Volume 3, Number 108
"There's a Jewish story everywhere"

Today's Postings:

Friday-Saturday, May 8-9, 2009

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

Gates on U.S.'s Iran initiative 'Don't Worry, We'll Fail'? ...
by Shoshana Bryen in Washington D.C.
Is he the Administration's "honest man," or is Defense Secretary Gates sabotaging the President's overtures to Iran? If the first, it speaks volumes about his influence in policy-making that Mr. Gates went abroad to tell our Middle Eastern friends that he expects no dramatic changes in U.S.-Iranian relations. If the second, well, sigh. READ MORE

Being Jewish: following a religion or being part of a people? ... by Rabbi Dow Marmur in Jerusalem
In classical Reform Judaism, to which I came from a secular background, a lot was said and written about the gap between Jewish peoplehood and the Jewish religion: liberal Jews were expected to be believers in a modernist version of the Jewish religion – striving for integration as Hebrews of the Jewish faith - whereas secular Jews were seen primarily as part of the Jewish people and thus alien to, say the American people, which even assimilation didn’t seem to overcome.READ MORE


Peres' office tells of Israel's President's meeting with Obama READ MORE

Republican Jewish Coalition calls for gasoline embargo on Iran READ MORE

'Put Israel back on school maps,' ZOA tells Davis school chief READ MORE

Omer Klein's Israeli-African Music comes May 12 to music festival READ MORE

Rep. Bob Filner to discuss President Obama's impact READ MORE

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist to speak on mental illness reporting READ MORE

Israel's U.N. Ambassador to address JNF chapter in San Diego May 31 READ MORE

Chabad of La Costa schedules Lag' B'Omer barbecue on beach

Courses on the Bible as literature, Jewish poetry and Jewish feminism READ MORE

College Avenue Older Adults to hear lecture on The Forgotten Refugees READ MORE

Book artists exhibition at Athenaeum begins May 15 READ MORE

Why telephone area codes change READ MORE


Poem reflects on relationship between mothers, daughters ... by Sara Appel-Lennon in San Diego READ POEM

Daughter of the Waves, 1983 book on early Israel, inspires ... by David Amos in San Diego
Two months ago, while going through my late mother’s books and papers, I found a book that caught my interest. I quickly read it, and related to much of its contents.READ MORE

Watch our Bible come together with Biblical names and modern images

Holy Ground (Tierrasanta), Exodus 3:5 SEE IMAGE

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March 6, 1953; Southwestern Jewish Press

Odds and Ends READ MORE
Linda’s Lookout by Linda Solof READ MORE
Center News READ MORE
Temple Teens by Susan Solof READ MORE
Fiesta Club Functions READ MORE
Tifereth Israel Sisterhood READ MORE
Historic Ad-Cheron's READ MORE

We continue our examination of Jewish entertainers

Gabe Kaplan (Kotter) introduces John Travalta (Barbarino) in "Welcome Back Kotter" VIEW VIDEO

Madeline Kahn parodies Marlena Dietrich in "Blazing Saddles"VIEW VIDEO

Ricky Jay, magician, demonstrates card control VIEW VIDEO

Xaviera Hollander tells her story in "The Happy Hooker" VIEW VIDEO


Dan Bloom,who contributes columns to us from Taiwan, including one about whether we should differentiate between "reading" and "screening"( that is, between words printed on paper and screens) was recently interviewed about this subject on tech.blorge. Here is the link.


America's Vacation Center
Balloon Utopia
Congregation Beth Israel
Jewish Community Foundation
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.

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!




Gates on U.S.'s Iran initiative 'Don't Worry, We'll Fail'?

By Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Is he the Administration's "honest man," or is Defense Secretary Gates sabotaging the President's overtures to Iran? If the first, it speaks volumes about his influence in policy-making that Mr. Gates went abroad to tell our Middle Eastern friends that he expects no dramatic changes in U.S.-Iranian relations. If the second, well, sigh.

Egypt - along with Saudi Arabia and several of the Gulf States - has been worried that the Administration's overtures to Iran would encourage Tehran to believe it could engage the United States without halting or slowing its nuclear program or its support of Islamic (Shi'ite and Sunni) terrorism in the region. Mr. Gates clearly meant to be reassuring.

According to published reports, Mr. Gates said in Cairo, "I believe that kind of prospect is very remote. We'll just have to see how the Iranians respond to the offer from the president. Frankly, some of the first things that have happened as a result of the extension of that open hand have not been encouraging... To tell you the truth, I have been around long enough to see these efforts attempted before with no result. The question is whether circumstances in Iran have changed in such a way that with the administration offering an opportunity for contact that the Iranians are willing to take advantage of that opportunity."

Mr. Gates said progress with Iran would come slowly, if at all. He probably reassured the wrong people.

Iran needs nothing so much as time - coupled with financial, energy and dual-use technology assistance from Germany, North Korea, China and Turkey (and gasoline provided by European refineries) - to advance its plans both for nuclear capability and the destabilization of rival countries. (Rival countries include not only Israel, but also Saudi Arabia and Egypt for historical and religious reasons.) The U.S. rebuke of Israel for considering a military option, coupled with the President's comments that only if his open hand policy failed would the United States consider additional sanctions against Tehran, plus Mr. Gates's public acknowledgement that progress would be slow, should reassure the mullahs that everything is on track.  

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Mr. Gates's long experience in Washington gives him good reason to be skeptical of Iran; we concur in his assessment. But he works for President Obama now, who probably believes that his encouragement of Tehran will, indeed, work. There is no reason to believe the President is being cynical when he says he wants to change the paradigm of U.S.-Iranian relations. We think the policy is wrong - but we don't think the President is insincere. What does the President think the Iranians think when the President makes them an offer with one hand and his defense secretary dooms the initiative in the capital of a chief rival?  

The Iranians aren't cynical either. They are most straightforward in their belief that the Revolution is succeeding and that their twin goals - nuclear capability and Persian Shi'ite domination of the region - are the reason they are on this earth. The apparent split within the Administration, plus the split between the United States and its Middle Eastern allies including Israel, leaves the West in a weakened position.

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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Being Jewish: following a religion or being part of a people?

By Rabbi Dow Marmur

JERUSALEM—In classical Reform Judaism, to which I came from a secular background, a lot was said and written about the gap between Jewish peoplehood and the Jewish religion: liberal Jews were expected to be believers in a modernist version of the Jewish religion – striving for integration as Hebrews of the Jewish faith - whereas secular Jews were seen primarily as part of the Jewish people and thus alien to, say the American people, which even assimilation didn’t seem to overcome. That’s why, for example, liberal Jews often distanced themselves from Zionism, the liberation movement of the Jewish people.

Over the years I’ve witnessed a shift; in some small way perhaps I even participated in it. Though there were Reform Zionists – prominent men like Abba Hillel Silver, Stephen Wise and, of course, many others - there’s little to suggest that they tried to integrate the two into a coherent vision of Judaism. That has changed and now we even have a Reform Zionist organization.
I’ve been happy with this, for it combined my earlier life in a Yiddish speaking Zionist environment in the shadow of the Holocaust with my commitment to Reform Judaism. In fact, I was the founder chairman of the international organization of Progressive Jews (ARZENU).

My interest is ideological. I’ve often expressed ideas around the fact that the Hebrew Bible doesn’t have a word for “religion” and that the religious-secular divide has come to us under Christian influence. Emmanuel Levinas, one of the giants of modern philosophy in general and Jewish thought in particular, often cited the Talmudic dictum that God wants us to love the Torah more than to love God. The implication for Levinas, and with him for many of us, is that ethics comes before metaphysics; that doing isn’t just more important than believing but that doing is believing.
Of course, as my Reform teachers pointed out, doing can be abused into blind behaviorism and they cited telling examples. But we’ve also seen how believing can become blind fundamentalism. The challenge is not to look at the fringe but at the center.
I came to think about it last Wednesday evening when I attended a lecture at the Jerusalem Rainbow Group, reputedly the oldest Christian-Jewish dialogue group in Jerusalem and perhaps anywhere. The lecture was given by Professor Jesper Svartvik, the first holder of the chair in theology named after the late Krister Stendahl, former Dean of the Harvard Divinity School, former Bishop of Stockholm and one of the leading exponent of Lutheran Christianity in our time. The professorship is to be divided between the University of Lund in Sweden and the Swedish Theological Institute in Jerusalem. Svartvik is of the same ilk as Stendahl and the world will hear even more about him than it does already.
Svartvik’s topic was “The Notion of Sacred Space in Jewish and Christian Discourse.” Having first discussed the spaces of Sinai and Zion, his third “station” was Auschwitz. At Sinai Israel received the Torah, at Zion it got, in addition to the Torah, the Temple. What was there at Auschwitz?
It’s not my aim to summarize Svartvik’s brilliant address but to attempt an answer of my own in the light of the above reflections. Much of what I had written about in recent years about place and space became even more focused now.

The answer that most contemporary Jewish thinkers offer is that God was silent at Auschwitz. They put it in different ways. Some allude to the biblical notion of God hiding the divine face, others speak of God withdrawing to make room for human action and the world and Auschwitz is a manifestation of human action gone wild and sinful. This is in sharp contrast to those who, in a lame and despicable effort to defend God, speak of divine punishment for Jewish sins (occasionally ultra-Orthodox fanatics even point to Zionism and Reform Judaism as the cause).  
For me the most persuasive Jewish Holocaust theologians are those who say that God was silent at Auschwitz. The Temple had, of course, been destroyed long ago. But the Torah remained – even at Auschwitz.
Emil Fackenheim has even formulated a new commandment coming, as it were, from between the chimneys of the crematoria: the duty of every Jew to survive.
Irving Greenberg suggests that, though the old covenant

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between God and Israel appears to have been broken (a very daring and for some uncomfortable idea), Jews have nevertheless continued to abide by it. Torah has remained on the Jewish agenda and not only among the so-called religious. The covenant has now become voluntary and Jews continue to practice Judaism.

David Weiss Halivni implies that despite Auschwitz there’re valid reasons for waiting for God while doing Judaism. Faith may be in abeyance, but hope is alive.   
And then there’s the story by Elie Wiesel about God being put on trial in the camp and found guilty. But then someone called, “Time to say the evening prayers.”
In biblical times they didn’t have a word for “religion.” Later Judaism was mainly concerned with Torah observance. Only when Jews encountered other religions did they have to construct their own theology. Perhaps Auschwitz has made Jews revert to earlier epochs in their history. Though we don’t want to return to the desert or rebuild the Temple, we may need to re-affirm Torah in whatever way we can.  

Israel is the product of Zionist celebration of Jewish peoplehood, often accompanied by a rejection of what was perceived to be religion, and greatly influenced by the reality and the memory of the Holocaust. Zionism can be interpreted to say that the distinction between religion and secularity in Judaism is false. Thus when I’m in Israel I’m not always sure what’s more “religious” – sitting in synagogue on Shabbat, as I do, or walking the streets of Jerusalem, whether or not on the way to shul.
There’re now secular yeshivot in Israel and some of them are even planning to “ordain” rabbis. Very little may be said about God in those circles, but there’s much talk, teaching, learning and practicing Torah. Though the concept may be difficult to get used to, I can’t think of a more compelling illustration of a fusion of the secular and the religious.
I was thinking along those lines as I was listening to Jesper Svartvik’s talk in the Biblical Pontifical Institute in Jerusalem, only a few days before the visit by Pope Benedict XVI. It occurred to me that this view of Judaism may complicate interfaith dialogue, because dialogue tends to be based on religious doctrines and ideas, not on what some may wish to call anthropology. Though I’ve always known that Christian-Jewish relations are asymmetrical, I haven’t always been sufficiently aware of the implications of the asymmetry.

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Peres' office tells of Israel's President's meeting with Obama

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)—President Shimon Peres held an official meeting on Tuesday, May 5,with the President of the United States, Barack Obama. President Peres was received warmly by President Obama, who embraced him and said, "It's great to see you again – I always enjoy hearing your words and your wisdom, and I hope we can meet again many times in the future."

It should be noted that the meeting began with the participation of top advisers to the both of the Presidents, including President Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, adviser to the President David Axelrod, General James Jones, Dan Shapiro, the head of the Middle East desk of the National Security Council, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States Sallai Meridor, and President Peres's top advisers. Later on, President Obama requested to continue the meeting with President Peres privately.

President Obama told President Peres that, "The challenges standing before us are also great opportunities that can lead in promising directions. America's commitment to Israel's security is unequivocal, and it will remain that way throughout my administration. This commitment to Israel's security is a top priority of the United States."

President Obama added that, "America is a great friend of Israel," and that, "I am looking forward to my meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu; I am sure that we will be able work together cooperatively and pragmatically. I see that the most important thing in his eyes is the security of the citizens of Israel, just as the most important thing in my eyes is the security of the citizens of America.

President Peres responded to President Obama: "We see you as atrue friend of Israel, without reservations, and we wish you good luck. I will repeat what I said to you in our previous meeting in Israel: the best thing for Israel is that you be a great President of the United States, because today Israel's problems are problems that affect the entire world - nuclear terror, and preventing war and discrimination.

Regarding Iran's efforts at nuclear armament, President Peres told President Obama that, "I always support talking and advancing interests through negotiations – this is preferable to war and I hope that it will succeed in keeping Iran from going nuclear. But we cannot close our eyes to the Iranian nuclear threat. We cannot repeat the same mistakes that brought the horrors of the Holocaust to the world. If Europe had taken Hitler seriously from the beginning, millions of human lives would have been saved. Iran is the world's problem, but it is particularly worrying for us because of our history as Jews."

Regarding the Palestinians, President Peres told President Obama that, "I come to you as the President of the State of Israel to emphasize that Israel wants peace, Israel is committed to the peace process. I have spoken in-depth with Prime Minister Netanyahu before coming here, and I bring a clear message: Israel is ready to begin negotiations with the Palestinians immediately. Israel does not want to rule another nation. Conquest goes against the Jewish values that we hold in our hearts." President Peres added that, "The government of Israel respects all previous international commitments, including the Road Map."

President Peres emphasized to President Obama that, "We are seeing a dramatic change in the Middle East – many moderate Arab states in the Middle East see Iran as the biggest threat facing them, and not Israel, and this presents us with an opportunity to act together with all of the Arab world to bring regional peace to all of the Middle East. There is an opportunity to make history here; I believe that Netanyahu also wants to make history, and you two have the opportunity to do that." President Peres elaborated on how it would be possible to set the peace process in motion immediately with the Palestinians and the entire Arab world.

Earlier in the day, President Peres met with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. In their meetings with President Peres, all three reiterated America's commitment to Israel's security, and President Peres outlined how he believes it is possible to set the peace process in motion. He also raised the issue of kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit, and President Peres thanked Rep. Pelosi for her diplomatic activities and special efforts to advance the release of Gilad Schalit.

Preceding was provided by Israel's Consulate General in Los Angeles

Republican Jewish Coalition calls for gasoline embargo on Iran

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)—Iran continues to move toward a nuclear weapons capability; the only debate left is about how soon they will be able to build a deliverable bomb. A nuclear Iran will be a disaster for the U.S. and Europe and an existential threat to Israel. So far, the Obama administration has signaled its interest in a policy of "engagement" while Iran has responded with disdain.

However, there is an opening for the U.S. to add muscle to its efforts to stop Iran's  nuclear weapons development: strong economic sanctions. And Iran's greatest economic vulnerability is its dependence on foreign gasoline. Never having built sufficient refining facilities to turn its wealth of oil into gasoline, Iran imports about 40% of its gasoline, mainly from five European companies.

A gasoline embargo on Iran may be our best chance to stop the clock on their pursuit of nuclear weapons. Now a broad coalition of Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill is proposing strong legislation to advance one.

Senators Kyl (R-AZ), Bayh (D-IN), and Lieberman (I-CT) and Representatives Kirk (R-IL) and Sherman (D-CA) have introduced legislation to "enhance" sanctions against Iran by authorizing the President to cut off all American trade with foreign firms involved in supplying Iran with gasoline or the means to refine gasoline. The bills extend to companies that contribute to Iran's ability to import or refine gasoline through production, brokerage, insurance, and tanker delivery services.

This bipartisan effort to give President Obama the tools for serious diplomatic work to stop Iran's nuclear program has much to commend it. It offers a very effective means of pressuring Iran in a meaningful way.

The idea of a gasoline embargo will not be new to the President, who mentioned the possibility during the 2008 campaign during debates with Senator McCain and in his speech to AIPAC last May. It will be interesting to see if his political base goes along. Last year a non-binding resolution was introduced urging stronger American economic sanctions against Iran. It stalled after Representatives Robert Wexler (D-FL), Barney Frank (D-MA), and others reversed their support for the bill. Purposely mischaracterizing the bill's language as calling for a "military blockade of Iran," J Street, Peace Now, Code Pink, and other left-wing groups pushed hard on Democrats to back off from the bill, and several did. Later, J Street crowed about its success in defeating the sanctions measure.

The President's supporters on the far left may think that talk alone will be enough to avert the nightmare of a nuclear Iran, but some more tangible and persuasive means will be needed to change the mullahs' calculus of self-interest. The gasoline embargo would bring serious economic pressure on Iran and could conceivably make Iran more committed to substantive negotiations.

Responsible members of both parties are moving this idea forward. They deserve the support of those who understand the threat from Iran and want to see an effective U.S. policy in place to stop Iran's nuclear development. —Mathew Brooks

Preceding was submitted by the Republican Jewish Coalition, of which Brooks is the executive director

'Put Israel back on school maps,' ZOA tells Davis school chief

Editor's Note: A school district representative told San Diego Jewish World on Thursday that there would be no immediate comment on the following press release.

NEW YORK (Press Release)—The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called on the Davis (California) Joint Unified School District to ensure that materials presented and promoted at school-sponsored events be accurate and not based on hateful anti-Israel propaganda.  In a letter sent yesterday to the district’s superintendent, the ZOA expressed its outrage about a factually inaccurate map of the Middle East that was posted at the Annual International Heritage Day in May 2008, at one of the district’s elementary schools.  (To read the ZOA’s letter, click here.)  The map did not include any reference to the State of Israel; instead, “Palestine” was erroneously denoted on the map in Israel’s place.  At this point in time, there is no state of “Palestine.”  In fact, there never was.

Making matters worse, when a complaint about the map was lodged with the district, the district took almost a year to respond.  When it finally responded, the district attempted to justify the use of a map of the Middle East at school-sponsored events that makes no reference to Israel.

The district’s decision is now under review by the superintendent, Dr. James Q. Hammond, and the ZOA has urged him to reverse the district’s shockingly misguided and bigoted decision.  In its letter to Dr. Hammond, the ZOA said, “The fundamental issue is whether the school district is going to permit and promote deliberately false information at school-sponsored events in derogation of its duty to ensure that materials that are presented to students are accurate and not misleading, and that such materials are based on facts and historical truths, not someone’s bigotry or political agenda.” 

The ZOA sent copies of the letter to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, U.S. Representative Mike Thompson, State Senator Lois Wolk, State Assemblymember Mariko Yamada, and the members of the Board of Education.

The ZOA called on the superintendent to uphold the district’s responsibility to its students, ensuring that materials presented and promoted at school-sponsored events are accurate and do not promote hatred or the demonization of any people or country.  In addition, the ZOA urged that the district-wide guidelines, expected to be issued for all school-sponsored activities, comply with this mandate.

Morton A. Klein, the ZOA’s National President, and Susan B. Tuchman, Esq., the director of the ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice, expressed their astonishment that the school district would even consider tolerating a map of the Middle East that omitted Israel:  “When the individual who displayed the map with no reference to Israel was confronted with the map’s inaccuracy, she reportedly responded in anger that ‘the Arab world does not recognize Israel.’  In fact, Egypt and Jordan have recognized the State of Israel.  It is also a fact that Israel is a sovereign nation among the nations of the world, recognized by the United Nations.

“Would the school district ever allow a map at a school-sponsored event that depicted all of Jordan as Israel?  Of course not. 

“No school district should ever tolerate for one second the deliberate falsification of the truth, especially when it’s clear that the omission of Israel from the map at International Heritage Day was based on animus toward Israel and Jews.  The district is entrusted with educating and instilling knowledge of the truth, not false political propaganda, in our children.  We urge the superintendent to do the right thing and make sure that our public schools don’t become tools for promoting falsehoods based on bigotry or hate.”

Preceding provided by Zionist Organization of America

Omer Klein's Israeli-African Music comes May 12 to music festival

LA JOLLA, California (Press Release)--The Omer Klein Trio, specializing in “exotic lyrical jazz” will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 12 as part of the San Diego Jewish Music Festival at the Lawrence Family JCC.

The trio’s appearance is co-sponsored by the America-Israel Cultural Foundation.  Tickets are $20 for JCC members; $24/Non-members.

Concert organizers say of Klein: “While keeping a strong connection with the sounds of his homeland, Israel, Klein’s compositions meld the music of Africa and his homeland, Israel. Don’t miss the latest force in the Israel-New York City Jazz Movement.”

Audio examples of his work may be accessed on his website. 

Preceding provided by San Diego Jewish Music Festival

Rep. Bob Filner to discuss President Obama's impact

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)—Congressman Bob Filner (Democrat, San Diego) will be the guest speaker of the Democratic Professional Club at a meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m., May 26, at the Mission Hills home of Linda Brown, 1870 Sheridan Ave. Free to members, $10 to visitors. Information: ggdbtlr@yahoo.com

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist to speak on mental illness reporting

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)--New York Times columnist Michael Winerip, who has won the Pulitzer Prize for his reportage on a variety of social issues, will be Jewish Family Service’s guest speaker Thursday, May 21, at a luncheon that gathers at 11 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, 7450 Hazard Center Drive, in the Mission Valley area. 

Winerip, author of 9 Highland Road: Sane Living for the Mentally Ill, will discuss at the luncheon his three decades reporting on the mental health care system.  It is anticipated that he will also touch on parenting, a subject about which he writes frequently, and also upon some of the children’s books he has authored

Tickets are $42 per person.  More Information: (858) 637-3231.

Compiled from information provided by Jewish Family Service

Israel's U.N. Ambassador to address
JNF chapter in San Diego May 31

SAN DIEGO—Ambassador Gabriela Shalev, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations since last July, will address San Diego supporters of Jewish National Fund, at 10 a.m., Sunday, May 31, at the La Jolla Marriott Hotel. Registration check in will be at 9:30 a.m.

Proceeds from the $36-per-person tickets, which may be purchased online, will be directed "to our many projects in southern Israel, not least of which is our first-of-its-kind secure indoor community and recreational center in Sderot, where daily life for Israeli kids has been a constant struggle just to stay safe as unguided rockets rain down from Gaza with mere 15-second warnings," according to Joni M. Steinman, president of JNF's San Diego Region.

Shalev is expected to discuss the status of the American-Israel relationship following the elections respectively of U.S. President Barack Obama and Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

More information about the event may be obtained from Batsheva Feldman at (858) 824-9178

Preceding was compiled from information provided by Jewish National Fund

Chabad of La Costa schedules
Lag' B'Omer barbecue on beach

CARLSBAD, California (Press Release)—Tuesday, May 12th is "Lag B'Omer" ("33rd day of the Omer") the day on which the famed Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (author of the Zohar – the preeminent book on Kabbalah) passed away. He asked the Jewish people to celebrate the anniversary of his passing for all subsequent generations.

It is also the day that the terrible plague that had taken the lives of 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva's students ended. For these reasons we celebrate this day with outings and parties.

Please join Chabad of La Costa on Tuesday evening, May 12th from 6-8pm, for a lovely Lag B'Omer barbecue at Carlsbad State Beach (directly across the street from the Encinas Power Plant). The cost is only $5 per person (maximum $25 per family) to enjoy this awesome event. Please RSVP no later than May 10th by calling 760-943-8891.

Preceding provided by Chabad of La Costa

Courses on the Bible as literature, Jewish poetry and Jewish feminism

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)--The Agency for Jewish Education has announced its summer line-up of adult classes for the summer.

At 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or from 7 p.m. to 8:3e0 p.m. Tuesdays, June 2-23 in the University Towne Center area, Noah Hadas, AJE's director of adult education, will lead a class in reading the Tanakh as a literary work of art. Hadas said the class will analyze the writers' use of "literary techniques to reveal and conceal characters,heighten tension, foreshadow future events and more."

"We will examine these techniquest to acheive an understanding and appreciation of the meanings hidden in the Tanakh."

Tuition per person is $60, with the option to register online

Online information also is available for a course, "Drinking Parties and Spiritual Quests: The Poetry of Jewish Life to be taught in July by Rabbi Ralph Dalin. Similarly, information may be found on the website for the August class, "Revolutionary Texts in Jewish Feminism," to be taught by Rabbi Lenore Bohm.

Compiled from information provided by the Agency for Jewish Education

College Avenue Older Adults to hear
lecture on The Forgotten Refugees

SAN DIEGO (Press Release) --Nina Broadsley, who has taught at the Agency for Jewish Education and at Temple Solel, will lead a discussion following the film, The Forgotten Refugees, at 12:45 p.m., Monday, June 8, at the College Avenue Senior Adult Center, 4855 College Avenue.

The film focuses on the Jews who were forced to leave their homes in the Arab Middle East for Israel.  In addition to her work as an educator, Broadsley has served on the boards of the United Jewish Federation’s Women’s Dvision and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.

For more information:

Preceding provided by College Avenue Older Adult Center

Book artists exhibition at Athenaeum begins May 15

LA JOLLA, California (Press Release)— For The Athenaeum's seventh biennial exhibition of book artists, beginning May 15, Stanley Strauss, Curator Emeritus of the Cerritos Library's Artists' Books Collection, selected work by 27 artists. 

The artists include some who have shown work at the Athenaeum previously, either in group or solo shows, as well as some new faces from as far away as Santa Fe, New Mexico.

They are: Elaine Antoniuk and Sara Rosenbluth (collaboration), Elaine Antoniuk, Adam Belt, Bay Park Press, Neda Miranda Blazevic-Krietzman, Britta Brice, Janine Brown, Judith Christensen, Jane Czech, Moya Devine, Sara Eirich, Lynn Hall, Jacqueline Jacobs, Evelyn La Rosa, Viviana Lombrozo, Mary Ellen Long, Su Lund, Jim Machacek, Betty Martinez, Susan Merritt, Kathy Miller, Barbara Milman, Victoria Rabinowe and Freya Diamond (collaboration), Al Rodriguez, Josie Rodriguez, and Sibyl Rubottom. 

The Athenaeum is located at 1008 Wall Street in La Jolla. More Information: (858) 454-5872

Preceding provided by the Athenaeum

Why telephone area codes change

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)—Carol Ann Goldstein, also known as “The Math Lady,” looks at some of the ways mathematics affect us in our every day lives.

When our family moved to San Diego in 1973, the area code, 714, was shared with Orange County. Since then San Diego lost 714 and gained 619, 858 and 760. Our phone number has remained the same but our area code has changed from 714 to 619 to 858.
Our area code changed because of math!

The phone number is composed of a 3 digit area code, a 3 digit prefix and a 4 digit number. The total phone numbers that can exist is based on the number of area codes, prefixes and 4 digit numbers possible. The 10 digits used for a phone number are 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9.

How many area codes, prefixes and 4 digit number are possible?

Our current phone number structure allows for a 3 digit area code using digits 0…..9.
Digit one can be 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 for a total of 8 choices; 0 is used for calling the operator and 1 is used for dialing a number outside your area code and cannot be the first digit of an area code.

Digit two can be 0 or 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 for a total of 10 choices.

Digit three can be 0 or 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 for a total of 10 choices...

Digit one choices are multiplied by digit 2 choices and this total is multiplied by digit 3 choices, 8 X 10 X 10, for a total of 800 possible 3 digit area codes. Some area codes are used for toll free numbers – 800, 866, 877, 888 - and would not be available for geographical area codes, so the total of 800 is reduced by 4 to 796.

Each area code can have within it a certain number of 3 digit prefixes using digits 0…..9.

Digit one can be  2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 for a total of 8 choices; 0 is used for calling the operator and 1 is used for dialing a number outside your area code and cannot be the first digit of a prefix..

Digit two can be 0 or 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 for a total of 10 choices.

Digit three can be 0 or 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 for a total of 10 choices...

Digit one choices are multiplied by digit 2 choices and this total is multiplied by digit 3 choices, 8 X 10 X 10, for a total of 800 possible 3 digit prefixes. Some prefixes are used for special purposes – 411, 611, 911 - and would not be available for geographical prefixes, so the total of 800 is reduced by 3 to 797.

Each prefix can have a certain number of 4 digit numbers using digits 0…..9.

Digit one can be  0 or 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 for a total of 10 choices.

Digit two can be 0 or 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 for a total of 10 choices.

Digit three can be 0 or 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 for a total of 10 choices.

Digit four can be 0 or 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 for a total of 10 choices.

Digit one choices are multiplied by digit 2 choices, this total is multiplied by digit 3 choices and this new total is multiplied by digit 4 choices, 10 X 10 X 10 X 10, for a total of 10,000 possible 4 digit numbers.

In summary, there are 796 possible 3 digit area codes each of which can have 797 possible 3 digit prefixes and each of these can have 10,000 possible 4 digit numbers.
Your home phone(s), cell phone(s) and employer phones have created a demand for new phone numbers that will eventually lead to a 4 digit area code or a 4 digit prefix or a 5 digit number.  In one way or another, you’ll eventually have a longer phone number.

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The Bible in Pop Culture: Holy Ground (Tierrasanta)

Exodus 3:5

He said, "Do not come closer to here, remove your shoes from your feet, for the place upon which you stand is holy ground."

Tierrasanta, meaning "holy ground" in Spanish, is a name of a San Diego neighborhood that sits atop a plateau. The Baptist church there incorporated the neighborhood name into its own. Don Harrison took this photo May 3, 2009, from the passenger seat of his car, while traveling westbound on California Highway 52.

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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Poem reflects on relationship between mothers, daughters

Mothers and Daughters

By Sara Appel-Lennon

How they connect
Creating, cooking, cleaning, care-taking

Criticizing, condemning, complaining

As adults do their seams rip apart

Do they become woven as friends

Does the telephone ring on both ends

Do the silences grow louder
As years slip by


Time for acceptance

Tolerance bridges gaps of unmet needs
Reassuring love given
Deep breaths taken 

Expectations fade away
Familiarity of love received

Mothers and daughters
So much alike  

So far apart
Journey to the heart  

Mothers and daughters

Tearful, Joyful, Willful


Connections worth
The distance


Author's note:I wrote this poem after a phone call with my mother.While one of the commandments tells us to honor our father and mother, that does not mean we need to obey or always agree, especially when we become adults.  We can learn to agree to disagree yet still honor them.

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Daughter of the Waves, 1983 book on early Israel, inspires

By David Amos

SAN DIEGO--Two months ago, while going through my late mother’s books and papers, I found a book that caught my interest. I quickly read it, and related to much of its contents.

Published in 1983, it was Daughter of the Waves by Ruth Jordan. It deals with Ms Jordan growing up in British Mandate Palestine, seeing the beginnings of what was to become Israel, through the way people interrelated with each other, the emerging restlessness with the Arab neighbors, the early immigrations, and what was especially interesting to me, the beginnings of the Palestine Symphony, which was later to become the Israel Philharmonic.

This book caught my interest and emotions because it was an almost duplicate experience which my parents lived through in Jerusalem during the same years. I was transported to the stories I heard at home about the places, the people, the primitive modes of transportation and communication, and the energy of witnessing the creation of a new society.

Ruth Jordan’s father was a biologist whose family, several generations back dating to the 1830’s, settled in Palestine and founded Bat Galim, or “Daughter of the Waves," which is a suburb of Haifa. He was born in Zichron Yaakov, near Haifa, and was a third-generation Jew born in Palestine. From having to pump water from a well that was at times salty, to finally having electricity in their home, every step which led to progress is nicely detailed, and gives all of us a much clearer perspective of how Israel evolved to the country we know today. It is the story of a girl and a nation growing up simultaneously.

Ruth Jordan was born in Haifa in 1921. She was educated at Hebrew University where she studied Arabic language and literature, and at the University of London where she studied French, French literature, and phonetics. A former BBC scriptwriter and producer, Ms Jordan contributed feature articles and reviews to magazines, newspapers, and journals in Israel and England. Her biographies include Sophie Dorothea, (wife of George I), Berenice, (daughter of the last king of Judea and great granddaughter of Herod the Great), George Sand, and Nocturne: The Life of Chopin. She has also translated into Hebrew theatre works for Habimah, Israel’s National Theatre.

Although Jordan’s family and mine did not know each other, there are interesting parallels: My father was also third-generation born in Palestine, and received his law degree from the University of London. My mother was at least a seventh generation  Jerusalemite, with a colorful ancestry of rabbis, poets, cantors and Kabbalists, whom we have traced to the year 1350.

Here are other facts in this book that may surprise or amuse you:

Although the pioneering Palestinian Jews were both Ashkenazi and Sephardic, neither group had much use for Yiddish. Quoting from the book: “In Palestine, the cause of Yiddish was not popular; a new generation was growing up which took pride

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in reviving the Hebrew of the Bible and looked down upon Yiddish, derived from medieval Low German, as a relic of ghetto mentality. At four or five, I did not understand the thinking behind this attitude, but I already accepted the view that Yiddish was jargon, spoken by people too old to learn Hebrew, too tied up with an inglorious past.”

We have to remember that in those days, more so than today, religious, observant Jews were in small modules throughout Palestine, and the pioneering Jews who worked the land, developed what are the cities of today, and fought for freedom, were mostly secular, treating the whole country as their synagogue, and living a strongly identified, but mostly unobservant Jewish life.

Another curiosity, far more trivial, but noteworthy, is that many families had their own personal “family whistle," and they communicated with each other in crowded places and across courtyards and streets. My own Jerusalem immediate family had its signature tune, five notes that by accident or plan, were a theme out of the first movement of Mahler’s First Symphony!

What fascinated me the most, was the description of the Israel Philharmonic in its infancy. Started in 1936 with many refugee musicians from Europe, founded by the renowned violinist Bronislaw Huberman and inaugurated by none other than Arturo Toscanini, the orchestra was like ”manna from Heaven for a culturally starved public. A European based culture, in the midst of a harsh struggle for its very existence, it opened a window to a world of enchantment and fantasy which not many of the older generation, and none of us young natives, had ever glimpsed before."

My own father was present at the inaugural concerts, and later in life, when I started to appreciate such matters, he conveyed to me the unbelievable excitement in the entire country over such an historic event. These initial concerts, in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, were described as “galvanizing, stupendous, historic, and the performance of a lifetime."

Did you know that the Palestine Symphony was the first “real” symphony orchestra in the entire Middle East?

On a personal note, when I conducted the Israel Philharmonic in recordings from 1980-85, many of the original musicians from the 1936 Palestine Symphony were near retirement, but still playing. I heard many colorful stories from some of them, and I began to understand why the personality of the IPO is so distinctly different from any other orchestra in the world.

For example, the original players finally felt fully legitimate when the explosive Toscanini had one of his infamous tantrums during a rehearsal. Now, the musicians felt, they were being treated as full professionals!

The book also deals with the orchestra’s and the public’s attitude to the music of Wagner. At first, it was accepted as any other work of great music, but after “Kristalnacht," the mood of tolerance toward Wagner changed.

There is much more to the book which will certainly interest you: The relations with the occupying British government, the deteriorating relations with the local Arabs, the illegal Jewish migrations, and many names, events and places which will trigger your memories and imagination.

Amos is conductor of the Tifereth Isracl Community Orchestra (TICO), who has guest conducted orchestras around the world

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Adventures in San Diego Jewish History

Odds and Ends
Southwestern Jewish Press March 6, 1953, page 2

Leonard Veitzer, son of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Veitzer, and now stationed near El Paso, found his name in the Omaha Jewish Press for something he did 10 years ago.  Friends, formerly of Omaha, as are the Veitzers, still subscribe to their hometown paper and spotted the notice of Leonard’s Bar Mitzvah in a column titled “5, 10, 25 Years Ago.”

Linda’s Lookout
Southwestern Jewish Press March 6, 1953, page 3

By Linda Solof

Well gang, parties still seem to be the most popular sport, this time of the year, and parties galore are what we seem to be having!

On the night of her 13th birthday Eleanor Cohen thought that she was going to dinner with her parents and some girl friends.  Eleanor was really surprised when she returned home (a cooked-up trick) and found Andy Leeds, Buddy Kader, Susan Solof, Normal Starr, Dianne Fogelman, Jerry Mandel, Linda Zuckerman, Jack Sharpe, and Alan Friedman waiting there to help her celebrate her birthday.  The evening was complete with eats ‘n dancing.  Happy birthday, Eleanor!

Here’s some wonderful news for young people between the age of 18-21!  The B.B.Y.A. (B’nai B’rith Young Adults) are having a weekend packed full of fun with the B.B.Y.A. chapter from Los Angeles as guests of honor.  Saturday night, March 7 there will be a party at
Ed Millsberg’s Mount Helix home.  The schedule Sunday includes a brunch at Edith Fuchsman’s home followed by a sightseeing tour.  Remember—this terrific weekend is March 7-8.  For further information call Ralph Berman.

To surprise one person on his birthday is fun, but to surprise two is double fun, and it was double fun for
Lenny Bloom and Burt Sharpe.  A fabulous time was had by the hostesses and guests of honor as well as their guests Joyce Addleson ‘n Shearn Platt, Beverly Addleson ‘n Dick Godes, Donna Godes ‘n Bernie Sosna, and Beverly Kitaen ‘n Warren Gluko.  Happy birthday Burt and Lenny!

Where can you have more fun than on a ranch?  Nowhere!  That’s why T.Y.L. is having a day on
Colonel Solomon’s ranch.  “Country Capers” is going to be on Sunday, March 22.  Meet at the Temple Center, Third and Laurel at 10:00—and the party will end at 4:00.  Transportation will be provided.  Girls pack a boy’s lunch and the boy that chooses it, eats with you!  Doesn’t it sound terrific!  For further info call any of the officers.

Party time!  And this is one party that everyone has been raving about.  The host to this fabulous party was Arthur Pogrell.  A delicious dinner hit the spot with dancing following enjoyed by Harriet Silverman, Alan Friedman, Diane Fogelman, Norman Starr, Elaine Brandenburg, Terry Kitaen, Andy Leeds, Buddy Kader, Susie Hutler, Steve Goldfarb, Dianne Castleman, Sonyia Weitzman, Neil Kleinman and Susan Solof.

Morton Barancik enjoyed an extra vacation recently in Palm springs.

Congrats to Jean Goldstein just elected C.S.F. (California Scholarship Federation) President at Hoover and Jane Cohn and Shirley Samuels who were selected at (sic, as ) Commissioners on the A.S.B. Council at San Diego High.

Come one, come all to the Y.P.L.’s Skating Party, “Skate Date.” Meet at Tifereth Israel at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 8.  Wear denims or pedal pushers—no levis  Don’t forget this colossal affair! So long.

Center News
Southwestern Jewish Press March 6, 1953, page 3

Yiddish Film Series
The first in a series of Yiddish films, “God, Man, and Devil “will be shown at the Jewish community Center, 33227 El Cajon Blvd. on Sunday evening, March 22, at 8:30 p.m.  “Mirele Efros,” “A People Eternal,” and “Vilna Legend,” starring noted Yiddish actors and actresses, are the other featured films to be shown at future dates. All these films have English sub-titles.  Tickets for the entire series will be $1.00 for the Center members and $2.00 for guests, and can be obtained at the Jewish Community Center office.

Jewish Youth Week At a meeting held on Wednesday, March 4, representatives from the Young Adult Jewish Youth Groups (BBYA, Fiesta Club, Hillel, ZBT, TYL) planned special events to bring together all Jewish youth to celebrate Jewish Youth Week, March 23 to 27.  These events will highlight youth’s contribution to their community.  Abe Friedman, Rabbi Morton J. Cohn, Rabbi Baruch Stern, and Dr. Ernest Wolf are the Ault Advisors.

Temple Teens
Southwestern Jewish Press March 6, 1953, page 3

By Susan Solof

If its fun you are after come to Temple Teens March 6 for a terrific dance after Friday Night Services which everyone is requested to attend.  The service starts at 8:00 p.m. and the dance will last until 11:00.  Parents please be prompt.  Let’s get everyone there for a good time and lots of fun.

March 21 is the date we dance to the music of our jukebox at the Temple Center for a fine skirt and sweater dance.  7:0o-10:30.  Hope to see everyone there.

Please contact Mrs. Friedman, Mrs. Cohn or Mrs. Solof if you have any sort of talent.  Be ready for the talent show and dance April 4.

Fiesta Club Functions
Southwestern Jewish Press March 6, 1953, page 3

Plans are in the making to have more frequent club activities.  So far, a regular athletic night is in full swing.  This consists of bowling every Wednesday night at the Maryland Hotel, 8:00 p.m.  If you don’t like to bowl, come down and watch anyway.  Kibitzers (cq) are welcome.

The Fiesta Club holds its open meetings on the second Sunday of every month at the Jewish community Center, 3227 El Cajon Blvd., at 8:30 p.m.  Membership is open to young people of the Jewish faith.  The age limit is 18 years and over for the girls and 21 and over for the fellows.

For more information about the club and its activities call “Rhoda Jaffe at Franklin 5547 or Mitzi Kohn, Main 8-2934.

Tifereth Israel Sisterhood
Southwestern Jewish Press March 6, 1953, page 3

The March meeting of Tifereth Israel Sisterhood will mark the fifth anniversary of the founding of the Sisterhood.  The meeting will be Tuesday, March 19th, in the synagogue and will start with an extra delicious luncheon.

This meeting will be a Birthday Party for the Sisterhood with the membership honoring the past presidents Mesdames Its Penter, Sidney Newman, and Eddie Cantor.

The committee in charge has planned elaborate decorations for this festive occasion and there will be appropriate entertainment for the day.  Mrs. Alex J. Newman, president of the Sisterhood urges members to call in their reservations early as a capacity gathering is expected.

The current Sisterhood fund raising project the Freezer Project, (cq) well under way.  At the brief business meeting at the March meeting, Mrs. Lewis Solomon will make a report on the progress of the project.  With her co-chairman, Mrs. Herbert Gordon, and their committee, the ladies have endeavored to contact all members to participate in this all-important project.  If members need more tickets, please call Ray Solomon, W. 5-7241 or F-0105 or Mary Gordon, B.2-2362.

Don’t forget Tuesday, March 10 1953, the Birthday Party meeting of Tifereth Israel Sisterhood at the Synagogue, at 12 noon.

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

Gabe Kaplan (Kotter) introduces John Travalta (Barbarino) in "Welcome Back Kotter"

Madeline Kahn parodies Marlena Dietrich in "Blazing Saddles"

Ricky Jay, magician, demonstrates card control

Xaviera Hollander tells her story in "The Happy Hooker"

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


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