Volume 3, Number 107
"There's a Jewish story everywhere"

Today's Postings:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

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

Are Israel, U.S. playing good cop, bad cop with each other? ... by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem

New governments in the United States and Israel are reaching the end of their "running in" periods. The Obama team has had more time to get its feet on the ground than the Netanyahu government. Its early days were busy with the economic crisis. That is not over, but the mammoth is looking elsewhere for problems to solve. READ MORE

Iran is a major world problem, not a bargaining chip ... by Shoshana Bryen in Washington, D.C.
Secretary of State Clinton (echoed by Rahm Emmanuel) told Congress, "For Israel to get the kind of strong support it's looking for vis-a-vis Iran it can't stay on the sideline with respect to the Palestinian and the peace efforts, that they go hand-in-hand." READ MORE


Vice President Biden lays out U.S. Mideast policy to AIPAC READ MORE

San Diego Jewish World to serialize memoirs of Laura Simon, 103 READ MORE

Media Watch READ MORE

BikeIsrael2009 follow up READ MORE

Fourth Graders study biographies at Soille San Diego Hebrew Day READ MORE


Thursdays With the Songs of Hal Wingard

#79 -- From a Philosophical Point of View READ AND HEAR

#97 -- Photosynthesis READ AND HEAR

#173 -- The Right or Wrong Song READ AND HEAR

How typically Irish is humor in The Cripple of Inishmaan? ... by Carol Davis in San Diego
Last month I went to see playwright Richard Greenberg’s Our Mother’s Brief Affair at the South Coast Repertory Theater in Costa Mesa. For those who saw the production, it was pretty clear that all the characters in the play were Jewish. Many of the intonations, phrases and attitudes were pretty much ethnically based and biased in the Jewish mindset. Some might even say it is stereotypical. READ MORE

Watch our Bible come together with Biblical names and modern images

God plants a garden in Eden, Genesis 2:8 VIEW PHOTO

March 6, 1953; Southwestern Jewish Press

Editorial Page READ MORE

Community Currents by Albert Hutler READ MORE

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We continue our examination of Jewish entertainers

Barbara Hershey in "The Last of the Dogmen"VIEW VIDEO

Dan Hedaya in 'Blood Simple' VIEW VIDEO

Goldie Hawn explains time zones on Rowan and Martin's 'Laugh-In' VIEW VIDEO

Scott Glenn plays astronaut Alan Shepherd in "The Right Stuff"VIEW VIDEO


Yesterday, we ran Eileen Wingard's story about a concert featuring the works of Jews persecuted during the Holocaust. Today, in a complete change of mood, we read the lyrics and hear the whimsical songs of her husband Hal Wingard. The Wingards are one of the most talented families in San Diego, and San Diego Jewish World is lucky to have them as contributors.


America's Vacation Center
Balloon Utopia
Congregation Beth Israel
Jewish Family Service
Lawrence Family JCC
Math Is Easy
Ohr Shalom Synagogue
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. Past dedications may be found at the bottom of the index for the "Adventures in San Diego Jewish History" page.

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Are Israel, U.S. playing good cop, bad cop with each other?

By Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM—New governments in the United States and Israel are reaching the end of their "running in" periods.

The Obama team has had more time to get its feet on the ground than the Netanyahu government. Its early days were busy with the economic crisis. That is not over, but the mammoth is looking elsewhere for problems to solve. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran are each somewhere near the top of the overseas agenda, and that old bugaboo of Israel / Palestine is not far behind. Indeed, depending on some of the comments, that is the key to solving much of the rest.

When noise comes from the mammoth, it is always difficult to know what it means. Are individuals in high places, or those who aspire to notice and influence, speaking on their own? Are they sending up trial balloons for someone else who also may be high, or at least aspire to be important? Does the president know what is being said? Is the person speaking for the president, or just seeing how something will be received? If the source is the Defense or State Department, does it represent anything more than the thinking of ranking, or not-so-ranking bureaucrats? When noise comes from a Senator or Member of the House of Representatives, it is even more difficult to weigh the import. Is it an effort to curry favor with a foreign country or a lobbyist who claims to be speaking for a foreign country? Is there any chance that the comment has wide support in Congress or the Administration?

Perhaps there is a conspiracy at work. That is, a bad cop good cop scenario, where someone down in the piles expresses what may be viewed as tough language, in order to pave the way for the president to re-wrap the message in something more palatable.

From out of the mammoth in recent days we have heard that Israel must be more forthcoming with respect to the Palestinians in order to allow the United States to reach accords with Iran about the end of its nuclear program, and with Syria about the end of its bad behavior. Detailed comments have mentioned the freezing of settlements, the withdrawal of small settlements considered to be even more illegal than the large settlements, the need for Israel to commit itself to the development of the Palestinian state, Israel's acceptance of a commitment concerning its nuclear weapons, and an arrangement where the United States, the European Union, and moderate Arab countries (but not Israel) define the "end game" of the Palestinian issue.

The Obama administration might have been sending a message to Prime Minister Netanyahu when it invited Shimon Peres to the White House before him. Netanyahu had produced concern with his remarks that it is not appropriate to continue pursuing the idea of a Palestinian state. Important Americans and European responded with a collective oy gevalt.

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Must Israel capitulate?

Before answering that question, it is appropriate to ask, To what?

Although numerous ranking Americans have expressed themselves in ways Israelis might perceive to be threatening, it is not clear what, precisely, the United States government wants, much less what it is demanding.

Moreover, it is not appropriate to answer the question about Israel's response in simple fashion. Israel, as well as the United States, is a complex entity. It may not qualify as a mammoth, but neither is it a well articulated, centrally controlled beast whose mutterings allow a simple prediction of governmental action.

In other words, Israel, too, has its good cops and bad cops. The Jewish people have not survived for upwards of 3,000 years without learning how to wiggle out of the threats posed by great empires.

Likely to help on this occasion, as they have in previous confrontations, are the Palestinians. Their spokesmen are on a high horse, more than a bit too high for the tolerance of Israelis and a few others. Nonnegotiable demands from the Palestinians are all Israel needs to cope with the threats coming from North America and Europe. Currently the Palestinians are not willing to begin negotiations until Israel complies with their wishes. Also helpful are the Syrians and Iranians. Their intransigence is just what Israel needs for a few more years without a great power dictate.

Israeli cynicism is way out in front of optimism. So far more than 2,800 respondents have replied to a question asked by a prominent web site, "What will come from American pressure on Israel?"

15 percent say that Israel will reach an agreement with Palestinians

4 percent say that Israel will alter its policy with respect to nuclear weapons

4 percent say that Israel stop being vague and make peace

77 percent say that Israel will do nothing.

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

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Iran is a major world problem, not a bargaining chip

By Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Secretary of State Clinton (echoed by Rahm Emmanuel) told Congress, "For Israel to get the kind of strong support it's looking for vis-a-vis Iran it can't stay on the sideline with respect to the Palestinian and the peace efforts, that they go hand-in-hand."

She added Arab officials want "very much to support the strongest possible policy toward Iran." But, "they believe that Israel's willingness to reenter into discussions with the Palestinian Authority strengthens them in being able to deal with Iran."

First, the ridiculous. The regional anti-Iran axis includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Morocco and parts of Lebanon. All acknowledge the threat posed by Iran (and the coincidence of interest with Israel) and none is able to deal with Iran. They are friends of the United States who previously looked to Washington for leadership. Now, Saudi Arabia and some of the Gulf States, worried that the administration's overtures to Tehran will strengthen the mullahs, are accommodating themselves to increased Persian influence.

Egypt, perhaps less so. David Schenker in The Weekly Standard notes, "Egypt may finally be taking steps to reestablish itself as a counterweight to a resurgent Tehran... Egyptian authorities announced the arrest last November of dozens of Hezbollah operatives in the Sinai... accompanied by unprecedented Egyptian condemnations of the Iranian-Syrian backed organization and its popular leader, Hassan Nasrallah. The arrest and subsequent war of words suggest an effort may be underway by moderate Arab states to roll back the increasingly pernicious Persian influence in the Levant." Secretary Gates' comments in Cairo on Tuesday were clearly designed to allay Egypt's fears.

Then, the incomprehensible. There are daily Israeli "discussions" with the Palestinian Authority on security and economics, and the Netanyahu government pledged to continue and increase them. On the larger "final status" issues, Mrs. Clinton has been pushing desperately and unsuccessfully for a Hamas-Fatah unity government. Khaled Abu Toameh writes in The Jerusalem Post, "Talks... failed after it became evident that the Islamist movement remained unwilling to make the slightest concession. According to Fatah representatives, the Hamas negotiators made it clear... they would never recognize Israel's right to exist or the Oslo Accords and other agreements between the Israelis and Palestinians. Moreover, the Hamas team emphasized their movement's 'right' to continue 'resistance operations' (including rocket attacks and suicide bombings, of course) against Israel. Mahmoud Abbas and Hosni Mubarak are reported to be extremely angry."

They should be angry with Mrs. Clinton for trying to force a deal that would undermine Abbas at home and Mubarak in the region by courting Hamas. Toameh quotes a senior aide to

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Abbas, "Hamas should be weakened, not strengthened. Hamas is not going to relinquish its radical policies as long as it feels that the Americans and Europeans are prepared to deal with it without demanding anything in return."

Finally, the obvious. Iran should not be framed by the United States as Israel's problem. President Obama has been quite clear that Iran's advancing nuclear capability is a threat to the United States and to our regional friends and allies. Mrs. Clinton should be looking for additional support for stopping Iran - not throwing Israel, Egypt and Abu Mazen overboard while she chases Hamas and the ephemeral two-state solution.

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


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Vice President Biden lays out
U.S. Mideast policy to AIPAC

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Following is the speech that U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden made at the concluding session of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee on May 5, 2009: The transcript was provided by AIPAC; San Diego Jewish World has added the boldface subheads:

Thank you very much. (Applause.) Please. (Applause.) Larry, thank you for that introduction. Ladies and gentlemen, there's an old -- there's an old Saxon expression. And what it says is -- (applause) -- there's an old expression. This is the man who introduced me to AIPAC. And there's an old expression that says an institution is little more than the lengthened shadow of a man. This is the man right here. This is the man. (Applause.)

Ladies and gentlemen, I was backstage and the stage director, a lovely young woman, was telling me that she was the stage director, and I told her how well I take orders. (Laughter.) And Larry was speaking, and I said, you see that man? I said, he's been my friend for 38 years. And she looked at me like, that's not possible -- (laughter) -- not that I don't look that old, but that she wasn't born, I don’t think -- when she said it. (Laughter.)

But the truth is Larry, and his magnificent wife, have been just wonderful, wonderful, wonderful supporters of Israel and AIPAC. And he really did, along with one of my closest friends, period, not just in politics,Michael Adler -- Michael Adler's dad in Miami and Larry Weinberg on the West Coast are the two peoplewho gave me my formal education. And I thank them both. Thank you both. (Applause.)

I say to the board and all of you that are here, I'm delighted by your warm welcome. And it's very good to be among friends. I'd like to begin by congratulating your president, David Victor, for -- and the incoming president, Lee Rosenberg. Rosy, we're all pulling for your dad, Big Rosy, and we know how proud he must be right now as you're about to take on your new responsibilities. (Applause.)

I'd like to also congratulate AIPAC's Executive Director, Howard Kohr, and the rest of the staff for another successful conference. (Applause.) And I want to congratulate an old friend, who I think is probably the most articulate and eloquent
speechmaker in the world, Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel -- (applause) -- on the 61st anniversary of Israel’s independence, which we're going to celebrate -- which we celebrated last week. And the President -- President Obama and I look forward to visiting later today with the President. I'm anxious to see him in the White House. (Applause.)

Ongoing U.S. commitment to Israel
A little over a hundred days ago, our country started on a new path. The citizens of this country made a very fundamental decision. And it began with the historic inauguration of the 44th President, Barack Obama, but it grew -- it grew out of the determination of millions of Americans who desperately wanted to change not only the direction of our country, but quite frankly, the trajectory that the world was on. That’s
what the Obama-Biden administration has set out to do, a lofty goal but an absolutely minimum required task -- to change the direction of this country and all the trajectory of the world. We not only want to do it here at home; we believe our fate is inextricably tied to the direction the world is moving in.
But in the midst of change, with all the change you will hear about, there is one enduring, essential principle that will not change; and that is our commitment to the peace and security of the state of Israel. (Applause.) That is not negotiable. That is not a matter of change. That is something to be reinforced and
made clear. (Applause.) It seems almost unnecessary to state it, but I want the word to go forth in here that no one should mistake it.

That commitment began when the United States of America emerged from World War II as the preeminent economic, political, and military power in the world, and one of our great Presidents, Harry Truman, reached out to a tiny, struggling state, emerging from the ashes of the Holocaust, and recognized the state of Israel. It’s a commitment that spans generations, and administrations of both political parties. And our
job -- obviously you know it's yours -- just so you know, we know it's our job to ensure that that endures.

The bond between Israel and the United States was forged by a shared interest in peace and security; by shared values and to respect all faiths and for all faiths and for all people; by deep ties evidenced here today among our citizens, both Christian and Jew; and a common, unyielding commitment to democracy.

Bibi Netanyahu's election as prime minister
Indeed, we've both experienced recent elections and the peaceful transition of power. I want tocongratulate my friend, Prime Minister Netanyahu -- and as they say in the Senate, he is my friend -- for his victory. Bibi and I have been friends for a long, long time -- too long to mention. And you know the old
cliché -- imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Well, I looked at Likud’s website, campaign website -- and on behalf of the Obama-Biden administration, I must say I am flattered. (Laughter.) Take a look at the website. It looked like we were running co-joint campaigns here. (Laughter.) And we didn’t charge Bibi a thing for it. (Laughter.) All kidding aside, a lot of you in the audience, and a lot of board members here, have been my friends for a long, long time.

Biden's earliest Israel contacts

My commitment, though, to Israel did not begin with the friendships that I share on this stage. As the friends on this stage know, and some of you have heard me say, my commitment began at my father’s dinner table. My father was what you'd refer to as a righteous Christian. My father -- we had dinner at myfather and mother's home as an occasion to sit down and have conversation and, incidentally, eat, rather
than eat and, incidentally, have conversation. And over the years, my commitment was nurtured by many of the people in this room, starting with Larry and many others that are here.
In 1973, as a 29-year-old or just 30 -- just turned 30 years old, elected United States senator from the state of Delaware -- I made my first overseas trip to Israel. It was on the eve at the time unknown of the Yom Kippur War. I had just come from Cairo, and visited the Suez Canal. And I then went to visit the Prime Minister, Golda Meir, which was one of the great honors. I was asked not long ago, what are the two most meaningful meetings I ever had as a senator. And they were with the freed later president of South Africa, and Golda Meir. (Applause.) They both embodied everything I had been taught -- different races, different religions, different regions -- the same tenacity and the same open heart.

I sat across the desk from the Prime Minister. And she, as many of you know, is a chain smoker. She continually smoked. And she had a set of maps behind her, the old maps that were on rollers. There was a whole big slew of them, like eight maps in one set. And she was describing to me the Six-Day War and
reading letters from the front, from young Israelis, most of whom had died defending their country. It was very moving. She kept flipping the maps up and down and pointing to different battles. I'm sure many of you had the experience. I'm sure you had the experience, Larry.

And there was a young man sitting next to me who didn't say a lot. His name was Rabin. And we had a conversation that lasted -- I won't put a time on it, but I'm quite confident it was over an hour. It was a long time. It was a great moment for a young man like me. It was meaningful. I learned a lot. But it also gave
me a sense of the degree of -- how do I say it -- the pain, the history, the hope, the pragmatism, the grit of an entire nation. And almost it seemed in mid-sentence, she looked at me -- and my good friend, Michael Adler, heard me say this before, it was -- kind of startled me -- she said, Senator, would you like a photo?

It was, like, by the way, do you want to go to the ball game?
And I said, well, of course, Madam Prime Minister. And the office in those days that she had, there were double doors that opened up onto a hallway. And we walked out, and there were photographers arrayed. And we stood next to one another, looking straight at the camera, at the photographers and the
cameras. But she was talking to me without looking at me. She said the following. She said, Senator -- looking straight ahead, but talking -- she said, Senator, you seem worried. You look like you're worried.And I turned to her, and I said, well, Madam Prime Minister, I am. The picture you just painted -- in those
days 60 million Arabs, 2 million Jews, et cetera.
And she put her hand out -- still looking at the camera -- on my arm. She said, Senator, don't worry. We Jews have a secret weapon in our struggle here. We have no place else to go. (Applause.)

And, for me, I thought at the time -- some of you know, she was so engaging -- I thought at the time, I'm probably the only person in the world she ever said that to. (Laughter.) And it was for me, at that moment, her comments crystallized for me everything I'd learned at my father's table, and everything about the basicresponsibility of the United States to be a partner in ensuring that there will always, always be a place for
Jews of the world to go -- (applause) -- and that place always must be Israel. (Applause.) It's real. It's serious. It's compelling. It's the only certainty, the only certainty. (Applause.)

President Obama's ties to Israel
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm here today to tell you something you already know, and I assure you this -- President Barack Obama shares that same commitment. (Applause.) His support is rooted in his personal connection to the Zionist idea to which he spoke about last year at this conference. He said last year that
when he was a child, and I quote, "I was drawn to the belief that you could sustain a spiritual, emotionaland cultural identity, and I deeply understood the Zionist idea that there is always a homeland at the center of our story."

Ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama's commitment was reinforced -- not that it need to have been -- by his two relatively recent trips to Israel, when he met with Israeli leaders from across the spectrum -- and you all know it's a very wide spectrum in Israel; by the powerful, searing experience that he had visiting maybe in a sense the holiest of all places, commemorating the Holocaust; by seeing, first-hand, Israel's
unique security dilemmas from a helicopter with top generals -- the sort of experience I had in '73 when Istood on the Golan Heights and realized if you had a really good arm you could literally throw a grenade down in the territory that could do damage to Israelis.

He also had it reinforced by traveling to the northern border, and met with families whose homes had been destroyed by rockets fired by Hezbollah and Hamas into their villages. But the President and I both know that ultimately we'll be judged not by our commitment and our verbal assurances to you or to anyone else or to the state of Israel, but by the results of the commitment we have made. (Applause.)

New directions in U.S. foreign policy
We believe that the results we seek, including a secure Israel at peace, can be best achieved by taking a new direction in our foreign policy; by, first and foremost, reestablish America's preeminent leadership in the world. (Applause.) The nation who asserts it leads, but has no one following, is not leading. We must reassert the confidence that we once had, and the confidence the world once had in us to lead the world.
When America has confidence -- the confidence of our allies and our friends, and the broad support we need in the world -- not only is America stronger but Israel will be stronger, because America is able to be a more efficient partner and effective partner, and our adversaries and Israel's adversaries know that as well.

In the Middle East, we stand for the premise that the status quo of the last decade has not served the interests of the United States or Israel very well. It has not enhanced the peace and security of the region, no matter how good the intention. I went to a Catholic grade school. When you got in trouble, the nuns
would make you -- I'd say, but, sister -- and they'd make you write on the board a hundred times after school: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. All the good intentions of the last decade have not resulted in a more secure, more stable Middle East; a more secure, more stable Israel; a more secure, more stable United States.

So we are working to change that by responsibly ending the war in Iraq, by refocusing our efforts on Afghanistan and Pakistan to defeat al Qaeda, by engaging all countries in the region, including those with whom we have overwhelming disagreements, in order to advance our national security interests.

Iran's nuclear ambitions
We are intensely focused on avoiding the grave danger, as Larry spoke about and others have, as well, including my good friend, John {Kerry}, of a nuclear armed Iran. (Applause.) A nuclear-armed Iran risks an arms race in the region that would make every country less secure; presents an existential threat. What we have tried with Iran in recent years has obviously not worked. What will work remains to be seen.

Since 2000, Iran has installed thousands of centrifuges and produced over a thousand kilograms of low enriched uranium; not capable of use in a nuclear weapon -- low-enriched -- but nonetheless, they have produced that. Instead of arresting the danger; in the last six years, the danger has grown. It has not been arrested. We're determined to change that. That's why we will pursue direct, principled diplomacy with Iran with the overriding goal of preventing them from acquiring nuclear weapons.

The United States will approach Iran initially in the spirit of mutual respect. We want Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations, politically and economically. That's a path that the Islamic Republic can take if it so chooses. Or that government can choose a different future: one of international
pressure, isolation; and one which nothing is taken off the table.
If our efforts to address this problem through engagement are not successful, we have greater international support to consider other options. And ladies and gentlemen, don't kid yourselves -- international support matters, as we've learned over the last eight years. (Applause.) We must sometimes
act alone, but it's always stronger when we act in unison. Given the situation we inherited, we know we don't have unlimited time to make this assessment. Iran also has played a dangerous role in the region supporting terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah and undermining many of our friends and those who claim to be our friends. Indeed, these proxies are the tools
in my view, our view, that Iran uses to exploit conflicts like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- use it to their advantage.

Iran and Israel-Palestinian conflict
In this way the continuation of Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab -- Arab-Israeli conflicts, strengthen Iran's strategic position. They give Iran a playing field upon which to extend its influence, sponsor extremist elements, inflame public opinion -- all which are counterintuitive. It's counterintuitive if you
think about it, that Iran's Shia influence in a Sunni Arab world would be able to be extended.

There are many reasons to pursue an end to these conflicts. It gives Israelis peace and security they deserve; to help the Palestinians fulfill their aspirations of an independent and better life; to ease tension in the regions -- in this region.

Today, one of the most pressing reasons may be to deprive Iran of the ability to extend its destabilizing influence. Again, it's counterintuitive if you think about its ability to extend its influence in the region.

That's why from day one of this administration we began to make a strong, sustained effort on behalf of peace. The President decided that we must be engaged; we must take risk on behalf of peace for Israel.

Two-State Solution
The President appointed one of our most tenacious diplomats to lead that effort, George Mitchell, and the President is strongly and personally committed to achieving what all have basically said is needed -- a two-state solution, with a secure Jewish state of Israel living side by side in peace and security with a viable and independent Palestinian state. (Applause.)

He and I both believe that it's absolutely necessary to ensure Israel's survival as a Jewish democratic state that this occur. (Applause.) That is also the solution that Israel and the Palestinians committed to in the road map and reaffirmed in Annapolis. It can be achieved. It must be achieved.
There's an old expression, which Larry will get a kick out of, and it relates to Christianity. G.K. Chesterton once said, "It's not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting; it's been found difficult and left untried." Well, the truth of the matter is, the fact that peace has not occurred does not mean peace cannot occur.

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Regional Arab-Israeli peace

Same time, we'll pursue a secure and lasting and comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace. The Israelis and its Arab neighbors have sufficient common interest to bring this goal within reach. Progress towards peace has only been possible when people -- when people were willing to think differently; to take risks; to make a principled compromise. That's why we have to pursue every opportunity for progress while standing up for one core principle: First, Israel's security is non-negotiable. (Applause.) Period. Period. Our commitment is unshakeable. We will continue to provide Israel with the assistance that it needs. We will continue to defend Israel's right to defend itself and make its own judgments about what it needs to do to defend itself.

Secondly, all of us have obligations to meet, including commitments Israel and the Palestinians made in the
road map. The Palestinian Authority must combat terror and incitement against Israel. The United States and its partners have provided funding and training for a reformed Palestinian security force, which has impressed everyone, including the Israeli security officers with its recent demonstrations of professionalism and effectiveness. We are right now seeking funds from Congress to expand this program. But Israel has to work towards a two-state solution. You're not going to like my saying this, but not build more settlements, dismantle existing outposts, and allow the Palestinians freedom of movement based on their first actions -- (applause) -- its access to economic opportunity and increased security responsibility.

'Show-Me Deal'

This is a "show me" deal -- not based on faith -- show me. Prime Minister Netanyahu has important ideas about how to achieve some of these objectives and we look forward to working with him to help develop them when he comes to visit.

The Quartet and the Arab states also have clear responsibilities. One of the most important is to support the Palestinian Authority with the tools and funds it needs to govern on the West Bank, develop and reform its institutions, help the people of Gaza work toward returning to Gaza. We are doing our part with major assistance packages currently before the Congress. We expect others to do theirs.

The Arab states should act now, not later, to build upon -- (applause) -- to build upon the Arab Peace Initiative -- a constructive combination that contains the promise of a cooperative and comprehensive peace, but now is the time. Now is the time for Arab states to make meaningful gestures to show the Israeli leadership and the people that the promise of ending Israel's isolation in the region is real and genuine. They must take action now -- show me. (Applause.)

Hamas must renounce violence, release Gilad Shalit
Ladies and gentlemen, finally, the world must continue to make clear to Hamas that the legitimacy it seeks will only come when it renounces violence, recognizes Israel, and abides by past agreements --period. (Applause.) These are not -- some say, when I repeat that and the President says it, that these are
unreasonable. These are not unreasonable demands -- they're basic standards of international conduct.

We're working hard to provide assistance to Palestinians in Gaza that does not benefit Hamas, and to coordinate with our allies to end the smuggling of weapons in the Gaza, which continue. And we demand - - we demand the immediate and unconditional release -- unconditional release of Gilad Shalit -- (applause)
-- after nearly three years -- three years of captivity. It is not acceptable. (Applause.) And we remain committed -- we remain committed to seeing him returned safely to his family.


We will also explore opportunities, as the Israelis are, for progress between Israel and Syria. Peace between Israel and Syria could reshape the region. We will ensure that it does not come if it comes at the expense of Israel's security or Lebanon's sovereignty and independence.


The search for a secure and just and lasting peace in the Middle East has frustrated many and all who have come before us. We understand the immensity of the challenge. We recognize the hard choices that must be made. But we also know this: The path we have been on in recent yeas will not result in security and
prosperity for Israel or the Palestinians, nor will it produce the stability and progress that's needed in the region to ultimately guarantee Israel's security.

Look, we know there are different views in this room. We know there are different views in this town about how to move forward. Nowhere are these issues debated more openly and vividly than in the streets of Israel and in the Knesset, which is an overwhelming tribute to its democracy. But I believe the criticalquestion is not where we stand today, but how we see tomorrow, and what we're prepared to do to get there. This administration sees and seeks a future of lasting peace and security in which Israeli children can leave behind the tyranny of rockets and terror; when Israeli mothers, as they send their children off to school, do not have to worry about whether or not they will come home; or Palestinian children have full
opportunities to live out their dreams, and the entire Middle East does not have to live under the dread of a nuclear cloud.

Delaying the pursuit of these goals is not an option. It's easier, but it is not an option. And the longer we wait, the harder it will be. Now is the time to work together for the promise of a better day, and for thesuccess and strength and security of our most-treasured ally, Israel.

Thank you very much. God bless you all, and may God protect our troops. (Applause.)

San Diego Jewish World to serialize
memoirs of Laura Simon, 103

SAN DIEGO -- Laura Simon is one of San Diego's great treasures. At 103, her mind is still sharp. She gives talks to classes on gerentology, to literary groups, Jewish and historical groups. She reminisces on television programs about her more than century of life.

Montezuma Press at San Diego State University published her book, I'm Still Here,
just after her 100th birthday, and now San Diego Jewish World is going to bring this remarkable lady's stories to our readers in San Diego and around the world. When Laura was born, Roosevelt was serving as President of the United States--Theodore Roosevelt, that is!

Some of Laura's stories are quite short; others are lengthy. We plan on bringing you in each Monday's edition another installment of Laura--as the remarkable centenarian ranges back and forth between the long past, the present and sometimes into the future. It's a trip we know that you will enjoy taking with her.

Media Watch

The North County Times recently ran an Associated Press feature on a growing movement among synagogues and churches to "go green." Here is the link.

The San Diego Union-Tribune has a feature in which writers remember their grandmothers' cooking. Among them are the "perfect blintzes" of Lori Weisberg's grandma, and the matzo ball soup of Tovin Lapan's Grandma Minnie. Stop it! We're salivating already. Here's the link. .. In the sports section, there's a feature by Darren Feeney on star pitcher Michael Fagan of San Diego Jewish Academy. Here's that link.

The online San Francisco Sentinel has a feature by Arlene Fine on Rabbi J.B. Sacks, whom she reported was the first gay rabbi to be ordained by the Conservative movement. Here's the link.

Cantor Sheldon Merel of San Diego forwarded us a PowerPoint presentation by Noemi on Budapest's Holocaust Memorial called "Shoes on the Danube." Shoes mark the spot where Jews were executed and dumped into the river by the Arrow Cross, a Hungarian Nazi organization. To see the slide show, click here, then continue clicking to move through the images.

BikeIsrael2009 follow up

SAN DIEGOAmong the highlights of last Sunday's Yom Ha'Atzma'ut festival on San Diego Jewish Academy's campus was the return, in riding shirts, of the BikeIsrael2009 squad that rode last month from Metula in the far north of Israel to Sha'ar Hanegev at the lip of the Negev Desert in a six-day trek to raise money to rocket-proof the Sha'ar Hanegev High School.

Lisa Haney of the United Jewish Federation took this photo showing Leo Spiegel at the microphone, with Mitchell Shack, Susan Lapidus, Robert Lapidus, and Mardelle Davis in the background. Jeff Davis, SDJA principal is hidden behind Spiegel.

Ulla Hadar, bureau chief for San Diego Jewish World in Sha'ar Hanegev accompanied the group on the ride, and filed daily reports which may be accessed via this link. The effort to aise funds to help Sha'ar Hanegev protect its children is ongoing. To contribute to this cause, please click on this link to a webpage of the United Jewish Federation of San Diego County.

Preceding collated from several sources

Fourth Graders study biographies
at Soille San Diego Hebrew Day

SAN DIEGO (Press Release) —The fourth grade secular class spent the last three weeks reading a biography of a famous American. After writing reports, the students dressed up like the person in their biography and retold the important events of their lives.

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

Preceding provided by Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School

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The Bible in Pop Culture: God plants a garden in Eden

Genesis 2:8

Hashem God planted a garden in Eden, to the east, and placed there the man whom He had formed.

John E. Finley photographed this shop in Torrance, California on May 5, 2009.

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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Thursdays With The Songs of Hal Wingard

SAN DIEGO—Hal Wingard exhibits his more playful side in this selection of songs. Is he serious? Is he being facetious? You be the judge. But then, remember, with Hal, both or neither, are possible.

#79 -- From a Philosophical Point of View
#97 -- Photosynthesis
#173 -- The Right or Wrong Song

#79, From A Philosophical
Point of View


Still waters run deep;
Deep waters still run;
And waters must run or be still.

Ill daughters shun sleep;
Sleep daughters ill shun;
And daughters must shun or be ill.

‘Though thinking’s not for other guys,
I am proud to philosophize.


Ill waters shun sleep;
Sleep waters ill shun;
And waters must be or shun ill.

Still daughters run deep;
Deep daughters still run;
And daughters must be or run still.

‘Though thinking’s not for other guys,
I am proud to philosophize.


Still shun waters sleep;
Sleep still waters shun;
And sleep must waters shun still.

Ill run daughters deep;
Deep ill daughters run;
And deep must daughters run ill.

‘Though thinking’s not for other guys,
I am proud to philosophize.

(c) 2009 Hal Wingard; To Ann Vrolyk, January 3, 1980

#97, Photosynthesis

The science of love, although theoretical,
Is founded on fact photosynthetical,
Founded on fact, founded on fact, photosynthetical.

Love of my life, my energy source,
You are my light, my life-giving force.
You are the love,
That gives the shove

The science of love, although theoretical,
Is founded on fact photosynthetical,
Founded on fact, founded on fact, photosynthetical.

But when you're gone, my heartbeat is slow.
My blood is weak and loses its flow.
My senses wait.
I hibernate

The science of love, although theoretical,
Is founded on fact photosynthetical,
Founded on fact, founded on fact, photosynthetical.

But when you're near, I feel my blood surge,
I feel a glow, a primitive urge.
I feel a fire,
A mad desire,

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The science of love, although theoretical,
Is founded on fact photosynthetical,
Founded on fact, founded on fact. . .
Energetic. . .
Biogenetic. . .

(c) 2009 Hal Wingard; April 25, 1980

#173, The Right Or Wrong Song

Making Moral Decisions

You're heading, you're heading,
You're heading in the right direction.

You're heading, you're heading,
You're heading in the wrong direction.

If you gorge on sweets
And fatty meats
And lose your clear complexion. . .
You're heading, you're heading,
You're heading in the (wrong) direction.

If you come home late
To a sleepy mate
And treat her with affection. . .
You're heading, you're heading,
You're heading in the (right) direction.

If you break a rule
And play it cool
Avoiding all detection. . .
You're heading, you're heading,
You're heading in the direction.

If the bread you buy
Is old and dry
But you don't raise objection. . .
You're heading, you're heading,
You're heading in the direction.

If you paint for fun,
And when you're done
Admit each imperfection. . .
You're heading, you're heading,
You're heading in the direction.

If you go full speed
And fail to heed
A red light intersection. . .
You're heading, you're heading,
You're heading in the direction.

If you spend your life
With a nagging wife
And never feel rejection. . .
You're heading, you're heading,
You're heading in the direction.

If you want to hide
Or stay inside
Because you need protection. . .
You're heading, you're heading,
You're heading in the direction.

If you think your child
Is weak or wild,
Unfit as your reflection. . .
You're heading, you're heading,
You're heading in the direction.

If you ride the bus,
And you make no fuss
At missing a connection. . .
You're heading, you're heading,
You're heading in the direction.

If you can't stand faults,
Turn somersaults
Unless you find perfection. . .
You're heading, you're heading,
You're heading in the direction.

If you give no thought
To what you're taught
Avoiding introspection. . .
You're heading, you're heading,
You're heading in the direction.

If you feel the need
To sow wild seed
And can without infection. . .
You're heading, you're heading,
You're heading in the direction.

(c) 2009 Hal Wingard; April 3, 1984


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How typically Irish is humor in The Cripple of Inishmaan?

Last month I went to see playwright Richard Greenberg’s Our Mother’s Brief Affair at the South Coast Repertory Theater in Costa Mesa. For those who saw the production, it was pretty clear that all the characters in the play were Jewish. Many of the intonations, phrases and attitudes were pretty much ethnically based and biased in the Jewish mindset. Some might even say it is stereotypical. They would be right. It’s even possible that some seeing the play might not get the Jewish humor, the Jewish tête-â tête or just the whole Jewish genre.  That too is possible.

If logic follows, one who is not familiar with Irish humor would draw the same conclusions with Irish playwright Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan now playing at the San Diego Repertory Theatre, Lyceum Space and produced by Ion Theater. It is after all an Irish play, no bones about it.  I’ve seen at least three of his plays, Beauty Queen of Leenane, Pillowman also produced by Ion and A Skull in Connemara years ago. The Cripple of Inishmaan is a bit of a different animal, however and I’m not claiming to be an expert on anything much Irish not even Irish linen. 

That said no one in any Jewish play would dare call Billy (Jason Connors) Cripple Billy, at least not to his face. But in McDonagah’s Inishmaan it matters not, that’s his name. Cripple Billy was born that way and it was who he was and what he was what called. Can you see the daggers? Just as a comparison, in Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs even the word Cancer was whispered to the audience, by Eugene (Simon’s alter ego). It was never spoken for fear it might be heard. It was a pooh-pooh.  In fact I don’t know of a single play grounded in Jewish humor where one of the characters openly admits he’s trying to speed up the death of his sickly and wheelchair bound mother by encouraging her to drink herself to death. It’s happening in Inishmaan. Can you imagine the Jewish guilt around that one?

Jewish humor and guilt aside, McDonagh’s humor in Inishmaan is wickedly funny almost to the point of being sacrilegiously funny. The verbal abuses continue to come fast and furious. One wonders if it’s a stereotypical representation and or a cartoon version of the real thing?

Set on the island of western Ireland, in this little community (and we get to see a cross section of characters) where Cripple Billy lives, a story evolves of what happens to both characters and community when an outsider from the film industry comes to the Arden Islands, shaking up their dull existence, looking for someone local to audition to play the lead in a movie, “The Man of Arden” which is about a cripple.

The good people of Inishmaan include, Babbybobby (Rich Carrillo), Kate (Dana Hooley), Eileen (D’Ann Paton), and Dr. McSharry (Charlie Riendeau), Johnnypateemike (Walter Ritter), Helen (Morgan Trant) Mammy (Trina Kaplan) and Bartley (Morgan Hollingsworth). Kate and Eileen are Cripple Billy’s aunts. They adopted him after his parents abandoned him by drowning themselves, or so the story goes. When they saw how deformed he was, they decided to just end their lives rather than face the shame of their crooked child.

Everyone in the township knew the story. It was a reoccurring topic of conversation even to Cripple Billy.  Neither Cripple Billy nor the audience will know. Tales fly so fast and furious, mostly by local currier Johnnypateemike (for a fee or trade) that just watching Ritter convey the information was entertainment enough even though his character is gossip laden and spiteful in those stories he retells pitting one person against another.

He listens in on every conversation and it is he who conveys the news that an American movie director was to be on a nearby Island of Inishmaan to film a documentary. Billy decides that this is just the chance he needs to get off the Island and escape his past of staring at cows for recreation and passing the time of day. It also means a reprieve from watching his aunties, who love and protect him, go off on their own superstitions, Kate talks to stones and Eileen eats an overabundance of sweets that their little country store imports from the States.

When the rest of the good folks of Inishmaan hear that he has decided to cross, they laugh, ridicule and mock him for even coming up with such an idea. He prevails upon Babbybobby, who makes the crossing frequently to let him on his boat by telling him a little white lie. He gets chosen to be the only one to make the crossing. He even gets chosen to go to Hollywood.  But Hollywood is even less friendly than Inishmaan. And he returns to Inishmaan where he finds everyone has missed him while he was gone. But don’t expect a happy ending. 

Directed with care by artistic director and co-founder Glenn Paris, along with Claudio Raygoza (who also was responsible for the set, along with Matt Lescault-Wood, and lighting) we are able to have another glimpse at McDonagh after seeing his Pillowman at Ion’s now defunct location at Alvarado Canyon Road. Each of the characters is well defined and their roles well played out. Opening night was a bit long and some of the accents wavered, but by now they are up to speed, I’m sure.

Hooley and Paton are the bookend sisters Kate and Eileen who, harmless as they may be, are a bit daft. Riendeau’s Dr. McSharry is the most caring and honest character in McDonagh’s piece. Morgan Trant’s Helen is the feisty, sarcastic no holds barred object of Billy’s affection, but no match for him is she with all her bragging rights and sexual prowess. Morgan Hollingsworth is her shy younger brother, Bartley whose head she uses to crack the eggs laid by her hen, as a way of being just plain mean. He is always in search of telescopes. Trina Kaplan is quietly tucked away in a wheel chair as Johnnypatteemike’s disabled and liquor soaked mother but her verbal repartee is matched word for word with her son’s.

Jason Connors is the limping, contorted Billy and he takes to the role seriously and convincingly. His twisted body represents the very core of the population, as we meet them,

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of Inishmaan.  Both he and Ritter move the story along with compassion for Billy as he tries to make a new life for himself and contempt for Johnnypateemike as he lies his way into and out of every situation he creates.

Jennifer Brawn Gittings dressed the cast in appropriate dreary colors befitting the island folk.

The Cripple of Inishmaan continues through May 10th at the Lyceum Theatre Downtown.

For more information visit www.iontheatre.com

See you at the theatre. 

Davis may be contacted at davisc@sandiegojewishworld.com

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

Goldie Hawn explains time zones on Rowan and Martin's 'Laugh-In'

Dan Hedaya in 'Blood Simple'

Scott Glenn plays astronaut Alan Shepherd in "The Right Stuff"

Barbara Hershey in "The Last of the Dogmen"

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