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Times Square Margaritaville left synagogue ‘homeless,’ suit says



(New York Jewish Week) — A synagogue is suing the developer of the Margaritaville Resort in Times Square, saying he reneged on a promise to house the synagogue in the new entertainment complex and left it “homeless.” 

According to a lawsuit filed last week, developer Sharif El Gamal had initially promised to find a new home for the Garment Center Congregation after demolishing its former home to make way for the new 32-story, 170,000-square-foot hotel that opened last year, Crain’s New York reported. 

In its complaint, the congregation said that El Gamal “has intentionally withheld or delayed performing its obligations in the hopes that the congregation’s temporary dislocation would result in depletion or death of its membership, collapse of its community and cessation of its religious and social activities, thereby no longer requiring the new synagogue at 560 Seventh Avenue.” 

The synagogue had a 99-year lease in the former building, with an annual rent of $1, which was a donation from Albert List, a congregant who built the earlier complex.

The lease agreement said that if the landlord of the property were to demolish it, it would need to include space for the synagogue in any new project that is built in its place, according to the suit.  

In 2013, Gamal purchased the building for $61.5 million and inherited the synagogue’s lease agreement.  

In negotiations with the synagogue, they settled on a project that would include a 300-seat sanctuary, a 75-seat chapel for daily services, a kosher kitchen, a community room and small terrace for a sukkah.  

In October 2021, El Gamal revealed a proposal for a space that was 50% smaller.

“It was down to 179 seats from 300, and it did not include equipment or amenities,” the lawsuit says. 

El Gamal also tried to buy the synagogue out of its lease agreement, but the complaint alleged that numerous delays and “stall tactics” have led the congregation to believe that the developer does not want to reach an agreement.  

When the building was knocked down, El Gamal offered space to the synagogue at 1384 Broadway. In a previous lawsuit, filed in September 2020, the landlord there, Chetrit Group, alleged that El Gamal failed to vacate the synagogue at the end of that lease and cost them $500,000 in late rent.  

The Chetrit Group demanded El Gamal pay more than $1 million in back rent and the synagogue began vacating the premises. A notice its website says, “All daily services are currently canceled until further notice.”

El Gamal previously bragged in that he would be the first Muslim in New York to build a synagogue.  

“It sets a real example of the cooperation and the brotherhood and the coexistence that has always existed between us,” Gamal said at the time.  

Margaritaville is part of singer Jimmy Buffet’s chain of tropical-themed resorts, and includes 234 guestrooms, five restaurants and bars and a street-level Margaritaville retail store.

El Gamal and the Garment Center Congregation did not respond to a request for a comment.  

The post Times Square Margaritaville left synagogue ‘homeless,’ suit says 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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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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