, Leah Adler, was the owner of a popular kosher restaurant in Los Angeles who died in 2017. His father Arnold, who helped him make his first movie, died in 2020 at 103.
“The Fabelmans,” which also won best picture among dramas, tells the story of a child who falls in love with filmmaking and laces his family’s Jewish identity into the storytelling. The character based on Adler is played by Michele Williams, a non-Jewish actor who is raising her children Jewish, while Paul Dano plays the character based on Arnold Spielberg.
During the awards ceremony, host Jerrod Carmichael joked that he watched “The Fabelmans” with Kanye West “and it changed everything for him” — alluding to the rapper’s months-long antisemitic tirade that has cost him millions in sponsorships and led to him becoming a show-business pariah. Addressing Spielberg, Carmichael said, “That’s how good you are. You changed Kanye West’s mind.” (In response, Spielberg clasped his hands in mock prayer.)
Elsewhere, Spielberg was thanked from the stage even by actors who did not appear in his film: “Everything Everywhere All At Once” star Ke Huy Quan, who won best supporting actor in a comedy, thanked the director for giving him his first big break in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” at the age of 12.
“I like very much the sort of easy way that Jewishness lives in this movie. It’s a very profound part of Steven’s identity, and of the Fablemans’ identity,” Spielberg’s collaborator, the Jewish writer Tony Kushner, said at a September film festival before the movie’s wide release. “But it’s a movie that’s about Jewish people, rather than entirely or exclusively about Jewishness or antisemitism or something. So it’s not a problem, it’s who they are.”
The film has been a critical darling but Spielberg’s worst-ever performance at the box office, where it is unlikely to bring in anywhere close to the $40 million spent to make it. (Many theater releases are struggling in a climate where audiences are accustomed to watching movies at home.)
Spielberg’s attendance at the ceremony was notable because many actors and directors boycotted last year’s pared-down event over years of scandal at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hands out the awards. The group was criticized over conflicts of interest by its members and for including few Black members; it says it has addressed both issues.
Also winning at this year’s Golden Globes was Jewish actress Julia Garner for her Netflix show “Ozark” and Justin Hurwitz, who was named best original score for “Babylon.” The Jewish songwriter has won all four of the Golden Globes for which he has been nominated, all for work with the filmmaker Damien Chazelle, his college roommate. Chazelle attended Hebrew school at a New Jersey synagogue and traveled to Israel with his classmates despite being raised by Catholic parents.
Ukraine’s Jewish president Volodymyr Zelensky also made a special pre-taped appearance at the Globes, thanking Hollywood for supporting Ukraine in its ongoing war with Russia and making a reference to the awards ceremony’s origins in 1943 in the waning years of World War II.
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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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