Volume 3, Number 124
"There's a Jewish story everywhere"

Today's Postings:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

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


Editor's Mailbox

Lieberman will monitor security reorganization by Obama READ MORE
Polis, Frank join coalition seeking end to LGBT executions in Iraq READ MORE

'Axis of Evil' proving itself not just Bush paranoia ... by Shoshana Bryen in Washington D.C.
North Korea's underground nuclear test offers the Obama administration an opportunity to remake American policy on a crucial issue.READ MORE

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

Text of FM Stephen Smith's Address to Jewish community READ MORE
Jewish Schools put upgrade plans on hold READ MORE
Government funds for two groups READ MORE
Australian champion pulls out of Maccabiah Games READ MORE
Klinger to lead Aussie cricket team to Maccabiah READ MORE

Editor's Mailbox
Congressional comment on Sotomayor's nominationREAD MORE
Jewish agencies also comment on Sotomayor nominationREAD MORE
Davis bill would ensure right to second medical opinion READ MORE


Bible in Pop Culture
Luminaries in the firmamant ... Genesis 1:14 VIEW IMAGE

Editor's Mailbox
Yitro: animated story for Shavuot READ MORE
Media Watch, aka 'Here's the link' READ MORE
Boxer pledges support for same-sex couples in ruling's aftermath READ MORE
Feinstein sees some reason for gay optimism in court decision READ MORE
NCJW disappointed by California Supreme Court decision READ MORE
Reform Judaism's Religious Action Center expresses disappointment READ MORE
Symphony quartet at Hebrew Day READ MOR


Thursdays with the songs of Hal Wingard, z"l
#69, Epitaph 1 READ AND HEAR
#222, Epitaph 2 READ AND HEAR
#302, Heart of What I Am READ AND HEAR

Adventures in San Diego Jewish History

April 3 & 17, 1953, Southwestern Jewish Press

Yo-Ma-Co Club Plans Film Nite READ MORE
J.W.V. Hold “Back to God” Program READ MORE
Campaign Gains Speed With ‘C’ Week as $130,000 Is Pledged READ MORE
Fund Liquor Division Honors Bonelli and Berry READ MORE
300 U.J.A. Women’s Division Workers Pay Tribute To 1st Lady of San Diego

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We continue our examination of Jewish entertainers

Al Franken combines politics, religion and humor in "God Spoke"VIEW VIDEO

Carrie Fisher is profiled on BiographyVIEW VIDEO

Harvey Fierstein talks about "A Catered Affair," the movie that inspired his play. VIEW VIDEO

Tovah Feldshuh and her roles as Irena, Golda are profiled on Better.TV VIEW VIDEO


We're simultaneously saddened and honored that the Wingard family has entrusted San Diego Jewish World with continuing to publish and carry the audios of the works of Hal Wingard z"l. Even beyond his death, the man has so much to share with the rest of us.


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.

PLEASE HELP US POLICE THIS SITE: If you see anything on this site that obviously is not in keeping with our mission of providing Jewish news and commentary, please message us at editor@sandiegojewishworld.com, so that we can fix the probem. Unfortunately, large sites like ours can be subjected to tampering by outsiders. Thank you!

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Editor's Mailbox: International news of Jewish interest

Lieberman will monitor security reorganization by Obama

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)— Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, (Independent-Connecticut), Tuesday released the following statement regarding President Obama’s announcement to re-organize the Homeland and National Security Councils:

"I am pleased that, while reorganizing his national security staff, President Obama has decided to maintain the Homeland Security Council as the separate, multi-agency center for policy advice and implementation of matters related to homeland security and to retain the separate position of Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism as his personal adviser on these subjects with direct access to the President. These two presidential decisions should give homeland security the priority and presidential attention they must have to keep the American people safe from the terrorists who carried out an act of war against us on September 11, 2001.

" I will closely monitor this reorganization to see how this balance and the functioning of the new National Security Staff work in practice.”

Preceding provided by Senator Lieberman

Polis, Frank join coalition seeking end to LGBT executions in Iraq

WASHINGTON, D.C (Press Release)- Representatives Jared Polis (Democrat, Colorado), Tammy Baldwin (Democrat, Wisconsin), and Barney Frank (Democrat, Massachusetts), joined by 38 of their colleagues, today sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking that the U.S. State Department work with the Iraqi government, human rights organizations and the United Nations to end the executions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Iraqis.

“While the execution of LGBT Iraqis may not be approved at the highest levels of government, the persecution of Iraqis because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is unacceptable regardless of whether these policies are extrajudicial or state-sanctioned. Given the close nature of the relationship between the United States and Iraqi governments, we feel it is imperative that the U.S. government take these allegations seriously and work with the Iraqi government to address this urgent humanitarian crisis,” said the Members in the letter.

“The United States has a clear role to play in ending this injustice—a role we assumed when we invested billions of dollars and priceless lives into building peace and democracy in Iraq,” said Congressman Polis. “We cannot allow atrocities of this kind to happen on our watch. Secretary Clinton is a world renowned advocate for the LGBT community and I am confident that under her guidance the State Department will help bring an end to the persecution of LGBT Iraqis and ensure the safety of LGBT refugees worldwide.”

“Abuses against any individuals, in any part of the world, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity must not be tolerated,” said Congresswoman Baldwin. “As Americans, we have an obligation to speak out against such crimes and work to prevent them. Reports linking Iraqi government officials to the detention and execution of dozens of lesbian, gay, bisexual and

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transgender Iraqis are especially troubling because of our nation’s on-going efforts and sacrifices to promote democracy in that country. We ask Secretary Clinton to quickly investigate and address these concerns,” Baldwin said.

"While I opposed the U.S. military intervention in Iraq, it is a fact which makes us responsible in part for the persecution of gays and lesbians in that country, unless we act to oppose it,” said Congressman Frank.

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'Axis of Evil' proving itself not just Bush paranoia

By Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C—North Korea's underground nuclear test offers the Obama administration an opportunity to remake American policy on a crucial issue. The Bush administration used the Six Party Talks and the UN Security Council as its chief instruments and pursued policies of varying carrots and sticks to change Kim Jong Il's calculus about the benefits of nuclear capability. But the Six Party format mortgages any possible progress to the lowest common denominator, generally China, and China's veto does the same with the Security Council. [How odd that the Bush administration, often charged with reckless unilateralism, was in this case an instrument of reckless multilateralism.]

We suggest that President Obama take leadership of the issue and determine what American policies would a) best protect the United States and our allies, and b) reduce the likelihood of future North Korean nuclear successes.

Several potential policies spring to mind - an enhanced Proliferation Security Initiative, enhanced missile defenses, returning North Korea to the U.S. list of terrorism-sponsoring countries and a return to the financial sanctions the Bush administration dropped for no fathomable reason.   
None require Chinese participation - although that would be welcome - and all permit like-minded countries to participate as well as they can. An increased interest in missile defenses both for our Asian friends and for us would require the Obama Administration to change course, but the President has shown a willingness to alter his positions when shown compelling security implications. There are few things we think more compelling than the security implications of North Korea with nuclear weapons and a missile capability that reaches our allies or our homeland.

And then, American leadership should acknowledge the Bush Administration's finest and probably least appreciated policy formulation - the clear understanding of what was Evil about the Axis.  

The Axis between North Korea, Iran and Iraq (now replaced by Syria) was a separate but coincident interest among

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Asians, Persians and Arabs in the acquisition of nuclear capability and the means to deliver it. It was and remains Evil because it overrides what should be the civilized impulses of government: Kim Jong Il's starvation of his own people, pauperizing the country in pursuit of missile and nuclear technology was related in theory and in practice to Saddam's manipulation of the Oil for Food program and the mass graves that are still being discovered around the country, and to Iran's explicit determination to erase America's friend and ally Israel.

President Obama has highlighted his interest in soft diplomacy and what he understands as the need to acknowledge and apologize for shortcomings in American policy and history. The shortcomings are there, certainly, but it would be a mistake to equate them with the Evils of the Axis and by that, fail to take the steps necessary - alone and in concert - to protect us from all of them and defeat all of their aims.

Bryen is special projects director for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. (JINSA). Her column is sponsored by Waxie Sanitary Supply in memory of Morris Wax, longtime JINSA supporter and national board member

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'Tough Jew' of movies not just wish fulfillment but
possibly a role model for precarious times ahead

By Rabbi Simcha Weinstein

NEW YORK —Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you hadn’t taken that job, or gone to that school, or moved to that neighborhood?

In other words: what if you were living in an alternative reality?

Alternative history is a genre with a long pedigree, especially in the realm of science fiction. After all, who can resist wondering, “What if...?”

The epic saga of the Second World War, with its action, tragedy and larger than life heroes, has inspired many “alternative histories”, from the “The City on the Edge of Forever” episode of the original Star Trek, to the 1992 novel-turned-mini series Fatherland, which depicts a world in which the Nazis defeat the Allies. The promise and allure of the subject matter is so great, in fact, that over the course of e ight long years, two British teenagers who lived through the Blitz filmed their own alternative history movie on that same theme, called It Happened Here: The Story of Hitler’s England (1966).

Now acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction) has joined the long list of filmmakers who can’t resist making their own WW2 fantasy-action flick.

Tarantino’s latest release is Inglorious Basterds (and yes, the misspelling is intentional). Inspired by a schlocky 1970s Italian “macaroni combat” action picture of the same name, the movie is Tarantino’s homage to the “misfits on a mission” movies of old, like The Dirty Dozen.

This time around, the heroes are a Jewish-American revenge squad razing havoc throughout German-occupied France, who not only kill but scalp their Nazi targets.

In a parallel storyline, a beautiful young Jewish woman whose family was slaughtered by the SS somehow takes over the Paris cinema where Goebbel’s latest propaganda film will debut, with Hitler himself in attendance. She plans to trap the audience of high-ranking Nazis inside and burn the building to the ground. "My name is Shoshanna Dreyfus,” she announces at one point in the film. “And this is the face of Jewish vengeance."

At the press conference following the film’s debut, one journalist asks if Inglourious Basterds was a "Jewish revenge fantasy." Eli Roth, director of the Hostel horror movies, said the notion of Jews getting even with Hitler was "kosher porn. It's something I dreamed since I was a kid." In the movie, Roth gets to live out his childhood fantasy: he plays the baseball bat-swinging “Bear Jew,” who some of the film’s Nazis believe is really a vengeful golem.

The whole concept of the film challenges stereotypes. After all, moviegoers are more accustomed to seeing wimpy Jewish males on the big screen.

Indelibly personified by Woody Allen back in the 1960s, this stock character still makes appearances in movies and TV shows, such as the comedies of Ben Stiller, and shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm.

The 21st century iteration of this familiar character retains traces of nebbishness, but also displays an edgy attitude reminiscent of the scruffy, hyper, cocky Jewish characters Richard Dreyfuss specialized in during the 1970s. Seth Rogan, Paul Rudd and Jonah Hill are three of the stars in Jewish director Judd Apatow’s constellation who seem to be channeling Dreyfuss’s satirical outlook and boundless energy in movies like Apatow flicks like The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Superbad.

The Hebrew Hammer (2003), starring Adam Goldberg, paved the way for a new kind of swaggering Jewish hero on film. He’s sexy because he’s Jewish, not in spite of it. The movie plays with African-American and Jewish cultural touchstones: the Hammer drives a pimped-out white Cadillac with Magen David headlights; his license plate reads “L’Chaim” and his fuzzy dice are really dreidels. After saving some Jewish children from older Christian bullies, he tells them solemnly, “Stay Jewish.” The result is the first “Jewsploitation” film. More swaggering Hebrew heroes turned up in other comedies like Hot Rod (2007), in which Andy Samberg stars as an Evel Knievel inspired stuntman – not exactly a profession commonly chosen by Jews.

Meanwhile, Adam Sandler starred in You Don’t Mess With Zohan (2008) about a former Mossad agent who dreams of becoming a hairdresser.

“Jews with attitude” aren’t restricted to comedies, but they aren’t seen very often in dramas, either, except in movies like The Raid on Entebbe, made back in 1977.

Recently, however, the character of the armed, defiant Jew has made a reappearance. Edward Zwick’s recently released Defiance, for example, is about four Jewish brothers from Poland who escape the Nazis and go on to rescue fellow Jews. (As an English Jew, I have to admit I got considerable nachas seeing Daniel Craig (a.k.a. James Bond himself) kicking Nazi tuchas alongside Liev Schreiber!)

And now Inglorious Basterds is set to hit the big screens this summer, and the unabashedly Jewish characters are a major selling- and plot-point. The movie is sure to inspire a tingle of “what if?” wish fulfillment in audiences, Jewish and non-Jewish alike.

Today’s generation likes its Jewish heroes tough, an attitude captured in the comedy Knocked Up, in which Seth Rogan’s Jewish character praises the controversial Stephen Spielberg drama, Munich.

“Every movie with Jews, we’re the ones getting killed,” he enthuses to his friends. “Munich flips that on its ear!”

Closer to home, I know two young Jewish boxers who defy all the nebbish stereotypes, and challenge mainstream perceptions of Jewish manhood. Dmitry Salita is an undefeated junior welterweight boxer who also happens to be an Orthodox Jew, as is Yuri Foreman, who will be competing for the light middleweight championship this fall.

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We can’t all be boxers, but we do need to embrace and honor physical courage as a worthy aspect of Jewish masculinity. Too often we demean physical prowess in favor of the mental variety, but in our world today – with Iran flexing its nuclear muscles and enemies plotting to bomb synagogues in our very own neighborhoods – the Jewish people should learn to celebrate the “tough Jew.” Maybe movies’ like Tarantino’s will play a part in changing our attitudes for the better.

Simcha Weinstein is an award-winning author, whose latest book is Shtick Shift: Jewish Humor in the 21st century (Barricade Books: 2008) is out now.

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fabianThe Jews Down Under ... Roundup of Australian Jewish news by Garry Fabian

Text of FM Stephen Smith's Address to Jewish community

SYDNEY - Last week Australian Foreigh Minister Stephen Smith addressed the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), covering a range of issues. His speech is reproduced below.

I take this opportunity to congratulate Robert Goot, our host as President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, on being elected as a Vice-President of the World Jewish Congress.

The 60th Anniversary of Israel's statehood, celebrated last year, was a time to reflect on and celebrate Israel's achievements.

It was also an opportunity to reaffirm Australia's ongoing support and friendship for Israel.

And from a personal point of view, I was pleased to be able to make my first visit to Israel as Foreign Minister during that anniversary year.

As Prime Minister Rudd said to the Australian Parliament on that occasion, Australia's relationship with Israel is both strong and deep.

Australia's commitment could not be more resolute, our friendship could not be closer.

We share a unique relationship based on Australia's historical support for Israel and our shared commitment to freedom, security and democracy . Our friendship will remain strong because our values are shared.

A shared history

Australia's support for the State of Israel goes right back to its creation.

Foreign Minister H.V. Evatt, one of my predecessors, played an important role through his Chairmanship of the United Nations International Commission on Palestine in 1947.
Evatt understood the justice of Israel's right to full international citizenship at a time when many still did not.

When a vote was called that year on General Assembly Resolution 181 to establish separate Jewish and Arab states, the Australian delegate was the first to vote. And the first to vote in favour of the proposal.

As you know, Evatt went on to be President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, and was prominent in the negotiations that led to Israel's creation.

Early the following year, the Chifley Government ensured that Australia was among the first nations to formally recognise Israel.

Evatt then presided over the historic May 1949 vote admitting Israel as the 59th member of the United Nations.

Following that vote, Israel's distinguished representative Abba Eban acknowledged the contribution that Evatt and the Australian Government had made to the international recognition of Israel, when he said:

"The manner in which you steered to a vote this second historic Resolution. the warmth and eloquence with which you welcomed Israel into the family of nations, have earned for you the undying gratitude of our people."

Australia is both proud and honoured to have these important historic links to the creation of the Israeli State.

We are equally proud of the enduring friendship we have built with Israel since its creation, a friendship built by our peoples as much as it has been bolstered by Australian Governments of all political persuasions.

Contribution of the Australian Jewish Community

As Minister for Immigration in the Chifley Government, Arthur Calwell pioneered a post-war immigration policy that welcomed Holocaust survivors to Australia.

The policy brought more survivors per capita to Australia than to any country except Israel itself.

In implementing the program, Calwell worked closely with the leaders of the Australian Jewish community to arrange passage for survivors to Australia.

Following the unimaginable horrors in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s, Australia welcomed approximately 35 000 Jewish refugees and survivors.

Well before the Holocaust, Jewish people had come to Australia, including as convicts on the First Fleet and attracted by the gold rushes of the mid-1800s.

These early members of the Australian Jewish community made very important contributions to Australian society.

Sir Isaac Isaacs, for example, had a distinguished career as a lawyer and Member of Parliament before serving on the High Court for 25 years, including as Chief Justice, and as the
first Australian-born Governor-General.

Sir John Monash, whose portrait adorned this hall, was another member of the Australian Jewish community who made an outstanding contribution to Australian life, both as an engineer and as the greatest of all Australian military commanders.

More recently, members of the Australian Jewish community have made their own important and highly valued contributions to Australian society.

There are extensive contacts between Australian and Israeli business, community, union and philanthropic organisations.

These, together with the broader Australian Jewish community, provide the bedrock of our ever strengthening relationship.

The bilateral relationship

The Australian-Israel relationship is underpinned
by our shared values of democracy, pluralism and the rule of law.

My own first visit to Israel as a Member of Parliament was in 2001. I then saw for myself what those shared values meant.

On that occasion, our delegation was privileged to have as one of our guides Michael Oren, recently appointed as Israel's Ambassador to the United States.

I met for the first time then Prime Minister Sharon and then Foreign Minister Peres.

I travelled by helicopter up and down the country to see and truly appreciate the very compact nature of the State of Israel.

I also saw that like Australia, Israel is a multicultural state. Immigrants from all corners of the earth have come to both countries.

We are both societies in which an honest and robust debate on the issues of the day is as expected as it is respected, vital to the health of our democracies.

And so in October last year, as Foreign Minister, I was delighted to reaffirm Australia's longstanding friendship with and support for Israel, in meetings in Tel Aviv with then Prime Minister Olmert, then Leader of the Opposition
Netanyahu and then Foreign Minister Livni.

During that visit I was again struck by the achievements and successes of the State of Israel.

Again I was able to spend time in both deeply sad and sober reflection at the Holocaust memorial at Yad Vashem.

And since Israel's recent elections I have reaffirmed Australia's commitment in telephone discussions with Defence Minister Barak, Foreign Minister Lieberman and now Leader of the Opposition Livni.

Durban Review Conference

Australia's strong support for Israel goes hand-in-hand with our commitment to combat anti-Semitism and other forms of racism wherever they may occur.

Since taking office, both domestically and internationally, the Australian Government has made the advancement of human rights and combating racism a priority.

The Government has worked actively to advance the human rights of all Australians, especially those who have suffered from disadvantage, most notably Indigenous Australians.

The Durban Review Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Geneva last month should have been an occasion for the world to unite against racism in all its forms.

As I made clear in my comments to Parliament on 12 March, Australia wanted to ensure that the Conference did not see a repeat of the problems that marred the Durban World Conference Against Racism in 2001.

Australia worked with a range of countries in Geneva, including The Netherlands, to promote an acceptable outcome document for presentation to the Conference.

These efforts led to significant improvements in the document.

Ultimately, however, they were not enough.

Australia could not support a document which reaffirmed the 2001 Durban Declaration and Program of Action in its entirety.

The 2001 Declaration singled out Israel and the Middle East.

Australia expressed strong concerns about this after the 2001 Conference, and Australia's concerns remained in 2009.

As well, the Australian Government could not be confident that this year's Review Conference would not again be used as a platform to air offensive anti-Semitic views.

Australia joined Canada, Germany, Israel, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland and the United States in deciding not to participate in the Conference. The Czech Republic also subsequently withdrew.

The Government took this decision with regret as Australians are a people committed to eliminating racism and racial discrimination.

While Australia withdrew from this Conference, we remain determined to combat racism and racial discrimination wherever it exists.

Regrettably, while no vindication was needed, Australia's concerns over the Conference were borne out.

The Australian Government condemns yet again the anti-Semitic views expressed by Iran's President in his statement to the Conference.


Australia is profoundly concerned by the behaviour of the Iranian leadership.

The views expressed by the Iranian President at the Durban Review Conference, his earlier calls for the destruction of Israel and his questioning of the Holocaust, are abhorrent by any standard and are absolutely unacceptable.

The Australian Government's concerns in this regard are very clear, and I make them so again today.

The Australian Government is also deeply troubled by Iran's refusal to address the international community's grave concerns about its nuclear intentions. Australia has supported and reinforced international efforts to hold Iran to account on this matter.

That is why the Australian Government fully and rigorously implements UN Security Council sanctions, and why in October last year we adopted additional autonomous sanctions against Iran.

Australia supports efforts by the international community, particularly by the new US Administration, to engage Iran in dialogue. These initiatives must be given every chance to succeed.

I expressed Australia's support for the United States in its efforts to engage Iran in my meetings with Secretary of State Clinton and Ambassador Dennis Ross, Special Advisor to the
Secretary of State for the Gulf and Southwest Asia, in Washington in April.

Australia itself will continue to engage Iran in bilateral and multilateral meetings to underline the importance of Iran responding clearly and constructively to these efforts at dialogue.

I met Iran's Foreign Minister Mottaki in the margins of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan Meeting in Tokyo in April, and Deputy Foreign Minister Akhondzadeh in the margins of the Afghanistan Conference at The Hague in March, and
I conveyed this imperative directly.

Our approach is clear eyed and Australia consistently makes the point to Iran that it needs to change its policy approach.

We continue to encourage Iran to respond positively to the overtures from the United States.

Peace Process

A touchstone of the friendship between Australia and Israel is Australia's clear and unambiguous commitment to Israel's sovereign right to exist within secure borders, which we so strongly supported in 1948.

That is why Australia stood firmly by Israel's right to defend itself in the face of Hamas's rocket attacks into southern Israel last year.

The tragedy of that conflict for both Israelis and Palestinians reminded us all yet again of the need for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

As I said in January, when agreeing with UK Foreign Secretary Miliband, the international community also has to bear its share of the responsibility for the failure, not over weeks or months or years, but over decades, to bring about that peace.

The Australian Government is convinced that all efforts to secure a just and enduring peace must be made, and made now.

Addressing the Israel-Palestinian conflict serves to strengthen the position of those in the region
who seek peace with Israel, and to expose those who do not.

Australia wants the Israeli people to be able to enjoy the fruits of a normal existence, within a Middle East that recognises Israel's right to live in peace.

The status quo, with all its ongoing uncertainties, insecurity and tragedies, is not acceptable.

The status quo is not in the interests of Israel, the Palestinians, the Middle East region or the broader international community.

As I said publicly just after the recent Israeli elections, Australia and the international community both want and need to see a wholehearted commitment to the Middle East peace process.

However complex the challenge of negotiations may
be, only a negotiated solution can provide a just and enduring peace to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

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We welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu's commitment
to work with the Palestinian Authority on political, economic and security issues, and his desire to resume the peace talks as soon as possible.

As in 1947, Australia today believes that a two-state solution must be the basis for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Australia welcomes the energy and commitment that the Obama Administration has brought to efforts to achieve a two state solution.

I said this directly to Secretary of State Clinton and the US Special Envoy for the Middle East, Senator George Mitchell, in Washington last month.

The Palestinian Authority has made some good economic and security progress and on that basis deserves support.

It is important that the parties, with the support of the international community, move forward and build on achievements already effected, including under the Annapolis process and the Roadmap for Middle East peace.

I made Australia's support for the Roadmap clear to Israeli and Palestinian leaders during my visit there last year, and since the election of the new Israeli Government.

Strong political leadership on both sides is and will be required to achieve progress. It is also going to require courage.

Both sides must honour the agreements they have entered into.

This means that the Palestinians must continue to dismantle terrorist infrastructure and to halt violence and incitement.

Equally, Israel needs to freeze settlement activity.

A way must also be found to ease restrictions on the movement of people and goods in the West Bank, while ensuring the safety and security of Israelis.

And a way must be found to relieve the suffering of ordinary Gazans until the Palestinian Authority is able to resume its responsibilities there.

Only by both sides taking substantive measures will we see the confidence and trust necessary for genuinely productive negotiations.

The support of Israel's neighbours and friends will also be essential to a successful negotiation.

This is why Australia has welcomed the Arab Peace Initiative as a constructive contribution towards a comprehensive peace.

We support those who are standing strongly against those offering the false hope of confrontation, violence and terrorism.

Overnight, Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu met President Obama in Washington.

Jordan's King Abdullah visited Washington recently for talks, and other regional leaders including Palestinian Authority President Abbas and Egyptian President Mubarak will also visit the United States soon.

We welcome very much the United States Administration's active and positive engagement in the peace process at the beginning of its term in office.

The engagement of the United States is crucial to effecting a long term enduring peace in the Middle East.

The Australian Government strongly supports the work of the Quartet (the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations) and the Quartet's principles, which require any Palestinian Government to renounce violence,
recognise Israel's right to exist and accept agreements previously entered into by the Palestinian leadership.

As a committed friend, Australia will continue to
stand in support of Israel as it seeks peace with security.

United Nations

Australia takes a principled approach to issues related to the Middle East in the United Nations.

We did so both in the context of our withdrawal from the Durban Conference, and of our consideration late last year of United Nations General Assembly resolutions on the Middle East, where there were changes to Australia's voting on two resolutions.

One resolution related to the application in international law of the Geneva Conventions within the Palestinian Territories and the other related to settlements.

I know that there are strong views on these issues within the Australian Jewish community, and I know that not everyone agreed with the Government's position.

The Australian Government treats each resolution on a case-by-case basis and considers them on their merits.

In all cases we are guided by the principles that I have outlined today, in particular our strong support for Israel's ongoing security, the Middle East peace process and a two state solution, and the striving for a just and enduring peace.


H.V. Evatt once said that through his work in the United Nations he sought to ensure that the "new State of Israel, whose people had in the past done so much for humanity, would be welcomed, not merely formally but with good heart
and good conscience" into the international community.

Australia will always stand with Israel as it strives for peace and security, using every opportunity we can to bring to a conclusion what Evatt, and so many others since, have worked so hard to achieve.

Australia's Jewish community does a great deal to
promote, sustain and strengthen our enduring friendship with Israel.

I warmly thank you for your contribution.

I look forward to working with you into the future as Australia maintains its proud commitment as a true friend of Israel.

Jewish Schools put
upgrade plans on hold

MELBOURNE - Three Jewish schools have put capital works on hold as the global financial crisis begins to bite. The King Davis School (TKDS) Leibler Yavneh College and Mount Scopus Memorial College all announced plans to construct new buildings and upgrade existing buildings in the past 18 months.
However, rather than spending money on construction, the schools are now using it to cover the costs of day-to-day education. On top of that, while it was expected community
donations would support these projects, schools are now relying on government grants for funding.

TKDS president Michael Lawrence said plans to build a $12.5 million early learning and arts centre were postponed indefinitely.

The money the school currently has, he said, is being concentrated into educational programs and resources. It is a similar story at Yavneh. Chairman Mark Joel said he was waiting
for more information on the Federal Government's Building the Education Revolution grants before giving a go-ahead on a new VCE centre and school hall.

And at Mount Scopus, principal Rabbi James Kennard said the school decided last year not to redevelop the primary school buildings that had been planned. Mount Scopus is also waiting to see if it has been awarded a government grant before making any further announcements.

"The combination of higher fees and additional competing demands on family budgets puts Jewish days schools under threat. Although many schools are currently noticing high demand at entry level, the long-term picture is bleaker," Rabbi
Kennard said. He has also called on donors to reconsider whether their funding could be better used to support the Jewish schools. "It is time for Jewish schooling to be seen as a communal cause, alongside welfare and Israel."

Government funds for two groups

MELBOURNE - Two Jewish community organisations have recently received large boosts to the coffers thanks to the Victorian Government.Jewish Care was handed a cheque earlier this month by Premier John Brumby, Cabinet Secretary Tony Lupton and Upper House MP Jennifer Huppert at Parliament House. The cheque was the final installment in a $400,000 assistance package for Jewish Care to fund its nearly completed
residential facility in Caulfield. The facility will provide long-term accommodation for 19 adults with disabilities.

Meanwhile, the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) is looking forward to running the second Multifaith Future Leaders project next year, now that it has secured $22,000 worth of funding. The Victorian Multicultural Commission
supports the project, which this year brought together 25 Jewish, Muslim and Christian "future leaders" for camp.

"We are doing something no-one else is really doing, working with a demographic group that is absolutely essential to the future of multi-culturalism in this country" ADC chairman Tony Levy said.

Australian champion pulls
out of Maccabiah Games

MELBOURNE -Two-time Olympian David Zalcberg has been forced to pull out of Australia's Maccabiah team due to work commitments.

The current Australian champion said he was "bitterly disappointed" with the decision, but said it was impossible to balance his internship at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne with the training and travel required to compete in Israel in July.

"I knew it was going to be a tough year balancing work at The Alfred and getting time off to train for Maccabiah, but it's such a big year for me in my medical career that I just couldn't take the
two week break to go over there and play," Zalcberg said.

The Pan American Maccabiah gold medalist has also been forced to pull out of the World Championships and the Commonwealth Championships, in an effort to focus on his career, as well as
qualification for the Australian team for the Commonwealth Games next year in India.

"I'm pretty keen to make the team to go to India, and unfortunately I can't keep taking time off.

"It was just going to be too much for me to go to Maccabiah, come back and start preparations for India."

Zalcberg said he was particularly disappointed he wouldn't get the chance to avenge his semifinal loss in Israel in 2005.

"Losing in the semis last time is one of the big dents in my career and I was really hoping to put that right for the team, but unfortunately I'm going to have to let that go for another four years."

But Zalcberg is confident Australia will be well represented by the contingent making the trip.

"I've tried to be as involved as I can with the team up until this point. We've got just about all our best athletes going over there and it looks like it's going to be a fantastic event.

"I expect them to do really well and I'm really disappointed I won't be part of that, but I'll be following their progress really closely."

Australia's Maccabiah head of delegation Tom Goldman was philosophical about Zalcberg's withdrawal.

"Whereas we are very disappointed that David will not be with us in Israel, the reasons for his withdrawal are eminently clear and there is no more for us to do than to wish him good luck and
every success in his chosen field of endeavour," he said.

Zalcberg was recently recognised by the Victorian Institute of Sport for his achievements in both his medical and sporting career over the past 12 months at the organisation's annual awards night.

He received the Sport and Career Achievement award at the gala event held at the Crown Palladium in Melbourne, hosted by Olympic medallist Nicole Livingstone, in recognition of
Olympic team qualification and finishing his medical degree, both in 2008.

Klinger to lead Aussie
cricket team to Maccabiah

ADELAIDE - Sheffield Shield star batsman Michael Klinger has been named captain of a 13-man Australian cricket squad for the Maccabiah Games in Israel in July.

But his availability to play in Israel for the first time since 1997 depends on potential state or international commitments.

The South Australian batsman is likely to play for Australia A at some time during the southern winter.

Klinger aside, it is an extremely young and inexperienced team that will be heading to Israel, with many prospective players unable to make the trip due to a variety of reasons.

In fact, Klinger and Western Australia's Dylan Weiner are the only two players who have previously attended the Maccabiah -- in 1997 and 2005 respectively.

Klinger is the obvious standout player in the squad, with the current Australian State Cricketer of the Year having notched up over 1700 runs for South Australia in domestic competitions this season.

But there is certainly a high degree of talent among the young list of players, however, with the likes of David Fayman, Dean Wiener and the Majtlis brothers all playing First XI cricket for
Maccabi AJAX during the 2008/09 season.

In addition, Brett Rosen had a highly successful season with Gordon Cricket Club in Sydney's Grade Cricket competition, scoring 700 runs and helping lead his Third XI team to a premiership.

The Australian team finished as silver medalists in 2005 after being defeated by a strong South African team in the final led by Adam Bacher, the former Test cricketer who is again set to line up for his country in Israel in 2009.

Bacher will lead another strong South African line-up, which includes former provincial wicketkeeper-batsman Craig Lyons -- a veteran of three Maccabiah Games -- as well as several other
highly fancied players, while Australia's other competition will again come from from England, Israel and India.

India was initially struggling to find the required funds to send a team to Maccabiah, but are now assured of participating after three businessmen from Los Angeles sponsored the team's
efforts to compete at the Games.

The entire Australian squad will be gathering in Melbourne on May 31 for training and a team meeting, in preparation for the trip to Israel.

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Editor's Mailbox: National News of Jewish Interest

Congressional comment on
Sotomayor's nomination

WASHINGTON, DC --Jewish public officials were among those with immediate reactions--all favorable--to President Barack Obama's nomination of U.S. Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. In alphabetical order, here are their comments:

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat, California): I congratulate President Obama for choosing such a highly qualified woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court.
 President Obama has nominated an exemplary and compelling individual who has a history of bipartisan support.  She was first nominated to the bench by President George H.W. Bush, and she has been confirmed twice by the U.S. Senate with overwhelming support.   With eight men, one woman and no Hispanics currently sitting on the court, President Obama listened to voices like former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in recognizing that diversity on the bench is essential.  Judge Sotomayor’s life story serves as an inspiration, not just to every Hispanic and woman, but to every American, because in this country if you work hard, you can reach your dreams.

U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin (Democrat, Maryland): “I welcome the announcement by President Obama of his intent to nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor to fill the upcoming vacancy on the Supreme Court. We don’t have openings on the Court very often, so I appreciate the great thought behind this announcement and its promptness, which will give my fellow senators and I ample time to consider Judge Sotomayor’s nomination. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I am privileged to have my first opportunity to participate in the confirmation process for a Supreme Court Justice and to question Judge Sotomayor at her upcoming hearing. This is a lifetime appointment and the only chance for the American people to see the President’s nominee and understand his or her views in detail on a wide range of issues defining the rule of law.  This new Justice can serve for a generation and have a profound influence on this closely-divided Supreme Court. I am pleased that President Obama consulted with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee prior to making his decision. I have said repeatedly, most recently to President Obama, that I believe the next Supreme Court Justice should be a leader who holds a passion for the protections found in our Constitution and will uphold the precedent of the Court.Judge Sotomayor brings to the Supreme Court a lengthy judicial record that encompasses nearly every level of the judicial process, including prosecutor, corporate litigator, trial judge, and currently an appellate judge. Twice confirmed by the Senate, President George Bush appointed her as a federal district judge in 1992, and she was elevated by President Clinton in 1998 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  She would replace Justice Souter as the only Justice with experience as trial judge. If confirmed, she also would be only the third woman and first Hispanic Justice to serve on the Court.I look forward to learning more about Judge Sotomayor’s professional and judicial experiences, and to the confirmation process ahead.”

Congressman Steve Cohen (Democrat, Tennessee): “Memphians understand better than anyone that we need Supreme Court justices that will ensure that all Americans are afforded equality, opportunity and justice. I believe that in nominating Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court, President Obama has found such a person. Throughout her long and distinguished legal career, Judge Sotomayor has demonstrated that upholding the rule of law means going beyond legal theory to ensure consistent, fair, common-sense application of the law to real-world facts. She is incredibly well-qualified and I urge the U.S. Senate to swiftly confirm her.”

Senator Russ Feingold (Democrat, Wisconsin): “I congratulate Judge Sonia Sotomayor on her nomination to the United States Supreme Court and President Obama on his first Supreme Court nomination.  I supported Judge Sotomayor’s nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1998 and from all accounts, she is a highly qualified and very experienced judge.  Judge Sotomayor’s nomination marks a historic moment for our nation.  She is the first Hispanic American to be nominated to our nation’s highest court and if confirmed, she would be just the third woman to serve on the Court.  Evaluating a Supreme Court nominee is a responsibility I take very seriously considering the significant impact a Supreme Court justice can have on our country.  I look forward to thoroughly reviewing Judge Sotomayor’s record and questioning her during the Judiciary Committee’s hearings.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein (Democrat, California): “The President has chosen a very solid and tested woman as his nominee for the United States Supreme Court. Sonia Sotomayor has served as a New York City prosecutor and she has been a federal judge for over 15 years.  She has already been confirmed by the Senate twice – first as a federal trial court judge and then as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.   The nomination is clearly historic in that she would be the first Latina, and the third woman ever, to sit on the Supreme Court. I know there are those who will try to delay this nominee. However, I believe it is important that she has a clear opportunity for a fair and open nomination process, and that her nomination can move rapidly to the floor of the Senate and be confirmed. It is likely that we will have 60 votes on the floor of the United States Senate. Therefore, any unnecessary delay will only keep the Court from getting ready for the new term and inhibit the Senate’s ability to focus on other important priorities like the economy, energy, and health care.”

Senator Herb Kohl (Democrat, Wisconsin): “I’m pleased to learn of President Obama’s historic nomination of the first Latina to the Supreme Court.By all accounts, Judge Sotomayor is accomplished, exceptionally bright and well-respected by her peers.  It would be tough to classify her as a liberal or a conservative, and my hope is that she is a candidate I can support.  I look forward to learning more about her experience and views during her confirmation hearings later this summer.   In the meantime, I plan to reconvene my Supreme Court Nomination Task Force to review Judge Sotomayor’s qualifications and give me a balanced view of her record.”

Senator Frank Lautenberg (Democrat, New Jersey): “This is a historic day for the Supreme Court – and the entire nation.  Judge Sotomayor has distinguished herself on the Court of Appeals with her knowledge, expertise and judgment.  I look forward to reviewing her qualifications more closely as the Senate proceeds with the confirmation process.”

Senator Joseph Lieberman (Independent, Connecticut): President Obama made an impressive choice by nominating Judge Sotomayor for the position of Associate Justice for the Supreme Court.  Judge Sotomayor’s career represents the best of the American dream and she possesses distinguished and superior legal credentials.  I look forward to the upcoming hearings and I hope that there is a bi-partisan effort to ensure a fair confirmation process.”

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (Democrat, New York): “By all accounts, Judge Sotomayor is an exceptional choice for Supreme Court justice. Those who know her enthusiastically cite her broad intellect, her even-handedness as a federal judge, and her extensive and varied experience on the bench. And to be sure, Sotomayor’s nomination is an historic affirmation of the pluralistic and democratic America that we so deeply need, an America which is, thankfully, becoming more and more evident in public life every day. I congratulate Judge Sotomayor for this great honor and, along with my colleagues and fellow Americans, I look forward to getting to know her better in the days to come.”

Senator Bernie Sanders
(Independent, Vermont):
“In nominating Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, I very much appreciate that President Obama is attempting to address the gender and ethnic imbalance that currently exists in the highest court in our land.  As the nominating process unfolds, I look forward to hearing Judge Sotomayor’s views on the most important issues that the Supreme Court will be addressing. I am especially interested in her views on privacy rights and how, in these times of international tension, we can preserve our civil liberties and constitutional rights while we defend our nation against those who would do us harm.  At a time of growing corporate power, I also want to ascertain her views as to how the courts can protect the rights of workers and consumers against the abuses of large and powerful corporations.” 

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (Democrat, Illinois): “President Obama has selected a woman as his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court who is well-respected in the legal community for her thoughtful opinions and adherence to the rule-of-law. Justice Sonia Sotomayor represents a truly American story, ascending from humble beginnings to this nomination, breaking barriers and shattering boundaries along the way. I applaud the President for his selection and urge the Senate to act quickly and fairly on her confirmation.”

Senator Arlen Specter (Democrat, Pennsylvania):
“I applaud the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the

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Supreme Court. Her confirmation would add needed diversity in two ways: the first Hispanic and the third woman to serve on the high court. While her record suggests excellent educational and professional qualifications, now it is up to the Senate to discharge its constitutional duty for a full and fair confirmation process.”

Congressman Anthony Weiner (Democrat, New York): “Another New York woman on the Supreme Court would be truly historic. President Obama has seized a golden opportunity to add both talent and diversity to the highest court in the land. Judge Sotomayor’s intellect, pragmatism and ability to understand the plight of everyday Americans will serve our nation well.”

Preceding provided by the respective senators and congress members.

Jewish agencies also comment
on Sotomayor nomination

WASHINGTON, D.C. --Jewish defense agencies spoke out favorably on Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to be a U.S. Supreme Court Justice:

American Jewish Committee: “In his first Supreme Court appointment, President Obama is breaking new ground,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. If confirmed, Sotomayor, who currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, will be the first Latina and the third woman to serve on the high court.

AJC noted that Sotomayor brings a personal history with which the Jewish community can resonate, rising out of a South Bronx housing project to a record of distinguished accomplishment in the law—as a prosecutor, a lawyer in private practice, and as a federal jurist at both the trial and appellate levels.

Sotomayor traveled to Israel twice with AJC’s Project Interchange, first in 1986 as a participant in PI’s Hispanic Leaders Seminar, and again in 1996 on a PI alumni mission.

AJC Director of National and Legislative Affairs Richard Foltin attended the White House announcement of the nomination.

“We look forward to the Senate’s full and careful review of Judge Sotomayor’s record, as it considers whether or not to confirm her nomination,” said Foltin. “AJC will share with the Senate Judiciary Committee questions we propose be asked on a range of constitutional and legal issues of critical importance to our community.” 

Anti-Defamation League: Glen S. Lewy, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the following statement: We congratulate Judge Sonia Sotomayor on her historic nomination to the Supreme Court. Her life story is one of overcoming adversity to achieve one distinction after another, and we commend her on having won the confidence of the President of the United States.

We applaud President Obama for having selected this noted jurist to be the Court's first Hispanic and third woman Justice. If confirmed, she will undoubtedly bring an important new perspective to the work of the Court.

Now it is the Senate's turn to fulfill its constitutional responsibility to thoroughly review Judge Sotomayor's record and qualifications. As this process moves forward, ADL will share with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee key issues they should explore with Judge Sotomayor, as we have done with past nominees.

We trust this process will be conducted in the highest traditions and standards of our government – professionally, and with civility and respect.

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism: Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism issued the following statement:

"The historic nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to serve as a Supreme Court Justice marks an important moment in our nation's history. Judge Sotomayor's life story inspires renewed faith in the American dream - the ability of an individual to overcome major obstacles and to achieve great success.

"As I sat in the East Room of the White House this morning listening to President Obama and Judge Sotomayor, I was a few seats away from the Judge's mother. What pride she must have felt not only for her own daughter's nomination, but to see her daughter become the first Latina nominated to the High Court.

"President Obama's appointment of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court reflects his commitment to building a federal judiciary filled with jurists who have brilliant legal minds and are committed to upholding constitutional values while approaching every case with an open mind. Judge Sotomayor's experience on the federal bench at the time of her appointment is unmatched by that of any current Justice or, according to reports, by any Justice before her for at least 70 years. This experience has left her with an extensive record of legal opinions, many of which speak directly to issues of importance to our Movement.

"Now, we begin the process of closely examining Judge Sotomayor's record. Just as we expect the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will do in preparation for Judge Sotomayor's hearing, we will scrutinize Judge Sotomayor's opinions to develop a deeper understanding of her judicial approach and philosophy. We will determine whether her record indicates that she will uphold the fundamental rights and liberties that our Movement fights for daily. We look forward to the productive dialogue that we hope will surround this nomination.

"As we did for the last two Supreme Court nominations, we will be setting up a special web page to facilitate our community's involvement on this critical decision. On that page - www. askjudgesotomayor.com - people all across the country will have the opportunity to suggest questions they would like to see the Judiciary Committee ask Judge Sotomayor during her confirmation hearing. We will then work with members of the Judiciary Committee to have some of those questions asked at the hearing."

Davis bill would ensure right
to second medical opinion

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release) – Congresswoman Susan Davis (Democrat, California.) introduced legislation Tuesday to ensure second opinions for patients enrolled in health plans. The Right to a Second Medical Opinion Act (H.R. 2457) will allow patients to more easily access a second opinion when they face a serious medical procedure or when an illness accelerates.

“We know that a second opinion can save a life or prevent an unnecessary and possibly risky procedure,” said Davis. “This bill is about giving people options and ensuring that they have access to as much information as possible to make an informed decision about their health care needs. I believe the time has come to make access to second opinions a national standard.”

The bill defines five conditions under which patients are entitled to receive a second opinion:

•If a patient questions the rationality or necessity of recommended surgical procedures.

•If a patient doubts a diagnosis or treatment plan because it could lead to the loss of life, limb, bodily function, or a serious chronic condition.

•If a diagnosis is in doubt due to conflicting test results, or the treating doctor is unable to diagnose the condition, or the clinical indications are complex, unclear, or confusing.

•If the treatment plan in progress is not improving the medical condition of the patient.

•If the patient has attempted to follow the treatment plan, but has serious concerns about the diagnosis or treatment plan.

Many health care providers see the value in such requests and provide patients with a second opinion. Besides giving patients much needed peace of mind, second opinions can benefit health plans by reducing the number of invasive procedures and result in better patient care through increased dialogue about treatment options.

The legislation is endorsed by the National Patient Advocate Foundation and other patient advocacy groups.

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Editor's Mailbox: Local, state and miscellaneous news

Yitro: animated story for Shavuot

Parshat Yitro: A rerun for Shavuot from G-dcast.com More Torah cartoons at www.g-dcast.com

Media Watch, aka 'Here's the link'

North County Times carried a story that Israel's Supreme Court said the government must allot money to support Reform Judaism conversion classes. Here's the link

San Diego News Network has a lengthy article presenting the case for using recycled water for drinking purposes. At one point the article pits former San Diego County Water Authority chairman Bernie Rhinerson against such "toilet to tap" opponents as former Assemblyman Howard Wayne. Here's the link.

San Diego Reader reported that Arthur Samberg is shutting down the core hedge fund of Pequot Capital Investment amid a federal investigation into alleged insider trading. Attorney Gary Aguirre, brother of former San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre, was reported to have uncovered irregularities in the case. Here's the link.

San Diego Union-Tribune on Wednesday quoted Janice Sands-Weinstein at the rally protesting the state Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriages. She said as a Jew she felt she wasn't free until everyone is. Here's the link ... The newspaper also carried an AP story saying on the settlements issue, Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is caught between President Obama's demands and those of the hardliners in his coalition. Here's the link ... It also carried a report on France establishing a military base in Abu Dhabi. Here's the link In the business section, it carried a story that Face Book founder Mark Zuckerberg has sold a $200 million stake in the social networking company to a Russian investment firm.

Anti-Semitism must be considered civil rights violation, Sherman says

WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release)-- Congressman Brad Sherman is asking Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to restore prior departmental policy and to override the decision made by the Bush Administration concerning anti-Semitism. He presented clear legal reasoning that under relevant case law, Jews are both a racial and a national origin group.

On November 30, 2007, the Bush Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, decided that Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) did not apply to acts of anti-Semitism, no matter how violent or blatant. The Bush Administration reasoned that since the Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of “race, color, or national origin”, it did not apply to anti-Semitism. The Bush Administration ruling reversed prior administration policy.

“I am writing to express my concern regarding anti-Semitic incidents aimed at Jewish students at several colleges and universities and the response to such incidents by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).  In particular, I am concerned about whether OCR is enforcing Title VI to protect Jewish students from anti-Semitic discrimination,” wrote Sherman.

Sherman cited Shaare Tefila Congregation v. Cobb in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that Jews qualified as a “race” for purposes of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. He also pointed out that Jews are a national origin group, as virtually all Jews are descended from the inhabitants of the kingdom of Judea, which was obliterated by the Romans. That fact that many Jewish families have lived in the Diaspora for nearly 2,000 years does not obliterate their original origin.

Sherman also cited Janko vs. Illinois State Toll Highway Authority which holds that the Roma people, often referred to as gypsies, are a national origin group because of common ethnic characteristics, and despite the fact that it is not proven that all those referred to as “gypsies” are descended from any particular nation-state.

Sherman asked that the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education restore its prior policy as regarding anti-Semitic harassment and discrimination as falling under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

Preceding provided by Congressman Brad Sherman

Boxer pledges support for same-sex couples in ruling's aftermath

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)--U.S. Sen Barbara Boxer (Democrat, Calif0rnia) issued the following release on Tuesday regarding the California State Supreme Court's decision to sustain a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages:

"Unfortunately, with this decision, I am concerned that we are back to square one on the issue of equal rights for same-sex couples.

This ruling sets up a very unfair reality in California where some same-sex couples will have their marriages affirmed, while many more will be denied their fundamental rights.

" I remain committed to working actively with people across the state to make sure that same-sex couples have equal rights under the law.

Feinstein sees some reason for gay optimism in court decision

WASHINGTON, DC. (Press Release)—U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein issued the following statement on the California Supreme Court's decision concerning same-sex marriage:

"I know today’s decision is a tremendous disappointment for many people. But I also know that the opinions of Californians are changing on this issue, and I believe that equal marriage rights will one day be the law in this state. This is already the case in Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont. So, I believe this issue will come before the voters again, and I am very hopeful that the result will be different next time.

"Today's State Supreme Court ruling also declares that the 18,000 same-sex marriages that have already taken place in California are valid, and I believe these marriages will allow people to see for themselves that marriage equality is a step forward for California and not a step back."

Preceding provided by Senator Dianne Feinstein

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NCJW disappointed by California Supreme Court decision

WASHINGTON, DC -- The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) on Tuesday expressed its deep disappointment with the California Supreme Court decision to uphold a state-wide ban on same-sex marriage. NCJW President Nancy Ratzan issued the following statement:

"The California Supreme Court's decision to uphold Proposition 8 is a disappointing step backward. Denying same-sex couples the right to marry is an affront to civil rights. While disheartened by this ruling, we are buoyed by the Court's decision to recognize the legal marriages of the 18,000 same-sex couples who wed in 2008.

"Just over one year ago, we celebrated as the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of human rights and fundamental justice by striking down that state's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. Now, the Court has upheld the reversal after a narrow majority of Californians voted to deny the benefits and blessings of marriage to same-sex couples in November 2008. It is our deep hope that voters will be able to return to the polls in 2010 and cast their votes for equality.

"NCJW strongly supports the right of same-sex couples to affirm and protect their relationships through marriage and to seek the legal benefits of this union. We will continue to advocate for the full rights of LGBT individuals, including the right to marry."

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.

Preceding provided by NCJW

Reform Judaism's Religious Action Center expresses disappointment

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)--Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement on Tuesday.

"We are deeply saddened by today's ruling by the California Supreme Court upholding Proposition 8. The Union for Reform Judaism joined an amicus brief, coordinated by the California Council of Churches, to make the Court aware of our unshakable commitment to the rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation. The Court's affirmation of the legal legitimacy of the 18,000 marriages before the passage of Proposition 8 embodies the hope that full marriage equality will soon by the norm across our nation.

"While today's news dampens our spirits, it does not diminish our resolve. We renew our commitment to strive for a day when none of God's children will be discriminated against and all people will be treated equally, with dignity and respect. No court ruling can take away the beauty in the love shared between two people, and we pray that our laws will soon recognize and honor their commitment to one another no matter their sexual orientation. That is what justice demands. "

Rabbi Linda Bertenthal, Senior Associate Director of the Union for Reform Judaism's Pacific Southwest Council and Co-Acting Regional Director of its Pacific Central West Council, and Rabbi Alan Henkin, Regional Director of the Pacific Southwest Council, both representing regions of California, noted:

"Our nation is built upon a strong commitment to equality, but today the California Supreme Court has undermined the rights of gay and lesbian Americans and has unjustly condoned a revision of California's constitution. Such a broad-based denial of rights is in direct contrast to our values as a nation and as people of faith.

"While we are grateful to see that the 18,000 couples married before the passage of Proposition 8 will retain their rights, we are overcome with a sense of disappointment in today's decision. We wish support and strength to the families in our synagogues and communities and pledge to strive with them to reach the day soon when all loving relationships will be fully recognized."

Symphony quartet at Hebrew Day

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)—The San Diego Symphony sent a full quartet to Hebrew Day for an afternoon of music appreciation for the Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade students.  The students learned about the individual instruments and the different tones and moods the music can project. The Symphony will be returning next week to perform for the 3rd - 5th grade classes.

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

Preceding provided by Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School

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Thursdays with the songs of Hal Wingard, z"l

SAN DIEGO—As our readers already know, Hal Wingard died at age 83 on Monday, May 25, after a long bout with cancer.

Before he died, Hal expressed the wish that San Diego Jewish World continue presenting his songs posthumously—a decision in which his family concurred.

At Hal's funeral on Tuesday, May 26, some of his lyrics were read to depict his many interests and to explore his legacy. In three of the songs, Hal recorded his own thoughts on these subjects. To hear Hal singing them, please click on the song titles below. To review and hear the songs so far presented in this column, please click here.

#69, Epitaph 1

I hope, upon my passing,
You'll shed a tiny tear
And feel a moment's longing
That I'm no longer here.

But don't extend your mourning,
No matter what your pain,
For neither death nor living
Should make a soul complain.

If joy is part of living
As life flows day by day,
Then emptiness of dying
Is little price to pay.

So, thanks for all your sadness,
But do not weep too long.
Instead, recall my living
And sing a joyous song.

(c) 2009 Estate of Hal Wingard; To Hal, October 10, 1979

#222, Epitaph 2

Don't cry for me, my dearest ones,
Now that I am dead.
Hold your tears for those who live
And cry for them instead.

For I have led a joyous life;
I've suffered little pain.
And now that death has taken me,
I really can't complain.

So, save your tears for those who live--
But live a dismal life--
Who suffer under tyrant's rule
Or inter-ethnic strife.

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Save you tears for those cast out,
Confounded, or confused:
The fam'ly forced to walk the street,
The child who's been abused.

And save your tears for those enslaved
In poverty or drugs,
Or those who daily live in fear
Of weapon wielding thugs.

But shed no tear for me, now dead.
It isn't worth your while.
And if by chance you think of me,
Just sing my songs and smile.

Don't cry for me, my dearest ones,
Now that I am dead.
Hold your tears for those who live
And cry for them instead.

(c) 2009 Estate of Hal Wingard; to my children, May 10, 1992. Words begun May 6, 1992, at Marianne Sandler’s funeral and completed the following day on a flight from Sacramento to San Diego.

#302, Heart of What I Am

Dig a hole and lay me down,
And let me sleep these years.
Cover me with grassy sod,
And shed no mournful tears.

For, when my body's under ground,
Just part of me is gone.
The heart of what I really am
In countless ways lives on.

The genes that once were live in me--
Not all, but surely some--
Still thrive in children sired by me,
In offspring yet to come.

My wife and children keep my love,
And so my friends as well.
And folks recount in song and verse
The tales I used to tell.

My wife can surely feel my touch,
'Though I'm not by her side.
My children's thoughts still echo mine.
My thoughts will not have died.

Yes, when my body's in the grave,
Just part of me is gone.
The heart of what I really am
In countless ways lives on.

The heart of what I really am
In countless ways lives on.

(c) 2009 Estate of Hal Wingard; To Eileen, Myla, Daniel, Tamara, and Harriet, November 22, 2002.Words begun January 8, 1996, on flight to San Francisco and completed while there.


Bible in Pop Culture: luminaries in the firmament

Genesis 1:14

God said, "Let there be luminaries in the firmament of the heaven to separate between the day and the night; and they shall serve as signs, and for festivals, and for days and years;

Do you have a photo that you think illustrates how a biblical verse has worked its way into pop culture. Please send it to us for possible publication in this series, "The Bible in Pop Culture."

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

Yo-Ma-Co Club Plans Film Nite
Southwestern Jewish Press April 3, 1953, page 7

President Milton Kossy is starting a new regime with a bang.  The Yomaco club comprised of youngish, married, couples and philanthropic obligations, invite any couple to attend their meetings.  Starting a new season with a night of films and a night of “Stop the Clock.” Our present agenda seems more than promising.

All meetings are held at the Highland Landis Street Recreation Center, the second and fourth Wednesday of each month.  April 8, next meeting, will feature two specialists, dancers from the Arthur Murray Dance Studios.  They will demonstrate Spanish dancing, and South American novelties, and will also endeavor to teach those in attendance.  Promising to be an evening of delight and interest, a cordial invitation is extended to all new comers to come and be the welcomed guests of the Yomacos. 

J.W.V. Hold “Back to God” Program
Southwestern Jewish Press April 3, 1953, page 7

In a “Back to God” national program conducted by the American Legion, Post 185, Jewish War Veterans met with American Legion Fighting Bob Post, and San Diego Police Post at the War Memorial Bldg., April 1st when Rabbi Monroe Levens, Rev. Dr. John Wiley and Father Bentley, Chaplain, USN, addressed the gathering.  Cantor Cyanor pleased the audience with his singing.

A program has been formulated for the installation of new officers to take place April 20th at the War Memorial Bldg.

Commander J. David Brooks thanks Joe and Jean Spatz, Esther and David Frank who for the past year conducted the weekly Sunday morning Breakfast Instruction program at the Naval Training Center for Jewish servicemen.

Campaign Gains Speed With ‘C’ Week as $130,000 Is Pledged
Southwestern Jewish Press April 17, 1953, page 1

As the United Jewish Fund Campaign continued to gain momentum with many workers soliciting in all quarters of the city, interest centered this week on the completion of “C” Week.

Culminating in the anniversary celebration of the fifth year of the State of Israel this Sunday evening at Beth Israel Center, “C” Week is expected to swell the total pledged to date to $150,000, representing 60 percent of the need.

Organization chairmen and their workers, advanced gifts workers, women division leaders, Christian committee area workers, and others, all shared an interest in “C” Week which brought in to date contributions from 722 individuals amounting to $130,000.

Highlight of the main events of the week which include a radio program over KCBQ and a television show over KFMB on Sunday, a breakfast for leaders on Monday, the opening of a window display about the drive at Walkers, was the Women’s division luncheon which saw over 250 women pay tribute to Ida Nasatir and meet Lloyd Nolan of the screen, radio and television.

The main objective of “C” Week has been, according to chairman Carl M. Esenoff and Milton Roberts, “to speed up the campaign with a diversity of activities among all workers, and with every phase of the campaign in motion at one time.”

Fund Liquor Division
Honors Bonelli and Berry
Southwestern Jewish Press April 17, 1953, page 1

The Liquor division of the United Jewish Fund will honor two of the leading figures in the industry this Monday, April 20, at a luncheon in the Continental Room of the San Diego Hotel to open their phase of the drive, according to Julius Schwitkis and Jerome Freeedman, co-chairmen.

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William G. Bonelli, member of the State Board of Equalization, and Charles E. Berry, local administrative officer, will be paid tribute by the members of the liquor industry of San Diego at the luncheon.

The committee welcoming Mr. Bonelli and Mr. Berroy will be headed by Julius Schwitkis, local manager of Al Hart and company, and Jerome Freedman, President of the local Retail Liquor Association.

Other members of the Committee are B. W. Collins St., President, San Diego Beer Distributors Association; Arthur Guyer, President, California Tavern Owners Association; and John Radovich, President, San Diego Tavern Owners Association.

Committee members also included the following industry leaders, Gene Call, Forrestr Coynut, Johmn Einhorn, Charles Foto, Al Fulkerson, Mickey Goldfarb, Jack Homer, Al Luallin, Elmer McInerney, Harry Pearson, Divan Sisson, John Snider, and Chris Wasam.

300 U.J.A. Women’s Division Workers Pay Tribute To
1st Lady of San Diego
Southwestern Jewish Press April 17, 1953, page 1

Lloyd Nolan, star of radio, television and screen, starred with leaders of the Women’s Division of San Diego’s United Jewish Fund in honoring one of the Jewish Community’s most beloved women.

During “C” Week, over 300 women paid tribute, their respect, and showed their love for Ida Nasatir by making their own contributions to the cause dearest tro her heart—the United Jewish Fund—last Tuesday at the Women’s Division Chairman Luncheon in her honor.

Over $14,300 was pledged in honor of the Women’s Division Chairman bringing the division total to $33,509 towards their $40,000 effort.

Introduced by another first lady of San Diego, Rose Neumann, Mrs. Nasatir in a dramatic and emotional address told the women present of their responsibilities and said that by making a contribution “women make one far beyond the dollar value of the gift.  We help families like our own to live with decency and pride.”

Beautifully arranged in the Don Room of the El Cortez by Jeanne Camiel and Ida Wax, arrangements chairmen, and decorated by June Sosna and Eve Chenkin, the luncheon was chaired by Gladys Block.  Decorations were a continual reminder of the deeds of Ida Nasatir.

During the luncheon Mrs. Nasatir was presented with a silver cream and sugar set by the United Jewish Fund of San Diego by Ernst Michel of the United Jewish Appeal, for her humanitarian achievements.

The Women’s division presented her with a book of tribute and appreciation signed by all who attended the luncheon and picturing her activities over the years.  The affair was hosted by 50 of San Diego’s leading women divided into Table Captains and Greeting committee.  Table Captains were Mrs. Leonard Zlotoff, Mrs. Victor Schulman, Mrs. I. Domnitz, Mrs. Anne Shelley, Mrs. David Schloss, Mrs. Abe Ratner, Mrs. Nate Ratner, Mrs. George Neumann, Mrs. Edward Binder, Mrs. Joseph Kwint, Mrs. A. J. Bard, Mrs. Harry Mallen, Mrs. Meier Barach, Mrs. Bernard Godes, Mrs. Harold Elden, Mrs. Earl Brodie, Mrs. Edward Kitaen, Mrs. Louis Steinmanm., Mrs. Carl Esenoff, Mrs. Saul Chenkin, Mrs. Gabriel Berg.

Greeting Committee members were Mrs. Harry Snyder, Mrs. Milton Roberts, Mrs. William Moss, Mrs. Rodin Horrow, Mrs. Charles Silverman, Mrs. Jack Gross.

“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.


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

Harvey Fierstein talks about "A Catered Affair," the movie that inspired his play.

Carrie Fisher is profiled on Biography

Tovah Feldshuh and her roles as Irena, Golda are profiled on Better.TV

Al Franken combines politics, religion and humor in "God Spoke"

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

Issue Dedication: Today's edition of San Diego Jewish World is dedicated with happy birthday wishes to Hui-Wen Harrison

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