(New York Jewish Week) — Thousands of New Yorkers gathered in Times Square on Monday night to watch as performers, social media stars and elected officials celebrated the second night of Hanukkah while bringing awareness to the growing frequency of antisemitism.
The event, called “Shine a Light on Antisemitism,” was co-hosted by a range of Jewish groups, including UJA-Federation of New York, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League.
It featured appearances from New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Letitia James and comedian Ariel Elias. Rapper Nissim Black and the cast of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s “Fiddler On The Roof in Yiddish” performed.
Sharing the outdoor stage with a Hanukkah menorah and multiple elected officials, James called antisemitism “a malignant cancer” that must be wiped out.
Hochul, who said she has always supported the Jewish community, denounced “antisemitism in all of its forms.” The governor just introduced multiple initiatives to combat hate in New York, including a new unit in her office, stronger education programs and millions of dollars in security funding for synagogues.
As we light the @JCRCNY Menorah in Times Square, we send a clear message to the world that we are proud to stand with our Jewish neighbors!
New York wouldn’t be what it is today without our Jewish community. We’ll always support Jewish New Yorkers & stand up to antisemitism. pic.twitter.com/jeVhLVIFV5
— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) December 20, 2022
Elias, who had a video go viral after someone threw a beer can at her while she was performing in a comedy club, spoke about how the incident ultimately felt antisemitic.
“What I was talking about was being Jewish and growing up in Kentucky,” Elias said. “But because antisemitism doesn’t always look the way it used to, it took a long time for me to connect the dots when it first happened.”
UJA-Federation CEO Eric Goldstein told the New York Jewish Week that putting on an event like this in a public place is important in order to show that Jews are standing up to antisemitism.
He added that “a really important piece of this is to live [a] proudly public, happy Jewish life.”
“Crisis shouldn’t define us,” said Goldstein, who also spoke at the event. “The goal here is not to simply have sound speeches, but to celebrate Hanukkah. This is a time to get together in celebration.”
“Shine a Light” is an initiative of more than 80 North American Jewish and non-Jewish organizations, calling itself “a platform for organizations, companies, individuals and institutions to unite in shining a light on antisemitism in all its modern forms.”
The New York Police Department reported that antisemitic attacks in the city in November 2022 were up by 125% when compared to the same month last year.
A report from the Anti-Defamation League counted 2,717 antisemitic incidents across the country in 2021 — a 34% increase from the previous year, and the highest since it began tracking in 1979.
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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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