Volume 3, Number 121
"There's a Jewish story everywhere"

Today's Postings:

Sunday-Monday, May 24-25, 2009

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


Editor's Mailbox

--Lieberman commends police, FBI for thwarting planned NY attack READ MORE
--American Islamic Forum for Democracy condemns plotters READ MORE
--Transcribe CIA congressional briefings, Specter urges READ MORE
--Boxer sponsors legislation to tie Vietnam aid to rights progress READ MORE
--Cardin urges speedup in processof admitting Iraqi refugees READ MORE
--Feinstein urges lower textile tariffs for 14 poor countries READ MORE

News & Commentary from Correspondents

Cheney-Obama exchange on national security a gift ... by Shoshana Bryen in Washington, D.C.
The extraordinary debate - which is what it was - between President Obama and former Vice President Cheney about national security in the post-9-11 era was a gift to the citizenry. READ MORE

Chinese-speaking Israeli-American pursues career as an author, drummer, actor and TV panelist in Sinagpore ... by Danny Bloom in Chiayi City, Taiwan
It is said that Jews often travel far and wide, making their mark in countries large and small around the world. READ MORE


Editor's Mailbox

--House passes Weiner bill against tobacco trafficking READ MORE
--Federal-option health coverage urged by 28 U.S. senators READ MORE
--Boxer calls for refunding of Economic Development Admin. READ MORE
--Wyden, Cardin call for better home care for chronically ill READ MORE


Editor's Mailbox
World of Jewtopia set for 3 dates in June at Lawrence Family JCC READ MORE
Jewish License Plate--Grandma's 3 Loves SEE PHOTO
Media Watch aka 'Here's the LInk' READ MORE
Chabad of La Costa picks special date to honor special people READ MORE

Local Reportage
Poizner, Klein back bills to aid natural disaster victims ... by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego
Spotlight on Jewish public officials: With fire season approaching this summer in California, and with hurricane season soon to follow in Florida, two Jewish public officials from opposite sides of the country –California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and U.S. Congressman Ron Klein of Florida--are working to soften the blows to victims of natural catastrophes. READ MORE


BaMidbar teaches us the necessity of working together ... by Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal in San Diego
During morning minyan Sol Minsberg said to me, "Just think how organized those Israelites had to be! Can you imagine how difficult coordinating over 600,000 people must have been?

BaMidbar animated cartoon from G-dcast VIEW VIDEO

The startling things that her 'guru' didn't tell her ... by Rabbi Baruch Lederman in San Diego
Rosh Chodesh teaches us a lesson of hope. Every month the moon shrinks and shrinks. Just as it gets to the point that it looks like it will vanish into oblivion, it turns around and
grows and grows to grand and glorious fullness. No matter how bleak things look, or how low we sink; we can turn around ... READ MORE

Bible in Pop Culture

'Let the earth sprout vegetation...' Genesis 1:11


Book serialization: I'm Still Here...by Laura Simon
The Titanic: April 14, 1912 READ MORE
My Father Takes Me to the Doctor

Adventures in San Diego Jewish History

April 3, 1953, Southwestern Jewish Press
--Synagogues To Sponsor Clyde Beatty Circus READ MORE
--Young Jewish Couples READ MORE
--City of Hope Auxiliary READ MORE
--Linda’s Lookout by Linda Solof READ MORE
--Temple Teens by Susan Solof READ MORE
--Beth Jacob Sisterhood READ MORE
--Jewish Appeal Workers Gird for ‘Action’ Campaign READ MORE

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School days, later days: checkmated and grand slammed ... by Sheila Orysiek in San Diego
Some time ago I saw a movie and then read a book about a Jewish boy in New York who grew up to be a Grandmaster Chess player.  Having forgotten his name and trying to find it I began browsing through Google.  While searching one can’t help but be amazed at the preponderance of Jewish Chess Champions - over 50% of this elite category is Jewish. It reminded me of my own experience with the game as a child.  A long time ago….READ MORE

A bissel Jewish sports trivia with Bruce Lowitt ... in Oldsmar, Florida
Q: Who had a perfect record in fielding in 1919 and had more runs batted in than at-bats? READ MORE

We continue our examination of Jewish entertainers

--Ellen Barkin gets harangued in "Diner" by Daniel Stern VIEW VIDEO

--Robby Benson loves a beautiful skater in "Ice Castles"VIEW VIDEO

--Rosanna Arquette helps humanitarian campaign for Burma VIEW VIDEO

--Roseanne Barr plays unhappy housewife in stage preview of "Roseanne" TV show. VIEW VIDEO


We have been closely covering Jewish public officials in the international, national and local arenas, and hope to be able to expand that coverage. If you or your business would like to be listed as a sponsor of any these regular sections of San Diego Jewish World, please call editor Don Harrison at (619) 265-0808 to discuss levels of sponsorship.


America's Vacation Center
Balloon Utopia
Congregation Beth Israel
Jewish Community Foundation
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. Past dedications may be found at the bottom of the index for the "Adventures in San Diego Jewish History" page.

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The Editor's Mailbag: International news of Jewish interest

Lieberman commends police, FBI
for thwarting planned NY attack

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)– Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (Independent-Connecticut)., released the following statement Thursday on the thwarted homegrown terror attack in New York City:

"I commend the New York Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the New York State Police for thwarting what could have been a devastating homegrown terror attack on hundreds of innocent people. This success could serve as a model for counterterrorism cooperation between local, federal, and state officials across the country.

“This alleged plot shows that -- even though we have not been attacked domestically since 9/11 -- we must remain vigilant concerning the potential radicalization and recruitment of individuals in the United States for terrorist activity. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will continue its three-year, bipartisan investigation of this issue in order to monitor the nature of this threat and to assess government efforts to prevent and combat it.”

Preceding provided by Senator Joseph Lieberman

American Islamic Forum for Democracy condemns plotters

PHOENIX, Arizona (Press Release)—Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), warned on Friday that the foiled bomb plot in New York City is a “clear and calculated warning that well-coordinated extremists are on the move within the U.S.” Four individuals were arrested Thursday in New York City on charges that they planned to detonate explosives at a Jewish synagogue and community center and shoot down U.S. military aircraft with surface-to-air missiles.

“The arrest of four individuals – three of whom appear to be U.S. citizens – confirms that homegrown Islamist-inspired terrorism is a clear and present danger,” said Dr. Jasser. “Today’s arrests should be a wake-up call to America and especially to American Muslims that we are long overdue in countering the well-coordinated and well-funded Islamist programs which exist within the United States.”

“The 2007 NYPD Radicalization Report is accurate – radicalization in U.S. prisons is an immediate threat. This recent terrorist attempt on Jewish synagogues shows the NYPD Report was right. The Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) opposed that report because as usual they were in denial about the radicalization in U.S. prisons,” said Dr. Jasser. “It’s now acknowledged that at least some of the alleged bombers were radicalized in U.S. prisons –Many Islamist imams are aggressively recruiting inmates in our prisons with ideologies that fuel ‘home-grown’ terror.”

“It’s significant that this terrorist plot was targeted against synagogues, underscoring the dangerous hatred promoted by radical imams in American prisons,” said Dr. Jasser.

“The solution begins with government rejection of Islamist apologist groups like CAIR, who are not representatives of the Muslims in America. The FBI has recently rejected them and we support that decision. We must engage the majority non-Islamist American Muslim community to reject political Islam and its fuel for radicalized Islam,” said Dr. Jasser.

Dr. Jasser, a devout Muslim and son of Muslim-Syrian immigrants, is a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander, physician and past president of the Arizona Medical Association.

Preceding provided by American Islamic Forum for Democracy

Transcribe CIA congressional briefings, Specter urges

WASHINGTON, D.C -- Senator Arlen Specter (Democrat, Pennsylvania.) on Thursday wrote the CIA Director, White House Counsel, and the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees urging that transcripts be made during the CIA’s congressional briefings.

The letters state: “From my experience on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which I chaired in the 104th Congress, I found there were frequent disputes as to whether the CIA did the requisite briefings; and, if they did, whether the briefing was adequate. While those disputes did not reach the level of controversy involving Speaker Pelosi and the CIA today, they were significant.

“Such controversies could be resolved by having the briefings transcribed, just as the hearings are transcribed. If the dispute involved classified materials, the transcript could be reviewed by the Chair and Ranking Member or perhaps even by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, with sufficient public disclosure to resolve the matter.”

Senator Specter sent letters to:
• Leon Panetta, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency;
• Gregory Craig, White House Counsel;
• Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chairwoman of the Select Committee on Intelligence;
• Senator Kit Bond, Ranking Member of the Select Committee on Intelligence;
• Representative Silvestre Reyes, Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence;
• Representative Peter Hoekstra, Ranking Member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Preceding provided by Senator Arlen Specter

Boxer sponsors legislation to tie
Vietnam aid to rights progress

WASHINGTON, D.C (Press Release)– U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat, California) on Thursday reintroduced the Vietnam Human Rights Act to address systematic human rights abuses in Vietnam, including religious and political persecution.

Senator Boxer said, “Unfortunately, another year has gone by and Vietnam has yet to significantly improve its human rights record. The Vietnamese government continues to arrest democracy and human rights activists, trade union leaders, journalists, bloggers, and many others. I support a strong U.S.-Vietnam relationship, but for that relationship to grow further, Vietnam must make some key changes. It's time for Vietnam to end its religious and political persecution once and for all.”

The bill specifically requires that any spending increase for U.S. non-humanitarian development, economic, trade and security assistance to Vietnam be matched by additional funding for programs focusing on human rights, the rule of law and civil-society capacity building. Most of the non-humanitarian U.S. assistance programs to Vietnam focus on business, trade and security, and have not yet effectively addressed human rights abuses.

The legislation also prohibits Vietnam from having access to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program until Vietnam improves its labor standards. The GSP program allows developing countries to import certain items into the U.S. duty-free. In addition, the bill encourages Vietnam to release its religious and political prisoners.

Preceding provided by Senator Barbara Boxer

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Cardin urges speedup in process
of admitting Iraqi refugees

WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release)- U.S. Senator Bob Casey (Democrat, Pennsylvania), Chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, and Senator Ben Cardin (Democrat, Maryland), Chairman of the Helsinki Commission, urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to review procedures impeding the rapid resettlement of Iraqi refugees to the United States. 

“Streamlining the refugee application process and increasing the resettlement of Iraqi refugees in the United States could help bring about a more efficient and humane resolution of the Iraqi refugee crisis,” said Senator Casey.  “We encourage the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security to consider these recommendations and prioritize the refugee crisis in the upcoming months, especially as the United States military begins its drawdown.”

“Iraqi refugees, especially those who have made extraordinary sacrifices while helping U.S. troops, need our support.  Secretary Clinton and I have regularly discussed our obligation to help Iraqi refugees who have worked with American soldiers to achieve peace and security in their country.  The current resettlement process has some administrative problems that should be addressed,” said Senator Cardin.

Since the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003, over two million Iraqis have been forced to relocate indefinitely to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and other countries in the region.  The majority of them are unable to return home because their old neighborhoods are unsafe.  Many Iraqi refugees apply for resettlement in the United States, including those who assisted the U.S. mission in Iraq, but they often face difficulties during the application process.

Preceding provided by Senator Cardin

Feinstein urges lower textile
tariffs for 14 poor countries

WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release) – U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (Democrat, California) and Kit Bond (Republican, Missouri) have introduced a measure to provide trade relief for apparel and textiles imported from 14 of the world’s poorest nations. The legislation is intended to help some of these impoverished nations sustain vital export industries and promote economic growth and political stability.

Specifically, the bill would provide duty free status to textiles and apparels imported from 14 Least Developed Countries (LDCs), as defined by the United Nations and the U.S. State Department. These impoverished nations are not covered by any current U.S. trade preference program, and currently face some of the steepest U.S. import tariffs, averaging over 15 percent.

The 14 beneficiary countries designated by this bill include: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Kiribati, Laos, Maldives, Nepal, Samoa, Sri Lanka Solomon Islands, East Timor, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Yemen. The impact on the United States will be minimal. Beneficiary countries under this bill account for only 4 percent of the U.S. textile and apparel market.

“This legislation would help to create more jobs, raise living standards, and promote economic and political stability in some of the world’s poorest countries,” Senator Feinstein said. “Currently, these 14 nations face some of the highest U.S. tariffs in the world, averaging over 15 percent. This bill would help correct this trade inequality and help promote greater economic opportunity where it is most needed – at little cost to U.S. manufacturers.”

“This bill will help create jobs, alternatives to extremism, and political stability in some of the world’s poorest countries,” said Bond. “The war against terrorism will not be won with military might alone, we also need to deploy ‘smart power’ efforts and this bipartisan bill is a good step.”

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Cheney-Obama exchange on national security a gift

By Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C --The extraordinary debate - which is what it was - between President Obama and former Vice President Cheney about national security in the post-9-11 era was a gift to the citizenry. In Mr. Cheney's words, "You can look at the facts and conclude that the [Bush administration] strategy has worked...Or, you can look at the same set of facts and conclude that 9/11 was a one-off event... Whichever conclusion you arrive at, it will shape your entire view of the last seven years, and of the policies necessary to protect America for years to come."

Regular readers know JINSA believes the United States is engaged in a war against terrorists and the states that harbor and support them. We believe the war began with the success of the Iranian Revolution in 1979, but wasn't engaged by the American government until after September 11, 2001. But readers know as well that we expressed frustration time and again with the failure of President Bush to share his thinking and confide the rationale for post-9-11 policies he deemed essential. It seems to us an indispensable part of Presidential leadership.  

With that in mind, we were very pleased that President Obama took to the floor of the National Archive to explain his security framework and the thinking behind his decision to close Guantanamo, his decision to use military tribunals for captured terrorists who cannot be tried in U.S. courts, and his belief that "our values have been our best national security asset, in war and peace; in times of ease and in eras of upheaval."

On the other hand, it was disappointing to hear him characterize the Bush Administration as a-historical and willing to "trim the facts," and there were too many straw men built up and then blown over. He characterized post-9-11 saying, "During this season of fear, too many of us...fell silent... we went off course...we're cleaning up something that is, quite simply, a mess - a misguided experiment."  That is unfair to the Democrats and Republicans who struggled with security and their consciences to keep us safe while staying true to American values.

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Mr. Cheney began by admitting, "Watching a coordinated, devastating attack on our country from an underground bunker at the White House can affect how you view your responsibilities." And he did something truly courageous, defending "the lawful, skillful, and entirely honorable work of CIA personnel trained to deal with a few malevolent men...Interrogators had authoritative guidance on the line between toughness and torture, and they knew to stay on the right side of it."

On the other hand, even Mr. Cheney couldn't argue when the President said, "My single most important responsibility as President is to keep the American people safe. It's the first thing that I think about when I wake up in the morning.  It's the last thing that I think about when I go to sleep at night... We are indeed at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates."

We want more opportunities to listen to articulate voices from across the political spectrum working to make political and national security sense of the war in which we find our country and our allies engaged.  We are certain the President will do his part; we hope Mr. Cheney and others will continue to do theirs.

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Chinese-speaking Israeli-American pursues career as an author, drummer, actor and TV panelist in Sinagpore

By Danny Bloom

CHIAYI CITY, Taiwan -- It is said that Jews often travel far and wide, making their mark in countries large and small around the world. For a 40-something Israeli-American now living in Singapore, learning to speak fluent Chinese and becoming a regular on Singapore TV was not something that he dreamed about when he was a student at Wesleyan College in Connecticut in the late 1980s, but there's an interesting story here.

Meet Amit Gilboa.

Gilboa, born in Israel. was transplanted to America when he was four. This Tuesday (May 26) he will become a regular guest on "It's a Small World" a new show featuring eight foreigners speaking Chinese on Singapore TV. He will be recognizable to many viewers as a veteran character actor who has appeared on several Singaporean TV dramas and sitcoms.

Married to a woman from mainland China, Shi Yu (who goes by the English name of Lily Gilboa), Amit and his wife are the proud parents of Liya, almost two, and Ron, just three months old this month. The arc of Gilboa's life, from Israel to America and then on to Cambodia, Thailand and now Singapore, would make a wonderful TV show in itself.

 "My father passed away a few years ago, but my mom still lives in Pittsburgh, close to my brother and his wife," Gilboa said in a recent email interview. "So my mom has six grandchildren in her life now, four close by and two here in Singapore."

 When asked how he first got into the acting business in Singapore,Gilboa said it happened more or less by chance. Show business was not the most important thing on his mind at the time.

 "I saw poster one day that was recruiting for a talent agency with the company name of  'Caucasian Faces' and I thought, well, I do qualify on that regard," he said. "So I that was
 my first entry into the Singaporean world of show business. From then onward, I would respond to casting calls and audition notices, and one thing led to the next."

Learning Chinese as a adult took some doing. For  the bilingual Gilboa, Chinese was both a challenge and an opportunity, but he made the leap successfully and now he's tri-lingual.

 "I learned Chinese during an intensive three-month program at Middlebury College in Vermont, and then during four more months of study at Nanjing University in China and finally another three months studying on my own in Qingdao also in China," he said. "Throughout that period I was very  intent on learning Mandarin, and I focused on it quite exclusively."

Gillboa notes that although he was born in Israel and has an Israeli name, he is culturally more American in outlook than a typical Israeli since he moved to America before he was five and spent the rest of childhood and young adulthood on the East Coast.

At Wesleyan, his dreams and ambitions began to emerge, but Singapore was not on his radar at all, he recalls. "My major was actually a liberal arts combination of history, economics and political science," he said.

When asked how he made the jump to Asia, Gilboa said: "I first visited Asia during my junior year at Wesleyan. My decision to go to China was really based on just a whim. At that time, Japan was the so-called 'hot' destination, so my choice of China was somewhat contrarian. I knew I wanted to go abroad to study and just somehow picked China."

When asked what it's like to be a foreign TV star in Singapore, and if people recognize him on the street, Gilboa is modest is about his achievements there.

 "Saying I'm a TV star is an exaggeration, and it's not false
 modesty," he said. "My roles are usually just a couple of scenes in a couple episodes of what might be a 20-part or even 40-part TV drama. Also, my roles tend to be 'character

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DRUMMER—Notwithstanding his acting career, Gilboa considers himself principally a musician. Photo from his website

actor' types of roles, in whichthere's not a lot of character development. For the most part, my roles are to serve as a foil or an obstacle or a rescuer for the main characters to  respond to."

But do people recognize him on the streets of Singapore, this reporter wanted to know.

 "Well, yes, from time to time, there are definitely people who
 recognize me here, but what's funny is that the most common reaction seems to be that they know they've seen me before, but they're not sure where they saw me," he said.

When asked about the new show that debuts on Tuesday, Gilboa said:  "The next is something quite different from my earlier work in dramatic shows, as this is a talk show featuring
eight Chinese-speaking foreigners from various countries, with me representing Israel. Obviously, I'll have much more screen time with this than in my usual role and also it will be as myself rather than as a minor character opposite some of Singapore's top TV stars. Whether this will have a huge impact on my 'street recognition level' or not will be seen on May 26, which is the first time that the taped show is scheduled to air."

 Are there movie roles in this man's future? For the time being, most  of Gilboa's roles are for TV shows, but he has auditioned for a few movie roles, too, he noted. While none of the movie auditions panned out, he added that if something comes up one day for a movie role in Singapore, he's ready.

 "I'll happily appear in movies in the future if any offers come my way," he said.

Gilboa made international headlines about ten years ago when a book he wrote about his expat life in Cambodia, titled Off the Rails in Phnom Penh, was reviewed in Time magazine and other publications. He has  also worked as a musician and an Asian dance drummer, and says that he considers his main job
 title now as "musician."

 "I'd have to say that I'm a musician since really that is my main  source of income now and most of my jobs are music-based," he said.

 "However, I also had a sort of long transition from writer to dance drummer; basically over an 18-month period where I took fewer and fewer writing jobs as I got more and more drumming jobs. So it's possible the same thing could happen with acting."

 "However, I enjoy the drumming more than I did the writing, so there is less pushing me to make the transition. And now, for the first timein twenty years, I'm actually making a concerted effort to improve my Chinese skills, so if I were able to speak even more fluently, there might be some opportunities that I'm not getting just yet," he said.

 He also says he enjoys watching the TV shows he's on at home with his wife sitting next to him.

 "Lily is very supportive of my television work," he said. "If I'm
 unhappy with something in a certain scene, she'll keep me on an even keel, and if I'm really happy with a particular scene, she'll celebrate with me. We both get a kick out of it."

When asked what his two-year-old daughter Liya says when she sees her father on the TV screen in Singapore, Gilboa said: "She looks at the screen and says 'Aba!'"

Little Ron Gilboa is still too young to understand what's going on, but one day he will.

Bloom, an American expatriate journalist living in Taiwan, keeps in touch with the rest of the Jewish world by paying close attention to the Internet.

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Editor's Mailbox: National news of Jewish interest

House passes Weiner bill
against tobacco trafficking

WASHINGTON, D.C (Press Release)-- The House on Thursday passed legislation to give law enforcement new tools to crack down on smugglers of tobacco and curb illicit tobacco sales over the Internet.

The Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT) of 2008, sponsored by Representative Anthony D. Weiner (D – Brooklyn and Queens), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, passed the House today by a vote of 397 to 11.

The bill makes it a felony for selling tobacco in violation of any state tax law and effectively ends Internet tobacco smuggling by stopping shipments of cigarettes through the United States Postal Service. FedEx, UPS, and DHL have already agreed not to mail tobacco.

By some estimates, New York State loses $1 billion from tobacco smuggling. A study by Rep. Weiner’s office found that New York City may be losing as much as $150 million due to Internet tobacco sites. According to a recent Government Office of Accountability (GAO) report, Hezbollah profited $1.5 million from the sale of illegal tobacco from 1996-2000.

PACT contains the following measures: 1. Strengthens the Jenkins Act: Increases existing penalties from a misdemeanor to a felony, making it a federal offense for any seller making a sale via telephone, the mail, or the internet to fail to comply with all state tax laws. The legislation also empowers each state to enforce the federal law against out-of-state sellers sending delivery sales into its state by giving state Attorneys General the authority to seek injunctive relief and civil penalties against violators.

2. List Enforcement: Empowers the Attorney General to compile a list of delivery sellers who fail to comply with this act or states' tax laws.

3. Age Verification: Requires internet and other remote sellers to verify the purchaser's age and identity through easily accessible databases. It also requires the person accepting delivery to verify their age.

4. Tobacco as Non-Mailable Matter: Makes cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products non-mailable matter through USPS, except in limited cases. While FedEx, UPS and DHL have agreed not to ship tobacco products, USPS has continued to deliver tobacco products bought over the Internet.

5. ATF Inspection Authority and Funding: Grants the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives inspection authority for distributors of cigarettes and creates a penalty for those who refuse inspection. Additionally, the legislation would provide the ATF new resources to crack down on tobacco smuggling, including creating a regional tobacco trafficking team in New York City.

Weiner said, “This new crack down on the illegal sale of tobacco will close a major source of finances for global terrorists and criminals. Every day we delay is another day that New York loses significant amounts of tax revenue and kids have easy access to tobacco products sold over the internet.”

Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said, “We applaud Representative Weiner for working tirelessly to pass the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (H.R. 1676). The PACT Act will help prevent and reduce smoking and other tobacco use by preventing the illegal sale of tax-evading, low-priced cigarettes and smokeless tobacco over the Internet and making sure that Internet and other mail-order sellers do not sell to minors. Indeed, the PACT Act offers Congress a unique opportunity to fight crime, protect federal and state tax revenues, and promote public health, all at the same time.”

Preceding provided by Congressman Anthony Weiner

Federal-option health coverage
urged by 28 U.S. senators

WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release)– Twenty-eight U.S. Senators on Thursday introduced a resolution calling for the inclusion of federally-backed health insurance option in health care reform. The Senators resolution says that any reform of our nation’s health care system should give consumers a choice of an affordable, federally-backed option to introduce competition in the health insurance market and contain health care costs. A copy of the resolution can be found here.

The Senators’ resolution expresses that the "presence of a federally-backed insurance pool” would provide consumer choice and benefit  “Americans who have become unemployed, live in rural and other traditionally underserved areas, or have been unable to attain affordable health insurance.”

The resolution states that “any efforts to reform our Nation’s health care system should include as an option the establishment of a federally-backed insurance pool to create options for American consumers.

“In this tough economy, we need to do all we can to help families afford to see a doctor, buy medicines they need to stay healthy and choose the health care coverage they need,” Sen. Frank Lautenberg (Democrat, New Jersey) said.  “Greater choice and greater competition helps ensure consumers can get real coverage at more affordable prices and should be a part of national health care reform.”

  “A public health insurance option is critical to ensure the greatest amount of choice possible for consumers,” Sen. Charles Schumer (Democrat, New York) said. “We believe that it is fully possible to create a public plan that delivers all the benefits of increased competition without relying on unfair, built-in advantages. If a level playing field exists, then private insurers will have to compete based on quality of care and pricing, instead of just competing for the healthiest consumers.”

“We have a moral obligation to ensure all Americans have access to affordable and high quality health care,” Sen. Carl Levin (Democrat, Michigan) said.  “One step toward achieving that goal is to ensure that we explore all possible health insurance options, including a federally-backed health insurance pool, as we continue to move forward in determining the best way to reform health care.”

Preceding provided by Senator Frank Lautenberg. Editor's Note: Of the 28 Senate cosponsors, seven were Jewish members, including Lautenberg, Schumer, Levin and Senators Barbara Boxer (Democrat, California), Bernie Sanders (Independent, Vermont), Ted Kaufman (Democrat, Dealaware), and Benjamin Cardin (Democrat, Maryland).

Boxer calls for refunding of
Economic Development Admin.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)— Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat, California), chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, made the following comments on Thursday during a hearing on oversight of the Economic Development Administration.

"Created during the Johnson Administration, the Economic Development Administration has a long history of helping economically distressed communities foster the jobs and businesses necessary to maintain strong, healthy communities.

From providing funding for water and sewer improvements to helping manufacturers and producers become more competitive in a global marketplace, the Economic Development Administration provides valuable assistance to communities across our nation. And, it's cost effective.

EDA has an especially important role to play in these challenging economic times.

When the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development (Benjamin Erulkar) testified before this Committee in September, he stated that from fiscal year 2004 to 2008, EDA awarded over $1.29 billion in investments which were expected to create 392,413 jobs at an average cost of $2,507 per job.

Not only is EDA providing Federal funding that creates jobs, these Federal dollars spur large amounts of private sector investment. According to EDA, over the same 2004 to 2008 time frame, for every $1 in Federal funding EDA invested in communities, about $33 in private sector investment was created.

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Congress recognized EDA's unique role in job creation and economic development by providing its Economic Development Assistance Programs with $150 million in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). I look forward to hearing today about how those funds have been distributed and how ARRA is helping EDA address needs in communities across the nation.

Similarly, Congress provided EDA with a total of $500 million in natural disaster assistance through supplemental appropriations in fiscal years 2008 and 2009. I look forward to hearing today about how these funds are being used to support long-term post disaster economic recovery in response to hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters.

EDA's authorization expired at the end of September 2008, but the agency has been able to continue operating through the appropriation of funds. This Committee intends to reauthorize EDA and to work to ensure it has the resources necessary to fulfill its mission in the future.

Preceding provided by Senator Barbara Boxer

Wyden, Cardin call for better
home care for chronically ill

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)– With the goal of keeping chronically ill Medicare patients in their homes and also improving their health care, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (Democrat, Oregon.) and U.S. Representative Ed Markey (Democrat, Massachusetts) co-chairman of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease and senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, on Thursday introduced the “Independence at Home Act.”

The bill will create a pilot program to bring primary care medical services to Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions in their homes. It will offer incentives for providing patients with care options that offer greater independence and quality of life while reducing costs. Pilot programs will be set up in 26 states and has attracted bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, including: Senators Richard Burr (Republican, North Carolina ), Ben Cardin, (Democrat, Maryland) and Sheldon Whitehouse (Democrat, Rhode Island) and Representative Chris Smith (Republican, New Jersey).

“Patients with multiple chronic conditions spend far too much of their time trying to coordinate an inefficient and expensive patchwork of healthcare delivery systems, leaving little time to enjoy their lives,” Wyden said. “The Independence at Home Act will address the challenges of caring for persons with chronic conditions by better integrating their care and working with their caregivers to manage their conditions and medications.”

“Our current health care system does a poor job caring for seriously ill Americans, who often are ‘lost in transition’, struggling to manage multiple illnesses as they transition between emergency room, hospital, nursing facility and home,” Markey said. "Our bill holds great promise for reducing hospitalizations, preventing medication errors, and lifting the spirits of those who, after a lifetime of contributions to our society, deserve the dignity and peace of mind that comes with living independently.”

Preceding provided by Senator Ron Wyden

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Editor's Mailbag: Local and state news of Jewish Interest
Items for us? Please send them to editor@sandiegojewishworld.com

World of Jewtopia set for 3 dates
in June at Lawrence Family JCC

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)--After record-breaking off-Broadway, Los Angeles, Chicago, Florida, and Toronto runs, Bryan Fogel and Sam Wolfson, the creators and stars of Jewtopia, return to San Diego with World of Jewtopia.  The hilarious and irreverent duo performs at the David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre, Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, for three performances only on June 13 at 8:15 p.m. and on June 14 at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

World of Jewtopia is a 90-minute one act show starring Fogel and Wolfson that combines scenes from their original show (Jewtopia), re-enactments from their bestselling book, (Jewtopia: The Chosen Book for the Chosen People), interactive audience participation (i.e. the Jewish “Apollo”),  stand-up comedy, and a dazzling multimedia presentation for an outrageously funny, one-of-a-kind event.

Among the many topics covered are:

  • How to pick the perfect restaurant table (because no table is right if you're a Jew)
  • How to properly disinfect your hotel room to avoid catching the plague when on vacation
  • Major Moments in Jewish History (1993:  Rabin and Arafat sign a Middle East Peace Treaty.  Immediately after, Bill Clinton says, "Hey let's go celebrate!  I've got a Jewish girl in my office I think you'll love!")
  • Actual excerpts from Moses' recently discovered diaries (Dear Diary – Um…it's been like five years and I got to be honest, I AM LOST!")

The off-Broadway sensation Jewtopia opened in New York on September 28, 2004, following a 16-month sold-out run at West Hollywood’s Coast Playhouse, where it still holds the record as Los Angeles’ longest-running comedy.  At the conclusion of its off-Broadway run, Jewtopia played 1,079 performances, making it the longest running off-Broadway comedy in New York history.  The show has also enjoyed long runs in Chicago, Florida, Toronto, Atlanta and Sarasota.

In November of 2006, Bryan and Sam celebrated the publication of Jewtopia: The Chosen Book for the Chosen People, an over-the-top, four-color, fully illustrated coffee-table book (Warner Books) that led to their appearance on ABC’s The View

In 2009, they will begin production on a feature film inspired by Jewtopia entitled O’Connell and Lipschitz Lose their Religion.  Henry Winkler, Carrie Fisher, Larry Miller and both Fogel and Wolfson are thus far attached to star.  Additionally, the comedic duo has an animated pilot in development, Middletown, and have just completed work on another screenplay entitled Bisbee

Preceding provided by San Diego Center for Jewish Culture

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MEDIA WATCH, aka "Here's the link"

San Diego News Networkreports, in Tom Blair's column, that Senator Arlen Specter, who recently switched to the Democratic party, will be in La Jolla on Tuesday for a fundraiser which has attracted, among other contributors, comedian David Brenner. Here's the link. ... Rabbi Philip Graubart of Congregation Beth El describes his experiences and thoughts following the publication in the San Diego Union-Tribune of a column by his brother, Jonathan, that was very critical of Israel. Here' the link.

The San Diego Union-Tribune, in its Friday edition, had a page A2 story about Adam Lambert saying he isn't upset by his surprise loss on American Idol. Here's the link.Other stories played deeper inside included a New York Times piece on the foiled plot by four Muslim ex-cons to blow up synagogues in New York City (Here's the link); and an Associated Press piece with the unfriendly headline "Netanyahu won't budge on Jerusalem" (Here's the link). The local section followed up on the school girl who was prevented from giving a report about Harvey Milk, and the ACLU's quest for an apology to her. (Here's the link), and in the Opinion section a Steve Breen cartoon had Adam Lambert responding "But I have talent" to a San Diego Padre who was empathizing with his loss on national television. (Here's the link). There was also a syndicated column by Trudy Rubin headlined, "If Obama spoke frankly on Israel." (Here's the link)

Voice of San Diego has a feature on entrepreneur Lee Stein offering prizes for companies helping to develop new industries. Here's the link ... Another feature is about Nan Sterman, described as a "bona fide plant fanatic." Here's the link.

Chabad of La Costa picks special date to honor special people

CARLSBAD, California--Chabad of La Costa announces that "because we have the world's greatest and most dedicated corps of volunteers we will be having a very special Kiddush in honor of our volunteers on Shabbat, June 13 (that's 6/13). And yes, we picked the date 6/13 on purpose because, as we know, 613 is the number of commandments.

Preceding provided by Chabad of La Costa

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Spotlight on Jewish public officials: California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner:

COMMISSIONER AT WORK—Steve Poizner, California State Insurance Commissioner, talks with Karla Carroll about her post-
fire insurance situation, and, below, listens as Assemblyman Joel Anderson descrbes his bill to protect certain fire victims
against automatic property tax increases. {Donald H. Harrison photos}

Poizner, Klein back bills to aid natural disaster victims

By Donald H. Harrison

CREST, California -- With fire season approaching this summer in California, and with hurricane season soon to follow in Florida, two Jewish public officials from opposite sides of the country –California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and U.S. Congressman Ron Klein of Florida--are working to soften the blows to victims of natural catastrophes.

Poizner appeared at a news conference Friday in this unincorporated foothill town east of El Cajon to endorse legislation by a fellow Republican,  Assemblyman Joel Anderson of El Cajon, to stave off automatic property tax increases for fire victims who have not rebuilt their homes within five years following the disaster.

The two California officeholders stood on vacant land from which the burned down ruins of Karla Carroll’s 1,250 square foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home had been removed after the 2003 “Cedar” fire –a conflagration that burned over 280,278 acres, destroying 2,232 homes.Carroll and Pam Mitchell, a neighbor whose home also had been destroyed, stood by the officials to support their legislation.

Anderson’s bill, AB 157, would extend the limit from five years to seven years before owners of fire-destroyed property would have their properties reassessed for taxes.   Under California’s “Proposition 13 law”—a ballot initiative enacted by voters in 1978—homes may not be reassessed until they are either sold or rebuilt, with a five-year exception made for those homes that were rebuilt as a result of a  disaster.

Carroll and Mitchell told the media that while five years may sound like sufficient time to rebuild a home, the limit does not take into account all the bureaucratic delays homeowners can encounter, nor the problems they might have negotiating a settlement with insurance companies.

Mitchell said her husband is a general contractor and that they had managed to rebuild their home just under the wire.  Just getting building permits and other paper work consumed two of those years, she said.

Carroll, who had lived with her husband and mother in law on the property prior to the fire, said she has been in a dispute for compensation with her insurance carrier.  “I was under insured through no fault of my own,” she said.  Until the matter can be settled, she can’t begin rebuilding.  The mother-in-law, who is disabled, has since moved to other quarters, but the Carrolls continue to live on the property in a trailer. 

Every now and then, she said, representatives of the county government tell her the trailer violates zoning standards for the area, but thus far the officials have been willing to waive enforcement action against the fire victims.

Poizner said that for the State Department of Insurance “getting victims back on their feet” is a priority.  He said he considered Anderson’s legislation needed so as not to further penalize the people whose homes were burned after a lost hunter set off a road flare in too-dry back country, igniting the conflagration.

Noting that 80 homes already have been destroyed by fire in Santa Barbara this year, in advance of the  official beginning of summer, Poizner said he feared 2009 could bring the worst fire season of all.

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He urged Californians to take two steps to protect themselves from future problems with their insurer.  First, he said, they should call their insurance brokers to make certain their policies are updated, reflecting any additions that have been made to the property that could affect its value.

Second, he said, everyone should create a digital inventory of his or her homes and the store that inventory somewhere else.  Such records “can be real life savers,” he said.   He noted that a guide for preparing such inventories can be downloaded from his department’s website.   Here is the link

Meanwhile, Congressman Klein, whose district is in the area surrounding Palm Beach, Florida,  has introduced federal legislation that would enable states across the nation to share their risk against catastrophes by creating a consortium.

Under the legislation, participating states would be required to have their own programs in place to protect residents against such natural disasters as wildfires, earthquakes and hurricanes.

Asked about Klein’s legislation at his California news conference, Poizner replied, “I strongly support a federal insurance pool, especially for earthquakes.”  He explained that many insurance carriers in California refuse to issue policies protecting homeowners against earthquake damage.

Klein (pictured at right) issued a press release on Thursday explaining his legislation, which he calls “The Homeowners Defense Act of 2009.”  He said the bill “allows states that choose to participate in a national catastrophe insurance pool to spread the risk of natural disasters in order to bring down costs for everyone.

“In these difficult economic times, the skyrocketing cost of homeowners’ insurance is pushing more and more families to the brink,” Klein said. “Now is the time for a common-sense solution that brings real relief to families in South Florida and around the country. … Whether it is a hurricane in Florida, an earthquake in California, a wildfire in Arizona or a tornado in Kansas, there is no reason why we can’t spread the risk across states and natural disasters in order to bring down prices for homeowners,” Klein said. “At its heart, this bill is designed to make sure insurance is doing what it is supposed to do: spread the risk.”

He said the measure, HR 2555, already has  40 co-sponsors from 21 states. “Prospects for passage are extremely favorable, buoyed by the innovative approach and strong support of President Obama, who co-sponsored the legislation as a member of the U.S. Senate two years ago,” Klein said.

Harrison's email: editor@sandiegojewishworld.com

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BaMidbar teaches us the necessity of working together

By Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal

SAN DIEGO--During morning minyan Sol Minsberg said to me, "Just think how organized those Israelites had to be! Can you imagine how difficult coordinating over 600,000 people must have been?"

Sol was referring to Thursday morning's Torah reading. The book of Bamidbar (Numbers) begins with a census of the Israelites and then goes on to elaborately describe the logistics of their encampment in the Sinai dessert. The parasha also depicts how they broke camp and the assignments of Kohanim and Levi'im in transporting the Mishkan and its sacred objects and furnishings.

Although not completely analogous, one sees a similar type of ritual geography and choreography when we remove and return the Torah to the Ark. Everyone on the Bimah and in the congregation knows exactly what to do as the Ark doors open, the Torah is removed, and presented before and paraded through the congregation. (I have strong memories of how jolted we were when, during a Bar Mitzvah, family members came up to open the Ark only to discover it was still locked!)

I remarked to Sol that it is a good thing that the Israelites were better organized and unified than the Jewish community today! If the Israelites had been as disjointed and polarized as Jews today, we would still be wandering in the desert!

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Perhaps the challenge of fewer donations and less capital will also inspire Jewish institutions to do the same. Perhaps we will be inspired and motivated to eliminate some of the duplications of services that exist and to work more cooperatively with each other.

Many people have suggested that the economic downturn may provide blessings as well as curses for businesses and institutions. The challenge may compel them to review their missions and goals, and become more responsible, responsive, and accountable.

By working together our Israelite ancestors were able to withstand the challenges of their forty year desert sojourn. By working together today, not only will the Jewish community survive these difficult times, but benefit from them.

Rabbi Rosenthal is spiritual leader of Tifereth Israel Synagogue

BaMidbar from G-dcast

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



The startling things that her 'guru' didn't tell her

By Rabbi Baruch Lederman

SAN DIEGO—Rosh Chodesh teaches us a lesson of hope. Every month the moon shrinks and shrinks. Just as it gets to the point that it looks like it will vanish into oblivion, it turns around and
grows and grows to grand and glorious fullness. No matter how bleak things look, or how low we sink; we can turn around and triumph as the following true story, heard from Rabbi
Shaya Cohen, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Zichron Aryeh and National Director of Priority-1, illustrates:

Ellen Silverstein grew up in suburban Long Island. Like most girls in her milieu, her life centered around boys, television, and the mall. But after graduating High School, she started
to realize how meaningless and superficial her life really was. She began to feel that there must be something more. She wanted answers. She sought a sense of spirituality. Since
she was Jewish, she did the natural thing - she arranged to travel to India and study under a guru.

She found such a spiritual counselor and became a devoted disciple. She drank with thirst, all of the mystical concepts of this man's version of an eastern religion. Indeed, the guru enabled her to see the light. So outstanding was she that she soon became a favorite pupil.

The guru always had an interest in finding out what they taught in religious schools in Israel. He decided that since he had Ellen who was Jewish, he could plant her in a Yeshivah
to learn Jewish religion 'undercover'. He paid for her to attend a seminary for Jewish women in Israel. Her mission was to study there for three months, gather information, and debrief
the guru back in India.

She remembered how mundane the Jewish study was compared to eastern philosophy. The guru plumbed the unfathomable secrets of the universe with astonishing celestial

The seminary on the other hand, taught dreary tedious things such as hashavas aveida, laws of returning lost objects. But it

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wasn't enough that they had to even deal with this
"extremely exciting" topic, they then had to spend days on end listing every painstaking detail of does it have any identifying marks or scratches, which scratches are considered valid identifiers, what if it is not identifiable, what if it's in a public area, what if it's on private property, how do you know if it's lost at all maybe it was left there on purpose, what if the owner doesn't' even care any more, at what point did he not care. And on and on and on.

Ellen was particularly uninspired. Only the sheer absurdity made it somewhat interesting. Meanwhile, she endured through her three month assignment anxious to get by to her

She returned to India and continued her indoctrination, excelling to elite apprentice status. One day she was strolling outside deep in discussion with her guru. As they were
walking, they came upon a wallet lying on the ground. The guru picked up the wallet, passed over the owner's drivers license, found and removed the cash, threw the wallet back
on the ground, and continued walking.

Ellen looked on in horror. "How could you do that?" she stammered, "Shouldn't you call the owner?"

"You do not understand my child," the guru responded, "The owner would have used it for the physical. I will use it for the spiritual."

This episode shook Ellen to the core. As the days and weeks went by, she could not get the incident out of her mind, she began to notice more and more disturbing things about
the spiritual leader and the whole religion. Indeed, she now was able to see beyond the light.

She also began to realize that the "dreary tedious" laws represented the unflinching integrity of Torah Judaism. She left the guru, returned to Israel. Realizing now, that there was
much more to Torah than meets the eye, she reregistered in the same seminary in Jerusalem - this time with an entirely different attitude. The second time around, she thrived and
loved every minute of it. Ellen has since settled in Israel, married and is raising an observant Jewish family.

L'zecher nishmas Hazikainim Alexsander V'Rivka, a"h.

Rabbi Lederman is spiritual leader of Congregation Kehillas Torah of San Diego. His email: rbl613@nethere.com


Bible in Pop Culture: 'Let the earth sprout vegetation...'

Genesis 1:11

God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation; herbage yielding seed, fruit trees yielding fruit each after its kin, containing its own seed on the earth." And it was so.

Rick Elizaga, a graphic artist based in Kyoto, Japan designed the
"earth sprout" logo for the environmental group Green World. Here's a link to his work.

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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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.

The Titanic: April 14, 1912
“The Titanic sunk! Icebergs! Thousands of people drown!”

This was like the opening of anopera, a chaotic scene just as the curtain separated to the discordant tuning of an orchestra,
homemade on Potomac Avenue, a chilly day for the people to come running out of their houses.

“The Titanic sunk!” The newsboy jostled by the crowd seeking headlines and front pages. “What’s the tummel?” The immigrants, shouting in Polish, Italian, Yiddish, forgetting their English for the moment. The organ grinder churning an Italian aria, giving us his best voice in competition with the fish peddler who is yelling, “Women! I got a new scale,” beating on metal that hung mysteriously from a chain, his horse’s hooves clobbering the street.

And there we were my mother, father, and me in a sideshow at the foot of our stairs. “You finally came to take her to the doctor,” my mother said, pointing at my father’s dirty old cigar that he kept chewing and mashing in his mouth. His sharp black eyes staring angrily at her from the top of her messy hair to the bottom of the faded apron dragging below her ankles.

Laura Simon's parents, Chaya and Edward Walchak

"Look, look," she said, "at what I look like. Suffering with you I'm now an old woman at 28.And you promised me and God and your mother that I would sit on a chair all my life with servants
around me if I married you, you, . . . you swine! I look like a wash-woman. So now you don't have to worry about the Missus and the Boarder."

A cry in his voice, “I stepped into America with two left feet. No money, no luck. And theocean didn’t drown me! First I had to pay the lawyer for the divorce, and now this! A doctor? She
should stop running around with the boys in the street. Her knee doesn’t hurt her then.”

“And what about me?” my mother said, “I’m still rocking from the boat, a miracle it didn'tsink, the waves throwing over big fish to kill us. I came all the way from Odessa with my family to
find you in a cigar factory to suffer you all my life."

“I don’t want to hear about your family, a bunch of gonuven, your brothers, sisters, mother,father, cousins, uncles -- and the Czar, if he lives in Chicago,” his voice drowned out by the rush of people following the newsboy yelling, “A boatload of people sunk in the ocean.”

“Is that like the boat I sailed in the washtub in the kitchen?” I asked. “Or is it the canoe in Humboldt Park? When you stand up, the boat turns over and people can drown.”

“Don’t forget to tell the doctor to see what’s wrong with her foot. She can be a cripple.”

My Father Takes Me to the Doctor

“Let’s go!” Still angry, he weaves me in and out of the crowds away from the clamor of wagon-wheels, street-sweepers, and the smells of garbage. Bewildered, I’m saying, “The streetcar, it’s all open, no doors. Why are those men standing on that long step holding their hats? They’ll fall off!”

“Don’t worry,” he says. “I’ll pick them up. I got my star with me. See?” sticking his finger inside his jacket.

Thinking, I never saw this kind of streetcar before. No windows, people sitting in the wind.What do they do when it rains? Trees! Is this Humboldt Park already?

“Papa, is the lagoon as wide as the ocean? I don’t want to go on a

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rowboat and drown.”

“We’re going up to see the doctor.”

“Why?” I interrupt. “What’s he going to do to me? I like the druggist better.”

He wipes his wet cigar on his fingers and puts it in his pocket.

I walk up the stairs carefully so my knee won’t hurt. And when the doctor greets us, my father sounds worried. “She’s got a very bad knee. She can’t walk.”

I feel silly and start to laugh when I sit down, and elbow some bottles over that smell just like the alcohol my mother rubs on her legs when she comes home from the cigar factory at night.

“What did you have for breakfast?” the doctor asks.


“And for lunch?”

I wasn’t sure. “I don’t like sardines,” I say. “I have to eat the bones and everything inside, so my mother says, ‘Eat the bread! Don’t throw it around.’ I do it anyway. She doesn’t like to clean it up,” and I laugh again.

“Ouch, my knee!” He doesn’t hear.

“Where does it hurt?”

“I don’t know,” and I’m laughing. He’s squeezing my leg and wiggling my toes. My leg! My foot!

“Behave yourself, Laura!” my father says. “You’re almost seven years old already."

“When my little girls act like that, they have to sit on a chair until they apologize.”

My father’s face, angry. “She’s so stubborn, she’d sit there all day.”

The doctor is tapping a little hammer on my knee. My foot goes up and I fall against him. I’m grabbing hold of some kind of metal thing around his neck to save myself. If I had that, all the kids would follow me. They would want it. They would like me. When I touch it again, he pushes my hand away.

“Let me see you walk."

I go as far as the white screen. What’s behind it? A boarder? I can’t stop laughing. He waves me back.

“Did anything hurt when you walk? How did your knee feel? Sit down again here.” He lifts my foot and moves it up and down. “Does it hurt?”

“I’m Jewish,” I say. “My mother’s Jewish, so I’m Jewish too."

“I don’t count!” my father yells out.

“There is nothing wrong with her knee,” the doctor says.

“Nothing wrong? I’m a poor man,” now he’s really mad. “I’m a nothing. You see this scar?”

“I didn’t do it,” I say, laughing.

“She wanted a divorce, she got a divorce. I’m a poor man. Now I have to go to the bank to get the five dollars to give her.”

When the doctor didn’t respond, my father had to find some money in a pocket. The doctor took that thing off his neck, and he was handing it to me. “Take it,” he said. I stepped back. I didn’t want it now. It belongs in a horse’s mouth.

“Take it. Feel it. Maybe you’ll be a doctor some day too. Women are coming that way. You’ll see.”

I still refused to touch it.

The doctor turned away from the dollars my father left on the table for him. Going home, I thought we were lost. He seemed so angry. He was just walking in circles and I’m following him.

“Do re me fa so la ti do. A, B, C, my mother plays the piano.”
He took the cigar out of his mouth and spit to the side.

When I walked up the stairs, he said, “You didn’t say one word to me. Don’t you know that I took you to the doctor?”

I kept walking. When I went in, my little sister and brother were playing on the floor.

“What did the doctor say? Did he give you a medicine? Does it hurt?”

I was afraid to say that my knee cracked sometimes when I walked. I didn’t want to go back to that doctor. He looked different. He had a bushy beard, bushy hair. He didn’t look at all like the druggist.

My mother is at the stove mumbling to the pot of oatmeal as we hang on to her. Warmer at the stove. “No wonder I took the three children and left him. I couldn’t look at him.” The oatmeal didn’t seem to care. It still smelled like oatmeal. And I couldn’t look at the oatmeal, deciding then and there that I couldn’t look at my father anymore either. And, I didn’t.

Next week: The Ruby Vase

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

Synagogues To Sponsor
Clyde Beatty Circus

Southwestern Jewish Press April 3, 1953, page 2

Congregations Beth Jacob and Tifereth Israel, will sponsor the Clyde Beatty Circus, which will appear in San Diego, April 16-19.

As part of this project, more than 6000 underprivileged children in the San Diego area will be guests at the Circus.  Local merchants are making available the tickets for these children.

Chairman Sam Druskin has announced that the following institutions have already received tickets for their youngsters:  Boys and Girls Aid Society, San Diego Boys Club, National City Boys Club, Boy Scouts, Children’s Hospital, Girl Scouts, Nazareth House, Neighborhood House, San Diego Children’s Home, Navy Relief and County Welfare Department.

We strongly urge the community to support the coming Clyde Beatty performance by purchasing tickets for themselves, and asking their friends to do likewise.

Young Jewish Couples
Southwestern Jewish Press April 3, 1953, page 2

In commemoration of Passover the Young Jewish Couples Club will have a Pesach Celebration at the Tifereth Israel Synagogue, Sunday evening, April 5, at 8:00 p.m.

At that time Rabbi Monroe Levens will discuss the similarities and differences of the conception of freedom as felt by the Jews when they left Egypt and as understood by Americans today as shown in the interpretation of their laws and in the United Nations.

All members and their friends are urged to attend.

City of Hope Auxiliary
Southwestern Jewish Press April 3, 1953, page 2

Please be sure to attend a luncheon, to be given April 23rd, at noon, at Beth Jacob Center which is being sponsored by Mrs. Harris Lipinsky, in memory of her beloved Husband, Harris, and beloved daughter, Jane.  Mrs. Jerry Aronoff, Pres., informs us this will be a most enjoyable afternoon as there will be no business, social to follow luncheon.  Chairman for this luncheon, is Goldie Schusterman.  She has on her committee, Anne Shelley, Elizabeth Sheinberg, Beckie Bard, Bess Siegal, and Betty Schwartz.  All monies coming in from the luncheon will be donated to the Cancer Wing of City of Hope at Duarte.  This luncheon replaces our regular meeting, please remember, there will not be any meeting on the third Tuesday of April.

Linda’s Lookout
Southwestern Jewish Press April 3, 1953, page 3

By Linda Solof

Happy Pesach to everyone.  I hope all of you had a wonderful Sedar and are enjoying your matzohs.

Come one, come all, to the T.Y.L.’s terrific dance “Barnyard Bounce.” It will be held on April 11 from 8:00 to 12:00 at the Temple Center, Third and Laurel.  It’s only $1.00 per couple.  There will be entertainment—Bill Finch’s band—Refreshments—a really sharp time for all.   

Happy birthday to Harriet Silverman on her 15th birthday.  She celebrated at a luncheon given for her friends including Helene Kaufman, Janice Klaskin, Janet and Susan Solof, Linda Douglas, Sharlene Stone and Dianne Fogelman.  The gals had a wonderful time!  Many happy returns of the day, Harriet!

Put on your Levis on April 11, Saturday nite and go to the Beth Jacob Center.  The Beth Jacob group is giving “Western Roundup” from 8:00 to 12:00.  It’s bound to be a rip-snortin’evenin’.

“Coketails for Two”was the theme for Burt Sharpe’s coketail party before the State College R.O.T.C. Ball.  Among his guests were Bobby Glickman, Beverly Addleson ‘n Dick Godes, Beverly Kitaen ‘n Bernie Sosna, Your’s Truly ‘n Aaron Kolkey, Bob Waller, Harry Hamber, Don Solomon, and their dates.
Happy birthday to Michael Paul Blanc who just celebrated his 2nd birthday with some of his young friends.
Bye now—W.5-0679.

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Temple Teens
Southwestern Jewish Press April 3, 1953, page 3

By Susan Solof

It’s here.  “Passover Panic.” On April 4, Saturday night at the Temple Center, Third and Laurel at 8:15 p.m.  This fun packed evening will start off with a talent show and cabaret with wonderful (???) variety acts.  Admission is only 25 cents per person.  This small fee will go to “Kitchen Kash” fund of the Temple Sisterhood.  After the show will be dancing and refreshments with a surprise raffle.

Parents, friends, neighbors, aunts, uncles and grandparents, won’t want to miss “Passover Panic”—so bring them all.  See you April 4.

Beth Jacob Sisterhood
Southwestern Jewish Press April 3, 1953, page 3

The next regular meeting of Beth Jacob Sisterhood is to be held Tuesday, April 28th, at 12 noon, in Beth Jacob Center.  Mrs. Bernard Godes, president, urges your attendance as this meeting is set aside for nominations, which should be of interest to all members.  Friends are also invited because immediately after nominations, Mrs. Marvin Bobroff, Program Chairman promises a delightful program.  Goldie Schusterman is chairman for this luncheon.

Jewish Appeal Workers Gird
for ‘Action’ Campaign

Southwestern Jewish Press April 3, 1953, page 3

Monday, April 13, will begin an intensive week of work by volunteers in an effort to speed the 1953 United Jewish Fund Campaign to a fast and successful conclusion, according to Carl M. Esenoff and Milton Y. Roberts, chairman and co-chairman of this year’s Combined Jewish Appeal.

City Wide solicitation will start with a breakfast for workers at 8:30 a.m. on Monday April 13 at the San Diego Hotel and will end with celebration of the 5th Anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel on Sunday, April 19, at 8:00 p.m. in the Temple Center.

The week will be a busy one for all workers.  It will be preceded by the Christian Division Luncheon on April 10th under the chairmanship of Graydon Hoffman.  During the week, on Tuesday, April 14, the Testimonial Luncheon for Ida Nasatir will be held for all women at the El Cortez Hotel.

Julius Schwitkis, executive and manager of A. L. Hart Company of San Diego, and Jerome Freedman, president of the Retail Liquor Association, will head the Liquor Division for the United Jewish Fund Campaign, according to the announcement.

Harry Wax, chairman of the Commerce and Professional Division for the campaign, also announced the names of Fund organization chairmen, who will be responsible for the securing of volunteer solicitors.  These were Mrs. Sidney Goldstein, Beth Israel Sisterhood, Sam Addleson, Tifereth Israel Synagogue; Mrs. Bernard Godes, Beth Jacob Sisterhood; Mrs. Joseph Krone, Bay City B’nai B’rith; William Schwartz, Lasker Lodge B’nai B’rith; John Kluchin, Samuel I. Fox Lodge, B’nai B’rith; Hadassah, Evelyn Binder.

Others announced were Birdie Stodel B’nai B’rith, Mrs. Ted Brav; City of Hope Auxiliary, Jennie Bloomfield; City of Hope Juniors, Mrs. Maekoff and Mrs. Sylvia Karzen.

The Jewish War Veterans announced the appointment of J. David Brooks, Allan Lame, Manny Fisher, Ben Snyder, Ralph Feldman, and Stanley Yukon, to handle the drive for their organization; and their auxiliary appointed Lillian Yukon chairman.

Other appointments were Mrs. Milton Roberts and Mrs. David Uritz for the National Council of Jewish Women; Florence Barach for the Labor Zionist; John Ruskin for the Jewish Community Center Association; the Hebrew Home Auxiliary, Mrs. William Richartz; Jewish Social Services Agency, Zel Camiel; Pioneer Women, Rose Brooker; and Mrs. Isaac Domnitz; YoMaCo’s Jack Brisker; and the Fiesta Club Miss Charlotte Pearl.

“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.



School days, later days: checkmated and grand slammed

By Sheila Orysiek

SAN DIEGO--Some time ago I saw a movie and then read a book about a Jewish boy in New York who grew up to be a Grandmaster Chess player.  Having forgotten his name and trying to find it I began browsing through Google.  While searching one can’t help but be amazed at the preponderance of Jewish Chess Champions - over 50% of this elite category is Jewish.  It reminded me of my own experience with the game as a child.  A long time ago….

I felt very lucky to be Myra’s friend.  Why she chose to be my friend I have no idea.  She was eleven years old and I was only eight.  The children who were her age generally looked down on the younger ones like me.  But, one day Myra declared that she wanted to be my friend.  I was surprised and at first distrustful.  To gain my trust the first thing she did was to tell me she was going to teach me how to play chess.  True to her word, everyday we sat down on a cement step, warmed by the summer sun, and played chess.  And that is how I began my love affair with the game.

After approximately a year Myra moved away and so I had no one with whom to play.  My sister, being nine years younger than I, was a distant prospect at best and with Myra gone I no longer had access to a chess set.  I drew pictures of the various pieces on squares of paper and made a board out of cardboard but this was awkward to handle and any little movement or breeze scrambled the arrangement.  Earnings from my baby sitting business (at 50 cents an hour) barely paid for the birthday, anniversary, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Hanukah gifts for my family and so it took me almost a year to be able to purchase a simple wood set – which I still have.

When my sister was five, I taught her to play. First I introduced her to the pawns and when she had mastered that I added the castles.  And, so, week by week we played until all the pieces were in place and I had gained a partner.  Of course being so much younger she always lost which understandably she soon grew tired of and therefore I began my search again for opponents.

In seventh grade junior high school we were given a list of clubs we could join for the last class period of the day.  There were math, craft and music clubs as well as many others but what caught my eye on the list was the chess club; finally, a classroom full of other children with whom to play chess and a teacher to guide us.  I felt I had truly hit the jackpot.  I was very excited.

The chess club met on Tuesday as the last class of the school day but when I walked into the room and the teacher (whom I had never met before) saw me he began to frown and the frown got deeper and darker.  I looked around thinking there must be something wrong but I didn’t understand what it might be.  Before I could sit down the teacher asked me if I was sure I was in the right room?  Did I realize this was a club where chess would be played?  I answered affirmatively to both questions stating that I had signed up for it.  His unhappiness with me seemed to grow.  He asked if I knew how to play.  Again I told him, yes.  He then instructed me to wait outside in the hallway.  Puzzled and hurt, I obeyed and thus I spent the entire class period sitting in the hallway.

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The next day during the first class I was told to report to the vice principal’s office.  As an honor roll student with no behavior demerits, this was a place I had never visited and a person I had never met.  Sitting next to the man who was the vice-principal, was a woman, my regular school counselor.  They began by asking me why I wanted to join the chess club.  I told them I loved to play chess and had since I was eight.  They looked very skeptical and said I would be told later if I would be allowed to join.

At the end of that day I was informed that since my “true” reason for wanting to join the club was to meet boys, I would not be welcome. It wasn’t until that moment I realized, indeed, I had been the only girl in the class.  I went home in tears.  It seemed so unfair and I could honestly say that such a motive had never occurred to me.  I had no reason to think that only boys played chess and that therefore only boys would be in the class.

Later than evening I told my parents and my mother was furious.  The next day she went to school with her temper at full boil.  She literally stamped her way into the counselor’s office and demanded an explanation.  The teacher was summoned as well as the vice-principal.  After much discussion the teacher finally admitted the real reason he did not want me in the classroom was he didn’t want the boys to face the possibility of losing to a girl.  That was the central problem; a girl might possibly win. The fragile egos of the boys were more important than one girl’s own view of her place in society.  And to protect those fragile egos – he didn’t hesitate to stamp on mine as well as to impugn my motives.  Apparently, my ego was disposable.

At the end of the conference it was decided I was to be allowed into the chess club on probation.  Somehow, of course, all of this leaked out and became known throughout the school.  It was a great embarrassment to a thirteen-year-old.  However, I did enter the class.  I did play chess and I did win my share of games.  And, everyone’s ego survived.  I don’t believe any of the boys who lost to me were terribly damaged.

Many years later, however, as a new bride I played chess with my husband.  As luck would have it, I won.  He suggested we play bridge – until I had a grand slam.

Scrabble anyone?

By the way, in the official Scrabble Dictionary there are quite a number of Yiddish words.

And P.S.: The young Jewish chess champion's name was Josh Waitzkin.

Orysiek's email: orysieks@sandiegojewishworld.com

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A bissel sports trivia with Bruce Lowitt

OLDSMAR, Florida—Q: Who had a perfect record in fielding in 1919 and had more runs batted in than at-bats?

(a)    John Butcher

(b)   Jesse Baker

(c)    Terry Candle

(d)   Milt Maker

Background: He was born Michael Myron Silverman. In 1919, he made his only major-league appearance as a shortstop with Washington. He had to leave the game after being spiked at second base by Ty Cobb. He never had an at-bat but drove in one run and had one assist on the only ball hit to him.

Click here for answer

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