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Volume 2, Number 30
Volume 2, Number 173
'There's a Jewish story everywhere'
August 3-8, 2008: The 2008 Maccabi Games Need Help Housing Athletes

In case you haven't heard yet, San Diego will be hosting its very first Maccabi games from August 3rd to August 8th. It's going to be the biggest thing to hit San Diego's Jewish community and we are expecting 1500 teen athletes from around the US, Israel, and Mexico.

Every single athlete needs to be housed with a family. At least one member of the family needs to be Jewish. Hosting responsibilities include: dropping off the athletes in the morning and picking them up in the evening; providing them with a hearty breakfast and hosting them for dinner on Tuesday night. The rest of the time they will be at the JCC or the different venues.  You are welcome to cheer on the athletes at any of their sporting events if you are available and welcome to join us for opening ceremonies.

Each athlete needs his or her own bed—not his or her own room.  If you do not have enough beds, let us know and we will provide you with air mattresses.  We need you to host at least two (2) kids each.  (Athletes will be between the ages of 14 and 16).  As of today, we are short 400 beds!

If you have friends that would like to host, please forward them the link now in your browser to San Diego Jewish World. Have hem contact Linda Carson at Please email or call (858) 274-0259 for registration forms and information.

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Today's Postings

Sunday, July 20, 2008

{Click on a headline to jump to story or scroll leisurely through our report}

Middle East

Olmert's fingers on levers of power make those who would oust him quite cautious by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem


Culture of death versus culture of life by Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal in San Diego

Stopping gossip—one hour at a time by Rabbi Baruch Lederman in San Diego

San Diego

JFS revving up for Sept. 1 start of "On the Go" transportation program for seniors
by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego

Adventures in San Diego Jewish History

—July 31, 1947:
Pioneer Women

—July 31, 1947: Yo-Ma-Co

—August 7, 1947:
Jewish Press to Suspend Publication: Decision Announced at Meeting of Representatives

—August 7, 1947:
Announcement {Suspension of Publication}

—August 7, 1947: City-Wide Picnic at El Monte in Sept.

—August 7, 1947:
Young Folks Zionist Group Formed


An errant yet charming father returns
by Carol Davis in San Diego


A bissel sports trivia with Bruce Lowitt
in Clearwater, Florida

The Week in Review

This week's stories on San Diego Jewish World: Friday, Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday, Monday, Sunday

How to dedicate an issue of San Diego Jewish World to your loved one—
Please do a double mitzvah! Help us while you honor a friend or relative on the occasion of a special simcha. Or remember a loved one in a public way on his or her yahrzeit.Wherever you live on this increasingly shrinking planet, all you have to do is tell us whom you would like to honor or memorialize, and on what date you would like your inscription about that person to appear. Send the message by email to, and a U.S. $18 (chai) check to San Diego Jewish World, PO Box 19363, San Diego, CA 92159. In addition to appearing in the issue of your choice, your dedication will be permanently archived and indexed for easy retrieval.

Upcoming Events
Want to know about exciting upcoming events? San Diego Jewish World now stacks event advertisements in chronological order, below: July 27; August 2; September 12, 29

Today's Advertisers
America's Vacation Center, Balloon Utopia, Congregation Beth Israel, JCC Maccabi Games, Jewish American Chamber of Commerce, Jewish Community Foundation; Jewish Family Service; Lake Elsinore Storm, Lawrence Family JCC, San Diego Community Colleges,Shosh Ernst, Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School, Temple Emanu-El, Temple Solel, United Jewish Federation, XLNC Radio



San Diego Jewish World joins UJF of San Diego and Jews throughout the world in mourning the
deaths of kidnaped Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

Please click on the ad above to visit the United Jewish Federation website and learn how UJF helps Jews at home, in Israel and all over the world.

To learn more about the Jewish-American Chamber of Commerce and its networking opportunities, please click on the above ad to visit the website

SUNDAY, JULY 27Israeli artist Shosh Ernst one-woman show in San Diego

(c) Shosh Ernst "By The Lake"

You are cordially invited by Nurit and Amnon Yaskil to a private show and sale of art by Shosh Ernst; Sunday, July 27th, 2008, 11:00 am-6:00 pm, 4372 Calle Mejillones, San Diego, CA 92130
(In the Torrey Hills Carmel Valley area). For more information on the artist and her works, go to


SATURDAY, AUGUST 2 Temple Emanu-El Joshua Nelson Concert

Please click the ad above to visit the website of Temple Emanu-El and to learn more about Joshua Nelson who starred at the 2006 Limmud sponsored by the Agency for Jewish Education and the 2007 Biennnial Convention of the Reform Movement, which was held in San Diego

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2008 Temple Solel S'more Shabbat


Congregation Beth Israel High Holiday Services

Please click above to visit Congregation Beth Israel's website


Olmert's fingers on levers of power make those who would oust him quite cautious

By Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM—I doubt that there are many Israelis who admire Ehud Olmert. We have heard about his desires for first-class travel, opulent hotels, expensive fountain pens and cigars. From the six or so police investigations underway are other stories about the receipt of money-filled envelopes, sweetheart deals for private residences, multiple billing for travel, and doubtful actions for friends and supporters while occupying key posts in a long career.

Public opinion polls find him with about the same level of support in this country as George W. Bush has in his country.

There are no active indictments, and it may take a while for a cumbersome justice process to work its way. Rights of the accused are well entrenched in Jewish laws of ancient lineage, as well as the procedures of a politically correct modern state. Israel has enough good attorneys to mount impressive lines of defense for a prime minister accused of numerous kinds of impropriety, as well as equally good attorneys kept busy with the file of a former president renowned for his sexual appetites.

Moshe Katsav is no longer the president. His case drags along without public damage except for another flush of embarrassment whenever it returns to the headlines. Treasury officials recently ruled against his requests for office space in a pricey tower and a new luxury car. Former presidents are due a long list of benefits, but this is a special former president.

The issue of the prime minister is something else. He is still in office, and the most important figure in a government that deals with national defense as well as economic and social policy.

If the legal process is not ready to oust Olmert, what is the problem with his colleagues in the Kadima Party and other members of the Knesset?

The rules do not make it easy to dispatch a prime minister. An absolute majority of Knesset must agree not only to oust a prime minister, but to agree on a replacement.

Ehud Olmert did not get where he is without considerable skill. Religious and Arab parties have gotten some of what they want, and have not cooperated with anti-Olmert proposals.

The Kadima Party is committed to holding a primary to select a leader in September. Olmert has not yet agreed not to run, or to relinquish his post as prime minister if his party chooses another leader. The two leading competitors for party leadership (Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz) and two also-running (Domestic Security Minister Abraham Dicter and Interior Minister Meir Shitrit) are doing what they can to mobilize supporters, but have refrained from attacking Olmert in strong frontal assaults. He is still the prime minister with his hands on numerous levers, including those that can order the dismissal of errant ministers.

So what?

The problems are obvious. The public has shown, at least by opinion polls, that it wants a new prime minister. The suspicion may be well founded that he is so concerned with his personal problems that he is not functioning as a national leader.

However, the evidence of current improprieties is not strong. In recent days Olmert has participated in difficult decisions about Israeli captives held in Lebanon and Gaza. To be sure, there is dispute about his decisions, and with those of other ministers, but he has articulated his views in ways that appear reasonable. There is no indication that he has given away the store in negotiations with the Palestinians or the Syrians.

We do not know what is being decided about the threat from Iran, or the rearmament of Hizbollah north of us or Hamas south of us (both in contrast to international agreements). These involve the most delicate decisions of going to war, but there is no sign of irresponsibility from the prime minister.

Pending a crisis initiated by some other power that demands an immediate response, there is no reason other than good taste or political morality for pushing the legal or political figures to move faster. Good taste and political morality are important, and they are playing their part in Israeli politics. So far they have not produced mass demonstrations. There has been no end of tongue clucking, but that is not enough.

Sharkansky is professor emeritus of political science at Hebrew University. He may be contacted at

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Please click the ad above to learn more about JFS "On the Go" program for seniors

MENTORS NEEDED—Jewish BIGPals urgently needs male volunteers to be matched with the 14 boys waiting patiently for a Big Pal. A Big Pal is an adult role model and friend, ages 19 and up. Little Pals are children 6-16 years old from single parent or non-traditional families and in need of an additional adult role model. Big and Little Pals meet two times each month to participate in recreational, educational, or community activities they both enjoy. All interested volunteers are invited to attend a Jewish BIGPals Information Night on Thursday, August 28, 2008 from 6:00-8:00pm at the Jewish Family Service Turk Family Center located at 8804 Balboa Ave, San Diego, 92123. For more information contact (858) 637-3090.

REGULARS—Elsie Birenbaum, on step of van, and Millie Reitman, are assisted at the drop-off point for the JFS College Avenue Senior Center at Beth Jacob Congregation, near San Diego State University. They are assisted respectively by Craig Lambert, JFS senior director of older adult services, and Brenda Bothel, JFS director of transportation.

JFS revving up for Sept. 1 start of "On the Go" transportation program for seniors

By Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO—Jewish Family Service is revving up its engines for the September 1 start-up of its “On The Go” program to provide otherwise stranded adults over the age of 60 with an expanded range of transportation services.

The program has three major components: 1) Rides & Smiles, a program matching volunteer drivers in their private automobiles with ride-needy seniors; 2) shuttle buses to take seniors to Jewish and non-sectarian destinations, and 3) excursion buses to take seniors to cultural events in and out of San Diego County.

On a schedule that will be phased in over two years, the programs will be based in three centers operated by Jewish Family Service: 1) The North County Inland Senior Center, housed at Temple Adat Shalom in Poway; 2) the University City-La Jolla East Senior Center, housed at Congregation Beth Israel in the eastern portion of La Jolla, and 3) the College Avenue Senior Center, housed at Beth Jacob Congregation on College Avenue near San Diego State University.

The Rides & Smiles program was pioneered over the last several years at the North County Inland Senior Center. Beginning September 1, the volunteer program also will be operated out of the JFS University City Senior Center at Congregation Beth Israel.  After that program is operational for two years, a similar program will be instituted in 2010 at the College Avenue Senior Center.

I met at the College Avenue Senior Center recently with JFS staff members Craig Lambert, senior director of older adult services, and Brenda Bothel, director of transportation, to discuss each component of the “On The Go” program.  

Lambert, whose master’s degree from San Diego State University is in gerontology, worked for Seacrest Village, and later as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in private practice, he offered psycho-social counseling to clients as well as consulting to nursing and retirement homes.  Ten years ago, he joined Jewish Family Service as director of senior services.  Whereas previously he had focused on residential care for seniors,  he said this position intrigued him because it allowed him to develop community care solutions.

Bothel was trained in social work at San Diego State University, becoming a JFS intern ten years ago and winning promotion seven years ago as director of senior programs at the JFS College Avenue Senior Center, where there was a small program to bring seniors to the center from their homes.

Rides & Smiles

“We really had to look at how we delivered transportation and to make it as effective and cost effective as possible, and that is when we started researching the volunteer-based models throughout the country, and taking what I felt was their best practices and applying them to the San Diego community,” Bothel recalled.  

Her experience developing the “Rides & Smiles” program for the North County Inland area, encompassing such communities of Poway, Rancho Bernardo and Carmel Mountain, has won her acclaim in the transportation community and election as chair of the San Diego County Volunteer Driver Coalition.

Approximately 120 volunteers in the North County Inland area provide rides to about 300 seniors throughout the year.  Bothel said the corps of volunteers provides approximately 4,000 rides per year, typically from the seniors’ homes to such destinations as the doctor’s office, the hair dresser, shopping center, and the JFS Senior Center.   One of Bothel’s favorite volunteer driver/ senior rider match-ups takes a client regularly to Palomar-Pomerado Health (PPH), where the senior rider in turn regularly volunteers.  So one person volunteers to drive so another person can volunteer at a health care facility, Bothel says, smiling at the thought.

To become eligible for rides, seniors pay a $20 enrollment fee, and then, either by internet or by telephone (877-63-GO JFS, which also can be dialed as 877-634-6537), they tell JFS the date, time and location of the places to which they need to be driven.  “We ask for a minimum one-week notice,” said Bothel.  “They can reserve a ride up to one calendar month in the future, so in July they can ask for rides in August.  We input that ride on the web, and volunteers can go on and self-schedule.”

In that not all the volunteers utilize the web, “we still have people who like to be phoned, and the coordinator (Marilyn Greenblatt) does that, or they call us and say, ‘Hey, I have some availability next week; do you need me?’”

Several times a week, Greenblatt may send out emails listing rides that still require drivers.  “We have a 99 ½ percent match rate,” said Bothel, explaining that only in rare instances does JFS have to call someone to say that no volunteer is available. In such instances, “we give them (the riders) two-days notice, so they can reschedule their appointment or find another means of getting there—a family member might take off work to transport them if needed,” but such situations are exceptions that have been few and far between.

Drivers in the Rides & Smiles program are reimbursed for their gasoline costs, currently at the rate of  47 cents per mile, Bothel said.  Efforts are made to keep a balance between volunteer drivers and riders so that the drivers are not overburdened with requests. 

“Six months ago we had 100 older adults on our rider waiting list,” Bothel recalled.  “So we embarked upon a volunteer recruitment campaign over the last six months and our goal was 30 volunteers. We hit 41.  We exceeded our goal in that six-month period even as gas prices were rising the whole time.”

Lambert said that JFS regularly hosts volunteer recognition events.  “We get fantastic attendance, and everyone in that audience who comes up starts speaking about what it gives them to be a volunteer.  More than almost any other volunteer position that I have ever seen, they form a bond and a relationship with their rider.  If you ask them about scheduling, once a rider and a driver establish a relationship after about one or two rides, that volunteer will tend to stay with that person or persons.  The feedback is tremendous about what they receive.”

Many volunteers proudly display their affiliation with the program on license plate frames such as this one to the right.

Although there is no formal charge to the riders for their rides, periodically JFS will send them a tally of how many trips and miles they traveled with volunteer drivers, and will suggest a donation according to a schedule.  Bothel said the response has been good; about 75 percent of the suggested donations are met.

Now JFS is in full recruitment mode both for riders and for drivers for the Sept. 1 startup of the program at the JFS Senior Center based at Congregation Beth Israel. 

The Shuttle Program

As one might imagine, many of the rides that volunteers are giving seniors are to such activity centers as shopping malls, out-patient services at local hospitals, and to such Jewish destinations as the Jewish Community Center, and the JFS senior centers.   These are trips that groups of people often can make together at the same time, so JFS is organizing shuttle routes in each of the three JFS Senior Center areas.  Mini-busses and vans capable of carrying 15 and 20 passengers at a time will be scheduled to pick up riders at their homes and take them to such common destinations within each senior center’s service area.

The shuttle drivers are paid employees of Jewish Family Service.  Under some circumstances, their vans might be used to provide rides to those riders for whom a volunteer driver could not be found.

The shuttle program is expected to free up some volunteer drivers to take other clients to more individualized destinations.  In this way, greater numbers of clients can be served efficiently, according to Bothel.

Currently, University City has a 20-passenger bus; North County Inland a 15-passenger vehicle, and College Avenue has both a 15-passenger vehicle and a minivan.  By January 1, 2008, Bothel said, “we plan on leasing or purchasing larger vehicles so that there are 20-passenger vehicles in each of these three regions.”

Fee for shuttle service is $3 each way—except for one special category, which will be free:  synagogues.  As of September 1, seniors who want to attend services at a synagogue in their area will be able to take a free shuttle bus to and from those services.

Because there is a prohibition in Orthodox Judaism against riding on the Shabbat, these programs will start with the synagogues of other movements, Lambert said.

Could seniors catch a ride before Shabbat, stay over Shabbat at someone’s home near an Orthodox congregation, an then get a ride home?   While this is possible, Lambert replied, some seniors who utilize the bus service might not be physically comfortable in surroundings other than their own.


Another part of the “On the Go,” program is to increase the amount of cultural programming available to seniors.   I chatted with Elsie Birenbaum, 87, and Millie Reitman, 88, who attend the College Avenue Senior Center four or five times a week, where such activities as mah jongg, card playing, exercise and lecture programs all are available.  The center also serves a kosher lunch.

 “Sometimes,” said Birenbaum, “I would like to go to certain shows or to movies, and it is hard for me, because I have no transportation.”

It is just such clients as Birenbaum and Reitman that the JFS hopes to assist as it now pencils in plans to take seniors in chartered buses to various cultural events.  At the Jewish Community Center, there is the Jewish Book Fair and the Jewish Movie Festival;  in Balboa Park, there are museums and theatres;  in Los Angeles,  the Skirball Cultural Center and the Museum of Tolerance are popular attractions. The possibilities are wide-open,  Bothel and Lambert said. 

I couldn’t resist recommending the two presidential libraries in Southern California—those of Richard M. Nixon and Ronald Reagan—on the theory that many of the events depicted at those two libraries are events that seniors lived through and would remember vividly.

Such programs as "On the Go" don't happen on their own. Executives of San Diego Jewish agencies that deal with senior citizens—Seacrest Village Retirement Communities, Jewish Family Service, United Jewish Federation, Jewish Community Foundation, and the Jewish Community Center--formed themselves into the Jewish Senior Services Council to systematically analyze ways and develop an action plan for delivering transportation to seniors in our county. It was, according to one executive, an example of the kind of cross-agency collaboration that Jewish communal workers in San Diego County have worked hard to build.

The “On the Go” program has a $2.5 million budget over a three-year period, of which $2.1 million has been raised to date, mostly through major donors with family foundation accounts at the Jewish Community Foundation, according to Lambert. Of the total budget, $300,000 will be utilized for a modest endowment program, Lambert said.

Charlene Seidle, associate director of the Jewish Community Foundation, said that "a consortium of funders has offered a dollar-to-dollar matching grant for the program that will expire on August 31. Unitl then, ever dollar contributed to On the Go to meet the $2.5 million goal will be matched."

If anyone would like to contribute funds to help enrich the lives of our local Jewish seniors, they may do so by sending a check made out to the Jewish Community Foundation/ On the Go program, and sending it to 4950 Murphy Canyon Road, San Diego, CA 92123.   Such contributions are tax-deductible.

Harrison, our editor and publisher, may be contacted at


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Culture of death versus culture of life

By Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal

SAN DIEGO—For the past two years Jews throughout the world have prayed for the safe return of the three kidnapped Israeli soldiers, Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. Sadly, this week Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were returned to their families in coffins. They were buried in Israel yesterday (Thursday, July 17) with full military honors.

The return of their bodies was one component of a larger prisoner exchange between the State of Israel and Hezbollah. In addition to the bodies of Goldwasser and Regev, information about missing airman Ron Arad was exchanged for five Arab prisoners held by Israel and the remains of 200 Lebanese and Palestinian fighters.

The most controversial aspect of the agreement was the return of convicted and unrepentant murderer, Samir Kuntar, in exchange for the bodies of Goldwasser and Regev. Kuntar had been serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli jail for a 1979 terror attack in which he shot an Israeli man in front of his four year old daughter and then killed the child with his rifle butt. The child's mother was hiding in the house and accidentally suffocated her two year old daughter in an attempt to prevent her from crying out.

While many question the exchange of living terrorists for dead Israelis, the State of Israel steadfastly continues to hold to its promise of bringing its captured soldiers home dead or alive.

In this week's parasha, upon seeing an Israelite man and Midianite woman performing a profane act, Pinchas takes the law into his own hands and kills them, whereupon he is praised by God. Pinchas and his sons were also rewarded with the priesthood.  This is extremely troubling. Today Pinchas would be seen as an extremist and we know all too well where extremism can lead. According to Etz Hayim, several commentators also recognized the problem and proposed that Pinchas was given the priesthood not as a reward but as an antidote for his extremism. The K'tav Sofer wrote: "He will have to cure himself of his violent temper if he is to functions as a kohein."  

Kuntar and the four other terrorists received a hero's welcome in Lebanon. There was no soul searching or regret about their violent ways. A national holiday was declared and the red carpet was rolled out. According to CNN: "A former cellmate of Samir Kuntar, Jaber Weshah, who is now deputy director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza, said: 'Today is a true day of joy for all Palestinians and all freedom lovers across the world.'" Kuntar, himself, pledged to carry on the battle against Israel.

Israel's president, Shimon Peres, contrasted the mourning and sorrow of Jews in Israel and throughout the world with the celebration of murder and terrorism in Lebanon. Nowhere in the Arab world did we hear sentiments such as those expressed by Golda Meir after the Yom Kippur War: "When peace comes, we will, perhaps in time, be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons. But it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons."

The families of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev finally have closure and can proceed to mourn their loss.

We still pray for the safe return of Gilad Shalit, who is being held prisoner by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Rabbi Rosenthl is spiritual leader of Tifereth Israel Synagogue in San Diego

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Stopping gossip—one hour at a time

By Rabbi Baruch Lederman

SAN DIEGO--Editor's Note: For his column for today, Rabbi Baruch Lederman recommended that readers see a story, “Weaning Teenagers Off Gossip, for One Hour at a Time,” that ran on March 27, 2008 in The New York Times.  In that San Diego Jewish World does not have the right to lift stories from other publications, we can't reprint it in this space. We instead provide the link to that New York Times story.  By clicking on the link, you will be taken to the website of the New York Times itself to read the story in question, by Dan Levin.

As is the rabbi's custom, his column included dedications, which we reprint: " Dedicated by Avrohom & Basha Perkal on the occasion of the recent birth of their granddaughter to Aryeh & Rena Greenberg. ... Dedicated by Ricky and Ashira Kramer in honor of ShulWeek and Rabbi Lederman for enhancing our Shabbos table with inspiring Divrei Torah.

Lederman is spiritual leader of Congregation Kehillas Torah in San Diego.

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PLEASURE OF HIS COMPANY— Patrick Page, left, as “Biddeford Poole,” Erin Chambers as “Jessica Poole” and Ellen Karas as “Katharine Dougherty” in The Old Globe’s production of
The Pleasure of His Company
, by Samuel Taylor and Cornelia Otis Skinner, directed by Darko Tresnjak, playing in the Old Globe Theatre July 12 – August 10; photo by Craig Schwartz.


An errant, yet charming father returns

By Carol Davis

SAN DIEGO—Who wouldn’t want to be in the company of a charming, sophisticated, worldly, independently wealthy, well read, well traveled, musically talented, known playboy and on and on and on kind of a guy? I wouldn’t mind especially if I were asked. I think I’d leave the playboy part out of the resume, however if I had my druthers. 

On the other hand, Jessica Poole (Erin Chambers) had that opportunity drop in on her two days before her wedding to Roger Henderson (Matt Biedel) in the Samuel Taylor, Cornelia Otis Skinner comedy The Pleasure of His Company.  Biddeford Poole (Patrick Page) was summoned back to San Francisco by his ex, Katherine (Ellen Karas) and her now husband, Jim (Jim Abele) to give his long estranged daughter's hand in marriage. To everyone’s surprise, more accurately chagrin and consternation, he came. Why is the sixty four thousand dollar question. He hasn’t seen his daughter since she was a child.

Samuel Taylor (né Tanenbaum) had moved from Chicago as a young man to San Francisco, and parts of his “Pleasure” were believed to be autobiographical from that time in his life before he shipped out as a Merchant Seamen.  When he and Cornelia Otis Skinner produced this minor Broadway hit in 1958, it paled in recognition that same year to the Alfred Hitchcock movie Vertigo, starring Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart, for which he had written the screenplay.   As  a further indication of the tenor of the times, 1958 was also the year that a Washington Appeals Court cleared Jewish playwright Arthur Miller of conviction for contempt of Congress following his refusal  to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. It was a good year for some.

Opening night at the Old Globe Theatre on the Main Stage was a very good night as well for audiences and cast, set and costume designers, lighting and sound designers (Alexander Dodge, Fabio Toblini, York Kennedy and Paul Peterson), but especially director Darko Tresnjak, for mounting the seldom seen, seldom produced, The Pleasure of His Company.

It later went on to become a movie starring Fred Astaire as Biddeford “Pogo” Poole and Lili Palmer as his ex, Katherine. The tagline for the movie was “He came 8000 miles (from Kenya) to his daughters wedding and tried 8000 ways to break it up”. It is a hoot!

When not directing Shakespeare, Tresnjak, dusts off these little treasures for fun.  Last year he gave us “Bell, Book and Candle”, another find he directed with panache.  “Pleasure” is scrumptious, catty, cynical (morality is nothing but low blood pressure), predictable, laugh out loud funny and soooo ‘50’s. The ending might put some off and perhaps even the methods our suave over the hill playboy uses to achieve such ends might also, but everything in between is pure fun, charm and calculated mischief. 

Tresnjak, like former Globe artistic director Jack O’Brien, uses the main stage as a showcase for some of the most beautiful stage settings. The play opens onto a gorgeous Victorian style living room, staircase and landing leading to upstairs bedrooms, with different doorways and halls downstairs leading to a kitchen, front hallway and dining room. All this is designed with precision by Alexander Dodge. Using the detailed notes by the playwright, Dodge and Tresnjak  studied actual Victorian houses in the Bay Area for accuracy.

Looking out of the bay window from the living room is a magnificent view of the Golden Gate Bridge sumptuously lit by York Kennedy. Everything about the lighting design from the sun setting on the Bay Bridge in the background to the lighting in the house is perfect.

That goes for the costume designs as well. In the program notes it is mentions that legendary costume designer Edith Head, who designed Kim Novak’s outfit in Vertigo also designed the same suit for Katherine in the only one of her (Heads) two Broadway Shows.

When Katherine (Karas) makes her entrance on the set of “Pleasure” it’s eerie to see that suit, especially if you’ve ever seen the movie Vertigo. Fabio Toblini is to be commended. One thing that struck me as telling about the costumes is how gray the character of Jim Dougherty’s clothes paled next to the colorful and somewhat flamboyant ‘Pogo’; a slight indication of their personalities.

Patrick Page is about as faultless a ‘Pogo’ Poole as any director could wish for. He’s charming, cool, suave and colorful. Some might remember that played the outrageously pompous director, actor, producer in last years Dancing in the Dark, also at the Old Globe. (He also plays The Grinch in the Broadway production of Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas).

In “Pleasure” he plays the errant father and husband returning to reunite with the daughter he never knew and the ex wife he left behind.  In devious but obvious ways, soon after he gets a glimpse into his granddaughter’s more mundane world of living in the safety net of upper San Francisco society, he devises a plot to play catch up and teach her everything she never learned from him including traveling around the world. In so doing, he turns the Daugherty household topsy-turvy.

In Pool’s corner is Mackenzie Savage (Ned Schmidke), Kate’s cynical father who cannot see his granddaughter settle down and marry some cattle rancher (he actually raises prize bulls and sends their semen around the world for breeding purposes) and put off experiencing life. 

Mackenzie Savage is a scholar whose views on life are at opposite ends of his daughter’s world, wants more daring, stimulating and real life experiences for both his daughter and granddaughter. He seldom visits their home and when he does, prefers to stay elsewhere than at the house. He’s thrilled by Pogo’s arrival and revels in the antics with a slight twinkle. Schmidke is a delight to watch as the standoffish, yet involved sophisticated and blustery grandfather. 

Both Karas and Abel play off each other well. Abel’s Jim is so conventional that he becomes the perfect foil for Page’s schemes. Wittingly or unwittingly he plays right into Pogo’s hands. There are so many funny scenes where Jim’s lack of humor prevents him from seeing through much of the daylight that it’s difficult to not want to root for husband number one, scoundrel that he is. Karas’ Katherine however sincere her protests of her ex’s antics and lack of resistance thereof, is still taken in by his charm. Both do well in their respective roles. She, however, got off to a shaky start and it took a little longer for her to come into her own.

I had the most trouble with Erin Chambers, appealing as she is, and her character Jessica on several levels. As Jessica, school smart as she might be, her acceptance back of a long-ago figure in her life without question was a little hard to believe. How someone so bright and talented could fall head over heels with a parent who left her as a child, never wrote, called or communicated, pick up a relationship if it never happened, stretches the imagination. This is what’s called a leap of faith. She plays it well and if there is any justification, it finally comes out in the end. More importantly, I had difficulty hearing Chambers when she was looking away from the audience. Hopefully, she’ll modulate her voice a little better.

Matt Biedel plays Roger Henderson straight from the hip. As boring as his character is, he gets it right. Sab Shimono is Toi the butler a scene-stealer each time we see him which is right as the show opens and as he leaves when the play closes. In between, he has some juicy words to say to Pogo, but it is either in Chinese, Japanese or Vietnamese; I never did catch which.

On the whole, The Pleasure of His Company is another of those long forgotten gems just right for the hot summer nights in our fair city. Tresnjak gets it right all the time. Finely cast, beautifully lit sumptuously designed and nimbly directed it’s a great way to spend an evening. 

The Pleasure of His Company plays through Aug. 10.

See you at the theatre.

Theatre critic Davis may be contacted at

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A bissel sports trivia with Bruce Lowitt

CLEARWATER, FloridaQ: Who won boxing’s lightweight championship on May 28, 1917, and held the title for 7 years, 6½ months? 

  Bennie Levine (b)  Benny Goldstein (c) Bennie Hana (d)  Benny Leonard

Background: He was known as “the Ghetto Wizard” because he grew up on New York’s Lower East Side, and is considered one of the greatest lightweight champions ever. Except for one disqualification, he didn’t lose a bout between May 1912 and October 1932.

Please click here for answer

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Robinson-Rose House

Old Temple Beth Israel

Lawrence Family JCC

Editor's Note: We are reprinting news articles that appeared in back issues of various San Diego Jewish newspapers. You may access an index of the headlines of those articles by clicking here. You may also use the Google search program on our home page or on the headline index page to search for keywords or names.

Pioneer Women
From Southwestern Jewish Press, July 31, 1947, page 6

A special meeting was held Tuesday, July 29th, at which time reports were given and final arrangements made for the Donor’s Dinner and Tenth Anniversary on August 10th
Reports made by chairmen of tickets and program book were quite gratifying.  According to president Rose Lansky who is chairman of the program arrangements for the dinner, her committee have worked faithfully to provide a program that will long be remembered by those of our chaveras and friends who plan to attend the dinner.

The program includes Rabbi Baruch stern as guest speaker and Miss Roza Zaklin, well known for her interpretation of folk songs.  She will be accompanied by Miss Claire Verrier, prominent concert pianist.  Installation of the 1947-1948 officers will also take place and installing officer will be Chavera Tania Bercutt who was privileged to be the installing officer of the first group of chaveras elected to office by the organization.

These are the highlights of the program and altogether it promises to be an evening that will fill every member’s heart with pleasure and pride at witnessing the culmination of ten years of fruitful labors as part of the San Diego group of Pioneer Women’s Organization.

Reservations for the dinner can be made by phoning either Woodcrest 5737 or Talbot 0395.

From Southwestern Jewish Press, July 31, 1947, page 6

A new regime was inaugurated at the last meeting of the Yo-Ma-Co under the inspiring leadership of Phil Goldman, re-elected president.  Pleasant, hard working Alice Solomon is Vice President.  The new recording secretary is conscientious Charlotte Friedlander and capable Tully Kitaen is corresponding secretary.  Irv Kravitz who watches the finances as closely as he watches the opposing pitchers is treasurer.  Genial Dave Cohen is Sergeant-at-arms and scrutinizing Jack Stern is membership chairman.

An ambitious program for the ensuing term was outlined by Phil Goldman.  One of the outstanding events of the fall social season will be the annual Yom Kipper Night dance under the auspices of the Yo-Ma-Co club to be held at the Don Room of the El Cortez Hotel Wednesday evening, September 24.

Jewish Press to Suspend Publication: Decision Announced at Meeting of Representatives
From Southwestern Jewish Press, August 7, 1947, page 1

At a meeting held at the home of the publisher and editor of the Southwestern Jewish Press, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Solomon, on Monday evening, announcement was made that the publication of the paper would be temporarily suspended.

The meeting, which was attended by these representatives of their organizations: Mr. S Goldberger for Beth Jacob Congregation; Arleen Fleischman and Bella Mash for the B’nai B’rith Girls; Mrs. Esther Schwartz for the B’nai B’rith Women; Morrie Douglas for B’nai B’rith Lasker Lodge and the United Jewish Fund; Mr. Sol Blanc for Congregation Tifereth Israel; Mrs. Jack Rosenblum for the Council of Jewish Women; Mrs. Jennie Siner for the Daughters of Israel; Mrs. Marie Berg for the Hadassah; Maynard Horowitz for the Haveros; Mrs. Anna Shelley for the J.C.R.A.; Mrs. Bess Addleson for the Ladies Auxiliary of the Hebrew Home for the Aged; Mr. Joe Wertheim for the J.C.S.C.; Mrs. SRose Solomon for the Junior Charity League; Mr. Phil Goldman for the Yo-Ma-Co; Julie Schneider for the Alpha Phi Pi; Mrs. Ruth Aronoff for the Beth Jacob Ladies Auxiliary; Mr. Ben Feinberg for the Jewish Labor Committee; Larry Solomon for the Temple Youth League; Mr. Carl Esenoff for the Jewish Welare Society; Rabbi Morton J. Cohn; and Miss Esther Seigel of the Jewish Welfare Board; was called by Mrs. Solomon to acquaint the heads of the organizations with the reason for the necessity for the temporary suspension.

Much discussion of the problem was participated in by the representatives and many suggestions were made. A regret for even the temporary loss of the paper was unanimously expressed and the ensuing five weeks will be used by the organization representatives as well as by a committee that will meet to attempt to find a workable solution of the problem which was presented.

The Jewish Press hopes to resume publication of its regular issues in the near future.
At a meeting held Tuesday by the Beth Jacob Auxiliary this problem of the Jewish Press was discussed, and it was decided to support the Press with a minimum of $25.00 in advertising for the year.

Announcement {Suspension of Publication}
From Southwestern Jewish Press, August 7, 1947, page 1

With this issue we are forced to suspend publication of the Jewish Press.

Our decision at the present time is not a hasty one but one that we have arrived at after great thought and consideration. When our operating costs tripled about a year ago, we realized that we had a problem and tried to find a solution for it then. After trying to increase our advertising revenue and failing, due to the general business recession, we decided to contact a number of leaders in the community or their advice.  Nothing concrete resulted from our inquiries.

We then decided to inaugurate new features—to add interesting columns—to dedicate a page to younger people---hoping that the improved paper would gain better acceptance.  When we approached the leaders again recently, the result was the same. We were told that the paper is a private enterprise, that it is operated for profit, and that it is our problem. “If as a business you are not succeeding, then the sensible thing to do is to go out of business.”

During the many years we have published the Press we have never considered it as just a business. We never leaned toward one side or another, because it was Good business.  Perhaps, we might have done better financially, if we had played a little politics.

In closing, I want to state (and I believe I say it for Mr. Solomon, who carried the burden for many years) that we tried to be as conscientious as was humanly possible.  We always gave each individual the same courtesies; the smallest organization as well as the larger and most  influential, were just as welcome to the use of our columns.

We were never intimidated. We printed the news for our readers, yet never betrayed a trust—never jumped a story—never played one against another—never propagandized. We tried to publish an unbiased newspaper for the use and benefit of the entire community.

We’ve enjoyed publishing the paper and hope to be able to resume publication in the near future.  Subscriptions will be extended to include the loss of the number of issues missed.

City-Wide Picnic at El Monte in Sept.
From Southwestern Jewish Press, August 7, 1945, Page 1

The Activities Committee of the Community Center Planning Committee is completing plans for the city-wide Jewish Picnic they are sponsoring. The affair will be given at El Monte Park on Sunday, September 21st, starting at 9:00 a.m. As there will be no issues of the paper for the next few weeks, details of the picnic, as they are worked out cannot be made public through this medium. Therefore it is urged by the committee that everyone attend the picnic as the members in charge are bending every effort to make this last summer event an outstanding one.

The feature of the picnic will be the presentation of the trophies of the Softball League. Two softball games are scheduled for the picnic with the presentations to be made sometime in the afternoon.

The large trophy to the winning organization and the individual baseball trophies to the winning players will be presented by the Southwestern Jewish Press; Stirling Burnett of the Arthur Murray Studios is giving a course in Rhumba , and Irvan J. Kahn is giving a trophy to the Outstanding Sportsman and there will be an Irvine Schulman Trophy for the Outstanding Player.

For any further information about these softball games, the city-wide picnic and the trophy presentation, attend the games which are held each Sunday morning, starting promptly at 10:00 a.m. at the Horace Mann Playground.

Young Folks Zionist Group Formed
From Southwestern Jewish Press, August 7, 1947, page 1

A new Youth group has appeared on San Diego’s ever-growing horizon in the form of an organization carrying an important message for young Jewish men and women.  Zionism has been the fervent hope and prayer of the Jew for the last two thousand years and we, today, are taking an actual part in the fulfillment of that dream by helping constructively in the acquisition of Palestine as a Jewish National Homeland and thus, in some way, alleviate the ever-burning Jewish problem.

The group, though still in its infant stage, is gaining intellectual nourishment through the discussions held each week on important phases of Zionism. A form of panel discussion is held where either a member of the group or an outside speaker presents the topic for discussion; a question and answer period ensues; general discussion follows, and the meeting is topped off with refreshments by the gracious hosts of the evening. We meet at different members’ houses each week.

Besides food for thought, you will meet some sell people your own age, have some fun and really enjoy a well-rounded evening.  Our next meeting will be held at the home of Mrs. Marie Berg, 4825 Adams Avenue, on Wednesday, August 13th, at 8 p.m.  Should you desire further information about the group, or would like to be placed on the mailing list for future meetings, please contact either Joe Wertheim, T-1-1954, or Hadarah Domnitz T-1633.

Our indexed "Adventures in San Diego Jewish History" series will be a daily feature until we run out of history.

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Jewish Sports Trivia Answer: (a) Benny Leonard


Friday-Saturday, July 18-19, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 172)

Middle East
The heroes of Israel, from the Exodus hunger-strikers to Goldwasser and Regev
by Judy Lash Balint in Jerusalem
San Diego
Making children smile, aiding world peace by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego

Nathan Detroit and friends trodding the boards at Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista by Carol Davis in Vista, California
Chapter 17 of Reluctant Martyr, a serialized novel by Sheila Orysiek in San Diego
Adventures in San Diego Jewish History
—July 31, 1947: Lasker Lodge B.B.
—July 31, 1947: Jewish War Vets
—July 31, 1947: Jewish War Vets {Auxiliary}
—July 31, 1947: USO-JWB Activities
San Diego County Jewish Trivia: Balboa Park
by Evelyn Kooperman in San Diego

Thursday, July 17, 2008 (Vol. 2, NO. 171)

Middle East
Bodies of Goldwasser and Regev return to Israel in post-Lebanon II war exchange by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem
Israel gives Hezbollah propaganda victory by Shoshana Bryen in Washington, D.C.

Questions propel play and Jewish director by Carol Davis in Solana Beach, California
Thursdays with the songs of Hal Wingard:
#58, Dependency
#60, Nurse!
#324, Dear Mr. Spine
Adventures in San Diego Jewish History

July 31, 1947: B’nai B’rith to Present Radios to Naval Hospital
July 31, 1947:Camp Handicraft Exhibited at Reception
July 31, 1947: 'CARE' offices move to new location
July 31, 1947: Initial Meeting Accomplishes Much

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 170)

Middle East
Palestinians depend on Israeli economy; yet Fayyed tries to weaken its prospects by Shoshana Bryen
A Roundup of Jewish news in Australia by Garry Fabian in Melbourne
—UN's one-sidedness condemned by Prof. Bayfsky
—Year-long saga finally laid to rest
—The end of a partnership
—Federal opposition shadow minister visits Israel
—Rabbi to officiate at first lesbian ceremony
—Community pays tribute to Rabbi Groner
—Charges imminent against Adelaide rabbi and wife

—Businessman launches Orthodox newspaper
—Kadimah Marks 10 Years
—It's Never too late to celebrate your Barmitzvah
—Another Jewish Boy hits the Big League
—By weight, rabbi warns of hazards of a kosher diet
Real life with 'Phantom' star Marni Raab
by Carol Davis in San Diego
Watching All-Star game with friend Fox
by Donald H. Harrison
Adventures in San Diego Jewish History

July 24, 1947: JCRA
—July 31, 1947: Flash! {Camp Palomar}
July 31, 1947: World Affairs Institute Here August 4th to 8th
—July 31, 1947: UJF Quota More Than Half Collected

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 169)

Middle East
San Diego's UJF Mission arrives in Sha'ar Hanegev; where else to go for Latin food?
by Ulla Hadar in Kibbutz Or Haner
Sarkozy sacrifices Franch honor to Syria
by Shoshana Bryen in Washington, D.C.

Involving neo-Nazi youths in research led to turnaround in their attitudes by Rabbi Dow Marmur in Toronto
Jewish love for those great sailing ships
by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego

When a community works in concert
from David Amos in San Diego
G.I. Joe and biblical translation
from Dan Schaffer in San Diego
Our growing arts and culture district
from Alan Ziter in San Diego
Adventures in San Diego Jewish History

July 24, 1947: Birdie Stodel B.B.
July 24, 1947: Yo-Ma-Co
July 24, 1947: Pioneer Women
July 24, 1947: Temple Sisterhood Project Off To Fine Start

Monday, July 14, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 168)

Middle East
Israel's national guessing game: Can Olmert last? If not, who will succeed him?
by Ira Sharkansy in Jerusalem
Sha'ar Hanegev bureau chief campaigns to dispose of litter at Kibbutz Ruhama
by Ulla Hadar in Kibbutz Ruhama, Israel
Seeks memoirs from North Americans who volunteered during Israel's Six-Day War
from Michael Zimmerman in Chicago
Yesawich, Rhodes make aliyah from San Diego
from Dena Wimpfheimer in New York City
Article on Merchant Marine wins plaudits
from Cantor Sheldon Merel in San Diego
Adventures in San Diego Jewish History

July 24, 1947: Week At Camp In Palomar Mountain
July 24, 1947: Day Camp Proves Successful in S.D.
July 24, 1947: USO-JWB Enjoys ‘Brunch’
July 24, 1947: Lasker Lodge B.B.

TICO concert brings community together by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego
Jean Isaacs: Generous spirit opens doors by Sheila Orysiek in San Diego

Sunday, July 13, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 167)

Middle East
Iran's bad week: gas deal with French Total sours, missile test lacks credibility
by Shoshana Bryen in Washington, D.C.
Shaliach tells fellow kibbutzniks about his goodwill assignment in Tulsa, Oklahoma
by Ulla Hadar in Kibbutz Ruhama, Israel
G. I. Joe’s choices reshape the battlefield
by Sheila Orysiek in San Diego
San Diego and the Nation
World War II-era Merchant Mariners seek compensation for lost G.I. Bill privileges
by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego
Adventures in San Diego Jewish History
July 17, 1947: Lasker Lodge B.B.
July 17, 1947: Jewish Labor Com.
July 17, 1947: Birdie Stodel B.B.
July 17, 1947: Pioneer Women
The wily machinations of the yetzer hara
by Rabbi Baruch Lederman in San Diego

A bissel sports trivia with Bruce Lowitt in Clearwater, Florida

Link to previous editions


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