Volume 2, Nu

mber 30
Volume 2, Number 235

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Sara Appel-Lennon

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Garry Fabian

Gail Feinstein Forman

Gerry Greber

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Donald H. Harrison

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Lynne Thrope

Gail Umeham

Howard Wayne

Eileen Wingard

Hal Wingard

Complete list of writers

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Today's Postings

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

{Click an underlined headline in this area to jump to the corresponding story. Or, you may scroll leisurely through our report}


Analyzing Olmert's stunning turnaround by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem

Israel's flag waves over Wilshire Blvd by Cynthia Citron in Los Angeles

U.S. staffs missile alert system in Israel by Shoshana Bryen in Washington, D.C.

The Jews Down Under by Garry Fabian in Melbourne, Australia:
New York boy's Melbourne bar mitzvah

Novelist praised, slammed after sex-abuse allegations
Australian students flock to Israel
Melbourne Culinary Institution relocates
Retail hub planned for Jewish adults with disabilities
Turnbull pledges to stay true to Jewish community
Three Perth women honoured
ECAJ participates in national dialogue
Community mourns education warrior


NJDC's Forman protests RJC tactics; RJC releases new anti-Obama advertisement
letter from Ira Forman and article by Suzanne Kurtz, both in Washington D.C.

San Diego Council candidate Emerald found the way to her mother's Judaism
by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego


But how do the fish like Tashlich? by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego


60th college reunion reignites memories of dating, USO dances, career expectations by Natasha Josefowitz, Ph.D.


Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, due in SD in November, provided Holocaust refuge by Eileen Wingard

Holocaust testimonies surpressed by Soviets now in The Unknown Black Book by David Strom in San Diego


—February 24, 1950: Reform Congregations in Bid for United Religious Front
—February 24, 1950: Notice {Newspaper Merger}
—February 24, 1950: Mrs. Selma Getz Heads Women’s Division of UJF
—February 24, 1950: Allocations Committee Sets New Pattern


Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School: Math Marathon at Soille Hebrew Day


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


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TASHLICH—Rabbi Martin Lawson of Temple Emanu-El (center, green patterned shirt) and Rabbi Len Rosenthal of Tifereth Israel Synagogue, playing accordion, lead a gathering of their two congregations in Tashlich prayers and songs on Rosh Hashanah, September 30. At right, members of both congregations head to the shore to symbolically cast their sins in the
waters of Lake Murray.


But how do the fish like Tashlich?

By Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO—Tashlich being my absolute favorite service on the day of Rosh Hashanah, I have imagined that it probably is also well-regarded by the fish and the ducks who become the beneficiaries of the bread to which we Jews symbolically transfer our sins.  But, this year, I figured I’d confirm my impressions with someone at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

I asked Jules Jaffe, Ph.D, a member of the local Jewish community,  if he could try to imagine what a fish might think of Tashlich.  Would it be as happy as I imagined? Or would the fish find some reason to object to all that bread representing our sins being dumped into its watery home by so many people all at once?

Jaffe (pictured at right) said that much of the bread thrown upon the waters likely would be gobbled up by ducks, seagulls or other swimming birds, long before the fish could get to them—but such bread which did sink down to the bottom likely would attract smaller organisms and bacteria.

These in turn would attract the fish which, in consuming the organisms, might also eat the bread. 

In all likelihood, “there are lots of animals that would be more happy with the bread than the fish,” said the scientist, explaining that fish prefer such foods as plankton, which are higher in protein content. 

Whether eaten by small organisms, fish, or marine birds, “the bread will be recycled in one form or another.” Jaffe said.

I wondered what, if fish could think, they might feel about being invited to gobble up the symbolic sins of others.

“My views on animal consciousness are not conventional,” Jaffe responded.  “It’s an interesting question whether animals have remorse or guilt.  I would say it is an open question.”

Jaffe noted that he is a biophysicist, not an ichthyologist, so has no data, “but my colleagues tell me fish are the dumbest animals around.”

Jaffe’s own field of study is in developing remote sensing techniques using sound and light to determine what kind of life forms are populating the top 300 feet of ocean.  “What’s there?  How many are there? What are they doing?” are the questions that propel research into new sonar for detecting species as small as zooplankton.

Editor Harrison may be contacted at editor@sandiegojewishworld.com


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Analyzing Olmert's stunning turnaround

By Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM--We often know what politicians are saying, and sometimes what they are doing. It is far more rare to know why. It is easy to ascribe motives, but usually impossible to be certain of them.

I thought of this classic problem when reading the headline in Yedioth Aharonot on the eve of the New Year. In what was described as a farewell interview, Ehud Olmert spoke of withdrawing from almost all of the West Bank, from the Golan Heights, and Jerusalem. The headline did not say so, but as I looked for the entire interview I presumed that he meant withdrawal from only part of Jerusalem.

Whatever the details, and they may not matter in the case of a duck as lame as Olmert, he has come a long way from being a government minister for right of center Likud.

From all the reports, he has also put a lot of cash in his pocket during his years in public office. Currently he is serving as a care-taker prime minister, waiting until the newly elected leader of his party succeeds in forming a government, or until a national election. He is also waiting on the decision of the attorney general as to whether to issue an indictment for one or more charges of fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, and dereliction of duty.

Olmert is now saying that "I am saying to you what no Israeli leader has said before me."

That may be true. It is also the case that Olmert himself has never said it before in his more than 30 years of climbing the political ladder, speaking before party activists and the entire electorate. If this is a new way of politics, Americans might expect George W. Bush to convert to Islam on the 19th of January.

Why is Olmert saying this now, when he seems to be on the way out?

As noted above, we will never know, for sure, the answer to that question. Among the options are:

  • He has had an epiphany, and now sees the truth that has evaded him all his life.
  • He has caved in to years of nagging by a left-wing wife and children.
  • He is looking at the continuation of what is likely to be a lengthy judicial proceeding, that might end in shame or prison. Insofar as some of his former allies have turned against him, or turned their back to him, he may be striking out in anger. If he is going down, he will do what he can to cause problems for those he is leaving behind at the pinnacle of Israeli government.
  • He is seeking support from the Israeli left, in the hope that it will help him with the prosecutors and judges that he must face in the months ahead.

Olmert says that he wants to learn from his mistakes. He recognizes the problems involved in deals with Syria, but he is willing to accept reasonable risks in exchange for long-term gains in security. He has worked hard for two years in order to bring Israel to a dramatic decision for peace. He is close to an agreement, and will be sad if it eludes him and the country.

Olmert says that no previous national leader has spoken in this way. However, not a few Israeli politicians, academicians, journalists, and other activists have been speaking this way for years. Others from the right have opposed them, and a few from the extreme right have shouted their God-given rights to sit where they are and move even further into what Arabs claim as their own.

One can argue as to the most important stumbling blocks to the old visions. Part of the explanation is legitimate concern, shared by many on the left and in the center, about the intentions of those Arabs who have been Israel's enemies. Only some Arab leaders have spoken about accommodation. And those who do speak about peace have not given interviews parallel to that of Olmert. What we hear from those who some call moderates are continued demands in favor of an extensive right of return for "refugees" and their descendents to pre-1967 Israel, as well as borders of 1967 or even earlier.

My vote for the major stumbling block to peace is Arab intransigence. It appears in Syria's insistence that Israel agree (before detailed talks begin) that it will give back all of the Golan Heights, using Syria's extensive definition of the territory involved, as well as the frequent proclamations of Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian colleagues.

Leaving aside the knotty question as to whether Olmert's interview can advance or condemn further talks with Syria and the Palestinians, we still have the question as to the credibility of his end-of-career mea culpa. It has all the signs of a jailhouse conversion. Numerous Americans accept Jesus when faced with serious punishment. Israeli criminals appear in court with skullcaps and beards. Olmert has not moved toward the Torah in order to gain support. Insofar as the reputation of Israeli jurists is left of center, Olmert may be following his well-trod path of maximizing opportunity.

We can expect some responses, probably heated, from Olmert's colleagues in the political arena. I would bet on condemnation and cynicism from the right, welcome from the left, silence in public from much of the center, and not much activity in the absence of similar interviews from Mahmoud Abbas or Bashar al-Asad.

More promising are the smells in the kitchen. I am looking forward to a good meal and a happy family celebration of the New Year. And to you all, Shana tova. 

Sharkansky is professor emeritus of political science at Hebrew University. He may be contacted at msira@mscc.huji.ac.il

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FLAG-RAISERS—Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles and Israel's Consul General Jacob
Dayan, both in civilian clothes, join Israel Defense Force members as they ready to raise
Israel's flag at Consulatate General on Wilshire Boulevard. {Cynthia Citron photos}


Israel's flag waves over Wilshire Blvd.

By Cynthia Citron

LOS ANGELES--A crowd of thousands waving small blue and white Israeli flags thronged Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles on Sunday (Sept. 28th) to celebrate three events: the start of theJewish New Year (5769), the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel, and the raising of the Israeli flag for the first time in Los Angeles.

The Israeli flag was raised in front of the building at 6380 Wilshire Blvd. which houses the Israeli Consulate.  Only one other Israeli consulate in the United States flies its national flag: the consulate in New York City.  But in the “contest” between the East and West Coasts, Los Angeles is the winner in that it is home to more sabras (native-born Israeli Jews) than any other city outside of Israel.

“All of us together are making history,” Israel’s Consul General in Los Angeles, Jacob Dayan, told the celebratory crowd.  “The theme is unity,” he said.  “We are united for a free state of Israel and our values: to give, cherish, and preserve life.”

THREE FLAGS—From left, the flags of the United States, Israel and the State of California now
fly in front of the Israel Consulate General building; at right, civilian-clad Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (left) ad Israel's Consul General Jacob Dayan are joined by armed forces personnel of the United States and of Israel

Los Angeles’ popular mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, who has made three trips to Israel, said, “We must support the Israeli state.  Israel is ready for peace, but there can be no peace without security.”  The Israeli flag, he noted, represented the strength, resilience, stability, and hope of the Israeli people, and their 2,000-year-old dream.  “But if you will it,” he concluded, “it is not a dream.”

A program of appropriate music (the American National Anthem, the Israeli National Anthem HaTikvah, Aveynu Shalom Aleichem, Adon Olam, and selections from Fiddler on the Roof) were rendered by the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony Orchestra, the Faithful Central Bible Church Music Ministry Gospel Choir, and the Jewish Children’s Choir, composed of children from religious schools throughout Los Angeles County.   In a moving rendition of the Shehekeyanu by Cantor Marcello Gitlin and the Children’s Choir members of the audience was invited to join in, and they did.

A final musical note was provided by 60 shofars preceding the raising of the Israeli flag---one shofar for each of the 60 years of Israel’s existence.  And a final blessing on the day was provided by HaShem: another bright sun shiny day in Paradise!

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Hebrew Day School

Math Marathon at Soille Hebrew Day

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)—Both second grade classes at Soille Hebrew Day participated in a Math marathon on Tuesday, September 23rd.  A Math Marathon is an hour and a half of continuous math centers run by parents and teachers. These centers are set up with various math activities to reinforce skills such as adding sums up to 20, probability, graphing, counting, estimating and deductive/reasoning skills. The goals of the centers are to build math skills, promote a positive attitude toward learning, promoting teamwork and enhance thinking and problem solving skills.


U.S. staffs missile alert system in Israel

By Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The IAEA has finally thrown in the towel on Iran's nuclear project - admitting that it has no answers to its questions, no idea where the uranium went and no hope of cooperation from the Mullahs. At the same time, the UN Security Council - hostage to Russia and China, as well as Europe's energy requirements - cannot agree on a new set of sanctions. The threat of a nuclear Iran (if it solves its technological problems) terrifies Arab states from the Gulf through Saudi Arabia, to Lebanon and Egypt in a way Israel's presumed nuclear capability never did.  

This is the world's problem, but Israel - for obvious reasons - takes the threat much more personally.

So last week's arrival in Israel of the Raytheon-produced X-Band Radar and its 120-man American operating team was met with both a sigh of relief and a frisson of concern. The radar was previously in Japan, protecting again a possible launch from North Korea. According to Ha'aretz, "The new radar will give Israel added minutes to respond to a missile launch, compared with the systems it currently uses. Assisted by data sent from American satellites, the system can detect Iranian missiles shortly after they are launched. A link with the Arrow missile system makes it possible to launch a defensive missile, and increases the chance of intercepting the incoming missile while giving the home front more time to respond."  

It is the first time American military personnel have been stationed in Israel in other than emergency circumstances. We, who believe strongly that Israel should be responsible for defending itself, with American aid and equipment when appropriate, have often argued against the use of American military personnel to reduce risks Israel has considered assuming for "peace." When Israel conceived of giving the Golan Heights to Syria in exchange for a "peace treaty," but bolstering its defensive position with U.S. troops - JINSA objected. JINSA likewise opposes consideration of "foreign forces" including NATO troops to bridge some possible "gaps" in an Israeli-Palestinian accord requiring that Israel reduce or remove its security presence in Judea and Samaria.  

We would never presume to tell an Israeli government what risks are appropriate for Israel to take in pursuit of peace, but we absolutely believe that the government of Israel should assume whatever risks attend decisions to voluntarily weaken itself. The corollary is that Israel should not subjugate its decision making to the United States.

This, however, is different. While American military personnel in Israel do, indeed, constrain Israeli freedom of action as regards Iran, the risks that Iran poses to Israel are beyond the current ability of the government of Israel to assume alone. We are grateful then, to the U.S. government - and Rep. Mark Kirk, who conceived of and promoted this option - for sending precious resources, personnel as well as equipment, to work with Israel to ensure its security in the face of a growing threat.

Bryen is special projects director for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). Waxie Sanitary Supply sponsors this column in memory of Morris Wax, a longtime JINSA supporter and national board member.

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Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, due in SD in November, provided Holocaust refuge

By Eileen Wingard

SAN DIEGO—In celebration of Israel’s 60th Anniversary, the La Jolla Chamber Music Society (LJCMS) will present the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert at the Civic Theater on November 22, 2008. Partnering with the LJCMS, the Jewish Music Festival Committee/San Diego Center for Jewish Culture will sponsor an Israel Philharmonic Orchestra evening: Prelude to the Performance at the Lawrence Family JCC on Sunday, October 12. Starting at 5:30, there will be a lecture, a panel discussion, the screening of a documentary on the orchestra and a visual display of the IPO’s history.

With prophetic vision, violinist Bronislaw Huberman founded the Palestine Orchestra in 1936. The Polish-born virtuoso had concertized in the Jewish Homeland and recognized the community’s thirst for music. More importantly, he saw the urgency of rescuing Jews from the Nazi horror. In 1935, the Nurenberg Laws had already reduced German Jews to second class citizenship. The following year, Huberman invited Central Europe’s finest Jewish musicians to fill the ranks of the new orchestra.

 Huberman sought advice from a fellow humanitarian, Conductor Arturo Toscanini. The Italian maestro responded, "You don’t need my advice, but I will be happy to conduct the opening concert." Toscanini, in self-imposed exile from his native Italy because of Mussolini’s facist regime, refused to conduct in Germany or Austria under Nazi rule, even though his reputation was built on his Beyreuth Festival achievements and his Salzburg triumphs. The great conductor made the arduous trek to Palestine to lead the inaugural program of the Palestine Orchestra, contributing his services. Toscanini’s generous gesture brought immediate recognition to the ensemble.

Conductor Wilhelm Steinberg from Frankfurt, Germany rehearsed the musicians for their debut under Toscanini. Before Hitler came to power, Steinberg was the Director of the Frankfurt Opera. When the Nazis purged all Jewish musicians from Germany’s musical organizations, the only post available to him was the leadership of the Judischer Kulturbund Orchestra in Frankfurt. Made up solely of Jewish musicians, the orchestra was restricted to play concerts for fellow Jews.  Steinberg continued as music director of the Palestine Orchestra until 1938. During his tenure, the orchestra traveled to nearby Beirut, Cairo and Alexandria. This began its important role as Israel’s musical ambassador abroad.

With the establishment of the State of Israel, more of the world’s great artists came to perform with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1950, Serge Koussevitzky, the venerated music director of the Boston Symphony, traveled to Tel Aviv to conduct the IPO. He was so impressed by the country and its orchestra that he invited three of the young principal players to join the young professionals’ orchestra for the summer at the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood, Eliyahu Thorner, oboe, Yonah Ettlinger, clarinet and Mordecai Rechtsmann, bassoon.  Koussevitzky also brought a blond, curly-haired sixteen year old violinist from Kibbutz Beit Alpha, Moshe Murvitz, who later became one of the IPO’s concertmasters.

At the Tanglewood opening, Koussevitzy remarked, "It is impossible to describe the insatiable longing for music and the meaning it holds for the Israeli people.  To them, it is a healing, a purifying force, a source of comfort, a release for emotion." Describing the IPO, he continued, "It is a splendid orchestra with sound traditions, representing a true artistic value, a means of communication, and of cultural relations of the people of Israel with the outside world."   

Several months later, in 1951, Koussevitzky and the brilliant young Leonard Bernstein shared the podium for the IPO’s first American tour. Due to Koussevitzky’s illness, Bernstein conducted most of the concerts.
Bernstein had made his debut with the orchestra in Jerusalem in 1947. During the War of Independence the next year, he was in Israel conducting the IPO throughout the country and for the troops near the front lines. He was embraced as a national hero. His ties to the IPO remained strong throughout his life, conducting and recording with the Israelis. In 1988, he was named life time conductor laureate of the IPO.

After the Six Day War, when the IPO was touring the US to help raise needed funds, the great violinist Jascha Heifetz volunteered to be their soloist in the Hollywood Bowl. He knew that with him as soloist, the concert would sell out. Heifetz had contributed the Jascha Heifetz Hall to Tel Aviv after an early concert tour in pre-state Israel.

Another artist whose devotion to the IPO was unprecedented was violinist Isaac Stern. During the 1990 Gulf War, he traveled to Israel to perform in place of soloists who cancelled. At one point, in the middle of a performance in Jerusalem, the siren sounded. The orchestra quickly filed off stage and audience and musicians donned gas masks. As the audience became restless, Stern took off his mask, walked slowly on stage, tucked his violin under his chin, and began playing unaccompanied Bach. This calmed the audience in spite of the explosion of a scud missile several blocks away.  Zubin Mehta, one of the world’s most outstanding maestros, is the IPO’s conductor for life. The Indian-born conductor has demonstrated great loyalty to his forces.  They perform with unusual passion and verve under his inspiring leadership.

Not only was the IPO formed to absorb immigrants, but it was also established on democratic principals. All decision-making power rests with the musicians. Only a few other orchestras in the world are administrated in this way. The IPO’s main source of income is ticket sales. A support group abroad also contributes funds from an endowment.

With a combined membership of native Israelis and immigrants, the IPO is a diverse group. Currently, 40% of the musicians are from the former Soviet Union, women comprise one third of the orchestra, three of the musicians are orthodox Jews, six are Americans, and three are non-Jews.

IPO violist Rachel Kam, who served as chair of the musicians, enrolled in an Arts Management Program at the Golden Gate University in San Francisco, interning at the offices of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. She gathered information to improve the operational procedures and the use of new technology for the IPO. Kam played in the La Jolla Chamber Orchestra under Rafael Druian when her husband Zvi Kam of the Weizmann Institute was doing post-doctoral work at UCSD.

The November 22 concert will mark the IPO’s fifth visit to San Diego.  The first time the orchestra performed was sponsored by Hadassah. The La Jolla Chamber Music Society has presented the last two performances in 1986 and 1998.

At its Civic Theater performance, the IPO will be under the direction of the newly appointed conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Venezuela’s dynamic Gustavo Dudamel. The program will include Halil and Jubilee Games by Leonard Bernstein and Symphony #4 by Tchaikowsky.

For information on the IPO’s November 22 performance at the Civic Theater, call 858-459-3728. For information on the Prelude to the Performance at the Lawrence Family JCC, call 858-362-1348.

This is an expanded version of a story that appeared in the quarterly calendar of Agency for Jewish Education of San Diego.


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New York boy's Melbourne bar mitzvah

By Garry Fabian

MELBOURNE - As well as seeing the sights and catching up with friends and family on a recent trip to Melbourne, New Yorker Samuel Duchovni stopped in at Chabad House of Malvern to celebrate his bar mitzvah.

Samuel’s father Victor, who grew up in Australia, moved to the United States for university and, as he puts it, “didn’t quite make it back." He married Elizabeth, an American, and settled in New York where the family now lives.

The majority of the extended family though still lives in Australia, so in order to celebrate Samuel’s milestone with his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, they decided to hold his bar mitzvah in Melbourne.

Preparing for his Torah portion was not a big issue for Samuel, because he attended a Jewish primary school that encouraged Torah and Chumash study from a very early age.

“The school has a fairly rigorous text-based curriculum and they were doing dvar Torahs and Torah reading ceremonies since grade two or three, and even though he is not doing that anymore, he really just needed a little refresher,” Victor said of his son’s preparation.

Duchovni had his bar mitzvah on August 16 in front of Rabbis Shimshon Yurkowitz and Reuvi Cooper and about 50 friends and family. In lieu of gifts, Duchovni’s grandfather encouraged him to donate money to the United Israel Appeal (UIA), because he felt the organisation’s aims reflect the family’s recent history. “We are refugees and immigrants,” Victor explained. “We came here a long time ago and were assisted by the Jewish community early on.”

Novelist praised, slammed after sex-abuse allegations

MELBOURNE - Local author Yvonne Fein, whose novel The Torn Messiah has triggered the outing of a former Hillel director over alleged sexual abuse, has received both support and criticism from friends and colleagues since the Melbourne newspaper The Sunday Age published a report on the matter last week.

The full-page article named the former Hillel director, who served as director of the Melbourne Hillel Foundation in the 1990's for several years until he returned to the US when the organisation ran out of funds to pay his salary. The article was published as the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) continues taking evidence from alleged victims of another rabbi. The rabbi, who presently cannot be named, is leading an Orthodox congregation in Melbourne. According to the newspaper article, the rabbi, during his Hillel tenure, made sexual advances to women at the Torah study classes he conducted. Some of his students, reportedly did not resist, although the rabbi's actions "later led to anger and distress."

Fein said the news story behind her fictionalised account surfaced after an acquaintance in England had read The Torn Messiah and recognised a character resembling the rabbi. The Australian expatriate then contacted the Age journalist and told her about the rabbi in question.

Fein who was a member of the rabbi's Torah study classes in the 1990's, said she was "intellectually seduced" by the rabbi, but felt a duty to write about other women in the classes who allegedly became physical victims. She supports the rabbi being publicly named. "A lot of people have rung me to say - good on you for speaking out - it is very comforting. But I didn't write the book so it wouldn't be read and I didn't say what I said so I wouldn't be heard.”

The book was launched in Melbourne in May by the Reverend Tim Costello.

Fein said she had ruled out writing about the alleged sexual abuse in a non-fictional way "for the same reason I didn't tell my parents' Holocaust story in a historical manner" in her previous novel April Fool. "I was not going to - could not - put these people out there".

Fein had drawn flack from Jewish readers of the article who have castigated her about her allegations of rabbinic sexual abuse in the mainstream media. "I just say I hang my washing on the line. I don't need to hide it in the dryer. If by covering up you perpetuate the wrong, then you become part of problem. It's not about dirty linen. It's about making right that was wrong. By not making it public, we're really putting our most vulnerable people at risk".

Jewish Community Council of Victoria president, Anton Block, who was quoted in the Sunday Age article said, "I don't think any community likes their linen aired publicly and the Jewish community is no different - there are those out there in the world who look for opportunities to undermine us."

Australian students flock to Israel

SYDNEY - Relying largely on word-of-mouth advertising, the Australian Friends of Hebrew University has filled all its places for this year’s Mishpatim ­program.

Those familiar with the Hebrew language will know that mishpatim means law and unsurprisingly, the program provides an opportunity for law students to study Israeli and Jewish law.

For the past two years, Hebrew University has offered Australian law students the chance to study the three-week intensive course in Jerusalem during the Australian summer holidays. Most of the students receive credits for two subjects following the 90-hour intensive course.

In 2006, 20 students completed the program and in 2008, it is expected that 70 Australians will study at Hebrew University, not all of them Jewish. “It is a great way to find out what Israel is really like,” Michael Davis, the outgoing student liaison officer at the Australian Friends of Hebrew University, says. According to Davis and Eitan Drori, executive director of the Victorian division of the Australian Friends of Hebrew University, the group is trying to expand its study abroad programs. It will offer a course on “Conflict resolution from the religious traditions” in January, and volunteer Larry Gandler is investigating options in the disciplines of agriculture, food science, entrepreneurship, finance and medicine.

“Larry and I are working with the vice-chancellor of Monash University and Melbourne University to build the base for a system whereby students from those disciplines can gain credits in the same way as students in the Mishpatim program,” Drori says. “We want to see how far this can go,” Davis adds. “The sky is the limit.”

Melbourne Culinary Institution relocates

MELBOURNE—Without fanfare, the most enduring landmark of old Jewish Acland Street has slipped into history. But in a game of bistro musical chairs, the Scheherezade is continuing – and will almost certainly replace Ron Tatarka’s kosher Park Grill in Caulfield North.

It is understood that Scheherezade proprietor George Szarach is negotiating with Tatarka for the lease on the property at the corner of Hawthorn Road and Inkerman Street, in the "heart” of Jewish Melbourne. A sign in the window of the former Scheherezade last week informed patrons of the move to the Caulfield North location.

The current owner confirmed that negotiations are underway, but said no final deal has been struck.  He said he was looking to sell the Park Grill because of “too much work and other pressures” and had been searching for a buyer for some months without success. Asked if he was concerned that kosher diners would lose one of their few Melbourne eateries to a non-kosher venue, Tatarka was philosophical: “Maybe somebody else will open up.”

As for the Scheherezade, no celebrations signaled the end for the half-century-old schnitzel palace on St Kilda’s famous strip. On September 7, it was business as usual right up to closing time, as the last goulashes and red cabbage were served to diners at the laminated tables. Szarach and his wife Elizabeth had to make new plans to keep the cafe alive when the property’s owners, Masha and Avraham Zeleznikow, who founded the Scheherezade in 1958 as a bastion of middle European cuisine for St Kilda’s postwar Jewish arrivals, declined to renew the lease, after relations with Szarach soured. “It’s very sad, but if there’s no cafe it’s his fault,” Masha said in July.

“How could you feel?” said Szarach this week. “To be there for so many years and then because of the landlord, you can’t get a new lease. But life goes on, one door closes, another opens.”

Retail hub planned for Jewish adults with disabilities
MELBOURNE—For nearly 20 years, Access Inc has worked tirelessly to promote awareness of disabled Jewish people in the community. So what better way of making them more visible than with a shopfront in the heart of Caulfield. The non-profit organisation recently secured a lease on the site of a former florist and fruit shop on Inkerman Road, Caulfield North. The hope is to turn the premises into a self-funded retail venture, where, under supervision, disabled Jewish adults will manufacture and sell kosher biscuits, dried fruit, nuts and lollies, as well as challah plates and other Jewish memorabilia. There are also plans afoot for a market garden that will yield flowers and other fresh produce.

Access president Deena Goldbloom said the location of the property, which is situated next to a deli owned by the president of Access’ fundraising arm, Lenny Gross, was a major selling point.

“We wanted to get something on the street front, something in the heart of the community. To be next to Lenny’s Deli is brilliant, because he [Gross] can keep a paternal eye on it.”

The venture was borne out of Access’ employment program, which has been running out of B’nai B’rith House since February. Eight Jewish young adults are currently involved in the program, but Goldbloom hopes those numbers expand with the opening of the shop.

She said Access is looking to appoint a part-time coordinator to cope with demands, as well as volunteers with skills in baking, gardening, arts and crafts and other projects.

“The shop is not just for disabled people but the whole community,” she said.

“As the program grows and more people come into it, we’ll need more volunteers and more targeted help ... We envisage that it will grow into a full-time enterprise.”
The initiative, which Goldbloom hopes to have operational in late October, has been funded by a $31,500 Community Enterprise Grant from the Department of Planning and Community Development, as well as private donations.

Access was formed in 1989 by parents of Jewish children and adults with disabilities. The organisation’s programs include weekly drumming workshops, day camps and other vocational and social initiatives.

Turnbull pledges to stay true to Jewish community

CANBERRA - After being voted Opposition Leader by his Liberal Party colleagues, Malcolm Turnbull says he will remain true to his electorate and his many friends in the Jewish community.

Turnbull said that despite his increased responsibilities, "you'll still see plenty of me.". Turnbull, the MP in Australia's most Jewish electorate of Wentworth, said the Jewish community and its traditions held a special place in his heart.

"The thing that is compelling and engaging about the Jewish community and the Jewish people is their warmth," he explained.

Turnbull, who grew up and continues to live in the Eastern Suburbs -- the Jewish heart of Sydney -- spoke of his many interactions with the community and of his Jewish friends.

"The Marvin Hamlisch show at Central [Synagogue in Sydney] was just incredible and I got a lovely text from [cantor] Shimon Farkas when I was appointed Opposition Leader," he said. Turnbull's pursuit of what he believes to be right is voracious, according to his friends, and he confirms that to be true.

"You can't just sit there and say, 'well I'm in favour of good things and if good ideas come along I'll support them'. You've got to be proactive; you've got to be like the hunter going out relentlessly seeking to do the right thing."

Turnbull, a Catholic, also expressed an admiration for the Jewish way of life.

"The other great thing that I find particularly appealing about Jewish spirituality and the Jewish tradition is that it rejoices in our humanity this is more briefly summed up in the toast l'chaim," he said.

Turnbull said he admired the Jewish philosophy that human beings were not perfect, but "this is what we are, we're going to live our lives to the full, we're going to give it a crack".

Three Perth women honoured

PERTH - Three Western Australians were presented with Women's Achiever Awards at the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (NCJWA) function last week.

Dr Sue Gordon, a recently retired magistrate, writer and poet Faye Zwicky  and Indian-born health worker Shobhana Charkrabati were all honoured with awards.

All three women spoke to the 100-strong audience about their life experiences. Dr Gordon described how she had come to be appointed a magistrate, intially with no formal qualifications, and spoke about her work with the indigenous community and children. Zwicky, the 2005 winner of the Patrick White Award for Literature, spoke about her childhood, and Charkrabati also related stories of her childhood in India and then discussed her work with the Multicultural Women's Health Centre in Perth.

NCJWA national president Rysia Rozen travelled to Perth for the biannual award ceremony.

ECAJ participates in national dialogue

CANBERRA - The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) participated in the National Civil Society Dialogue for the first time last week. The dialogue was established in 2006 as a forum for the non-government sector. It included religious groups, social organisations and trade unions.  Dr Geulah Solomon and Dr Anita Shroot represented the ECAJ at the two day meeting. The program focused on innovation and co-operation and included sessions on government policy, social change, climate change and new ways for civil society to work with government.

Speakers included parliamentary secretary for Social Inclusion and the Voluntary Sector, Senator Ursula Stephens, Australian Council for Trade Unions president Sharon Burrow and race discrimination commissioner Tom Calma. "I found it very interesting and I am pleased that we were able to attend and make contact with other organisations", Dr Solomon said. After the meeting Dr Shroot added that it was a good opportunity to network with other Australians involved in human rights.

Community mourns education warrior

MELBOURNE—Jewish Schools lost one of their most energetic advocates last week, with the passing of Ian Rockman. While not a household name, Rockman worked tirelessly behind the scenes for 23 years with the former Australian Coordinating Committee of Jewish Schools, now known as the Australian Council of Jewish Schools.

According to Nechama Bendet, who took over Rockman’s position as co-chair of the organisation when he became ill, Rockman was a great leader. “Ian’s involvement included working with government on a state and federal level to maximise funding for all Jewish schools, liaising with individual schools to improve critical management and maintaining close links with peak educational bodies to ensure collaboration,” said Bendet. Rockman’s relationship with Jewish education developed through Leibler Yavneh College, where from 1975 until 1989 he was a member of the school’s executive and served as chairman for all but the last five years of his tenure.

As the school’s chairman, Rockman oversaw the establishment of Yavneh’s secondary school and the acquisition of its Elsternwick campus. Mark Joel, the current Yavneh chairman, paid tribute to Rockman’s work, particularly on the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Schools. “The coordinating committee is perhaps one of the most enduring and successful models of communal cooperation,” Joel said this week.

“Under Ian Rockman’s leadership, schools from across the religious spectrum of Jewish life would sit together, united by a common cause, acknowledging their differences, but recognising that the vision they held in common was far more important than the religious differences, which may have divided them.”

Both Joel and Bendet paid tribute to Rockman. Bendet said that, “For Ian, it was never about the glory, koved ­[honour] or headlines, it was only ever about supporting Jewish ­education." Joel added: “Ian’s style was measured, calm and determined. He showed no favour to any one school over another." Rockman had close ties with government ministers and in 2007, he sat on an advisory committee led by the Howard government’s former education minister, Julie Bishop.

Rockman passed away on Monday last week after an illness. He is survived by his wife Beverley, three children and nine grandchildren.

Bureau chief Fabian may be contacted at fabiang@sandiegojewishworld.com


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CAMPAIGNERS—Marti Emerald (second from left) discusses 7th District City Council campaign with, from left, Chris Pearson, campaign manager Xema Jacobson and Cynthia Harris


San Diego Council candidate Emerald found the way to her mother's Judaism

By Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO—Very few, if any, members of the San Diego City Council have had a career path like that of  Marti Emerald (at right), a member of the Jewish community who is running in the 7th Council District.

Most people know her as the former troubleshooting consumer reporter for Channel 10, a woman who was gutsy enough to live as a homeless person for a few days to see and report what life is like on the streets.  I met her a few years before that when she was a radio reporter for KSDO.  Folks in Portland, Oregon, may remember her as a cab driver and that city’s first female radio dispatcher.  Marti Emerald came up the hard way.  She may have a golden voice, but she wasn’t born with a silver spoon.

Martha Naomi Emerald’s mother had grown up in a small town in Kansas, where she tried to preserve the Judaism that she had inherited as a member of the Newman family.  There were no synagogues in the small, rural town, so Marti’s mom attended some of the churches in the area.  Eventually the mother was sent to live with an aunt in Gresham, Oregon, a Portland suburb where again there were no synagogues and she bounced from church to church.  Her first husband, Monroe Davis, who was Marti’s natural father, had been the child of  migrant workers who caught a train from Texas to Oregon and, were ordered by Oregon authorities to get back on the train for Texas—they and their kind were unwanted there. It was a situation that might have inspired a John Steinbeck novel. The Davises saved up enough to buy a second-hand car and drove right back to Oregon, their car providing them the mobility to search for work picking crops.

The family always needed money and when still a boy, Marti’s natural father was “sold” by his family to a farmer, who required hard work of him in exchange for room and board, according to a story told to Emerald by an uncle.

“I had a natural father and the father who raised me,” Emerald related during an interview at her campaign headquarters in a house (at right) adjacent to the Albertson’s Shopping Center on Waring Road in the Allied Gardens area of San Diego.  “The father who raised me was a first-generation Italian American—Eddie Smeraldo—and after World War II, he had been in the Army where he had fought in the Philippines, he came back and there was a certain amount of anti-Italian sentiment because of the Fascist Alliance, the Axis.  He was in sales, and so he decided to Anglicize his name to Emerald.  He was raised in Patterson, New Jersey.  His parents came over on a boat from northern Italy to work in a factory in New York. Patterson was an Italian-Jewish slum basically; a lot of immigrants there and that is how he grew up.”

Her father was a Catholic, her mother a Jew who had bounced around from church to church.  Yet, today, Emerald wears a large chai pendant, and with her husband Myron “Mike” Klarfeld, and 16-year-old daughter Chloe, she has a “drop-in” but not a “pay-in” relationship with Chabad of Poway. 

Although her mother wasn’t a practicing Jew, said Emerald, “she always had a bottle of Manischewitz up in the cupboard.  She explored her spirituality. She brought with her a respect for the Sabbath, and things we ate.  We weren’t entirely kosher, but she didn’t like pork or shellfish or mixing meat with dairy… It wasn’t until adulthood, and after my mother passed away, that I decided that I eat this stuff up and acknowledged my heritage.  When she passed, she had her old Star of David on, so somewhere along the way she kind of returned home and respected that and had a greater appreciation for what her journey was. … My husband is Jewish and he invited me to recapture that piece of myself.”

Why did she decide to identify as a Jew?

Emerald said that after she did the investigative report on homelessness in San Diego, she was invited by Catholic Charities to become a member of its task force on the homeless, an affiliation that later led to an invitation to serve on the board of that charity.  As she had before in Portland, Emerald took catechism classes in San Diego, learning about the beliefs and history of Catholicism.  “I came more to relate to the Jewish traditions that helped to form some of these religious (Catholic) beliefs—I wound up gravitating more to those roots,” Emerald said.

Emerald’s gutsiness—what she calls her inborn chutzpah—helped launch her on her broadcast career path.  She was driving her cab one day in December 1978 when she heard that a United Air Lines jet had crashed (killing 10 passengers) in an area of Portland not far from where members of her family lived.  “I signed off and went out there to make sure that my folks and neighbors were okay. “ Her first husband, Mike White, was then a radio reporter and also a freelancer for the Associated Press broadcast network, and she joined him at an airport news conference of the National Transportation Safety Board.

“I found myself asking questions,” Emerald said.  “After that story , he was offered a job in Washington D.C and we went to D.C.,   and I became, for want of a better phrase, ‘the project,’ because they did like my voice and they knew that I had some chutzpah—I was brave enough to out and drive a cab, so heck I could go cover congressional hearings. “  Associated Press gave her some training and issued her some equipment, and she covered such stories as the reaction in the Capitol to the Iran hostage crisis, the federal bailout for Chrysler, and various weekend events on the White House lawn.   She also created Emerald News Service, focusing on stories on environmental issues that were picked up around the country.

Eventually, she decided to go back to Portland, where she went to work with Radio Station KYXI, a CBS affiliate, “just in time to start reporting on seismic activity at Mount St. Helen’s  and so that propelled me—it was a very good story.  I started reporting on that a few months before the eruption and after all the coverage with CBS radio and AP radio, I was offered a job in Southern California.”

A funny thing happened to her on the way to a job at KFWB.  The news director who hired her was fired.  So there she was in Los Angeles without a job, but she was able to find part time work with KLAC, which dispatched her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to cover a fire at the Hilton Hotel.  Her reportage was heard and appreciated by KSDO Radio in San Diego, and thus she was offered a job in San Diego.

After four years as a radio reporter, she was hired to do general assignment work at KGTV-Channel 10.  Not long afterwards, she pitched the homeless story, which had an important effect on her career.  She became the consumer reporter and troubleshooter.

What was it like pretending to be homeless?

“It was cold, lonely; I discovered firsthand what it was like to be invisible to other people going by, because nobody wants to look at somebody who is homeless,” she responded. “I also discovered that people who have been on the street for any period of time have a system for survival.  I had a wireless mike and I would get into some conversations with people who had been in and out of the system—where you go for meals, where you go to use the toilet, where do you go for a shower and a change of clothes, how do you get a piece of ID so you can sell blood at the blood bank and the plasma bank, which was down there at the time, so that you could have a little money in your pocket, and how do you get an address so you can receive a relief check.

“I discovered that women and kids had it the toughest… and I recognized the need to create services and opportunities for people who are down on their luck and that a lot of people really are just one paycheck away from being on the street and losing their homes, and then they start living in their car, and then they lose their car, and they go from there.”

With the U.S. economy currently in a downturn and a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street the top issue before the President and the Congress, the prospect of people losing their jobs , homes, and cars does not seem so far-fetched as it once might have.  If elected to the City Council, Emerald well may have to face the issue of a growing population of homeless persons.  What can the city do, if anything? I asked.

“I think you need a year-round shelter of some kind, with a clearing house for services,” she said.  Many of the homeless who have been on the streets for a while have mental health issues that need to be treated, she added, and” there is the need to learn how to get a job, a need to learn how to budget money; there is a need to have a current address where you can get correspondence from Social Security or whatever…”  Moreover, she said, “our City Council has to look for ways to create more jobs and real wages, and to invite business in, get investments to grow the job market so that we don’t find families falling through the cracks like this.

Other big stories that Emerald covered also shaped her view of some of the responsibilities of city government.  For example, she covered the 1984 massacre at the MacDonald’s when gunman James Oliver Huberty killed 21 persons before being killed himself. 

“It leaves an impact—how vulnerable we all are, and the importance of having the resources we need to stop this kind of thing, this terrible violence,” Emerald said.  “I want to make sure that we have enough cops on the street to respond to people, and I want to make sure that we have the kind of community that can take in people who are troubled and find services and support for them so that people don’t become victims of random violence.   All of us have a right to feel safe in our homes and our neighborhoods.  Government has a responsibility to provide these resources.”

Emerald opposes a ban on guns, explaining: “I support the Second Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution.  “My husband is a lifelong member of the N.R.A. (National Rifle Association), and I believe in people being allowed to have guns, but what is happening is that people with health problems go untreated…and we need to do a better job of trying to get problems nipped in the bud.”

While she does not want any guns to be banned, not even semi-automatic weapons, “I do believe in a 24 hour waiting period” to provide law enforcement an opportunity  to do background checks, “so if someone has some history, it puts up some kind of wall between him and the gun.  But, again, I do believe in citizen’s rights to keep and bear arms. The vast majority of people who have firearms are very responsible with them.  We are talking about the exceptions.”

In the course of her work as an investigative news reporter, Emerald many times had to resort to the Freedom of Information Act to acquire access to public records.   “Government has a long way to go to be as open and as transparent as we need it to be,” she said.  “I will post everything on my website, what is on my calendar, who I talked with, what issues have been discussed.   We also need to post public documents that are used in decision making, and I believe we need to post contracts.  If the taxpayers are footing the bill for a service that we are contracting out for, then the taxpayer has the right to see that agreement--what were the expectations? What was the price that was being paid?—and have an opportunity to respond to it. “

The day I interviewed Emerald, the campaign headquarters had taken on the aspect of a news room, with campaign manager Xema Jacobson in the role of news producer.  Emerald and her team had recently met with residents of homes near San Diego State University, where numerous “mini-dorms” have been built in response to student demand for housing.   Among the neighbors who said they have been adversely impacted by the mini-dorms were approximately 15 seniors who are members of Beth Jacob Congregation on College Avenue.

They and the Orthodox congregation’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Avram Bogopulsky,  described what happened after recent Selichot services which let out at 1 a.m. “It was like a riot, walking home they were threatened, there were people  on the street, drunk, misbehaving, with cops going up and down trying to control the students.  For that community (Orthodox Jews) they can’t just move a couple of miles away; for Shabbat, they have to walk to synagogue.  They are invested here.  They should have some rights too.”

Still, students need housing, do they not?

“I know it is a balancing act,” said Emerald.  “How do you provide safe housing for students who are trying to better their lives and have a safe education, and protect the interests of this neighborhood?”  After visiting with the Beth Jacob seniors, she said, “…we went to another group a few blocks away that had the same concerns.”

Accordingly, Emerald and Jacobson plan to put on the campaign’s website http://www.martiforsandiego.com/  a box in which respondents may indicate if they are having problems with a mini dorm.  “We will follow up, add that to our data base, document the incidents,” Emerald said, sounding like the investigative reporter that she is.  When it has sufficient data, the campaign will contact the appropriate city departments and ask for relevant enforcement actions.

That, of course, is but a short-range solution. San Diego State University has more students than the surrounding neighborhood can easily absorb.  Emerald said she believes it is time for the California State University and College system to build another campus in the South Bay area, similar to the campus in San Marcos, to serve San Diego County’s population.  Furthermore, she suggested, if the San Diego Chargers actually do abandon Qualcomm Stadium, which is two stops on the San Diego Trolley system from the San Diego State campus, the city should study leasing Qualcomm to San Diego State as a combination Aztec Bowl and student housing area.

Harrison may be contacted at editor@sandiegojewishworld.com


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NJDC's Forman protests RJC tactics; RJC releases new anti-Obama advertisement

{Editor's Note: San Diego Jewish World welcomes commentary from Democrats, Republicans and independents exploring all sides of how the presidential candidates would impact issues of Jewish community concern. Submissions may be sent to editor@sandiegojewishworld.com}

Editor, San Diego Jewish World:

Last week’s ad that ran in Jewish newspapers across the country by the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) quotes Democrats, including myself, saying good things about Republican nominee Senator John McCain.

Put aside the fact that the ad is deceptive, all four of us quoted are strongly supporting Senator Barack Obama.   When contrasted withthe ad the RJC ran the week before this ad highlights the stunningcynicism with which the RJC approaches Jewish voters.

The previous week’s RJC ad disgracefully tried to tie Pat Buchanan to Obama.  Yet they quote me the following week complimenting McCain from back in 1999 when McCain argued for throwing Buchanan out of the Republican Party.  What they do not tell us is that in the same article in which I am quoted the RJC backed then-Governor George W.Bush’s position was NOT to banish Buchanan.

Do these folks have any shame?

Ira N. Forman, Executive Director
National Jewish Democratic Council, Washington, DC

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By Suzanne Kurtz

WASHINGTON, D.C (Press Release)—The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) has released the latest in an ongoing series of national advertisements. These ads are part of a substantial advertising campaign undertaken by the RJC. This ad looks at the views of Obama's advisers and finds a recurring theme of anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian, and in some cases anti-American views.
Sen. Barack Obama surrounds himself with a number of individuals and advisors (1) who are hostile to Israel and American Jews. They include Zbigniew Brzezinski, General Tony McPeak, Robert Malley and former Congressman David Bonior. All are known either for their anti-Israel views or their pro-Arab views - or both.

Brzezinski is well known for his aggressive dislike of Israel, and has been an ardent foe of Israel for more than three decades. As recently as 2006, he placed exclusive blame on Israel for the war in Lebanon, even making the outrageous claim that "I think what the Israelis are doing in Lebanon is, in effect, the killing of hostages."

Obama's top military advisor McPeak told a newspaper that he believes Jews in Miami and New York are the obstacles to peace in the Middle East.

Malley, a Palestinian apologist, invented and propagated the false claim that the 2000 Camp David summit failed because Israel wasn't serious about giving the Palestinians a state.

And former U.S. Rep. Bonior refused to stand by Israel while in Congress, after repeated terrorist attacks, and was known as a stalwart opponent to Israel.

For 20 years, Obama was part of the anti-American, anti-Semitic Reverend Jeremiah Wright's church. In fact, Obama called him his "sounding board."  Only after intense criticism of their relationship, Obama distanced himself from Wright.

Sen. Barack Obama has surrounded himself with individuals whose anti-Israel views are so dangerous, naïve and reckless that it raises serious questions about his judgment.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "It says something profound that Senator Obama surrounds himself with individuals who are consistently and strongly hostile to Israel, pro-Palestinian, and in the case of Jeremiah Wright, simply anti-American. These relationships leave one wondering about Senator Obama's wisdom and judgment."

"In a dangerous world, the strong alliance between the U.S. and Israel is a fundamental element in our own security, as well as a moral imperative. We expect our national leaders to understand that, and clearly Senator Obama has surrounded himself with people who hold the opposite view. A man is judged by the company he keeps, and one must ask why Senator Obama has chosen this company," said Brooks.

Kurtz is publicity director for the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington, D.C.



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60th college reunion reignites memories of dating, USO dances,career expectations

By Natasha Josefowitz, Ph.D.

LA JOLLA, California—We more or less recognized each other, the name tags helped to jog our memories. We knew our ages—we are all 81 years old. Some of us look better than others: our former great athlete had a cane and complained of arthritis, the former pretty girl was overweight, but all-in-all we were aging well with our grey hair and wrinkles. Only one was still dying her hair and none of us had had facelifts.

Ours was the war years’ class, we were bussed to USO dances, went out with V12 boys, and only the men deferred for medical reasons were seen on campus. Ours was  also among the last classes that did not go to graduate school nor have careers. We waited for the men to come home from the front so we could get married and raise families. These were the expectations of our generation, and we dutifully fulfilled them. We volunteered in our communities, baked cookies, and raised these baby boomers whose children are now cluttering college admissions.

Back in 1948, Scripps College had 200 students and my class had thirty-three graduating women. There were four dorms and now there are twice that many with 900 students. I visited my old dorm room. I had, as I remembered, a lovely room with single occupancy. I looked into that room now with bunk beds and it had shrunk!

The two “date” rooms in the lobby were for visiting boys—the doors always open and a house mother looking in much too frequently—today they are dorm rooms. We dressed for dinner, had tea served in the afternoon and had to be in by 11:00 P.M. on weekdays and midnight on Saturdays or found the doors locked. We danced cheek to cheek and “necked” in the backseats of cars. Remember “necking knobs,” that knob on the steering wheel which allowed the boy’s right arm to encircle his girlfriend? Remember rumble seats and drive ins?

I did not recognize Claremont, which has grown more colleges with performing arts centers, libraries, science buildings, art galleries and coffee houses. We went to a senior art exhibit. It was all “installation art.” In other words, it was like the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla—strange objects hanging from the ceiling or lying on the floor—evocative of something.

Our class dinner was fun—recounting, remembering, re-discovering, and mostly laughing a lot. We attended a class and listened to the awards given out to outstanding alumni—Scripps women are indeed a remarkable group of accomplished people having made a mark in the world. Only one in ten applicants is accepted, with many scholarships awarded to needy students. In my day we had no minorities and we were only four girls from foreign countries.

Today I saw multitudes of Latina, Asian and African-American girls wandering through the various campuses. This is a college town and young people were wearing flip-flops, shorts, and revealing tops with bra straps showing. How proper we used to be in comparison.

Nostalgia is bittersweet—where is that eighteen-year-old, freckled redhead with long braids that was madly in love with her biology professor, absorbing knowledge, and writing extensive class notes in a multitude of lined notebooks, which I admit I finally threw out only this year…and that was painful.

We had four required courses each year; it was the humanities program now called “Core.” It gave us a wonderful, well-rounded education.

And now I look forward to seeing hopefully most of my classmates for our 70th Reunion—ten years from now, we’ll all be 91 and probably with a few more canes.

Josefowitz's column also appears in the La Jolla Village News. She may be contacted at josefowitzn@sandiegojewishworld.com


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Holocaust testimonies surpressed by Soviets now in The Unknown Black Book

The Unknown Black Book
, Edited by Joshua Rubenstein and Ilya Altman. Published by Indiana University Press in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. 446 pages, 2008.

By David Strom

SAN DIEGO—The bravery of the Soviet people and their army during World War II made today’s world a better place.  But like most governments then and now, the Soviet government gave off and acted upon very mixed signals.  This was especially true when it came to its Jewish citizens and their historical role in that great conflict.  Early during the Nazi invasion of Poland and later the Soviet Union, the official Soviet newspapers wrote about the Nazi atrocities towards its Soviet Jewish citizens.  The articles expressed shock and dismay that in the twentieth century a “civilized” nation would try to exterminate a class of people because they were “racially” or religiously different.  For the Soviets, as expressed in their official press, Nazism was the secular devil that should have died during the “Age of Enlightenment.”
However, when the tide had turned and the Nazi armies were stopped and eventually defeated at the Battle of Stalingrad and elsewhere, it became clear that the “kept” Soviet press now mainly emphasized the Soviets citizens’ extermination.  All citizens were targets of death for the Nazi regime, not just Jews.  While this was true, Jews were chosen for death just because they were Jews while most others were not.  The importance of the Jewish role in the war lost some of its significance.
“One third of all Jews who were alive on the eve of World War II conflict, approximately six million men, women, and children, were savagely murdered by Germany, its allies, and their local collaborators.”  Probably the decision to exterminate the Jews was made simultaneously with the attack of the Soviet Union.  Around 4,000,000 Jews lived in territories of the Soviet Union at the time of the Nazi attack.  Part of the Jewish population managed to escape or was evacuated farther eastward into the Soviet Union, but as many as 2,500,000 to 2,750,000 remained under Hitler’s powerful eye.  They, of course, immediately became easy targets for instant annihilation.

The Nazi’s worked feverously at their assigned task of killing. Almost all the Jews under the Wehrmacht’s military administration were murdered by the end of 1941.  In many of the killing fields the Nazis found many willing accomplices among the native population. A substantial number of people, particularly in the Baltic countries and in Ukraine, joyfully collaborated with Hitler’s killers. “Without the active support of the local inhabitants, tens of thousands of whom served in police units, the Germans would not have been able to identify and exterminate as many Jews in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union.” (Underlining not in the original.)
The history of The Black Book and the material of The Unknown Black Book form part of the tragic legacy of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (JAC).  The JAC was formed in February of 1942.  At that time, the Nazi army was still advancing quickly into Soviet territory and the Soviet Union needed/wanted more support/aid from the West.  The JAC members sent a stream of articles to the Soviet papers and papers in the West including the Jewish press.  Many of the articles emphasized Jewish suffering under the Nazis.   The JAC also published the frontline exploits of the Jewish soldiers who were fighting in the ranks of the Soviet Red Army.
“The high point in the history of the JAC came in the spring and summer of 1943, when two of its leading figures, Solomon Mikhoels and the poet Itsik Fefer, traveled to North America, Mexico, and England.”  They raised millions of dollars for the Red Army, met with New York’s mayor Fiorello La Guardia and a host of Jewish and non-Jewish dignitaries.   It was during the months spent abroad the JAC nurtured an idea, already growing in the minds of Ilya Ehrenburg and Vasily Grossman, of putting on record the eyewitness reports of those who had survived or witnessed the atrocities rained on the Jews.  They wanted it published in English in the United States, and Russian in the Soviet Union.  They even discussed publishing it in Yiddish.
The Black Book was to be the compilation of recorded statements of survivors.  As the Red Army pushed the Nazis out of the territories they had conquered, Soviet journalists were marching along side, taking down the Jewish victims’ detailed chronicle of what they had just been through.  Their horror stories were now being brought to light.  Their inhumane and near unbelievable experiences were recorded and some published in bulletins and newspapers.  Most were to be recorded for future generations to read in The Black Book.
Ehrenberg and Grossman and many others associated with the JAC worked tirelessly to have The Black Book published in the Soviet Union.  By early 1944 the JAC newspaper named Ehrenberg “as one of the most active initiators of The Black Book.”  Ehrenberg, the first editor of The Black Book, passionately condemned anti-Semitism.  He intended the book to help counteract the effects of Nazi propaganda inside of the Soviet Union.  He hoped the Soviet JAC committee and American committee would be able to publish The Black Book at about the same time.  But it wasn’t to be.
“On September 6, 1944, Ehrenberg sent a memorandum entitled The Black Book Project through proper bureaucratic channels.”  He felt that the decision to publish The Black Book became controversial as the Soviet Army was winning the fight against the Nazis’ army.   It might go all the way to Stalin to make the decision.  In the memorandum, Ehrenberg focused on the unique and compelling material he and his colleagues collected. He wrote passionately, “ The stories of escaped Jews, witnesses to the atrocities, German orders, diaries and statements of the butchers, notes and diaries of those in hiding” must be assembled.  “Not declarations, not transcripts, but real-life stories must show the depth of the tragedy.”
Ehrenberg intuitively knew that focusing too closely on the fate of the Jews would not get the book published.  Sentiment for using the JAC in late 1944 was not the same as it had been when the Soviet Armies were retreating.  Using the JAC to raise money for the Soviet Army in the United States was good politics in 1943.  But since the Soviet Army was beating the Nazis, it was expedient for the Soviet propaganda network to no longer emphasize the Jewish aspect to the slaughtering by the Nazis.  The Soviet Union wanted the idea of national unity.  All the conquered fought and died fighting the fascists, not just Jews.
Ehrenberg anticipated this policy shift.  In his letter he stated, “It is extremely important to show the solidarity of the Soviet population, the rescue of individual Jews by Russians, Belorussians, Ukrainians, and Poles.”  Ehrenberg understood it was “essential to show that Jews died bravely, highlighting all the instances of active or passive resistance; the underground organizations of the ghetto; the escapes and uprisings; and the Jewish partisans, who, after escaping death, took vengeance on the murderers of their loved ones.”
Albert Einstein was to write the foreword to the American version of The Black Book.  Opposition to the foreword came from the Soviet Union.  They argued it had “Zionistic tendencies and a number of issues about the history of the Jewish people, starting with the destruction of Jerusalem.  This material had nothing to do with combating fascism.”  Einstein agreed to withdraw his piece; the American Black Book appeared in English in 1946.   But the Russian edition it did not see the light of day in 1946.
Nor did it appear during the lifetimes of Ilya Ehrenberg or Vasily Grossman.  The first complete Russian-language edition of The Black Book was published in Lithuania in 1993, forty-seven years after the American edition!  Yad Vashem had published a Russian edition in 1980, even though the material was in Palestine since 1946.  Tekst Publishers, in Moscow, 1993, issued a collection named The Unknown Black Book that was partially prepared by Yad Vashem in Israel.  The book contained new documentary material that editors of The Black book had rejected for censorship reasons.  They are published for the first time in English in The Unknown Black Book.
The Unknown Black Book, like The Black Book,  is worth reading and even owning.  While most of the material is hard to take emotionally, some of the testimonies are so powerful that it can make adults cry or at least tear up.  Some testimonies illustrate the many different ways people fought back and survived to tell of the inhumanity of the powerful Nazi machine.  A few show that within the evil empire of Nazism, sparks of humane humanity survived within the too few Righteous Gentiles and that made all the difference to maligned humans at their doorstep.
Sofia Ayzenshteyn, a Jew, was married to a non-Jew.  For nineteen months she lived in a coffin. When the Nazis posted orders that all Jews were to report on such-and-such a day, time and place, she thought she would, like the other Jews.  Her husband thought differently and persuaded her not to report.  “As long as I live, you will too,” he declared. ( A modern day version of the Biblical story of Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi.)  He searched for an attic where she might go.  Found one and she stayed there but a short while.  She moved to a second and then a third apartment. “Once she had to live sewn in a mattress, but the mattress grave proved unreliable.” The Nazis began shooting people for hiding Jews so the apartment residents told her to leave.  But where could she go?
Her husband had been preparing for several weeks for just such a time.  He took her not far from his home, so he could visit her more often.  “He settled on a concealed corner and rigged up something like a dugout.  He brought in clothes, a little bench, provisions.  He dressed his wife as a beggar and she attended her burial in a grave.  Her husband walked ahead of her, while she followed some distance behind.  He went along the back streets so as not to run into anyone he knew....They looked around.  Not a living soul in sight.  The husband said a hasty goodbye to his wife, let her down into the dugout and walled her in.  He left only a narrow chink which was heavily overlaid with bricks to pass food through.”
Her husband would take the family dog walking.  When he came to where his wife was buried, he would talk to his dog.  In this way he talked with his wife and he “gave her encouragement and bravery, which were vital to her to survive the ordeal, that of being buried alive.” Sofia begged her husband many times to give her poison.  But he wouldn’t.  He consoled her.  He encouraged her with the thought that liberation was coming.  And thus she lived for nineteen months until liberated by the Soviet Army.
This is just one, shortened version of the many dramatic and moving testimonies included in the amazing The Unknown Black Book.

Strom is professor emeritus of education at San Diego State University. He may be contacte at stromd@sandiegojewishworld.com

Reform Congregations in Bid for United Religious Front
Southwestern Jewish Press, February 24, 1950, page 1

At a recent meeting in Los Angeles the heads of the Reform movement in the United States expressed a desire to negotiate an arrangement with the leaders of the Conservative Synagogues for a united religious front.

Rabbi James G. Heller, principle speaker at the meeting of the Southern California Council of the American Union of Hebrew Congregations said…. “We have been trying to get together with the heads of the Conservative groups to formulate a plan whereby our books and studies could be integrated into one system of teaching Judaism.”

The Jewish Press interviewed Rabbi Morton J. Cohn, spiritual leader of Temple Beth Israel, who made the following comments… My personal opinion is that the Conservative movement in Israel is operating on the fundamental principles first enunciated by the Reform movement.

“It is the right and obligation of each generation to gear its religious thinking and practices on the basis of its needs, and at the same time remain loyal to the fundamental Jewish tradition.

“It is my personal belief that these two great movements in Israel operate along parallel lines with variations only in emphasis and degree. Sincere and honest deliberation among the Lay and Rabbinical leaders of Rom and Conservatism may very well result in an ultimate coalition of these two religious forces in the not too distant future.”

Notice {Newspaper Merger}
Southwestern Jewish Press, February 24, 1950, page 1

The next issue will see the incorporation of the Jewish Community Bulletin in the Jewish Press. The Bulletin will cease publication with the March issue.

As the official Jewish Community Newspaper we hope to provide an organ of public opinion and news for everyone.

We wish to thank the United Jewish Fund for its cooperation and interest. We are sure that our relationship will prove to be beneficial to the entire Jewish community.

Mrs. Selma Getz Heads Women’s Division of UJF
Southwestern Jewish Press, February 24, 1950, page 1

Pride of the Jewish Community of San Diego, the Women’s Division are beginning to organize under the dynamic leadership and guidance of Selma Getz, chairman of the 1950 campaign.

An active participant and conscientious worker since the formation of the Division, Mrs. Getz succeeds Mrs. Nathaniel Ratner and Mrs. Gabriel Berg, who successfully led the women in 1949.

Organized in 1947 under the leadership of Mrs. George Neumann, the Women’s Division went from $3,000 in women’s contribution in 1946 to $42,000 in 1948 when Mrs. Saul Chenkin led the way.  In 1949, $39,000 was reached, which on a percentage basis local and national, was felt in excess of many other communities.

In calling on key women to rally around her in organizing the campaign, Mrs. Getz said, “We women have the responsibility of leading and spear-heading the San Diego United Jewish Fund Campaign.  We have done it in the past and we will do it in 1950.”

“The appalling conditions overseas and in Israel touches our hearts,” continued Mrs. Getz, “but we can even understand the problems better when we see the children of our new Americans who are to have the privilege of growing up in San Diego. Women’s gifts have made this and other miracles possible. When the campaign opens on April 1, the women will be again in the forefront.”

Allocations Committee Sets New Pattern
Southwestern Jewish Press, February 24, 1950, pages 1,8

In an all day session of the 1950 Allocations Committee, held last Sunday at the El Cortez Hotel, a new precedent in disbursing monies to be raised was set for the San Diego Jewish Community. For the first time, budgeting has been done prior to the campaign so that the contributor would know how the money would be distributed.

The committee consisting of members of the Board of Directors of the Fund, organization presidents and members at large, formulated a pattern for the distribution of money raised in the 1950 campaign.

Sol Price, chairman of the committee, announced that of the first $150,000 raised, 83 percent was allocated for the United Jewish Appeal and other Israel overseas agencies, 10 percent to local agencies and 7 percent to national agencies.

Of the next $50,000, 95 percent to the United Jewish Appeal and other overseas and Israe agencies and 5 percent to national agencies.

All over this amount would go to the United Jewish Appeal.

According to Price’s announcement the following organizations will be beneficiaries of the 1950 campaign: United Jewish Appeal, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, American Friends of the Hebrew University, American Committee for the Weismann (sic, Weizmann) Institute of Science, American Technion Society, American Fund for Israel Institutions, National Committee for Labor Israel (Histadrut), City of Hope—JCRA, Jewish Committee for Personal Service, Leo N. Levi Memorial Hospital, American Jewish Congress, Jewish Labor Committee, Joint Defense appeal, B’nai B’rith National Youth Services Appeal, Yiddish Scientific Institute, American Association for Jewish Education, Jewish War Veterans of the United States, National Jewish Welfare Board, Synagogue Council of America, Training Bureau of Communal Service, Hebrew Theological College, Jewish Theological Seminary, American Hebrew Congregations, Union of Orthodox Congregations of America, Yeshiva University.

The Allocations Committee heard Mr. Moritz Gottlieb, lay leader of Allentown, Pa., representing the United Jewish Appeal, state that in 1949 an Diego, in giving 86 percent of the net monies raised through the United Jewish Appeal, had done an outstanding job and that there were not too many communities which had shouldered their responsibilities as well.

Rabbi Leonard Greenberg, Los Angeles, spoke for the American Jewish Congress.  Histadrut’s spokesmen was Sol Goodman, while Murray Goodrich represented the American Fund for Israel Institutions. Henry Weinberger presented the case for the B’nai B’rith Youth Service Appeal.

Members of the Allocations Committee, besides Price, were: Victor Schulman, Rose Neumann, Henry Weinberger, Ben Harris, ben Feinberg, Harry Engel, Sol Goodman, Mrs. Dora Richlin, M.S. Berlin, Seymour Rabin, William B. Schwartz, M.W.Douglas, Lou Mogy, Sam Addleson, Alex J. Newman, Rosin S. Horrow, Abe Sackheim, Mrs. Gabriel Berg, Mrs. Sidney Goldhammer, Maxwell Kaufman, Rabbi Monroe Levnes, Sam Slayen, Morris Neiderman, E.R. Bland, Sam Sosna, Dr. Walter Ornstein, Lew Pollack, Dr. David Miller, Dr. A.P. Nasatir, Frank Winicki, Rabbi Baruch Stern, Rabbi Morton J. Cohn, Morry Kraus, Nate Schiller, Edward Kitaen, Richard Levi and Carl Esenoff.

“Adventures in Jewish History” is sponsored by Inland Industries Group LP in memory of long-time San Diego Jewish community leader Marie (Mrs. Gabriel) Berg.  Our indexed "Adventures in San Diego Jewish History" series will be a daily feature until we run out of history.

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Monday, September 29, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 234)

U.S election more a spectacle for voters than an opportunity to deliberate
by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem
Tracking one's family through the Shoah by Peter Garas in Canberra, Australia

Une-Taneh-Tokef: Chant of awesome import during High Holy Day services by Cantor Sheldon Merel, with an audio clip of him chanting this prayer

The Magic Circle—A glimpse of Eden by Sheila Orysiek in San Diego
Your baby is off to college, but you can't stop wishing that s/he was still at home by Marsha Sutton in San Diego

Back, Back, Back is not where reviewer plans to go, at least not anytime soon by Carol Davis in San Diego
All that Chazz dazzles at the Ruskin by Cynthia Citron in Santa Monica, California
--February 24, 1950: Fund Workers Get Set For Annual Drive
--February 24, 1950: Christian Committee Presents Program
--February 24, 1950: Famous Singing Teacher in San Diego
--February 24, 1950: Baranov Elected Chairman of Del Mar Charities

Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School: Students use all of their senses to experience the traditions of Rosh Hashanah

Sunday, September 28, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 233)

Obama, McCain debate Mid-East tactics by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego

Rosh Hashanah Fair at Soille Hebrew Day orients pupils to tastes of High Holidays by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego
Torah reading may be learned bit by bit by Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal in San Diego
A burial illustrating the power of prayer by Rabbi Baruch Lederman in San Diego

A bissel sports trivia with Bruce Lowitt in Oldsmar, Florida

Hard to admire these catty, self-indulgent women, but Old Globe play is worthwhile by Carol Davis in San Diego

—February 10, 1950: Inside A.Z.A; by Leonard Naiman
—February 10, 1950: To San Diego Youth by Norman Holtzman
—February 10, 1950: Temple Beth Israel

—February 10, 1950: Congregation Beth Jacob
—February 10, 1950: Tifereth Israel Synaggogue
—February 10, 1950: Beth Jacob Ladies to Hold Purim Dinner

Jewish Family Service: Mental disorders are common in the Jewish community
Lawrence Family JCC: San Diego Jewish Music Festival Previews Israel Philharmonic Visit
Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School:
Yehoshua: Soille Hebrew Day Fourth Graders’ Superhero

Friday, September 26, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 232)

Former CIA Director James Woolsey urges major changes in U.S. energy use by Jim Lantry in San Diego

Sweet memories of the page of honey; by Isaac Yetiv in La Jolla
So why does the Jewish new year come in the seventh,not the first, month?;
by Sara Appel-Lennon in San Diego
'We were naked,'; a poem by Sheila Orysiek in San Diego

Mille Feuille: Oh, how sweet it is!; by Lynne Thrope in San Diego

—February 10, 1950: News of the Fox by John L. Kluchin
—February 10, 1950: Daughters of Israel
—February 10, 1950: JCRA by Anna B. Brooks
—February 10, 1950: San Diego Birdie Stodel B’nai B’rith No. 92
—February 10, 1950: Jr. Pioneer Women by Alma Yaruss

Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School: Rabbi Krohn’s Special Visit to Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Republican Jewish Coalition highlights quotes from Democrats in pro-McCain ads by
Suzanne Kurtz in Washington, D.C.

Jews, Druse honor trailblazing soldier's memory near the border of Gaza by Ulla Hadar in Kibbutz Nir Am, Israel

Nice record: 48 of 48 SDJA seniors accepted to four -year-colleges by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego


Thursdays with the songs of Hal Wingard:
—#53, The San Diego Air Disaster
—#13, Yesterday
—#66, Time

How Jewish were the Beatles? by David Benkof in New York

—February 10, 1950: Evening Group Hadassah
—February 10, 1950: Pioneer Women (Negba Club)
—February 10, 1950: Temple Beth Israel Sisterhood
—February 10, 1950: San Diego Hebrew Home for the Aged
—February 10, 1950: Yo-Ma Co Club

San Diego Jewish Academy: L'Shanah Tovah from San Diego Jewish Academy
San Diego Jewish World: San Diego Jewish World tells its High Holy Day publishing schedule
Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School: Soille Hebrew Day Kindergarteners Take The Taste Test

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 230)


'Israel's security is sacrosanct,' Obama tells 900 rabbis in conference call
by Eric Lynn and Dan Shapiro in Chicago   
Reversing the high dropout rate from schools priority for Ethiopian-Israelis by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego


The Jews Down Under, a roundup of Jewish news of Australia and New Zealand by Garry Fabian in Melbourne, Australia:

—Security spending for Jewish institutions in Australia varies from state to state
—Sydney Liberal leader has ties to Jewish community
—Jewish candidates make impact in local elections
—Toltz short-listed for the 2008 Man Booker Prize
—Lobby group offers apology
—Australia Arava partnership begins to bloom
—Wheels in motion for Junior Maccabi Carnival
—Vandals Target Maccabi Tennis Centre
—New Zealand shul reopens with fanfare
—Moriah College Student wins junior journalism award


Mourned love found again in a book; by Gail Feinstein Forman in San Diego


—February 10, 1950: Seattle Conference Elects Levenson
—February 10, 1950: Letters to the Editor from Mrs. Harold Garvin and A. Fisher
—February 10, 1950: Who’s New


Agency for Jewish Education: L'shanah tovah tikoteva
San Diego Jewish World: San Diego Jewish World begins weekly email service
San Diego Rabbinical Association: San Diego Rabbinical Association announces Kever Avot/ Imahot Services
Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School: Oranges and maps at Solle San Diego Hebrew Day School

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