Volume 3, Number 140
"There's a Jewish story everywhere"

Today's Postings:

Sunday-Monday, June 21-22, 2009

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

Deepening perception gap between Israel, rest of west ... by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem
They may not be your style, but it is worth considering the words, if not the tone of two items. One is this video clip being passed around about Jerusalem . It makes the point that worthies of the world did not exercise any of their might, or even much of their voice when Arabs denied access for Jews to the Western Wall, shot at civilians, and desecrated Jewish holy sites in the Old City between 1948 and 1967. READ MORE

U.S. should seek to lower its profile in Iran ... by Gary Rotto in San Diego
I have to wonder if we really learned anything from our experiences in Iran and Iraq.  Our image in the world has taken a beating not because of a lack of perceived strength.  We’re seen as powerful and interfering, imperialistic.  READ MORE

Women adventurers discover the Balkans and each other ... by Ulla Hadar in Podgorica, Montenegro
The "Desert Queen" jeep expedition is exclusively for women, and has to date taken place in some of the most exotic and challenging landscapes in the world. READ MORE

Washington report: Capital news of Jewish interest
Congress adopts resolution lambasting Iran violenceREAD MORE
Clinton names U.S. delegation to Holocaust Era Assets Conference READ MORE
Rahm Emanuel and the camel READ MORE
Senate adopts slavery apology; Cohen to carry it in the House READ MORE
Senate resolution denouncing violence draws controversyREAD MORE
Frank bill would decriminalize possessing small amounts of pot READ MORE
Nadler would end tax deductions for pharmaceutical advertising READ MORE
Lautenberg: Save energy, lower congestion moving cargo by sea READ MORE

The purposes of this column READ MORE

Jewish-interest news from home and around the world
ADL seeks probe of Viva Palestina as Hamas front led by British MP READ MORE
Knorr Kosher Soup Mix recalled READ MORE
Israelis believe Obama favors Palestinians over them READ MORE
Papers signed for construction of museum in Warsaw GhettoREAD MORE
Tzohar group decries rabbis' recent comments critical of immigrants READ MORE
Institute wants Supreme Court ruling on religious speech rights READ MORE

History and legends of the Anousim in Chihuahua, Mexico ...by Edward Rensin in Stamford, Connecticut
rensinOver the past few decades, the volume of research on Jewish communities at the fringe has increased to nearly maximum decibels.  Historians, geographers, theologists, and etymologists, or simply you and I, can have a field day poring through book upon book and website upon website until a remarkably detailed picture of hitherto unknown or unheralded branches of the Diaspora emerges. 

Miscellaneous Jewish news from here, there
Cyber-Referrals READ MORE
Soille preschoolers put on end of year show for appreciative parents READ MORE
El Al honored for transporting Torahs for use by the IDF READ MORE
Jewish license plate READ MORE


Biblical spies and modern tourists both go 'up' to Israel ... by Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal in San Diego
This week's parasha, Shelach Lecha, helps set the stage for Tifereth Israel Synagogue's congregational tour which has twenty-nine participants! READ MORE

Student poet tells of what came of Abraham's curiosity ... by Chaya Gershon in Chicago
This is the entry by the runner up in the high school division of Jews for Judaism's essay contest on being proud to be Jewish READ MORE

Is it possible that we sing too much in temple? ... by Sheila Orysiek in San Diego
One of the things that attracted me the first time I walked into a Shabbat service at Temple Emanu-El was the joy with which the Sabbath was greeted. READ MORE

God saw all that He had made, Genesis 31 VIEW IMAGE

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I'm Still Here, the memoirs of Laura Simon, 103
Queen Esther...READ MORE
The Playground ... READ MORE


lowittA bissel Jewish sports trivia with Bruce Lowitt ... in Oldsmar, Florida
Q: Who introduced the catchers' neck protector in 1976 after being hit with the jagged end of a broken bat and had to have nine stitches removed from his neck? READ MORE


Adventures in San Diego Jewish History
May 15, 1953, Southwestern Jewish Press

Nursery School for Tots Planned by J.C.C. READ MORE
Fiesta Club Functions READ MORE
Confirmation Service To Be Held At Tifereth Israel On May 22nd READ MORE
A Surprise for Tiny READ MORE
Home For Aged Holds Annual Meeting June 7 READ MORE
Camp Jaycee Opens For Registration READ MORE
Phillip Kantor Dies Suddenly READ MORE

Left 1: Ulla Hadar, Desert Queen jeep convoy, Albanian woman
Left 2: Rahm Emanuel, Barney Frank, Steve Cohen, Jerome Nadler, Frank Lautenberg
Left 3: Edward Rensin
Left 4: Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal
Left 5:Sheila Orysiek
Above 1: Laura Simon
Above 2: Bruce Lowitt

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


Ulla Hadar is a dynamo: She runs, she bikes, she jeeps, she writes, and you can read about her latest adventure in Albania and Montenegro in today's edition.

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

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Deepening perception gap between Israel, rest of west

By Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM--They may not be your style, but it is worth considering the words, if not the tone of two items.

One is this video clip being passed around about Jerusalem . It makes the point that worthies of the world did not exercise any of their might, or even much of their voice when Arabs denied access for Jews to the Western Wall, shot at civilians, and desecrated Jewish holy sites in the Old City between 1948 and 1967. Only when Israel governed Jerusalem in a more humane way after 1967 did those same worthies cry foul and demand Israel's withdrawal. The clip is not of high quality technically, and its style is higher on the scale of shrill than might be preferred. Nevertheless, it makes the point of demands that are two headed or even worse. Not only do the world powers insist on change disproportionately for Israel, but whatever violations of decent behavior Israel has committed are substantially less than those committed by the Arabs.

The second item is Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech in response to President Obama. Again, the style is not one that may appeal to all those who think of themselves as supporters of Israel. The tone was confrontational and the demands he associated with a Palestinian state likely to dissuade Arabs from entering negotiations. The response even from Arabs thought to be moderate was rejection, and recitation of postures sure to dissuade Israelis from trying to reach an agreement. Like the video clip, however, the details of Netanyahu's speech make sense. They emphasize the violence Israel has experienced, and concern for what would happen if it agreed to a Palestinian state without severe conditions. Even the Palestinians in nominal control of the West Bank (being propped up by Israel) continue anti-Jewish incitement, while the stronger political force of Hamas remains committed to Israel's destruction.

The response of the Economist to Netanyahu's speech repeats the double standard described in the video clip about Jerusalem.

Its article treats the prime minister with scorn.

Binyamin Netanyahu spat out the required pair of words. They were welcome; but unless he shows a greater readiness to negotiate in good faith, his belated move will turn out to be pointless.

Mr Netanyahu hedged his acceptance of two states with conditions, promises and evasions. He turned a deaf ear to Mr Obama’s demand that the building and expansion of Jewish settlements on the land that must become part of that Palestinian state must stop. Despite the fact that Arab citizens of Israel make up a fifth of the population, he demanded, as a new precondition for negotiations, that the Palestinians must acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state, which is code for their renouncing in advance the right of any Palestinian refugees to return to Israel. He insisted on a series of curbs and limitations on a putative Palestinian state that would deprive it of sovereignty. He said that Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want to be a shared city and capital of their new state, must stay united under Israeli control. Mr Netanyahu, who opposed the withdrawal of Israeli troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip four years ago, made no hint that he would hand back any Palestinian territory that might make Israel’s border less “defensible”.

Like President Obama in Cairo, the Economist also noted the need for the Palestinians and other Arabs to carry part of the

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load toward peace. This is a significant difference from the comparison in the video clip between the world's treatment of
Arab behavior before 1967 and Israeli behavior after 1967. The progress is welcome, but Israelis may be forgiven the concern that the pressure on them will be greater than on the Palestinians, despite the persistence of threats and violence from Palestinians more heinous than Israeli efforts at defense.

Hosni Mubarak's has weighed in with an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. He praises President Obama for presenting a unique opportunity, and says that he expects flexibility from the Arab side to match that of Israel.

Israelis will be hoping to hear something equivalent in Arabic, directed to those who do not read the Wall Street Journal.

The results of the recent Israeli election will not make it easy for those who are certain that pushing the Israelis to be accommodating will bring the Palestinians along. If Netanyahu's comments about settlements were not clear enough in response to Americans' demands for a total freeze, Foreign Minister Lieberman spoke like the Russian that he is. "We are not prepared to strangle our own people" was his way of responding to Secretary of State Clinton while standing next to her.

Perhaps the American response to all this is what George Mitchell said, i.e., that he wants the "prompt resumption and early conclusion" of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The comment came after his meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, and may be nothing more than verbal fluff meant to mask failure trying to speak with Israelis and Palestinians mutually deaf to American overtures.

Even those who are not comfortable with the prime minister's style must admit that he is speaking for a sizable constituency. A month ago, the tilt of Israeli public opinion was to view Barack Obama as pro-Israel. A poll taken after the speeches of the two leaders finds 6 percent thinking the American administration is pro-Israel, and 50 percent thinking it is pro-Palestinian.

For those hoping that Israel can be pushed without pushing back, it is wise to consider the country's strength, and how the one democracy in the Middle East voted in the recent election.

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

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U.S. should seek to lower its profile in Iran


By Gary Rotto

SAN DIEGO—I have to wonder if we really learned anything from our experiences in Iran and Iraq.  Our image in the world has taken a beating not because of a lack of perceived strength.  We’re seen as powerful and interfering, imperialistic.  After years of bombastic talk with an overlay of Texas chauvinism, the image of America is gradually in rebound. 

As we know, once Saddam Hussein was overthrown, the Iraqis felt that our work was finished and wanted us to leave.  Of course, the resulting civil war would have been even bloodier than the bloodshed during our time engaging in statebuilding in Iraq.  But the feeling was that we had overextended and the world accused us of a new form of imperialism.

We are rehabilitating our image.  Hopefully the world will once again see us a “light unto the nations” for our democratic and humanistic values.  President Obama has attempted to capitalize on the good will engendered by the election of a new American president with outreach to many audiences.  His comments have been measured.

But there is Senator John McCain, shrilling decrying the electoral situation in Iran:  "We support them in their struggle against a repressive, oppressive regime and they should not be subjected to four more years of Ahmadinejad and the radical Muslim clerics."  It’s a very political statement that takes sides in the Iranian election.  This might be true but the good intentions in such statements only embolden anti-American feelings in Iran and undercut the reform movement.  Who really thinks that such statements have much positive impact in Iran? 

They might embolden the core of the Republican Party in this country and strengthen McCain at a time that the party is struggling to find a leader, but they undermine the quiet movement to break free of the repressive regime in Iran.   As a counterbalance, take this portion of a remark of Senator Joe Lieberman:  “When peaceful demonstrators are beaten and silenced, we have a duty to raise our voices on their behalf.”  Devoid of the politics, this message is siding with the people of Iran.   We can privately hope and wish for a victory by the Mousavi supporters. 

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According to Marcus George with the BBC, the supreme leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has told the western nations to "keep your nose out of our business, these are domestic affairs you are meddling in and you are responsible for the allegations of vote rigging to begin with." 

Congress felt completed to pass House Resolution 560 condemning the violence against the demonstrators and affirming the importance of democratic and fair elections. 
It turns out that this resolution is a bit toned down from a Republican proposal, House Resolution 540, which sites the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and seems to recap many AP and BBC reports about events in Iran this week. 

As reported online at the Congressional Quarterly website, Patrick Disney, legislative director of the National Iranian American Council, said that “What the Congress is trying to do by coming down squarely on one side in the ongoing election dispute runs the risk of making the United States part of the story in Iran — which is exactly what Ahmadinejad was hoping for.  It would play right into the hardliners’ hand, letting them point the finger at a supposed external threat rather than their own mismanagement of the country’s affairs.”

Our strategy and the world’s strategy should be very simple:  allow the Ahmadinejad regime to be perceived as no better than the SAVAK under the Shah.  We need to shut up and stay out of the situation.  Let Mousavi’s supporters continue to organize their protests in black (to mourn those who died this week) and in green (conveying the hope of a new Iranian government).

As terrible as the loss of any life is, these deaths can be attributed to a repressive regime that has lost its way and survives only by the brutality similar to the previous regime.  But it is the Iranians who need to say this.  Perception that the US (or Israel or the Jewish community) is involved will undermine the reform movement and the potential for change in Iran.

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CONVOY—Traveling four women to a jeep, participants in the Desert Queen excursion drove over rough terrain in Albania and Montenegro.


Women adventurers discover the Balkans and each other

By Ulla Hadar

PODGORICA, Montenegro— The "Desert Queen" jeep expedition is exclusively for women, and has to date taken place in some of the most
exotic and challenging landscapes in the world. These expeditions have been offered over the last 11 years by the National Geographic Tour company.

Any woman over the age of 20 holding a driver's license may apply—and this year 14,000 desired to participate in an expedition through the Balkans. From the initial pool of applicants, approximately 1700 women were summoned to one of Israel's natural forests for a day of mental and physical examinations. Judges included past participants from previous years' tours to such locales as Jordan, Turkey, Ethiopia, Georgia, Thailand, India, Morocco, Uganda, the Pyrenees and South Africa

From this process, 650 women of varying ages, occupations and economic brackets were chosen to participate in any of a dozen eight-day expeditions. I was among the lucky ones.

My group included 56 special and wonderful women who each gave of themselves and knew how to receive. In addition there were four women (Yael, Nava, Michal and Amit) who provided essential logistical support.

Each participant carried her personal "cargo." Some came to escape their daily routines; others had divorces behind them. Some were single moms, some had lost a family member; others were fighting illnesses or coping with fears. Still others—and I include myself in this category—wanted to stretch their personal boundaries.

REST BREAK--Ulla Hadar, left, ad Galia Or Lioz enjoy a rest break by an Albanian waterfall.

The bonding of women is something unique. I don’t think it exists to the same extent among men. The ability to share, to laugh, to cry, to dance, to link, to help, to support, after only a few hours together is the strength and power that women possess. Women can learn how to use and take advantage of this.

By pulling together we oriented ourselves, navigated our jeeps through tough terrain, and made it through a rugged itinerary. Our sense of empowerment was strong, with several of the participants expressing wonder over how much stronger they were than thy had imagined. They were able to cope and overcome problems and difficulties better than they had ever expected.

Because other groups will follow mine and face some of the same surprises of the route, I will be intentionally vague about where we went and what we did. But I can say this: Albania is very beautiful, the people live very primitively, and the

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country is very poor. Women are not seen much on
the streets, they are considered degraded if they walk around.

SIGHTSEER—Albanian woman in traditional dress watches the jeep convoy go by.

Once in a while we saw an elderly woman herding the sheep or the cows, but not any young women. As you can imagine, the sight of our 16 jeeps, all being driven by women, created quite a stir. In the villages the children crowded around the jeeps and the men gave us long stares.

Today, no Jews are left in Albania, the last ones having departed the country in 1991. After decades of Communist rule, the population is largely secular, but in their family backgrounds are both Muslim and Christian ancestors. The country had a record in the Holocaust worth boasting about: Albania was the only country in Europe with more Jews after the war than before.

Its neighboring country of Montenegro, notwithstanding the "black mountain" origin of its name, is full of green mountains and plentiful rivers. Crossing the border from Albania, we immediately noticed significant differences in the style of the houses, in the country's level of organization, and in the fact that women can be
seen all around. Montenegro is definitely more European than Albania.

The demanding schedule of the expedition reminded me of tironut -- the preparation newly enlisted soldiers go through in the IDF. Notwithstanding how physically and mentally taxed we were, we also had fun experiencing new and interesting countries.

As in the army we all had to wear the same clothes--supplied to us by the National Geographic Tour company. This was a way to make everyone feel equal and to eliminate the need for worry about what to wear when getting up at 4 a.m. to begin the day's activities.

It is difficult to characterize the daily routine. Yael Mallel, part of the logistics team on my trip, described it as "sitting in an aquarium looking out on the world surrounding you."

A major theme of these expeditions is to go forward to the unknown, loosening up, and to not be in charge or control of every minute of the day.

It took only a few hours for our group to connect and that connection continued throughout the journey.

These 60 women will remain my extended family to hug, to share, to love and just to be with. Although we were together only eight days, the friendship and the depth we reached will continue and follow me along my road in life.

I can recommend and advise every woman who has the opportunity to go on an expedition like this – GO, GO, GO, there will be no regrets.

Hadar is bureau chief in Sha'ar Hanegev. Her email: hadaru@sandiegojewishworld.com



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Washington report: Capital news of Jewish interest

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Senators John McCain (Republican, Arizona) and Joseph I. Lieberman (Independent, Connecticut, at left) introduced and the Senate passed a resolution Friday regarding the situation in Iran. A parallel resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Howard Berman (Democrat, California, at right), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Mike Pence (Republican, Indiana), where it was passed 405-1 earlier today. Senators McCain and Lieberman issued the following statement:

"The time has come for the United States Congress to speak out unequivocally in support of the fundamental right of the Iranian people to determine their future for themselves in freedom," said Senators McCain and Lieberman. "With
this resolution, the Senate joined with our colleagues in the House of Representatives to affirm our shared commitment to the universal values of democracy, human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law, and to condemn the unacceptable violence against the peaceful demonstrators taking place in Iran. By acting now, Congress sent an unmistakable message of support to the courageous Iranian people at a critical moment in their history."

Preceding provided by Senator Lieberman

Clinton names U.S. delegation to Holocaust Era Assets Conference

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday announced the appointment of the U.S. Delegation to the Holocaust Era Assets Conference to be held in Prague June 26-30. In May, Secretary Clinton announced that Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, former Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, would head the delegation. The U.S. Delegation will consist of the following individuals:

Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, Head of Delegation; Ambassador J. Christian Kennedy, Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues; Prof. Elie Wiesel, author, Holocaust Survivor; Mary Thompson-Jones, Charge d’Affaires, American Embassy, Prague; Rep. Robert Wexler (Democrat, Florida);
Lynn Nicholas, author of The Rape of Europa; Nancy Yeide, Head of the Department of Curatorial Records, National Gallery of Art; Menachem Rosensaft, General Counsel, World Jewish Congress; Owen Pell, attorney, White & Case;
Sara Bloomfield, Director, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; Anna Rubin, Director, New York State Holocaust Processing Office; Esther Finder, President, Generation After; Saul Kagan, Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany, Holocaust Survivor; Alex Moskovic, Holocaust Survivor; Abraham Biderman, Chairman, Eagle Advisers, L.L.C.; Benjamin Ringel, President, Armstrong Capital Ann F. Lewis, Board member, Jewish Women’s Archive; Susan Sher, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady; Danielle Borrin, Special Assistant, Office of the Vice President ; Office of Holocaust Issues staff, US Department of State Elizabeth Nakian, John P. Becker, Gregory Mattson, Basil Scarlis, Brittney Bolin

Representatives of 49 countries, most of which were affected by Nazi crimes during World War II, and nearly two dozen NGOs have been invited to attend. The Conference will focus on immovable (real) property, Nazi-looted art, Holocaust education and remembrance, archival access, the recovery of Judaica, and the social welfare needs of survivors of Nazi persecution.

Preceding (minus emphasis) provided by Secretary of State Clinton

Rahm Emanuel and the camel

WASHINGTON, D.C. --President Barack Obama had some fun at a senior staff member's expense at the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner on Friday night.

He said: In Egypt, we had the opportunity to tour the pyramids. And by now I’m sure you’ve all seen the pictures of Rahm on that camel. I admit, I was a little nervous about the whole situation. I said at the time, "This is a wild animal known to bite, kick, and spit. And who knows what the camel could do?"

Rahm is White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, shown at top left.

Preceding based on material provided by the White House

Senate adopts slavery apology;
Cohen to carry it in the House

WASHINGTON DC (Press Release)—The NAACP commended the United States Senate Friday for its passage of a historic resolution apologizing for the enslavement and racial
segregation of African-Americans.

“The NAACP would like to thank Senators Harkin and Brownback and the entire Senate for passing this resolution. We hope that their counterparts in the House, Congressman Steve Cohen and others will act swiftly to pass their concurrent resolution,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous.

“The apology for slavery and the era of Jim Crow segregation is long overdue and is the first step toward healing the wounds of African-American men and women throughout this country.”

The resolution comes during the celebration known as Juneteenth, the nation’s oldest commemoration of the end of slavery. Sens. Tom Harkin (Democrat, Iowa), and Senator Sam Brownback (Republican, Kansas), sponsored the bill; Congressman Cohen (Democrat, Tennessee) will sponsor the bill in the House, which is expected to be debated soon.

“On the hundredth anniversary of the NAACP, the passage of the U.S. Senate's apology for the horrors experienced by blacks victimized by the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the Jim Crow era and even the residuals of these barbaric experiences on the African American descendants of these courageous Americans
is long overdue and much needed. This eloquently captured Concurrent Resolution sponsored by Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa and Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, creates a watershed opportunity for Americans of all races, ethnicities and national origins to better understand the historic racial
challenges of our nation and work together to craft solution to the remnants of racism still lingering in our society,” said Hilary O. Shelton, Vice President for Advocacy and Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau.

After making detailed findings regarding slavery and era of legalized segregation known as “Jim Crow,” the resolution reads that the Congress “acknowledges the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow laws and apologizes to African Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery.”

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members in the U.S. around the world advocate for civil and human rights, conducting voter mobilization campaigns, and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

Preceding provided by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Senate resolution denouncing violence draws controversy

WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release) - Following the recent tragic shooting death of Dr. George Tiller, a reproductive health care provider in Kansas, Democratic U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Barbara Boxer of California, and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, authored a non
-controversial resolution condemning the use of violence against providers of women's health care services. The resolution faced objection by some colleagues on the other side of the aisle, and the Senators were urged to eliminate references to women's reproductive health care in order to
unanimously pass the resolution. Shaheen, Boxer, and Klobuchar introduced their original resolution, which was co-sponsored by an additional 43 Senators.

"I realize that the issue of reproductive choice is divisive and that there are many heartfelt feelings on both sides of the aisle," said Shaheen. "However, I was hopeful that, regardless of our differences of opinion on this sensitive issue, the Senate could come together and pass a resolution that rejects the use of violence against women's health care providers. It is a sad day when the elected leaders of the greatest Democracy on earth can't agree to protect those exercising their constitutional rights."

"Everyone has the right to work for changes in the law, but there is no place for violence in any of our debates," said Boxer. "To assault a health care worker, a patient or anyone else because of a disagreement about an issue, regardless of how contentious, brings all of humanity down into a dark pit of

"As a former prosecutor I have seen how acts of violence can tear apart communities," said Klobuchar. "No matter how heated the debate or how great our differences, violence is never the answer. Supporting a bipartisan bill that denounces the use of violence is basic common sense and we need to pass
this without further delay."

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Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution condemning violence in places of worship. Shaheen, Boxer and Klobuchar were asked adopt the House language in the Senate, but decided to move forward with
their resolution, as they feel condemning violence against women's health care providers and agreeing not to use violence as a means of resolving differences are not objectionable viewpoints.

The Senate resolution was sponsored by Senators Shaheen, Boxer, and Klobuchar.

It was co-sponsored by Senators Murray; Durbin; Dodd; Schumer; Lautenberg; Mikulski; Landrieu; Gillibrand; Harkin; Carper; Sanders; Kaufman; Wyden; Kerry; Lieberman; Tom Udall; Levin; Brown; Whitehouse; Burris; Mark Udall; Stabenow; Baucus; Cantwell; Bingaman; Inouye; Cardin; Specter; Johnson; Feingold; Leahy; Tester; Snowe; Begich; Akaka; Bennet; Feinstein; Warner; McCaskill; Reed; Kennedy, Lincoln; and Merkley.

Preceding provided by Senator Boxer

Frank bill would decriminalize possessing small amounts of pot

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)-- With criticism of marijuana prohibition rising, Rep. Barney Frank (Democrat, Massachusetts) has introduced legislation to end federal criminal penalties for possession or not-for-profit transfer of small amounts of marijuana.

"Congressman Frank's bill represents a major step toward sanity in federal marijuana policy," said MPP director of government relations Aaron Houston.

"Calls for rethinking our marijuana policies are coming from all quarters, and for good reason. Our decades-long war on marijuana has given us the worst of all possible worlds -- a drug that's widely used and universally available but produced and sold entirely by unregulated criminals who obey no rules and pay no taxes."

Frank's bill would remove federal criminal penalties for possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana and the not-for-profit transfer of up to 1 ounce (28.3 grams) of marijuana. It would not change marijuana's status as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act and would not change federal laws prohibiting the cultivation of marijuana, sale of marijuana for profit, or import or export of marijuana. It also would not affect any state or local marijuana laws or regulations.

As recently as 2005, no national opinion survey had ever found a level of support for making marijuana a legal, regulated product above 36 percent. This year, a succession of major surveys have found levels of support for "legalization" ranging from 40 percent (Rasmussen) to 46 percent (ABC News/ Washington Post) and even as high as 52 percent (Zogby). A June 12 report from CQ Researcher noted that opposition to legally regulated marijuana "appears to be weakening."

Preceding provided by the Marijuana Policy Project

Nadler would end tax deductions
for pharmaceutical advertising

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)– Congressman Jerrold Nadler (Democrat, New York) on Friday introduced H.R. 2966, the Say No to Drug Ads Act, a bill that would end tax perks to pharmaceutical companies for their direct-to-consumer advertisements. In 2007 alone, the pharmaceutical industry spent more than $4.7 billion on direct-to- consumer advertising – six times more than the industry spent on these ads in 1996. By creating a demand for their drugs, the pharmaceutical companies are able to keep prices artificially high, steering our consumers – and physicians – away from generic versions of drugs.

The Say No to Drug Ads Act, first introduced by Nadler in 2002, would help consumers and doctors make more informed choices in selecting from available medications.

“Unfortunately today, our televisions are running advertisements for brand name medications,” said Nadler. “Pharmaceutical ads to consumers routinely tout the benefits of high-priced drugs while downplaying or inadequately
explaining risks. Despite the major profits generated by these ads, drug companies enjoy the benefit of a federal tax deduction for the ads they create. My legislation would not only end this undeserved perk for pharmaceutical companies, but would also generate billions of dollars to support health care reform efforts.”

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 91% of Americans say they have seen a commercial or read an advertisement about a brand-name drug, and eight in ten doctors reported being asked by patients about diseases and medications that were advertised on television.

Lautenberg: Save energy, lower congestion moving cargo by sea

WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release)– Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (Democrat, New Jersey) on Friday introduced a bill to reduce congestion on the nation’s roads by encouraging more freight to be carried by barges and ships. The legislation would create a grant program for ‘America’s Marine Highways’ to encourage shipping by sea or inland waterway and establish a new program to modernize port facilities to make freight movement more efficient.

“The strength of our freight transportation system is being threatened by our overwhelmed roads, bridges and tunnels – and the simple, smart solution is to ship more of America’s goods by sea,” said Sen. Lautenberg, who chairs the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine
Infrastructure, Safety and Security. “Shipping by barge reduces congestion on roads, cuts emissions and energy consumption and improves safety. Our future competitiveness will greatly benefit if we improve the use of marine highways to ship goods.”

Lautenberg’s bill, the Maritime Administration Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2010, would create a grant program to establish America’s Marine Highway as an extension of the surface transportation system. A single sea vessel can take more than 450 trucks off the nation’s roads.

Democratic Senators Barbara Boxer (California), Benjamin Cardin (Maryland), Russ Feingold (Wisconsin), Dianne Feinstein (California), Herb Kohl (Wisconsin), Frank Lautenberg (New Jersey), Carl Levin (Michigan), Charles Schumer (New York), Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania) and Ron Wyden (Oregon), and Independent Senators Joe Lieberman (Connecticut), and Bernard Sanders (Vermont).

Democratic Congress Members Gary Ackerman (New York); John H. Adler (New Jersey); Shelley Berkley (Nevada); Howard Berman (California); Steve Cohen (Tennessee); Susan Davis (California); Eliot Engel (New York); Bob Filner (California); Barney Frank (Massachusetts); Gabrielle Giffords (Arizona); Alan Grayson (Florida); Jane Harman (California); Paul Hodes (New Hampshire); Steve Israel (New York); Steve Kagen (Wisconsin); Ronald Klein (Florida); Sander Levin (Michigan); Nita Lowey (New York); Jerry Nadler (New York); Jared Polis (Colorado); Steve Rothman (New Jersey); Jan Schakowsky (Illinois); Adam Schiff (California); Allyson Schwartz (Pennsylvania); Brad Sherman (California); Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Florida); Henry Waxman (California); Anthony Weiner (New York); Robert Wexler (Florida); John Yarmuth (Kentucky) and Republican Congress Member Eric Cantor.

PLEASE SPONSOR THIS IMPORTANT COLUMN: The name of your company--or yours as an individual--could be listed in this space as sponsoring our roundup of U.S. government news and publicity of interest to the Jewish community. Please contact Donald H. Harrison at (619) 265-0808 about this opportunity to have your advertising do a mitzvah!

We extend our thankst to Wikipedia, the free on-line encyclopaedia, for its extensive collection of photos of puic officials, mostly drawn from public sources. —Donald H. Harrison, editor

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Jewish-interest news from home and around the world

ADL seeks probe of Viva Palestina as Hamas front led by British MP

NEW YORK (Press Release)—The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) urged the Justice Department on Thursday to investigate whether a U.S.-based campaign is raising funds for "the purpose of providing material support to Hamas," and voiced concern about the fundraising activities of the campaign's leader, George Galloway, a member of the British Parliament.

The campaign, Viva Palestina US, is modeled after Mr. Galloway's European initiative, which delivered a convoy of vehicles – as well as a substantial amount of cash – to representatives of Hamas in Gaza in March 2009. Mr. Galloway, who plans to lead the Viva Palestina US convoy in July, has visited the U.S. on several occasions in recent months to promote and raise funds for the upcoming convoy.

While the campaign's organizers claim that it intends to comply with U.S. law and will deliver the money raised to a reception committee of NGOs in Gaza, in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., ADL said "it is not verifiable that this 'committee' will function independently of the Hamas leadership in Gaza, and Galloway – who plans to lead the
American convoy – has already demonstrated his willingness to directly support Hamas."

"We believe that the Justice Department should investigate reports of fundraising by MP Galloway and Viva Palestina US for the purpose of providing material support to Hamas," said Michael Salberg, ADL's International Affairs Director.

Both the United States and the European Union have designated Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Mr. Galloway is currently on another speaking tour in the U.S., and plans to visit California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Washington, DC between now and the end of June.

In May 2009, ADL wrote to Attorney General Holder to raise concerns about Mr. Galloway, Viva Palestina US and their activities.

Knorr Kosher Soup Mix recalled

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, New Jersey (Press Release)– Unilever United States, Inc. is voluntarily recalling Knorr® Kosher Soup Mix – Chicken Vegetable Flavor with Pasta imported from Israel because it contains undeclared egg. Persons who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to egg run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product. The situation has been investigated and corrected.

The product was distributed nationwide. There have been no reported cases of illness.

Product Name and Description: Knorr® Kosher Soup Mix – Chicken Vegetable Flavor with Pasta (imported from Israel) packed in a pouch (bag) 2.18 oz (62 g).

The product was manufactured in Israel by Unilever Bestfoods Israel Ltd. and imported and distributed by a third party (see back of package).

UNIT UPC: 4800170660 (located on the back of the pouch under the bar code) – including all "BEST-IF-USED-BY" dates (located on a panel next to the UPC). The recall was initiated after it was discovered that product containing egg was distributed in packaging that did not reveal the presence of egg.

Consumers who have the Knorr® Kosher Soup Mix – Chicken Vegetable Flavor with Pasta product are asked to discard it and call 877-270-7412, which is operational 24 hours a day, for information on the recall and to request a full refund. In addition, a consumer services representative is available between the hours of 8:30 AM and 6:00 PM EDT.

The company is placing a notification on the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) web site www.foodallergy.org and notifying FAAN’s individual members.

This recall involves only one product, Knorr® Kosher Soup Mix – Chicken Vegetable Flavor with Pasta. Therefore, no other Knorr® products, including the following, are affected by this recall: Knorr® brand kosher soup mixes, Knorr® non-kosher soup mixes, Knorr® classic sauces, pasta sauces, recipe mixes, Knorr® bouillon cubes and granulate, gravies, and Knorr®/Lipton® sides (Fiesta, Cajun, Asian, Italian, Pasta, Rice and Sides Plus™ Veggies.)

NEW YORK (Press Release)—A new poll has shown that found that only a tiny minority of Israelis – 6 percent – regard the Obama Administration to be pro-Israel, whereas 50 percent believe it to be pro-Palestinian. When asked their opinion about the Obama Administration policies towards the region, 50 percent of those sampled regarded these as more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israeli. The Smith Research poll, sponsored by the Jerusalem Post, also found that more than two-thirds of Israelis – 69 percent – oppose freezing construction within large Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, like Gush Etzion, Ma’aleh Adumim and Ariel, whereas only 27 percent of Israelis support the idea (Gil Hoffman, ‘6% see US administration as pro-Israel,’ Jerusalem Post, June 19, 2009).

These latest findings are consistent with two other recent polls: a Magaar Mochot poll this month also showed that Israelis support by 56 percent to 37 percent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s repudiation of President Barack Obama’s demand that Israel freeze all Jewish construction and growth in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. That poll also found that Israelis oppose by 51 percent to 34 percent Netanyahu acceding to Obama’s reported demand that Israel abandon the settlement blocs as part of an agreement with the Palestinians (‘Maagar Mochot Poll finds Israelis want PM Netanyahu to reject President Obama's demands,’ Independent Media & Review Analysis, June 11, 2009).

They are also reflected in a Dahaf Institute poll, sponsored by the major Israeli daily, Yediot Ahronot, which found that 53 percent of Israelis believe that President Obama’s policies are not good for Israel, as against only 26 percent who think that they are. It also found that 51 percent of Israelis believe that President Obama cares more about Palestinian desires for statehood than Israel’s security, as opposed to only 22 percent who believe the opposite (Gil Hoffman, ‘Poll: 26% think Obama's policies bad for Israel,’ Jerusalem Post, June 8, 2009).

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “There is little doubt that these poll numbers show Israelis to be overwhelmingly of the view that the Obama Administration is hostile to Israel in its policies and that they are opposed to freezing Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria. Within the space of a few weeks, several polls have clearly indicated these things.

“It is also instructive to note the rapid change that has come over Israeli opinion in just a matter of a month. It was as recently as May 17, on the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting in Washington with President Barack Obama, that 31 percent of Israelis were found to regard the Obama Administration as pro-Israel, as opposed to merely 14 percent who regarded it as pro-Palestinian and 40 percent who regarded it as neutral. Obama’s June 4 Cairo speech would appear to have greatly concerned Israelis.

“The 31 percent of Israelis who were confident of the Obama Administration’s pro-Israeli posture has now fallen to a mere 6 percent. I can’t remember such a major fluctuation of Israeli opinion on a key political question in such a short space of time. At any rate, it is clear that the Obama Administration’s strident public pressure upon America’s ally Israel and lack of pressure on the Palestinian Authority has justifiably led most Israelis to be deeply concerned.”

Preceding provided by Zionist Organization of America

Papers signed for construction
of museum in Warsaw Ghetto

WARSAW, Poland (WJC)—Construction on the long-planned Museum of the History of Polish Jews is finally set to begin in Warsaw. Poland's culture minister, Warsaw's mayor and other officials signed a contract Wednesday, June 17, authorizing Poland's largest construction engineering company, Polimex-Mostostal, to begin work on the multimillion-dollar project on June 30. Polimex-Mostostal chairman Konrad Jasko said the building, a glass-walled structure designed by Finnish architect Rainer Mahlamaki, would take 3 years.

The museum will be located in the heart of what was the World War II Warsaw Ghetto, facing the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Monument which was erected in 1948. In a statement released Thursday, the museum said that a gala ceremony will mark the start of construction. A group of 100 American cantors who are currently on a concert tour of Poland are scheduled to perform.

Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

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Tzohar group decries rabbis'
recent comments critical of olim

LOD, Israel (Press Release) -- Representatives of Tzohar, the organization of religious Zionist rabbis working to heal rifts within Israeli society, responded critically to recent comments made by senior members of the Israeli Rabbinate deriding the good will of immigrants to Israel seeking conversions to Judaism.

The controversial comments were made at a Jerusalem conference of ultra-orthodox rabbis aimed at discussing the difficult question of how conversions should be handled, particularly among new immigrants to the country. Among the statements made were ones describing certain potential immigrants as cheaters who were motivated by self-interest rather than a sincere desire to convert to Judaism.

According to Rabbi David Stav, co-founder of Tzohar, the messages of discontent expressed by members of the rabbinate and supported by the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger displayed a deep lack of faith in the system.  “It is inconceivable that the Chief Rabbi of Israel can be speaking in front of a privately run conference and expressing complete distrust in the system of judges that he is meant to be heading. The Chief Rabbinate is positioned to offer a very positive contribution to our nation but statements like these only serve to diminish the country’s faith in this institution.“

In recent years, particularly in the wake of the increased immigration from the Former Soviet Union, the Chief Rabbinate has imposed increasingly harsh measures surrounding the conversion process.  This even included disqualifying hundreds of conversions that were performed by previously recognized rabbinical authorities.

The Tzohar Organization, which is actively working to bridge gaps between the religious and secular communities in Israel, has advocated embracing new understandings on the conversion issue.  “We believe that the most important way to approach a potential convert is with love and patience,” said Rabbi Stav. 

He says that often potential converts who have the best of intentions are deterred because they are unable to provide the necessary paperwork.  “By dismissing these cases because of technicalities, the result is that these converts are forced to marry outside of the context of halacha, a situation which serves as an obstacle towards a central challenge facing the People of Israel- our continued existence as one nation.” 

Tzohar, through its Shorashim program works with the rabbinical courts to help new immigrants authenticate their Jewish roots.  Tzohar estimates that there are as many as 200,000 immigrants who are born Jewish according to halacha but are simply unable to provide the necessary documentation and thus unable to overcome the bureaucratic hurdles. 

Preceding provided in Tzohar's behalf by Dena Wimpfheimer, DJW Consulting in New York

Institute wants Supreme Court
ruling on religious speech rights

WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release)-- Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have asked the United States Supreme Court to hear the case of a high school valedictorian whose microphone was turned off by school officials after she began speaking about the part her religious beliefs played in her success in life.

Institute attorneys charge that school officials in Clark County, Nevada, violated Brittany McComb's free speech rights when they cut off the microphone in the middle of her valedictory address. They also argue that school officials engaged in viewpoint discrimination by censoring McComb because of her Christian beliefs while allowing other student speakers to offer remarks with religious content. A copy of the brief is available here.

"Brittany McComb's case could be vital to the survival of freedom in America's public schools," said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. "At present, our public schools are on freedom lockdown. I sincerely hope the Supreme Court will take a first step with Brittany's case and reverse this horrible trend."

In the spring of 2006, Brittany McComb was one of three valedictorians chosen based on their grade-point averages to give a speech at Foothill High School's annual commencement ceremony. Each valedictorian was provided with "suggestions" for crafting their speeches. However, school officials neither encouraged nor forbade the students to include or exclude religious content from their speeches.

In her speech, Brittany reflected on past experiences and lessons learned at school and wrote about the emptiness she experienced from accomplishments, achievements, and failures in her early high school years. She then mentioned the fulfillment and satisfaction she later came to experience in something greater than herself, namely, in God's love, and Christ. Upon receiving a copy of Brittany's draft speech, school administrators proceeded to censor her speech, deleting all three Bible references, several references to "the Lord" and the only mention of the word "Christ."

Believing that the district's censorship of her speech amounted to a violation of her right to free speech, on June 15, 2006, Brittany attempted to deliver the original version of her speech in which she talked about the role that her Christian beliefs played in her success. The moment Brittany began to speak the words, school officials cut off her microphone. Despite extensive jeers from the audience over the school officials' actions, McComb was not permitted to finish her valedictory speech. With the assistance of The Rutherford Institute, Brittany McComb filed a First Amendment lawsuit against Foothill High School officials in July 2006.

In June 2007, the U.S. District Court for Nevada rejected the school district's second attempt to have the case dismissed and affirmed that the lawsuit raises substantial claims of infringement of McComb's right of free speech. School officials subsequently appealed to the Court of Appeals, which dismissed the case, holding that McComb had no right to give her speech, which it deemed to be "proselytizing."

Preceding provided by the Rutherford Institute

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Miscellaneous Jewish news from here, there


Hillel Mazansky of San Diego passes on this YouTube music video about Israel's accomplishments in 60 years:

Gail Umeham of San Diego said she found this trailer for the new Woody Allen movie "Whatever Works," starrring Larry David intriguing:

Soille preschoolers put on end of year show for appreciative parents

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)—It is very bittersweet knowing that the end of the school year at Hebrew Day is here, however, looking at the bright, smiling faces of all the children makes it all worth it.

The Grand Finales for both “The Frogs” & “The Ducklings” were wonderful. The children in both classes sang a medley of songs, recited favorite poems and stories that they learned throughout the

year. Thank you to Morot Maggy, Ilana, Jen, Odeya, Dorit & Vivian for all their hard work in preparing the children for their
presentation and for the beautiful end of year projects they made. Thank you to the parents and teachers for arranging the sweet and delicious treats for everyone to enjoy!

The Tiny Tap Dancers and Karate Kids amazed parents with their “talents”. The Dancers danced a small choreographed danced and ended their show by dancing with their special someone. The Karate Kids showed their special moves, broke a wooden plate with a karate kick and were presented with a medallion. Thank you to Morah Shlomit and Miss. Dawson for their wonderful work with the children.

National Council of Young Israel Executive Vice President, Rabbi Pesach Lerner, praised EL AL for having this no-fly on Shabbat policy and reminded the audience that the airline has made huge financial sacrifices to accommodate the Orthodox Jewish community. Rabbi Lerner quoted Harold Jacobs, past president of NCYI, who said, "It is imperative that the Orthodox Jewish consumer patronize groups that respect the sanctity of Shabbat." Rabbi Lerner went on to say, "Let's ignore for the moment that EL AL has the best security, the best service
and that it is the national airline of Israel. The Shomer Shabbat
commitment is more than enough reason that we should all only fly EL AL."

Rabbi Lerner shared a personal EL AL experience that took place when carrying a Torah on board. On one flight, there was a lack of secure space for the Torah and, by coincidence, the co-captain overheard thediscussion. He immediately said, "I am taking the Torah with me. It will fly in the cockpit but I am not sure if I am protecting it or it is protecting me."

The anniversary dinner was held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City.

Jewish license plate

Sandi Masori spotted this license plate in San Diego and photographed it with her cellphone camera. Five "to life" perhaps celebrates a family of five. We hope the family and its friends will drink many toasts together.

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History and legends of the Anousim in Chihuahua, Mexico

By Edward Rensin
STAMFORD, Connecticut —Over the past few decades, the volume of research on Jewish communities at the fringe has increased to nearly maximum decibels.  Historians, geographers, theologists, and etymologists, or simply you and I, can have a field day poring through book upon book and website upon website until a remarkably detailed picture of hitherto unknown or unheralded branches of the Diaspora emerges.  Rather than simply rehashing that which is already well-researched and documented, I thought it might be interesting to focus on one of my personal experiences among the Jewish periphery.
In the early 1970s, I learned that my extended family contained cousins from a remote Anous (Hebrew for “forced one”) community high in the Sierra Madre of Chihuahua state in northwestern Mexico.  The Bnai Anousim are descendents of Iberian Jews who, at the onset of the Spanish Inquisition, were given the ultimatum of fleeing their homeland or converting to Catholicism.  Many such converts clung clandestinely to their Jewish roots, some eventually leaving Spain for what they hoped would be greener pastures in the New World.  Sometime in the 1950s, my father’s first cousin, whom we called Mutty, left his job as a Brooklyn firefighter and trekked into the Mexican wilds to manage a copper mining operation for a large metallurgical corporation.  He was able to curry favor with the local Tarahumara Indians by trading with them for goods brought back from his occasional sojourns to Chihuahua city.  Not long after his arrival, he married Lily, a woman from the Anous mining town of Uruachi (a.k.a. Uruachic) in western Chihuahua state, near Copper Canyon.  He adopted her son, and the family eventually found its way to Tucson. 
Copper Canyon is gaining attention as an increasingly popular tourist destination.  There exists a parallel chasm.  Sadly, but perhaps predictably, it is the one that separates the Mexican government’s official version of the area’s history from the oral accounts passed down by the Anousim themselves.  As a matter of fact, in everything I have read about the area from “official” sources, neither the word “Anousim” nor the more common but politically incorrect Spanish “Marrano” ever once appeared.
The name Uruachi quite possibly is a Hispanic variant of the word “uruachim,” Hebrew for “brotherhood.”  The official line, however, awards it to the Tarahumara language in which it, or something akin to it, means either “place of palms” or “place of black stones.”  Take your choice. 

Officially, in 1719 the Jesuits settled the area by establishing a mission some miles to the west at an even more remote location called Batopilas, but Mutty and Lily claimed that the first permanent settlers in the area, who in all likelihood predated the Jesuit mission, were latter-day refugees from the Inquisition whose intent it was to relocate to the most inaccessible place they could possibly find, so to divorce themselves from the yoke of enforced Catholicism.  In Uruachi through the centuries, the Bnai Anousim gradually reverted to what they, in their isolation, were able to resurrect of their Jewish heritage, including shedding the Jesúses and Marias from their names and adopting more secular--or even Hebrew-sounding ones.  Mutty told me that Uruachi was one of the only towns in Chihuahua without a cathedral (I’ve often tried to “Google” or “flickr” a bird’s eye photo of the town to verify this, but haven’t been successful.).
Cousin Mutty was apparently given to the occasional bout of exaggeration, once telling me that nearly every state government ministry in Chihuahua was headed by someone either openly or secretly Jewish!  Nevertheless, he disseminated a wealth of verifiably credible information about historical events and landmarks in the region.  So, while I can’t vouch for the total accuracy of his account, neither can I dismiss it simply as folklore.  He seemed to

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have been a rather prominent, well-respected figure in that part of Mexico, for during a day trip from Tucson I took with him south of the border to Nogales, he apparently knew and was greeted warmly by practically every other person in town.  I told him I wanted one of the ubiquitous bullfight posters as a souvenir, and almost before I could snap my fingers, it was in my hand, courtesy of a merchant who, upon Mutty’s request, removed it from his shop window.  Long after leaving Mexico, he continued to maintain a sizeable ranch in the Sierra Madre which probably still belongs to his son.

There are, as I have recently learned, several other Anous communities scattered throughout the American Southwest, especially in Colorado and New Mexico.
I must confess that the closest I have been to Uruachi, Copper Canyon, and the Sierra Madre was perhaps six or seven miles, and that from a vertical direction a few years ago on flights from Houston to Cabo San Lucas and back again.  Predictably rugged, though unexpectedly green and lush, these mountains beckon more intimate examination, but since the area is currently plagued by violence emanating from drug cartels, it might be advisable to keep one’s distance, for a while at least.

Rensin is director of the arts department at Westover Elementary in Stamford, Connecticut, and a former  choir accompanist at Temple Har Shalom in Warren, NJ.  He holds a Masters Degree in Geography from State University of New York at New Paltz, and has been interested in diaspora studies for many years. This article is reprinted from Kulanu, a quarterly journal focusing on Jews in far-flung communities. For more, in Spanish, about the Jews of Chihuahua, click here.

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Biblical spies and modern tourists both go 'up' to Israel

By Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal

SAN DIEGO --This week's parasha, Shelach Lecha, helps set the stage for Tifereth Israel Synagogue's congregational tour which has twenty-nine participants! In Shelach Lecha Moses sends out twelve scouts to tour Eretz Yisrael in preparation for the Israelite conquest. All of the scouts agree that Israel is an eretz zevat chalav u'dvash, a land flowing with milk and honey, but ten of the scouts say the land is unconquerable. Only two of the scouts, Joshua and Caleb, have sufficient faith in God to affirm, "Let us by all means go up, and we shall gain possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it." (Numbers 13:30)

When the Torah speaks of the spies entering Eretz Yisrael it does not use the word "travel" or "walk" but instead verb oleh, which means to "go up." It is the same word we use when we call someone to the Torah; we say they have an aliyah, literally, a "going up."

Although we use the same word, aliyah, to refer immigration to Israel, as our Torah commentary Etz Chaim points out: "No matter where one comes from, going to Israel is referred to as aliyah, 'going up.'" In reference to the scouts Etz Chaim adds: "They went up-not only geographically but to a higher spiritual level."

As members of my congregaton tour Israel this summer I am confident that all of our travelers will share similar spiritual journeys. It is only after experiencing Israel in person that one understands its unique place in the history, psyche, and heart of the Jewish People.

As the poet Yitzhak Yasinowitz expressed it in his poem "To Jerusalem":

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One does not travel to Jerusalem. One returns. One ascends the road taken by generations, the path of longing on the way to redemption.

One brings rucksacks stuffed with memories to each mountain and each hill.

In the cobbled white alleyways one offers a blessing for memories of the past which have been renewed.

One does not travel to Jerusalem. One returns.

I look forward to sharing our congregational travels with you over the next two weeks. our group will bring your prayers of blessing, prosperity, and peace with us.

Rabbi Rosenthal is spiritual leader of Tifereth Israel Synagogue in San Diego

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Student poet tells of what came of Abraham's curiosity

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.

By Chaya Gershon
9th Grade, Lubavitch Girls High School, Chicago
2nd place, High School Division

Be Proud- Be True- Be Jewish

Abraham, our father, at the young age of three,
Gazed up at the sky, full of curiosity.
Who was G-d - was it the stars, moon, or sun,
Young Abraham was determined that he’d find the One.

Being that no creation could function without assistance,
He realized there was one G-d keeping all in existence.
Abraham began serving G-d with his new inspiration,
And thus he began the Jewish Nation.

Years later, G-d showed him the stars up above,
“You’ll have more descendants than you can conceive of.
Your faithfulness to me has given you merit,
The Land of Israel, your seed will inherit.”

In Egypt we were enslaved, oppressed, and put to shame,
But our loving Father released us, with new riches and fame.
As we stood at the Red Sea, and watched it divide,
Every Jewish person felt a warm feeling of pride.

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When we received the tablets, unity was in the air,
That we’d fulfill the Torah, together we did declare.
With so many devoted brothers, and a Torah so true,
How could one not be proud to be a Jew?

Whenever we are stuck, and feel we can’t go on,
We know we’ll always have a Father whom we can call upon.
All that He does is the best for His dear child,
Every happening is part of His master plan, so lovingly compiled.

There was a dark era not too long ago,
When people tried to diminish our glow.
But we held our head high, and emerged shining and bright,
Twinkling stars on a dark and cold night.

No matter how, or what they may do,
One just can’t subdue the light of a Jew.
Today we’re in peace, our G-d we can serve,
We may follow our Torah, and the Mitzvot, observe.

Nevertheless, at times, we still hide behind a cloud,
While with such a remarkable heritage, we should really be proud.
We should be thankfully praising our G-d,
Instead of dwelling in a fraudulent facade.

There is no reason to search for truth in vacant imitations,
When we are born into a people that was the purpose of creation.
If all of the magnificent stars came out of their hiding,
Thousands upon thousands of brilliant lights would be shining,

If to our faith and Jewish pride we do constantly adhere,
We can be sure that our light will never disappear.


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Is it possible that we sing too much in temple?

By Sheila Oysiek

SAN DIEGO—One of the things that attracted me the first time I walked into a Shabbat service at Temple Emanu-El was the joy with which the Sabbath was greeted.  Rabbi Martin Lawson has a wonderful voice and sense of music – both intrinsic and trained.  My memories of Sabbath services in my early child and adulthood were quite different.  Yes, there was singing, but it was rather muted.  Solemnity prevailed and anything less bordered on the edge of lack of true commitment.  However, as one congregant at Temple Emanu-El told me: “We take our Judaism seriously, but we have a good time.” 

At a recent Temple event celebrating a congregant’s significant birthday, I was sitting at a table in which I found myself the only Jew among the friends and neighbors who were guests of the celebrant.  Since this bountiful oneg occurred after the Shabbat service, some of the non-Jewish guests at this table had a number of questions to ask me regarding the religious observance they had just witnessed. 

The questions were friendly and showed a quest for information – except for one lady whose questions persisted to a degree which began to indicate an agenda or a bias in her preconceived ideas.  She began by asking why the service contained Hebrew since we probably didn’t understand what the prayers meant.  I happened to have my personal copy of our prayer book with me and I indicated to her that the Hebrew prayers were immediately translated below in English. 

Moving on, she insisted that the Ner Tamid (eternal light above the Torah Scrolls) was really a fish.  What looked like a fish to her were the sculptured flames lit from within.  I assured her it did not represent a fish.

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Having struck out there she proceeded to question me as to why we sang so much.  Up to this point with my usual naiveté I hadn’t as yet discerned an agenda in her line of questioning.  But when I explained to her that the Sabbath was a celebration of G-D’s creation and therefore something to sing about – she was not satisfied.  She continued to ask me again and again “why do you sing so much?” 

Why indeed?  Perhaps she thinks we have nothing to sing about?  Maybe she thinks that with our history we should stop singing?  Or could it be she simply never considered Jews as engaged in singing?

However, I can readily see why this lady might have difficulty picturing (and accepting) the fact that we sing.  All too often when Jews are pictured on the television news the file footage is of an old man rocking in prayer at the Western Wall, or a flock of long black coated men with high fur trimmed hats, ear locks and beards walking down a crowded New York street while everyone else is in shorts and t-shirts on a hot summer day.  Were these my view of Jews – I, too, couldn’t picture them as singing.  We are almost never shown in file footage as young people, vibrant, kids playing games, giggling teens doing what teens do, having young families, - much as the rest of the larger community.  She probably never thought of Jews as babies or teenagers or having anything about which to sing. 

I wonder what she would have thought had she come for Shabbat on June 5 when Temple Emanu-El brought in a band of young musicians for not only singing but dancing?  All the solemn prayers were observed, all the rituals completed – but large components of song and dance were integrated and digested eagerly by the congregation which turned out in large numbers.  Children in attendance got to see – and hopefully remember – that a lahnge punim (long face) is not particularly necessary to fulfill a Commandment.

As for me, as a retired ballet dancer, I had a great time.  Slipped on my ballet slippers and let loose and let fly.  Wonder what she would have said about that?


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Bible in Pop Culture: God saw all that He had made...

Genesis 1:31

And God saw all that He had made, and behold it was very good.  And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

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.

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

Editor's Note: Today San Diego Jewish World continues the-every-Monday serialization of I'm Still Here by Laura Simon, a San Diego resident who is still going strong at 103. She wrote this book to mark her 100th birthday.

We will maintain a list of links to the installments of her story on Laura Simon's archive page, which can be accessed any day of the week through the "authors" pulldown tab below our masthead. Laura, who once painted canvases in vivid colors, today is legally blind, so she is unable to read e-mail. However, she says anyone who wishes to contact her may do so through the e-mail of her son, New York playwright Mayo Simon at mayosimon@aol.com The book may be purchased via its publisher's website, www.montezumapublishing.com or via Amazon or Barnes & Noble's websites.

Queen Esther

The next morning my father came to take me to a doctor. At an open window I stand behind her as she yells out at him. “Look at me now, Queen Esther with all the servants around me dying for a penny. When Moishe climbed down the mountain he put ten commandments on your head
and gave you tefillin while I go to the court and the five dollars is not there and I have to keep chasing.”

“You got your divorce,” he yelled back. “You broke up the world to be a divorced woman.”

At this point, taking my cane, I leave my tape recorder to wash my face, the water in the bathroom sink gurgling, and almost 90 years later I can still hear them sobbing together separately.

The Playground

I was becoming one of those mothers as I sat in the playground watching my little sister on the swing. I sat with the mothers on a bench watching their children. Then, I gave Berdie a good
start with the swing. She kept it swinging on her own. My mother warned me she might get lost.

“She is only four and you are already nine, too old to play with dolls,” and too old maybe to go to school. The truant officer had come and said if I was ever to get out of the fourth grade, I’d better come to school, my mother saying, “There's too much rejoicing around here. I have to go to court to collect my

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support so that the children can eat,” then giving me a lessonon how to start a soup with some bones the butcher gave her when buying a piece of meat, and the water fills the pot only
up to the crack, and low gas light to simmer slowly. “If I’m late we’ll have soup.”

Always happy in Humboldt Park, especially in the playground. Now as I watched Berdie on the swing I could hear the laughter, the splashing and screams of fun from the kids in the pool, birds chirping in the tree behind me.

Berdie is getting off the swing and I call out to her. “You'll get lost, come over here to me. We’ll have jelly and bread,” already opening the bag. There are screams. She is hit by a high swinging swing. Already crowds of people are running from the playhouse with first aid, towels, and I can't
move, I’m petrified at her screaming, crying, everyone jostling around her, helping her and I’m sitting, I can’t get myself to move, wondering where my mother is -- in court.

I heard about it so often -- maybe it’s my divorce and glad to get rid of him as my mother said, having taken on her pain at six and a half, in court, scared. As scared then as now. If only I had some cookies, I could bring them to her. Scared, I make my way closer to her crying, there is blood on her jacket that my mother had just made, touching it I got blood on my hands. What will she say?

A man is carrying her and I’m following them into a car and we’re in a hospital. I sat there and cried.

They took her into a room and closed the door. I have to sit someplace else. Someone is playing a piano somewhere just as my teacher once did. The hall was dimly lit as I came in late to
school. Stopping a moment to look at me, the teacher is saying, “Music is also an art,” and waving her hands, “Sit down, Laura, and sing,” shutting that out of my mind when Berdie started to cry again.

“A good time – you’ll have a good time in the playground,” my mother always saying that I was having a good time.

I finally see her coming from a distance. We’re sitting on the steps. I’m still clutching our key.

“What’s happened, what’s going on? What happened? What happened in the playground?” taking Berdie from my arms.

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A bissel Jewish sports trivia with Bruce Lowitt

OLDSMAR, Florida—Q: Who introduced the catchers' neck protector in 1976 after being hit with the jagged end of a broken bat and had to have nine stitches removed from his neck?

(a) Steve Yeager
(b) Chuck Yeager
(c) Chuck Deckle
(d) Chuck Norris

Background: He spent 15 years (1972-86) as a catcher, sgaring the 1981 World Series MVP award with fellow Dodgers Ron Cey and Pedro Guerrero. He converted to Judaism after marrying the daughter of a Holocaust survivor.

Please click here for answer


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

Nursery School for Tots
Planned by J.C.C.

Southwestern Jewish Press May 15, 1953, page 6

A membership tea is being planned by the newly-formed Nursery School Committee of the Jewish Community Center of San Diego.  Mothers who have children of pre-school age and who are interested in participating in a cooperative nursery school program are invited to attend the tea.  It is to be held at the home of Mrs. Eugene L. Berger, 3847 Garden Lane, on Saturday, May 23rd, at 3:30 p.m.  Further details and reservations to the tea may be obtained by contacting Mrs. Melvin S. Karzen at Talbot 1-2437, Mrs. Marvin L. Stein at Bayview 2-4751, or Mrs. Abraham Swerdlow at Bayview 8937.

Fiesta Club Functions
Southwestern Jewish Press May 15, 1953, page 6

Springtime specials for May feature a day of swimming and a picnic at Pine Valley on May 17th; a “Suit Yourself” Party at a private home on Saturday, May 23; and a beach party at La Jolla Shores on the evening of Saturday, May 30th.  Bowling meet is held every Thursday evening at Maryland Hotel.

The Fiesta Club holds its general open meetings on the second Sunday of every month at the Jewish Community Center, 3227 El Cajon Blvd., at 8:30 p.m.  The club is open to single people of the Jewish faith, ranging in age from 18 and over for the girls and 21 and over for the men.  Anyone desiring to learn more about the club may call Reine Linsky, W-8-3342, or Mitzi Kohn, M-8-2934.

Confirmation Service To Be Held At Tifereth Israel On May 22nd
Southwestern Jewish Press May 15, 1953, page 6

Twelve children of the Confirmation Class at Tifereth Israel will receive their Certificate of Confirmation from Mr. M. S. Berlin, Synagogue President, at the Annual Confirmation Service, which will take place this year on Friday evening, May 22nd at 8:00 p.m.

Members of the Class will conduct the entire Evening Service and will present a symposium on the theme “Jewish Values.”  They will be presented with confirmation gifts through the courtesy of Tifereth Israel Sisterhood.

 A beautiful reception honoring the class will be tendered by their parents following the Service.

Members of the class of 5713 are:  Robert Blumer, Barbara Borner, Stanley Breitbard, Alvin Cohen, Ronald Doctor, Henrietta Faguet, Beverly Gendelman, Buddy Kader, Shirley Kaufman, Gary Naiman, Kay Prager, Elaine Shapery.
All are cordially invited.

A Surprise for Tiny
Southwestern Jewish Press May 15, 1953, page 6

There was nothing unusual in a visit to the Home of the Aged after Saturday morning services on May 2nd, so Grace Feldman Kramer was completely surprised by the planned birthday party which greeted her.

Few people in the community do not know Mrs. Kramer, affectionately known as “Tiny.”  In spite of her thirty years of blindness, “Tine” and her devoted husband, Louis, are on hand for most happy community functions.

The Kramers have been married 39 years and can match trials and tribulations with anyone, yet few can match their sunny dispositions.

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After the reading of the birthday cards and the opening of the presents, the 35 guests sang and danced to the piano planning of Essie Rubin.  Many happy returns, “Tiny!”

Home For Aged Holds
Annual Meeting June 7

Southwestern Jewish Press May 15, 1953, page 7

The annual meeting of the Hebrew Home for the Aged will take place at the Home, 2750 Fourth St., on Sunday, June 7 at 1:00 p.m.  Election of officers and members of the board will be the main order of business.

Light refreshments will be served by members of the Ladies Auxiliary.  The public is invited and members of the Guardians and the Ladies auxiliary are asked to attend by Saul Chenkin, president of the Home.

Application for admission to the Hebrew Home for the Aged may be made through the Jewish Social Service Agency, 333 Plaza, M-5172.

Camp Jaycee Opens
For Registration

Southwestern Jewish Press May 15, 1953, page 7

Registration for the Seventh Annual Day Camp Jaycee will begin Friday, May 15th, at the Jewish Community Center, 3227 El Cajon Blvd., T-1-7744.   Camp Jaycee will operate five days a week for eight weeks, beginning Monday, June 29th and ending Friday August 21st.  This year the day camp program will be divided into 3 sections, each independently operated; as follows:
Camp Jaycee Junior (5-8) under the leadership of Nate Naiman.  Mr. Dave Anfanger will supervise Camp Jaycee (9-12) and Bill Murphy will again be the head counselor for Camp Jaycee Teens (12-14).  For purposes of programming and to make for more mutual interest and fun for all, each section will be divided into particular age groups.

A varied interesting program schedule will include swimming lessons, horseback riding, nature study, skating, hikes, sports and trips to interesting places.

Fees will be the same as last year, Center members will pay $10.00 weekly; reduced rates for the four and eight week period.  Also there will be reduced rates for more than one camper in a family.  Pick-up and delivery service from designated points will be provided at an additional cost.

For further information call T-1-7744 or drop in at the Jewish Community Center office, 3227 El Cajon Blvd.

Phillip Kantor Dies Suddenly
Southwestern Jewish Press May 15, 1953, page 8

Phillup Kantor, 53, passed away May 7 in a local hospital.  Mr. Kantor had lived here for 25 years and belonged to the Los Angeles Chapter 36, F. and A. M.  He was a member of Temple Beth Israel, Tifereth Israel Snagogue, and the San Diego Guardians.

Services were conducted by Rabbi Monroe levens on May 8 in the Lewis Colonial Mortuary, with entombment in Greenwood Mausoleum.

Survivors include his widow, Mary; two sons, Dwain and Arlen Kantor; a daughter, Mrs. Roberta Naiman, and four grandchildren.

“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 sports trivia answer: (a) Steve Yeager. His uncle is Chuck Yeager, the test pilot who broke the sound barrier flying the X-1 in 1947 and became a household name in Tom Wolfe's book, "The Right Stuff."

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