Archive for January 27, 2010

Preventing teen dating violence

January 27, 2010 1 comment
By Yvonne Greenberg
SAN DIEGO–With the subject of relationship violence so much in the news recently,  it is certainly timely that Dr. Marni Greenberg, Psy.D., an educator and clinician who is currently working with Project SARAH  (Stop Abusive Relationships at Home), the domestic violence program of Jewish Family Service of San Diego, will be making a presentation on “Preventing Teen Dating Violence”  this Sunday, January 31,  at 10:15 am-11:15 am during San Diego’s Community Day of Learning (Yom Limmud).
Yom Limmud, presented by the Agency for Jewish Education, will be held at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, Jacobs Family Campus, at 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla, from 8:15 am -3:15 pm.  It will include programs, activities, and movies for individuals ages five and up.
For more information on the Day of Learning, call 858-268-9200.  Online registration is available at
In a phone interview, Dr. Greenberg previewed her upcoming talk and answered other questions related to teen dating violence.
1.   How, when, and why did you first develop an interest in preventing teen dating violence?
I’ve actually been working with teens and families for several years that started before graduate school, working with at-risk youth, a thing that I continued to do through the years. And I actually just recently began working with Jewish Family Service again. I worked there as an intern in graduate school, and they received a grant for a domestic violence program to focus on this issue of teen dating violence and I was the lucky one to get to work on the educational aspects and also the clinical aspects, and I also actually work with children and teens who have been exposed to domestic violence in their homes.  So, although this wasn’t something that I saw myself specifically focusing on, that is what I have been given the opportunity to do at Jewish Family Service.
I think the reason why this grant was developed was because teen dating violence was just as prevalent in the Jewish community as the greater community and I think that is something our community might not realize, that this is something that affects out teens as well, and part of that is I think this is something we just don’t talk about, about healthy relationships and what that looks like, when some one at risk is so deeply into a relationship you don’t really see the warning signs. I’ve become so attracted to this topic and learning about the wall of teen dating violence, there are so many organizations working on this issue and so it has been really exciting to get to meet this community and get to spread this education.   
2.  What strategies do you recommend for preventing such violence? 
I will talk about some of the things that we will talk about at the Day of Learning.  A little bit of what we are going to talk about what teen relationship violence is because I’m not sure people really have a clear idea about what that looks like, and we are going to talk about the prevalence, because one in three young adults report knowing a friend or a peer who has received some sort of physical violence.  We also have a number that one in five high school girls report seeing abuse by a boyfriend, and I have all kinds of stats like this, and these kind of statistics are actually pretty shocking. 
3.  Do girls have a history of abusing boyfriends?
 Absolutely, actually some of the statistics have historically focused on the abuse of men against women, but certainly there is a greater rise in violence on the side of women, and it is not just romantic relationships, but also friendships and bullying, and I think that all falls under this topic, and there is also women against women. We are going to talk about some of the warning signs that parents, educators, and even teens should be concerned about.  And we are also going to talk about talking with your children and your students, and it is actually both very uncomfortable for both parents and for kids because it is just not something they are used to talking about.  So, we are going to try to break that barrier, talk about some different tools for how parents can talk to their kids, and also how to understand kind of what they are going through, developmentally and biologically, in order to kind of understand what their barriers might be and why this topic is difficult for them. I would also like to try to do a little bit of a practice dialogue, a little bit interactive, so it is not just me talking at people because I don’t like to do that. I will present a little bit of a video that talks a little bit about teen dating violence in the Jewish community, specifically. It has some girls talking about their experiences of what was expected in their family, about the partner they eventually found, about how pressures really contributed to their wanting to stay in the relationship even when it got dangerous.          
4.   Do you think such violence has increased both in frequency and severity during the past years?
I can’t really answer that question because I only started getting involved in teen dating violence about August 2009, so because I am not working directly in the youth centers and that kind of thing or collecting the numbers, I don’t know if it has increased.
5.  Is there an increased awareness?
I hope so, and I will be working to increase the awareness. I think be invited to speak is huge. It is not just about the kids knowing what to do and what to see, but also those supporting them, their parents and teachers, they need their help, they can’t do it on their own, and one of the big things that we talk to teens about is talk to someone you really trust, you have a relationship with, who can help you.  At this age a lot of kids don’t feel like they can talk to the adults around them and don’t feel they will understand, so it is just as much our responsibility to raise the awareness amongst the adults in their lives so they know that they can go to them and they will know how to talk to them about and they won’t minimize the struggles that they are reporting, they will be able to recognize the warning signs instead of someone just struggling and trying to figure out how to be a friend and what their identity is.      
6.  Do females engage in different kinds of violence than males?
That is a really good question.   Actually, there have been studies done on this.   The kind of violence that women typically engage in is kind of a more relational kind of violence, things like using jealousy in their relationships, using sabotage, and their social status to impact someone’s lives, so although they are not hitting them or punching them or screaming at them, it is more of trying to make other women feel like they are not as connected to those around them, which for women, especially teenage girls, is one of the most important things in their lives.   That is something that has been looked at, so I do think girls have a different way of hurting those around them.
7.  Do females engage in different kinds of violence than males?
  I am not sure if their physical or verbal looks different, it may. I definitely think it is received in the same way, violence is violence, and no matter how it is dished out, it is I think it is felt the same way.  But it is definitely focused more on that kind of relational aspect, especially with teen girls, sabotaging relationships and contributing to other girls’ isolation by feeling their own greater power. I think that  women experience their power more, perhaps.. 
8.    Is there any difference in violence of gays and lesbians and Jewish people
or Hispanics, blacks, lower class, poor students, or it doesn’t matter?
That is a good question.  Violence in adult relationships and teen relationships actually occurs across the board with similar numbers.  The only thing that we could say is there is no typical profile of someone who has violent relationships, however, when there are people who are more upper class and live in bigger houses, I think that is something we don’t see as frequently.  Someone who lives in a big house and has a big yard the neighbors aren’t going to hear the violence, they are not going to see it, and typically and when someone is the perpetrator of abuse they are really trying to use their power and control to maintain their relationships, so they really do all they can do to make sure that no one else can find out, which can be very isolating.  I think if you live in a more lower class neighborhood or smaller apartment or something like that I think it is easier for people to hear and to see.   And typically when someone is being abusive, especially physically, they try to do it in places where people won’t see.  So it is something that it won’t come out, they can still use their power and control.  So, in all different cultures and communities abuse happens at the same rate, so I think this is a crisis of our knowing how to interact with each other, and knowing what healthy relationships look like and what they don’t look like, and really educating ourselves on what that means, and what we do about it with our teens.       
9.  Is there a factor of control when the abuser uses it?
Absolutely.   When we talk about violent relationships we always talk about the aspects of power and control that abusive relationship isn’t just something where they just get really upset or they were drinking and it was just a one time thing.  That may happen sometimes, and certainly alcohol contributes, but there is always this aspect of power and control and we always talk about those topics because that is something that starts more subtly, and as the relationship grows it increases in frequency and severity. There are different ways that someone will assert their power and control over someone else. Those are the two main contexts that underlie and reinforce those relationships.
10.  Is the history of an absent parent, history of being a victim of parental or other abuse, is someone more likely to be in an abusive relationship later? 
If children are exposed to violence in their relationships as children then studies do show they are more likely to be involved in a violent relationship in the future either as a victim or as an abusive person.  If someone learns that someone uses violence or control to get what they want or to work out problems in their relationship that is what they learned as a way of dealing with those things. We try to teach what you do to have a healthy relationship, we are all human and make mistakes and sometimes we hurt the people we love.  But how do we work those things through and what do we do in those situations, what different ideas do we have, to expand our toolkit on how to deal with relationships.  We are under the impression that they are easy and we all know how to have healthy ones, and they don’t get complicated.  
11. Which psychological  factors are associated with being a repeat victim of such violence?
If someone has low self-esteem or a history of dependency, isolated from the people that they love, all those kinds of things that can take away someone’s resiliency and can contribute to their ability to get through and out of a relationship.  And lot of the things that keep a violent relationship going are the things that make it hard to leave.  In addition, something that something people don’t often want to acknowledge is that their love in these relationships. That love just doesn’t disappear when there is abuse.  In fact, in the cycle of violence there is always a honeymoon phase which is what creates this aspect of “they are apologizing and they really love me and they really care about me, they say they will never do it again, they say they didn’t mean to do it, it was an accident.”  And this phase is what really maintains these relationships, because when you develop something with someone you really believe them, and you love them, and you want to keep that going, so that is something that is very intriguing, it makes it hard to leave.  There are also other aspects, other challenges, mental health issues, and or any  kinds of disabilities, it makes it really difficult to leave a relationship with somebody that in some ways, you lack the support outside of the relationship, and that is something that happens in the relationships, it is the isolation, which is intended. Having access to those around you, having relationships with your family and loved ones, and knowing that they are there for support, and that is something that a lot of people in relationships lose because they have been so isolated within that relationship.  There are different mental health factors and other different factors that contribute to it. 
12. What you are telling me seems very important to what is being taught in schools. Do you see any future in that?
Absolutely. I  just came from a teen relationship violence parental community yesterday.  There were a whole lot of different agencies, different agencies, the legal system.
What we are trying to do is get this education as part of the general curriculum in different schools and I  think we have been successful in a lot of ways, and that there also have been barriers that we have had to face.  Personally, with my program we have gone out to junior high schools, different congregations, high schools, and we are working with San Diego Jewish Academy to try to create and be part of the curriculum.  The schools already have so much that they need to teach that it is hard to fit it in, basically.  I think there is an awareness amongst a lot of educators that this is a really important topic, a lot of educators are very passionate about spreading this education, and so that is something that we do really work on in this community.  It is not a special interest kind of thing, it is something that affects everyone, and all of our kids in some ways.  I think it should be part of general education.
My talk will be for parents and teens and I also wanted to add that educators are welcome and it is very applicable to educators as well.  So  I just wanted them to know that they can come and that I think it would be helpful for them as well.  


Dr. Greenberg graduated with a doctorate in clinical psychology in 2008 from Alliant University/California School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Greenberg his eight years of experience working with children and families in a variety of settings, and she currently works with children and teens who have been exposed to domestic violence in individual and group therapy, and provides educational workshops to the community on teen dating violence, the dynamics of unhealthy relationships, and how to create healthy relationships.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Yvonne Greenberg is a freelance writer based in University City.  She isn’t related to Dr. Marni Greenberg

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

January 27, 2010 1 comment

Compiled by Gail Umeham 

Desert Trip Planned By Zionist Group
Southwestern Jewish Press March 19, 1954 Page 6

The spring weather in the offing and the lovely spring flowers it will bring to the desert has led the Ben Zvi  Young  Adult Branch of the Labor Zionist Organization to plan a trip to the desert, Sunday, Mar. 28.  It will include stops along the way for those who are photography fans and a picnic lunch at the destination.  The picnic is open to anyone in the Young Adult category, married or single, and newcomers to San Diego will be very welcome.

For further information about the group, its meetings, its aims and to reserve a place on this trip to the desert, please call Maedelle Richlin, chairman, AT-4-3028 or Victor Weissman, Secretary, at CY-6-0583.


Sisterhood Tells A Secret Wed. Mar. 24
Southwestern Jewish Press March 19, 1954 Page 6

Everybody loves a secret, so come to Sisterhood’s “I’ve Got A Secret” luncheon, Wednesday, March 24th at 11:45.

You’ll hear some things you never knew before about Audrey Brooks, Sally Cohn, Sue Gruenberg, Julia Kaufman, Sylvia Solof, Bertha Starr, and Sidonia Stitzel.  The four clever panelists, Lee Douglas, Joan Jacobs, Roberta Silberman and Nan Schiller, with Sally (Gary Moore) Schissel as moderator, will match wits with the contestants and you will then know it all. 

It is no secret that the luncheon will be delicious.  Knowing that Francis Gordon and Jane Drexler are co-chairman and Min Cohen and Francis Cudney are captains for the day tells us that.

Lillian Novak, chairman of the nominating committee, will present their slate of officers and board members for the coming year.

Be sure to get in on the fun—make reservations early with Min Cohen, Hemlock 4-5530 or Francis Cudney, Hopkins 6-6622.


Yo-Ma-Cos Are Buying A Bus!
Southwestern Jewish Press March 19, 1954 Page 6

The Yo-Ma-Cos have undertaken to defray the cost of a buys used by the Jewish Community Center for the children’s summer camp.

A rummage sale will be held on May 5, 7, and 8, for this purpose.  Chairman Lean Solomon asks all members to cooperate by giving some rummage.  Anything useable is acceptable…clothes, furniture, odds and ends.  Start saving now.  Call AT-1-7744 or BE-3-1714 and your rummage will be picked up.

Lennie Pearl, chairman of the gold tournament, asks all participants to get their average cards in, as tournament takes place next month.

The bowling league dinner party is being held at Michael’s on March 21st.  Chairman Al Nadler says—get those reservations in at once.

Paul Miller announced that a bowling tournament will be held at Cedar Lanes on March 23rd.  Men’s and women’s teams will compete for prizes.  Yo-Ma-Co meetings are held every second and fourth Wednesday evening at Landis St. club room, Landis and Highland.


Beth Jacob Plans For Passover Seder
Southwestern Jewish Press March 19, 1954 Page 6

Make plans now for the traditional annual Passover Seder which will be held at Beth Jacob Center on Saturday, April 17, at 6:30 P.m.  Cost to members will be $3.50 per plate, $1.75 for children under 12.  Cost to non-members will be $5.00 per plate, $2.00 for children under 12.

Reservations must be made before April 9 at AT-2-2676 to insure everyone’s satisfaction at the dinner.  Accommodations are limited and no one can be seated unless reservations are made.

Servicemen will be guests of the Congregation.  Anyone can sponsor a serviceman by contacting Rabbi Stern or the office.


Queen Esther To Be Chosen By Pioneer Women Sunday
Southwestern Jewish Press March 19, 1954 Page 6

Pauline Gleason’s Orchestra will play for dancing at Pioneer Women’s 10th Annual Queen Esther Purim Ball on Sunday evening, March 21, at Beth Jacob Center from 8 to 12 p.m.  Mme. Goldie Kitaen, though it is not known, is a famous Parisian chef imported from France especially for this occasion!  The menu for the buffet style supper can only be described as delicious, delectable, delightful, desirable, and digestible!  Supper will be served from 6 p.m.

The gala Grand March of Candidates to choose “Queen Esther” will be led by Mrs. Ira Gordon, general chairman.  Two winners will be chosen, one for originality of costume and the other for beauty.  Judges for the contest will be Mr. Sidney Posin, Mrs. Mary Fay, and Mr. Edward Kitaen.  Candidate and their sponsoring organizations are:  Adele Cheron, City of Hope Juniors; Louise Gellman, Beth Jacob Youth League; Avia Moorsteen, Shoshana Pioneer Women; Irene Heller, New Life Club; Roberta Wyloge, B’nai B’rith Girls; Beverly Wasserman, Hadassah; Agatha Ehrenfried, City of Hope; Mrs. Lawrence Lassman, Birdie  Stodel B.B.; and Syril Press, Tifereth Israel Sisterhood.  Mrs. Florence Conway will be Mistress of Ceremonies.

Mrs. Philip Abrams, president of the organization, has chosen the following committee members:  Co-Chairman, Florence Barach; Publicity, Phyllis Weisenberg; Social, Mrs. A. Mazel, Elizabeth Meyer, Tillie Adams, Norma Schaffer, Rose Barber, and Mrs. Carl Bohrer; Tickets, Bessie Fink, Bertha Gaberman, Rose Domnitz, Florence Lebb, Lillie Gordon and Mrs. Rose Weitzman; Entertainment, Mrs. Rose Abrams, Pauline Press, Mrs. Dora Brisker, Bessie Gordon, and Mrs. B. Levine.


Eddie Cantor To Speak for Hadassah
Southwestern Jewish Press March 19, 1954 Page 6

Eddie Cantor will be the guest speaker at the Hadassah Regional Conference to be held at the Hotel del Coronado, May 9, according to Mrs. Morton Thaler and Mrs. Leonard Zlotoff, co-chairmen of the Donor Luncheon.  Mr. Cantor will receive the Henrietta Szold Award for his outstanding contribution to Youth Aliyah and Hadassah.  Mrs. Louis Steinman will serve as Conference Chairman.

On March 19 Hadassah will sponsor the Oneg Shabbat at the Tifereth Israel Synagogue at 8:00 p.m.  Mrs. Al Slayen is chairman and will be assisted by Mesdames Emil Wohl, Rudolph Hess, Ben Press, Wallace Hirsch, and Daniel Orlansky.

Mrs. Harry Felson has been proposed for the office of president of Hadassah for the 1954-55 term.  Elections will take place on April 21.


T. I. Men’s Club Host Servicemen At Seder
Southwestern Jewish Press March 19, 1954 Page 6

Donning chef’s aprons and caps, Moe Hershey and Zell Greenberg are heading a Tifereth Israel Men’s Club committee to prepare the 1954 Passover dinner at Tifereth Israel, Saturday evening, April 17th.

Guests of the Men’s Club will be the same forty service men stationed in San Diego who will not be able to go back East to their homes for Passover.  Arrangements have been made by Abraham Friedman,  U. S.O.J.W.B. director in San Diego, to have the Men’s Club sponsor these servicemen at the annual Tifereth Israel Family Seder.

Persons wishing to make reservations are requested to call Simon A. Rich at BE-9-9429.


“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.

Brandt Beef Offered at Zel’s Del Mar

January 27, 2010 1 comment

By Lynne Thrope

DEL MAR, California–First, there was the book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the American Meal (2001), then the movie Food, Inc. (2008). With so much attention on diet, chemicals in our food sources, and the hope for healthier alternative food choices, emerges Brandt Beef, the 100% natural beef from Holsteins raised in California’s Imperial Valley. 

Since the 1990s, these unique cows have been nurtured humanely and naturally without hormones or antibiotics, eliminating the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Brandt Beef cows are fed vegetarian, corn-based diets.  The Brandt Family understands we are what we eat.

Listed as the beef of choice on some of San Diego’s more upscale restaurants’ menus, I did not investigate Brandt Beef’s quality difference until my recent dining experience at Zel’s Del Mar. There, I visited the chef, Andy Johnson, hard at work in his chaotic kitchen, flipping too many Brandt Beef sliders to count! But I did manage a take a snap of the rib eye and slider before they took their respective places on his jammed-packed stove. 

Zel’s Del Mar is Definitely Happening, maybe because it’s the new kid on the block, maybe because it’s owned by (pictured at right)  Jennifer Powers and her husband Greg Glassman, honorary grandson of the San Diego/Tijuana Jewish community’s legendary Zel Camiel (for whom the restaurant is affectionately named), maybe because no item on their American bistro-style menu is priced over $20, or maybe because the restaurant’s meat is simply a cut above – that’s the Brandt Beef difference.

Whatever the reason for the quick popularity of Zel’s Del Mar, it’s a family affair all around and one that Greg and Andy tout.  They feel passionately about the Brandt family’s commitment to their “farm to fork” innovative processing operation.  Eric Brandt inspects each cow and tags it for specific customers, while Mark Brandt manages the farming operation in Brawley, CA. There, he raises the alfalfa, later mixed with corn, to provide each cow with a natural diet. We are what we eat.

After my hearty beef experience at Zel’s Del Mar, I investigated local sources of Brandt Beef because it shouldn’t be exclusive to restaurants. I discovered it’s available at Jonathan’s Market in La Jolla and Harvest Ranch Markets in El Cajon, Encinitas, and Del Mar. So buy I did. Brisket. For Shabbat. We are what we eat. Here’s the Brandt Family’s recipe for the best brisket ever!….B’Tayavon
Best Brisket from Brandt Beef

 1 (3-pound) Brandt Beef brisket, first-cut or flat-half trimmed of any excess fat

 1 teaspoon salt

 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 2 tablespoons canola oil

 1 medium onion, roughly chopped

 3 cloves garlic, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)

 One 15- oz. can tomato sauce

 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

 3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar

 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

 1/3 cup raisins

 5 black peppercorns

 1 allspice berry

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Pat the brisket dry and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or braising pot. Sear the brisket until it is browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the brisket to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot and cook the onion, stirring a few times, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce, broth, brown sugar, 1/3 cup of the vinegar, the raisins, peppercorns, and allspice and stir to combine well. Bring mixture to a boil, return brisket and any accumulated juices to the pot, spoon some of the tomato-vinegar mixture over the brisket, cover tightly, and transfer to the oven. Cook until the brisket is fork tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove the brisket from the oven, transfer the meat to a cutting board, and let rest for 10 to 20 minutes or, if serving later, cover and refrigerate the meat and sauce for several hours or overnight. When you are ready to serve, cut the meat against the grain into 1/4- inch thick slices. Stir the remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar into the warm sauce. Return the sliced brisket to the sauce until heated through and serve.
Zel’s Place is located at 1247 Camino Del Mar. Visit

For more recipes and information about Brandt Beef, visit

Lynne Thrope can be contacted at

ACLU accuses Lieberman, others of wanting to discard Constitution in terror cases

January 27, 2010 2 comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release) – Criticizing the Obama administration’s decision to charge accused Christmas Day attacker Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in the criminal court system, members of Congress are calling for legislation requiring intelligence officials to be consulted about how to handle terrorism suspects after their capture, arguing that options other than the criminal justice system should be considered. The Washington Post, in an editorial on January 23, supported this approach.

The members of Congress calling for the legislation are Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT), Robert Bennett (R-UT) and John Ensign (R-NV).

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union:

“It is extremely disturbing that members of the U.S. Congress are essentially calling for Obama administration officials to discard the Constitution when a terrorist suspect is apprehended – as if the Constitution should be applied on a case by case basis. The whole idea of having constitutional protections is that they be applied across the board for all those accused of a crime. That is the only way for us to rely on our justice system and its results. Obeying the Constitution is not optional.

“The FBI was right to place Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in the criminal justice system. Terrorism is a crime, and to treat terrorism that takes place far from any battlefield as an act of war is to propose that the entire world is a battlefield, to give criminals the elevated status of warriors and to invest whoever the current president may be with the authority to imprison a broad category of people potentially forever, without ever being afforded an opportunity to defend themselves. To abandon due process in terrorism cases turns the rule of law on its head and flies in the face of the values that we are fighting to protect in the first place. Our criminal justice system is fully capable of accommodating the government’s legitimate security interests while at the same time providing fundamental rights to defendants.

“If we have learned nothing else over the last decade, we’ve learned that disregarding the rule of law leads to tragic consequences. This country is still trying to deal with the repercussions of the previous administration’s illegal torture and detention policies, which did immeasurable damage to America’s standing in the world.

“We hope that Congress will heed these lessons and show faith in our justice system, which has successfully prosecuted over 200 terrorism suspects. We must not abandon our most fundamental values to the threat of terrorism.”

Preceding provided by American Civil Liberties Union

Abdulmutallab belongs in military custody — Senators Lieberman and Collins

January 27, 2010 2 comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release) – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, Independent-Connecticut., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, Republican-Maine., urged the Obama Administration Monday to move Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from civilian to military custody because he is an enemy combatant and should be detained, interrogated and ultimately charged as such. 

Abdulmutallab, who is charged with attempting to blow up a jetliner with over 250 people heading to Detroit on Christmas Day, was interrogated, charged, and is being held by civilian legal authorities, despite having been trained and directed by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Penninsula.

Preceding provided by Senator Joseph Lieberman

Music and diary revive dark feelings of Shoah

January 27, 2010 1 comment

By Dorothea Shefer-Vanson

MEVASSERET ZION, Israel –No, not the conductor, Otto Klemperer, but his cousin, Viktor, Professor of Romance Languages at Dresden University. Most of Viktor’s extended family had left Germany for the US well before 1939, but Viktor had no children, was married to a non-Jew, had fought in the German army in the First World War and considered himself a true German patriot. Besides, he and his wife had just built themselves a house.

In addition, oddly enough for someone who was an expert in eighteenth century European literature, he did not feel his command of English was sufficient to enable him to earn a living in the USA or England, and he did not wish to become a burden on his relatives or the Jewish community. 

So he remained in Germany. Viktor Klemperer’s story is probably no different from those of many Jews who were unwilling or unable to leave Germany (except that he survived), but Viktor wrote a diary in which he kept a precise record of the daily indignities, punitive legislation and increasing privations endured by Jews who had the temerity to remain in the Third Reich in the years leading up to and during the Second World War. The diary, referring to the period from 1933 to 1945, was published some years ago.

As time went on, even keeping a diary was punishable by deportation or execution, so Klemperer’s loyal and courageous wife, Eva, would smuggle pages of it to Gentile friends outside the city. In common with other Jews still in Germany, the couple were obliged to live in a crowded Jews’ house.

Nonetheless, Viktor continued to read scholarly books and make notes for his philological project on the language of the Third Reich. He was required to do forced labor, digging earthworks or shoveling snow, leaving him ever more weak and exhausted. At the last moment he was saved from deportation east when Dresden was bombed by the Allies at the end of the war. Subsequently, he and Eva tramped for miles through the countryside in an effort to find food and refuge. Later, once the war was over, they trecked for hundreds of miles to get back to Dresden. Miraculously, they survived all these hardships, their property was returned to them, and Viktor was able to resume his post at the university. 

Erich Wolfgang Korngold, child prodigy and noted Viennese composer, managed to flee from the Nazis and build a successful career writing music for films in Hollywood. He returned to Vienna after the war, but found his music was no longer appreciated, and after his death in 1957 was soon forgotten. However, in October 2009 his opera, ‘Die Totestadt’ (City of Death), was performed in Paris to general acclaim. Throughout that month, his music was played constantly on the French classical music programme, France Musique, and in France, at least, his name is no longer consigned to the mists of oblivion.

I happened to be in France in October, and had taken my copy of Viktor Klemperer’s diary with me. Although it was not exactly holiday reading, I had decided it was time to tackle it after having had it in my possession for several years. To read it is to live through those terrible times together with its author, and as I did so I listened to the radio and heard the music of his contemporary, Korngold, coming over the air-waves.

Returning to Israel, basking in its sunshine and being surrounded by friends and family was like emerging from the long, dark tunnel of the Second World War. But it took some time before I could shake off the gloomy mood aroused by that book and that dark, brooding music.


Shefer-Vanson, a freelance writer and translator based in Mevasseret Zion, can be reached at This article initially appeared in the AJR Journal, published by the Association of Jewish Refugees in the United Kingdom.

Jewish Community Foundation donors send over $100,000 for Haiti relief

January 27, 2010 1 comment

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)–In the first two weeks following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, nearly 70 individuals and families who partner with the Jewish Community Foundation for their giving immediately stepped up and recommended almost $102,000 in grants to provide immediate assistance to victims.

Schools, hospitals and thousands of homes have been destroyed and more than three million people have been left without adequate food, shelter, healthcare and basic infrastructure. 

In San Diego, funds are being collected through the United Jewish Federation of San Diego and will be distributed to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) to provide immediate aid and relief to victims. Additionally, several other nonprofit organizations are providing services in Haiti such as the American Jewish World Service (AJWS).

“We are so proud that our donors stepped forward so quickly to meet these emergency needs, said Charlene Seidle, vice president, philanthropy. “The response was immediate and generous.”

During fiscal year 2008-09, the Foundation awarded and facilitated $62 million in 4,700 grants to more than 1,000 Jewish and general organizations in San Diego, the United States and Israel. Visit the Jewish Community Foundation at or call 858-279-2740.

Preceding provided by the Jewish Community Foundation of  San Diego 

Just how ‘enlightened’ is Europe?

January 27, 2010 1 comment
By Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM–One of my internet friends objects to my calling Europe the enlightened continent.
“What in the blazes are you talking about.? Europe, the hot-bed of modern antisemitism…enlightened? The Netherlands with a de facto, maybe de jure euthanasia policy! France being so overrun with rebellious Muslims that there are scores of areas throughout the country that are goverened by Shariah!  Britain is verging on the same disasterous policy…de facto, or de jure
“The ‘enlightened continent’ and their American running dogs have finally shown their true intentions: give Iran enough breathing room through years of meaningless and unproductive sanctions and threatened sanctions that they are now within spitting distance of nearing the “break-out” point for weapons grade nuclear weapons material.

There are problems, both within Europe and in the actions–or lack of actions–that European governments are willing to take toward others. Yet a superficial look at history justifies the most positive of adjectives.

Until 1945, warfare, rigid class lines, and limited personal opportunities were the prominent traits of Europe. Thanks largely to the United States, but with no little help from Britain and the Soviet Union, the worst ended for Western Europe. The results were a gradual emergence of the European Community, the refurbishing of German universities that had dropped from the peak to the bottom of intellectual prestige during the Nazi period, the opening of new universities throughout Western Europe, the lowering of class barriers, as well as a single currency, free migration, and decent social policies throughout much of the continent.

Bargaining and vote trading, rather than saber rattling is now the medium of exchange among governments. The institutions of the Community are no more perfect than the United States Congress, and European bureaucrats are not clearly better or worse than those of the United States or the individual European governments. Individuals and organizations complain and mobilize their forces, but the language is politics rather than war.  

Sections of European cities have been made unpleasant by migrations from Muslim countries and other places where limited opportunities provide the push that used to send migrants from Western Europe to North and South America. Currently nine Western European countries score higher than the United States on a widely used measure of economic well being, and all countries of Western Europe score as more egalitarian than the United States. There are also European advantages in lower rates of violent crime and longer life expectancy, as well as more effective ways of providing medical care.

The United States remains attractive. The flow of migrants from Latin America, as well as from Africa and Muslim countries testifies to that, with social problems similar to those in Western Europe, as well as the benefits of many hands to do the dirty work that “natives” (whoever they are) do not want for themselves..

Has Europe’s anathema to conflict gotten in the way of appropriate efforts to save the world from evil? It is Russia and China, rather than Western European governments, that have most clearly dragged their feet on sanctions against Iran. France and other European governments opposed the Bush invasion of Iraq, on the ground that sanctions had limited Saddam’s aggressive capacities. Remember the American response, which included the renaming of “French fries?”

Insofar as several years of assiduous looking turned up no stocks of weapons of mass destruction, one can say that the Europeans were wiser than Americans with respect to Iraq. And the same Europeans have been less than supportive of Bush and now Obama in their efforts to occupy and reform Afghanistan. Until Iraq and Afghanistan (as well as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia) turn a corner toward stability and democracy, one should be chary of concluding that the Americans were right and the Europeans wrong.

What to do?

It would be great to ratchet down the excess patriotism, and to add a bit of modesty to the anyone’s aspirations for leadership. The world is complex, with both evil and poverty. Neither Europeans nor Americans have the key to Paradise. Israelis are fated to maneuver between demands coming from powers greater than themselves. They are strong enough to respond in part, and to obfuscate where necessary.

So where are the most enlightened? I know of no summary measure. Neither do I know a cure for those who insist that it is them.

Sharkansky is professor emeritus of political science at Hebrew University

El Al passenger recovers $50,000 in jewelry

January 27, 2010 1 comment

NEW YORK (Press Releazse)– EL AL Israel Airlines turned one New York woman’s panic into relief after a forgotten backpack containing $50,000 worth of jewelry and irreplaceable business documents was discovered and safely returned by EL AL employees. 

Upon arrival from Israel into JFK International Airport, the EL AL passenger accidentally left her backpack at the baggage claim area next to the luggage carousel. The bag contained over $50,000 worth of jewelry, including an 18 carat gold rope necklace, Tahitian black pearls, white pearls and diamond rings.  There was also a laptop, her pocketbook with personal items plus the important business papers.

It was only upon arrival at her home in Queens when the passenger discovered that the backpack was missing.  She immediately returned to JFK and, on her way, received a call from the EL AL information desk that the bag was found and all the items were safe.  The EL AL agent found her cell phone number on a prescription bottle that was in the back pack.

“I cannot express enough how grateful I am to EL AL and commend the employees who found the bag and returned it to me,” the customer explained in a thank you note to the airline.  “I am not sure this would have turned out the same with any other airline.”
As always, EL AL is committed to providing superior customer service to its passengers prior to, during and after all flights. For more information about EL AL, please visit or contact EL AL at (800) 223-6700. 

Preceding provided by El Al

For some animals, almond nectar is poisonous, but pollinating bees love it

January 27, 2010 1 comment

 HAIFA, Israel (Press Release)–Has the almond tree developed a unique way of drawing potential pollinators? A group of researchers at the Department of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology and the Department of Science Education at the University of Haifa-Oranim speculate that the toxin called amygdalin that is found in almond tree nectar is in fact an evolutionary development intended to give that tree an advantage over others in its surroundings.

Previous studies have already shown that amygdalin can be found in almond nectar at a concentration of 4-10 milligrams per liter. It also known that the almond tree is the only plant to have this toxin in its flowers’ nectar; in fact, the tree’s subgenus classification is Amygdalus, after the toxin it produces. For small mammals this is a deadly substance and as it is highly concentrated in the seeds of unripe wild bitter almonds, these almonds are also dangerous for human consumption.

A group of researchers, headed by Prof. Ido Izhaki along with Prof. Gidi Ne’eman, Prof. Moshe Inbar and Dr. Natarajan Singaravelan, investigated why it is that this plant produces such a potent toxin – a by-product of which is cyanide – in its nectar. They explain that the presence of amygdalin in the nectar is seemingly incompatible with the nectar’s purpose of attracting insects to the flower to extract food and pollinate it and thereby contribute to the plant’s reproduction.

The researchers exposed honey bees to plates of nectar that had varying concentrations of the toxin and a plate of nectar without the toxin. The team first monitored four different amygdalin concentrations, resembling the natural levels of the toxin in almond tree nectar: 2.5-10 milligrams per liter. A second experiment monitored levels much higher than those found in the natural form: 5-50 milligrams per liter. In both cases and for each of the compositions, the bees preferred nectar containing amygdalin over the amygdalin-free option.

“It is difficult – and sometimes impossible – to determine the workings of evolution, but it is likely that amygdalin is produced in the almond nectar so as to give the almond tree an advantage in reproduction. Based on our observations, we can make a guess at which mechanisms come into play for amygdalin to provide this advantage,” Prof. Izhaki explains. For example, even though amygdalin is poisonous for mammals, it is not poisonous for insects, such as the honey bee, and it even produces a stimulant that attracts such insects. Therefore, it is possible that the plant produces it so as to attract potential pollinators. Another possibility is that the almond tree has developed this substance in its nectar as a form of filter: it repulses “non-expert” pollinators, but gives access to the “experts” that have built up resistance to the toxin while providing efficient pollination services for the plant.

The research team, in collaboration with Dr. Malka Halpern, Dr. Yoram Gerchman and research students Svetlana Friedman and Yana Gerstein, are presently examining the possibility of there being an additional mechanism in play: that the nectar toxin prevents inhabitation of bacteria that could spoil the nectar’s quality and harm its appeal for potential pollinators, thereby impeding the tree’s chances of pollination.

“Pollinating insects have always been lacking, so plants have had to develop ways to take the lead in attracting those that are available, in competition with other plants. Otherwise, they will not be able to reproduce. This is more than just a hypothesis:  it is a very practical theory. For reasons that are not fully clear, there is a significant shortage of bees in the world. The worldwide scarcity of available pollinators severely harms agriculture and threatens supplies of produce for the human population. In California there are enormous almond groves that without bees will not produce fruit. Due to the scarcity of bees, the almond farmers in California are compelled to import – from as far away as Australia – truckloads of beehives during the almond’s flowering season, so as to ensure pollination,” Prof. Izhaki stated.

Preceding provided by University of Haifa