Archive for April 22, 2010

In letter, Obama tries to assuage Jewish concerns over US Middle East policy

April 22, 2010 Leave a comment


(WJC)–President Barack Obama has tried to reassure Jews in the United States that his administration’s commitment to Israel remained “unshakable” despite recent tensions between Jerusalem and Washington. In a letter written by Obama to Alan Solow, the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and quoted by the Israeli newspapers ‘Jerusalem Post’ and ‘Haaretz’, Obama highlights the “special relationship with Israel, and that will not change.”

He adds: “Our countries are bound together by shared values, deep and interwoven connections, and mutual interests. Many of the same forces that threaten Israel also threaten the United States and our efforts to secure peace and stability in the Middle East. Our alliance with Israel serves our national security interests.”
“As we continue to strive for lasting peace agreements between Israel, the Palestinians, and Israel’s neighbors, all sides should understand that our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable and that no wedge will be driven between us. We will have our differences, but when we do, we will work to resolve them as close allies,” the president writes.
He continues: “For over 60 years, American presidents have believed that pursuing peace between Arabs and Israelis is in the national security interests of the United States.” He also addressed the peace negotiations, asserting that he would not impose “peace from the outside; it must be negotiated directly by the leaders who are required to make the hard choices and compromises that take on history.”

Last week, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder wrote an open letter to Obama in which he lamented the “the dramatic deterioration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Israel” in recent months. Obama’s letter to Solow was the first official reaction by the White House on criticism by Jewish organizations in America of the president’s handling of US-Israeli relations.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the Obama administration’s demands to freeze construction in the eastern part of Jerusalem. The Prime Minister’s Bureau responded on Thursday to a ‘Wall Street Journal’ report that the Israeli government had delivered over the weekend its most substantive response yet to that US request. According to the report, Netanyahu did agree to a number of peace-building measures demanded by the Obama administration, including the release of some Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israel, an ease on Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip and efforts toward improving Palestinian movement in the West Bank.


Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.


Jewish school in Ukraine vandalized by neo-Nazis

April 22, 2010 1 comment


(WJC)–A Jewish school in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, run by the Chabad Lubavitch movement, has been vandalized, presumably by members of a local neo-Nazi group. Slogans such as “Happy Holocaust”, “Death to Jews” and “Death to Israel” were daubed on the walls of the school building.

Security forces in Ukraine presume the attack was carried out on the anniversary of Hitler’s birthday, 20 April. Moti Levenhartz, the director of the Chabad Youth Organization in Kiev, said he feared for children’s lives.
In 2007, the same school was attacked by arsonists, but at the time the incident was attributed to youth vandalism. Levenhartz now says there is no more place for speculation. “It could be that we were naïve. I am concerned for the Jewish children. I have two kids in this school, one is a year and six months, and one is three years old, but all the kids in the school are like my own children.”


Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.

Abbas spokesman denies Palestinian leader is suffering from severe heart problems

April 22, 2010 Leave a comment

(WJC)–A spokesman for  Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has denied media reports that Abbas is suffering from severe heart problems. “Reports about the president being ill are not true. The president is in good health,” spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah was quoted by the news agency ‘Reuters’ as saying. Unnamed Palestinian officials told ‘Reuters’ that Abbas had been suffering from back pain since falling during a visit to Tunisia last month. But they also denied that the 75-year-old, Western-backed leader was seriously ill.

Abbas became president of the Palestinian Authority and leader of the dominant Fatah movement within the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) after the death of Yasser Arafat in late 2004. His presidential term should have expired, triggering new elections, but the split between the PLO and the Islamist Hamas movement, which seized the Gaza Strip from Abbas’s forces in 2007, has left the constitutional processes in limbo. The PLO, of which Hamas is not a member, has extended Abbas’s term.


Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.

A Jewish license plate–and a pretty one at that!

April 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Hebrew- Pretty One

SAN DIEGO — Our license plate-spotter-in-chief Melanie Rubin found this Hebrew transliteration meaning “Pretty One.”  The intriguing question, of course, is whether the license plate refers to the driver, the car, or to the language in which the sentiment is expressed!

We add ‘Yofi 1″ to our online collection of Jewish-interest license plates.  If you have or see one, please send us a photo at and we’ll post it.

Adventures in San Diego Jewish History, April 30, 1954

April 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Compiled by Gail Umeham

Sunday, May 16 Chosen For ‘Magic Carpet’ Day Drive
Southwestern Jewish Press April 30, 1954 Page 1

As the United Jewish Fund’s Combined Appeal continued to move forward, chairman Sol Price and co-chairman Seymour Rabin announced the appointment of Edward Baranov to lead “Magic Carpet Day.”

The one-day solicitation, in which over 200 volunteer workers will “knock on the door” of the home of every Jewish family in the community who has not contributed to the United Jewish Fund campaign, will take place on Sunday, May 16, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. according to the announcement from the chairman.

Mr. Baranov, local certified public accountant and active worker in many Jewish community activities, will appoint captains for the fourteen district areas to be covered in this phase of the campaign.

Baranov, a member of the boards of the Jewish Community Center, the Cancer Society, March of Dimes and Tifereth Israel Synagogue, indicated that the same organizational setup and pattern used in the past Magic Carpet Day campaigns will be continued this year.

Volunteer workers will be needed for “Magic Carpet” Day and all those who can work on Sunday, May 16, are urged to contact the Fund office at BE-2-5172 or Edward Baranov, chairman, at BE-2-3084.

Christian Comm. At 65% of U.J.A. Drive
Southwestern Jewish Press April 30, 1954 Page 1

The Christian Committee of the United Jewish Fund campaign, under leadership of O.W. Todd Jr., chairman, continues to spur on all workers in the ’54 drive.  Outstanding gifts received from leading citizens of the San Diego community, including a $1,250 contribution from the Con-Trib Club of Convair employees, brought the committee’s work to over 65 percent of its goal in the first two weeks of the campaign.  Other outstanding contributions to date were received from the Union-Tribune Publishing Company, C.W. Carlstrom, a co-chairman of the committee, and Philip Gildred, leader of the government bond drive in San Diego County.

Hadassah Pacific Coast Conference To Open May 9
Southwestern Jewish Press April 30, 1954 Page 1

Hadassah is going all out to welcome the delegates and their families of the Regional Conference.  Many special plans are being made for the comfort and pleasure of all attending.

Hadassah’s Ninth Annual Southern Pacific Coast Regional Conference slated to start on May 9th and run through May 12th at Hotel del Coronado, will be more exciting than ever.  This Region has been chosen to present the Henrietta Szold award to Eddie Cantor for his outstanding devotion and service to Youth Aliyah.  He has helped to raise millions of dollars for this project.

Mr. Jack Benny will be there too to make the presentation, so if you want to be present at this outstanding event, come to the opening banquet which is open to all interested San Diegans at a charge of $6.00 per person.  Mrs. Fred Leonard at Congress 4-4524 is Banquet Reservations Chairman and reservations must be in to her accompanied by a check no later than May 3rd.

Mrs. Mortimer Jacobson of the Bronx, New York, one of the most popular and widely-traveled speakers for Hadassah, will act as Mentor for the Conference and will thrill Hadassah’s audiences when she speaks on two separate occasions during the Conference.

Mrs. Louis Steinman is local conference chairman and is being assisted by Mmes. David Block, Gabriel Berg, Harry Snyder, Harry Felson, Fred Leonard, Edward Addleson, Al Slayen, George Wixen, David Horowitz, Sam Sosna, Alfred Bobrof, R. M. Lieberman, Leonard Zlotoff, Edward Kitaen, M. S. Berlin, Sigmund Stein, Stanley Stirling, Anna Peckarsky, Morton Thaler, John Ruskin, Maxwell Kaufman, Hyman Kitaen, Sidney Chemnick, Al Krasnow, Jack Gross, Victor Schulman, Rodin Horrow, Max Rabinowitz, Wm Podoloff, Edward Binder, Jack Rosenblum, Murray Samuels, Alfred Solomon.

Editorial Page
Southwestern Jewish Press April 30, 1954 Page 2

“Green Light”
This is an excellent time to talk about fund raising—all kinds of fund raising.  The U.J.A. drive going on now should have the undivided attention of all Jews in this community.  “Make Way for the U.J.A.” is no mere catchword slogan.  It has meaning and validity.

Last week we received two pieces of literature in the mail, both local, asking for funds.  Our only reaction was annoyance—so we threw both in the waste paper basket.  At another time we might have given serious thought to both pleas.

Why hasn’t the Federation or the President’s Council set up rules and regulations regarding fund raising in this community.  We are sure they have the power and authority to do so.  Let’s stop this cut-throat business and keep in mind that the Annual Combined Jewish Appeal of San Diego deserves the “Green Light” at this time each year.

The many people who received the literature of the American Council for Judaism in the mail must have been puzzles as we were about the timing of such a campaign.

We can have no objection to the Council sending out propaganda to try and convert people to their particular point of view—BUT the Council surely must have known that the annual United Jewish Appeal Campaign was now in progress in our Community, as it is in many cities across the land.

What purpose can be served by confusing the people on issues which are not very clearly understood by many of us?  We, for example, are in agreement on some of the arguments urged by the Council but we DO NOT think that this is the time to start a discussion on Zionism, non-Zionism, or anti-Zionism.

The Council admits that Israel needs help and they are willing that such help be given.  The Council must also be aware that the Campaign seeks to raise funds also for National Organizations and for local needs.  Then why should they try to pull down the whole house in order to correct the defect!

In our humble opinion the Council has done itself and the Jewish Community of San Diego a disservice by injecting a Zionist issue during the drive for funds.  Those in need, in Israel, Europe and elsewhere who depend on our contributions to sustain life, heal the sick, and build new lives, will not thank the Council for this “stab in the back.”


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: the bells of Mission San Diego

April 22, 2010 1 comment



San Diego Mission bells

By Donald H. Harrison

Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO—It is not uncommon on Saturdays at Mission San Diego to find a bride posing at the landmark bell tower – two romantic images in white.

“Whenever they established a mission, they would put a cross in the ground, and some kind of bell, and dedicate the mission to a specific saint,” chief docent Janet Bartel tells visitors.

“We tell kids (who visit the mission as part of their fourth-grade California history studies) that the bell tower (known as a campanario) was their clock basically. They knew when to get up in the morning, and when they were being called to lunch. You could tell by the intonation and the peal of the bell whether it was somber for a funeral or happy for a wedding.”

A sign in the mission’s interior courtyard elaborates that “a sequence of tones and rhythms was developed for each occasion. They were used to announce times for Mass, work, meals, siestas.”

The sign also tells stories of two of the bells: “The crown-topped bell on the lower right is named the Ave Maria Purisima—Immaculate Mary. It weighs 805 pounds and was cast in 1801. A crown-topped bell was usually supplied by the Spanish king and cast in the royal foundry in Barcelona at the King’s expense or made in a country ruled by Spain. Ave Maria Purisima was in the vestibule of St. Joseph’s church and was hung in the campanario after the reconstruction of Mission San Diego in 1931.

“The bell on the lower left is called Mata Dolorosa – Our Lady of Sorrows. It weighs 1200 pounds and was recast by the Standard Iron Works in San Diego in 1894 from bell fragments found in the vicinity of the mission.”

When all 21 California missions were built, each was located about 30 miles from the other—approximately a one-day distance by horse. The trail connecting them has become known as “El Camino Real” – the King’s Road.

A stand-alone bell was located approximately one mile from the mission, and another was placed two miles from the mission, Bartel said. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries when a Franciscan rang the two-mile bell, it could be heard at the mission. Today, of course, the sounds of bells carry only a fraction of that distance, because they are drowned out by the sound of cars on nearby roads and freeways.

A tug on the two-mile bell “was telling the Franciscans here that ‘we are going to have company,’ So they got the food going, and the bed ready because they knew that the travelers would be tired,” Bartel said.

Bells were prominent in the architecture of each of the missions, and most especially at Mission San Diego, where five bells are housed in the 46-foot high campanario.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, California boosters—in large measure financed by the railroads, which sought to spur tourism–helped to romanticize the Golden State’s Spanish and Mexican periods.

Stories of Spanish dons, beautiful senoritas dancing the fandango, talented horsemen and wise and kindly Padres living in an era of chivalry, grace, and courtliness were the staples of fiction. These legends subsequently were encapsulated in the movies and television series about “Zorro,” a fictional, masked, ever-so-charming, Robin-Hood-style swordsman.

In the early 20th century, women’s clubs began a campaign to place mission bells on tall shepherd’s staffs somewhat along the route of the old El Camino Real. Boosters sought to secure for every town along the way at least one, and in some cases several, of the charming symbols. Several of them line the driveway to Mission San Diego, providing the juxtaposition of the bells of El Camino Real with the mission bills.

Besides invoking California’s romanticized past, the bells of El Camino Real originally had small plaques telling distances to the next town or important landmark. Unfortunately, over the years, many of the bells were vandalized or stolen for souvenirs. They have been replaced, without clappers, along such public rights-of-way as the freeways.

Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World. This article previously was published on

Poizner announces arrests in alleged auto collision scams

April 22, 2010 1 comment

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)–Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced on Wednesday the arrests of eight suspects in connection with an auto fraud ring case.  The individuals arrested under Operation Hit and Run are suspected of faking traffic collisions and filing fraudulent personal injury claims with insurance companies. Since October 2009, 11 suspects were arrested in connection with this fraud ring.
“Criminals who involve themselves in elaborate and dangerous schemes to make an extra buck are endangering their own lives and the lives of other drivers,” said Commissioner Poizner. “I am pleased with the hard work of CDI investigators and fraud task force members who uncovered this fraud ring.”

On April 21, the San Diego Automobile Insurance Fraud Task Force arrested eight suspects. The arrests relate to a series of staged accidents where suspects faked traffic collisions, were transported to a local hospital for treatment and filed personal injury claims with the insurer. Based on arrest warrants obtained on October 29, 2009, the San Diego Automobile Insurance Fraud Task Force arrested a total of 11 defendants in relation to this investigation and charged 83 felony counts. 
The arrests are tied to five separate staged traffic collisions. The collisions all have a similar fact pattern of a vehicle being struck by an abandoned vehicle that was previously reported stolen. The suspects to be arrested are all connected by family relationships, police contacts, and connections to the primary suspect in this case, Jay Stoney Anderson.

In all five traffic collisions, there were identical motives and facts of loss. The collisions were allegedly staged and police were called to the scene. When the police arrived, the vehicle at fault was always determined to be abandoned at the scene and had previously been reported stolen by the registered owner. In each case, the suspects claimed to be injured and were transported via ambulance to a local emergency room for treatment. The suspects each filed personal injury claims with the insurer and failed to reimburse the hospital for the outstanding bill. The total loss in this case exceeds $200,000.

CDI launched an investigation when Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and Progressive Insurance Company notified the Department of possible fraud. The Special Investigation Units of these companies met with representatives of the San Diego Automobile Insurance Fraud Task Force to share information. The information provided later identified a criminal ring suspected of staging more than eleven collisions over a one-year period. Additional information in support of this investigation was provided by Special Investigation Units from Republic Western Insurance Company, AIG, 21st Century Insurance Company, GEICO Insurance, and Nationwide Mutual Insurance.

The comprehensive investigation revealed multiple alleged connections between the suspects and Jay Stoney Anderson and the abandoned vehicles. In two of the collisions charged, the suspects allegedly used a rented U-Haul that was later reported stolen and used to stage the traffic collisions.
Arrested on April 21 were: Tamar Bradley, Wade Bradley, Michael Jones, Jiaire Martin, Rodney Martin, Shareese Spence, George Thomas, and Frank Torbert III.

The office of San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis is prosecuting this case. All suspects are expected to be arraigned in San Diego Superior Court.

The San Diego Automobile Insurance Fraud Task Force is made up of members from the California Department of Insurance, San Diego District Attorney’s Office, California Highway Patrol-Border Division, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Commissioner Poizner oversees sixteen CDI Enforcement Branch regional offices throughout the state. Nearly 2,800 insurance fraud-related arrests have been made by CDI since Commissioner Poizner took office in 2007 – more arrests than have been made during any other three year period, under any previous insurance commissioner.

Preceding provided by Steve Poizner, now a Republican candidate for governor.  He and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis both are members of the Jewish community.