Volume 3, Number 116
"There's a Jewish story everywhere"

Today's Postings:

Monday, May 18, 2009

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

When Mideast rhetoric has minimal relationship to reality ... by Ira Sharkansky

Each day I tell myself that I will take a rest and leave you readers alone. Then I open the mail and read sources that I find useful. One thing or another provokes or inflames, and there go my fingers.READ MORE

The Israel National Trail: 580 miles of hiking, biking adventure ... by Ulla Hadar in Mitzpe Modi'in, Israel
The Israel National Trail (INT) or Shvil Yisra'el as it is called in Hebrew is a hiking path that crosses the entire country of Israel. It starts in the North at Dan, near the Lebanese border, and extends all the way to Eilat, the southernmost town of Israel situated near the Red Sea.

Why I'm very proud of my children's service in the IDF ... by Dorothea Shefer-Vanson in Mevasseret Zion, Israel
Barbara Dresner Dorrity ended her review of the film Waltz with Bashir  in the Janaury edition of Second Generation Voices with the remark: “I’m so grateful that I was not born a man in Israel,” a statement that I found offensive and insulting.READ MORE

What would Theodore Roosevelt or Harry Truman think? ... by Sheila Orysiek in San Diego
Whenever I hear a discussion of the situation regarding Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon the prospect of an Israeli solution to that probability rears its head.  Certainly Israel would be directly affected if Iran does successfully produce such a weapon - Iran’s leaders have unambiguously stated as much. READ MORE


AIPAC tells four critical matters now before the Congress READ MORE

Olympics can inspire positive change, Lord Coe tells Israelis READ MORE

Sweetie of a license plate READ MORE

Lag B'Omer means sports day at Soille San Diego Hebrew Day READ MORE

Child Abuse Foundation changes its name to Promises 2 Kids READ MORE

MEDIA WATCH, aka "Here's the link"READ MORE

Musical sisters team to bring choral concert to Patrick Henry H.S.READ MORE

Bible in Pop Culture
Firmanent in the midst of waters, Genesis 1:6 See Photos

On Martha’s Vineyard, the soft shriek of truth ... by Cynthia Citron in Los Angeles
Lydia R. Diamond’s new play Stick Fly is Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? turned inside out. You all remember the 1967 movie in which the beautiful young white woman brings her brilliant black fiancé home to meet her liberal upper-class parents? Well, in Stick Fly the parents are upper class, intellectual African-Americans, and the two brothers (one a surgeon, the other an about-to-be published novelist) have brought their girlfriends home to meet them.READ MORE


I'm Still Here ... by Laura Simon
My Centennial Birthday Celebration in the Evening. READ MORE

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March 20, 1953; Southwestern Jewish Press

Beth Jacob Sisterhood READ MORE
City of Hope READ MORE
Birdie Stodel Chapter B’nai B’rith READ MORE
Bas Mitzvah To Be Celebrated {Nancy Goodman} READ MORE
Third Annual Jewish Music Festival To Be CelebratedREAD MORE
Linda’s Lookout by Linda Solof READ MORE
Cottage of Israel READ MORE

We continue our examination of Jewish entertainers

Sir Antony Sher as Alexander von Humboldt in "Measuring the World"VIEW VIDEO

Harry Shearer demonstrates some of the voices he does on "The Simpsons"VIEW VIDEO

Ron Silver as political advisor Bruno Gianelli in "The West Wing"VIEW VIDEO

Steven Spielberg is interviewed on "Inside the Actor's Studio."VIEW VIDEO

The second installment of Laura Simon's book, I'm Still Here raises the question of how a woman who is 100 years old and legally blind goes about writing her memoirs. The answer is that she dictated them into a tape recorder, which volunteers later transcribed and read back to her. As readers continue getting to know Laura, they will be impressed by her indominatable spirit.


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 Arts Festival
San Diego Jewish Chamber
Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School
Therapy in Motion Inc.
Tifereth Israel Synagogue
United Jewish Federation
XLNC-1 Radio


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When Mideast rhetoric has minimal relationship to reality

By Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM—Each day I tell myself that I will take a rest and leave you readers alone. Then I open the mail and read sources that I find useful. One thing or another provokes or inflames, and there go my fingers.

Today it is a note sent to me by a nutty American, who occasionally sends me notes from a nuttier man living less than 10 miles from me, on the other side of the cultural divide.

He is a Palestinian professor who is angry about the present and past, but confident about the future.

It begins with "Life is returning back to the 'normal' beat of occupation/colonization after the Pope's visit. The reporters filed stories and the ones allowed to print went through while others were self-censored. Thus few stories appeared about the strangulation of Bethlehem . . .the Internet and personal communications have accelerated a process of change that will inevitably lead to freedom and reversal of colonialism (the main risk now is the Palestinian leadership divisions and pettiness)."

His conception of pettiness is reflective of how wish can overcome reality. There is killing in the politics of Fatah and Hamas.

" . . . few stories about the strangulation of Bethlehem" does not square with the pictures of the Pope speaking from a platform set for effect right up against the wall that Palestinians view as an affront. Israelis see the same wall as one of their protections from barbaric attacks against civilians.

He continues to lament what Israel does by noting "the arrest of Amira Hass (an Israeli reporter was arrested by the Israeli regime for going to Gaza and reporting on real life) and of Israeli peace activists."

The truth is that Ms Hass was detained for questioning about her improper entry into enemy territory, and released after she agreed not to do it again for 30 days. Her articles about life in Gaza often start on the front page and spread over entire inner pages of Ha'aretz. They annoy those Israelis who want their own rosy conceptions to monopolize the media, but there they are in the country's most distinguished newspaper, the one most likely to be read by political, intellectual, and economic elites. When the writer indicates that other peace activists are also harrassed by officials, he cannot be including tenured professors who are my friends in the Hebrew University political science department. One of them received from the government a prestigious Israel Prize for his work, despite frequent diatribes--also in Ha'aretz--about Israel's policy toward the Palestinians.

The Palestinian's commemoration of "Nakba" (the disaster of Israel's creation) is "61 years ago . . . the state of Israel unilaterally declared its independence after its ground forces have already been engaged in nearly 6 months of ethnic cleansing of the native population."

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He makes no mention about the Arab rejection of the United Nations effort at compromise, and armies from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, along with Palestinians, that killed some 6,000 Israelis, many of them civilians.

One can hope that his teaching is more professional than his writing.

I can anticipate, but not assure a few days of peace for you and me, when we will be traveling outside the range of e-mail and the internet.

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

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The Israel National Trail: 580 miles of hiking, biking adventure

By Ulla Hadar

MITZPE MODI'IN, Israel--The Israel National Trail (INT) or Shvil Yisra'el as it is called in Hebrew is a hiking path that crosses the entire country of Israel. It starts in the North at Dan, near the Lebanese border, and extends all the way to Eilat, the southernmost town of Israel situated near the Red Sea.

The inspiration to the trail came from Avraham Tamir, a journalist and writer, after he hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1980.

The trail was officially marked in 1991. The first person to hike the entire Israel Trail in 1994 was Ya'ariv Yaari, who completed the trail in 21 days. After him more and more people began to hike the Israel Trail and today tens of thousands of people hike the Israel Trail every year.

The National Trail provides Israelis with an experience of the entire breadth of the land firsthand. The various sections of the trail have been added progressively during this development.
The length of the trail is approximately 940 km (580 miles) from start to end and estimated at 30-70 days of hiking if done continuously.

In 2003 a portion of the trail was diverted from the Sharon and now runs along the coast. The reasons for the change were the development of Highway 6, avoiding the security risk of walking along the Green Line and the desire to add to the trail sections with city and sea views.

The hiker/s can sleep near civilization or be one with the wilderness. You can choose to carry five days of food or re-supply almost everyday. Each individual decides for himself what kind of trail experience is right for him/her.

So hikers can recognize the route, the Israel National Trail is marked with three stripes painted on rocks, stick or other objects along the way. Orange (symbolizing the desert), blue (symbolizing the sea) and white (symbolizing Mount Hermon). The "up" color points the direction. When white is up the direction is North, when orange is up the direction is South. It's difficult to get lost.

For those who wish to walk through only part of it, the Israel National Trail website divides the entire route into 11 smaller sections:

1. Naftali Ridge and Ramim Cliffs (Upper Galilee)
2. Kadesh Ili stream and Yesha fortress (Upper Galilee)
3. Meron stream's parking lot to Ein Zeved and Shema ruins (Upper Gallilee)
4. Mount Tabor (Lower Galilee)
5. Tzippori stream (Lower Galilee)
6. Ma'apilim / Nakhash stream (Mount Carmel)
7. Shayarot Range (Judean Mountains)
8. Yatir ruins to Dragot Quarry
9. Mitzpe Ramon and Ramon Crater (Negev)
10. Kisuy stream and Ovda Valley (Negev)
11. Shkhoret stream (Eilat Mountains)

But as seen in the picture to the right the trail is divided up into 44 parts.

Some of my very personal friends (all part of the Ruhama bike rider group) started out 4 months ago walking the National Trail. Parts they walk as a group of grown ups (app. 20 km) and some of the treks they do with their small children (app. 6 km), all under the age of 12.

Their goal is to finish around thirty kilometers a month and the target is to finishing the whole trail in five years.

This Friday the 15th the group headed out towards Park Afek situated near the city of Rosh Ha'ayin, with the intention to finish parts number 20 and 21 but this time on bikes.

My husband Rafi and I joined the group for this ride. But the first part of our plan was for Rafi to participate in the Gezer run race. The run had been advertised to start at 7:15 a.m. and that would have given us enough time to reach our riding start point scheduled for 9 AM.

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Arriving at Gezer at 6:30 a.m., however, no runners were in sight and we got a slight feeling that something was not quite right. Soon we realized that the starting hour had been moved to 8 a.m. !!!

Rafi finished the 10K competitive run coming in as number 11 overall out of more than 300 runners (I wonder if he knew he had to run a little faster). The pressure was on us now to reach the other bikers in the fastest way possible.

The summer is getting closer to us now and the day was hot, not the best conditions for doing any kind of sport or exercise. We arrived at the Park Afek National Park, parked the car where eight additional riders from Ruhama awaited us, eager to start.

Rafi Hadar, Amit Ferdman, Arik Segev, Gilat
and Hagit Itamary, Ravve Arif, Shai Goren,
Gabi Lev Har, Merav Goren

Everyone mounted their bikes and of we went. Some kilometers into the route near the community of Elad, we biked past an antique Mausoleum.

Rafi paused on his bike by this Roman structure, which was used as a family burial vault at the beginning of the 4th century C.E.. The temple-like façade is of classical style with two coloums in the center. Through the single opening, which used to be closed by a stone door, one enters the burial chamber holding remnants of two sarcophaguses. The building later became a holy place for the Moslems and was called "Makam Nebe Yihya." It remained intact due to its sacredness. There are three cisterns and several graves hewn in stone surrounding the building.

The trail number 20 is described as an easy one in the book of INT, but since biking and walking do not quite follow the same terminology, I must admit that the ride at some stages was very challenging, there being many stones on our way and the trails becoming quite steep.

Near an area of Highway 6, we noticed a big "Nestles" factory. As the weather was getting hotter and hotter, my companions started to hallucinate and envision cold bottles of Nestea awaiting for us right there on the trail!!!

But what do you know, as we got closer to the factory buildings we spotted a parking lot where a big trailer was parked. Several people were entering and exiting the trailer with big boxes and bags. It was unanimously decided that it was worth making a further investigation. We found heaven in the form of ice cream inside the trailer, with each ice cream sold at half price ( 1$ instead of 2$).




PAUSE THAT REFRESHES—Rafi Hadar, Ravve Arif and Gabi
Lev Har munching Ice cream resting underneath the big trailer. In the beackground the Nestle factory

The riders purchased ice creams and settled themselves for a rest in the shade underneath the big trailer. After the rest the ride continued but quickly it became clear to us that completing the route as planned would be extremely difficult.

Some of the participants in the groups are beginners, who started to ride not long ago; for them the trail was a little too challenging. A group of five headed forward in an attempt to reach the end, leaving half of the force behind.

With the heat, lack of water and time running out, we saw ourselves defeated and had to stop at the end of route 20 at Mitzpe Modi'in. A family member to one of the group members was summoned to pick up the front force. While three riders went back to Park Afek to get the cars, I was stationed at Mitzpe Modi'in to watch over the bikes.

On their way back to my position, the cars picked up five riders stretched along the trail. It was quite a logistical operation.

In summary, it was an interesting day filled with adventures for everyone. This introduction to the National Trail prompted us to start planning the next ride on trail number 21, that we did not reach this time.

Hadar is Sha'ar Hanegev bureau chief for San Diego Jewish World. Her email: hadaru@sandiego jewishworld.com


Why I'm very proud of my children's service in the IDF

By Dorothea Shefer-Vanson

MEVASSERET ZION, Israel -- Barbara Dresner Dorrity ended her review of the film Waltz with Bashir  in the Janaury edition of Second Generation Voices with the remark: “I’m so grateful that I was not born a man in Israel,” a statement that I found offensive and insulting.

I am not a man and was not born in Israel, but over forty years ago I chose to leave England, where my parents had found refuge from Germany and where I was born and brought up, to go and live in Israel. My husband and two sons (as well as my daughter) were all born in Israel and served in the IDF, and both they and I regarded their military service as a duty and a privilege.

Statements like that of Dorrity make me wonder about the mental state of those poor misguided individuals who regard Israel as an embarrassment to world Jewry, who seem to care more for the ‘poor Palestinians’ than for Israelis, and who are so intent on seeing the other side that they fail to see their own. Golda Meir once said: “There’s a lot to be said for looking good in the eyes of the world but it comes a long way behind survival.”

The Palestinian state could have come into being in 1948 alongside Israel had it not been for the intransigence, greed and vicious stupidity of the leaders of the Arab world at the time. The problem of the Palestinian refugees could have been solved at any time since then, just as the problem of the Jewish refugees has been, had it not been for the obduracy, short-sightedness and malicious cupidity of the Arab leaders. No-one can say that they did not have the means for dealing with the refugee problem. On the other hand, Israel and the Jewish diaspora, which were far less wealthy, pulled together to find a solution.

Had Israel and the IDF come into existence only ten years earlier than they actually did there might not have been any such thing as the Second Generation, let alone Second Generation Voices, and all the told and untold suffering that the decade following 1938 brought upon the Jewish people

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might have been obviated. Obviously, playing ‘what might have been’ is a futile exercise, but I think that the Barbara Dorritys of this world need to be reminded from time to time of the centrality of Israel for Jews everywhere. No-one sees Israel as a paradise on earth, but it has provided a haven for Jews, whether persecuted or not, since its establishment, and will doubtless continue to do so as and when this is required.

And if it’s the moral dilemmas that exercise Dorrity, there is no shortage of them in Israel, it’s true, but to my way of thinking it is better to face up to them than simply to be grateful that you happen to be living somewhere else.

Not every Israeli agrees with every action taken by the government, but that government has been democratically elected. Obviously, the same can be said of any democratic country. Disagreeing with a government’s policy is no reason to denigrate an entire country and its citizens, especially when that country has free speech and its citizens are at liberty to write articles, produce plays and make films that criticize that policy. The list of events commemorating the Holocaust to be found at the end of the January edition of Second Generation Voices should serve to remind us all of what Israel means for us.

The film Waltz with Bashir, which reviews the events that led to the Sabra and Shatila massacre in a critical light, was made with support from the Israeli government. Public funding in Israel is extended to any number of institutions, artists and organizations which do not toe any official line. That is the nature of artistic freedom, and there is plenty of it to be found in Israel.

I am glad to be a citizen of Israel and proud of the members of my family who have served in its army. I am not ashamed of the fact that I have chosen to throw in my lot with the entity which preserves the honour of the Jewish people, even though I do not always agree with the measures its government takes to do this. And I feel sorry for Jews who are unable to stand up and be counted among Israel’s supporters.

This letter by our correspondent Dorothea Shefer-Vanson was recently published in Second Generation Voices, and we think its message is worthy to pass on to our readers as well.



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What would Theodore Roosevelt or Harry Truman think?

By Sheila Orysiek

SAN DIEGO—Whenever I hear a discussion of the situation regarding Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon the prospect of an Israeli solution to that probability rears its head.  Certainly Israel would be directly affected if Iran does successfully produce such a weapon - Iran’s leaders have unambiguously stated as much. 

However, as far away as the United States is should Iran succeed, we would be affected too.  Sept. 11, 2001, taught us that what happens in places such as a cave in Afghanistan affects us.  What happens anywhere in the world affects us.  Iran sits in the middle of the power/energy divide - on one side the need for petroleum and the other side owning major amounts of the resource.  Well, that’s not quite accurate - America does have the energy resources but since the political left has determined that we will not use our own, we might just as well not have any. 

Iran has openly threatened to affect both the users and the suppliers with closure of an important key hole - the Straits of Hormuz - through which much of that resource flows.  Iran with a nuclear weapon - openly threatening both annihilation and blackmail is something with which the world as a whole must be concerned.

In such a discussion, I hear three solutions: diplomacy (talk), persuasion (carrots and sticks) and enforcement (attack).  For the past number of years there has been plenty of talk between Iran and several European nations.  Every incentive has been offered to Iran to change its goals. Boycotts and restrictions are difficult and have little impact because it is necessary for a large number of nations to cooperate.  All too often the profit motive overrides these agreements. So far nothing has come of these two avenues except it has bought time for Iran to proceed along with its plans.

President Theodore Roosevelt said “Speak softy but carry a big stick.”    We have tried the first half of that advice, but what disturbs me even more than the failed diplomatic endeavor is when we turn to the possibility of attacking - the big stick.   While resolving this problem with physical attack is fraught with dangerous unknowns, it is who is being counted upon to do the dirty deed that raises my red flag.

On the one hand, as a Jew, when I hear “let Israel do it” I can’t help but feel like the world has changed its view of Jews as helpless victims.  Israelis are perceived to be proactively capable to protect, defend and affect their future.  This is a good thing.  But as an American - I don’t like that as a solution.  Since when do Americans wait for a much smaller nation to take care of business which also affects America?

It’s not what it says about Israel - but what it says about America.  Are we happy to sit on the sidelines and cheer on a much smaller nation to fight the fight that will also affect America?  Since when are Americans content to send in the smaller boy to do the big boy’s job?

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American power is actually much closer to Iran than Israel is.  Our troops are stationed in nations next to Iran.  Our ships sailthe seas close to Iran.  There is no question we have the military assets to do whatever it is that needs doing.  What hardware is lacking?  The real question – is it our will that is lacking? 

What are we afraid of?  Who could overcome our veto to any resolution in the United Nations Security Council?  Who could afford to boycott - buying from and selling to - America?  What country could realistically threaten to wipe us off the map in retaliation?  But if Israel did the deed - all this and more is likely to happen. All the above has happened to Israel for much less dire circumstances.  All too many Americans want a much smaller country - Israel - to do the task and then watch as the world excoriates Israel for doing it - a la Osirak. 

We already have a situation in Pakistan in which nuclear weapons are a stone’s throw away from being in the hands of radical religious elements.  Pakistan is a powder keg - half of it lawless and actively aiding the Taliban and undermining Afghanistan.  Pakistan hosts hundreds of madrassas turning out thousands of radicalized “students.”  Pakistan can’t hold an election without an assassination. Pakistan turns out militants who regularly attack democratic India - assaulting even its Parliament.  Pakistan is a country with nuclear capability and extremist elements.

Do we want this in Iran?  Iran openly supports terrorist groups and helps to undermine other governments such as Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan.  Iran regularly sings “Death to America.”  Iran has always coupled the “Big Satan” (America) and the “Little Satan” (Israel).  Iran’s present leaders have expressed a messianic vision married to religious fervor with lethal results.  History tells us that those two elements are powerful instigators for violence.  History also tells us to listen to what a maniacal despot says.  Iran is clearly telling the world what it would like to do - why shouldn’t we believe them? 

When Iran took over our embassy and held the diplomatic staff captive - that was an act of war. President Carter did nothing in response except to promise not to leave the Rose Garden.  Iran aided the killing of our marines in Lebanon.  That was also an act of war.  Reagan’s response to the killing of all those Marines was to send a Bible to the Ayatollah.  What response would the America of Theodore Roosevelt or Harry Truman have made? 

So, now we see the menace and we hear the threats, and there has been no response to diplomatic efforts.  But - wait - we do have a solution - send in Israel.  Israel might very well go in - but whether Israel does the job or not - successfully or not - there is still a problem. And that problem is: what does it say about America?  And what does it say about Americans who want to sit in front of the television and cheer Israel on - like a football team - and then keep watching as Israel is condemned and punished by the rest of the world?

Theodore Roosevelt is truly dead. But is the America he loved dead? And as Harry Truman said:  The Buck Stops Here.

Orysiek's email is orysieks@sandiegojewishworld.com

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Items for us? Please send them to editor@sandiegojewishworld.com

AIPAC tells four critical matters
now before the Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C.(Press Release) -- The America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has urged members and supporters to write to lawmakers urging support of at least four
matters before the Congress. Here is AIPAC's descriptions of those issues:

Support Tougher Iran Sanctions—The legislation would limit Iran's ability to import and produce refined petroleum products. House and Senate lawmakers have introduced legislation that would reinforce American diplomatic efforts with Iran with the threat of tougher sanctions if Iran rejects U.S. overtures and continues to enrich uranium in defiance of the international community.

The Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (H.R. 2194 in the House and S. 908 in the Senate) could have a dramatic effect on Iran's economy - Tehran imports nearly 40 percent of its gas and diesel needs - by limiting Iran's ability to import and produce refined petroleum products by requiring the president to impose sanctions on companies helping Iran in these areas.

The legislation was introduced in the House by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ranking Member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and in the Senate by a broad group of 27 senators. The lead Democrat is Sen. Evan Bayh (IN) and the lead Republican is Sen. Jon Kyl (AZ). Please urge your House and Senate members to support this critical legislation.

Reaffirm Peace Principles—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama have pledged to work together.

Members of the House and Senate are circulating letters to President Obama supporting America's efforts to help Israel achieve peace with all her neighbors while upholding the principles that have successfully lead to peace treaties between Israel and both Egypt and Jordan. These key principles include supporting direct, bilateral negotiations between the parties, remaining both a trusted mediator between the parties and a devoted friend to Israel, and insisting on an absolute Palestinian commitment to end incitement and violence against Israel.

The lead signatories of the Senate letter are Sens. Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Arlen Specter (D-PA) and John Thune (R-SD). The House letter was spearheaded by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA). Please urge your House and Senate members to sign the letters.

Support Security Aid to Israel—Foreign aid helps Israel acquire crucial military equipment. President Obama has requested $2.775 billion in security assistance for Israel as part of the fiscal year 2010 foreign aid bill. The aid request reflects the second year of a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the United States and Israel in 2007 to gradually increase U.S. security assistance to the Jewish state in order to meet increasing threats. Please urge your members of the House and Senate to support security assistance to Israel.

Back Divestment from Iran—Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seeks Israel's destruction. Members of the House have introduced the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2009 (H.R. 1327), which authorizes state and local governments to divest from companies investing in Iran's petroleum and natural gas sector and protects fund managers who divest from such companies from potential lawsuits. The lead cosponsors of the bill are Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL). Please urge your member of the House to support this critical legislation.

Preceding provided by AIPAC

Olympics can inspire positive
change, Lord Coe tells Israelis

HAIFA, Israel (Press Release)—"London 2012 will ensure a well organized and secure Games for athletes, officials and spectators alike, and we will constantly restate our message about the strength and unity that the Olympics and Paralympics gain through our diversity," assured Lord Sebastian Coe, former Olympics champion and now Chair of London Organising Committee for 2012 Olympics.

Speaking at an event for the Friends of the University of Haifa, Lord Sebastian Coe addressed the power of the Games to inspire social change and to move away from those differences that have led to and continue to prompt acts of terror against Jews and athletes. He feels passionate about the potential hidden in the Games to bring about more social understanding and to bridge cultural and political gaps.

He found it particularly relevant to discuss his vision of tolerance and the Olympic Movement's contribution to building world peace at this event in London, where he addressed prominent supporters of the University of Haifa – the most pluralist and diverse university in Israel, where Jews, Arabs, and Druze study in an atmosphere of coexistence and tolerance.

Prof. Aaron Ben-Ze'ev, President of the University, said at the event: "Just as sports, and the Olympic Games in particular, can facilitate social change and bridge religions and culture, the University of Haifa proudly does the same as a microcosm of Israeli society dedicated to academic excellence in Israel." Also present was Mr. Amos Gaver, Vice President for External Relations of the University of Haifa.

Lord Coe was asked to speak at the event by request of Mr. Alex Gilady, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee and recipient of an Honorary Doctorate at the University of Haifa.

MY SWEETIE—Melanie Rubin spotted this mixture of English and Hebrew slang, roughly translated as "I Love My Sweetie

Lag B'Omer means sports day at Soille San Diego Hebrew Day

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)—At Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School it has become a tradition to celebrate Lag B'Omer (the thirty third day in the Count of the Omer) with a Track and Field Day. All students and teachers in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade journey to the park next door to participate on color teams in events involving running, throwing, and just plain fun for the day.

All of the Kindergarten through 8th grade students displayed amazing support for each other as they cheered, laughed, and competed in the many events set up by our very talented Ms. Dawson and her family of assistants, including Mr. Dawson.

The entire student body left for the park at 9:00 a.m., getting a water bottle along the way from Mrs. Herman. When they arrived at the park, areas had been marked for each grade to meet and leave their belongings. After Ms. Dawson welcomed everyone to Field Day 2009, a few staff members volunteered to compete in the obstacle course. Ms. Reynolds was the winner, followed by Ms. Taft and Mrs. Wogie.

The students then began their competitions in activities; 50 yard dash, obstacle course, hurdles, long jump, softball pitch, javelin, shot put, and a Free Game Zone with prizes. The school spirit was contagious! The Student Leadership Council Fundraiser to sell PowerAde was a huge success.

The students left the park to return to school for the hot dog lunch provided by our PTA. The parent volunteers had lunch prepared and set out for the students when they arrived back at school. Thank you so much for all the hard work you do to support all of the activities at school.

The afternoon included a basketball game between the teachers/alumni vs. our middle school students, followed by an enthusiastic awards ceremony. The day concluded with a soccer scrimmage between our middle school soccer team and SCY High's boys.

Preceding provided by Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School

Child Abuse Foundation changes
its name to Promises 2 Kids

SAN DIEGO – Former San Diego Mayor Susan Golding,  who has been serving as chief executive officer of the Child Abuse Foundation, has announced the organization is changing its name to “Promises 2 Kids.”

In the organization’s most recent newsletter, she said a name was wanted “that reflects a sense of hope and inspiration—a name that serves as a constant reminder of the personal pledge

that we have all made to protect hurting children in our community.”

Further, she said, “We realized that our mission could and should be upheld by a name that reflects the spirit of optimism upon which the organization was founded.  We wanted a name that conveyed a positive future and one that included all children living with broken promises, whether due to neglect, abuse, abandonment, or disadvantage.”

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MEDIA WATCH, aka "Here's the link"

The Los Angeles Times has a feature on philanthropist Eli Broad. Here's the link ... Minos Matsas, a Sephardic Jew, married a woman whose mother was Shinto and father Catholic. The result, clergy from all three religions helped the couple begin marriage. Here's the link ... Mehdi Karroubi, described as a moderate cleric, says Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad helps rather than hurts Israel when he denies the Holocaust. Here's the link

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that thanks to questions raised by government watcher Mel Shapiro, the City of San Diego is taking another look at the arrangement under which California Strategies is working under contract with the Center City Development Corporation (CCDC). The issue is whether the work product amounts to advocacy--spending taxpayer dollars to get more taxpayer dollars. Here's the link ... Looking at the world of e-commerce startups, reporter Jonathan Sidener interviewed Freakastars developer Adam Jacobs and web entrepreneur Dmitry Shapiro. Here's the link.

Musical sisters team to bring choral concert to Patrick Henry H.S.

SAN DIEGO --- Esther Siegel, whose long career in music is attested to by her frequent appearances in our “Adventures in San Diego Jewish History” column,  has announced that she will be directing the San Diego Choraleers’ adult mixed chorus in a show called “Curtain Up” at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 6, at Patrick Henry High School, 6702 Wandermere Drive.

Siegel, who was formerly known as Esther Weitzman, said selections from the Broadway musical “Gypsy” will be featured along with other music with choreography at the Del Cerro concert, for which donations of $10 per adult and $5 for children under 13 are solicited.    Chairs of the concert are Sonia Snyder (whom ‘Adventures’ readers may recognize as Siegel’s sister) and Virgina Webb.  Snyder also is serving as percussionists, while Datha Rothstein will be an accompanist and Jeff Segal the percussionist.

Groups involved in the concert include “Women of Note, Serra-Naders, Men of Note and The Inflections.” 

Ticket information may be obtained from Joan Mabrey at (619) 501-7298.  Advance payment may be sent with a self-addressed stamped envelope for return to Choraleers Tickets, 4027 Mississippi St., San Diego, CA 92104.

Preceding based on material provided by San Diego Choraleers

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Bible in Pop Culture: Firmanent in the midst of waters

Genesis 1:6

God said, "Let there be firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate between water and water."

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.

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Bible in pop culture index

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On Martha’s Vineyard, the soft shriek of truth

By Cynthia Citron

LOS ANGELES —Lydia R. Diamond’s new play Stick Fly is Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? turned inside out. You all remember the 1967 movie in which the beautiful young white woman brings her brilliant black fiancé home to meet her liberal upper-class parents? Well, in Stick Fly the parents are upper class, intellectual African-Americans, and the two brothers (one a surgeon, the other an about-to-be published novelist) have brought their girlfriends home to meet them.

“Home” in this case is their elegant summer “cottage” on Martha’s Vineyard that has been owned by their mother’s illustrious family since the 18th century. And it’s not in Oak Bluffs, the traditional African-American community on the island, but in an area where almost all of the neighbors are white. “Although I’ll bet they all wish we’d move to the Bluffs,” the father notes wryly.

“Stick Fly” is a play about race and class and gender issues, about diversity, and about white privilege. It’s also about family relationships, sibling rivalry, and what makes a man a man. All brought to the forefront infused with comedy, anger, resentment, some gripping industrial-strength dialogue, and a few secrets.

The head of the family is Dr. Joseph LeVay (John Wesley), a distinguished neurosurgeon, but an undemonstrative, overbearing father who treats both his sons with undeserved contempt. The older son, Flip (Jason Delane), is merely a plastic surgeon, which doesn’t count for much with his father. The younger son, Kent (Chris Butler), has been acquiring college degrees while he tries to figure out what he wants to do with his life. His successful novel answers that question for him, but not for his father.

Dr. LeVay, however, always true to his own “macho” image, knocks himself out being courtly and charming to the women his sons have brought home.

Kent’s woman is Taylor Bradley Scott (Michole Briana White), an intensely emotional entomologist with father issues. Her father, a renowned prize-winning sociologist, left his family before she was born, and so she is awkward and overly chatty as she tries too hard to “fit in” to this unfamiliar family setting.

Flip’s girlfriend is a stunning white woman, Kimber Davies (played by Avery Clyde), who confidently displays all the typical pseudo-liberal attitudes of her Peace Corps generation and earns the immediate enmity of almost everybody else, especially Taylor.

Even with all these strong characters, however, the real heart of the play is Cheryl, the 18-year-old “kitchen help” who compels everyone to examine their prejudices, their beliefs, and their behavior. As Cheryl, Tinashe Kajese performs an acting tour de force, being in turn submissive, arrogant, angry, and then, in one thoroughly moving scene, a raving hysteric. While all the other actors, admittedly, are extraordinarily genuine and skilled, she is magnificent.

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STICK FLY--Chris Butler, Terrell Tilford, Avery Clyde, Mihole Briana White, and Tinashe Kajese in a scene from Lydia Diamond's Stick Fly, now at the Matrix Theatre through May 31. Photo I.C. Rapoport

Also magnificent is John Iacovelli’s set, the inside of a beautifully furnished and stately home, and Christian Epps’ lighting design, which brings in the golden sunlight of early morning on the Vineyard so poignantly that you can almost smell the dew.

Award-winning director Shirley Jo Finney, well known to southern California audiences (her most recent play here was the acclaimed Yellowman at the Fountain Theatre), has managed her outstanding cast with a reliable hand as each of them makes their individual Matrix Theatre Company debut. And, as might be anticipated, this sterling production has just been extended for an additional month. Which adds ever more kudos for veteran Matrix producer Joseph Stern, a Jewish community member who has won more awards for that theater than any other 99-seat house.

Stick Fly will run Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 through June 28th at The Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Avenue, in Los Angeles. Call (323) 960-7740 for tickets.

Citron's email: citronc@sandiegojewishworld.com

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I'm still here ... Memoirs of Laura Simon, 103

Editor's Note: Today San Diego Jewish World continues the-every-Monday serialization of I'm Still Here by Laura Simon, a San Diego resident who is still going strong at 103. She wrote this book to mark her 100th birthday.

We will maintain a list of links to the installments of her story on Laura Simon's archive page, which can be accessed any day of the week through the "authors" pulldown tab below our masthead. Laura, who once painted canvases in vivid colors, today is legally blind, so she is unable to read e-mail. However, she says anyone who wishes to contact her may do so through the e-mail of her son, New York playwright Mayo Simon at mayosimon@aol.com The book may be purchased via its publisher's website, www.montezumapublishing.com or via Amazon or Barnes & Noble's websites.

My Centennial Birthday Celebration: in the Evening

By Laura Simon

In the evening of my centennial celebration came the big splash of a birthday party. Mayo, Sydelle and Norman did their share preparing for this great celebration. I fell in love with Diana and Andrew, my hosts, when their daughter married my grandson, Rafael.

Now greeting me with hugs and kisses in the foyer. A touching Jewish melody filled the air. Diana at my arm, I saw flowers everywhere, in the dining room, recreation room, near the wine bar, the attendant already filling glasses with wine for the guests.

“Is that me?” The picture of an old woman with a white cane next to the guest book on the table. And a picture of me, a bride of twenty, was next to it. A veiled crown on her head was just a face of sixteen that belonged back in an age that rusted away long ago.

The smells of spices and herbs mingled with the perfumes of long stemmed roses on the buffet, the recipes for herb-baked salmon, rice and string beans must have come from joyous tables of Morocco, the caterer, Morocco-born.

I sat eating at the table out on the patio with Virginia and Jack, the burning logs in the fireplace helping the heaters in the ceiling. After all, it was a chilly evening. I ate and drank
everything, the hors d’oevres served by the attendant with white-gloved hands.

I was enjoying myself, having a good time with the others. “For your age, Laura, you look fantastic!”

I danced with Andrew to some kind of waltz as with Mannie, more like a shuffle around the room, until the musicians went to it like a brass band to encourage some wild dancing in a corner of the recreation room. My sister Evelyn, at 85, was doing her bit.

Sitting on the sofa, half listening to the chatter around me, I thought of my sister, Berdie. “I want to come to your party,” she said over the phone from Highland Park. “I always say I feel fine. But I’m not. I’m sick. I can hardly walk.”

“I’ll miss you Berdie,” I said. “The party won’t be same without

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you, after all. We two have had a very long life together.”

From Chicago, my old friend Esther said, “You called me, Laura. You called me. It has been a long time,” crying over the phone. “Physically,I’m alright. But my mind wanders sometimes. I remember your yellow convertible, Laura. I remember your mother and my mother were friends. I
was just thinking, Laura, if I’m a hundred and two, then you’re a hundred. So you must be dead.”

“Happy birthday to you!” All sixty of them, a roomful, gathered around me singing as theywheel in that huge bonfire on a cake. “I blew them all out! I did it! I made it!” I made my silent wish.

Love and kisses, may all your dreams come true. The guests, my dear friends and family, glorifiedme in spontaneous speeches, as if jumping on stage in congratulations after the play was over.

The attendant in white jacket and gloves poured champagne for us. We all drank as wewatched the documentary film, Laura Simon Making Her Mark. My film makers hovering about all evening with their cameras. Tyler Knell and Erick Louie who had taken the place of Jacob and Josh who were off to college.

The Simon clan stayed the night, my bedroom so elegantly furnished, the king-sized bed; the velvet touch of the spread would have vitalized anybody after a long day of joyous congratulations.

A great celebration day. Early morning services in Chabad, lunch served to about 300 people,to the evening celebration, champagne served as they wheeled in my birthday cake. I had
everything. What else could I wish for? “That all of you reach this point, surrounded by your family and friends.”

Thinking of all this when Diana said “Good night” and left me in the bedroom, tears expressing my joy.

In the stillness, everyone asleep most likely, white cane in hand, thankful for the thick carpeting, I made my way into the hallway, going the wrong way past closed doors, and quickly
remembering the warning that the living room had one step down, I turned towards the recreation room opposite the buffet and wine bar, as carefully as I could. I found the glass patio doors that slid open to my touch and yet I was afraid to make a move. I felt the glamour of my 100th birthday, the
musicians waiting for my choice of song, laughter and kissing, gifts and cards and best wishes, as if they were all on stage with me at once. I stepped out to the patio, the flame in the fireplace gone, the aura settled down behind me.

I was experiencing a strange phenomenon. My eyes, having cheated me for some time now,were allowing me to see through the darkness, the tall waving palms, the pool. Careful not to
venture too far, I just stood there. The hundred flickering candles in the swimming pool, blown over into a corner by the wind were all cuddled together, going to sleep, one by one.

About to leave, turning to the pool again, I saw one sharply flickering candle floating toward me, lighting up my memories.

Next Monday: The Titanic

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

Beth Jacob Sisterhood
Southwestern Jewish Press March 20, 1953, page 10

Mrs. Bernard Godes, president of Beth Jacob Sisterhood, invites members and friends to attend the next regular meeting of Beth Jacob Sisterhood, 12 noon for a delicious luncheon at Beth Jacob Center, Tuesday, March 24th.  Mrs. Harold Barad is in charge of the luncheons.

A stimulating program will be the highlight of the day, according to Mrs. Marvin Bobrof, program chairman.  The president commends Mrs. Wm. Penn for her untiring efforts displayed in making the Spring Festival such an outstanding success.  Final Reports of Spring Festival will be made at the next regular Sisterhood Meeting of March 24th.

City of Hope
Southwestern Jewish Press March 20, 1953, page 10

Mrs.  Jerry Aronof f president, invites members and friends to senior Auxiliary City of Hope meetings, held every third Tuesday, at Beth Jacob Center, 12 noon.  Your untiring support is needed to help this worthy cause, and at the same time you will acquaint yourself with what your City of Hope does.  Your City of Hope does Cancer Research and Tuberculosis Healing and the City of Hope Medical Center at Duarte, Calif. Is the very finest of its kind in the world, and is a free, national, non-sectarian medical center, under Jewish auspices.

Birdie Stodel Chapter B’nai B’rith
Southwestern Jewish Press March 20, 1953, page 10

A meeting will be held on Monday evening, 8:00 p.m. on March 23rd at Temple Center.  We urge that all members attend this very important meeting when nominations of new officers will be held.

A very interesting program will be held and refreshments will be served.

Bas Mitzvah To Be Celebrated {Nancy Goodman}
Southwestern Jewish Press March 20, 1953, page 10

An event of unusual interest will take place at the Sabbath Eve Service on Friday, March 27, at Tifereth Israel Synagogue, when Nancy Goodman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Irving A. Goodman, will become Bas Mitzvah.

Nancy will conduct the entire Sabbath Service, sing the Kiddush, chant the Haftarah, and deliver an address.

Nancy’s Bas Mitzvah marks the third one celebrated at Tifereth Israel, being preceded by those of Sherry Newman and Kay Prager.

A reception, honoring Nancy, will be tendered by her parents following the Service.  All are welcome to witness this impressive and outstanding event.

Third Annual Jewish Music
Festival To Be Celebrated

Southwestern Jewish Press March 20, 1953, page 10

The Third Annual Jewish Music Festival of Tifereth Israel Synagogue will take place Friday, March 20, at 8:15 p.m. in conjunction with the regular Sabbath Eve Service.

Cantor Joseph Cysner will present the Senior and Junior choirs

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of the synagogue in a program of new  liturgical music, and Israeli and Yiddish folk songs.  Two of the Cantor’s original compositions on the "Adon Olom”and the “Vay’chulu”will be performed for the first time.

An Oneg Shabbat and refreshments, honoring the Choirs, will follow the Service.  All are most cordially invited.

Linda’s Lookout
Southwestern Jewish Press
March 20, 1953, page 11

By Linda Solof

Hi!  Parties are fun, especially if they’re a surprise. 
Debby Strauss had a terrific time at her surprise birthday party.  She and friends enjoyed a luscious dinner; the gang went to the Temple Teens dance.  Happy birthday Debby!

Aaron Kolkey’s home was the scene of activity last Saturday night.  The gals ‘n guys, including Bobby Glickman ‘n Burt Sharpe, Beverly Addleson ‘n Dick Godes, Jane Cohn ‘n Don Byrnes, and Beverly Kitaen n‘ Bernie Sosna had a rollicking good time!

Congrats to
Paul Kaufman who won honors for San Diego High School in a recent speech contest and to Gloria Abramson who won for Hoover.

Don’t forget the T.Y.L. “Country Capers” this coming Sunday. Meet at the Temple Beth Israel at 10:00 a.m. with your country clothes and a lunch.  The T.Y.L.-er’s will spend a day full of fun at the Salomon’s ranch.  Those who go must be payed up members — dues $2.00.  Also coming soon is the greatest event of the year on May 11. 
Save that date or else get a date, because you won’t want to miss it!

Surprise parties seem to be the rage and to keep in style
Elaine Brandenburg had one too.  Elaine’s twenty guests helped her celebrate her birthday with fun, dancing and yummy eats.  It was a fabulous party and a really surprise girl.  Happy birthday, Elaine! See ya—W.5-0679.

Cottage of Israel
Southwestern Jewish Press March 20, 1953, page 11

In spite of the unfavorable weather, our Purim Day Open House held on March 1st was highly successful and worth the feverish efforts of the display committee who worked energetically to meet the deadline.

The board of directors wishes to publicly thank the following persons for their contributions.  Mrs. Gale B. Evans for her painting of two murals which adorn one of the walls; Mr. H. Blech for his finishing of the display cabinets; Mrs. J. Lauger and Mrs. B. Veitzer for their loan of Israeli art objects and Miss Reena Barach for her work on the diagrams.  The board is also appreciative of the great time and efforts Mrs. Meir Barach, display chairman, gave to bring all the innovations to the Cottage.

The Cottage is particularly grateful to Mrs. Lewis Moorsteen for her contribution of framed enlargements of pictures taken in Israel by her daughter.

The next event scheduled will be the lawn program on April 19th to celebrate the anniversary of Israel independence.

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

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

Sir Antony Sher as Alexander von Humboldt in "Measuring the World"

Harry Shearer demonstrates some of the voices he does on "The Simpsons"

Ron Silver as political advisor Bruno Gianelli in "The West Wing"

Steven Spielberg is interviewed on "Inside the Actor's Studio."

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

Today's issue of San Diego Jewish World is dedicated with happy birthday wishes to Cantor Sheldon Merel, our columnist and cantor emeritus of Congregation Beth Israel of La Jolla.

Copyright 2007-2009 - San Diego Jewish World, San Diego, California. All rights reserved.

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