(New York Jewish Week) — As a child, Holocaust survivor Leo Ullman attended baseball games at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn with his aunt, who believed it would help him become more American.
Yesterday, Ullman, a longtime New York Mets fan and prolific memorabilia collector, made an appearance at Citi Field. But this time, he was on the mound.
Ullman, 83, threw out the first pitch at the Mets game against the Philadelphia Phillies Thursday afternoon before a crowd of more than 38,000 fans. The event was organized by the Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County. (Ullman’s first pitch comes just weeks after another survivor, Helen Kahan, threw out the first pitch at a New York Yankees game in Tampa.)
Yesterday was unforgettable. Thank you @Newsday for capturing it so beautifully. Sands Point Holocaust survivor Leo Ullman throws out first pitch for the @mets on behalf of @hmtcli. #lgm pic.twitter.com/KEVHHK1ntU
— Dana Arschin (@DanaArschin) June 2, 2023
“It wasn’t a perfect strike, but at least it got to the catcher,” Ullman said after the game. He had been practicing his throw for weeks and had watched videos of failed first pitches.
At 83, Ullman is likely among the youngest Holocaust survivors. He was born in the Netherlands in 1939 and when the Nazis invaded, his parents put him into hiding with a policeman’s family in Amsterdam, where he hid for two and a half years before being reunited with his parents with the help of the Dutch Resistance.
“I think it’s important for people to know that they have to fight hatred in every way they can, including antisemitism,” he said yesterday. “And it’s very, very important to not be a bystander, but to confront hatred when you see it.”
The Ullmans immigrated to Long Island in 1947. Ullman still lives in Sands Point today.
Ullman would go on to serve in the Marines, attend Harvard and Columbia, and become a successful lawyer. He has been involved with various Holocaust organizations, including the U.S. National Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Anne Frank Center USA. He has also competed in more than 145 triathlons.
But ever since he was a child, Ullman’s primary love has been baseball. When his Brooklyn Dodgers left New York, Ullman was heartbroken — until the Mets were born in 1962.
In 1995, when Ullman traveled to Madison, Wisconsin for the birth of his grandson, he went to a card show near the hospital and bought 12 Nolan Ryan baseball cards for one dollar each. That moment would become the start of a collection that eventually grew to 15,000 pieces — or, as MLB.com put it, “the largest collection of Nolan Ryan merchandise on the planet.” Ryan played four seasons as a Met at the start of his career in the late 1960s.
Ullman donated his collection — which was valued at $1.2 million — to Stockton University in New Jersey last year.
At Citi Field on Thursday, Ullman was surrounded by family, dressed from head to toe in regalia for the team he has loved since its inception.
“It’s very thrilling to be out there at this beautiful stadium with all the people,” he said.
Ullman wasn’t the only person to throw out a ceremonial first pitch on Thursday afternoon. Jewish indie rocker Ira Kaplan, of the band Yo La Tengo — who for years played a series of Hanukkah-themed shows on each night of the holiday — also threw a ceremonial pitch before the game. (His throw was more of a strike.)
Kaplan is a lifelong Mets fan, and the band was named after a nugget from the team’s history: During their first season, in 1962, the team’s center fielder Richie Ashburn kept colliding with the shortstop Elio Chacon while trying to catch fly balls. Ashburn began calling “Yo la tengo!” (“I got it!” in Spanish) to remedy the situation.
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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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