Archive for April 23, 2010

The Melting Pot: A Fundue Way to Celebrate Mom

April 23, 2010 1 comment


Fondue at The Melting Pot

By Lynne Thrope

SAN DIEGO –My fondest memories of celebrating Mother’s Day were spending them with my siblings and Mommy over a pot of cheese fondue laughing about that year’s Mommy obsessions, books she had made us read, and how she wasn’t quite ready for her guest appearance of The French Chef (a personal goal of Mommy’s sadly never realized). Dunking the crusty bread and crackers into piping hot cheddar was something my family looked forward to through the late 60s and 70s.  In those days, my chintzy orange fondue pot was my prize possession.  It was always first to emerge from my backpack every winter when I arrived in New Hampshire to ski.  What was the après ski experience without fondue? Mommy loved it.

If my mother lived in San Diego, she would also love how David and Lesley Cohn have transformed Dakota Grille and Spirits into The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant where the s’mores dessert fondue would make her the happiest woman in the world. I sure was the first time I tasted it.  Dunking pound cake, strawberries, and graham cracker marshmallows into this most perfect concoction of chocolate, rum, and graham cracker crumbs is a retro experience I would like to share with her today, but I’m here and she’s on the other coast. So, in hopes of her reading this, here’s the recipe:

The Melting Pot’s S’mores Fondue
Serves 4 to 6 

8 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
2 teaspoons marshmallow crème
2 tablespoons Bacardi 151 rum
1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, stirring constantly; or place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, stirring every 30 to 45 seconds. Be careful not to let the chocolate burn. Pour into a warm fondue pot. Spoon the marshmallow crème into the center of the chocolate. Do not stir. Add the rum to the pot and ignite carefully, using a long wooden match or lighter. Allow the flame to burn out and stir gently to combine. Sprinkle with the graham cracker crumbs. Keep fondue warm over low heat.

But don’t start the fondue experience with dessert. The way of The Melting Pot is to first, select your cheese fondue which could be a cheddar, Swiss, Wisconsin trio, or spinach, artichoke, and garlic swimming in Fontina and Butterkäse cheeses.  Next, share a salad or two – my personal favorite is the house salad drenched in The Melting Pot’s Sweet and Tangy House Dressing. Then, it’s on to the entrée (fish, poultry, meat) cooked tableside in any one of the fondue cooking styles; Coq au Vin Fondue, European cholesterol-free Fondue Bourguignonne, Caribbean-seasoned Mojo Fondue, or Fondue Court Bouillon. Finally, the dessert.  There are ten to choose from. I know my mother’s choice. Do you know yours? Find out this Mother’s Day by calling (619) 234-5554 to make your reservation at San Diego Gaslamp’s newest restaurant located at 901 5th Ave. Make some new memories at The Melting Pot…B’Tayavon


Lynne Thrope can be contacted at


J*Company wraps up Rodgers and Hammerstein season with ‘Cinderella’

April 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Godmother (Samantha Tullie) helps matters along between Cinderella (Hannah Houts) and the Prince (David Ahmadian) for J*Company production of 'Cinderella'

 LA JOLLA, California (Press Release) – The award-winning J*Company Youth Theatre, a program of the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS, is pleased to announce its production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA, the first ever made-for-television musical.  The production will run May 6-16, 2010, at the David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre.  

The timeless enchantment of a magical fairy tale is reborn with charm and elegance.  Originally presented on television in 1957 starring Julie Andrews, Cinderella was the most widely viewed program in history.  Its recreation in 1965 starring Lesley Ann Warren was no less successful in transporting a new generation to the miraculous kingdom of dreams-come-true, and so was a second remake in 1997, which starred Brandy as Cinderella.  The 2010 J*Company stage adaptation will continue to delight with great warmth and more than a touch of hilarity.  The hearts of children and adults alike will soar as the slipper still fits.

“This cast of young artists is absolutely incredible, bringing exciting character choices to the stage that are rarely seen from young people of this age,” said Joey Landwehr, J*Company Artistic Director.  “This is the perfect show for children from ages 1 – 100. I know you will be delighted with every twist and turn we have put into this classic fairytale that will be filled with warmth and happiness.”

Heading the cast of Cinderella are:  Hannah Houts, 13, of  Carmel Valley Middle School, playing Cinderella;  David Ahmadian, 12, Carmel Valley Middle School, “the Prince”; Samantha Tullie, 12, Solana Santa Fe, “Godmother”; Hallie Bodenstab, 13, Muirlands Middleschool, “Stepmother; Ilana Engel, 13, San Diego Jewish Academy, “Portia, The Dimwitted Sister”;  Celia Tedde, 12, San Diego Cooperative Charter School, “Joy, the Sullen Stepsister”;  Ethan Rappaport, 12, Rancho Santa Fe Middle School; “the King”; and  Keila Ashkenasi,  13,  Muirlands Middle School, “the Queen.”                                      

Show Dates and Times:

Thursday, May 6, 7:00 p.m.;  Friday, May 7, 10:00 a.m. (School Show); Saturday, May 8, 8:00 p.m.;  Sunday, May 9, 1:00 & 4:30 p.m.; Friday, May 14, 10:00 a.m. (School Show);  Saturday, May 15, 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, May 16, 1:00 & 4:30 p.m.

Cinderella  Movie Musical Sing-A-Long

Join J*Company for a magical movie experience and bring the entire family!   Watch Cinderella (the movie) on the big screen at the David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre, as you sing-a-long, clap-a-long and following the bouncing ball to lyrics.  First 50 attendees receive a special goodie bag on that night! 

Dress up as your favorite character from Cinderella and sing along with the film.  A prize will be awarded for best costume. Admission price is $8.00/JCC members and $10.00/Non-members.

The Cinderella Movie Musical Sing-A-Long will be held on

Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.

 Tickets for Cinderella are $13 for children and $17 for adults and are available online at or by calling the JCC Box Office at 858-362-1348.  The David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre is located at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS at 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla.

Preceding provided by the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture

Why would U.S. want Afghan pilots trained in Lebanon or Syria?

April 23, 2010 Leave a comment

By Shoshana Bryen

Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C — The U.S. Department of the Army put out a request for information on “Afghanistan National Army Air Corps English and Pilot Training.”

The Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training & Instrumentation (PEO STRI) is conducting market research by seeking sources with innovative business solutions to (1) train and certify up to 67 Afghani student pilots to an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) English level 4 in the English language; and (2) provide basic rotary wing or fixed wing Commercial Pilot Training to the European Joint Aviation Authority (JAA) standards.

It is desired that the English language and basic pilot training take place within South West Asia. PEO STRI requests information on sources available to perform training in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, U.A.E, Uzbekistan, Yemen or other locations in Southwest Asia with the capability to provide requested training.

How is it possible that Syria, a charter and current member of the U.S. State Department list of terrorism-supporting countries, is considered an acceptable place to train Afghan pilots? Or Lebanon, which has Hezbollah as a member of the governing cabinet in Beirut? Hezbollah is a charter and current member of the U.S. State Department list of terrorist organizations, and until September 11, 2001, had killed more Americans than any other terrorist group. Didn’t Kyrgyzstan just have a coup inspired/financed by Russia? Wouldn’t training pro-Western Afghan pilots in Pakistan send those people from the frying pan into the fire? Isn’t Yemen home to some of the most virulently anti-American, anti-Western al Qaeda operatives and preachers, including Anwar al-Awlakiwho was talking to U.S. Army Major Nidal Hassan before he killed 13 Americans at Ft. Hood?
Aside from the fact that some of the countries listed are not in South West Asia, as the request for information requires, not one is remotely democratic. OK, we’ll give Jordan a few points and some to Iraq, but that’s it. 
What would possess the United States Army to expose Afghani pilots, who are supposed to secure a functional and consensual state in Afghanistan, to countries where the governments are almost uniformly totalitarian, functionally repressive, less than hospitable to reform or dissent, and have women in positions of legal inferiority? Saudi Arabia is the financier of a particularly repressive, homophobic, misogynistic and anti-Semitic form of Islam exported around the world.
We did not expect to see Israel on the list, although Israel certainly is capable of training pilots to the European Joint Aviation Authority standards, and a few months in Israel would impart some Western governmental, judicial and social norms, including religious and political tolerance.
But if not Israel, why not Britain or Italy or France or Spain or Portugal? Why not Denmark or Colombia or Mali or Uruguay? Why not India or Indonesia or Taiwan or Japan?
The list is clearly weighted toward the part of the world to which President Obama wishes to show American comity. Unfortunately, it is also a part of the world in which neither American policies nor American values are particularly welcome items on the agenda. The list and the thinking behind it are political mistakes that should be corrected. Certainly, they should be corrected before we give the Afghanis the idea that the norms of Syria and Lebanon are ones we want them to adopt.


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

Poll finds Americans divided over Obama’s handling of Middle East conflict

April 23, 2010 Leave a comment

(WJC)–A plurality of American voters disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian situation, an opinion poll conducted by Quinnipiac last week reveals. Although Obama’s handling of foreign policy is approved by almost one in two respondents, the administration’s “handling of the situation between Israel and the Palestinians” isn’t: 44 percent of respondents disapproved while 35 percent said they supported Obama’s stance vis-à-vis Israel. 21 percent said they did not know, or would not answer.

Broken down by party affiliation, Republicans were much likelier to disapprove, at 68 percent, while Democrats approved, with 59 percent. Independent voters were likelier to disapprove — 47 percent to 33 percent.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents said their sympathies lay more with Israel than the Palestinians, while 13 percent sided with the Palestinians. Broken down along party lines, 70 percent to 8 of Republicans favored Israel over the Palestinians, as opposed to 46 percent to 19 of Democrats and 57 to 13 of independents.

A total of 34 percent of respondents saw Obama as a strong supporter of Israel, while 66 percent  – with majorities across party lines – said he should be a strong supporter.

Half of those polled disapproved of Obama’s policy of not using nuclear weapons against nations that forswear them. The poll, taken a month after the eruption of US-Israel tensions over building in eastern Jerusalem, surveyed 1,930 voters nationwide and had a margin of error of 2.2 percent.


Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.

Court clears Muslim group in Netherlands over Holocaust cartoon

April 23, 2010 Leave a comment

(WJC)–A court in Utrecht, in the Netherlands, has acquitted a Muslim organization of inciting hate with a cartoon that questions the Holocaust. The Arab European League (AEL), which published the cartoon on its website, was cleared of insulting Jews because the court said the cartoon was not aiming to dispute the Holocaust but to highlight perceived double standards in free speech. The AEL cartoon shows two men, beneath an ‘Auschwitz’ sign and beside several bodies, saying the victims might not have been Jewish but the target was six million.

The AEL said the cartoon was part of a campaign it launched in 2006 to show the double standards in the Western world during the Danish cartoon affair. The image was published  with a disclaimer on the website saying the AEL did not support the views expressed by the cartoon. “The context in which this cartoon was published takes away from its criminally offensive nature,” the court said in a ruling.

A cartoon in a Danish newspaper in 2005 showing Islam’s Prophet Mohammad with a bomb in his turban sparked violent protests in Muslim countries. The backlash prompted the newspaper to apologize, but the Danish government defended its right to freedom of expression. The AEL did not complain about the republication of the Prophet Mohammad cartoons in the Netherlands but argued its own cartoon was meant to show that other religious communities were also sensitive about certain images.


Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.

Club Med cancels cruise to Lebanon after Jewish groups protest exclusion of travelers to Israel

April 23, 2010 Leave a comment

(WJC)–The French holiday company, Club Med,  has canceled the Lebanon leg of a cruise in the Mediterranean following protests from Jewish groups. Earlier, Club Med had warned that people with Israeli visas or stamps in their passports would not be allowed to board its cruise ship, the ‘Club Med II’, for the Lebanon-bound leg of the cruise as Lebanese authorities might bar them from entering the country.

The travel advisory drew a strong condemnation from the French Jewish umbrella group CRIF and other Jewish organizations.

“The message is sadly reminiscent of the exclusion policy of World War II Vichy France,” the international relations director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Shimon Samuels, said in a letter to Club Med’s chief executive. Club Med responded by canceling the Lebanon leg of the cruise. “It will be replaced by a new destination which will be announced soon,” a statement by the leading package travel operator said.


Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.

San Diego’s historic places: archaeology at Mission San Diego

April 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Archaelogical excavation at Mission San Diego (Dan Schaffer photo)

By Donald H. Harrison

Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO—Chief docent Janet Bartel removed a barrier and stepped into the archaeological dig area at Mission San Diego, beckoning others to follow. Two sets of shallow pits, with a dirt walkway in between, were on the southwestern side of the mission quadrangle.

Approximately at the middle of the inner set of pits, Bartel stopped and indicated two columns. “Dr. Jack Williams (the supervising archaeologist) believes that this was the front of the mission—the front of the quadrangle. They would have greeted people over here.”

From that point, one could follow what might have been a narrow hallway out to the quadrangle. The rooms nearby were probably used by visiting Padres. “There would have been a library here,” Bartel said, motioning to a nearby area. “There are remnants of windows opening out to the courtyard.”

If this interior set of shallow pits was the entrance to the mission, then what about the second set of pits, closer to the present-day exterior wall? What were they?

“This is a forward extension dating from 1812 to 1813, when they were enlarging the mission,” Bartel responded.” In 1812, there was an earthquake that hit San Juan Capistrano (some 70 miles to the north.) So when they were building here, they put buttress wings up for stability. We believe the enlargement of this area was added at the same time.”

The rooms built in that enlargement probably were used by the U.S. military after 1848, when California was ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo.

A sign by the dig said: “We make discoveries every time we dig. In addition to many architectural features such as old floors, filled-in doorways and filled-in windows, we unearth a lot of artifacts. The upper layers are filled with objects left behind by the U.S. Army. For example, we have found the sole of an army shoe, a horse harness buckle, percussion caps, ration cans, and glass. We have also found many things that were used during the mission era. These include Chinese porcelain, tin-glazed pottery, shell beads, a spinning whorl, broken animal bones (from meals), charcoal, plainware pottery and stone tools. We also unearth large amounts of building rubble such as broken tile, adobe bricks, cement and wall plaster. Each of these items helps us to determine what life was like at the mission.”

Like a home whose residents are constantly remodeling, the mission underwent many changes. A temporary structure made of poles and reeds was burned to the ground in 1775, when Native Americans killed Father Luis Jayme. Thereafter it was decided to build with sturdier materials. “The new constructions were laid out in the shape of a square, surrounded by a fortified wall,” another sign instructed. “Over time, new adobe buildings took the places of older structures. By 1790 the fortifications had been eliminated. Each year, additional structures were added to the exterior of the quadrangle. San Diego Mission has had at least four different churches and three different conventos (living quarters). The convent before you is not the earliest, however it was clearly in use before 1810.”

In 1834, the mission era came to an end when the new government of Mexico stripped the Catholic Church of its mission holdings. Thereafter, according to the signs, “the population dramatically decreased, and many buildings soon fell into ruins. Despite the efforts of local settlers, priests and Indians, the complex had been completely deserted by 1846.”

“During the Civil War, the mission was given back to the Catholic Church” in a proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln. Bartel said she had the privilege of escorting U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia through the mission earlier this decade and he stopped by an enlargement of the proclamation signed by Lincoln, read it carefully, and commented that such a gift might “never fly” today, one assumes because of U.S. constitutional requirements governing the separation of church and state.

Objects that are unearthed at the site “are carefully washed and dried,” according to another on-site story board. “Every artifact is described and recorded. Some special objects are given more elaborate kinds of analysis. After they are cleaned and studied, the artifacts will be added to the holdings of the mission museum.”

Anticipating two questions of tourists and passers-by, the storyboards also say that neither riches nor human bodies have been found at the digs – nor would anyone expect to find either. At the missions, bodies were required to be buried in consecrated ground – which meant either under the floor of a church or in a cemetery. There are no records of either being at the western side of the quadrangle. As for riches, the signage informs: “The missionaries received a small stipend from the Spanish government in Mexico to support their efforts. However, the value of supplies, such as textiles, pottery and metal that were sent from Mexico, was deducted from those funds. Almost no coins were sent to the missionaries in California. Although they had taken vows of poverty, the Franciscans did possess as a group many fine objects for use in religious worship. When the missions were secularized in 1834, the friars took pains to see that these precious objects were entrusted to safe storage away from the mission.”

On the mission grounds is the Father Jayme Museum, where objects from the dig, along with photographs, objets d’art, and other memorabilia can be showcased. Paintings and photographs here, in the library and in other locations on the grounds, show the mission in its various iterations before its reconstruction in 1931.

The possibility of building a new museum on the southwestern side of the quadrangle is being considered, after the archaeological dig is completed. Typically digging occurs on Saturdays, with volunteers welcome to assist.

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