Volume 3, Number 117
"There's a Jewish story everywhere"

Today's Postings:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

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

Official White House account of yesterday's meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu ... Transcripts of their statements and press conference READ MORE

Israel’s U.S. hasbara—public relations --is backfiring ...
by J. Zel Lurie in Delray Beach, Florida
Israel’s hasbara in the United states is in shambles. In fact it is back-firing on Israel.READ MORE

Mideast peace process like investing with Bernie Madoff ... by Barry Rubin in Herzliya, Israel

Putting your hard-earned political capital into the peace process industry is like investing with Bernie Madoff. It may look like a good prospect on the surface but any serious examination shows it's a highway to bankruptcy. READ MORE


Soille Hebrew Day fourth and fifth grades visit the Wild Animal Park READ MORE

UCSD Panel to consider Holocaust history and memory on June 7 READ MORE

McAllister to address CBI Men's Club on Wednesday, May 20 READ MORE

Menachem Schindler, 15, wins Jewish Agency's Bible contest READ MORE

David D'Or and Dudu Fisher sing for Pope READ MORE

Jewish Family Service seeking donations of gently used furnitureREAD MORE

Dumanis announces $300,000 judgment in Blockbuster case READ MORE

Gloria seeks designation of'Harvey Milk Day' in San Diego READ MORE

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

Bible in Pop Culture

The Waters Above ... Genesis 1:7 See Photos

Prizes and pieces shine through Miller's The Price ... by Carol Davis in San Diego
Family dynamics is a strange animal. Through no choice of our own, we are born into what many refer to as the nuclear family. Parents, siblings and an assortment of relatives who help shape our lives, and possibly influence the finished product of who we are provide a topic many playwrights choose to write about. READ MORE

A song of the rabbi who put God on High Holy Day trial ... by Cantor Sheldon Merel in San Diego, with audio by the late Cantor Seymour Schwartzman
The Kaddish of Reb Levi Yitzchak is a 19th century story about an amazing act of defiance by a rabbi, who challenged God, and actually created a Bet Din ( Jewish court of law) in the very middle of a Holy Day service. READ MORE

March 20, 1953; Southwestern Jewish Press

“Ditty Bag” Ball Planned by Ladies READ MORE

Pioneer Women READ MORE

Letter to the Editor {from Howard Buck} READ MORE

Center News READ MORE

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We continue our examination of Jewish entertainers

Ben Stein tells one sure way to survive almost anything VIEW VIDEO

Brent Spiner plays Data the Android and his creator in a dual scene in Star Trek: The Next Generation VIEW VIDEO

David Steinberg tells about getting onto the Johnny Carson Show VIEW VIDEO

Jill St. John as Tiffany Case in "Diamonds Are Forever" VIEW VIDEO

Double congratulations to Laurel Corona, a contributor to San Diego Jewish World, for her victories at the San Diego Book & Writing Awards! Her historical fiction novel about Antonio Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, won the grand prize, the Theodor S. Geisel Award, while her historical book co-authored with Michael Bart about his parents' experiences resisting the Nazis, Until Our Last Breath: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance," won in the history category. Here's the link to Robert Pincus' story in The San Diego Union-Tribune listing other winners.


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


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

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DAY OF MEETINGS—U.S. President Barack Obama and Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sit together
in Oval Office in photo at left; meet with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel in middle photo, and take
their leave in photo at right. White House photos by Pete Souza

Official White House account of yesterday's meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)-- The President dedicated his day today to a one-on-one meeting, an expanded meeting, and a working lunch with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel. Speaking to the press afterwards, they gave the opening remarks below before taking questions:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, listen, I first of all want to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu for making this visit. I think we had a extraordinarily productive series of conversations, not only between the two of us but also at the staff and agency levels.

Obviously this reflects the extraordinary relationship, the special relationship between the United States and Israel. It is a stalwart ally of the United States. We have historical ties, emotional ties. As the only true democracy of the Middle East it is a source of admiration and inspiration for the American people.

I have said from the outset that when it comes to my policies towards Israel and the Middle East that Israel’s security is paramount, and I repeated that to Prime Minister Netanyahu. It is in U.S. national security interests to assure that Israel’s security as an independent Jewish state is maintained.

One of the areas that we discussed is the deepening concern around the potential pursuit of a nuclear weapon by Iran. It’s something the Prime Minister has been very vocal in his concerns about, but is a concern that is shared by his countrymen and women across the political spectrum.

I indicated to him the view of our administration, that Iran is a country of extraordinary history and extraordinary potential, that we want them to be a full-fledged member of the international community and be in a position to provide opportunities and prosperity for their people, but that the way to achieve those goals is not through the pursuit of a nuclear weapon. And I indicated to Prime Minister Netanyahu in private what I have said publicly, which is that Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon would not only be a threat to Israel and a threat to the United States, but would be profoundly destabilizing in the international community as a whole and could set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that would be extraordinarily dangerous for all concerned, including for Iran.

We are engaged in a process to reach out to Iran and persuade them that it is not in their interest to pursue a nuclear weapon and that they should change course. But I assured the Prime Minister that we are not foreclosing a range of steps, including much stronger international sanctions, in assuring that Iran understands that we are serious. And obviously the Prime Minister emphasized his seriousness around this issue as well -- I’ll allow him to speak for himself on that subject.

We also had an extensive discussion about the possibilities of restarting serious negotiations on the issue of Israel and the Palestinians. I have said before and I will repeat again that it is I believe in the interest not only of the Palestinians, but also the Israelis and the United States and the international community to achieve a two-state solution in which Israelis and Palestinians are living side by side in peace and security.

We have seen progress stalled on this front, and I suggested to the Prime Minister that he has an historic opportunity to get a serious movement on this issue during his tenure. That means that all the parties involved have to take seriously obligations that they’ve previously agreed to. Those obligations were outlined in the road map; they were discussed extensively in Annapolis. And I think that we can -- there is no reason why we should not seize this opportunity and this moment for all the parties concerned to take seriously those obligations and to move forward in a way that assures Israel’s security, that stops the terrorist attacks that have been such a source of pain and hardship, that we can stop rocket attacks on Israel; but that also allow Palestinians to govern themselves as an independent state, that allows economic development to take
place, that allows them to make serious progress in meeting the aspirations of their people.

And I am confident that in the days, weeks and months to come we are going to be able to make progress on that issue.

So let me just summarize by saying that I think Prime Minister Netanyahu has the benefit of having served as Prime Minister previously. He has both youth and wisdom --

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: I’ll dispute youth, but -- (laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: -- and I think is in a position to achieve the security objectives of Israel, but also bring about historic peace. And I’m confident that he’s going to seize this moment. And the United States is going to do everything we can to be constructive, effective partners in this process.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: President Obama, thank you. Thank you for your friendship to Israel and your friendship to me. You’re a great leader -- a great leader of the United States, a great leader of the world, a great friend of Israel, and someone who is acutely cognizant of our security concerns. And the entire people of Israel appreciate it, and I speak on their behalf.

We met before, but this is the first time that we’re meeting as President and Prime Minister. So I was particularly pleased at your reaffirmation of the special relationship between Israel and the United States. We share the same goals and we face the same threats. The common goal is peace. Everybody in Israel, as in the United States, wants peace. The common threat we face are terrorist regimes and organizations that seek to undermine the peace and endanger both our peoples.

In this context, the worst danger we face is that Iran would develop nuclear military capabilities. Iran openly calls for our destruction, which is unacceptable by any standard. It threatens the moderate Arab regimes in the Middle East. It threatens U.S. interests worldwide. But if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, it could give a nuclear umbrella to terrorists, or worse, it could actually give terrorists nuclear weapons. And that would put us all in great peril.

So in that context, I very much appreciate, Mr. President, your firm commitment to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear military capability, and also your statement that you’re leaving all options on the table.

I share with you very much the desire to move the peace process forward. And I want to start peace negotiations with the Palestinians immediately. I would like to broaden the circle of peace to include others in the Arab world, if we could, Mr. President, so -- this (inaudible) that one shouldn’t let go, maybe peace with the entire Arab world.

I want to make it clear that we don’t want to govern the Palestinians. We want to live in peace with them. We want them to govern themselves, absent a handful of powers that could endanger the state of Israel. And for this there has to be a clear goal. The goal has to be an end to conflict. There will have to be compromises by Israelis and Palestinians alike. We’re ready to do our share. We hope the Palestinians will do their share, as well. If we resume negotiations, as we plan to do, then I think that the Palestinians will have to recognize Israel as a Jewish state; will have to also enable Israel to have the means to defend itself. And if those conditions are met, Israel’s security conditions are met, and there’s recognition of Israel’s legitimacy, its permanent legitimacy, then I think we can envision an arrangement where Palestinians and Israelis live side by side in dignity, in security, and in peace.

And I look forward, Mr. President, to working with you, a true friend of Israel, to the achievement of our common goals, which are security, prosperity, and above all, peace.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. We're going to take a couple of questions. We're going to start with Steve.

Q Mr. President, you spoke at length, as did the Prime Minister, about Iran's nuclear program. Your program of engagement, policy of engagement, how long is that going to last? Is there a deadline?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, I don't want to set an artificial deadline. I think it's important to recognize that Iran is in the midst of its own elections. As I think all of you, since you're all political reporters, are familiar with, election time is not always the best time to get business done.

Their elections will be completed in June, and we are hopeful that, at that point, there is going to be a serious process of engagement, first through the P5-plus-one process that's already in place, potentially through additional direct talks between the United States and Iran.

I want to reemphasize what I said earlier, that I believe it is not only in the interest of the international community that Iran not develop nuclear weapons, I firmly believe it is in Iran's interest not to develop nuclear weapons, because it would trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and be profoundly destabilizing in all sorts of ways. Iran can achieve its interests of security and international respect and prosperity for its people through other means, and I am prepared to make what I believe will be a persuasive argument, that there should be a different course to be taken.

The one thing we're also aware of is the fact that the history, of least, of negotiation with Iran is that there is a lot of talk but not always action and follow-through. And that's why it is important for us, I think, without having set an artificial deadline, to be mindful of the fact that we're not going to have talks forever. We're not going to create a situation in which talks become an excuse for inaction while Iran proceeds with developing a nuclear -- and deploying a nuclear weapon. That's something, obviously, Israel is concerned about, but it's also an issue of concern for the United States and for the international community as a whole.

My expectation would be that if we can begin discussions soon, shortly after the Iranian elections, we should have a fairly good sense by the end of the year as to whether they are moving in the right direction and whether the parties involved are making progress and that there's a good faith effort to resolve differences. That doesn't mean every issue would be resolved by that point, but it does mean that we'll probably be able to gauge and do a reassessment by the end of the year of this approach.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Aren't you concerned that your outstretched hand has been interpreted by extremists, especially Ahmadinejad, Nasrallah, Meshal, as weakness? And since my colleague already asked about the deadline, if engagement fails, what then, Mr. President?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it's not clear to me why my outstretched hand would be interpreted as weakness.

Q Qatar, an example.


Q The example of Qatar. They would have preferred to be on your side and then moved to the extremists, to Iran.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Oh, I think -- yes, I'm not sure about that interpretation. Look, we've been in office a little over a hundred days now -- close to four months. We have put forward a clear principle that where we can resolve issues through negotiations and diplomacy, we should. We didn't expect -- and I don't think anybody in the international community or anybody in the Middle East, for that matter -- would expect that 30 years of antagonism and suspicion between Iran and the United States would be resolved in four months. So we think it's very important for us to give this a chance.

Now, understand that part of the reason that it's so important for us to take a diplomatic approach is that the approach that we've been taking, which is no diplomacy, obviously has not worked. Nobody disagrees with that. Hamas and Hezbollah have gotten stronger. Iran has been pursuing its nuclear capabilities undiminished. And so not talking -- that clearly hasn't worked. That's what's been tried. And so what we're going to do is try something new, which is actually engaging and reaching out to the Iranians.

The important thing is to make sure that there is a clear timetable of -- at which point we say these talks don't seem to be making any serious progress. It hasn't been tried before so we don't want to prejudge that, but as I said, by the end of the year I think we should have some sense as to whether or not

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these discussions are starting to yield significant benefits, whether we're starting to see serious movement on the part of the Iranians.

If that hasn't taken place, then I think the international community will see that it's not the United States or Israel or other countries that are seeking to isolate or victimize Iran; rather, it is Iran itself which is isolating itself by willing to -- being unwilling to engage in serious discussions about how they can preserve their security without threatening other people's security -- which ultimately is what we want to achieve.

We want to achieve a situation where all countries in the region can pursue economic development and commercial ties and trade and do so without the threat that their populations are going to be subject to bombs and destruction.

That's what I think the Prime Minister is interested in, that's what I'm interested in, and I hope that ends up being what the ruling officials in Iran are interested in, as well.

Don Gonyea. Where's Gonyea?

Q Right here. Thank you. Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister, can you each react to King Abdullah's statement of a week ago that we really are at a critical place in the conflict and that if this moment isn't seized and if a peace isn't achieved now, soon, that in a year, year and a half, we could see renewed major conflict, perhaps war? And do you agree with that assessment?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: I think we have to seize the moment and I think we're fortunate in having a leader like President Obama and a new government in Israel and perhaps a new understanding in the Arab world that I haven't seen in my lifetime. And you're very kind to be calling me young, but I'm more than half a century old and in my 59 years in the life of the Jewish state, there's never been a time when Arabs and Israelis see a common threat the way we see it today and also see the need to join together in working towards peace while simultaneously defending ourselves against this common threat.

I think we have -- we have ways to capitalize on this sense of urgency and we're prepared to move with the President and with others in the Arab world if they're prepared to move, as well. And I think the important thing that we discussed, among other things, is how to buttress the Israeli-Palestinian peace tracks, which we want to resume right away, with participation from others in the Arab world; how we give confidence to each other that would -- changes the reality, it changes the reality on the ground, changing political realities top-down, as well, while we work to broaden the circle of peace.

And I think that the sense of urgency that King Abdullah expressed is shared by me and shared by many others and I definitely know it's shared by President Obama.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Look, I think there's an extraordinary opportunity and the Prime Minister said it well. You have Arab states in the region -- the Jordanians, the Egyptians, the Saudis -- who I think are looking for an opportunity to break this long-standing impasse but aren't sure how to do it, and share concerns about Iran's potential development of a nuclear weapon. In order for us to potentially realign interests in the region in a constructive way, bolstering, to use the Prime Minister's word, the Palestinian-Israeli peace track is critical.

It will not be easy. It never has been easy. In discussions, I don't think the Prime Minister would mind me saying to him -- or saying publically what I said privately, which is that there is a recognition that the Palestinians are going to have to do a better job providing the kinds of security assurances that Israelis would need to achieve a two-state solution; that, you know, the leadership of the Palestinians will have to gain additional legitimacy and credibility with their own people, and delivering services. And that's something that the United States and Israel can be helpful in seeing them accomplish.

The other Arab states have to be more supportive and be bolder in seeking potential normalization with Israel. And next week I will have the Palestinian Authority President Abbas as well as President Mubarak here and I will deliver that message to them.

Now, Israel is going to have to take some difficult steps as well, and I shared with the Prime Minister the fact that under the roadmap and under Annapolis that there's a clear understanding that we have to make progress on settlements. Settlements have to be stopped in order for us to move forward. That's a difficult issue. I recognize that, but it's an important one and it has to be addressed.

I think the humanitarian situation in Gaza has to be addressed. Now, I was along the border in Sderot and saw the evidence of weapons that had been raining down on the heads of innocents in those Israeli cities, and that's unacceptable. So we've got to work with the Egyptians to deal with the smuggling of weapons and it has to be meaningful because no Prime Minister of any country is going to tolerate missiles raining down on their citizens' heads.

On the other hand, the fact is, is that if the people of Gaza have no hope, if they can't even get clean water at this point, if the border closures are so tight that it is impossible for reconstruction and humanitarian efforts to take place, then that is not going to be a recipe for Israel's long-term security or a constructive peace track to move forward.

So all these things are going to have to come together and it's going to be difficult, but the one thing that I've committed to the Prime Minister is we are going to be engaged, the United States is going to roll up our sleeves. We want to be a strong partner in this process.

I have great confidence in Prime Minister Netanyahu's political skills, but also his historical vision and his recognition that during the years that he is Prime Minister this second go-around, he is probably going to be confronted with as many important decisions about the long-term strategic interests of Israel as any Prime Minister that we've seen in a very long time. And I have great confidence that he's going to rise to the occasion and I actually think that you're going to see movement in -- among Arab states that we have not seen before.

But the trick is to try to coordinate all this in a very delicate political environment. And that's why I'm so pleased to have George Mitchell, who is standing behind the scrum there, as our special envoy, because I'm very confident that as somebody who was involved in equally delicate negotiations in Northern Ireland, he is somebody who recognizes that if you apply patience and determination, and you keep your eye on the long-term goal, as the Prime Minister articulated -- which is a wide-ranging peace, not a grudging peace, not a transitory peace, but a wide-ranging, regional peace -- that we can make great progress.

Q Mr. President, the Israeli Prime Minister and the Israeli administration have said on many occasions -- on some occasions that only if the Iranian threat will be solved, they can achieve real progress on the Palestinian threat. Do you agree with that kind of linkage?

And to the Israeli Prime Minister, you were speaking about the political track. Are you willing to get into final status issues/negotiations like borders, like Jerusalem in the near future, based on the two-state solution? And do you still hold this opinion about the linkage between the Iranian threat and your ability to achieve any progress on the Palestinian threat?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, let me say this. There's no doubt that it is difficult for any Israeli government to negotiate in a situation in which they feel under immediate threat. That's not conducive to negotiations. And as I've said before, I recognize Israel's legitimate concerns about the possibility of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon when they have a president who has in the past said that Israel should not exist. That would give any leader of any country pause.

Having said that, if there is a linkage between Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, I personally believe it actually runs the other way. To the extent that we can make peace with the Palestinians -- between the Palestinians and the Israelis, then I actually think it strengthens our hand in the international community in dealing with a potential Iranian threat.

Having said that, I think that dealing with Iran's potential nuclear capacity is something that we should be doing even if there already was peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. And I think that pursuing Israeli-Palestinian peace is something that is in Israeli's security interests and the United States' national security interests, even if Iran was not pursuing a nuclear weapon. They're both important.

And we have to move aggressively on both fronts. And I think that based on my conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu, he agrees with me that they're both important. That's not to say that he's not making a calculation, as he should, about what are some of the most immediate threats to Israeli's security, and I understand that.

But, look, imagine how much less mischief a Hezbollah or a Hamas could do if in fact we had moved a Palestinian-Israeli track in a direction that gave the Palestinian people hope. And if Hezbollah and Hamas is weakened, imagine how that impacts Iran's ability to make mischief, and vice versa.

I mean, so obviously these things are related, but they are important separately. And I'm confident that the United States, working with Israel, can make progress on both fronts.

Q Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: We've had extraordinarily friendly and constructive talks here today, and I'm very grateful to the President for that. We want to move peace forward, and we want to ward off the great threats.

There isn't a policy linkage, and that's what I hear the President saying, and that's what I'm saying too. And I've always said there's not a policy linkage between pursuing simultaneously peace between Israel and the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world, and to trying to deal with removing the threat of a nuclear bomb.

There are causal links. The President talked about one of them. It would help, obviously, unite a broad front against Iran if we had peace between Israel and the Palestinians. And conversely, if Iran went nuclear, it would threaten the progress towards peace and destabilize the entire area, and threaten existing peace agreement.

So it's very clear to us. I think we actually -- we don't see closely on it, we see exactly eye to eye on this -- that we want to move simultaneously and then parallel on two fronts: the front of peace, and the front of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear capability.

On the front of peace, the important thing for me is to resume negotiations as rapidly as possible, and to -- and my view is less one of terminology, but one of substance. And I ask myself, what do we end up with? If we end up with another Gaza -- the President has described to you there's rockets falling out of Gaza -- that is something we don't want to happen, because a terror base next to our cities that doesn't call -- recognize Israel's existence and calls for our destruction and asks for our destruction is not arguing peace.

If, however, the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state, if they -- if they fight terror, if they educate their children for peace and to a better future, then I think we can come at a substantive solution that allows the two people to live side by side in security and peace and I add prosperity, because I'm a great believer in this.

So I think the terminology will take care of itself if we have the substantive understanding. And I think we can move forward on this. I have great confidence in your leadership, Mr. President, and in your friendship to my country, and in your championing of peace and security. And the answer is, both come together -- peace and security are intertwined. They're inseparable.

And I look forward, Mr. President, to working with you to achieve both.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you, everybody.


Israel’s U.S. hasbara—public relations --is backfiring

By J. Zel Lurie

DELRAY BEACH, Florida—Israel’s hasbara in the United states is in shambles. In fact it is back-firing on Israel.

Deadline pressure forces me to write this column a few days before the arrival of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington. But the fatal words have been written on the wall. Israel’s Iran gambit won’t work. Moreover, it is bringing to light Israel’s 40-year old secret, its nuclear arsenal.

Israel always had a “party line” that was trumpeted by AIPAC and Congress and the media throughout the land. ‘Israel has no partners for peace” was one of the most effective. But it was always a deception designed to stop the peace process in its tracks and permit the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

When President Jimmy Carter was hammering the peace treaty with Egypt down the throat of a reluctant Prime Minister Menachem Begin, I recall an anti-peace hasbara campaign that had no basis in fact.

Anwar Sadat had come to the Knesset and had proclaimed “No More War” but the hasbara specialists -- and I was one of them -- found linguistic scholars who claimed that Sadat was not talking peace to his fellow Arabs.

As the editor of Hadassah Magazine I recall receiving and publishing an article by Walter Eytan, the first Director General of Israel’s foreign office, that proved that Sadat’s use of salam for peace showed that he was not a man of peace. Every Arab knew that real peace was sulha and not Salam, the article claimed.

Or maybe it was vice versa. After all it was thirty yeas ago.

Carter continued to visit Jerusalem and finally Begin and Sadat signed the peace treaty on the White House lawn. Not a shot has been fired in anger between Israel and Egypt for over thirty years and Egypt is the chief ally of the United states and Israel in the struggle against Iran’s proxies, the Hezbollah and Hamas. Carter’s reward for his persistency for peace: he was demonized as anti-Israel.

Egypt will be the site of Obama’s address to the Moslem world on June 4, fulfilling a promise he made as a candidate. Before June 4 he will have series of conferences at the White House with Netanyahu, King Abdullah, Hosni Mubarak and President Mohammed Abbas. In this major address, he might outline how to achieve peace in the Middle East.

Will he succeed in bringing the Prime Minister of Israel and the President of the Palestinians together on the White House lawn?

The obstacles are huge on the Israeli side. On the Palestinian side the initial obstacle is the rivalry between Fatah and Hamas, which is being lessened in talks in Cairo.

Netanyahu’s pitch was first and foremost Iran. Iran’s nuclear potential is an existential threat to Israel, The peace process should be on hold while America and Israel deal successfully with the Mullahs. Like all Israeli gambits in the past the settlement expansion at the expense of the Palestinians would continue unhindered.

President Shimon Peres was supposed to prepare the ground. He came to the White House last Tuesday armed with ringing declarations about the vast danger to Israel if Iran gets an a-bomb.

Obama’s Administration refused to play ball.

First they forbade media coverage of Peres’s visit, not even a photo opportunity. In the words of The Jerusalem Post, Peres’s visit resembled ”a back door encounter with an unwanted guest.”

Second they had sent their top people to AIPAC’s annual conference. They succeeded in trimming its claws. Vice-President Joe Biden, a stalwart friend of Israel, told the 6,000 delegates that the Administration was going to work hard toward a two-state solution.

“You’re not going to like this,” the vice-president began and then he laid out the Administration’s first list of what Israel must do, all of which had been previously promised and abandoned during Bush’s eight years.

Israel must freeze all settlement construction. It must remove the roadblocks between Palestinian cities that have no direct relationship with Israel’s security. Israel must also grant more responsibility and more power to the American-trained Palestinian National Security Force to combat extremism and incitement against Israel.

Netanyahu told the assembly by satellite that he was willing to negotiate with the Palestinians without preconditions, which have been a stick inserted in the wheel by Israel in the past.

But Biden’s list is not subject to negotiation. This is what Israel must do to maintain America’s friendship, its arms and its guarantee to Israel’s security.

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Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff, whose father was an Israeli, also spoke. Then he held a private meeting with AIPAC’s leaders.

He asked for their support in persuading Netanyahu to continue the Annapolis peace process. Then he grasped Israel’s concentration on Iran and turned it around.

According to Caroline Glick, deputy editor of the Jerusalem Post, Emanuel said that the Administration “is holding Israel directly responsible for Iran’s nuclear program. It does this by claiming that Israel’s refusal to cede its land to the Palestinians is making it impossible for the Arab world to support preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”

Caroline Glick is the spokeswoman for the settlers. Another more correct way to say “cede its land” is to say “return the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinians.”

Glick goes further to support her thesis that Netanyahu must tell Obama that Israel will bomb the Iranian nuclear installations with or without America’s permission.

She quotes an obscure State Department official who classed Israel with North Korea, India and Pakistan. Getting the four nuclear powers to sign the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) “remains a fundamental objective of the United States.”

By speaking as she did, Glick claims, she abrogated “a 40-year-old understanding’ that the U,S. would remain silent about Israel’s nuclear capabilities.

I’m unaware of any such understanding. But it’s true that Washington was always reluctant to pick a fight with Israel.
Until now. There will be ringing declarations of eternal friendship but essentially Netanyahu will get a very chilly reception from Obama, from Congress, from American Jewish organizations with some exceptions, and probably from AIPAC..

Although Israel’s peculiar democracy chose him as Prime Minister, his opposition to a Palestinian demilitarized state does not represent the majority of Israelis.

A recent poll shows that 78 percent of Israelis and 74 percent of Palestinians support a two-state solution. The same poll showed 98 percent of Palestinians believe that a reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas is essential to achieving peace.

It will take many years before Obama will bring representatives of Israel and the Palestinians together on the White House lawn to sign a peace treaty. But I predict that that glorious day will arrive while Obama is in the White House. And Netanyahu’s chilly reception in Washington was a tiny beginning.

Lurie's column appears in the Jewish Journal of South Florida

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Mideast peace process like investing with Bernie Madoff

By Barry Rubin

HERZLIYA, Israel—Putting your hard-earned political capital into the peace process industry is like investing with Bernie Madoff. It may look like a good prospect on the surface but any serious examination shows it's a highway to bankruptcy. Of course, as with Madoff, many choose not to look too

Among them is U.S. National Security Advisor James Jones who says: "There are a lot of things that you can do to diminish that existential threat by working hard towards achieving a two-state solution."

Yes it would be better to have peace, no question. But would that diminish the existential threat given the existing realities?
Let's look at the list:

Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhoods,Sudan, Libay and assorted others, all seem to be saying: We intend to destroy Israel and we are against peace, says Iran. If Israel makes concessions, we will use them as a more effective means to wipe it off the map. And we will also take revenge on anyone who makes peace with Israel.

So far, it doesn't look like making peace will diminish that existential threat. Nor does it mean that a "two-state solution" will end the conflict either.

We'd like to make peace with Israel but if we do Iran, Syria, Hizballah, and some of our followers will kill us, say the Lebanese moderates. And any way we'll probably be out of power soon. We don't dare do anything.

We're really eager to make peace with Israel, says the Palestinian Authority. It just doesn't want to make peace with us. Our regime is too weak to make peace and any way much of the leadership is pretty hardline.

The difference between Fatah and Hamas is not so much one of moderation versus radicalism (yes, there are differences on that point also) but rather whether Palestine will be nationalist or Islamist. Of course, our idea of peace is not only the 1967 borders but also we won't end the conflict. In addition, we demand that any Palestinian who lived in what's now Israel before 1948 or has any ancestor who did can go
live in Israel. What follows is:

Step 1: Massive internal violence.

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Step 2: They either vote Israel out of existence and make it a binational state or destroy it from within in partnership with attackers from outside. This means either way we end up with:

Step 3: A one-state solution of Palestine, an Arab and Muslim state from the Jordan to the Mediterranean.

In other words, peace on the Palestinian Authority's terms or on those of Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hizballah, or the Muslim Brotherhood is an even bigger existential threat to Israel than Iran having nuclear weapons.

Iran might not use its nuclear weapons on Israel. But Iran and these other forces will use every weapon they have.

It shouldn't be that way, but it is. If you don't understand that, no big deal but please don't become a foreign policymaker, diplomat, journalist covering international affairs, think tank analyst, or have anything to do with the Middle East in political terms. Also don't get a degree in "conflict management," but that's a given.

If you want to understand what it is like to be Israel and hear people talk like this, imagine a pedestrian trying to cross a street facing dozens of people in big cars who think that it makes real good sense to drink about three bottles of bourbon before getting behind the wheel.

But, you might ask, don't Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, along with some other Arab states want peace? Yes they do but: A. They don't pose existential threats. B. They don't want to do much to make a comprehensive peace because:
--Having Israel as an enemy makes for good propaganda.
--Making peace with Israel or at least implementing that peace more fully exposes them to great risks from radical regimes and movements, at home and abroad.
--They don't need peace with Israel.
--They can just sit back and demand that the West do all the work and Israel makes all the concessions.

Finally, what is most amazing is that when I and other people
explain these facts of Middle East life to people over and
over again, they look rather startled as if they have never
heard any of this before. They provide no serious rebuttals.
And the next day they are back to the same mischief, having
learned nothing and remembered even less.

There's no way better to put it than the great line from F.
Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby: "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast
carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made"

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

Soille Hebrew Day fourth and fifth
grades visit the Wild Animal Park

SAN DIEGO (Press Release) —
The long-awaited sleep-over field trip finally arrived for the Hebrew Day Fourth and Fifth grades on May 4th and 5th.  The 4th and 5th grades, their teachers and parents planned this trip for months beginning with a very swift and successful fundraiser made possible by a generous donation of a gorgeous Shofar by the Krinsky family.  Becky Krinsky arranged for the donation, visited the classes, inspiring the students to sell lovely tickets she printed at $5 apiece.  In less than three weeks, $1000 was raised to help defer the cost of the trip. 

Another special thank you goes to Dorit Silverman who expertly arranged all the food for the field trip including snacks, breakfast, fireside treats and lunch for the exhausted returning students, their teachers and chaperones the next day.
The students, their teachers and chaperones arrived at the park Monday afternoon, May 11, where they were greeted by knowledgeable and pleasant park staffers who ran through the park rules and then gave them a wonderful train ride through the entire park just before dusk, as the animals were beginning to stir.  The train took its time, meandering through the animal habitats, stopping to teach the students specifics about habitat preservation, endangered animals, indigenous and imported plants. The group then arrived at their camp site, merely meters away from the elephant enclosure with a two-month old baby elephant.  The students were treated to a special program at dusk where they were introduced to two “animal ambassadors”, a young alligator and a pygmy owl.  They were able to pet the owl, but not the alligator.

Dinner was served at some picnic tables placed on a ridge where the group watched the very active giraffes, rhinos, various deer species and birds come very close to drink at a watering area. Before the campfire, the students split into groups, learned about habitat and wild animal preservation led by the park staff.  The “preservation quilt” they created from this activity is now on display near the front desk of the Day School.

The students ate s’mores and doughnuts by the campfire until “lights out” at 10:00.  The lights went out, but twittering and laughter from all species of animals could be heard until well after midnight.

The bleary-eyed group awoke to the roaring of lions and davened shaharit at 6:00 the next morning, again visited by rhinos and giraffes, with their babies very nearby.  The group then had a guided tour of “Condor Ridge” where they viewed and learned about many more species of animals.

A tired and pleased group of 4th and 5th graders, and their chaperones returned to school for lunch the next day.  Many thanks to the helpful chaperones and especially Rabbi Marks, who has attended every Wild Animal Park field trip and knew just exactly what to do.

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

UCSD Panel to consider Holocaust history and memory on June 7

LA JOLLA (Press Release)—A Holocaust-related workshop, dinner and panel discussion on “Truth of Memory and Truth of History” will be conducted from 4 p.m. through the evening, Sunday, June 7, at UCSD’s Faculty Club by the Judaic Studies Department and the UC San Diego Libraries.

After dinner panelists will include Brian E.C. Shottlaender, the Audrey Geisel University Librarian; Deborah Hertz, Herman Wouk Chair in Modern Jewish Studies; Elliot Kanter, Judaic Studies Librarian, and Armin Owzar, DAAD visiting professor for the history of modern Europe.

They will discuss the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive.

Preceding provided by UCSD Judaic Studies Department

McAllister to address CBI Men's
Club on Wednesday, May 20

LA JOLLA (Press Release)--San Diego County Tax Assessor Dan McAllister will address the Men's Club of Congregation Beth Israel at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20, on the topic "The Buck Stops Here." The $12 ticket also pays for a deli dinner. For more information on the meeting at the congregation located at 9001 Towe Centre Drive, La Jolla, call 858-535-1111 ext 3801.

Preceding provided by Congregation Beth Israel's Men's Club

Menachem Schindler, 15, wins
Jewish Agency's Bible contest

NEW YORK (Press Release) -- Menachem Schindler, 15,  from Maimonides High School in Brookline, Massachusetts, won first place of the National Bible Contest held in New York City Sunday (May 17) for the in the high school Hebrew division and will compete in the International Bible Contest held in Israel on Independence Day.

 The Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization have sponsored the National Bible Contest in North America and in countries worldwide for some 50 years. The International Bible Contest, held in Israel, is an integral part of Independence Day events, and includes Israeli as well as Jewish students from around the world.

This year’s national contest held Sunday drew some 150 students, grades 6 though 11, from 42 Jewish day and Hebrew schools in United States. Students were tested on Deuteronomy, Judges, Jeremiah, Ruth and Job with over 100 multiple choice questions. The contest is broken down into several divisions; the first place winner in each will compete next year in Israel. In addition to the high school Hebrew division, Joshua Meier, 13, from Yavneh Academy in Paramus, New Jersey, won first place in the middle school (grades 6-8) Hebrew; in English division – in which students going to after-school Hebrew studies (as opposed to day school) compete – Ryan Fuldauer, 15, and Wes Darvin, 13, both from Bnai Jeshurun Synagogue in Pepper Pike, Ohio, placed first for high school and middle school, respectively.

As part of its education programming, the Jewish Agency sponsors the contest and provides support for the winners to compete in Israel.

Preceding provided by the Jewish Agency for Israel

David D'Or and Dudu
Fisher sing for Pope

Jay Jacobson of Mineapolis forwarded this You Tube video of an outdoor concert given for Pope Benedict XVI during his recent visit to Israel. We are happy to share it.

Jewish Family Service seeking
donations of gently used furniture

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)--Jewish Family Service of San Diego says it is in need of "gently used furniture" to support more than 50 services and programs it operates.

Some tax deductions are available for these donations. More information is available by calling JFS at (619) 563-5232. Here's the link to JFS's online donation form.

Preceding provided by Jewish Family Service

Jewish public officials
Dumanis announces $300,000 judgment in Blockbuster case

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)--San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie M. Dumanis on Monday announced a four-year investigation of Blockbuster Inc. video stores that has resulted in a $ 300,000 judgment against the retail and video rental corporation in the state of California. Blockbuster is accused of charging customers more than the advertised or posted price on items when they were scanned at check-out counters.

“The investigation shows that Blockbuster was over-charging for years, but we have now held the company accountable in a court of law for unfair business practices,” said DA Dumanis. “This judgment also shows how diligent state regulators and prosecutors are being about protecting consumers.”

The case was filed jointly by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in San Diego Superior Court, alleging Blockbuster stores in California charged customers more than the currently advertised or posted price on items (scanner violations), in violation of unfair competition and false advertising laws.

The judgment requires Blockbuster to pay $ 237,750 in penalties, $ 62,250 in costs to weights and measures agencies and prosecutors’ offices. Further, the judgment prohibits Blockbuster from charging an amount greater than the currently-advertised price for items in the future.

The case against Blockbuster was based on 229 inspection reports from 14 California counties, as well as consumer complaints about overcharging. The investigation began in 2004 and was conducted by county weights and measures inspectors statewide.

There was no admission of wrongdoing or liability by Blockbuster, which cooperated with prosecutors to reach a stipulated judgment.

Preceding provided by District Attorney Dumanis' office

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Gloria seeks designation of
'Harvey Milk Day' in San Diego

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)– Councilmember Todd Gloria announced that the City Council will consider proclaiming Tuesday “Harvey Milk Day” in the City of San Diego.

“Harvey Milk was a civil rights leader who helped pave the way for me and countless others to pursue careers in public service,” said Councilmember Gloria, who sponsored the resolution. “His significance as a voice for all under-represented people should be recognized.”

The City of San Diego is on the record supporting the creation of an annual Harvey Milk Day in the State of California to fall on his birthday, May 22.

San Francsico Supervisor Milk, a member of the Jewish and gay communities, was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone by former Supervisor Dan White in 1978.

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Bible in Pop Culture: The Waters Above ...

Genesis 1:7

So God made the firmament, and separated between the waters which were beneath the firmament and the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so.

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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Prizes and pieces shine through Miller's The Price

By Carol Davis

SAN DIEGO—Family dynamics is a strange animal. Through no choice of our own, we are born into what many refer to as the nuclear family. Parents, siblings and an assortment of relatives who help shape our lives, and possibly influence the finished product of who we are provide a topic many playwrights choose to write about.

American playwright Arthur Miller is one such playwright. Miller, however, is not just some ordinary playwright. He has been well defined throughout his career as one of the ‘classics’, so thorough, thoughtful and broad is his writing: All My Son’s; A View From The Bridge; Death Of a Salesman; After The Fall and The Crucible to name a few. You get the picture.

In keeping with its commitment to the classics “Classics Up Close," the Old Globe Theatre is mounting Arthur Miller’s The Price in the Globe’s Arena Stage at the San Diego Museum of Art’s James S. Copley Auditorium through June 14th.

The cast was to have starred Robert Prosky who had been in this show before his death in 2008 and his two real life sons, John and Andy. Unfortunately the senior Prosky passed away late last year at age seventy-seven and John left the show for personal reasons. Andy is still with the show. In 2006 I had the pleasure of seeing the elder Prosky on the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. in Clifford Odets Awake And Sing. I feel blessed to have seen an actor of such great magnitude. He would have been an asset to this production, but more on that later.

The setup is simple enough. It was written about twenty years after All My Sons (1947), the family drama about patriotism, choices, the Second World War, the manufacture of defective airplane parts sold to the army in spite of the defects and the conflicts that drove a family to ruin. Some call The Price (1967) the flip side of All My Sons

This case scenario involves two brothers at opposite ends of the moral compass, one wife having trouble dealing with the choices and price paid for her husband’s decisions, a deceased father’s belongings about to be disposed of, and an elderly antiques dealer willing or not to offer a reasonable price for the attic full of stuff. The personal memories of their childhood along with the memories of the choices they made while growing up and the price they are now paying for them are at the center of Miller’s drama.

Robin Sanford Roberts' cluttered set in the middle of the Museum’s Arena Stage sets the tone and mood for Miller’s The Price.  Walking into the theatre and just glimpsing at it while looking for my seat was somewhat claustrophobic. These are but a sampling of what I saw. Cushion-less chairs hanging from the rafters, old chests of drawers, a windup Victrola and 78 records still in their paper sleeves and albums, trunks filled with memorabilia, writing desks, library desks, a large dining room table stacked with matching chairs, a beautiful gold gilded harp in disrepair, a rapier and mask, an accordion, a sled (not Rosebud), a baseball mitt and bat, a rowing oar from some college team, a broken typewriter, area rugs, a hand made wireless contraption they referred to as the radio Vic was working on when something exploded and went through the ceiling, overstuffed chairs (the kind my grandmother used to have in her living room, the one  we were never allowed into) and other assorted furniture.

The brothers have not seen each other in sixteen years, about the same amount of time the father has been dead. He lost his fortune in the crash of ’29 and all of his belongings were moved to the attic of the family Brownstone after his brothers took over the building. Now the Brownstone is about to be torn down. It’s time to get rid of the stuff or it all goes under the wrecking ball. Arrangements are made for the brothers to meet with each other and the appraiser with their intent being to keep any of the belongings either felt especially attached to or to splitwhat was left from the sale money.

Walter Franz (James Sutorius) the younger brother is a successful and wealthy surgeon. His older brother, Victor (Andy Prosky) is a cop and lives meagerly on his NYC cop’s salary. We meet up with Andy as he arrives in the flat awaiting the arrival of his brother, although he has doubts. He’s been disappointed by his brother before. While he’s waiting, Andy takes a trip down memory lane by touching several items and trying out a few of the artifacts laying around and playing some old records, one of which is called a laughing record.

When Esther (Leisa Mather), Victor’s wife shows up, we get a look into their relationship when Victor asks how many drinks she’s had already. Esther is disillusioned with the whole Victor/Walter situation and wants Victor to keep all the money that’s offered for the family belongings since it will improve their station in life and, anyway, they deserve it for all that Victor did for the family, like taking care of the father and giving up his college education so Walter could finish his. So she nips a bit. Esther and Victor have a different set of ideas about what successful is.

Just before Esther leaves to pick up Victor’s suit from the cleaners (she doesn’t want him to be seen in uniform when they go out to dinner and the movies) Gregory Solomon (Dominic Chianese) the appraiser, comes huffing and puffing into the flat after climbing the stairs (he’s 89) and introduces himself. While Victor is in a hurry to finish off the deal, Solomon, quite the stereotypical, Jewish philosopher and story spinner, is in no rush. Solomon, a pro at this, needs time to work over his client and work him over he does. Just as a deal is about to be struck and money is changing hands, Walter drops in.


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The study in opposites kicks in as the two work at being civil after all this time. Charming and carrying the look of success, Walter at first seems disinterested in the sale saying he doesn’t want any of the money. He has enough. Victor, on the other hand, sees a sense of fairness in splitting the money much to the dismay of Esther who by this time is back and is pleased as punch to hear Walter’s offer.  All three ruminate about the past and what happened to them as a family. All the dirty laundry comes out over the protests of Solomon, who by this time is prostrate and sent into a bedroom to rest by Walter.

Director Richard Seer does an outstanding job of balancing between the two brothers and Esther who seems to have been in the family more years than not. They met in their teens. This is a more delicate play to weigh than 'Sons' because of the overbearing strength of the father character in 'Sons.' Both Victor and Walter try to settle their differences with Esther and Solomon waiting in the wings. The brothers reveal their own motives and recollect the facts with different memories. They never are what they seem.

As for the choices and the price they paid the questions arise as to who sacrificed more, which is the most beleaguered and who made the ultimate sacrifice. It cuts to the core of the moral issues of duty, honor and money which, when all is said and done, reveals who the men are today. The question left unanswered is how do our past actions affect who we are today.

Such heavy-duty questions still plague us today but not all of us have a crusty old ‘wise man’ running interference at every turn. The role of Solomon is to add a little comic relief and wisdom to an already tense situation and Chianese is most likely the one to do it but on opening night he was clearly not ready for the task, funny as his lines were, nonetheless.  He dropped lines and stumbled to the point of discomfort to the audience. It was almost a relief when he was told by Walter to rest in another room.

Prodsky and Sutorius played well against each other with both convinced that the choices they mad were the right ones. Prodsky expresses much doubt about what he might be doing after he retires from the force as compared to his strong convictions that doing the right thing comes with a price, but it’s worth it. Sutorius is as cocky about his fortunes as he is reflective about his personal life gone awry.

Leisa Mather is perfect as the downtrodden wife who expects more from her husband. Her transition was wonderful to watch, as she was now up close and personal with the two men in her life in middle age, not boys anymore.

Paul Peterson’s sound design of oldies but goodies and Charlotte Devaux Shields period costumes along with Chris Rynne’s spo- on lighting make this classic Miller well worth seeing. There’s nothing better than sitting through a thoughtful and well-acted classic.

The Price will continue through June 14th on the Arena Stage at the San Diego Museum of Art’s James Copley Auditorium.

See you at the theatre.


I will be gone for the next three weeks to visit my children, grandchildren and extended family in Israel. Before going however, I managed to see the Israeli film The Lemon Tree. Here's the link to information about the movie. There is nothing we want more than peace in this region. Seeing this movie sheds a personal light on the schism that prevails throughout the area and how complicated it all is to sort out. More later.

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A song of the rabbi who put God on High Holy Day trial

To listen to Cantor Schwartzman's rendition of the Kaddish of Levi Yitzchok, please click here

By Cantor Sheldon Merel

SAN DIEGO--The Kaddish of Reb Levi Yitzchak is a 19th century story about an amazing act of defiance by a rabbi, who challenged God, and actually created a Bet Din ( Jewish court of law) in the very middle of a Holy Day service.  Reb Levi Yitzchak, one of the early Chasidic rabbis, stopped the service and accused God of failing to alleviate centuries of oppression, persecution and injustice against  the Jewish people. Reb Levi Yitzchak actually placed God on trial, and went one step further than Abraham, who only argued with God to save Sodom and Gomorrah.

The incident is thwe basis of our selection this week, "A Din Toire Mit Gott,  Kaddish of Reb Levi Yitzchok from Bereditchev," music arranged by Leo Low , orchestrated by Richard Neumann, and introducing the voice of Cantor Seymour Schwartzman from his CD, Two Worlds.

Like a prosecuting  attorney, Levi Yitzchak  reminded God, that in spite of Israel’s  constant loyalty, terrible acts were being committed against his chosen people, and demanded an answer. Ordinarily, it was Rev Levi’s custom to preach slowly in Yiddish, and then gradually begin singing in a musical study chant of the Talmud. 

During this Bet Din, however, Levi Yitzchak’s anger against God, grew with greater intensity, until he brazenly proclaimed,  ” I, therefore will not move from this spot until there be some end to the afflictions of my people. There must be an end to this oppression.  Finally, in spite of his great disappointment in God’s failure to help his people, the rabbi never lost his deep faith in God, and concluded his Bet Din by singing, with dramatic impact the Kaddish prayer, acclaiming the greatness of God , Yisgadal v’yis-ka-dash Sh’may Ra-boh…

“Good morning, almighty God.  I, Levi Yitzchok, son of Sara of Berditchev, have come for a judgment against you, on behalf of my people, Israel!   What do You want of Your people , Israel?  Why do You afflict them?  You constantly refer to Your people in the Bible. O Father in Heaven, there are so many nations in the world who say that their King is the

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Emperor, but I, Levi Yitzchok, say that only God sits on the throne.  I, therefore will not move from this spot until there be some end to the afflictions of my people. There must be an end to this oppression. Yisgadal v’yiskadash….sh’mey raboh…

Magnified and sanctified be the Great Name of the Lord!”

The CD’s title, Two Worlds, (recorded live-in-concert) appropriately describes Cantor Seymour Schwartzman’s career in two worlds of music; opera and the cantorate.  Born in Brooklyn, New York , the son of a distinguished cantor, Schwartzman followed in his father’s footsteps after serving in the Armed Forces during WWII, and enrolled in the Hebrew Union College-School of Sacred Music. He graduated in 1953, and held cantorial pulpits in New Jersey and in Pennsylvania.

Opera opened for him when he won a full scholarship at the School of Vocal Arts to study voice, which led to a role with the Philadelphia Opera Company. His success encouraged him to leave the cantorate, and his career blossomed as he continued singing leading roles with opera companies in New York City, San Francisco, Italy, Israel, and Switzerland. 

After an outstanding and exciting career in the opera world, Schwartzman chose to return to the pulpit as cantor in Roslyn, New York, but continued to  perform occasionally with the New York City Opera company and at Carnegie Hall. He retired with his family to Florida, and recently passed away this past year.  His death was a great loss to his family, his many friends, colleagues and the world of opera and Jewish Music. 

Sy Schwartzman was my classmate at the School of Sacred Music, and I have followed his ascent from the cantorate into the opera world with great admiration. My wife, Marcie and I heard Sy perform leading roles with the San Francisco Opera Company, where he received standing ovations for his brilliant singing. He brought great credit to the cantorate and to the world of opera.  Zecher Tzadik Livracha, May his memory be for a blessing.

His recording, Two Worlds  consists of two discs: In Prayer & Song and, In Opera and Concert. It may be ordered from Musique International, 3111 West Chase Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60645

Merel is cantor emeritus at Congregation Beth Israel of La Jolla

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

“Ditty Bag” Ball Planned by Ladies
Southwestern Jewish Press March 20, 1953, page 12

Plans are going ahead for the Sisterhood’s “Ditty Bag” Ball to be held May 9 in the Don Room of the El Cortez Hotel.  Pauline Gleason’s Orchestra will play and there will be top entertainment.  Purpose of this dance is to raise funds to fill ditty bags which will be sent to servicemen overseas.

Chairman of the Emergency Service Committee is Mrs. Sam Siraton and co-chairmen Mrs. Arthur Bloom, Mrs. Charles Salik, and Mrs. Richard Levi.  Other committee heads are: Tickets, Mrs. Richard Lustig; Publicity, Mrs. David H. Jaffee; Decorations, Mrs. M Esterson; Treasurer, Mrs. Joseph Schwartz; Secretary, Mrs. Harley Babbitz.

Many pre-ball cocktail and dinner parties are being planned and invitations will be issued to civic leaders in the near future.

The regular monthly meeting for Temple Beth Israel Sisterhood will be held on Wednesday March 25, at the Temple Center, at 11:30 a.m. with Mrs. Samuel Friedman presiding.  Program chairmen Mrs. Morton Cohn and Mrs. M. D. Goodrich have arranged a book review to be presented by Mrs. Hugh Huffman.  The humorous, mirth-provoking book is “Cooks Tour in Americana.” Mrs. Huffman is former Woman’s Editor for a Wisconsin daily paper and has been a teacher and librarian.  She is a graduate of the University of Illinois.  Luncheon captains are Mrs. Byron Sharpe and Mrs. William Kolkey.

Pioneer Women
Southwestern Jewish Press March 20, 1953, page 12

As Negba Club’s next regular meeting comes during the Passover holidays, Thursday, April 2nd, a delightfully different Passover luncheon is being planned by our Chairman, Eleanore Gordon, so all members are urged to attend.  The program and important business taken up at this meeting will be of interest to all.

Anna Shelley, Chairman of our Donor Dinner pledges wishes to remind members there is still time for those who wish to be hostesses at Pioneer affairs and thereby obtain credit on their pledges.  Date and place of the Donor Dinner will be announced soon.  Committees who will plan the program include Florence Barach, Dora  Berner, Bessie Fink, Rose Garber, Pauline Press, Rose Domnmitz, and Norma Schaffer.

Letter to the Editor {from Howard Buck}
Southwestern Jewish Press March 20, 1953, page 14

In Your issue of Dec. 26 (page four) I read an item on Social Credit.  A. Mr. Coldwell, leader of the C.C.F. in Ottawa made a reckless charge that Social Credit is anti-Semitic.  Your item stated that Mr. Solon Low, leader of the S.C.P. (Social Credit Party) refuted the charge (I believe, on the floor of the Canadian Parliament)
It seems to me not quite fair to quote the charge of Mr. Coldwell without giving also Mr. Low’s denial.

Mr. C. charged:  “…Social Credit prejudice and dictatorial tendencies have been a part of general Social Credit propaganda since the movement was founded.”

I happen to know that this charge is completely untrue.  I challenge anyone to find for me any indication of either anti-Semitism or “dictatorial tendency” in any of the great Social Credit books—by England’s Douglas Hattersley,  of

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Colbourne—by America’s Gorham Munson—by Canada’s W. A. Tutte—or in any of dozens of others.  And I’ve read them all!
That a few “racialists” have crept into the Social Credit movement from time to time it would be useless to deny—just as they seep into any political party, into almost every movement.  This is inevitable and naturally to be expected.  The C.C.F. and S.C.P. are quite bitter rivals in several parts of Canada; so, as in our own political campaigns, there is a tendency to dig up the “dirt” about each other.

The Albertan government (in office for 17 years) seems particularly free of racial feeling and the province is very cosmopolitan in population; also it administers its affairs on a strictly democratic basis.  The British Columbia S. C. Assoc. (now the government of B.C.) early in its history made freedom from anti-Semitism and other racial taint a condition of membership in the Association—something very rare indeed in political movements in general.

Howard L. Buck
2309 E. 32nt St.
National City, Calif.

Center News
Southwestern Jewish Press March 20, 1953, page 15

The Jewish Community Center, 32227 El Cajon Blvd., has scheduled the following special events: 

Sun.  Afternoon (March 22) 2:00 p.m.—Musicale featuring folk song recordings, discussion, and refreshments.

Sun. Evening (March 22) 8:45 p.m.—Yiddish film, “God, Man and Devil,” with English subtitles.

Thurs. Evening (March 26) 7:30 p.m.—Table-Tennis Exhibition featuring Tony Trabert and Carl Loveday.

Fri. Afternoon (March 27) 4:00 p.m.—Model Seder for Juniors.

Sun. Evening (March 29) 4:00 p.m.—Model Seder for Young Adults.

Ball-Room Dance Class— A new series of ballroom dance lessons will begin on Sunday evening, March 22, 7:30 p.m.  Registration will be accepted for a 6 week series of lessons.  For further information call the Center Office, T.1-7744.

Teen-Agers—Please note the special table-tennis exhibition schedules for Thursday, March 26.  Here’s a chance to catch some pointers for the Center table-tennis tournament to be scheduled within the next month.

Miss Alice Mason is available to teach teen-agers ballroom dancing beginning Thursday evening, April 2, 7:15 p.m.  Please register in advance so that the Center can plan for this program.
A special meeting to discuss the teen-age programs will be held Thurs., April 9th.  Please reserve this date and watch for future announcements.

Spanish Language Class—Habla Usted Espanol?—A class in practical Spanish with Mr. Leo Hirsch, instructor, will be formed at the Center when 15 people are registered.  In addition to the regular class-room techniques, films will be shown.  This is an opportunity  to become better acquainted with our Spanish speaking friends at home and south of the border.

“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

Ben Stein tells one sure way to survive almost anything

Brent Spiner plays Data the Android and his creator in a dual scene in Star Trek: The Next Generation



David Steinberg tells about getting onto the Johnny Carson Show

Jill St. John as Tiffany Case in "Diamonds Are Forever"

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

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