Volume 3, Number 100
"There's a Jewish story everywhere"

Today's Postings:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

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


The hazy line between Mideast war and politics
... by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem
Carl von Clausewitz's most famous line is "War is merely a continuation of politics." In this age of warfare that is less than total, it is appropriate to indicate that it also reads well as: politics is a continuation of war.READ MORE

Mexico protests Israel renaming swine flu as 'Mexican flu' ... by Rabbi Dow Marmur in Jerusalem
It’s difficult to be cheerful on a day like today when reports are coming in from all over the world about the spread of swine flu and when, on this Yom Hazikaron, Memorial Day, Israel is remembering the dead in wars and terror attacks. READ MORE

EU-financed lobby for Hamas sets sights on U.K., then U.S. ... by Jonathan Spyer in Herzliya, Israel
A meeting was meant to take place on Wednesday, April 22nd, in the Grimond Room at Portcullis House, adjoining the House of Commons in London. The planned meeting was titled "Talk with Hamas" and was meant to feature a video link to Damascus.  READ MORE

False alarm for Kassam gives San Diegans taste of Sha'ar Hanegev danger at conclusion of BikeIsrael2009 trek ... by Ulla Hadar in Kibbutz Ruhama, Israel
At 6 a.m. Tuesday morning Andi Neugarten and I had a brisk walk down from our hotel to the Kotel (The Western Wall) . We wanted to get a glimse of the sunrise over the walls of Jerusalem and also watch the fire nearby that had been especially lit for 24 hours in memory for the fallen soldiers.READ MAIL

Block recalls Skokie's neo-Nazi travail to Legislature ... by Jim Lantry in Sacramento, California
On Monday, April 27th, San Diego Assemblyman Marty Block introduced San Diego Holocaust Survivor Gussie Zaks on the floor of the State Assembly in Sacramento. The occasion was Block’s floor speech in support of ACR 45, the Assembly Resolution declaring April 20-26 to be California Holocaust Memorial Week.READ MORE

Beware of trying to find some 'good' in the nazis' evil ... by Joel Moskowitz in La Jolla, California
Is it appropriate to come to terms with what the nazis did? The movie, The Reader is said to be an example of how one generation comes to terms with the crimes of another. READ MORE

The Jews Down Under ... A roundup of Jewish news in Australia by Garry Fabian in Melbourne

Richard Pratt dies amid praise and controversyREAD MORE
Melbourne community remembers Holocaust READ MORE
Strong Australian contingent at The March of the Living READ MORE
Israeli skydiver dies doing what he loved READ MORE


Harrison's dots and dashes .-.-.-.
That new time religion....READ MORE
Arlen Specter switches ... READ MORE
The errant presidential jet ... READ MORE
Junior High School student compiles dictionary ... READ MORE

Yom HaShoah at Soille Hebrew Day READ MORE
Israeli Consulate-General Touts Argentine Movie


Watch our Bible come together with biblical names and modern images
I Samuel 2: 18 —READ MORE

February 6, 1953; Southwestern Jewish Press

Birdie Stodel Plans Many New Activities READ MORE
Pioneer Women Plan Purim Ball READ MORE
Lasker Lodge News READ MORE
Hutler To Speak READ MORE
Chaim Weizmann Branch Poale Zion READ MORE
Historic Ad: County Medical Society READ MORE
Historic Ad: West Coast Poultry READ MORE
Historic Ad: Walkers

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We continue our examination of Jewish entertainers

Andrew Sachs as Manuel in "Fawlty Towers"VIEW VIDEO

George Segal in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" with Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Sandy Dennis. VIEW VIDEO

Susan Strasberg as "Penny" in Scream of Fear (also titled Taste of Fear) VIEW VIDEO

William Shatner plays the good and evil Captain Kirks in original Star Trek series VIEW VIDEO


We offer our congratulations to Ulla Hadar, our bureau chief in Sha'ar Hanegev, and to the delegation from San Diego that participated in BikeIsrael2009--a journey from Metula, next to the Lebanese border, down to Sha'ar Hanegev, by te Gaza border.

The project raised money for the construction of a high school in Sha'ar Hanegev that will be able to withstand Kassam rockets fired from Gaza.

Ulla not only rode alongside the participants, but while they were soaking their feet at night, she was pounding the keyboard of her computer to get daily stories to us. In a side comment to the story found in today's edition , from her home in Kibbutz Ruhama, Ulla confided that she was really tired! That's too bad, Ulla, because we readers could keep going and going with your evocative stories!


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!




The hazy line between Mideast war and politics

By Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM—Carl von Clausewitz's most famous line is "War is merely a continuation of politics." In this age of warfare that is less than total, it is appropriate to indicate that it also reads well as: politics is a continuation of war.

In all the years since 1945, there has not been an all out effort to destroy an enemy, or to demand unconditional surrender.

Perhaps some have not got the message. In wars and politics, it is not always easy to decipher the message. There is a great deal of disinformation. It is easier to pump up the rhetoric than to pursue outright victory.

Did George W. Bush mean it when he said that he would remake Iraq and Afghanistan into stable democracies? So far there have been 5,000 American deaths, and who knows how many others. Bush's goal remains elusive.

Warfare is more prominent than politics in the United States efforts in those countries. It has supported governments in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and may be getting ready to be more forceful in Pakistan. However, it does not seem to be dealing (or even hinting that it might deal) with the likes of al Qaida or Taliban.

Politics is prominent in the conflict that is closest to me. Israel has entered at its own volition, and has been pushed into conversations and cooperation with various elements in the Palestinian leadership. Israel also sends units into the West Bank, is only three months away from a devastating operation in Gaza, and maintains a tight (but not total) blockade on Gaza.

Some of the difference between Israel and the United States reflects what Israel has learned. It cannot bring the neighbors to their knees. Moreover, much of the world accepts the Palestinian narrative, or is paying lip service to the weight of Arab governments in energy and international politics.

We all might be better off if the United States would deal with al Qaida or Taliban. It is likely to happen. Remember Korea and Vietnam.

The United States is negotiating with Iran and North Korea. They are antagonists at a distance. The difference between them and the people waging war against Americans may be small, but enough for Obama and even Bush to send in the diplomats.

Like war, politics can involve outright opposition without a prospect of compromise, as well as feint, deception, occasional accomplishments and losses, and a great deal of uncertainty.

On April 28th, Ha'aretz carried a headlined that Israel was surprised by a story in the Los Angeles Times that the Obama administration was asking Congress to change the laws that prevented aid to Palestinians if Hamas is part of their leadership.

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We can expect Israelis to protest in response to this news. And if the LA Times account is correct, and if Congress cooperates with the Administration's request, and if Hamas and Fatah reach an accord that allows Hamas to enter a united Palestinian leadership, then there will be more Israelis considerably more upset.

Temperate voices will note that Israeli officials have been dealing with Hamas for some time. Partly this has been under the umbrella of indirect talks via the Egyptians. At one time, no Arab countries were willing to deal with Israel except secretly or only indirectly through third parties. There still are countries like that, but Israel is not a supplicant in those discussions.

In this age of non-total war and non-total political conflict, the persistent questions are:when to fight, when to deal, and how modest or severe should be the military and the political activity?

In Israel's case, another question of some importance is, how to counter what may be a spreading acceptance of the Palestinian narrative?

Just as there are no absolute victories in limited war, there are not likely to be total victories in competing campaigns of persuasion. Israel has a good case. It has offered reasonable compromises to the Palestinians. Neither Fatah nor Hamas seem ready to reduce their extreme demands. Israel remains in the political game, has some success in persuading others of its justice, and uses a level of force that is, arguably, appropriate to the threat of the moment.

Not making things worse is the prime consideration, and an appropriate standard of judging performance in both war and politics.

There are no easy answers to the open questions, just as there are no clear victories, and are not likely to be an early end either to the conflict involving Israel and the Palestinians, or that between the West and radical Islam. Von Clausewitz, as modified, should remain our guide. Politics is less destructive than war for all concerned, but at times it is not sufficient.

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

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Mexico protests Israel renaming swine flu as 'Mexican flu'

By Rabbi Dow Marmur

JERUSALEM—It’s difficult to be cheerful on a day like today when reports are coming in from all over the world about the spread of swine flu and when, on this Yom Hazikaron, Memorial Day, Israel is remembering the dead in wars and terror attacks.

Things will lighten up tonight when we’ll celebrate the start of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s 61st Independence Day. In anticipation, here’s cause for a chuckle, albeit a bitter one.

Mexico’s ambassador to Israel is reported to have lodged an official complaint with Israel’s Foreign Ministry. This time, for a change, it’s not something the Foreign Minister has said or done – we haven’t heard from him for a day or so, which suggests that he’s on holiday, perhaps in Belorus, Moldavia or another popular vacation spot – but about a statement by the Deputy Minister of Health.

Israel hasn’t got a Minister of Health at present, even though the ministry has the government’s third largest budget and despite the numerous protests from doctors’ organizations and others about the absence of a person who is finally responsible.

The reason why there’s only a Deputy Minister has to do with haredi (ultra-Orthodox) politics. Though haredim, waiting for the Messiah, refuse to be part of any Israeli Cabinet, which only claims temporal, secular power, they vote in elections and have their own people in the Knesset. If the price is right, they’ll also support the ruling coalition. In addition to substantial monetary rewards, one of them usually becomes the Chair of an important
Knesset Committee and another Deputy Minister, because he

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(not unexpectedly there can never be a “she”) isn’t a member of the Cabinet.

As part of the deal that assured his party’s support for the Netanyahu government, haredi Ya’akov Litzman, a former Chair of the Knesset Finance Committee, is a sort-of Minister of Health, but, for above mentioned reasons, will only serve as Deputy Minister.
Which brings me back to the swine flu: as there are now a couple of suspected cases in Israel and the epidemic may come under Litzman’s watch, he has stated that Israelis shouldn’t call it swine flu, with reference to the unkosher animal. (As one of my correspondents wrote to me: though the virus may not be lethal for most people, Jews who get it may die of embarrassment).            
To avoid such a calamity, Litzman has said that it should be called Mexican flu. Hence the ambassador’s protest. For the same reasons that he won’t sit in the Cabinet (and de facto recognize a “Zionist” government that by its very existence may delay the advent of the Messiah, e.g., by being democratic) Litzman and his supporters are said not to stand in silence when the sirens go off here to mark the martyrs of the Holocaust on Yom Hasho’a, or the fallen in the wars on Yom Hazikaron. But he’s very concerned that we may take even the word – not the product - khazir (swine) in our mouths.
The reason why I report this is because at a time when the historic event of the establishment of the Jewish state is marked - in sadness and in joy, in fear and in triumph - there are those, ostensibly entrusted with sharing in the leadership of the country - who bring Judaism into disrepute. And one of them is responsible for health care!
Unfortunately, as necessary as it is, it’s not enough to ridicule him and his ilk. For all we know, there may have been a time not many decades ago when they ridiculed the antics of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the ideas of the ayatollahs in Iran.

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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EU-financed lobby for Hamas sets sights on U.K., then U.S.

By Jonathan Spyer

HERZLIYA, Israel—A meeting was meant to take place on Wednesday, April 22nd, in the Grimond Room at Portcullis House, adjoining the House of Commons in London. The planned meeting was titled "Talk with Hamas" and was meant to feature a video link to Damascus. 

Khaled Mashaal, leader of Hamas, was supposed to address members of Parliament and journalists via the link, but he failed, due to a technical glitch.

This planned meeting was the latest event in an ongoing and organized campaign to break the Western boycott of Hamas and transform policy toward the organization. Much energy is being expended in the UK. But London is only a way station, with the real prize being the transformation of the US stance.

This campaign is part of a larger effort to change the way that the West sees Islamist movements - and by doing so to bring many of the arguments made by such movements into the mainstream.

Who is behind this effort? The invitation to MPs to the Mashaal meeting came from the office of Independent MP Clare Short.

However, it was issued in the name of John, Lord Alderdice. This name immediately offers a pointer. Alderdice, a veteran Northern Irish politician, is head of the board of advisers of an organization called Conflicts Forum.

Conflicts Forum is jointly led by Alistair Crooke and Mark Perry. Crooke is a former British intelligence officer, while the US-based Perry is described by the organizations website as a 'military, intelligence and foreign affairs analyst'. It describes its aim as opening "a new relationship between the West and the Muslim world."

What this anodyne phrase means in practice is revealed in a remarkably frank document published by this group, in which it explains the means it intends to use to bring about the basic change in perception that will bring Hamas and Hizbullah into the mainstream.

The document notes the need to build a "link-up between activist groups and mobilizers of opinion in order to shift the debate on Islamism from a predominantly defensive posture to a positive assertion of Islamist values and thinking."

It suggests "articulation of Hamas's and Hizbullah's values, philosophy and wider political and social programs... Being more proactive in statements and rephrasing discourse to focus on the positive aspects of Islamist ideology."

The Conflicts Forum publication lays down a precise strategy for the promotion of Hamas and Hizbullah in the West - of which the meeting in the British Parliament forms a part.

The various PR devices suggested include "Use influential individuals - key Muslim personalities... use the Internet, DVD, interviews, podcasts... Link with mass organizations in Western countries - social movements, trade unions - to challenge hegemonic discourse. Approach editors of established journals... with a view to the possibility of them doing a special issue on Islamist thinking or on particular issues."

Undoubtedly, the attempted video link between Hamas HQ in Damascus and the Grimond Room in Portcullis House was meant to be a worthy contribution to this extensive effort to "re-brand" Hamas and Hizbullah.

The UK, and the EU as a whole, remain committed to the Quartet conditions which Hamas must meet to become a partner for dialogue. Hamas (or at least its "military wing") remains on the EU list of proscribed terror organizations.

A cursory observation of the backers of Conflicts Forum, however, reveals a curious paradox. In January 2007, the group proudly announced that it had been awarded a grant of €500,000 by the EU, to develop "more inclusive and l


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egitimate approaches to transforming the Middle East conflict." More specifically, the project entails the "engagement" of "faith-based movements."

So the EU, while currently opposing "engagement" with Hamas, also appears to be offering financial support to a body engaged in lobbying for the organization.

How important are the efforts of Conflicts Forum and its associated groups? Are initiatives such as Wednesday's planned meeting likely to have a tangible effect on policy?

Britain has, of course, already announced that it intends to hold talks with Hizbullah. On Hamas, however, no immediate significant shift in British government policy looks likely.

The Hamas Lobby is busy and active. It encompasses former senior diplomats such as Sir Jeremy Greenstock, as well as the Conflicts Forum nexus.

Foreign Secretary Miliband has praised the Egyptian role in managing dialogue with Hamas in the following terms: "Others speak to Hamas. That's the right thing to do, and I think we should let the Egyptians take this forward."

A knowledgeable source noted that many in the Foreign Office consider that engagement with the group is a "matter of time."

Still, for as long as the US remains firmly committed to insisting that Hamas first abide by the three Quartet conditions (committing to nonviolence, recognizing Israel and accepting previous agreements and obligations), the UK is unlikely to openly break ranks. Differences might well surface if a Palestinian unity government were to be formed. But this too currently looks highly improbable.

Ultimately, the main obstacle to the success of Lord Alderdice, Clare Short and their friends in Conflicts Forum may well be the nature of their client. Hamas leaders have an unfortunate tendency to be candid regarding their movement's goals. This makes presenting the "positive aspects of Islamist ideology" something of a challenge.

Hamas "Foreign Minister" Mahmoud Zahar, for example, speaking last week, stated bluntly that "[Hamas] will never recognize the enemy in any way, shape or form."

A few months ago, the same speaker asserted that "they [Jews] have legitimized the murder of their own children by killing the children of Palestine... They have legitimized the killing of their people all over the world by killing our people."

Spinning statements of that kind into moderation would pose a challenge to the smoothest of PR operators. But as the planned Portcullis House meeting showed, Hamas possesses an experienced, well-oiled, well-funded (largely by the European taxpayer) lobby in the heart of London, in which it may take justifiable pride.


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REMEMBRANCE—Two members of the Israel Defense Force stand in honor guard at a flame honoring those killed in the nation's
defense or by acts of terrorism. Behind them is the Kotel.


False alarm for Kassam gives San Diegans taste of Sha'ar Hanegev danger at conclusion of BikeIsrael2009 trek

Editor's Note: This is the seventh 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

KIBBUTZ RUHAMA, Israel--At 6 a.m. Tuesday morning Andi Neugarten and I had a brisk walk down from our hotel to the Kotel (The Western Wall) . We wanted to get a glimse of the sunrise over the walls of Jerusalem and also watch the fire nearby that had been especially lit for 24 hours in memory for the fallen soldiers.

At the Western Wall, two soldiers guard the fire for 24 hours
shifting guard every 15 minutes.

Afterwards members of BikeIsrael2009 started out with a very slow transportation by car from the Center of Jerusalem to the Zur Hadassa junction on the outskirts of the city. This was in order to avoid the dangerous traffic situation. The descent from that junction to the Elah junction was quite steep which for me was not an enjoyable one.

REUNION—Mayor Alon Schuster of Sha'ar Hanegev and BikeIsrael2009 participant Rick Kornfeld with the municipality flag of Sha'arHanegev prepare for the leg that will take the San Diego group to the grounds of the high school which proceeds from the bike tour will help to protect against rocket attacks.

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(I personally don’t like the descents and am a little scared of
them. I prefer the ascents and the flat pieces of roads).

At the Elah junction, a group of 12 riders from Sha'ar Hanegev welcomed us. The 2-minute siren for commemorating the fallen soldiers was followed by a small ceremony at the grove near Beit Gubrin. Then the two groups of riders continued towards the municipality of Sha'ar Hanegev.

Approximately 10 kilometers from the Sha'ar Hanegev High School, Mayor Alon Schuster met up with the group. A small ceremony for the Yom Hazicharon performed by some of the students awaited the group at the High School itself.

WELCOME—Students at Sha'ar Hanegev high school welcome San Diego bike riders with a performance.

The next destination was Kibbutz Dorot, where the bikers stayed at the guest house. After exiting the school grounds
we were caught in an active "red alert" while riding out on the main road.

The closest protection was a big road sign where most of us curled in behind.

Fortified shelters are on the road but with only ten seconds to get into hiding there was no way that all eleven riders could have reached protection, so we had to use what was available.

Later on we learned that it was false alarm.

This experience gave the San Diego visitors a touch of what the people of the Sha'ar Hanegev municipality live with every day.

The evening was spent in Kibbutz Or Haner where a small opening ceremony announcing the beginning of Yom Ha'atzmaut--Israel's Independence Day--was held, followed by a
meal in the local dining room.

Hadar's email is hadaru@sandiegojewishworld.com


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Block recalls Skokie's neo-Nazi travail to Legislature

By Jim Lantry

lantrySACRAMENTO--On Monday, April 27th, San Diego Assemblyman Marty Block introduced San Diego Holocaust Survivor Gussie Zaks on the floor of the State Assembly in Sacramento. The occasion was Block’s floor speech in support of ACR 45, the Assembly Resolution declaring April 20-26 to be California Holocaust Memorial Week. {Here is a link to a video of his speech.}

The resolution is in keeping with the United States Holocaust Memorial Council action designating April 20 through April 26, 2009, as the Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust, including Yom HaShoah, the International Day of Remembrance on April 21, 2009.

A co-sponsor of the resolution, Block spoke of his childhood in Skokie, Illinois, and growing up with friends who were the children of Survivors. Block recalled that while his friends’ parents talked about their past, they were reluctant to talk about the more horrific details of the war preferring, instead, ”to keep the past in the past.”

But in 1977 that attitude changed with the struggle with the neo-nazi’s attempting to stage a march through the Chicago suburb which at the time was home to five thousand Holocaust Survivors. The battle to prevent the march made national news and while the neo-nazi’s prevailed in court based on their First Amendment rights to free speech, Block pointed out the the neo-nazi’s didn’t have the courage to face the Survivors and ultimately backed out of the March.

The assemblyman in his remarks noted that the “march that never was” became a turning point for the Skokie Survivors “because the Survivors decided they would no longer be silent. As painful as the memories were it was important to retell the story for generations to come.”

He noted that now, thirty years later and 66 years after the Warsaw Ghetto uprising that change in attitude has resulted in a museum which opened in Illinois, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.

Block said, “It was opened in Skokie and it’s dedicated to, and this is a quote, ‘preserving the memory of those lost in the

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Holocaust, men, women and a million and a half children, and teach current generations about the need to fight hatred, indifference and genocide in today’s world.”

Twenty thousand people attended the celebration marking the museum’s opening two weeks ago. Addressing the gathering were famed Holocaust Survivor and activist Ellie Wiesel, former President Bill Clinton, and, via television, President Barack Obama. But in a sign that the world must forever remain vigilant regarding the forces of hate and evil, during the celebrations seven neo-nazis marched outside in the rain.

Still, Assemblyman Block declared that the celebration was a “showing that the survivors of Skokie and California and of the world had once again triumphed over the forces of ignorance and hate.” Block concluded his remarks urging his fellow Assembly members to join him in support of the resolution which was authored by Redwood City Assemblyman Ira Ruskin.

In a rare display of regional and bipartisan solidarity, Block was joined by every member of the San Diego Assembly delegation in lending their names as co-authors, Assembly members Joel Anderson (77th), Nathan Fletcher (75th), Martin Garrick (74th), Diane Harkey (73rd), Mary Salas (78th), and Speaker Pro Tem Lori Saldana (76th) along with Imperial County Assembly member Manuel Perez (80th).

Gussie Zaks, Holocaust Survivor and tireless advocate, who has seen and been a part of so much history, was again witness to history of a different sort as the Assembly voted overwhelmingly to pass the resolution recognizing the terrible past but with a hopeful eye to the future.

Lantry is a legislative advocate and member of San Diego's Jewish community.

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Beware of trying to find some 'good' in the nazis' evil

By Joel A. Moskowitz M D

SAN DIEGO--Is it appropriate to come to terms with what the nazis did? The movie, The Reader is said to be an example of how one generation comes to terms with the crimes of another.

The story is of an illiterate women, Hanna, who seduces a young man. The young man ultimately becomes a law student and happens to attend a war crimes trial where his early sexual partner is standing trial for war crimes. Hanna and four other women are charged with keeping a church in which many Jewish women and children were confined, locked, and condemned to certain death in the church’s fire.

The moviegoer is led to believe that Hanna is so ashamed of her illiteracy that she remains silent even when charged with being the leader of the SS women. Her young paramour, Michael Berg, might have spoken in her defense but doesn’t.

She is sentenced to life (the other women get a meager four years for their part). During her imprisonment, she learns to read. She is eligible for early release and Michael who has kept in touch all this time but is now married comes on her discharge. However, she commits suicide.

Others who saw the movie concluded that Hanna realized that life was empty for her (Michael was married; she had no family or friends). An alternative idea was that in the course of her new skill - reading - she became aware that she was part of a diabolical çruel system of murder. Being illiterate she was not aware that what she was joining, the SS, was a murderous system dedicated to annihilating other races.

Recently the City of San Diego and the Public Library System chose The Zookeeper’s Wife as their premier book for 2009. My wife and I had the opportunity to attend author Diane Ackerman’s' presentation at the JCC in La Jolla. The story is charming and well told. The zoo keeper of the Warsaw Zoo and his wife and young son— despite threats to their existence— managed to save hundreds of Jews and Christians
from the nazi war machine.

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This story of Righteous Christians deserves to be told well and it was. In her talk, Diane Ackerman, however, made the point that although she believed the nazis to be horrible, they were ‘green’ in some of their behavior. That is to say that they had respect for forests, animals and other living creatures...but not Jews or Gypsies or some Christians etc. Ackerman admitted that their effort to create ‘ubermenchen’ by genetic engineering was faulty. She agreed that it is known that hybrid
unions are genetically stronger. Perhaps I was too sensitive in my being irritated by even some tipping of one’s hat to the SS.

Several years ago, when we first moved to San Diego, our next door neighbor was acivilian scientist for the Navy. He was an expert on the effects of cold immersion i.e. what happens when a sailor or downed airman finds himself in the North Sea for example. What measures might enhance his survival? In his research, he came upon experiments done by the nazis using prisoners (no volunteer here). Our scientist neighbor believed that useful information could be gleaned from their studies albeit in the process they killed their victims.

He had a debate on this very subject with a senior docent of the Holocaust Museum in New York City. When we visited thatmemorial, we coincidentally met and spoke with the docent. Neither the docent (who was adamant against using data from nazi experimentation) nor our scientist neighbor are Jewish. Perhaps that might be a factor.

It is not widely known that Dr. Mengele was instrumental in developing a procedure to repair significant disfiguring cleft palates. That was before he became the devilish surgeon who experimented on Jewish twin children, without anaesthesia. It is not known if he gleaned any beneficial research from these evils.

Gratifying though it may be that decades later the Polish government is making a museum to honor the victims of the Holocaust next to the Warsaw ghetto— or that Poland is a strong supporter of the State of Israel—shall we forget the past?

It is this writer’s opinion, that for all the ‘good’ that may have come out of the nazi era, it would be tragic were the evil forgotten. Is there a trend in the direction to find that
they weren’t all bad?

Moskowitz is a freelance writer based in La Jolla, California

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

Richard Pratt dies amid
praise and controversy

MELBOURNE- One of the titans of the Australian Jewish community, Richard Pratt, died Tuesday at age 74.

Pratt, whose pioneering success in the packaging and recycling industries made him one of Australia's richest men, had been suffering from prostate cancer.

Pratt was the chairman of Visy Industries, which employs more than 8000 people in 19 plants across Australia, the Pacific and the United States.

In recent years he devoted much of his energies towards water and how Australia can better manage its water resources.

His Pratt Foundation is one of Australia's largest philanthropic organisations, supporting both Jewish and non-Jewish projects throughout Australia and Israel, and he was also recognised as one of Australia's leading benefactors of the arts.

His last major philanthropic endeavour was the Park of the Australian Soldier in Beersheva, which was opened in April last year by Israeli president Shimon Peres and then Australian Governor-General Major General Michael Jeffery.

Pratt became chairman of the Carlton Football Club in 2007 and oversaw a restructure and revival of that club and remains a patron of the club.

A former champion footballer with the AJAX Amateur Football Club, he ws also that club's no.1 ticket holder.

Family friend and Pratt Foundation chief executive Sam Lipksi said it was a "tough time" for the family.

"There has been lots of goodwill from people all around the world for Jeanne and the family and they're bearing up well," he said.

In 2000, Pratt was awarded the Philanthropy Prize from Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and he has also received honorary doctorates from two Israeli universities -- Bar Ilan and the Hebrew University.

Pratt owned The Australian Jewish News for three years from 1987 and was also the foundation publisher of The Jerusalem Report.

He spent the past few years mired in controversy with the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC), which fined him $36 million for his involvement in a price-fixing deal with rival cardboard box-maker Amcor.

He also faced criminal charges that he gave false or misleading evidence to the ACCC over allegations of price fixing.

Pratt, who handed back his Medal of the Order of Australia last year as a result of the scandal, had devoted much time recently seeking to restore his reputation.

It is a battle his friends, such as Lipski and trucking tycoon Lindsay Fox, believe took a heavy toll on his health.

Melbourne community
remembers Holocaust

MELBOURNE - The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) held its annual Yom Hashoah commemoration on Monday, April 20 at Robert Blackwood Hall in Monash University.

The theme for the memorial was glimmers in the dark and featured stories of hope and faith to emerge from the horrors of the Holocaust.

Among the speakers were JCCV president John Searle, Israeli Embassy spokesperson Dor Shapira and a recorded oration from Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom Dr Jonathan Sacks.

Six candles were lit by survivors and members of their families to commemorate the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War II, and testimonies were read by survivors and their families.

One of the night's most moving moments was the playing of the famous BBC recording of Hatikvah, as sung by the survivors of Bergen Belsen on being liberated in 1945.

There were several musical performances including a series of prayers for victims of the holocaust, sung by students of Yeshivah College.

A Beth Rivkah Ladies College choir sang Nachamu Ami, a song about finding comfort in loss, while a chorus of students from Mount Scopus Memorial College, Leibler Yavneh College, Bialik College, King David School and Sholom Aleichem sang the Yiddish song Minutn Fun Bitochn (Moments of Hope/Confidence).

School captains from each of Melbourne's six Jewish schools lit memorial candles as Hatikvah was sung to close the ceremony.

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Strong Australian contingent at The March of the Living

SYDNEY -Eighty-three Australian and New Zealand year 11 students marched through the gates of Auschwitz-Birkenau on Tuesday to mark Yom Hashoah.

The teenagers, together with about 7000 young people from around the world, were in Poland for the March of the Living (MOTL).

As well as remembering the Holocaust, this year's march also protested the United Nation's Durban Review Conference, or Durban II, currently being held in Geneva. The conference has become a focal point of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic abuse.

Israeli minister Silvan Shalom, who was part of the march, said the speech delivered by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Durban Review was a wake-up call for the world Jewry that the lessons of the Holocaust had not been learned.

Chief Rabbi of the Commonwealth Sir Rabbi Jonathan Sacks also spoke to participants. The chief rabbi has attended every MOTL since its inception in 1988.

MOTL Australia coordinator Sue Hampel led the local contingent for the ninth consecutive year.

"This year I'm very excited about the survivors who are coming. The program is going from strength to strength," she said.

Held over two-and-a-half weeks in Poland and Israel, the MOTL contingent includes first-time participants from Melbourne and as well 26 staff members including seven youth leaders, a rabbi, psychologist, two doctors, seven educators, three logistics staff, a videographer and a photographer.

Three Holocaust survivors, Abram Goldberg, David Prince and Judy Kolt also accompanied the group.

Mr Goldberg and Mr Prince, survivors of the Lodz Ghetto and Auschwitz-Birkenau, were from Lodz, while Mrs Kolt was a child survivor. The three contributed first-hand testimony.

The trip concludes with Yom Ha'atzma'ut in Israel. There they toured the country, gave their time as volunteers, visited Yad Vashem and met Australian Ambassador to Israel James Larsen and Australian-born Israeli diplomat Mark Regev.

While the global financial crisis led to a decline in numbers and some countries pulled out of this year's MOTL, the Australian contingent remained strong.

Israeli skydiver dies
doing what he loved

SYDNEY -Israeli skydiver Ariel Sicsic was remembered for his "cheeky personality and passion for human flight" after he died in a skydiving accident in NSW.

In a memorial service in North Wollongong's Stuart Park last Wednesday, friends paid respects to the 33-year-old, who died in Wollongong Hospital on Wednesday last week after landing heavily during a solo jump in Towradgi, a northern Wollongong suburb.

Israeli-born Sicsic had lived in Wollongong for the past two years, and was a qualified skydiver.

He worked as a general duties assistant for skydiving outfit, Skydive the Beach and, according to his friends, his dream was to become a skydiving instructor.

"He was driven by his passion for human flight, which led him to achieve as much as he did, with over 600 jumps in less than two years," his colleague Penelope Barrett said.

"His premature departure ... has left us all shattered.”

"He was about doing the best things in life," added friend Irit Alony, who got to know Sicsic through the small tight-knit Israeli community living in Wollongong.

Sicsic apparently filmed his own fatal fall with a camera attached to his helmet. Police have viewed the footage and concluded there was "nothing suspicious" about the accident.


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The Bible in Pop Culture: The child Samuel

John E. Finley photographed this "Sam store and move" warehouseat Crenshaw and Rosecrans Boulevards in Hawthorne, California,April 23, 2009

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I Samuel 2: 18

Samuel was serving before Hashem--a lad girded with a linen robe.

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

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

That new time religion....
A Washington Post story carried in yesterday's San Diego Union-Tribune reports the conclusion by researchers that people are more likely to drift away from their religion than to leave it because of philosophical differences.

This is not surprising given the fact that so many people have a "television remote" view of the world—if a commercial comes on, just switch the channel. This attitude has been reinforced by the Internet, of course. If a website takes more than two seconds to load, go somewhere else.

For synagogues and churches, the question is should they try to be "entertaining" to keep a fickle crowd, or should they focus more on "substance" to provide meaningful experiences to those who are seriously engaged?

Arlen Specter switches ...

Longtime U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania, has switched to the majority Demcoratic party in the U.S. Senate, raising the specter that Democrats may eventually become fillibuster-proof in the nation's Upper House. To get 60 votes--the number needed to invoke cloture ending a fillibuster--Senate Democrats only need the courts to declare Al Franken, the former television comedian, the winner in the long-contested contest against former Republican incumbent Norm Coleman. All three people neamed in boldface type are fellow Jews.

A fillibuster-proof Senate could be good or bad, depending on how the parties react after the reality sinks in. If Democrats are perceived to be steamrolling over the Republicans, they are likely to suffer heavy congressional losses in the midterm election, when the non-presidential party typically wins seats. If on the other hand, Republicans decide that partisanship can no longer pay dividends, then perhaps Senators will divide on issues based on what they believe is best for America, rather than 0n narrow partisan considerations. One can only hope!

The errant presidential jet ...

Anyone who thought the United States has shaken off 9-11 like a bad dream were disabused of that notion on Monday when New Yorkers panicked at the sight of a presidential jet flying in a restricted area near the Big Apple's skyscrapers.

Here's the Pentagon's own report on the "misguided" and "mishandled" photo opportunity authorized by the White House Military Office, reportedly without the knowledge of either President Barack Obama or Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Junior High School student compiles dictionary

Other 13-year-olds occasionally have to be instructed by their parents to "look it up in the dictionary." Not Thomas Immanuel Barton. He actually compiled a Judeo-Castillian dictionary, or Judezmo (similar to Ladino). He recently was honored for his accomplishment by Congressman Bob Filner (Democrat-San Diego), who stands between Thomas and mother,
Yirma Barton Cook. Flanking them are Sam Moskavitz and Thomas's father, Paul Cook.

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Yom HaShoah at Soille Hebrew Day

SAN DIEGO (Press Release) —
In keeping with Holocaust Remembrance Day, the second grade students at Soille Hebrew Day crafted beautiful ceramic butterflies.  This is part of a project undertaken by students at the San Diego Jewish Academy, in hopes of creating 1.5 million butterflies to remember the 1.5 million children who perished. The class also saw excerpts from the movie “Paper Clips” – about a Tennessee public school class who, while learning about tolerance, undertook to collect 6 million paper clips and create a school memorial to Jews who were killed in the Holocaust. 

Our young children understood that all types of racism and persecution are to be actively opposed and stood up to.  Tolerance and love for all others are personal character traits to be developed, and applied at all times and in all places, in abundance.  The 2nd graders felt very inspired.  Special thanks to Morah Danielle Arya for all her planning and coordination, and to Joyce Levi for connecting us with the wonderful butterfly project.

Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School serves children from infants through eighth grade and offers generous financial aid grants to families to make a Jewish day school education affordable to all.  For more information on the school, visit the web site at http://www.hebrewday.org/ or contact Audrey Jacobs, Director of School Advancement at 858-279-3300 ext. 106 or ajacobs@hebrewday.org

The preceding was submitted by Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School

Israeli Consulate-General
touts Argentine movie

The Argentine film Letters for Jenny (Cartas Para Jenny) has been received with enthusiasm by the Israeli Consulate-General in Los Angeles, and small wonder. Here is a summary of the plot:

"Having lost her mother to a terminal illness, Jenny enters her teenage years after a bittersweet Ba Mitzvah. A series of letters left for her by her late mother are her only comfort in time of major crisi and help her on the path of self-discovery. Traveling from
South American to Israel, she reconnects with he Jewish identity, and a handsome childhood friend.

The film will be shown as part of the L.A. Jewish film Festival at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Laemmle's Town Center, 17200 Ventura Blvd, in Encino. Admission for the general public is $12, discounted to #9 for seniors and students.




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

Birdie Stodel Plans
Many New Activities

Southwestern Jewish Press February 6, 1953, page 8

The next regular meeting of the Birdie Stodel Chapter of B’nai B’rith will be held February 9th at Temple Beth Israel at twelve o’clock (noon).  This luncheon is being arranged by the membership chairman, Mrs. Muriel Strauss, and her co-chairman, Mrs., Bess Schissel, and is being prepared by Sisters Betty Cohan and Rose Tepper.

A very impressive initiation ceremony will be conducted by the southern Conference Degree Team, and their Choral Group from Los Angeles.

Chairman Mrs. Bernice Aved is going ahead with very elaborate plans for our Family Night Dance, to be held February 14th at Temple Center.  A wonderful evening of entertainment will be in store for all who plan to attend.  This dance is being given in honor of our Chapter’s 24th Anniversary, and is open to the public.

For anyone wishing to attend our meetings who has no transportation, please call our Transportation Chairman, Mr. Mitzi Orenstein at T-2911 and she will arrange for someone to pick you up and take you home again.

If you have not yet donated your pint of blood, please contact our chairman, Mrs. Miriam Chadwick, Phone T-9854, and arrangements will be made for you to go down with a group from our Chapter.

Pioneer Women Plan Purim Ball
Southwestern Jewish Press February 6, 1953, page 8

DePere’s Orchestra will play at our Purim Ball on Sunday, Feb. 22nd.  Negba and Shoshana groups are co-operating to make this the outstanding affair of the year.  Service men are invited to attend as our guests.  A buffet lunch will be available from 7:00 o’clock on.

Eleanor Gordon and Zena Frommer are co-chairmen.  Henrietta King, Edith Gates and Elaine Lavine, Decorating Committee, Phyllis Weisenberg,  Publicity Chairman; and Jeanette Abrams, Ticket Chairman, are working hard to make this our major fund raising affair of the year and all members and friends of both Pioneer groups are urged to attend so that we may attain our goal.

Among hostesses at our Arbor Day Dinner, February 1st, were Rose Brooker, Lillie Gordon, Rose Abrams, Eleanore Gordon, and Anna Shelley.  Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Abrams were honored on the occasion of their 30th wedding anniversary with the purchase and planting of a garden of 100 trees in Israel by Pioneer Women.  Mrs. Dave Shribman was featured on the program.

Lasker Lodge News
Southwestern Jewish Press February 6, 1953, page 8

“The Good Old Days.”  Every now and then we hear some pessimistic Brother say:  “No, the B’nai B’rith isn’t the same as it was in the good old days.  Then follows a discourse on how much better the Lodge was ten, twenty, or thirty years ago.

In answering our brother, can we say that the principals of our order are different than they were in “the good old days?” Can we say that our members of today are not as good as they were in the bygone days?  Is the pride of belonging to B’nai B’rith gone from our hearts?  Are we less charitable, less patriotic, or less devoted to our supreme Ruler in the Grand Lodge above?  The answer is most decidedly that we are not.  And as the years have gone by we have bettered our organization.

The B’nai B’rith was founded on the principals of Justice, Brotherly Love, and Harmony.  These are the qualities that we endorse today, with just as much if not more animation as our Brothers expressed in the past.

Brothers, these are the “good old days.” Let’s forget about the mistakes or glories of the past, and look towards the future.  There is work for every Ben B’rith to do now.  Let us live in today, work in today, and prepare for tomorrow.

“Your B’nai B’rith Card.” When you were initiated into our lodge, do you remember the admonition regarding your membership?  Then you should be proud to carry your card with you at all times.  But Is It A Paid Up Card?  If not, the longer you are delinquent, the more you will feel embarrassed when asked to pay your dues.  Finally, a year rolls by and the time has come when we have no alternative but to strike you from our membership, so if you card does not read “Paid For 1953” by March 31st, Brother you are in arrears.

Hutler To Speak
Southwestern Jewish Press February 6, 1953, page 8

San Diego’s Jewish Community leadership has again received recognition by the extending of an invitation to Albert A. Hutler to be a speaker and panelist at the Fifth Annual California Recreation Conference, to be held in Long Beach, California, from February 10 to 13.

Hutler, Executive Director of the Federation and the United Jewish Fund will serve on the panel which will present to Recreation leaders from all over the State, the subject of “Outdoor Programs in Urban Areas.” Mr. Hutler’s specific subject will be “The Program of Private and Agency Groups” in the field of Recreation and will mainly stress summer programs of camping.

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This California Recreation Conference is co-sponsored by the State of California Recreation Commission, The National Recreation Association, and the California Recreation Society.

Chaim Weizmann
Branch Poale Zion

Southwestern Jewish Press February 6, 1953, page 8

The public is cordially invited to attend the installation of officers on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. sharp at Tifereth Israel Synagogue.  Newly elected officers who will be installed are:  Pres., M. S. Berlin; Vice-Pres., Meir Barach; Corr. Sec., Fred Yaruss; Rec. Sec., Philip Abrams; Fin. Sec., Mrs. Bernard Veitzer; Treas., Joe Richlin.  Board members are Mrs. Rose Brooker, Sol Goodman, B. Mallen, Mrs. Joe Richlin, Ben Segal, Maurice Schaffer, Sam Slayen, Bernard Veitzer and R. Umansky.  Mrs. G. Borushek will continue to act as publicity chairman.

Guest speaker following the installation ceremonies will be Rabbi Yosef Miller, director of the western region of Poale Zion whose personal efforts on encouraging American Chalutziut are outstanding.  He is co-editor of a newly published book “Chalutz and Youth” which is the first book of its kind to appear in the United States, presenting a detailed and thorough-going study of the problems, challenges and rewards that Israel holds out for the American immigrant.

There will also be a musical program and appropriate refreshments to round out the social evening.

Members and their friends are urged to attend this special event for which there will be no admission charge.

“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

Andrew Sachs as Manuel in "Fawlty Towers"

George Segal in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" with Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Sandy Dennis.

Susan Strasberg as "Penny" in Scream of Fear (also titled Taste of Fear)

William Shatner plays the good and evil Captain Kirks in original Star Trek series

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

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