By Jeanette Katzir
WOODLAND HILLS, California–My Momila would have been 80 years old this year, but a stroke took her from me five years ago. For many of us baby boomers, if we have not lost one or both of our parents already, we will within the next twenty years. Once they are gone, other than missing our parents like crazy, I wonder if we, the adult children who are left behind, will truly realize the impact they have had on us.
My Momila was a funny bird. She enjoyed removing all the jellies, jams, and assorted spices from restaurant tables and putting them in her purse. I am thankful to say that is something I never repeated, but there are those small quirks I did inherit. I know that in the finer restaurants, Vichyssoise, a fancy name for cream of potato soup, is served chilled, but not in my house; as my Momila taught me, it is served hot.
For countless years, I have used a sprinkling of Momila-taught words to color my talk, but it is only now that I have learned that these words, which I refuse to stop using, are not Yiddish, as my Momila had always told me. Sadly, they are no language at all, but a hodge-podge of Yiddish, German, Polish, and who knows what.
Only once a parent is gone, do we suddenly see how much of an effect they have had on us. There are the facial expressions—the way my eyebrows crunch up and the way my voice goes up at the end of an angry question. These are all Momila-influenced mannerisms. Issues with money and strangers are all a la Momila. The impact of our parents upon our children, their grandchildren is also evident. Sometimes I like Mom’s effects on my children and sometimes I don’t, but it always makes me smile. I have a daughter who has inherited my Momila’s refusal to throw anything away. My Momila’s house was packed to overflowing with stuff. Needless, useless things that weren’t worth the cardboard boxes she kept them in. My daughter has better, fancier boxes, but she, too, likes to keep useless stuff.
I have a grandson now, and though my Momila never had the honor of meeting him, I am sure he will still inherit her traits via my daughter, so in a strange way, Mom’s oddities will continue on.
My Momila’s birthday fell near Thanksgiving, and that made the holiday season bittersweet. She wasn’t sitting at the table in her favorite chair, and she wasn’t there to proclaim her very loud opinion of the deliciousness of the turkey. When Chanukah comes, she won’t be here to make her much beloved potato latkes, which she always topped with sugar, not applesauce or sour cream. No, making potato latkes is my job now, and I will fry them up and serve them to the family, but they won’t taste the same. In a refusal to allow the Momilaness of the holidays fade, my family continues to prepare her trademark dishes for all the Jewish holidays. Whether our spouses like it or not, we serve Gefilte Fish, Chopped Liver, Noodle Kugle, and Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls. Serving these foods brings Mom back to the table with us.
Once our parents are gone, only then do we get a semblance for how much of them has morphed into us. On one occasion, I was cautioning my children about something and they warned me that I sounded just like Grandma. It had happened; Momila’s essence was here in me, in the way I spoke, the way I reacted to things and probably even the way I walked. It seems that no matter how much I raged against her ways, I just couldn’t fully escape being like her. Our parents’ effect upon us is undeniable and unstoppable, but if you really think about it, is that so bad?
Jeannette Katzir is author of Broken Birds, The Story of My Momila, a memoir about two Holocaust survivors, their five children, and life post World War II.
By Joey Seymour
SAN CLEMENTE, California–It only took WBA Light Welterweight Champion, Amir “King” Khan seventy-six seconds to take out “Star of David” Dmitriy Salita this past Saturday night in a fight conducted in Newcastle, England.
Ten thousand spectators witnessed an overpowering performance by Khan, which was nothing short of remarkable. In a blink of an eye, Khan was raising his hands in victory as Salita was simply attempting to remember where he was. The loss is by far the worst suffered by Salita in his short professional career and is one that will certainly continue to sting.
Previous to this bout, Salita was undefeated. His record was an incredible 30-0-1 with 16 knockouts. The buzz around Salita was palpable. A full length documentary was made in 2007 entitled “Orthodox Stance.” HBO followed up with a documentary of its own and many in the Jewish community saw Salita’s rise as the return of the dominant Jewish boxer. However, the boxing world was not as quick to anoint Salita to the upper echelons of the sport, despite the media craze surrounding him, because he had yet to fight anyone of note. On Saturday night, Salita earned his first title shot and in a New York minute, learned that he still has quite a way to go to compete with those in his weight class which include not only Khan, but also Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
The question then becomes, why did Salita garner so much attention before actually breaking out? Why is Disney currently working on a movie about Salita’s life that is set to star rapper Eminem as Dmitriy? The plain answer is because his story is unique.
Not since the days of Abe “The Little Hebrew” Attell, Maxie Rosenbloom, and Max Baer to name just a few, has there been a Jewish boxer with so much promise and talent. Like his predecessors, Salita is Orthodox and strictly follows Orthodox rules, even refusing to fight during the Sabbath or any of the 70 Jewish holy days. His long time trainer and mentor, Jimmy O’Pharrow said of Dmitriy, “My gym is like a league of nations. I seen every kind of kid come through the doors, but I ain’t never seen one like this Dmitriy. Kid looks Russian, prays Jewish and fights black.”
Salita began working with Jimmy O (as he is affectionately known) when he was thirteen years old. His parents moved their family from Odessa, Ukraine in 1991 when Dmitriy was nine years old, due to an escalation of Jewish hate crimes in the region, and in an effort to provide a better life for their children (Dmitriy has a brother, Mikhail).
Things started out rough for the young Salita in America (whose actual name is Dmitriy Alexandrovich Lekhtman, he fights under his mother’s maiden name). He was picked on in school for not wearing the right clothes or fitting in. It was not until he stumbled into Jimmy O’Pharrow’s gym, Starrett City Boxing Club, that Dmitriy began to develop his identity and a feeling of self worth.
Even though hesitant at first, his parents (Aleksander and Lyudmila) began to notice the talent and passion that Dmitriy had for boxing. As an amateur, Salita won astonishing 59 matches, only losing 5. Yet, Salita’s worse loss came in January 1999, when his beloved mother lost her battle with breast cancer. After her death, Dmitriy went to Chabad of Flatbush every day to say Kaddish for her. He became a prominent member of the center in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights. Today, Salita’s charity, Shield of David, donates funds to both the Chabad of Flatbush and the Starrett City Boxing Club.
At the center, he met several men who would assist in his career spiritually and monetarily. Israel Liberow, brother of the center’s Rabbi, has since become Salita’s spiritual advisor, traveling with him and being a member of his entourage, which has also included at times, Jewish reggae artist, Matisyahu. Bob Arum was Salita’s first promoter.
Arum told the Washington Post in 2002 that, “The fact that he’s Jewish is secondary to the fact that he’s the kind of Jewish kid that he is, with the story he has to tell. If he was an ordinary Jewish kid, we wouldn’t have made that kind of deal with him. He’s Jewish and an observant Jew. He came from an assimilated family in Odessa, and became involved in the ultra-Orthodox community. That makes him a potential attraction.”
Attraction came quickly for Dmitriy. He turned professional in the summer of 2001 at the age of 19. Word of his boxing prowess as well as strict faith and family story, not to mention his boy-ish good looks and charm, led to an onslaught of public interest, especially in the Jewish community. He backed up his praise by winning. In 2004, Salita signed Lou DiBella to be his new promoter and fought his first match in front of his home town fans in Brighton Beach, New York. His opponent, Ruben Galvan lost to Salita in the 8th round by unanimous decision.
In 2005, he won the North American Boxing Association Light Welterweight title, defeating Shawn Gallegos by TKO in the 9th round. Yet, it would take four more years before Salita earned his chance at a WBA title. In the mean time, he continued to fight, to win, and to build public intrigue, but he could not escape the fact that his opponents were merely average. Prior to his fight with Khan, Salita’s thirty-one opponents win average was a combined 49.3% (456); loss average of 47.5% (438), and a draw average of 3.3% (31). Even though Salita was enjoying a 30-0-1 record, many critics questioned his ability against a competitor the likes of Khan.
Now, with this difficult loss behind him, Dmitriy Salita has two paths, either fade into obscurity or overcome the defeat and come back faster, stronger, and more mentally prepared for the new level of fighter that he will be facing. A return to winning ways and a possible championship would be perfect for the Salita script. We’ll just have to wait and see if Hollywood gets its wish.
Joey Seymour, Sports Historian and Author of “San Diego’s Finest Athletes: Five Exceptional Lives.” Now Available through Sunbelt Publications at www.sunbeltbooks.com.
Contact Joey Seymour at email@example.com
By Shoshana Bryen
WASHINGTON, D.C. –There is a military adage, “Don’t tell military people to ‘do’ something; tell them what you want done.” Give commanders a mission and they can tell you what resources, strategy and tactics they need to carry it out. The Obama Administration’s inability to formulate a coherent military mission in Afghanistan was blindingly exposed in Sunday’s Washington Post. It is best to quote:
In June, [General Stanley} McChrystal noted, he had arrived in Afghanistan and set about fulfilling his assignment. His lean face, hovering on the screen at the end of the table, was replaced by a mission statement on a slide: "Defeat the Taliban. Secure the Population."
"Is that really what you think your mission is?" one of those in the Situation Room asked... (T)hat was precisely his mission, McChrystal responded, and it was enshrined in the Strategic Implementation Plan-the execution orders for the March strategy, written by the NSC staff.
"I wouldn't say there was quite a 'whoa' moment," a senior defense official said of the reaction around the table. "It was just sort of a recognition that, 'Duh, that's what, in effect, the commander understands he's been told to do.' Everybody said, 'He's right.' "
"It was clear that Stan took a very literal interpretation of the intent" of the NSC document, said [NSC Adviser James] Jones, who had signed the orders himself. “I’m not sure that in his position I wouldn’t have done the same thing, as a military commander.” But what McChrystal created in his assessment “was obviously something much bigger and more longer-lasting . . . than we had intended.”
Whatever the administration might have said in March, officials explained to McChrystal, it now wanted something less absolute: to reverse the Taliban’s momentum, deter it and try to persuade a significant number of its members to switch sides. “We certainly want them not to be able to overthrow the government,” Jones said.
On Oct. 9…the “mission” slide included the same words: “Defeat the Taliban.” But a red box had been added beside it saying that the mission was being redefined, Jones said. Another participant recalled that the word “degrade” had been proposed to replace “defeat.”
Military commanders execute the mission they are given. It is not their responsibility-indeed it seems out of place to expect them to “interpret” the “intent” of the Commander in Chief. As a retired four-star general, NSC Director Jones knew that. Gen. McChrystal’s decision to apply a counterinsurgency strategy, with its accompanying troop request, was based on the requirement of the March mission to defeat the Taliban and secure the population.
What appears to have happened is that the Obama Administration constricted its vision on Afghanistan at some point after the March strategy document and didn’t tell Gen. McChrystal. Monday’s Post confirmed that Defense Secretary Gates told the House Armed Services Committee the U.S. effort in Afghanistan would be more focused and limited. “A good part of the debate and the discussion,” he said, “revolved around ways to narrow the mission.”
From “Defeat the Taliban and secure the population,” to what?
Bryen is special projects director for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. (JINSA). Her column is sponsored by Waxie Sanitary Supply in memory of Morris Wax, longtime JINSA supporter and national board member.
SAN DIEGO (Press Release)–Chabad of University City sponsors a Chanukah party from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Sunday, December 13, at the University Towne Centre with the lighting of a giant menorah, music by the Avi Akiva Band, “tons of jelly donuts, a great magic show and balloon sculpture,” says Rabbi Moishe Leider of Chabad of University City. “Hope to see everyone in San Diego there.”
Preceding provided by Chabad of University City. Upcoming event press releases are also placed in the corresponding date of the San Diego Jewish Community calendar
SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio (Press Release) –Shoah by Arnold Reisman examines Turkey’s role in the Holocaust and compares it to that of the United States and the United Kingdom, in an effort to reveal that Turkey actually did significantly more than previously thought.
The dark days of the Holocaust have been well-documented, but now in Shoah, Reisman uses recently found archival documents to cast a new light on how and why Turkey was actually a prime player in helping Jews escape the Holocaust.
Reisman uses testimonies through the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s survivor testimonies project as well as oral histories taken from those directly involved. He also presents additional research from the FDR Presidential Library archives, British Foreign and Colonial Offices, and more. While admitting that Turkey could have done more in becoming a place of refuge and a transit country, Reisman reveals that under the circumstances of a shaky economy, and immense pressures exerted by the British, Arabs and the Nazis, Turkey did more than most historians, educators and media have
reported. Shoah offers insights into both the Republic of Turkey and its people, as well as the Nazi reign.
Dilek Barias, professor of history at Koc University in Istanbul, says of the book, “The result of a passionate commitment and scholarship. It offers new insights into the complex events of the time.”
Shoah is available for sale online at Amazon.com, BookSurge.com, and through additional wholesale and retail channels worldwide.
Arnold Reisman is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is listed in Who’s Who of America. He is the author of over 300 papers in journals and 17 books, including Turkey’s Modernization, Classical European Music and Opera, Arts
in Turkey, and more. Currently, he lives in Shaker Heights.
Preceding provided by Arnold Reisman
NEWTON, Massachusetts (Press Release) — What has been the “Golden Age” for Jewish Major League baseball players?
Was it one of the eras in which future Hall of Famers Hank Greenberg or Sandy Koufax stood alone at the top of the class?
A good argument could be made for the current age, at least in terms of quantity and yes, quality!
No fewer than 29 players with Jewish heritage emerged in this decade, with at least a dozen qualifying for consideration as the best Jewish player of their time.
Now, Jewish Major Leaguers, Inc., the organization that has produced an annual set of baseball trading cards honoring historical and current Jewish players, and which has conducted two seminars at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown – has created online voting so that fans can select the Jewish player of the decade.
Three players have spanned the full decade – Brad Ausmus, Jason Marquis and Scott Schoeneweis. Five have played in a good part of the decade – John Grabow, Shawn Green, Gabe Kapler, Mike Lieberthal and Kevin Youkilis.
And another five have played in half or less of the decade, include All-Stars Ryan Braun and Ian Kinsler, along with Craig Breslow, Scott Feldman and Adam Stern. (Youkilis, Green, Lieberthal, Marquis and Ausmus have also made All-Star teams).
The decade has featured a 19-total base game from Green, the best 9-inning single game performance in the history of baseball – a consecutive errorless streak at first base by Youkilis which broke an 86-year old record; and Kinsler’s hitting for the cycle while also going 6-for-6 (which hadn’t happened in 100 years). There were three Gold Glove winners (Youkilis, Lieberthal, Ausmus), two Silver Slugger award winners (Marquis and Braun), and the first-ever Jewish Rookie of the Year (Braun). “One of the purposes of the contest”, according to the organization, is to highlight the fact that this has been an extraordinary decade, perhaps the greatest ever.”
Fans can vote at the website http://www.jewishmajorleaguers.org, or by emailing their selection to firstname.lastname@example.org. Fans are encouraged to vote only once, although like the MLB All-Star voting, multiple ballots are accepted. For those who vote for the winning player, a random drawing will be held for the opportunity to join in presenting the award.
Voting by mail is also permitted, with ballots to be sent to Jewish Major Leaguers,
104 Greenlawn Ave, Newton Center, MA 02459. Voting closes December 31.
Jewish Major Leaguers, Inc., is a Boston-based not-for-profit organization “Documenting American Jews in America’s Game.” It has produced five highly regarded limited-edition sets of Jewish Major Leaguers baseball card and two nationally-publicized events at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. The 2008 Hank Greenberg Edition and the 2009 “Record-Setters” edition are still available; the 2010 “Deck of the Decade” is planned for publication shortly after Opening Day of next season.
For further information, visit www.Jewishmajorleaguers.org.
Preceding provided by Jewish Major Leaguers Inc.
SAN DIEGO (Press Release)–Following is a compilation of ongoing activities offered at Jewish Family Service’s College Avenue Older Adult Center, operated within Beth Jacob Congregation at 4855 College Avenue. For additional information, refer to www.jfssd.org or call (619) 583-3300. Many classes are offered through the San Diego Community College District and are free.
Mondays: Classes and Activities offered: Aerobics with Kara Anderson (8:30 – 10 am, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays); Feeling Fit with Kara Anderson (10 – 11:15 am, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays); Meditation with Jeff Zlotnik (11:15 am – 12 pm); Bridge – 12:45 pm; Movie Group (1 – 3 pm, new releases shown each Monday), no charge for members, $1 for non-members; Musical Comedy Group with Polly Columbo (1 pm – 3 pm).
Tuesdays: Classes and Activities offered: Walking Group (9 – 10 am); Tai Chi with Leslie Johnson-Leech (9 – 10:30 am); Book Club (1st Tuesday of the month at 9:30 am); Arthritis Exercise (10:30 – 11:45 am); Film Class with Judith Levine 1 pm; Ballroom Dancing (2 – 4 pm); Pinochle – 10 am; Trivia Tuesday (2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month at 12:15 pm).
Wednesdays: Classes and Activities offered: Drawing class with Marsha Austin Rogers (8:30 am); Aerobics with Kara Anderson (8:30 – 10 am, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays); Feeling Fit with Kara Anderson (10 – 11:15 am, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays); Painting with Marsha Austin Rogers (12:30 – 3 pm); Writing class with Marsha Kay Seff (1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month at 12:45 pm); Bingo (12:45 pm); Music Experience with Danny Camacho (1 – 2:30 pm), $1 for members, $3 for non-members; Line Dancing with Luis Samaya (2:30 – 3:30 pm), $3 member per class, $5 non-member per class.
Thursday: Classes and Activities offered: Painting with Marsha Austin Rogers (9 am – 12 pm); Mah Jongg (10 am); Laughter Yoga with Michael Coleman (10:30 am); Blood Pressure Check (2nd and 4th Thursdays at 10 am); Arthritis Group exercise class (10 am); Special Weekly Lectures (12:45 pm, Please call for topic information); Meditation with Jeff Zlotnik (11:15 am – 12 pm).
Fridays: Classes and Activities offered: Aerobics with Kara Anderson (8:30 – 10 am, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays); Feeling Fit with Kara Anderson (10 – 11:15 am, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays); Yoga with Shashi Pottathil (10:45 am), $5 for members, $7 for non-members; Nutrition Nuts with Melissa Alwood – weekly nutrition series for Older Adults (11:15 am); Special Musical Programs (12:30 pm, Please call for music program information).
Ongoing: Private Computer Lessons: (Mon -Fri.) by appointment only. Please call to schedule.
Blood Pressure Checks: 10:00 am, 4th Thursday of every month
Poker Group: 10 am, every Monday, Wednesday & Friday
Craft Class: 9:30 am, 2nd and 4th Friday of every month
Book Discussion Group: 9:30 am, 3rd Tuesday of every month
Trivia Tuesdays: 12:15 pm, every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month
Special Events, Lectures and Presentations:
Nuts About Nutrition, Friday, January 8, 15, 22 & 29 @ 11:15 am, Melissa Alwood directs a new weekly health series on nutrition for Older Adults, Nuts About Nutrition. In our new interactive program we will be learning about food groups, food’s role in the body, shopping tips, cooking tips, and the latest information and research on how proper food intake can enhance your quality of life. Come to our first fun workshop to learn about the basics of food and nutrient needs for older adults. Each week a new topic will be discussed such as how to understand food labels, health holiday eating, and nutritional supplements.
Meeting with Marti, Thursday, January 7, 2010 @ 12 noon–San Diego Councilmember Marti Emerald, will be joining us for lunch and an informal chat about local happenings.
Book Discussion Group—Tuesday, January 19 at 9:30 A.M– National Council of Jewish Women conducts a monthly Book Discussion Group. Marilyn Sodomsky will be our hostess. Edith Standler will be discussion leader for the morning. The book featured this month is Now You See Me by Rochelle Kirsch. To participate, just borrow a copy from your local library branch, read it and then join in the lively discussion.
Connie Pinkus and Marilyn Sodomsky are co facilitators of the group. For information please call Connie at (619) 435-6334 or Marilyn at (858) 539-1685. Or you may e-mail your questions to email@example.com or to firstname.lastname@example.org
Blood Pressure Checks, Thursday, January 28, 2009 from 10 – 10:30 am;Free blood pressure screenings are available.
Explore the World With Exploritas, Thursday, January 21 @ 12:45: Learn about the Exploritas, providing Educational Travel since 1975. Discover nearly 8,000 educational tours in all 50 states and more than 90 countries with Exploritas, the not-for-profit leader in educational travel since 1975. Alongside local and renowned experts, experience in-depth and behind-the-scenes learning opportunities, from cultural tours and study cruises to walking, biking and more.
Book Review with Professor Emeritus David Strom, Thursday, January 28, @ 12:45. David Strom will review and lead a discussion on one of Bryan Mark Rigg’s books which cover the subject of Jewish soldier in the Nazi army. Mr Strom is a Professor Emeritus of education from San Diego State is a regular book reviewer for San Diego Jewish World.
The College Avenue Center also offers hot Kosher lunches served Monday – Friday @ 12 Noon. Soup & Salad Bar offered Mondays – Wednesdays from 11:30am-12:30pm. Suggested Donation: $3.50 for Seniors, $6 for all others.
Preceding provided by Jewish Family Service’s College Avenue Older Adult Center. Upcoming event press releases are also placed in the corresponding date of the San Diego Jewish Community calendar
SAN DIEGO (Press Release)–Rabbi Chalom Boudjnah says Chabad will be giving away menorahs and treating passersby to latkes and sufganiyot during a pre-Chanukah party at San Diego State University from noon to 3 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 10. “It will be the whole nine yards,” said the rabbi.
Preceding based on material provided by Chabad at San Diego State University. Upcoming event press releases are also placed in the corresponding date of the San Diego Jewish Community calendar
SAN DIEGO—Noah Hadas, Director of Community Adult Education at the Agency for Jewish Education in San Diego County, will speak at the December Forum of Congregation Beth Israel’s Men’s Club.
Noah holds an M.A. in Judaic Studies from the University of Denver and attended Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. Noah also directs ULPAN San Diego and produces the MAKOR Adult Education and Cultural Events Catalog of San Diego County.
All are invited. 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 16, in the Feuerstein Family Activity Center. Cost: $12; includes deli dinner.
Preceding provided by Congregation Beth Israel’s Men’s Club. Upcoming event press releases are also placed in the corresponding date of the San Diego Jewish Community calendar
NEW YORK (Press Release)—Efforts to haul foreign officials before American courts in civil actions should be rejected, the AJCongress Friday told the Supreme Court in Samantar v. Yousef, a case in which Somalian citizens seek to sue in Virginia for alleged violations of international law which took place in Somalia.
The agency said enforcement of international legal norms should be left to criminal prosecutions and other diplomatic avenues of recourse. In its brief, the Jewish agency warned that any other holding would open the U.S. courts to extensive litigation over recent fighting in the Middle East, and would expose American servicemen to being sued in foreign courts anywhere in the world over actions taken in Afghanistan.
The brief noted that a wide variety of international law decisions—such as those of the International Court of Justice, European Court of Human Rights and the British House of Lords, as well as the courts of Germany, Greece, Northern Ireland and Canada, as well as the U.N. adopted Convention on the Jurisdictional Immunities of States—all recognize that sovereign immunity, based on the principle that an equal cannot judge an equal, is a bar to the maintenance of human rights lawsuits in foreign court against states officials who carry out state policies, no matter what the nature of the claim.
AJCongress’ brief noted that it was not urging impunity for violators of international law. Most important, it observed, immunity does not apply to criminal prosecutions in a appropriate tribunal.
Congress could, if it wished, override immunity, and it may have done so in the case of torture and certain extra-judicial killings which are alleged in this case. A range of other measures would still exist to deal with violations of international human rights law.
The brief observed, “There is, to be sure, a price to pay for barring private litigation to redress gross violations of international law such as those alleged here. But it pales into insignificance compared to the costs of allowing such litigation.”
The brief was prepared by AJCongress’ General Counsel, Marc D. Stern.
Preceding provided by AJCongress