Volume 3, Number 112
"There's a Jewish story everywhere"

Today's Postings:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

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

Parallels between old Cold War and modern Islamist War ... by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem
The New York Times reports that the American commander in Afghanistan is being replaced in order to bring a new approach to "a worsening seven-year war." READ MORE

The real meaning of Tamimi's diatribe to the Pope ... by Barry Rubin in Herzliya, Israel
It’s a pity that the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) chief Islamic judge Tayseer Rajab Tamimi will be criticized for rudeness rather than incitement to genocide. And the whole political context of Tamimi’s statements shouldn’t be missed either..

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

Chief rabbi to visit Australia READ MORE
Maccabi to be all Jewish by 2010 READ MORE
Byron Bay Murder charges dropped READ MORE
Aboriginal leader honoured in Israel READ MORE
Australian Defence White Paper released READ MORE
Chief Commissioner has no answers on racism, yet READ MORE


Media Watch, aka "Here's the link" READ MORE
San Diego Chamber Orchestra changes name to Orchestra Nova READ MORE
San Diego Jewish Chamber of Commerce hosts NC Rep mixer READ MORE
Mom's trauma prior to pregnancy may affect baby's emotional life READ MORE
U.S. elected to three year term on U.N. Human Rights Council READ MORE
Nefesh B' Nefesh hosts workshop on making aliyah to Israel READ MORE
Maccabi Haifa Heat clinches berth in Israel basketball playoffs READ MORE
Martha Stewart visits matzoh bakery READ MORE


Watch our Bible come together with Biblical names and modern images

Darkness on the surface of the deep, Genesis 1:2 VIEW IMAGES

Let's not be shy about learning from 'Jews by choice' ... by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego
With the approach of Shavuot at the end of this month, at which time adults who have been studying for conversion often take their places as full members of the Jewish community, I thought I’d address one of the “taboos” of Judaism. READ MORE

March 6, 1953; Southwestern Jewish Press

Dramatic Readings At Hadassah Luncheon READ MORE
Birdie Stodel to Nominate Officers READ MORE
Mildred Hale Seeks Re-Election READ MORE
Lasker Lodge Sponsors Father And Child Nite READ MORE
Cash Sent to U.J.A.Urgent Plea Answered READ MORE
Hillel Night Set For April 2nd READ MORE

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We continue our examination of Jewish entertainers

Bette Midler sings "Wind Beneath My Wings" in "Beaches"VIEW VIDEO

Miriam Margolyes plays Kevin Kline's disappointed mama in "Love You to Death"VIEW VIDEO

Richard Masur in "Mr. Boogedy"VIEW VIDEO

Stephen Macht as Trevor in "General Hospital" VIEW VIDEO

Bonus: Martha Stewart visits Streit's Matzoh Bakery VIEW VIDEO


We are looking around the globe for writers who are willing to volunteer their talents to this world-wide Jewish conversation. Your subject matter can be any aspect of the Jewish world--breaking news, politics, religion, culture, among them. If you would like to share your thoughts,your writing and your talents with fellow Jews everywhere, please contact Don Harrison at editor@sandiegojewishworld.com. Send him an essay about yourself and your interests.


America's Vacation Center
Balloon Utopia
Congregation Beth Israel
Jewish Family Service
Lawrence Family JCC
Math Is Easy
San Diego Community Colleges
San Diego Jewish Chamber
Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School
Therapy in Motion Inc.
Tifereth Israel Synagogue
United Jewish Federation
XLNC-1 Radio


Each day's issue may be dedicated by readers—or by the publisher—in other people's honor or memory. Past dedications may be found at the bottom of the index for the "Adventures in San Diego Jewish History" page.

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Parallels between old Cold War and modern Islamist War

By Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM—The New York Times reports that the American commander in Afghanistan is being replaced in order to bring a new approach to "a worsening seven-year war."

This comes on the heels of several recent articles in the same newspaper about chronic corruption in Afghanistan, the importance of drug production to the economy and politics of the country, and unreliable Afghan security personnel. News from Iraq is continued problems of suicide bombers, while in Pakistan the worry is the spread of Taliban influence, and even the possibility that it will take over the country and its nuclear weapons.

It is appropriate to think in terms of a confrontation equivalent to the Cold War. That lasted for 40 years from the late 1940s to the late 1980s, and still lurks in tensions between Russia and the United States.

We can date the confrontation of the United States with Islamic violence from September 11, 2001, or from the attack on a Marine base in Beirut that killed more than 200 Americans in 1983.

The United States again is leading a coalition. It is similar in composition to the coalition of the Cold War, and again does not always row in concert. France took its forces out of NATO in the Cold War; Germany is reluctant to give up its commercial options with Iran. Russia is enough of an outsider to wonder if it is a member of this coalition, despite its problems with Chechnya and other Muslim regions.

The enemies in both were defined by the intensity of their ideas, either Communism or Islam. Social democrats could join the coalition against Communism, just as a number of Muslim states and individual Muslims feel threatened by Iran and its satellites.

Neither conflict was all-out, or total. There was intense fighting in Korea and Vietnam, but not overt warfare with the Soviet Union. Now the American coalition is battling in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pakistan might become the equivalent of Cambodia. Israel is doing its part against Iran's satellites. So far no one is taking on the Iranians directly or announcing a region-wide crusade against religious extremism, and certainly not against Islam.

There are domestic issues today that might be compared with Loyalty Boards and extensive requirements for loyalty oaths in the United States. They include expanded monitoring of communications, as well as escalating inspections at airports and border controls. Complaints of harassment by Muslims, or individuals who look Middle Eastern, resemble complaints by people claiming to be labeled unfairly as loyalty risks decades ago.

Politics as well as warfare marked the Cold War, and this conflict. Summit meeting, both one-on-one and larger conferences played their part, as well as protracted
negotiations, agreements, claims that each side was not living up to them, saber-rattling, and actual fighting on the fringes. In both the Cold War and the fight against Muslim extremists, there are persistent efforts to broaden one's coalition. The Cold War saw competition initially for Italy and Greece, and later for countries in Africa, Latin America,

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and Asia. Now the competition is for Muslim states that may be kept in the moderate camp. Especially sensitive are Lebanon, Iraq, and some of the Gulf states with substantial Shiite populations actively courted by Iran.

Coalitions in the Cold War were not solid, and they are not in this conflict. Yugoslavia left the alliance of the Soviet Union. China occasionally displayed its independence. Numerous countries of the Third World sought to play off the coalitions in the hope of richer gifts. Currently the most prominent competition is between ostensible governments and armed others in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, with the United States seeking to prop up and maintain the loyalty of those it supports. Media broadcasts resemble Radio Free Europe. There are overtures to opponents of the Syrian and Iranian regimes, either those in country, or exiles hoping for places in a new government. Overseas Syrians and Iranians bear some resemblance to the Cubans of South Florida.

The collapse of the Soviet Union took the West by surprise. Until then the Cold War seemed likely to go on and on, hopefully without a nuclear exchange. The battle with Muslim extremism is already toward the end of its first decade, or somewhere in its third decade, depending on accounting. The conflict may be escalating, as Iran seems intent in pushing toward a nuclear option and neither it nor Syria seem inclined to end their support of client troublemakers. The Taliban's successes in Pakistan may be opening one new front, Sudan's cooperation in the movement of arms from Iran to Gaza may be opening another, and Syria's nuclear efforts a third.

Israel has been a hopeful outsider in both conflicts. In the pre-state and early state period some suspected it of becoming a Soviet satellite. Then it emerged as an anti-Soviet outpost in the Middle East. This time it is closer to the center of the conflict, but is still not at the center. It manages its own problems with Palestinians, Lebanese, and maybe Iran, without being certain of its support by the United States. American Jews are more plugged in than in the 1950s or 1960s, but they are not in Israel's pocket. Israeli prime ministers know they are not equal partners with the White House.

Israel also illustrates the concern of coalition partners for the leader's steadfastness. The United States had to prop up Germans concerned about their vulnerability. JFK's Ich bin ein Berliner was only one of numerous overt demonstrations of support by US presidents, vice presidents, secretaries of state and defense, and junketing legislators. Today's equivalents are assurance of Israel's security by American presidents and others, seldom enough for Israelis worried about other comments that press them to make concessions for the sake of the coalition.

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

Pentagon Video:


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The real meaning of Tamimi's diatribe to the Pope

By Barry Rubin

HERZLIYA, Israel --It’s a pity that the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) chief Islamic judge Tayseer Rajab Tamimi will be criticized for rudeness rather than incitement to genocide. And the whole political context of Tamimi’s statements shouldn’t be missed either: he is anappointee of the PA. When he demands that Israel be wiped out either he’s speaking for his bosses or if not they should fire him. Of course, they won’t because in large part he is.

The Syrian regime was even more open with its antisemitism during the Pope's Middle East trip, trying to foment Christian hatred of the Jewsquite openly. Even Syria's president, during a previous papal visit backin 2001, told the pontiff: The Jews “tried to kill the principles of all religions with the same mentality in which they betrayed Jesus Christ and ... tried to betray and kill the prophet Muhammad.” 

In Jerusalem during the current visit, Tamimi stepped to the podium uninvited after Pope Benedict XVI spoke at an interfaith “dialogue” in Jerusalem. He urged Muslims and Christians to unite against Israelis who were allegedly committing mass murder and making Palestinians refugees. Of
course, his goal is to commit mass murder and make all Israeli Jews refugees.

To his credit, the Pope walked out and his office said the speech by Tamimi was not approved as part of the meeting and was the opposite of what interfaith dialogue should be. Good for the Pope and his staff.

But maybe it was a good thing that Tamimi seized the stage to pontificate. After all, he gave Benedict a real taste of the kind of dialogue that could be expected from radical Islamists and the true positions taken by much of the Palestinian leadership, including the PA itself.

What we do know is that a few days before his diatribe to the Pope, Tamimi confirmed his decision that anyone selling land to Jews or acting as an agent or middle man has committed high treason and the punishment is death.

Before today, Tamimi’s most notable appearance in history was when, as chief Islamic judge in Hebron, he was deported by Israel temporarily in1980, the day after terrorists killed six Jewish theological students in that city.

His wife and those of the two others deported appealed the action to an Israeli court. The ruling came down in favor of the other two but not forTamimi because such a strong case had been made about his incitement to violence.

Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, at the time a military official governing the West Bank, said this about Tamimi:

“If we had not deported them, the whole area would have slid intochaos. The settlers would have reacted to the murder and the Arab population would have reacted in return. Simply absolute anarchy. Sheikh Tamimi was an agitator of the worst kind…”

In May 2008, long after returning to the West Bank, Tamimi was an honored guest at a Palestinian meeting in Los Angeles. While in California he issued a religious decree saying that the Palestinian “Right of Return”was the fundamental right of all Palestinians and should be implemented. There could be no peace agreement without it.

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But of course this demand is for Israel to agree to take two million or more Palestinians onto its territory, an act that would lead to massive bloodshed and the dissolution of Israel amidst
fire and terror. And that’s what Tamimi wants. But if there is no “Right of Return,” Tamimi and the rest of the PA reject peace and if there is then Israel will cease to exist.

Some two-state solution.

Tamimi, of course, has the perfect right to protest Israeli actions and to support the creation of a national homeland for his people. But that’s not his stance at all. For if people like Tamimi and other PA leaders really wanted a Palestinian state alongside Israel they could have it, and have it remarkably quickly. But since they don’t, any solution is decades off.

Finally, Tamimi’s social views are in line with Islamic mainstreamthinking but Westerners should be aware of them. He states, in the MEMRItranslation:

“I say to those who demand equality and whine about women's rightsthat by permitting polygamy, Islam protects the woman's humanity andemotions, and secures her right to marry and gain honor and esteem, instead of becoming a professional paramour lacking in rights whosechildren are thrown onto the garbage heap.”

At any rate, Tamimi does faithfully reflect the views of the PA leadership on political matters, albeit less so in his more purely religious pronouncements. But they picked him and they promoted him and they kept him.

So let’s all listen to Tamimi’s words. The problem isn’t rudeness, it’s insatiable extremism; and it’s not marginal, it’s mainstream.

Also greeting the Pope to the Middle East was a wave of antisemitic materials in Syrian government media. The Syrians and Iranians have produced a steady stream of such programming which is little noted in the West. This week's versions, however, were written to appeal especially to
Christian antisemitism.

One article explained:

“The sound of the church [bells] in our Arab homeland announces that Jesus —whom they wounded and whose noble, bleeding wounds they sucked — found in them yet more yearning for blood... and for the death and destruction that they sow throughout the Muslim and theChristian world, because a state of blood vengeance prevails between them and all humanity.”

And it continues:

“Perhaps one day the world will awake and realize that these Zionist elements are the bloodletters who hang on the peoples, sucking their blood and consuming their resources.” [MEMRI translations.]

Yes, I believe we've seen this before, most notably in living memorypromoted by a certain regime in Germany between 1933 and 1945. But there should be no doubt: for many powerful Islamic forces, the basisfor Muslim-Christian dialogue is genocide against the Jews.

Perhaps one day the world will awake and realize that these radicalIslamist and extremist Arab nationalist regimes and movements are aggressive seekers of conquest whose defeat is the most important aspect of the present era.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs(GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.


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

Chief rabbi to visit Australia

SYDNEY - Tel Aviiv's Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau
is coming to Australia to participate in combined
Yom Yerushalayim -Tel Aviv 100 celebrations later this month.

He will be the keynote speaker at events hosted by the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA), which will kick off in Sydney at the University of NSW Leighton Hall on Tuesday, May 19 at 7.30pm.

Two days later, Rabbi Lau will travel to Melbourne for an address at the National Theatre in St Kilda on Thursday, May 21 at 7.30pm.

Rabbi Lau's visit will be accompanied by a photographic exhibition of Israel, which will be launched at the communal celebrations.

Titled The Story of Israel, the exhibition includes the work of well-known photographers from Israel and abroad, who have photographed the State since it was established. The exhibition will then have an extended tour of Australia.

Israeli Ambassador to Australia, Yuval Rotem said: " Rabbi Lau's visit to Australia will expose both the Jewish community and the wider Australian community to his valuable life's work in the arenas of interfaith and religious harmony."

Originally from Poland, Rabbi Lau survived the Buchenwald death camp and immigrated to Palestine as a child in 1945.

He rose to become the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel from 1993 to 2003 and is now chief rabbi of Tel Aviv and chairman of Yad Vashem.

ZFA president Philip Chester said: "Rav Lau's achievements throughout his rabbinical career, as well as his extraordinary personal story, resonate with many in our Jewish community, as well as the general Australian community."

Maccabi to be all Jewish by 2010

MELBOURNE--Maccabi Australia Incorporated (MAI) has given clubs until the end of 2010 to comply with its
constitution and ensure their playing lists are exclusively Jewish.

A directive, sent to all clubs late last week, informed them of a December 31, 2010 sunset date. The move is likely to send shockwaves through the Jewish and wider sporting communities.

Maccabi clubs around the country are now faced with a choice: get rid of non-Jewish players or disaffiliate from MAI.

Maccabi Australia president Harry Procel said the problem was widespread and he understood that some clubs might choose to secede, rather than ask players to leave. It is a risk MAI is willing to take.

"Our raison d'etre is to connect our community through sport," Procel said. "That's why we exist the 'community' being the Jewish community.

"That's the starting point, the definition and why our constitution is what it is."

The policy of exclusivity has always been in place, but never fully policed and clubs around the country have flouted it for decades.

The Equal Opportunities Act permits Maccabi to reject members based on their non-attributes, providing the organisation is acting to preserve its minority culture.

Byron Bay Murder
charges dropped

BRYON BAY, New South Wales-Members of Byron Bay's
tight-knit Jewish community have expressed anger after murder charges against a woman, who allegedly confessed to killing her Israeli husband, were dropped because of lack of evidence.

Ocean Shores resident Regina Veinstein, 44, allegedly told four people -- including Byron Bay's Rabbi Moshe Serebryanski -- that she killed her husband Ronen Veinstein, burnt his body and scattered the remains on his Mooball property.

But despite national and international searches, his body has still not been found, and prosecutors confirmed to The AJN last week that all charges against her have been dropped because of "insufficient evidence".

"The matter of Regina Veinstein was withdrawn from the court on April 3 after it was decided that there was insufficient evidence to ensure a reasonable prospect of conviction," said a spokeswoman from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

However, prosecutors haven't ruled out future charges being laid "if new and compelling evidence becomes available."

Father-of-four Ronen Veinstein has been missing since December 2004. But his disappearance was not reported until five months later, when a business associate contacted police in May 2005.

German-born Regina Veinstein was allegedly the last person to be seen with her husband, and in September 2007 she was charged with his murder. She pleaded not guilty.

During a committal hearing in August 2008, four people -- including Rabbi Serebryanski -- told the Lismore Local Court that Regina Veinstein had described killing her husband with a rock to the head while he slept and then burning his body and scattering his remains.

Rabbi Serebryanski told The AJN that the community was disappointed at the prosecutors' decision to drop the case.

"It's not a happy occasion. We don't have further information," he said.

Ami Tabakhoff, Ronen's long-time business colleague, who also testified at the committal hearing, expressed disappointment.

"It's quite appalling that my friend's murder has not been put to justice," he said.

"Not knowing where his body is doesn't help us as friends and as Jews. I don't think police did enough to search for the body. We want closure."

Aboriginal leader
honoured in Israel

MELBOURNE - John Searle, president of the Jewish
Community Council of Victoria, the peak body of Victorian Jewry, said today:

"Last December the Jewish Community Council of Victoria hosted an event at Victoria's Parliament house in

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remembrance of the march led by Indigenous leader William Cooper in 1938 to protest German treatment of Jews following Kristallnacht.

As a follow-up, a tree-planting ceremony was held in the Martyrs Forest in Israel to honour William Cooper in the presence of several of his descendants on Yom Hazikaron (28 April 2009).

Seventy trees were planted to commemorate the seventy years since his historic march. A simultaneous event was held at the Aboriginal Advancement League in Thornbury, attended by prominent Jewish and Indigenous leaders.

Jewish Holocaust Centre director Bernard Korbman
represented the JCCV and spoke movingly of his personal connections with the Cooper family and of the inspirational leadership shown by Cooper in protesting the inhumanity shown by a government on the other side of the world toward another people when he was not even a citizen of his own country.

Dr. Alf Bamblett, president of the Aboriginal Advancement League, spoke on William Cooper, and Andrew and Chris Carey, Cooper's great great grandsons, read his letter to Victorian government officials on the horrors of Kristallnacht. The function was attended by Dr.
Tony Weldon, chair of Courage to Care, which honours William Cooper's actions in its exhibition, Dr. Paul Gardner, past chairman of the B'nai B'rith Anti Defamation Commission, and several Holocaust survivors.

The JCCV believes that there are clear similarities between the Jewish and Indigenous communities' experiences and is committed to a closer ongoing relationship. This includes the development of an online educational activity to
examine genocide through the lens of both peoples' histories."

Australian Defence
White Paper released

CANBERRA - Australia's most comprehensive defence
document for almost a decade predicts ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

According to the 2009 Defence White Paper, the
Middle East "will remain violent over the period to 2030".

It cites Iran's nuclear ambitions and the lack of progress towards peace between Israelis and Palestinians as the potential causes of future violence.

Climate change and food, water and energy shortages, the document states, could also lead to instability in the Middle East.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd launched the White Paper on May 2. He said Australia's strategic environment had significantly changed since the last White Paper in 2000.

"Other trends, such as the rise of terrorism the realignment of global and regional power realities and emerging threats, such as border protection, climate change and resource security, represent newer dynamics that will also affect
our strategic and security environment for the future," Rudd said.

The latest White Paper foresees that terrorism, particularly originating in South-East Asia, would remain an issue for Australians.

However, the threat is expected to diminish due
to "sustained efforts of governments and their counter-terrorism activities."

The document also predicted that Islamist terrorism would continue to have limitations as a strategic threat, "despite its potential to cause mass casualties and catastrophic attacks of infrastructure".

As well as terrorism, the defence document also anticipates that Iran and North Korea, through their continued pursuit of long-range nuclear missiles, could pose a threat -- albeit a remote one -- to Australia's security.

"The challenge will be to deter rogue states of concern, some of which may develop a level of capability, in terms of long-range ballistic missiles, coupled potentially with [weapons of mass destruction] ­warheads."

The White Paper reasserts the importance of Australia's defence and security alliance with the United States, but predicts the rise of China and possible tension in the Asia-Pacific region.

Chief Commissioner has
no answers on racism, yet

MELBOURNE - Victoria Police's new chief commissioner Simon Overland addressing the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) he did not have the answers to deal with racism in the community, but said the police force was working on it.

"The issue of race is a very difficult one. I don't pretend that I've got all the answers that we will always get it right" Overland said.

During his speech he outlined his plan for the term of his appointment for the next five years. The plan included developing partnerships to create a safe and inclusive community - every person in the community has a role to play -and he looked forward to work closely with the
Jewish community to address its concerns.

Australia bureau chief Fabian's email: fabiang@sanidegojewishworld.com

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

MEDIA WATCH, aka "Here's the link"

KPBS radio reporter Amy Isackson, in a radio interview with Alan Bersin describe his new duties as America's "Border Czar." Here's the link,

Dan Bennett of the North County Times has a feature on Israeli-born actor Tom Zohar, who is starring in the North County Rep's production of "Old Wicked Songs." Here's the link.

The San Diego Union-Tribune yesterday carried a New York Times news service story on the Pope's visit to Yad Vashem and the politicization of an inter-religious conference by a Muslim cleric. Here is a link. ... The morning of the evening that Adam Lambert competed in the "American Idol" finals, the San Diego Union-Tribune ran a story titled simply, "Adam Lambert Watch." Here's the link.

Meanwhile, at San Diego News Network, Valerie Scher put together a piece having local opera experts evaluate the range and quality of Lambert's voice. Here's the link.

Paul Jacobs
, chief executive officer of San Diego-based Qualcomm, has told two news outlets in Asia that miniaturization of electronic products will expand the market because they will be more affordable. The Voice of San Diego provides summaries. Here is the link.

San Diego Chamber Orchestra changes name to Orchestra Nova

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)--Building upon its 25-year legacy as the San Diego Chamber Orchestra and, at the same time, continuing to evolve into an orchestra that is reflective of its fresh and open approach to making classical music meaningful to everyone, the orchestra is announcing a name change to Orchestra Nova San Diego.

Under the outstanding leadership of Artistic Director and Conductor, Jung-Ho Pak, for the past three years, the orchestra has enjoyed a phenomenal success with its sold-out concerts, new audience members of all generations, its expansive music education program kicked off in the fall of 2008, and its creative programming and focus on developing a connection between the musicians, the staff and the concert guests.

Continuing its innovative spirit and building upon these successes, the orchestra is also announcing that, beginning with the 2009-2010 season, it will perform its Classics Series at the state-of-the-art Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall in Sorrento Valley. This state-of-the-art concert hall has nearly perfect acoustics and high-tech audio and video capabilities, in addition to extraordinarily comfortable seating and convenient parking.

Maestro Pak says, “We are experiencing a major transformation. Because of these improvements, we are now poised to become one of the pre-eminent orchestras of its kind in the United States. We are performing in one of the finest halls ever designed and we have a name and an image that will speak to a broader public and especially to the next generation. I couldn't be more thrilled.”

The orchestra will continue to perform the Classics Series of concerts at St. Paul’s Cathedral downtown and at the Sherwood Auditorium in La Jolla.

“These announcements capitalize on the excitement that is surrounding our orchestra today. We feel very fortunate to be an arts organization moving forward with so much excitement, especially during this period of economic uncertainty,” says Tyler Richards Hewes, Executive Director.

Preceding provided by Orchestra Nova

San Diego Jewish Chamber of Commerce hosts NC Rep mixer

SOLANA BEACH, California (Press Release)—The San Diego Jewish Chamber of Commerce will gather for a mixer and a play at the North County REP, at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 20. Every season the North Coast Repertory Theater features one Jewish related play. This time it is Old Wicked Songs, by Jon Marans:

"Music Professor Josef Mashkan (Robert Grossman) welcomes to his music studio in Vienna a stiff, headstrong American student Stephen Hoffman (Tom Zohar) who has declared himself a Protestant to hide his Jewish faith. Mashkan hides his own Jewish identity, often remarking callously "Why does everyone harp on the Jews?" After a visit to the deadly concentration camp Dachau, Stephen finally confronts the professor for his anti-Semitic remarks. Secrets are revealed. The music of Robert Schumann proves to be the thread that binds them both in this Pulitzer Prize-nominated play."

For more information: click here

Preceding provided by San Diego Jewish Chamber of Commerce

Mom's trauma prior to pregnancy
may affect baby's emotional life

HAIFA, Israe (Press Release)—A mother who experienced trauma prior to becoming pregnant affects the emotional and social behavior of her offspring. This was discovered for the first time in a new study that was carried out at the University of Haifa and published in the journal Developmental Psychology in a Special Section on "The Interplay of Biology and the Environment Broadly Defined."

The effects of trauma that a mother experienced in the course of pregnancy are known from earlier research, but until now the influence of adversity before conception has not been examined. The present research, carried out by Prof. Micah Leshem and Alice Shachar-Dadon of the University of Haifa and Prof. Jay Schulkin of the Georgetown University School of Medicine, is the first to examine these influences.

The researchers chose to investigate rats, as social mammals with cerebral activity that is similar in many ways to that of humans. The present study examined three groups of rats: one group was put through a series of stress-inducing activities two weeks before mating, allowing the female time to recover before becoming pregnant; the second group was similarly treated over the course of a week immediately prior to mating; and the third, control group, were not given any form of stress. When the rats' offspring reached maturity (at 60 days), the researchers examined their emotional behavior – anxiety and depression – and social behavior.

The main finding revealed that trauma experienced by the females prior to conception had varied effects on the offspring. According to Prof. Leshem, these effects varied between groups and between male and female offspring; but their behavior was without doubt different from that of the rats from the control group.

All the offspring of stressed mothers showed reduced social contact compared with that of the control mothers' offspring: these rats spent less time with one another and interacted less. In other tests, there were important sex differences. The female rats displayed more symptoms of anxiety, while the males exhibited less anxiety. Finally, those rats whose mothers became pregnant immediately after being stressed were hyperactive, indicating that how long before pregnancy adversity is experienced, is also important. "Everyone knows that smoking harms the fetus and therefore a mother must not smoke during pregnancy. The findings of the present study show that adversity from a mother's past, even well before her pregnancy, does affect her offspring, even when they are adult. We should be prepared for analogous effects in humans: for example, in children born to mothers who may have been exposed to war well before becoming pregnant," Prof. Leshem concluded.

U.S. elected to three year term
on U.N. Human Rights Council

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)—The United Nations General Assembly elected the United States on Tuesday to a three-year term on the UN Human Rights Council. The promotion and protection of human rights is a fundamental value for our own society and, as such, an integral element of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice are pleased with the outcome of the election and eager to take up the important work of the Council.

When the United Nations was formed, it sent a powerful and historic message by placing human rights at the very core of its charter. To fulfill that mission, we strongly believe that all member states must work to ensure that the United Nations offers a credible, balanced and effective forum for advancing human rights.

The United States sought a seat on the UN Human Rights Council at this time to underscore our commitment to human rights and to join the efforts of all those nations seeking to make the Council a body that fulfills its promise. We deeply appreciate the support of all UN member states that endorsed our bid. We pledge to work closely with the international community to ensure that together we address the pressing human rights concerns of our time.

Preceding provided by U.S. State Department

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Nefesh B' Nefesh hosts workshop
on making aliyah to Israel

LA JOLLA, California (Press Release)— Congregation Adat Yeshurun will host  Nefesh B'Nefesh at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 19, when the organization promoting immigration to Israel conducts one of its many workshops on making Aliyah.

This NBN seminar will provide employment counseling and information on important networking strategies, as well as offer a wealth of Aliyah resources.

For further information and to register for this event click here.  Adat Yesh8urun is located at 8625 La Jolla Scenic Dr. North, La Jolla

Personal Aliyah meetings are available on May 19th and 20th by appointment only.

HAIFA, Israel (Press Release)--The Maccabi Haifa Heat defeated Bnei Hasharon, 87-68, on Sunday night in Ra'anana, Israel to close out the Israeli Premier League quarterfinal series 3-1.

The victory earned the Haifa Heat its first trip to the Final Four in the club's history in its first year back in the Premier League, after a 10-year absence. The Haifa Heat's Davon Jefferson, who starred at USC last season, scored a game-high 23 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. Haifa's center, Brooks Sales, a former Villanova player, also contributed 19 points in the victory.

The Haifa Heat (3) will face Hapoel Jerusalem (2) at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv on May 19th in a semi-final single elimination game, where the winner will advance to the Finals. The Final Four will be streamed live online on May 19th on Triangleinternet.tv.

Maccabi Haifa was one of the original eight teams to form the Premier League in 1954 and is still vying for its first national championship in the club's history. The Haifa Heat were purchased by Triangle Sports Chairman and New Jersey native, Jeffrey Rosen, in July of 2007.

Under second-year owner, Mr. Rosen, the team was promoted to the Premier League, Israel's top division, this season and is now competing for a national championship.

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Bible in Pop Culture: Darkness on the surface of the deep

Genesis 1:2

(from Stone editon of the Tanach: when the earth was astonishingly empty, with darkness upon the surface of the deep, and the Divine Presence hovered upon the surface of the waters-

(alternate translation from King James Bible: And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.)

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Let's not be shy about learning from 'Jews by choice'

By Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO—With the approach of Shavuot at the end of this month, at which time adults who have been studying for conversion often take their places as full members of the Jewish community, I thought I’d address one of the “taboos” of Judaism. 

Perhaps out of misplaced political correctness, there’s an idea in the atmosphere that born Jews are never supposed to refer to the fact that someone else is a “convert” or a “Jew by choice” lest by doing so that person is made to feel unaccepted or diminished.   Some people earnestly believe it is an insult if you ask someone else how they came to decide to become a Jew.

While I do not doubt the goodwill of those who promulgate this idea, I think putting this taboo into general practice would diminish us all.

If you consider the idea carefully, it suggests that every religious, spiritual or theological thought or experience that the person had before he or she became a Jew is irrelevant – that we have nothing to learn from any of that –  that a person’s experiences and thoughts only become worthy of our consideration if they occurred after they’ve entered the fold.

How vain and short-sighted we must be if we believe that.

For the most part, people who convert to Judaism do so as adults.  Often they have considered their choice with great care, comparing and contrasting their previous religion with ours.  In some cases, it is a matter of weighing several variables.  Converts may feel that their prior religion was right on some issues or customs, but wrong on others.  On balance, perhaps, they decided that Judaism is more right than wrong, and so they chose to cast their lots with us.

How much richer Judaism would be if it would recognize the intellectual struggle from which Jews by choice emerge.  We should seek to learn what attracted them to Judaism  and what, if anything, repelled them.  Their thoughts could be invaluable in helping us to learn what as Jews we can do, to paraphrase that old song, to accentuate the positive, and eliminate the negative?

It's not a choice between making Jews by choice welcome, or learning from them. We can do both. I suggest that if Jews by choice know that we are deeply interested in their experiences, they'll not only feel welcome, they'll recognize that they are highly respected.

Recently over dinner, as our spouses listened, I asked Jane Schaffer—who was once San Diego County’s teacher of the year—if she felt questions about why she converted to Judaism were intrusive.  No, she replied, it is a natural question that people really desiring to learn about each other would ask.  People want to understand why people make all sorts of important decisions—why they chose the careers they did, why they moved from one place to another, why they married the person they did.  It’s only natural that people would be curious why people chose one faith over another.

In her own case, she said, the process of deciding to leave the Episcopalian faith to become a Jew started when she was in tenth grade of Coronado High School.   In her world history class, she was told to pick any book relating to world history, and to read at least ten pages per day.  She doesn’t know why she selected Herman Wouk’s This Is My God, but it had a profound impact on her.

Jane told me that she always had difficulty with the Christian concept that Jesus died to atone for the sins of humanity.  “It didn’t make sense to me,” she said.  So when she read in Wouk’s book that Jews do not believe in the concept of “original sin,” it stirred her intellectually.

She continued to mull Judaism through her graduation from UCLA, where she found herself dating only Jewish men.  She was drawn to them, but it was not a decision she made on a conscious
level, she said.  
After graduation, while teaching at
antana High School, she met Dan Schaffer, a fellow teacher

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Jane Schaffer

–who many of our present-day readers also know as a former columnist of the San Diego Jewish Times.

At one point while they were dating, Dan commented to Jane that if their relationship was to develop, marrying within the Jewish faith was very important to him.  “I remember thinking, ‘well, this is all falling into place,’” she said.

Jane was converted by Rabbi Monroe Levens of Tifereth Israel Synagogue, and they were  married  38 years ago under a chuppah. Together, they raised a brilliant daughter—Sarah—as a Jew and now have two Jewish grandchildren. 

Today, Jane is a well-known educational consultant, who gives seminars around the country helping her fellow educators develop better techniques for teaching writing.  She does this, even though her fight against a type of brain cancer leaves her often fatigued and without full use of her right eye.

In a poignant moment, she recently told Dan that if the thought ever had crossed his mind, she wanted him to know that she never regretted changing her religion – that Judaism has given her life a welcome intellectual framework.

Harrison's email: editor@sandiegojewishworld.com

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

Dramatic Readings
At Hadassah Luncheon

Southwestern Jewish Press March 6, 1953, page 8

Mrs. Robert S. Strauss, president, cordially invites everyone to attend Hadassah’s March 16 meeting at Temple Center when Miss Phylis Hetrick known to San Diegans for her charm and dramatic ability, will present two dramatic readings, “The Black Boys” and “The Unselfish Hostess.” Miss Hetrick is a professional in the art of interpretive drama and recently won acclaim as the star of the Aztec Theatre Production of “Green Grow the Lilacs.”

Mrs. Sol Rosenberg and Mrs. Morris Pomeranz will be co-chairmen for this meeting.  Mrs. Edward Addleson, luncheon chairman, requests reservations so that proper menu planning may be made.  Please call Mrs. Harris or Mrs. Bass.
Hadassah wishes to remind all that Wednesday, June 3rd has been designated for Donor Luncheon Day at the El Cortez Hotel.  Mrs. Edward Kitaen and her committees are already planning the usual gala event.

Birdie Stodel to Nominate Officers
Southwestern Jewish Press March 6, 1953, page 8

We wish to urge all of our members to be sure to attend our next meeting which will be held on March 9th at Beth Israel Temple.  This meeting will convene at 12 o’clock (noon) and luncheon will be served.

At this meeting your nominating committee will present their new slate of officers.  For those of you who would like to serve we would suggest that you contact your president, Ruth Brav, T.3-1404 and your name will be forwarded to the nominating committee.  If you find it impossible to call her, be sure to attend the meeting and voice your nominations at that time.
If you have no transportation, a call to Mitzi Ornstein at T-2911 will take care of that problem for you.

Our own Miriam Chadwick won third place at the Pioneer Women’s Queen Esther Ball.

Mildred Hale Seeks Re-Election
Southwestern Jewish Press March 6, 1953, page 8

Mrs. Mildred L. Hale, a resident of San Diego for 39 years and active in educational circles since 1926 is seeking re-election to the Board of Education March 10, offering a six-point program.

Singled out by Mrs. Hale as the most vital objectives are “necessary classrooms and schools for our ever-expanding population,” the need to “provide our children with the best teachers and the best classroom tools so that San Diego can maintain its role as one of the nation’s educational leaders; continued emphasis of the 3 r’s, as a part of a well-balanced program, an adequate job training program; assurance of continued provisions for special programs for exceptional children; and assurance that our growing junior college program will keep pace with community progress.”

Lasker Lodge Sponsors
Father And Child Nite

Southwestern Jewish Press March 20, 1953, page 2

San Diego Lasker Lodge’s fifth annual Father and Child’s night will be held on Monday, March 23, at 7:00 p.m. in the Temple’s Center, according to Harry Wax, President.

Chairman Leo Beck and his committee have promised a colossal, stupendous extravaganza for young and old who attend.  “This is a night,” he said, “for your sons and daughters to howl.”

Beck also urged that members of B’nai B’rith and even non-members who have no children, bring the children of their

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friends and neighbors, so that as many kids can enjoy themselves as possible.

Headed by Jack Leukan, creator and star of the KFMB-TV show “Jack’s Magic Shop,” the entertainment will include all types of acts which are beloved by youngsters and oldsters, who think they are still young.

Bob Breitbard, who has been arranging the entertainment, said that there will be a trained dog act, Scottish dancers with their bagpipes, and the City of San Diego’s Yo-Yo Champ, a brother and sister team, who will demonstrate what you can really do with a Yo-Yo.

Refreshments in large quantities will be served to everyone in attendance.  Prizes and gifts will be given to every kid, according to Chairman Beck.

Traditionally, Father and Child Night of Lasker Lodge, has been open to anyone whether a member or not, who wish to bring a boy or girl.  Price of admission is that you bring some youngster with you.  So if you don’t have one of your own, bring your neighbors.  The gala event will begin at 7:00 p.m. and be over by 8:30 p.m.

Cash Sent to U.J.A.
Urgent Plea Answered

Southwestern Jewish Press March 20, 1953, page 2

As plans were being completed for the opening of the 1953 Fund Campaign, $35,000 was forwarded to the United Jewish Appeal in answer to their request for cash to aid Jewish refugees swarming into West Berlin.

The check was presented to Ernest Michel, West Coast representative of the United Jewish Appeal, who appeared in San Diego with Cecil Brown, noted radio commentator.

At the same time Michel presented San Diego Jewry with an award from the United Jewish Appeal which read as follows:  “The United Jewish Appeal, in observance of its 15th year of life saving service to the needy and homeless, extends this award of Distinguished Service to the San Diego United Jewish Fund.”

The UJA representative paid tribute to the Fund when he said, “without the generosity of American Jews such as those in San Diego the United Jewish Appeal could not have saved the hundreds of thousands of lives rescued from Hitler’s Europe.”

Hillel Night Set For April 2nd
Southwestern Jewish Press March 20, 1953, page 3

An interesting and stimulating evening is planned for Hillel Night to be held April 2, at 7:30 p.m. at the Temple Center.  The program will be given by Hillel students, Clara Naliboff, Henry Bray, Thelma Lee, and Eli Sercarz.

President Selwyn Berg will speak on the “Contribution of Hillel to the Students and College.” All B’nai B’rith Chapters and the community at large are invited to attend.  There will be no charge.  Refreshments will be served.

On March 17, Hillel was proud to welcome Dr. Alfred Jospe, National Director of Hillel, who spoke to the group.  He has been on a speaking tour throughout the country.

The annual Inter-faith Passover service will be held March 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Scripps Cottage on campus.  A seder and an interesting program are planned for both Jewish and non-Jewish students.  B’nai B’rith women are supplying the traditional food.  Thelma Lee, assistant to Dr. Ernest Wolf, and Sarah Geller, coordinator for B’nai B’rith and Hillel, are in charge of plans for the occasion.

“Adventures in Jewish History” is sponsored by Inland Industries Group LP in memory of long-time San Diego Jewish community leader Marie (Mrs. Gabriel) Berg. Our indexed "Adventures in San Diego Jewish History" series will be a daily feature until we run out of history.

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Bette Midler sings "Wind Beneath My Wings" in "Beaches"

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