Volume 3, Number 42
"There's a Jewish story everywhere"
Marmur is rabbi emeritus at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto. He divides his time between that city and Jerusalem, and may be reached in either place via email@example.com.
NEVE DANIEL, Israel -- The following is a lead of a CNN story out of New York on Tuesday: "The founder of an Islamic television station in upstate New York aimed at countering Muslim stereotypes has confessed to beheading his wife, authorities said."
Yes, you got that. A guy who is upset that people consider Muslims to be a violent people just lopped his wife's head off. Sort of reminds
But of course, it is always the Israelis who are the international pariahs. Doing research for an article on BBC coverage of the Gaza
Wait, let me clarify that remark because it's not completely true. People are shocked that Palestinian civilians were killed. The rallies
Of course now the biggest worry of the world seems to be that Israel's next government will be "right wing." They fear the evil Netanyahu
Then there is the greatest fear - that religious political parties (you know, the ones described as "ultra-orthodox, extreme right-wing,
Yet the crazy truth is that not a single Israeli political party is as extreme as the most "moderate" Arabs. That's because there really is
Where are the left-wing Arab leaders? Isn't there a single Arab country anywhere on Earth where they hold rallies demanding an end to
Not a day goes by when some Jewish charity here or abroad doesn't send out an appeal to help Palestinian children. Even during the war we
This week, the United Arab Emirates - according to many in the media, the "Moderate United Arab Emirates" - is holding a world class
Could you imagine what the media would say if ever the hated and feared extreme Likud party were to announce that Arabs could not come
Because I live out here in the "West Bank," I am stereotyped by the world as some kind of deranged, extremist settler. Yet the truth of
And I have never even contemplated cutting off someone's head.
THE VIEW FROM JINSA
Russia: The administration wants cooperation against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and missile technology, particularly with respect to Iran. The Russians want recognition of a sphere of influence in the countries on their perimeter - Central Europe and Central Asia. They want NATO to drop bids from Georgia and Ukraine, and to rescind the decision to put missile interceptors in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Iran: The administration demands an end to Iran's quest for nuclear capability and/or weapons; a quiet Iran-Iraq border; an end to calls for the destruction of Israel; and a halt to the funding of international terror groups. If a deal was to be had - which we doubt for reasons having to do with 30 years of Iranian pursuit of nuclear capability and a theological belief in the expansion of radical Islam - the price would be recognition and legitimization of the regime.
Syria: The administration is seeking Syrian separation from Iran and an end to its support of terrorism. Syria needs money and demands the Golan Heights as well as recognition of its "special relationship" with Lebanon - meaning legitimization of its role in the military and political structure of Lebanon.
In each case, the deal might bring the United States a measure of success on worthy, if very limited goals - assuming others live up to their commitments. In the aggregate, they comprise realpolitik - 1970s-style great power deals with dictators for stability on the backs of their people. The fact that Henry Kissinger was in Moscow in December for the Obama Administration is telling. The effect is to allow the United States to disengage on a broad foreign policy front. Realpolitik is another name for isolationism.
The United States cannot fix the world, but neither should we forget that to many people, America stands for something more. The Obama Administration must add to its negotiating objectives with Russia, Iran and Syria respect for human rights, civil liberties and rule of law - including the rights of women and minorities; respect for international contracts, including the delivery of natural gas to Europe when and at the price contracted; tolerance for the political choices made by the countries of the former Warsaw Pact and the independent countries of the former Soviet empire; and respect for the sovereignty Lebanon and Israel.
Anything less would be a step backward for America in a turbulent world.
Bryen is special projects director for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. (JINSA). He column is sponsored by Waxie Sanitary Supply in memory of Morris Wax, longtime JINSA supporter and national board member
JEWISH FAMILY SERVICE
SAN DIEGO—In 1996, I was selected to drive in the motorcade and shuttle when President Clinton was in San Diego during the presidential campaign to debate Republican challenger Bob Dole at the University of San Diego. I was provided with a van, stationed at the Hotel del Coronado, and drove politicians and celebrities to and from their destinations throughout the day.
Another trip included driving Ed Begley Jr, Carrie Fisher, and Buck Henry from the Hotel to the site. I had been reading Backstage at Saturday Night Live at the time. All three had served as guest hosts of SNL, and I had each sign my book. Comedy writer Henry, always on his game, wrote “Larry, please drive safely” and Princess Leia (Fisher) wrote “Larry, please listen to Buck”! I remember also driving President Clinton's brother, Roger Clinton, and Hillary Clinton’s personal assistant to the USD campus sometime after the debate had already started (but more about that later).
The reason for this column, of course, is the Jewish angle (in addition to my own personal background) and here it is: At the end of the day, long after the debate was over, after driving passengers back to the Hotel Del or to their own hotels, and after returning the van, I heard someone ask me if I was a driver and if I was “still on duty." It had been a really, really, really long day and I was about to glibly answer that I was just another tourist in town to enjoy San Diego’s beautiful weather when I recognized former Senator George Mitchell, who, of course, is now President Obama’s Special Envoy to the Middle East.
Mitchell had succeeded in his Senate seat former vice presidential candidate Ed Muskie of Maine and eventually became the Senate Majority Leader in Congress. More recently, he investigated steroid use in Major League Baseball. But at that time, he was the Special Envoy to Northern Ireland. His mother was Lebanese and his father was Irish. I told him I had already turned in the shuttle van but that I’d take him to where he needed to go in my own Jeep Cherokee. So we drove from the Hotel Del Coronado to the Torrey Pines Inn where he was staying. (I think he skipped the party at Hotel del owner M. Larry Lawrence’s Coronado mansion that I later snuck into). He asked if the TPI was a good hotel and I said I heard it was one of the best in town.
I remember he seemed friendly enough and was quite appreciative of me taking the time to drive him to La Jolla from Coronado in my own car and even offered me a tip. He started most of the conversations but I also remember thinking he was aloof but certainly “in charge." As I write this, he has already been dispatched to Israel, West Bank, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.
I had just taken the bar exam (again) and he asked me about the tough California exam. I asked where he went to law school (he had been a judge in Maine and had declined a nomination to be on the United States Supreme Court by President Clinton) and he told me Georgetown University—you’d think the guy had never even heard of Western State! I dropped him off in front of his hotel, we wished each other good luck, and my day was now officially finally over.
But now back to first brother Roger. He asked me to come back to USD early, as he wanted to leave early to meet some “colleagues." I left the site, returned the van, came back in my own car, and was listening to the World Series on the radio. Roger grew up, of course, in Hope, Arkansas, and I’m guessing the Atlanta Braves were his favorite team. He was sitting in the passenger seat when the Yankees pitcher picked an Atlanta base runner off base and all of a sudden he started cussing and pounding my dashboard. I said, “Whoa Roger, mellow out, man. This is my car”! He said he was sorry and said he’d send me some comps to hear his band “Politix” play at the Belly Up Tavern the following month. I told him that was very cool but I’m still waiting. Oh well, I still got to spend Mitchell’s tip.
SAN DIEGO (Press Release) — For “M” Week, Hebrew Day’s “Gan Tukim” invited their mommies or special someone for an afternoon of “Mommies & Milkshakes.” The children made a beautiful beaded “#1 Mom” necklace that they presented to their mommies upon their arrival. Together they made a picture, followed by drinking a delicious milkshake. The afternoon ended with reading “Are You My Mother” and singing the class “M” song. What a marvelous, memorable time was had together!
Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School serves children from infants through eighth grade and offers generous financial aid grants to families to make a Jewish day school education affordable to all. For more information on the school, visit the web site at http://www.hebrewday.org/ or contact Audrey Jacobs, Director of School Advancement at 858-279-3300 ext. 106 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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San Diego Jewish Music Festival to Feature Both New and Familiar Artists
LA JOLLA, California (Press Release)– The 10th Annual San Diego Jewish Music Festival, presented by the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS, will run March 23 – May 12, 2009. The festival features professional musicians playing an eclectic mix of music from around the world. The events include concerts with soloists, ensembles, an exciting blend of Jewish and Muslim music, European instrumental and vocal competition winners, and lectures.
“We’re pleased to have such a distinguished roster of virtuoso musicians this year,” said Music Festival Chair Roselyn Pappelbaum. “The festival offers a range of musical offerings from San Diego favorite performers such as Debbie Friedman, Zina Schiff, and Yale Strom, to fresh new faces from around the world.”
Mon., March 23 at 7:30 p.m. – Violinist Zina Schiff in Concert – Classical Gems from the Jewish Folk Music Society of Russia—Zina Schiff has been lauded for “shining a light on this underrepresented corner of musical history” (Gramophone Magazine). She will feature works from the Jewish Folk Music Society (founded in Russia in 1908) and show its extensive influence. “Her playing is like a rhapsodic song” (Magazin Klassik); “Schiff exudes Jewish style” (American Record Guide). Pianist Mary Barranger will accompany Ms. Schiff.
Wed., March 25 at 7:30 p.m. – Common Chords III, the Next Generation – A Celebration of Jewish and Muslim Music —Salman Ahmad, Muslim rock star and Peace ambassador, founder of Junoon, “South Asia’s answer to Santana,” and renowned Indian tabla player Samir Chatterjee will join Yale Strom, world’s leading ethnographer/klezmer artist and his band Hot Pstromi for a unique production celebrating the common roots of Muslim and Jewish music. The concert will feature original works exploring tolerance, diversity and the ties that bind.
Thurs., April 23 at 7:30 p.m. – Ostracized Music – From Germany to San Diego—Young European instrumentalists and singers, competition winners from the international festival, Ostracized Music, will perform in remembrance of Jewish composers persecuted by the Nazis. The festival teaches students from Germany and throughout Europe about the Holocaust and the short-lived careers of persecuted Jewish composers and musicians during World War II. Performing with the young winners will be pianists Volker Ahmels and Friederike Haufe.
Tues., May 12 at 7:30 p.m. – Omer Klein Trio— Pianist and composer Omer Klein is the latest force in the Israeli-New York City jazz movement. While keeping a strong connection with the sounds of his Israeli homeland, Klein’s compositions meld the music of Africa and the Middle East with American jazz. The musicians – Klein, plus Omer Avital (bass, oud) and Ziv Ravitz (drums) – have the kind of tribal bond that connects people back through centuries, and the result is high energy, yet melodic and accessible.
Conversations from the Piano with Steven Cassedy—Jewish Composers in Popular Song and on Broadway: Conversations from the Piano with Steven Cassedy – Accompanied by singer Coral MacFarland Thuet. Steven Cassedy, Juilliard graduate and Professor of Literature at UCSD, will illustrate with words and music how sons of Jewish immigrants made a difference in the history of American popular music. The programs are:
Mon., May 4 at 7:30 p.m. – Leonard Bernstein—Bernstein, born into a Russian Jewish family in Lawrence, Massachusetts, has given the American stage and popular music some of its most memorable compositions. Throughout his career he returned to his Jewish roots, both in the melodies he wrote and in his interest in questions of religious and ethnic identity.
After Australia's worst-ever natural disaster, a number of Jewish families have lost property and Kilmore resident Natalie Laurie and family have been left homeless (see separate story below).
A 90-year-old Jewish man, believed to have driven to country Victoria to check on property over the weekend, was found after disappearing mysteriously. A car believed to belong to him has been found burnt out and there were concerns about his safety. (see separate story below)
In the wake of the bushfires, the Jewish community has dug deep.
The John and Pauline Gandel Charitable Fund has pledged $1 million to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund. John Gandel said: "This unprecedented natural disaster requires prompt and significant action not just from governments, but from all Australians.
"The scale of human suffering and misery must touch the hearts of all our citizens as it has touched ours."
Frank Lowy's Westfield group has also donated $1 million. Visy and the Pratt Foundation have pledged $250,000, while also committing to match Visy employee donations dollar for dollar.
The Rabbinical Council of Victoria hosted a solidarity evening at Caulfield Hebrew Congregation Thursday night, to offer prayers
Jewish Aid Australia (JAA) was present to gather clothing, toiletries and non-perishable food items. JAA will also collect
Calling this a "time to provide practical and spiritual solace," Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) president John Searle said: "It
Sydney's Jewish community is also helping out with relief efforts, with the Yeshiva Centre's Our Big Kitchen (OBK) sending hundreds of food
Community group Magen David Adom, in conjunction with Midali Espresso, is coordinating the collection of household items, including
Jewish National Fund of Australia (JNF) has earmarked at least 10 per cent of proceeds raised from last weekend's Tu b'Shevat Green Sunday
JNF federal president Ron Ferster said: "The Australian Jewish community can demonstrate its commitment to those affected by the latest tragic situation by helping to create new life out of the embers of destruction." Contributions will be directed to The People and Parks Foundation.
Melbourne and Sydney's Jewish schools are encouraging students to collect tins of food and money and also to donate blood to help bushfire victims rebuild their lives.
Mount Scopus level coordinator Brett Trollope addressed students at a school assembly on Monday morning, describing the efforts of a
Bialik College's year 7 camp has been postponed, after it was scheduled for a campsite in Kinglake West, which was devastated by the bushfires.
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry and Council of Orthodox Synagogues NSW has also paid tribute to the bushfire victims.
State MP for Caulfield Helen Shardey has invited constituents to sign a condolence message book for people affected by the tragedy.
MELBOURNE - Former Beth Rivkah College student Natalie Laurie and her husband, Tony, put up a brave fight to save their Clonbinane home outside Kilmore from the raging bushfires that swept through Victoria a week ago Saturday. But in the end, the fires proved to be an unbeatable foe and the house was burned to the ground.
Clonbinane has a population of about 5000 and is situated about 60 kilometres north of Melbourne. "We beat the first fire front and then another front of fire came through," said Natalie, 36, an office worker originally from Caulfield. "It was like a tidal wave," added Tony, 51, a truck driver. "It hit the back of the house and peeled the roof off."
Earlier that day, the Lauries had dropped off their 8-year-old son Henry at a friend's home down the mountain, but came back to save their home.It turned out to be a lost cause. So the Lauries rounded up their two dogs, grabbed their packed travel bag and took shelter in their ute.A few hours later, they drove down the mountain and received treatment in hospital for smoke inhalation and burns. Tony was also treated for chest pains brought on by an angina attack and released on Sunday morning.
The family has since returned to their five-acre property to find their home a smouldering wreck. They also lost two horses, a peacock and a peahen. Of the 40 houses in the area, it is believed only five survived.
Natalie said: "It's obliterated. It looks like someone dropped a bomb on our road. It's all gone. All you've got is burnt tree stumps. I'm feeling numb, exhausted and shell-shocked. That's the only way to describe it."
Still, the family is grateful to be alive. "We've got bumps and bruises, but that heals. We're still here. That's all the matters," said Tony.
The family is currently staying at a friend's home in Upper Plenty.
Natalie said they've received food, clothing and toiletries from a local refuge centre, but are keen to get back on their property to begin rebuilding. In the next few days, she said they're hoping to secure a portable van so they can stay on the property. "We're fully insured, but we need to be up there to start our lives again. It's our home. We want to rebuild," Natalie said.
She added: "We're so grateful for the help and offers. We're just the average-Joe family. It's totally overwhelmed us. It just keeping is going."
MELBOURNE - A blasé as it may sound, Dr Carlos Scheinkestel, director of the intensive care unit at The Alfred hospital, has seen it all before. Since a week ago Saturday, when victims of the bushfires began arriving, Dr Scheinkestel has led the medical team treating patients with the worst burns.
"The Alfred specialises in trauma and burns so the things that have happened in the past few days are our bread and butter," said Dr
Early on, nine patients, all seriously burnt in the fires, were on life support a burden on any hospital, including The Alfred. Two of those patients were taken off life support, other intensive care patients were transferred to other wards and additional doctors
"The great success of this is due to the logistics, the planning and the processes that we have in place to be able to handle such a disaster," Dr Scheinkestel said. "The reason we've got all these and have worked them to such a degree is because of the work The Alfred does, which is essentially trauma and burns."
While there have been comparisons made between victims of the 2002 Bali Bombings and the recent bushfires, Dr Scheinkestel has identified differences. "These patients are primarily burns, the Bali victims had a lot of trauma because of the explosions and the broken limbs so the workload is a little bit different," he said.
One aspect that is challenging staff in the intensive care unit is the psychological trauma being experienced by bushfire victims.
"A lot of the patients have lost loved ones," he said. "Each one has got a tragic story that goes with them and our social work department has really been kept busy by this additional workload."
MELBOURNE - Former Melbourne doctor Alan Wolff, who has lived and worked in Horsham for 25 years, said the Wimmera Base Hospital treated 23 locals, mainly Country Fire Authority (CFA) fire fighters, for minor injuries.
"We got off incredibly lightly. The fire could well have gone straight into the town," said Dr Wolff, who lives with his family on the west side
Dr.Wolff, who is director of medical services at Wimmera hospital and has assisted with the area's disaster planning, said on Tuesday that CFA crews were mopping up smouldering patches. "In my 25 years here, this is the first fire that's come near the town," he said.
"The week before, we had four days in a row of 44 degrees, which I've never experienced before. I had a doctor here who previously worked in Dubai and he was here on one of those days and said this is what it's like in Dubai."
MELBOURNE- An elderly Jewish man who was feared lost in the bushfires has been found alive and well. Eugene Goodvach, 90, drove to Marysville on Saturday, February 7 the day bushfires raged across Victoria.
Mr Goodvach was believed to be visiting his weekend property in the holiday hamlet, as he regularly did. When he did not return, his family raised the alarm. Later Mr Goodvach's car was found burnt out.
But in a rare good news story to emerge from the bushfires, Mr Goodvach was found alive at a relief point in Alexandra, near Marysville. It is
MELBOURNE- When news reached him that the pretty mountain hamlet of Marysville had been destroyed by bushfire on February 7, Rabbi Sholom Mendel Kluwgant had to fight back tears. In his mind's eye he saw 21 years of Jewish memories, gleaned around the seder table at his
"I think it's important for people to know that we're absolutely devastated by what's going on in Marysville and the surrounding areas," he said.
"People there have lost literally everything and some I've spoken to have lost a father, wife and children."
Rabbi Kluwgant phoned the owners of the guesthouses where his privately run Pesach retreats were held over the past 21 years.
He is in daily contact with Ann and Simon Cuzins, the owners of the Cumberland, where desperate townspeople met their death as they huddled inside, hoping to survive the firestorm.
Ann Cuzins told Rabbi Kluwgant her father perished as he stayed back to fight the fires and tried to salvage his house.
Rabbi Kluwgant said the Cuzins are "completely wiped out, they lost the resort, two homes."
He also spoke to Vaz Hovanessian, the owner of Kooringa Conference Centre, where the Pesach retreats were held for the first 18 years. The
Rabbi Kluwgant managed to contact local real-estate agent Rod Liesfield, a good friend, who organised cottages for some of the families who came up for Pesach.
"I rang him up to see how he's coping and unfortunately, he said: 'Mendel, I'm in the Shepparton hospital and I just lost my wife and two kids'.
"That just shattered me. I started crying. These are people you develop a relationship with over the years."
The friendships with Marysville locals began soon after an autumn day 21 years ago. Rabbi Kluwgant, who is also a kosher restaurateur, chose the rustic hamlet as the site to launch his annual 10-day Pesach retreats. He recalls the hamlet's storybook oak-lined main
The proprietors of Kooringa were gracious hosts. "That first year, they sacrificed their Easter holidays for us."
He said the proprietors and staff of the resorts quickly picked up the intricacies of creating a kosher Pesach environment.
On average, about 150 people attended the annual Pesach retreats and one year there were 250 attendees.
The retreat was held in two resorts. Rabbi Kluwgant's son, Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant, president of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria,
Three years ago, the venue changed to the Cumberland.
"Our presence was felt in Marysville, the people got to know us," said Rabbi Kluwgant Sr. "We were affectionately known as 'the Marysville Hebrew Congregation,'" said Rabbi Kluwgant Jr.
"When it becomes possible, we'll be travelling up there, not just to help out, but to be with them and give them moral support."
CANBERRA- Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sent his condolences to the victims of the recent Victorian bushfires in a letter to
"I have been following with horror and disbelief the deadly wildfires raging in the Australian state of Victoria over the past few days, which
"Our prayers are with the Australian people at this difficult time," he added.
In a separate letter to Australian Governor-General Quentin Bryce, Israel's President Shimon Peres offered "heartfelt sympathy" on behalf of all Israelis to the families that have lost loved ones and homes in Australia's biggest natural disaster.
"On behalf of the people of Israel and myself, our heartfelt sympathy, and through you, our sincere condolence to the families of the victims
Last Thursday morning, the death toll from the previous weekend's bushfires reached 181. Leaders, including US President Barack Obama, have sent sympathies from around the world to those who lost loved ones, friends, property and livelihood.
Deborah Hertz, Professor of History
Ira Jevotovsky’s letter, “Confronting anti-Semitism; What would you have done?” (SDJW, February 13) asks the important question of what to do when you witness anti-Semitism in ordinary situations. It is important to understand the potential dangers when constructing a response. The three men making anti-Semitic comments and giving the “Heil Hitler” salute could have posed a very serious threat to Mr. Jevotovsky if he chose to confront them. It is everyone’s primary responsibility to first take care of his or her family and not put them in a dangerous situation. While it is entirely possible that these three individuals were benign, it is equally possible they were aggressive and dangerous. This was a deliberate act of defamation and anti-Semitism.
Mr. Jevotovsky could use this situation to educate his family about the current dangers in our society and provide them with the tools to respond in the future while always being cognizant of potential dangers. Bringing a program to his children’s school or synagogue or joining an organization that deals with this issue would be constructive ways to confront anti-Semitism in a community.
There are, of course, instances where an immediate response would be more appropriate such as in a social setting, at work, or in school. It is important to educate yourself ahead of time, always remain calm, and ask yourself if you know enough about the situation to respond appropriately. A good approach might be to take someone aside rather than addressing the group in order to prevent any embarrassment and express how their comment made you feel. Speak to them as one human being to another and try to focus on the behavior and not the individual. Each situation is unique and should be properly evaluated before a response is made.
While feeling frustrated is understandable, one must keep in mind that confrontation is not always the best response when it has the potential to create a dangerous environment.
Morris Casuto, Regional Director
Please send your letters to the editor to email@example.com
LA JOLLA, California—Why in the film, The Little Traitor (which was shown at this year's San Diego Jewish Film Festival) does Proffy, an Israeli teenager, become so friendly with British soldier Sergeant Dunlop during the occupation of Palestine by the British in 1947?
Greenberg is a San Diego based freelance writer. She may be contacted at MEDIA4ME@aol.com
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CAROL ANN GOLDSTEIN
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