Home > Adventures in SD History, Israel, Theatre > Adventures in San Diego Jewish History, October 29, 1954, Part 1

Adventures in San Diego Jewish History, October 29, 1954, Part 1

Compiled by San Diego Jewish World staff

Center Drives for $269,000: Jewish Community Organizes for Building Campaign Led by H. Wax
Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Pages 1, 11

“To make a dream come true for you and yours,” the Jewish Community Center will launch a campaign on Nov. 15 for building funds to erect a Jewish community building which will service the entire City of San Diego; and be an asset to San Diego of which San Diego Jewry will be proud.

Sanctioned by the Federation of Jewish Agencies and the United Jewish Fund, the Center campaign will be led by Harry Wax as chairman. He will be assisted by Leo Beck, Morris Douglas, Rodin Horrow, and Louis Steinman as co-chairmen.

The goal of the campaign is $269,000 which will provide the basic Center building to be erected on the 2 ½ acre site owned by the Center on 54th Street, ½ block north of University Ave.

Key positions in the campaign structure have also been accepted by Edward Breitbard, Mack Esterson, Max Rabinowitz, Sidney Rose, Morrie Kraus, William Schwartz, Maury Novak, Henry Price, Seymour Rabin, and Al Steinbaum.

The opening of the drive to erect a Center building in San Diego is the culmination of 10 years of planning. Incorporated in 1945, with Bill Starr as the driving force, the Center continually postponed its efforts because of emergencies that faced the Jews throughout the world.

Today with a greatly increased Jewish population, the Jewish community feels that the Center is a must in social planning. The over-crowded conditions of the present rented Center at 3227 El Cajon Blvd.  and the demand for continued activities make it necessary to build now. 

Planning for the Center has resulted in a community study to determine the leisure time and recreational needs of the community as well as the facilities.

To be built in California style for indoor and outdoor group living, the building, to be designed by George Lykos, prominent San Diego architect, will contain modern and beautiful facilities to make the Jewish Community Center the most inclusive club in town.

Regulation gymnasium, swimming pool, library, meeting rooms, lounges, auditorium, arts and crafts rooms will be included in the plans.  Unusual features will be an outdoor sports and playground area, a complete and modern nursery for children and a much needed health club with massage and steam room.

For all those interested in seeing this dream come true, a dinner meeting to “kick-off” the Center building campaign is planned for Nov. 17 at the San Diego Hotel. Reservations may be made by calling AT-1-7744 or BE 2-5172.

Center Presents Mrs. F.D.R. November 11
Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Pages 1, 11

Jewish community leaders from every organization in San Diego are working actively in preparation for the visit of Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt. The world’s “First Lady,” who has just celebrated her 70th birthday, will appear at the Russ Auditorium on Armistice Day, Thursday, November 11, at 8 p.m. as the guest of the Jewish Community Center.

Jack Rittoff, chairman of the event, announced that plans have been completed for a gala reception from San Diego Jewry and their friends for Mrs. Roosevelt. Reception Committee chairman, Mrs. Milton Roberts, and her committee members have arranged the reception for patrons at the El Cortez Hotel following Mrs. Roosevelt’s lecture.  Patrons’ reservations at $25 are still available according to Rodin Horrow, chairman of the Patrons Committee.  Patrons, besides assisting the Jewish Community Center in bringing Mrs. Roosevelt to San Diego, will be entitled to two seats in the reserved section at the Russ Auditorium and an opportunity to meet Mrs. Rooevelt at the reception.

Reception Committee members are Mrs. Jack Stern, Mrs. Paul Belkin, Mrs. Gabriel Berg, Mrs. Louis Moorsteen, Mrs. Edward Merkin, Mrs. Abe Nasatir, Mrs. Joseph Kwint, Mrs. Estelle Levi and Mrs. Robert Spiegel.

Arrangements for making Mrs. Roosevelt’s stay in San Diego a notable one are being worked outby Mrs. Victor Selten and her committee.

Mr. Rittoff announced the following partial list of patrons: Messrs. And Mmes. Abe Abramson, Leo Beck, Paul Belkin, Gabriel Berg, Edward Breitbard, Armistead B. Carter, Morris Doublas, Mack Esterson, Maurice Harris, David Horowitz, Harry Klaskin, Morrie Kraus, Jay Levine, Edward Merkin, Charles Muehling, Louis Moorsteen, Maury Novak, Joseph Pastrenack, Si Rich, Milton Roberts, John Ruskin, Sidney Silverman, Harry Snyder,  Alfred Solomon, Robert Spiegel, Harry Sugarman, Alex Wise.

Also Mrs. Bernice Berner, Dr. and Mrs. Jack Kimbrough, Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Kwint, Dr. and Mrs. Walter Ornstein, Dr. and Mrs. Leo Smollar and Dr. and Mrs. Robert Stone.

Milton Schwartz, chairman of the Ticket Committee, and his co-chairman, Mrs. Ted Brav, stated that general admission tickets at $1.25 each are now on sale at Palmer Box Office, 640 Broadway; the Jewish Community Center, 3227 El Cajon Blvd., and the office of the United Jewish Fund, 333 Plaza St.

All proceeds of the affair will go to the Jewish Community Center of San Diego.

Survey Shows Need for Center Bldg. Program

Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Pages 1, 11

Milton Fredman and Victor Schulman, co-chairmen of the Survey of Leisure Time Needs of the Jewish Community of San Diego, announce it is now in full swing. The gathering of information about the Jewish population is almost completed. Sixteen committees of leading citizens have been meeting steadily to determine the Jewish Community Center program and building that San Diego is to have. The survey will be completed late in November under the direction of Dr. Myron Blanchard of the National Jewish Welfare Board.

The location of the Center on 54th Street places it in the heart of the area where more than 2/3 of the Jewish people live.  This is also where we find the highest percentage of children and youth.

Fredman and Schulman also report that the survey shows a deep-felt need for a modern building which will be the central meeting place for the whole Jewish community. There are repeated request for many activities in which they can join with other Jewish people; opportunities for creative and richer living for all ages from the youngest to the oldest. A full gymnasium and swimming program is also being planned. The Center is to be the place which all people of San Diego can join.

The interest in the Jewish Community Center grows by leaps and bounds.  The survey shows definitely that our people want it and are prepared to make it a reality.

Fund Sends $35,000 in UJA Emergency

Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Page 1

A check for $35,000 from the United Jewish Fund of San Diego was speeded on its way to Cincinnati last week to be presented to the emergency National Report Conference of the United Jewish Appeal last weekend.

This will represent another San Diego Welfare Fund payment toward the allocation to be made by the local Fund to UJA for the current fiscal year.  A total of $68,800 already has gone to UJA toward the current allocation, UJA being the largest beneficiary of the local Fund.

Effort is now being made by local leaders to secure as much cash as possible from those who have already made pledges for 1954 so that as much cash as possible can be forwarded to the UJA.

Those who have not as yet made their contribution to this greatest of all Jewish causes are urged to do so immediately by sending their check to the office of the United Jewish Fund, 333 Plaza Street.

National Jewish Welfare Board To Hold Western Conference Nov. 12, 13, 14
Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Pages 1, 11

The 1954 Western Regional Conference of the National Jewish Welfare Board (JWB) will be held on November 12, 13, and 14 at El Cortez Hotel, it was announced by Robert M. Levison, of San Francisco, JWB vice-president.

Several hundred delegates, local Center executives and guests from more than 40 communities in the 11 western states will meet to discuss current problems of community centers, as well as the religious, recreational, social and educational needs of Jewish men and women in the Armed Forces.

General of the Army Omar N. Bradley will deliver the main conference address at the banquet on November 13.  This banquet is open to non-delegate members of the community.

Mr. Levison is being assisted in the planning of the overall program by Lawrence E. Irell of Los Angeles, president of the Western states, and Walter D. Heller, 6th Army Area chairman of the JWB Armed Services Division.

Milton Fredman, vice-chairman of the 6th Army Area, is chairman of the program committees for Armed Services, while Edward A. Breitbard, president of the Jewish Community Center of San Diego, is chairman for the JWB Center Division.

The National Jwish Welfare Board, in its role as National Association of Jewish Centers and YM-YWHAs, and as the government accredited agency dealing with special Jewish needs of military personnel, has arranged an interesting program of workshops, luncheons, and dinners dealing with the vital concerns of services to the Armed Forces and to community centers.

The theme chosen for this conference is “The American Jewish Tercentenary and its significance for continued development of JWB services to the Jewish community.”

Participating in the conference besides General Bradley, are Colonel Harry Henshel, national chairman of the JWB Armed Services Division; Samuel D. Gershovitz, executive vice president of JWB; Lt. Cmdr. Elihu H. Rickel, much decorated Jewish chaplain, currently stationed in San Diego.

San Diego participants besides Fredman and Breitbard, include Morris W. Douglas and Carl M. Esenoff, co-chairman of the San Diego Conference Committee for the JWB.  Harry Mallen, who will serve as a panelist in considering the role of the Center in the total Armed Service program;  Alex J. Newman, who will present a paper on serving religious needs on post, and Julie Abraham, who will discuss Junior Hostess programming.

Along with the San Diego Conference Committee, which is making elaborate preparations to welcome delegates from out of town, local synagogues and their rabbis are participating by giving over the worship service of that weekend to JWB Sabbath.

The main banquet on Saturday evening will be held in the Don Room of El Cortez Hotel.  Non-delegates of the San Diego community are welcome to participate in the banquet meal, listen to General Bradley’s vital and timely address, and dance to the music of Billy Carmen’s Aristocrats. Reservations should be made by calling BE 9-3712.

To See or not To See
Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Page 3

By Berenice Soule

New Globe Show—Twenty five years ago I read The Play’s The Thing and I fell madly in love with it.  It was witty, sophisticated and practically oo-la-la.  It must have made many other conquests for several revivals of the Molnar comedy have been done recently, but it seems “you can’t go home again.”  Fashion in humor, and wit, and “stage0business” gimmicks change along with skirt lengths and jet planes.

In the Globe production opening night the actors were at all times capable and some times delightful, the play had its amusing moments, but only the set remained fascinating and faultless from beginning to end.

First place of honors go to the Globe’s new technical director Robert Jilson, for a magnificent salon in the castle on the Riviera.  His marble columns and vista of mountains and se through the upstage windows are breathtaking.

Craig Noel has ably directed an excellent cast with Hurdman Wiese playing the role of the cynical playwright with the proper lightness. Andy Anderson as an aging but still amorous actor did one of his best comedy bits in the “play within a play.”   As the actress, Elinor Canedy looked glamorous, particularly in her third act gown designed by Robert Abel, and gave a truly professional performan ce ranging from the subtle to the farcical.

In a smaller role Clem Harvey charmed the audience at the nervous secretary.  The Globe will undoubtedly make use of this fine actor soon again. Others in the pleasing cast are Howard Blake, Jack Mason, Wes Heinecke, and the inevitable George Spelvin.

Tomorrow Night
– 3 for Tonight. The Paul Gregory-Charles Laughton premiere at the Russ tomorrow night (Saturday) is a presentation of music, drama and dance and promises to be delighbful, featuring as it does those Champions, Marge and Gower; Harry Belafonte, and the Walter Schumann Chorus.

Gregory and Laughton, while exponents of the new in theatre, are perfectionists and inevitably turn out “good theatre.”

Too Much to Hope For? – The Federal Building in Balboa Park is again suggested as the place for a theatre. This time the Chamber of Commerce is urging that it be converted by the city to a 2400 or 3000 seat community theatre.

To many San Diegans this plan for some time has seemed the obvious and most economical anser to our shameful want of a legitimate medium size theatre. Since, as everyone claims, this structure was built according to plans calling for the eventual conversion into a theatre it stands to reason the expense involved will be far less than building from the ground up.

The ever-present parking problem which accompanies every theatre goer is, also more easily solved in the Park than elsewhere.

The proposed plan to convert the Federal Building is completely unrelated to the Shattuck plan which calls for a privately financed convention hall on the block south of the plaza, but we need both.  A convention hall and theatre are of utmost importance in attracting tourists who bring with them that lovely green stuff that trickles down into every business man’s pocket.

Israel to Broadway—Sands of the Negev (mentioned in an earlier issue) opened last week in New York. This is the first modern Israeli drama to be presented here in English. Despite its popularity in Israel – it had a two-year run in Tel Aviv – reviewers here called it “not impressive.”

Experienced actors, Celia Adler, Peter Capell, Michael Lewin, Si Oakland, Gregory Morton and Anna Minot were highly praised but the production was labeled “semi-amateurish” with the blame laid to the story and writing.

It’s Who You Know
—Color Television is here to stay and I’ve seen it!  Jack Selsor and Ken Stott (This Week in San Diego) are the proud parents of one of the forty sets in this area, an area reaching from Escondido south to the border and west to the coast.

The Selor-Stott residence in Lemon Grove is considered a poor reception risk, yet at noon Channel 2 direct, brought in color that was in no way inferior to any colored movie. IT seems fairly obvious  that the experimental stage is over and complete coverage just awaits the purchase of equipment for most stations.

I went home and kicked in the front of our black and white set.

This n’ That
–Bud Chase, after knocking ‘em dead a few seasons ago in Footlight Theatre’s The Front Page gave up the theatre—the coward!  He hasn’t been wasting time, though for he’s been named assistant manager of KSON … The same station has also announced the appointment of Richard E. Thompson as Program Director … Most San Diego County artists will be represented at the Fall Art Mart at 6th and Laurel, Balboa Park, Nov. 6 and 7.  An always interesting show in a delightful setting. .. The opening reception and preview  of the 34th National Exhibition of Watercolor Painting of the California Water Color Society is planned for Oct. 30m 8:00 p.m. at the Fine Arts Gallery … John Robert Clarke continues with his fifth series of “Adventures in Living” lectures at 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 2 at its new permanent location, House of Hospitality, Balboa Park.  Should prove much more convenient than his Old Town spot.  His topic is “Socrates and the Flying Saucers” … Open City, the third in the film classic series at the Rio Theatre, will be shown at 7 and 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 9

Ice Cycles of 1955—“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” through exclusive arrangements with Walt Disney, will be presented by the Ice Cycles of 1955 at Glacier Garden from Nov. 16 through 23 with performances nightly except Sunday plus matinees on Sunday at 1:30 and 5:30. It will be done with dialogue and the original musical score with all new costumes and new dances.

Tickets are available at the Glacier Garden box office either in person or through the mail.


New Show At Russ
Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Page 3

Here {photo} is the stilt dance, one of the numbers from the program of “The Gay Tyroliers” to appear at the Russ Auditorium, Saturday, November 66 at 6:30 p.m..  This dance shows the driving out of Winter by men mounted on stilts.  In spring time when the snow melts, the mountain streams are generally in flood and in the middle ages the men of the village could only go about on stilts. Tickets for this unusal entertainment are available at the deLannoy & Howarth Box Office, Room 230, U.S. Grant Hotel, Phone BE-2-3457.

Master Artists Series Opens November 13
Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Pages 3, 10

The Master Artist Series opens Saturday evening, Nov. 13 in the Russ Auditorium with the famed Robert Shaw Chorale and concert orchestra.  The Chorale and its illustrious conductor are well known to San Diego music audiences, the Chorale having performed here previously on several occasions. And Shaw has served the past two seasons as musical director and conductor of the Summer Symphonies. Recognized as the naiton’s top voice ensemble, the group is currently on a nationwide tour.

Theodor Uppman, young California-born baritone, who won international prominence following his London Covent Garden appearance in 1951 in the title role in the world premiere of Benjamin Britten’s opera, “Billy Budd,” comes here Jan. 26.

Walter Gleseking, ranked as one of the all time great pianists will be here for a recital Feb. 14.  This will be Gleseking’s local debut. Coming here to perform Feb. 26 will be the celebrated Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, headed by Ballerina Maria Tallchief and Maitre de Ballet Franklin.  George London, one of the Metropolitan’s leading base-baritones, will be presented in concert April 15 and Josette and Yvette Roman, the talented young French-American piano team will play here April 23, winding up the series.

All events will be held in Russ Auditorium.

“Adventures in San Diego Jewish History” is sponsored by Inland Industries Group LP in memory of long-time San Diego Jewish community leader Marie (Mrs. Gabriel) Berg. Our “Adventures in San Diego Jewish History” series will be a regular feature until we run out of history.  To find stories on specific individuals or organizations, type their names in our search box.  

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