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Rabbi Will Kramer: Poetic San Diego

January 20, 2010 Leave a comment

 

POETIC SAN DIEGO

By Dr. Will Kramer, z”l

(From his column ‘My Shtetele California,” November 12, 1971 in the Jewish Heritage newspapers)

The San Francisco correspondent of The Jewish Voice of St. Louis wrote this San Diego item in his paper’s March 31, 1893 edition:

The other day a gentleman, who has made a fortune in San Diego, came to see me. “How is everything in San Diego?” I asked.

“Well,” said he, “The Rabbi is gone, the school is empty and the people offer silent prayers at home.”

“Silent prayers at home!” I cried. “What are those?” 
Seating himself at my desk, he wrote the following, which he entitled:

THE JEW’S PRAYER AT SAN DIEGO

Father in heaven, to Thee we pray.
Give us a good dinner every day.
Goose and turkey, sauce and cake,
That is all we crave to take.
As to drink, champagne and wine,
Remember us, our God divine.
Bless our children, with all your grace,
With ribbons, fringes and Brussel lace.
Our wives and daughters thou dost behold,
Give them diamonds and all the gold.
Give peace and plenty all over the land,
Give each a carriage with four in hand.
Oh, Thou, who causest the flowers to bloom,
Give us, Oh give us another boom,
We pray to Thee from early till late,
Give us a raise in real estate.
Many blessings, wealth galore,
That’s all we ask nothing more.
Amen.

**

The following May 12, 1893,The Jewish Voice heard from San Diego

San Diego, Cal.

April 11—The Union of this morning contained the following (reaction to the poem):

The poetical effusion, four verses in length, was highly amusing, and depicted the condition of a flock, greatly demoralized because of the absence of the shepherd.

Dr. Danziger’s informant, pleasantly exaggerated the case, to express as well as possible the high regard in which the Rabbi was held and the feelings which his departure occasioned.

While not actually giving up to the sordid longings so fluently expressed in the poem, the Jewish people of San Diego greatly miss their Rabbi and, with the Gentiles, will be pleased to welcome him back, should he ever decide to return to San Diego.

—The Informant

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Preceding reprinted from the Winter/Spring 2010 issue of Western States Jewish History, which is devoted to the columns of the late Rabbi Will Kramer

Adventures in San Diego Jewish History, March 19, 1954, Part I

January 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Compiled by Gail Umeham

Mrs. Roosevelt To Speak Here April 3
Southwestern Jewish Press March 19, 1954 Page 1

Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt will speak at Russ Auditorium Saturday, April 3, at 2 p.m. for the San Diego Chapter of American Association for United Nations aid in the nation-wide membership drive.  Her topic will be “Outlook for the United Nations” after which she will answer written questions from the audience.

All proceeds go to sustain the non-profit educational services of the local chapter.

The American Association for the United Nations is a non-partisan association of citizens throughout the United States.  It seeks to keep the public informed on the ever-widening work of the United Nations.  This association is one of the 42 members of the WFUNA (World Federation of United Nations Associations) founded in 1946.

General admission is one dollar plus taxes, no seats reserved.  Tickets will be on sale March 20 at the Palmer Box Office, 640 Broadway and at the door of the Auditorium on April 3.  Doors will be open at 1:30 p.m.  The program is scheduled to close at 3:30 p.m.  Further details may be acquired through AAUN headquarters, BE-3-3970.

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Give More in ’54—Plea of United Jewish Fund Leaders As Drive Open Monday March 29th
Southwestern Jewish Press March 19, 1954 Page 1

A call for men volunteer workers on behalf of the United Jewish Fund to meet on Sunday, March 28 at 10 a.m. at Bohemian Rye Bakery, 13th and Market Sts., was sounded this week by general chairman Sol Price and his co-chairman, Seymour Rabin.

Over sixty campaign leaders and workers will gather in the famous Market St. eatery on that Sunday morning at 10 o’clock to receive their assignments, drink coffee and eat coffee cake together, and discuss the work of the United Jewish Fund.

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Christian Committee Headed by O. W. Todd Jr. To Aid In Drive
Southwestern Jewish Press March 19, 1954 Page 1

Sol Price and Seymour Rabin, chairman and co-chairman of the 1954 Combined Jewish Appeal campaign, announced yesterday that O. W. Todd, Jr. had accepted the leadership of the Christian Division and was to be assisted by Bishop Charles F. Buddy of the Catholic Diocese of San Diego; Reverend Walter H. Stark, Minister of the First Congregational Church; and C. W. Carlstrom, president of the Greater San Diego Development Company.

Mr. Todd announced that every one of the thirty-three San Diego civic, business and professional leaders invited to serve had accepted appointment to the Christian committee of the campaign.

They and their guests will meet at a luncheon meeting on Wednesday, March 31, to hear the story of the agencies served by the United Jewish Fund from Dr. Guy M. Davis, Professor of Religion at Chapman College.  Dr. Davis, a Methodist minister formerly in the pulpit at St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Los Angeles, has recently returned from a trip to Israel and the Arabic states.  He has traveled widely in Europe and in the Orient and Middle East and has been closely connected with the picture in that area.

The committee consists of E. Robert Anderson, San Diego Union-Tribune; Rear Adm. W. D. Baker, USN Ret., President of the San Diego Community Chest; Anderson Borthwick, president, First National Bank; Lester G. Bradley, Chairman of Board, Union-Tribune; John D. Butler, Mayor of San Diego; Harry Callaway, president, Thearle Music Company; Armistead Carter of the Investment Securities Corp.; Dr. Thomas Law Coyle, Minister, First Presbyterian Church; Ralph C. Dailard, Superintendent, San Diego City Schools; Jean F. DuPaul, City Attorney; Admiral George C. Dyer, Commandant, 11th Naval District; Verne Engle, President, San Diego Chamber of Commerce; James D. Forward, Sr., President, Union Title Insurance and Trust Co.; Frank A. Frye, Jr., Attorney; Ewart Goodwin, President, Percy H. Goodwin Co.; Sam W. Hamil, Architect; Jesse L. Haugh, President, San Diego Transit System; Graydon Hoffman, Vice-Pres., Bank of America; Don Keller, District Attorney; Harley Knox, president, Knox Dairy; Dr. Malcolm A. Love, President, San Diego State College;  Nicholas Martin, Attorney; Col. Emmett McCabe, Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corps.; Edmund T.Price, President, Solar Aircraft; Earl D. Prudden, Vice-President Ryan Aeronautical Co.; John W. Quimby, Secretary, Central Labor Council; Fred Rohr, President, Rohr Aircraft Corporation; Rear Adm. John W. Rope, USN, Ref.; George A. Scott, President, Walker-Scott Company; William Shea, Assoc. Publisher, Union-Tribune; A. J. Sutherland, President, Security Trust and Savings Bank; and M. N. Wilson, President, United States National Bank.

Chairman Todd first came to La Mesa, California in 1908 and has lived consistently in San Diego since 1920.  He is one of San Diego’s outstanding citizens and community leaders and a former great athlete.  He has been the president of the San Diego Kiwanis Club, the San Diego Executive Association, the Convention Bureau, California Department of Veterans Affairs, and the AAU.  During the Korean War, he was chairman for San Diego County of the Blood Procurement Program.

Mr. Todd has been active in both the junior and the senior Chamber of commerce having served as vice-president of each organization.  Active in the Breitbard Athletic Foundation, he was vice-chairman of the Community Chest drive in both 1950 and 1951 and in 1951 was selected as the outstanding boos of the year by the San Diego Jr. Chamber of Commerce.

In accepting the chairmanship of the Christian Division, Mr. Todd said that he was well acquainted with the work of the United Jewish Fund and that he knew of the great causes which it served.  “The continued activity of the Christian Committee in this great Jewish philanthropic cause shows the fine relationship that exists in our community in all good common causes and I am happy and privileged to have been asked to serve other human beings in this capacity,” he said.

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Fund Campaign Leaders To Rally Entire Community
Southwestern Jewish Press March 19, 1954 Page 1

A son is following in his father’s footsteps, according to Louis Moorsteen, president of the United Jewish Fund, as he announced the appointment of Seymour Rabin as co-chairman of the 1954 campaign, to assist Chairman Sol Price.

At the same time, Price announced the revival of the Young People’s Division in the appointment of Alan Mishne, president of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity at San Diego State College and Ronnie Greenberg, recently elected president of Blue Key, honorary society at the college, as chairmen of this division.

Mr. Rabin, young grocery executive, is the son of Max Rabinowitz, business and Jewish communal leader for many years, who has long been associated with Jewish philanthropy in San Diego.

Following the tradition set down by his family, he is a member of the board of the United Jewish Fund, treasurer of the Jewish Community Center, active in Temple Beth Israel and is also a member of the board of the Retail Grocers Association of San Diego.

According to Price and Rabin, campaign plans are moving along in excellent fashion and the preliminary appointment of teams of workers has been made including all forty members of the board of the Fund and Dr. Harold Elden of La Mesa, Harry Farb, Ralph Feldman, president of Lasker Lodge B’nai B’rith; Louis Jacobs, Edward Kitaen, Morrie Kraus., president of Beth Jacob Synagogue; Maury Novak, Henry Price, Max Rabinowitz, David Sapp, Irving Friedman, Sam Slaughter and Jack Spatz.

Price reported that over 150 men had volunteered for work on this year’s drive and have indicated a desire to be of service.   “All of us,” he said, “are going to serve in the capacity of workers because every Jewish man in San Diego must be seen and given the opportunity of becoming a giver in this cause.”

“We are asking,” he continued, “those who will be solicited to remember that the worker calling on them is a voluntary, unpaid person giving of his time as well as his money for this cause.  We expect the worker to be given every courtesy and consideration and to be given a ‘one-stop pledge’ so that he does not have to come back several times for a contribution.”

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Women’s Division of Fund Campaign to Hold First Meeting Tues., Mar. 23
Southwestern Jewish Press March 19, 1954 Page 2

Organization of the 1954 campaign is now well under way following the selection of Mrs. Victor Schulman as Women’s Division Chairman of this year’s Combined Jewish Appeal.

Mrs. Schulman will be assisted by Co-Chairmen Mmes. Leo Beck, Harry Wax, A. J. Bard, and Harry Felson.  Mrs. William Carter will be in charge of Young Matrons Section of Women’s Division and Mrs. Morton Thaler is Programming Chairman.

Invitations have been issued by the Chairman to women in the Jewish community to attend the Advanced Special Gifts Luncheon on Tuesday, March 23, in the Franciscan Room of El Cortez Hotel at which time Professor Guy Davis of Chapman College in Los Angeles will be presented as guest speaker.

Sponsoring this luncheon, which is limited to women who pledge a minimum of $250.00 to the Fund, are the following women:  Mmes. Clark Moore, Edgar Levi, George Neumann, Louis Steinman,Louis Moorsteen, Harry Snyder, Nathan Baranov, Henry Weinberger, Max Rabinowitz,  and Joseph Schwam.  In 1953 at the $250.00 minimum luncheon, over $19,000.00 was raised.

On April 5th in the Don Room of El Cortez, another luncheon will be held with pledges ranging from $250.00 to $25.00 minimum. 

“To sustain the people of Israel, to help them achieve their democratic aims by winning economic independence; and at the same time, to assist national Jewish agencies and similar agencies in San Diego, we must give generously of our goods and ourselves to the United Jewish Fund which is the major philanthropy of the Jewish community of San Diego,” stated Mrs. Schulman at a recent workers’ meeting.

**

“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 regular feature until we run out of history.

San Diego Jewish Academy sets Feb. 2 open house

January 20, 2010 Leave a comment

SAN DIEGO (Press Release) – San Diego Jewish Academy (SDJA) will be hosting its Annual K-12 Open House on Tuesday, February 2nd, for both prospective parents and current SDJA families.  The event will provide an opportunity for parents and students to learn about the school, view classrooms and speak with faculty, staff and administrators.

“People are always curious about our campus and how we teach our students,” said Larry Acheatel, Executive Director at SDJA.  “The open house is a great opportunity for people to find out why our school is so special and meet our outstanding faculty.  We offer our students an excellent education. Our seniors have been accepted to many of America’s top universities, such as Yale, Princeton and Stanford, but our school provides much more than that.  Our students also leave with a profound sense of community and strong Jewish values.”

Families interested in learning more about an SDJA education are invited to attend the Prospective Family Reception at 5:30 p.m., where there will be snacks, campus tours and a complimentary kosher dinner.  New families attending are eligible to receive a voucher that extends the school’s Early Enrollment Tuition Discount of $1,000 to February 28th, 2010.

Both prospective parents and current families will have the opportunity to walk through SDJA’s many classrooms, ask questions, and view a variety of special projects that SDJA’s students have been working on.

Reservations are recommended for SDJA’s Prospective Family Reception. Please contact Renee Sherman, Director of Admissions, at 858-704-3716 or rsherman@sdja.com with names and the number of guests.

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Preceding provided by San Diego Jewish Academy

Helen and Sol Price Charitable Fund established at Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego

January 20, 2010 Leave a comment

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)–To honor the memory of Sol Price, founder of Price Club which was later merged into Costco, the Helen and Sol Price Charitable Fund was established at the Jewish Community Foundation.

“Helen and Sol’s legacy will live on through the thousands of lives they improved,” said Marjory Kaplan, president and chief executive officer and holder of the Miriam and Jerome Katzin Presidential Chair at the Foundation. “The Foundation is very honored to hold this fund as a perpetual reminder of their generosity and kindness.”

Perhaps no area of town was more fundamentally affected by Helen and Sol than City Heights where Sol lived in the 1930s. In 1994, through the Price family’s efforts, the future of that neighborhood was changed and a new approach to giving was pioneered. At the time City Heights had the highest crime rate in San Diego County, gang activity and drug dealing were rampant, housing was substandard and public services were lacking. Helen and Sol formed an alliance with the City of San Diego and then City Manager Jack McGrory to transform City Heights. The City Heights Initiative was conceived as a holistic approach to the revitalization of an inner city community.

Many may not be aware that the same model was applied by Price Charities to the economically disadvantaged and mixed Arab/Jewish community of Jaffa, Israel with similar transformative results.

 “Sol was an innovative business man with a heart of gold,” said Murray Galinson, chair of the Foundation and board member of Price Charities. “He will truly be missed.”

To contribute to the Fund, please call the Foundation at 858-279-2740.

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Preceding provided by Jewish Community Foundation

OECD highlights poverty among Arabs and Haredi

January 20, 2010 1 comment

By Rabbi Dow Marmur

JERUSALEM (Press Release)–You only have to read The Marker, the business section of the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, to be aware of the economic dynamism in the country. Whether it’s the ads for expensive cars or the availability and prices of luxury homes, the reader is soon persuaded that there’s scope for the good life here and that there’re people to enjoy it. Indeed, in many ways, one of the miracles of Israel is its economy. But this doesn’t allow us to be blind to the plight of the part of the population that cannot afford a Lexus or a Cadillac and will never live in a villa in Herzliya.

If any eyes needed to be opened to this reality, the Secretary General of the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) did it. In response to Israel’s request to be admitted to this body that both reflects and promotes economic growth in 30 countries and supports others, he told us that in the likelihood of Israel being admitted later this year, it’ll be the poorest member of the club.

The reason is that the majority of two large sectors of Israel’s population continue to live far below the OECD (and the Israeli, for that matter) poverty line: the ultra-Orthodox and the Arabs. The former have many children while potential breadwinners engage in their kind of Torah study and expect to be financed by others, including the state. The latter also have more children than others and are deprived of the educational and social infrastructure to be able to play their full part in the country’s economy. They may be better off than their kinsfolk in Arab countries, but lag behind most Israelis.

Judging by the statements of members of the government of Israel, the jolt from the OECD will force it to do something about it. In the case of the ultra-Orthodox, much more pressure may be applied and many more opportunities offered for haredi men to seek gainful employment and get training for it outside their present scope of study. In the case of the Arabs, the government must stop neglecting them and, at the same time, tame its bureaucracy to be more cooperative in dealing with them.

In both cases it’s a matter of will. In the haredi case, the will to accept that they won’t be able to eat unless they work; in the Arab case, it’s the government’s will to treat its more than a million Arab citizens as equals in every sense. Neither is going to be easy without outside intervention. That’s why the OECD report is so important, not only because it’ll allow little Israel to play in the world’s top economic league, but also because it’ll force it to deal favorably with its poor. Thank you OECD!

Israel’s economic success vindicates those who’ve been saying for some time that the role of the Jewish Diaspora must change from philanthropy to partnership. By all means, let Jews abroad continue to support charities in Israel but the joint campaigns that keep a large bureaucracy known as the Jewish Agency is out of date and out of place. Israel and the Diaspora will always need each other, but in matters of Israel’s security and standing in the world and to help secure the allegiance and future of Jews everywhere.

I surmise that Jews in the Diaspora who may read will reject it. That’s what has happened to those who have been saying it for years. For it demands a much greater engagement on the part of Jews everywhere in what’s going on in Israel politically, culturally and economically; it’s much easier to give money and wait for naches and yichus. The OECD reminds us of what we should have known for some time.

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Rabbi Marmur is spiritual leader emeritus of Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto.  He now divides his time between Canada and Israel

RJC lauds Scott Brown Senate victory in Massachusetts

January 20, 2010 1 comment

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release) — The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) congratulates Scott Brown on his victory in the special election to the U.S. Senate seat for Massachusetts. His win sends the clear message that the electorate has serious concerns about the Obama administration’s health care proposals, its out of control spending, and the rising debt and deficits which are the fruits of its misguided agenda.
 
On the heels of the Republican gubernatorial victories in New Jersey and Virginia, this special election is another indication of the voters’ dissatisfaction with the policies of the Obama-Reid-Pelosi Democrats, and their desire for a change in direction. Brown’s win also marks a positive indicator for Republicans running in House and Senate races in November 2010.
 
There are other positive indicators as well. We’ve seen a steady stream of Democrat retirements, including some veteran lawmakers; the GOP will be very competitive in a number of open seat races. Polls show that public approval of President Obama, Democrats in Congress, their health care plan, and their economic policies are at new lows. GOP recruiting is up and Republican leaders such as House Whip Eric Cantor think Republicans could take a substantial number of House seats.
 
Seeing up close the agenda laid out by President Obama and Democrats in Congress and its implications for our health care, our economy, and our national security, has changed the “hope and change” mantra of 2009 to one of “hoping for a change of course” in 2010.
 
We look forward to working with Senator-elect Brown in Washington in the months ahead.
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Preceding provided by Republican Jewish Coalition

A Teenager’s Life-Changing Trip to Israel

January 20, 2010 Leave a comment

By Marissa Palin

SAN DIEGO — Life-changing events are all around us. The good ones help us discover who we are. They teach us how to cry, how to laugh, how to live. They teach us to learn, to look within, to grow. For some of us, good ones happen all the time. For others, they’re harder to come by. But for the lucky ones, they fall right in to your lap.

That was the case with Leila Chitayat. Little did she know that her life-changing event was soon coming when Eyal Dagan, the Israeli CommunityShaliach at the time, approached her at a fundraiser for her mother’s organization, Adopt A Family. (Adopt A Family provides support and friendship to Israel families who are victims of terror. Her mother, Carine Chitayat, along with Iris Pearlman, had arranged for a Sha’ar Hanegev man whom the organization supported to come to the United States to share his experiences.) At the event, Eyal convinced Leila to go to Israel on the UJF Community Teen Trip.

Leila had been to Israel before with her family, but she was too young to really learn from the experience. At the age of 16, she wanted to experience Israel with other teens, to experience it now that she was older and more mature. While she had had opportunities to go on trips with her friends through their schools or camps, none of them really jumped out at her. But then the UJF trip came along. As she put it, “It was a trip was for all the leftovers”—for all the teens who, like her, weren’t affiliated with any particular Jewish youth organization. And it was affordable, flexible and convenient.  

Leila spent the 18 days from June 22-July 8, 2009 with the 22 other Jewish teens from San Diego High Schools traveling to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Negev, Eilat, the Kinneret, and Haifa. They slept in a Bedouin tent, they climbed Masada at sunrise, they decorated a bomb shelter in Sha’ar Hanegev, they spent Shabbat on a kibbutz. Her favorite? Jerusalem. Despite the sweltering summer heat.  “We saw the Old City, but we got to see the rest of Jerusalem too. We got to see the Western Wall at night. It was so amazing, so much more beautiful than during the day.”

But her most meaningful stop was in Sha’ar Hanegev. There they stayed on a kibbutz, and got to interact with some of the local families from San Diego’s sister community. The group met with the same man who had traveled to the United States a few months earlier to speak at her mother’s fundraiser. He shared his family’s story, and how they had been victims of terror. Leila reflected on the experience, saying “People were always so happy there, always smiling and positive. It kind of made me realize that there are a lot worse problems out there and people deal with them better than we do.”

Was it life-changing? “Definitely. I don’t know if it changed my way of life, but it made me much more aware and open to different people. We had a lot of discussions about really important things, about Judaism and Israel. We discussed what it meant to be Orthodox, and what it meant to be Conservative and Reform.” She met new friends too, friends she never thought she’d have met. “I gained more confidence from the trip. Going in to it I didn’t know very many people, so I got to be whoever I wanted to be.”

While the trip made her feel more connected to the San Diego Jewish community, it really made her feel more connected to Israel. She realizes the importance of getting involved with Israel, and supporting the Homeland. How does she plan on doing that? By supporting her mother’s Adopt A Family organization. “There are a lot of groups that work with the soldiers, but not very many who work with the families who experience the terror.” Her mother’s organization does. Through emails and phone calls, her mother and a few volunteers provide ongoing support to families who have experienced loss, hardship, and fear.  Leila hopes to get more involved with the organization, once her school work dies down a bit

San Diego teens will have the opportunity to share Leila’s experiences this summer on the 2010 UJF Community Teen Trip to Israel from July 1-18. The trip is open to Jewish 10th-12th graders of all backgrounds.  For more information, visit www.jewishinsandiego.org. Your life-changing event is just around the corner!

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Palin is a freelance writer based in San Diego