Archive for the ‘Chile’ Category

ADL asks Chilean leadership to condemn recent string of anti-Semitic acts

August 12, 2010 Leave a comment

NEW YORK (Press Release) –The Anti-Defamation League on Thursday expressed deep concern about recent anti-Semitic incidents in Chile targeting Jewish community leaders and institutions, and called on the country’s officials to publicly condemn such acts.

In recent weeks, vandals have desecrated cemeteries and spray-painted anti-Semitic graffiti on synagogues and Jewish schools in three cities, including the capital, Santiago. In some instances, the graffiti included swastikas and the words “Juden Raus” (Jews Out). The President of Chile’s Jewish Community and his son have also received death threats.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
“We are deeply concerned about the recent string of anti-Semitic incidents against Jews and Jewish institutions in Chile. The death threats against the President of the Chilean Jewish Community and his 9 year-old son are an especially chilling development. These incidents have led Jews in Chile to feel intimidated and vulnerable, and create an atmosphere contrary to the country’s democratic ideals.
“While we are gratified that local law enforcement has treated these incidents seriously, we urge high level officials to clearly and publicly demonstrate that Chile takes seriously its responsibility to maintain its democratic and inclusive society, and that it is no place for anti-Semitism, racism or any form of bigotry.
“We express our solidarity with the Chilean Jewish community in the face of this new threat.”
ADL has written to Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Echenique requesting that he condemn the anti-Semitic threats and acts against the Jewish community.

Preceding provided by Anti-Defamation League

Justice sought for victims of AMIA bombing

July 19, 2010 Leave a comment

BUENOS AIRES (WJC)–several hundred people have commemorated the 16th anniversary of the bombing of the AMIA Jewish center, in which 85 people died and hundreds were injured. Speakers at the ceremony, which was organized by the group ‘Memoria Activa’ and attended by former Argentine President Néstor Kirchner, called for justice and highlighted the fact that nobody has yet been brought to trial over the worst terrorist attack in the history of South America.

Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón laid a wreath in honor of the victims and addressed the gathering outside the reconstructed AMIA building, which on 18 July 1994 was hit by a massive blast from a car bomb. According to the prosecutor in the case, Alberto Nisman, the attack was masterminded by senior figures in the Iranian regime and carried out by Hezbollah operatives. Garzón criticized the slowness of the Argentine justice system and said: “Belated justice is no justice”. He added: “When will we finally understand that the fight against impunity is the responsibility of all of us?” Garzón, who as a Spanish judge investigated former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, called on the United States to provide “real support” so Iranian officials accused of involvement in the AMIA bombing stand trial.

On the occasion of the anniversary of the attack, the president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder, in a statement urged the international community to do more to bring about justice for the victims. Lauder said it was “blatantly obvious” that Iranian and Hezbollah officials had masterminded the bombing. He said: “On this sad anniversary, we express our solidarity with the survivors, the families of the victims, and with the Argentine people. We applaud the remarkable efforts undertaken by the Argentine authorities and Prosecutor Alberto Nisman in recent years, to determine who committed this atrocity. However, yet another year has passed, and justice still hasn’t been done. This is because the regime in Iran – a sponsor of terrorism world-wide – is refusing to cooperate. No wonder: one of the main suspects, wanted by Interpol, is none other than Ahmadinejad’s current defense minister, Ahmad Vahidi…!”

The WJC president urged the United Nations and other international bodies to do more against state-sponsored terrorism. “It is not just Jewish communities world-wide that are affected by terrorism, but Jews are often the first to suffer attacks. Governments that aid, finance or protect terrorists must be named and shamed,” Lauder declared.

Meanwhile, the Latin American Jewish Congress, the regional branch of the WJC, held a conference on fighting terrorism which was attended by parliamentarians, officials and Jewish leaders from across Latin America.

Preceding provided by the World Jewish Congress

Adventures in San Diego Jewish History, May 28, 1954, Part 4

June 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Compiled by San Diego Jewish World staff
Southwestern Jewish Press, May 28, 1954, page 6

Tifereth Israel Sisterhood installation ceremonies and brunch will take place June 1 at 12:00 noon in the Tifereth Israel Center.  A wonderful program, “Color Through the Years,” has been planned, with Mrs. Victor Weiss in charge. Ann Schloss is circle captain.

The following officers and board members have been elected for next year: Pres., Mrs. Harry Wax; Ways and Means Vice-Pres., Mrs. Louis Feller;  Cultural Vice-Pres., Mrs. Arthur Gardner; Membership Vice-Pres, Mrs. Ben Gordon; Program Vice Pres., Mrs. Daniel Orlansky; Rec. Sec., Mrs. Paul Belkin; Corr. Sec., Ross Ann Feldstein; Fin. Sec., Mrs. Sam Lennett; Treas., Mrs. Edward Baranov; and auditor, Mrs. Sarah Bystrom.  New Board members are: Mrs. Lewis Solomon, Marie Richards, Molly Prager, Mrs. Frank Pomeranz, Mrs. Joseph Kader, Lillian Berwin, Mrs. Joe Spatz, and Mrs. G. Winicki.

Rabbi Monroe Levens will be installing officer.  Please make your  reservations early so that we may plan accordingly.  Call Jean Schreibman, Atwater 4-3351; Sarah Krasnow, Juniper 2-2583, or Rosalie Sonnabaum, Atwater 2-0173.

Council Women Hold Installation June 2
Southwestern Jewish Press, May 28, 1954, page 7

The National Council of Jewish Women, San Diego Section, will hold its annual installation luncheon on Wednesday, June 2, 12:00 noon at Town and Country off Mission Valley Freeway.

The theme “Council Cinemascope” will depict the organization’s accomplishments during the past year.  The room will be decorated as a motion picture theatre with screen, lights and cameras.  The program will be highlighted by the appearance of Loretta Jewell, popular actress and San Diego personality.  She will give intimate glimpses of Hollywood and stories of the stars.

Installations will be conducted by Dr. William J. Rust, President of California Western University.  Guests of honor include Mr. Edgar Brown of the Community Welfare Council; Mr. Al Hutler, United Jewish Fund.  Members of the press will also attend. Chairman of this affair is Mrs. Irving Alexander assisted by Mrs. Milton Effron, Mrs. Morris Sims, Mrs. Marvin Jacobs, Mrs. Joseph Kwint, Mrs. David Jaffe, Mrs. Milton Fredman, Mrs. Robert Speigel, Mrs. Robert Drexler and Mrs. Morton Kantor.

All persons desiring transportation contact phone chairman: AT 4-1609; AGT 1-0120, JU 2-4933.


Southwestern Jewish Press, May 28, 1954, page 7

Welcome Home – Rose and Lee Greenbaum changed their South American cruise plans in mid-ocean and sailed only as far as Buenos Aires.  Having had enough of the open sea by that time, they changed transportation methods and flew the rest of their holiday time visiting Santiago, Chile, Lima, Peru; Panama and Florida.

After their return to San Diego, Rose and Leo had as their houseguests last week, Ida and Dan Polesky, former San Diegans, now of Los Angeles.

Returns Home – After a wonderful month long visit with her family in Denver, Mrs. Sam Tepper has returned home.

Bride Honored – Mrs. Ben Halpern and Mrs. Paul Vereshagin were hostesses at a bridal shower honoring Esther Weitzman on May 8th at the Beth Jacob Center.  Forty guests attended.  Miss Weitzman will wed Andrew Segal on July 11.

Student Awards—Daniel Schaffer, son of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Schaffer, has received a four-year scholarship to Harvard University.  Daniel will be graduated from Kearny High School next month and upon completing his 4-year course at Harvard expects to study law. 

A scholarship to the University of California at Berkeley was awarded to Judy Yukon, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Yukon.  Judy is a member of Ecivres, the honor organization at Hoover High School and will graduate this June.

Visitors—Mr. and Mrs. Harry Kaplan of Norfolk, Va., have been visiting children, Dr. and MRs. Robert Kaplan (Joan Steinman) of Los Angeles. Chances are that the main attraction for them is grandson, Matthew. The Kaplans, en masse, visited in San Diego with the Louis Steinmans for a week prior to the Steinman’s departure for a month long trip.  Julia and Lou will see relatives in Tucson and St. Louis and will attend the graduation of their niece from Stephens College… (rest of article torn in archive copy}

Mrs. David Levy an her brothers, Judge Jacob Weinberger and Maurice Weinberger, are leaving Saturday to viit their sisters and brothers in Denver for a few weeks.

Anniversaries Noted – Among the many “happy marrieds” celebrating the occasion in various ways this week are the George Matins, the Bob Gordons and the Carl Esenoffs.

We’re glad to note that Mrs. Ida Lipinsky is back home again after her sudden illness and hospitalization in Los Angeles.

Mrs. Esther Solov and daughter wish to thank their many friends for their kindnesses during their recent bereavement.

Birthday Party – Frank Berman was toasted at a birthday party in his honor given by Mrs. Berman on his 69th birthday on Sunday, May 16.  Guests were children, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Berman, MR. and Mrs. Sidney Berman, and grandchildren, Elaine, Sandy and Jeff.  Out-of-town guests were Mrs. Krupp and Mary and Jack Rose of Los Angeles.

Honored – Dr. Benjamin B. Faguet, well known psychiatrist, will represent the American Psychiatric Association at the International Conference of Psychotherapy in Zurich, Switzerland this summer.  He has accepted the appointment of Professor of Medical Psychology at the new University of San Diego.

Visitors Daughters—Mrs. Anna Peckarsky left this week for her annual summer sojourn in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.   {Rest of article missing in archive copy.}

Z.B.T. Mothers Club – The Mother’s Club of Zeta Beta Tau, Jewish National Fraternity at State College is having its Second Annual Card Party on Saturday, June 12th at 8 p.m. in the Beth Israel Temple Center. Donation $1.00.  An additional attraction will be entertainment by members of the fraternity. Refreshments will be served.

Pi Alpha Lambda At State College
Southwestern Jewish Press, May 28, 1954, page 7

The Mother’s Club of Pi Alpha Lambda Sorority will hold a luncheon and card party Thursday, June 3, at noon at the home of Mrs. Fred Leeds, 4273 Ridgeway Drive. The proceeds will go toward the obtaining of a sorority house near San Diego State College.

Southwestern Jewish Press, May 28, 1954, page 7

Woman will share modern cozy apartment with working woman. Everything is furnished.  Near bus lines 1 and 2.  AT-1-2102, AT-1-7869.

Driving to N.Y. about June 20.  New. Chev. Will take 1 or 2 riders to share driving and exp.  JU-2-6429 after 5:30 p.m.

Room for Rent.  Nice home, ½ block to El Cajon and 50th bus. Call before noon or after 6:00 p.m. after June 1l1, AT-4-6586.

Sholom Mausoleum Dedicated Sunday
Southwestern Jewish Press, May 28, 1954, page 8

On May 30, the entire community is cordially invited by Tifereth Israel Synagogue and Greenwood Memorial Park to be present at the official dedication of the Sholom Mausoleum.

Rabbi Monroe Levens and Cantor Joseph Cysner will officiate at the Service, which will include a memorial for our departed ones lying at rest in Sholom; as well as a dedication of a memorial plaque, in memory of the six million Jews who lost their lives during the Second World War.

Outstanding features of Sholom are its Jewish motifs and designs incorporating rich symbolism in an atmosphere of beauty and dignity.

Sholom Mausoleum is not merely a corridor in a general mausoleum open to the general public. It is a completely separate building erected exclusively for Jewish use.

The ready acceptance of Sholom Mausoleum by the Jewish community is evidenced by the fact that it will soon be completely reserved, and plans for another addition, doubling its present capacity, are under way.

Tifereth Israel Synagogue has been designated by Greenwood Memorial Park to be in full charge of the operation, planning, design and all matters pertaining to Sholom Mausoleum.

Beth Jacob News
Southwestern Jewish Press, May 28, 1954, page 8

Temple Beth Israel will usher in the Shavuoth Holidays with Consecration Services Friday evening, June 4, at 8:00 p[.m.  Members of the Confirmation Class will participate in the Sabbath Services. Alan Friedman and Sandra Byrock will do the Kiddush. A class barbecue lunch will be held at the home of Alan Friedman on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. and a class party including dinner, dancing and swimming will take place at the home of Preston Martin, Saturday afternoon and evening.

Confirmation Services will take place on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. for the 11 members in the Confirmation class.  Rabbi Morton J. Cohn will be honored at the Friday evening services for his 20 years of service to the rabbinate. Hosts and hostesses for the Oneg Shabbat will be board members and their wives.

Beth Jacob Set for ‘Golden Nugget’ Nite
Southwestern Jewish Press, May 28, 1954, page 8

Plans are nearing completion for the Beth Jacob Men’s Club “Golden Nugget” Nite, Sunday, June 13, at 6 p.m. in the Center, according to Dave Schissel and Julius Penn, co-chairmen.

Never before has so much been offered at an event never to be forgotten. Besides the drawing for the 5-day Las Vegas all expense vacation for two, including free air transportation, there will be a bond as a door prize.  Winner of the trip need not be present and tickets for it are available from any club member.

The finest honest-to-goodness Jewish meal, with all the dishes your mother used to make, will be available for only $1.50 per person, including all you can eat. 

There will also be other prizes including electrical appliances, home furnishings, etc., plus all kinds of games and diversions, bingo, and many other attractions to help spend an enjoyable profitable evening.  As a special feature, for all who are present, there will be lucky draws every 30 minutes.

There will be plenty to eat, plenty to drink , and plenty to do. Get up a party for this tremendous affair, the proceeds of which will go towards reducing the building loan.  Mark the date, June 13, and keep it open for the best time of your life!

Beth Jacob News
Southwestern Jewish Press, May 28, 1954, page 8

Shavuoth services of Beth Jacob Congregation this year will be as follows:

Sunday, June 6 – 7:00 p.m.; Monday, June 7—9:00 a.m.; Tuesay, June 8—9:00 a.m.  Yizkor will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 8.

The Beth Jacob Religious School will hold its closing exercises on Sun., June 6 at 10:30 a.m. at the center. Classes will participate in appropriate prayers and a short program.


“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.



Roll call on Gaza flotilla portrays the values of international community

June 4, 2010 Leave a comment

By Shoshana Bryen

Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Israel was victimized twice this week, first by terrorists hiding yet again among the civilian population (one Turkish-sponsored jihadi boat traveling with five more-or-less civilian boats) and second by a world all too ready to blame Israel for the violence engendered by those who sought a bloody death for themselves and any Jews they could take along. By the end of the week, things began to look more normal-those who are already against remained against; those who try to split the difference split it (consider the “abstain” list below); and a few stood honorably above the rest.   

1) Italy, Netherlands and the United States voted against resolution A/HRC/14/L.1, “Grave Attacks by Israeli Forces against the Humanitarian Boat Convoy” in the UN “Human Rights” Council. It is of note that the major Italian newspapers supported Israel editorially as well. In the United States, public opinion ran strongly in Israel’s favor, as usual. 
After a nasty and public denunciation of Israel by President Sarkozy and Foreign Minister Kouchner, France abstained, probably reminded that in 1985 French commandos sunk a Greenpeace ship in what was called Opération Satanique. (You know what a threat those satanic environmentalists pose to Paris.) France was joined by Belgium, Burkina Faso, Hungary, Japan, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Ukraine and UK.
Voting in favor of the commission whose conclusion is in its title were Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritius, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovenia, South Africa, and Uruguay. 
2) President Obama: He almost got it right in a TV interview, but missed the essential point. “You’ve got a situation in which Israel has legitimate security concerns when they’ve got missiles raining down on cities along the Israel-Gaza border. I’ve been to those towns and seen the holes that were made by missiles coming through people’s bedrooms. Israel has a legitimate concern there.  On the other hand, you’ve got a blockage up that is preventing people in Palestinian Gaza from having job opportunities and being able to create businesses and engage in trade and have opportunity for the future.”
The President doesn’t know, or didn’t say, that Hamas is responsible both for the attacks on Israel and for the misery of the Palestinians in Gaza. Instead, he wanted to “work with all parties concerned-the Palestinian Authority, the Israelis, the Egyptians and others-and I think Turkey can have a positive voice in this whole process once we’ve worked through this tragedy. And bring everybody together…”
Aside from the fact that Turkey is fully complicit in the incident and thus should forfeit any seat at any future table, the Palestinian Authority has not represented Gaza Palestinians since Hamas evicted it in a bloody putsch in 2007. Instead of hoping to “bring everybody together…” the President should be working to evict Hamas from Gaza, for the sake of the Palestinians as much as anyone else.
3) The Czech Republic: Small countries that know what it means to disappear when others find them inconvenient stick together and we are grateful that they do. The President of the Czech Senate, Dr. Přemysl Sobotka, told Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, “As a doctor, I certainly regret any loss of life, but there is no doubt that this was a planned provocation designed to drag Israel into a trap… Many in the European community feel as I do, but they are afraid to speak out publicly… I support the position that views Hamas as a terrorist organization… It is too bad that European countries present an unbalanced position on this matter. Unfortunately, the positions of the international community are not always to my taste, particularly in Europe.”
We are reminded that 18 months ago, the Czech foreign minister issued this statement: “I consider it unacceptable that villages in which civilians live have been shelled. Therefore, Israel has an inalienable right to defend itself against such attacks. The shelling from the Hamas side makes it impossible to consider this organization as a partner for negotiations and to lead any political dialogue with it.”
And finally…
4) Mesheberach: During the Jewish Sabbath service, there is a prayer is for those who are ill or injured.   The “Mesheberach” includes the name of the person for whom the prayer is offered and, in an unusual practice, the name of the person’s mother rather than his or her father. Whether in the synagogue or not, we hope readers will remember the six soldiers injured while protecting the people of Israel:

Dean Ben (son of) Svetlana
Roee Ben (son of) Shulamit
Daniel Lazar Ben (son of) Tina Leah
Yotam Ben (son of) Dorit
Ido Ben (son of) Ilana
Boris Ben (son of) Eelaina

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.

San Diego’s Historic Places: Presidio Gateway

April 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Commemorative Palms


By Donald H. Harrison

Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO – A small collection of plaques and monuments occupy the “Gateway to Presidio Park” near the corner of Taylor Street and Presidio Drive. As cars hurtle from the Interstate 8 Freeway to Old Town San Diego, or back, this gateway is an easy place to miss, but it must have been otherwise in San Diego’s first 100 years of European settlement.

This little patch of land at the foot of Presidio Hill is said to have seen the Franciscans, who founded California’s mission chain, plant landmark palm trees in 1769. The fur trapper and adventurer, Jedediah Smith, arrived here from the northeast in 1826, the harbinger of increasing American pressure on what was then a Mexican outpost. And, in 1853, U.S. Army Lieutenant George Horatio Derby came here to build a dike to force the San Diego River to empty into what then was known as False Bay, but which is called Mission Bay today. Derby’s Dike was a failure, but Derby as the humorist bearing the pseudonyms “Phoenix” and “John Squibob” was a big hit.

One of the plaques here commemorates a tree that no longer is standing. It had to be sawed down in 1957 after it was all but murdered by gunslingers. Tree surgeons noted that the “Serra Palm” was ailing, and investigation soon revealed the reason why. It had six .44 caliber lead bullets in its trunk, possibly fired into it by someone who used it for some ill-conceived target practice.

The tree was reputed to have been planted by Father Serra and colleagues not long after San Diego’s founding on Presidio Hill on July 16, 1769, but this claim was disputed by the historian Herbert Howe Bancroft , who contended no trees were planted in San Diego at least until the beginning of the 19th century.

Planted by Serra or not, the tall palm tree and a companion behind a little white picket fence were emblematic of San Diego’s Spanish colonial period, and were the subject of popular picture post cards from the city’s early 20th century. After the sad day of June 6, 1957, when the Serra (Date) Palm was cut down, the spot where it stood remained vacant until July 16, 1995 when California People for Trees planted two new date palms in commemoration.

The palms marked a “beginning” and an “end,” according to the plaques one can find along Taylor Street. They marked the beginning of the so-called El Camino Real (The Royal Road), which connected the network of Presidios, Pueblos and 21 Missions that dotted the landscape of California over a length of more than 600 miles. At the same time, the palms marked the “end” of the journey for some of the soldiers with Serra’s expedition who had been buried in the cemetery over which they had towered.

The cemetery had received burials from 1769 almost to 1848 when California became an American territory in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War. Sometime afterwards the cemetery was destroyed, when the hill behind the palm trees was cut away. It was not until 1968 that remains of the cemetery were discovered by archaeologists.

Among the bodies found buried there was that of Henry Fitch, the Yankee sea captain whose romance with the young beauty Josefa Carrillo caused a scandal when they eloped in 1829 to Valparaiso, Chile, following Governor Jose Maria Echeandia’s refusal of permission for them to marry.

The tall, skeletal Governor Echeandia has been cast as the villain not only in the Fitch-Carrillo romance, but also in the saga of the fur-trapper and explorer Jedediah Strong Smith, whose arrival in San Diego in 1826 is marked by another plaque along Taylor Street.

First the Spanish, and later the Mexicans, dealt with Americans arriving in San Diego by ship, looking to trade their cargoes for cow hides (known as ‘California dollars’) or to surreptitiously hunt the whale that migrated along the California coast.

However, Smith did something no American had done before – he came to California by an overland route from the east, following the Colorado River to the Mojave Desert, then finding his way to the Cajon Pass, and eventually reaching Mission at San Gabriel.

Aware that he was then in Mexican jurisdiction, Smith wrote to Governor Echeandia for permission to explore the California coastline north—a request that Echeandia considered tantamount to an application from the American to spy on his territory.

Echeandia summoned Smith from San Gabriel to San Diego on a trip that, according to the plaque, completed the first known overland journey of a traveler from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific coast. The California governor sent a soldier either to escort Smith or to guard him, depending on point of view. Upon his arrival at the Presidio, where Echeandia’s quarters commanded a view of San Diego Bay, Smith tried to explain that his arrival in California was something of an accident. Hunting for beaver, he had run out of supplies and thought he could save himself and his party by obtaining provisions from the Mexican settlements.

Echeandia was suspicious of Smith’s story, figuring the purpose of the young American’s mission was actually military. He debated whether to send Smith on a long trip to Mexico City, where higher authorities could deal with him, but ultimately agreed to let Smith return to American territory after a visiting American ship captain –William H. Cunningham—signed a document stating that Smith’s intentions were honorable. The governor attached one condition to his approval—Smith had to give up the hoped-for trip north and return the way he had come.

Smith returned to San Gabriel, retraced his steps eastward, but then veered off to the north to explore inland California. While some may accuse him of having lied to Echeandia, Smith’s self-defense was that he considered California to be a narrow strip along the coast, and thought that he had passed out of Mexican territory.

As Echeandia had feared, Smith’s arrival meant that California’s eastern mountains and deserts no longer could keep California invulnerable from penetration by the far more densely populated United States of America.

The Mexican and American war that ultimately proved such suspicions ended in 1846, the United States took formal possession of California with the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848, and California, thanks to the Gold Rush, gathered sufficient population to be admitted as the 31st state of the United States in 1850.

A problem that neither the Spanish nor the Mexicans as rulers of San Diego could solve soon baffled the Americans as well. What could be done about the San Diego River’s tendency to change its course, flowing some years into San Diego Bay and some years into False Bay? The river’s fluctuations occasionally wiped out homes and farms along its banks. Deciding something had to be done, the United States Army dispatched Lt. George Horatio Derby of the U.S. Topographical Engineers in 1853 to build a dike.

Derby hired sixty Kumeyaay laborers to help permanently divert the water to the shallow False Bay, and to thereby prevent the silting up of San Diego Bay. The problem was that the dike that they built could not hold back the river after the first good rain.

Finding humor even in his own failure, Derby, writing as Phoenix, said he had been sent to ‘dam’ the river and had done just that – several times. Damn, dam, damn.

I s there a historic place in San Diego you’d like to read about?  Please contact Don Harrison at with your suggestion.

‘Man Overboard!’– Drama aboard MS Rotterdam not to be forgotten

March 10, 2010 2 comments

Lifeboat maneuvers to floating object in Pacific during
recovery operation.  Photos: Donald H. Harrison

By Donald H.  Harrison

-Second in a series–

ABOARD MS ROTTERDAM –Recovering the body of a man who threw himself overboard and avoiding a possible tsunami in the wake of a large Chilean earthquake were unscheduled and unforgettable events during a recent cruise aboard the Holland America cruise ship Rotterdam.

Passenger Walter A____  apparently climbed to a railing near the fantail on the Lower Promenade Deck of the Rotterdam and, according to a witness, cast himself into the sea off the coast of Colombia close to noontime  Friday, Feb. 26,  as other passengers, including his wife Judy, were having their lunch. 

The witness was another passenger who came horrified upon the suicide as it was occurring. She   immediately reported the event to a deck officer, who in turn relayed the information to the bridge crew, and they in turn notified the master of the vessel, Captain Rik Krombeen.  Within six minutes of the occurrence, Kronbeen ordered the ship to turn around and to begin a search for the victim, he later told this reporter.  My wife Nancy and I were also among the 1,330 passengers aboard the 780 foot- long, 59,885-gross ton ship.

So that passengers would not become alarmed by the ship’s sudden change in direction on its sea day crossing the Equator between its ports of call at Manta, Ecuador, and Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica, the captain (shown at left)  announced that a man was believed to have gone overboard.  He asked the passengers to watch the waters for any sign of him.  At various times as the ship ran a search pattern, he also asked for complete silence on deck in the event that the victim was yelling for help.

The wife, thinking her 72-year-old husband was trying to nap, brought lunch down to their first-deck cabin, but found that  he was not there.  She called the Front Office and informed the personnel there that her husband was unexpectedly missing.  Cruise Director Joseph Pokorski made two announcements on the public address system asking Mr. A ____ to please call the Front Office.   When Mr. A___  did not respond, it became understood throughout the ship that he was the man in question. Captain Korbeen and Holland America authorities asked that the man’s surname be withheld in this report.

After backtracking to the approximate location where Mr. A___ had gone into the water, the ship’s crew began dropping small buoys in order to determine which way the currents would take them and how quickly.  Meanwhile, a search and rescue airplane, which Captain Korbeen said had been dispatched from Colombia at the request of the U.S. Coast Guard, flew over the area.  

Given that the Pacific Ocean waters were calm and warm, it was estimated that a victim desiring to stay alive could do so for up to 36 hours in those seas.  However, if as suspected, Mr. A___ had the intention of taking his life, the Coast Guard might choose to end the search far earlier.  Whereas a victim who wants to stay alive will wave his arms and yell for help, an intended suicide typically will do nothing to assist his potential rescuers.  Wearing gray and white clothes on an overcast day, Mr. A___ could not be seen from a distance greater than 70 yards away.

Guided by the mathematics of time and currents, the cruise ship and rescue plane (shown at right) proceeded in ever narrowing circles.  Approximately four hours after the incident occurred the airplane messaged that it needed to return to land to refuel.  Accordingly, it had but one pass left, and Captain Kornbeen requested that it fly along a line paralleling the ship’s calculations of the man’s drift. 

The airplane spotted something in the water and reported the Global Positioning System location to the ship.  Captain Korbeen announced to the passengers that he would be going quite quickly to that position and might need to make a sudden turn.  He urged passengers to be prepared to balance themselves.

A lifeboat had been lowered to the Lower Promenade Deck to permit crewmembers easy access when it was time to retrieve the body.  As the crew members clambered into the life boat, security officers directed passengers to move several cabin widths away.  Once in the ocean, the lifeboat maneuvered in such a way as to screen from the passengers a view of Mr. A___’s body being lifted into the lifeboat.   Passengers then were asked “out of respect” to clear the deck so that Mr. A___’s body could be brought aboard and moved to the small morgue aboard the Rotterdam.  Five hours had elapsed since the original incident.While all this was occurring, on-board care teams stayed with Mrs. A____ and with the woman who had witnessed the suicide, offering both women comfort and counseling.  Meanwhile, Holland America’s office in Seattle, Washington, got in touch with Jason, the son of Mr. and Mrs. A____, recounted to him what happened, and arranged for him and his wife to fly to Costa Rica to meet his mother and to help with the formalities for claiming and transporting Mr. A___’s remains back to the United States. 

Mr. and Mrs. A____ had been active cruisers who had liked to post critics’ comments about various experiences at sea on line.  A group of these cruisers were aboard the vessel, and a memorial  service the following morning for Mr. A___ led by an onboard minister was arranged. 

Holland America’s main office gave permission to Captain Korbeen to try to make up as much time as possible en route to Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica, meaning that instead of proceeding at 19 knots in the evening and overnight, the ship at times reached nearly 25 knots—burning fuel at the rate of more than $70 a minute.  Originally scheduled to come in at 8 a.m., this procedure would have brought Rotterdam to its Costa Rican port at 9 a.m.   However, news came of the great 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Concepcion, Chile, presenting Captain Korbeen with two new challenges – one nautical and one intensely personal. 

There was a possibility that the Chilean earthquake would generate dangerous tides in the bay of Puerto  Caldera, Costa Rica.  The water might come into the bay and then just as quickly go out, leaving a ship entering the bay without sufficient water to proceed or pushing it in the wrong direction. In consultation with local authorities, Kornbeen decided to wait in ocean waters outside the port until it could be determined what the tidal effects were.  As it turned out, the tidal effect was insignificant, and Rotterdam reached its berth at 9:32 a.m.

More pressing was a problem on board the ship.  A young woman who worked in the gift shops was from Concepcion, Chile, and she was unable to reach anyone by telephone.  For three days, she frantically tried to telephone home, but was unsuccessful.  She later learned that her own apartment had been destroyed, and so had that of her brother.  Luckily, her brother was staying with their parents during the earthquake—and the home of their parents had survived the earthquake.  Although both the employee and the brother had lost their homes, the important matter was that all her family members were safe.  

The young woman debated whether she should try to fly home immediately, but her family urged her to remain on board.  Concepcion was in chaos, and there was little she could do at home.  On the other hand, the money she was earning aboard Rotterdam would be of benefit to the family.   When fellow crewmembers learned of what had befallen their shipmate, they took up a collection to help the family.

Sometime after Mr. A___’s body was taken off the ship, his son Jason posted a note on the Intenet site of the cruise critics expressing his gratitude and that of his family to Holland America for its compassion during a most difficult time. “My dad, Walter was the individual that went overboard on the 26th off the Rotterdam,” he wrote.  “Dad was a very strong individual that lived life to its fullest.  He had become progressively more ill and knew that there was little he could do to change it.”  Of his mother, Judy, he wrote that the ships personnel “became her guardian angels. She would like to personally thank each and every crew member that assisted her in her time of need.  Holland America went above and beyond the call of duty in taking care of both her and my wife and I.”

Jason said after flying to Costa Rica, he met with his mother and  Care Team members who were “invaluable guides for us in Costa Rica as we underwent the long, arduous process of working our way through the government bureaucracy that stood between us and getting dad home. It took us five days and they were our ever present friends and guides. They were our moral and physical support. They helped us figure out how to get dad from the mortuary to the funeral home, how to get his body cremated, how to prepare the required embassy paperwork, arranged transportation, meals and lodging for the entire ordeal.  They cried with us and laughed with us.  They are our heroes.”

It was not only the family that was grateful to the cruise line.  At a “Life at Sea” presentation in which passengers had the opportunity to question the captain, cruise director, hotel manager and chief engineer on a wide range of subjects including precautions against gastro-intestinal infections, elevators that weren’t working, on-board movie selection, and even the status of the karaoke machine, one man rose to say, “during the tragic event we had, I must compliment you captain and your crew the way you picked up that body.”

There was spontaneous sustained applause from the audience that filled the main floor and balcony of the show room.

Next in the series: Warding off the GIS virus

Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World

Earthquake in Chile destroys synagogue

March 4, 2010 Leave a comment

PRESS RELEASE(WJC)–A synagogue in the Chilean city of Concepción was destroyed in the earthquake that rocked the region last weekend, the head of the international Masorti movement, Rabbi Tzvi Graetz, said in a statement. According to him, the walls of the  shul were cracked and the roof caved in as a result of the massive earthquake.

“’In Concepción, close to the epicenter of the earthquake, Rabbi Angel Kreiman told us that he went to the synagogue, and ‘it was like the ‘hurban habayit’ [destruction of the Temple], the walls were all cracked and the roof had fallen down. I couldn’t stay there, so I got the sifrei Torah and left,’” Graetz wrote in an email.

Initial reports from Jewish organizations including the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and World ORT indicated that apart from this synagogue, little damage was done to the Jewish infrastructure in Chile, and no members of the Jewish community were reportedly harmed. Chabad Lubavitch, which runs a center in Santiago, saw some structural damage to its building, but the organization wrote on its website that the Jewish communities bordering the Pacific Ocean emerged largely unscathed.

The quake killed at least 800 people, according to official reports.


The preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.

Targeted killings as instruments of Israeli and U.S. policy

February 15, 2010 2 comments

By Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM–Israel radio announced that The Times of London was accusing Israel of “waging covert war across the Middle East.” The worry was that this would be the start of another campaign to condemn and delegitimize Israel, recruit support for boycotts of its exports and its academics, and arrange arrest warrants for officials and military personnel.

The headline resembles what we heard on the radio, but the article is more descriptive than prescriptive.

It speculates about a series of killings that could be ascribed to Israel, and notes the lack of response from Israeli authorities. While it is impossible to predict how Israel-bashers will respond, the article itself contains neither condemnation nor overt criticism.

Another article in the Washington Post may serve to limit a renewed focus on Israel. “Under Obama, more targeted killings than captures in counterterrorism efforts.”
The Post article is also descriptive, but may contain more ammunition for critics than the Times article about Israel. The Post details the choices faced by the administration between capture and killing, and indicates that the easier task of killing has the downside of wiping out a possible source of intelligence. It also notes the problems caused by American human rights advocates and the president’s pledge–so far not honored–of closing Guantanamo, and the closing of US military prisons in other countries. Without opportunities to hold suspects under American control but outside the United States, the choice of capture is less attractive. Holding suspects within the United States would subject the process to a range of legal constraints, which was the reason for using Guantanamo and those military and CIA facilities in countries willing to accommodate America’s security needs.

Israel as well as the United States has its opponents to killing the bad guys. Military personnel have said on numerous occasions that they would prefer capture, and getting what they can from the prisoners to help them go after others who are intent on violence, or to locate their stores of munitions. Israel holds some 12,000 Palestinian security prisoners in several facilities. It does not kill lightly. Operational realities often dictate killing rather than capture. On several occasion it has suspended the policy of assassinations, and it has stopped ongoing missions that would endanger numerous civilians. Other missions have killed enough civilians to produce considerable outrage, both locally and overseas.

The Washington Post article, along with reports over the years from Israel, suggest that both countries operate by similar norms. Ranking officers must approve each attack, and may operate under the close control of the highest civilian officials.

A highly critical article of US practice written in response to the Washington Post article indicates that some of the people targeted by the United States are American citizens. Three of them are said to be currently on the list for extermination. According to one official, if ”we think that direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that.”

Similarities between these features of American and Israeli counter-terrorism campaigns raise the question of who learned from who.

Both countries have a long record of assassination. John F. Kennedy is said to have approved the killing of Vietnam President Ngo Dinh Diem, and Richard Nixon is given ultimate responsibility for the death of Chilean president Salvador Allende.

The Washington Post credits George W. Bush with beginning the use of targeted killings as part of his war against terror after 9-11, and says that Barack Obama has increased their use.

To my knowledge, no American president has actually pulled a trigger or pressed a button to produce a targeted killing. Some assign a direct role in the assassination of UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte to the young  Yitzhak Shamir, who became prime minister 35 years later.

The questions invited by this discussion are:

* Will the United Nations send Richard Goldstone against the United States of America? and

*Will Benyamin Netanyahu receive the Nobel Prize for Peace?

Do not accuse me of naivete. Cynicism maybe.

Sharkansky is professor emeritus of political science at Hebrew University.

San Diego Jewish Profile: Bilingualism jumpstarted Loretta H. Adams’ career

January 11, 2010 10 comments

Loretta Adams at home

By Donald H. Harrison

LA JOLLA, California—The life and business success of Loretta Hirschfeld Adams illustrate how advantageous a bilingual education can be, especially for those of us who live in the southwestern United States.

Adams, who established and later sold a company of nearly 300 employees  specializing in Spanish-language market research, grew up in Colon on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal.  Her Jewish parents sent her to English-language schools in the Canal Zone where she could meet and mingle with the children of American military personnel and Canal Zone employees.

As a child, she spoke Spanish at home and English at school, adding to her appreciation of the larger world into which she had gained more-than-usual exposure from her parents.   Her mother was a member of a Sephardic Jewish family that had lived for generations in Curacao after Adams’ triple-great-grandfather, Aron Mendes Chumaceiro, had been sent from the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam to serve as a rabbi at the yellow-painted Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue  in Willemstad.

In an interview, Adams said that the Salas family to which her mother belonged had spread from Curacao throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, with some of them becoming important figures.  Some stayed Jewish, others intermarried resulting in the next generation becoming Christian.  One cousin in Colombia, Ernesto Cortissoz, helped to found a forerunner of Avianca Airlines, and another relative, Henrique Salas Römer, ran unsuccessfully in 1998 for President of Venezuela against Hugo Chavez.  Her mother’s branch of the extended family had lived in New York and in Cuba before migrating to Panama.  “They went where there was opportunity,” she said.

Adams’  father was an Ashkenazic Jew who had escaped Germany in 1937, the year before Kristallnacht,  and who thereafter avoided ever speaking about Germany or using its language.  Günther Hirschfeld spoke Spanish with such a strong German accent, however, that he couldn’t completely bury his roots.  Hirschfeld worked with Adams’ maternal grandfather at Almacen Salas, an import/ export business that sold American goods to Panamanians and helped Latin American companies export their goods to the U.S and other markets overseas. 

While Adams never actually worked in the family business, as a girl “I used to go visit my grandfather and my father.  They had air conditioning—and that was a big draw,” she recalled.

Most young women in Panama married almost immediately after high school, but that was not the future that Yolanda Salas, Adams’ mother, had dreamed about for her.

“My mother was a very advanced person for her generation, for her time,” commented Adams during a recent interview in her La Jolla home. 

“She always had wanted to go to college so she made sure that I went to college, and that I wanted to go to college.  That was what was needed for me – I couldn’t see myself being married young in Panama.”

She enrolled at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, a chief attraction being that Florida was the closest point in the mainland United States to Panama.  The drama professor there, incidentally, was Arthur Wagner, who later came to UCSD where he was instrumental in persuading Mandell Weiss to underwrite construction of an on-campus theatre.   Except for Adams’ roommate, Gloria Pasternak, there were few other Jewish students at Rollins.  Pasternak, attuned to Adams’ feelings of being a fish out of water, persuaded her to transfer to American University in Washington, D.C, where Pasternak’s family resided.   One of her sisters-in-law was Nina Hyde, the fashion editor of the Washington Post.

Adams decided upon a marketing major, rare then for a woman.  “It sounded good to me,” she explained.  “I wanted to be in business but accounting sounded dull and boring and statistics I didn’t do well.  I knew marketing was a coming field.”

Owing to her familiarity with the family business, Adams wrote a paper on exporting , a subject that was a novelty because most American University students at that time “didn’t focus on international at all.”

Her father, drawing on his lessons as a refugee from Germany, persuaded Adams to apply in the United States for a Green Card as an insurance policy, even though her immediate plans were to return to Panama.  At the time, certification as permanent residents in the United States was fairly easy for Panamanians to obtain, so she did so.

Following graduation in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in international marketing, she returned to Panama where she took graduate courses at the University of Panama in Panama City to which, in the interim, her parents had moved from Colon.   Many Panama City residents own businesses in Colon, 60 miles away, either commuting to their stores or having on-site managers, Adams said. 

Adams got her first job in Panama City as a management trainee for Sears Roebuck and Co.  Her salary, she recalls, was $22 a week, paid in a cash envelope.   Despite her boss saying that in the United States she never would earn more than $90 a week, she went to New York in 1965, obtaining a job in market research at the Kenyon and Eckhardt advertising agency.  As her boss had predicted, her salary was $90 per week, disappointing her because she really wanted to earn $100 so she could have $5,200 yearly.

The agency handled such accounts as the Lincoln-Mercury lines of automobiles and Brylcream, a men’s hair product. Because she was fluent in Spanish and knowledgeable about Latin American lifestyles, “I got to do projects in Latin America with the research director,” she said.  “The visibility I had was unbelievable because you get taken out of your cubicle and you get to deal with presidents of companies that are clients in Latin America.”

After three years, she moved to Richardson-Vicks International, which manufactured such products as Vicks VapoRub, Oil of Olay, and Clearasil.  Suddenly, she was being paid $11,000 a year by the company that eventually was absorbed by Procter and Gamble.  “They sent me to Mexico City for six months, and I ended up staying there for ten years.”

Adams became director of research in Mexico City—a promotion that put her in the unenviable position of having male Mexican subordinates who resented her and an American boss who she described as the epitome of the chauvinistic male middle manager such as those portrayed in the television series “Madmen,” dealing with advertising firms of the 1960s.

She didn’t let them get her down. 

Adams’ American studies and her Panamanian upbringing helped her realize one problem that American companies were encountering in Latin America:  “The foreign consumer, the multinational consumer, is not an American in a different language.  Too many marketers make that mistake.  Too many advertisers think, ‘Oh, we’ll just put a commercial in Spanish—we can take the same commercial in English and put it into Spanish.’  But the consumers’ experiences are different…. “

Adams recalled an advertising campaign in which the blue mouthwash {Scope} was being  sold as better tasting than the medicinal one {Listerine}.  The problem was that mouthwashes were not then part of Mexican culture; consumers there needed to be educated as to the benefits of the product.  Contrasting one product that Mexicans didn’t know with another product they didn’t know was wasted advertising, Adams said. 

Another example was when Tropicana in a direct translation of its U.S. campaign boasted that orange juice was fresh, not concentrated.  But Spanish speakers liked what  “concentrated” conveys in Spanish; “it means more and stronger, more Vitamin C,” said Adams.  

It was in Mexico that Adams met her husband, Henry Adams, from whom she is now divorced.  A psycholinguist who also had grown up in Panama, and had gone to university in Washington, D.C., he  was well-versed in understanding the different concepts words can convey to people who speak different languages

For example, she explained, if one says “rice,” what image will come to an American’s mind? Probably white grain in a bowl.  What about the word, “arroz,” which means rice in Spanish?  More than likely an Hispanic person may think of something that looks pink or yellow.

In that words can convey different images, advertising messages must be sculpted to make certain audiences understand what they are intended to convey.

While the Adamses was living in Mexico, her parents died. One brother, Richard, moved to Caracas, Venezuela, and today is an investor in Houston.   Her younger brother, Gary Hirschfeld, 12 at the time, came to live with them, and had his bar mitzvah in Mexico City the following year. Today, Hirschfeld is a successful investor and board member at Congregation Beth Israel.  Although Adams is the older sister, her relationship to Gary is almost that of a mother, and that of a grandmother to his two daughters.   She does not have any children of her own.

As comfortable as life was in Mexico, they decided that their future was elsewhere.  “We realized that while we were Hispanic, we weren’t Mexican.  Everyday someone would say to us, ‘We, here in Mexico, do this.’   {Luis} Echeverria {Alvarez} was president at the time, and he was very anti-American, anti-foreign.  That couldn’t be long term for us. We made nice salaries but we didn’t make a wealthy living there.  And we didn’t have friends and family we could count on.”

They decided that he should study in San Diego for a license as a psychologist and return to Mexico approximately every six weeks to see his patients.  She would fly when she could to San Diego to search the job market, which was dismal.  “We chose San Diego because at the time it was the cheapest air fare between Mexico City and the U.S.”

The plan to move might have been stillborn, but for Ed Noble, the proprietor of a large advertising firm in Mexico City, Noble & Associados.  In line with his own plan to purchase radio stations along the U.S.-Mexican border, he agreed to back Adams in establishing a San Diego based firm that would specialize in advertising research for the American-based Hispanic Market.  But the firm did not live up to immediate hopes, and so “I bought him out, paid back every cent he invested in the company and I created my own company.  This was Market Development Incorporated (MDI).  My first office was on Mission Center Road, across the street from the building where the Anti-Defamation League has its offices. “

From a small professional suite opened in 1978, her company grew to the point that it took over a quarter of a floor, “so we moved to our own building at 1643 Sixth Avenue, a little stand-alone building that is now part of a condo complex. “  Outgrowing that, the company moved next to the Comerica Bank on B Street.   Thereafter it decided to hire not only the researchers who crunched the data, but also the people who went out and conducted the focus groups.  “The interviews had to be in proper Spanish and we weren’t finding suppliers to do that,” Adams said.  As it continued to expand, the company moved to Chula Vista, then to Bonita, and finally it rented a building in National City near the freeway. 

Where were her customers?  “I got on a plane a lot because the market was not here that I was researching and my clients were not here.  I can’t remember any client that I ever had in San Diego of national importance, so I was always either getting on a plane to go to New York or the San Francisco Bay area.”

Clients like the Beef Council, Wells Fargo and Chevron contracted with MDI to research the Hispanic market in the United States.   “When I started in 1978, I think the market size was 15 or 20 million,” she recalled.  “Now it is up to 45 million.   When I started there was one Spanish-language TV network and now there are nine, and there are internet sites in Spanish.  If you go to the Zoo, you will find a Spanish site there.  Nothing like that existed before. “

Among potential clients back when she started, “there was a lot of lip service given to this market—everyone said ‘we’ve got to do Hispanic,’ but it never stuck.  It came and went with the management.  A new VP in charge of ethnic marketing or multicultural markets would say ‘we will do it right now,’ and then the guy was gone in six months and that was the end of that budget, so it was very fluid.  It was not consistent with clients you could count on. “

The good news was that those who believed in the Hispanic market formed a community.  “They would go somewhere else, so you could find them and start up with them again,” Adams said. 

One of the problems was that “there were a lot of people who were afraid of the market—the Spanish-language market.  They didn’t see the benefits; the stereotypes were there.  They would say ‘these are poor people.  What can they afford?’   Well, they do like branded products, because when you are a poor person you cannot afford to make a mistake and buy an unknown product.  So they will buy Tide or Ivory Soap or Crest Toothpaste or like that.  But there was fighting the stereotypes about the Spanish market.”

MDI found customers not only in the private sector, but in the government and the non-profit sectors.  “I did work for the American Cancer Society in Spanish and that was very needed and very worthy kind of research I did,” she said.  “Another heartfelt kind of work I did was for OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) because even though accidents were going down among other segments of the population, they were going up among Hispanics.  They are the ones doing the labor intensive and precarious jobs.”

Adams said at the request of OSHA “I did a lot of work with laborers and people in different markets and they were scared to death of their own bosses, who were usually Americans or assimilated Hispanics.”  Some Hispanic laborers “never reported their accidents because they were afraid of being fired from work.  They weren’t being paid when they were hurt because they’d lose their job if they took off time from work to go to the hospital.  So they would limp along and do whatever they could.  This was heartbreaking, and it was revealing.  They came from countries where people don’t wear goggles; they don’t know the value of wearing those things.  ‘Why do you need to wear goggles?’  ‘Because it will save your eyes.  And gloves are important.’  So a whole educational process was needed.”

Adams said utilizing focus groups in her research “gave me a mountain of insight into the consumers—the end users of the product” To run the focus groups,  “I needed people from Latin America who knew Latin American culture, and to whom we could teach marketing, psychology or some kind of social science to get their reports going.”  

In the process, she said, MDI created many competitors—people who would start companies of their own after being trained by MDI, which “helped build the industry, the multicultural marketing research industry.  I was one of the pioneers of that, without a doubt.”

In 1999, Adams sold her company, which has annual revenues of $7 million, to Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) for an undisclosed amount.  Bruce Shandler, then TNS chief executive officer, was quoted as saying that MDI had “pioneered the development of transcultural consumer research, an area that is growing in importance as ethnic marketing increases in the U.S.  It provided leading U.S. corporations and global advertising agencies with an in-depth understanding of Latin American and U.S. Hispanic consumers, local customs and cultures, and the products and services Latin consumers use most.  The Latin American research is carried out primarily, but not exclusively in the major markets of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico.  In addition, MDI has a 120-station, tri-lingual CATI telephone facility in San Diego, fully staffed by personnel who can interview consumers and business executives in English, Spanish or Portuguese.”

Neil Schwartz, today TNS director of Southwest operations, said that in their industry, Adams is credited as a pioneer of research into the U.S. Hispanic market.  “She established that whole niche in marketing research,” he said.  “She really pioneered it.   She had prescience and foresight, but her success definitely also was her entrepreneurial spirit.  She was an extraordinary presence in the industry, with a real determination to tell the meaning of what the research is saying.”

Besides being a successful entrepreneur, a woman and an Hispanic, Adams also was a Republican – and that was a combination that proved irresistible to some national figures in the Republican party.

She was invited to Washington D.C. on one occasion to attend a social function sponsored by senators with large Hispanic constituencies.  It was before John McCain’s rise to national prominence and Adams says she regrets that she didn’t get to know him better back then, because she would have enjoyed learning more about his early life as a military dependent in the Panama Canal Zone.  McCain’s father completed his military service as an admiral, as did his grandfather.

While on a business trip to Chile, Adams received a telephone call from U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, who then was the Republican leader in the U.S. Senate.  He explained that a new government group was being formed, under the chairmanship of Jack Kemp, called the National Commission for Economic Growth and Tax Reform, and that he would like her to be a commission member.

“I had no idea what he was talking about, but he was Bob Dole, so I said yes,” Adams said.

Besides Kemp, commission members included former Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Shirley Peterson (the only other woman), former Cincinnati Mayor Ken Blackwell; former Delaware Gov. Pete DuPont; and Fortsmann-Little CEO Ted Fortsmann. Economist Arthur Laffer served as a consultant.

It was an enjoyable experience for Adams.  “We flew all over the country and went to town halls, and people talked to us about taxes.”  Eventually the commission proposed a single tax (some call it the “flat tax”) on gross income to replace the current graduated income tax with its system of exemptions and deductions.

“I remember we went to Boston, where I met William Weld, the governor, who was brilliant, and then we went to Omaha to have dinner with Warren Buffett.”  The billionaire investor had sold a business  property to Disney, and to celebrate “he wore that day a tie with Mickey Mouse on it.”  The commission also went to Stanford University where a meeting had been arranged with Nobel Prize winners.

Dole and Kemp went on to become the Republican presidential and vice presidential candidates in 1996—the year that both the Republican presidential convention and a debate between Dole and Bill Clinton were held in San Diego.  On one occasion, Kemp asked Adams to introduce him to a luncheon crowd of business people that filled a local ballroom.  She did so, and then Kemp turned the tables on her, spending much of his speech talking about her career, entrepreneurship, and the contributions immigrants can make to America.  Adams was pleased but embarrassed; “I was thinking ‘oh let this room swallow me up.’”

Social life for  Adams family was, of necessity, quite limited because of all the flying she did throughout the week.  However, she made some lasting friends, sometimes through her business, and sometimes by being someone else’s customer.

Linda Levy first got to know Adams some 25 years ago when she did an interior design project for Adams’ home, which then was in the  Del Cerro area of San Diego.   “I  also helped her find her home here in La Jolla,” where the two live close enough to walk to one another’s homes and then to continue on walks into La Jolla Village.

The two also have taken longer trips together.  “She went with me one time to Memphis where I grew up” and they are planning a trip together to Panama “so I will be getting to see her roots.”  Additionally, they have gone to New York, on a Jewish Family Service trip that included some fashion shows, and “I like to kid her that when we walk around San Diego, she doesn’t walk as fast as we do in New York.  She always can walk two or three times faster than here.”

Levy said Adams “has a good sense of humor—that’s important to me.  She’s always ready to try new things, we tried tap dancing together.  We took a cooking course a couple of years ago…we had to do the preparation one day and we literally were like Lucy and Ethel  (Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance) on the old television show. We were so tickled.”

Terry Goldfarb, an American living in Panama, met Adams more than two decades ago when Adams was visiting family and friends there.  When Goldfarb’s son, Neil, arrived in San Diego to attend UCSD, Adams promptly invited him to join her for Shabbat dinner.  “She met my future daughter in law, Megan, before I did,” Goldfarb recalled.

When Goldfarb followed her son to San Diego a few years later, “she took me under her wing.”  The friend said Adams has a “caring nature – no matter if she is on the road, if she knows you have a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday she’ll call you Wednesday night to see how the appointment went.”

“She’s very intelligent, keeps au courant with everything, a wonderful hostess, gracious, giving, inclusive, caring person.  And she keeps up with so many people from her past, whether a cousin, or a former employee, she goes to baby showers, weddings, and meets socially for coffee.  She’s formed and kept many friendships along the way.”

Nadja Frank Kauder, who had been director of the women’s division of United Jewish Federation, said she thinks she initially was introduced to Adams by Sylvia Liwerant, who is active in the Mexican Jewish community.   Her first husband, attorney Stan Frank, eventually did some legal work for MDI.  Meanwhile, Nadja Frank persuaded the Adamses to go on the large community mission to Israel in 1995—the one participants always will remember because it coincided with Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination.  Eventually, on the suggestion of the Jewish communal activist, Adams became involved with Project SARAH (Stop Abusive Relationships At Home) of Jewish Family Service.

“It is very challenging to work in this area with the Jewish community because it is not accepted that domestic and spousal abuse exists within the community,” Adams said.  “Some rabbis turn a blind eye to the whole situation, ‘it doesn’t happen to us.’  But it does happen in the same proportion as in the general population.

“There is also a misperception of what spousal abuse is – I think when we think in terms of spousal abuse we think of an eyeball hanging out and a black eye.  But abuse can be physical, emotional and verbal.  I think we probably don’t have that much of the physical abuse but there is a lot of the emotional and verbal, and I think that is where the Jews may have a blockage that doesn’t allow them to recognize that it exists.”

Adams helped to create an advertising campaign for Project Sarah, the theme of which is “this is the face of domestic abuse.”  The face is that of a regular person with no bruises.

Now a JFS board member, Adams is helping the agency plan the fundraising Heart and Soul Gala in March.

“We have a nice base of donors but to survive we need more donors and the demand is getting bigger for services with this economic downturn,” Adams said. She suggested that if Jews knew that there are other Jews in need, they would try to help them.  But because people tend to know only those people in their social circle or synagogue, they may not be aware that in other areas of San Diego County, “there really are people who are needy out there, who need our help.  And that means we need to create an awareness that there are people who need our services, our money and our help.”

Pondering Adams’ career trajectory, one can say there were some fortuitous steps along the way.  She was able to study at a fine American university.  She obtained a Green Card, before it became very difficult to do so.  She saw an important market research niche: the Hispanic market.  Her entrepreneurial experiences brought her into contact with business and political leaders.

But had she not learned English in addition to her primary language of Spanish—English so fluent that she had no difficulty whatsoever in her marketing studies in America—Adams might never have had the career and life that she did.  

With some amazement, Adams tells of a workman she once spoke to who was indignant that his child’s school was insisting that the boy take Spanish.  “This is America; we speak English,” Adams recounted the man saying.  It was like hearing someone slamming the door on a child’s possible future.

Harrison is editor of  San Diego Jewish World

Abbas recruits Chile’s President Bachelet to anti-settlements cause

November 27, 2009 Leave a comment

JERUSALEM (WJC)–Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said a 10-month settlement construction  freeze will not include Israeli’s “sovereign capital” of Jerusalem, including the eastern parts of the city captured in 1967. The moratorium would also not apply to construction already started or authorized in the West Bank, as well as buildings to allow the 300,000 residents of the West Bank to live “a normal life,” including, he said, “synagogues, schools, kindergartens and public buildings.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Netanyahu’s announcement had brought “nothing new. Settlement activity will continue in the West Bank and Jerusalem,” he said in Santiago de Chile, adding that Netanyahu “had a choice between peace and settlements, and unfortunately, he chose the settlements”.

In a joint declaration with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, Abbas reaffirmed “the pressing need for Israel to cease illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories.” Egypt’s foreign minister called the moratorium “an incomplete step and not compatible with the requirements for achieving peace.”

Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress