SACRAMENTO, California (WJC)–Anti-Semitic messages and symbols have been painted on a synagogue in California. Tuesday’s attack on Congregation Beth Shalom, in the Sacramento area, included a swastika, the phrase “Kristallnacht still lives” and the symbol of the SS, which ran the Nazi death camps. Bushes lining the outside of the synagogue building were also set afire. The vandal was captured on a surveillance video camera.
Congregation Beth Shalom was one of three Sacramento-area synagogues targeted by two arsonists in 1999. Benjamin Matthew Williams, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, and his brother, James Tyler Williams, pleaded guilty in September 2001 to setting the fires, which caused almost US$ 3 million in damages. They were sentenced to 30 years and 21 years and three months, respectively, in jail.
Meanwhile, a Florida Jewish community center was vandalized on Monday. Swastikas and the phrase “Jews shall die” were painted on the Soref Jewish Community Center in Coral Springs. Also Monday, a heavy object was heaved through the window of a Lubavitch education center in Miami Beach, the ‘Miami Herald’ reported. The vandalism appeared to be a random act, a police spokesman said.
Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress
By Sara Appel-Lennon
LA JOLLA, California-He appeared last Sunday at the San Diego Jewish Book Fair to promote his book, My Remarkable Journey. Brooklyn boyhood friends called him “Zeke the Creek the Mouthpiece” since he loved to talk. To this day he refers to himself as the little Jewish kid from Brooklyn. He said “I left Brooklyn but Brooklyn never left me.”
From age five, he loved listening to the radio and yearned to be a radio star. His suspenders became his trademark. He has been married eight times to seven women. His birthday was November 19, 1933.
His full name is Lawrence Harvey Zeiger… He became known as Larry King because he was told his last name sounded “too ethnic.”
King has been a broadcast journalist for 52 years. He conducted more than 40,000 interviews, which equals 88 interviews per year. He interviewed every United States president since Gerald Ford. His nickname is” The Mohamed Ali of Broadcast News.”
When King was age 10, his father died of a heart attack at age 44. Regardless, King smoked for 35 years, including in the shower, the bath, and on the air. The night of his heart attack was the same night when the Surgeon General was on his show. After three people told him he didn’t look so good he went to the hospital. He even smoked on his way to the hospital as he was having a heart attack. On February 20, 1987 he quit smoking.
As far as religion, King said… “I’m an agnostic…I just don’t know…I see a lot of it as superstition.” He said that he never received answers about God or the Holocaust. King said that if he were to interview God, he would ask God if he had a son.
To King, being Jewish is all cultural. Jerusalem, Israel is his favorite place in the world. King is now married to a devout Mormon woman and they have two sons, nine and ten years old.
In regards to humor King said… “I think the Jew has a remarkable ability to laugh” He said that Jews can think funny, say, and deliver funny lines.
Jackie Gleason helped King to become famous. King and Jackie Gleason were friends. Gleason often took King to the Honeymooner shows. One night, King served as the Master of Ceremonies at a welcome dinner for Gleason.
He asked King “What in your profession is impossible?” King responded that it would be impossible for Frank Sinatra to be a guest on his show for three hours from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Gleason told King that Sinatra would be on his show the following Monday night. The media took out a full page ad in the Miami Herald for $25,000 stating that Sinatra would be on King’s show the following Monday. King called Gleason for reassurance.
Sinatra showed up the following Monday and asked ‘Who’s Larry King?” King told the audience that he never lies to his listeners. He introduced Sinatra and asked Sinatra on the air why he was there.
I admire that King did not pretend to be friends with Sinatra. From that day forward, the two became friends.
What motivated Sinatra to appear on King’s show? It turns out that three years before Sinatra had lost his voice and was unable to entertain at a scheduled show. Sinatra asked Gleason if he would fill in for him. He told Gleason that he owed him a favor, and King’s show was it. This favor helped King to reach fame and fortune.
King mentioned he has become wealthy and he followed that financial fact with this story:
King went to New York to see a tailor to make a suit for him. The tailor said he couldn’t do it since he didn’t have enough material. He asked a tailor in Chicago and received the same response. He went to Miami and again received the same answer. He returned to his hometown of Brooklyn. He went to a little tailor shop and made his request. The tailor said that he could make him a suit, two pairs of pants, and a vest. King was amazed and asked how it was possible. The tailor smiled and said that in Brooklyn he’s not that big.
Appel-Lennon is a San Diego-based freelance writer. Her email: email@example.com
NEW YORK (Press Release)–The notorious Holocaust denier and antisemite David Irving is to give a secretive lecture in New York City this weekend and Holocaust survivors are calling for peaceful protest against “this person of hate and his hateful ideas.”
The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, representing 80,000 families across the country, underscored that Irving’s appearance in New York, home of the largest Survivor community in the nation, was “morally repellent and particularly offensive.”
The American Gathering is alerting venue owners to the possibility of inadvertently renting space to David Irving. He is on a so-called book tour and does not allow attendees to know where he will be until a few hours before the event.
Last month, he and his white supremacist friends tried to hijack the City Hall in Jackson, Mississippi for his talk. Following an appeal from the American Gathering to the mayor, Irving was a no-show and moved his “talk” to a Ridgeland hotel while warning that he would still be coming to New York. In Mississippi, he told the local newspaper that, “We sat around plotting as neo-Nazis do, [and] finding synagogues we can set on fire and tombstones that we can throw around.” A few weeks later in Palm Beach, his meeting ended with two attendees getting into a knife fight in an adjacent parking lot.
Irving is considered one leading advocates of Holocaust denial in the world. In 2000, Irving, who calls himself a Holocaust revisionist, sued Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books for libel for calling him a denier and antisemite. The British courts found that Irving was an “active Holocaust denier,” as well as an antisemite and racist, and that he “associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism.” The judge also ruled that Irving had “for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence.” Irving was later jailed in Austria, in 2006, for his abhorrent views.
Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering said, “In making news of Irving’s planned appearance public, we hope to alert managers of public spaces of Irving’s surreptitious methods of engaging them. We believe that his message of hate should be protested and confronted by all peaceable and lawful means.”
Preceding provided by the American Gathering
SAN DIEGO (Press Release)–Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego President and Chief Executive Officer and Miriam and Jerome Katzin Presidential Chair holder Marjory Kaplan is among a group of women recently named a recipient of the San Diego Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business award. These women were recognized for their outstanding contribution to business, the government and the San Diego community. This is the 16th year honoring Women Who Mean Business in San Diego County.
Kaplan was chosen by a group of independent judges from 167 nominees. The winners were announced and recognized on stage at the Journal’s recent Women Who Mean Business luncheon.
Kaplan has served as chief professional of the Foundation since 1994. During her tenure, Foundation assets have grown to approximately $207 million from $14 million. In fiscal year 2008-09, the Foundation topped the list of the region’s foundations in funds granted for the fifth year in a row, awarding and facilitating more than $62 million in 4,700 grants to 1,000 Jewish and general organizations in San Diego, Israel and around the world.
With Kaplans entrepreneurial oversight, the Foundation has also developed innovative programs, many of which have become national models including the Endowment Leadership Institute (ELI), a unique, high-quality, results-oriented program with the goal of transforming the culture of legacy giving in San Diego, and Youth Philanthropy, a program that encourages young people to become philanthropists by teaching them to give strategically and effectively.
“Under Marjory’s strong and creative management, the Foundation has become a philanthropic force for change in San Diego and beyond,” noted Murray Galinson, Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “We are pleased and proud that San Diego Business Journal has recognized her innovative leadership.”
Preceding provided by Jewish Community Foundation
LONDON (WJC)–Britain’s chief rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, has said that Muslims needed to learn to separate religion from power. In a lecture in London to a Christian think tank, Sacks said: “One of the great advantages of being Jewish, is you know how to sing in a minor key. We have had 26 centuries of experience, ever since the Babylonian exile, of living as a minority in the midst of a culture that does not share our views.”
He added: “I have no doubt that Islam will work its way through to the essential situation that Judaism arrived at and Christianity, namely the substantive separation of religion from power. But there’s no quick way of getting there. It’s quite a difficult and painful process.
“Only Muslims can do it. I do see some wonderful Muslims in this country and elsewhere going through that process. Some of the Muslim thinkers today are some of the most courageous thinkers I have come across and it is very striking how many of them are women.”
Sacks blamed Europe’s falling birth rate on a culture of “consumerism and instant gratification”. He said the continent was “dying” and accused its citizens of not being prepared for parenthood’s “sacrifices”.
Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress
CARACAS (WJC)—Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has said that he expected his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit Venezuela by the end of the year.
Chávez made the announcement on his weekly television and radio broadcast “Aló Presidente” while flanked by Iran’s ambassador to Venezuela, Amad Sobani. The Venezuelan leader visited Ahmadinejad in Tehran in September. Venezuela has built close relations with Iran in recent years, including the signing of numerous agreements to cement economic, political and military cooperation.
“Iran is attacked like us by the empire,” Chávez said during the program, referring to the United States. “We are accused of exporting terrorism, but they are the killers.” Iran’s spreading influence in South America has been causing concern both in the United States and Israel.
Israeli President Shimon Peres is expected to raise those concerns during an official visit to Brazil and Argentina, which are home to the largest Jewish populations in South America. Israel has not had diplomatic relations with Venezuela since January, when Chávez expelled the Israeli ambassador to protest against Israel’s war in Gaza. Peres is scheduled to give the first speech ever by an Israeli official to the Brazilian Parliament. He is leading a delegation that includes Israel’s tourism minister, business leaders and senior members of the Israeli defense industry.
Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress
By Yvonne Greenberg
LA JOLLA, California — In From Ghetto to Ghetto: An African American Journey to Judaism, Dr. Ernest H. Adam’s new book, he movingly describes his childhood living with his family in squalor in a basement apartment in Harlem, his coming of age during the Black Power Era as a young adult, and his journey to Judaism. He converted to Conservative Judaism, fittingly had a Bar Mitzvah at age 50 on Martin Luther King’ Jr.’s birthday, and converted to Orthodox Judaism four years ago.
The 62 year-old Adams, who earned his doctorate in clinical psychology from Columbia University and his law degree from New York University, delivered a serious lecture sprinkled with humor at the JCC on November 8th as part of the San Diego Jewish Book Fair.
Adams, his mom (who became a Jehovah’s Witness), dad, and two sisters lived in The Basement, which was also inhabited by mice, roaches, leeches, and had leaking pipes. It had a putrid smell because it was where garbage was dumped. As bad as The Basement was as a place to live, his parents always tried to keep it clean and livable.
He spoke of first encountering racism at the tender young age of 10 during the Jim Crow Era, when, craving a hamburger, he was unable to enter a White Castle restaurant because, as the sign outside warned, “Whites Only.” He retrospectively determined that the assassination of JFK, which occurred when he was 17, had a profound impact on him. He went to an Automotive Trades High School, which he admittedly had no interest in. In fact, his teachers told his parents that he was too intelligent for that school. After high school he went to work on Wall Street and sported a large afro and wore dashikis to emphasize his Black identity.
He was admitted to NYU as an undergraduate, where he suffered “an intellectual crisis of confidence,” because he felt he was unprepared academically even though he did well in the required courses for the university.
At NYU Law School, he met Meyer Goldstein, with whom he became good friends. Like all good relationships, Adams’ and Goldstein’s friendship flourished because of a mutual capacity to listen and hear, but not judge. His friend’s father, Rabbi Baruch Goldstein, survived Auschwitz but his family perished in the Holocaust. “I could see that Blacks in the United States were subject to the biological theory of race, just like the Jews were subject to such a theory in Germany during the time of Hitler.”
Adams attended Friday night dinners with the Goldsteins “but I couldn’t understand why they had to light the candles and not just turn on the lights.” The rabbi treated Adams like a son, once telling him “even if I had another child I couldn’t do any better.”
Two of his Jewish friends warned him that Orthodox Judaism was racist and rigid, but he discovered that to be untrue, and found the Orthodox to be very welcoming to him.
Adams believes the Torah is the heart of being a Jew and persuasively made the case during his lecture that God’s helping the Israelites was the first example of affirmative action.
During his initial conversion to Judaism from being a “stone cold atheist,” the Rabbi asked Adams whether he had been circumcised. When he replied yes, the Rabbi responded, “Thank goodness!” “In 2005, he converted to Orthodox Judaism. He has visited Israel eight times and has always been well-received there.
Q and A
Why did you chose Judaism when there are other universal religions?
“The Goldsteins opened the door to me. I attended many life cycle events where I got to see Jews up-close- and-personal and these encounters destroyed myths that I had about Jews and Judaism. There is no rational reason why I chose Judaism. I just did.”
In a personal interview he clarified that he belongs to both Conservative and Orthodox synagogues.
He is married to Karen Ruth Sander, a white, Jewish-born Reconstructionist, who at first felt uncomfortable attending the Orthodox services because she didn’t understand Hebrew, but really liked the people. They had a child together, Eliot Akiva Adams, who will be two years old next month.
Adams stressed that they both make compromises with regard to Judaism, except that Adams insists on a kosher kitchen.
VALLEY CENTER, California (Press Release)—The personal papers of former United Nations Ambassador Irving Salomon, who lived much of his life as a diplomat, rancher and philanthropist in this northern San Diego County community, have been donated by his family to the Valley Center Historical Society which has established the Salomon Archive.
Hundreds of documents, letters, photographs and memorabilia will be housed in a permanent archive at the Valley Center History Museum, and will be available for use by historians, scholars and researchers, said Museum President William Hutchings.
“We are fortunate that Colonel Salomon and his family retained documents spanning some 75 years, and are honored that they selected Valley Center to house this remarkable collection,” said Hutchings. Most of the material had been in care of Col. Salomon’s daughter, former San Diego City Councilmember Abbe Wolfsheimer Stutz, who grew up in Valley Center.
Col. Salomon retired in 1945 after a successful career a Midwestern industrialist, and moved to Valley Center where he bought a 2,300-acre ranch and began a new life as a rancher raising prize-winning Herefords, Hampshires and quarter horses.
It was as a diplomat, however, that Salomon earned an international reputation. He accepted an appointment from President Eisenhower to become a member of the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations where he held rank as Ambassador. He served the U.N. in a host of other capacities and, at one time, was given the rank of Under-Secretary. Until shortly before his death in 1979 at age 81, he had traveled worldwide as a United Nations representative and as a U.S. State Department emissary on worldwide missions.
During his tenure with the U.N. Col. Salomon worked with dozens of world class leaders and often invited them to visit his Valley Center ranch. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and President Eisenhower were among many who were hosted by Salomon and his wife, Cecile. Motion picture celebrities would often join the family at their home.
Widely respected as a humanitarian and philanthropist, Salomon was honored in 1972 by Pope Paul VI for distinguished and notable achievements. It marked the first time that a Pope had conferred Knighthood on a layman of the Jewish faith.
Preceding provided by the Valley Center History Museum
By Arnold Flick
LA JOLLA, California–In March this year, President Obama, while in Egypt, addressed the Muslim world. In speaking of Israel, he in essence described the founding of Israel as an event proceeding from the Holocaust. The Zionist community, both here and in Israel, has been very upset by this description and has responded that the State of Israel was on track for rebirth both before and regardless of the Holocaust.
This has long been a point of interest to me. Thus for some years now I have asked individual Jews which do they think is the more important event in Jewish history during the 20th Century: the Holocaust or the founding of the State of Israel. While recognizing that this is not a scientific poll, the responses have been illuminating.
My very act of posing the question has elicited responses. “Why do you want to know?” “It’s a meaningless question.” “What are you getting from this?” “Whose side are you on?” Almost no one has said “That’s an interesting question.” And with respect to this latter, remember, I have only posed this question to Jews, a people who find most questions interesting.
Answers have been of three main categories. The most frequent answer from the American non-Israeli Jews has been the Holocaust, often, but not always, followed by the remark, that without the Holocaust there would not be an Israel. Some have refused to answer.
The near universal answer from Israeli friends, without an apparent need to explain, has been Israel.
And of course, there is more. Those Jews whom I know to be on the far left politically have answered, without exception, “the Holocaust.”Jews whom I know to be on the political right, usually, but not always, have said “Israel.” Reform Jews have almost always said the Holocaust, conservatives lean to saying Israel, but not always. Jews identifying themselves as Zionists strongly lean to saying Israel. Myself being secular, I know very few Orthodox and have not had the opportunity to ask them.
In his speech in Cairo, President Obama gave a “Holocaust” answer to this question. As is known, President Obama has a circle of Jews close to him and these are, almost by definition, on the political left. Thus, to me, this particular answer in Obama’s speech, written as it likely was by someone close to the Jewish liberals surrounding the President, reflects the near unanimity of the political left in selecting the Holocaust. So in his speech citing the Holocaust, it may have been his Jewish advisors’ voice rather than his own.
I think the question touches something fundamental in the Jew who identifies himself as Jewish: it relates to his personal definition of what makes a Jew. It does not take much reading in Jewish diaspora periodicals to know that “What is the minimum that makes a Jew?” is a question under debate. “Born of a Jewish mother, born of a Jewish parent, calling oneself Jewish without being of any other religion” are among the prevalent answers. Formal observance or a belief in G-d are not frequent answers to this question, nor is Bar or Bat Mitzvah. For men, a circumcision is required by most, but not by all. In short, there is an obvious spectrum of answers to this fundamental question, not only from the scholars, but from the man on the street as well.
Many current far-left Jews, including some of my cousins, are the progeny of even farther left parents. The parents selected Yiddish over Hebrew, maybe Birobidjan over Israel, Workmen’s Circle over Zionism. When Stalin’s murderous anti-Semitism could no longer be overlooked, an ideological hole opened deep within the core of the parent. The Holocaust filled that hole, and became the central tenant of Judaism for the parents and their children. The child has now found his way into the arts, media, and social studies and continues to promote, now from a powerful lectern, this, i.e, his parents, core view of being Jewish. So his answer is the “Holocaust” as the seminal event of the Jewish history in the 20th Century.
Flick is a freelance writer based in San Diego