Archive for April 11, 2010

The Jews Down Under … Roundup of Australian Jewish News

April 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Garry Fabian

Compiled by Garry Fabian

Donors warned to consider donations

MELBOURNE, 7 April – Jewish people should  carefully examine the ideologies of humanitarian groups they donate to, an aid expert warned this  week, after it was revealed that an  Australian-funded soccer stadium in the West Bank  has been named after a leading terrorist.

Jewish Aid Australia (JAA) CEO Gary Samowitz said  donors need to be diligent when deciding where to give their charity.

“A lot of the time, they don’t know where their funding is going. They just give, and then they get a nasty surprise,” he said.

Samowitz was commenting after news emerged that Palestinian authorities are planning to name a  sporting complex in Jenin, which contains a  soccer field funded by World Vision Australia, the Abu Jihad Youth City.

Abu Jihad, also known as Khalil al-Wazir, was a commander of Fatah’s armed wing and plotted
several attacks on Israel in the 1970s and 1980s.

A World Vision Australia spokesperson has stated the aid group did not have anything to do with the naming of the complex.

“Subsequent to our work establishing the soccer field, the governor of Jenin and the ministry of
youth and sport have embraced it and determined they will build additional sports facilities on the site,” she told media.

Samowitz said that JAA does not work with WorldVision “because we don’t want Jewish funding
going towards a project like this, obviously”.

He said a lot of aid organisations “have quite a firm stance” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

By contrast, JAA recently worked with Care Australia, distributing $140,000 in funds raised
by the Jewish community towards the Haiti earthquake appeal. “Care Australia are
non-political and non-religious .We’ve met with them and we’re assured they’re an organisation we can trust and they’re not anti-Israel.”

Community mourns Nehama Patkin

MELBOURNE, 7 April -The arts and education communities are in mourning following the deathof acclaimed pianist Nehama Patkin, aged 70, on the weekend.

Patkin died of complications related to an infection in her hip and was buried Sunday at the
Melbourne Chevra Kadisha cemetery in Lyndhurst.

Patkin’s parents, Benzion and Hemda, migrated to Australia from Palestine in 1929. Benzion was instrumental in the establishment of Mount Scopus Memorial College and Patkin was part of the school’s first enrolment of students in 1949.

At the age of four, Patkin began learning the piano, starting a lifelong passion for music.

After completing her studies at Mount Scopus, she attended the University of Melbourne and
graduated with a bachelor of music in 1959, followed eight years later by a masters degree.

She played piano in competitions and was trained in guitar, oboe, flute and dancing, with further study to teach creative movement dancing.

Patkin was involved in a Jewish theatre group, the Habima Players, and it was there that she met Peter Grodeck. They were married in 1959.

The renowned performer’s involvement in music continued to grow, becoming an accompanist for ballet schools. She was also one of the first presenters on the ABC TV series Playschool.

In 1970, she composed the musical score for The Australian Ballet Company’s  production Arena, which was performed around Australia.

Over the years, she played piano concertos with all the Australian symphony orchestras, as well as guest appearances with orchestras in Brazil, Hawaii and Germany. She was also awarded life membership of the Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Patkin was a regular performer at community functions and was director of Victoria’s Israeli
Independence Day celebrations for eight years, as well as directing similar functions interstate.

A member of the board of governors of the Malcolm Sargent Cancer Fund for Children, she also
received a Churchill Fellowship in 2003, the Order of Australia (OAM) medal in 1998 for
service to the community, and was appointed an Australia Day ambassador in 2008.

Patkin was a lecturer at the Victorian College of the Arts and established the Young Musicians of Excellence to provide high quality orchestral music for children.

She leaves a partner Kenneth Madl, two sons, Anton and Damien Grodeck, and two grandchildren, Ben and Adam Grodeck.

When Ben graduated from Mount Scopus Memorial College in 2008, he created history in becoming the first third-generation graduate of the school. Mount Scopus Memorial College principal Rabbi James Kennard said: “The Mount Scopus community
fondly remembers Nehama Patkin as one of its first students.

“Her immense contribution to the fields of music and music education, her roles as teacher, mother and grandmother of our students and enthusiastic supporter of the college, make us proud to have counted Nehama as one of our graduates.”
Dream start for 2010 season for young footballers

SYDNEY, 8 April – Maccabi HaKoah’s Youth Development sides have immediately showed the
fruits of their pre-season labour, picking up four wins from five starts to kick-off their 2010
campaign in late March. The club travelled to Nowra, where they impressed against Southern
Region, a club that was in the Super League in 2009.

The under-13s set the tone, notching a 1-0 win despite a first half that would have delighted coach Barry Walker.

Only some brilliant goalkeeping kept out Jake Berkowitz, Zach Edelstein and Jordan Ozana.
Barely five minutes had elapsed in the second period when Mikey Herman slipped a seemingly
innocuous shot past the otherwise impeccable keeper, but the rest of the half was spend fighting superbly.

Dan Engelman and Simon Rouse led the way, while David Booth’s two crucial saves ensured a clean sheet.

The under-14s went down 1-2, but showed enough promise to please coach Nick Tredler. Anton
Loutas opened the scoring, single-handedly beating the defence on a run from midfield, before finding the net in spectacular fashion.

Hakoah found themselves on the back-foot in the second half, but despite the outstanding form of Max Nightingale in goals, Southern got the points.

The under-15s took to the field with the memory of their coach Iggy Grey still burning fondly.
After a good spell of early possession, Sam Wrublewski launched a drive at full throttle,
which flew into the top left corner.

Midfielders Robbie Ezekiel, Josh Orly, Ilan Kessler and Josh Shubitz soon took charge. With
10 minutes to go in the first half, Justin Malek stepped up and scored from 25 metres out.

The boys wavered under the relenting heat in the second period and Nowra took possession and had several concerted moves on goal. Engelman, Schwartz, Hamburger and Karpin maintained a solid defence to keep an impressive clean sheet in a 2-0 win.

The under-16s showed solid form to storm home after an early deficit to win 6-4. Maccabi took a commanding lead before the heat took its toll and both sides succumbed to late goals.

Rami Tal (2), Aydin Dervis (2), Jake Wakil and Jake Nightingale got on the board.

The under-18s ran riot, winning 12-1, with Daniel Toblib bagging four goals, Martin Baer 2, Jack
Watts 2, and Josh Grunfeld, Max Kanicevich, Steven Filler and Ollie Corey the other scorers.

Meanwhile, the State League senior side warmed up for the season with a 2-2 draw, while the
reserves won 1-0, thanks to Hayim Ayalon.

Real Estate Agent targeted over Israel support

MELBOURNE, 9 April – A local real estate agent was accused of “supporting 62 years of terror”
last week after erecting a sign backing Israel ahead of Yom Ha’atzmaut.

The slur was made in an anonymous letter sent to LJ Hooker Elsternwick.

The letter also called the agents “traitors” and included the threat, “take that board down or your business will suffer”.

Director of the family run company Alex Flamm, who together with his sons, Oren and Golan, are the faces of the agency, said the company has never been targeted like that before.

“[I feel] absolutely ropeable, angry and infuriated by the ignorance of the idiot that
sent it,” he said. “The person who sent the letter is voicing his patriotism the only way they know how and that is by threats, while at the same time accuse the Jewish people of having
achieved statehood by using “terror”.”

Flamm said he is not “paranoid” about anti-Semitism, rather, he is proud of his Jewish
heritage and disappointed about the “few morons” who “are capable of writing hate mail filled with their version of terrorism and threats under the guise of their patriotism”.

Flamm has reported the letter to the police and Community Security Group.

While the anonymous nature of the threat makes it difficult for the police to act on, Senior
Constable Deryn Boote from Caulfield Police Station has referred the matter to the Divisional
Intelligence Unit based at Moorabbin Police Station.

That unit was set up in recent years to gather information on anti-Semitic and Israel-related
offences in Victoria. The sign, which was situated on Glen Eira Road, was still visible
early this week, but Flamm said it would be removed to protect his business.

LJ Hooker is one of a handful of real estate agents who are active in supporting the local Jewish community and Israel.

Love is the perfect recipe for Cellulloid Soup

MELBOURNE, 9 April – Kosher Lovin’ is the catchy title of this year’s Celluloid Soup Film
Festival, which is seeking entries of short films that touch on aspects of love in the Jewish community.

The festival aims to bring the community together, fostering talent and creativity through
film, at the same time exploring the cultural and religious experiences of the Jewish community

This is the 12th year that Celluloid Soup has been held and it even boasts an Oscar winner
among its past entrants – 2008 Academy Award winner Eva Orner had an entry in the 1998 competition.

“The idea is to have fun and present an exciting festival of films,” said producer Adam Krongold,
who is guiding this year’s festival.

“All people have to do is make a film on the Jewish theme of Kosher Lovin’, make it with
passion and ensure that the result is no longer than seven minutes.”

Krongold said the aim of Celluloid Soup is to promote awareness of the Jewish community through the medium of film.

On the Celluloid Soup website there are some ideas – serious and tongue-in-cheek – on the
theme of Kosher Lovin’ including “Bubba, I’d love another piece of brisket”, Love thy neighbour, and Jewish relationships with the non-Jewish such as love of Kevin Bacon or just bacon.

Earlier this year Celluloid Soup held a workshop covering all facets of filmmaking to help
prospective entrants learn more about the processes involved.

The course was held over five Sundays in conjunction with audiovisual resource centre Open
Channel and the Jewish Museum of Australia, and was attended by 14 people.

“It’s the first time we had run a course as part of the festival. We provided all the equipment
and covered everything from idea generation to editing,” said Krongold. “We received a lot of
good feedback and plan to run the course again before the next festival. And two films that were made in the workshop will be entered into Celluloid Soup.”

Krongold said that anybody could be a filmmaker, thanks to the low cost of digital video cameras.

“Even if you have a mobile phone that can take video, you are a filmmaker. But with more
understanding and guidance you can make a better film,” he said.

“It is important to use the medium to tell a good story and to make it engaging. It’s like telling
a joke – you don’t have much time to engage the viewer. A good story is important along with good filmmaking technique.”

Krongold, 38, said he has been involved in filmmaking since he was 10 whe he borrowed his father’s Super 8mm camera to make a home movie.

“It’s fun to look at those old movies again, which are very grainy compared to today’s digital quality.”

In 2002, Krongold directed a short film titled Not Without my Sheitel, which was entered into Celluloid Soup.

“I helped write the script and directed it when the director pulled out. Wedidn’t win the competition, but it was great to see it on the big screen and appreciate the fact
that it was being seen by people,” he said.

In 2005 Krongold left his work in the financial sector to study drama at the Victorian College of the Arts.

“The course included editing and film production, which I found very enjoyable.”

He also been involved in the production of several short films, works on radio station 3RRRR
and appears on the community TV show, The Shtick.

In 2006 Krongold was host of the Celluloid Soup awards night, in 2008 he joined the committee and this year he took on the voluntary role of festival producer.

“It’s important for people to get involved with the festival. When Eva Orner won her 2008 Academy Award (for Best Documentary for Taxi to the Dark Side) she said it was very rewarding being creative and important to be involved in filmmaking.”

This year the Celluloid Soup finalists will be screened at a gala night at The Astor Theatre, St Kilda on October 21.

“The judging panel will pick the best films from the entries, so the bigger the pool the better the quality.”

While the festival takes place in Melbourne, Krongold encourages entrants from around Australia to send in their films.

As part of Celluloid Soup there will also be a series of lectures from people in the industry.
On May 6 there will be a production and film writing workshop with producer Daniel Scharf; on
July 8 Shaun Miller will discuss the legal issues involved in making films; and on August 12 a
panel discussion on “Jews and Film” will feature Michael Hirsch from Working Dog filmmakers,
Natalie Miller of Sharmill Films and Roadshow Films managing director Joel Perlman.

Understand Israel, Australian Opposition Leader urges

CANBERRA,  8 April – Australian Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s warning to Kevin Rudd not to follow Britain’s lead and expel an Israeli diplomat has driven a wedge between the
Government’s and Coalition’s positions on Israel.

Together with Opposition foreign affairs spokesperson Julie Bishop’s call for restraint
over January’s passport forgeries, Abbott’s comments last weekend indicate an emerging Middle East policy different to Rudd’s.

It also looks as though the Middle East could become a hot political issue in the run-up to
this year’s federal election, with Bishop describing any potential diplomatic expulsion as “a vote-grabbing exercise”.

“It would be highly inappropriate [for the government] to take any action in the absence of evidence,” Bishop said.

She predicted the Government may release details of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) inquiry into the forgeries to distract the electorate from the influx of asylum seekers.

“Regrettably, that is typical Kevin Rudd . he does seek to find distractions to divert from
government failures,” Bishop said.

Abbott entered the fray after Rudd last week said the Government had not yet decided how to respond to the allegations of faked Australian passports.

An AFP investigation into Israel’s possible involvement is underway.

While the Liberal leader said he does not condone the forgeries, he gave a sober assessment of
Israel’s vulnerability and said any Israeli involvement should be viewed in that context.

The forgeries, which included four Australian passports, were apparently used to eliminate key
Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel in January. Fingers have been pointed at Israeli spy agency Mossad over the assassination.

“We can never forget that Israel is a country under existential threat in a way Australians
find difficult to understand. It’s also the only pluralist democracy in the Middle East,” Abbott
told The Weekend Australian. “It strikes me that it would be an overreaction to expel an Israeli diplomat.”

Abbott has been a long-time advocate of shared values between Canberra and Jerusalem.

The Coalition leader’s bid to supersize his commitment to Israel over the passport
allegations has placed pressure on Rudd to preserve his government’s credentials on Israel,
while the Jewish State weathers a crisis with Washington over new housing in Jerusalem.

In a flurry of developments, the AFP investigation was announced after Foreign
Minister Stephen Smith slammed any Israeli involvement as “not the act of a friend”, and
Israeli Ambassador Yuval Rotem was publicly named and shamed. Australia then abstained from a United Nations vote on the Goldstone report that Canberra was expected to oppose, but denied the vote change was linked to the passport affair.

Now Israel supporters fear the eviction of an Israeli diplomat could signal a true cooling in
Australia’s relationship with Israel.

Abbott and Bishop’s rallying call followed the Prime Minister’s wait-and-see approach, which he
conveyed on ABC Radio last week. It is known that Rudd has received a British report that concludes it is “highly likely” Israel had misused Britons’ passports.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Malcolm Fraser has backed calls for an Israeli diplomat to be expelled from Australia.

In an interview on ABC Radio on Monday, Fraser said Israel’s conduct was “totally and absolutely unforgivable and that Australia’s disapproval should be registered by an action not less than that which the British took”.

“I think there’s been a long history, if you like, of double standards. People will not do, in
relation to Israel, what they would do if the same action was conducted by some other country.”

Zionist Council of Victoria president Dr Danny Lamm told ABC presenter Jon Faine that Fraser has “an unhealthy obsession” with Israel.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Robert Goot also responded, saying “Now is the time to support and not isolate or punish Israel for either its policy on construction in
Jerusalem or any unproved transgression regarding passports.”

Lights …but no action

MELBOURNE, 9 April – In what is becoming a comedy of errors, observant Jews who do not press thebuttons to activate pedestrian crossing on Shabbat and holidays, were again left stranded at some key intersections in Caulfield and surrounding suburbs over Pesach, after a VicRoads plan to switch traffic lights to automatic failed.

Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) executive director Geoffrey Zygier said he
received reports about lights staying on manual at a couple of corners and he personally noticed that the lights at the corner of Glenferrie and Malvern Roads, near the Chabad House of Malvern, were not on automatic.

The light failures triggered an apology from VicRoads, with Duncan Elliott, regional director
for the Metropolitan South East region, stating that some lights “were not automated during this week’s holy period. VicRoads apologises for this oversight and will ensure that all lights are
automated during all future Jewish holy periods”.

Around 18 months ago, after two Jewish pedestrians were approached by police for
crossing the street illegally during the 2008 high holy days, a flurry of activity resulted in
an action plan involving the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, police, VicRoads and City of Glen Eira, which was meant to solve the problem by automating lights on Shabbat and yom tovs.

But the plan fell flat at its first major test, Pesach last year, and some corners also stayed on
manual lights during last year’s high holy days.

Zygier said this week the problem intersections over Pesach this year were in VicRoads’ domain, but he suspects that the plan was snagged by “staff turnover” in the organisation.
However, it was learned that the irregularity of when Jewish holidays fall on the secular calendar makes fully automatic programming for yom tovs difficult. Zygier complained to VicRoads about the latest system failure.

“It will be a case of reminding VicRoads every time there is a Jewish holiday,” he said,
although he believes the system should work without prompts from the community.

In 2008, six crossings, at Kooyong and Balaclava, Kooyong and Glenhuntly, Hawthorn and Glenhuntly, Hawthorn and Balaclava, Malvern and Glenferrie and Glen Eira and Kooyong Roads, were added to 18 existing intersections where traffic lights are
automated on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

Local talent at Israel’s celebrations

MELBOURNE, 9 April – Following its success last year, Victoria’s Yom Ha’atzmaut annual gala
concert will again focus on home-grown talent.

Traditional favourites, including singer Brett Kaye and the Central Shule choir, will join more
contemporary beats from DJ Benny B, the first DJ to take part in the show. A 20-piece orchestra will also feature, in addition to performers on the bongos and oud, a middle-Eastern string instrument.

“There will be something for everybody,” concert producer and executive director of the Zionist Council of Victoria, Ginette Searle said of the April 19 show. “We are looking forward to what will be a very jubilant and exciting night.”

Past musical director Adam Starr will return to the role once again, however he has been
conducting meetings and rehearsals over Skype from Jerusalem, having moved to Israel for the year.

He will return to Melbourne a week-and-a-half before the concert to continue rehearsing, this time on a face-to-face basis.

Sydney performer Natalie Gamsu with, what Searle called, her “amazingly, powerful voice” will
headline the concert, while Deborah Leiser-Moore will return as show director and Guy Dvir-Ovadia as audio-visual producer and choreographer.

With the audience always keen to get involved, Searle said there will be a sing-a-long segment
lead by visiting emissaries from Israel and musician Alana Bruce, who will encourage the audience to be a part of the show.

“This is how our community celebrates Israel and Yom Ha’atzmaut,” Searle said. “We always need to get behind and support Israel. This is how we celebrate the relationship between Australian Jews and Israel.”

The backdrop of the concert will feature video footage shot by Dvir-Ovadia on a recent trip to
Israel. Other video clips will include surprise tributes and messages from some of Israel’s most famous people.

It will be the last year the concert is held at the Art’s Centre’s Hamer Hall for a number of
years due to renovation plans. With tickets currently on sale, Searle said the booking system couldn’t be easier.

Flare-up over priest’s remarks

SYDNEY, 10 April – Jewish-Catholic relations in Australia will not be damaged by offensive
comments made by a high-ranking Catholic priest during Easter, according to interfaith relations expert Josie Lacey.

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, who it has been reported is the only person allowed to preach to
Pope Benedict XVI, quoted a letter from a “Jewish friend” at an Easter service.

In a speech that was reproduced in the official Vatican newspaper, the priest said the attacks
against the Church over allegations it had covered up child abuse were just like the “more
shameful aspects of anti-Semitism”.

He soon issued an apology, asking for forgiveness and distancing the Pope from the address, saying the Pontiff had not been informed of it before the service.

Sydney-based Lacey called on Father Cantalamessa to reveal his anonymous friend. “If you don’t have a name, it is an allegation, it is nothing,” she said of his statement.

The chair of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies interfaith committee said relations between the
Catholic Church and Jewish community in Australia are strong, despite some concerns about this papal regime. “I think people have to realise, even the hierarchy in the Catholic Church have their own opinions, there are not universal, blanket opinions about anything.”

She agreed that every Easter, matters of contention between the two faith communities seem
to arise, and it was something that a Jewish delegation to World Youth Day had sought to rectify.

These sorts of offensive flare-ups are not expected to stop until the whole Catholic world
accepts the ruling from Vatican II in 1965 that Jews were not responsible for the crucifixion of
Jesus and calling for an end to anti-Semitism, Lacey said.

“Although the enlightened Catholics understand Vatican II, there are all these people who have
never heard of it from Third World countries, and I think it is still in their folklore.


Fabian is Australia bureau chief for San Diego Jewish World


Suspected mastermind of Auschwitz sign theft to be extradited to Poland on Friday

April 11, 2010 Leave a comment

(WJC)–The Swedish former neo-Nazi leader is to be extradited to Poland on Friday over the theft of the ‘Arbeit macht frei’ sign from the former Auschwitz death camp, Polish police have said. “He will be transported Friday to Warsaw and then to Krakow where prosecutors are investigating the case,” police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski told the AFP news agency. Högström, 34, was arrested in February in Stockholm over the theft of the notorious sign from the gate of the former Nazi death camp in December 2009. In March, a Stockholm court allowed his extradition to Poland to stand trial there.

Anders Högström

Högström in 1994 founded the National Socialist Front, a Swedish neo-Nazi movement which he headed for five years before quitting. He told Swedish media he was to act as an intermediary to pick up the sign and sell it to a buyer, but claimed that he informed Polish police about the people behind the plot.

Polish police recovered the metal sign, whose German inscription means “Work will set you free” a few days after it was stolen. They arrested and charged five Polish men. The sign, which had been cut into three parts, has long symbolized the horror of Auschwitz, where an estimated 1.1 million people, most of them Jews, were murdered between 1940 and 1945.


Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.

Ahmadinejad calls Obama “inexperienced amateur”

April 11, 2010 Leave a comment

(WJC)–Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has issued a strong personal attack against US President Barack Obama, calling him a “cowboy” who was quick to threaten to use nuclear weapons against America’s enemies. Commenting on new US policy restrictions on the use of nuclear weapons which deliberately excluded Iran, Ahmadinejad said Iran would not yield to threats.

“Obama made these latest remarks because he is inexperienced and an amateur politician,” the hard-line Iranian leader said on state television. “American politicians are like cowboys. Whenever they have legal shortcomings, their hands go to their guns.”

Obama made a diplomatic overture to Tehran soon after taking office in 2009, urging it to “unclench its fist.” However, since then a confrontation has intensified over Iran’s nuclear program. Obama last week also said new UN sanctions against Iran should be adopted “within weeks.”

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said that China would join talks with the United States, Britain, Russia, France and Germany in New York on Thursday to discuss possible sanctions against Iran, but he indicated this was not necessarily a sign that China was dropping its resistance to sanctions. “Negotiations will be long, will they be over by the end of April? I hope so,” Kouchner said.

Meanwhile, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi has again warned Israel not to launch a military attack. “If they attack Iran, possibly no trace will be left from the Zionist regime,” Vahidi was quoted as saying by ‘Mehr’ news agency.


Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.

London performance by anti-Semitic French comedian canceled after protests

April 11, 2010 Leave a comment


(WJC)–A performance by the anti-Semitic French comedian Dieudonné in London has been cancelled following complaints from the Jewish community, the ‘Jewish Chronicle’ reports. Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, who was last year fined by a French court for performing an anti-Semitic sketch, was due to perform in Kensington this weekend.

Dieudonné previously stood for the European Parliament as head of the Anti-Zionist Party (see campaign poster above), which he formed together with Alain Soral, an ex-member of the extreme-right National Front of Jean-Marie Le Pen. After discovering that he was due to appear in London, campaigners urged the hotel where the comedian was due to appear to reject the booking and cancel the event.

A spokesman for the Millennium Gloucester Hotel and Conference Centre said: “It’s not going to take place. We had an enquiry from someone representing Dieudonné and then recently we had some calls from the Jewish community, telling us what the situation is with him. We decided not to pursue the booking and now it will not happen.”

Last year, judges fined Dieudonné €10,000 (US$ 13,500) for “public anti-Semitic insults” and awarded the same amount in legal costs to the organizations that had sued him, including the Union of Jewish Students in France. In October 2009, a London theater also canceled a performance by the stand-up comedian.


Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

Adventures in San Diego Jewish History, April 16, 1954, Part III

April 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Compiled by Gail Umeham

Editorial Page
Southwestern Jewish Press April 16, 1954 Page 4

Refugees Show The Way
The New Life Club of San Diego is only 5 months old.  Its members are “new Americans”—displaced Jewish persons who have emigrated to the United States in the last 10 years.  Most of its members have suffered great personal tragedy in their lives.  Years in concentration camps, brutal losses of members of the family—these are but a few of the unpleasant memories most of these people share.

More than any other factor, one organization has helped these people from the dark days in Europe.  The organization is the United Jewish Appeal and the Émigré Committee of the United Jewish Fund, which is now conducting its annual drive for proceeds through the Combined Jewish Appeal of San Diego.  The members of San Diego’s New Life Club will always remember the life-building program of the United Jewish Fund—that helped feed, clothe, shelter and assist them in starting their new life.

At their last meeting, the thankful people who make up the New Life Club, all of whom were helped themselves even as recently as last year, unanimously agreed to the golden rule principle.  Besides their individual contributions, the New Life Club is giving fifty dollars to the United Jewish Fund of San Diego, so some unfortunate refugees may be able to start a new life as they have done.

Passover and Easter
The annual festival of Passover, which we begin to observe on April 18, marks history’s first rebellion against human slavery.

As we commemorate the brave stand which the Israelites, under the leadership of Moses, took against Pharaoh three millennia ago, we are seized by a sense of gratitude to God for having planted within us the impulse to toil for human freedom.  Even as we rejoice, however, we are aware that in every age there are tyrants and tyrannical regimes which seek to deny liberty to others.  Against these forces it is our duty to do battle until all men are liberated from bondage and error. 

We who are affiliated with religious organizations are especially obligated to hearken to the Passover message, so stirringly conveyed in prayers and hymns in our temples and at our festive board.  Our holiday cheer will be mingles with the determination to do our share to free the victims of totalitarianism, of demagoguery, of feudalism within our nation and throughout the world.

This year the first day of Passover coincides with Easter Sunday.  We pray that the conjunction of these two sacred seasons will strengthen the bond between Judaism and Christianity.  Respecting our differences, may we yet together rededicate ourselves to the Passover mission of removing the shackles of slavery, misery, and hunger from the world’s downtrodden and to the Easter task of revitalizing the spirit of holiness among all the children of men.

Sisterhood Presents Regional Dir. Apr. 28
Southwestern Jewish Press April 16, 1954 Page 4

The next Luncheon and Meeting of Temple Beth Israel Sisterhood will be Wednesday, April 28, at 11:45 at the Temple Center.

Sisterhood is happy to be able to be the first to bring a notable speaker, Rabbi Isiah Zeldin who will have as his subject “Freedom of the Pulpit.” Rabbi Zeldin, Director of the West Coast Region of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and Dean of the Los Angeles College of Jewish Studies is well known from coast to coast as an able, interesting and provocative speaker.  There will also be a fine musical program.

Election of officers will be followed by the luncheon for which Jane Drexler and Francis Gordon are co-chairmen, and Mrs. Paul Merkowitz and Charlotte Haas are captains.  Make your reservations early by calling Charlotte Haas—CYpress 5-2040  or Mrs. Paul Merkowitz, CYpress 6-1368.

Fund Warns of Israel’s Danger and Let-Down on Local Needs
Southwestern Jewish Press April 16, 1954 Page 9-10

In view of the present turmoil in the Arab-Jewish situation, Fund authorities relate that it is imperative to exceed San Diego’s 1953 contributions by 20 percent.  Problems arising from the uncertain condition of Jews behind the Iron Curtain, coupled with the daily tension in the news from the Middle East make a simple fact obvious.   Namely, Israel must become a stable nation—without delay.  Its people must be properly housed.  There must be employment available for the many newcomers, as well as those who have already found a refuge there.  The most basic needs of humanity must be supplied to those people.  Donations to the Fund can do this in the most expedient manner.

Fund administrators bring attention to a true, but disconcerting situation—many Jews lose sight of the needs of domestic agencies supported by Jewish Fund proceeds.  The care of the aged, for example, is a duty that must be met, day in and day out. The organization handling this task can easily escape attention, except to those immediately concerned.  Their work does not have the news valuye of a border skirmish in Israel, hence general knowledge of the important work done by the Home for the Aged is often limited to a small segment of local Jewry.

The majority of social services agencies participating in the Fund, operate in a quiet unpublicized way.  A let-down in donations results in either limitations placed on their efficiency, or curtailment of their services.  Rising operating costs and the battle against deficits call for more dollars to enable institutions offering life-saving and life-building programs, a continuity of operations, The City of Hope and the Leo N. Levi Memorial Hospitals can ill afford restrictions on research, care or standards.  Generous contributions to the United Jewish Fund Drive will continue to keep these hospitals outstanding as medical centers.

Contributions to the United Jewish Fund of San Diego may be mailed to their offices, 333 Plaza, San Diego 1, Calif.  The Fund Drive aids 42 separate agencies, both here and abroad.  Louis Moorsteen is the San Diego Fund president and Albert A. Hutler, Executive Director.


“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’s historic places: Mission Trails Regional Park offers insights into Kumeyaay

April 11, 2010 Leave a comment

By Donald H. Harrison

Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO—There are some 40 miles of trails in Mission Trails Regional Park along the San Diego River and surrounding grasslands and mountains. Hikers can view Kumeyaay and Spanish archaeological sites, possibly encounter some endangered animals and some dangerous ones, and be introduced to plants with characteristics so interesting they almost have personalities.

The Kumeyaay Indians were indigenous to the San Diego area, establishing migratory routines here long before Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo claimed California for Spain in 1542. Not unlike modern retirees who spend their winters in warmer climates, the Kumeyaay in winter made their way from the mountains to the coastline, where temperatures were warmer.

The Kumeyaay followed the San Diego River back and forth between their summer and winter homes, setting up temporary campgrounds along the course of the river. At least two grinding rock areas are popular sites testifying to long-time use of the area by the Kumeyaay. At these locations, the Kumeyaay pounded acorns into a powder. Constant repetition of the process over centuries caused bowl-like depressions into the rock surface.

After Father Junipero Serra settled the region in 1769, the Kumeyaay were gathered to Mission San Diego, where they performed labor for the Franciscan padres and were given such names as “Mission Indians” and “Dieguenos.” One great task they performed circa 1813 was the construction of a cement, rock and adobe dam across the San Diego River and the laying of a gravity- flow flume that carried the fresh water to Mission San Diego nearly six miles away. The first dam on the West Coast of the United States, Old Mission Dam is a national historic landmark, well worth exploring.

Ewa'a on patio of Mission Trails Regional Park visitors center

To enhance understanding of the Kumeyaay way of life, Mission Trails Regional Park personnel have constructed and placed in different areas three ewaas—as the Kumeyaay’s temporary thatched lodgings supported by sycamore poles were called. With a small hole on top to let out the smoke, an ewaa provided a place to cook and sleep in relative privacy from animals attracted to Mission Trails Regional Park’s riparian environment.

At the visitor’s center, there are examples of Kumeyaay baskets woven so tightly from local plants that they can carry water. And, there is a re-creation of a Kumeyaay sundial. Chief Ranger Tracey Walker says there are more than two dozen known Kumeyaay archaeological sites in the regional park. To protect these sites against vandalism or trophy hunting, their exact locations are kept secret.

The migratory Kumeyaay were hunters and gatherers, taking fish from the river, eating small game and pounding acorns into a powder from which they leached the tannin and then made into an oatmeal-like staple.

Among the birds of this area are two that are now endangered – the Least Bell’s Vireo and the California Gnatcatcher. The latter makes a mewing sound that might make you think that there is a kitten nearby. A bird of “concern,” though not formally endangered, is the Golden Eagle, according to Walker. They and other predators such as hawks and ravens may be spotted on rock cliffs overlooking areas that became part of the regional park complex after they were quarried.

The antics of the ravens can sometimes provide hikers with considerable entertainment. People who like to watch air shows will appreciate how ravens sometimes will perform “barrel rolls” and other aerobatic stunts, including dropping a stone or a nut from a high precipice and then zooming downward to catch it before it hits the ground.

Among predatory mammals in the area are coyotes, bobcats and an occasional mountain lion, one of which was spotted recently on the hunt not too far from the visitor’s center, causing enough concern that City Councilwoman Marti Emerald, whose district includes the park, cautioned people to avoid hiking alone and to wave their arms and make themselves look bigger in the event a mountain lion ever crossed their trail. Mountain lions typically would rather run than fight.

Mountain lions are territorial, with usually no more than one breeding pair occupying areas of 100 square miles or more—areas, in other words, that are far larger than Mission Trails Regional Park. Walker compared the chances of running into a mountain lion to that of seeing large sharks in the ocean. “Are they there? Yes. Is it likely you’ll see them? No.” To reduce the chances of danger even more, don’t walk alone in the park between the hours of 5 and 8, either in the morning or the afternoon/ evening, Walker suggested. “That’s when mountain lions go ‘shopping.’”

Coyotes and rattlesnakes likewise are dangerous animals, both of which would rather avoid humans. Walker advises people to hike on established paths and not go foraging into the brush, where animals may harm them or where they inadvertently may harm some of the sensitive plant species.

Near the visitor’s center’s amphitheatre is a demonstration path where you can see identified some of the plant species found throughout the park. Among them is the Toyon, also known as the Hollywood, which according to one widespread myth was the inspiration for the name of the famous movie town. The plant also is known as the Holly Berry, which sounds a lot like the name of a popular actress.

The California Wild Rose in summer blooms with pink petals and a yellow center. The Great Marsh Evening Primrose waits until dark to pop open its flowers, closing them up in the morning. The Lemonadeberry, just as its name suggests, can produce a “soothing drink” by soaking its sour berries.

Some plants provide wondrous examples of adaptation. The seeds of the Chamise, for example, are most likely to germinate after a fire. Seeds of the Mission Manzanita, on the other hand, do best after making a trip through a coyote’s digestive system. Ugh.

One endangered species is the Arroyo Willow, which has seeds so small it takes three million of them to weigh one pound, according to a brochure put out by the park staff. Another curiosity is the Flannel Bush, named for the flannel like fuzz on its flowers. Note to historians and to Republicans: the man who discovered this species was the great California “pathfinder” John C. Fremont who was the brand-new Republican party’s first nominee for President in 1856 and also was one of California’s first U.S. senators.

As trails wend their way through the park, one good way for hikers to keep their sense of direction is to look at the mountain sides. Those that are facing north generally have more vegetation than those that face south owing to differential sunlight.

Oh, and when you see plants in the summer that are dried and barren of leaves, don’t make the mistake of assuming that they’re dead. According to park brochures, it is more likely that they are simply dormant, having shed their leaves in an effort to conserve water.

Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World

Night-time artificial light can harm cell division process

April 11, 2010 Leave a comment

HAIFA (Press Release)–Just one “pulse” of artificial light at night disrupts circadian cell division, reveals a new study carried out by Dr. Rachel Ben-Shlomo of the University of Haifa-Oranim Department of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology along with Prof. Charalambos P. Kyriacou of the University of Leicester.

“Damage to cell division is characteristic of cancer, and it is therefore important to understand the causes of this damage,” notes Dr. Ben-Shlomo. The study has been published in the journal Cancer Genetics and Cytogenetics.

The current research was carried out by placing lab mice into an environment where they were exposed to light for 12 hours and dark for 12 hours. During the dark hours, one group of mice was given artificial light for one hour.  Changes in the expression of genes in the rodents’ brain cells were then examined.

Earlier studies that Dr. Ben-Shlomo carried out found that the cells’ biological clock is affected, and in the present research she revealed that the mode of cell division is also harmed and that the transcription of a large number of genes is affected. She states that it is important to note that those genes showing changes in their expression included genes that are connected to the formation of cancer as well as genes that assist in the fight against cancer. “What is certain is that the natural division is affected,” Dr. Ben-Shlomo clarifies.

This research joins earlier studies from the University of Haifa on the effects of exposure to artificial light at night.

Preceding provided by the University of Haifa