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The Jewish Sport Report: This Holocaust survivor threw out the first pitch on her 100th birthday



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Good morning!

Today is the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, which celebrates the spring harvest and the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. One popular Shavuot custom is to enjoy dairy products, like cheesecake.

So if you’re going to a game this weekend, or even just watching at home, enjoy an ice cream cone or slice of cake — it’s a mitzvah! And let us know by emailing us at sports@jta.orgWhat’s your favorite ballpark/stadium treat?

A 100th birthday for the ages

Helen Kahan, center, with her daughter Livia Wein and son Lucian Kahan. (Courtesy of the Tampa Bay Rays)

Holocaust survivor Helen Kahan celebrated her 100th birthday in just about the best way I could imagine: by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for her favorite baseball team, surrounded by her multi-generational family.

Is it misty in here?

Kahan, who survived multiple Nazi concentration camps, was joined by her two children, plus five grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren, on May 5 as the Tampa Bay Rays honored her before a matchup with the New York Yankees.

“I never could have imagined celebrating a birthday like this, let alone my 100th!” said Kahan. “I’m so grateful that I am here to tell my story and help the world remember why kindness and empathy are so important for us all.”

The Rays also announced a $10,000 partnership grant with the Florida Holocaust Museum, where Kahan volunteers. Kahan got a standing ovation, met several Rays players and coaches and had her story featured on the broadcast. Talk about a perfect game.

Read the story here.

Halftime report

RED FLAG. Israel lost 2-1 to Colombia in its first-ever U-20 World Cup match last weekend, and the drama was not confined to the pitch. After a Colombia goal, fans raised a Palestinian flag in the stands. Israeli fans responded by shouting, “This is not politics, this is soccer.” Police eventually intervened and expelled the Palestinian flag holders.

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS. The Denver Jewish Day School boys’ basketball team made history earlier this spring when it won the state championship — it was only the third time ever that a Jewish day school had won its state basketball championship. Along the way, they overcame antisemitism and pulled off a 15-point comeback.

CHAI-LIGHTS. Heichal Hatorah, a yeshiva in Teaneck, New Jersey, made it onto SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays this week, with this wild game-winning three-pointer in a JV basketball game.

Wild game winning shot from a kid in Heichal HaTorah in New Jersey makes @SportsCenter top 10

— jewboy media (@simmy_cohen) May 23, 2023

PUT ME IN, COACH. Friend of the Sport Report Justine Siegal, the first woman to coach a professional men’s baseball team, was recently a guest coach in the Mexican Baseball League. Siegal is a pioneer of women’s baseball and an advocate for the sport around the world.

SHIPPING (BACK) UP TO BOSTON. Jewish tight end and Harvard alum Anthony Firkser has signed with the New England Patriots. Check out our 2021 interview with Firkser here. Maybe he’ll have Shabbat dinner at Robert Kraft’s house?

A Jewish guide to the French Open

Camila Giorgi serves in the National Bank Open final at IGA Stadium in Montreal, Aug. 15, 2021. (David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The French Open, or Roland Garros, is underway, and there are numerous Jewish players and storylines to keep an eye on. Here’s your cheat sheet:

Madison Brengle

The 33-year-old Delaware native is ranked 94th in women’s singles and looks to make it past the second round in singles for the first time in her 10th French Open.

Taylor Fritz

Fritz does not identify as Jewish, but his maternal grandfather was Jewish, and his great-great-grandfather was David May — the German-Jewish immigrant who founded the May Department Stores, which merged with Macy’s. Fritz is the best player of this group, entering the French Open with a men’s singles world ranking of 9.

Camila Giorgi

The Italian star, who has said her favorite book is “The Diary of Anne Frank,” is ranked 36th in women’s singles and reached the fourth round last year.

Aslan Karatsev

Karatsev was born in Russia but moved to Israel at 3 years old and has said the country still feels like home. He’s currently ranked 62nd in men’s singles. This is his third French Open.

Diego Schwartzman

Schwartzman has struggled so far in 2023, dealing with a leg injury and some disappointing performances, dropping him down to 93rd in the rankings — the first time the Argentine is out of the top 30 since 2017. Schwartzman got his start at his local Jewish sports club near Buenos Aires, and has enjoyed the Roland Garros in the past — he reached the semifinals in 2020, the quarterfinals in 2021 and 2018 and the fourth round last year.

Denis Shapovalov

Shapovalov, ranked 31st in men’s singles, was born in Tel Aviv to a Ukrainian Jewish mom and Russian Orthodox Christian dad. He often wears a cross when he plays, but his mom considers him Jewish. This is the 24-year-old’s fifth French Open.

Elina Svitolina

Svitolina, who had a Jewish grandmother, is back at Roland Garros for the first time since 2021. The Ukrainian star, who took a break from tennis in 2022 due to the war in her home country — and the birth of her first child last fall — has made it to the French Open quarterfinals three times.

Jews in sports to watch this weekend


Atlanta Braves rookie Jared Shuster, who earned his first MLB win on Monday, will take the mound Friday at 7:20 p.m. ET against Garrett StubbsDalton Guthrie and the Philadelphia Phillies. Dean Kremer toes the rubber for the Baltimore Orioles Saturday at 4:05 p.m. ET against the Texas Rangers. Jewish stars Max Fried and Joc Pederson, both of whom are on the injured list, are making progress toward a return.


Manor Solomon and Fulham F.C. host Man United Sunday at 11:30 a.m. ET. Over in the U-20 World Cup, Israel plays Japan Saturday at 5 p.m. ET. Israel lost to Colombia last weekend and finished with a 1-1 draw against Senegal on Wednesday. Jewish midfielder Daniel Edelman is representing the United States in the tournament — they play Slovakia this afternoon at 2 p.m. ET.


Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll will race in the Monaco Grand Prix Sunday at 9 a.m. ET. Stroll is currently eighth in the standings.

Flashback Friday

Twenty-one years ago this week, Shawn Green put together one of the most impressive single-game performances in baseball history, collecting a record 19 total bases — he went 6 for 6 with four home runs. A Jewish baseball legend!

On this day 21 years ago, Shawn Green set the MLB record with 1⃣9⃣ total bases in a game!

6-6 AB
4 HR

— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) May 23, 2023

The post The Jewish Sport Report: This Holocaust survivor threw out the first pitch on her 100th birthday 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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Local News

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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