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When I heard Dave Chappelle’s monologue, all I could think about were my classmates’ Holocaust jokes



(JTA) — I don’t find Dave Chapelle’s “Saturday Night Live” monologue funny, unlike my classmates who draw inspiration from him.

About a year ago, in my eighth-grade English class, I was listening to my classmates talk about Holocaust denial. Some of them were joking, sure, but that didn’t make it any better.

We’d been reading “Maus,” Art Speigelman’s autobiographical graphic novel about the Holocaust, whose characters are depicted as mice. Because of this, people began saying how it was fictitious. And then, it devolved into how the Holocaust didn’t happen. I am 50% of the Jewish population in my grade at my school in Nashville; the other 50% sat a few desks away. We were both frozen solid. We couldn’t move.

Once I collected my bearings, all I could think was, “It’s not their pain to joke about.” And it’s not. I might joke with another Jewish student about silly Jewish stereotypes like bagels and lox or tell stupid jokes like “Two Jews walk into a synagogue…,” but when I hear someone else make a joke about my heritage, I am offended. I do understand that this is a bit of a double standard, but why should they get to joke about my ancestors? It’s certainly not their own blood family that died in Auschwitz and ghettos across Europe.

Just a few days ago, a non-Jewish classmate of mine told me a pickup line centered in the Holocaust. Sometimes, I have the courage to say something back, but not always. Sometimes, I’m scared of the social repercussions. When I don’t reply, I feel so guilty; I feel like I’m dishonoring the 6 million who died in the Holocaust. I don’t want to be a representative of my religion, but all Jews were born into that role and it is up to us whether we choose to comply.

Dave Chappelle has the right to joke about how there’s “a lot of Jews” in Hollywood. But, because he is not part of the Jewish community, he should have to face the consequences of joking about my community’s pain and hardships. When major broadcasters like NBC put people such as Chappelle on air, they are giving permission for these offenses to continue. It may or may not be intentional, but the effects of the antisemitic rhetoric are the same. By allowing this language on the basis of comedy, we are spreading an attitude of antisemitism across the globe and that attitude follows all Jews, from my parents at their places of work, to me in my classroom.

For Chappelle, that monologue was a moment. For me and my community, it’s our lives. I’ve experienced this all throughout my childhood. The Nashville JCC, where my mom worked, got bomb threats in 2017. I still recall how terrified I was as a 10-year-old to think that my mom was going to get killed at work.

There are microaggressions that have links to this rhetoric, too. Growing up, my teachers would somehow incorporate Jesus into a curriculum where it in no way belonged. For years, I even took their own religious opinions as fact. And why shouldn’t I have? Back then, what my teachers taught was the truth. There wasn’t much more to it. I didn’t know better, and my educators used their Christianity-based opinions in what was supposed to be a religion-free curriculum.

RELATED: Comedians are just as capable of antisemitic incitement as political figures. So let’s take Dave Chappelle seriously.

The outrage that I and so many others feel about Chappelle’s monologue is not about the words themselves. It’s about the things they give cover for. When I hear him making light of basketball star Kyrie Irving’s sharing of a movie denying the Holocaust, I hear him giving permission for the vandal who painted a swastika on a college campus frat house not far from my home and the kids in my class to deny the Holocaust while the teacher just sat there, unbothered. Like Kanye West’s threat to go “death con 3” on my people, or Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s antisemitic conspiracy theories, it doesn’t just disturb me, it haunts me. It follows me everywhere: from my dinner table to my social media feed to my school.

I joke with my Jewish friends about our secret Jewish space lasers, but it’s only trying to cope. We cope with the pain of knowing the horrors our ancestors endured and just how quickly we could approach another tragedy. These events build and build in severity until their climax.

When it was announced that Chappelle would be hosting “SNL,” there reportedly was outrage from the writers and rumors that the cast might boycott because of his previous homophobic and transphobic remarks. They didn’t. Why the silence? It’s awful to see “SNL,” a show watched by millions, give a platform to someone making fun of my history and my daily struggle.

It’s time to move on from targeting an entire people for laughs and attention. It’s not funny. It never was.

The post When I heard Dave Chappelle’s monologue, all I could think about were my classmates’ Holocaust jokes 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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