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‘Psalms,’ set in Belgium, is unusual Holocaust memoir

August 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Psalms, A Memoir by Hirsch Grunstein; Create Space; 403 pages; no price listed.

By Norman Manson

Norman Manson

SAN DIEGO–This is, in a number of ways, a very unusual memoir of Holocaust survival. It is not a story of survival in death camps, nor of life on the run deep in the fields and woods of eastern Europe.

Rather, it portrays the recollections of a boy’s life under four years of Nazi occupation in Belgium – a life fraught with stress and anxiety, yet almost devoid of physical harm, at least for young Hirsch (or Henri as he was know in those years) Grunstein.

In some ways the most amazing part of this story is Grunstein’s phenomenal memory, his vivid descriptions of his growing-up years, 65 to 70 years ago. And a section that highlights this phenomenon is his recall of reading the entire biblical book of Psalms, which made a sufficient impression on him that he made it his book’s title.

While Belgium’s Jews certainly suffered under Nazi rule – 25,000 of the 60,00 who lived there were deported to Auschwitz and other death camps and few if any returned – the impression left by this book is that they underwent fewer of the horrors than their East European counterparts did and that, with the help of a few compassionate gentiles, a larger percentage were able to survive.

Grunstein suffered only one really excruciating moment in the course of his wartime odyssey, and what seemed to be a portent of utter foreboding quickly turned into a time of renewed hope. And, in the end, the immediate Grunstein family all survived and were reunited.

Originally from Poland, the Grunsteins immigrated to Belgium in 1930, and were quite well established in Antwerp’s flourishing diamond industry by the time the Wehrmacht invaded in May 1940. They first fled to France, but there was no haven there and they soon returned home, oddly enough with the encouragement of the conquering Nazis. At first, all seemed almost normal, but the Nazis gradually tightened their stranglehold, barring Jews from businesses, schools and much of the city.
In 1942, raids on the Jewish neighborhood were followed by deportations, ostensibly for work.

Finally, in September 1942, it was decided to place young Henri (he was 14) and his younger brother Sylvain with a gentile family in a small village between Antwerp and Brussels. Their hosts, Adrienne and Gaston, put Henri in a small upsteairs bedroom. And, for the next year and  a half, Grunstein spent most of his days in hiding, peering out the window or reading from the small book of Psalms that his father had made him take along.

This segment is the most fascinating and provocative of the story – one can see why he titled the book “Psalms.” Amazingly, he recalls, in minute, precise detail, the impact the psalms had on him, bring back memories of his childhood in synagogue and school, and inspiring visions of various aspects of Judaism.  The family was Orthodox, quite observant, and Henri tries to retain at least some semblance of Orthodoxy in this totally gentile environment. He even managed to fast on one Yom Kippur. And, when not reading the Psalms, he spends much of his time fanstsizing, gazing out the window and describing the scenes, and his fantasies.

This relatively placid existence came to a sudden, jolting end in the spring of 1944, when he (and others) were apprehended by the SS -his description of his capture is also very detailed and suspense-filled. And, for no more than a day, he appears to be doomed. However, he is rescued by the Belgian Judenrat (Jewish council) and spends the last months of the war in a home for children.

Not to minimize the fate of the 25,000 Belgian Jews sent to Auschwitz and other death camps, but this book seems to indicate that at least a significant number of Belgian gentiles hid and otherwise helped their country’s Jews. Relatively little has been written about the Holocaust in Belgium, and his story spotlights the Belgians’ role during that horrendous era. And Grunstein’s recollections of his wartime experiences are truly amazing in their precise, minute detail after almost 70 years.

For someone whose first language is not English, this memoir is quite well written, and the editing also is first-rate.  For a somewhat unusual take on the Holocaust, this is a book well worth reading.

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Manson is a freelance writer based in San Diego

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

August 2, 2010 Leave a comment


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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.)

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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.

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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?”

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“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.  

EU readies more sanctions against Iran

July 22, 2010 Leave a comment

BRUSSELS (WJC)–The foreign ministers of the 27 European Union member states are set to approve further sanctions against Iran over its uranium enrichment program, targeting the country’s energy, financial and transport sectors. The measures, to be adopted at a meeting next week, are to include a ban on investing in Iran’s oil and gas industries, including the transfer of equipment and technology. The member states of the EU will be required to monitor the activities of Iranian financial institutions on their territory, and no insurance or reinsurance can in future to be provided to an Iranian entity.

The sanctions go beyond those adopted by the United Nations Security Council in June. The United States also imposed its own sanctions package on 1 July, which is supposed to restrict Iran’s access to refined petroleum and to disrupt financial transactions.

The EU is Iran’s largest trading partner, with Italy Germany and Austria being the most active states. Diplomats in Brussels believe that sanctions could be very disruptive for Iran’s economy. Although Iran is among the world’s top exporters of oil, it does not have sufficient refining capacity to meet domestic demand; it is thought to import around 40 percent of its domestic gas consumption.

Meanwhile, public opinion in France, Germany and Sweden is overwhelmingly in favor of tougher Iran sanctions, a survey has found. Over two thirds of respondents in the three countries said new measures against the regime in Tehran were needed, according to a poll by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research in Israel.

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Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

EU sponsors interreligious meting on combatting poverty

July 19, 2010 Leave a comment

BRUSSELS (WJC)–Leaders of all major faiths have held their annual meeting with the leaders of the three main EU institutions. Around twenty representatives from the Jewish, Christian Muslim religions – including World Jewish Congress Deputy Secretary-General Maram Stern – as well as from the Sikh and Hindu communities met in Brussels with European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, and the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy. They discussed effective ways of combating poverty and social exclusion as an imperative for European governance.

It was the sixth in a series of annual meetings launched by Barroso in 2005. For the first time the meeting took place in the context of the Lisbon Treaty which stipulates that the EU maintains an “open, transparent and regular dialogue” with religion, churches and communities of conviction. 

Barroso declared: “In Europe, several million citizens live at the edge of social exclusion. A poor testimony for one of the richest regions of the world! As Europe recovers from this crisis, I want to see a generation of growth which integrates the most vulnerable into main stream society.” He added: “Churches and religious communities are important providers of social services in EU member states. If we want to combat poverty effectively, it is essential to draw from their long standing and wide raging experience.”

Buzek added: “The promise of a better life for all without exceptions must always be at the heart of the European project. Combating poverty and social exclusion is a task for the partnership of all; local, national and European levels as well as laymen and churches. Our first and foremost priority is to restore social and economic security. Churches have a crucial role to play in this regard. They contribute with a long standing experience in social work with individuals and communities. This experience has never been as valuable as it is today in a time of crisis.”

Van Rompuy said: “We all know that this issue is mainly linked with homelessness, with a better access to the labor market, with the possibility to apply for health services, with, indeed, what can be called “the material conditions of life”. But combating poverty and social exclusion is also, in essence, willing to restore human dignity, the dignity of both men and women. And that is why societal, cultural and ethical questions should also be taken into account.”

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Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

Looking back over 1,000 reports

June 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Editor’s Note:  JINSA Reports referred to below are published as columns by Shoshana Bryen in San Diego Jewish World

By Shoshana Bryen

Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C. –To mark the occasion of 1,000 JINSA Reports beginning in 1995, we have finished reformatting and posting them on our website – www.jinsa.org.  Please take a look and let us know which JINSA Reports resonated most with you, which were your favorite, which you disagreed with, and which piqued your interest to learn more or to sound off. We looked back as well.  
 
#49 in 1997 reminded us how long the West has been trying to limit Iran’s ability to sow terror and destruction in the Middle East. We pointed to a $2 billion French natural gas deal with the Iranian government, for which France expected – and received – no Western sanction. 
 
#85 in 1998 reminded us that at one time the Palestinians had an airport in Gaza and passage between the Gaza and the West Bank. It is worth pondering how Israel – with Egypt – came to enforce a blockade against the Palestinians in Gaza, and it is worth understanding how both Hamas and Fatah used the world’s money and political support not to create a functional Palestinian state, but to create terrorist operations that have killed thousands of Israelis and thousands of their own people by their own hand (see #203 and #204 on “targeted killings”). 
 
We chronicled the so-called “peace process,” its demise in the “second intifada,” (#753) and Operation Defensive Shield that proved that terrorism can be controlled by controlling territory – a lesson that American troops learned years later in Iraq. We called out the Europeans for paying PLO salaries while Palestinians were blowing up cafes and pizza parlors (#164) and the CIA for building the Palestinian “security forces” (#165). We worry a lot about a Palestinian army being built by Americans (#504, #561, #616, #664, #687, #756, #900, #948 and #993, among others), and about the U.S. training and equipping other militaries that may not share our strategic outlook (most recently #984 and #987).
 
September 11, 2001 was a turning point of sorts, applying the understanding that there are two kinds of people in the world – us and them – and understanding that Israel’s war against terrorists and the states that harbor and support them was our war as well (#347 is representative).
 
We took a stand against the phrase “Israel’s right to exist” (#574 in 2006) as if a democratic country that is fully integrated into the global economy, a participant in dozens of multilateral initiatives, and a provider of aid and assistance to victims of natural disasters across the globe had to justify continuing to breathe. We published the text of the declassified State Department memo acknowledging in 1973 that Yasser Arafat had ordered the killings of American Ambassador Cleo Noel, Curtis Moore, and Belgian diplomat Guy Eid (#630) – how long the State Department knew and how little they cared as they continued to treat Arafat like a fellow-diplomat was sickening.
 
We followed the run up to the Iraq war, the war, the surge, the elections and the tentative emergence of political reconstruction. We believed – and still believe – the ouster of Saddam was a blow to terrorism in the region and have been impressed by the number of Iraqis who braved the maelstrom to form political parties, publish free newspapers and vote. Last month (#979) we encouraged the Obama Administration to work closely with the Iraqis to help them form a government that will respect the results of the most recent election.
 
JINSA Reports have been a vehicle for our appreciation for our country and our troops, including raising money for the Fran O’Brien’s dinners (#448, #512, #564, #569, #619, #720, #757 and #991). You, our readers, have been responsible for tens of thousands of dollars going into the dinners for wounded troops recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital, and you were responsible for the National Medal of Honor Society selecting Hal Koster of Fran O’Brien’s as an honoree in their “Above and Beyond” effort to recognize outstanding Americans. (You can still write a check to JINSA for Fran O’Brien’s and every nickel will go to the fund.)

We’ll stop now, but hope you will revisit the anthology of JINSA Reports online as a reminder of where JINSA has been, where our country has been, where Israel has been, and where you – our readers – have been over 1,000 Reports.

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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.

Palestinians lodge criminal complaint against Israeli leaders in Belgian court

June 25, 2010 Leave a comment

(WJC)–In Brussels, 14 Gaza-born Palestinians – one of them a Belgian citizen – have filed a criminal complaint against 14 current and former Israeli leaders for allegedly committing war crimes and crimes against Humanity during the 2008/09 Gaza war. The list includes Defense Minister Ehud Barak, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former Foreign Minister and current leader of the opposition Tzipi Livni.

Two Belgian attorneys representing the plaintiffs said the charges would be brought using the principle of universal jurisdiction and would focus on Israel’s bombing of a mosque in Gaza and the alleged use of phosphorus, during Israeli bombardments in January 2009. The controversial Goldstone report is used to back up the case against Israel. The plaintiffs said that they did not trust the Israeli court system, saying it was “not independent, reliable, or honest according to the criteria of international law”. A decision by the Belgian prosecutor on whether to pursue this case is expected in September.

Belgium’s law states that there must be a connection between the crimes and a Belgian citizen in order for the issue to be dealt with by Belgian courts. The law was changed after in 2001 a criminal complaint was lodged against then-Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon for his role in the 1982 massacre at the Shabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon.

Recently, Tzipi Livni came close to being arrested in Britain after Palestinian campaigners filed a request for an arrest warrant in a court in London. The British government pledged to changed the law allowing for universal jurisdiction in certain cases. Fears of facing legal action in Belgium also made Livni refrain from traveling there in 2009 when she was foreign minister.

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Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.

Adventures in San Diego Jewish History, July 9, 1954, Part 2

June 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Compiled by San Diego Jewish World staff

Double Talk
Southwestern Jewish Press, July 9, 1954, Page 3

By Janet and Susan Solof

We hope you are having a wonderful vacation,
With fun and parties and plenty of relaxation

Yiddish Yak – The kids sure had fun at Roberta Wyloge’s terrific sweet sixteen party.  Dancing, refreshments and mainly fun were a full blast. All of Roberta’s friends enjoyed the wonderful party. Best wishes on your 16th birthday.

Skating, sliding, falling into being a “man” was Alan Douglas who celebrated his Bar Mitzvah and birthday with a fabulous roller skating party.  Skating alongside of Alan was all his gang. They had a gliding good time.  Many more happy birthdays, Alan.

Celebrating the 4th of July with a  “cool” party given by Jack Sharpe were all the kids. A bar-be-cue and dancing came before the fireworks.  This was really celebrating.

Glimpsed milling and mingling with the crowd at the San Diego County Fair were Alvin Cohen, Debbie Strauss, Art Pogrell, Larry Zlotoff, Ruth Moskowitz, Jack Sharpe, Mort Cohn, Joan Breitbard, Larry Cantor, Gordon Levitt, Lucy Recht, Lawrence Schiller, Sheldon Golden, Janet and Susan Solof, Sharlene Stone, Herb Wenig, Phyliss Mollick, Harvey Cohen, Eileen Rivers, Paul Rosenthal, Linda Douglas, Philip Kaplan, Gary and Eddy Naiman.

Bye now –CY 5-0679.

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In Appreciation
Southwestern Jewish Press, July 9, 1954, Page 3

Mrs. Anna Fagelson and son, Roy, and family; Mr. and Mrs. Irving Fagelson and family; and Mrs. Niel Himmel wish to thank all their friends for their kindness and sympathy during their recent bereavement.

Mrs. Himmel is convalescing at home after hospitalization.

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Jewish Center News
Southwestern Jewish Press, July 9, 1954, Page 3

Women’s League – There will be an open meeting for members of the Jewish Community Center Women’s League on Thursday, July 22nd—1 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center, 3227 El Cajon Blvd.  Plans for the coming year’s activities will be presented and all Jewish Community Center women members are invited to participate.

Teen-agers Attention!—Monday evening, July 12th—7:30 p.m. will be the beginning of a special summer program for Jr. Hi School boys and girls. Activities will include outings, beach parties, dressy parties, dances, refreshments in addition to the lounge activities.  Monday night is the oly night of scheduled activities at the Center for Jr. High School boys and girls.

Thursday evening beginning July 15, 7:30 p.m. is for High School and college students only.  Special activities will be programmed by the group.

Please remember to come to the Center on the night of your age group.  Membership cards will be checked at the door and ineligible youngsters will be denied admission.

Baseball—All ambitious frustrated ball players are invited to participate in playing baseball Sunday mornings.  Call the Center office for further information.

Center Donations – we wish to express our appreciation to the San Diego Lasker Lodge of B’nai B’rith; Temple Beth Israel Sisterhood; and Yo-Ma-Co for their contributions to the Camp Jaycee Scholarship Fund. These contributions are assisting youngsters to participate in camp activities to participate in camp activities who wouldn’t have been able to do so because of family financial difficulties. Thank you again.

We gratefully acknowledge receipt of office equipment gifts from Morrie Douglas, Maurie Novak and Henry Price.

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Esther Weitzman-Andrew Segal Joined In Candlelight Rites
Southwestern Jewish Press, July 9, 1954, Page 4

S. Esther Weitzman, daughter of Mr. and MRs. Harry R. Weitzman, will become the bride of Andrew Segal, son of Mrs. Helen Segal and Morris Segal of Far Rockaway, N.Y., at a candlelight ceremony in Tifereth Israel Synagogue on Sunday, July 11, at 5:00 p.m.  Rabbi Monroe Levens will perform the wedding ceremony.

The bride’s waltz-length gown will be of nylon tulle and lace and will feature a scalloped portrait neckline and lace appliquéd full skirt.  The illusion veil will be caught to a tiara of lace and red pearls. She will carry a white Bible bedecked with a white orchid and stephanotis.

Sonia Joyce Weitzman will be her sister’s maid of honor and is wearing a gown of white tulle and lace over pink taffeta. Mrs. William Schwartz is matron of honor and will be gowned in white and pink. Brides-maids Mrs. Lawrence Siegel, Mrs. Ralph Jacobs, and Charlotte Pearl are wearing nylon dotted swiss in blue, yellow and lilac. Marjorie Lowitz and Kay Prager will act as candle-lighers, flower girls are Andrea Press and Linda Thaler, and ring bearer is Darrell Cohen.

Arnold Segal will act has his brother’s best man.  Ushers are Seymour Segal, brother of the groom, Leon Charney, Ben Press and Earnest Hine.

Over 300 guests have been invited to the dinner and reception to be held at Beth Jacob Center immediately following the wedding. The bride’s mother will receive in sky blue lace over taffeta and the groom’s mother will wear pink lace over taffeta.  Mrs. Milton Rochman is in charge of the guest book.

After a 3-week honeymoon covering San  Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Carmel and Sequoia, the newlyweds will make their home at 5805 Andros Ct.

The bride is a graduate of UCLA and is now teaching school in Santee. She is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota, professional music fraternity for women.  The groom is a CCNY graduate and is affiliated with Pi Tau Sigma, engineering fraternity.

Out of town guests from San Bernardino are Mr. and Mrs. Hyman Weitzman, MR. and Mrs. Rusty Leidner; from Los Angeles are Mr. and MRs. Leon Weitzman, MR. and Mrs. Jack Weitzman, Mrs. S.G. Finn, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Twedt, Misses Rochelle Feinberg and Fern Osman, and Mr. Abe Kuscher. From Venice, Calif., are Mr. and Mrs. Joe Dobin; Lillian Shapiro of New York will attend with the groom’s mother and brothers.

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Personals
Southwestern Jewish Press, July 9, 1954, Page 4

While their San Diego friends will miss them, they wish Dr. and Mrs. Harry Kaufman the best of luck on their move to Hollywood. The Kaufmans will be living at 1427 N. Laurel Ave.
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Cantor and Mrs. Joseph Cysner wish to thank all their friends for their good wishes on the birth of their second daughter.
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This is not San Diego’s month. The community is sorry to lose the S.Z. Greenbergs to El Centro and the Lou Mogys to Los Angeles.

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There were at least two good reasons for the recent patio supper at the Sid Goldsteins. The Sarfans, Chemnicks and Kantors were all there to congratulate Ellen Goldstein on her graduation from Berkeley, and also wish her a Bon Voyage for her European Study-Travel Tour.  Ellen expects to stay on in Europe to participate in the Work Camp Movement sponsored by the International Service Bureau in Paris.  Some of the countries she expects to visit are England, France, Italy and Holland.
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Mr. and Mrs. Harry Apelman celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary by serving refreshments at the July 7 meeting of San Diego Post 185.  Mr. Harry Apelman is a Past Department Commander and Past Post Commander. Mr. Apelman is a Past Auxiliary President.

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Travel Topics 
Southwestern Jewish Press, July 9, 1954, Page 4

Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Nathan are leaving July 12 to visit relatives in Kenosha, Waukegan and Chicago prior to their New York sailing August 6 on the USS United States. They will visit England, France, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Greece and will spend the High Holy days in Israel.  The Nathans will sail for home in October on the Ile de France.

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The exciting town of San Francisco has made conquests of Dr. and Mrs. Joseph A. Kwint. They spent four days in the Northern City while Dr. Joe attended the National Convention of the American Medical Association. Since they averaged on 5 hours sleep a night, it’s a cinch they did more than attend meetings.

Before returning home they stopped in Las Vegas for four days where they ran into the Harold Lashers, George Starrs and the Morrie Krauses—and didn ‘t catch up on any lost sleep.

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Jack and Sarah Wyner left last Friday for a two-week motor trip up the coast. Tnhey hnope to cover territory all the way up to Canada. … The Mack Estersons have returned from a few days at Arrowhead Springs. It must be a busy place –as Ruth and Mack left, the Dr. John Bloomenthals were arriving … Mike Soule left last week with friends for a two week motor trip to Guadalajara and Mexico City … Belle Demsey had as one day guests her brother and sister-in-law of Cleveland.
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Mrs Al Neumann has as her house guest her niece, Marilyn Fladel of Brooklyn, N.Y.  Miss Fladel will spend about three weeks on the coast.
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Joyce and Daniel Cohen and small son, Eric, of Inglewood were in San Diego last week visiting grandfather and great-grandfather, Samuel Tokman and Mrs. Tokman, before enplaning for Chicago, a University of Illinois reunion, and a summer of supervising children’s camps in Michiana, Mich.
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There is always room for one more with Lillian Miller. She left Wednesday, via Super Chief, for a month vacation in the East with her four children and Myrna Wosk. The children will receive plenty of attention from both their paternal and maternal grandparents when they arrive in Boston. They plan to stay with Mrs. Miller’s parents, Dr. and Mrs. Louis Victor.  Myrna Wosk will visit relatives in New York. We wonder how Dr. David Miller will stand the quiet in his home.

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Classified
Southwestern Jewish Press, July 9, 1954, Page 4

NURSE—8-hour, adult case.  Baby sitting nites.  BE-3-5996.

FOR SALE, House.  Loma Portal, 3 bedrooms.  Priced to sell with excellent terms.  AC-3-0625.

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Calendar
Southwestern Jewish Press, July 9, 1954, Page 4

11th—Yo-Ma-Co Installation Dinner Dance
12th—B’nai B’rith Girls Card Party Luncheon – Temple Center – 12 noon.
18th—City of Hope Aux. Annual Picnic – Pepper Grove.
25th—Yo-Ma-Co Picnic—Alpine Park.

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B.B. Girls Set Luncheon
Southwestern Jewish Press, July 9, 1954, Page 4

The San Diego Chapter of B’nai B’rith Girls is presenting a Card Party-Luncheon at the Temple Center on July 12 at 12 noon.

The girls themselves are preparing the lunch which will be followed by card games.

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“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.