Archive for the ‘Greece’ Category

World Jewish Congress wants EU monitor at Athens trial

September 20, 2010 Leave a comment

ATHENS (WJC)–As three Greek human rights activists are going on trial for speaking out against judges who acquitted a notorious anti-Semite and extreme-right politician in Greece, the World Jewish Congress (WJC) has called on the president of the European Parliament to send an official envoy to watch this trial in Athens.

The WJC criticized the Greek judiciary for acquitting the self-declared anti-Semite Konstantinos Plevris last year and for now trying to silence the critics of this decision. WJC Vice President and Deputy Secretary-General Maram Stern stated: “We must not allow that people who speak out against bigots such as Mr. Plevris are being prosecuted whilst the hate mongers themselves are being acquitted by the courts.”

In a letter to Jerzy Buzek, the president of the European Parliament, Stern called the trial “a perversion of justice” and “an assault on fundamental European values.” He voiced suspicion that parts of the Greek judiciary were not inclined to defend fundamental European values, but consciously acted against them. Read more…

Book details how Allies fooled Hitler about invasion

July 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Operation Mincemeat, by Ben Macintyre. Bloomsbury,  2010, 402 pages.
By David Strom

David Strom

SAN DIEGO — Two young British brothers fought against the Nazis during WWII. Both, Ewen and Ivor, worked for intelligence agencies. One served in the British secret service while the other, it was reported, may have been a spy for the Soviet Union. Ivor had two main passions. One was his strong belief in the values of Soviet Communism. His other major attraction was table tennis, a new “sport/hobby” that he worked hard at promoting. Ewen worked to defeat the Nazis through his British intelligence work. His courageous work as a spy was instrumental in shortening the European war.
On January 26, 1943 Glyndwr Michael was found dead. He presumably died from drinking rat poison. No one seemed to notice or care about his death. There were no inquiries made about the cause or circumstances of his dying. No one in his family came forward to claim his body. He was a forgotten human being-until the British intelligence learned of his death.
Two British spy agents, Charles Cholmondeley and Ewen Montagu, had been hatching a plan to foil the Nazi war machine. The game plan, which was initially conceived by Cholmondeley, was unique and highly ingenious. It was put into operation mainly through the office of Ewen and the M16-British Intelligence. The two men worked closely together to get the plan approved by the spy agency and the British government. Prime Minister Churchill even gave the plan his blessing. 
Montagu and Cholmondeley were the principal leaders in the plot to drop a body, supposed that of an ill-fated spy, near the coast of southern Spain in April of 1943. These two worked in cramped quarters with nine or ten others, both men and women. All of them played a role in outwitting the Nazis. Getting a body to drop into the coastal waters off Spain was no easy task. What family would donate a loved one to be used as a decoy and floated into enemy or neutral territory without a proper burial? The dead man had relatives and yet, no one in the government tried to locate them or inform the family of the death of Glyndwr Michael. The use of the body and taking it out of the country was illegal according to British law. With the help of an undertaker, with the intelligence agency skirting the intent of the law pertaining to transportation of a corpse out of the country, M16 was able to carry out this very risky war-time adventure.
With corpse “in hand,” Cholmondeley and Montagu’s plan moved forward. They created a fictitious person. They gave that person a name-William Martin as well as a made-up family, including a fiancé-Pam. They created a backdrop of an historically grounded human being born into royalty and wealth which gave credibility to their fictional spy.
Montagu delighted in his creation of William Martin of the Royal Marines. In Montagu’s small cramped space, the war office assigned a very beautiful and single Jean Leslie. She became the poster child for Pam, William Martin’s fiancé. Jean, single and beautiful, and Ewen, a lonely married man whose wife and family were in the United States at the time, became “involved.” The two took on the created personalities of their fictionalized spy and his lover in their real life adventure to deceive the Nazis. (When the body of William Martin was placed in the cold water off of Spain, the real life adventures of Ewen and Jean came to an end.)
Early in April 30, 1943, a young American Navy captain took the frozen corpse from its container and dropped it into the water about 1600 yards off the city of Huelva on the Atlantic coast of southern Spain. Not long afterwards a fisherman retrieved the body, took it ashore and called the local Spanish authorities.
Attached to the badly decomposed British-uniformed body were love letters from Pam, a locked briefcase, and important messages to high-ranking personnel about the pending Allied invasion of Europe. All of this material was surveyed and inspected by Spanish authorities and then quickly given over to the Abwehr (Nazi military intelligence) in Madrid. The Abwehr examined the letters and learned that the allied forces that were massing in North Africa were preparing to attack Sardinia and the Greek Peloponnesus. According to the letter found on the corpse, Sicily was to be used as a decoy for the planned landing area. Finally, after the Nazi secret service was done copying the information, the material was handed over to the British consulate. The British hoped the Nazis took seriously what was in the notes taken from the corpse of William Martin. They needed to divert the attention of the Nazi military from the intended landing in Sicily;
The British consul quickly arranged a proper burial service & buried William Martin’s body, even placing a headstone to deter anyone from digging up and examining the body, yet again.
Of course, the Abwehr sent all of the made-up espionage and battle strategies information to Berlin, believing it to be important to the outcome of the war. There, the German general staff discussed the plausibility of the information. Some accepted it as legitimate while others were more skeptical. But the key actor in this drama and the most important in the decision-making equation was Hitler. He believed the doctored information discovered on the dead British officer that washed upon the Spanish coastal waters. That was enough.

Hitler quickly gave the order to dispatch a military division. General Rommel and the Nazi troops were dispatched to reinforce the Greek peninsula against an attack that never materialized. At the time that Hitler ordered the troops to Greece, his armies had suffered major defeats in North Africa and Stalingrad. They were currently fighting a major battle with the Soviets and might have won an important victory against Soviets, but the diverted division to Greece, against his generals’ recommendations, may have cost the Nazis an important victory that could have, possibly, stopped the Soviet Armies advances into western Europe.  
The allies invaded Sicily and opened a second front against the Nazis in Europe. The ingenious plan of Cholmondeley and Montagu had worked. They saved thousands of lives and, possibly, shortened the war. All of this is refreshingly told by Ben Macintyre in Operation Mincemeat: The True Story That Changed the Course of World War II. This spy story was made into the monetarily successful movie The Man Who Never Was.
It wasn’t until 1997 that the British government finally changed the cemetery tombstone in Huelva, Spain and added this sentence to its base: “Glyndwr Michael, served as Major William Martin, RM.”

Strom is professor emeritus of education at San Diego State University

Jerusalem tourism waxes and wanes with international politics

July 26, 2010 Leave a comment

By Ira Sharkansky

Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM–More than two million overseas visitors arrived in Jerusalem during a recent year. The attractions are well maintained places linked to individuals and events featured in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, and a functioning Old City enclosed by walls built in ancient times and last reconstructed in the 16th century. The Old City offers sites and shopping for tourists, and four distinctive neighborhoods that are the homes of 30,000 Jews, Muslims, Armenians and other Christians. Only a short ride away is Bethlehem, equally compelling for those wanting to see the roots of Christianity. Jericho is not much further in another direction. It offers winter visitors a chance to dine comfortably in an outdoor restaurant, while ten miles away in Jerusalem it may be raining and close to freezing.
While the numbers coming to Jerusalem are impressive, and often a nuisance to locals having to cope with crowds and traffic, the city ranks lower than 50 others in the numbers of tourists it attracts. London, New York, Bangkok, Paris, and Rome attract from three to seven times the number of international tourists as Jerusalem. Dublin, Amsterdam, and Prague get twice as many, while even Kiev and Bucharest, plus resorts near Bangkok attract 50 percent more international visitors than Jerusalem.

Jerusalem may have more of a mystic pull than these other places. The “Jerusalem syndrome” is a documented condition whereby some visitors believe themselves to be biblical characters. Jewish and Christian sufferers act as David, Jesus, or some other figure associated with their faith. I am not aware of visitors to London and Paris thinking that they are Henry VIII, Napoleon, or any of the other figures associated with local history.
Why does Jerusalem rank only #51 on a sophisticated ranking of international tourism? 
Distance has something to do with it. Visitors to Western Europe can avail themselves of numerous attractive destinations as part of the same trip from home. There are decent beaches and other features in Tel Aviv and Netanya, but they attract only 60 and 10 percent of the overseas visitors as Jerusalem. Tiberias is on the Sea of Galilee and close to sites important to Christians, but draws only 25 percent of the number of visitors to Jerusalem. 
There are other sites in countries close to Jerusalem, notably Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, but the borders of the Middle East are not as easy to cross as those of Western Europe. For some years now Israeli security personnel have not allowed Israeli Jews to visit Bethlehem or Jericho without special permits, and others have to pass through barriers and inspections meant to protect us.

Politics and tension are more likely to figure in a decision to visit Jerusalem than other cities. The number of overseas tourists to Israel dropped from 2.4 million in 2000, which was mostly prior to the onset of the latest intifada, to a bit over one million in 2003, which was one of the bloodiest years. Numbers increased to 1.9 million by 2005 when the violence had diminished significantly. No other country included in the regions of Europe and the Mediterranean surveyed by the United Nations tourist agency showed comparable variations in the same period. Even on a mundane issue like this, the U.N. is unable to consider Israel part of the Middle East region, which includes all of the countries bordering it and Palestine.

Jerusalem has drawn more tourists that some well-known sites in Europe. It does better than Florence and Venice, and is pretty much tied with Athens. Why less than Kiev and Bucharest? There are mysteries in the world of tourism that may boil down to nothing more than current fashion or a lack of precision in the numbers.

Tourist flows change with politics and economics. Thirty years ago there was virtually no direct travel between Israel, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Now Russian visitors are in second place behind those from the United States; there are sizable numbers from Ukraine and Poland. Thousands come each year from India, Korea, Japan, China, and Nigeria. Indonesia and Morocco receive Israelis and send visitors to Israel, even though there are no formal diplomatic relations. There are even a few hundred visitors annually from Malaysia and Iran, whose officials are usually among our most intense critics .

My latest Jerusalem experience may be part of a multicultural gesture to attract overseas visitors, or it may reflect nothing more than the lack of experience or attention by the person responsible. While I usually pay no attention to the music piped into the exercise room at the university gym, this morning I became alert to something familiar. It was Silent Night, in the English version I was required to sing many years ago at the Highland School. But only in December. Never in July.

Sharkansky is professor emeritus of political science at Hebrew University

Greece and Israel to upgrade their relations

July 26, 2010 Leave a comment

JERUSALEM (WJC)–Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou in Jerusalem. Both leaders agreed a tightening of relations between the two Mediterranean nations. The visit came at a time of crisis in the once-warm relationship between Israel and Greece’s arch-rival Turkey.

“At the end of the meeting they agreed to a major upgrade of relations between Israel and Greece on a range of bilateral issues,” said Netanyahu’s office, adding that Papandreou had invited Netanyahu to visit Athens.

Papandreou, who made the first visit of a Greek prime minister to Israel in 30 years, also met with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas. Netanyahu asked the Greek leader to urge Abbas to begin direct peace talks with Israel.

In an interview with the Israeli newspaper ‘Haaretz’, Papandreou – who is the leader of the Socialist Party PASOK – said his country could help mediate peace agreements between Israel and its neighbors. Asked if Greece would offer to mediate between Israel and Syria, Papandreou said: “My father [a former prime minister] and I traditionally had close relations with many Arab leaders in the area. Yes, we could help. We won’t impose ourselves, but yes, we could help. It’s in our interest and the interest of the Middle East.”

Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

Gaza-bound Libyan ship docks at Egyptian port after deal

July 15, 2010 Leave a comment

(WJC)–A deal struck between Israel and Egypt has reportedly enabled a Libyan ship carrying aid for Gaza to change course and dock peacefully at the Egyptian port of El-Arish. An Arab newspaper in London reports that in return, Israel has agreed to let the Gadhafi Foundation begin a US$ 50 million project to rebuild damaged buildings in Gaza, together with the United Nations.

On Thursday, the Amalthea docked at El-Arish after Israel’s navy had stopped it from reaching the Gaza Strip territory. Since Hamas rose to power there, Israel maintains a sea blockade to prevent weapons smuggling.

The director of the port of El-Arish, Gamal Abdel Maqsoud, said the ship would unload its cargo and hand it over to the Red Crescent for delivery to Gaza by land. Israeli ships stopped the aid vessel from reaching Gaza.

The Gadhafi Foundation, headed by a son of Libyan leader Muammar al-Gadhafi, said the ship had left Greece on Saturday carrying 2,000 tons of food and medical supplies.

Meanwhile, another Gaza-bound aid convoy left the Jordanian capital Amman on Tuesday, heading to the Red Sea port city of Aqaba. Around 150 activists traveled with the convoy, which includes 25 trucks laden with basic humanitarian aid including food and medicine, as well as an ambulance donated by Jordan Medical Association members, according to Jordanian officials.

The convoy is set to travel by boat from Aqaba to the Egyptian port of Nuweibeh and then enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing.


Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.

Gaza-bound Libyan ship diverted to Egyptian port after Israeli interception

July 14, 2010 Leave a comment

(WJC)–Authorities in Egypt have approved a request by the captain of a Gaza-bound Libyan ship to dock at the port of El-Arish in Egypt after failing to break Israel’s sea blockade of the Gaza Strip, it was reported on Wednesday. The ship’s engine broke 130 miles from al-Arish port which is ready to receive it later on the day, the Chinese news agency ‘Xinhua’ reported.

The vessel has 21 persons on board and is reportedly carrying 2,000 tons of humanitarian aid. On Tuesday, organizers said Israeli navy forces had intercepted the ship, ordering it to head to the Egyptian port.

The Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, headed by the son of Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi, said in a press release later that the ship was steadily heading to its intended destination despite repeated Israeli warnings. The IDF stressed that it was continuing to shadow the ship’s movement, in order to ensure that it does not divert to the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, officials at Athens International Airport said an Israel-bound flight was delayed after protesters blocked check-in counters at the airport. Members of a Communist-backed labor union say they blocked five counters of the national airline El Al for two hours to protest against the Israeli blockade of Gaza and its treatment of the Palestinians. The protest ended without incident.


Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.

African American describes her journey into Orthodox Judaism

June 23, 2010 1 comment

The Journey to the Land of My Soul by Ahuvah Gray. Duelkus Press, 2010, 251pages.

By David Strom

David Strom

SAN DIEGO — Ahuvah Gray is an African American woman who converted to Judaism, Orthodox Judaism. She did not convert to Judaism to marry someone Jewish as some do today. No, she became Jewish in her own words, to be completed; to be made whole.
|Delores (Ahuvah) Gray was born in Chicago. She was the granddaughter of sharecroppers from Mississippi. Her grandparents were deeply religious Christians, well known in the community. Her paternal grandparents lived in a town where the “entire municipality, hospitals, schools, police and fire apartments, town hall, houses of worship, and businesses were all owned and operated by Blacks.”

Ahuvah experienced great love and respect in the Gray home. More importantly, she “was always in awe of my Grandparents’ spirituality.” Her grandmother’s main teaching to her children and grandchildren “…was about obedience to God. Her close relationship with Him grew and flourished, nourished by her prayers and complete trust in her Creator.”

Ahuvah started college but did not graduate. She went off to the world of work. Ahuvah traveled as a flight attendant for Continental Airlines. Eventually she trained other flight attendants and headed a divisional office for the airline. As Ahuvah grew older she maintained her spirituality and love of prayer. She became dedicated to her place of worship, King David House of Worship in Chicago. Ahuvah was spiritually inquisitive. When she wanted to clarify or verify her Christian beliefs and ideologies, she would go to the “Tanach as an authoritative cross-reference.”

She understood that Christianity grew out of Judaism. She wanted to know how her “spiritual ancestors prayed, how they worshiped, and how they lived.”

A friend of Ahuvah knew that she was seeking more. She introduced Ahuvah to the spiritual leader, Dr. Charles C. Queen, of the Strait-Way Church. He taught the Jewish Bible in Hebrew. This captivated Ahuvah and seemed to satisfy her spiritual longings. Studying Hebrew and celebrating a Passover Seder with Pastor Queen and his congregation drew Ahuvah closer to Judaism.
After retiring from her Continental Airline position, Ahuvah opened a travel agency targeting African-American travelers who wanted to travel to Egypt, Israel and Greece. The first time Ahuvah voyaged to Israel, she felt at home. Within her heart she felt at peace and contented. Ahuvah felt spiritually closer to God there than anywhere else she had lived!

Over the next few years Ahuvah traveled 14 times to Israel. She led tours during Passover, meeting people, and getting a feeling for the land and its people. Eventually, after serving as a Christian minister for thirteen years, Ahuvah felt the need to become a Jew. Many who worked with her and were friends with her wondered what took her so long. They knew that her life force had been heading in this direction for many years, even though she had not made a definitive decision to convert.
The difficult decision to become a Jew was made easier by her family when her mother and father accepted her pronouncement as the will of God. They were happy that she had found a place where she could be spiritually at peace. Her siblings also supported her choice.

In May of 1993, Ahuvah went to Shavuot service in the United States. Shavuot celebrates the receiving of the Ten Commandments and Torah at Sinai. Ahuvah told her friend, “I was at Sinai when the Law was given.” She now understood her “…identification with the Law of Moses and the Jewish people…the missing link.” She understood finally the feeling of peace she felt that first time at Sinai.

Prayer and fasting have been an important part of Ahuvah’s life. Living among the “Black Hatters” in Jerusalem has helped her understand her Judaism more deeply.  Her many friends invited her to Shabbat cholent meals at celebrations where the entire religious community had warmly accepted this devoted African-American Orthodox Jewish woman into their hearts.

The Journey to the Land of My Soul is Ahuvah Gray’s description of her spiritual journey from Christianity to Judaism via Chicago to Los Angeles and finally, reaching its final destination in the holy city of Jerusalem. Because of its uniqueness, her story is worth reading. A fault can be found in the book in that it is too long and repetitious. Paring the story down by a half would help make this a more readable book by giving the reader the essence of the story without so much detail. However, the essence of Ahuvah Gray’s story of her journey into Judaism is worthwhile and enlightening to readers as to the beliefs, practices and sense of community that attract a convert to the Jewish faith.

Strom is professor emeritus of education at San Diego State University

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.
Cantor and Mrs. Joseph Cysner wish to thank all their friends for their good wishes on the birth of their second daughter.
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.

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.
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.


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.

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.


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.
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.
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.
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.

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.

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.

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.

“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. 

Mass murder at sea, or in a mosque, and the world is silent. But when Israel defends itself, the world goes crazy

June 5, 2010 1 comment

 By Alex Liff

Alex Liff

SAN DIEGO–In early twentieth century the American journalist John Reed wrote a book called, Ten Days That Shook The World  in which he described the events of the Russian revolution.  Perhaps one day someone will publish something along the lines of “10 days that characterized the world” to describe the sinister 21’st century.   Over 10 days recently we witnessed a series of seemingly unrelated but very interesting events that clearly illustrated the degeneracy of the current 21’st century generation. 

First, came the irrefutable proof, established by an international commission, after a careful, multi month study, that a North Korean torpedo sunk the South Korean ship killing 46 innocent sailors.  It was a clear act of war but you wouldn’t know that by the reaction of the world’s powers.  China refused to condemn the act while Russia insisted on seeing the evidence itself and has still not made any comments.  In general the reaction was rather muted, one that can best be characterized “yep that’s kind of bad, what’s for breakfast Joe?”

Second, came the news out of Pakistan that around 100 innocent worshippers were butchered, slaughtered in cold blood in their houses of worship.  Their crime?  They were Muslim, but apparently the wrong kind of Muslim for their ruthless killers who also were Muslims. The world’s reaction?  Hardly a murmur, not a single Muslim of note in Pakistan or anywhere else for that matter hit the streets with any kind of protest for what has become a nearly daily occurrence in the Muslim world.  And just to prove that this was no fluke, the very next day a group of Muslim gunmen burst into a hospital and butchered six more people, attacking the emergency room of all places.   The world stood by silently once again, no protests, no UN condemnation, complete and utter silence which has become so typical in these occurrences.

And then came Monday, the day the so called “Free Gaza Flotilla” met the Israeli Navy and unleashed a worldwide storm of protest and condemnation.  So what was all that about and what triggered the world’s violent reaction to an event that paled in comparison to the ones above?  Let’s take a look at some interesting facts here.  The Gaza flotilla was essentially sponsored and organized by a Turkish Muslim group with known ties to al Qaeda and Hamas, which were well documented by CIA and other U.S government agencies.   Furthermore, it was put together with the tacit approval if not outright support from the Turkish Islamist government headed by Tayyip Erdogan.   You may remember Erdogan as the one storming off the stage at Davos, in a fit of anger after accusing Israel’s President Shimon Peres of genocide in Gaza after the Israeli actions there to stop the missile firings.  In fact Erdogan has been a relentless critic of Israel, while at the same time warmly embracing  Iran’s  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  He went so far as to declare that Iran had no intentions to build a nuclear bomb, was a peaceful symbol of democracy and was in no way threatening the world peace, unlike the aggressive and human-rights denying Israel. 

Now a naïve observer, may ask, who is this humanitarian dignitary, Tayyip Erdogan, who is so keenly concerned about the supposed humanitarian crisis in Gaza and what makes the Turks so uniquely qualified to champion such noble a cause?  Let history serve us as a quick guide here.  In the early 20th century, right around World War I, the Turks masterminded and executed one of the grisliest genocides in history where in the course of several weeks they raped, pillaged and brutally murdered up to 1.5 million Armenians. 

Furthermore, to make matters worse, despite the overwhelming evidence and worldwide consensus on the historical facts, to this day they have continued to deny that fact and have refused to pay any restitution to the victims.  As a personal aside, my close Armenian friend’s great grandfather was nailed to the door by the Turks in a manner that was very characteristic of the bestial murders of the Armenians. 

A little bit later in the century, as the founder of the current Turkish republic Kamal Ataturk,  launched his war of liberation, the Turks drove out and murdered hundreds of thousands of Greeks and a few remaining Armenians.  I visited the city of Izmir in Turkey, a city which used to be a major Greek center, and there is virtually nothing left to remind one of the Greeks’ existence.  In fact eyewitness accounts from Izmir tell a gruesome story of mass murder of the civilian population, a true ethnic cleansing if you will.  

Continuing our historical journey, deeper into the 20th century, one finds the atrocious treatment of the Turkish Kurds by Ataturk and his successors where an estimated 30,000 of them were murdered, countless others imprisoned, their language and way of life outlawed.  Those were Turkish citizens mind you, their only crime was the desire to maintain their self identity.  In fact, while hitchhiking in Turkey in the 90’s I happened to ride in a car with a Kurdish Turk who after hearing that I am familiar with their plight, opened up, and in broken English told me how the Turkish army murdered half his family and how he could not openly practice his way of life.  So a slight diversion if you will, just to help one understand Turkey’s humanitarian credentials and background.  In fact, as a representative of the Turkish nation, Erdogan would be well served to remember a simple saying along the lines of “He who lives in the glass house, should not toss the first stone”.  

So it is clear that a Muslim, terror-linked charity organized the flotilla, staffed it mostly with Turks and it was sponsored by the Israel-hating, Israel-bashing government of Erdogan to further his own political agenda.   Now, an innocent observer may ask, what about all those supposed Europeans, an Israeli (living in Sweden), a Nobel peace laureate and a Holocaust survivor who were on board?  Well, most of the Europeans, and Australians and other nationalities on board had last names like Talib and Mukhbar and so one.  They are Muslims who happen to have European passports.  The Holocaust survivor in her 80’s can be forgiven for getting matters confused and as for the Israeli, well each nation has its share of Benedict Arnolds and Israel is no different. 

The Israeli government went to great lengths to warn the flotilla to stay away and was clear that they would not be let through.  Israelis offered to transport all of the legal goods to Gaza by land but that did not suit the organizers.  For Erdogan this was simply a way to try to further isolate and embarrass Israel while scoring some cheap points on the home political front.  It’s much better to have the masses focused on the “evil Zionist entity” than on the everyday bleak reality that his party has created at home.  For the willing participants, although they came from different countries and different walks of life, there was one common element that bonded and united them and that was their deep hatred of the state of Israel and all things Jewish.  In other words, a pogrom in the making, Muslim style. 

The Israelis made every effort to avoid a confrontation, warning the ships to turn back on numerous occasions but that is not why these rabble rousers came.  They wanted their day in the sun in the anti-Semitic pantheon and they got it.  Even when faced with such provocation, Israelis made every effort to avoid casualties, foolishly dropping off virtually unarmed commandos into the arms of blood thirsty thugs waiting on board with knives, metal poles and chairs.    Seven brave commandos were savagely beaten and almost lynched, essentially leaving the Israelis no choice but to escalate their use of force to protect these valiant young men.  The fact that only nine rabble rousers were killed is a testament to the Israeli self restraint and courage under fire. 

The world’s reaction to this propaganda trick was swift and predictable.  “State sponsored terrorism” declared Edrogan whose nation should know a thing or two about that.  “A bloody massacre” whined the west’s favorite “moderate,” PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas.  Even the old favorite, “disproportionate use of force” returned, from the mouth of the French.  The Australians, the British and everyone in between piled on and jumped on the merry Israel-bashing bandwagon.  And all those Muslims who were completely silent, virtually non-existent on Saturday when 100 people were butchered in the mosques of Pakistan or Sunday when six more were gunned down in the hospital suddenly found the inspiration to rush to the streets to condemn this “bestial” Israeli aggression that killed nine provocateurs. 

Even the U.S, I guess by now not surprisingly, expressed “concern” and demanded immediate accounting and the facts.  In fact, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sternly warned that the situation in Gaza is not sustainable and cannot continue, in other words, get rid of the blockage and let the Iranian weapons flow in.  Yes, a great friend of Israel indeed.  What made the international reaction even more amazing is the fact that there was clear and undeniable evidence that Israel provided, on tape, showing how the savage crowd set upon the descending commandos, but I guess when it comes to Israel and  the world’s band of anti-Semites, facts are not really relevant.

Predictable? Yes.  Expected?  You bet.  Understandable?  Never.  It is a wicked, crazy world we live in and it’s drifting further into the abyss.  The moral compass is so off kilter that it would almost take a divine intervention to set it straight.  God called on Israel to be a light onto the nations  but the evil darkness that is enveloping us is clearly trying to block out that light.  Let’s say a prayer for the speedy recovery of the valiant Israeli commandos who almost gave their lives protecting us. They are the best, the brightest, they are our pride and strength. Let’s hope that the Israeli generals who sent them into battle with paint guns have learned their lessons.   Israel we stand with thee, the light shall not be overcome with evil darkness. Erdogan and his ilk better take heed. 

Liff is a freelance journalist based in San Diego

Israel says it will turn away Gaza ‘Freedom Flotilla’

May 28, 2010 Leave a comment

(WJC)–Israel says it will block a fleet of nine ships carrying international activists and supplies from reaching the Gaza Strip.

The Freedom Flotilla, organized by the Free Gaza group, left from ports in Ireland, Greece and Turkey last week and is scheduled to arrive Thursday off the coast of Gaza.

Israel has offered to transfer the humanitarian aid, including food, clothing and construction materials, to Gaza through an approved Israeli port.

“Ships forcing their way into Gaza will do nothing to aid the people there,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said in a statement issued late Monday. “Existing land crossings are more than capable of meeting their needs. International aid organizations and the private sector of Gaza ensure that all the necessary food, medicine and clothing are provided to the Strip via Israel.”

Palmor said the flotilla organizers “are less interested in bringing in aid than in promoting their radical agenda, playing into the hands of Hamas provocations. While they have wrapped themselves in a humanitarian cloak, they are engaging in political propaganda and not in pro-Palestinian aid.”

Some 15,000 tons of supplies enter Gaza each week, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Five Free Gaza vessels have been allowed to dock in Gaza port in recent years. A ship was turned away last year by Israel’s navy.


Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.