Volume 3, Number 129
"There's a Jewish story everywhere"

Today's Postings:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

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

Stopping settlements won't change the Islamists' ambitions ... by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem
In the tension building between the Obama administration and Israel on the subject of settlements, it is appropriate to step back and assess their importance in the larger issues of Israel and Palestine, regional and world peace.READ MORE

What real changes will U.S. insist that Arabs make? ... by Barry Rubin in Herzliya, Israel
Back in 1993, when the “peace process” began, President Bill Clinton told a press conference that Israel was ready to take risks for peace and he told Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, "If you do that, my role is to minimize those risks."READ MORE

Garden is in Jerusalem, but it invokes feeling of Eden ... by Dorothea Shefer-Vanson
If one is lucky enough to live in a town which is blessed with a unique botanical garden one really ought to visit it at least four times a year—once each season—and more than that, if possible.

EDITOR'S MAILBOX—International, national, an local news

Text of President Obama's NPR interview on the Middle East READ MORE
Text of President Obama's BBC interview on the Middle East READ MORE
U.S. government broadcasters build up to Obama's Cairo speech today READ MORE
Indictments announced against plotters against synagogue, JCC READ MORE
Institute charges Christians discriminated against by schoolsREAD MORE
Poizner seeks to prohibit health insurers from canceling coverage READ MORE
Soille Hebrew Day auctions off student art works at June 7 gala READ MORE
San Diego Councilmember Marti Emerald will read at library READ MORE
Filner announces progress on new national cemetery in S.D. CountyREAD MORE
'Living with HIV' topic at Congregation Dor Hadash READ MORE
Jewish Family Service offers 'brain fitness' classes for older adults READ MORE

Obama should bring immortal Thomas Jefferson to Cairo ... by Shoshana Bryen in Washington, D.C.
Much has been said about what President Obama plans to accomplish in his speech in Cairo today. It is to "improve our image" in the "Muslim world"; it is to "reset our relations" with them; it is to dispel myths about the United States and our policies; it is to show respect for Muslims. READ MORE

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

Canadian academic wants Israelis to apologize to PalestiniansREAD MORE
Lack of funds and students sinks special schoolREAD MORE
Learning the secrets of good coffee READ MORE
Maccabi recants decision READ MORE
Search for Maccabi Soccer superstar READ MORE

The Bible in Pop Culture
Evening and morning, a fourth day, Genesis 1:20 SEE IMAGE

Thursdays with the Songs of Hal Wingard, z"l
#250 -- Failure READ AND HEAR
#307 -- The Virtue of Patience READ AND HEAR
#159 -- And I'll Be an Actor READ AND HEAR

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

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Adventures in San Diego Jewish History

April 17, 1953, Southwestern Jewish Press
Tifereth Israel Synagogue READ MORE
Cottage of Israel READ MORE
Our Quotable Friends READ MORE
Jewish War Veterans Hold Installation READ MORE
Tifereth Israel Sisterhood READ MORE
Temple Beth Israel Sisterhood News READ MORE


We continue our examination of Jewish entertainers

Patricia Arquette as and about Allison DuBois in Medium VIEW VIDEO
Yvan Attal in "My Wife Is An Actress" VIEW VIDEO
Hank Azaria in "Tuesdays with Morrie"VIEW VIDEO
David Baddiel does stand up comedy early in his career VIEW VIDEO


We run Dorothea Shefer-Vanson's story about the botanical gardens in Jerusalem right in the middle of our coverage of the tension between the U.S. and Israel as President Barack Obama woos the Muslim world. Why? Because we want to reaffirm that Israel is not only about politics or conflict, but is a country with a beauty and majesty of its own.

America's Vacation Center
Balloon Utopia
Congregation Beth Israel
Jewish Family Service
Lawrence Family JCC
Math Is Easy
San Diego Community Colleges
San Diego County Library
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

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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Stopping settlements won't change the Islamists' ambitions

By Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM--In the tension building between the Obama administration and Israel on the subject of settlements, it is appropriate to step back and assess their importance in the larger issues of Israel and Palestine, regional and world peace.

If the settlements are among the stumbling blocks to an accord between Israel and its neighbors, and what that may mean for wider aspirations, they are in the shadow of Hamas and other nay sayers to the idea of Israel.

It's radical Islam, stupid!

It is not only radical Islam, but that is the hardest nut in the context of its ascendance in Palestine and elsewhere. Hamas is firmly in control of Gaza, and would take over the West Bank in short order if it was not for protection given to the Abbas government by Israeli security forces.

Freshly trained and equipped Palestinian security forces bloodied a cluster of Hamas operatives a few days ago, but it is too early to conclude that the Abbas government is willing or able to make a prolonged defense against those who carry the flag of Islam. The recent operation looks like a demonstration for the sake of the Obama administration. Remember when Fatah was still in control of Gaza and it wanted to make a show of dealing with the tunnels used for smuggling weapons from the Sinai. Its police invited the cameras to photograph them shoveling a bit of sand into one of the tunnel entrances. It would have been more persuasive if they had destroyed the tunnel with explosives.

The problem is not only intense Muslims. Christian Arabs never have been enthusiastic about Israel's existence. Intellectuals in the non-religious universities of Egypt and Jordan are noted for their strident opposition to normalizing relations. They are role models for colleagues in Britain, the United States, and elsewhere who think that a boycott of Israel would turn the Middle East into a decent place.

The settlements took root 40 years ago in the context of Arab rejection of Israel. They have grown as efforts at reaching an accord have failed, most notably the Oslo process of 1993 and the Barak-Arafat-Clinton efforts of 2000. An article in the New York Times estimates that there are 300,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank, except for East Jerusalem.

Most of them are in sizable communities like Maale Adumim, Gush Etzion, Efrat, Beitar Ilite, Modiin Ilite, and Ariel. Presumably it was these areas, as well as Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem (another 180,000) that the Bush administration had in mind when it said that any agreement would take account of demographic changes since 1967.

No one should expect to move half a million Israelis.

It has been common for Arabs and their friends to pressure Israelis by saying that if they do not take advantage of a window of opportunity, Arab violence will return in force. The mirror of that is that settlements have continued to grow when Arabs have not taken advantage of a window of opportunity.

Most settlers are middle class, secular Israelis interested in roomy apartments within commuting distance of the cities. Intense ideologues are well placed among the elected officials of West Bank localities and regional councils. They have the support of Israelis who vote for political parties that identify themselves with Religious Zionism or secular nationalism.

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Ultra-Orthodox Jews were less inclined to territorial issues, but that has changed as with the development of Beitar Ilit and Modi'in Ilit as ultra-Orthodox communities.

The political parties likely to support settlers currently have 64 members in the 120 member Knesset, and form the hard core of the Netanyahu government.

You want democracy in the Middle East? Israel is the only country that is credibly democratic, and that is what its most recent election produced.

Overseas Jews, especially the Orthodox, are prominent in supplying settlements with new immigrants and financial support. Purchases of buildings in Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem rely on the money of overseas Orthodox millionaires.

The most important recent event in the history of settlement was the removal of some 6,700 individuals from Gaza in 2005. The Arab response of continued rocket fire culminating in Israel's military operation of January, 2009, is prominent in the narrative against removals from the West Bank.

Boys and girls, young men and women, who have grown up in the settlements and studied in the academies of nationalist rabbis scuffle with police and soldiers sent to remove illegal settlements, and lay down at key intersections in Israeli cities when the leadership calls for a demonstration. The most extreme attack Arabs and uproot Arab crops, sometimes in immediate retaliation against Arab attacks on Jews.

However I think about the provocations of Jewish extremists, they are minor in comparison to what the world is suffering from Muslim extremists.

Young men who identify themselves as Religious Zionists provide a disproportionate component of elite IDF units and young officers. They also give pause to senior officers charged with planning any action against the settlers.

In short, more than 40 years since the 1967 war have produced intense activists, backed by a sizable group of sympathizers who mobilize in response to Arab violence or a proposal to remove settlements. They have shown themselves able to resist centrist governments, most recently that of Ehud Olmert, and currently find themselves with a friendly government.

The Netanyahu government may reach an accommodation with the American administration. Israelis hope that statements about no building in the West Bank are opening gambits, that may be replaced by an agreement, perhaps implicit, that accepts limited growth of existing communities.

Several flash points on the horizon may upset any optimistic projection. Previous governments developed a plan to link Maale Adumim with Jerusalem. Arabs say this will end any possibility of a continuous Arab state from the north to the south of the West Bank. Also problematic are Jewish purchases of land and buildings in Arab areas of East Jerusalem, perceived as more harmful than Arab purchases in Jewish areas of Jerusalem.

Stopping the growth of settlements, and removing some of them, may produce a moment of good feeling among those who think of themselves as fair minded and wise in Washington and elsewhere. It will not quiet Iraq, Afghanistan, or Pakistan, or stop Iran's nuclear program.

If history is any guide, the most likely problem for Obama will be the Palestinians. Nothing on offer may satisfy those said to be moderates currently being propped up in the West Bank. They are still talking about the rights of refugees to return home. Hamas may win the election promoted by American enthusiasts of democracy. A spectacular act of violence may come from Palestinians or Hizbollah, and provoke an Israeli response that further postpones any chance of an accord.

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

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What real changes will U.S. insist that Arabs make?

By Barry Rubin

HERZLIYA, Israel --Back in 1993, when the “peace process” began, President Bill Clinton told a press conference that Israel was ready to take risks for peace and he told Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, "If you do that, my role is to minimize those risks."

One of the most important elements in contemporary Israeli thinking is the irony of those words. Clinton, of course, meant them and his intentions were good. But looking back from 2009, the risks taken by Israel and the concessions it has made have repeatedly plagued the country and cost the lives of thousands of its citizens.

Not only has the United States—and the Europeans who made similar pledges—failed to minimize the costs of this process but in most cases they have not even acknowledged it. Israeli concessions have not, as was expected, led to increasing support and public respect, quite the opposite.

Anyone who wants to deal with the conflict today must acknowledge and deal with this experience but we find that it is not happening. In the statements of Western leaders and in the media, what we usually discover is that such matters are either not mentioned at all or only passed over in ritualistic fashion. There is much talk about Israeli concessions and responsibilities, virtually none about Palestinian ones.

Thus, the two-state solution (TSS) or stopping settlement construction or removing roadblocks are spoken about as if these things alone will bring peace. There is little about a Palestinian Authority (PA) end to incitement to murder Israelis and denial of Israel’s right to exist (which goes on daily) or better security efforts, or agreement to end the conflict or to resettle refugees within a Palestinian state. There is little acknowledgement that Hamas’s control of the Gaza Strip is not just an inconvenience but an almost total roadblock for any hope of peace.

Note well, these are not “hawkish” or “anti-peace” arguments. Anyone who wants to make progress must deal with them very seriously. If these issues are ignored, failure is inevitable.

Israelis remember, though others may not, that the country withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula in 1957 in exchange for U.S. promises that the Straits of Tiran, the entrance to the Red Sea, would always be open to Israel’s port of Eilat. When Egypt blockaded them in 1967, however, the State Department couldn’t seem to find the necessary documentation. There are many later examples.

When Yasir Arafat destroyed the peace process in 2000, the conclusion as to his behavior was only briefly drawn until amnesia set in. As evidence mounted for the Palestinian leader’s continuing support for terrorism, this, too, was not factored into a conclusion about the positions of Fatah and the PA. Years of attacks on Israelis with official PA sanction; thousands of inciting speeches, articles, and sermons matched with a failure to make changes toward accepting a compromise;

the continuing PA demand that all Palestinians who wish can go to live in Israel, none of these foul fruits of risk brought any revision in Western thinking or—in most cases—behavior.

Israel took the risk of withdrawing from southern Lebanon and the result was Hizballah. During the 2006 war the great sign of U.S. support was merely in letting the fighting continue a little longer when Hizballah was losing. The UN resolution and arrangements ending that war have not been enforced. These are all actions which failed to minimize Israeli risks after a concession.

Similar points can be made about the Gaza Strip. True, as in the southern Lebanon case, the decision to withdraw was an Israeli one. Yet such withdrawals were in line with the policies urged by the United States and Europe. It was the United States that pushed for the elections won by Hamas, and which then did nothing when Hamas violated that process and seized control of the Gaza Strip by violence.

When Israel was struck repeatedly by rockets, mortars, and attempted cross-border terrorist attacks for years, the United States took no strong action. And when finally Hamas publicly and unilaterally ended the “ceasefire” and Israel launched a defensive military operation, support and understanding were there but only barely.

Given all this history, Israel is now asked to trust Western and American promises once again and plunge forward to a state controlled by those who have fulfilled hardly any of their commitments. It is pressed, albeit lightly so far, to do this or do that as if not allowing a settler to build on property which is already part of an existing settlement is the main threat to the success of peace hopes.

Such promises, in light of past performance and present one-sidedness about who must make concessions and fulfill commitments, are simply not credible.

Pay attention please: the problem is not a "hard-line" or "hawkish" Netanyahu but a naive (or cynical), one-sided, and unreliable Western policy.

Israelis are not frightened or angry about President Barack Obama because the great majority are confident that he will at least basically learn these lessons over time. The Iranian and Syrian regimes, Hamas and Hizballah, and the PA itself will be his teachers. They also believe that much of the emphasis on solving the conflict as the key to all regional issues is purely for show as has been so often true before.

This is what the overwhelming majority of Israelis think about when they hear the words of Obama and Western media coverage on such matters.

But anyone who claims to be serious about advancing any peace process better consider these factors also and prove their seriousness on giving Israel strong support, pushing the PA into fulfilling commitments, and helping bring down Hamas’s rule in the Gaza Strip.

Otherwise they are only fooling themselves and will surely fail.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.

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Garden is in Jerusalem, but it invokes feeling of Eden

By Dorothea Shefer-Vanson

MEVASSERET ZION, Israel -- If one is lucky enough to live in a town which is blessed with a unique botanical garden one really ought to visit it at least four times a year—once each season—and more than that, if possible. I must confess to having been very remiss in that respect, although last week I was able to remedy the situation to some extent. My visit with a group of friends to the University Botanical Garden in neighboring Jerusalem was both an aesthetic and an intellectual experience, and our eyes were opened by the erudite explanations we were privileged to receive from one of the garden’s founders, Dr. Michael Avishai.

Although Israel is roughly the size of Wales it has no less than eight sets of horticultural belts, namely, different climatic regions, each with its own typical plants and trees. Jerusalem is situated in the Mediterranean region, but because of its location over five hundred meters above sea level its climate sustains more than 1,000 varieties of plants.

The Botanical Garden, which was founded in 1962, extends over 30 acres and now hosts more than 6,000 plants, including those indigenous to Asia, Australia, Europe and the tropics. In the tropical conservatory, which is somewhat reminiscent of the one at Kew Gardens albeit on a smaller scale, one can encounter several different kinds of orchids as well as insect-eating plants growing amidst the lush greenery of the tropical forest. In another corner is a Roman-era columbarium (dove-cote). The Romans used these birds as sacrifices to their gods, as messengers and also as a delicacy on their tables. The columbarium, which was built into the limestone rock, was discovered when the conservatory was being constructed and duly incorporated within it. In another part of the Botanical Garden there are natural caves which were once used as for burial but had been emptied by grave-robbers long before the garden was planted. No other botanical garden can claim unique features such as these.

The garden is divided into several sections by continent, each with its own unique flowers, grasses, trees and shrubs. But for me the most stunning sight was the winding entrance path, its borders containing a multi-coloured array of spring flowers. What a delightful way to greet visitors as they make their way into the garden! This area, we were told, had been planted and cared for by a dedicated group of volunteers from Great Britain who come to Israel for several weeks each year as well as raising funds for the garden at other times.

As well as the areas devoted to different regions of the world, the garden also contains a Bible Path, where the plants mentioned in the bible are to be found. Another part of the garden is devoted to medicinal plants, and also serves as a focus

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for research into their healing properties. Since the garden is associated with the Hebrew University and is adjacent to its Givat Ram campus it provides a convenient laboratory for horticultural research.

The garden also contains several lakes, a stream and even a waterfall, though of course all the water is recycled. These enable the plant life that is unique to wet areas to thrive, widening the garden’s plant repertoire still further, not to mention the wide range of birds, both indigenous and migratory, that come to visit.

The purpose of the Botanical Garden is summed up in its motto, ‘science, recreation, conservation.’ In endeavouring to fulfill those functions it also seeks to educate Israelis, whether adults or children, to appreciate the manifold beauties of nature, to tend the plants, and to value yet another of Jerusalem’s unique treasures.

Shefer-Vanson, a freelance writer and translator based in Mevasseret Zion, may be contacted at dorothea@shefer.comThis article initially appeared in the AJR Journal, published by the Association of Jewish Refugees in the United Kingdom.

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Editor's Mailbox

International, national and local news of Jewish interest

Text of President Obama's NPR interview on the Middle East

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)-- Here is the text of President Obama's June 1 interview with National Public Radio's Michele Norris and Steve Inskeep, in anticipation of the speech to the Muslim world he will give today in Cairo, Egypt..

Q Mr. President, welcome to the program.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much.

Q Mr. President, thank you for joining us -- that we could join you, in this case. If you want to improve relations with the Muslim world, do you have to change or alter in some way the strong U.S. support for Israel?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I don't think that we have to change strong U.S. support for Israel. I think that we do have to retain a constant belief in the possibilities of negotiations that will lead to peace, and that that's going to require, from my view, a two-state solution; that it's going to require that each side -- Israelis and Palestinians -- meet their obligations.

I've said very clearly to the Israelis both privately and publicly that a freeze on settlements including natural growth is part of those obligations. I've said to the Palestinians that their continued progress on security and ending the incitement that I think understandably makes Israelis so concerned -- that that has to be -- those obligations have to be met.

So the key is to just believe that that process can move forward and that all sides are going to have to give. And it's not going to be an easy path, but one that I think we can achieve.

Q Mr. President, you mentioned a freeze on settlements. The Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is quoted today saying to Cabinet members in Israel that he will not follow your demand for a freeze on settlements in the West Bank, that it's not going to happen. What does it suggest that Israel is not taking your advice?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think it's still early in the process. They formed a government, what, a month ago? I think that we're going to have a series of conversations. Obviously the first priority of a Israeli Prime Minister is to think in terms of Israel's security. I believe that strategically the status quo is unsustainable when it comes to Israeli security; that over time, in the absence of peace with the Palestinians, Israel will continue to be threatened militarily and will have enormous problems along its borders.

And so it is not only in the Palestinians' interest to have a state; I believe it is in the Israelis, as well, and in the United States' interest as well.

Q But if the United States says for years that Israel should stop the settlements, and for years Israel simply does not, and the United States continues supporting Israel in roughly the same way, what does that do with American credibility in the Muslim world, which you're trying to address?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think what is certainly true is that the United States has to follow through on what it says. Now, as I said before, I haven’t said anything yet because it's early in the process. But it is important for us to be clear about what we believe will lead to peace and that there's not equivocation and there's not a sense that we expect only compromise on one side; it's going to have to be two-sided.

`And I don't think anybody would deny that in theory. When it comes to the concrete, then the politics of it get difficult both within the Israeli and the Palestinian communities. But, look, if this was easy it would have already been done.

Q Many people in the region are concerned; when they look at the U.S. relationship with Israel, they feel that Israel has favored status in all cases. And what do you say to people in the Muslim world who feel that the U.S. has, repeatedly over time, blindly supported Israel?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, what I'd say is there's no doubt that the United States has a special relationship with Israel. There are a lot of Israelis who used to be Americans. There is huge cross-cultural ties between the two countries. I think that as a vibrant democracy that shares many of our values, obviously we're deeply sympathetic to Israel.

And I think I would also say that given past statements surrounding Israel -- the notion that they should be driven into the sea, that they should be annihilated, that they should be obliterated, the armed aggression that's been directed towards them in the past -- you can understand why not only Israelis would feel concern, but the United States would feel it was important to back this stalwart ally.

Now, having said all that, what is also true is that part of being a good friend is being honest, and I think there have been times where we are not as honest as we should be about the fact that the current direction, the current trajectory in the region is profoundly negative not only for Israeli interests, but also U.S. interests. And that's part of a new dialogue that I'd like to see encouraged in the region.

Q Does it undermine your effort, reaching out to the Muslim world, which you'll do with the speech in Cairo, that you'll be speaking in a country with an undemocratic government that is an ally of the United States?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, keep in mind I already spoke in Turkey. They have a democracy that I'm sure some Turks would say has flaws to it, just as there are some Americans who would suggest there are flaws to American democracy --

Q Are you about to say Egypt is just a country with some flaws?

THE PRESIDENT: No, no, what I'm about -- don't put words in my mouth, Steve, especially not in the White House. (Laughter.) You can wait until the postscript.

There is a wide range of governments throughout the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world, and the main thing for me to do is to project what our values are, what our ideals are, what we care most deeply about -- and that is democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of religion.

Now, in every country I deal with, whether it's China, Russia, ultimately Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, allies as well as non-allies, there are going to be some differences. And what I want to do is just maintain consistency in affirming what those values that I believe in are, understanding that we're not going to get countries to embrace various of our values simply by lecturing or through military means. We can't force these approaches. What we can do is stand up for human rights; we can stand up for democracy. But I think it's a mistake for us to somehow suggest that we're not going to deal with countries around the world in the absence of their meeting all our criteria for democracy.

Q Michele Norris.

Q You've mentioned many times the importance of reaching out to Iran with an open hand, trying to engage that country. Are you also willing to try to engage with Hezbollah or Hamas, entities that have now had significant gains in recent elections?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, let's just underscore a point here. Iran is a huge, significant nation state that has, I think, across the international community been recognized as such. Hezbollah and Hamas are not. And I don't think that we have to approach those entities in the same way. In the --

Q -- does that change with their electoral gains?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, look, if at some point -- Lebanon is a member of the United Nations -- if at some point they are elected as a head of state -- or a head of state is elected in Lebanon that is a member of that organization, then that would raise these issues. That hasn’t happened yet.

With respect to Hamas, I do think that if they recognize the Quartet principles that have been laid out -- and these are fairly modest conditions here -- that you recognize the state of Israel without prejudging what various grievances or claims are appropriate, that you abide by previous agreements, that you renounce violence as a means of achieving your goals -- then I think discussions with Hamas could potentially proceed.

And so the problem has been that there's been a preference oftentimes on the part of these organizations to use violence and not take responsibility for governance as a means of winning propaganda wars or advancing their organizational aims. At some point, though, they may make a transition -- there are examples of -- in the past, of organizations that have successfully transitioned from violent organizations to ones that recognize that they can achieve their aims more effectively through political means, and I hope that occurs.

Q Mr. President, because you mentioned Iran I want to ask a question about that and about your efforts to engage with the Muslim world in a different way. I'd like to know which development you think would be more harmful to America's prestige in the Muslim world, which is worse: An Iranian government that has nuclear weapons, or an Israeli military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm not going to engage in these hypotheticals, Steve, but I can tell you that my view is that Iran possessing a nuclear weapon would be profoundly destabilizing to the region -- not just with respect to Israel's response, but the response of other Arab states in the region, or Muslim states in the region that might be concerned about Iran having an undue advantage.

More broadly, I've got a concern about nuclear proliferation generally, something that I talked about in my speech in Prague. I think one of the things that we need to do is to describe to the Iranians a pathway for them achieving security, respect and prosperity that doesn’t involve them possessing a nuclear weapon. But we have to be able to make that same argument to other countries that might aspire to nuclear weapons, and we have to apply some of those same principles to ourselves, so that -- for example, I'll be traveling next month to Moscow to initiate START talks, trying to reduce our nuclear stockpiles, as part of a broader effort in the international community to contain our nuclear weapons.

Q And you want other nations to restrain themselves until you can complete that process?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that's going to be the challenge. That's why we're so busy around here all the time.

Q Let me ask about one other challenge if I might.

Forgive me, Michele, go ahead.

Q No, go ahead.

Q Is your effort to engage the Muslim world likely to be complicated or even undermined by the fact that you're escalating a war in a Muslim country, Afghanistan, with the inevitable civilian casualties and other bad news that will come out of there?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, there's no doubt that anytime you have civilian casualties that always complicates things, whether it was a Muslim or a non-Muslim country. I think part of what I'll be addressing in my speech is a reminder that the reason that we're in Afghanistan is very simple, and that is 3,000 Americans were killed and you had a devastating attack on the American homeland; the organization that planned those attacks intends to carry out further attacks and we cannot stand by and allow that to happen.

But I am somebody who is very anxious to have the Afghan government and the Pakistani government have the capacity to ensure that those safe havens don't exist. And so it's -- I think will be an important reminder that we have no territorial ambitions in Afghanistan. We don't have an interest in exploiting the resources of Afghanistan. What we want is simply that people aren’t hanging out in Afghanistan who are plotting to bomb the United States. And I think that's a fairly modest goal that other Muslim countries should be able to understand.

Q Mr. President, you have talked about creating a new path forward on Guantanamo, on the relationship that the U.S. has with countries in the Muslim world, and on several fronts. But at the same time, the former Vice President has been out talking about the policies in the former administration. He's forceful, he's unapologetic, and he doesn’t seem willing to scale back his rhetoric. How much does that undermine or complicate your effort to extend a hand, to explain the Obama doctrine and draw a line of demarcation between that administration and yours?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, he also happens to be wrong. Right? And last time, immediately after his speech, I think there was a fact check on his speech that didn’t get a very good grade.

Does it make it more complicated? No, because I think these are complicated issues and there is a legitimate debate to be had about national security. And I don't doubt the sincerity of the former Vice President or the previous administration in wanting to protect the American people -- and these are very difficult decisions. If you've got a -- as I said in my speech, if you've got an organization that is out to kill Americans and is not bound by any rules, then that puts an enormous strain on not only our intelligence operations, our national security operations, but also our legal system.

The one thing that I'm absolutely persuaded by, though, is that if we are true to our ideals and our values, if these decisions aren’t made unilaterally by the executive branch, but rather in consultation and in open fashion and in democratic debate, that the Muslim world and the world generally will see that we have upheld our values, been true to our ideals, and that ultimately will make us safer.

Q It's unusual for the debate to be playing out in a public forum, though. Have you picked up the phone? Have you talked to him? Have you had a conversation?

THE PRESIDENT: I don't think it's that unusual. As I remember, there were some speeches given by Vice President Gore that differed with President Bush's policies. And I think that's healthy; that's part of the debate. And I don't in any way begrudge, I think, anybody in debating, sometimes ferociously, these issues that are of premium importance to the United States. And I am constantly listening and gauging whether or not there's new information out there that I should take into account.

I will tell you that based on my reviews, I am very confident about the policies that we've taken being the right ones for the American people.

Q We're told that our time is up. So you've been very generous.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, guys.

Preceding transcript provided by the White House

Text of President Obama's BBC interview on the Middle East

WASHINGTON, D.C (Press Release)--Here is the text of President Obama's June 1 interview with Justin Webb of the British Broadcasting Corporation in advance of his Middle East trip:

Q    Mr. President, thank you very much for talking to the BBC.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you very much for having me.

Q    It's really good to be here.  Let's turn straight to your big speech -- a hugely important speech you're making in Cairo on Thursday.  Many Muslims think they're owed an apology, actually, for the Bush years and the sins that, in their view, were committed by the United States during those years.  Is this speech in any way an apology?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I think what we want to do is open a dialogue.  And, you know, there are misapprehensions about the West on the part of the Muslim world and obviously there are some big misapprehensions about the Muslim world when it comes to those of us in the West.  And it is my firm belief that no one speech is going to solve every problem, there are no silver bullets.  There are very real policy issues that have to be worked through that are difficult, and ultimately it's going to be action and not words that determine the path of progress from here on out.

But it did seem to me that this was an opportunity for us to get both sides to listen to each other a little bit more and hopefully learn something about different cultures.

Q    You say "both sides," so I take from that that Muslims listening to this speech you are hoping will also be changed by it and their attitude to the United States perhaps change.  What needs to change on the behalf of those you're actually speaking to?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I mean, look, let's just take one small example -- the U.S. Muslim population is more numerous than the populations of many majority-Muslim countries.  So, you know, we have a huge and thriving Muslim American community.  We have Muslim Americans represented or who are serving in Congress.  We've got a President who's got family members who are Muslim.

So this notion that somehow America is detached, is removed, sees some clash of civilizations as inevitable -- I think a lot of the propaganda and dogma that's churned out there is inaccurate.

Now, the flip side is, is that in the wake of 9/11 what is also true is that in a whole host of our actions, and sometimes in our words, America has not been as careful to distinguish our very real need to hunt down extremists who would do us harm -- something that's necessitated by our self defense -- and broader policy differences or cultural differences that exist that are best approached through diplomacy and conversation and some self-reflection on our part.  And so that's the kind of back and forth that I think is going to need to take place.

And the last point I made, because I should actually correct myself, when I said "both sides," there are actually many sides to this because one of the misapprehensions about -- misperceptions about the Muslim community is that it's somehow monolithic.  And, you know, setting aside differences between Shia and Sunni, the Muslim country that I lived in when I was a child, Indonesia, obviously is very different from Pakistan, is very different from Saudi Arabia.  And so we have to also recognize that there are going to be differences based on national identity and not just faith.

Q    You're making this speech in Cairo.  Amnesty International says there are thousands of political prisoners in Egypt.  How do you address that issue?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, look, obviously in the Middle East, across a wide range of types of governments, there are some human rights issues.  I don't think there's any dispute about that.  The message I hope to deliver is that democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of religion -- those are not simply principles of the West to be hoisted on these countries, but rather what I believe to be universal principles that they can embrace and affirm as part of their national identity.

Now, the danger I think is when the United States or any country thinks that we can simply impose these values on another country with a different history and a different culture.  Our job is --

Q    But you can encourage --

THE PRESIDENT:  Absolutely we can encourage, and I expect we will be encouraging --

Q    You will.

THE PRESIDENT:  And I think the thing that we can do most importantly is serve as a good role model.  And that's why, for example, closing Guantanamo, from my perspective, as difficult as it is, is important, because part of what we want to affirm to the world is that these are values that are important even when it's hard, maybe especially when it's hard, and not just when it's easy.

Q    Do you regard President Mubarak as an authoritarian ruler?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I tend not to use labels for folks.  I haven't met him; I've spoken to him on the phone.  He has been a stalwart ally, in many respects, to the United States.  He has sustained peace with Israel, which is a very difficult thing to do in that region, but he has never resorted to unnecessary demagoguing of the issue and has tried to maintain that relationship.

So I think he has been a force for stability and good in the region.  Obviously there have been criticisms of the manner in which politics operates in Egypt and, as I said before, you know, the United States' job is not to lecture but to encourage, to lift up what we consider to be the values that ultimately will work not just for our country but for the aspirations of a lot of people.

Q    A lot of people are looking for specifics in your speech, and one of the areas they're going to be fascinated by, hanging on your every word, is Israel and the Palestinians and what you say about that.  You've made it very clear in recent weeks to the Israeli government that you want settlement building to be frozen in existing settlements.  They've made it equally clear that they're not going to do that.  So what happens now?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, it's still early in the conversation.  I've had one meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu.  I think that we have not seen a set of potential gestures from other Arab states or from the Palestinians that might deal with some of -- some Israeli concerns.  I do believe that if you follow the road map approach that has been laid out, if Israel abides by its obligations that includes no settlements, if the Palestinians abide by their obligations to deal with the security situation, to eliminate incitement, if all the surrounding Arab states, working with the Quartet, are able to encourage economic development and political development, then I think that we can actually make some progress.

So, you know, one of the things that in the 24/7 news cycle is very difficult to encourage is patience, and diplomacy is always a matter of a long, hard slog.  It's never a matter of quick results.

Q    I accept that, but you have the Israeli -- a senior member of the Israeli cabinet, the transport minister saying, "I want to say in a crystal-clear manner [that] the current Israeli government will not accept in any fashion that legal settlement activity ¼ be frozen."  I mean, you've got a job of work, can I at least put it like that?

THE PRESIDENT:  Always have a lot of work, yes.  I mean, nobody thought this was going to be easy.  If it was easy, it would have been done.  But I do think that we're going to be able to get serious negotiations back on track and we're going to do everything we can because not only is it in the interests of the Palestinian people to have a state, it's in the interests of the Israeli people to stabilize the situation there, and it's in the interests of the United States that we've got two states living side by side in peace and security.

Q    What George Bush senior did to concentrate the minds of the then-Israeli government was freeze loan guarantees to Israel.  Is there -- I don't want to ask you about specifics, because obviously you don't want to say at this stage, but are there potentially sanctions, if I could put it like that, that you could employ, that you would consider employing against Israel if this Israeli government doesn't do what you want it to do?

THE PRESIDENT:  I think that I've said my piece on this matter.  We're going to continue negotiations.  We think that it's early in the process, but we think we can make some progress.

Q    What the Israelis say is that they have managed to persuade you at least to concentrate on Iran and to give what's -- behind the scenes they're calling it a bit of an ultimatum to the Iranians:  By the end of this year there must be some real progress.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, the only thing I'd correct on that is I don't think the Israelis needed to convince me of that, since I've been talking about it for the last two years.  What I have said is that it is in the world's interests for Iran to set aside ambitions for a nuclear weapon, but that the best way to accomplish that is through tough, direct diplomacy.

And what I was very clear about was that although I don't want to put artificial time tables on that process, we do want to make sure that by the end of this year we've actually seen a serious process move forward, and I think that we can measure whether or not the Iranians are serious.

My personal view is that the Islamic state of Iran has the potential to be a extraordinarily powerful and prosperous country.  They are more likely to achieve that in the absence of nuclear weapons -- they could trigger a nuclear arms race in the region, not just responses from Israel, by the way, but potentially other states in the region -- and that if what's preventing them from seeing that reality is 30 years of loggerheads between Iran and the United States, then this may be an opportunity for us to open the door and see if they walk through.

Now, there's no guarantees that they respond in a constructive way.  That's part of what we need to test.

Q    A couple of former members of the National Security Council actually suggest that you should go further, though, and that Iran should be regarded in the same way as Japan; in other words, nuclear reprocessing should be accepted and monitored by the international community.  Is that remotely possible?

THE PRESIDENT:  I think that the key right now is to initiate a process that is meaningful, that is rigorous between not only the United States and Iran bilaterally, but also continuing with the P5-plus-one discussions in a way that's constructive.  Without going into specifics, what I do believe is that Iran has legitimate energy concerns, legitimate aspirations.  On the other hand, the international community has a very real interest in preventing a nuclear arms race in the region.  Now one --

Q    But could Iran have the right to reprocess energy?

THE PRESIDENT:  One point that I want to make is that in my speech in Prague I talked about how we need to reinvigorate a much broader agenda for nuclear nonproliferation, including the United States and Russia, drawing down our stockpiles in very significant ways.

To the extent that Iran feels that they are treated differently than everybody else, that makes them embattled.  To the extent that we're having a broader conversation about how all countries have an interest in containing and reducing over time the nuclear proliferation threat, that I think has to be part and parcel of our broader agenda.

Q    You're going on to Europe, to Normandy, scene of a great ally coming together.  Have you convinced European leaders, do you think, taking a sort of broad look at Europe as a whole, that it is necessary sometimes to use force to get your way in the world?  And I'm thinking, obviously, particularly of Afghanistan, but almost in a wider sense, a kind of Venus and Mars issue.  Are the Europeans going to be more onboard now to the American way of thinking?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, look, I think any student of European history understands that the devastation of not just two world wars but centuries of war across the continent and across the Channel means that Europeans understand better than anybody the costs of war, and it is legitimate and understandable that they are hesitant.  I think the United States has a similar attitude; that we should be thinking in terms of our national defense, not where can we initiate war.

We had an attack against the United States that killed 3,000 Americans.  There had been multiple terrorist attacks planned, and some successfully executed, against European states.  And at some point we have to make sure that we are eliminating those networks that would -- could do our citizens harm.  That is our first job as a state, as a government, and --

Q    And European leaders are onboard for that?

THE PRESIDENT:  And I think that they are onboard on that.  Now, there are going to be tactical issues and strategies, and the politics of this can sometimes be difficult.  Listen, the idea of U.S. troops in Afghanistan seven years after 9/11 -- or eight years after 9/11 is hardly popular.  At some point we have to make the case that it is necessary, and I think that -- you know, what we tried to do with our strategic review was to give a broader framework of not just military but also diplomatic and development initiatives that would move in tandem with the military.  And that framework, I think, is one that was heartily embraced by European leaders, by NATO.  Now we've just got to execute, and executions are always tough, especially in a world recession where people are looking at their budgets.

Q    We're almost out of time, Mr. President.  I wanted to finish by asking you just sort of a personal question.  We've been through all these issues, and they must weigh on your mind constantly, how do you relax?  What do you read?   What do you -- what does President Obama do?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, nothing is better at pulling you out of your world than having a couple of children.  So I've got a 10-year-old and a seven-year-old, and they're planning pool parties and talking about homework and trying to figure out how to get the dog back on the leash and --

Q    And family life works in this one.

THE PRESIDENT:  And it really does.  I mean, one of the huge benefits of being President is I now have this nice home office, and I go upstairs and I can have dinner with my family just about every night, and they can travel with me when they're able.  And so we've got, I think, a very good deal, and I'm grateful that I've got such a wonderful wife and kids.  That's my main form of relaxation.

Now, if I can get in a basketball game or a round of golf or I pick up a novel every once in a while, that doesn't hurt.

Q    Are you reading at the moment?

THE PRESIDENT:  You know, I'm reading a book called "Netherland" by Joseph O'Neill.  Almost finished.  Excellent novel.

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Q    I'll let you get back to it.  I'm sure you have other things to do before you go.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.

Q    Thank you very much, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT:  Appreciate it.  Thank you.

U.S. government broadcasters build up to Obama's Cairo speech today

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)--As President Obama seeks to reach Muslim audiences with his June 4 speech in Cairo, BBG broadcasters will engage their audience (of 175 million people weekly), bringing them into a discussion of the address and of broader issues in US-Muslim relations.

The BBG's 60 broadcast languages will cover Obama's speech, and it will be broadcast live with simultaneous translation in a number of languages, including Arabic, Urdu, Pashto and Persian. BBG multimedia broadcasts will feature reaction from the streets and from experts in the United States and throughout the Arab and Muslim world.

For example, Alhurra TV's three hour evening program Al Youm is asking viewers to share their expectations for Obama's remarks through e-mails and Al Youm's Facebook page. The program will interview students from Alazhar University in Cairo and throughout the Middle East before and after the speech. Radio Sawa will also broadcast the speech live, with simultaneous Arabic translation. In addition, Alhurra is conducting online polling in Arabic and English to gauge real-time reactions.

In the lead-up to the speech VOA's audience has interacted via e-mail, Twitter, YouTube and myVOA.com. VOA correspondents asked Muslims around the world how the United States could improve relations and compiled video clips online of audience expectations for Obama's Cairo speech. The Obama remarks will be streamed live on TV, radio and online in English with post-speech analysis and live feeds from Cairo, Jerusalem, London and Kabul.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Radio Free Afghanistan will review feedback from across the region. In addition, correspondents in Indonesia, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Morocco, Iraq and the UAE will gauge expectations and impact on the ground.

VOA reporters in Michigan and Alhurra reporters in New York will cover the reactions of the large Arab and Muslim populations there.

Radio and TV Marti will cover the address for Cuban audiences, while Radio Free Asia will report for its audiences, including China's Muslim Uyghur minority.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency, supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting, whose mission is to promote freedom and democracy and to enhance understanding through multimedia communication of accurate, objective, and balanced news, information, and other programming about America and the world to audiences overseas. BBG broadcasting organizations include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Marti). BBG broadcasts reach over 175 million people worldwide on a weekly basis.

Preceding provided by Broadcasting Board of Governors

Indictments announced against plotters against synagogue, JCC

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (Press Release)—Lev L. Dassin, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today the filing of an eight-count Indictment against James Cromitie, a/k/a "AbdulRahman," a/k/a "Abdul Rehman," David Williams, a/k/a "Daoud,"a/k/a "DL," Onta Williams, a/k/a "Hamza," and Laguerre Payen, , a/k/a "Amin," a/k/a "Almondo," arising from their plot to detonate explosives near a synagogue and Jewish community center in the Riverdale section of Bronx, New York, and to shoot military planes located at the New York Air National Guard Base at Stewart Airport in Newburgh, New York, with Stinger surfaceto-air guided missiles.

All four defendants were arrested on May 20, 2009, in
Bronx, New York, on the basis of charges set forth in a sworn
criminal Complaint. They were presented before United States
Magistrate Judge Lisa M. Smith on May 21, 2009, and ordered detained pending trial.

The Indictment filed Tuesday in White Plains federal court charges Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Payen with the following offenses, carrying the following potential

Count Charge and Maximum Prison Term
1 Conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the United States— Life
2-4 Attempt to use weapons of mass destruction within the United States—Life on each cout.
5 Conspiracy to acquire and use antiaircraft missiles—Life*
6 Attempt to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles—Life*
7 Conspiracy to kill officers and employees of the United States—Life
8 Attempt to kill officers and employees of the United States—
20 years
*Counts Five and Six also carry mandatory minimum penalties of 25 years in prison.

The four defendants were scheduled to be arraigned on
the Indictment in White Plains federal court before United States Magistrate Judge Paul E. Davison on Wednesday, June 3, and the case will be assigned to a United States District Judge at that time.

Mr. Dassin praised the New York Joint Terrorism Task
Force -- which principally consists of agents of the FBI and
detectives of the New York City Police Department -- the New YorkState Police, and the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations for their extraordinary work in the investigation of this case.

Assistant United States Attorneys Eric Snyder and David
Leibowitzare in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely
accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and
until proven guilty.

Preceding provided by the U.S. Justice Department

Lieberman deplores terrorist violence in Arkansas

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)– Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (Independent, Connecticut), issued the following statement Tuesday in response to the shooting death of one soldier and the wounding of another in Arkansas by an apparent homegrown terrorist:

“Hadassah and I offer our deepest sympathies to the families of the U.S. soldier shot and killed and a second soldier wounded in Arkansas yesterday. Members of the Armed Forces sacrifice every day to keep our nation safe, and we are grateful for their courageous service. This tragedy once again illustrates the very real dangers posed by homegrown terrorism in the United States and the urgent need for all of us - including federal, state, and local governments - to understand and combat this threat.”

Preceding provided by Senator Lieberman

Institute charges Christians discriminated against by schools

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (Press Release)-- In a 2-1 decision, a federal appeals court has ruled that school officials did not violate the free speech rights of a kindergartner and his mother when they refused to allow Donna Busch to read a selection from the Bible as part of a classroom "All About Me" program intended to spotlight her son Wesley and his favorite book, the Bible. In appealing to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute had argued that school officials violated the Busches' First Amendment rights by discriminating against them based on the religious nature of the selected reading.

"By excluding religious expression, and Christian expression and symbols in particular, from the classroom, school officials have exhibited the kind of hostility toward religion that should never be found in an American public school," stated John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. "If these situations continue, there will be absolutely no freedom for religious people in public schools in this country."

The case began in October 2004, when Donna Busch accepted an invitation to visit her son Wesley's kindergarten classroom at Culbertson Elementary School in Newtown Square, Penn., and read an excerpt of Wesley's favorite book to his classmates. Wesley's teacher had invited Mrs. Busch because Wesley was the featured student of "All About Me," a school program intended to feature a particular student during the week and emphasize that student's personal characteristics, preferences and personality in classroom activities.

One activity made available to all featured students during "All About Me" is the opportunity to have the child's parent read aloud from his or her favorite book. Wesley, a Christian, had chosen the Bible as his favorite book, and Mrs. Busch planned to read an excerpt from Psalm 118. However, on the day of the reading, Wesley's teacher directed Mrs. Busch not to read the passage until the principal had determined if it could be read to the class. When Principal Thomas Cook was summoned, he informed Mrs. Busch that she could not read from the Bible in the classroom because it was against the law and that the reading would violate the "separation of church and state." Mrs. Busch was then allegedly offered the opportunity to read from a book about witches, witchcraft and Halloween, which she declined to do.

In filing suit against the Marple Newtown school district in May 2005, Institute attorneys alleged that the reading incident was just one example of the school's efforts to suppress the right of Christians to freely express their religious beliefs. For example, although Mrs. Busch was not permitted to read from the Bible, another parent was allowed to read a book about Judaism; teach the class the dreidel game; and display a menorah in celebration of Hanukkah.

In upholding the lower court's ruling, the court of appeals held that "educators may appropriately restrict forms of expression in elementary school classrooms" even when they have invited speakers into the classroom. However, Circuit Judge Thomas Hardiman issued a vigorous dissent, pointing out that the reading of a passage from Psalms to Wesley's class was within the subject matter of the "All About Me" unit, which was to highlight things of interest and important to Wesley, and the exclusion constituted viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment because it was based solely upon its religious character.

LOS ANGELES (Press Release)—California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner on Thursday introduced historic regulations to prevent the practice of unfair rescissions in the individual health insurance industry. These regulations mark California's first-ever regulatory steps to clarify rescission laws, preventing the industry practice of unfairly rescinding health insurance policies.

"Since taking office, I have made it clear to insurance companies that improperly rescinding health insurance policies will not be tolerated in California," said Commissioner Poizner. "Consumers deserve to have their insurance companies hold up their end of the deal, paying out claims and not canceling coverage when it's needed most. Today I am pleased to introduce regulations that will give insurers the guidance they need to follow the law and help prevent illegal rescissions in the first place."

Insurance companies have previously taken advantage of ambiguity in existing laws to inappropriately rescind health insurance policies for individuals when they need health insurance coverage the most - after filing claims for medical treatment. By introducing these regulations, Commissioner Poizner is making it clear to insurance companies that the Department of Insurance will make sure they do all their underwriting before they accept a policyholder and stop the insurer practice of reviewing policy applications for incriminating data once the policyholder becomes sick.

“These regulations deliver a dose of preventive medicine for rescissions,” Commissioner Poizner added. “Coupled with our previous enforcement actions, we now have powerful and continuing legal standards in place that will protect consumers from the ills of unlawful rescissions and force insurers to honor commitments to policyholders.” 

Commissioner Poizner has taken decisive action against improper rescissions since taking office in 2007, cracking down on the three largest individual health insurance companies in the state for engaging in the practice. The Commissioner established requirements within each settlement to ensure that these companies would not illegally rescind policies in the future. Poizner also worked to get offers of reinstated coverage for 4,000 customers whose policies CDI alleges were illegally rescinded.

The settlement provisions covered the 85 percent of the market represented by the three companies – Health Net, Blue Cross and Blue Shield.  The new regulations announced on Thursday will cover the remaining 15 percent of the market by preventing improper rescissions from happening in the first place.  The regulations will also provide additional protections that supplement and strengthen the existing settlements.  By presenting these common-sense regulations, the Commissioner is taking bold steps to protect the entire private health insurance market.

The new regulations will do the following:

  • Set clear and rigorous standards that insurers must meet before they issue a health insurance policy. Insurers must do their underwriting job before they issue the policy.

  • Put insurers on notice that they must prove that they have met ALL of the underwriting standards before they can consider rescission.

  • Put an end to lightweight sloppy underwriting if insurers want to keep the right to rescind.

  • Put insurers on notice that they must be 100% sure that an individual knew the answer to a health history question and failed to provide it before considering rescinding that person.

  • Require insurers to make sure that health insurance applications are accurate and complete.

  • Require insurers to ask clear and unambiguous health history questions and avoid confusing applicants.

  • Require agents who assist applicants with their questions to attest to the insurer regarding their assistance, at every stage of the application process.

  • Encourage insurers to use Personal Health Records instead of potentially confusing health history questionnaires to underwrite applicants.

  • Provide fair due process protections for consumers who are being investigated for possible rescission including early notice, opportunity to provide input to the insurers, and the chance to clarify their application. No hidden rescission investigations are allowed under the new rules and this encourages insurers to work with their insureds to resolve questions about the accuracy of their responses.

  • Require insurers to share documentation used during rescission investigations with the insured under investigation.

The notice of the regulations will be officially published by the Office of Administrative Law on Friday, June 5. Implementation of the regulations is expected by the end of 2009, following a public hearing, public comment and regulation finalization period.

Soille Hebrew Day auctions off student art works at June 7 gala

SAN DIEGO—Art works on silk created by students at Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School under the direction of their art teacher, Avril Butbul, will be auctioned off June 7 at the school's fundraising gala beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park.

Generally measuring three by five feet, the framed art works will start at a minimum bid of $350.

The artwork at the top of this article is " "Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden" and is the product of the 1st grade class of Mrs. Kapln-Nadel's. Just below that is "Tree of life in Gan Eden," a collaboration by 3rd graders  B. Ertel, A. Feinberg, B. Fleury, S. Flores, S. Gardenswartz, A. Ghadishah, B. Halperin, T. Kaplan, G. Kucinski, A. Levin, A. Mendelsohn, O. Mizan, S. Peikes, B. Rosenberg.

If you cannot attend and would like to bid - email the name of the art and your maximum bid to jenlerner@cox.net 

Preceding based on material provided by Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School

San Diego Councilmember Marti Emerald reads at Benjamin library

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)--Councilmember Marti Emerald’s office today announced the celebration of the 44th Annual Benjamin Birthday Bash, to be held on Saturday, June 6, at the San Diego City Council 7th District’s Benjamin Library in Allied Gardens.

Councilmember Emerald will read from the Dr. Seuss classic, The Cat in the Hat at 11:00 am and present a City Council resolution proclaiming June 6, 2009 Benjamin Library
Sources close to the library have confirmed a special guest appearance from the Cat in the Hat himself. The Cat will join Councilmember Emerald to present a special donation of Cat in the Hat books and hats and will be available to take photographs and sign autographs.

Children of all ages are encouraged to attend to participate in a variety of family-friendly games and compete for prizes, generously donated by the Friends of the Library. Food will be provided.

The Benjamin Library is located at 5188 Zion Avenue, San Diego, CA. More information on the Benjamin Library is available online.

Preceding provided by Councilmember Emerald

Filner announces progress on new national cemetery in S.D. County

SAN DIEGO – Congressman Bob Filner, Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs has chosen a San Diego firm, Van Dyke Landscape Associates, to design the Miramar Satellite Cemetery.

The Cemetery contract for $961,004 includes 11,700 conventional burial sites, 4,900 in-ground sites for cremated remains, and 10,300 niches for cremated remains in a columbarium wall, plus a public assembly area, administrative and maintenance buildings, roads, signs, and landscaping.

“Progress at last!” said Congressman Filner. “We need to move this along as quickly as possible. Veterans’ families should not be required to travel to the Riverside National Cemetery to pay respect to their loved ones.”

Congressman Filner was instrumental in bringing about the development of the cemetery annex by working with the other members of the San Diego Congressional Delegation, the Navy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. A Construction Award is tentatively planned for April 2010 and is expected to take two years with the possibility of an early burial section to open by late 2010.

Preceding provided by Congressman Filner

'Living with HIV' topic at
Congregation Dor Hadash

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)— Dr. Linda Robinson, Associate Professor of Nursing at San Diego State University, will be the guest speaker at the 2nd Friday Community
Roundtable at Congregation Dor Hadash on June 12, 2009 at7:30pm. She will be speaking on the topic of "Living With HIV."

Dr. Robinson has done extensive research on this topic and has published many articles in avariety of journals such as the Journal of Palliative Care, Nursing Research, and the Journal of Nursing Education.

Congregation Dor Hadash is located at 4858 Ronson Court, San Diego.

Preceding provided by Congregation Dor Hadash

Jewish Family Service offers 'brain fitness' classes for older adults

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)--Everyone wants to stay sharp, vital, independent and in control. Participants at the University City Older Adult Center and College Avenue Older Adult Center have the opportunity to! Participants can take part in brain fitness classes, designed to strengthen communication, memory, and thinking. Classes feature the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program—a breakthrough computer-based technology designed by top scientists to improve memory and sharpen thinking.

“It just made me want to learn more, read more, study more, and play the piano more. My children said, ‘Mom, we really see a glimmer in your eye.’” -Sigrid, 70

The Brain Fitness Program is an innovative cognitive fitness program currently being implemented at leading retirement communities across the country. With the help of the Gary and Mary West Foundation, Jewish Family Service is one of the first agencies to implement this type of training program.

The Posit Science Brain Fitness Program™ challenges the commonly held belief that the brain can’t retrain itself. Scientists have spent 30 years showing it is possible to “teach an old brain new tricks.” While this training program has been clinically validated, the most fascinating results are found in the stories of those who use the program. There are a number of older adults who have benefited from their mental workouts. The initial program focuses on auditory processing and memory. After just 40 hours, participants, on average, have experienced 10+ years improvement in standarized measures of auditory memory and cognition.

Transforming Lives— Mental sharpness leading to happier, healthier relationships may be the most important benefit of the Brain Fitness program, but it’s not the only one. Here are a few more:

Listen more clearly
Remember better
Feel more alert, have more energy and focus
Gain the self confidence to try new things

Orientation Sessions will be conducted Thursday, June 4 - 1:00-2:00pm; Tuesday, June 9 - 5:30-6:30pm at the University City Older Adult Center (Located at Congregation Beth Israel).
9001 Towne Centre Dr., SD, 92122. For more information or to RSVP, call (858) 637-3223

Preceding provided by Jewish Family Service

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Obama should bring immortal Thomas Jefferson to Cairo

By Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Much has been said about what President Obama plans to accomplish in his speech in Cairo today. It is to "improve our image" in the "Muslim world"; it is to "reset our relations" with them; it is to dispel myths about the United States and our policies; it is to show respect for Muslims. It is that and so much more in the minds of those who project on the President almost mythical powers to bring friendship to hostile places and turn not only world opinion but also world behavior.  

He probably cannot live up to the hype.

Objectively, many of the myths about the United States bandied about the world are related to the lack of a free and independent media and academia in those places, and despotic governments who use the threat of a devil abroad (whether the United States or Israel) to justify draconian limitations in freedom at home. We hope the President will use the august setting of al Azhar University not as a platform for himself and his interesting but ultimately only personal story, but for a definition of our American soul and its unique ability to reach the souls of good people everywhere, in every culture and every milieu, of every religion or of no religion. America is born of the words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, - That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their

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right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Thomas Jefferson gave voice to the hopes and aspirations of the Founding Fathers and generations after. The extent to which America lives up to those words, or fails to, is the extent to which the United States remains what we freely admit is an "experiment in democracy." Our shortcomings are there for all to see - and what we aspire to is there for all to see. It accounts for the millions who came and still come to our country - the President's family included. His personal journey as an American is, in that regard, no different from millions of other journeys, easier than some and more difficult than others.   

To bring Thomas Jefferson to Cairo would give hope to millions across the world, Muslim and otherwise, who long not for American imposed democracy or American-style democracy, but for recognition of their individual dignity. It would comfort those who fear revolution. It would reassure those who believe that religion should not be the determinant of how one governs or is governed - and thus would reassure minorities everywhere who fear for their own future. It would recognize that the so-called "Muslim world" is more a series of places inhabited by Muslims - and inevitably others - who have individual as well as national aspirations that differ from place to place and region to region.  

President Obama would be revolutionary within the tradition of the American Revolution. The President would BE the message.

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

Canadian academic wants Israelis
to apologize to Palestinians

BUNDOORA, Australia—Another point of view about Israel and the Middle East recently was expressed by Jacov Rabkin, a Montreal Univesity professor who is a visiting faculty member at Latrobe University, in an article entitled "Israel could learn from Sorry Day." We reprint it with permission as the lead off for today's column:

By Jacov Rabkin

BUNDOORA--The Sorry Day marks an important change in public and official attitudes to the indigenous population in Australia. Years of activism have finally borne fruit. On a visit to the Australian Museum in Sydney I learned about an
anti-discrimination bus ride to the north organised by Charles Perkins, an Aborigine, and Jim Spigelman, a Jew.

There was a picture and a biography of Perkins in the museum but nothing, except the name, about Spigelman. Nor could museum staff tell me who he was. A Google search revealed he has become the Chief Justice and Lieutenant-Governor of NSW.

This fact alone represents for me, a visitor from Canada, the acceptance and respect that struggle for equality has gained in Australia.

It also confirms that Jews have taken active part in this kind of struggle all over the world, working for desegregation in the US or opposing apartheid in South Africa. They do so fighting for the rights of others while they themselves
could have stayed in the comfort of their homes, quietly enjoying these rights that are no longer denied to them.

This activism reflects the values of social justice that permeate the Jewish tradition. I was not surprised when, on a recent visit to the Koorie Heritage Trust in Melbourne, I was told that the main private supporter of the centre is
a Jew. The Hebrew Bible mentions the prohibition to oppress a stranger 36 times, more than any other injunction, and often adds, "because you were slaves in the land of Egypt".

On Sorry Day 2009, I shared the podium with Henry Reynolds, eminent scholar of Australia's colonial history, in a one-day symposium about the Promised Lands, organised at La Trobe University.

There are interesting similarities between the British images of this country and the Zionist perceptions of Palestine during the respective periods of active colonisation.

These similarities contrast with striking differences that characterise today's attitudes to this recent history in Australia and Israel.

While this country, by instituting the Sorry Day, has acknowledged the many injustices inflicted on local inhabitants, the state of Israel and its society continue to deny any wrongdoing with respect to the Palestinians.

Moreover, while Australians commemorated Sorry Day 2009, the Israeli parliament was debating a bill, proposed by the party of Israel's Foreign Minister, that would make it punishable by three years in prison to commemorate Nakba, the dispossession and expulsion of the local population that lie at the root of the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

The proposed bill would also oblige those Palestinians who remained in their country and are now citizens of Israel to swear allegiance to the state of Israel as "the state of the Jewish people." This would compare with threatening the
Aborigines with forfeiting Australian citizenship
unless they recognised the principle of "White Australia."

Israel's treatment of the country's Arab citizens has embarrassed Jews in Israel and other countries for many decades. Since Israel promotes itself as the representative of the Jews, and most Jewish leaders enthusiastically support this claim, the state of Israel is often associated with Jews everywhere. Some Jews outside Israel are thus put in a difficult situation of defending the morally indefensible, of bending their ethical standards to justify Israel's actions.

Conceptual disparities between Israel and the Jewish communities around the world become more pronounced since the countries with sizeable Jewish communities have all adopted a liberal system of social and political values.

It is quite common in Israel to talk in anti-liberal, anti-democratic terms; for example, there are open discussions about building Jewish neighbourhoods so Arab citizens do not outnumber their Jewish compatriots in Jerusalem or Galilee. Israeli official documents routinely identify the
bearer as a Jew or a non-Jew. The principle of separate development of Jews is deeply ingrained in the Zionist structure of Israel. So is occupational discrimination, all of which is justified by the denomination of Israel as a
state for the Jews.

However, in the context of Western societies it would be inconceivable to practise ethnic or religious discrimination in such a manner. One could imagine an outcry a project of a public housing development designated solely for white Australians would cause.

Israel's discriminatory practices, while often opposed by the country's Supreme Court, conflict with the liberal values that underpin the stability and welfare of Jewish communities
around the world. It is only a matter of time before Jewish leaders, at least those who overtly identify with the state of Israel, will face the challenge of explaining their obvious double standard.

Unconditional support for any state is a dangerous belief to hold. A few decades after the genocide Jews remember what happens when the raison d'etat becomes a transcendental principle that supersedes individual morality. It may be
illusory and even dangerous to confuse the profane centrality of Israel with the sacred centrality of the land.

It is also important to realise that the paths of Australia and Israel radically diverge when it comes to recognition of injustices that colonisation has brought to the indigenous
population. The fact that there is no Sorry Day in Israel also explains the violence that continues to plague the Holy Land to this day.

Yakov Rabkin, professor of history at the
University of Montreal, is a visiting scholar at
La Trobe University. His recent book is A Threat
from Within: A Century of Jewish Opposition to Zionism

Lack of funds and students
sinks special school

MELBOURNE - After struggling with funds and enrollments, the Bais Aron Azriel Torah Academy (BAATA) has been forced to close its doors in the middle of the school year.

The school provided alternative education for Jewish students with needs not catered for in mainstream schools.

It attempted to find funds to retain its handful of students, but was ultimately forced to relocate its students to other institutions.

The majority moved to Yeshivah-Beth Rivkah Colleges and a special-needs school.

Parent and BAATA supporter Sam Lipski called the school's closure "a great loss to the community."

"We have so many schools in this community, yet we don't have one which could be said to be able to provide alternative schooling for those who do not fit into a large, formal school framework," Lipski said.

"I think it is a great shame that Melbourne cannot support at least one alternative school."

While BAATA founder Sarah Baila Teleshevsky, a teacher for 25 years, is currently overseas, a spokesperson from the school told The AJN that BAATA would attempt to reopen when adequate government or community funding could be secured.

Working in conjunction with Jewish schools,
Teleshevsky identified children with special
needs who could benefit from BAATA's creative learning experiences.

Many of its students were able to move back into
mainstream schools after a short time at the
school with enhanced abilities and confidence.

"Every student who went there benefited enormously," Lipski said.

"The school prepared every child in it to be able to go on to participate in wider schooling. What I am sorry about is that it didn't get the support it needed.

"Sarah Baila made a valiant and brave effort and I'm hoping that, one day, for kids of the future, it will happen again."

BAATA began on a 44-acre property in Greenvale,
and relocated to Caulfield in 2007.

Blending Torah studies with vocational education, BAATA's classes were taught in an intimate cheder style, with subjects including mechanics, electronics, home economics and art.

Learning the secrets
of good coffee

SYDNEY- Ask die-hard coffee drinkers, and they'll say there's a fine art to making a good cup of coffee.

It's something a handful of Moriah College's "Home Room" students recently discovered when they completed a barista course at Sydney's Coffee School as part of work experience training.

The training is all part of the school's Home Room program, which started in 2003 for students with special needs. The curriculum emphasises learning life skills to increase future part-time job prospects.

The students -­ Finley Harris, Romi Adler and Pnina Miller -­ learnt a range of skills, including operating a commercial coffee machine, foaming milk, using and setting a coffee grinder, cleaning and maintenance.

Student mentors in years 10-12 also took part. Upon completion of the three-hour course, all students received their official certification as barristas.

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"The barista course went fabulously, and the students are already putting the skills to good use," said Home Room teacher Vanessa DiFrancesco.

Home Room students currently run Moriah's on-campus cafe called Moccariah Cafe.

Set up in 2007 and based on a Canadian model called "Serving Up Success", the cafe is open to staff three times a

week, and students take orders, serve coffee and homemade biscuits and collect payment for the items.

"Moccariah has become an integral part of their weekly program, providing students with key social skills and bridging the gap of isolation that can become evident with older students with special needs," said Moriah's education support coordinator Natalie Miller.

"I'm so proud of the students and what they have achieved."

Maccabi recants decision

MELBOURNE - Maccabi Australia (MAI) announced last week that it would ditch a controversial plan that would have required its clubs to remove its non-Jewish members by the end of 2010.

The 9000-member Jewish sports organisation had come under fire from sections of the community after announcing earlier this month that it wanted to enforce its constitution, which states that all members must be Jewish.

MAI president Harry Procel said in a statement: "After consulting with our constituents and the wider community we have reviewed our position and determined that no current members of the organisation will be required to leave at any time based on religion, gender or ethnicity."

It is believed there are about 50 non-Jews in Maccabi out of a membership of 9000, with football (soccer) clubs in both Sydney and Melbourne having recruited from outside the community.

Maccabi in Western Australia also has a sizeable non-Jewish membership.

Procel added: "The board felt that this was an appropriate time to remind members of the need to respect the Jewish values of the organisation and adhere to the constitution."

The MAI Constitution stipulates that membership of clubs is for Jewish people, in keeping with section 61 of the Equal Opportunities Act, which permits membership restrictions for organisations "representing a minority culture".

The "sunset clause" plan announced by Maccabi earlier this month, which set a December 2010 deadline for clubs to be rid of non-Jewish members, had divided the community, amid cries of racism and exclusionary practices.

The move had also attracted attention outside the
community, replete with unflattering newspaper headlines.

The organisation had long defended its membership criteria because of its success at reaching out to Jews who otherwise had little or no connection to the Jewish community.

"These clubs provide an opportunity for Jewish children to connect and form lifelong friendships through sport," Procel said in his statement.

"MAI's motto is 'connecting our community through sport'."

Search for Maccabi
Soccer superstar

MELBOURNE-Maccabi-Hakoah's best junior footballer in this year's Youth Development League (YDL) squads will win a trial with English Division One side Oldham Athletic at the end of the season.

The winner of the Primo Tablekraft Outstanding Player Development Award will receive an all expenses paid trip to England for the chance to snare a professional contract, and the award is open to anyone from the club's under-13s through to under-18s.

The winning youngster will be chosen by former Socceroo and YDL head coach Ian Gray along with the executive committee, and Gray will train the recipient extensively prior to the trip.

YDL chairman Jon Marcuson said the response from
parents and players was electric.

While the ambition is to help a Maccabi youngster fulfill a football fantasy, it shows the community's talented kids who might be deciding what club to play for, that they don't
need to look any further than Maccabi to live the dream.

"This is the most exciting thing to happen to the Maccabi-Hakoah Football Club, it's the final piece of the puzzle," Marcuson beamed.

"What we are trying to do is say you don't need to go to any other club but ours and we'll put you on the world stage if you are good enough. You don't have to leave Maccabi.

"We want to show our players they aren't missing
out on anything by staying at Maccabi."

While the winner of the award will receive the paid trip, the club hopes to take a contingent of youngsters and a couple of senior players to the trials to make the experience less daunting, although that all depends on the quality and dedication of the players.

The club chose Oldham because it has a Jewish influence through its owners, and the third tier of English football provides a realistic target for the players.

"We chose Oldham deliberately. We think it's a good place for players coming from us. It gives them a fair chance to break in and from there, anything's possible."

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Bible in Pop Culture: Evening and morning, a fourth day

Genesis 1:20

God said, "Let the waters teem with teeming living creatures, and fowl that fly about over the earth across the expanse of the heavens."

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."

You may send your jpg photo for posting online to us at San Diego Jewish World, emailing it 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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Thursdays with the songs of Hal Wingard, z"l
To hear Hal's song, please click on its title

SAN DIEGO—Although Hal Wingard died May 25, he lives on through his family, his friends and his songs. We plan to continue our presentation of his songs until we've exhausted the supply.
#250 -- Failure READ AND HEAR
#307 -- The Virtue of PatienceREAD AND HEAR
#159 -- And I'll Be an ActorREAD AND HEAR

#250, Failure

You’re mid-way through a project,
With action you’ve designed.
You feel the fear of failure.
The fear upsets your mind.

But there’s no need to panic.
Have heart as you proceed.
It no way counts as failure,
If first you don’t succeed.

And never call it failure,
If things should go awry.
The only time it’s failure
Is when you fail to try.

(c) 2009 Estate of Hal Wingard; May 3, 1996, Words completed April 30, 1996, while waiting for Marie Cohen’s class to begin at Santa Rosa Junior College

#307, The Virtue of Patience

The virtue of patience is greatly admired
By people whose patience is newly acquired.
The qualities needed aren’t easy to find:
An unfettered psyche and uncluttered mind.
And uncluttered mind.

The folks who have patience have time on their hands.
With time to be waiting, as patience demands;
But I’m in a hurry with much to be done.
There’s no time for patience when I’m on the run.
When I’m on the run.

Nor can I acquire it; I’m too uncontrolled.
I’ve rarely had luck putting time clocks on hold.
I’ve never learned patience, and now it’s too late,
For patience takes patience, and I just can’t wait.
No, I just can’t wait.

(c) 2009 Estate of Hal Wingard; January 10, 2003. Verse 1 and 3 completed June 2, 1996, on a flight from San Diego to San Francisco. Verse 2 added January 10, 2003, while creating melody.

#159, And I'll Be An Actor

The thought of performing
Just turns me to mush.
I feel so unready,
So why should I rush?

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And I’ll be an actor!

Perhaps it is better
To stay off the stage,
To practice in private
And wait to engage.

And I’ll be an actor!

I’ll pass up performance,
Let others prevail.
I may not succeed, but…
I never will fail.

And I’ll be an actor!

(c) 2009 Estate of Hal Wingard; To Danny, February 26, 1983
Words begun while waiting for Danny’s performance in Cornbury, November 22, 1982, at New York University.

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

Tifereth Israel Synagogue
Southwestern Jewish Press April 17, 1953, page 7

“The God Idea in Judaism” will be the subject of Rabbi Levens address at the Sabbath Evening Service, Friday, April 17, at 8:15 p.m.  This subject will be the first in a series on Basic Jewish Concepts.  An Oneg Shabbat and discussion period will follow the Service.

Sabbath Morning Service, Saturday, April 18th, at 8:30 a.m.; Minha at 5:30 p.m. Daily Services:  Sundays, 8:00 a.m.; Weekdays 7:30 a.m.; Evenings by Arrangement.
ifereth Israel is one of the sponsors for the Clyde Beatty Circus which is appearing April 16th through Sunday, April 19th.  Part of the program is to enable under-privileged children to enjoy the Circus free.  We urge all to attend a performance of the Circus for the many benefits which will result there from.

Second Annual Mother’s Day Dinner Dance, sponsored by Tifereth Israel Men’ s Club, Saturday night, May 9th, at El Morocco Club.  Al Cassel’s Orchestra.

Cottage of Israel
Southwestern Jewish Press April 17, 1953, page 7

The public is cordially invited to attend the celebration of Israel’s “Fifth year of Independence which will be held on the lawns of the House of Pacific Relations in Balboa Park on Sunday afternoon, April 19th.  The program will start at 2:30 p.m. and guest of honor will be Israel’s Economic Counsul to Los Angeles, Mr. I. Doran.

There will also be a dedication of a large mural which has just been completed by Larry Gordon, young San Diego artist who has been working on this project for several months.  The mural represents three phases of Israel’s development and the artist has carried out the theme in a most graphic manner.
Refreshments will be served by the regular Cottage staff of hostesses.

Our Quotable Friends
Southwestern Jewish Press April 17, 1953, page 7

Rabbi Cohn has called the Mexican Hat Dance “a heart attack set to music.”  Even more widely quoted has been the inspiring talk Rabbi Cohn gave at the San Diego Philharmonic society luncheon.

Jewish War Veterans
Hold Installation

Southwestern Jewish Press April 17, 1953, page 8

The Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America Post 185 and Auxiliary will hold installation of their newly elected officers on Monday, April 20th at 8:30 p.m. in the Auditorium of the War Memorial Building, Balboa Park.

Installing officer for the Post will be Harry Apelman, Past Department of California Commander, assisted by Ralph Feldman, Past Department of California Senior Vice Commander and Allen Lame, Past Post Commander.

Officers to be installed are Commander, Stanley S. Yukon; Senior Vice-Commander, Louis B. Samuels; Junior Vice-Commander, Ben Snyder; Quartermaster, Sidney Steckel; Adjutant, Norman L. Wolf; Officer-of-the-Day, Leonard Jacobs; Surgeon, Sam Klug and Chaplain Martin Starr.

All Past commanders of the Post will be honored at the Installation.

Mrs. Delores Brown, California Department President will officiate as installing officer for the Auxiliary, assisted by Mrs.

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Joe Spatz, Department Chief of Staff, in seating the following newly elected officers:  President, Mrs. Stanley S. Yukon;
Senior Vice-President, Mrs. Morton Furst; Junior Vice-President, Mrs. Charles Hecht; Recording Secretary, Mrs. Roy Kern; corresponding Secretary, Mrs. Louis B. Samuels; Treasurer, Mrs. Paul Landau; conductress, Mrs. Tom Turner; Chaplain, Mrs. Henrietta Cohen; Guard, Mrs. Myra Schoenthal; Patriotic Instructor, Mrs. Celia Jacobs.

Following the installation, refreshments will be served.  The public is cordially invited.

Tifereth Israel Sisterhood
Southwestern Jewish Press April 17, 1953, page 8

The April meeting of the Tifereth Israel Sisterhood promises to be an unusual one.  To be held on Tuesday, April 21st, in the Synagogue, it will feature a “different” program called Fashion Magic presented through the courtesy of Miss Toni Tacoma of “Fashionality.”

This will be the last program of the season as election of officers is held at the May meeting with installation of the newly elected officers to be in June.  The nominating committee with Mrs. Warren Oglesby as chairman will present the slate of officers.

The co-chairmen of the Freezer Project, Ray Solomon and Mary Gordon, urge all members to bring their money for tickets and stubs to the meeting so that an accounting can be made.  The ladies and their committee are diligently working to bring about the fruition of the original plan to raise sufficient funds to completely equip the kitchen in the new building.  They need the assistance of every member of the Sisterhood.  If more tickets are needed by any members, call either F-0105 or B. 2-2362.

The meeting will begin with a delicious luncheon to be served at 12 noon.  Mrs. Alex J. Newman, president of Sisterhood, cordially invited all members to be present at the meeting on Tuesday, April 21st, to enjoy a pleasant afternoon with their friends.

Temple Beth Israel
Sisterhood News

Southwestern Jewish Press April 17, 1953, page 8

The regular monthly meeting of Temple Beth Israel Sisterhood will be held at the Temple Center on Wednesday April 22 at 11:30 a.m.  President Mrs. Samuel Friedman will preside. 

Program co-chairmen Mrs. Morton Cohn and Mrs. M. D. Goodrich have arranged an outstanding program featuring Werner Janssen, Director of the San Diego Philharmonic Orchestra.  A speaker of national renown Mr. Janssen will discuss his experiences with music in a free world.

Werner Janssen has conducted famous orchestras all over the world, including Budapest, Rome, Milan, and the Berlin Philharmonic.  While in Europe he received recognition in many different countries and was decorated by the Finnish government.  A graduate of Dartmouth College, he was the first native-born New Yorker to conduct the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra.

Luncheon captains for the afternoon are Mrs. Al Neuman, Mrs. William Moss. For reservations phone Mrs. John Ruskin or Mrs. J. H. Alweis.

Plans are being made for the annual Mother-Child luncheon which will be held this year on Saturday, May 2 at the Temple Center; this affair follows the regular monthly Saturday morning junior congregation meet.  Mrs. V. Selton is luncheon chairman.

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

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

Patricia Arquette as and about Allison DuBois in Medium

Yvan Attal in "My Wife Is An Actress"

Hank Azaria in "Tuesdays with Morrie"

David Baddiel does stand up comedy early in his career

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Today's dedication: This issue of San Diego Jewish World is dedicated with happy birthday wishes to Nancy Harrison

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

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