Volume 2, Number 30
Volume 2, Number 197

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Today's Postings

Sunday, August 17, 2008

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


A second- generation scholar promotes food's peace-building possibilities by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego


A place to start teshuvah by Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal in San Diego


A bissel sports trivia by Bruce Lowitt
in Clearwater, Florida


Ginsburg, Maccabi security committee showed high community commitment, from Stuart Simmons in San Diego

Adventures in San Diego Jewish History

—November 18, 1949: Congregation Beth Jacob

—November 18, 1949: S.D. Lasker Lodge

—November 18, 1949:San Diego Hebrew Home for the Aged Auxiliary

—November 18, 1949:Jewish War Veterans Auxiliary

—November 18, 1949: Beth Jacob Ladies Auxiliary

The Week in Review

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

Upcoming Events
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Now-September 7; Sept. 7; Sept. 12; Sept. 29-Oct. 9

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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 7Ner Tamid Synagogue Open House and Barbecue

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

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Congregation Beth Israel High Holiday Services

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Emergency campaign to rescue the Jews of Georgia

Dear Community Member,

Your gift to the United Jewish Federation’s Annual Campaign supports a global infrastructure that enables our overseas partners to respond immediately anytime and anywhere there are Jews or Jewish Communities in need. Since last week, with the escalation of fighting in the South Ossetia region of Georgia, the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) have initiated an extensive and immediate operation in Israel and Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, to provide all necessary assistance to the Georgian Jewish community, and especially to the tiny Jewish community of some 250 - 300 Jews in the city of Gori, which is adjacent to the battle zone.  

The United Jewish Federation of San Diego County has long been a supporter of JAFI and JDC’s efforts in the republics of the former Soviet Union, including Georgia (site of the Campaign Chairs and Directors Mission just a few short years ago). Please visit our website to learn what our overseas partners (JAFI and JDC) are doing to assist those in critical need during this latest crisis, and how you can help today!


Michael S. Rassler
Chief Executive Officer, United Jewish Federation of San Diego County

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PEACE PIONEERS—Dr. Bonnie Stewart, third from right, enjoys the sights of the Old City of Jerusalem with colleagues from the Peres Center for Peace and San Diego State University's Research Foundation's Hansen Institute for World Peace. From left, they and their associations are Gal Blonder (Peres Center) Marv Spira (Hansen Institute), Oren Blonder (Peres Center), Stewart, and Cindy Ehrlich and Sanford Ehrlich (Hansen Institute).


A second-generation scholar promotes food's peace-building possibilities

By Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO--Dr. Bonnie Stewart, executive director of the San Diego State University-based Hansen Institute for World Peace, represents the second generation in her family who has understood the power of food to change the world for the better.  Her father, Dr. Donald Stewart, was a plant pathologist and associate of Dr. Norman Borlaug.  The latter’s efforts to promote a “green revolution” was honored with a Nobel Prize.

The younger Stewart, then studying political science, had completed a bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree at the University of Arizona when she visited her parents in Cairo, Egypt, in 1972 where they were working on a project to increase yields of cereal crops under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Initially, Bonnie Stewart thought she would stay with her parents in Egypt over the three months of summer vacation, then return to Arizona to start on her doctorate.  But, fascinated by Arab culture and feeling the need to learn the local language, history, and customs, she stretched the three months into two years, during which time she also researched how  organizationally efficient the Ford Foundation, the United Nations and Egypt’s Ministry of Agriculture were in promoting agriculture.

Stewart returned to the United States anxious to build a doctoral program in political science based on her Egyptian experiences, but such interdisciplinary doctoral programs on many college campuses had yet to dawn.  She was told her ideas just didn’t fit the political science field, so she found herself a new academic home—the University of Arizona’s Department of Near Eastern Studies.

A career thus was launched that now looks forward to the unveiling in Israel this October of a new agricultural product—one that is both good to eat and which will help promote peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.   At the tenth anniversary  celebration of the Peres Peace Center—founded before he became Israel’s President by Shimon Peres—Stewart will introduce a group of Israeli and Arab agricultural entrepreneurs who now are creating the prototype of a blended olive oil, which utilizes the oil from olives grown both in Israel and in the Palestinian west bank.  The assumption is that creating products and marketing them together will foster ongoing economic partnerships, providing incentives for peace.

The olive oil will be presented at a plenary session of the international conference as a symbolic first step in creating partnerships between the Israelis and the Palestinians, as well as with their neighbors the Egyptians and the Jordanians, to jointly market products grown on the soil of all four countries.  Besides olive oil, almonds and tomatoes are considered appropriate products with the potential for sustainable sales not only in the Middle East but in Europe and in the United States.

Stewart’s doctoral research took her a bit south of the Middle East to the French-speaking, sub-Saharan West African country of Niger, where she studied the organizational efficiency of the marketing organizations for agricultural products in Zinder province.  “I identified the obstacles both internally and system wide for agricultural products produced in Zinder for export,” she explained.

Almost immediately after being granted her PhD, it was back to the Middle East for Stewart—only this time it was to the American University in Beirut, where she was recruited to serve as an assistant professor of agricultural and rural institutions.  “So I taught agricultural economics, did research in Beirut and in the Beka'a Valley on the social economic integration of the Bedouin nomad.”

The Arabic that she had learned in Cairo was not necessarily a plus in Beirut, she said.  “It was a liability instead of an asset—given the politics in the region.  If I would go to the market and speak Arabic with an Egyptian accent, it wasn’t as well received as I would have anticipated,” she said.  “I started studying again, probably within a month of arriving, and began learning the Lebanese dialect…”

In 1980, during the time she was at the American University of Beirut, Stewart made what would become the first of many trips to Israel. She couldn’t simply drive south and cross the border, because there were no diplomatic relations between the two countries.  So, with a friend, she flew to Cyprus, spent a day, and then boarded a flight to Tel Aviv.  Noting the visa stamps from Lebanon and other Arab countries in Stewart’s American passport, Israeli border agents at the airport asked if she wanted a Hebrew stamp in her passport, or simply a separate piece of paper that need not provide telltale evidence to the Arabs that she had been there.  Stewart chose the latter, and went on a two week tour of Israel in which she went to Tel Aviv, then gravitated north to Haifa and eventually to Metula, the finger of Israel adjoining Lebanon where, at the time, there was a “good fence” through which Lebanese laborers could cross without hassle into Israel.

She returned to the United States in the 1980s, filling academic positions at both the University of Arizona and New Mexico State University, and also consulting for a private educational firm that sought to offer its services in the Middle East.

Stewart joined the San Diego State Research Foundation, where the Hansen Institute for World Peace is housed, in 1989.  The Institute is funded largely by the Fred J. Hansen Foundation, which was established by the estate of South Bay farmer Fred J. Hansen, who was a believer in peace through agriculture.

Before Stewart had arrived, the Hansen Institute had quiet, off-the-record successes in bringing together Israeli and Arab agriculturalists at conferences based in the United States. Though their governments were at odds—sometimes at war—with each other, these agriculturalists could talk the common language of crops.  No matter which side of a border in the Middle East they lived, they faced similar problems: A lack of rainfall and the need to make each drop of water count; the expansion of the desert, and insects and other pests, which walked or flew across borders with impunity. With the help of the Hansen Institute, the agriculturalists created an Integrated Crop Management program to bring best practices to all countries in the region.

As U.S. President Bill Clinton started promoting face-to-face meetings on the White House lawn between Israelis and Palestinians, and in the Arava between Israelis and Jordanians, the Hansen Institute—at the request of Shimon Peres—shifted into a higher gear.   Until the day when relations were normalized among the parties in the Middle East, the Hansen Institute took the lead in scheduling meetings—and developing projects—that brought Israelis together with their Arab neighbors in common agricultural efforts.

Under the directorship of her predecessor, Harry Albers, Stewart worked on a program which directed hundreds of Egyptian agricultural experts to American universities for training in new techniques.  Additionally, she was assigned to a collaborative peace project that quietly brought together agricultural experts from the U.S., Israel and Morocco. 

The program was supported by Morocco’s king, but initially only if it could be kept quiet. “Many of our Israeli participants had to go to France and obtain a card that would show that they had been born someplace in Morocco,” Stewart remembered.  Eventually matters improved sufficiently that some Israelis could go directly to Morocco. Under the watchful eye of Andre Azoulay, a Jewish advisor the king.  Morocco even hosted an agricultural conference, with Israeli delegates, in  Casablanca in 1993.

According to Stewart, Mideast peace making is not for those who are easily frustrated.  Just when you think you are on the track—making great progress in the program—something happens in the region that derails peace efforts.  The first and second intifadas were examples. So was the Second Lebanon War.

“It’s a step forward, two steps back, two steps forward, four steps back,” Stewart said.  “It is a tough process, a discouraging one at some times. But we have to keep our eye on the target and recognize that peace is a process and not an end state.”

The very meeting at which the blended olive oil project will be debuted in an example of improvements in the region, said Stewart.

Today the Peres Center for Peace is in a position to coordinate all the details of the meeting both with Israelis and with such Arab neighbors as the Palestinians, Jordanians and the Egyptians.  It no longer is required that the Hansen Institute in far-off San Diego handle the arrangements; as is appropriate, this can be done right in the region itself.

Two San Diegans have joined Stewart in helping to develop the blended olive oil concept: Marvin Spira, an entrepreneur with a long history bringing packaged foods such as Chinese dishes, cheesecakes and frozen fish to the American market, and Dr. Sanford Ehrlich, Qualcomm executive director of the Entrepreneurial Management Center in San Diego State University’s School of Business. .

At a meeting last month in Tel Aviv, the three met with Israelis and Arabs to discuss not only the concept of the joint product, but such particulars as bottling, international standardization trends, and modern olive press management.  They also heard from an Arab and Israeli entrepreneur who on their own had developed a blended product and who wished to explore being incorporated in this larger multi-national effort.

“We went through the development of the business plan for a pilot project on a theoretical basis … but the actual appointing of a project manager, bottler container designer, distributor, and so forth will have to be worked out this month and in September,” said Stewart, shown at right at an Israeli olive store.  “Hopefully, by October at the 10th anniversary of the Peres Center, the product can debut.”

I asked Stewart whether the olive trees on either side of the Israeli-Palestinian border are so different that blending the olive oils will produce an appreciably different taste.

“The assumption is that you obviously need to have the highest quality product because otherwise the consumer will only buy it once,” she replied.  “But it is also marketed for a purpose and that purpose is peace.”

Harrison may be contacted at editor@sandiegojewishworld.com

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A place to start the process of teshuvah

By Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal

SAN DIEGO—This Shabbat, the Shabbat after Tisha B'Av, is known as Shabbat Nachamu, the Shabbat of comfort. Its name comes from the opening lines of the Haftarah: "Comfort, oh comfort My people, says your God." (Isaiah 40:1) After lamenting the destruction of the Temple on the 9th of Av, the first Haftarah we read speaks of God comforting Israel and telling the people that after they repent Israel will be restored to her former glory. This Haftarah is the first of seven Haftarot of consolation which lead us from Tisha B'Av to the High Holy Days.

The theme of repentance, Teshuva, or "return,"  is also found in this week's Torah reading: "But if you search there for the Lord your God, you will find Him, if only you seek Him with all your heart and soul-when you are in distress because all these things have befallen you and, in the end, return to the Lord your God and obey Him. (Deut. 4:29-30) Beginning this week, as we consider the upcoming Holy Days, we turn our attention to improving our lives.

One of our obligations as Jews is Tikun Olam, healing the world. As we consider our own lives we must also think of how we can improve the lives of those around us. However, our world is in such disarray that this often seems an overwhelming and  impossible task.

Rabbi Chaim of Zanz used to say: "When I was young I wanted to change the entire world for the better and bring all humanity closer to God.

"When I became an adult I realized that I could not perfect the whole world, so I decided I could at least change the members of my community.

"But then I saw this, too, was also impossible. I focused instead on my family. I tried to instill in them yirat shamaim, reverence for God.

"Finally I realized that I was trying to do too much ,and in doing so I ended up accomplishing nothing. I decided to focus on myself and find my own way to Teshuva.

"To my sorrow, I find I could not even do that. I am still trying to perfect my life." (Shivim Panim  l'Torah, Devarim, p. 37)

As we turn our hearts and minds toward God in the coming weeks, let us remember that while we may not be able to change the world, we do have the power to change ourselves

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

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Ginsburg, Maccabi security committee showed high community commitment

Editor, San Diego Jewish Word

Your story about Phil Ginsburg and our Maccabi Games Security committee was very nice and very well written. As I said in a note to Phil after reading the article, I’m a bit embarrassed to be credited with helping to get him started in volunteer security work in our community – work he has taken to a new level totally on his own.

Phil, together with Nate Stein, Morris Casuto, Ted Parker and Heather Frank did yeomen’s work for many, many months leading up to the games as well as during the week of.  As a recently retired Jewish communal worker, I was also very impressed at the attention and support provided by JCC Executive Director Mike Cohen, JCC President David Wax and JCC staffer Cynthia Salling, all of whom participated in just about every meeting that I was at during the 7 months leading up to the games. 

You could not buy that kind of commitment at any price.

On behalf of all of us who volunteered in this endeavor, thanks for writing the story and sharing it with your readers.

Stuart Simmons
San Diego

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A bissel sports trivia with Bruce Lowitt

CLEARWATER, Florida--Q: Who is the only Pro Football Hall of Fame player to lead the National Football League in passing and rushing in the same season?

(a) Lennie Friedman
(b) Benny Friedman
(c) Jay Fiedler
(d) Arthur Fiedler

Background: after starring at the University of Michigan and playing his rookie pro season with the NFL's Cleveland Bulldogs, this player joined the Detroit Wolverines where, in 1928, he led the league in passing and rushing. After the season, New York Giants owner Tim Mara bought the entire Wolverines franchise in order to acquire this player. In 1929 he threw 20 touchdown passes, a feat which no NFL team would surpass in a season until 1942.

Please click here for answer

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Editor's Note: To create a permanent and accessible archive, 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.

Congregation Beth Jacob
From Southwestern Jewish Press, November 18, 1949, page 5

The officers elected for Congregation Beth Jacob for the coming year will be seated into office at an installation to be held on Sunday evening, November 20, 1949, at Beth Jacob Center, 3206 Myrtle Street.

Mr. Sandor Goldberger, who is the chairman of the installation proceedings, has announced that Mr. Morrie Douglas, prominent local community leader will install the officers. The well-known Mr. Edward A. Breitbard will be master of ceremonies for the evening.

Mr. Goldberger’s committee, which includes Messrs. Morris Penn, I Lebb, J. Gelman and S. Glaser, have made complete plans for this annual event and are providing interesting entertainment.  The Ladies Auxiliary, whose officer will be installed at the same time will provide tasty refreshments.

Mr. A. Abramson, president of the Congregation, extends a hearty invitation for all to  attend this installation ceremony.

S.D. Lasker Lodge
From Southwestern Jewish Press, November 18, 1949, page 5

Eddie Breitbard and Jack Dembo, formerly of San Diego, were honored at the 86th Annual Convention of B’nai B’rith in Las Vegas. Both men received, on behalf of San Diego Lasker Lodge, a plaque for outstanding contributions to scouting in this community.

San Diego Lasker Lodge sponsors a non-sectarian Scout Troop and they recently donated a sound projector to the Scout Council.

San Diego Hebrew Home for the Aged Auxiliary
From Southwestern Jewish Press, November 18, 1949, page 6

The Auxiliary of the san Diego Hebrew Home for the aged have completed plans for their third annual Dinner Dance.  This gala affair will be held at the Paris Inn on Sunday, December 4, 1949.

The committee which is chairmaned by Mrs. William Moss, promises a joyous time for all who attend.  Assisting Mrs. Moss are co-chairmen Mrs. Milo Berenson and Mrs. Morris Feldman. 

Working for the success of this affair are committee members Mesdames Sam Addleson, Edward Binder, ben Harris, ben Levinson, Sara Shelley, Moe Hershey, Max Brody and Rosalie Sonnabaum.

The entertainment which is planned is varied and the dinner and the friendly company should be an inducement to everyone to attend the annual event of the Auxiliary of the San Diego Hebrew Home for the Aged.

Jewish War Veterans Auxiliary
From Southwestern Jewish Press, November 18, 1949, page 6

At the last meeting held by the Auxiliary of the Jewish War Veterans Post No. 185 plans were completed for the dinner and card party to be held at Temple Center, 3rd and Laurel streets, on Sunday night, November 20th.

This fund-raising event sponsored by this group who are doing an outstanding piece of work for the hospitalized veterans, promises to be one where everyone can have a good time.  A fine home-cooked dinner will be served and games of the guests’ choice will round out the evening.

AT the meeting held on Nobember 7th, which was a combined business and social meeting, MR. and Mrs. William davis acted as Host and Hostess, serving the refreshments in honor of their 25th wedding anniversary.

The next meeting will be on Monday, November 21st, at Temple Center.

Beth Jacob Ladies Auxiliary
From Southwestern Jewish Press, November 18, 1949, page 6

Sunday evening, November 20th, Ladies Auxiliary of Congregation Beth Jacob will install their officers for the coming year.  The joint installation with the congregation will be held at Beth Jacob Center, 3206 Myrtle Street and will start at 7:30 p.m.

The following ladies were elected at the last meeting of the auxiliary and will be installed in their respective offices:  Anna Shelley, president; Pauline Press,1st vice-president; Lillian Gordon, 2nd vice-president; Fanny Goldberger, 3rd vice-president; Florence Lebb, treasurer; Ruth Aronoff, financial secretary; Anna Oakley, corresponding secretary; Esther Stokes, recording secretary and Jennie Hoehberg, social secretary.  Mrs. Bessye Siegel will serve the group as Counselor.

Also elected were Millie Grossman, luncheon chairman; Betsy Solomon, telephone chairman and Ida Bernstein, flower fund chairman. Trustees that will be installed are Anna Epstein, Rose Weitzman, Jennie Brown, Miriam Gelman, Fanny Addleson, and Lavinia Komins.

A musical program will be included in the evening’s entertainment following the installation as well as short talks by some community leaders.  Installing officer for the auxiliary will be Martha Feiler with Miriam Ornstein acting as marshal.

An invitation is extended to everyone to attend this joint installation Sunday evening, November 20th, at Beth Jacob Center.

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

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Issue Dedications: To David and Hui-Wen Harrison, who celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary today from their American mom and dad, and to Edward Zeiden, who turns 19
today, from his proud aunt and uncle.

SPORTS TRIVIA ANSWER: (b) Benny Friedman