Volume 3, Number 92
"There's a Jewish story everywhere"

Today's Postings:

Monday, April 20, 2009

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

Yom HaShoah poses the question of how Jews will survive beyond the 21st Century — through unity or pluralism? ... by Rabbi Dow Marmur in Jerusalem
The commemoration of Yom Hasho’a, the Holocaust Memorial Day next Tuesday, on the anniversary of the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto in 1943, was made into law in Israel in 1959. But it took many years before the annual event became what it’s today in the Jewish world.

Obama in Turkey reminiscent of Mordechai Noah in Tunis ... by Sheila Orysiek in San Diego
At a press conference on his recent trip to Turkey, President Obama said: "One of the great strengths of the United States is ... we have a very large Christian population -- we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."

Commentators' naiveté about Mideast frightening .... by Barry Rubin in Herzliya, Israel
It never ceases to amaze me that people who know nothing about the Middle East, in this case Roger Cohen but many other names come to mind, can suddenly proclaim themselves experts and make the most elementary errors involving the lives of other people.

Mrs. Sadat's memoir will disappoint pro-Israel readers ... book review by Fred Reiss in Winchester, California
If you are old enough to remember the dates December 7, 1941, November 22, 1963, and September 11, 2001, then you most likely remember what you were doing when you learned of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the plane crashes into the World Trade Center. But, where were you on October 6, 1981, and what were you doing?

Mauritius gets a philatelist's big stamp of approval ... by Carol Davis in San Diego
The Cygnet Theatre Company in the Rolando neighborhood of San Diego, living up to its reputation for theatre excellence, does not disappoint with its latest offering, Theresa Rebeck’s good old-fashioned noir mystery Mauritius. READ MORE

That musical was really no way to treat an audience! ... by Cynthia Citron in Burbank, California
As Queen Victoria used to say, “We are not amused.” Heaven knows, we wanted to be, but there is something just a little off-putting about the musical No Way to Treat a Lady, currently having its Los Angeles premiere at The Colony Theatre in Burbank. READ MORE

Benjamin, son of Jacob & Rachel
The Benjamin branch of the San Diego Public library was named for a generous benefactor, Edwin A. Benjamin, whose surname can be traced back to the book of Genesis--and to the second son of Jacob and Rachel. READ MORE


Flap over Starbucks in Middle East continues to rage on Internet VIEW VIDEO AND READ MORE

Candye Kane marks cancer operation first anniversary READ MORE

Sandi Masori shares secrets of balloon raccoons VIEW VIDEOS

January 23, 1953; Southwestern Jewish Press

Society –Personals {Part 2} READ MORE
To Model for Council READ MORE
Calendar READ MORE
Linda’s Lookout by Linda Solof READ MORE
B.B. Invites Participants to Leadership Class READ MORE

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We continue our examination of Jewish entertainers

Fenella Fielding makes guest appearance on Morecambe & Wise comedy show VIEW VIDEO

Actor Jerry Douglas of "Young and the Restless" shows he can sing too. VIEW VIDEO

Joan Collins as the diabolical Alexis in "Dynasty." VIEW VIDEO

Marty Feldman brings his pet monster to the veterinarian VIEW VIDEO


Dr. Joel Moskowitz who often writes articles about magic was delighted to learn that editor Don Harrison's grandson, Shor Masori, chose to have his eighth birthday party at the Magic Bug at the Westfield Shopping Center (Parkway Plaza) in El Cajon. Moskowitz declared that Shor was two years ahead of the curve, as most people who become fascinated by magic don't do so at least until they're 10 years old.


America's Vacation Center
Balloon Utopia
Carol Ann Goldstein
Congregation Beth Israel
Jewish Community Foundation
Jewish Family Service
Lawrence Family JCC
San Diego Community Colleges
San Diego Jewish Chamber
Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School
Therapy in Motion Inc.
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. To see today's dedication, please click here. Past dedications may be found at the bottom of the index for the "Adventures in San Diego Jewish History" page.

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Yom HaShoah poses the question of how Jews will survive beyond the 21st Century — through unity or pluralism?

By Rabbi Dow Marmur

JERUSALEM—The commemoration of Yom Hasho’a, the Holocaust Memorial Day next Tuesday, on the anniversary of the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto in 1943, was made into law in Israel in 1959. But it took many years before the annual event became what it’s today in the Jewish world. Nowadays the Sho’a is central to diaspora and Israeli self-understanding. Yad Vashem, the museum and study center, in Jerusalem is one of the most important shrines in the land. And there’re smaller museums in other countries.
About a quarter-of-a-million Holocaust survivors live in Israel today and at least an equal number are elsewhere in the world. But it’s obvious that within a relatively short time, only a handful will be left. So we ask again: Who’ll then be there to remember?
There’re those who fear the worst. As it’s today, some 50 000 of the Israeli survivors – twenty percent! - live below the poverty line. Though their situation is said to have improved lately, it’s still scandalously inadequate. If the Jewish state treats the witnesses like that when they’re alive, who’ll care about the Holocaust when they’ve gone? And if Israel doesn’t care, will the rest of world Jewry bother?
Of course, much more than the plight of survivors is at stake. The very survival of the Jewish people is on the line. How much does the late Emil Fackenheim’s oft-cited commandment about our duty survive in order not to give Hitler his posthumous victory still matter today? And what will it mean tomorrow and the day after?
According to the expert on Jewish demography, Professor Sergio Della Pergola of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, had the Holocaust not happened, there’d be perhaps 30 million Jews in the world today. As it is, there’re only 13 million and dwindling, for it’s unlikely that all their offspring will remain Jewish.
The ultra-Orthodox haredim maintain that only by cohesiveness under their rule, strict adherence to what they believe Judaism demands of us all, and a high birth rate can we make sure that the Jews are here to stay. In Israel, they demand special financial concessions from the state in child allowance and yeshiva subsidies to enable them to save the future of Judaism, as they see it. When they call for Jewish unity, they mean that all Jews should join them, or at least support them.

Indeed, some secular Jews do so in the hope that the haredim, as it were, will be Jewish on their behalf. Nevertheless, if Judaism is left in haredi hands, the Jewish people may end up as a quaint relic, not the viable presence in the world that it’s meant to be.
Therefore, apart from education, community building and related strategies, the liberal movements in Judaism (mainly

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but not exclusively Reform) believe in outreach to non-Jews, notably to the many who marry Jews. A broader definition of             
Jewishness (e.g., a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, or just one Jewish grandparent) would, according to recent data, increase the number of Jews in the US from 5-6 to 11 million. Instead of abandoning those on the periphery, liberals want to bring them into the center. When Reform speaks of Jewish pluralism, it has very much this in mind.
Holocaust Memorial Day, therefore, gives us an opportunity not only to recall the past and mourn the losses, but also to plan for the future. Though none of us has the ultimate strategy, we’d do well to realize that this future depends on Jewish pluralism. It’s essential - and at least as authentic as the call for unity under the haredi banner.    

Marmur is rabbi emeritus of the Holy Blossom Congregation in Toronto. He divides his time between Canada and Israel. He may be contacted at marmurd@sandiegojewishworld.com

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Obama in Turkey reminiscent of Mordechai Noah in Tunis

By Sheila Orysiek

SAN DIEGO— At a press conference on his recent trip to Turkey, President Obama said: "One of the great strengths of the United States is ... we have a very large Christian population -- we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."

The American news media has treated this statement as something “new” but it is in fact something quite “old.”
Mordecai M. Noah*, special agent representing the United States government to the Bey of Algiers/Tunis (1813-1815) established this fact two hundred years ago.  Noah’s mission was to negotiate the release of American captives held by the Barbary pirates. During his tenure an American privateer sailed into Tripoli with a captured British merchantman in tow.  Generally, such a prize was condemned and sold by the Barbary courts and the monies distributed between the host country’s treasury and the privateer. 

However, the resident British minister protested pointing to a clause in the treaty between Britain and the Bey of Algiers/Tunis which stated that the Barbary ports “should not be used as ports of condemnation for the sale of British vessels as prizes, when captured in any war between England and any other Christian nation.”

Using the United States Constitution as evidence, Noah countered that since equal protection and standing in law was given to members of every faith – how then could America be considered a Christian nation?  The Bey agreed and declared that indeed America was not a Christian nation. 

Noah, incidentally, was a proud and observant Jew, who was was born in 1785 in Charleston, S.C., raised in Philadelphia, and served as an editor, playwright and politician.

Obama’s first sentence was a long established fact in use and law.  But his second sentence:  “We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values,” gives depth and meaning – in fact enables – the operation of the first sentence.  The first sentence doesn’t happen without the second. 

One might well ask: where did those ideals and set of values which binds us come from?

No one who has read the Hebrew Bible can fail to see the fruition of its concepts – ideals and values – manifest in the Constitution of the United States.  From Exodus 23:9 which gives birth to equal protection under the law and due process of law (Fourteenth Amendment) to the necessity for two witnesses to a capital crime such as treason (Article III); the relationship to Judaism’s ancient values is intrinsic. 

To understand a nation’s ideals and values it is not possible to ignore from whence those ideals and values came.  The Founding Fathers, sitting in Congress assembled, did not pluck these concepts from the hot humid air in Philadelphia.  They were elegantly educated, well read in the history

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of the civilization which had produced them.  They had read the books and writings of thoughtful generations which had labored and died to forward those concepts. 

They were deeply religious men and would never have denied the ancestral heritage of the Judeo-Christian ideals and values from which they sprung.

The political left has, especially manifest in socialist regimes, a propensity to downgrade the importance of religion both in the lives of individuals as well as in the life and history of a nation.  Religion embarrasses them. They tend to believe that religion is regressive, archaic, simplistic (the opiate of the masses) and its adherents lack sophistication, have a provincial mentality and lack a progressive approach to human problems. 

Religion certainly has a tortured history but it has also been a catalyst for social action, charity, and has provided the base for the ideals and values which bind our citizens together.  A recent and cogent example of this is the Black Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s which sprung from the black churches and was supported by other faiths across the religious spectrum.

On the other hand, the right tends to validate religious activity and just as the left can lean too far left, the right can lean too far right.  While, religious institutions and government have historically clashed and each seeks to dominate the other, it is America’s genius to have established a workable balance between the two.  However, a working balance cannot – and should not - deny the history and the connection of our ideals and values which come from Judeo-Christian roots. 

So, while we celebrate the equal standing of all citizens regardless of faith, and don’t label ourselves collectively as being of one or the other, we also cannot ignore – or discount – the religious roots from which our Constitution was conceived.  Why do we hesitate to acknowledge that?  Does a religious connection to our values and ideals lessen the loftiness of those concepts?

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Commentators' naiveté about Mideast frightening

By Barry Rubin

HERZLIYA, Israel-- It never ceases to amaze me that people who know nothing about the Middle East, in this case Roger Cohen but many other names come to mind, can suddenly proclaim themselves experts and make the most elementary errors involving the lives of other people. It also never ceases to amaze me that people can visit a country, especially a dictatorship, be wined and dined, handed a line and believe it so thoroughly that their mind is closed ever after.

Recently, I met a young man who helped me understand this phenomenon better.  He worked on Afghanistan and took exception to my saying that there was no way that Western intervention was going to make that a stable and moderate country.  It was too geographically diverse, bound by
traditional culture, beset by conflict, and economically underdeveloped to achieve that condition. And no matter how much money was poured in to train its army to be efficient or to finance its government to be honest and effective, the situation would not change drastically.

He responded with some heat that after the Soviet withdrawal that the Communist government Moscow had established lasted three years, proving how good the Afghan army could be. That argument surprised me since—like so many I hear nowadays—it was so easy to refute,
indeed containing within itself its own refutation.

My response  was simple: so, in effect, what you are saying is that if the Western forces are withdrawn then the Taliban will take over within three years. In short, this is precisely the kind of thing I was saying.

I think that the mainstream view of the Middle East is so reinforced by its hegemony in the discussion, so underpinned by cultural and ideological assumption (which it isn’t even aware of making) that one often hears such weak or, in other cases, factually inaccurate statements. The idea of free debate is to test and correct our views. Yet when there is such hegemony in academia and—to a lesser extent—the massmedia , for one viewpoint that set of arguments is weakened simply because it dismisses all challenges without even considering them.

Later that day, I had a chance to talk further with this young man, who was very sincere and dedicated to his studies. He had spent a lot of time in Afghanistan. And it quickly became clear what that meant. He argued passionately that the West must overthrow the current government and install others who, he said, were honest and would provide the country with a great government.

Upon further discussion, it turns out that these were powerful people from wealthy families who had courted him. They had invited him to their palatial homes, wined and dined him, and flattered him. “You understand our country” they had said in admiring terms. In some cases, though not this one, aside from access and flattery, career promotion opportunities and money are also offered.

One might speculate—this is just a thought—that women are used to being courted and have learned how to discount flattery to a greater extent. Men, however, are probably especially prone to such appeals as they are used to colder treatment by their fellows.

At any rate, we see this constantly. One young scholar, given unprecedented access to write the biography of a ruthless dictator, gushes at how wonderful he is. Roger Cohen of the New York Times, goes to Iran, they treat him well and thus he deduces that the mullahs have only benign intentions. Robert Leiken, totally ignorant about the region and succumbing to similar treatment by the Nicaraguan Contras, meets the Muslim Brotherhood and—with no knowledge of what they write in Arabic—believes everything they tell him and

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describes them as moderate. I also think such a process went on when Iraqi exiles assured American interlocutors that Iraq was just waiting for America to liberate it, that all would go smoothly, they would then take power and be moderate and stable democratic friends ever after.

As I write these words, I see an article in the Los Angeles Times that provides a terrific example of this phenomenon* about David Lesch, a man with no real knowledge of the region who was chosen to be the biographer of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Asad.  Lesch hero-worships the dictator who, in a real sense, made his career.

“He is very low-key, he is a very amiable, very humble individual, not intimidating at all,” Lesch says.

He admits that he wouldn’t get tough with Bashar: “It would do damage to this access, which will be far worse than bringing it up.” And he talks more like a fan for a rock star than a serious analyst ofregional politics:  “He values my opinions and ideas” How pitiful, how easily deceived. Yet in dealing with Iran and Hamas, Hizballah and Syria, Muslim Brotherhoods and assorted other dictators and anti-democratic movements or states, how often this happens.

This article is positively embarrassing and the fact that Lesch, the article’s author, and the Los Angeles Times don’t see this is an important sign of how seriously mainstream journalism and academic Middle East studies have gone off the rails.

Why is the gap between reality and perception so much wider on the Middle East than on other subjects or areas of the world? It would take a book to give a proper answer but here are some admittedly too-brief and incomplete talking points:

1. High level of partisanship, making even the simplest statements of fact controversial at times.

2. Indoctrination on campuses to an extraordinary extent.

3.   Since so much is written about the region—often bad material--people think they know everything, a mistake less likely to occur in more &’obscure’ places.
4.   The need for special knowledge to understand the region which should not—but is—often lightly disregarded.

5.   A complex historical picture which people may ignore since history is not deemed to be important.

6.  The importance of cultural differences in understanding the region at a time when, according to PC, everyone is supposed to be seen as being exactly the same. A letter by Iranian-American academic in the New York Times this week asserts that it’s  ridiculous to claim Iranian regime nuclear weapons are threat because Iranian mothers want good lives for their children and living standards have gone up.
7.  The importance of ideology which is discounted as an influence creating totally different world views, at least among regimes. (See point 6, above).

8.    Precisely because the threat from the region and in it is so high there is a tendency either to claim no threat exists or that it can be easily defused through understanding and concessions.

 9.  The hysteria about alleged Islamophobia and misuse of the concept of racism which makes it somewhere between hard and impossible to have a serious discussion of these issues.

10. Failure to understand the difference between what's said in English or in Arabic and Persian, discounting the latter as of no importance.

People have a right to be foolish and naïve.. But they have no right to misdirect national policies and risk&—or cost—the lives of hundreds and possibly damage the lives of millions on the basis of their
own stupidity.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. He is the author of  The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books, go to http://www.gloria-center.org

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Mrs. Sadat's memoir will disappoint pro-Israel readers

My Hope for Peace by Jehan Sadat, Free Press, New York, NY; ISBN 978-1-4165-9219-8, 2009, $25.00, 208 pages

By Fred Reiss, Ed.D

WINCHESTER, California—If you are old enough to remember the dates December 7, 1941, November 22, 1963, and September 11, 2001, then you most likely remember what you were doing when you learned of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the plane crashes into the World Trade Center. But, where were you on October 6, 1981, and what were you doing? Chances are that unless there is some significant event in your life, the date’s meaning and events escape you. On this date, Jehan Sadat watched in horror as Islamic fanatics assassinated her husband, Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt.

These zealots falsely believed that the peace, which President Carter forged between Israel and Egypt two years earlier, would die with Sadat. They were wrong.

Dr. Jehan Sadat was born into a moderately wealthy family with an Egyptian father and an English mother. Although raised as a Muslim, she attended parochial schools, not madrashas. After the death of Anwar, she became a Senior Fellow with the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland.

My Hope for Peace
is a very personal story that takes the reader through the events leading up to and beyond her husband’s death.

In addition, Sadat reveals the déjà-vu feelings she experienced on September 11, 2001. This leads her first to explore some of the fallacies about Islam, and later, to clarify misconceptions about Islam as they apply particularly to women. She also describes her view of the history of the Middle East from the establishment of the State of Israel by the United Nations to the present day. A major part of the book covers the Camp David Accords. Because of her role as First Lady of Egypt, we experience its proceedings and the aftermath from a unique vantage point. Finally, in a chapter that stands alone, entitled Sadat’s (meaning Anwar Sadat’s) Principles, Jehan Sadat reveals her road map for peace.

There are 1.2 billion Muslims and 1.3 billion Christians. Undoubtedly, Muslims know more about Christianity than vice versa since western TV is regularly broadcast into Muslim countries. Americans rarely get to see Muslims on TV, except in the role as enemies of the state. To help clear up any distortions about the inner core of Islam, Sadat informs the reader that Islam is not monolithic; there is no grand plan to exterminate the Western World. Additionally, Islam neither incites terrorism, nor violence in the name of faith, and Islam is not opposed to democracy. Sadat also clears misconceptions about Islam with regard to its beliefs about women and education, marriage, divorce, polygamy, and inheritance.

For the most part, Jehan Sadat provides the reader with an idealized version of Islam. Important Muslims leaders do call for a jihad against the west, foment terrorism, and oppose democratic governments. While there is no single speaker for the Muslims, Islamic chiefs do issue fatwas, but none have been decreed for bin Laden, or other anti-western Muslims known to have blood-on-their hands. With respect to women in the Muslim world, it is hard to justify Sadat’s statement that, “According to Islam, the woman always has the right of final approval of the man she will wed,” when during Easter week 2009, a Saudi judge upheld the marriage of an eight-year old Saudi Arabian girl to a 47-year old man.

From a news article printed in the Washington Post on January 19, 2008, we learn that a 25-year old Egyptian wife with a four-year old son got a text message from her husband divorcing her because she refused to continue an argument with him. He simply sent the text, “Inti talaq"—"You are divorced"—three times, and their marriage is now over.

Sadat cannot be condemned for presenting this idyllic version of Islam. After all, Christianity is the religion of love, but child molesting priests are hidden by the church, and God fearing Christians do murder. Americans pledge that the country gives “liberty and justice for all.” Yet, there are many, both here and abroad, who assert this is not so.

In My Hope for Peace, Jehan turns Anwar Sadat into the equivalent of a Christian saint and Menachem Begin, the co-author of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, into the devil. We expect that of a supportive mate. But she also has an advantage, because Begin’s wife, Aliza, died in November 1982. What might Aliza have written of Anwar Sadat and the nascent peace-accord era from her vantage point? It is also unfortunate that Jehan Sadat often quotes former President

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Carter and cites UN Resolution 242 to support her arguments for a Palestinian State. Many view Carter as anti-Semitic, and note that the Arabs violate UN resolutions when it suits them, particularly by going to war in violation of the UN’s partitioning of Palestine in 1947.  

Sadat also falls back on the assertion that the UN created Israel as a result of the Holocaust, and the Arabs had no involvement with that. David Pryce-Jones, among many other historians, recounts the deep involvement of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem and leader of the Palestinian Arabs during World War II. al-Husseini turned the Palestinian cause into a local branch of Hitler's worldwide anti-Jewish persecution, and spent the war in Berlin. Moreover, two Stuttgart-based historians, Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cüppers, showed that Hitler had worked out plans to extend the Holocaust to the Middle East, and that the Nazis had forged an alliance with Arab nationalists who wanted to drive the Jewish refugees out of Palestine. And certainly, it was the British army, not an Arab army that drove Rommel out of North Africa.

Jehan Sadat’s roadmap to peace presents only ill-defined platitudes, which include: accepting that in general people prefer peace to war, realism trumps political ideology, and have faith. The last three decades of hostilities have demonstrated these assertions are not self-evident.

Despite these drawbacks, Jehan Sadat shares with the reader her personal journey from childhood to First Lady of Egypt to college professor and sought after world speaker. It’s a trip that will evoke varied emotions from the reader, and it’s a journey worthy of one’s time.

Reiss is an author as well as a retired public and Hebrew school teacher and administrator. His latest book, Reclaiming the Messiah was published in December 2008. He can be reached through his web site, www.fredreissbooks.com

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STAMP ACT—Jessica John, Jack Missett, John DeCarlo, Sandy Campbell contend for philatelic rarity in Mauritius. Daren Scott photo

Mauritius gets a philatelist's big stamp of approval

By Carol Davis

SAN DIEGO--The Cygnet Theatre Company in the Rolando neighborhood of San Diego, living up to its reputation for theatre excellence, does not disappoint with its latest offering, Theresa Rebeck’s good old-fashioned noir mystery Mauritius. Thanks to the excellent direction of Francis Gercke, the subtle lighting tones of Eric Lotze design, Sean Fanning’s clever set design allowing two completely different locations to be easily rolled in and out and a strong and capable cast we the audience are presented with a hilarious ninety-minute evening of fun and mystery for the soul.

Two sisters with a valuable stamp collection to sell or not and three seedy, underbelly, minor hoods are on a collision course that’s about to come crashing down around them when none of the participants can agree on who if anyone has the rights to sell the goods, get the money or just disappear. What to do, what to do?

It’s ironic that just recently an article in the paper (yes, hard copy paper) announced that the price of stamps would be going up again and suggested that we now opt out for the Forever stamps which, until you run out, will be $.42. After that a first class stamp will go up by 2 cents. Not such a big deal when you have been paying 42 cents but remember the 2-cent stamp? When was that? Well, if you happen to have a few of those in mint condition, no water marks, etc., who knows. But for those who are serious stamp collectors or indulge in the art of philately it’s no laughing matter. The bigger the gaffe, the bigger the take.

Rebeck is a graduate of Brandeis University earning her MA. MFA, and Ph.D. in Victorian era melodrama. Her 2007 Mauritius opened on Broadway at the Biltmore Theatre in a Manhattan Theatre Club Production. She has written for L.A. Law and Law and Order: Criminal Intent and her produced feature film screenplays include Harriet the Spy. I’d venture she likes a good mystery. Mauritius is making its San Diego premiere and it’s as good a spy spoof as any I’ve seen lately, at that.

Mauritius, an island nation off the coast of the African Continent in the southwestern Indian Ocean and home to the legendary dodo bird, is more famous for the ‘one and two cent’ 1847 Mauritius (then part of the British Empire) stamps than its sandy beaches. According to stamp collectors, because the printer etched “post office” rather than “post paid” on the finished product, it is a heavily coveted treasure.  Some stamp collectors consider stamps with this printed error ‘the crown jewels of philately’,

Minting errors in both numismatic and philatelists orbs are what serious collectors look for when debating their worth. To the untrained eye, a stamp collection is just that, a scrapbook book of stamps. And, if you need money, why not sell it for what it’s worth? Would that it were that easy for this group.

It seems that when Jackie (Jessica John) and her estranged half sister Mary (Sandy Campbell) meet up at their family home to settle their mother’s estate, which according to Jackie needs a cash infusion ASAP, she takes a rare and ancient stamp collection, bequeathed to her by her mother to a ‘reputable stamp expert’ to see how much money she can get for it. Not so fast hits back Mary. The collection belonged to her grandfather and no way is it going to be broken up or sold. It should go to a museum for its historical value, she counters. After all FDR also wanted it.

Here’ where we meet Philip (Jack Missett) the proprietor of a run down, dreary basement office (Matt Lescault-Wood’s sound design puts the sounds of trains clacking past) intently leafing through a stamp magazine, Dennis (John DeCarlo) a two bit, fast talking punk just hanging out gathering information and soon thereafter, Sterling (Manny Fernandes) a strong armed bully who thinks he’s a serious stamp collector. He just about has an orgasm when he sees the one and two-penny stamp shown to him by Dennis. It’s one of the many of Fernandes’ funniest and brilliant scenes. He is ready and willing to pay for the collection, whatever it takes.

These three characters have a history together, and not a good one at that. It seems Philip and Sterling had long ago bad blood between them and nothing, not even time, can erase that memory. Jackie a wide eyed, bushy tailed, naïve and off the wall innocent, or so they think, walks into this hornets' nest of intrigue and mystery fit for a queen hugging her stamp collection to her breast as if it were her last precious commodity, as indeed it was. She wants to sell the collection. Helloooo! Is anyone listening? 

All hell breaks loose when sister turns against sister regarding some unmentioned family drama including the stamps and when sinister turns against even more sinister when the stakes are high enough and when sides are taken and necks and bodies are almost broken, and when one gangster’s word should be as good as the money in the suitcase.  Rebeck's fast paced mystery melodrama of words and promises not kept is just one big cleverly organized free for all.

One can’t praise the overall production without giving credit to this incredibly talented and on the corner of the envelope (ooops!) cast. Jessica John is on the top of her game as the somewhat imperfect, street smart, yet vulnerable Jackie who just wants what she claims to be hers. Pitted against her is her cold, mean spirited and calculating step sister Mary who, according to all, left home and Jackie to care for their ailing mother.

Campbell’s Mary has a quirkiness all of her own but it’s hard to figure out the Mary character given what we don’t know about her. Her perseverance and behind the scenes scheming pays off, but not without consequences for all of them. The two are so diametrically opposite that it’s no wonder they can’t even be in the same room together without fighting.

Fernandes, winner of 2008 SD Theatre Critics Circle Award for feature performance for his outstanding appearance in NVA production of Clifford Odet’s Golden Boy, is like a chameleon. Big and burly looking, he commands attention at just a glance. .

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In a 2007 production of John Patrick Shanley’s imaginative Sailor Song at NVA, he was the romantic and lonesome sailor who woos two strangers with his light footed easy and dreamy waltzing much to the surprise of all watching.

However, as Sterling, his head is completely shaved, he’s sporting a goatee and mustache, the only smile you see is cynical and menacing and every muscle ripples under his jacket. That’s a scary dude.  But when, in a fit of rage, he lifts John’s Jackie off the floor with one grip and DeCarlo’s Dennis with the other, that’s brute strength, and I’d run from it. What classic acting that is! (Credit George Yé’s as the fight choreographer for some realistic looking nose breaking fights.)

Missett, often underrated, is the perfect Philip. Not only is he seedy looking (credit Jessica John for the appropriate looking costumes), greasy, wishy/washy and cunning, but casts just enough doubt to not want to trust him or his knowledge of stamps. His performance is most convincing. Watching DeCarlo, I couldn’t help but think I was watching a clone of director Gercke. Every mannerism, body movement, facial expression and deliberate speech patterns resemble the director's. It worked. DeCarlo’s Dennis is smooth talking mumbo jumbo personified. Whatever it took for him to make the deal, he did and then some.

This is one fine production that I give a must see recommendation to. Mauritius plays through May 10th at the Cygnet Theatre’s Rolando location 6663 El Cajon Blvd. Suite N, San Diego.

As a consummate ‘collector of things’, particularly coins and stamps, I like to call my self a dabbler not a serious collector. Over the years it has proven itself to be good small talk conversation at dinner parties, etc. My MO is to collect just enough interesting matter to matter but not enough to invest a fortune. Some day my three adult children will have to decide if any of it is worth anything. You never know.

Many years ago I got a letter with a $1.00 Bernard Revel postage stamp on it. I later read that a printing mistake had been inadvertently etched in; a Star of David could be noticed in the Rabbi’s beard. Under the magnifying glass, I found it once and haven’t looked since. I now have three of these stamps, two not cancelled and one cancelled. Anyone? http://www.mysticstamp.com/viewProducts.asp?sku=2193

See you at the theatre.

Davis's email: davisc@sandiegojewishworld.com

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That musical was really no way to treat an audience!

By Cynthia Citron

BURBANK, California—As Queen Victoria used to say, “We are not amused.” Heaven knows, we wanted to be, but there is something just a little off-putting about the musical No Way to Treat a Lady, currently having its Los Angeles premiere at The Colony Theatre in Burbank.

Too much music, maybe? Too much plot?

Originally, William Goldman’s 1964 novel was adapted for the screen and starred Lee Remick, George Segal, and a very spooky Rod Steiger. Some 23 years later it became a musical comedy that played off-Broadway, with book, music, and lyrics by Douglas J. Cohen. That’s the version that’s playing at the Colony. After an off-Broadway revival in 1996, however, the show was relegated to regional theater status and hasn’t been seen very much since. Cats it isn’t.

No Way to Treat a Lady
has two plots going simultaneously. The first involves a schnooky Jewish police detective who still lives with his mother in their New York apartment. Kevin Symons is an appealing schnook named Moe Brummel who comes to investigate a mysterious murder and immediately falls in love with one of the victim’s neighbors, a sexy lady named Sarah Stone (Erica Piccininni). (In the movie, the heroine was named Kate Palmer and part of the plot revolved around the fact that she wasn’t Jewish. So why in this production have they changed her name to Sarah Stone?)

The other plot deals with a serial killer named Christopher Gill (Jack Noseworthy) who, like Moe, has a mother fixation. His mother, who recently died, was a huge theater megastar, while Christopher is a would-be actor who can’t get a callback. So he launches his killing spree by donning various disguises and accents to gain entry to the apartments of older women and strangling them. His goal is to have his exploits covered by the New York Times. That’ll show his mother, right?

While Noseworthy has a strong voice and does a good job with his various disguises, there is something not very funny about the repetitive murders and the cavalier, remorseless way he deals with his victims. Piccininni, too, has a lovely voice, but she is not terribly convincing as Moe’s ladylove and there is not a whole lot of heat generated by their relationship.

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The fourth member of the cast is Heather Lee, who plays all the murder victims, plus Moe’s Jewish mother (sample of her guilt shtick: berating Moe for some infraction with a reproachful, “Eighteen hours! Eighteen hours I spent in labor…”) and the ghost of Christopher’s mother, who, in her venomous way is just as emotionally destructive as Moe’s mother is. Heather Lee changes costumes and personas as readily as the killer does, but she isn’t as good at it as he. Her various accents are mostly unintelligible, and she delivers her lines in a pitch so shrill as to set dogs barking for miles around.

Perhaps the fact that there are two directors credited for this production, West Hyler and Shelley Butler, explains the unevenness of the performances. And Sibyl Wickersheimer doesn’t help much with the tacky set design. The really weird collection of furniture doesn’t tell you anything about the people who live there, and the way the stage is divided into its various components is awkward and unattractive. The only interesting part is the corner occupied by the killer, a room filled with costume changes and a stage mirror surrounded by lights. And the lighting design by Jeremy Pivnick, which dramatically highlights the action.

The music is good, if sometimes a bit too operatic for the plotline, and it, too, like the plot, is overly repetitive.

Unfortunately, and sad to say, Queen Victoria got this one right.

No Way to Treat a Lady will continue at The Colony Theatre, 555 North Third Street, in Burbank Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 and 7 through May 17th. There are also additional performances during the run, so call 818-558-7000 ext. 15 for more information and reservations.

Note: If you have friends who enjoy the theater, please feel free to suggest that they subscribe to my email theater reviews. If they send me their names and email addresses they'll get my reviews just as soon as I write them. It's fun, and it's FREE!

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The Bible in Pop Culture: Benjamin, son of Jacob & Rachel

For our growing "Pop Bible" collection please see Jewish Pop Culture Bible index

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Genesis 35:18 And it came to pass as her (Rachel's) soul was departing—for she died—that she called his name Ben Oni, but his father called him Benjamin.

The Benjamin branch of the San Diego Public library was named for a generous benefactor, Edwin A. Benjamin, whose surname can be traced back to the book of Genesis--and to the second son of Jacob and Rachel. The photo at the left was taken April 18, 2009 in the Allied Gardens area of San Diego by Donald H. Harrison

Please send your jpg photo for posting to
editor@sandiegojewishheritage.com. If possible, please send it at 72dpi resolution and 400 pixels wide. Please include the name of the photographer, the date and place the photo was taken, and any other relevant caption information.


The Co-Publishers' Mailbox... Notes from advertisers and others
Send us your e-items at editor@sandiegojewishworld.com

Flap over Starbucks in Middle East continues to rage on Internet

Hillel Mazansky of San Diego forwarded to us the video below in which an Egyptian commentator urges an Islamic boycott of Starbucks, saying that the crowned woman on the logo represents Queen Esther, queen of the Jews. Here is a link to the Starbucks website in which the company says the logo is supposed to represent a mermaid, or siren, and that "Starbucks" was named for the first mate in Herman Melville's "Moby Dick." The company also says that it no longer does business in Israel because of "operational challenges" it encountered there.

Candye Kane marks cancer
operation first anniversary

PARIS, France—San Diego-based singer/ entertainer Candye Kane, a member of the Jewish community, notes that on April 18 she marked her first anniversary after surgery for pancreatic cancer.

"I really am amazed that I am still here, alive and actually performing ... at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Club here in Paris!! What an incredible year it has been," she wrote in an email.

"When I think back to how fragile and sick I was the first few weeks after the Whipple procedure for my pancreatic cancer, I am really astounded to be feeling as strong and healthy as I am today. I feel that I have been given a second chance at life and want to use every opportunity to inspire others to fight their own challenges and stay strong..."

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Sandi Masori shares secrets
of balloon raccoons

SAN DIEGO--Balloon artist Sandi Masori has released a pair of videos demonstrating how you can make a balloon raccoon to liven up your party. Imagine what the characters Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton of the old television Jackie Gleason Show could have done with this!

please visit nancy.harrison@americasvacationcenter.com



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

Society –Personals {Part 2}
Southwestern Jewish Press January 23, 1953, page 3

Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Garber extend their most sincere thanks to their friends for the kindnesses shown them during Mr. Garber’s recent illness.  Mr. Garber has returned home and is anxious to have his friends call.

Mr. and Mrs. Saul Chenkin have had as their guests Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Kreinberg (Maxine Chenkin) and their children, Faye and Martin.  Sidney has returned to Cleveland, but Maxine and the children expect to remain for two more weeks.

Sonia (Chenkin) Goodman and Maxine were hostesses at a luncheon for the Jolly-16 at the former’s new home.

We wish to apologize to Miss Lynn Jacobs for not mentioning in our last issue the fact that she shared with Nancy Lustig the responsibility of raising the money for the two hospitalized children.

It has been brought to our attention that the re-decorating at the Balboa Hairdressers has gone beyond just the walls and furnishings—most of the operators are sporting new and shorter hairdos.

To Model for Council

Shown above are, left to right, Mrs. Burton Miller, Miss Nancy Weitzen and Mrs. Richard Gerding.

Spring Preview of fashions, a Valentine motive to capture your hearts desire, is the program planned by Mrs. Milton Roberts program chairman, which will be held Tuesday, February 3rd at twelve noon at Temple Beth Israel. 

Luncheon chairman is Mrs. D. Ferrer assisted by Mrs. R. Spiegel, decorations chairman, and hostess for this lovely affair are Mrs. Harris Rubel and Mrs. Sam Sklar.

Members of the council will model, some of them are Mrs. Gerding, Mrs. S. Chenkin, Mrs. D. Miller, Mrs. N. Benson, Mrs. H. Ross and Mrs. Harris Rubel.

Serving on the fashion show committee with Mrs. Roberts are Mrs. N. Benson, Mrs. H. Kaufman, Mrs. D. Coleman, Mrs. Irv. Alexander, Mrs. M. Rosenbaum, Mrs. Wm. B. Schwartz, and Mrs. D. Jaffee who is fashion commentator.  Reservations may be made by calling Mrs. H. Sugarman, R-5146 and Mrs. Wm. B. Schwartz, H.6-5495.

Southwestern Jewish Press January 23, 1953, page 3

Dr. and Mrs. Milton Schwartz announce the birth of their second child, a daughter, Stephanie Ann on January 15th and weighing 7lbs. 13 oz.,  Welcoming the young lady to the nursery is 20 month old Nancy Jane.

The pleased grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Bass and Mr. and Mrs. William B. Schwartz.

Dr. and Mrs. Richard Disraeli announce the birth of their second child, a son, Donald Jay, on January 15.  Pleased over the new arrival is big sister, 3 year old Janet.
Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Leo Greenbaum and Mrs. Grace Disraeli of Los Angeles.

Mr. & Mrs. Irving Goldberg announce the birth of their first child, a son, Alan Martin on January 3rd.
Young Alan Martin is the first grandchild of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Goldberg.

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Southwestern Jewish Press January 23, 1953, page 3

25th—Samuel  I. Fox Installation and Dinner. Beth Jacob Center—5:00 p.m
1st—Pioneer Women, Negba Club Arbor Day Dinner—Beth Jacob Center—6:30 p.m.
1st—Fiesta Club Bingo Party—J.C.C.—8:00 p.m.
4th—B’nai B’rith Leadership Class—Educational Center—7:30 p.m.
5th—Junior Charity League—Annual Valentine Luncheon and Card Party—Temple Center
8th—City of Hope Annual concert—Beth Jacob Center—8:00p.m.
9th—Birdie Stodel B.B. — Initiation Temple Center
14th—Birdie Stodel B.B. — 24th Anniversary    
15th—Fiesta club Valentine Part y
22nd—Pioneer Women Queen Esther Hall
24th—Beth Jacob sisterhood Membership Round Up—Beth Jacob Center—12 noon

Linda’s Lookout
Southwestern Jewish Press January 23, 1953, page 5

By Linda Solof

Hi Gang!—Here’s the latest news!

Janice Tappen had a terrific birthday Party.  The gals ‘n guys who attended played games, danced and had yummy refreshments.  Happy Birthday, Janice!

“Surprise!” Shouted Bobby Glickman ‘n Burt Sharpe, Donna Godes ‘n Bernie Sosna, Deanne Brown ‘n Warren Clouco, Carole Fischer ‘n Shearn Platt, Linda Solof ‘n Aaron Kolkey, Esther Lustig ‘n Don Goldman and Beverly Addleson (Dick’s date) to Dick Godes.  The kids helped Dick celebrate his birthday with dancing, eats and fun.  Happy birthday, Dick!

Another birthday party that was really tops was for Bernard Schertzer.  The group included Sonyia Weitzman, Janice Tappan, Linda Zuckerman, Susan Solof, Stephen Gordon, David Roisman, Larry Prager, Jerry Mendell, and Richard Bart.  Everyone had a fabulous time dancing and eating luscious refreshments.  Happy birthday, Bernard!

Janice Gordon celebrated her birthday with a luncheon and movies for a small group of friends.  Many happy returns of the day Janice.

Y.Y.L. “Show Time” proved to be a success!  The T.Y.L.ers (who were payed up) saw a free show and went to Joyce Addleson’s home afterwards for refreshments.

Congrats!—To Harvey Levitt who was elected Boys Federation President, to Susan Levy elected Sophomore Vice-President, to Linda Solof Elected Senior Treasurer at San Diego High School; to Nelson Olf elected Student Body President at Point Loma High School; to Paul Kaufman who placed third in the speech Student’s Congress.  We’re proud of all of you!

Do you like snow?  Here’s a chance to spend an entire week-end in the mountains!  The Y.P.L. is offering this mountain vacation (well chaperoned) and it sounds colossal.  For more details get in touch with President Cecille Oglesby.

So long—G.5-0679.

B.B. Invites Participants
to Leadership Class

Southwestern Jewish Press January 23, 1953, page 5

Wednesday, Feb. 4th, at 7:30 p.m., to 9:30 p.m. and for the next seven Wednesday evenings, all of B’nai B’rith Bay City Chapter, Birdie Stodel Chapter, Lasker Lodge, and Samuel I. Fox Lodge invite all members of B’nai B’rith and the community at large to participate in leadership Education classes to be held at the new Educational Center, Normal and El Cajon Blvd.  Dr. Samuel Carlson, Clinical Psychologist at the Naval Training Center will have as his topic the following Wednesday evening, February 11th, “Group Organization and Participation.”

This is an opportunity that comes rarely and everyone should take advantage of the free instruction class, and Round Table Discussion.

“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.


Jewish Internet Favorites ...
featuring notable Jewish community members*
Visit our Jewish Internet Favorites index to find links to other videos

Fenella Fielding makes guest appearance on Morecambe & Wise comedy show

Actor Jerry Douglas of "Young and the Restless" shows he can sing too.

Joan Collins as the diabolical Alexis in "Dynasty."

Marty Feldman brings his pet monster to the veterinarian

We include those with at least one Jewish parent and those who have converted to Judaism as Jewish community members,

Today's Dedication Today's issue is dedicated with happy birthday wishes to Shor Masori.

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