Volume 2, Number 30
Volume 2, Number 209



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San Diego Jewish history archive index

San Diego Builders of Israel free copy

Campaign 2008

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Serialization: Reluctant Martyr by Sheila Orysiek




Today's Postings

Sunday, August 31, 2008

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


Amid Georgia's ruins, Jews weigh aliyah by Idan Peysahovich in Tbilisi, Georgia

Turkish diplomat saved Jews from Nazis by Rabbi Baruch Lederman in San Diego


Campaign 2008: VP pick Palin has 'strong working relationship' with Alaska's Jews by Matthew Brooks in Washington, D.C.

Campaign 2008: NJDC rejects RJC critique of Biden by Ira Forman in Washington D.C.


Why so many laws not found in Torah? by Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal in San Diego


Instrumental vs. nurturing friendships by Natasha Josefowitz in La Jolla, California

San Diego Jewish History

San Diego Jewish World seeks historic newspapers to archive on the web

Adventures in San Diego Jewish History:

—December 16, 1949: Beth Jacob P.T.A.

—December 16, 1949: Youth Groups to Stage Chanu-Kapers

—December 16, 1949: Temple Sisterhood

—December 30, 1949: Federation Plans Community Survey

—December 30, 1949: Community to Know Allocations Before Campaign Begins

The Week in Review

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

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DESTRUCTION—Idan Peysahovich, correspondent for the Jewish Agency for Israel, stands by
building recently destroyed during Russian invasion of Georgia


Amid Georgia's ruins, Jews weigh aliyah

By Idan Peysahovich
Correspondent for the Jewish Agency for Israel

TBILISI, Georgia, August 28, 2008— I have just returned to Tbilisi from a full day in Gori. I have so many thoughts it is difficult for me to begin. I keep seeing the destruction, the abject poverty and the trauma of the people I met. 

I was hosted by two incredible leaders, Gregory Brodsky, head of the Jewish Agency's delegation in Georgia, and Dr. Beso Menasherov, the "father" of the Jewish community in Gori and the Jewish Agency's local coordinator. Both men saved many Jews during the war, and continue to tirelessly take care of the community's needs.

The Russian tanks and soldiers have left Gori. But the devastation is everywhere. Beso told me that during the war people hid in their basements in panic and hysteria. No one knew what to do. He went from door to door to get the Jews out and send them to Tbilisi.

We visited a number of families. When I told them that I was from Israel they were overcome with emotion. Some hugged me. Others started crying. I felt the importance of my mission there. I felt that I had the whole Jewish world behind me, because no matter where and when Jews are in need, others Jews come together to help them. And by telling their story I am a part of this incredible phenomenon.

I met the Mensharshvili's (at left), a couple with two teenage children who went to live in Germany for two years and then returned to their hometown, Gori. On that same day, the war broke out. They are still reeling from the fear of the bombs and tanks. They are sending their two teenage children to a camp in Israel in mid-September, set up by the Jewish Agency, and they told me of their plans to make aliyah. 

I met Amalia Gigashvili (right), who cannot move her arm or leg on one side. Her children and grandchildren live in Israel. She could not stop crying, she is still so frightened. "Why don't you come to Israel where your children can take care of you?" I asked her. She did not have an answer. Then she thought hard and said, "Because it is hot." And the absurdity was it was 35 degrees Celsius in Gori. 

Beso told me that many of the older people are afraid to stay and afraid to leave. The community is suffering from trauma. There are people who had no homes to come back to after they fled to Tbilisi. And others, like Moshe Babashvili, the gabbai of Gori's small synagogue, and his wife (left), who live in miserable conditions. My heart lurched when I looked at the blackened walls and walked on the shaky floor of their barely furnished box-sized apartment. 

I kept thinking today about the value of human life, and the Jewish attitude toward this. How much we value one life. How much our people will do, how far we will go to save a life. I saw it here in Georgia. I saw it when I served as a soldier in the Israeli army in places like Jenin and Gaza. And I see it every time that Jews are in danger and the State of Israel, without thinking twice, takes immediate action.  

It never ceases to amaze and humble me.

The author grew up in Bernaul, Siberia, and made aliyah in Israel after being amazed by the visit
to his city in 1991 of two representatives of the Jewish Agency for Israel. He had never seen people who were so openly Jewish, and resolved to persuade his family to move from Russia to Israel. Now, Peysahovich, is himself a JAFI representative on a mission to war-torn Georgia.

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Campaign 2008

VP pick Palin has 'strong working relationship' with Alaska's Jews

{Editor's note: San Diego Jewish World welcomes guest columns and commentary on the presidential election as it concerns issues of direct concern to the Jewish community.}

By Matthew Brooks

WASHINGTON, D.C —By choosing Governor Sarah Palin as the vice-presidential candidate, John McCain once again demonstrates good judgment and a commitment to challenging politics-as-usual. As governor of Alaska, Palin has enjoyed a strong working relationship with Alaska's Jewish community.  She has demonstrated sensitivity to the concerns of the community and has been accessible and responsive.

Palin has a proven track record of experienced and principled leadership.  Palin has been a leader on the critical issue of energy independence and lessening our need to buy oil from nations not sharing America and Israel's foreign policy interests.  

Palin is anything but the typical Washington pick. A former commercial fisherman and mother of five children, Palin is an exciting and vibrant leader.  She will bring a unique perspective to the presidential campaign.  Her frontier spirit and triumph over adversity will benefit John McCain and the entire Republican ticket.  Together, they are a dynamic team.  They will show the American people that on the critical issues facing this country the Republicans have the right solutions. John McCain and Sarah Palin are ready to face the tough challenges ahead.

Matthew Brooks is the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

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Campaign 2008

NJDC rejects RJC critique of Biden

By Ira Forman

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) and their allies have already gone on the attack with their fear and smear campaign against Joe Biden.

Biden's record is clear; he is great friend of the American Jewish Community with extensive foreign policy experience and a strong pro-Israel record.

Even if Democrats had picked David Ben-Gurion to run as Vice President, the RJC would be charging that he was anti-Israel.

This reflexive negativism is symptomatic of the bigger problem the GOP has this year. Their own ideas and candidates are so discredited that the only thing McCain's allies know how to do is attack pro-Israel
Democrats as being anti-Israel.

Don't they ever worry about looking ridiculous and losing all credibility? We guess not.

Forman is executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC)


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Why so many laws not found in Torah?

By Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal

SAN DIEGO—A couple of weeks ago someone asked during Shabbat morning services: "Why does Judaism have so many laws that are not found in the Torah? After all, the Torah explicitly states in Parashat R'eih:'Be careful to observe only that which I enjoin upon you; neither add to it nor take away from it.'" (Deut. 13:1) This is a good question. Many of Judaism's laws and customs (i.e., not mixing milk and meat, lighting Shabbat and holiday candles) are not found in the Torah.

The answer is that although many mitzvot are not found explicitly in the Torah, they are derived from the Torah. Our tradition teaches that at the same time Moses received the Written Torah (i.e., the Five Books of Moses) from God, he also received an Oral Torah. The Oral Torah contains explanations and interpretations of the Written Torah. Since the Oral Torah is also from God, it is equally as authoritative as the Written Torah. Stories, rules, laws, and interpretations found in the Oral Torah are not considered  "additions or subtractions" because they are "Torah," too.

The Oral Torah's process of interpreting the Written Torah is called Midrash. Midrash has its own rules and logic and often requires its own Midrash to understand!

Rabbi Rosenthal is spiritual leader of Tifereth Israel Synagogue in San Diego. He may be contacted at rabbi@tiferethisrael.com

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Turkish diplomat saved Jews from Nazis

By Rabbi Baruch Lederman

SAN DIEGO—Ismail Necdet Kent was a Turkish diplomat who risked his life to save Jews during World War II. He was posted as Consul General to Marseilles and gave Turkish citizenship to dozens of Turkish Jews living in France who did not have proper identity papers to save them from deportation to the Nazi gas chambers.

On one occasion, Kent boarded a train bound for the Auschwitz concentration camp after Nazi guards refused to let some 70 Jews with Turkish citizenship disembark. After more than an hour on the train, the guards let Kent and the Jews leave.

A Jewish worker at the consulate had alerted him that 80 Turkish Jews living in Marseilles had been loaded into cattle cars for immediate transport to certain death in Germany.

The Jews were crammed one on top of the other in the wagon, which was meant to transport cattle. "To this day, I remember the inscription on the wagon: 'This wagon may be loaded with 20 heads of cattle and 500 kilograms of grass'". Overcome with sorrow and anger at the sight, Kent approached the Gestapo commander at the station, and demanded that the Jews, whom he said were Turkish citizens, be released. The official refused to comply, saying that the people were nothing but Jews.

Undeterred, and in a leap of courage and human benevolence, Kent turned to the Jewish worker from the consulate and said, "Come on, we're getting on this train, too." Pushing aside the soldier who tried to stop him, he jumped into the wagon. The German official asked him to get off, but Kent refused. The train started to move, but at the next station, German officers boarded and apologized to Kent for not letting him off at Marseilles; a car was waiting outside to take him back to his office. But Kent explained that the mistake was not that he was on the train - but that 80 Turkish citizens had been loaded on the train.

"As a representative of a government that rejected such treatment for religious beliefs, I
could not consider leaving them there," he said. Dumbfounded by his uncompromising stance, the Germans ultimately let everyone off the train.

"I cannot forget the embraces, the expression of gratitude in the eyes of the people we rescued and the inner peace that I felt when I got to bed in early morning", he said.

But Kent's heroism was not limited to this one action. In contrast to some of the other foreign consulates stationed in Marseilles, who began imitating the Nazis' disdain toward Jews, Kent issued Turkish identity documents to scores of Turkish Jews living in southern France or who had fled there and did not hold valid Turkish passports.

In 2001, Kent, who became known as the "Turkish Schindler" was honoured with Turkey's Supreme Service Medal as well as a special medal from Israel for rescuing Jews during the Holocaust.

Dedicated by Baruch & Miriam Stehley in honor of their children Aaron, Elie & Talya.

Rabbi Lederman is spiritual leader of Congregation Kehillas Torah in San Diego. He may be contacted at rbl613@nethere.com

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Instrumental vs. nurturing friendships

By Natasha Josefowitz, Ph.D.

LA JOLLA, California—Most of us have both! Most of us need both! An instrumental friendship is one where the “friend” is used mostly as an instrument, a tool, a way to obtain a desired goal. Being friendly with a superior at work, asking your boss to dinner, making friends with a local politician, socializing with your lawyer, doctor, accountant, architect, or anyone in a professional arena, inviting your neighbor over, all may fall into the category of “you never know...the friendship could be useful someday!”

The friendships at work might give you visibility or establish a rapport with superiors, which may come in handy at promotion time. Knowing politicians or other people with influence in your community may serve you well in supporting your favorite charity or some other undertaking. Getting to be friends with your lawyer might free you to discuss a legal question over dinner. Being friendly with neighbors is equally expedient, “just in case” you may need each other for a cup of sugar or to pick up the newspapers during an absence.

Now, I am not saying that these friendships cannot be “true.” We can be friends with any of the people mentioned without any ulterior motives being involved. What I am saying is that so many of us have only these instrumental friendships and are not even aware of the lack of the other kind: the “nurturing friend.”

Nurturing friends are those whose eyes light up when they see us and who love us as we are, not as we ought to be. Nurturing friends are there to listen to our woes, share our successes, and have fun with. They are the ones we go out of our way to help. There is mutual acceptance and support.

We pay attention to our instrumental friendships because we are aware of needing them. We often neglect our nurturing friendships because our emotional needs are less evident. We say we have no time for them when, in fact, we are not making time for ourselves.

The more successful we are, the less time we have for the kinds of friends who nourished us in our youth. How many of us on the ladder of success still take the time for heart-to-heart talks, for afternoons or evenings of just having fun with an old friend? This becomes increasingly difficult as we make more money, travel more, have a higher status, or more visibility than does the old pal we grew up with.

When professional interests differ, we often assume less commitment to old friendships. This need not be so. There are other things to talk about besides work. Though we may continue to make time to see our instrumental friends, we also need to reassess the time needed for the nourishment of our souls— time to be just ourselves, without agendas. We need “real” friends, the ones we can let our hair down with, be totally ourselves, warts and all.

When we are with real friends, we don’t have to be on guard, watch what we say, worry about not offending. We don’t have to sound intelligent, be entertaining, or agree.

For our own emotional well-being, we need a stress-free environment, and that can only be accomplished when we are with true friends—friends we can trust. Friends we love and who love us back.

At my age, I don’t have any instrumental friendships. There is nothing I need from anyone except the give and take of real friendship. We are there for each other both in times of need and to have fun together. An evening of good conversation, whether it is the political situation, the latest book we read, or bragging about a grandchild’s accomplishment, is a time I cherish. We give each other advice and complain about our aches and pains, and we always look forward to time spent together. I can list several friends I feel I have true intimacy with. We have created a family by seeing each other on a regular basis. Frequency, consistency, and honesty are the ingredients for true friendship. I feel blessed to have such good friends and know that they feel the same about me.

Natasha Josefowitz's column also may be read in La Jolla Village Voice. She may be contacted at josefowitzn@sandiegojewishworld.com

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A bissel sports trivia with Bruce Lowitt

OLDSMAR, Florida--Q: Who was the first American matador to appear in a Spanish bull ring?

(a) Lesley Gore
(b) Bik Penman
(c) Sidney Franklin
(d) Murray Manolete

Background: He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1903, he sailed to Mexico in 1921 and set up a printing business. While creating bullfighting posters, he attended a match and eventually tried it and enjoyed it. He later sailed to Spain and became a great bullfighter. Ernest Hemingway wrote about him in Death in the Afternoon.

Sports maven Lowitt may be contacted at lowittb@sandiegojewishworld.com

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Today's issue is dedicated with happy birthday wishes to Bonnie Graff, program director of Congregation Beth Israel, and to Amnon Markusfeld of Oviedo, Florida.


Sports Trivia Answer: (c) Sidney Franklin (born Sidney Frumkin)



Friday, August 29, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 208)
Tough interview: a jet-lagged grandson, 7
by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego
Bolshoi Principal Dancer Sulamith Messerer centennial was August 27
by Sheila Orysiek in San Diego
San Diego Jewish History
San Diego Jewish World seeks historic newspapers to archive on the web
Adventures in San Diego Jewish History
—December 16, 1949: Tifereth Israel Men's Club
by Henry Bowman
—December 16, 1949: Jewish War Veterans Auxiliary
by Binni Brooks
—December 16, 1949: San Diego Birdie Stodel Chapter B'nai B'rith
by Bess Boroshek
—December 16, 1949:
San Diego Hebrew Home for the Aged

Thursday, August 28, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 207)

Worrying about Obama's Mideast advisors by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem
Campaign 2008: Biden wrong on Iran, inconsistent on Israel by Matt Brooks in Washington, D.C.
The 'Leviticus Traps'
by David Benkof in New York
Choose your student's backpack carefully by Gary Rotto in San Diego
San Diego Jewish History
San Diego Jewish World seeks historic newspapers to archive on the web
Adventures in San Diego Jewish History:
December 16, 1949: Sisterhood Invites All to ‘Come to the Fair’
December 16, 1949: Tifereth Israel Sisterhood
December 16, 1949: Delegation Attends Conference of Histadrut
December 16, 1949: Hadassah
Thursdays With the Songs of Hal Wingard, in San Diego
#217, Silent He And A Silent She
#200, Two Elderly Ladies
Emperor's New Clothes

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 206)

Sublimating more pressing global concerns, Rice pushes her false Mideast priorities
by Shoshana Bryen in Washington, D.C.
The Jews Down Under,
a roundup of Jewish news of Australia, by Garry Fabian in Melbourne
—Record number of Jews enter local politics
Scholarship winner to promote peace efforts
—How Jews fared in the Big Run
—Nazi Hunter calls for swift extradition
—Salcberg's Run at Olympics comes to an end
—Survivors on show in Adelaide
Move to block anti-Semitic 'Terror TV'
Police Apology for Vorchheimer
Peres Peace team arrives in Australia
Brisbane Jewish community supports victim of violence
—Jewish Issues get airing at Writers Festival

San Diego Jewish History
—December 16, 1949: Letters to Southwestern Jewish Press from Rabbi Monroe Levens, Lou Mogy, Rabbi Baruch Stern, Rabbi Morton J. Cohn, Wm. B. Schwartz, Manuel S. Fisher, Julia Steinman, Marie Berg, Clara E. Breed
—December 16, 1949: Senior Pioneer Women (Negba) Club

Jewish high school soccer sensation now a freshman on University of Maryland's team
by Bruce Lowitt in Oldsmar, Florida
Life turning pleasant circles upon itself
by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego
Jewish tam at Currant American Brasserie
by Lynne Thrope in San Diego

Tuesday, August 26, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 205)

Filner opposes Saudi nuclear power
by Congressman Bob Filner in Washington, D.C.
Energy Freedom Summit planned in Chicago by Tom Neumann in Washington, D.C.
Does Obama think Ahmadinejad and Assad are rational?
from Mitchell Finkel in North Bethesda, Maryland
San Diego County
United Nations-style family gives Igbo names to the newest children in the clan
by Gail Umeham in San Diego
Tibor Rubin, Jewish recipient of Medal of Honor, heads for San Diego exhibit
by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego
San Diego Jewish History
December 2, 1949: American Jewish Congress
December 16, 1949: ‘Home Beautiful’ Program Impressive
by J(ulia) Kaufman
December 16, 1949:
Labor Zionist Shekel Campaign Continues
December 16, 1949: Overseas News and Views
by Maxwell Kaufman

Monday, August 25, 2008
(Vol. 2, No. 204)

Their limited knowledge does not prevent 'intellectuals' from Middle East punditry
by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem
A private concert on a sultry Philadelphia night
by Sheila Orysiek in San Diego
San Diego County
ewish Family Service showcases its service to refugees at New American Museum reception by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego
San Diego History
December 2, 1949:
Jewish Labor League
December 2, 1949:Temple Senior League
December 2, 1949: '
Hay In Your Hair' by P. Kaufman
December 2, 1949:
T.Y.L. 'Hello Dance' by Joel Goldfus
December 2, 1949: ‘What’s Cookin’ at Troop 99?’
The future in The Pavilion just goes on and on by Cynthia Citron in Los Angeles
Jewish License Plates
"Feigele" adorns a Lexus in New York City,
photo by Bill Swersey

Sunday, August 24, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 203)

Do missile defense systems really defend?
by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem
Cracks appear in U.S.-Israel alliance against nuclear Iran; what is trigger point for attack?
by Shoshana Bryen in Washington D.C.
Campaign 2008: Senator Obama and his positions on Israel
by Ambassadors Dennis Ross and Daniel Kurtzer
Judaism's tradition of putting study first
by Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal in San Diego
Remembering Rav. Henach Leibowitz
by Rabbi Baruch Lederman in San Diego
San Diego County
First Shabbat in Emanu-El's new hom; 'We are finally facing Jerusalem' by Sheila Orysiek in San Diego
Tall ships on parade on San Diego Bay
by Dan Schaffer in San Diego
San Diego History
December 2, 1949: San Diego Birdie Stodel Chapter B’nai B’rith by Bess Borushek
December 2, 1949: Women’s Auxiliary, San Diego Hebrew Home for the Aged
December 2, 1949: Council of Jewish Women
December 2, 1949:
The embarrassment of Israel's 'pro' baseball by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego
A bissel sports trivia with Bruce Lowitt in Clearwater, Florida

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