Volume 3, Number 99
"There's a Jewish story everywhere"

Today's Postings:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

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

San Diego's Jewish community honors Israel's fallen ... by Gerry Greber in La Jolla, California
Two large banners affixed to the curtains in the multipurpose room of Congregation Beth El proclaimed “Remembrance Day for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers” and “We Will Remember Them All.” READ MORE

San Diego bikers reach Jerusalem for Yom HaZikaron ... by Ulla Hadar in Jerusalem
The group of bikers of the BikeIsrael2009 resumed their ride to Sha’ar Hanegev on Monday at the Holon Junction situated in the Southern outskirts of Tel Aviv. From there the bikers set out for the climb to Jerusalem.READ MORE

The untimely death of a B'nai B'rith Lodge in Jerusalem .. by Dorothea Shefer-Vanson in Jerusalem
The demise of an institution is almost as sad as the death of a person. This is what I felt when I attended the meeting of Bnai Brith’s English-speaking Albert Einstein Lodge in Jerusalem on a cold night in December.READ MORE

Columbine Massacre anniversary and Yom Hashoah came within the same week: the importance of reflection ... by Marsha Sutton in San Diego
It was a day the world as we knew it ended. Schools would never be the same. The psychic scars on America would be irreversible. No parents were unaffected by the unimaginable horror. And children in school at the time will forever remember the day it happened. READ MORE

Debating President Obama's first 100 days

NJDC leader praises President Obama’s First 100 Days ... by Marc R. Stanley in Washington, D.C.
During his first 100 days in office, the American Jewish community has already taken great pleasure with the performance of President Barack Obama.

RJC leader says Obama's 100 days 'cause for concern'... by Matthew Brooks in Washington, D.C.
While Americans examine the first hundred days of the Obama administration, it is important to make a candid assessment of the President's actions so far. These first months are widely considered an indicator of the policies the President will pursue in the years to come. So what have we seen in the first 100 days of this presidency?

A song of belief sung by Jews en route to being murdered ...by Cantor Sheldon Merel in San Diego
In honor of Yom HaShoah earlier this month,   I selected Cantor Mark Childs' rendition of "Ani  Ma-a-min," a folk song arranged by Israel Alter based on Maimonides 12th of his 13 Principles of Faith. READ AND HEAR


Harrison's dots and dashes .-.-.-.READ MORE

Hearing scheduled on 'swine' flu READ MORE

Sing? Dance? Lyric Opera to Hold Anything Goes auditions READ MORE

Durban II derided by WJC as a 'useless' expenditure of energy READ MORE

February 6, 1953; Southwestern Jewish Press

Tifereth Israel Sisterhood READ MORE
B. B.’s to Celebrate Brotherhood Week READ MORE
Weinberger Memorial To Be Dedicated READ MORE
Young Couples Invited READ MORE
Camp Whispering Pines Opens For Registration READ MORE
Race Relations Group READ MORE
Historic Ad-Camp Whispering Pines READ MORE
Historic Ad- Herb Seltzer, City Chevrolet

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We continue our examination of Jewish entertainers

Jerry Orbach tribute from cast members of 'Law and Order' VIEW VIDEO

Joan Rivers cashes in on her face lifts for Geico VIEW VIDEO

Leonard Nimoy as "Spock" in promo for 2009 Star Trek movie VIEW VIDEO

Ron Rifkin as Saul in "Brothers and Sisters" VIEW VIDEO


Dorothea Shefer-Vanson's report from Jerusalem in today's issue about the death of a B'nai B'rith Lodge, while local, reflects the worldwide decline of that once important organization. Readers of our "Adventures in San Diego Jewish History" column know that there were once four B'nai B'rith Lodges in San Diego--The Lasker, Samuel I. Fox, Birdie Stodel and Bay City--that were proving grounds for the Jewish leadership of our county. Whereas once people had the time, and inclination, to work for Jewish causes through volunteer groups, that tendency had diminished over the years.


America's Vacation Center
Balloon Utopia
Congregation Beth Israel
Jewish Family Service
Lawrence Family JCC
Math Is Easy
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.

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




San Diego's Jewish community honors Israel's fallen

By Gerry Greber

LA JOLLA, California—Two large banners affixed to the curtains in the multipurpose room of Congregation Beth El proclaimed “Remembrance Day for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers” and “We Will Remember Them All.”  Thus were approximately 400 individuals greeted on Sunday evening, April 26. for the commemoration of “Yom HaZikaron.” the day set aside to honor the more than 22,570 Israelis killed since the creation of Israel.

San Diego’s community observance began with a video of the streets of Israel at the exact instant that a siren is sounded to memorialize the fallen.  The video showed everyone suddenly coming to halt and standing quietly for  two minutes.  Next came  a candle lighting ceremony, honoring Amnon Ben-Yehuda and his brothers in arms who fell during the Nabi Yusha battles in 1948. Host Rabbi Philip Graubart led three traditional prayers for the dead-- Yizkor, Kaddish, and El Male Rachamim. 

A succession of speakers told about persons in their lives who had been killed in defense of Israel, or as victims of terror. These presentations were accompanied by slide shows depicting  their lives. The photographs made the presentation even more meaningful and somewhat painful, even to those of us who did not know the individuals.  Just seeing these young people enjoying life, while knowing what would befall them, was heart breaking for all.  And it showed by the heavy silence that followed each presentation.

Most of the memorialized Israelis had been soldiers who lost their lives in battle, but some had been civilians killed by rocket attacks or other acts of terror.  One of the latter was Dana Galkow (née Galkowicz), the daughter of speaker Natan Galkowicz. 

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Between eulogies there were musical interludes played on  a flute, piano, or guitar, or a combination of the three. There was also a performance by the Congregation Beth Am choir, led by Director Elisheva Edelson,  and an Israeli choir led by Director Rivi Raz.

The program concluded with the entire audience standing and singing Hatikvah.

Speakers included Yiftach Levy, Daniel Desta, Eitan Yaakobi, Natan Galkowicz, Rani Tamari, Yoel Saidian, Ruth Kelman, Soheil Zaman,  Eyal Dagan, Noa Glaser, and Noah Cadouri.

The instrumental music was provided by: Ronit Levinson-Flute, Israeli Choir-Rivi Raz Choir director; Diane Benaroya–Piano, Jacob Levy-Guitar, Congregation Beth Am Choir-Elisheva Edelson Director.  Additional vocals were by Cheri Sasson.

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San Diego bikers reach Jerusalem for Yom HaZikaron

Editor's Note: This is the sixth in a series of stories by our bureau chief (and chief bike rider) Ulla Hadar on the BikeIsrael 2009 project created by United Jewish Federation to raise money for the protection of Sha'ar Hanegev students against rocket attack. To contribute to this cause, please click on this link to a webpage of the United Jewish Federation of San Diego County.

By Ulla Hadar

JERUSALEM--The group of bikers of the BikeIsrael2009 resumed their ride to Sha’ar Hanegev on Monday at the Holon Junction situated in the Southern outskirts of Tel Aviv. From there the bikers set out for the climb to Jerusalem.

At the beginning. the ride was a straight forward one going in the direction of Lod-Ramle. This road is a busy,  important transportation route so many traffic lights had to be passed on the way. After exiting Lod-Ramle the bikers got onto a quieter road ending up at the Nahshon Junction. From that point on the road starts to ascend the foothills of Jerusalem, before arriving in the town of Beit Shemesh.

At Beit Shemesh, everything started to get more "serious,” the bike group from San Diego County ascended nine  kilometers before reaching a small grove near Nes Harim.

REST STOP—Leo Spiegel, left, of San Diego group, discusses bikes with an Israeli mechanic, David, in Nes Harim

There, I got to sit down with one of the participants to hear his motives and reasons for joining this exciting bike ride.
Leo Spiegel, 48, is  divorced and the father of two, Hunter, 18 and Maddy, 12. The family belongs to Temple Solel  in Cardiff by the sea. This congregation has a very close connection with my own  Kibbutz Ruhama situated in the Sha'ar Hanegev municipality.

Spiegel told me that he is an investor specializing in technology companies and a former president of San Diego Jewish Academy.  “Several reasons made me join this trip,” he added.”First, Jeff Davis, principal of the SDJA Upper School,  asked me to join the ride. As a representative of the school board, I found it of great importance to get as many people as possible from the board of the SDJA to participate.

“Second, I have my own philosophy of ‘How do I give back?’ For instance if I donate money to a specific cause not only will I be donating , I will give of myself as well.”

“The third reason to join the trip was because I found the group participants a fun group people to travel with. And the last reason, it is a personal challenge to drive through Israel from Metula to Sha'ar Hanegev." The San Diegan said his cycling experience started in January training with the group.

”I have a deep love for Israel and have visited the country many, many times. My dad was a Polish Holocaust survivor, who passed away when I was at the age of 15,” Spiegel said. “He had gone through 11 different concentration camps-- he was being used by the Nazis to build those camps. He experienced the killings of his parents and sister and was the only survivor of the family.

“His message to me in life was whatever I do I have to do in the best way, and climbing this unbelievable ascent towards Jerusalem-- that’s what I did, the best way possible."
The cyclist noted that he had previously visited Sha'ar Hanegev several times.

"Love the people, the desert and it the beautiful region,” he added.  “Actually I personally think it is a tragedy that the High School has not been built to be rocket proof a long time ago.  Our key issue is to do anything we can to help. My hope is that together with us, Israelis that are able to help will see what we are doing and join in this effort to get the High School built."

We finished talking  when it was time for the participants to mount their bikes and start  riding on the road that wound  up and down— but mostly up—to  the little town of Ein Kerem.

Since it was the evening of Yom Hazikaron, all places of entertainment in Jerusalem were closed.  Yom Hazikaron

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GETTING STARTED—Bikes an supplies are unloaded from a truck at the Holon Junction on Tel Aviv's southern outskirts for the BikeIsrael2009 group from San Diego.

-Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day— is an Israeli national holiday.

Yom Hazikaron is observed on the 4th day of the month of Iyar of the Hebrew calendar, always preceding the next day's celebrations of Israel Independence Day, Yom Ha-Atzma'ut, on the 5th day of Iyar, the anniversary of the Proclamation of the State of Israel in 1948. Both holidays may be observed one day or two earlier (the 3rd and 4th, or the 2nd and 3rd, of Iyar) if either the 4th or the 5th happens to occur on a Saturday, the Shabbat. Similarly, both days are moved one day later if Yom Hazikaron would fall on a Sunday.

This holiday honors veterans and fallen military personnel of the Israel Defense Forces and other Israeli security services who died in the modern Arab Israeli conflict, as well as fallen members of the Jewish Brigade, and of the various paramilitary organization of the Yishuv, such as the Haganah and Irgun, who died before the establishment of Israel (starting from 1860, when Mishkenot Sha'ananim, the first modern Jewish settlement outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, was built).

Yom Hazikaron also commemorates civilians murdered by acts of terrorism. As of Yom Hazikaron 2008, Israel honors the memory of 22,437 people who were killed in the line of duty (including non combat related deaths during military service), an addition of 132 since 2007, and 1,635 civilian terror victims.

The day includes many national ceremonies for fallen soldiers in which senior public officials and military officers are present. The day opens the preceding evening at 20:00 (8:00 pm), given that in the Hebrew calendar system days begin at sunset, with a one-minute siren during which most Israelis stand in silence, commemorating the fallen and showing respect. Many national-religious (religious-Zionist) Jews say prayers for the souls of the fallen soldiers at this time as well. The official ceremony to mark the opening of the day takes place at the Western Wall, at which time the flag of Israel is lowered to half staff.

A two-minute siren is heard the following morning, at 11:00, which marks the opening of the official memorial ceremonies and private remembrance gathering which are held at each cemetery where soldiers are buried.

This is the prayer that is read at the ceremonies all over the country. First in Hebrew and then in English.
יִזְכֹּר עַם יִשׂרָאֵל אֶת בָּנָיו וּבְנוֹתָיו
הַנֶּאֱמָנִים וְהָאַמִּיצִים, אֲשֶׁר חֵרְפוּ נַפְשָׁם

בָּמִלְחָמָה עַל תְּקוּמַת יִשְׂרָאֵל

יִזְכֹּר יִשׂרָאֵל וְיִתְבָּרַך בְּזַרְעוֹ וְיֶאֱבַל עַל זִיו הָעֲלוּמִים
וְחֶמְדַת הַגְּבוּרָה וּקְדֻשָׁת הָרָצוֹן וּמְסִירוּת הַנֶּפֶש

אֲשֶׁר נִסְפּוּ בַּמַּעֲרָכָה הַכְּבֵדָה

יִהְיוּ חַ‏ללֵי מַעַ‏רְכוֹת‏‏‏ יִשְֹרָאֵל עֲטוּרֵי הַנִּצָּחוֹן
חֲתוּמִים בְּלֵב יִשְֹרָאֵל לְדוֹר דּוֹר

May God remember the valiant men and women who
braved mortal danger in the struggle prior to the
establishment of the State of Israel and the soldiers who fell in
the wars of Israel.
May the people of Israel cherish them in their memory; let
them mourn the splendor of youth, the altruism of valor, the
dedication of will and the dignity of self-sacrifice which came to
an end on the battlefield.
May the loyal and courageous heroes of freedom and
victory be sealed forever within the hearts of all Israel, in
this generation and forevermore.

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The untimely death of a B'nai B'rith Lodge in Jerusalem

By Dorothea Shefer-Vanson

JERUSALEM--The demise of an institution is almost as sad as the death of a person. This is what I felt when I attended the meeting of Bnai Brith’s English-speaking Albert Einstein Lodge in Jerusalem on a cold night in December.

A handful of mainly elderly people gathered in the Bnai Brith building to attend the lodge’s ‘special annual general meeting,’ which was in fact its final and closing meeting. Cognisant of my late father’s close association with the lodge, the current committee kindly invited me to attend. The invitation was accompanied by the agenda for the meeting, the last item being the resolution ‘to continue and finalize the process of voluntary liquidation of the Amuta (nonprofit association).’

The letter brought back memories of the days and nights my father had spent as a member, and later President, of the Lodge, dealing with its day-to-day running, recruiting new members, persuading existing members to join committees, and generally making it his life’s work after he and my mother moved to Israel in the 1980s.

My father once told me that his parents and grandparents had been members of Bnai Brith in Hamburg, so I imagine that he was eager to continue the family association. Consequently, when my parents moved to Jerusalem and my sister’s father-in-law, the late Rabbi Joseph Rosenfeld, invited them to join the lodge, they did so willingly. They were immediately taken into its warm bosom, acquiring many ‘brothers and sisters’ and making many close friendships.

The Bnai Brith organization in Israel fulfills many functions. It extends financial and practical aid to needy groups and individuals, it provides a social and intellectual framework for its members, and it also acts as a channel whereby newcomers to Israel can be helped to integrate. As is the practice in Bnai Brith worldwide, each lodge is more or less independent when it comes to arranging meetings, lectures and social activities. Annual dues are paid to the head office in Tel Aviv, and these are used to cover the various overheads.

The membership of the lodges for German-speaking members, which were established throughout Israel when immigrants from Central Europe first came to the country, is rapidly ageing and contracting, yet several continue to exist. The need for an English-speaking lodge in Jerusalem would seem to be as acute today as ever considering the large number of English-speaking newcomers to Israel.

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But the incumbent leaders despaired of finding younger successors to take over the various committees, and decided to close the Albert Einstein lodge. The process was not an easy one. Because the lodge was registered as a nonprofit association it was subject to the supervision of a government-appointed regulatory body. The process involved extensive paperwork, which was attended to with characteristic thoroughness by one of the outgoing committee members.

When it came to the crunch, however, and the assembled members were called upon to vote on the closure, a knight in shining armour in the form of Rabbi Raymond Apple stepped forward. He objected to the procedure, and suggested that what was to be closed was the nonprofit association but not the lodge itself. He put forward his proposal for a series of meetings and guest lectures, encountering only mild resistance from the other members. His was the only voice of hope that evening. While my sister and I expressed our readiness to help in this new endeavour, to date no one has approached us about this.

So it would seem that what was once tantamount to a second home in Jerusalem for many English-speaking immigrants has finally closed its doors.

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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NJDC leader praises President Obama’s First 100 Days

By Marc R. Stanley

Chairman, National Jewish Democratic Council

WASHINGTON, D.C.—During his first 100 days in office, the American Jewish community has already taken great pleasure with the performance of President Barack Obama. He has begun to develop a deep and substantive relationship
with the Jewish community by, among other things, hosting the first presidential Seder, creating strong outreach with our community, and working on key domestic and international issues of interest to American Jews.

Impressively, in less than three and a half months,
the Obama administration has already made marked progress with progressive policies that are important to our community: the economy, Israel, the Middle East, reproductive rights, renewable energy, and stem cell research.

The aforementioned Seder caused quite a buzz in our community. Not only was it the first presidential Seder in our nation’s history, but it has become symbolic of the intimate and deep relationship our president has with our community (I must have received 50 photos of the Seder from friends and family). Not only has the President embraced one of our most important rituals, he has comforted us as a community by including in his administration individuals with whom we
have long-standing, close relationships. Obama has put together a dream team of excellent advisors and appointments, several of whom are members of our faith.

As a community, we are grateful that the President has spoken out loudly against hate and intolerance. Last week, President Obama spoke at the Holocaust Days of Remembrance ceremony at the U.S. Capitol andcalled on Americans to “contemplate the obligations of the living” and fight against “those who insist the Holocaust never happened, who
perpetrate every form of intolerance.”

Earlier this month, under his direction, the U.S. boycotted a vehemently anti-Israel United Nation’s conference on racism (Durban II).

Being a leader in the Jewish community during the Obama administration means more than just being invited to Hanukkah parties and events at the White House. Thus far, the Obama administration has made a concerted effort to communicate with and involve our community in major policy decisions. For example, the administration briefed Jewish community leaders

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on regular high-level conference calls during the formulation of policy toward Durban II.

Before then, the administration invited community leaders to participate in a hour-long conference call with George Mitchell, U.S. special envoy to the Middle East. The conversation was substantive, candid and meaningful. Thoseon the call were impressed by both Mitchell’s grasp of the issues and his attentiveness to the participants’ questions.

In these first 100 days, the most senior members of this
administration not only reached out to the Jewish community, they listened. Although Obama’s critics continue to search for ways toprove that he is anti-Israel, their message lacks substance and has very little resonance within the wider Jewish community.

Of critical importance to us, Obama’s foreign policy has immeasurablyimproved America’s image abroad. Both his foreign and his domestic policy objectives make Israel and the U.S. more secure. The President’s policies moving America toward renewable energy and off Middle East oil have already begun to be implemented. These priorities, as well as those whom Obama has appointed to serve in his administration, subscribe to strategies that give the utmost importance to Israel’s peace and security.

On the domestic front, Obama has acted swiftly on critical issues and has revised some of President George W. Bush’s damaged policies. Onthe economy, the President has shown bold leadership to lead America’s economy out of this crisis and will create or save millions of American jobs, provide tax relief, and invest in our long-term economic security. Obama also ensured that we will not fall behind other leading countries in important areas of research and development
by lifting the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell
research. Exploring this burgeoning field will ensure that the U.S. is expanding its scientific frontier and provide Americans with the mostadvanced medical treatments.

As with stem cells, the President chose good policy over partisanpolitics when he struck down the infamous Global Gag rule, whichprohibited U.S. money from funding international family-planningclinics. This provided life saving health services to women and alsoprovided counseling or referrals about abortion services. And finally, after many years of politicization at the FDA, Obama isputting science over blind ideology, including allowing Plan B, the morning after pill, to be available without a prescription to women 17 and older.

We should not overstate the importance of Obama’s first 100 days.

There are, after all, over 1,300 days left in the President’s first
term. However, we are happy to say that the first 15 weeks of hispresidency have made us proud and have fulfilled his promise of much needed change for our country.

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RJC leader says Obama's 100 days 'cause for concern'

By Matthew Brooks

Executive Director, Republican Jewish Coalition

WASHINGTON, D.C.—While Americans examine the first hundred days of the Obama administration, it is important to make a candid assessment of the President's actions so far. These first months are widely considered an indicator of the policies the President will pursue in the years to come. So what have we seen in the first 100 days of this presidency?
Iran continues to work feverishly to acquire nuclear weapons, while the U.S. continues to pursue its policy of "engagement".

North Korea launched a long-range missile. The next day, the administration announced drastic cuts in missile defense funding, including a halt to further deployment of Alaska-based interceptors designed to counter missiles from North Korea.

Our President, in a handshake seen around the world, embraced Hugo Chavez while Venezuelan Jews face virulent, government-sponsored harassment.

We have seen the President reverse the Bush administration's policy of boycotting the U.N. Human Rights Council, the body that organized the Durban II conference against racism and that continuously focuses on condemning Israel and turning a blind to the genocide in Darfur and other human rights abuses.

The Obama administration chose Charles "Chas" Freeman to be chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Freeman is a long-standing apologist for the Saudi regime, a harsh and ideological critic of Israel, and a proud subscriber to the Walt/Mearsheimer "Israel Lobby" thesis. After a public outcry against Freeman taking such a sensitive security post, including efforts by the RJC, Freeman stepped down.

Many mainstream media outlets have reported on the growing

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"tension" between the Obama administration and the new Israeli government of Bibi Netanyahu.

The administration has asked Congress to relax sanctions against the terrorist group Hamas, so that if Hamas and Fatah ever come to share power in a Palestinian unity government, the U.S. can continue to send millions of dollars there.

We have seen trillions and trillions of dollars allocated to bailouts and new government spending. The massive growth of government engendered by this spending, and the debt burden to our children and grandchildren, will haunt us for decades.

Our security agencies have been paralyzed by the double punch of released intelligence memos and vague threats to prosecute those who protected this country from harm in the previous administration.

Despite promises of "transparency" and "openness," only one of the 11 bills signed by the President so far were made available to the public for review before signing. (In fact, some of them weren't actually reviewed by members of Congress before they were whisked up to the President's desk.)

The President promised not to appoint lobbyists to his administration. He has appointed several, including former Raytheon lobbyist William J. Lynn to be deputy secretary of defense.

We have seen thousands of people across the country protest against the high taxes and unimaginable government spending proposed by this President. These "tea parties", peaceful, truly grassroots demonstrations of public opinion, were called "unhealthy" by Senior White House adviser David Axelrod.

As Americans, we all want our President and our country to succeed in tough and challenging times. However, for those who care deeply about national security, the economy, and other vital issues, these early days of the administration offer an opportunity to examine the President's priorities and intentions that should not be missed. While the President's supporters will praise his actions in the first 100 days, many of the President’s actions have been cause for concern for American Jews. A balanced and honest review is in order.




Columbine Massacre anniversary and Yom Hashoah came within the same week: the importance of reflection

By Marsha Sutton

SAN DIEGO--It was a day the world as we knew it ended. Schools would never be the same. The psychic scars on America would be irreversible. No parents were unaffected by the unimaginable horror. And children in school at the time will forever remember the day it happened.

Columbine, April 20, 1999. It was the day two deranged students at Columbine High School in Colorado planned and executed one of the most cold-blooded, brutal attacks in modern history. It’s now 10 years after the worst high school shooting in the nation, and the country still reels from the massacre.

I refuse to name the killers, who I believe would have wanted nothing more than to be remembered by name as the doers of this despicable deed.

Instead, we should pay tribute to the dead – children, ages 14 to 18, each of them somebody’s baby, shot while hiding under desks in fear, sitting on lawns, walking in hallways.

Cassie Bernall, Steve Curnow, Corey DePooter, Kelly Fleming, Matt Kechter, Daniel Mauser, Daniel Rohrbough, Rachel Scott, Isaiah Shoels, John Tomlin, Lauren Townsend, Kyle Velasquez and teacher David Sanders.

These are the names to remember – 13 ruthlessly murdered. And 24 injured, many seriously.

Google these victims who lost their lives. Read about them, hear their stories of hope and promise, understand how they died, feel the anguish of family and friends.

Painful as it is to look back and be reminded of the day, forgetting – something we all want to do at moments when life’s twists and turns become unfathomable – dishonors their memory and reduces their lives to a footnote in one of the darkest hours of our time.

People talk about the lessons of Columbine, and perhaps this is one of the most important: Carnage of this magnitude shattered the illusion that parents can protect their children from all conceivable risks. We suddenly learned that our schools can’t guarantee our children’s safety – and classmates can turn deadly.

We learned to live with the fear we tried to hide, as we watched our children head off to school each day thereafter. We began to ask more questions of our kids, to listen carefully when they shared their thoughts, to pay closer attention to their friends, to be alert to conversations during carpool times.

We learned about school psychologists, school security officers, lockdown drills and new programs that encourage students to speak to adults with anonymity.

In short, we learned a new way of life, and a way of coping with the new reality.

Protecting ourselves from constant worry became the new challenge, as we struggled to find a way to balance the need for awareness of potential dangers with freedom from paralyzing pessimism.

There were other lessons learned, by police and rescue men and women, who, in the 10 years since Columbine, changed their tactics dramatically.

Never before had police been trained to deal with indiscriminate shooting rampages where there were no hostages or demands. Standard practice, exercised at Columbine, was to carefully establish a perimeter and advance slowly on the perpetrators, rather than charge in to attack the killers and rescue victims.

But in the time that police at Columbine waited for the SWAT team to assemble, 10 of the 13 victims were murdered. Today, a more aggressive “active shooter” training procedure has replaced the more controlled approach that police had been trained to practice before and at Columbine.

Then there were the weapons, and the ease with which the young killers were able to obtain them: a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun, a 12-gauge double-barreled sawed-off shotgun, a 9-mm semi-automatic rifle, a 9-mm semi-automatic handgun, and an assortment of almost 100 different explosive devices, built from instructions off the Internet, including propane bombs, fire bombs, pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails.


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The weapons were obtained illegally, of course – but quite easily. The shootings sparked the usual calls for stricter gun control, but nothing significant came of it.

Worse yet, the National Rifle Association, under the leadership of then president Charlton Heston, displayed a remarkable lack of sensitivity when the group decided to continue with its scheduled convention in Denver – just miles from Littleton, Colorado, where the Columbine shootings had just taken place one week earlier.

There were unanswered questions about how teenage killers are created. Desensitized to violence through music and video games? Bullied repeatedly into a permanent state of rage? An abusive home life? Mentally ill from the start? Theories were debated and disputed, and offered little comfort or reassurance for parents.

Sadly, good things may have come of Columbine, but it took spilled blood to get there.

Police are now well-trained and better prepared for mass shootings. Parents are more aware of dangers to their children, of the illusion of control, and of the preciousness and fleeting quality of life.

Schools learned how to help students finger, with immunity, troubled classmates and to report sinister conversations overheard in hallways and bathrooms. Educators now practice lock-down drills, pay more attention to their students’ dark moments, offer anti-bully awareness and prevention training, and make school safety one of their top priorities.

And we all learned that the disgraceful catchphrase “from my cold, dead hands” carries more power than sensible restrictions on access to guns.

The Holocaust

One day after the 10th anniversary of the Columbine killings this week was Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, which fell on Tuesday, April 21.

On this day, we remember the six million Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. I’d list all their names if I had the space.

As the survivors of the German death camps age and their numbers dwindle, there is a sense of urgency in the stories they tell – a panic that all will be forgotten once the last survivor’s voice has been silenced.

Why is it important to recall these bleak, depressing chapters in our history? Why are we obligated to look back in horror and remember the insanity of soulless madmen?

“Never again” is of course one reason. Education and awareness stimulate empathy and generate outrage, which help prevent future atrocities. But it seems to me there’s another, perhaps more pressing, purpose.

Without a collective memory, the fear is that our children and children’s children will no longer comprehend the human capacity for evil. And without that understanding, delivered on a level that kicks you in the gut, we can’t fully appreciate humanity’s infinite capacity for love, joy and beauty.

Survivors and families victimized by senseless violence speak to human resilience, indomitable spirit, a tremendous appreciation and zest for living, and a unique comprehension of the delicate fragility of life. The dead, in effect, can teach us how to live.

From the ashes of unspeakable evil can blossom goodness, kindness, generosity and genuine compassion for those among us and those no longer alive who have faced desperate circumstances.

It was a difficult week, with back-to-back days of grief and sadness. But from these memories, we honor the dead and those who suffered by rejoicing in those qualities of righteousness and benevolence that can be found in abundance all around us, every day of our lives.

The preceding was published previously in the Carmel Valley News, for which Marsha Sutton is an education specialist


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The Bible in Pop Culture: Levi is born to Leah & Jacob

Donald H. Harrison shot this photo April 22, 2009 at Horton Plaza Shopping Center in downtown San Diego
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Genesis 29:34

Again she (Leah) conceived , and bore a son and declared, "This time my husband will become attached to me for I have borne him three sons"; therefore He called his name Levi.

Please share your photo showing a biblical reference in pop culture 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.

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

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A song of belief sung by Jews en route to being murdered

To hear Cantor Mark Childs sing Ani Ma'a'min, please click here

SAN DIEGO--In honor of Yom HaShoah earlier this month,   I selected Cantor Mark Childs' rendition of "Ani  Ma-a-min," a folk song arranged by Israel Alter based on Maimonides 12th of his 13 Principles of Faith  

 “I believe with a perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah. Even though he may linger, nevertheless, I believe !”

Although knowingly walking to their death into the gas chambers during the horrible years of the Holocaust, deeply religious Jews, nonetheless sang this song expressing their deep and abiding faith that with the coming of the Messiah (Anointed), a better day was bound to come for the world.

Singing this song was an overwhelming declaration of their religious spirit and it became the hymn of the death camps.
For centuries, traditional Jews have prayed for the arrival of a personal messiah, who will usher in peace. Reform Judaism, however, does not pray for a divinely- sent messenger, but rather for a world in which human efforts will hopefully bring about a utopian age, “messianic age." Consequently, it is up to mankind to create a better world (tikun Olam), or a “messianic age”.

I am delighted to introduce the wonderful singing of my dear friend, Mark Childs, to this on-line pubication.  Years ago, while he was completing his musical studies at UCSD, we met by chance  when he substituted for the baritone in our temple choir. After the service, this tall handsome young man came to my office to tell me he was interested in studying to become a cantor. He then added, “ Although you may not recognize me, you had actually prepared me for my Bar Mitzvah at Holy Blossom Temple, just before my family left Toronto and moved to San Diego."  

I was happily bewildered!  Of course, I did not recognize him, as he had left Toronto when he was 13, and here he was a college senior.   It was a marvelous reunion, and we have been -

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close friends ever since.  After Mark completed his musical studies at UCSD, he attended the Hebrew Union College
School of Sacred Music in New York City , and upon his investiture as cantor in 1991, was invited to serve Congregation B’ney B’rith in Santa Barbara. 

Mark gave me the greatest honor by inviting me to participate in his installation service. He has since received acclaim for his concerts of Jewish art and folk songs, and is equally sought after as a classical and music- theatre guest artist throughout the country. He is beloved by his congregation and resides in Santa Barbara, with his wife, Shari and their two sons, David and Adam.

I have enjoyed preparing and offering over 25 of my own recordings these past 5 or six months, and will now take a new tack in the weeks ahead. I plan to introduce some very talented and gifted cantorial colleagues serving congregations in North America.  Most of them are my fellow alumni and  members of the American Conference of Cantors, (of which I am a charter member).

Merel is cantor emeritus of Congregation Beth Israel in La Jolla. His email: merels@sandiegojewishworld.com. Cantor Childs' CD, "Cycles and Symbols"CD, "Cycles and Symbols" can be purchased at CDbaby or through iTunes.

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The Co-Publishers' Mailbox... Notes from advertisers and others
Items for us? Please send them to editor@sandiegojewishworld.com

Harrison's dots and dashes .-.-.-.

SAN DIEGO—In this space, editor Don Harrison will from time to time comment on the news in short bursts...Links to the articles in question will be provided....

The legal settlement between Broadcom and Qualcomm--respectively founded by Eli Broad and Irwin M. Jacobs--brings to a close an unseemly spat between the companies of two of California's most generous Jewish philanthropists. Imagine how much more good there'd be in the world, if these two powerhouses could now turn to working with each other on philanthropic projects, instead of fighting each other over patents....

Miss California-Same Sex Marriages
Perez Hilton
, who asked Miss California the wedge question about how she felt about same-sex marriages, created a media darling for conservative Christians after it was established that the beauty contestant, Carrie Prejean, lost the chance of being Miss USA by honestly answering with her opinion. She believes that marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman. I disagree. I believe adults should be allowed to love, treasure and marry each other whatever their gender. But why should a beauty contest be so politicized? ...

The phenomenon of Susan Boyle
Why did we all exult when Susan Boyle knocked them dead on that unforgettable episode of 'Britain's Got Talent?' Because it brought to the surface what we know in our hearts--but so often ignore--we must not prejudge people by their looks, but allow them to demonstrate their God-given talents. The emotional reaction to her victory reminded me of the tears that television captured on the faces of the crowd in Chicago's Grant Park on the night that Barack Obama was elected as U.S. President. No matter what the odds, hard work and quality can indeed surface. ...

Late, but still funny....
My friend since elementary school, Amnon Markusfeld, forwarded the link to this video of a shtick on Jimmy Kimmel's show, concerning a conflict between the NFL Football schedule and the Jewish holidays. Yeah, it's old news now, but if you haven't seen it, it's still delightful.

Hearing scheduled on 'swine' flu

WASHINGTON, D.C (Press Release).--Congressman Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, has announced the Health subcommittee will hold a hearing on the outbreak of 'swine flu' and the federal response to this health crisis at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 30. A podcast of the hearing will be carried over http://energycommerce.house.gov-- the committee's website.

Sing? Dance? Lyric Opera to
Hold Anything Goes auditions

SAN DIEGO (Press Release) -- Leon Natker, general director of the Lyric Opera San Deigo has announced auditions for tap dancers, singers, and actors for a new production of Cole Porter’s "Anything Goes!" directed by David Brannen.

Performance dates will be Oct. 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11 2009. Principals, Secondary Roles and Chorus are all needed for this production. Applicants may be ages 15 and up. Auditions will be held at Birch North Park Theatre, 2891 University ave., San Diego, California on the following dates: May 22nd 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.; May 23rd 11:00 – 3:00 p.m.; May 24th 6:00 – 10:00 pm by appointment only. Call 619-231-5714 ext. 110

What's wanted, said Natker are "singing actors, and actors who sing with good character skills, and tap dancers." He said applicants should "prepare one song which shows your vocal

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range and English diction. Bring sheet music in the proper key, headshot and resume."

He said that no one will be allowed to sing a capella, nor will tapes be accepted. "An accompanist will be provided," he said. "Be prepared to dance."

Durban II derided by WJC as a 'useless' expenditure of energy

GENEVA (Press Release)-- The World Jewish Congress expressed deep disappointment that the adoption of the outcome document of the Durban Review Conference in Geneva last week again singles out Israel for blame. With the approval of this document comes the reaffirmation of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action (DDPA) of the Durban Conference of 2001, replete with the classification of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as racism-based, calling the Palestinians victims of racism and discrimination. Israel was the only country singled out in the DDPA which has now once again been codified in the latest UN conference on racism.

"We can only wonder why the officials and members of the UN Human Rights Council and the delegates to this conference continue to uselessly expend so much energy focusing on only one country and one conflict when so many genuine human rights abuses, in all regions of the world, clamor for attention while their victims go unheeded," said Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress. "The world cannot say today that it does not know about the oppression of women, the executions of children, the persecution of journalists, and religious discrimination - these abuses are exposed for all to see. That the international repository for human rights is paralyzed and rendered powerless to do anything about them is as incredible as it is shameful," Lauder said.

"We had hopes that the Durban Review Conference would reverse the indignity of Durban I, and that this conference would be carried out in accordance with the lofty principles that were established when the World Conference Against Racism was originally conceived," said Michael Schneider, Secretary General of the WJC. "The speech by President Ahmedinejad of Iran destroyed any possibility for the DRC to pursue its goals and establish guiding principles for all nations to fight racism. We thank those countries that had the wisdom to foresee what would happen at this conference and who made a principled decision to not attend a failed endeavor that brought no comfort to the victims of human rights abuses around the globe," he added.

The World Jewish Congress is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 92 countries. Founded in Geneva in 1936, the WJC serves as the diplomatic arm of the Jewish people to governments and international organizations.




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

Tifereth Israel Sisterhood
Southwestern Jewish Press February 6, 1953, page 6

The next meeting of the Tifereth Israel Sisterhood will be an open meeting Tuesday evening, February 10, at 8:00 p.m.  Mrs. Alex J. Newman, president announces that there will be no business meeting.  Rabbi Monroe Levens will address the Sisterhood and guests.  Members of forty churches of various denominations have been invited.  Refreshments will be served at the close of the meeting.

An outstanding program will be presented by Mrs. Harold Keen and Mrs. Victor Weiss.  Commemorating Brotherhood Week, the program will be a play entitled “One House,” directed by Mesdames Keen and Weiss, with Cantor Joseph Cysner directing the choir.

Dramatic roles will be taken by Mesdames Harold Keen, Victor Weiss, Sid Newman, Max Zieman, Harold Garvin, William Schwartz, James Holmes, Paul Belkin, Zel Greenberg, Joseph Cysner, Joseph Lasky, Edward Addleson, Anna Bravstein and Miss Audrey Hurst.

We would like to announce the Freezer Project now underway to raise funds for the Sisterhood.  It is hoped that the amount raised through this endeavor will enable us to completely furnish the new kitchen in the annex, now being built adjacent to the Synagogue.  In order to get the ball rolling, Louis Feller and Lewis Solomon have each donated $25 toward this fund.

B. B.’s to Celebrate
Brotherhood Week

Southwestern Jewish Press February 6, 1953, page 6

In cooperation with Temple Beth Israel, all the San Diego B’nai B’rith Lodges and Auxiliaries will celebrate Brotherhood Week at Friday night services, February 20, 1953.

The Religious Committees of the local B’nai B’rith Chapters will, in conjunction with Rabbi Morton J. Cohn, present a program commemorating the efforts of all religious, fraternal, patriotic, and civic organizations to make “Brotherhood” more meaningful to all peoples.

Weinberger Memorial
To Be Dedicated

Southwestern Jewish Press February 6, 1953, page 6

According to Judge Jacob Weinberger, a Memorial will be dedicated on Sunday, Feb. 15 at 2:00 p.m. at the Home of Peace Cemetery in memory of the deceased members of the immediate family of Herman and Nettie Weinberger.

The memorial consists of a marble shaft on a raised platform with seats on each side.  The deceased in whose memory the shaft was erected are Dr. Joseph Weinberger, Simon Weinberger, Lula Klein, and Rose Berkowitz.

Rabbis Morton J. Cohn, Baruch Stern, and Monroe Levens will participate in the ceremony.  All friends of the family are invited to attend.

Young Couples Invited
Southwestern Jewish Press February 6, 1953, page 6

Hearts and diamonds will figure prominently at the Valentine Social of the Young Jewish Couples Club, Sunday evening, February 15, at the Tifereth Israel Synagogue.  Queens of hearts and kings of diamonds, for that night has been set aside as game night for members of the Club and their friends. (cq)

Tables will be set up for canasta, bridge, and poker games. Mah-jong players are most welcome—but , please,  bring your own mahjong sets, and for those who don’t indulge in cards, there’ll be a big long Bingo table.

Members, invite your friends and your card clubs to an exciting evening at the Tifereth Israel Synagogue, Sunday, Feb. 15, at 8:00 p.m.

Camp Whispering Pines
Opens For Registration

Southwestern Jewish Press February 6, 1953, page 7

Albert Hutler and Maxwell Kaufman, directors of Camp Whispering Pines, located in Julian, California, announce

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the opening of registration this week.  A booklet describing
the camp will shortly be mailed to interested parties along with an application blank.

Stating that a limited number of boys and girls, age 7 to 14, will be accepted for the season beginning June 28, the directors offer a unique experience to youngsters during the summer.

Now being completed, the camp will be equipped with modern, beautifully constructed cabins with the latest sanitary facilities.  Shower and toilet facilities are provided in each bunkhouse.  A large, modern dining hall with picture windows will offer a cheerful atmosphere for the young campers.  A large swimming pool will shortly be constructed with the latest safety equipment.  Providing a counselor of every 7 campers, a full program of activities is being planned with special emphasis on the individual child.  A conscientious effort will be made to provide the best possible staff to assist in the program of athletics, arts and crafts, swimming, etc.

The cap is located 60 miles from San Diego at an elevation of 4800 feet, surrounded by the beautiful pine hills of Cuyamaca and Laguna.  Further information may be obtained by calling or writing Maxwell Kaufman, 333 Plaza, F-8393.

Race Relations Group
Southwestern Jewish Press February 6, 1953, page 7

The San Diego Race Relations Society, an organization which for more than 28 years has been engaged in a campaign to weld together all men into one brotherhood, will celebrate our National Brotherhood Week in presentation of an inter-racial program at the University Christian Church, 3900 Cleveland Ave., Sunday, February 8th , 7:30 p.m.  Rabbi Monroe Levens of Tifereth Israel Synagogue will serve as speaker, and his subject will be “Universal Brotherhood.”

Historic Ad-Camp Whispering Pines

Historic Ads—JCC; Herb Seltzer, City Chevrolet

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

Jerry Orbach tribute from cast members of 'Law and Order'

Leonard Nimoy as "Spock" in trailer for 2009 Star Trek movie

Ron Rifkin as Saul in "Brothers and Sisters"

Joan Rivers cashes in on her face lifts for Geico

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

ISSUE DEDICATION: We dedicate this issue with happy birthday wishes to Dan Brin, who,for as long as they lasted, was such an important journalistic force for the now defunct Jewish Heritage newspapers in Los Angeles, Central California, Orange County and San Diego.

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