Volume 3, Number 77
"There's a Jewish story everywhere"

Today's Postings:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

{Click on a link to jump to the corresponding story. Or, you may scroll leisurely through our report}

Can it really be? A porkbarrel Cabinet in Israel?? ... by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem
Cartoonists and columnists are having a field day with the new Netanyahu government. READ MORE

Columnist finds own mentor in colleague's book review ... by Dorothea Shefer-Vanson in Mevasseret Zion, Israel

The following paragraph in Gail Feinstein Forman’s review of the book, My Father’s Paradise, A Son’s Search For His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq by Ariel Sabar in San Diego Jewish World made me jump.  

Israeli columnist critiques Obama's news conference ... by Barry Rubin in Herzliya, Israel
President Obama got it wrong in answering a question about Israel-Palestinian issues in his press conference, March 25. But his mistakes are different from those everyone noticed. READ MORE

When Arabs brutalize own people, propagandists are mum ... by Shoshana Bryen in Washington, D.C.
The IDF Spokesman's Office reported this week: According to the data gathered by the Research Department of the Israel Defense Intelligence, there were 1166 names of Palestinians killed during Operation Cast Lead. 709 of them are identified as Hamas terror operatives, amongst them several from various other terror organizations. READ MORE

The Jews Down Under ... A roundup of Australian Jewish news by Garry Fabian in Melbourne
Australian Human Rights Organisation to attend Duban II READ MORE

Second teenager charged with attack on Jews for Jesus READ MORE

Court reserves Zentai extradition order READ MORE

From machine gunner to chaplain to pulpit rabbi ... book review by Norman Manson of Rabbi Hillel Silverman's memoir
This is the remarkable life story of a remarkable man, truly a mensch in all respects, as he rose from a middle-class boyhood in Hartford, Conn., to renown as one of our country's foremost rabbis and scholars. READ MORE

December 12,1952; Southwestern Jewish Press

Linda’s Lookout by Linda Solof READ MORE

Temple Teens by Susan Solof READ MORE

U.S.O.-J.W.B. Prepares Chanukah Program READ MORE

Wins Essay Contest READ MORE

Jewish Labor Committee Plans Dinner-Concert READ MORE

We continue our examination of Jewish entertainers

Robert Clary as Corporal LeBeau in Hogan's Heroes VIEW VIDEO

Rodney Dangerfield does a standup bit on getting "no respect"VIEW VIDEO

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Sid Caesar and company in "The Clock," a classic comedy bit VIEW VIDEO

Tony Curtis as Josephine in "Some Like It Hot" with Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe VIEW VIDEO

It's a pleasure to know that our columnists read each other's works, and that this occasionally will trigger new columns. Gail Feinstein Forman of San Diego has yet to meet Dorothea Shefer-Vanson of Mevasseret Zion, but a book review has quite an impact, as told below.


Soille Hebrew Day School: Preschoolers ready for Pesach at Soille Hebrew Day READ MORE


America's Vacation Center
Anti-Defamation League
Balloon Utopia
Carol Ann Goldstein
Congregation Beth Israel
Jewish Family Service
Lawrence Family JCC
San Diego Community Colleges
San Diego Jewish Chamber
Seacrest Village Retirement Communities
Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School
Tifereth Israel Synagogue
United Jewish Federation
XLNC-1 Radio


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.

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Can it really be? A porkbarrel Cabinet in Israel??

By Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM—Cartoonists and columnists are having a field day with the new Netanyahu government.

It’s not a government, it is shakshuka (a composite of eggs, tomato and spices scrambled and fried).

There is a Minister of Nothing, a Minister of Absolutely Nothing, and a Minister to Count the Ministers.

We are seeing a self-satisfied Netanyahu ridiculing Ehud Olmert from the podium of the Knesset in 2006 for wasting the taxpayers' money with a government inflated with useless ministerial appointments. Now when he is faced with having appointed a government some 30 percent larger than Olmert's, Netanyahu is saying that it is the price the public must pay for having voted the way it did in the recent election.

Not necessarily.

If Netanyahu had brought Kadima and Labor into his government with Likud, he would not have had to invent appointments to satisfy claimants in his own party, after passing out so many goodies to all the other parties he needed for a Knesset majority.

Explanations for the failure of negotiations between Netanyahu and Livni mention Livni's demand that the position of prime minister rotate between her and Netanyahu, and her demand that Netanyahu accept the formula of a "two state solution" as the goal of negotiations with the Palestinians.

It is hard to believe that a few words produced the failure of those talks. Netanyahu and Ehud Barak agreed on a formula for resolving what were likely to be even wider differences about the peace process between the right-of-center Likud and the left-of-center Labor Party. We are left with the explanation of ego for the failure of the Netanyahu-Livni negotiations. It is not clear if it was Netanyahu's ego that prevented him from accommodating Livni's demands, or Livni's ego that prevented her from accepting what Netanyahu was willing to offer. Among politicians who reach that level, there is usually enough ego to explain anything. Harold Lasswell made the point in his Psychopathology and Politics, published in the mid-1930s.

Netanyahu has appointed politicians to the following positions, alongside the conventional posts of established ministries:

Minister for Intelligence Services

Minister for Strategic Issues

Minister without Portfolio with Responsibility for Minorities

Minister without Portfolio with Responsibility for Improving Public Service

Minister for Information and the Diaspora

Minister for Regional Development and Development of the Negev and Galilee

Three Ministers without Portfolio and without specified responsibilities

Deputy Minister for the Status of Youth and Women

Most likely none of these will have sufficient staff or budgets to accomplish anything of importance. There is also to be a Minister of Culture and Sport, which has so little to do that in the past it was part of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.

Prominent among Netanyahu's tasks was finding something for the distinguished individuals he recruited to Likud shortly before the election. They may have enhanced the appeal of his ticket, and brought in some of the votes that boosted Likud from the 14 seats won in 2006 to 27 seats this time.

He gave Moshe Yaalon, former commander of the IDF general staff the title Minister for Strategic Issues. Chances are slim that Yaalon will succeed in getting responsibility for anything that is within the purview Defense Ministry, to be headed by Ehud Barak, another former commander of the IDF general staff, with a Deputy Minister of Defense who is also a retired general.

He gave Dan Meridor, a distinguished former minister of finance and justice the title Minister for Intelligence Services.

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Meridor will have trouble acquiring anything like control over the formidable Mossad and Shin Bet, especially when the Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, and Minister of Domestic Security also want their hands in those pies.

He gave the title of Minister for Regional Development and Development of the Negev and Galilee to his Likud rival, Sivan Shalom. Shalom might have trouble deciding about regional development while the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, and the Defense Minister consider that to be in their bailiwicks, or the development of the Negev and Galilee that is already handled by numerous established ministries..

Netanyahu's ridicule of Olmert for wasting money with so many appointments in 2006 has some credence, but not too much. As noted above, few appointments of doubtful value will come with significant staff assistance. The differences between the salary of a Knesset member and minister, or deputy minister, and the addition of car and driver has been estimated as between two and three million shekels per year, depending on whether the appointee can squeeze any money for aides or activities out of the finance ministry. Altogether, we may be talking 50 million shekels a year. Demagogues who did not get any of the goodies may trumpet how many school teachers or free lunches for the poor this money might buy, but the aggregate is something like one hundredth of one percent of the national budget (i.e., .0001). If politicians really want to spend more on teachers or free lunches, they can find that amount without great difficulty.

What about the argument that some of the appointees are not experts in the subject matter of their jobs? This is true not only for ministers of nothing, but also ministers of something. Individuals appointed as Ministers of Defense and Justice are experts in the concerns of their departments. However, the Minister of Foreign Affairs will begin his task having insulted the President of Egypt, and with a reputation as a racist. The ultra-Orthodox politician likely to be heading the Ministry of Health, if he repeats the record of a predecessor, may be more interested in kosher kitchens than anything else. There is no indication that individuals appointed to head the ministries of transportation, environmental protection, tourism, or housing and construction come to their jobs with significant expertise in those fields.

Not to worry. All of the established ministries have numerous professional employees, who make almost all of the decisions, or guide the minister to appropriate decisions. Ministers of defense, foreign affairs, and finance often have crucial roles in formulating and articulating major policy. The minister of transportation might have a crucial voice in selecting the route for new roads, or scrambling the choices made by a predecessor. The minister of education cannot do much of anything against the desires of the teacher unions. Most ministers find themselves restricted by whatever program initiatives professionals in the finance ministry are willing to pay for.

In wishing well to the new government of Israel, it is appropriate to hope that all will go well in the international economy that impinges so heavily on this small country, that moderate Palestinians will reconsider their rejection of whatever any Israeli government is willing to offer, that American and Europeans claiming to be our friends will keep their brilliant new ideas to themselves, and that our crazier neighbors will not decide to provoke the IDF.

Sharkansky is professor emeritus of political science at Hebrew University. His email is msira@mscc.huji.ac.il




Columnist finds own mentor in colleague's book review

By Dorothea Shefer-Vanson

MEVASSERET ZION, Israel--The following paragraph in Gail Feinstein Forman’s review of the book, My Father’s Paradise, A Son’s Search For His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq by Ariel Sabar in San Diego Jewish World made me jump.  

“It was his Hebrew History teacher, Professor Chaim Rabin, who lit the spark to study his own ancient tongue, Aramaic. There were many ancient texts that up until that point were never deciphered for lack of knowledge of the language. Rabin encouraged Sabar to study Hebrew and Aramaic side by side and see how one linked to another.”

The book describes the history of the Jewish community of Kurdistan, the  experiences of the author’s father, Yona, as a youngster growing up in Kurdistan, the family’s immigration to Israel soon after the establishment of the State of Israel, and Yona’s determination to attend university, despite the difficulties encountered by Sephardi immigrants at that time. The author, who grew up in California, was estranged from his father for many years, primarily because of the cultural gulf between them. However, a chance encounter triggered his interest in the history of his father and the Jewish community of Kurdistan, and this helped him to overcome the gulf.

All very interesting and worthwhile, but what interested me was the reference to Chaim Rabin, who died in 1996 aged 79. Chaim was a friend and mentor to me and my family for many years. In fact, when I moved to Israel, in 1964, to study and work at the Hebrew University, Chaim and his wife Batya were among the first to invite me to their home for a meal on a Friday night or Shabbat. In fact, my family’s association with Batya, nee Emmanuel, goes back to Hamburg, Germany, where her parents and my grandparents lived near one another, but that’s another story.  Our paths crossed again in London, when Batya, who qualified as a social worker, worked in that capacity for the Jewish Blind Society, of which my late father, Manfred Vanson, was Secretary.

Chaim Rabin had a very distinguished career as Professor of Semitic Languages at Oxford University and later at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  He was a brilliant man, with an extensive knowledge of ancient and modern languages. He once told me that the way he learned any new foreign language was simply to pick up a detective novel in that language and read it. He also was instrumental in establishing the Israel Translators Association, as well as the concept of translation studies as an academic subject.
But above all, Chaim was a kind person who never put on the airs and graces or professorial demeanour that are sometimes adopted by persons who have failed to achieve even half the distinction that he acquired. It was always

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interesting to talk to him, though he never tried to impress his interlocutor by displaying erudite knowledge. He loved to tell a good joke, especially if it had a linguistic twist, and I still remember the one about the French professor of linguistics who complained about the sad, harsh cadences of Hebrew but noted that there was only one word with a happy sound, ‘umlala’ (meaning miserable).

A few days after reading the book review I attended a meeting of the Jerusalem Translators Association. The guest lecturer was a specialist in preparing indices for academic books who had studied ancient languages. I happened to mention the fact that Chaim Rabin’s name had cropped up in far-off San Diego and when I described the paragraph quoted above she said ‘you must be talking about Yona Sabar.’ The world of Jewish scholarship is both wide-ranging and intimate, it seems.

Shefer-Vanson, a freelance writer and translator based in Mevasseret Zion, may be contacted at dorothea@shefer.comThis article initially appeared in the AJR Journal, published by the Association of Jewish Refugees in the United Kingdom.

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Columnist critiques President Obama's news conference

By Barry Rubin

HERZLIYA, Israel— President Obama got it wrong in answering a question about Israel-Palestinian issues in his press conference, March 25. But his mistakes are different from those everyone noticed.

The reporter asked:

“Mr. President, you came into office pledging to work for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. How realistic do you think those hopes are now, given the likelihood of a prime minister who's not fully signed up to a two-state solution and a foreign minister who has been accused of insulting Arabs?”

The reporter’s wording betrays typical aspects of many mainstream media messages:

--Any fault must be Israel’s and Israel is the sole focus of why there’s a problem. At least he formulated terms carefully. Benjamin Netanyahu is said to be “not fully signed up to a two-state solution,” instead of being labeled as opposed; Avigdor Lieberman is merely “accused” of insulting Arabs rather than being an evil racist.
--Palestinians only exist as victims so their politics aren’t worth studying or analyzing. After all, the PA’s prime minister just resigned, there’s a Hamas-Fatahn civil war, the PA announced elections in a year, and the current leader is ailing. As if that isn’t enough, the Palestinian leaders are really “not fully signed up to a two-state solution” and constantly insulting Jews. 
What should Obama have said? If he were really professional something like this:

"It isn’t for me to characterize Israel’s new government. We'll have to wait to see. But whatever it is we will keep trying and I’m sure we can count on Israel’s cooperation.....”

Here’s what he said:

“It's not easier than it was, but I think it's just as necessary. We don't yet know what the Israeli government is going to look like and we don't yet know what the future shape of Palestinian leadership is going to be comprised of. What we do know is this: that the status quo is unsustainable; that it is critical for us to advance a two-state solution where Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side in their own states with peace and security.”

The first half-dozen words, could be taken as hostile to Israel’s leaders. He shouldn’t have said it but not that big a deal. He even balanced by saying the Palestinian leadership’s future is also unclear.

 The problem is not in the first but the third sentence: “What we do know is this: that the status quo is unsustainable….” Whenever someone says that, short of outright anarchy, they’re naïve. All status quos are unsustainable in a sense since time brings change. On the other hand, this status quo can continue for years. In fact, a serious study of underlying forces and factors indicates this is likely, probably inevitable.

Obama’s statement, like thousands in recent decades, basically says: things are so horrible change is vital no matter what the risk or cost. Things can’t possibly get worse. He adds, “We're going to be serious from day one in trying to move the parties in a direction that acknowledges that reality.”

To some extent, this is just rhetoric, a promise to work real hard. In practice, the policy is closer to saying: sure we’ll pretend to be serious but this looks tough and we have more urgent priorities on domestic and even foreign policy.

Yet to a considerable extent Obama—though not Secretary of State Hillary Clinton--thinks he understands true reality and the parties don’t. In fact they know far better than him. Back in the 1990s U.S. and European leaders would say: The status quo is unsustainable and Palestinians are desperate for a state so we have to move real fast. Today some of the same people—including Bill Clinton--say their big mistake was trying to force a resolution to the conflict when Yasir Arafat really didn’t want one.

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Today, the PA believes the status quo is sustainable (at least if they can make a deal to reunite with Hamas) because they’re unwilling to make the compromises and concessions required for peace (full recognition of Israel, end of conflict, resettling Palestinian refugees in Palestine, security guarantees, stopping incitement, and so on).

Israel—no matter who leads it—believes the status quo is sustainable (at least if it can stop rocket firing from the Gaza Strip) because it won’t make any more concessions to a side that can’t and won’t deliver anything serious toward full and lasting peace.

So, no, Obama will not persuade anybody that very bad change is better than a bad status quo. And because he doesn’t comprehend that all his efforts are doomed to failure.

There’s one other feature to his answer that went unnoticed. He mentioned a recent St. Patrick’s Day meeting with “previously sworn enemies celebrating here in this very room,” people who, “even a decade ago, people would have said could never achieve peace.”

Well, he did have the St. Patrick’s day event but, leaving aside the huge differences between the two conflict, his answer shows how detached he is from the continuity of U.S. policy and Middle East history, things he had no role in and knows nothing about.

One might expect an American president to recall his predecessors’ brokering of Egypt-Israel, Israel-PLO, and Israel-Jordan agreements. They didn’t solve everything but made progress for which America can claim credit. By citing them Obama might have also shown some understanding of the reasons they fell short.

But that, too, is part of the problem. He’s coming into office thinking that a solution is easy and nothing can go wrong. In dealing with the Middle East, that’s the direct path to,  at best, miserable failure and, at worst, outright catastrophe.

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When Arabs brutalize own people, propagandists are mum

By Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The IDF Spokesman's Office reported this week:

According to the data gathered by the Research Department of the Israel Defense Intelligence, there were 1166 names of Palestinians killed during Operation Cast Lead. 709 of them are identified as Hamas terror operatives, amongst them several from various other terror organizations. Furthermore, it has been found that 295 uninvolved Palestinians were killed during the operation, 89 of them under the age of 16, and 49 of them women. In addition, there are 162 names of men that have not yet been attributed to any organization.

Has any army been so careful to document casualties on the other side of a defensive operation? Has any army been so precise in an attack on a cowardly terrorist force that removed its uniforms, hid weapons in mosques and fired from among its own women and children? And yet large parts of the world seem convinced that Israel went on an unchecked rampage in Gaza and there is movement afoot to charge Israeli government and military officials with crimes at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

But what happens when there is a real unchecked rampage?

Omar Bashir of Sudan was indicted by the ICC for war crimes against the people of Darfur. It was little enough for the Court to do; the UN estimates that 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million driven from their homes since 2003 in attacks by militias supported by the Government of Sudan. After the indictment, Bashir ousted several NGOs that feed and care for the refugees.

Inter alia, the indictment forbids Bashir's travel and requires member governments to arrest him upon entry to their countries. No country of the 22-member Arab League is a signatory to the ICC - with which we take no particular issue - so it is not surprising that he was not arrested upon entering Qatar. But that was insufficient for the League - which issued a formal declaration rejecting the indictment and welcomed Bashir as a hero. On the other hand, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said at the summit that Israel should be held accountable for "war crimes" in Gaza.

JINSA's objections to the ICC are old and grounded in our belief that the Court is inconsistent with American Constitutional protections and would produce political indictments of Israel and the United States at the first possible opportunity. They have not changed just because the Court had a moment of sanity in the indictment of Bashir.

More interesting is the fact that Muslim Arab governments are willing to crony up a brutal dictator and turn their backs on hundreds of thousands of their Muslim brothers penned up in refugee camps, festering there with only outsiders to feed them. And crony up further when the "international community" finds its voice to object.

Sort of like the Arab treatment of the Palestinians in refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Egypt as well as Palestinians living under Palestinian rule in the territories. Would that the Arabs were half as careful with the lives of their brothers as Israel has been. And would that the "international community" find its voice to object to Arab treatment of Arab refugees, even if Arabs can't do it themselves.

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

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Preschoolers ready for Pesach at Soille Hebrew Day

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The Jews Down Under ... A roundup of Australian Jewish news by Garry Fabian

Australian Human Rights Organisation to attend Duban II

CANBERRA- Australia's top human rights body will attend a United Nations forum on racism in Geneva next month, despite heavy pressure from Jewish groups and the Opposition for an official boycott.

Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner Tom Calma will lead an Australian delegation to the talks ­ known as the Durban Review Conference.

The run-up to the forum has been marred by claims that some countries are exploiting the summit to levy criticism against Israel for its occupation of Palestinian territories.
An earlier UN racism conference in Durban, South Africa, in 2001 was also bitterly contested and hurt by walkouts over alleged anti-Semitism.

Canada has already declared it will boycott the upcoming Geneva talks ­ also known as Durban II ­ while the US and some European countries have indicated they will take part only if a proposed draft outcome is completely revised.
Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop has demanded that Australia pull out from the conference due to fears it will become a platform for anti-Semitism.
Some Jewish community organisations in Australia have also urged the Rudd Government not to attend.

Calma told The Age the Geneva conference would examine issues critical to the role of national human rights institutions, such as policing and diversity and the rights of indigenous peoples.

"These are matters that governments need to engage on a global level in order to ensure that their policies are in line with international standards. It is also an opportunity to share good practices in these areas," he said.

The Human Rights Commission ­ which has statutory independence within the Federal Government ­ will send a small delegation of three officials to the talks.

Calma said he had not observed either anti-Semitic or anti-Islamic sentiment in the preparations for the conference and urged both the Government and Opposition to send representatives.

"I'd encourage them to participate, I don't think it's going to compromise anything," he said.

A Foreign Affairs Department spokesman said recenty that Australia had not yet decided whether to attend the Geneva talks. UN Association of Australia president John  Langmore said it was important Australia join the conference.

"It is about the issue of racial discrimination, and that is a problem in our country and in a great many others, and we have some experience in trying to handle it, but we also have some lessons to learn from other countries," he said.

While Professor Langmore conceded attempts to misuse the talks to criticise Israel had taken place, he said it was an overreaction and a self-defeating gesture for Australia not to attend. "If you are concerned to ensure equitable principles are developed and applied, then you need to participate ­ Australia needs to participate," he said.

The 2001 World Conference Against Racism declared "the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination" while also recognising "the right to security for all states in the region, including Israel".

Second teenager charged with
attack on Jews for Jesus

SYDNEY -A second teenager has appeared in court and pleaded guilty to a charge of causing  malicious damage to a Jews for Jesus' storefront in Bondi Junction in January.
Terence Abrams, 19, of Dover Heights appeared in Downing Centre Local Court, Sydney, on Wednesday March 18 over the incident.

Abrams is scheduled to be sentenced on April 1.

On February 20, former Moriah student Jaron Hoffenberg, 19, of Dover Heights, appeared in the same court and was given a one-year good behaviour bond after being found guilty of damaging the Jews for Jesus' storefront.

He also pleaded guilty to offensive behaviour and willful and

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obscene exposure in public, but no conviction was recorded and he was given a two-year good behaviour bond. Magistrate William Brydon said he was satisfied that Hoffenberg was repentant for his actions in the early morning of January 29.

The incident, which was captured on CCTV, involved Hoffenberg urinating on the Oxford Street store's door and both men throwing a brick through its window, which resulted in about $3000 worth in damage.

Court reserves Zentai
extradition order

CANBERRA - Accused war criminal Charles (Karoly) Zentai will have to wait to find out if the Federal Court of Australia will overturn a procedural judgment that could see him extradited to Hungary to face charges.

Meanwhile, another man accused of Holocaust-era war crimes was extradited from his home in the United States to Austria, but was released because of legal technicalities.

The Perth Magistrates Court ruled last year that Zentai was eligible for extradition, but lawyers for Zentai, 87, argued the court did not have jurisdiction to make such a ruling and appealed to the Federal Court.

On March 10 at a Federal Court hearing, Justice John Gilmour reserved judgment and extended the Perth retiree's bail until a judgment or further orders are made.

During the hearing Zentai's lawyers argued murder was not considered a war crime in Hungary when Zentai was alleged to have killed Balazs. They also said Hungary could apply to have the law enacted retrospectively, but had not done so.
It was similar legal anomalies that led to the acquittal of Josias Kumpf, an American citizen. Kumpf reportedly admitted to involvement in a 1943 massacre of 8000 Jews at Trawnicki, Poland.

In response, his US citizenship was revoked and he was extradited to Austria, but once there he was freed. The court said that because Kumpf was under 20-years-old at the time and had never been an Austrian citizen - he was born into the German-speaking minority in the former Yugoslavia - he could not be tried.
Zentai, who was an officer in the Hitler-aligned Hungarian army, is accused of complicity in the 1944 murder of Peter Balazs, an 18-year-old living in Budapest.
Two other officers were found guilty of participating in the crime after the war. Zentai has denied the charges and claimed he left Budapest a day before Balazs' death.
The final decision on whether Zentai, who was arrested and charged in 2005, will be extradited to Hungary rests with Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus.

Wishing all readers of San Diego Jewish World a happy & kosher Pesach.

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From machine gunner to chaplain to pulpit rabbi

THE TIME OF MY LIFE by Rabbi Hillel E. Silverman; Ktav Publishing House Inc.; 143 pages; no price listed.

By Norman Manson

SAN DIEGO—This is the remarkable life story of a remarkable man, truly a mensch in all respects, as he rose from a middle-class boyhood in Hartford, Conn., to renown as one of our country's foremost rabbis and scholars.

Hillel Silverman is the son of an eminent rabbi, but his path to the rabbinate was in no way preordained. As he points out, "I was not the paradigm of a P.K." (preacher's kid ). Rather, he was a typical sports-loving, adventure-loving lad who seemed to be heading in a different career direction.

Not until sometime during his undergraduate years at Yale did he, more or less suddenly, decided to pursue the calling of a rabbi. And, once he did, he never wavered in moving toward his objective. But there were brief detours: Having entered the Jewish Theological Seminary, he decided to spend his junior year studying in Palestine (this was 1947). However, instead of studyng Talmud as planned, he found himself manning a machine gun as a member of Haganah, the future Israel army.

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And, newly ordained in 1950, he spent the next three years traveling the world as a Navy chaplain as the Korean War raged.

But his goal was to be a congregational rabbi (his memoir's subtitle is "Sixty Fulfilling Years as a Congregational Rabbi"), and having achieved this objective, he became acquainted with characters famous and infamous. Jack Ruby - killer of Lee Harvey Oswald - was a member of his congregation in Dallas, and he visited and counseled him regularly in prison over the few months following the assassination.

And, during his 16-year stint as spiritual leader of the famed Temple Sinai in Los Angeles, he became well acquainted with a host of show business figures, not all of them Jewish.

So, it has been an eventful, rewarding life, and at the age of 85 it is by no means over. Soon after retiring from 20 years in his last full-time position in Greenwich, Conn., he spent a year as interim rabbi of Congregation Beth El in La Jolla, and now serves a small congregation, Bnai Sholom in Vista. And he speaks and writes regularly in the San Diego area.

Although his vision is now limited,he still carries on a virtually normal, full life.

And he has written his life story in a concise, easy-to-read style, allowing the reader to easily appreciate the ups and downs of his long life. For anyone interested in the background of a current pillar of the San Diego Jewish community, this is must reading.

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Adventures in San Diego Jewish History
With thanks to Gail Umeham for the transcription

Linda’s Lookout
Southwestern Jewish Press December 12, 1952, page 11

By Linda Solof

Happy Chanukah to all my readers!  May you all have as very healthy and happy holiday season!  Kids, don’t forget to get that gelt!

Speaking of Hanukah—the T.Y.L. is giving a terrific “Latka Party.” It will be Saturday, December 13 at the Temple Center for only 35 cents.  For more info call one of the board members.  It’ll be tops!

Twirling and swirling at the R.O.T.C. Ball were Maxine Scholekopf ‘n Bob Meyers, Janet Solof ‘n David Levens, Sharlene Stone ‘n Norman Panish, Barbara Kahn ‘n Edmond Rosenthal, Elaine Shapery ‘n Jimmy Dietch.  The kids had a terrific time dancing to the music of Hal Allen’s Band in the beautiful Balboa Park Club.

Y.P.L. had a hay-ridy good time at their recent “Wagon Wumpus.”  The evening, at Palomar Stables, was really keen and was complete with bonfires, hotdogs and dancing!

Happy birthday to Bobby Glickman who was recently seventeen.  She celebrated her birthday at a surprise party given for her which included all of her friends!

Hey kids, don’t forget December 27—Beth Jacob Youth League have planned a hayride, weeny back and dancing for your pleasure.  Tickets can be had by calling Louise Gelman, T-6027 or Sonya Weitzman, W-2905.  Meet in front of Beth Jacob Synagogue at 7:00 .m. and have parents pick you up at 11:00 p.m. same spot.

“Fabulous! Sensational!” cried all the kids at the Camp Kidd Officers Club.  The party was given by Jane Cohn in honor of her friend Gene Mastell  (Sacramento) whom she met at Jewish Youth Camp and also for a reunion of the others that went to camp and knew Gene.  Among the group were Jane n’Gene, Beverly Addleson ‘n Dick Godes, Dona Godes ‘n Aaron Kolkey, Iris Leeds ‘n Joel Goldfus, Deanne Brown ‘n Lenny Bloom and Bobby Glickman ‘n Bernie Sosna.  Hope you had a swell time Gene!

Congrats to Paul Kaufman, Phyllis Mollick, Gloria Abramson and Elana Baruck for the great job they did in the State College Speech tournament.

Mr. and Mrs. Murray Goodrich and Rochelle entertained a gang over the weekend recently at their Palm Springs winter home.  Nothing but fun!

Temple Teens

 Southwestern Jewish Press December 12, 1952, page 11

By Susan Solof

Jerry Mendell would like to extend an invitation to all Temple Teen members to come to his Bar Mitzvah, Saturday, December 20 at 9:30 a.m. in Beth Jacob Synagogue.

The same night Jerry and his parents are giving a big Dinner-Dance at Beth Jacob Center with a live bnd.  Time—7:30 p.m.—Dressy Dress.  We hope all of the Temple Teen members will come both in the morning and at night.  A wonderful time is in store of everyone.

Temple Teens “Title Hop” was a huge success and everyone had fun.  Linda Douglas as “Sleepy Time Gal”and Pete Colt at “Chinese Lobby” were winners of the most original costumes.

U.S.O.-J.W.B. Prepares Chanukah Program
 Southwestern Jewish Press December 12, 1952, page 11

Chaplain Daniel J. Silver, Eleventh Naval District Chaplain, has prepared a special Hanukah Service at the Naval Air Station has prepared a special Hanukah Service at the Naval Air Station Chapel on Friday, December 12th, at 7:30 p.m.  This occasion will also be a rededication of the Jewish section of the beautiful chapel, which has been in disuse since World War II.

Supporting Chaplain Silver will be the USO-JWB Armed Services Committee, through its Temple Beth Israel Sisterhood affiliate which will serve as Senior Hostesses.  Refreshments and music, along with a community sing are on tap for that evening.

USO-JWB Junior Hostesses will be guests at a tea given by the newly organized Senior Sponsors group on Sunday, December 21, at 2:00 p.m.  The tea will be held at the home of Mr. Bernard Lipinsky.

The Senior Sponsors, headed by Mrs. Jerome Greben, will concern itself with the activities of the Junior Hostess Program in service to the servicemen.  Senior Sponsors represent the three Sisterhoods in San Diego.

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Present at its organizational meeting at Valle’s Restaurant last week were:  Mms. M. Bobrof, Paul Moss, D. Kellner, Sïdney Newman, Simon Roisman, Bernard Godes, Alfred Bobrof, Arthur Guyer, Jennie Drogin, Perry Leener, Greben, and Abraham A. Friedman, USO-JWB Area Director.

Mrs. Helen Judd, director of USO-YWC, spoke on Junior Hostess procedures.

A special Hanukah party and dance will be held at the Temple Center, Third and Laurel on Wednesday, December 17th.  The Bay City Chapter of B’nai B’rith Women will serve as Senior Hostesses for theoccasion and are preparing to wrap Hanukah gifts and serve the traditional Latkes to a large crowd of servicemen.  Henry Frabotta’s orchestra will furnish the music and door prizes will be awarded to lucky servicemen, among which is a telephone call to parents back home.

Wins Essay Contest
 Southwestern Jewish Press December 12, 1952, page 11

Winner of the joint Thanksgiving Day Essay Contest conducted by the three Synagogues was Henrietta L. Faguet.  Her essay was entitled “Thanksgiving and the American Jew.” The prize was a $50.00 U.S. Bond.  Henrietta is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Benjamin Faguet.

Jewish Labor Committee Plans Dinner-Concert
 Southwestern Jewish Press December 12, 1952, page 11

In 1933, a group of American labor leaders headed by B. Charney  Vladesk, set to work in a one room office to aid the victims of Nazi and totalitarian persecution.  Since that time the Jewish Labor Committee has been in the forefront of establishing new frontiers against racial and religious discrimination {,} furthering an understanding of the workings of democratic institutions {, and}giving aid and comfort to displaced persons and orphans.

This important work which had long been carried on in cramped quarters has at last been housed in a five-story building better suited to the committees’ needs.  This building is the gift of Frank Z. Atran, the refugee philanthropist at a time when the work of spreading democratic ideas and aiding the victims of totalitarianism is at its greatest.  The fruitful nature of their work and the needs for its’expansion has received striking recognition in the MacIver Report.

The local branch of the Jewish Labor Committee is sponsoring a dinner and concert Sunday evening, December 21st at Beth Jacob Center.  A delicious home-cooked turkey dinner will be served and a very interesting musical program will follow.  We have been fortunate in engaging three outstanding artists.  Jack Wilson, the well-known Baritone who played one of the leading roles in a Globe Production of “Caught in the Act,” a Musical of Los Angeles, a very talented player on the Theremin, will play{.} Harold Zabrack, the brilliant Concert pianist will favor us with several numbers of great composers. Max Mount, regional director of the Jewish Labor Committee will be Guest of Honor.

We appeal to all our friends and social groups to come and enjoy a good dinner and wonderful music for a very worthy cause.  Dinner will be served at 6:30 sharp.  Price per plate--$2.00.  For reservations call Anna Shelley at J-2566, Ben Feinberg—M-3524 or Morris Penn—H-8-5906.

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

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