Volume 2, Nu

mber 30
Volume 2, Number 239

"There's a Jewish story everywhere"

is a publication
of The Harrison
Enterprises of
San Diego, co-owned
by Donald and
Nancy Harrison

Editor: Donald H. Harrison
Ass't Editor: Gail Umeham

Click on topics below to navigate this site:

*Advertisers in this issue
** America's Vacation Center
** Balloon Utopia
** Congregation Beth Israel
** Jewish American Chamber of Commerce
** Jewish Family Service
** Lawrence Family JCC
Life and Term Insurance Services
** Rhodes Marketing Group
** San Diego Community Colleges
** San Diego Jewish Academy
** Seacrest Village Retirement Communities
** Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School
** Temple Emanu-El
** Temple Solel
** Tifereth Israel Synagogue
** United Jewish Federation
** XLNC Radio

*Advertising and sponsorship information

*AJE Makor Calendar

* Amazing Stories of Judaism by Rabbi Baruch Lederman

*Bissel Sports Trivia with Bruce Lowitt

*Campaign 2008

*Community Happenings in San Diego County

*Community Phone & Email Directory

* Email headline service

*Guest Columns

*Jewish license plates

*Jewish sightseeing ~stories from around the world

*Louis Rose Society for the Preservation of Jewish Hstory

*Restaurant Reviews with Lynne Thrope

*Songs of Our People with Cantor Sheldon Merel

*San Diego Builders of Israel free copy

*San Diego Jewish History Index

*San Diego Trivia by Evelyn Kooperman

*Serialized Book: The Reluctant Martyr by
Sheila Orysiek

*Theatre Reviews with
Cynthia Citron in Los Angeles

*Theatre Reviews with
Carol Davis in San Diego

* Thursdays With the Songs of Hal Wingard

* Torah on One Foot by Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal

* UJF Community Calendar

To Search Past Issues

* Search by date of issue

* Search by headlines

* Search by key word

Recent contributors:

Sara Appel-Lennon

Judy Lash Balint

David Benkof

Shoshana Bryen

Cynthia Citron

Carol Davis

Garry Fabian

Gail Feinstein Forman

Gerry Greber

Ulla Hadar

Donald H. Harrison

Natasha Josefowitz

Rabbi Baruch Lederman

Bruce Lowitt

J. Zel Lurie

Rabbi Dow Marmur

Cantor Sheldon Merel

Joel Moskowitz, M.D.

Sheila Orysiek

Fred Reiss

Rabbi Leonard

Gary Rotto

Ira Sharkansky

Dorothea Shefer-

David Strom

Lynne Thrope

Gail Umeham

Howard Wayne

Eileen Wingard

Hal Wingard

Complete list of writers

PLEASE HELP US POLICE THIS SITE: If you see anything on this site that obviously is not in keeping with our mission of providing Jewish news and commentary, please message us at editor@sandiegojewishworld.com , so that we can fix the probem. Unfortunately, large sites like ours can be subjected to tampering by outsiders. Thank you!



Today's Postings

Monday, October 6, 2008

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


Democrats, please speak up on Israel! by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego

Israel's justice ministry in disarray about what to do about the Katsav scandal by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem


55-year quest resumed, circle completed by Sheila Orysiek in San Diego


Dying City juxtaposes Iraq war, and wars we fight in our homes by Carol Davis in San Diego


—February 24, 1950: S.D. Birdie Stodel Bnai Brith, Chapter No. 92
—February 24, 1950: Tifereth Israel Synagogue
—February 24, 1950: Pioneer Women (Negba) Club
—February 24, 1950: Defy Income Tax Blues


Jewish Family Service:
Free Transportation To Yom Kippur Services for Older Adults!

Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School:
Soille Hebrew Day preschoolers enjoyed sounds, aroma of Rosh Hashanah

Tifereth Israel Synagogue:
October 11 Midrash Shabbat Program: The Ushpizin


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


Want to know about exciting upcoming events? As a service to readers, San Diego Jewish World flags most event advertisements by date.Oct. 8-Oct. 9


Each day's issue may be dedicated by readers—or by the publisher—in other people's honor or memory. Past dedications may be found at the bottom of the index for the "Adventures in San Diego Jewish History" page.


Dear Readers: We have re-established our Email headline service with a new provider, Constant Contact. Whether you are a previous subscriber to the Email headline service or would like to start it for the first time, please click the blue button just below and follow the steps. We now offer you the choice of daily Email headlines or weekly Email headlines. The weekly Email headlines will be sent out every Friday morning (or in some time zones Thursday evening.), and will list all the headlines from the editions of the past week, with links to each edition. —Donald H. Harrison, Editor

For Email Marketing you can trust





WEDS, Oct. 8-THURS., OCT. 9 Congregation Beth Israel High Holiday Services

beth israel

Please click above to visit Congregation Beth Israel's website

TEMPLE EMANU-EL High Holiday Greetings


To visit the Temple Emanu-El website, please click on the ad above

TEMPLE SOLEL High Holiday Greetings

To learn more about Temple Solel, please click on the advertisement above



Please click on this ad to visit the website of Tifereth Israel Synagogue

October 11 Midrash Shabbat Program: The Ushpizin

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)—Tifereth Israel Synagogue's popular Midrash Shabbat program is a once-a-month lunch-and-learn program which follows regular Shabbat services on select Saturday mornings.  Upcoming is a program on the 'Ushpizin– Our Special Sukkot Guests,' on Saturday, October 11th

Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal will lead a discussion about inviting seven mystical guests from Jewish history into our Sukkot. The luncheon this month has been sponsored by Amy Wagreich and Marty Marcus in honor of their 30th anniversary. We hope that you will join us.



Democrats, please speak up on Israel!

By Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO--A recent poll by the American Jewish Committee indicates that Jewish voters prefer Barack Obama over John McCain by a margin of 57 percent to 30 percent with 13 percent undecided.  While this is a clear majority for Obama, it does not compare with the super-majorities that Democratic candidates since the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt could count upon.  The reason: This time around, Republicans are really contesting for the Jewish vote.  Our people may be but a tiny percentage of the American population, but we tend to be very committed voters.  Our turnout rate at the polls compares favorably to any other group.  In close presidential elections, our votes tend to be magnified because by and large Jews cluster in urban states with a  large proportion of electoral college votes.

The determined Republican effort to court us could be seen in the first Obama-McCain debate, as well as in the vice presidential debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden.  In both instances, the Republicans initiated a discussion of the existential threat to Israel posed by a nuclear Iran and in both instances they said that America must not permit a second Holocaust.  In both debates, the Democratic candidates subsequently made favorable remarks about Israel, but, to my ears, these comments sounded more like “me-too-ism” than heartfelt expressions of concern for the peril now facing Israel.

If there is anything that cannot fail to arouse the emotions of Jewish voters, it is the prospect of a "second Holocaust."  To us, that is not some rhetorical phrase, it is an all-too-real possibility.  Especially those of us who are of Ashkenazi background probably lost members of our extended families in the first Holocaust, and many of us internalized the message that when people say they want to kill us, they really mean it.

The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, clearly is an anti-Semite.  He has spoken of “wiping Israel off the face of the map,” calls Israel a “stinking corpse” and denies that the 1940s Holocaust ever happened. In our guts, we fear that he already is planning to send nuclear-tipped missiles against Israel just as soon as Iran gains the capability.  And while the world debates and passes resolutions, Israelis are coming to the conclusion that, as a matter of survival, they may have to act preemptively against Iran.  It is a scary situation both for Jews in particular and for the world in general.  When Jews say ‘Never Again,’ we mean it—‘Never Again’ will a racist, anti-Semitic foe like Hitler or Ahmadinejad be able to kill mass numbers of Jews without paying the heaviest price.

McCain and Palin apparently understand—and are willing to vocalize support for—our Jewish people’s grim determination to resist the threats made by Ahmadinejad against our very being.  I’m certain that the Democratic candidates understand it too—they both are brilliant men—but for some reason, they have been unwilling to address the issue frontally.  Instead we hear both Obama and Biden defending the notion that by sitting down with Iran’s leaders, not necessarily Ahmadinejad, some good result will accrue.  How I ache for them to say something like, ‘yes, we’ll talk with them, and the first thing we’ll tell them is that if they bomb Israel, the United States will rain destruction on Iran.  We are 100 percent committed to assuring the existence and safety of Israel, even if it means nuclear war.”

I can’t help but wonder what thus far has been holding the Democratic candidates back.  Do they feel that we Jews already know that they are supportive of us, so therefore they don’t have to declare it?  Even if that were so, it’s not a matter only for us Jews to know.  We want every Iranian and every sympathizer for that government to know it too.  And there is no better forum to declare that support than in a televised presidential debate. 

There is this nagging fear that the Democrats have been so circumspect in their debate comments because they are afraid of alienating other constituencies. Which ones?  Are there large blocs of anti-Israel voters whom they do not wish to directly antagonize?  And, if so, is this leadership? 

The survival of Israel is a paramount issue.  Please, Democrats, speak up—forcefully, and with clear conviction--on this subject.   Let there be clear bipartisan agreement on this matter. Please don’t concede this turf to the Republicans.

Harrison may be contacted at editor@sandiegojewishworld.com



To learn more about Life & Term Insurance Services, please click the ad above to visit
its website


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



Israel's justice ministry in disarray about what to do about the Katsav scandal

By Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM—The continuing story of Moshe Katsav, summarized by Wikipedia,  is both troubling and revealing.

No one wants a national president or other public figure with multiple accusations of rape and other sexual crimes. In terms of personal morality, the story is about as bad as it can get, but that will not concern us here.

From the events we learn some things not so attractive about Israeli politics, as well as about the judicial process and the specific charges.

Katsav was the Likud candidate for the presidency in the election by Knesset members that occurred in July, 2000. Shimon Peres thought that he had the commitment of enough Knesset members to win, but Katsav got more of their secret votes. The best guess is that "anybody but Peres" was one reason for some Knesset members to vote for Katsav after committing themselves to Peres. It was not unreasonable to fear that Peres would use the ceremonial functions of the presidency to promote controversial items on his political agenda. (When Peres did win the presidency after Katsav's resignation, he was seven years older and had committed himself to avoid involvement in political issues. For the most part, he has kept to that commitment.)

Katsav had a long career in public life before being chosen as president: mayor of his home town, member of Knesset, and several periods as minister in charge of various portfolios. At the time of his election as president, secretaries in government officers and Knesset members knew of his behavior. Reports are that the police knew his reputation for several years, but did not begin an investigation in the absence of formal complaints.

Among the Knesset members who recognized the dangers, some hoped that the prestige of the president's office would cure Katsav of his faults.

His career began to unravel in July, 2006, when he complained to the attorney general that one of his employees was trying to blackmail him. 

It would have been wiser to pay.

The police investigation that began with Katsav's initiative quickly focused on the president, and produced headlines about multiple charges of sexual harassment  two claims of rape. 

A year later, shortly before the end of his term, the prosecution and Katsav agreed to a plea bargain that would involve his immediate resignation, charges for minor offenses, and a recommendation of no jail term.

The event did not pass quietly. Organized feminists, good government reformers, and plain citizens demonstrated, and initiated a suit demanding that the attorney general issue a more severe indictment. Katsav defended himself at a contentious press conference that saw him shouting at questioners, and produced a photo of a contorted scowl shown time and again on television. He asserted that he had agreed to the plea bargain as a pragmatic tactic. He claimed to be an innocent victim of a media fiasco, and occasionally said something like Bill Clinton's classic remark, "I never had sex with those women."

Against him there appeared in public, with identities masked, accusers who detailed the president's crude sexual techniques: exposing and waving his penis, and saying that I think of you when I am with my wife. Complicating the picture, and helping to explain the prosecutor's decision for a mild plea bargain, were indications that women who claimed rape had maintained cordial relations with Katsav after the rapes were said to happen.

In April, 2008, the high court rejected Katsav's efforts to delay a final decision on the plea bargain. Then Katsav canceled his agreement to the plea bargain, and asserted his innocence. The attorney general began a process still on-going of reconsidering the charges he would bring. 

In the midst of this reconsideration, the attorney general moved the file from one group of attorneys on his staff to another group. Deliberations that had taken more than a year among the first committee of attorneys would start again. Involved in disputes were questions of which charges would survive the counter arguments of Katsav's attorneys. Should the most severe charges be brought, and perhaps sacrificed in a trial that would find the former president guilty of severe crimes, but not the most serious? Would the emphasis on the most serious crimes, but with problematic evidence, risk losing the whole case? Or should the prosecutors limit their charge to the claims that would persuade the court, which might produce an outcome not substantially different from the earlier plea bargain? 

So far this argument has proceeded in house without a resolution. Some people fear that endless discussions among the staff of the attorney general will produce a decision to close the file without a trial, or to keep the file open indefinitely and unresolved. Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry has denied Katsav's requests for benefits usually given a former president, including an expensive new car and an office in a prestige location. 

Arguments about the meaning of law, and rules of evidence, have roots in Jewish law going back to ancient times. The Talmud offers countless examples of disputes about how to fix responsibility for injury or damages. Against demands to punish Katsav for the most serious of the crimes alleged, are arguments not only about judicial tactics, but also about the merits of the evidence. 

Safeguards for the accused also have ancient roots. Christians are inclined to quote "eye for an eye" and numerous death penalties in the Hebrew Bible in order to assert that it was only Jesus and his disciples who brought a humane concern to the world. The reality is much different. The Torah itself, perhaps 600 years older than the New Testament, includes provisions for financial instead of corporal penalties (e.g., Exodus 21). By the time of the Sanhedrin, at least 200 years before Christ, the rabbis worked assiduously to avoid physical punishment. One ancient sage is widely quoted to the effect that if the Sanhedrin decided on more than one death penalty in 70 years it would be considered a murderous court.

Activists remain dissatisfied with the lack of declared justice. Katsav's victims may bring civil suits for damages whether or not the attorney general includes their allegations among the crimes to be charged. They may be thinking of the $33.5 million judgment awarded the families who claimed that O.J. Simpson was liable for the deaths of their loved ones, after he had been found not guilty in a criminal trial. Donors may tire of paying Katsav's legal fees. He can lose a great deal of money as well as a desirable car and office. He has already suffered the shame of extensive media coverage.

The public generally may have passed beyond the scandal of Moshe Katsav. There are multiple charges of corruption against the prime minister. Five other politicians who served recently as government ministers have been tried, indicted, or subjected to prolonged police investigation. Virtually all of the recent prime ministers have been rebuked or fined by the State Comptroller for violating campaign finance laws. There is also the fall out in Israel from the international economic crisis, dire threats from Hizbollah in the north, Hamas in the south, individual Palestinians who seek to kill Israelis with bulldozers or cars, and the looming problem of an Iranian nuclear weapon. 

It is the season when Jews worry about the sentence of the Almighty for the coming year. May yours be a good one.

Soille Hebrew Day preschoolers enjoyed sounds, aroma of Rosh Hashanah


jfs on go
Pease click the ad above to learn more about JFS "On the Go" program for seniors. To read a San Diego Jewish World story on the program, please click here.

Free Transportation To Yom Kippur Services for Older Adults!

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)—On the Go is providing free transportation to Yom Kippur Services for older adults age 60 and over who don’t drive. This service is a door-to-door shuttle—from the rider’s home to a synagogue in the rider’s neighborhood (see schedules below).

How Can You Help? We need your help in ensuring that our community’s older adults are able to observe the Holidays this year. Please help us spread the word by telling your friends, neighbors, relatives, and fellow synagogue members. 

On the Go offers individual rides, group transportation, and organized trips all year long. To learn more about On the Go, click here

Please Reserve Your Ride by Tuesday, October 7: (877) 63-GO-JFS •  (877) 634-6537

Holiday Schedules & Locations
College Area/Del Cerro/San Carlos/La Mesa (Riders must live in the following zip codes: 92115, 92119, 92120, 91941, 91942): Temple Emanu-El— Wednesday, October 8 • 6:00 – 7:30pm; Thursday, October 9 • 4:30 – 6:30pm.  Tifereth Israel Synagogue: Wednesday, October 8 • 6:00 – 8:00pm; Thursday, October 9 • 10:00am – 2:00pm 

University City/La Jolla/Clairemont (Riders must live in the following zip codes: 92037, 92111, 92117, 92121, 92122): Congregation Beth El: Wednesday, October 8 • 6:30 – 9:00pm; Thursday, October 9 • 9:00am – 1:00pm.  Chabad of University City: Wednesday, October 8 • 6:00 – 8:00pm; Thursday, October 9 • 10:30am – 1:30pm.  Congregation Beth Israel: Wednesday, October 8 • 6:00 – 8:30pm; Thursday, October 9 • 4:30 – 6:30pm.  Dor Hadash:
Wednesday, October 8 • 7:00 – 9:00pm; Thursday, October 9 • 5:00 – 8:00pm.
North County Inland (Riders must live in the following zip codes: 92064, 92127, 92128, 92129, 92131): Ner Tamid: Wednesday, October 8 • 6:00 – 8:30pm; Thursday, October 9 • 4:00 – 6:45pm.  Chabad of Poway: Wednesday, October 8 • 6:30 – 9:00pm. Thursday, October 9 • 11:00am – 1:00pm.  Temple Adat Shalom: Wednesday, October 8 • 7:30 – 9:30pm; Thursday, October 9 • 3:30 – 6:00pm.  Chabad of Scripps Ranch: Wednesday, October 8 • 6:00 – 8:00pm
Thursday, October 9 • 11:30am – 1:30pm.
Please Reserve Your Ride by Tuesday, October 7; (877) 63-GO-JFS •  (877) 634-6537


55-year quest resumed, circle completed

By Sheila Orysiek

SAN DIEGO—Some of the important events in our lives are carefully planned.  Other events, just as important, occur with no planning - and yet we sense a plan. I firmly believe there is a plan and that is why on a day when such an event unfolds - and continues to unfold - layers are revealed that are only grasped when the “plan” is completed. 

On just such an “unplanned” day I found myself looking out at a congregation of people facing me and saw a sea of smiles.  There were smiles of recognition of the momentousness of the moment, smiles of encouragement and some who were simply enjoying the occasion.

Being in front of a group of people - whether an audience, a synagogue congregation or a school assembly is not new to me. At seven years old, once a week, I used to recite a poem to the assembled student body from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “A Child’s Garden of Verses.” During four decades of a dancing career I never suffered from stage fright - excitement, yes - but never fear or hesitation.  And reading from the prayer book on Shabbat to the congregation is a frequent occurrence.  However, this particular event, in Temple Emanu-El’s beautiful new Sanctuary, on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, was far different. 

Though I attend Sabbath Services on Friday evening throughout the year, I don’t usually attend High Holy Days services.  That’s quite the reverse of what most people consider important.  Somehow I don’t feel as connected to the fervor of the High Holy Days.  Perhaps the crowds have something to do with it - the smaller Sabbath gathering has a familial touch and the spirituality of it resonates within me.  In a large crowd I’m much more caught up with trying to keep from bumping someone, finding a seat that isn’t being saved, or just the general low hum of activity that occurs in any large group.

However, this year Temple Emanu-El scheduled a second day Rosh Hashanah service in the mid-morning.  Until the last moment I wasn’t sure I would be able to go.  Realizing that a ticket was not necessary - which probably meant the usual large crowd was not expected - this seemed like a good opportunity to recognize the holiday in a smaller setting. 

For Sabbath Services I always wear a dress or skirt; never slacks (except for one aberrant occasion) - so that the Sabbath begins to take on a special quality even as I prepare at home.  But, since it came about that I could attend the morning Rosh Hashanah service only at the last moment, I had to quickly go wearing slacks and a shirt. 

As the service proceeded, the 200 year old Torah which had been buried during the Holocaust, was taken out, carried around the Sanctuary so the congregation could greet it, and then unrolled to the week’s portion.  Several people responded to the Rabbi’s call for Aliyah.  This was something I wanted to do, some day, in the future.  Something “out there” to look forward to; I didn’t deem myself yet worthy. 

However, when the Rabbi asked yet one more time if anyone else wanted to do this, surprising myself, my hand went up.  At first he didn’t see me so with some relief I lowered my hand.  However, a friend called his attention to my request and at the same time offered to accompany me.  What a lovely - wonderful - warm - sisterly gesture!  A gift! And how I appreciate it!

The Rabbi’s nod told me “yes” and my response was to run out of the Sanctuary - not in fear - but to find a prayer shawl - a tallit.  I returned just in time and took my friend’s proffered hand.  This was a much different thing than reciting a poem, or dancing or reading to the congregation during Sabbath services.  Chanting is not something I’ve done before and after 5000 years of history and tradition; I didn’t want to mess anything up. 

As I approached, my friend’s hand firmly clasping mine, the Rabbi asked: “What is your Hebrew name?” 

”My name is Bat-Sheva bat Chaim.”   

I am far from proficient in properly pronouncing the Hebrew words in the prayer books, but I can follow as someone else reads.  Considering the importance of the occasion, I couldn’t take a chance and so read the prayers and blessings transliterated into English.  Miraculously, the chant melody stayed in my head and I heard my voice singing out - as if being directed from “somewhere else.”  So far, the time honored tradition was safe from any errors I might make. 

As I looked down at the opened Scroll - the ancient text - the Hebrew characters - it felt like I was looking through the long lens of history - our history.  People had recited these words for multiple millennia, had died with these words on their lips and had fought to save this heritage. And when all else failed - buried this particular Scroll, entrusting it to the earth rather than see it destroyed.  When the Rabbi paused with the pointer on the Torah text that was a cue to touch it with the edge of the tallit and then touch it to my lips.
But something else was happening; another layer - beyond the visible.  As I listened to the Rabbi read the portion, I was awestruck when I realized that it was the same portion my beloved Hebrew teacher, Dr. William Glicksman (may his memory be a blessing), had been teaching me for my Bat Mitzvah; a Bat Mitzvah which never took place because of circumstances beyond a child’s control. 

Dr. Glicksman was a Holocaust Survivor making a new life for himself in the United States after losing his wife, children and everyone else and he was a marvelous teacher.  So, here I was 55 years later, 3000 miles away from that Hebrew School in Philadelphia, in a city, San Diego, I had never heard of as a child, making an Aliyah, to the same portion that would have been mine had the Bat Mitzvah occurred. And, using a Torah which had also survived the Holocaust.   Coincidence? I don’t think so. 

Rae Mary Ibarra was part of the “plan” too.  It was she who called the Rabbi’s attention to my raised hand and it was her offer to stand beside me and hold my hand which was the encouragement I needed.  Though she was at that time unaware of the other “layer” - that this was my Torah portion had the Bat Mitzvah taken place, she said:  “It was meant to be - it was the right time.” 

That this would happen on this particular day had never entered my head as my eyes opened that morning.  Things like this don’t happen by chance. A journey was resumed, an open circle was completed.  A plan.

And to Rae Marie Ibarra, I say this: - you have begun your New Year by being a Mitzvah in my life.

Columnist Orysiek may be contacted at orysieks@sandiegojewishworld.com


The students, faculty and staff of San Diego Jewish Academy join in wishing you L'shana tova! {To visit the school's website, please click on the advertisement above}


To visit the Lawrence Family JCC website, please click on the advertisement above


Please click on the above ad to learn about the many programs of the San Diego Community College District



Please click the advertisement above to hear some of the world's most beautiful music.

VICTIMS OF WARS—Christy Yael and Sean Fox star in drama about wars, foreign and domestic,
at the Cygnet Theatre. Photo by Randy Rovang.


Dying City juxtaposes Iraq war,
and wars we fight in our homes

By Carol Davis

SAN DIEGO--Death, dying, memories, old wounds and healing. It’s ironic that the Cygnet Theatre in the Rolando area of San Diego would be mounting Christopher Shinn’s psychological drama Dying City just as we Jews are about to observe Yom Kippur. For most of us it’s a time of thoughtful reflection on the year. “On Rosh Hashanah it is written and on Yom Kippur, it is signed”. 

Yom Kippur is the holiest and most solemn day in Judaism, and is also the most joyous since it gives us the opportunity to make right what and who we wronged. We have a chance to wipe the slate clean by asking forgiveness and fasting. It is also a time for inner reflection especially in the late afternoon during the Yizkor services when we remember those who went before us. ‘We have a short time to make a connection that once existed between our loved ones who have passed away and ourselves’.

Kelly, (Christy Yael) lost her husband, Craig, in the war in Iraq just about a year ago and she is still trying to figure out how to come to grips with it.  It’s been a year since she last saw her husband’s identical twin brother Peter (Sean Cox). They were together at Craig’s funeral. And while they both are living in the same city, New York shortly after 9/11, they had not been in touch. But that was about to change.

Just as we are watching Kelly watching Law And Order on TV while packing up her few things in her apartment, (Nick Fouch designed a drab looking apartment) seemingly getting ready to move, the doorbell rings and she hesitatingly asks, “Who’s there?” When the answer comes back that it’s Peter a rush of emotions flash across her face. Reluctantly, she asks him in and in a slow, painful buildup (Francis Gercke directs) the story the heartache and the revelations unravel.

The play goes back and forth in time (the set moves slightly on a turnstile to give us a time reference) between the past and present giving us insight into the relationships between husband and wife, brother and brother, and brother-in-law and sister-in-law. It’s a sticky mess as we learn the details of Kelly and Craig’s relationship up to and including the day Craig left his wife to return to active duty in Iraq, and on the other hand we see the aftermath of the fallout of Peter’s visit.

Things, as they say, are not always as they appear. Kelly is a therapist, who seems to be on track treating her patients. We learn this from the exchanges between both her and Craig. She can’t, however, seem to nail down the right formula for getting through to her husband who is either wildly jealous of her patient/doctor relationship or he is truly intent on hurting her. 

As the play progresses and we learn more and more about the dynamics of the three, we find her to be as ambivalent in her grief for her dead husband as we find Peter to be more than passive aggressive in his attitudes toward them both. It’s a delicate balance but works while words like Abu Ghraib, Baghdad and World Trade Center become wedged into our own psyche as we try to fit the pieces together.

The fact is that like the violence so prevalent in Iraq, the relationship between Kelly and Craig is just as harmful and at times as violent, while the relationship between Peter and Kelly is just as destructive. In an interview with Shinn he is quoted as saying: “Certainly, the stated intent of the war was not to go in there and humiliate and sadistically torture Iraqis. Just as in a relationship between two people, hopefully the intent is never to betray them in a violent and sexual way.”

Would that it were so! Shinn’s play and the characters he created say just the opposite. The struggle for power, the love/ hate relationships and the underlying struggles between and among the character comes through with as much force as an IED. How we choose to love, how we choose to (in Craig’s case) die and how we treat each other in between is examined in this psychological drama with few holds barred.

It was especially interesting to watch Christy Yael’s body language, folding and unfolding her arms, aborted attempts at speaking, pained expressions on her face as she tries to understand exactly why Peter, a budding actor decided to show up at her door exactly one year from the date of his brother’s funeral to ‘square things up’.

Yael, a fine actress in her own right, says more with her silences than she does with words. (Credit Gercke) Her hesitations, half spoken sentences, sometimes her loss for words, as she nervously goes about the simple task of making tea and sipping it suspiciously and thoughtfully while watching and listening carefully while Peter reveals stories about his and his brother’s upbringing, is mesmerizing.

Cox’s high-strung Peter talks of their special relationship as twins, their Vietnam vet father who was abusive to them while their mother did nothing. Cox is amazing, as he takes on the rolls of the two polar opposite brothers, yet both in their own ways violent and destructive, cunning and deceptive. 

Cox’s Craig is convincing as the macho soldier who can’t stand his wife and who is ready and willing to march off into war and die. Peter is the gay brother inching his way back into Kelly’s life with coyness, overly friendly overtures and subtle zingers that are as revealing as the e-mails his brother sent him.  (He just happened to have them bound and brought along ‘just in case’ Kelly hadn’t seen them, and furthermore asking again, ‘exactly how did Craig die?”)

Eric Lotze’s lighting is subtle and brooding as the characters change personalities with the opening and closing of a bedroom door every time one or the other brother enters and exits. Jessica John’s casual costume design for Peter and Craig is slight enough for us to recognize the difference between the brothers.

“Who shall live and who shall die?” It’s a question we all ask during the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. Sometimes the question is answered before it’s asked as in the case of Peter who chose death over life. Unfortunately, Peter and Kelly have yet to come to grips with their sorrow.

Grief, pain, anguish, heartache. Even the best of us know to take one day at a time. 

Dying City is well worth the trip to Cygnet Theatre on El Cajon Boulevard. It’s ninety minutes of thought provoking theatre and good conversation on the way home. Dying City continues through Oct. 26.

See you at the theatre!

Columnist Davis may be contacted at davisc@sandiegojewishworld.com


Please click on the advertisement above to visit the website of the Rhodes Marketing Group


Please click on the advertisement above to visit the Jewish American Chamber of Commerce, of which San Diego Jewish World is a member

Sunday, October 5, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 238)

Arab, Jewish children join in peace performance in Jerusalem; by Dorothea Shefer-Vanson in Jerusalem

RJC, NJDC unveil new ad campaigns (from news releases), with links to video clips

What about the deeds we failed to do? by Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal in San Diego
Yom Kippur thoughts on foregiveness; by Rabbi Baruch Lederman in San Diego
Award-winning religion writer urges clergy to become more 'relevant'; by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego

A bissel sports trivia with Bruce Lowitt in Oldsmar, Florida


—February 24, 1950: Who’s New
—February 24, 1950: Brotherhood In Action
—February 24, 1950: Toy Shower
—February 24, 1950: Jewish War Veterans Auxiliary by Binnie Brooks
—February 24, 1950: News of the Fox by John Kluchin
—February 24, 1950: Tifereth Israel Men’s Club


Jewish Community Foundation: Government and Philanthropy - Setting a Common Agenda

Jewish Family Service: Free Transportation To Yom Kippur Services for Older Adults

San Diego Rabbinical Association: San Diego Rabbinical Association tells Kever Avot/ Imahot service schedule

Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School: How Rosh Hashanah was celebrated in Soille’s Hebrew classes

Tifereth Israel Synagogue: Israel Advocacy and Israeli Dance




Biden, Palin clash over whether Bush policies successful in Israel, Middle East; by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego

The shamelessness of the RJC; by Ira Forman in Washington D.C.

Weighing ourselves on the moral scale; by Sheila Orysiek in San Diego

How to embrace life in the midst of loss; by Sara Appel-Lennon in San Diego

Chefs join a pair of fun fundraisers; by Lynne Thrope in San Diego


—February 24, 1950: Congregation Beth Jacob
—February 24, 1950: San Diego Bay City Bnai Brith Women
—February 24, 1950: Temple Beth Israel
—February 24, 1950: Daughters of Israel


Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School: Beautiful Rosh Hashanah creations made in Soille Hebrew Day’s art classes

Thursday, October 2, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 236)

Suing the terrorists for their assets; by Larry Stirling in San Diego
Moviemaker tells impressions of Jews in Andhra Pradesh; by Jonas Pariente in Chebrole, India
A Bene Israel educator in Andhra Pradesh; by Sharon Galsulkar in Chebrole, India

Coping with a Conservative Supreme Court; by David Benkof in New York

Thursdays With the Songs of Hal Wingard

#182, I'll Stay As I Am
#44, The Prince and the Rose
#265, Change

Christian production, This Beautiful City, presented at the Kirk Douglas Theatreby Cynthia Citron in Culver City, California


Lawrence Family JCC: Special event October 12: Israel Philharmonic Orchestra program, a prelude at the Lawrence Family JCC to the November 2 performance at the Civic Center

Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School: What’s happening in Soille Hebrew Day’s Middle School science classes?


—February 24, 1950: Hadassah Presents Fourth Annual Premiere March 26
—February 24, 1950: Letter to the Editor from Victor Schulman
—February 24, 1950: Jolly Sixteen

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 235)

•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

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

Link to previous editions


Copyright 2007-2008 - San Diego Jewish World, San Diego, California. All rights reserved.