Volume 3, Number 136
"There's a Jewish story everywhere"

Today's Postings:

Sunday-Monday, June 14-15, 2009

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

A 'gift' to Obama may be in Israel's strategic interest ... by Barry Rubin in Herzliya, Israel
The United States demands that Israel stop construction on settlements. If this doesn’t happen, it hints at dire retaliation. READ MORE

Israel has a unique outreach center in Balboa Park ... by Arnold Flick in San Diego
Some years ago, the San Diego branch of the Zionist Organization of America promised to provide some volunteers to staff some Sundays at the House of Israel (HOI).  I was among this group and this was my first experience at the HOI.READ MORE

Washington Roundup: Briefing on Jewish issues, public officials in the U.S. capital
Senate extends condolences to Stephen Johns' family READ MORE
Homeland Security Department urged to issue extremism report READ MORE
Berman lauds House passage of aid to Pakistan legislation READ MORE
Feinstein seeks speedy hearings for Sotomayor’s Confirmation READ MORE
Sanders bill would permit CFTC to intervene to stop oil speculation READ MORE
Legislation would reward states emphasizing home-care for aged READ MORE
Boxer presses for disclosure of high hazard coal ash sites' locales READ MORE
Cardin, Hastings compliment Lebanon's election results READ MORE
Tobacco regulation bill prompts much commentary from solons READ MORE
Hodes' legislation would promote community healing after suicides READ MORE
Schumer presses bill to address foreign currency manipulations READ MORE

National and international news of Jewish interest
Supplier of military aircraft parts to Iran sentenced to prison READ MORE
UN opens exhibit in Geneva celebrating Jewish artists READ MORE
ZOA charges Obama with falsifying facts to promote Islam READ MORE

Jewish community watch: items from San Diego County
Farewells planned for UJF staffers READ MORE
Photographic art of Steve Gould subject of June 17 CBI meeting READ MORE
Cyber-Referrals READ MORE
A case of minyan math READ MORE
Klezmer and Roma music on tap at Studio Zero in Encinitas READ MORE
Jewish agencies should denounce those who demonize Muslims READ MORE
Fairy Tale Pageant at Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School READ MORE
Play explores interracial families READ MORE


Reading two antagonists' parts in My Name Is Asher Lev ... by Donald H. Harrison in San Diego
David Ellenstein is temporarily yielding his artistic director’s hat at the North Coast Repertory theatre to play two major roles and two minor ones in a staged  reading of Chaim Potok’s famous novel,  My Name is Asher Lev.READ MORE


I'm Still Here ... by Laura Simon in San Diego
Visiting My Grandmother Nashuma READ MORE
Forest Park READ MORE
The Milk Lady READ MORE

Jews for Judaism 'Be True' Writing Contest
Young poet tells of standing up to classmates ... Daniella Glouberman's poem 'Be Proud, Be True, Be Jewish' READ MORE

Overcoming the feeling of burnout in ritual observance ... by Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal
After God tells Moshe to tell Aaron how to set up the seven branched Menorah (Lampstand) in the Mishkan, the Torah continues:"Aaron did so; he mounted the lamps at the front of the Lampstand, as the LORD had commanded Moses."READ MORE

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The Jewish people should be like a tapestry, not a chulent ... by Rabbi Baruch Lederman in San Diego
The children of Israel traveled in the wilderness as a group. The entire nation traveled in formation with specific tribes on the north side, south side, east and west. No one was left out. No one was left behind. Everyone was accounted for. Everyone was included.READ MORE

Bible in Pop Culture

God created Man in His image; Genesis 1:27 SEE IMAGE


In Memoriam: Nechemia Meyers, veteran Israel columnist ... by Dan Brin in West Hills, CaliforniaREAD MORE

Adventures in San Diego Jewish History
May 15, 1953, Southwestern Jewish Press
Anna Shelley Honored At Installation READ MORE
Hadassah Presents Fashion Show May 21st READ MORE
Shavuos Observance At Tifereth Israel READ MORE
Cottage of Israel READ MORE
Pioneer Women Elect New Officers READ MORE
Young Jewish Couples Hold Elections READ MORE
B’nai B’rith Chapters Plan Four Way Dance READ MORE
Cotton Ball Historic Ad VIEW IMAGE

America's Vacation Center
Balloon Utopia
Congregation Beth Israel
Jewish Community Foundation
Jewish Family Service; Car Mitzvah
Lawrence Family JCC
Math Is Easy
Ohr Shalom Synagogue
Ronald Reagan Diaries
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


We welcome Arnold Flick's story about the House of Israel in this issue and invite local writers to submit columns providing background and history about important Jewish organizations in the community. Contact Don Harrison at (619) 265-0808.

Each day's issue may be dedicated by readers—or by the publisher—in other people's honor or memory. Today's issue is dedicated with happy birthday wishes to
Morris Kuritsky. Past dedications may be found at the bottom of the index for the "Adventures in San Diego Jewish History" page.

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

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A 'gift' to Obama may be in Israel's strategic interest

By Barry Rubin

HERZLIYA, Israel --The United States demands that Israel stop construction on settlements. If this doesn’t happen, it hints at dire retaliation.

If Israel agrees to this step, President Barack Obama promises great things. First, he claims this will bring dramatic progress toward Israel-Palestinian peace.

That’s rubbish. We know that yielding would be followed by Palestinian Authority (PA) demands for more unilateral Israeli concessions. PA leaders openly say their strategy is to let the West force Israel to give them everything they want without any change by them. We know the current PA leadership is both disinterested and incapable of making real peace.

In addition, the U.S. initiative is absurdly one-sided, without hint of reciprocity by the other side. Equally, the administration’s brutal-style rhetoric denies previous U.S. commitments to Israel have been made on this issue. This approach seems almost designed to convince Israelis that further unilateral concessions will continue to be unrewarded and Western commitments continue to be forgotten.

Second, we are promised that if Israel gives in, Arab states will change their policies, becoming more conciliatory toward Israel and more helpful on pressing Iran.

This, too, is rubbish. Arab regimes have their own interests. They need the conflict; they view its solution to be an American problem. They’ve already make it clear that the United States will get nothing from them for pressuring Israel into concessions except demands to press Israel for more concessions.

Third, we’re promised that if Israel stops construction on settlements, the West can act more effectively on Iran. But they’ve already chosen a policy of engagement and concessions to Iran. There’s no will or ability to increase sanctions, not to mention continuing opposition by Russia and China.

So this, equally, is rubbish. Iran will make no deal, will stall for time, and correctly assess Western willpower as low. Of course, Iran wants to be regional hegemon. It sees having nuclear weapons as a plus whose political and economic costs are low.

Most disgusting of all are honeyed claims by American and European officials—be they cynical or foolish—that such concessions are good for Israel, as it will help it make peace and greater security. In truth, they want Israel to make concessions for their own selfish interests. They believe it will make the radical Islamist threat go away at Israel’s expense.

What then is the reality? If Israel ceases construction on settlements it will get nothing. Arab states, the PA, and West won’t change policies. Iran will go merrily on toward nuclear weapons.

Nevertheless, there’s still a strong case for Israel making a gesture to the U.S. administration for several reasons:

--To avoid alienating the U.S. government. Failing to resolve this issue means that the administration will blame its inevitable failures and certain lack of progress in the region on Israel for the next three, perhaps next seven, years.

--By saying “no,” Israel would play into the scapegoating game, letting everyone pretend that all would be fine if Israel only altered its behavior. American and European policymakers will claim the only reason they can’t get peace, Arab cooperation, or an end to Iran’s nuclear drive is because of Israel’s behavior.

--The issue is construction, not dismantling settlements or withdrawing from more land. While one might respond that will be the next demand, a partial “yes” now does not inhibit saying “no” on a bigger issue.

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--Israel’s first response, offering removal of outposts or roadblocks and asking for adherence to past promises, has failed. Up to a point, stalling is a good tactic. No matter how determined the U.S. government is on this issue at present, months can go by in maneuverings. Crises and distractions will arise; the U.S. administration might learn to understand reality better.

To me the decisive factors are these: A single gesture must be made toward the new U.S. administration as a “gift” to Obama in order to consolidate his personal commitment to Israel. The fact that this step is temporary, reversible and doesn’t endanger Israeli lives makes it preferable to alternative actions.

On issues like east Jerusalem, border modifications, security guarantees regarding any future Palestinian state, no compromise with Hamas, and others, Israelis are willing to stand up and face any consequences of a break with the United States. But this specific issue is simply not worth a confrontation, especially because it is the first request by the Obama administration.

There is also a way to do it on Israel’s terms: a temporary, reversible freeze on construction, not including Jerusalem and in a clear framework of what Israel expects in return, with the results to be judged solely by Israel.

What are these conditions? Two could be continuing Western efforts to isolate Hamas, the end to official PA incitement to kill Israelis and wipe Israel off the map.

Other conditions could be private, like evidence of a stronger Western effort against Iran’s nuclear weapons’ drive.
If these things don’t happen, Israel warns in advance that it would say: “We told you so. This experiment has failed” and return to construction. Such a move would provoke criticism that Israel could far more easily resist at costs lower than at present. It should be stressed that unlike withdrawing from territory or dismantling settlements, a construction freeze would be a reversible step.

If these things don’t happen, Israel warns in advance that it would say: “We told you so. This experiment has failed” and return to construction. Such a move would provoke criticism that Israel could far more easily resist at costs lower than at present. It should be stressed that unlike withdrawing from territory or dismantling settlements, a construction freeze would be a reversible step.

Netanyahu knows how far he can go without unraveling his coalition. By conditioning it as suggested here, he could more likely sell a limited concession to his cabinet.

But what he should certainly avoid is alternative concessions to “protect” settlement construction which would be far more dangerous to Israeli lives and interests without solving Israel’s problem with the United States. These could include going too far in loosening restrictions on the flow of goods into the Gaza Strip or dismantling needed roadblocks.

Israel should respond flexibly on the construction issue but only in a way shaped by its own interests and far better appreciation of the situation in the Middle East.

Clicking the ad above will take you to the website of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, which operates his presidential library in Simi Valley, California

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Israel has a unique outreach center in Balboa Park

By Arnold Flick

SAN DIEGO--Some years ago, the San Diego branch of the Zionist Organization of America promised to provide some volunteers to staff some Sundays at the House of Israel (HOI).  I was among this group and this was my first experience at the HOI. The large number of park visitors spending some time in the cottage surprised me. People entered in good spirits, looked around, asked me some questions, maybe were astonished at how small Israel is, often voiced support for Israel, made a donation for a latke, etc. It was then that I realized that the HOI is of extreme importance in telling the story of Israel to the non-Jewish community.

The History of the House of Israel Balboa Park.
In 1948, three years after the end of World War II, the authorities in San Diego’s Balboa Park made a decision: they would dedicate a group of small cottages built for the 1935 World’s Fair to the countries of the World as exemplified in the newly created United Nations. Each cottage, now called a House, would represent one country.

1948 was also the year that Israel was formally recognized as a nation among nations. However, despite World War II being over, Israel’s own War for Independence was raging. Israel’s War was an epochal event in Jewish history and led to a strong sense of solidarity among many Jews in the Diaspora. Al Hutler,  then serving as director of the United Jewish Fund here, secured one of the cottages to be the House of Israel. Marshall Naiman served as the first President of HOI. Muriel Goldhammer followed as the second President. The HOI has been here since, standing among cottages dedicated to some 30 countries. These cottages are under the authority of the Park in a division called the Houses of Pacific Relations (HPR). Recent additions to the HPR include the Houses of Hungary, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Iran, and Palestine.
From the outset, the purpose of the HOI has been to provide park visitors with information about the history of Jews in Israel from ancient to modern times. To the extent possible, politics and controversy are avoided. The information is chosen by the Board members and generally reflects an American Jew’s ideas of Israel—in fact, Israeli Jewish visitors often complain that the HOI does not fairly present modern Israel. This last point touches on the fact that to date the HOI not had a substantive relationship with official Israeli sources.
The Current Status of the HOI.

All of the Houses are open each Sunday, noon to 4pm with occasional additional openings for special events.  The Board of the HOI and the supporters who staff the cottage on Sundays are volunteers. Some money is needed for ongoing expenses—Park dues, cottage maintenance, replacement of exhibits, etc. This money is obtained from contributions of supporters at $18 annually, and from contributions from visitors in exchange for potato pancakes (latkes).

During these few public hours and with its very limited resources, the HOI gets some 10,000 visitors a year; 200 people every Sunday come through the doors. They come in good spirits, and spend 3 to 15 minutes walking about the HOI, looking at the exhibits, and asking questions of the docents. They are a typical mix of the Sunday park attendance—families, couples, and tourists. Probably 95% of these visitors are Gentiles.

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I don’t know of any other facility in San Diego, maybe not in the United States, where 10,000 non-Jews a year, without coercion, on a one-to-one basis, view non-biased and non-political information about Israel. For this reason I think this is the single most important facility in San Diego with outreach to the general public. More, many of our visitors leave with a better understanding of modern Israel—at least most of them can then place Israel on a map.

I think there is an increase of anti-Semitism in the United States. Although this is often cloaked as criticism of Israel, the anti-Semite goes well beyond criticism. The very existence of Israel as well as its efforts at self-defense are held as reasons to condemn it.  American Jews who defend Israel are subject to attack. At times this attack is physical, but more often it is political and very hostile; it is anti-Semitism that directly affects us and our children in the American Jewish community. The HOI provides a source of factual information about Israel. To the visitor, this blunts the flood of misinformation now current on many University campuses, websites, books, and some media.

The Future of the House of Israel.
There has been no major upgrading of the HOI since its inception 60 years ago. The exhibits are outdated, and the facility is shabby. Given this, the Board of the HOI has plans for a renovation. We will completely rework the cottage; we will have new floors, walls, ceiling, and counters, and will add a sound system, and static and multimedia displays. Administrative reviews and associated tax status changes at the Park have caused some delay to this project. However, progress is continuing in this project that was started almost two years ago.

We have received a generous gift of Jerusalem Stone from a local Church, the Father’s Church in La Mesa.  Some early contributions toward the project have been received. Our plans are complete and we are hopeful for final approval from Balboa Park, perhaps this June. On obtaining this approval, we will solicit contributions for the additional monies needed for the renovation. Given the importance of the HOI to our entire community, we are optimistic this will be achieved.

New members have joined the HOI, among them Israeli Jews. Under this new impetus, the HOI will reflect Israel as it is.

Community Support for the House of Israel

The HOI is reaching toward a closer cooperation with the many existing Jewish organizations here. A stronger community is needed and the information provided by the HOI to the numerous Park visitors is an important asset against rising anti-Semitism/

Visit the HOI on your next Sunday in Balboa Park. I hope that you will decide to sustain the House, either by becoming a supporting member, or by volunteering for a Sunday afternoon in the cottage, or by contributing to the renovation fund.

Contact us via our President, Amnon Silverberger  hoipresident06@yahoo.com or through me at  alf96@san.rr.com,  or at Arnold Flick for House of Israel, c/o Recht and Recht, 7811 Mission Gorge Rd.  Ste N San Diego, CA 92120.

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Briefing on Jewish issues, public officials in the U.S. capital

Senate extends condolences
to Stephen Johns' family

WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release)– U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (Democrat, Maryland), praised the Senate for its swift and unanimous action Thursday offering its condolences to the family of Officer Stephen T. Johns, a Maryland resident (shown at right) who gave his life to save countless others, during a shooting yesterday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Senator Cardin authored the resolution unanimously approved by the Senate that also condemned acts of violence and harassment based on any form of prejudice or hate, and called upon leaders of all Nations to speak out against the manifestations of anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hatred.

“The Senate has come together in one voice today to declare that equality and liberty will prevail over any who would use hate and bigotry to frighten or intimidate others. We must join together to fight anti-Semitism, racism, and hate of any kind, before it begins and grows, leading to tragedies like yesterday’s shooting. My thoughts and prayers remain with the family of Officer Johns, and his colleagues at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, who have lost a good man and a courageous soul,” said Senator Cardin. 

Senator Cardin serves as Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, which is an independent agency of the federal government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing human rights and democracy in 56 countries of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Eliminating incidents of anti-Semitism and hate crimes has been a key priority of the U.S. Helsinki Commission. 
Preceding provided by Senator Cardin

Homeland Security Department urged to issue extremism report

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)--In the wake of the murder of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas and Stephen T. Johns at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan called for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to finalize and publish its "Rightwing Extremism" report. The report was released by DHS earlier this year, but retracted after its content became the subject of manufactured controversy from Religious Right groups.

"DHS is charged with protecting the security of all Americans," said Keegan. "And in order to do that it needs to be working with the best available information and analysis. When the ‘Rightwing Extremism’ report was released earlier this year, rightwing groups found it politically convenient to feign outrage. Since then, the essential findings of the report have been tragically confirmed. The killings of Dr. Tiller and Mr. Johns are domestic terrorism, and they should underscore the urgency of addressing the threat of politically motivated violence. Secretary Napolitano should publicly announce the current status of the report and expedite its final release."

WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release)– The House on Thursday approved bipartisan legislation increasing assistance to Pakistan, moving a step forward to create a new, more positive framework for U.S.-Pakistan relations.

“We need to forge a true strategic partnership with Pakistan and its people, strengthen Pakistan’s democratic government, and work to make Pakistan a source of stability in a volatile region,” said Howard L. Berman (Democrat, California, pictured above left), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “This legislation helps to lay the foundation for a stronger, more stable Pakistan.”

The Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act (HR 1886), which passed by a vote of 234 to 185, triples U.S. democratic, economic, and social development assistance to Pakistan to $1.5 billion a year, with a particular focus on strengthening democratic institutions, promoting economic development and improving Pakistan's public education system, with an emphasis on access for women and girls. The bill also establishes a permanent Pakistan Democracy and Prosperity Fund for most non-military assistance, demonstrating America’s long-term commitment to Pakistan’s democratic future.

To ensure that U.S. assistance is truly benefiting the people of Pakistan, the legislation requires rigorous oversight and auditing. It establishes a set of principles that should govern U.S.-Pakistan ties, including the actions that the two countries should take together to maintain a robust, relevant and lasting relationship. For example, the bill explains that U.S. assistance is intended to supplement, not supplant, Pakistan’s own efforts to establish stability and lasting security, and that U.S. assistance will be wholly ineffective without Pakistan’s own serious efforts to improve the lives of its citizens.

H.R. 1886 authorizes military assistance to help Pakistan disrupt and defeat al Qaeda and insurgent elements, and requires that the vast majority of such assistance be focused on critical counterinsurgency and counterterrorism efforts. In addition, the bill requires that all military assistance flow through the democratically elected Government of Pakistan. Finally, the legislation includes accountability measures for military assistance, including a requirement that the Government of Pakistan has demonstrated a sustained commitment to combating terrorist groups and has made progress towards that end.

“We fully appreciate the urgency of the situation in Pakistan, and the need for appropriate flexibility,” Berman said. “We are simply asking Pakistan to follow through with the commitments it has already made. And in the process, we lay down an important marker that Congress will no longer provide a ‘blank check.’ “

The bill also creates Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in which textiles and other goods could be produced for duty-free export to the United States. The ROCs are meant to help counteract al-Qaeda and Taliban recruitment efforts by creating work opportunities that would offer alternatives to joining the insurgency.

Feinstein seeks speedy hearings for Sotomayor’s Confirmation

WASHINGTON, D.C (Press Release)– In remarks delivered at Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee markup, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (Democrat, California, at left) argued against any delay in Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s (photo at right)Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

The following are excerpts of Senator Feinstein’s remarks:

I think it’s pretty clear to this side of the aisle that Judge Sotomayor is a mainstream federal judge, and that she actually will bring to the court more judicial experience than any nominee of the last 100 years.

Her personal story is a very inspiring example of the American Dream. And I have a hard time understanding why the other side of the aisle can’t understand that....

The Senate confirmed Chief Justice Roberts in 72 days. There is simply no reason that we can’t follow the same time frame for Judge Sotomayor’s nomination.

Additionally, this time frame will give the nominee time to take on the extraordinary new responsibilities before her. It will allow her to close out her previous work, move to Washington, hire law clerks, and begin preparing for the upcoming merits arguments of the Supreme Court’s fall term....

This is a woman who’s qualified, who is brilliant, who has worked her way up, who has been a good judge, we have confirmed twice, she’s had 17 years on the bench -- and yet the mode on the other side is delay and delay.

Preceding provided by the Senate Special Committee on Aging

Boxer presses for disclosure of
high hazard coal ash sites' locales

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release) - U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, on friday wrote to the Department of Homeland Security, Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers requesting information regarding restrictions on the public disclosure of high hazard coal ash waste sites and the government's handling of information related to similar facilities.

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In her letter, she wrote:

I was notified yesterday that through its ongoing assessment of coal combustion residual facilities, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has to date identified 44 coal combustion waste storage facilities nationwide that pose a "high hazard" to the public. The "high hazard" designation means the facilities are located in such a way that if these coal ash ponds were to fail, they would pose a threat to the lives of people nearby.

I have also been informed that EPA, after consulting with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Homeland Security, has indicated that they cannot make the list of "high hazard" coal ash impoundment sites public, and that information regarding these sites can be shared only with Members of the Environment and Public Works Committee and the Committee's staff, and with other Members of Congress.

The public's right to know about threats in their communities is critically important. If these sites are so hazardous and if the neighborhoods nearby could be harmed irreparably, then I believe it is essential to let people know. In that way, they can press their local authorities who have responsibility for their safety to act now to make the sites safer...."

Preceding provided by Senator Boxer

Cardin, Hastings compliment
Lebanon's election results

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)—Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (Democrat, Maryland, pictured at left), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (Democrat, Florida and pictured at right) released the following statements last week following the June 7 parliamentary elections in Lebanon.

“I congratulate the people of Lebanon for their continued commitment to democracy. In Lebanon, politics too often merges with violence. I was pleased to see Lebanese parliamentary elections were mostly peaceful, allowing the Lebanese people to cast their ballots without fear or intimidation,” Chairman Cardin said. “At the ballot box yesterday, the people of Lebanon were confronted with two starkly different visions for their country. I am encouraged to see the majority of voters have rejected the vision of Hezbollah, a designated foreign terrorist organization and Iranian proxy. Lebanon has a vital role in the Middle East, and the Lebanese people deserve a government that respects human rights, promotes tolerance, and seeks peace with its neighbors. I look forward to strengthening America’s relationship with the people of Lebanon and their newly elected government.”

Co-Chairman Hastings said: “The peaceful elections in Lebanon demonstrate a commitment to the democratic process and international standards. Having traveled extensively in the Middle East, including to Lebanon, in the past several years, I look forward to continuing dialogue with Lebanon and their future engagement with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on issues of fair elections, human rights and security across the Middle East. As Special Representative for Mediterranean Affairs for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, I know other countries in the region share an interest in Lebanon rejoining the OSCE as a Mediterranean Partner. Sunday’s elections in Lebanon further demonstrate the country would be a positive addition to the Helsinki Process, helping to uphold international standards and shape the future of this vital regional partnership.”

Preceding provided by the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Tobacco regulation bill prompts much commentary from solons

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Jewish members of Congress were among the many who issued statements on Thursday following passage by the Senate on Thursday of a bill to give jurisdiction over tobacco products to the Food and Drug Administration. The vote was 79-17 in favor of the measure. On Friday, the House adopted the Senate version by a vote of 307-97. Following are some of their statements:

Senator Benjamin Cardin, M.D. (Democrat, Maryland)—"It (the bill) will help reduce the tremendous toll that tobacco use has on the health of Americans. Today, more than 400,000 Americans and 6,800 Marylanders die each year from tobacco use.  For every Marylander who dies from smoking, approximately 20 more suffer serious tobacco-caused health problems. This bill gives the FDA the power it needs to help addicted smokers overcome their addiction, and to make the product less toxic for smokers who are unable or unwilling to stop. This bill is long overdue and represents a responsible approach to dealing with the smoking addiction in this country.”

Senator Russ Feingold (Democrat, Wisconsin): "Although I respect the right of adults to choose to smoke, it is important to address the issue of children smoking and aggressive marketing of tobacco products to children. Ninety percent of new smokers are children and more than 1,000 children become smokers each day. The bipartisan Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act takes positive steps to regulate the production and marketing of tobacco products. I am pleased the Senate passed this critical legislation, and hope the President signs this bill into law.” 

Senator Frank Lautenberg (Democrat, New Jersey): “This Congress and President Obama are determined to protect our kids from the dangers of smoking – and today’s victory shows that. For too long, Big Tobacco and their powerful lobbyists had free rein to hide the real dangers of tobacco and target our kids as the next generation of smokers.  Today’s victory was decades in the making, but we will not rest until this bill is signed into law.”     

Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent, Vermont)—This bill is a very good step forward. Our goal has got to be for these companies to stop pushing their dangerous and addictive product onto our people, especially our kids.”

Senator Arlen Specter (Democrat, Pennsylvania): "
“I am pleased that the Senate passed the Family Smoking and Tobacco Control Act with strong, bipartisan support. This is a tremendous opportunity to reduce tobacco use, the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, and will drastically curtail $100 billion in annual health care costs linked to tobacco.”

Congressman Henry Waxman (Democrat, California): “I am proud to be part of this historic moment, when Congress finally stands up to Big Tobacco and stands up for the health of all Americans, Today we have moved to place the regulation of tobacco under FDA in order to protect the public health and to end the tobacco epidemic.  This is the day when Americans can begin to truly kick the habit, with the full force of our laws marshaled to protect consumers, and especially our young people.”

Preceding compiled from various press releases

Hodes' legislation would promote
community healing after suicides

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release) --Congressman Paul Hodes (Democrat, New Hampshire) introduced legislation on Thursday that would implement the Connect/Frameworks Suicide Post-vention Program which trains key service providers and community members to provide an integrated community response to reduce risk and promote healing in the aftermath of a suicide.

Effective post-vention is an essential component of suicide prevention, and the legislation recognizes that post-vention training should be incorporated into any comprehensive suicide prevention effort.

"It is tragic that our service members who sacrifice for our country don’t have all the necessary resources to deal with post traumatic stress and confront suicide prevention," Hodes said. "This program has proven successful for the New Hampshire National Guard and I believe it can be successful to prevent suicides for National Guard members and Reservists across the country."

The focus of the training is to create an integrated, coordinated community response that (1) enhances collaboration and coordination to provide the most effective intervention (2) assures outreach and prevention through rapid and comprehensive communication, including best practices, safe messaging, appropriate memorial services, and media guidelines; and, (3) engages resources to help survivors and the community with grieving and healing.

The Connect/Frameworks Postvention protocols were developed through coordination and facilitation of statewide, interdisciplinary working groups that included a variety of stakeholders and experts. Training activities and materials based on these protocols were developed by Connect/Frameworks staff in consultation with experts in training and best practices in suicide prevention, and then tested and evaluated prior to implementation.

Preceding provided by Congressman Paul Hodes

Schumer presses bill to address
foreign currency manipulations

WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release)– On the heels of the Obama Administration’s decision not to cite China for currency manipulation, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (Democrat, New York, at left ) and Lindsey Graham (Republican, South Carolina, at right) announced Friday that they have re-introduced legislation to vigorously address currency misalignments that unfairly and negatively impact U.S. trade.

If passed, the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2009 would mandate that the U.S. Treasury Department report biannually to Congress to identify currency misalignments, require immediate Treasury engagement with countries cited in the report, and set up a series of consequences should a country fail to take action to eliminate the misalignment.

“Global economic conditions may make it difficult to cite China for manipulation at the present time, but we believe our legislation will help hold China’s feet to the fire on this issue,” Schumer said. “While China’s currency is appreciating some against the dollar, it is still not being allowed to freely float. That has a negative impact on U.S. manufacturers, U.S. exports, and the economy as a whole, and action must be taken.”

“I have always believed that it is in China’s best interest to allow their currency to float,” said Graham. “That remains true today. China has made some limited progress on this issue but not near enough to bring its currency to its true value. It serves both the United States and China to accelerate the pace of the Yuan’s appreciation. It is our hope that China acts -- pursuing a legislative solution to this issue has never been our primary goal -- but we will continue to apply pressure until the market determines the true value of the yuan.”

By manipulating its currency, a country gains an unfair advantage over U.S. manufacturers by effectively lowering the price of their exports as compared to domestic goods. Conversely, currency manipulation also imposes a direct cost on U.S. exports, making American goods sold abroad more expensive. This creates an unfair trade advantage, which ultimately harms U.S. manufacturers, workers, and farmers, and contributes significantly to the U.S. trade imbalance.

Preceding provided by Senator Schumer

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National and international news of Jewish interest

Supplier of military aircraft parts to Iran sentenced to prison

MIAMI, Florida--Defendant Traian Bujduveanu has been sentenced in Miami federal court for his role in a conspiracy to illegally export military and dual use aircraft parts to Iran, Acting U.S. Attorney Jeffrey H. Sloman announced on Thursday Bujduveanu’s co-defendant, Hassan Keshari, and his corporation, Kesh Air International, were sentenced in May 2009.

U. S. District Court Judge Patricia Seitz sentenced Bujduveanu to thirty-five (35) months’ imprisonment, followed by three (3) years of supervised release. Bujduveanu pled guilty on April 2, 2009, to Count 1 of the Indictment, which charged conspiracy to export and cause the export of goods from the U.S. to the Islamic Republic Iran, in violation of the Embargo imposed upon that country by the U.S. and in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, Title 50, United States Code, 1705(a), and to export and cause to be exported defense articles, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act, Title 22, United States Code, Section 2778(b), all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.

As part of his plea, Bujduveanu, a Romanian national and naturalized U.S. citizen, admitted that he used his Plantation, FL, corporation, Orion Aviation, to sell aircraft parts to Keshari for purchasers in Iran and exported the aircraft parts to Iran by way of freight forwarders in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Among the aircraft parts illegally exported to Iran through the conspiracy were parts designed exclusively for the F-14 Fighter Jet, the Cobra AH-1 Attack Helicopter, and the CH-53A Military Helicopter. All of these aircraft are part of the Iranian military fleet, while the F-14 is known to be used exclusively by the Iranian military. Moreover, all of the parts supplied by Bujduveanu as part of the conspiracy are manufactured in the U.S., are designed exclusively for military use, and have been designated by the U.S. Department of State as “defense articles” on the U.S. Munitions List, thus requiring registration and licensing with the Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. Neither Bujduveanu nor his co-defendants are registered or had the required licenses to ship defense articles to Iran.

According to the Indictment and statements and documents filed with the court, Bujduveanu received orders by email from Keshari requesting specific aircraft parts for buyers in Iran. Bujduveanu then provided quotes, usually by e-mail, to Keshari. After the receipt of payment for the parts from Keshari, Bujduveanu then the parts to a company in Dubai through the use of false or misleading shipping document. From Dubai, the parts were then shipped on to the purchasers in Iran.

Bujduveanu has been in federal custody since his arrest in June 2008.

Preceding provided by U.S. Attorney's office in Miami

UN opens exhibit in Geneva
celebrating Jewish artists

GENEVA, Switzerland (WJC)—An exhibit celebrating the Jewish contribution to art and European culture opened at UN headquarters in Geneva. The exhibit -- the first-ever public presentation of the collection of the Museum of Avant-Garde Mastery, one of the world’s most important collections of 20th century Russian avant-garde art -- features original works by internationally recognized Jewish art masters, especially Russian Jews, including Chagall and Rothko. Titled "My Homeland is Within My Soul, Art Without Borders: The Jewish Contribution to Art and European Culture," the exhibit opened Thursday to an audience of European government officials, members of parliament and the diplomatic corps of the United Nations.

"While the artists' names are well known, the aim of the collection is unique," said Dr. Moshe Kantor, chairman and founder of the museum and president of the European Jewish Congress, during the exhibition's opening. "There was a deliberate effort to select artists that promote the role of culture in forming a tolerant society, with special attention paid to highlighting cultural interaction and the important contributions and influence of outstanding Jewish artists to world culture. Chagall himself famously noted that 'If I were not a Jew ... I wouldn't have been an artist,' yet few truly understood that his brush was guided by his strong Jewish identity."

Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

ZOA charges Obama with falsifying facts to promote Islam

NEW YORK (Press Release)—The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has pointed to, and questioned, President Barack Obama’s inaccuracies regarding the size and significance of Muslims within the context of American society and even history in general in various statements and utterances since he assumed office. He has, not once, but on several occasions, accorded a privileged place to Muslims when describing America, a country founded on Judeo-Christian values and heritage.

In his Inaugural Address on January 20, 2009, President Obama said, “We Are A Nation Of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non believers.”

Again, in an interview on the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV on January 26, he referred to America as “a country of Muslims, Jews, Christians, non-believers.” In these two instances, President Obama placed Muslims ahead of Jews and, in the second, ahead of Christians as well.

Yet, throughout its history, the United States has always been known as a nation based on Judeo-Christian values and heritage. Thus, the norm has been to speak of this nation as primarily one of Christians and Jews, the two religious civilizations from which America has drawn most of its inspiration and which are the two larger religious blocs in the country. (It was typical, for example, for former President George W. Bush to state in his 2001 Inauguration Speech, “Church and charity, synagogue and mosque, lend our communities their humanity, and they will have an honored place in our plans and laws.” This sort of sentence reflected the general understanding of America’s self-identity and the fact that there are more Jews and synagogues in America than Muslims and mosques, for which reason Jews are mentioned ahead of Muslims).

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President Obama’s placement of Muslims ahead of Jews is also statistically odd. Surveys show that there are some 5-7 million
Jews living in the United States – more than the 1.3-2.8 million Muslims living in the United States estimated by reputable surveys .

In his Cairo speech on June 4, President Obama inaccurately referred to “…nearly seven million American Muslims in our country today.” He further inflated the Muslim presence in America by stating on French television, “If you actually tookthe number of Muslim Americans, we’d be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.”

These claims are astonishing – and groundless. The figure of 7 million is a three-fold plus exaggeration of the actual number of American Muslims. Inflated figures like these are usually
cited only by Islamist organizations like the Council on American Islamic relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Society of
North America (ISNA). In contrast, the 2007 Pew Research Center study estimates a U.S. Muslim population of 0.6 percent, resulting in a figure of approximately 1.8 millionAmerican Muslims, while a 2008 American Religious Identification Survey, puts the figure even lower, at 1, 349,000.

If there are 1.8 million Muslims in America, then there are 41 countries in the world with larger Muslim populations. Moreover, even if one accepted the inflated figure of 7 million American Muslims, this would still be far from making America one of the world’s largest Muslim countries: of the world’s 48 Muslim-majority states, 25 of these have larger Muslim populations. By not stretch of the imagination can America be described honestly as “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.”

In an interview on the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV on January 26, President Obama said that “My job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives.” This is not a claim that he has made in respect of any other minority group within America. Another example of President Obama seeking to promote Islam in America came in his Cairo speech, where he said that, “in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat [zakat refers to the Muslim obligation to give a portion of income to certain charities].” It is hard to know in which way President Obama intends to help Muslims but, again, this offer to facilitate observance of Islam is not something he has extended to any other religious group: he has not offered it to Mormons, or Jews. In America, Muslims can and do contribute to many Muslim charities and the only ones that have been shut down are those found to be subsidizing Islamist terrorism.

This inflation of Muslim numbers and significance to America’s evolution is also accompanied by a diminishing of Christians and Jews. The instances of referring to Muslims ahead of Jews and on one occasion, ahead of Christians as well, has been noted. President Obama was doing this even before he ran for office. In a 2007 speech, he declared that, “Whatever we once were, we’re no longer a Christian nation.” He repeated again that “America is not a Christian nation” a few weeks later. As President, at a press conference before delivering a major speech in Turkey, he stated that “[O]ne of the great strengths of the United States is – although as I mentioned, we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation…” However, President Obama regards the secular Turkish republic as a Muslim country and chose its capital when decided to give a speech in a “Muslim capital.” The secular American republic is overwhelmingly Christian (79 percent) while the secular Turkish republic is overwhelmingly Muslim (99 percent). Why, then, is Turkey Muslim but America not Christian?

Additionally, President Obama has indulged in apologetics investing Islam with greater influence on civilization than the historical record warrants. In his Cairo speech, he said, “I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam – at places like Al-Azhar University – that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.”

Much of this is simply incorrect. “Arabic numerals” were developed in pre-Islamic India, the astrolabe was developed before the rise of Islam; Christian scholars first preserved in Arabic classical Greek texts, not Muslim scholars; the first Arabic-language medical treatise was written by a Christian priest and translated into Arabic by a Jewish doctor in 683, and so on. Moreover, while he credited Al-Azhar University with making great contributions to the world, he did not note that its Grand Sheikh, Muhammad Tantawi, stated in 2003 regarding the Palestinians that suicide bombing is not contrary to Islamic law if performed in defense of a homeland. Tantawi has also made anti-Semitic statements about the evil and degenerate nature of Jews, making exceptions only for those Jews who convert to Islam. None of this induced President Obama to decline Al-Azhar’s sponsorship of the speech. Instead, he named the institution for its contributions to civilization.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We view with concern and misgivings what appears to be a calculated talking down by President Obama of the Judeo-Christian origins, nature and population composition of the American Republic, while Muslim influence and numbers is groundlessly exaggerated. There seems an effort is being made to invest Muslims with outsized significance in American society, perhaps as a prelude to placing further distance between Israel and the United States than the President has already done by ignoring Palestinian non-fulfillment of their signed obligations to end terrorism and the incitement to hatred and murder that feeds it, while demanding that Jews stop building and developing their communities in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.

“It is incumbent on all Jewish organizations, and all Jewish and non-Jewish supporters of Israel, to communicate their concern at this creeping marginalization of Jews and the Judeo-Christian character of the United States and the simultaneous inflation of Muslims numbers and significance by the President. We need to tell the President that it is unacceptable and wrong to rewrite history and that there are better means of appealing to potential Muslim friends and allies – none of whom will have been reassured by President Obama failure in Cairo to even speak of tougher sanctions against Iran if it continues pursuing nuclear weapons.”

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Jewish community watch: items from San Diego County

BRIEFING—Eyal Dagan, who is completing his tenure as the
Israeli shaliach assigned to the United Jewish Federation of San Diego, points out some names in the program of UJF's annual meeting to the shlicha who will be his successor, Shoshi Bogoch

Farewells planned for UJF staffers

LA JOLLA, California —Nadine Finkel, who is retiring from the United Jewish Federation after nearly 20 years of service in senior positions, will be feted at 3 p.m.. Tuesday, June 30, at Congregation Beth Israel in La Jolla. Finkel's current position with the Federation is director of community partnerships and program development.

After Eyal Dagan returns from a 17-day trip escorting 22 San Diego area teenagers around Israel, he and his wife Amit, who has been serving the community as a Hebrew language educator, will be guests of honor at a party in August at Congregation Beth El.

Preceding based on material provided by UJF

Photographic art of Steve Gould subject of June 17 CBI meeting

LA JOLLA, California--Photographer Steve Gould will present a slide show of his fine art photography at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 17, at a meeting of the Men's Club at Congregation Beth Israel.

Gould "will briefly share how he transitioned from a "serious amateur" to a professional photographer" before presenting the slide show.

The dinner costs $12. More information and reservations may be obtained by calling (858) 535-1111, extension 3800.


Readers of San Diego Jewish World often send us links to stories that they think other readers will enjoy. Among these were:

Dan Brin:
An AP story on Yahoo Sports about San Diego high school basketball player Jeremy Tyler negotiating to play basketball overseas, possibly with an Israeli team. Here's the link.

Bruce Kesler: A story in the New Jersey Jewish Standard about the growing "tough Jew" trend in popular movies. Here's the link.

A case of minyan math

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)— Imagine that a rabbi needs to find nine members to make a minyan for each service. The small congregation has scheduled two services a day, seven days a week. There are 15 members who are willing to attend a service whenever needed. The rabbi wants to spread the mitzvah evenly, so how many services should he ask each of the 15 members to attend?

We can use algebra to solve this problem. We will let n represent the number of services each of the 15 willing members needs to attend. The following equation can be used to solve for n:

n = (2 services X 7 days X 9 needed members) / 15 willing members
n = (126 total needed members) / 15 willing members
n = 126 / 15
n = 8.4 services
Each of the 15 willing members will have to attend 8 services (8 X 15 = 120).
6 (15 X  .4 = 6) of the 15 willing members will have to attend one additional service each   week.

If you have a query for Carol Ann Goldstein, the Math Lady, email it to San Diego Jewish World and she may reply in a future issue. Check out her website at Math Is Easy.

Preceding provided by Math Is Easy.

Klezmer and Roma music on tap
at Studio Zero in Encinitas

ENCINITAS, California—Klezmer music and Gypsy Roma music will be featured at a concert at 8 p.m., July 18, starring violinist Yale Strom, vocalist Elizabeth Schwartz and accordionist Lou Fanucchi.

The salon concert, in association with the Encinitas School of Music, will be held at Studio Zero at 789 Orpheus Avenue, near Interstate 5 and Leucadia Boulevard. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Information and reservations may be obtained by emailing studiozeroconcert@gmail.com

Preceding based on material provided by Yale Strom

Letter to Editor

Jewish agencies should denounce those who demonize Muslims

Editor, San Diego Jewish World

I am writing to support the following article: "Denouncing the racists in our own Jewish community" by Gary Rotto in the June 10, 2009 edition of San Diego Jewish World.

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Thank you Gary for speaking out. We cannot complain about negative and dangerous behavior by others and condone it among ourselves. I encourage you to speak out on related
activities and bahavior by individuals and groups who are doing all they can to demonize Arabs and Muslims ... I would like to know if the American JewishCommittee or the Anti-Defamation League are aware of these groups andtheir activities and will come forward to denounce them.

Carol Ann Goldstein
San Diego, CA

FAIRY TALE PAGEANT—KatrinaTaft, a second grade teacher at Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School, is dressed as Snow White as she introduces student participating in a pageant concluding her classes unit on fantasy. BELOW: Cinderella's coach and the prince's castle were created by Balloon Utopia for the pageant.

Play explores interracial families

SAN DIEGO—Israel Horovitz's "The Gift" will be staged on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons between June 26 and July 19 by the Community Action Theatre at 2957 54th Street.

The play concerns the relationship that develops when an African-American insurance saleswoman calls at the home of a middle aged white woman, whom she finds has an adopted 10-year-old African-American son.

Information and reservations may be obtained by calling (619) 264-3391.


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Reading two antagonists' parts in My Name Is Asher Lev

By Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO—David Ellenstein is temporarily yielding his artistic director’s hat at the North Coast Repertory theatre to play two major roles and two minor ones in a staged  reading of Chaim Potok’s famous novel,  My Name is Asher Lev.

Steve Lipinsky, who acts and teaches in San Diego and Los Angeles, in a turnaround of roles, will direct the director in the staged readings at 7:30 p.m. June 29 and June 30 at the North Coast Rep in Solana Beach.

In Potok’s novel, Asher Lev was an Orthodox Jew with a tremendous talent for art.  His father, a learned and pious scholar who opened Talmudic academies all over the world, wanted Asher to follow in his footsteps.  But another voice called to the young man as well, that of an artistic mentor who said if Asher wants to be an artist he must pursue his talent wholeheartedly—putting nothing else first.  In the reading of Potok’s work—adapted for stage by Aaron Posner—Ellenstein will portray both the father and the mentor—the two competing forces who inhabited and fought for Asher Lev’s conscience.

As Ellenstein also will read the short parts of the uncle and the rabbi, I asked him in a telephone interview how he planned to make all four characters different.  Would he use accents or change his voice?

The actor/ director responded that whereas such techniques might suffice for the two minor roles—which are so short that they might lend themselves to caricature—the two major roles require far more nuanced interpretation. 

“We’ll differentiate through the rhythm of the character,” he said.  “The father is more thoughtful, methodical, in his speech, whereas the artist is more impulsive.  I will change my voice a little bit, but not a lot.”

Ellenstein is no stranger to Potok’s works, having directed five separate productions of The Chosen, an earlier Potok story about the friendship between the sons of a Chassidic rebbe and a modern Orthodox teacher.   The North Coast Repertory Theatre’s artistic director said that  he had three call-backs for  the 1981 movie role of Danny, the rebbe’s son, in The Chosen but that ultimately the part was awarded to Robby Benson.

Later in his career, Ellenstein directed productions of The Chosen at the Arizona Jewish Theatre in Phoenix, another production in Los Angeles, then two productions starring Theodore Bikel at the Coconut Grove in Miami  and the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey, and most recently at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach, California.

Although My Name Is Asher Lev and The Chosen are two different Potok books, they share similar themes—father-son relationships, and the conflict between the religious and secular worlds. It is an advantage “being familiar with the feel and style of Potok’s writing as well as with Aaron Posner’s adaptations,” Ellenstein said. “It is an easy doorway.”

Noting that Posner had worked with Potok on the stage adaptation of The Chosen, as well as  with Potok’s widow, Adena, on My Name is Asher Lev, Ellenstein said when he first  encountered the script of the latter production, “it was like I had read it before.”

“Because Potok was raised as a Chasid and left it, I think he came to understand the difficulty in fervent belief, the difficulty in allowing other beliefs,” Ellenstein said.  “It causes pain, it is something that people have to come to terms with to allow, and there are some people who can’t.”   Ellenstein added that Potok plumbed the depths of this phenomenon, “trying to open the door so people are more willing to understand what happens.”

Although Ellenstein is Jewish, the story of Asher Lev does not resonate as personally for him as it would, for example, with Todd Salovey, who is the overall producer of the 16th Annual Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival, of which My Name Is Asher Lev is one offering.  Salovey, an Orthodox Jew, remains away from the San Diego Repertory Theatre on Friday nights—a big theatre night—as well as Saturdays in observance of Shabbat.   In contrast, Ellenstein says “my religion is the theatre.” 

In that, he follows in the footstep of his father, Robert, who not only was his acting teacher but also was a coach for Leonard Nimoy, the Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame.  Perhaps as a result of that connection, Robert Ellenstein played the president of the United Federation of Planets in the 1986 movie, Star Trek IV, the Voyage Home, and David Ellenstein also had small role in that movie.

“My dad said if the Jewish religion had a symbol, it should be the question mark,” Ellenstein recalled.  “You are asking questions, always searching, and I think that is what Potok

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David Ellenstein

was talking about.  That is what I hope people who see our production will walk out of there with.”

The Lipinsky Family Festival is named, in part, for donors Jeffrey and Sheila Lipinsky, who are Steve Lipinsky’s parents, and for Elaine Lipinsky, his aunt.

The North Coast Rep is located at 987 Loma Santa Fe Drive, and  can be telephoned for ticket information at (858) 481-1055 or via the website www.northcoastrep.org

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

Visiting My Grandmother Nashuma

When I was a little girl visiting at my grandmother Nashuma’s, I took bottles of beer from under the bed, went out and gave them to passers-by. “Great times with Theodore Roosevelt.”

Nashuma moaning to my father, “She’s just like her mother. Takes from the rich and gives to thepoor to bankrupt you, to close the shoe store and go back to cigars – giving away all the shoes to her family, kabenya matre give her diamonds.”

I got praise from passersby, but Nashuma went to the pantry and closed me out.

Forest Park

Forest Park was a faraway journey. Streetcars were what I wanted -- not to be squeezed into a high-chair, then on a wobbly stool behind a hay-feed-shovel pitchfork smelly candy store, in a back room, with all these cousins, and an aunt and uncle, she saying, “Look, she doesn’t eat anything.

How can we keep her? Oh, I gave you the wrong piece of chicken. Maybe you'll like this piece better,” exchanging it for a wing.

“What about us?” one of the kids said.

“And me too.”

“You already ate yours but you can have more. Laura, if you don’t eat, we can’t keep you.”

“You’re in Forest Park,” my uncle said, chewing on another piece of chicken. He was very fat.

“Maybe you'd like to go fishing with me tomorrow. For a big, big fish.”

“I want to go too,” said one of the kids.

“Me too.”

“You have to go to school. I have to work in the store,” my aunt sighed.

“What about her? Laura?”

“Her school is home and her mother does nothing. Look at me,” she said to my uncle. “All this cooking and I have to stay in the store and if you bring a big, big fish I'll have more work. I got a lot to do in the store.”

“So her father brought her?” one of the kids said.

“If God gave me a father,” my aunt said, “I would kiss his feet.”

“So why did he leave her here? We don’t have enough chairs.”

“Because her mother does nothing,” my aunt said.

My uncle roused. “Did everybody daven before eating? Go wash your hands.”

“It’s too late now,” my aunt said. “It’s before we eat, not after.”

“It’s never too late to be grateful to God,” he said.

My aunt leads, the bunch of them get in line to the board at the sink, spilling, refilling a cup of water spilled over outstretched hands, each one saying something.

“What about her? She’s eating without a prayer.”

“She’s a guest,” my aunt said.

“And what about Papa? Doesn’t God like him?” said another kid.

“You should kiss his feet,” my aunt said as they all marched back to the table. They start gorging as if they just began the supper.

“Not much left in the platter,” my uncle said.

“I’ll get more,” getting up to refill. It’s a rich house, I’m thinking.

“When is he coming back for her?” one of the kids asked.

“We don’t know. He said tomorrow.”

“Then let him take her to the doctor,” my uncle said.

“Maybe never,” said another kid.

“Laura? Why were you in court? Did you steal something? Did you make a list?”

“Thieves don’t make lists,” said the wise one, “so shut up.”

“Her mother and father got divorced,” said my aunt.

“And she was a witness,” said my uncle.

“What’s a witness?” said the little one. “What does he do?”

“He talks against his father,” said my aunt. “Something you will never do. When God gives you a father, you kiss his feet. Eat your chicken, Laurala, eat, eat. They’ll think I didn’t give you anything to eat.”

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Away finally from the table. “Why are you all standing around her?” said my aunt. “You are not in a zoo.”

“Like a monkey when we watch it in a cage,” said a kid.

“She’s not leaving yet. You don’t have to stand and stare at her. Play, play a game.”

“It’s too late to go outside,” my uncle said. “Get the washtub ready,” he said to her.

In no time they are all ready to go for a swim in the middle of the kitchen, boys, girls. They stare at me. I’m a girl holding a bar of soap. A sister is different. They are already explaining to me while grabbing towels. The last one has no towel. She brings me a towel after I get my turn in the washtub and puts a night gown over me just like the dress my mother made for me to go to Nashuma. Now the fight really starts. Who gets into bed first gets a place. I’m in a corner in some kind of bed that smells like hay. I cry through the night.

I awake to a bunch of rumbling, screaming kids fighting for clothes.

“You’ll be late for school,” my uncle is yelling. My aunt pulling the nightgown off of me and looking for my shirt. The boys are staring again.

“What are you standing and staring at?” my uncle is yelling. “Yankel, Sammy, Schmule, Barney, Matthew, Rose, Clara -- help him. Sara, where are you?”

“Someplace quacking like a duck,” one said.

My uncle out of breath.

“A goose,” said Sammy.

“You’re crazy,” said Barney. “The goose is busy laying eggs.”

A goose, a ganz, I thought. Just like at the Rosenfelds’.

“Everybody got their books?” Uncle is asking, pushing them through the store. His fat self can hardly make it. “And behave yourself in school or your teacher will hit you on the hand with a ruler.”

I know, I’m thinking.

While they’re all gathered around the candy case, my uncle is already at the open door under the clanging bell, my aunt busy at the counter.

“Don’t run like a fire engine,” my uncle is yelling out to them. “Hello, Eddie, hello,” greeting my father just arriving and pushing himself in against my uncle as wide as the doorway, getting a special welcome from that clanging bell above like a teacher clanging a bell with all her might for the kids marching in.

“You’re here in the hell,” my uncle is saying to him, “in the hell, Eddie.”

On the streetcar going home I kept my face to the window, to every house, every yard. I thought far away I’d see real carnivals, bigger, higher, with more people than on Division Street. Suddenly my father is saying, “You never say one word to me.”

I felt caught, as though I let on what I was thinking – I’d rather be home with my mother.

“You had all your cousins to play with and didn’t they say they were taking you to a doctor?

Rachela promised to help, to take care of you, until I got steady work in the cigar factory. And she’s such a good cook. Open the bag she gave you. See what’s in it.”

Hungry enough to do just that . . . challah cold chicken, a hard-boiled egg and candy!

Now I didn’t have to talk to him. I had something to do.

When we got to the steps, looking to the window, he said, “I don’t hear her banging ‘Over the Waves.’” Humming ‘Over the Waves, Over the Waves,’ clutching on to my bag of food, he takes my other hand and taking me to him, he wept.

I already had.

The Milk Lady

Our door is closed. I kick, I knock. Nobody answers. I go down the stairs and around the yard to where I smell cabbage, the smell of cigars and the scratch of his jacket against my face is still with me.

The milk-lady was hanging up clothes.

“Your mother is not home,” she said. “Come in with me and have some cabbage.”

“I don't like cabbage.”

“But it's got corn beef in it too. And what have you got in the bag? You can save that for later.

When your mother comes home and you get me an empty jar, I just got fresh milk and she can pay me later.”

Surprisingly enough the corn beef cabbage tasted good, especially with the Martin Luther music that her Kathy was playing on the piano in the parlor.

“She plays Martin Luther from a book,” Mrs. Daffydilly -- making up her name -- told me.

When Kathy stopped singing that hymn, a bang on the piano bench told me that Martin Luther was put away together with another bang, the piano keys were closed. She didn’t come near me. She was too big for me.

“Now,” Mrs. Daffydilly said, “if your door is still closed, come back and stay with me.”

As soon as I got into our hallway toilet and that crazy kid from the rear flat demanded that I come out, it’s his turn, and I’m pulling the chain, water roaring as if a pipe burst, my mother is calling, “Laura, I’m home.”

There is jelly bread waiting for me on the table and an empty jar. She was too tired to ask me many questions about Nashuma.

“I’m sure you had a wonderful Sabbath supper at Bubbe Nashuma’s -- oh, you went to the family in Forest Park? You had a good time. I knew you would have a good time.”

Next: Queen Esther

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Young poet tells of standing up to her classmates

Editor's Note: Jews for Judaism, based in Los Angeles, recently sponsored a nationwide Be-True writing contest in three divisions: middle school, high school and college, in which contestants were asked to write about their pride in being Jewish. Jews for Judaism, headed by Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz, was formed in 1985 to combat efforts on campuses by representatives of other religions to proselytize Jewish students. In this nine-part series, we will bring the top three winners in each division, courtesy of Jews for Judaism.

Be Proud, Be True, Be Jewish

By Daniella Glouberman
8th grade student, Yavneh Hebrew Academy, Los Angeles
3rd place: Middle School Division

Once there was a little girl,
Chava was her name,
Never before had her religion
Ever brought her shame.
It all began one day at school,
When her friends all gathered near,
They were talking to each other,
Loud enough for her to hear.
"What is up with the strange long skirts
That always does she wear?
And her brother!
What's that thing that lays upon his hair?"

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"And all of her holidays
Don't they seem strange to you?
Like spinning tops and eating flat bread
And whatever else they do."
"Oh my gosh! Did you hear?
They can't turn on a light,
Or use other electricity,
Until late on Saturday night."
Chava now had heard enough!
She wanted so to run,
But she knew she could not leave
Until her school day was done.
All day through her classes,
She thought and she thought,
She wanted to cry,
But with her tears she had fought.
The words were rocks,
That fell on her head.
After school she ran home,
And bawled in her bed.
That night as Chava fell asleep,
She thought about what she heard.
She then realized the other kids
Were being extremely absurd.
Her holidays and customs
To others might seem odd,
But keeping them all the time
Sure proves her belief in G-d.
The next day, Chava said,
"My religion might seem weird to you,
But I am proud of who I am,
I am proud to be a Jew."

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Overcoming the feeling of burnout in ritual observance

By Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal

SAN DIEGO--After God tells Moshe to tell Aaron how to set up the seven branched Menorah (Lampstand) in the Mishkan, the Torah continues:

"Aaron did so; he mounted the lamps at the front of the Lampstand, as the LORD had commanded Moses."

The medieval commentator Rashi explains that with these words the Torah commends Aaron for doing exactly as God had instructed.

Rabbi Mordechai Katz was puzzled by Rashi's comment. Why would the Torah praise Aaron for doing exactly as God had commanded? Aaron was the Kohen Gadol and a God-fearing Jew. Who would have expected him to do anything else?!

Rabbi Katz explains that when human beings begin long, difficult, and challenging tasks they often do so with excitement, enthusiasm, and fervor. However, as time goes on, people get tired or bored and their enthusiasm and commitment waiver.

What at first was a delight may become a burden.
Aaron, the High Priest, was different. Even though the Menorah had to be lit each evening at exactly the same time and in exactly the same way, Aaron was never bored. His devotion never wavered. He approached this mitzvah each day as if it were something completely new, novel, and exciting. When Aaron lit the Menorah he was filled with joy, reverence, and the love of God.

From our own experiences we understand the truth of Rabbi Katz's words. It is very difficult to retain our enthusiasm for something we do all of the time. There is even a phrase that has been coined for people who get tired of doing their jobs or tasks. We say they are "burned out." They not only cannot sustain the initial excitement and enthusiasm they once had, but over time they become bored and frustrated.

We all know many Jews who have become "burned out" on Judaism. They think that Judaism is just one big drag. They don't see the need to study Torah and Mitzvot. Because they do not understand Judaism as serving a higher spiritual and human purpose, they find it dull, superficial, and redundant.

But if we see what we study and practice as serving a higher purpose, as serving God and humanity, we can approach our tradition with wonder and excitement each day. When we do a Mitzvah we not only walk in God's ways but help God bring about Tikun Ha-Olam, the perfection of the world. When we study Torah, we bring heaven closer to earth. We keep not only Judaism but our daily lives fresh when we understand that everything we do has eternal significance.

Rabbi Rosenthal is spiritual leader of Tifereth Israel Synagogue (Conservative) in San Diego.


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The Jewish people should be like a tapestry, not a chulent

By Rabbi Baruch Lederman

SAN DIEGO--The children of Israel traveled in the wilderness as a group. The entire nation traveled in formation with specific tribes on the north side, south side, east and west. No one was left out. No one was left behind. Everyone was accounted for. Everyone was included. There is only one way that we the Jewish people are going to get anywhere - together; as the
following true story illustrates:

An American industrialist once came to visit the Chofetz Chaim of blessed memory. The Chofetz Chaim proudly gave the man a personal tour of his Yeshiva and asked him if he too would like to be a partner in the building of Torah. The man looked at the saintly Rabbi. He observed the young teenagers studying Torah in the cold under-appointed room.

He witnessed the sincerity and genuineness of everything he saw. He thought hard. Finally he magnanimously replied, "Rebbe, I'll fund the whole thing!" Onlookers were thinking to themselves that only the Chofetz Chaim could merit such a miracle.

The Chofetz Chaim quickly took the man's hand and blessed him with all of G-d's blessing and then said, "My dear friend, you are indeed a very generous and righteous person, but as much as I would like to, I can not accept your offer. The holiness you see and feel, is the result of the contribution of hundreds of people. A loving tear accompanied each small donation. It is upon those tears that we have built success. It is upon those souls that the Shechina rests."([The foregoing true story is documented by Rabbi Yaacov Haber, TorahLab.org)

One might ask, if togetherness is so important why the children of Israel traveled as separate tribes. Why not travel in one homogeneous group? The answer is that each tribe had its own style, flavor and traditions. Those minhagim should not be squashed. The goal is to create a beautiful tapestry, not a chulent. This is fine and good as long as the Torah is in the center and we are all connected to it. When Torah is central to us, there is unity within the diversity. Diversity within Klal Yisroel should be embraced as the following true story illustrates:

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HoRav Yaakov Kaminetzky ztl was once eating a meal in someone's home. When it was time to bentsch (recite the grace after meals), the host asked his young child to leave the room. Reb Yaakov asked why he as doing this. The host replied that Reb Yaakov pronounced Hebrew with a Lithuanian accent. He felt this would be confusing to his young child who was learning with a different accent.

Reb Yaakov became very animated and adamantly insisted that the young boy be brought back in the room. Reb Yaakov explained that there is a consideration which outweighs any temporary confusion the boy might experience. It is essential for the lad to learn a lesson for life that there are other customs in the Torah world different from his own, yet completely halachically valid.

Dedicated by Reb Feivel Yukermann in honor of his mishpacha.

Rabbi Lederman is spiritual leader of Congregation Kehillas Torah (Orthodox) in San Diego

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Bible in Pop Culture: God created Man in His image ...

Genesis 1:27

So God created Man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

People Magazine used "In His Image" for a feature on boxing champion Muhammad Ali's daughter Laila becoming a boxer herself. Here is a link to that article.

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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In Memoriam: Nechemia Meyers, veteran Israel columnist

By Dan Brin

WEST HILLS, California—It’s a sad task to report on Nechemia Meyers in the past tense.

Nechemia was buried on Wednesday in his hometown of Rehovot, Israel. The news reports didn’t say anything about the cause of his death, except to say he had a long illness. He was 79 years old.

Nechemia was a fine journalist and a longtime friend of my father, Herb Brin. He was my friend, too.

Over four decades, his weekly dispatches from Rehovot, tightly written in clean and straightforward English, provided readers of the Heritage Jewish newspapers with a window into Israeli life and society as seen by an American immigrant.

Born as Norman Meyers in Minnesota, he grew up in the Boyle Heights district of Los Angeles, then the center of Jewish life in

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the city. Years of activity in the Zionist Labor youth movement guided him toward moving to Israel in 1951, at the age of 21. He served in the army and toiled at a kibbutz before landing a job with the Israel Government Press office.

In 1962, Nechemia came to Rehovot to work for the Weizmann Institute of Science, where he earned a sterling reputation as a science writer, spokesman and publications director. In their small apartment, he and his Australian-born wife Adeerah, a teacher, raised three proud Sabra children.

I visited that apartment frequently when I spent many months in Israel as a high school student in 1968. I remain grateful for their kind hospitality.

In later years, I had the pleasure of seeing Nechemia and Adeerah again when they visited Los Angeles to reconnect with his family, which includes Dr. Lawrence Meyers, an Orange County psychologist.

When my father died in 2003, Nechemia accompanied my oldest brother Stan to the interment at a Jerusalem cemetery.

Until it is my time to join him and Dad in the World to Come, I will always remember Nechemia Meyers as a model of kindness and professionalism.

He was, in short, a mensch.

Brin's email: bcidan@aol.com

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

Anna Shelley Honored
At Installation

Southwestern Jewish Press May 15, 1953, page 1

At the recently held Birdie Stodel Installation Anna Shelley was honored for her 2 years of service to the chapter.  A surprise testimonial was presented accompanied by a wrist watch and many flowers.

Mrs. Birdie Stodel was the installing officer and was assisted by Elizabeth Harris and Rose Bertram.  The above three women were instrumental in the formation of the Birdie Stodel Chapter.
Ruth Aronoff has been elected to the Executive Board of the Women’s Southern Conference of B’nai B’rith, according to Eve Stein, new president of the San Diego Birdie Stodel Chapter.

Hadassah Presents
Fashion Show May 21st

Southwestern Jewish Press May 15, 1953, page 2

The San Diego Chapter of Hadassah is very pleased to bring to their members and friends a delightful fashion show in the Temple Beth Israel at 12 noon on Thursday, May 21.  Mrs. Edward Addleson, Luncheon Chairman, assures us of a delicious luncheon.  The May meeting will highlight the Hadassah Medical Center, Chairman, Mrs. William Podoloff.   The Program Chairmen are Mrs. Gabriel Berg and Mrs. David Block.

The parade of fashions is to be sponsored by one of San Diego’s leading stores.  Mrs. Shirley Bradley, TV and Radio Personality, will be the commentator.  The musical background will be played by Mrs. A. Lee Herz.

The election of officers will also be held; the slate presented by the Nominating Committee as follows:  Pres., Mrs. Robert Strauss; V. Pres., Mrs. Harry Felson; Mrs. Edward Kitaen, Mrs. William Podoloff; Rec. Sec., Mrs. Leon Solomon; Corr. Sec., Mrs. Burton Ross; Fin. Sec., Mrs. Leonard Zlotoff; Treas., Mrs. John Ruskin; Auditor, Mrs. Fred Leonard; Board of Directors, Mrs. David Block, Mrs. I Rottman, Mrs. M. S. Berlin, Mrs. Edward Addleson, Mrs. Anne Peckarsky; Parl., Mrs. Albert Krasnow; His.,(Mrs) Morton Thaler.

For reservations call Mrs. Raymond Bass, T.1-4919, or Mrs. Leon Solomon, R-2798.

Shavuos Observance
At Tifereth Israel

Southwestern Jewish Press May 15, 1953, page 2

No late Friday Evening Service will be held at Tifereth Israel this Friday, May 15th.  However, a traditional Sunset Service will take place at 7:00 p.m.  Many members of Tifereth Israel will worship at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, this Friday, at the Joint Service sponsored by the thirty United Synagogue Congregations of Southern California.

The Festival of Shavuos will be ushered in at Tifereth Israel with a traditional Sunset Servicer on Tuesday, May 19th at 7:30 p.m. 
The First Day’s observances will begin with the Morning Service on Wednesday, May 20th at 9:00 a.m.  Evening Service at 7:15 p.m.

The Second Day of the Holiday will follow the same schedule.  Included in the Morning worship will be the Yizkor (Memorial) Service at 10:00 a.m.

All are cordially invited.

Cottage of Israel
Southwestern Jewish Press May 15, 1953, page 2

The children of Temple Beth Israel’s Sunday school classes were treated to a most realistic manner in celebrating Lag B’Omer which occurred on Sunday, May 3rd, or the 18th day of Iyar and the 33rd day from the second day of Passover.  On this day, Jewish tradition permits the celebration of festive occasions and children celebrate it by outings so the children were taken to Balboa Park by Rabbi Cohn and interested parents and took part in the planting of a tree in front of the Cottage of Israel with the initial hole digging made by the Rabbi himself.  Two children from each class then took turns in covering the hole with soil.  A visit to the interior of the Cottage was then made and Mrs. Anna Peckarsky, cottage Hostess Chairman, treated them to refreshments.

Mrs. Peckarsky also was hostess to members of the committee at a tea held on May 9th at the Cottage.

Pioneer Women Elect New Officers
Southwestern Jewish Press May 15, 1953, page 2

Pioneer Women’s  J.N.F. Blue Box collection was very gratifying and if there are any Blue Boxes not turned in as yet, please call Jeanette Abrams at T.1-5449 and she will gladly make arrangements for pick-up.

Newly elected officers of Pioneer Women are as follows:  Pres., Jeanette Abrams; 1st V. Pres., Anna Shelley; 2nd V. Pres., Eleanore Gordon; 3rd V. Pres. Rose Domnitz; Fin. Sec., Florence Lebb; Treas., Lillie Gordon; Rec. Sec., Florence Barach; Corr. Sec., Dora Berner; Trustees, Bess Segal, Fanny Garber, Rose Garber, Goldie Kitaen, Bessie Fink, Rose Abrams, Rose Weitzman, Rose Glaser, Sally Anfanger, Gertrude Rawdin, and Pauline Press.  Committee chairmen will be announced later.

A fine program and entertainment is being arranged by the

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committee in charge for our Donor Dinner to be held on Sunday, June 21st.

Senior hostesses who served brunch at the Naval Training Center of the U.S.O. program were Dora Berner, Anna Shelley, Rose Garber and Jeanette Abrams.

Young Jewish Couples
Hold Elections

Southwestern Jewish Press May 15, 1953, page 2

Important business will be mingled with pleasure when members of the Young Jewish Couples Club meet Sunday, May 17, at 8:00 p.m. at the Tifereth Israel Synagogue, for on that evening they will hold both their election of officers and a bingo and card party.

A slate of officers will be presented by Paula Rosen, nominating committee chairman.  This is to be followed by nominations from the floor and elections.

A social evening will follow.  Card and bingo tables will be set up according to Bud and Blossom Rosenbloom, chairmen.

B’nai B’rith Chapters
Plan Four Way Dance

Southwestern Jewish Press May 15, 1953, page 2

This is the first time in the history of B’nai B’rith in San Diego that the two lodges and two chapters are sponsoring one mammoth dance.  With the splendid cooperation of all four groups, this dance will be one of the outstanding events of the year.

The date has been set, the hall reserved, the orchestra hired, and the tickets printed.  So you can see the committee has been hard at work.  The committee consists of Sid Rose, chairman, and Ralph Feldman, both members of Lasker Lodge; Stanley Yukon and Sol Randall of Fox Lodge; Bernice Aved, Secretary-Treasurer, and Rose Aved of Birdie Stodel; and Sylvia Rose and Natalie Myers of Bay City Chapter.

Saturday night, June 20th is the date for everyone to remember.  One of San Diego’s finest orchestras has been hired to insure a good time for all.  Beth Jacob, with its easy accessibility and large floor space has been chosen for the scene of the “Cotton Ball.” The proceeds from this dance will be put in a separate joint account to be used for Armed Services and Youth Programs.

“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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