Volume 3, Number 49
"There's a Jewish story everywhere"
WASHINGTON, D.C—Not mortgages, auto manufacturers, banks or Wall Street. Rather $900 million U.S. taxpayer dollars (in addition to $85 million pledged in December) to bail out Hamas in Gaza.
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San Diego Jewish Academy commissions Torah for a legacy of learning
SAN DIEGO (Press Release)— San Diego Jewish Academy has commissioned a new Legacy Sefer Torah scroll in which every SDJA student and many members of the broader Jewish community will have an opportunity to create a lasting memory by joining Torah scribe Alberto Attia in writing a letter in the Torah. Several events have been planned in conjunction with the special program:
On Sunday, March 15, San Diego Jewish Academy will host Torah Fun Day, a preschool community wide celebration for families to come together and share in Torah games, activities, crafts, music and stories. Families can join Torah scribe Alberto Attia as he writes a letter in SDJA’s newly commissioned Torah in each family’s honor. Refreshments will be served. This is a free event open to the community. For more information contact Debbie Kornberg at Dkornberg@sdja.com or (858) 704-3785. Read more
San Diego Jewish Academy and the Agency for Jewish Education –sponsored Torah: A Legacy of Learning, a fascinating adult education series running in conjunction with the Torah program. Learning Torah is one of the fundamental values that have always kept the Jewish people together as a community. Thanks to the generosity of several of our families, this year San Diego Jewish Academy has been given the very special opportunity to participate in the creation of a new Sefer Torah for the school and initiate an endowment fund for Jewish Studies. Your children are both learning and living Torah through this unique and sacred project.
In October, Sofer Alberto Attia met with each of the lower school classes and taught the students how a Sefer Torah is made including the many elements involved in the preparation of writing a Torah. Students were introduced to the different writing instruments and had the opportunity to ask Sofer Attia questions and interact with a Torah that is currently owned by the school. Sofer Attia taught students the significance and meaning behind each of the Hebrew letters. They learned how to write their Hebrew names in Torah script and make a keep sake art piece to remember this learning experience.
On March 16th and 17th, parents will join their child’s class as they each witness their own letter being written into SDJA’s newly commissioned Sephardic Torah with Sofer Attia. This very special opportunity will forever link children to the new Sefer Torah and teach them that they are each a part of the Torah as they are connected through the generations of the Jewish people.
At San Diego Jewish Academy, Torah is one of our core values and we believe that learning is a life long process. It is for this reason that several of our community Rabbis have become a part of the Torah Legacy Project by offering adult education classes to our parent community. Rabbi David Frank of Temple Solel, Rabbi David Kornberg of Congregation Beth Am, Rabbi Menashe East of Kehillat Ahavat Yisrael and Rabbi Leslie Lipson of SDJA participated in the project.
Participants in the adult education classes will have the opportunity to write their own letters in the Torah during the final session, Friday, April 3, which will be taught by Sofer STAM, Alberto Attia. Coffee and bagels will be served.
On April 21 at 10am, Survivors will participate in a Holocaust remembrance ceremony and create a lasting Jewish memory by being one of the last groups to write a letter in SDJA’s newly-commissioned Legacy Sefer Torah.
On Thursday, May 28, at 1:00pm we will dedicate our new Legacy Sefer Torah in the SDJA Gym. Joined by popular singer Sam Glaser, the community will join us in song and dance as we celebrate this momentous occasion, which coincides with SDJA’s 30th Anniversary.
CARLSBAD, California—Carlsbad High School offers an award-winning broadcast journalism program, considered by many to be the best in the country.
With adviser Doug Green at the helm, students have produced remarkable features, exposés, news stories and long-term projects. The program has received 17 Emmy Awards and is the gold standard for high school broadcast journalism across the nation.
Although the broadcast program boasts an extraordinary body of work, one documentary, a Holocaust project titled We Must Remember, stands out above the rest. Released this year, the 30-minute film was created by 16 students, with the help of Green and producer Lisa Posard.
The students became interested in the Holocaust after deciding to produce a documentary. Learning that Holocaust survivors were aging and dying, they felt a sense of urgency and embraced the project with enthusiasm.
The young journalists accumulated over 40 hours of film. They interviewed Jewish survivors and concentration camp liberators. They reviewed dozens of documents and hours of Holocaust footage. They traveled to Washington, D.C. to the Holocaust Museum. And they traveled to Europe twice to visit three concentration camps – Dachau, Auschwitz and Birkenau – where they were given special permission to film.
While in Germany, they met with German high school students their own age and talked with them about the Holocaust and what it means to German children who bear the shame of Adolf Hitler’s atrocities to this day.
There are hundreds of films, re-creations, historical footage and books documenting the horrors of the Holocaust. But there are several things that set this film apart from all the rest.
First, it’s a professionally produced documentary, an achievement made all the more remarkable considering that the film-makers are teens with limited experience.
Second, the students became engaged in the work more enthusiastically after realizing that they are in a unique position to teach other students these lessons from history. It’s important for students to tell this story because other students learn best from their peers, said one young film-maker. Consequently, they hope to make the video the centerpiece of a more extensive curriculum on Holocaust education for middle and high schools across the state and the nation.
Third, the scenes of the Carlsbad students talking with their German counterparts offer an unusual glimpse into the German teen perspective, which is an interesting story rarely heard.
Fifth, the documentary doesn’t just relate the story of the Holocaust. It also shows how the film was made and the reactions of the students as they gathered information and visited the camps. It was a behind-the-scenes look at documentary film-making from students embarking on a unique journey.
Watching the students themselves speak on film about the impact of what they saw and learned was perhaps just as moving as the interviews with survivors.
“It’s changed who I am,” said one student.
“By protecting others, you protect yourself,” said another, speaking of the need to defend and protect others against injustice even when you yourself are not being threatened. Once you allow persecution to occur by remaining silent, there’s nothing to stop it from spreading, he said.
Students learned how the hate started small and grew, slowly, like a cancer, until people were being tortured and systematically, brutally murdered. “I’m much more aware of hateful words,” said one student who understood after making the film how genocide begins with hate.
Several expressed shock that the Holocaust survivors they were interviewing were their age when they were arrested and sent to the camps. Many questioned what they would have done and how they would have felt, had it been them.
As all journalists learn one day, any good project is met with criticism. When word began to spread of the project, the students received a number of letters from Holocaust deniers telling them they were misled and ill-informed.
Although this appalled and offended the students, that people would deny one of the most well-documented realities of World War II, the letters seemed to reinvigorate their energy for the project and underscore the need for the film as a tool for education. Truth triumphed, and the letters became part of the film itself.
After a recent screening of We Must Remember at Congregation Beth Am in Carmel Valley, the students and their adviser Doug Green talked to the audience, which numbered about 300.
Green said the kids want to continue the project and envision Parts Two and Three. Part Two, he said, is returning to Germany and Poland with concentration camp survivors, several of whom said they would be willing to journey back to their homelands with the students and revisit the horrors of their youth. And Part Three is focusing on the liberators and their memories of what they saw when they first entered the camps.
As a testament to the power of Green’s instructional program, every one of the six seniors in the original group of 16 have gone on to college this past fall declaring an interest in film-making or broadcast as a career. Of the remaining students, they all said they intended to continue in the field.
Almost all adults remember that one teacher who changed us forever by exerting a profound influence on our values and direction in life. Can there be any greater reward for a teacher, to be so inspirational?
In this case, Green’s students also provide inspiration. Their willingness to take on a daunting project like this, one fraught with emotionally charged images and potential backlash from anti-Semites and deniers of the truth, represents the best that high school journalism has to offer.
Community ceremony slated to remember the Holocaust, honor the survivors, and teach San Diegans
SAN DIEGO (Press Release)— The annual Community Holocaust Commemoration, which has been ongoing for more than three decades, will take place on Sunday, April 19 beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the David and Dorothea Garfield Theater of the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla.
The focus of this year’s program is teaching future generations about the Holocaust. Kirk Ankeney, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the San Diego Unified School District, will highlight the district’s new emphasis on teaching the Holocaust The program also will include a presentation from the Carlsbad High School students documentary film project “We Must Remember,” and a presentation from two former participants of the Agency for Jewish Education’s March of the Living program in which teenagers visit several death camps in Poland, and then travel to Israel.
This important commemoration is a collaboration of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of San Diego County, the New Life Club, the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center Jacobs Family Campus, the Agency for Jewish Education, Jewish Family Service, Jewish Community Foundation, and the San Diego Rabbinical Association.
This event is free and open to the public. For more information about the 2009 Community Holocaust Commemoration contact Lisa Haney at the UJF, 858-571-3444, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.jewishinsandiego.org.
SAN DIEGO—“Once it’s out there, you can’t get it back,” warned San Diego Police Sgt. Chuck Arnold regarding anything you or your teen puts anywhere on the Internet.
Arnold described his current job-leading San Diego's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force—as the “most rewarding and scary” assignment he’s ever had in his 23 years in the police force.
Arnold laid out the dangers involved in teen internet use to an intent audience of over 50 parents at Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School in a panel presentation, "Growing Up Online: Keep Our Kids Safe!" The panel was moderated by local television personality Vic Salazar and also included a representative of Jewish Family Service, Tami Rapozo, and Catherine Butler, a marriage and family therapist in private practice.
Audrey Jacobs, Director of School Advancement, said that although the school had run this panel discussion for the past few years, "one reason we did this panel was its relevance in light of recent news of underaged girls sending inappropriate pictures of themselves on their cell phones which caused them to be prosecuted as sex offenders."
According to Arnold, in today’s digital world, teens have access to a myriad of electronic devices that keep them connected to their friends and at times unknown acquaintances through social networking sites.
Arnold noted that 85-90 percent of teens have personal profiles on Internet social networking sites and these sites can be accessed by anyone in any place in the world. Over 71% percent of teens surveyed said they had received messages from unknown people and a surprising 40 % of those teens actually responded to these messages.
In many cases, parents have no idea of all the Internet networking connections that their teens have access to. Teens rarely would tell an adult the sites they frequent the most. Normally being more tech-savvy than their parents, the teens find numerous ways to cover up their Internet connections.
Arnold recounted several stories of self-made teen Internet porn created either as a fun thing to do i.e., girls taking photos of all their girlfriends at a sleepover and posting them on the web unbeknownst to parents, to posting private photos previously taken of a boyfriend or girlfriend in revenge for a break-up. Parents who found out about these communications were shocked that their teens had engaged in this type of behavior.
After parents find out about their teen’s Internet connections, they will face the fact that “what’s done is done.” Though parents can request their children’s personal profiles be deleted from some social networking sites like Facebook, it’s very possible that that teens information has now circulated around the world, as adult predators scan the Internet for Facebook profiles to target.
Catherine Butler, a therapist for teens and families, echoed Arnold’s concern for parental oversight and discussed the personality characteristics that tend to embolden teens to take risks online and be rebellious.
For one thing, Butler said, their brains are wired for excitement from raging hormones and a “desperate need to fit in.” Everyone is doing it, so he or she expects and has the means of access, to be able to do it, too. They cannot accurately assess the danger from their emotionally unsettled vantage point.
Butler and Arnold agreed that it is almost unavoidable that teens will engage in Internet networking connections. But that it is up to the parents to make sure that their teens engage in safe, monitored behavior.
There were a few questions raised during the Question and Answer period regarding the problem of trust and privacy between teens and parents. Parents expressed concern that interfering and monitoring teen Internet or cell phone use would violate a teen’s trust or right to privacy.
Arnold and Butler answered “No,” in unison. Monitoring is an essential part of parenting, regardless of any opposition from your teen. Parents are repeatedly surprised at what their child may be up to on the Internet even though he or she is a “good kid” and you have ultimate trust in him or her.
The speakers recommended several ways for parents to curtail or monitor Internet exposure. For example, cell phones could be used only for phone calls, not text messaging. Protective software could be installed on your computer.
But even with these measures, parents still have to watch and listen for any unusual or out of the ordinary behaviors. If a child is cut off from networking at home, she or he could easily get online at a friend’s home.
Spurred on by the revelations of the dangers and temptations teens face with Internet use, one of the audience members suggested that a group of parents from Soille form a support group to share ideas and experiences about teen Internet use. Many in attendance were eager to join.
The parent’s had decided to create their own “social networking” alliance, realizing that there is more safety in numbers.
Arnold’s Task Force investigates any alleged or suspicious online communications directed at teens and can be reached at 858-715-7100 or www.sdicac.org. An educational website, www.safetynetcc.net, is also a good resource, Arnold said.
Forman, a freelance writer in San Diego, may be contacted at email@example.com
LA JOLLA, California--Many of you were probably there. It was, and will be remembered as one of the year’s musical highlights in San Diego. On Saturday, February 21 at Copley Symphony Hall, the La Jolla Music Society presented the legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman in recital, with the extraordinary pianist Rohan De Silva as accompanist. (Perlman is shown at right in a copyrighted photo by Akira Kinoshita.)
I had the pleasure of being the pre-concert speaker for the program, and this gave me the opportunity to meet briefly with the artists before the recital began.
The audience at a sold-out Symphony Hall was treated to music by Handel, Beethoven, Messiaen, and a variety of short selections, mostly by Fritz Kreisler.
We usually hear the music of George Frederick Handel in the form of the spectacular oratorios, the Water Music, Royal Fireworks Suites, or his concerti grossi. It was very refreshing to hear his Violin Sonata in D Major, a work which has been described as spirited, lyrical, exciting, poetic, and majestic. Some of its melodies sounded familiar to me, confirming what this composer frequently did, that is, freely borrowing melodic material from his other compositions. Perlman and De Silva’s rendition were all the above and more, giving us an elegant, dynamic, and vibrant interpretation.
I was looking forward to hearing Beethoven’s dramatic and monumental Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major, Opus 47, better known to us as the Kreutzer Sonata. As it is with the composer’s other sonatas for this combination, it is far more than a solo work for violin with a piano accompaniment. Instead, it is a true cooperative partnership of the two instruments, equally exchanging moments of prominence and melodic importance. Here is where our two artists were at their best, with memorable moments of fire, brilliance, lyricism, and delicacy. The ensemble and balance between the two instruments was marvelous.
I have many fond memories of other performances that I have heard of the Kreutzer Sonata, by violinists Uri Pianka and Martin Chalifour, to name to name two of them; but the Perlman-De Silva which we heard last Saturday ranks among the best of them.
Before the recital, Mr. Perlman explained to me that the Theme and Variations by Olivier Messiaen is a composition that requires repeated hearings in order to be fully appreciated. He echoed this comment to the audience in the recital, while introducing this piece. As much as I agree that repeated hearings enhance the understanding and enjoyment of this masterpiece, I have always found it to be very accessible. Composed in 1932 for his first wife, Claire Deblos, a violinist, Messiaen’s score is artistically very significant, and anything but flighty, even though he was also a serious ornithologist. The “song-sentence” theme and five variations lasting a mere ten minutes contrast interesting and pleasing moods and styles. Our artists gave us exquisite Impressionistic shadings and nuances, which translated to moments of great beauty.
As it is happily anticipated in many Perlman recitals, the rest of the evening was announced from the stage. It included various encore works by Fritz Kreisler and others. Kreisler was a master of the miniature form, and his violin-piano compositions have been perennial concert favorites for almost a century. The wonderful interpretations were further enhanced by Perlman’s comments preceding each selection, informative, and always with a touch of humor.
We heard Andantino in the Style of Martini, Sicillienne and Rigaudon, and Melody, the latter derived from Gluck’s Dance of the Blessed Spirits from the opera Orfeo and Euridice. There were other selections by Wieniawsky and Tchaikovsky, with the recital coming to as conclusion with brilliant and virtuosic Dance of the Goblins by Antonio Bazzini.
There are many factors which make a Itzhak Perlman recital or concert such rousing successes. Unquestionably, the musicality, artistic integrity, choice of repertoire and star status all come into play. But we can not ignore that what attracts all of us to hear this remarkable musician in a live program is his wonderful ability to irradiate warmth, humanity, love for the music being played, and the true joy of sharing his music making with us.
Documentary Yoo-hoo Mrs. Goldberg warms the heart
Aviva Kempner’s film, Yoo-hoo Mrs. Goldberg, was my first introduction to Gertrude Berg on screen, who is pictured at right with the cast. As a result, I learned about Berg’s tremendous talent and how Gertrude Berg was one of the first successful women in the entertainment industry to climb to the top as a writer, creator of skits, producer, stage actress, and star of her own radio and TV program
Gertrude Berg, born on Oct. 3, 1899 in Harlem, New York, started creating skits during the summers to entertain the guests at her father’s resort in the Catskill Mountains. She later studied theatre at Columbia University when she wrote a skit based upon her life, a Jewish American family living in a New York tenement building. She submitted it for a radio program where it was readily accepted.
When I think of Gertrude Berg, I realize that an important part of American history was omitted from the history text books by neglecting to mention her great accomplishments as a woman and as a Jewish woman. It is common knowledge that on October 29, 1929. Black Tuesday, the stock market plummeted and the Great Depression reared its ugly head. It is not common knowledge that less than one month later, on November 20, Gertrude Berg’s voice came over a national live radio program and lifted Americans’ morale across the nation, as their frowns turned to smiles for a brief yet sacred fifteen minutes each week.
The Rise of the Goldbergs aired nationally for seventeen years during the Great Depression from 1930-1947 for which she wrote more than 5000 of the episodes, herself. .Her salary was initially $75 per week and two years later, despite the Depression she was told that she wouldn’t be paid more than $2000 per week.
In 1949 she received an Emmy as her episodes came to television. Gertrude Berg’s show lasted until 1954 when she went on to perform in the theatre. She wrote a Broadway play of the TV show, called The Goldbergs, Molly and Me. She even wrote a song in 1957, That Wonderful Someone, which Patsy Cline sang. In 1959 she won a Tony award for best actress in her Broadway play, Majority of One, which had a two year run. In 1961 she wrote a best selling memoir, Molly and Me. Gertrude Berg died in 1966 at the age of 66 while she was preparing for another Broadway play
Gertrude Berg had a genuine caring way of showing love and respect in her roles. This is a trait often missing in society today, where courtesy is no longer common and “old school” manners are often not taught.
I credit Aviva Kempner for paying tribute to Gertrude Berg by illustrating how Berg paved the way for American radio and TV family programs. I am glad that I had an opportunity to learn about Gertrude Berg and lately I’ve been watching the reruns of the Goldbergs on TV in my own living room.
Kempner’s Audience Choice Award as Best Short is well deserved. I found Aviva Kempner’s documentary, Yoo-hoo Mrs. Goldberg, to be informative, entertaining, and heart-warming.
JABA describes itself as San Diego’s hottest new social and professional networking organization targeted towards young Jewish adults in their 20's
"JABA’s events, programs, and networking opportunities are epic, memorable, and out of this world. JABA is not for the weak, feeble, or frail. JABA is for those who are excited to get out there and experience all that San Diego night life (and some daytime activities) has to offer and meet some great new friends in the process," say its organizers.
Not only the ultimate comfort food, but the symbol of a long-lost way of life.
JEWISH FAMILY SERVICE
SAN DIEGO (Press Release) — The first grade students at Hebrew Day celebrated the Hundredth Day of school on Thursday February 19, 2009. Mrs. Kaplan-Nadel’s class sang a “100th day” song, solved multiple math problems and 100 addition facts, created a "hundreds" graph, and each student created a poster illustrating what 100 objects really look like. It was a fun exciting day of learning!
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
CAROL ANN GOLDSTEIN
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