Editor, San Diego Jewish World
I was playing on the web and found the link to my articles in the San
Diego Jewish World.
Of course, I knew you were running them, which I very much appreciate,
but I just discovered they are sponsored by Waxie Sanitary Supply in
memory of Morrie Wax.
I was SO touched.
Morrie Wax was an outstanding human being and a wonderful friend.
He was a hero to American servicemen and women for his work with the
USO, including support for the USO in Haifa – much appreciated by the
sailors and Marines of the US Sixth Fleet.
Nothing could make me happier than to know that articles I write are
linked to his memory.
I would make one small change, if I could – my title has been changed to
Senior Director for Security Policy.
Thank you again for using my material, and thank you for making my
afternoon with some very nice reminiscences of Morrie Wax.
Happy Chanukah and Shabbat Shalom,
Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
We will change the title in future columns. Mazal tov on your promotion, Happy Chanukah and Shabbat Shalom to you.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)–The following Chanukah greetings were issued on Friday by President Barack Obama:
Michelle and I send our warmest wishes to all who are celebrating Hanukkah around the world. The Hanukkah story of the Maccabees and the miracles they witnessed reminds us that faith and perseverance are powerful forces that can sustain us in difficult times and help us overcome even the greatest odds.
Preceding provided by the White House
Hanukkah is not only a time to celebrate the faith and customs of the Jewish people, but for people of all faiths to celebrate the common aspirations we share. As families, friends and neighbors gather together to kindle the lights, may Hanukkah’s lessons inspire us all to give thanks for the blessings we enjoy, to find light in times of darkness, and to work together for a brighter, more hopeful tomorrow.
Ranger who believes he is great grandson of Bat Masterson mourns passing of actor Gene Barry, who portrayed him on television
One of Barry’s most famous television roles was as the dapper, gold-cane carrying, western lawman and gambler Bartholomew “Bat” Masterson, whom Walker believes was his great-grandfather.
Walker said it was Barry’s television performances as Masterson between 1958 and 1961 that led to disclosure by his mother of a family secret: Walker’s great-grandmother Elizabath Baker had become pregnant by Masterson while she worked as a maid at the Horton Hotel in the area known to San Diegans today as the Gaslamp Quarter.
Although Masterson is not recorded as having any children, “it’s not the kind of thing my mother would make up,” Walker said in an interview at Mission Trails Regional Park a wilderness area that remains today quite similar to the way it looked when traversed by Kumeyaay Indians who migrated between villages in the mountains to the east and the coastline to the west.
After hearing that Masterson was a direct ancestor, Walker began learning as much as he could about the legendary lawman, leading to a lifelong hobby of portraying Masterson in historical presentations, particularly in Tombstone, Arizona, where Masterson was a contemporary and friend of Wyatt Earp.
Walker also gives free lectures to schools and to civic groups about Masterson’s life as a lawman, gambler, author and newspaper columnist. He explains that Masterson came to San Diego to visit Earp, who ran Gaslamp Quarter gambling houses and who could be frequently found in the late 1800s at the Oyster Bar.
Walker said that while he was a youngster, he wrote to Gene Barry about the research he was doing about Masterson, and the actor responded with a note encouraging him to keep learning more.
Walker remembers the television portrayals by Barry quite vividly, and credits the television series for showing that not all arguments in the Old West were settled with six shooters.
Masterson started using his famous cane after being shot in the pelvic region, Walker said. The lawman did his best to use his charm and sense of humor to defuse potentially explosive situations, although he could still fire a gun if he had to, Walker said.
Asked whether Masterson used to “bat” people with his cane—as he was occasionally portrayed doing on television—Walker said this was possible, but that one should remember that the television series was probably no more than 20 percent history, compared to 80 percent “Hollywood.”
Masterson is buried in New York State, and Walker said he would like very much if some way could be found to do a DNA test on the Old West lawman’s remains to prove once and for all their kinship.
Actor Barry, who was born to a Jewish family in 1919 as Eugene Klass, was married a half century to Betty Claire Kalb before she died in 2003.
Other series in which Barry starred were “Burke’s Law” and “The Name of the Game.”
Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World
SAN DIEGO–The following recipe is reprinted with permission from A Taste of Hebrew Day, Volume I (re-titled from Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School Kosher Cookbook). The cookbook with more than 250 all-kosher recipes from around the globe may be obtained from the school for $18 (plus $5 shipping). For more information, contact Sandi Masori at email@example.com
Yummy Vegetarian Latkes
Submitted by Rachel Nissim
10 green onions
½ bunch of Italian parsley
A few celery leaves
3 tbsp matza meal
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp oil
1. Mince all the ingredients together in a food processor and fry in oil till golden brown
Preceding provided by Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School
By Sheila Orysiek
SAN DIEGO–One of the things that caught my attention when I joined a synagogue community was the importance of guarding one’s tongue when speaking of others. The rabbi said “Gossip is like murder.” I think that is true – and it is an insidious failing of our human aspect which needs constant guarding – especially when emotion runs high.
This is also true of “bearing false witness” the importance of which is enshrined in the Nine Commandment. Since Judaism is practiced as a community rather than as a singular aesthetic experience, the protocols and structure of how society interacts has always been important to the Jewish community and is part of the gift which the Hebrew Bible has given to the world at large.
The connection to Hebrew law is manifest in many inscriptions, statues, statutes, and codes taken almost directly from the Torah. In a country such as the United States, which is a representative republic, with a legislature representing widely divergent opinions, how the representatives communicate and interact within the political context is very important.
On December 7, 2009, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat-Nevada) took to the Senate floor during the debate on the Health Care Bill and made the following statement:
“This is indeed historic and I’m not afraid to say it is, but instead of joining us on the right side of history, all Republicans can come up with is, ‘Slow down, stop everything, start over.”
He continued: “If you think you’ve heard these excuses before, you’re right. When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, “Slow down, it’s too early, things aren’t bad enough.”
Reid then went on to add to his condemnation of Republicans the fight for the 19th Amendment (Women’s Suffrage) and the battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He finished by saying: “History is repeating itself before our eyes….if not now when?”
One expects in the normal course of a political debate a certain amount of hyperbole – but that does not excuse outright distortion – and downright lying – about history.
The Republican Party was formed in 1856 specifically as an anti-slavery party because neither the Whig nor the Democrat Party was working toward abolition. Abraham Lincoln was the new Republican Party’s second presidential nominee; winning the White House in 1860 – only four years after the formation of the party. Lincoln, of course, signed the Emancipation Proclamation during his term of office and had stated his intention of leading the country back toward healing from the wounds of a devastating civil war.
What about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which Senator Reid also referenced?
The Republicans were in the minority in the House of Representatives and Senate during the Johnson administration. Of the 420 members who voted, 290 supported the Civil Rights Act and 130 opposed it. Republicans favored the bill 138 to 34 (79 percent); Democrats supported it 152 to 96 (63 percent). Republicans supported it in higher proportions than Democrats. Without Republicans the bill would have failed in the House.
How about the Senate? Since the Democrats were in the majority in the Senate, it was natural that Senator Hubert Humphrey, Democrat, would lead the fight. But it soon became clear it was conservative Republican Senator Everett Dirksen who was the key to victory for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Without him and the Republican vote, the Act would have died. Dirksen was a tireless supporter in his efforts to craft and pass the Civil Rights Act. He began the tactical arrangements for passage of the bill and organized Republican support by choosing floor captains for each of the bill’s seven sections.
A filibuster opposing the Civil Rights Act had been organized and led by three senators: Robert Byrd, Democrat; Albert Gore, Sr., Democrat; and Sam Ervin, Democrat. The filibuster, one of the longest in the Senate’s history, lasted eighty three days. When Byrd finally sat down after speaking in opposition to the Civil Rights Act for fourteen hours and thirteen minutes, he was followed by Senator Richard Russell, Democrat, the final speaker in opposition. The vote for cloture (to shut off debate) which required 67 votes (at that time – it is now 60) had arrived.
On June 10, 1964, the Senate gallery was packed as all 100 senators were present for the climactic moment – they were voting on cloture. Late in the morning Everett Dirksen, Republican, addressed the Senate. By this time Dirksen was very ill, drained from working fifteen and sixteen hour days, he quoted Victor Hugo, “Stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come. The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing of government, in education, and in employment. It must not be stayed or denied.”
After Dirksen spoke the roll call vote was called for cloture. As each name was read, members of the press and spectators in the gallery kept tally. At 11:15 a.m., Senator John Williams, Republican of Delaware, replied “aye” to cloture. It was the sixty-seventh vote; cloture had passed, ending the filibuster. It opened the way for the Civil Rights Act to be passed. After successfully defeating the 83-three day filibuster, Dirksen, when asked why he had become a crusader in this cause, replied, “I am involved in mankind, and whatever the skin, we are all included in mankind.”
In the final vote the Senate passed the Civil Rights Act by 73 to 27. Six Republicans and 21 Democrats voted against passage. Democrats voted 46 to 21 in favor – that’s 69 percent. Republicans voted 27 to 6 in favor – that’s 82 percent. Republicans voted in a higher percentage than Democrats in favor of passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Yet, somehow history has been re-written – and accepted – that Republicans were against the Civil Rights Act.
What about Women’s Suffrage – the right of women to vote? In 1878, Republican Senator A. A. Sargent of California introduced the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in the Senate giving women the right to vote. However, it was rejected four times by a Congress which was controlled by Democrats. It wasn’t until Republicans controlled Congress in 1919 that the Amendment was finally passed – giving 50 percent of the population the right to vote.
States with Republican legislatures all ratified the 19th Amendment while eight of nine states under Democrat control rejected the Amendment. But, even before this twelve states – all under Republican control – had already given women the right to vote within those states.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat from Nevada, needs to be reminded of the Ninth Commandment: Thou shalt not bear false witness.
Or one might be more charitable and conclude that Senator Reid needs to brush up on his history before erroneously, flagrantly and egregiously besmirching others who happen to disagree with him while representing their constituencies.
Orysiek is a freelance writer based in San Diego. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Rabbi Baruch Lederman
SAN DIEGO–It was the first night of Chanukah and the Rabinowitz family sat down for dinner and a Chanukah treat – latkes. The Rabinowitz’s were a very prominent family in the city of Krakow. A particular custom of this family was that when they had a guest, to offer their guest first and only after he had his fill, would they all partake of that dish.
And what a guest they had – the renowned Rabbi Heschel and his Rebbetzin. Rabbi Heschel was one of the most famous talmudic scholars in all of Europe. It was indeed a huge honor to have this illustrious Rabbi and Rebbetzin as their guests.
The steaming plate of piping hot latkes was placed down before Rabbi Heschel. A latke was placed on his plate, which he sampled. The eyes of the entire family were set
anxiously upon him. He then asked for another one. The family was so thrilled that the Rabbi was pleased with the delicacy.
He then asked for a third and a fourth and so on. Now the happy family was beginning to wonder if there would be any left for them. Then, as now, people look forward with eager anticipation to that first Chanukah latke, and their hopes were dwindling. The Rebbetzin herself was getting nervous and embarrassed at her husband’s behavior.
Sure enough, he kept on devouring and asking for more till there was not one latke left for the family. Though no one dared say anything, the children and even the parents were quite disappointed. They would have to wait till the next day, when more potatoes, oil and other wonderful ingredients would be joined together in that oh-so-heavenly way, before any of them could have that first Chanukah latke which they craved.
They figured that the holy Rabbi must have had deep spiritual thoughts and mystical kavanos (intentions) in his consumption. Perhaps with each latke he was praising Hashem for the most amazing miracles of Chanukah. Surely there were saintly and sublime reasons for the Rabbi’s actions. Reasons, which were perhaps too esoteric and abstruse for them to comprehend. That must be the answer, they thought, to this puzzle.
Either way, no one could bring themselves to ask him, and he wasn’t offering any enlightenment or explanations.
It wasn’t till much later that the mystery was uncovered. When Rabbi Heschel tasted the first latke, it had a horrible taste. It tasted as though the maid had accidentally mixed some kerosene with the cooking oil. Rabbi Heschel feared that if the family tasted the vile latkes, or found out what happened, the maid would be chastised or even fired. The humiliation would be extreme.
This maid was a poor old widow. The Torah warns us not to vex the widow, and she certainly needed this job. He therefore suffered through this stomach-churning ordeal to protect her from any retribution. Rabbi Heschel said, “I would rather be thought to be a glutton, than to have this poor Jewish woman suffer.”
These were the sublime thoughts and holy kavanos of the pious Rabbi Heschel of Krakow.
1. This year, the first night of Chanukah is Friday December 11, 2009, at which time we will light one Chanukah light plus the shamash. The second night we light 2 lights plus a
shamash. The third night we light 3 lights plus a shamash, and so on and so forth.
2. The shamash is lit, the blessings are recited, then the chanukah lights are lit. On the first night, we recite all three of the following blessings, on the other nights we recite only the first two:
(a) Baruch ata ado-noi E-lokainu melech ha’olam, asher kidishanu bemitzvosav vitzivanu lehadlik ner shel Chanukah.
(b) Baruch ata ado-noi E-lokainu melech ha’olam, sheh’asah nisim la’avosainu bayamim ha’haim bazman hazeh.
(c) Baruch ata ado-noi E-lokainu melech ha’olam, shehechiyanu v’kiyimanu v’higiyanu lazman hazeh.
3. We light the Menorah as soon as possible after 5:13 PM, which is 30 minutes after sunset this year. (All times given are for San Diego, CA, USA)
4. The light must last for at least 30 minutes or at least till 5:43 PM whichever is later.
5. On Friday night of Chanukah (Dec 11 & Dec 18), we light the Menorah right before we light Shabbos candles (4:25 PM & 4:27PM). The Chanukah candles should last till at least 5:43 PM & 5:45PM.
6. On Saturday night (Dec 12) we light Chanukah candles after 5:25 PM, which is 42 minutes after sunset this year. Some light Chanuka candles before making havdala, some light havdala before Chanukah candles; but, neither may be done before 5:25 PM.
7. The candles in the menorah should be in a straight horizontal line. The shamash may not be in a straight line with the rest of the candles. We place the Menorah in the window and place the candles to our right. We light the newest candle first.
8. It is customary to eat foods made in oil (latkes, jelly doughnuts), since the miracle occurred with oil. It is customary though not obligatory to eat festive meals on Chanukah.
9. Guests in a hotel/motel should light in their room.
10. On all eight days of Chanukah, complete Hallel is recited. Al Hanisim is inserted in shmoneh esrei and bircas hamazon.
11. Everyone in the family lights their own Menorah, except a married woman whose husband lights for her. Sefardi tradition has just one menorah lit per family.
Dedicated by Tamara Ruth and Liam Piburn in honor of Shimon Yosef Piburn.
Rabbi Lederman is spiritual leader of Congregation Kehillas Torah in San Diego
By Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal
SAN DIEGO–This week I was honored to be a member of San Diego’s delegation to the “First Ever Jewish Legacy Forum” in Tucson, Arizona. San Diego’s Jewish Community Foundation has been a pioneer in helping local synagogues and agencies promote legacy giving and the establishment of endowment funds.
Tifereth Israel Synagogue was selected to participate in the Foundation’s first Endowment Leadership Institute (ELI), and I am proud that our congregation has fifty-two members and friends who have either made significant contributions to our endowment funds or promised to leave a gift to the synagogue in their will or trust. All of our legacy givers are members of Chevrat Bonim, Tifereth Israel’s Legacy Honor Society.
As of a member of San Diego’s delegation to the Legacy Forum in Tucson, it was my duty and pleasure to report on the success of our congregation in “Creating Jewish Legacies” and growing our endowment funds.
But that is beside the point…..!
What I really want to share with you is that one of the participants in the Tucson Legacy Forum was Harold Grinspoon. Harold Grinspoon is a philanthropist from Springfield, Massachusetts who has made many contributions to the Jewish community and Israel. You can read more about the mitzvot he performs here.
Mr. Grinspoon has a direct connection with San Diego because our community is a “PJ Community,” that is, we participate in the PJ Library program. According to its website, “The PJ Library® program supports families in their Jewish journey by sending Jewish-content books and music on a monthly basis to children from age six months to five, six, seven or eight years depending on the community.
Created by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, The PJ Library is funded nationally in partnership with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, local philanthropists, and Jewish organizations.” Our area’s local partner is the Viterbi Family Foundation of the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego.
Children who are signed up for the PJ Library program receive inspiring and uplifting Jewish books for a full year at no cost.
If you were at Simcha Shabbat services last Friday night, you would have been as delighted as I to be the partial recipient of Mr. Grinspoon and the Viterbi Family’s generosity. During services, Desiree Lange, this month’s special Shabbat Guest, read “Mrs. Greenberg’s Messy Chanukah,” a delightful tale of a little girl who “assists” a senior citizen in celebrating Chanukah. Everyone present, adults and kids alike, listened attentively to this wonderful story.
Membership in the PJ Library is free and open to all children who live within a PJ Library community. If your child or grandchild has not been signed up, you can do so by clicking here. If your child or grandchild already has completed their free membership year or does not live in a PJ Library community, you can still find many excellent suggestions of Jewish books you can give them for Chanukah and throughout the year by looking at the website.
As we light the first Chanukah candle tonight, I can think ofno better gift to bestow upon the children we love than the gift of the exciting and joyful Jewish memories they will receive from reading the creative and inventive Jewish children’s books being written today.
Rabbi Rosenthal is spiritual leader of Tifereth Israel Synagogue in San Diego