Volume 3, Number 114
"There's a Jewish story everywhere"

Today's Postings:

Friday-Saturday, May 15-16, 2009

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

Will Netanyahu's White House visit be better this time? ... by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem
One of the themes in Tzipi Livni's campaign was "Bibi, I don't believe him." Others say that Benyamin Netanyahu changes his mind with every conversation READ MORE

Arafat and the smuggled terrorists: key to Fatah mindset ... by Barry Rubin in Herzliya, Israel
When talking among themselves and in Arabic, Middle East radicals often “let their hair down,” to use the English-language idiom, meaning talk frankly about how they are fooling the dumb rubes in the West and what their real goals are.READ MORE

SDJA graduating seniors tell reactions to Poland, Israel ... by Ulla Hadar in Kibbutz Dorot
A group of 28 graduating seniors of San Diego Jewish Academy have for the last couple of weeks been on a journey traveling through Poland and Israel. The students left San Diego April 28. READ MORE

Rep. Markey criticizes UAE; McCollum lashes Israel
--Markey urges Obama not to send sensitive nuclear materials to UAE READ MORE
--McCollum: Israeli settlement expansion undermines U.S. security READ MORE
--Boxer, Feingold hold hearing on rapes in Congo, Sudan READ MORE
--Cardin lauds Obama and Holderfor their steps to end torture READ MORE
--Kohl says more attention due U.S. food safety READ MORE
--Lautenberg rues Senate defeat of credit card interest limits READ MORE
--Levin approves Obama's steps to regulate financial markets READ MORE
--Lieberman says Obama correctly prohibits abuse photos publication READ MORE
--Schumer says overseas many U.S. soldiers disenfranchised during the 2008 election READ MORE
--Congressman Hodes calls for carpooling tax credits READ MORE


Torah Portion of the Week VIEW VIDEO
U.S. Army turns over control of Abraham's city of Ur to Iraqis
License Plate Fun/ Bible Quiz READ MORE
Center for Jewish Life selling birkas hachamah t-shirts READ MORE

Peres Peace Center reports new Gaza-Israel pact on cystic fibrosis READ MORE
Israel's Consulate General marks Yom Ha'Atzma'ut Latino style READ MORE

San Diego
Soille Hebrew Day eighth grade class study the coneREAD MORE
Bersin to discuss his new role as the nation's 'border czar' READ MORE
MEDIA WATCH, aka "Here's the link"READ MORE
Will the US ever run out of Social Security numbers?


Watch our Bible come together with Biblical names and modern images

God separates light and darkness, Genesis 1:4 SEE PHOTOS

Thoughtful reflections at an adult b'nai mitzvah ceremony ... by Sara Appel-Lennon in San Diego
Did you know that a Jewish boy becomes a Bar Mitzvah when he is 13 and a Jewish girl becomes a Bat Mitzvah when she is 12? This event takes place even if there is no formal study and no religious ceremony. READ MORE

San Diego author chronicles women's music achivements ... by David Amos in San Diego
If you are a serious or even casual enthusiast of classical music, you know that there are literally thousands of books that chronicle the musical eras, the composers, and the performers who left their mark and gave a significant contribution to the art form.READ MORE

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March 20, 1953; Southwestern Jewish Press

Women Leaders of U.J.F. Drive READ MORE
Carol Jane Schwitkis-Joel David Levin Wed READ MORE
Personals READ MORE
Pauline Ratner Names Attendants READ MORE

We continue our examination of Jewish entertainers
Warning: some of these clips portray adult situations

Harold Ramis starts the marchers singing in "Stripes" with Bill Murray VIEW VIDEO

Harry Reems is a teacher in "The Devil in Miss Jones"VIEW VIDEO

Billy Crystal watches and Estelle Reiner envies as Meg Ryan proves women can fake it in "Harry Met Sally."VIEW VIDEO

Billy Crystal and Rob Reiner tell background of Katz Deli scene in "When Harry Met Sally." VIEW VIDEO


We introduce today "Washington Roundup," which brings together press releases issued by U.S. government agencies and officeholders, particularly as they affect Israel and the Jewish community, and also helps us to keep abreast of what Jewish public officeholders are doing. We have a four-week trial period before we decide whether to continue the service, and we'd like our readers' reactions to the column. Should we keep it? Or not? Please let us know at editor@sandiegojewishworld.com


America's Vacation Center
Balloon Utopia
Congregation Beth Israel
Jewish Family Service
Jewish National Fund
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.

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!

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Will Netanyahu's White House visit be better this time?

By Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM—One of the themes in Tzipi Livni's campaign was "Bibi, I don't believe him." Others say that Benyamin Netanyahu changes his mind with every conversation. Bill Clinton's White House spokesman described him as "one of the most obnoxious individuals you're going to come into - just a liar and a cheat. He could open his mouth and you could have no confidence that anything that came out of it was the truth." Dennis Ross described one of his sessions in the White House as "nearly insufferable." President Clinton asked, "Who the -- does he think he is?"

Livni's message may have contributed to the one-seat edge in the Knesset that Kadima won over Likud. Nevertheless, Bibi proved to have the best chance of forming a government coalition.

This week we have seen his weakness and strength. The budget he presented for government approval would be cut by 14 billion shekels over two years, with deep cuts coming in welfare and defense. Child support payments would be cut by 10 percent, despite a commitment to one of his coalition partners to increase them. Also cut would be payments for the handicapped and Holocaust survivors. There would be a 50 shekel fee for every day a patient is hospitalized. There would be a freeze in public sector wages. The retirement age for career military personnel would be increased. The defense budget would be cut by 5 billion shekels over two years.

A day and one half later the government approved a budget with no cuts in welfare payments, no charge for hospitalization, no freeze of public sector salaries, and a cut of defense spending of 1.5 billion shekels rather than 5 billion shekels. However, there would be a 6.5 percent cut in all ministries' budgets in both years of the budget, the value added tax would increase by 1 percent, and expanded to fruits and vegetables.

The details are confusing and not all that important. There are additional steps between the government's budget and the actual spending of the money. First the Knesset must approve it, and later the Accountant General in the finance ministry must actually release the funds on quarterly allotments to the ministries and other administrative units. Both steps provide opportunities for fiddling. The international economic crisis made the process to date more dramatic than usual, and will influence how much money comes into the government via taxes, and how much flows out as expenditures. Natural disasters or war can upset all expectations.

What is interesting in this week's flip flops are their demonstration about Netanyahu's style of governing, or not governing. Also apparent is the centrality of the budget and its lack of clarity.

Bibi was at the center of the budget process by boasting of economic expertise (including a claim to have been offered the post of finance minister in Italy), and giving himself and an aide from outside of the public service key roles in the intense dealing that shifted prominent elements of spending and taxation over the course of 36 hours. The party operative and PhD in philosophy that he appointed as minister of finance appeared to be a figurehead who stumbled through media interviews in which he did little more than assert his cooperation with the prime minister. The respected head of the budget unit in the finance ministry resigned in protest.

Like the budgets of other governments, Israel's is a large and detailed collection of documents, filled with do's and don'ts for taxes and spending that amount to a sizable portion of national wealth. In Israel's case it is about 44 percent of Gross Domestic Product.. Accompanying the budget is a "law of arrangements" that details changes in existing laws presented in a way that is incomprehensible to all but a handful of bureaucrats, politicians and beneficiaries.

The budget is comparable to the human brain. Both are central organs that determine what the rest of the body does,  and both are the subject of research by economists

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and political scientists on the one hand, and a host of biological scientists on the other. Each cluster of specialists has learned a great deal about what they are studying, but has a longer list of what they want to know, but they have not been able to discover as yet.

Netanyahu's smooth rhetoric is the flip side of his reputation for unreliability. He is presenting the budget as his success in achieving harmony between competing interests. To him it represents reluctant compromises, but a well balanced set of agreements with representatives of the public and private sectors, including unions and the leaders of industry and finance. Its reduction in the top rate of the income tax will keep funds flowing to investment, and its increase in the value added tax and its extension to fruits and vegetables, despite falling most heavily on the poor, will help reduce the deficit and pay for increases in welfare payments.

All that may be true. It is not easy to judge the policy implications of an opaque budget at any time, and especially during a time of economic fluidity. To the extent that politics depends on at least a minimum of trust, however, the fluidity of Netanyahu's commitments is a problem for all who must deal with him.

This week his partners in deliberations were colleagues in the government, key bureaucrats, the head of the Labor Federation, and representatives of large employers. Next week it will be the President of the United States. The prime minister will go to Washington saying that it is not timely to talk about a Palestinian state, and that Israel's first priority is the threat of Iranian nuclear weapons. It is anybody's guess what he will be saying in Washington, and then when he returns to Israel. We can only hope that he achieves better rapport with the Obama White House than he did with Bill Clinton's.


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Arafat and the smuggled terrorists: key to Fatah mindset

By Barry Rubin

HERZLIYA, Israel--When talking among themselves and in Arabic, Middle East radicals often “let their hair down,” to use the English-language idiom, meaning talk frankly about how they are fooling the dumb rubes in the West and what their real goals are.

I often come upon this-except, of course, in the Western media. But the
latest example, translated by MEMRI, is irresistible.

The speaker in this case is Fatah's leader in Lebanon, Sultan Abu al-Einen, speaking on al-Quds television, April 6, 2009.

Very few people realize that during the Oslo peace process era, from 1994 to 2000, Israel admitted more than 200,000 Palestinians to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This includes Palestinian Authority (PA) personnel and their families and many others. This was an extraordinary humanitarian gesture and confidence-building measure for peace.

Unfortunately, such actions weren't reciprocated. And many of these people were no doubt involved in trying to murder Israelis-directly or indirectly-in the ensuing years.

Abu al-Einen, who put the number at 250,000 which is somewhat exaggerated but not that far off, is bragging. He has been asked by the interviewer what can be said that was good in the Oslo accords. He doesn't say that it brought the Palestinians closer to a compromise peace or a state, proved
that Israel was a partner for peace or reduced bloodshed, or anything like that. His big example is that the Palestinians got a quarter of a million people back onto the battleground while giving nothing in return.

His second example of what was good about the Oslo accords is even more disconcerting. Israel allowed the Palestinians to bring in, or even gave them, guns which, according to Abu al-Einen totaled 40,000. Ha-ha! He says. Israel might have let these weapons be handed over, under the urgings of the United States and Europe, to maintain order in the Palestinian-governed areas and to prevent terrorism. But the ruling Fatah movement saw the weapons as a way to promote terrorism and kill Israelis.

Or in Abu al-Einen's words, “The weapons that were used against the Israeli enemy in Gaza and elsewhere - the Palestinian Authority takes pride in...weapons that were brought in as part of the agreement. These weapons were used in various times and places, and some people who returned from exile and bore these arms were martyred.”

And this brought back to my mind one of the most vivid events that shows why the peace process failed and how the Palestinian leadership wasn't, and isn't, ready for peace. 

In the summer of 1994, Yasir Arafat made a telephone call to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin with a special request. After months of tortuoussecret negotiations that came close to collapse on many occasions, the two leaders had finally signed the detailed deal on how they would implement the peace process. Arafat was about to return to his ancestral homeland to rule the Gaza Strip and Jericho, starting a transition period that-if all went well-would produce an independent Palestinian state in five years.

First, though, Arafat wanted to request another concession from Israel. In addition to thousands of PLO officials and soldiers about to move from various Arab states to Gaza, he had a special list of “old friends” he wanted to bring with him. Rabin knew Arafat was talking about individuals personally involved in many terrorist acts against Israel over the years. When Arafat's list arrived, Rabin sent it to Yakov Peri, head of the Shin Bet, Israeli's secret service, asking him to recommend that all but the very worst offenders be allowed into Gaza.

Peri reported that indeed these were people involved in attacks

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on Israelis and reluctantly agreed to admit all but those responsible for the bloodiest ones. When Rabin told him of this decision, however, Arafat was not satisfied. He asked the prime minister to let in even more of those who had carried out such operations.Rabin returned to Peri and emphasized the political importance of showing that Israel was being generous with Arafat. So Peri agreed that all but a handful of specific individuals who had committed the worst crimes could come with Arafat. Rabin passed the good news to Arafat.
Among the few banned from admission were: Marduch Nowfel, planner of a 1974 attack on a Ma'alot high school in which 21 Israeli teenagers were killed; Nihad Jayousi, a key organizer of the 1972 attack on the Olympic games; Mustafa Liftawi, the main organizer of terrorist attacks for Fatah's Western Sector department; and Jihad Amareen, a WesternSector official who also headed a Fatah-controlled Islamist terrorist group.

On the morning of July 1, 1994, Arafat's motorcade crossed from Egypt into the Gaza Strip. Israeli soldiers at the border were under strict instructions not to touch Arafat's Mercedes or the accompanying cars, which then drove past the Mediterranean coast's sand dunes to Gaza City.

At 5 p.m., Arafat ascended a podium at the Square of the Unknown Soldier amid tens of thousands of people, the biggest crowd ever assembled in Gaza. Millions more watched on television around the world. One of them was Rabin. But his viewing was interrupted by an urgent phone call from Peri who insisted that this matter couldn't wait. Peri had just one thing to tell Rabin: “The bastard brought them in the trunk of his Mercedes.” Even after Israel accepted the return of most of those on Arafat's list, he had still smuggled in Nowfel, Jayousi, Liftawi, and Amareen as well.

An angry Rabin demanded his aides get Arafat on the phone as soon as possible after the Gaza rally ended. When Rabin finally reached him, Arafat denied the charge and insisted that Israel's intelligence was wrong. Rabin warned, “Mr. Chairman, if you don't take them out, I will give the order to close the borders.” No more PLO officials or police would then be allowed into Gaza.

For the next few days Arafat continued to insist the men were not there. But Israeli officials were sure they were right. In addition, as Deputy Defense Minister Mordechai Gur put it, “There is no doubt that YasirArafat himself was totally involved in this.” Once Rabin told Arafat that their presence was confirmed, Arafat said that while he had heard rumors that perhaps the men were in Gaza, he couldn't find them. Rabin now had to decide whether this issue was important enough to jeopardize the entire peace process.
Finally, under serious Israeli pressure, Arafat sent the men back to Egypt. Rabin remarked optimistically. “They have to learn a lesson that they cannot cheat but rather, they should adhere to their commitments.”  Several weeks later, though, Israeli security learned that Arafat had the four men smuggled back into Gaza. And there they stayed.

This small incident was a metaphor for everything that happened later. Arafat had shown that his word could not be trusted. Time after time, he begged and demanded concessions from others without ever really giving any himself. Yet a belief repeatedly prevailed that the next time he would do better or that once the two sides made a comprehensive deal everything would change. Arafat,  Abu al-Einen tells the interviewer ,”was a man of contradictions. He could declare one thing, issue a contradictory order, and do something to the contrary at the same time....Yasser Arafat would condemn and criticize martyrdom operations...but at the same time, the martyr Yasser Arafat used to finance these military operations.”

We shouldn't forget that except for the fact that Arafat himself is dead, the leadership of Fatah and the PA today is exactly the same as it was int he 1990s. Hamas is worse. When someone who is trying to fool you now brags about how they did so in the past, attention must be paid.

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.


INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE—SDJA students Hunter Spiegel and Jack deTar at left listen to a local band playing at the
barbecue at Kibbutz Dorot of Sha'ar Hanegev. The band is called "The Club Theater." From left, members are Dekel Malach,
Tom Gefen and Nur Orback. Below right, Spiegel and deTar.

SDJA graduating seniors tell reactions to Poland, Israel

By Ulla Hadar

KIBBUTZ DOROT, Israel— A group of 28 graduating seniors of San Diego Jewish Academy have for the last couple of weeks been on a journey traveling through Poland and Israel. The students left San Diego April 28.

Jill Quigley, head of SDJA's Judaic Studies program, is the Director of Jewish Studies and in charge of the Israel trip. "The senior trip to Poland and Israel is a culminating academic experience for students at SDJA,” she explained. “The students first spent a week in Poland , and explored not only the Shoah sites, but also other important sites that reflected the vibrant Jewish community existing prior to WWII. 

“After Poland, the students travelled to Israel where they have seen at first hand the biblical and historical landmarks that they have learned about during their tenure at SDJA. The Israel portion is 2-4 weeks depending on the year—this year they are in Israel for 2 weeks. The students have expressed to me that it has been a life-changing experience for them"

Upon the group's arrival May 5 in Israel, The Alexander Muss Institute in Hod Hasharon served as a base for the group. From there they experienced several field trips around the country, including visits to Jerusalem, the Dead Sea and Tel Aviv.

San Diego Jewish Academy and Sha'ar Hanegev High School have been exchanging students for more than 10 years. The exchange programs play an important role in the education of the teenagers, to help them comprehend each community's way of life.

The teenagers arrived in the Sha'ar Hanegev municipality on Friday May 9th, and were accommodated in Kibbutz Dorot's guest house.

This guest house in Kibbutz Dorot is run by manager Shlomit Ben Asher. The guest house  hosted many groups from San Diego over the years and have become a solid base for groups and delegations visiting the area of Sha'ar Hanegev.

Shlomit has been manager of the Kibbutz Dorot guest house for the last ten years but before her current job she worked for more than 15 years as the secretary of Aharale Rothstein, principal of the Sha'ar Hanegev high school. She confided in me that it is of great importance to bring young people from the Diaspora to visit Israel, to learn and feel Jewish life in Israel.

I got a chance to meet a few of the students and they shared some of their thoughts, experiences and feelings with me.
Jack deTar, 18, said:  "The most significant experiences in Poland was not only to visit the concentration camps but also the mass graves where thousands were shot, and the graveyards.”  He added that the experience gave him new perspective.  “As for Israel. it is my second time here. Last year I studied here for six weeks, which influenced this visit.  I do not look on Israel with a kind of grandeur that you do when it is the first visit;  this time there is a different feel and connection.

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“I am going to Brown University  (in Rhode Island) to study Middle Eastern affairs, with primarily focus on Israel and hopefully I will get a chance to return to Israel. As for the security situation I have not felt any problems here since we arrived. My mother was quite nervous to let me go to Israel, but in the end she put her worries aside, so I could join the trip."

Hunter Spiegel, 18, son of Leo Spiegel who participated in BikeIsrael2009, said: "For me it was a very heavy feeling to go through the concentration camps, since my grandfather was in 11 different camps, being used as a worker to build them.  It gives a whole different angle. I had a feeling of pride when four students and two counselors walked down the train rails leading to Birkenau with the Israeli flags covering our backs--the feeling of we are still here, you did not win. The experiences are still very strong and hard to process and that will surely take some time.

“In Israel the Shabbat at the Kotel had a great influence on me; this is the time where I have felt the most Jewish in my life. We had an encounter with a Chabad Jew there and ended up talking about Judaism, reality verses what G-d portrays for us, and it was very powerful."

When asked about his father participation in the BikeIsrael2009—a six-day ride from Metula to Sha’ar Hanegev to raise money for Sha’ar Hanegev High School, he answered:" My father’s enthusiasm has been very inspiring for me. When a parent gets a passion for something, the excitement reaches the child too. In this case it adds another close connection to Israel."

Helen Kornfeld, 18, daughter of Rick Kornfeld, who also participated in the BikeIsrael2009, told me: "I have already visited Poland before with my father, but this time I did it with my friends which added another impact to the experience… I have truly enjoyed traveling here in Israel with my friends, they are like my second family. I feel very safe coming to Israel and don’t feel endangered at all. As for the BikeIsrael2009 I think it is an amazing idea and really great, that the people took something they like to do – bike riding, and use it as a philanthropy to do something for the people of Sha'ar Hanegev.”

Larry Acheatel,  Executive Director of San Diego Jewish Academy,  in a prior interview pointed out the importance of the exchange programs between the high schools in San Diego and Sha'ar Hanegev:

"Our students, parents and teachers have formed deep connections and friendships with counterparts in Sha'ar Hanegev,” he said.  “These relationships are important and fulfilling on a personal level, but also serve to strengthen and deepen the connection between our two communities. We have both learned from the other."

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Rep. Markey criticizes UAE; McCollum lashes Israel

Editor's Note: We are trying out a service that provides news releases to us from federal government agencies as well as from members of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. Utilizing this service, we intend to track issues affecting the Middle East, domestic and foreign Jewish communities, and also keep abreast of legislation being pursued by Jewish members of Congress. We solicit reader input to this feature. Email editor@sandiegojewishworld.com

Markey urges Obama not to send
sensitive nuclear materials to UAE

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)– Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, on Wednesday released the following statement on the horrific torture videotapes that have recently emerged from the United Arab Emirates:

“The recently released videotapes of torture being committed by a member of the UAE royal family, aided by officers of the state, are horrific beyond description,” said Markey. “The UAE government is now claiming that they are taking action and conducting an investigation, but this incident raises profound questions about whether the rule of law is truth or fiction in the UAE.

“President Obama is currently deciding whether or not to move forward with an agreement for nuclear cooperation with the UAE, negotiated and signed in the final days of the Bush Administration. I have repeatedly urged President Obama to not submit this nuclear cooperation agreement to the Congress for approval, and I hope the UAE torture tapes will convince the President that the UAE is not an appropriate place to send sensitive U.S. nuclear technology.

“A country where the laws can be flouted by the rich and powerful is not a country that can safeguard sensitive U.S. nuclear technology,” said Markey.

Preceding provided by Congressman Markey

McCollum: Israeli settlement expansion
undermines U.S. security

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)–Congresswoman Betty McCollum (Democrat, Farm Labor-Minnesota) on Wednesday questioned Jack Lew, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, regarding the Fiscal Year 2010 international affairs budget request during a hearing of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and released her statement. The statement below does not include Mr. Lew’s response.

Mr. Lew, first I’d like to congratulate the Administration on this budget request. I strongly support the “smart power” strategy described in your testimony. I look forward to working with the Administration on our shared priorities, including global health, climate change and agricultural development.

I was also encouraged to hear a strong statement from you in support of Middle East peace and a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an urgent national security priority of the United States, but I have serious concerns about the new Israeli government’s failure to embrace the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

This budget commits billions of taxpayer dollars to Israel and hundreds of millions to the Palestinians in pursuit of mutual peace and security. The American people are making a serious investment in peace.

However, U.S. support must be matched with accountability. It is time for both Palestinians and Israelis to be accountable for removing obstacles to peace.

One of those obstacles to peace and security is the Government of Israel’s continued support for the expansion of settlements and the failure to prevent the establishment of illegal outposts on Palestinian land – land that must one day be included as part of a future Palestinian state.

Since 1967, homes have been built for 470,000 Israelis in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In the past three years, Israel built over 5,000 homes in West Bank settlements and another 500 bids for housing were issued. Continued settlement expansion will only lead to one conclusion – a one state solution – and this is an unacceptable solution.

The continued expansion of settlements not only undermines the peace process, it undermines U.S. national security. In fact, settlement expansion also undermines Israel’s security – and America’s investments in Israeli security.

Last week, Vice-President Biden directly confronted the issue in a speech to AIPAC saying: “Israel has to work for a two-state solution … not build more settlements, dismantle existing outposts, and allow Palestinians freedom of movement.”

I support the Vice-President’s statement. And I would like to be totally clear on the Administration’s position.

Does the U.S. government oppose the Israeli government’s policy of settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem?

Can you assure me that none of the $2.8 billion in funds provided to Israel through Foreign Military Financing will be used to enable or facilitate the expansion or maintenance of settlements?

Since settlement expansion is contrary to U.S. policy and undermines U.S. national security interests, what is our government going to do to hold our partner Israel accountable if they choose to continue their policy of settlement expansion?

I feel a sense of urgency in the push to peace. Time is not on our side. Every day settlement expansion continues, a two-state solution becomes farther out of reach.

Preceding provided by Congresswoman McCollum

Boxer, Feingold hold hearing
on rapes in Congo, Sudan

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat, California), along with Senator Russ Feingold (Democrat, Wisconsin), on Wednesday chaired a joint hearing of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy and Global Women’s Issues and the Subcommittee on African Affairs. The hearing was titled, “Confronting Rape and Other Forms of Violence Against Women in Conflict Zones – Spotlight: Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.”

The following was Senator Boxer’s opening statement as prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon. I would like to express my gratitude to Sen. Feingold for agreeing to hold this joint subcommittee hearing with me today, and to our ranking members Sen. Wicker and Sen. Isakson.

I’d also like to express a warm welcome to our distinguished first panel. I think the strong representation we have today from the Administration speaks to the gravity of this heartbreaking issue. Unfortunately, it also speaks to the complexity of the challenges at hand.

I know that efforts have been made to address sexual violence in conflict zones to date. But it is unacceptable that we continue to hear reports of thousands of women and children being brutally raped—some are merely infants. If raping an infant is not a crime against humanity, I don’t know what is.

Today, we will spotlight Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo in order to examine the brutal sexual violence that women around the globe are subjected to during conflict.

As you will hear from our distinguished panelists, violating a woman in this manner often goes far beyond mutilating her body. It is an effort to destroy families, communities, and entire societies.

I keep coming back to a passage from a report issued by Refugees International because I think it captures best what is going on in Darfur, Sudan. Rape, it says, is “an integral part of the pattern of violence that the government of Sudan is inflicting upon the targeted ethnic groups in Darfur...The raping of Darfuri women is not sporadic or random, but is inexorably linked to the systematic destruction of their communities.”

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the magnitude of the problem defies comprehension. Hundreds of thousands of women and children have been raped during the course of a conflict that has spanned the last twelve years. And while the country has made strides toward stability—including holding democratic elections—the rapes are continuing at a grotesque rate.

According to Human Rights Watch, the “number of women and girls raped since January has significantly increased in areas of military operations by armed groups and soldiers of the Congolese army.”

I was particularly touched by a quote issued by 71 Congolese women’s organizations about how the sexual violence is impacting their society and their lives.

“We are vulnerable in our fields, in the streets, and even in our own homes. Even our daughters as young as three years old are vulnerable when they are playing with their friends or on their way to school. The nuclear family, the base of our society, no longer exists…There is a crisis of authority and a culture of impunity.”

This must stop. And colleagues we must come together—across all the lines that normally divide us—to end this madness.

Preceding provided by Senator Boxer

Cardin lauds Obama and Holder
for their steps to end torture

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)— U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (Democrat, Maryland), Chairman of the Judiciary Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee, on Wednesday reiterated his praise for the Obama Administration release of Bush-era opinions from the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel regarding interrogation techniques used on terror suspects.

Senator Cardin's remarks came in response to a hearing of the Administrative Oversight and the Courts Subcommittee hearing entitled, "What Went Wrong: Torture and the Office of Legal Counsel in the Bush Administration."

“Today’s hearing provides a powerful illustration of how the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in the Bush Administration's Justice Department got it wrong when it came to torture. Torture is illegal, hurts our efforts to build a coalition to defeat terrorism around the world, and is not an effective method for obtaining reliable information," said Senator Cardin.

"I commend President Obama and Attorney General Holder for releasing these opinions from the Office of Legal Counsel. I am pleased that after reviewing the opinions and the interrogation techniques described, the OLC has decided to withdraw them, and has made absolutely clear that our government does not condone torture. Attorney General Holder and President Obama have taken an important step in restoring the rule of law."

Preceding provided by Senator Cardin

Kohl says more attention due U.S. food safety

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)– U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (Democrat, Wisconsin), in remarks Wednesday morning before the Administration’s new Food Safety Working Group, said “there needs to be an urgency and seriousness” to the work of strengthening the nation’s food safety system.

The group that met included Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebellius and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, as well consumer protection and health experts from across the country. Kohl also invited the head of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Rod Nilsestuen, to present the perspective of a state agency that has a role in food safety.

“It’s hard for me to imagine an issue more fundamental to American families. We need to make sure government at every level is pulling toward a better food system,” Kohl said.

Kohl is the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over funding for the nation’s two main agencies tasked with keeping the food supply safe: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service within the Department of Agriculture.

In 2007, Kohl convened hearings on food safety in both Washington and Wisconsin, and has since worked to boost funding for the FDA, increase the number of food safety inspectors domestically and abroad, and develop new, regional rapid response teams across the country to identify and isolate contaminated produce at its source.

“It became clear to me several years ago that our food safety needs more attention. I helped direct more resources to both the FDA and the USDA over the past few years, but money alone is not the answer. A task this critical and fundamental is going to

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require cooperation and smarter targeting of resources,” Kohl told the group.

In FY2008, Kohl worked to provide an increase of $90 million over the Bush Administration’s request for the FDA, much of it directed to food safety. For FY2009, one of Kohl’s priorities was to increase funding for the FDA of nearly $325 million over the previous year.

Going forward, Kohl is focusing his efforts on the need for federal-state coordination in national food safety matters, including inspections, centralized information and coordinated communication.

Lautenberg rues Senate defeat
of credit card interest limits

WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release)– Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today expressed disappointment regarding the failure of the Senate to pass an amendment that would cap the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) consumers pay at 15 percent, the same interest rate cap that Congress imposed on loans and credit cards issued by credit unions almost 30 years ago.

The lack of a national APR has allowed banks to charge interest rates as high as 41 percent on credit cards while receiving zero interest loans from the Federal Reserve. Some Americans currently pay between 15 and 19 percent APR.

“Since credit card companies seem unwilling to put any limit on the unconscionable interest rates they charge to Americans, Congress needs to step in and protect consumers,” Sen. Lautenberg said. “Especially during this economic downturn, we have to stop credit card companies from taking an already bad situation for struggling families and making it worse.”

In 1980, Congress imposed a 15 percent rate cap on loans and credit cards issued by credit unions. The provision Sen. Lautenberg supported would have extended that rate cap to credit cards offered by commercial banks.

Until 1978, approximately half of the states had laws capping credit card interest rates. While several of these state laws remain, they were effectively overturned by a 1978 Supreme Court decision (Marquette National Bank v. First of Omaha Service Corp) which concluded that national banks could charge whatever interest rate they wanted if they moved to a state without a law.

The APR provision was offered to legislation co-sponsored by Sen. Lautenberg, the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD), which would protect consumers from unfair and unacceptable credit card practices, ending abusive fees and rate increases, ensuring more disclosure and strengthening oversight. The CARD Act was authored by Sen. Christopher Dodd (Democrat, Connecticut) and, in addition to Sen. Lautenberg, was cosponsored by more than 20 Senators.

Preceding provided by Sen. Lautenberg

Levin approves Obama's steps
to regulate financial markets

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)– Sen. Carl Levin, (Democrat, Michigan), issued the following statement Wednesday on the Obama Administration’s proposal for regulating derivatives. As chairman of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Levin has overseen a number investigations that examined issues related to derivatives and introduced legislation, including S. 961 and S. 447, to strengthen derivatives regulation.

“Today, Secretary Geithner sent a letter to the Congressional leadership providing greater clarity on the Administration’s proposal for regulating over-the-counter derivatives. It was time to put some meat on the bones, and the Administration provided some of that by calling for federal regulators to be given comprehensive authority, for the first time, to police all derivative markets and derivative dealers; for the establishment of clearing, margin, and capital requirements to reduce risk; and for authority to impose position limits on over-the-counter derivatives to prevent market manipulation and excessive speculation. The letter also proposed important derivative reporting and recordkeeping requirements that could be satisfied in part by clearinghouse or regulated trade repository records.

“The Geithner letter offers sound proposals that should be acted on as soon as possible. Some of the ideas are not new, but have appeared in financial reform legislation in this and previous Congresses. What is new is a more complete picture of President Obama’s vision for preventing misconduct, reducing risk, and restoring government oversight in the financial markets. “It is long past time to start regulating derivatives. Right now, trillions of dollars in derivative transactions known as swaps are going full bore with virtually no oversight, because federal regulators are prohibited by law from regulating them. Swaps are typically agreements between two parties placing a bet on future cash flows, such as whether a stock price, interest rate, commodity price or currency value will rise or fall. Credit default swaps are bets on whether a company will default on payment of its debts. We all know how financial institutions and traders have used—and abused—credit default swaps. Many also know that, last fall, then Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission Christopher Cox urged Congress to give the government immediate authority to regulate those swaps, but nothing yet has been done.

“Last week, I introduced with Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, legislation to take the first step. The Levin-Collins bill, S. 961, would repeal existing statutory provisions that prohibit federal regulators from exercising authority over swaps. It would then give back to federal regulators the authority to police the swaps market that the Congress took away in the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. Our bill doesn’t take the next step of specifying how swaps should be regulated, as the Geithner letter does, but would clear the decks for more comprehensive reform.

“Derivatives markets continue to pose trillion-dollar risks that call out for government oversight and regulation. I look forward to working with the Administration and my colleagues in the Congress to put the cop back on the beat in the derivatives markets this year.”

Lieberman says Obama correctly
prohibits abuse photos publication

WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release)-- Senators Joe Lieberman (Independent, Connecticut) and Lindsey Graham (Republican, South Carolina) issued the following statement in response to the announcement that President Obama will oppose the release of photos depicting abuse of detainees:

"We applaud the President for making the right decision for our troops and our country to fight the release of the photographs of the detainees. The publication of those photographs would only endanger the safety of our troops who go into harm's way in defense of America. Our country has taken steps to prevent any future abuse of detainees and no public good is now served by releasing these photographs. The President did exactly the right thing in carrying out his responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief. The fact that the President reconsidered the decision is a strength not a weakness."

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)—U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (Democrat, New York), the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, released troubling new data Wednesday suggesting that during the 2008 presidential election, more than a quarter of the ballots requested by U.S. military personnel deployed overseas—and other eligible voters living abroad—went either uncollected or uncounted.

Speaking at a Senate hearing on the matter, Schumer said he would seek to craft bipartisan legislation in the weeks ahead to comprehensively address problems affecting the overseas balloting process to prevent such disenfranchisement in the future.

“It is unacceptable that bureaucratic snafus could prevent our troops from exercising the very rights they are fighting to protect,” Schumer said. “This data provides only a snapshot of the problem, but it is enough to show that the balloting process for service members is clearly in need of an overhaul. We have an obligation to make it easier, not harder, for our military to cast their ballots when they are away on active-duty.”

Schumer said the estimate was based on figures provided to the committee by election officials in seven of the states with the highest number of deployed troops. In 2008, military personnel and some civilians hailing from these states requested 441,000 ballots in order to vote from overseas locations, as allowed by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). Of those, 98,633 were never received back by the election officials in the U.S. and so were declared “lost” ballots. Another 13,504 were received but rejected for various reasons including a missing signature or failure to notarize, as is required in some states. When combined, these two categories amount to 112,137 voters in those seven states—or 25.42% of the 441,000 who requested ballots—being disenfranchised, Schumer said.

A chart containing the data cited by Schumer appears below. The Rules Committee, in conjunction with the Congressional Research Service, culled the data by surveying election offices in seven states with high numbers of military personnel: California, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and West Virginia. According to March 2009 statistics provided by the Pentagon, the ranks of deployed troops from these seven states represent nearly half – or 43.5 percent – of all U.S. active-duty and reserve troops currently deployed overseas.

State: California

Ballots mailed out: 102,983

Ballots returned as undeliverable: 3,054

Ballots returned, but rejected: 3,969

Ballots cast in election
“Lost votes” [(Mailed Out) 65,836 - (Accounted Ballots)]30,124
Percent “lost”: 29.25

Schumer—speaking before several ex-soldiers who testified about their failed attempts to vote in previous elections—said the high number of disenfranchised overseas voters illustrates fundamental flaws within the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP). That is the program within the Defense Department that handles the election process for military personnel and other overseas voters.

At the hearing, Schumer urged Gail McGinn, the Pentagon’s Acting Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness, to quickly select a qualified individual to take over as head of FVAP. Schumer also said a comprehensive approach would be needed to address problems within FVAP. Chief among those problems, he said, was a lack of synchronization in the timeline for distributing ballots to voters overseas. Schumer noted that it is a “chronic” occurrence for military voters to be sent a ballot without sufficient lead-time to complete it and send it back in time to be counted. According to some estimates, it can take up to 13 days for a ballot to even reach an overseas voter. In addition, a recent Pew study determined that 25 states do not afford overseas voters, including military personnel, with enough time to complete

Schumer also said that voting assistance officers may also need enhanced training to better facilitate the election process overseas. He also called for increased awareness about Federal Write-In Ballots, which are a federally provided alternative ballot that can be used as a fail-safe when a state-issued ballot does not arrive in time.

For other states, read Senator Schumer's complete press release

Congressman Hodes calls
for carpooling tax credits

WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release)--- As New Hampshire celebrates green commuting week, Congressman Paul Hodes (Democrat, New Hampshire) reintroduced legislation that would give New Hampshire businesses a federal tax credit for encouraging their employees to carpool.

His legislation would create a tax credit for businesses for fifty percent of any amount they pay to their employees as part of a reimbursement program for carpooling to work. It will also allow state and local governments to participate as well, and they would receive additional annual funding for programs that encourage carpooling to the office.

"With gas prices beginning to rise as we approach Memorial Day, this tax credit could give New Hampshire commuters more incentives for carpooling which will help commuters save on gas costs, improve our environment and reduce our dependence on foreign oil that is hurting our economy and jeopardizing our national security," Congressman Paul Hodes said.

RideShare, a carpool matching service, with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation has been a successful program in providing carpooling options for New Hampshire commuters. Commuters seeking to use the program can contact them at this link.

Congressman Hodes introduced similar legislation during the 110th Congress.

Preceding provided by Congressman Hodes

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

Torah Portion of the Week

Parshat Bechukotai from G-dcast.com More Torah cartoons at www.g-dcast.com

U.S. Army turns over control of Abraham's city of Ur to Iraqis

License Plate Fun/ Bible Quiz

BIBLE QUIZ—Our license plate sleuth, Melanie Rubin, spotted this license plate, which prompts the question: "At least four women (and possibly more) in Genesis may have thought or said the phrase, 'I Love Joseph.' Can you name them?" Click here for answer

Center for Jewish Life selling birkas hachamah t-shirts

HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (Press Release)--Only one mitzvah comes so rarely on the Jewish calendar -once every 28 years – birkas hachamah (blessing on the sun). This year this blessing was said in countries and  cities worldwide and  it was publicized like never before in the media, on the internet etc. Years from now people will be telling their children and  grandchildren where they were on EREV Pesach - April 8th, 2009.It is and  will be a moment to remember forever.

The Center for Jewish Life, an outreach organization, together with PGraphics have created a t-shirt souvenir of this momentous event. Due to requests for this special souvenir which have come in during Pesach and thereafter we will print one more run of these t-shirts,only in the amounts and  the sizes ordered.

 The t-shirt printing is composed of two colors in the front with a
rising sun and  "thanks to G-D for the sun" as well as the Hebrew date. On the back it reads "I Was There"and the English date. These shirts can be bought as a personal souvenir or given as gifts by community leaders or to one`s children or parents.

Orders will be taken only until June 8th and the t-shirts will be mailed by June 22nd.

This is a not for profit venture and all proceeds benefits Jewish
 Outreach. Cost for the t-shirt is $12.50 for children's sizes and $13.95  for adult sizes, plus postage. There is no handling fee. Children's sizes are xs,s,m,l. Adult sizes are s, m, l, xl, xxl.

 To order or to find out more about the Center for Jewish Life call toll  free 1-866 3 JEWISH or 1-866-353-9474.Leave a telephone number and  we will return your call.

Preceding provided by Rabbi Moshe Y. Engel, a first grade teacher at Hebrew Academy of Huntington beach

Peres Peace Center reports new
Gaza-Israel pact on cystic fibrosis

TEL AVIV (Press Release)—In response to the continuous need for institutional management of Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients from Gaza, and due to the lack of local capacities in this field, a new initiative has been launched in cooperation with the Pediatric Department of the Hadassah Medical Center, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem and the Gaza Cystic Fibrosis Program (a newly formed Palestinian NGO), the Peres Peace Center reported.

CF is a complex, congenital, genetic disease that requires a holistic approach to treatment by a medical team, ideally in a specialized CF Center. Specialist care involves frequent clinical evaluations and monitoring for complications by specifically trained physicians and other healthcare workers.

While Israel has several CF Centers, the Palestinian Authority has none. Accordingly, this new initiative aims to establish a CF Center in the Gaza Strip that will provide comprehensive care. A strong link with a local hospital is essential so as to allow for in-hospital procedures. To this end, an additional partner has been recruited, the governmental Al Dora Pediatric Hospital in Gaza, which has signed an agreement "to allow the staff of the Cystic Fibrosis Program to follow up their patients at Al-Dora in partnership with their corresponding Israeli doctors and colleagues."

The program incorporates the training of the entire team of doctors, nurse, nutritionist and physiotherapist at Hadassah Medical Center, a training program that will also include advanced pediatric training in such fields as Pulmonology, Gastroenterology, Nutrition and other relevant topics. The doctors have already started their intensive Hebrew language course which prepares them for the one year training program they will undergo.

Preceding provided by the Peres Peace Center

Israel's Consulate General marks
Yom Ha'Atzma'ut Latino style

LOS ANGELES (Press Release)--Israel’s Consulate General will celebrate Israel's 61st anniversary of indendence at Los Angeles’  historic Breed Street Shul in the Boyle Heights neighborhood, which today is in the heart of the Latino community.  The consulate-general will stage a concert and street fair  called “Fiesta Shalom” this Sunday, May 17, emphasizing both cultures.

The 11 a.m to 3 p.m. event in front of the shul at 247 N. Breed Street in Los Angeles will be emceed by Richard Montoya of Culture Clash and will feature on the main stage Cumbia music with California Shop; Israeli Super;  Danza Floricanto and the Keshet Chaim Dance Ensemble.

Appearances are planned by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa  and City Councilmember Jose Huizar, as well as by Consul General Jacob Dayan and John Fishel, president of the Jewish Federation.

On tap for the street fair are strolling mariachi  and klezmer musicans, and samples of Israeli, Latino and Jewish food   Additionally there will be tours of the historic shul, which is an official California state historic monument.

More information is available from Community Art Resources at (213) 365-0605, and www.fiestashalom.com

Preceding provided by Israel's Consulate General in Los Angeles

Soille Hebrew Day eighth
grade class study the cone

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)In order to fully experience the volume of a cone, the 8th graders of Hebrew Day celebrated cone day in Ms. Kaplan- Nadel’s Pre-Algebra math class.  While eating their delicious ice-cream filled cones, they learned how to calculate its volume.  The formula is V= 1/3 Bh .

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

Preceding provided by Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School

Bersin to discuss his new role
as the nation's 'border czar'

SAN DIEGO (Press Release) --Three community organizations will sponsor a luncheon with Alan Bersin, who is the Homeland Security Department's new assistant secretary for international affairs and special representative for border affairs.

As a former U.S. attorney, city school superintendent, and chairman of the regional airport authority in San Diego, Bersin is well known, but this event will provide an opportunity to hear his current thinking on trans-border issues. Bersin's topic will be "The Border in Crisis."

The luncheon at noon Wednesday, May 27, at the Holiday Inn at the Bay will be under the auspices of LEAD San Diego, the City Club and USD's Trans-Border Institute. Ticket cost $30 per person. Reservations will be accepted at (619) 687-3580 or via LEAD's website. Here's the link.

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MEDIA WATCH, aka "Here's the link"

Matt Potter in the San Diego Reader has a cover story on Tom Godes, whose company Platinum Equity, is the new owner of the San Diego Union-Tribune. He is of a Maronite Christian family in Nazareth, whose members include an uncle who tells of once being kidnaped by Jews in pre-state Israel to be exchanged for a group of Jews who had been kidnaped by the other side. A cousin tells of being strip-searched by an Israeli policewoman when she was a little girl, and yet another cousin is an activist for Palestinian causes in the Portland, Oregon, area. What might this mean for the Union-Tribune's Middle East coverage? Nobody yet knows. Here's the link

The San Diego Union-Tribune frontpaged Karla Peterson's story on Adam Lambert advancing to the finals against Kris Allen on TV's American Idol show. Here's the link. .. On the inside it carried a New York Times news service story on the Pope choosing a refugee camp near Bethlehem to call for creaiton of a Palestinian state. Here's the link. ... Robert Pincus has a review of the "Becky Cohen" photography show-focusing on the great gardens of the world. Here's the link ... Pop music critic George Varga interviewed Ilan Rubin, drummer with Nine Inch Nails. Here's the link.

Stand With Us, the Israel advocacy organization, has photos of the University of California at Irvine protest by Muslim Students against Israel, along with a commentary about what those students don't say. Here's the link.

Will the US ever run out of
Social Security numbers?

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)—The Social Security number is composed of a 3 digit area number, a 2 digit group number and a 4 digit serial number; a serial number is a unique number. The total Social Security numbers that can exist is based on the number of area numbers, group numbers and serial numbers possible minus certain exclusions. The 10 digits used for a Social Security number are 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9.

Utilizing math, we can calculate that 745,395,443 Social Security Numbers are retired, in use, or available.

Using the methodology demonstrated in a previous article, "Why telephone area codes change," we can calculate 10 X 10 X 10 or 1,000 possible 3 digit area numbers, 10 X 10 or 100 possible 2 digit group numbers, and 10 X 10 X 10 X 10 or 10,000 possible 4 digit serial numbers.

For a variety of reasons, the Social Security Administration excludes 247 three-digit area combinations, one two-digit group number (OO), one serial combination (OOOO), and ten specific social security numbers within the set 987-65-4320 to 987-65-4329, according to Wikipedia.

This leaves 753 possible 3 digit area numbers each of which can have 99 possible 2 digit group numbers and each of these can have 9,999 possible 4 digit serial numbers. So 99 group numbers X 9,999 serial numbers = 989,901 possible numbers for each possible area number; then 989,901 X 753 area numbers = 745,395,453 possible social security numbers. We then reduce this by the ten specific social security numbers to come to the grand total of 745,395,443.

As the population of the US increases, the demand for social security numbers grows and the currently unavailable area numbers will have to made available for use.

*Note: If we were able to utilize 245 of the currently unavailable area numbers that are classified as not ready to issue, we would have 753 + 245 = 998 possible 3 digit area numbers. Then the 989,901 possible numbers for each possible area number X 998 area numbers = 987,921,198 possible social security numbers. In such a case, there would beroom for almost a billion social security numbers.

If you have a query for the Math Lady, email it to San Diego Jewish World and the Math Lady, Carol Ann Goldstein, may reply in a future issue. 
Preceding was provided by Math Is Easy

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Bible in Pop Culture: God separates light and darkness

Genesis 1:4

God saw that the light was good and God separated between the light and the darkness.

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
Bible in pop culture index

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Thoughtful reflections at an adult b'nai mitzvah ceremony

By Sara Appel-Lennon

SAN DIEGO- Did you know that a Jewish boy becomes a Bar Mitzvah when he is 13 and a Jewish girl becomes a Bat Mitzvah when she is 12? This event takes place even if there is no formal study and no religious ceremony.

Traditionally the boy and girl study for three years prior to their religious Bar and Bat mitzvah ceremony when they both become 13 in modern society.

Bar means son, bat means daughter, and mitzvah means commandment. When one becomes a Bar or Bat mitzvah, one is considered an adult and s/he is held accountable for his/her actions. As a Bar or Bat <itzvah, one can be called upon to read from the Torah and one is considered a member of a minyan (group of ten Jews).

There are those of us who formally study Judaism and have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremony as adults. Since we collectively study and hold the ceremony as a group, the religious ceremony is referred to as B'nai Mitzvah. New World Encyclopedia reports that B'nai is used to refer to "people of obligation."

My B'nai Mitzvah was in the year 2000 and was conducted at Temple Emanu-El by Rabbi Marty Lawson. During my speech I quoted Anne Frank "In spite of everything, I still really believe that people are really good at heart." I felt inspired by her quote and I marveled how she clung to her optimistic view of humanity after all she had endured.

Last Saturday I attended a B'nai Mitzvah ceremony, where ten women and one man joined to publicly announce their commitment to follow the commandments of Judaism.

 I was especially impressed by the speaking ability of two of the class members, Gail Benn and David Parker. In fact, at one point I thought that I was at a Toastmasters event, which by the way was going on at the same time in a different location in San Diego.

Gail Benn was the first to give her speech. She transitioned beautifully from the reading of the prayer book to her discourse. Gail shared "I was the one in the class to roll my eyes and question what was being said. The process of studying helps me to understand how to live my life as a Jew. Judaism is a way to walk in the world." Her one line encompasses so much. I compliment Gail for her brevity and depth.


David Parker began his speech by stating "Fitting that I should have the honor of speaking to You about this prayer, Ahavah rabah.  My name, David, means ‘beloved of God.’ That has resonance here.  Ahavah rabah ahvatanu adonai eloheinu.  God loves us. Not just a bissel, but with it is with ahavah rabah, a great love and boundless compassion that God loves us

After a rousing song of Sim n Tov and Mazel Tov, Aaron Borovoy, Temple Emmanu-El President, shared that "Saturday was the Bar Mitzvah of his Bar Mitzvah." We all chuckled as he prepared to distribute the Kiddush cups to all of the members of B'nai Mitzvah class.

For me, Judaism is a set of values which I carry with me as I walk in the world. It is a way to mark the calendar by celebrating the Jewish holidays; a heritage of strength, resilience, and culture; a feeling of belonging; a reason to practice tikkun olam.

Being Jewish is part of who I am and it is a stabilizing force in my life. It is a reason to express myself as a columnist for San Diego Jewish World, It is a reminder that I am part of a people with a rich heritage. We are a resilient group of people and we will face the future, as we walk in the world together.

Appel-Lennon's email: appels@jewishsightseeing.com


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San Diego author chronicles women's music achivements

By David Amos

SAN DIEGO--If you are a serious or even casual enthusiast of classical music, you know that there are literally thousands of books that chronicle the musical eras, the composers, and the performers who left their mark and gave a significant contribution to the art form.

But, there has always been a vacuum in the proper documentation of the women who were and are part of this musical tradition. But now, we finally have a most comprehensive and readable book, thanks to the work of Dr. Anne Gray, a San Diego resident and the author of The World of Women in Classical Music. It is a detailed accounting of women in music, taking us through the musical eras from BCE to the present.

While composers, conductors, and performers are integral to any work of this kind, their treatment in this book is far superior to dry, encyclopedic biographical entries. With painstaking scrutiny, Dr. Gray has managed to uncover information that gives us truly personal glimpses into the lives if these women. She then delves into the neglected realm of musicologists, women in the business of music, and philanthropists.

Following to the acclaim of Dr. Gray’s previous book, The Popular Guide to Classical Music, The World of Women in Classical Music cites ample examples of women’s societal roles over the centuries, and points to what has become obvious to us today, that information about gifted women in all disciplines has been “buried….during centuries of male domination."  This is still graphically and sadly illustrated in parts of the Middle East and Asia to this day.

I found many interesting and enlightening details: From ancient Greece, Egypt, the Dark Ages, Middle Ages, there are many examples. (Look up in other sources the name of Beruriah, for her non-musical, but wisdom and contributions to Judaism during Talmudic times). We learn about the visionary German nun, Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), who wrote literature, poetry, history, music, and texts on medieval medicine, becoming so well-known that her advice was sought by popes, emperors, kings, and other notables.

The emergence of the Renaissance (1450-1600) with its doctrine of freedom of expression, ironically marked the decline of women’s rights, when the Church, via the 1563 Council of Trent, forbade women to sing in the churches. Nevertheless, nuns continued clandestine chorusing in their convents, as well as using forbidden instruments.

There were other salient contributions to serious music by women in the Baroque and Classical times, but it was not until the Nineteenth Century when there were prominent figures

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and names we recognize. The Romantic Period (1820-1920) also known as the Golden Age in Music, introduces us to fifteen important composers beginning with Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel and Clara Schumann.

A piano prodigy at age nine, under the tutelage of her very strict father, Frederick Wieck, Clara appeared before the royalty of Europe. When she was twenty, Wieck would humiliate his daughter in a notorious lawsuit to prevent her marriage (and the loss of his income) to the not-yet-well-known composer Robert Schumann. Clara’s potential compositional output was no doubt greatly reduced by the combination of bearing eight children in fourteen years of marriage and then devoting the last forty years of her life in concertizing and promoting her husband’s music.

Other prominent women composers during the Romantic Era included Cecile Chaminade, Dame Ethel Smyth, and America’s Amy Beach.

By the Twentieth Century, women were more freely admitted into conservatories, and many of them became icons in music education, composition, and performance.

It was not until the 1930’s that women were admitted into symphony orchestras, and even then, in small numbers. Even I remember in my early years hearing comments from   important male symphony musicians disapproving the presence of women in orchestras. The late conductor Sir Thomas Beecham is quoted as saying the “Pretty women in orchestras distract the male musicians, and the ugly ones distract me!” Thankfully, it is all different today.

The Singers section presents a vast panorama of the history of opera, in which the indefatigable author catalogues 286 never-to-be-forgotten voices, chronologically grouping them by birth years: Immortal divas, Into the Twentieth Century, Legends of the 1930’s and 40’s, 21st Century Prima Donnas, African-American singers, Other fine voices, and Cantors.

There are also sections on women musicologists, music administrators, and, The Unforgotten, powerful, influential women who have founded orchestras, built concert halls, acted as fund raisers, and provided the means from their own wealth and/or their husbands’ to keep classical music alive and thriving.

Also, of significance are the many references to Jewish History, and victims of the Holocaust, generously distributed throughout the book. We learn of Alma Rosé and her women’s orchestra in Auschwitz. Jewish artists, writers and musicians smuggled out of France by American volunteer Varian Fry; and women who wrote about and composed Jewish Music, Cantors, and Israeli composers.

This book is a fantastic achievement. Highly recommended. ISBN 10: 1-59975-320-0 (2007), or WordWorld@juno.com.

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
With thanks to Gail Umeham for the transcription

Women Leaders of U.J.F. Drive
Southwestern Jewish Press March 20, 1953, page 6

Leaders of the Women’s division of the Fund Campaign stole a march on the campaign by holding the most successful ‘Big Gifts” luncheon in recent history last Tuesday at the El Cortez Hotel.
Attended by 50 leading women who contributed the outstanding sum of $14,450 the success of the luncheon is expected to spark the entire 1953 campaign.

Mrs. A. P. Nasatir, Women’s Division Chairman, and her Co-chairmen, Msdms. Louis Moorsteen, Harry Wax, David Block and Zel Camiel, announced that the next Women’s Division luncheon would be held on Tuesday, April 14, at the El Cortez during “C Week,” and would be the outstanding social event of the campaign.  Invitations have been mailed to all Jewish women in the community and a large response is anticipated.

Those pledging at the first luncheon, who heard the appeal of Chaplain Zelig S. Chinitz, recently returned from duty in Japan and Korea, included Mesdames Abe Abramson, Bernice Berner, Gabriel Berg, Sol Bloom, Max Borenstein, Sol Chenkin, Ed Cherney, Jennie Drogin, Leonard Drogin, Carl Esenoff, David Ferer, Bessie Fink, Max Gardner, M. D. Goodrich, Leo Greenbaum, Jack Gross, George Heyneman, Rodin Horrow, Irvin Kahn, Edgar Levi, George Martin, Clark Moore, Louis Moorsteen, A. P. Nasatir, George Neumann, Morris Niederman, Walter Ornstein, S. H. Perlmutter, Max Rabinowitz, Abe Ratner, Nate Ratner, O. P. Reed, Abe Sackheim, Victor Schulmamn, Irvine Schulmam Joseph Schwam, Libby Smith, H. W. Snyder, Irving Solomon, Lewis Solomon, June Sosna, Louis Steinmam Betty Teacher, Henry Weinberger, Frank Winicki, Sarah Weiss, Alex Wise, Sadie Haimsohmn, Nathan Baranov, and Allan Ferer in memory of his wife, Hannah. 

One of the highlights of the luncheon was the honoring of Mrs. Clark Getz Moore for her efforts in initiating and hostessing the Big Gifts luncheon for the past four years.  As a token of appreciation Mrs. Moore was presented with a beautiful book containing the autographs of all who attended the luncheon, and pictures of Mrs. Getz’s activities in the Fund.

Hostesses for the luncheon chaired by Mrs. Nasatir were Mesdames Jack Gross, Helen Schulman, George Neumann, Estelle Levi, Sara Goodrich, Gabriel Berg.

Decorations were by Mrs. Sam Sosna and Mrs. Louis Moorsteen.

Carol Jane Schwitkis-
Joel David Levin Wed

Southwestern Jewish Press, March 20, 1953, page 6

Mr. and Mrs. Jules Sdhwitkis announce the marriage of their daughter, Carol Jane to Joel David Levin, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Levin.  The couple were wed March 7 in Peekskill, N.Y. with Patricia Lawlor and Richard Moorsteen as attendants.

Carol is a graduate of the University of California at Davis.  Joel attended Sorbonne in Paris and was graduated from State College.

The young couple sailed on the Ile de France March 14.  After touring the continent they plan to live in Paris for a year.

Southwestern Jewish Press, March 20, 1953, page 6

Harry Tennebaum, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Tennebaum, has enrolled at State College following his recent discharge from the Navy.  Harry served with the Sea-Bees and was stationed on Guam and Kwajalein for over twenty months.  Mrs. Tennebaum met her sone in San Francisco on his arrival by plane.

Mr. and Mrs. Dick Silverman left by plane last week for a month’s trip combining business and pleasure.  They plan to be in

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Cleveland, Chicago, and New York.  Roberta, looking lovely and wearing an orchid, was greeted by part of the reception
committee at the airport who were there to meet Miss Jean Bona-Corsi, soloist with the S. D. Philharmonic.  The mistake was forgiven when the committee explained that they were told to look for a “pretty girl.”

Something new has been added—Joyce and Bill Gerelick are back from El Paso and now living at 808 I St. in Coronado with 3 daughters.  They had only 2 when they left here so they should get a third bigger “welcome home.”

Mr. and Mrs. Bob Palash are busy getting settled in their new home at 5164 Solola St.

Gertrude and Ben Harris are having a happy reunion with their family whom they haven’t seen in a long time.  Their guests, who are here for a short stay, are Mr. and Mrs. R. T. Whitcomb, sister and brother-in-law of Mrs. Harris, and her aunts, Dora and Lil Kosofky.

Another San Diegan to discover the Elsinore Hotel is Martha Hollander, who spent a pleasant week there.

Pauline Ratner Names Attendants
Southwestern Jewish Press March 20, 1953, page 6

Pauline Ratner, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Abe Ratner, has named her attendants for her March 22nd, wedding to Stanley E. Finke, son of Mr. and Mrs. David Finkelstein of Portland, Ore.  Mrs. Sherwood Schwartz of Bakersfield, aunt of the bride, will be matron of honor, and bridesmaids are Sharlene Greene, Sandra Schoenkopf, Mrs. Melvin Woolf, and Mrs. Henry Oseran of Portland, sister of the bridegroom.

Mr. Oseran will be the best man and ushers are to be Jerry and Ronald Matin, Martin Zell, and Howard Cohn, all of Portland; William Kleinberg of Los Angeles, and Sandford Ratner, brother of the bride.

Seymour Pomeranz and Harry Ratner are to be junior ushers with Kenneth Fogel of Los Angeles to serve as ring bearer.

Many parties have been given in Pauline’s honor.  Sharlene Greene feted the bride-to-be at a surprise shower in her home on February 3.  Mrs. M. D. Goodrich was hostess at a luncheon and miscellaneous shower on Feb. 14 in the Don Room of the El Cortez.

Pauline’s aunts, Mrs. Marco Ratner, Mrs. Nathaniel Ratner, Mrs. David Frank, and Mrs. Frank Pomeranz gave a luncheon for her on Feb. 21 at the San Diego Club.  On March 4, Mrs. Nathaniel Ratner surprised Pauline with a kitchen shower in her home and on March 7 Sandra Schoenkopf entertained with a miscellaneous shower in the patio room of the El Cortez.

On March 14 Mrs. Robert Stone, Mrs. Louis Solof and Mrs. Milo Berenson honored Pauline at a brunch in the Don Room of the El Cortez.  It was a recipe shower.

Mrs. Sidney Newman and Mrs. Al Newman are honoring Pauline with a brunch at Valle’s on March 20.  Among the out of town guests are Mrs. David Finkelstein, Mrs. Henry Oseran, and Mrs. Sherwood Schwartz.

At a dinner party on March 20 given by Mr. and Mrs. Jack Gross for the bride and groom, the out of town guests will include the groom’s family from Portland and Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Toder of New York, Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Rosenfeld of Portland, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Meltzer of Seattle, and members of the bridal party.

“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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