Archive for January 30, 2010

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

January 30, 2010 Leave a comment


Compiled by Gail Umeham

Double Talk
Southwestern Jewish Press March 19, 1954 Page 7

By Janet & Susan Solof

Rochelle (Rocky) Goodrich really galloped and gobbled her way to her sixteenth birthday with many of her  friends.  First horseback riding and then dining with Rocky were Luanne Blumberg, Joan Borenstein, Joan Breitbard, Linda Douglas, Brenda Heiman, Sheila Lipin, Carole Fischer, Bev Kitaen, Natalie Veitzer, Sharlene Stone, Lois Liff, Janet and Susan Solof, Jane Cohn, Andy Leeds, Gail Kahn, Faggie Krasner and Adrian Sachnoff.  Many more happy birthdays, Rocky.

Seaweed Shuffle,” the San Diego High Sophomore Dance was the headquarters of fun for Henrietta Faguet ‘n Buddy Kader, Susan Solof ‘n Jack Felson, Jack ‘n Diane Lackman, Barry Goldman ‘n Mary Lynn Rhiele.  It was fun at its best.

Congrats to Stephen Gordon who received an award for basketball when the team he played on won the City League, and an award for tennis doubles in the Morley Field city championship.

Have you tried CY-5—679?
Call your news into that line.


City of Hope
Southwestern Jewish Press March 19, 1954 Page 7

The City of Hope Junior Auxiliary will hold its rummage sale on April 9.  More rummage is needed, so please call HO-6-7236 or AT-1-5060 for pickup.

A number of City of Hope blue banks are still out.   Members are asked to bring them to the next meeting on April 13 or call JU-2-6391 to have them picked up.


Jewish Center News
Southwestern Jewish Press March 19, 1954 Page 7

Center Staff
Beginning April 1st, Mrs. Richard Raun and Mr. Alvin Abrams will join the Jewish Community Center staff.  Mrs. Raun, a former Camp Jaycee counselor, with several years experience as a teacher in the child-care program will assume responsibility for the cooperative Nursery School program.  She will replace Mrs. Robert Bramson whose resignation was accepted with regrets, noting her contribution to the organization of the cooperative school program.

Mr. Abrams, a San Diego resident now studying at Antioch College, has had group work and individual counseling experience and will assist in the enrichment of the on-going center activities.

Camp Jaycee
Applications are now being accepted for Camp Jaycee employment at the Jewish Community Center office, 3227 El Cajon Blvd., AT-1-7744,  there are job opportunities for head counselors, senior and junior counselors, counselors in training and part-time specialists in music, drama, nature lore and outdoor crafts.  In addition to adequate training and experience, applicants should have qualities of warmth, imagination, flexibility and genuine liking of children.  Salary opportunities are according to training, experience and job responsibilities.  For further information please call the Center office—AT-1-7744.

Leadership Training
If you were or are at present, a member of a youth group, you know the importance of a good leader to the group.  For a capable adult leader helps train the youth of today for the adult of tomorrow.  Nowhere but in a group experience, can a person learn to work with others, and depending on the type of leader in this group, the experience can be pleasant or distasteful.

The Jewish Community Center is interested in finding good capable adult leadership, and is organizing a training program.

It begins Wednesday evening, May 5th, at 7:30 p.m. continuing for four sessions, held on alternate Wednesday evenings.  A leader’s job is not an easy one—it takes work and plenty of it.  We recognize that your time is important—let’s use it to the best advantage to all.  There is no greater “mitzvah” than to be able to help people.  Our community needs your help.  Here is your chance.

Teen-age Discussion Group
All teen-agers, 10th grade and up, are invited to participate in the next meeting of the teen-age discussion group to be held at Pete Colt’s home, 3963 La Cresta Dr. on Sunday evening, March 21st—7:30 p.m., at which time Germany’s revival will be discussed.  Refreshments will be served.

A.Z.A. and B.B.G
Youth groups of B’nai B’rith will meet with Harold Sturza of the South West Regional office of the Anti-Defamation League on Tuesday, March 23rd, 7:30 p.m. at Temple Beth Israel.

Center Women’s League
Women’s League Tea for Board Members Wives, Tuesday, March 25th, 1:00 p.m.  Hostessing this event will be Mrs. Betty Adler, Chairman; Mrs. Ruben Aved, Edith Bennett, Lilo Berger, Ruth Brav, Edith Kitaen, Dorothy Penn, Sylvia Rose, Audrey Sack, Ann Schloss and Lynn Schwartz.

Gift to Center
The Jewish Community Center acknowledges with thanks to the following for gifts of equipment to the Center:  Sam Cohen, Leonard Drogin, Rod Horrow, Ben Harris, Isadore Jacobson, Jewish War Veterans Post and Auxiliary, Bernard Lipinsky, Maury Novak, Don Progrell, Henry Price, Seymour Rabin, Nate Ratner, Seymour Ratner, Sidney Rose, Jerome Schechter, Bill Schwartz, Abe Sklar, and Lew Solomon.


Children Back Fund Drive With Dimes
Southwestern Jewish Press March 19, 1954 Page 7

“ Please take my hand and come with me
There are some people you should see.
You can help them have happy times
Just by saving up your dimes.”

This is the rhyme that is being sung by the children of Beth Jacob Religious School, who, last Sunday, began their work on behalf of the 1954 Combined Jewish Appeal of the United Jewish Fund, according to Alan Mishne and Ronnie Greenberg, chairmen of the Young People’s Division. 

Under the direction of Rabbi Baruch Stern, spiritual leader of the synagogue, each child in the religious school was given a children’s care to be filled with dimes and returned to the school for forwarding to Fund headquarters.

Any young people or young people’s organization wishing to use this material can receive it from the Fund office by calling Belmont 2-5172.  Each dime card has room for twenty dimes as a contribution to the 42 organizations, institutions and agencies served by the United Jewish Fund.


Fox Lodge News
Southwestern Jewish Press March 19, 1954 Page 7
by John Kluchin

New members at the last meeting were Julien Byer, Max Leopold, and Isadore Lippe.

Elections for Grand Lodge Delegates for the B’nai B’rith Convention in August were held with Past Pres. Stanley Yukon chosen as the Delegate to attend with Pres. Dave Schloss.  Alternates elected were Past President Irving Cohen and Trustee Harry Cohn.

The highlight of the evening was the Question and Answer Information Period on B’nai B’rith.  The membership were re-educated to the following facts:  B’nai B’rith was founded in 1843.  Membership of 350,000.  1600 Men and Women Lodges in the United States, Canada and 25 other countries.  Learned of Emergency Relief work and funds given for disasters and epidemics.  Of Philanthropy in Institutional work at Jewish Orphas Homes and Homes for the Aged.

Our next meeting will be on March 23rd and is a social one with an entertaining evening promised.  Charles T. Rodgers, Chief Probation Officer for S.D. will be the guest speaker.  After his talk there will be a question and answer period.


“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 Film Festival preview: ‘Adam’s Wall’

January 30, 2010 1 comment

By Randy Fadem

LA JOLLA, Caifornia (Press Release)–Have you ever seen a Mozart clarinet concerto played on the forearm of a young man by his auditioning girlfriend?  In Adam’s Wall, a  delightful modern version of a Romeo and Juliet love story two college students, a young Jewish man and a young Lebanese woman, fall in love.  Though beset by familial ghosts and tsores from their respective grandfather and father they wander through the environs of Montreal to find each other and set some of their ghosts to rest. 

This little gem of a film takes a refreshingly different approach to film composition.  Instead of the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie of their generation, Jesse Aaron Dwyre appears as a nerdy, gawking, hesitant young man.  He plays opposite Flavia Bechara for whom the camera captures the vein that runs vertically from the top of her hairline to the cleft between her eyebrows, as well as the uneven planes of her face, to the small gap between her front teeth. 

Flavia Bechara’s character, Yasmine has come to Montreal to study literature.  Her father has opened an art gallery in Montreal and her mother has remained behind in Lebanon.   She is surprised and quite angered to discover her father has started a relationship with another woman.  Both parents had withheld from her the twists and turns that their marriage had taken.  Adam Levy, played by Dwyre, lost his parents to a shooting accident in Israel.  He was in the back seat of the car at the time and reclaimed his mother’s clarinet as a keepsake. 

He meets Yasmine when he goes to the university to keep an appointment for a clarinet audition. 

The movie contains many tender and touching scenes such as the one alluded to in the opening sentence.  Here Adam has brought his treasure trove of his mother’s records which features the clarinet, which he had buried under a wall of rocks in the cemetery to preserve them from his grandfather’s ire.  He brought them, as a love token, to Yasmine’s bedroom where she has a record player.  As they play a Mozart clarinet concerto she takes his forearm and begins to play her own composition.

The Canadian  film will be shown at the San Diego Jewish Film Festival at 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 15, in the Garfield Theatre of the Jewish Community Center.

Fadem is a freelance writer based in La Mesa, Califorina

No Willing Witness to Catastrophes

January 30, 2010 Leave a comment

By Natasha Josefowitz, Ph.D.

LA JOLLA, California — The other day I saw on television some scientists who said that within our lifetime, we will be able to live till 150 and stay healthy.

I’m in my early eighties and started contemplating living another seventy years. To my own surprise, that did not sound very appealing.

I sort of feel “done.” I have traveled to wherever I had wanted to go and have lost my wanderlust; I have seen a lot of theater, listened to a multitude of concerts, danced, sang, played. I have not missed a thing. So while I still enjoy a good play or symphony and a dinner at a fine restaurant, I do not need to live longer in order to see, hear, or eat more.

I used to like shopping, now I’m happy to just wear out what hangs in my closet—no, it’s not the latest fashion, but the slacks with the elastic waistband and the shirt that goes over it will do just fine.

One of my main reasons for not wanting to live till 150 is the current state of the world. I do not wish to be a witness to its disintegration.

Just reading about the coming famines that will engulf a large number of people, the climate changes that will create droughts and floods, the rising oceans that will displace millions of people living on coasts who will have to migrate inland to already overpopulated areas and will surely not be welcomed, not to speak of drowning polar bears and all those animals losing their habitats. I don’t want to worry about rogue dictators with nuclear capacities nor about the increasing disparity between very rich and very poor and all this leading to civil unrest and more wars. As the world’s religions are leaning more toward extremism, terrorism is on the rise.

Right now, I am safe in my little cocoon of a retirement community—surrounded by friends with not a care in the world, except for reading the newspapers and getting upset about the treatment of prisoners or the orphan children who have lost their parents to AIDS or the emaciated mothers with dying infants trekking through the desert to escape the invaders, the killings, the rapes, or the soldiers returning with post-traumatic stress syndrome and our hospitals unable to cope with the numbers.

Reading the papers, watching T.V., and realizing that none of this will get better, why would anyone want to live to see all this get worse?

And yet, what amazes me is that we still complain when the soup is served lukewarm or the haircut is not becoming or we misplace our keys. Yes, I get upset if I gain a couple of pounds or my children forget to call on Mother’s Day.

How is it possible to worry about such mundane matters when the rest of the world is collapsing under the  weight of incompetence, greed, and lack of planning, lack of caring? Are we all in denial about the worldwide suffering?

No, I don’t want to live until 150. I’m ready to go at a minute’s notice. I am done; it’s been a great adventure; I have participated; I have also led; I pioneered some; I have loved well, raised good children, seen grandchildren prosper. No, I’m not saying I want to die—I’m enjoying this present ride too much to let go voluntarily—but I’m not extending this beyond the normal expectations. There is nothing left undone. So, in the meantime, I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s lunch with friends, to seeing that good movie and reading that book everyone is talking about. I’m looking forward to going to bed with the sound of the ocean through the open window. This is still absolutely wonderful, but not for another 70 or so years.

Josefowitz is a freelance writer, whose column also appears in the La Jolla Village Voice

Evidence of Palestinian corruption should put brakes on U.S. Mideast push

January 30, 2010 1 comment
By Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM — Here is something that President Obama and his advisers should consider before spending any more of their time nudging Israeli and Palestinian leaders to negotiate a peace.

The details are not entirely clear, but reinforce the larger story of corruption in high places of the Palestine Authority, the lack of popular confidence in the Authority among Palestinians, and the likelihood that Hamas would take over the West Bank if Mahmoud Abbas and his people were not propped up by Israel, Jordan, and the United States.

The article resembles what I heard from a lecturer at a Palestinian university who visited me at the Hebrew University. The lecturer’s biography featured numerous consulting activities with Palestinian companies and public authorities that had been financed by European and North American governments. When I probed the details and asked if any of the consulting had produced improvements in administration, the answer was negative. My visitor confirmed my impression that a great deal of foreign aid given to Palestine does nothing but provide employment for a few Palestinians. The article in the Jerusalem Post indicates that a fair amount of the aid ends up in the overseas bank accounts of Palestinian officials. It is more public relations for the donors than anything that helps to develop the Authority. “Is the Authority a serious entity?” I asked my visitor. The answer again was negative.

Other news includes revelations from ranking Palestinians of what they claim Ehud Olmert offered close to the end of his service as prime minister, and what the Palestinians rejected. The acceptance of one thousand refugees from 1948 was not enough to justify a response. Neither was what Olmert offered with respect to transferring neighborhoods of Jerusalem to Palestine, and other territorial swaps. The Palestinians were not willing to accept Israel’s control of Maale Adumim, a suburb of Jerusalem where 30,000 Jews have made their homes.

We cannot be sure about the above details, insofar as disinformation is as much a part of Israel-Palestine relationships as it is of other political feelers that may be preparing the road for serious negotiations, or preparing the way to avoid negotiations. However, they fit the image of an Authority that is more comic opera, or Greek tragedy, than serious entity.

The best guess is that Palestinians are willing to turn the clock back to 1967, 1948, or 1947–depending on who is talking–but not to engage in their share of concessions in order to end the dispute.

So what should Israel do? And what should be the posture of the Obama administration?

Nothing is the answer appropriate to both questions.

The Palestinian leadership–whether the corrupt figures who claim to be in charge of the West bank or the religious fanatics in Gaza–are not appropriate managers of a state alongside Israel. They may continue to manage what they have, but Israelis do not want them to acquire the authority to import arms and formulate international agreements appropriate to a state.

Doing nothing appears to be the policy of the current Israeli government, learned from the frustrations of negotiations in 2000 and 2008. Israelis do offer lip service about their willingness to negotiate, and to make certain concessions, as befits a supplicant of the United States. Israelis might be gaining a point or two among friendly audiences from the hardening of Palestinian demands as conditions for beginning negotiations.

Insofar as Obama is Obama, we can expect a continuation of efforts, tweaking this way and that, in the hope that something will produce flexibility from Israeli and/or Palestinian leaders. Think of Obama as Sisyphus, and the prospect of getting that rock to the top of the hill.

As far as Israel is concerned, the stand-off is harmless. It is as secure as it has ever been. Iran looms, but no matter what the Iranians claim as their concern for Palestine, their nuclear efforts are beyond the parameters of Israel’s dispute with Palestinians. The stand-off is also harmless for most Palestinians of the West Bank. As long as extremists remain quiet, or neutralized, economic development can continue. Gaza is something else, but the people voted for Hamas and many cheered the rockets being sent toward Israel. Neither the German negotiator concerned with Gilad Shalit nor Egyptians concerned to resolve the disputes between Hamas and Fatah have produced any flexibility that is apparent. Egypt is concerned with the spread of Hamas’ enthusiasm to its own extremists, and is constructing barriers meant to frustrate smuggling of arms and other material into Gaza.

We remain with the problem of Barack Obama’s itch for achievement, and for that there is no solution on the horizon.

Sharkansky is professor emeritus of political science at Hebrew University

Obama’s State of the Union proves again he’s a speaker, but can he also be a doer?

January 30, 2010 Leave a comment
JERUSALEM–President Obama’s State of the Union address dealt almost entirely with domestic issues, despite American troops active in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and now Yemen, as well as highly touted efforts with respect to Israel-Palestine and Iran. Also, the focus was heavily on the economy, and lightly on what had been his iconic health initiative. The style was vintage Obama, if the term vintage can be used for an individual with less than three years in the Senate and one year in the White House. The president was self-confident, but with enough modesty to preserve the image of the neighborhood friend who plays basketball.

Indicative of a familiar Obama is his selection of three high profile targets: bank reform, budget cutting, and unemployment. One can hope that he will do better than he did with the challenging issues of his first year, but each will be difficult.

As a policy wonk the president knows the problems and the substance of likely solutions, but he is less than savvy about political obstacles. While banks may need a stronger hand on the regulatory tiller, they can make a case that responsibility for economic crisis was as much that of policymakers enamored of home ownership as of finance companies (many of them not banks) that responded to incentives. The health industry unleashed a fire storm of hysteria about excess government regulation, and the banks might be able to do something similar. Instead of bashing the thought of rationing health care, there will be bashing the government’s rationing of mortgages and small business loans.

Budget cutting as a political strategy has been around for a long time, along with the defense mechanisms of bureaucrats and clients. The most that is usually obtainable is slowing the growth of domestic budgets, rather than actually cutting into the money that supports established activities. The president may trim the budget he requests, but the final score will only be apparent after Congress has finished its initial work, and then supplemental appropriations.

If the president does succeed in reducing government spending on domestic programs, it will not be easy to increase employment. Unless, perhaps, he can enact a series of measures to induce investments by lowering taxes on high income households and corporations. But that will not help with the deficit, and might provoke opposition from a Congress that wants to preserve the Democratic ethos.

The basic problem of a liberal Democrat like Obama is that Americans are not liberal. An article in a professional journal of political science begins with a cogent statement of the problem.

Put simply, here is the conundrum of the modern American state: It is expected to solve or prevent a great variety of problems – from toxic microorganisms in fast-food hamburgers to homeland defense – all against a backdrop of citizens who do not believe that leaders in Washington can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Anyone doubting this should think more about the opposition to improving health insurance. It provides a caricature of American politics. A president trying to move one of the richest countries in the world with miserable health indicators toward every other western democracy had his prime issue hooted off the stage and nearly out of his State of the Union address.

It is not only in health where the United States is a laggard. On three measures of the size of government in relation to the economy (expenditures, revenues, and taxes) compiled by the World Bank, it scores 25th, 26th, and 28th among 28 of the richest democracies.

One might applaud the president’s efforts to speak life into an Israel-Palestine peace process that died ten years ago, and to engage with countries his predecessor defined as evil. His supporters may blame others for the lack of movement, but the simple view is that the president’s savvy in foreign politics is no better than in domestic politics.

President Obama won election with a dramatic campaign, but it was made easier by his opponent’s selection of a running mate. The world that depends on American leadership is still waiting to see if he knows how to govern.

Sharkansky is professor emeritus of political science at Hebrew University

Iraq right to fight al Qaeda, resist Ba’ath

January 30, 2010 Leave a comment

By Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Over the summer, the Government of Iraq accused the Government of Syria of harboring al Qaeda camps and permitting operatives to cross the border into Iraq to attack Iraqis and Americans-including the attack on August 19, 2009 that killed 95 people and wounded more than 500 in the heart of Baghdad. The State Department responded:

“We understand that there has been sort of mutual recall of the ambassadors. We consider that an internal matter. We believe that, as a general principle, that diplomatic dialogue is the best means to address the concerns of both parties. We are working with the Iraqis to determine who perpetrated these horrible acts of violence….We hope this doesn’t hinder dialogue between the two countries.”

Not America’s problem. Internal stuff. They both have issues. Hope they work it out.
But just let the Iraqi election commission decide that some candidates planning to run in the March election are ineligible because they have ties to the Ba’ath Party-illegal in Iraq for obvious reasons-and Vice President Biden dashes off to Baghdad. The Iraqis said Mr. Biden proposed deferring the ruling on eligibility until after the election. All candidates could sign a pledge denouncing the Ba’ath Party and all could stay on the ballot. Then, after the people vote, the commission could try to prevent any candidates determined post facto to be illegal from taking their seats. The Iraqis, in a welcome display of political maturity, declined.
The Americans said it wasn’t like that. Tony Blinken, Mr. Biden’s national security adviser, said, “There is no American plan…the Iraqis themselves are seized with it.” In an odd echo, Mr. Biden said, “Iraq’s leaders are seized with this issue.”
Two points. 
First, the Bush Administration, with the full agreement of Israel, decided that Hamas, a terrorist organization by charter and practice, should be treated like a political party for the purpose of elections. Look how well that turned out for the Palestinians. Winning only a plurality in a single legislative election, they did what terrorist organizations do-they went to war, first against Fatah and then against Israel. Abu Mazen has since canceled the scheduled presidential election, and any reasonable hope for political evolution is dead. You would think the Obama Administration, interested as it is in being different from its predecessor, would not make the same mistake in Iraq.
Second, if you don’t believe us, listen to Saleh Mutlak, a banned candidate. “What they are doing could be a real danger in the near future. America wants to withdraw from Iraq, but if this stands it will lead to different factors in the political process, people will lose hope and there could be more violence.” The head of the election commission replied that those words “are an indirect admission that he will commit to violence, in my personal opinion.” 
We disagree-it is a direct admission and a direct threat.
The Iraqi government should hang tough on this. The Iraqi people have to believe and know that elections are a regular part of national life, political parties have to meet the legal standard to run and terrorist organizations are not political parties. If Mr. Mutlak is not an acceptable candidate because of his support for the Ba’ath Party, that’s too bad; vote for someone else.
As for the Iraqi-Syrian problem, Iraqi forces are reported to have killed Saad Uwayid Obeid Mijbil Al Shamari, known as Abu Khalaf. Middle East Newsline reports that U.S. military sources said, “For the past four years (Abu Khalaf) was considered by U.S. and Iraqi intelligence officials to be a foremost senior al Qaeda foreign terrorist facilitator who assisted in the movement of hundreds of terrorists from Syria into Iraq. These foreign terrorists conducted numerous high-profile attacks throughout Iraq and killed many people, including security forces in Iraq, Iraqi government workers, and civilians,” including those killed last August.
It seems that Iraq is “seized” of the right issues.


Bryen is senior director of security policy of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.  Her column is sponsored by Waxie Sanitary Supply in memory of Morris Wax, longtime JINSA supporter and national board member

Aid to Gaza and to Haiti

January 30, 2010 1 comment

By Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C.–The suggestion by Gaza Palestinians that they were most attuned to Haitian suffering because-after all-they had suffered an Israeli “earthquake” was a disgusting attempt to equate self-inflicted ruin as a result of terrorism against Israel with the horrifying natural disaster that befell the Haitians. Nevertheless, it appears to have prompted a group of Democratic Congressmen to spearhead a letter to President Obama calling for the President to use “diplomatic pressure” on Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza. They call for free movement of people, food, water, fuel and building supplies, and “prompt” passage of commercial goods out of the Gaza. 
They do not demand that Hamas end its war against the Israeli people, or the poisoning of Palestinian minds with hatred, or an end to the importation of arms into Gaza through the tunnels-prompting us to wonder why, if people are really starving, Hamas doesn’t use the tunnels to import food. The truth is that the economic privation of Palestinian people and their dependence on Israel and international charity serves Hamas’s interest.
But what about the “blockade”?  Isn’t Israel starving and strangling the poor people of Gaza? No. We are grateful to The Israel Project for culling the following statistics from official Israeli publications.

Israel’s Facilitation of Aid to Gaza

900: Percent increase in humanitarian aid delivered to Gaza in 2009, compared to 2008.

724,925: Tons of humanitarian aid delivered to Gaza, Jan. 19, 2009-Jan. 16, 2010.

29 million gallons: Heavy-duty diesel fuel for the Gaza power station delivered to Gaza since Jan. 19, 2009.

10,346: Gaza residents who entered Israel for medical and humanitarian reasons, Jan.19-Nov. 7, 2009.

11,508 tons: Monthly average of humanitarian aid entering Gaza, February-June 2008, a period of intense rocket fire prior to Israel’s defensive operation in Gaza.

34,253 tons: Monthly average of humanitarian aid entering Gaza during period of calm prior to Israel’s defensive operation in Gaza, July-December 2008.

18,500: Permits Israel issued to Gaza residents to enter Israel or travel overseas in 2009.

3,500 and 400: Blankets and food deliveries respectively provided by the UN for Palestinian civilians stolen by Hamas.

1.3 million, 28,400 and 41: Carnations, other flowers, and tons of strawberries respectively exported from Gaza via Israel to the EU in December 2009-Jan. 17, 2010.

$6.7 million: Money authorized for transfer on Jan. 24, 2010 to Gaza residents entitled to social security and pension payments from Israel.
This to people whose elected leadership is sworn to and actively engaged in preparing for the destruction of the State of Israel. The statistics make it clear-particularly the export of perishables and the number of exit permits and medical visas-that Israel is doing its best to help people engaged in productive or necessary activity, and that no one is starving in Gaza. 
The government of Canada recently announced that it would redirect its aid from UNRWA to specific projects for shoring up the Palestinian judicial sector by training Palestinian prosecutors, judges and police. It is a wise move that should be emulated by others-particularly the United States, which provides the bulk of UNRWA funding.
Aid to Haiti will necessarily move from emergency food and medical supplies to long-range planning in hopes of making the people productive. Aid to the Palestinians should have made that transition long ago. Instead, it has fostered a dependency that leaves the people focused on outside charity and the leaders free to spend their funds on arms and the training of a military aimed at the heart of Israel. 
The Congressmen, along with UNRWA and the other “charitable” organizations that have imprisoned Palestinians in a morass of international “aid” that more resembles a large prison than a potential state, do the Palestinian people no favors and do a huge disservice to the security of the people of Israel.

Bryen is senior director of security policy of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.  Her column is sponsored by Waxie Sanitary Supply in memory of Morris Wax, longtime JINSA supporter and national board member

Jews doing good… and fighting evil

January 30, 2010 Leave a comment

By Rabbi Baruch Lederman

SAN DIEGO–The Children of Israel after serving years of bondage, were now out in the world free. Being free, being a Jew out in the world presents its own challenges and opportunities. We  have the ability to sanctify G-d’s name or to desecrate it. The following two articles, submitted by ShulWeek readers Getzel Segal and Toby Koch, respectively,  give examples of  our relationship with the world and with each other. Some of it is good, some of it is bad. Like anything else, it’s complicated but we can learn from it:

In the midst of the overwhelming death and destruction that is Haiti right now, there are Israelis who have come to save lives and offer succor.

On Friday, El Al and IDF planes came into Haiti, carrying 250 medical personnel — doctors, nurses, lab and x-ray technicians and even a psychiatrist — and supplies for the first  mobile hospital, including a pharmacy, a surgical unit, and a maternity ward.  A young Haitian mother who was the first to deliver in this ward, early this morning, named her baby  Israel.

Members of ZAKA, the Israeli ultra-Orthodox volunteer rescue organization, were on the scene as well.  Yesterday, on Shabbat, they labored, digging in the rubble of a collapsed  multi-story university building, where cries were heard.  After hours of effort, they succeeded in pulling eight students from that rubble, alive.
These ZAKA members then took time, in the midst of the chaos, to wrap themselves in their tallitot (prayer shawls) and recite their Shabbat prayers. Undoubtedly most if not all of  the Haitians on the scene had never seen such a sight. 
When the men had finished praying, a crowd of people gathered around them and kissed their tallitot.

According to one report, head of the ZAKA mission, Mati Goldstein said:  “With all going on outside, even when things get bad Judaism says we must take a deep breath and go  on to save more people.
“We did everything to save lives. People asked, ‘Why are you here? There are no Jews here’, but we are here because the Torah orders us to save lives.”
At one point, when things were very grim, Goldstein reported that one mission member started to sing, Heveinu Shalom Aleichem (We bring peace to you.)  “I had tears in my  eyes,” he said.
 What is exceedingly important to the mission is making their Israeli identity very clear.  And so, in this regard, you can help Israel by sharing this broadly and letting the world know  what we are all about.

There is no excuse for the behavior of Jewish gangsters in the 1920s and 1930s. The best known Jewish gangsters – Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Longy Zwillman, Moe Dalitz –  were involved in violent criminal racketeering. They were not nice men.

Nonetheless, during the rise of American Nazism in the 1930s they proved staunch defenders of the Jewish people.

The 1930s were a period of rampant anti-Semitism in America, William Pelley of Minneapolis, among others, openly called for Jews to be driven from positions of responsibility, if  not from the country itself.

Organized Brown Shirts in New York and Silver Shirts in Minneapolis outraged and terrorized American Jewry. The gangsters were asked to break up American Nazi rallies.

Historian Robert Rockaway writing in the journal of the American Jewish Historical Society, notes that German-American Bund rallies in the New York City area posed a dilemma  for mainstream Jewish leaders. They wanted the rallies stopped, but had no legal grounds on which to do so. New York State Judge Nathan Perlman personally contacted Meyer
Lansky to ask him to disrupt the Bund rallies, with the proviso that Lansky’s henchmen stop short of killing any Bundists.  Lansky accepted all of Perlman’s terms except one: he  would take no money for the work.  Lansky later observed, “I was a Jew and felt for those Jews in Europe who were suffering. They were my brothers.”

For months, Lansky’s workmen effectively broke up one Nazi rally after another. As Rockaway notes, “Nazi arms, legs and ribs were broken and skulls were cracked, but no one  died.”

Lansky recalled breaking up a Brown Shirt rally in the Yorkville section of Manhattan: “The speakers started ranting. There were only fifteen of us, but we went into action.  Most  of the Nazis panicked and ran out. We chased them and beat them up… We wanted to show them that Jews would not always sit back and accept insults.”

In Minneapolis, William Dudley Pelley organized a Silver Shirt Legion to “rescue” America from an imaginary Jewish-Communist conspiracy. In Pelley’s own words, just as  “Mussolini and his Black Shirts saved Italy and as Hitler and his Brown Shirts saved Germany,” he would save America from Jewish communists. Minneapolis gambling czar  David Berman confronted Pelley’s Silver Shirts on behalf of the Minneapolis Jewish community.

Berman learned that Silver Shirts were mounting a rally at Lodge. When the Nazi leader called for all the Jews in the city to be expelled, or worse, Berman and his associates burst  in to the room and started cracking heads. After ten minutes, they had emptied the hall.  Berman took the microphone and announced, “This is a warning. Anybody who says
anything against Jews gets the same treatment. Only next time it will be worse.” After Berman broke up two more rallies, there were no more public Silver Shirt meetings in  Minneapolis.

No one should paint gangsters as heroes. As historian Rockaway points out in ‘But They Were Good to their Mothers’; whatever good they did does not remove the great evil they  perpetrated.  We can learn the remarkable nature of the Jewish soul; no matter how low one may sink, the bond to the Jewish people is never totally severed.

Dedicated by Baruch & Miriam Stehley in honor of their children Aaron, Elie, and Talya.

Rabbi Lederman is spiritual leader of Congregation Kehillas Torah in San Diego

Pshaw! said the Red Sea, it’s only Moses

January 30, 2010 Leave a comment

By Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal

SAN DIEGO — Despite his role as the rescuer of Israel, the Torah takes great pain to de-emphasize the role of Moses in the Exodus. Credit for the miracles is given to God alone, Moses dies without entering the Promised Land, and no one knows where he is buried.

This tradition is carried forward by the rabbis of the Talmudic period. One famous example is the exclusion of Moses from the Passover Haggadah. Not only is Moses not mentioned but the rabbis made clear in the Haggadah’s text that the Children of Israel left Egypt, “Not by the hands of an angel, Not by the hands of a messenger, But the Holy One Blessed be Himself in His own Glory [took the Israelites out of Egypt].”

Moses was not a magician. He could not perform miracles or manipulate the natural world. He was a prophet. A prophet’s job was to communicate the word of God, nothing more and nothing less. God is the Source of all power and glory in the universe.

A midrash in the Mechilta (a collection of midrashim based on the book of Exodus) makes the same point dramatically through a parable.

When the Children of Israel were trapped at the edge of the Red Sea, “Moses held out his arm over the sea.” (Ex. 14:2) According to the Mechilta, the sea defied Moses and stood fast. Moses said to the sea, “Split!” but the sea remained as it was. Moses then lifted his staff. The sea was unconvinced.

To what may this be compared? To a human king who had two gardens, one in front of the other. The king sold the inner garden but when the purchaser tried to enter it through the front garden, the king’s guard blocked his path. The purchaser told the guard that he had the king’s permission. The guard stood fast. The purchaser showed the guard the contract. The guard stood fast.

Finally the king came to the garden and guard finally allowed the purchaser passage to his garden.

The buyer was perplexed. “I told you that I had the king’s authority to enter but you refused to let me in. Now you can’t do enough to hurry me in.”

The guard replied, “It is not because of anything you have done that I let you in. It is the king I fear!”

Thus it was with Moses. When Moses commanded the sea in God’s name, the sea ignored him. It was only when God revealed God’s Presence that the sea split, as it says in the book of Psalms “The sea saw and fled…Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord.” (Psalm 114:3-7)

The midrash may also be making two additional points about the nature of prophecy. The first is that human beings must be cautious about believing those who speak in the name of God. Just because they use God’s name does not mean that God sent them. The only way to decide whether a prophet is a true or false prophet is by seeing if their words come true: “I will raise up a prophet for them from among their own people, like yourself [Moses]: I will put My words in his mouth and he will speak to them all that I command him; …But any prophet who presumes to speak in My name an oracle that I did not command him to utter, or who speaks in the name of other gods-that prophet shall die.

“And should you ask yourselves, “How can we know that the oracle was not spoken by the Lord?”-if the prophet speaks in the name of the Lord and the oracle does not come true, that oracle was not spoken by the Lord; the prophet has uttered it presumptuously: do not stand in dread of him.” (Deut. 18:15-22)

According the midrash, the Red Sea refused to believe Moses until God revealed Godself directly. The proof of Moses’ words were in the miracle itself.

The second point the midrash makes may be a polemic against the miracles of Jesus as found in the Christian Bible. According to the Christian Bible Jesus performed many miracles in his lifetime. The rabbis reject these reports and teach us that only God can perform miracles, and not human beings.

Although Christians may answer that Jesus and God are one, for the Rabbis this impossibility goes without saying. “Hear, O Israel, Adonai is our God and Adonai is One!”

Rabbi Rosenthal is the spiritual leader of Tifereth Israel Synagogue in San Diego