(New York Jewish Week) — The American Kennel Club’s Museum of the Dog, just two blocks south of Grand Central, can boast many things, including an extensive library about dog breeds and one of the world’s largest collections of dog-themed art.
As of this past weekend, it’s also a place where dogs and their owners can celebrate Jewish holidays together.
As part of the museum’s “Furry Fridays” program — a biweekly-ish event in which four-footed friends are welcomed inside the galleries — Sarah Moshenberg, the museum’s manager of learning and engagement, created the institution’s first-ever Jewish event: A “Pawrim” party for Purim, in which humans and canines were invited to dress up in costumes, socialize with one another and eat hamantaschen (yes, there were hamantaschen for dogs).
“Being Jewish myself, I was really excited to do a Jewish event,” Moshenberg, dressed in a bright pink homemade flamingo costume, told the New York Jewish Week. “I would love to do more holidays; more opportunities for all sorts of folks who celebrate all different types of holidays to come here and enjoy them with their their dogs — that’s the excitement.”
“I have three human children,” she said. “My oldest is 8, so I love taking them to the Purim celebration at shul, and then getting to do the parade, watching them in their costumes, showing off… Being able to do that here, but with your dog, is really fun.”
The Purim party, Moshenberg explained, was an outgrowth of an upcoming Furry Friday that happened to fall on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. In planning the events calendar, Moshenberg had the idea for a “St. Pawtrick’s” party and, from there, the punny themes came easily — Feb. 17, for example, was “Mardi Paws” in honor of Mardi Gras.
Pawrim, as it happens, was inspired by my best girl Shayna Maydele, the adorable Upper East Side-dwelling white coton de Tulear with a charming Instagram account whom the New York Jewish Week called “possibly the most Jewish dog in New York” last year.
“I saw the article on Shayna Maydele and I really wanted to do something with her,” Moshenberg said. With a Furry Friday scheduled just three days ahead of Purim (which begins tonight!) — and once Shabbat availability was cleared with Shayna Maydele’s “manager,” Heidi Silverstone — the party was a go.
On Friday evening, Shayna Maydele, dressed as an aviator for the occasion, took to her first-ever party hosting duties with aplomb. She and her pal Vito, a shih-poo dressed in a penguin costume, gamely posed for the “paw-parazzi” on the museum’s stairs.
“We came for Shayna Maydele!” said Vito’s owner Mina Kim, a dentist who lives in Midtown. “She’s just the sweetest dog.”
Kim, who is not Jewish — “I grew up in Bergen County; I’ve been around Jewish people my whole life!” — added that “doggie hamantaschen” was the second major draw.
As Kim and I chatted, an adorable mutt named Henry — dapper in a very “Wall Street”-esque pinstriped suit — entered the scene and immediately demanded belly rubs. “I couldn’t find his costume,” his owner, Robyn, who declined to provide her last name, told me. “I just grabbed a shirt — he wore it to a bark mitzvah.”
Robyn, who lives in Murray Hill, said she and Henry had previously been to a Furry Friday event before. “He needs to learn his Jewish roots,” she said, adding, “it’s something to do.”
Upstairs, in the museum’s spacious third-floor gallery, klezmer music played quietly in the background as dogs sniffed one another’s tushes and owners gushed over the adorable panoply of costumed canines. Among them was Finley, a papillon who was dressed as an airplane — unintentionally twinning with the dog of the hour! — and Loli, a tiny shih-poo who was dressed as was Sulley from “Monsters, Inc.”
Liz Karpen and her sister, Rebecca, were there with their Havanese, Allen Bader Ginsberg, who was dressed in a homemade hamantaschen costume. “I was already going to make her a costume, but it was just going to be to wander around in the house — maybe I would strut her around the street in it,” said Liz, who learned about the party from Shayna Maydele’s Instagram. “This gave me an excuse to make something that people are going to see.”
The sisters have additional plans for the holiday, but this was their only opportunity to celebrate Purim with Allen. “I tried finding other things for dogs, but there’s not much,” Liz said. “I also didn’t want to assume this costume would last more than one night.”
Shara Safer, a law school student who lives in the Village, had learned about the party while at a dog park with her shih tzu, Clem, and immediately knew they had to attend. “I really need to get more involved in Jewish events,” she said, adding that she’s “not super practicing” right now. For Purim itself, Safer said she may visit her family and make some hamantaschen.
“I would love it if I could bring him to shul,” she said of Clem, who was dressed as Cerberus — the three-headed dog that guards the underworld in Greek mythology. (The clever costume, handmade by Safer, took “too long” to make, she said.)
Indeed, much like Moshenberg pointed out, being able to celebrate the Jewish holiday with their dog — instead of having to leave him or her at home — was a draw mentioned by several partygoers. Upper West Siders Andres and Nicole Gannon said they came to the party because they were excited by “the opportunity to have him in costume and celebrate Purim,” said Andres Gannon. Their pug, Monster, had been dressed as the Beast from “Beauty and the Beast,” but they had removed his costume before heading out into the drizzly evening.
When asked about other plans they had for the holiday, they said: “This is our Purim celebration.”
As for Shayna Maydele, Silverstone said in an email after the event that her pup “loved interacting with the other dogs. It was very different than her regular playing in a dog park — all of the dogs were leashed, and it was in a museum setting. Since it was new to her, she had so much fun exploring.”
“It definitely made me feel good about what I am doing on social media, since sometimes I wonder whether it is a productive use of my time, posting photos of my dog,” Silverstone said. “However, when I see the happiness it brings to people, and the awareness it brings about the goodness of Judaism, I realize that it is definitely worthwhile.”
As for future Jewish events at the museum, Moshenberg said she’s open to departing from the Furry Fridays routine. “I would love to do this again,” she said. “I also think I wouldn’t have it on Shabbos next year — I would plan something around it so we wouldn’t have a conflict in that case, and we could definitely invite more of the Jewish community.”
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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