Home > Adventures in SD History, Belgium, Mexico, Turkey, United Kingdom > Adventures in San Diego Jewish History, November 12, 1954, Part 1

Adventures in San Diego Jewish History, November 12, 1954, Part 1

Compiled by San Diego Jewish World staff
Southwestern Jewish Press, November 12, 1954, Pages 1,6, 7

Salute To Tijuana and Ensenada: Jewish Community of San Diego Greets Neighbors

Because of the short distance between San Diego and the Mexican border, Jews of Tijuana and Lower California feel a great deal closer to the Jews of San Diego than they do to any group in Mexico, including those in Mexico City.  Their desire to establish friendships on both sides of the border has brought the organized Jewish community of Tijuana and Ensenada into the fold of the Jewish community organizations of San Diego – the United Jewish Fund and the Federation of Jewish Agencies—as an active group within their framework.

Supporting community activities both financially and morally, the Jewish community of Tijuana receives in return support of their activities from many members of the Jewish community and the services rendered by the agencies of the Jewish community of San Diego.

The Jews of lower California – Tijuana and Ensenada—are a fine group of people with a warmth toward Judaism and in many cases a high degree of Jewish learning. They have exceptionally strong group feelings which leads them to support all good Jewish causes.  Besides their own contributions to the United Jewish Fund, they support many Jewish causes for national agencies, overseas and for Israel. 

It is because of this strong group feeling and the feeling of belonging to the Jewish people that the Jews of Tijuana and Ensenada have formed themselves into social clubs. The Hatikvah Club and the Mogen David Club are both flourishing community centers and supply the social needs of the people. Club meetings are held on Wednesday evenings, starting about 9:30 p.m. and very often guests from San Diego are present and participate in their activities.

From time to time, the Jewish community of Tijuana has large and gracious celebrations to which San Diegans have always been invited and which many San Diegans have attended.

It is our hope in San Diego and the hope of the insiders of the Jewish community of Tijuana that a closer relationship will be established between the two communities. Jews who live so close to each other, even though in different countries, should have a friendly and warm feeling toward each other; should work together, and should aid each other whenever necessary. Both San Diego and Tijuana Jewry can well be proud of their long record of mutual aid and assistance as well as the friendships that have existed for many years.   – Albert A. Hutler, Exec. Dir., United Jewish Fund and Federation of San Diego

A Dream Coming True!: $69,385.00 Raised by Center Board in Pre-Opening Drive
Southwestern Jewish Press, November 12, 1954, Pages 1, 4

Last night, 31 board members of the Jewish Community Center, in an unprecedented gesture, pledged $69,385.00 toward the new building.

Board members of the Jewish Community Center of San Diego expressed their belief that the ten-year dream of San Diego Jewry will come true by pledging almost $70,000 to the building fund at a pre-campaign dinner last Wednesday at the San Diego Hotel.

The goal of $269,000 will make certain of the first section of the Center building which when completely erected will cost over half-million dollars, according to Edward Breitbard, president.

The campaign, which opens next week, is headed by Harry Wax, chairman; Leo Beck, Morris Douglas, Rodin Horrow and Louis Steinman, co-chairmen.  All outstanding business men and Jewish community leaders, they expect to put the Center drive over before the end of the year by heard work, good gifts and enthusiasm. 

Chaired by two outstanding Center workers, Sidney Rose and Morris Kraus, who shared responsibility for pledges of Center board members, the dinner was attended by over forty members of the board of directors and their wives.  Besides making their own gift, each member of the board pledged his time, and energy and work to this community cause, and reported that enthusiasm in the entire community was running high with the hope of beginning to build sometime in late 1955.

“The board of directors dinner was held prior to the November 15th campaign opening date,” Breitbard said, “because campaign leaders felt that the Center could not go to the community for a Center building fund unless its board members indicated their willingness, not only to work, but to give as magnanimously as possible to this cause.”

Campaign leaders agreed that if the results of the Center board dinner were any indication of the feeling of San Diego Jewry with relation to the Center, the campaign would be a tremendous success in a short period of time.  With contributions payable over a period of five years, the Center expects to receive some of the largest gifts in the history of Jewish giving in our community, according to Wax.

The campaign goal of $269,000 will make sure of the beginning of a modern building arising on the 2 ½ acre site on 54th St. just north of University Avenue in late 1955 or early 1956 according to Breitbard. He stated that the plans of the building committee were to build the Center in sections as money was available.  It has been estimated that $269,000 in pledges will be necessary to construct the first section, which will provide all the sorely needed facilities for a Jewish Community building in San Diego including athletic and swimming facilities as well as meeting rooms, library and offices for all of the Jewish agencies in San Diego. When completed the Jewish community will own a building worth over $500,000.

Sandy Ratner and Leoni Leichtag have accepted the chairmanship voluntarily joining the campaign committee to organize a young people’s division so that the younger group will be able to hve a stake in the new building.

Chairman Wax also announced that plans are now underway to hold the community kick-off dinner this month and to bring San Diego an outstanding personality for that meeting.

Notice of Nomination Board of Jewish Fund
Southwestern Jewish Press, November 12, 1954, Pages 1, 4

As part of the regular business of the Annual Meeting of the United Jewish Fund on Sunday, December 12, 6:30 p.m., at the San Diego Hotel, the Nominating Committee will present the following list to the membership as nominees for the Board of Directors for a two year term, 1955 and 1956:

David Block, Mrs. Ted Brav, Zel Camiel, Mack Esterson, Manuel S. Fisher, Mrs. Dora Friedman, Irving Friedman, Arthur Goodman, Ben Harris, Harry Mallen, Jerome Niederman, Maury Novak, Dr. Walter Ornstein, Sol Price, Seymour Rabin, Mrs. Abe Ratner, Dr. Joshua Rittoff, David Sapp, Harry Sugarman and Harry Wax.

Other members of the United Jewish Fund may be nominated according to Article X, Section IV of the By-Laws as follows:

“The Nominating Committee shall receive written petition of nominations made by five members, and containing the name or names of any other member or members for presentation at the Annual Meeting as nominees for the election of directors. The names of the person or persons nominated by petition shall be filed with the secretary of the United Jewish Fund, and be accompanied by the written acceptance of such nominees not later than five days preceding the Annual Meeting.”

Carl M. Esenoff, Chairman
Morris Douglas
Murray D. Goodrich
Eli H. Levenson
Sol Price
Victor Schulman
Ruben Umansky


Welcome Delegates: Committee Prepares Hospitality for JWB Conference; First Time in San Diego
Southwestern Jewish Press, November 12, 1954, Pages 1, 10

The Jewish community of San Diego has prepared a gala welcome to the Western Region Annual Conference of National Jewish Welfare Board (JWB), it was announced jointly by Morris W. Douglas and Carl M. Esenoff, co-chairmen of the San Diego Conference Committee, JWB.

The JWB Conference will be held at El Cortez Hotel on November 12th through 14th. Several hundred lay leaders, military and civilian rabbis, armed services personnel, Jewish Center executives, and special guests from over 40 communities in the 11 Western states will meet to discuss the Armed Services religious, morale and welfare problems, as well as the rapidly emerging developments in the Jewish Community Center field.

The revered General of the Army Omar N. Bradley, will share the rostrum with Samuel D. Gershovitz, JWB executive vice-president, at the banquet on Saturday evening, in delivering an address of momentous impact. Col. Harry D. Henshel, National Chairman of JWB’s Armed Services Division, will keynote the delegates’ talks for 1955 at the Sunday summation luncheon.

Edward A. Breitbard, president of the San Diego Jewish Community Center, Congregation Tifereth Israel, is serving as Program Chairman of the Community Center aspects of the Conference.

The synagogue and their rabbis have declared JWB Sabbath for the Conference weekend.  Rabbi William Z. Dalin, San Francisco area JWB chaplain, will occupy Rabbi Cohn’s pulpit at Temple Beth Israel. At Tifereth Israel Synagogue, Rabbi Samuel W. Chomsky, Los Angeles area JWB Chaplain, will address the congregation from Rabbi Levens’ pulpit.  Rabbi Baruch Stern of Congregation Beth Jacob will conduct a Havdalah service at the hotel just prior to the banquet on Saturday evening.

A coffee lounge in the Terrace Room where delegates may relax and talk Center and Armed Services business, will be operated throughout the Conference by the Women’s League of San Diego Center.  A delegates’ information desk will be manned by Mmes. Tom Turner, Joseph Spatz, Geo. Katz, Henry Weinberger, Harold Garvin, Dora Friedman and Max Rabinowitz.  Mrs. Rose Neumann and a special committee of greeters will receive guests at the cocktail reception.

All Conference Sessions are open to San Diegans the Conference chairman emphasized. A special package deal for non-delegates has been set up for main banquet. The banquet dinner, addressed by Gen. Bradley and followed by the Conference Ball, featuring Billy Carmens’ Aristocrats, is available at $5.00 per person. Further information regarding the Conference may be obtained by calling Conference Headquarters at Belmont 9-3712.

UJF Leaders to Allocate Funds
Southwestern Jewish Press, November 12, 1954, Page 1

Work on the process of distributing the funds raised in the 1954 Combined Jewish Appeal of San Diego’s United Jewish Fund was under way this week as the open hearings were completed last Sunday according to the timetable. Final recommendations as to allocation to the national and overseas agencies will be ready,  William Colt and Leonard Drogin, chairman and co-chairman, announced , for submission to the next United Jewish Fund board meeting and will be announced at the annual meeting of the United Jewish Fund on Sunday, December 12.

At the next meeting on November 15, the Allocations Committee, which has been studying the over 100 organizations submitting requests to share in the proceeds of the campaign, will be faced with making equitable allocations and, at the same time, achieving an over-all cut of at least 10 percent, according to Colt and Drogin.

National Jewish Welfare Program of Events
Southwestern Jewish Press, November 12, 1954, Page 1

Friday, November 12

9:00 a.m.—Registration, El “Cortez Hotel
12:15 p.m.-2:15 p.m. – Luncheon—Don Room (sponsored by USO-JWB Armed Services Committee, San Diego)
2:30 p.m-4:30 p.m.—1) Workshop Center Division—Franciscan Room – Subject: “Are You Building a Center?”

8:00 p.m. –Religious Services (JWB guest speakers—Community Synagogues)

Saturday, November 13

1:30 p.m-4:00 p.m –Oneg Shabbat – Don Room – Subject: Sabbath practices in centers – its relationship to “service to our youth in civilian and military life – what and how it should be provided.”

6:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. – Reception and social hour – Franciscan Room and Patio

7:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. – Havdalah services conducted by Rabbi Baruch Stern, San Diego

7:15 p.m.—10 p.m. – Conference Banquet – Don Room – Invocation: Rabbi Morton J. Cohn, San Diego – Speakers: Gen. Omar N. Bradley, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, USA, Retired; Samuel D. Gershovitz, Exec Vice-Pres, NJWB

10:00 p.m. –Conference Ball – Don Room.

Sunday, November 14

9:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. – Workshops – 1) Workshop—Franciscan Room – Subject: Clinic on Center Problems.

12:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. – Luncheon – Don Room

To See or not To See

Southwestern Jewish Press, November 12, 1954, Page 2

By Berenice Soule

Our Premiere—The 77 small cities throughout the country that will see Paul Gregory’s “3 For Tonight’ should be pleased with it.  He has brought together Marge and Gower Champion, Harry Belafonte, and the Walter Schumann “Voices”—artists that ordinarily would not appear on a concert stage alone – but as Gregory put it, “deserve to be heard and seen.”

In an informal interview with Paul Gregory just before the premiere of “3 For Tonight’ last week, he said that “the theatre” in his opinion “should not have a message or moralize, but entertain.”

Only because we have come to expect great things from Gregory does this pleasant evening seem to fall short. As producer, with Charles Laughton, of Don Juan in Hell, The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, John Brown’s Body, Gregory is in the unenviable position of a producer of masterpieces whose audiences will never be satisfied with less.  “3 For Tonight” is less and because it is produced by the young genius of the theatre it is disappointing.

But, it is a pleasant evening. The Champions are gay, and young and delightful, but could use on real “dress-up” number.  Belafonte is virile and magnetic needing only a little more variety in his selections; and the Walter Schumann Choir is a joy. There’s no doubt that it should be classed as “entertainment” and that is what the producers meant it to be, so perhaps it’s rapacious to expect “entertainment from Gregory and Laughton to be entertainment!Paul Gregory, himself, is attractive and cordial, but according to him, can be otherwise when irked by pomposity or sham.  He looks like a younger (33, to be exact) Gregory Peck. The marked resemblance simplified the problem of choosing a new name – normal procedure for Hollywood. It was while he was under contract to MGM and cast as Peck’s younger brother that he took Peck’s name, made the minor changes and adopted it as his own.

It would have been profitable to have bought stock in this young man starting with his first theatrical production, when he booked Winston Churchill for a speech at his college in Georgia.  Upon departure, Churchill presented the coming impresario with his (Churchill’s) coat of arms on a chain.  The talisman has proved an open sesame any place in England for Gregory when worn around his (Gregory’s) neck.

The famous “cocktail party” interview in New York that was reprinted throughout the country quoting him as saying he was through with the theatre and would henceforth devote full time to movies caused mild hysteria among theatre devotees. So it was natural (at a cocktail party, here) to ask for an explanation of the disputed quote. For the record, and for evermore to clear Paul Gregory’s good name—he declared that his remarks had been, “If I always had to work with actors like H___ F____, I wouldn’t produce another show.”  (Meet me under Jessop’s clock at noon and for a fee I shall divulge the name of H___ F____). Now that that’s been cleared up, theatre-manes like us can sleep soundly once more.

Of course, what brought this all on, is the fact that Gregory is producing movie, too.  His first, The Night of the Hunter, will be released in March. It stars Robert Mitchum with Lillian Gish, Shelley Winters and Agnes Moorehead. Shooting was done on the RKO lot and along the Ohio River.  Production will start next spring on his second, The Naked and the Dead, also starring Robert Mitchum for which the budget is a nice round two and a quarter million.

Amusingly Yours
– A comedy-farce about prize-winning novels, clubwomen and college professors, Accidentally Yours, is uniformly easy and agreeable under the direction of Betsy Young for the Alpha Omega Players. The Pauline Williams play was well cast and played for laughs in which it abounded.

Dorothy Haven and John Thompson play the college professor-author and his wife: he has written a children’s book so becomes a genius in the eyes of his wife who, perforce, demands a best-seller from his uninspired pen.

With delivery to match the dry humor of her lines, RoseMarie Schwiegen, as the professor’s niece, with Jack Aaronson as a bonafide author, provide the love interest in an off-beat romance.  Nilva Quint delightfully portrayed a Helen Hokinson-type clubwoman and Ethel Swanton was tremendously amusing as a maid who would undoubtedly find difficulty in finding similar employment off-stage.

In a role that suited his talents probably better than any he has had in the past, Elton Ellis as properly indignant, frustrated and crushed in turn.

Others in the cast are Florence Cameron, Ginny Morgan, Doris Smith, Hilbert Smith, Robert McKenna, Carleton Barker and Harry Morgan who was excellent in a small role.  Accidentally Yours can be seen at the Parish Hall Theatre, 1531 Tyler St., Nov. 12, 13, 18.

Keeping Track—The latest news about actor Stephen Elliott is that he can e seen in the movie, 3 Hours to Kill, which should be released here soon. Elliott had done a great deal of excellent work on TV and is appearing in this western with Dana Andrews and Donna Reed. His most avid fans, his parents, are Mr. and Mrs. Louis Stitzel.

Originals—The fourth annual Festival of Original One-Act Plays sponsored by the Little Theatre League of San Diego County will be staged in the Puppet Theatre in Balboa Park Friday and Saturday, Nov. 12 and 13. Curtain time is 8:15 p.m.

Many local writers will be represented, among whom are Virginia Anderson, Bob Gunderson, Ruth Purkey, Dorothy Bonsignore,  Specer Purkey, and Georgette Rankin. Different plays will be presented on each night so it should be interesting to attend both evenings.

(Personal note: if only one evening’s attendance is possible, may I suggest Friday, and that you applaud like mad for the character of Linda in Virina Anderson’s You May See A Stranger.)

Ice Cycles of 1955 Here Nov. 16-23
Southwestern Jewish Press, November 12, 1954, Page 2

“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” which in its picture form has already had four releases since its original release and the biggest grosser of all time, is now repeating for its first time on ice.  The demand for its return to the ice has been equally great, but this is the first time that the Ice Cycles production schedule would permit its repeat.

This production can be seen at San Diego Glacier Garden anytime from November 16th thru 23rd with performances nightly except Sunday plus a 2:15 Saturday matinee and matinee on Sunday at 1:30 and 5:30.  Tickets are now available at the Glacier Garden Box Office either in person or through the mail.

Rex Miller Next Speaker At Forum
Southwestern Jewish Press, November 12, 1954, Page 2

Rex Miller, former American Embassy official in Turkey and Belgium, and a member of the Christian Science Monitor editorial board, will be the next speaker at the San Diego Open
Forum, on Sunday, Nov. 14, at 8:00 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church, 6th and Date Sts.

Mr. Miller, frequently heard on radio and television, will speak on “Can Western Europe Stick Together?”

“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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