Archive for the ‘Italy’ Category

When the conductor is, er, mis-conducted

September 2, 2010 Leave a comment

By David Amos

David Amos

SAN DIEGO–I wrote in a recent column about a personal family trip. But, as part of my musical career, I have had the privilege and pleasure to visit interesting places, countries in a state of social transition and major political and economic changes. Some of these places were most pleasant, and provided a reasonable amount of creature comforts. Others made me homesick almost instantly.

But in every instance, it was a revealing, educational experience. I saw places that most tourists will never visit, and had the opportunity to talk to many people whose voices had been suppressed for decades; some, for their entire lives. The stories were fascinating. At times, I witnessed history taking place, as was the case in countries where the Soviets were about to depart, or had recently left.

Just saying the word “Israel”, for my musical visits there, can bring to memory dozens of unusual and memorable encounters.

These travels have been for conducting live concerts and recording sessions, lecturing, attending specific musical happenings, auditioning musicians, visiting music schools, or judging in international music competitions.

These were experiences that were priceless, and in most cases, very positive. This, however, I can not say for the travels to and from my musical destinations. No one is exempt from horror travel stories.

Once in a while, after telling someone of an upcoming trip, I am told (you have heard this line many times yourselves!), “Oh, how glamorous! Can I come along and carry your suitcases?”  Don’t even think about it.

Take, for instance, a trip that took me to Trapani, in Sicily, in 1999 to be part of an international jury for the city’s annual Chamber Music Competition. Trapani is a fishing town in West Sicily, and East of Palermo. The eight days in Trapani were terrific. Nothing but good things. After all, how can you beat hearing lots of chamber music every day, hobnobbing with brilliant and distinguished musical minds, and eating Italian and Sicilian food?

But, let me tell you of my return trip on Sunday, November 28, 1999. Due to short lead times and details given to me a few weeks before, my trajectory to return home included no less than four flights, all in the same day. It later turned out to be five flights. I awakened from the Trapani hotel at 4:00 a.m., after a late night of the closing ceremonies, and was on my way to the Palermo airport by private taxi an hour later. This car ride takes about an hour. On our way there, we ran into a violent thunderstorm. When we reached the Palermo airport, I discovered that there was no power in the building, due to the storm. They were operating with emergency lights, which were illuminating only a little more than eight modest Hannukah candles.

Even though Alitalia had several flights leaving at 7:00 a.m., there was only one window open to register all the passengers, and what seemed like a thousand people, not forming any discernible cues or lines, were pushing to present their tickets and luggage all at the same time, to a single, distraught employee. Chaos personified, and of course, everything in Sicilian, which is not quite Italian.

You can imagine my frustration those forty minutes after my plane was supposed to depart; I was still cueing in line, with no one around for me to plead my case. I ran to the gate to find it totally empty, only to find out that my plane not only had not departed, but had not yet arrived from Rome.

We finally departed from Rome. Upon landing, I had to call on my limited athletic skills to again run to the next gate. No time for breakfast, but I made it.

Landing in Paris’ Orly airport can be real fun. One is led through interminable shuttles, corridors, and security and passport checkpoints, all through connecting terminals, while being pushed and shoved by a million other harassed passengers. I believe that the terminal where I was must have been a quarter of a mile long. While standing by gate # 2, it was indicated that my gate was to be # 33 for my New York flight. But hurry! Your flight has finished boarding, and they are about to close the doors. Again, I desperately ran to gate 33, only to find out that due to gate changes, my plane was parked at gate # 3, where I was a few breathless minutes before. Run again. When boarding, I was advised by an attendant that due to my inexcusable tardiness, there would be no meal for me, since a final count was already taken. I took my seat for the eight hour flight, sweaty, but relieved. Somehow, I did receive a meal.

Upon landing at JFK in New York, I found out that my suitcases did not make the connection, but I was informed of this after waiting for 40 minutes at baggage claim. Fill out a missing luggage report, and board the airport shuttle to the American Airlines terminal for my flight to San Diego. The shuttle took 45 minutes to take me there (after all, this was the Thanksgiving weekend), and as you might have expected it, my connections luck finally ran out, and I totally missed my flight to San Diego.

Hoping not to lose a night and stay in New Your without my suitcases, I insisted in some form of alternate route home. For this, I was put on a “waiting list”, which is only a notch or two above the handling of cattle. I called home to notify my wife of the situation. There was a flight to Dallas-Fort Worth. I was given the last seat available, in the very rear, with practically the engine on my lap.

In Dallas, another marathon walk in a short time, another waiting list, and the tension of uncertainty. I was given a seat for my flight to San Diego, next to a very drunk and troubled woman. After over 24 hours from hotel in Sicily to landing at Lindbergh Field, I arrived late, hungry, exhausted, and happy to be home. My suitcases, after being subjected to a magical mystery tour of their own, arrived three days later. I have given you only the main highlights of that day; there were other incidents and encounters.

Now, we know that this harrowing experience is not typical of every trip; but potentially, any of these mishaps can happen, and many times do. Do you still want to carry my suitcases?

Amos is conductor of the Tifereth Israel Community Orchestra in San Diego and has guest conducted numerous professional orchestras around the world.

Adventures in San Diego Jewish History, January 7, 1955, Part 2

August 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Compiled by San Diego Jewish World staffSouthwestern Jewish Press, January 7, 1955, Page 3

Hoffer-Solomon Vows Exchanged

On Sunday, Jan. 2, at 7:00 p.m., Barbara Solomon, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leon M. Solomon of San Diego, was wed to Harold Hoffer, son of Mrs. S. Hoffer of New York City.

Rabbi Morton J. Cohn officiated at the services held in the Beth Israel Temple.

The bride wore an original ballerina-length gown of all-over embroidered, shimmery, white satin. The fitted, princess style bodice was accentuated by a full, billowy skirt and a deep V-back  neckline.  The shoulder length veil was caught to a lace crown. Barbara carried a bouquet of white orchids and Roman hyacinth.

Bridesmaids Isabelle Bank and Sandra Schoenkopf wore pastel gowns and carried nosegay bouquets.  Ushers were Jerry Solomon and Dr. Larry Solomon.

Two hundred and twenty-five guests attended  the buffet dinner dance held after the ceremony at the Mission Valley Country Club.  The music for dancing was provided by Pauline Gleason and Orchestra.  The bride’s mother welcomed the guests in a short formal of dusty rose lace.  The groom’s mother wore a grown of midnight blue silk.

Barbara left for her honeymoon, at Big Bear Lodge and Las Vegas, wearing a slate grey suit with winter white accessories.

Out of town guests were Messrs. And Mesdames Max Goodman, Jack Goodman and Mrs. Sonya Ariel, of Tiajuana; Mr and Mrs. Al Burton, of Burbank, Messrs and Mesdames Joe Rosenberg and Al Cassel of Sherman Oaks; Jerry Solomon, Marcia Knight, Mr. and Mrs. Lon Solomon, Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Lewis and Miss Bobbi Marks of Los Angeles; Mr and Mrs. Frank Linneen of Hollywood, and Mr. and Mrs. Segall of Glendale.

Green-Berkun Wedding Announced
Southwestern Jewish Press, January 7, 1955, Page 3

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Berkun of 4568 Marlborough Dr. announce the marriage of their daughter, Anita, to Calvin Green, son of Ernest Green of Escondido on December 19th.

Rabbi Monroe Levens officiated at Tifereth Israel Synagogue.

The bride wore a gown of white Chantilly lace and tulle with lace-edged veil, and carried white roses. She was given in marriage by her father.

Miss Marilyn Berkun, maid of honor, was gowned in peacock blue tulle. Bridesmaids, dressed in coral tulle, were Misses Miriam Gralnick, Bernice Kaufman and Frances Samuels.

George Green was best man for his brother; ushers were Richard Pick, Jerry Krasne and William Kolender.

A reception and buffet supper for 250 guests was held in the Synagogue Hall following the ceremony. After their return from their honeymoon in Las Vegas the young couple will reside in San Diego, where the bridegroom will continue his studies at State College.

Wedding Told
Southwestern Jewish Press, January 7, 1955, Page 3

Announcement has been made of the marriage, on December 24th, of Bernice Kagen Berner to Dr. Jack Binderman, Jr.

Dr. Binderman, a dentist, will move his residence and officers from Beckley, West Virginia, to San Diego.

Southwestern Jewish Press, January 7, 1955, Page 3

Newcomers to San Diego are Mrs. Lillian Baume, and her daughter, Dorie.  Formerly of New York City, they now reside at  3061 Madison Ave., in San Diego.

The Al Hutler family, with Mrs. Ossie Ehrlich, have just returned from a motor trip East. They visited New Orleans, took interesting side trips and visited relatives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Welcome visitors to San Diego were Morrie and Flo Ackerman and Linda.  Naturally, their grandchild took up most of their time.

Happy travelers are Mr. and Mrs. Joe Lamon, who have just completed a two months tour of Spain,  Italy, England and France. The Lamons attended a hotel convention in Rome. Before returning to San Diego they visited relatives in New York.

Betrothal – It was a double-header for the Robert Berkun family. Daughter Marilyn’s engagement to William (Billy) Kolender of San Diego, was announced at the wedding of their daughter, Anita, on December 19th  Billy is at present in the Navy.  No wedding date hhas been set.

Among the California doctors who attended the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists in Chicago was Dr. Walter Ornstein of San Diego.

Mr. Zel Camiel has been elected to the National Council of United HIAS Service, in recognition of his untiring service to our New Americans.


Small World Dept – The Maxwell Kaufmans went to Los Angeles to spend New Years Eve with an old friend and were right “at home” with the lively group they joined. Among the revelers were Diane Fischer’s sister and brother-in-law, the Harman Ostrens, a former classmate and good friend of the Levenson brothers, David Hoffman (like Morey, he’s a one-man show at the piano) and of all things, a childhood sweetheart of Leo Beck (her name is Ida too.)  ‘Tis indeed a small world.

Judging by a card received from Miami, Florida, Thelma and Sam Weiss are having a wonderful time on their trip.  They will be home on the 8th.

Mrs. Jean Spatz wishes to thank her many friends for their kindness and consideration during her recent illness.

New Subscibers – Dr. Jack Binderman Jr., Maury Gross, Jack Schulman.

Jean Goldstein Wed in San Francisco

Southwestern Jewish Press, January 7, 1955, Page 3

Young love scored again when Jean Edloe Goldstein, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Goldstein, was married to Ernest Malamud, son of Dr. and Mrs. Nathan Malamud of San Francisco.  The young couple were married on December 31st at 4 p.m. in the Borgia Room of the St Francis Hotel; Rabbi Irving Reichart officiated.  Edith Malamud was Maid of Honor.

Thirty-five intimate members of both families gathered in the beautifully decorated room to witness the ceremony, which was followed by a dinner.

The groom, a graduate of University of California, will return to Cornell, where he is a Teacher’s Assistant, and will continue his studies for the Masters Degree. The bride will also attend Cornell.

Betrothal Announced
Southwestern Jewish Press, January 7, 1955, Page 3

Mr. and Mrs. David Schissel of San Diego announce the engagement of their daughter, Sandra, to Arthur Levinson, son of MRs. Ethel Levinson, and nephew of Mandel Weiss, of San Diego.

Arthur is a graduate of Stanford University and Sandra attended UCLA.  A June wedding is being planned.

Southwestern Jewish Press, January 7, 1955, Page 3

A son, Harold Paul, was born to M/Sgt. And Mrs. Morton B. Peskin on Thursday, Dec. 30th, at the Naval Hospital in Corona, California.

Proud grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Sandor Goldberger, on the maternal side, and Mr. and Mrs. Philip Peskin on the paternal side.

M/Sgt Morton Peskin is stationed at March Field and resides at Arlington, Calif.

Dating will never be a problem to Lisa Emily, newest member of the family of Dr. and Mrs. Carl Hoffman.  In addition to her own three brothers, Robert, James and Laurence, Lisa has eight cousins – all boys. She was born at Mercy Hospital on Dec. 23rd and weighted 6 lbs, 10 oz.

Maternal grandmother is Mrs. Harry H. Goldstein of Arlington, Va.

A welcome addition to the Max Sturman family is Joan, who arrived on January 34d at the Scripps Memorial Hospital. She weighed 7 lbs at birth. All ready for their new playmate are brothers Andy, 3, and Neil, 1 year.


Maternal grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Fuss, of Brentwood, L.I; paternal grandfather is Benjamin Sturman of New York City.

Mr. and Mrs. Zane Feldman announce the birth of a daughter, Lisa Rose on December 31st, weight 6 lbs, 12 ozs.  The Feldmans have another child, Bernard, 2 ½ years.

Paternal grandparents are Mr. and MRs. Louis Feldman, maternal grandmother, Mrs. Sophie Law-Zimmer; great-grandparents are Mr. and MRs. Isaac Feldman of Woonsocket, R.I.; great-gbrandmother, Mrs. Bertha Feinberg of San Diego.


Southwestern Jewish Press, January 7, 1955, Page 3

The family of Anna Shelley wish to announced that on Sunday, January 23rd, at 2 p.m. at the Home of Peace Cemetery, services will be held at the unveiling of her stone. Rabbi Baruch Stern will officiate.

Beth Israel To Hold Annual Dinner Meeting
Southwestern Jewish Press, January 7, 1955, Page 3

The Annual Dinner Meeting of Temple Beth Israel will be held on Thursday, January 30th, at 6:30 p.m. at the Temple Center.  Irving E. Friedman, Chairman urges that members who cannot come to dinner attend the meeting which starts at 8 p.m.  Reservations may be made by calling the Temple Office. (Limited to members only.)

Among the important reports to be given will be that of Rabbi Morton J. Cohn and President Mark Esterson. Dr. Robt. M. Stone, chairman will present the Nominating Committee’s slate for Board of Directors. Nominations are also acceptable from the floor.

Bay City To Install 33 New Members
Southwestern Jewish Press, January 7, 1955, Page 3

Approximately 33 members will be initiated by the Bay City B’nai B’rith Chapter on Monday, January 10, at Tifereth Israel Center.  Mrs. Harold Garvin, chairman, announced that an original initiation script written by Mrs. Victor Weiss, will be used, augmented by a short membership skit which is being prepared by members of the committee. Special refreshments will be served and an extra special surprise presentation will be made to the initiates. Those assisting Mrs. Garvin are: Mesds. David Cohen, Morris Cahan, Max Felsman, Charles Juster, Wilford Robbins, Abe Hollandersky, Eugene Sacks, Sanford Sacks and David Schloss.

Mrs. Jack Meyers, president, urges all members to attend and extends a cordial invitation to non-members to be guests of the Chapter that evening.

(Religious Success)
Southwestern Jewish Press, January 7, 1955, Page 3

Success in religion, like any other endeavor, has to be worked at seven days a week.

Southwestern Jewish Press, January 7, 1955, Page 3

Women Wanted—Make extra money. Address, mail postcards, spare time every week, BICO, 133 Belmont, Belmont, Mass.

Man Available – For Gardening ..Trucking Services… Pick-Up and Delivery.  Call after 5 p.m. .. BE 9-2780

Art Teacher – B.A. desires work in art, nursery or related fields – Tel. AC-3-7394.

Southwestern Jewish Press, January 7, 1955, Page 3

8th – Sat, 6;30 p.m.—Jewish Center Dinner – Don Room, El Cortez
9th –Sun, 6:30 p.m. – Lasker Lodge Installation Dinner Dance – Mission Valley Club
10th—Mon, 8:30 p.m. – Bay City B.B. Women’s Initiation –Tifereth Israel Center.
11th –Tuesday “Sport Night” – Men’s Club – Temple Center
13th-Thurs.—Election of Officers –U.J.F. State Ballroom, S.D. Hotel – 6:30 p.m.
19th—Wed., 12 noon – Se Sola Pools – Hadassah Luncheon
26th– Wed. eve. – “Mr. Hadassah Night—Dinner and Fashion Show – Mission Valley Club
30th-Sun – Pioneer Women Annual Bazaar – Beth Jacob Center

Irving Friedman To Head Clinic

Southwestern Jewish Press, January 7, 1955, Page 4

Irving E. Friedman has been reappointed president and advisory board chairman of Guadalupe Clinic for his 11th term, Rev. Thomas Byrnes, moderator, said.

Nicholas Martin was reappointed vice chairman and Mrs. Clara Brisco secretary. New members named to the board were Dr. Guy E. Magio, medical staff president; John McCarthy, Robert J. Stirnkorb, and M.D. Goodrich.

Reappointed to the board were Dr. Joseph B. Mullen, president of the dental staff, and Mrs. Thomas F. Dunn, Chester Pagni, Louis Ricca, Sam W. Hamill, Emmet McCabe and William Rule.

During 1954 there were 16,000 visits of patients for clinic care.

Birdie Stodel Women
Southwestern Jewish Press, January 7, 1955, Page 4

Birdie Stodel Chapter No. 92 members are deeply grieved by the passing of Mr. William Schusterman, husband of our beloved member, Goldie Schusterman.

The chapter is postponing its regular meeting which was to have been held on Monday, January 10, because of the death. The next meeting will be held Monday, January 24th.

Southwestern Jewish Press, January 7, 1955, Page 4

Elinor B. Kitaen, beloved wife of Joseph Kitaen, died Sat., January 1st at the age of 37 years.  She is survived by her husband and three children, Darreld, Terry and Susan, and a brother, Jack Ellis, of Los Angeles.

Services were conducted by Rabbi Morton J. Cohn at the Lewis Colonial Mortuary and interment was in the Home of Peace Cemetery.

Mrs. Kitean was a member of the Temple Beth Israel Sisterhood, the Yo-Ma-Co Club and Hadassah.

Harry Cohn, husband of Rebecca Cohn, passed away on Friday, Dec. 31st, at the age of 59 years.  He is survived by sons, Leroy, Lyman and Irvin, and daughter, Mrs. Barbara Schloss.  Services were held at the Lewis Colonial Mortuary and interment was at the Sholem Mausoleum.  Rabbi Morton J. Cohn officiated.

(Hebrew Home for the Aged)

Southwestern Jewish Press, January 7, 1955, Page 4

Application for admission to the Hebrew Home for the Aged may be made through theJewish Social Service Agency, 333 Plaza, BE-2-5172.

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

Israeli photographer freed by Libya

August 9, 2010 Leave a comment

JERUSALEM (WJC) — Rafael Haddad, an Israeli citizen arrested and imprisoned in Libya in March while photographing Jewish sites, has returned to Israel after being freed in a deal reportedly engineered by Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Haddad, who has dual Israeli-Tunisian citizenship, had gone to Libya in March to photograph former Jewish community buildings in Tripoli for a Jewish heritage association. He was arrested and turned over to Libyan intelligence on suspicion of espionage, and until Sunday his whereabouts were unknown. Israeli officials now announced that he had been freed by Libyan authorities and flown to Vienna, following prolonged negotiations.

Reportedly, the case involved international efforts and was linked to Israel’s treatment of a pro-Palestinian ship sponsored by Libya that tried to run the blockade of Gaza last month. “The Foreign Ministry and the foreign minister worked for a long time to have him freed, along with other international bodies, and we thank all involved for their help,” an Israeli spokesman said, but did not provide further details. Libyan authorities have not commented.

Israeli nationals are banned from visiting the north African country. Haddad was traveling on his Tunisian passport when he was arrested.

Israeli officials said the efforts to free Haddad involved Italy, which has close ties to Libya and is home to a Libyan Jewish exile community, as well as France, Tunisia and the United States. Israeli officials quoted by AP said the final deal was arranged by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Austrian-Jewish businessman Martin Schlaff.

Haddad was flown to Vienna on Schlaff’s private jet, the officials said, and was greeted at the airport by Lieberman. As part of the deal Israel allowed 20 prefabricated houses from the Libyan-sponsored ship, which tried to reach Gaza in July, to be delivered to the Strip. The Libyan ship was diverted to Egypt.

Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

Hand grenade explodes 100 meters from Ahmadinejad car in Hamedan

August 4, 2010 Leave a comment

HAMADAN (WJC)–Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reportedly escaped an assassination attempt in the western Iranian city of Hamadan. Several people were wounded in the blast, said media reports. The Arab news channel ‘al-Arabiya’ said the Iranian presidency had confirmed that Ahmadinejad “escaped an assassination attempt as his procession was targeted by a bomb.” The conservative Iranian website ‘’ said:  “This morning, a hand grenade exploded next to a vehicle carrying reporters accompanying the president in Hamedan. Ahmadinejad’s car was 100 meters away and he was not hurt.”

In his speech, which was broadcast on state television, the hard-line Iranian leader did not mention the attack. He claimed that Iran did not care about the latest US sanctions but warned countries against joining them. On Tuesday, the Treasury Department in Washington had named 21 firms and banned Americans from engaging in business with them. Thirteen of the companies are based in Europe – nine in Germany, two in Belarus, and one each in Luxembourg and Italy.

“You can make resolutions and sanctions against us as much as you want until you get fed up. As far as the Iranian nation is concerned, we do not care at all and will never beg four your goods,” Ahmadinejad told the crowd in Hamadan. The president said all the sanctions in the last four years just made the country more self-sufficient and improved its technological output. He warned all countries against joining the sanctions, saying that they would be excluded from further business with Iran and “be wiped out from Iranian markets.”

Meanwhile, Japan also imposed sanctions against Iran, in line with the recent UN resolution. The government in Tokyo said it planned to announce additional punitive measures later this month.

Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

Peres says remarks critical of British were misunderstood

August 3, 2010 Leave a comment

JERUSALEM (WJC)–Israel’s President Shimon Peres has denied accusations that in a newspaper interview he had labeled Britons as anti-Semitic. Peres said that he believed that “relations between Britain and Israel are of the greatest importance.”

The 87-year-old was quoted in an interview with ‘Tablet’ magazine as saying: “in England, there has always been something deeply pro-Arab, of course, not among all Englishmen, and anti-Israeli, in the establishment”. He also said that while Israel’s relationships with Italy, Germany and France were “pretty good”, the English attitude toward Israel’s was the latter’s “next big problem”.

Peres added: “There are several million Muslim voters, and for many members of parliament, that’s the difference between getting elected and not getting elected.”

His remarks drew criticism from parliamentarians, Jewish leaders and Christian and Muslim commentators after some British newspapers reported that Peres’ had accused the British of being deeply anti-Semitic. A statement from the president’s spokesman said: “On the contrary, he has the highest regard for Britain’s resolute opposition to Nazi Germany. Without the war on Nazism, waged entirely alone at times, the Jewish people would have faced an even greater tragedy.”

Pointing out that more than 10,000 missiles have been fired at Israeli civilians from Gaza, the spokesman added: “The president did express concern that some people in Britain do not fully appreciate difficulties of facing an onslaught of terror whilst adhering to democratic practice as Israel does.”

However, he added that while Peres had “expressed his sorrow over certain points in the relationship between Israel and the UK”, including Britain’s abstention in the 1947 UN Partition Plan vote, or the arms embargo imposed after Israel gained independence, these were “historical disagreements. “They have no impact on current relations between the two countries and of course have nothing to do with anti-Semitism.”

The controversy comes just days after Prime Minister David Cameron sparked Israeli anger by describing Gaza as “a prison camp” while on a visit to Turkey. However, Peres gave the original interview before the incident.

Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

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

Adventures in San Diego Jewish History, October 29, 1954, Part 3

July 30, 2010 1 comment

Compiled by San Diego Jewish World staff

Barbara Taylor-Peter Haas Wed In Afternoon Ceremony
Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Page 6

The marriage of Barbara Taylor, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Laycock of Germany, to Peter Haas, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Haas, was solemnized at an afternoon ceremony Sunday, October 24, at Tifereth Israel Synagogue with Rabbi Monroe Levens performing the rites.

The bride’s traditional white gown was ballerina length and featured a jewel-collared jacket.  Her short veil was held by a tiny crown of net flowers and she carried a bouquet of orchids, mums and stephanotis.

Manon Haas sister of the groom, and the bride’s attendant was gowned in aqua featuring a ruffled skirt with matching hat and gloves. Rolf Haas was his brother’s best man and Eddie Davis and Jake Borushek acted as ushers.

A reception for 100 guests was held in La Sala Room of the House of Hospitality immediately following the ceremony.

Out of town guests were the bride’s grandmother, Mrs. Charles Thomas of Victoria, B.C. and Mr. Herbert Rona of Salt Lake City.

The young couple will make teir home at 3928 ½ Mississippi Street.

Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Page 6

Miss Amy Slater of Hollywood is the subject of a four-page feature article in the November issue of Living For Young Homemakers magazine.  Miss Slater is the daughter of Betty and Leonard Slater of Hollywood and the granddaughter of Esther and Lou Moorsteen of San Diego.

The article is titled, “The First Four Weeks of the Life of a Baby” …. Miss Slater is seven months old.

New residents of the increasingly popular College area are Annabelle and Ted Mintz, who have moved into their newly build home at 4930 Gary Street.

Mr and Mrs. Joe Lamon are flying to New York on Nov. 3 to attend the Hotel Convention there.  But that is just a prelude to a two month’s tour of Europe, for the leave Nov. 12 on the luxury liner, The United States and will visit England, France, Italy and Spain. The Hotel Convention takes on an international flavor with its continuance in Rome, Italy.

A trifle belated, but nonetheless gala, was the 35th Anniversary Dinner given to Paul and Frieda Nestor by the Jolly 16.  A long, rose-decked table was set in the lanai of the beautiful home of host and hostess, Nate and Sally Ratner.  The menu was planned to please the honored guests.  After dinner there was time out for reminiscence and good wishes.

Mrs. Henry Bernstein, Mother of Mrs. Ratner, and her brother, Louis Bernstein of San Francisco, were also guests at the dinner.

If you see someone going by on a cloud, it is Ann Levin, who hasn’t come down to earth after her recent trip to Hawaii with husband Jules. There was plenty of champagne and good company aboard the Lurline Steamship to help celebrate their 20th Wedding Anniversary. With memories of the view from their room at the Royal Hawaiian, sailing with Lana Turner and a conversation with Madame Pandit, is it any wonder the Levins find it hard to settle down to the old routine.

Mr. and Mrs. Sigmund Blumenfeld are hoping our weather won’t get “unusual”, at least while their houseguests, Mr. and Mrs. Mathew Eskow, of Miami Beach, are in San Diego.  Mrs. Eskow is a sister of Mrs. Blumenfeld and an old friend of the Abe Sklars.

Back in town and looking “fit as a fiddle” is Saul Chenkin.  Eve and Saul who usually have experiences such as sinking ships and grounded planes on their trips, came back from this vacation with othing more exciting than a nightmare of Eve’s. Saul had a rude awakening one night when Eve sleepwalking, shook him and told him to put on his life belt, because the “ship was on fire!” Saul who wasn’t sharing the nightmare and knew he was in a hotel room had to gently awaken Eve. Some people just can’t stand a quiet vacation.

Clara and Mike Zaks with children Robert and Sherry are now in their new home at 5047 Lyon Street.

Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Page 6

Mr. and Mrs. Morris Frankston anounce the birth of their second child, Janet, born Oct. 8, weight 5 lbs, 14 oz.  This event was eagerly awaited by sister Susan, aged 3.

Materan grandpraents are Mr. and Mrs. Marcel Brust and paternal grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Harold Frankston, all of San Diego.

Mr. and Mr. Theodore Colton of Sunland, Calif., announce the birth of a daughter, Laurie Ann, on Oct. 9, at 9:02 p.m. in the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles.  Big brother, Michael Alan, at 20 months, is delighted with his new playmate.

Grandparents are Mrs. Beatrice Blumer of San Diego and Mr. Alvin Colton of Los Angeles.  Great grandmother is Mrs. Fannie Schoenkopf.

Mr. and Mrs. Roberts Downing Hudson, Jr., announce the birth of their first child, a son, Steven Craig, weighting 8 lbs, 2 oz., on Oct. 14 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Grandparents are Mrs. Lee Cole of San Diego, Ben Cole of Miami, Fla, and Mr. and Mrs. Roberts Downing Hudson of Selah, “Wash.  Great grandmother, Mrs. Sam Brachman, resides in San Francisco.

Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Page 6

Room For Rent – Private bedroom in fine home near transp.  North Park.  Male only.  Call AT 2-6274, JU 2-094.

Room, with kitchen privileges for 1 or 2.  $35-$45 mo. La Mesa, near buses, HO 9-4673.

Wanted—woman to hare large home.  Private room & bath, separate entrances, kitchen privileges.  Near Kensington bus.  AT 2-8179.

Room – with kitchen privileges for woman.  3930 Meade Ave. Call AT 2-6109.

Home & Furniture Repair.  Small or large.  Call BE 9-1798

(Hebrew Home)
Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Page 6

Application for admission to the Hebrew Home for the Aged may be made through the Jewish Social Service Agency, 333 Plaza, BE 2-5172.

The Jewish Center Drive (Editorial)
Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Page 7

This issue of the Jewish Press is devoted to the Jewish Community Center. There are some political overtones on several of the pages but mainly we are concerned with telling San Diego about the Jewish Center.

More than nine years ago some leaders thought they were ready to begin talking about a “Jewish YMCA.”  Now they are past the talking stage and doing something about it. The pictures and story spread on our pages tell in a graphic way some of the “Center Story”—but the real story will be told by the Community Survey which is just being completed.

Out of a total population of more than 6000, less than half are members of Synagogues. The Jewish Community Center will play a large part in eventually bringing these people under Synagogue and Temple influence.

91% of those questioned felt that recreational and leisure time activity should be provided by the Jewish Community and 81% stated that if the Jewish Community center was built on 54th Street and University Avenue, they and their families would use it. In addition, 89% pledged to support this Center if it were built.

The job of raising the capital funds needed for the erection of the Jewish Community Center has been entrusted to community-minded men who have done a great deal in the past for other organizations and institutions.  They need your help, now!

The goal of $269,000 can be reached only if everyone gives. This is an opportunity to give for yourself, your family, and your children. This is your chance to assure the future of San Diego as a mature community willing and able to take care of its own needs. This is your chance to do something for us, not for someone else. This drive is for us, the Jewish Community in San Diego.

Jolly 16 Club Set for Ruby Ball
Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Page 7

Arrangements have been completed for the 40th Anniversary Dinner-Dance of the Jolly 16 to be held on Sunday, November 21 at the El Cortez Hotel.  Mrs. Carl Esenoff, chairman for the occasion will be assisted by Mrs. Theodore Brenner. Decorations Chairman;  Mrs. Milo Berenson, Ticket Chairman, and Mrs. Phil Kantor in charge of tables.

El Cortez’s new ballroom will be ready for this special event. Make sure you reserve a table for yourself and your friends. The hospitality mat will be out for newcomers to San Diego, as well as old friends.

For further information or reservations phone any member of the Club or Mrs. Carl Esenoff, at AT 4-7527.


City of Hope Aux
Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Page 7

The City of Hope Junior Auxiliary have named the week of November 1-8 as their 3rd annual Fund and Fun Raising week.  All monies raised will go to help support the new leukemia wing for children at the City of Hope Hospital in Duarte, Calif.  Anyone interested in planning an affair for Fund and Fun Raising is asked to call Mrs. Mort Lieberman, CO 4-0972 for futher information.

Mrs. Seymour Okmin has promised an interesting program for the next meeting to be held on Nov. 9 at 8:15 p.m. at the new meeting place, Tifereth Israel Center. Friends are invited.

Council Presents Unusual Program
Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Page 7

National Council of Jewish Women will hold its next regular noon luncheon meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 2 at Temple Beth Israel.  

Clark and Marguerita Allen, well-known performers of folk songs of many lands will present a program of songs and dances.  Allen, perhaps better known locally as an artist, will have a group of his paintings on display.,

Honored guests will be Dr. W. W. Stadel, Superintendent of County Hospital.  Mrs. Alva Lowe, Superintendent of Nurses of the Pediatric Ward; and Mrs. Pearl H. Miller, Director of Medical Social Service. Dr. Stadel will speak on the part the Council of Women play in the Pediatrics Ward of County Hospital.

Knight Ignores U.N. Plea from Ike Graves Charges
Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Page 7

Los Angeles, October 23—Richard Graves, Democratic nominee for Governor, charged today that “The refusal of Governor Goodwin Knight to observe an official request of the president of the United States and declare October 24th as United Nations Day is a graphic example of the divisive thinking characteristic of my opponent when he is away from his publicity agent.”

“Once again,” said Graves, who has been hospitalized here with a mild case of pneumonia, “my opponent has refused to take a stand on a broad question of public policy in order not to alienate his host of right-wing supporters.  Just as Goodwin Knight has never stood  up to be counted on the question of McCarthyism, now he has failed to state his position regarding approve of the country’s support of the United Nations.

“It appears that the only possible conflict of dates confronting Knight involved a request made by him by a group headed by Marwin K. Hart, hate-peddling associate of Gerald L.K. Smith,” Graves went on, “and my opponent personally made the decision not to program United Nations Day on the basis of pressures from this group.  Apparently,” said Graves, “Knight values the request of Marwin K. Hart a apostle of hatred, as highly as that of the President of the United States.

“Knight’s action was particularly ill-timed,” Graves said, “in view of California’s hope to have the United Nations General Assembly meet in San Francisco on its 10th anniversary.”

Masquerade Party To Be Held by Birdie Stodel B’nai B’rith Women At Luncheon
Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Page 7

Birdie Stodel, B.B. Women have a pleasant and entertaining afternoon planned for their next meeting on Monday, Nov. 8, at Beth Jacob Center at 12:00 noon.

Mrs. Milton Fredman, program chairman for this meeting, promises that the Masquerade Party, similar to the “Masquerade Party” on TV, will be very exciting.

The panel of experts are Mrs. Elias Berwin, President of the City of Hope; Mrs. Jack Meyers, President of the Bay City Chapter, B’nai B’rith Women, Mrs. Milton Roberts, President of Hadassah, and Mr. Edward Breitbard, President of the Jewish Community Center.  Mrs. Morton Thaler will act as moderator.

A delightful luncheon is being prepared by luncheon chairman Marie Richards.  In keeping with the theme, waitresses will be in costume. Table decorations are being made by Dorothy Penn, aned Miriam Chadwick is costume designer.

May Dean has been appointed as the Americanism Civic Affairs Chairman and has been to Los Angeles and participated in a workshop.

For those interested in working with the BBG’s please contact BBYO Chairman, Jennie Penn, or their advisor Rose Aved. There is lots of room for more girls in this group, ages 14 to 18.

Women’s League Aid Local Activities
Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Page 7

The Women’s League is taking an active part in the arrangements for the Eleanor Roosevelt lecture, sponsored by the Jewish Community Center. Sylvia Rose, president, and Thelma Selten are heading this committee. The B’nai B’rith Girls will usher at the evening lecture at the Russ Auditorium on Nov. 11.

Members will also help with the Jewish Welfare Board Conference to be held Nov. 12, 14 & 14.  Any woman who is a member of the Jewish Community Center is eligible to join this active group. Membership chairman Dorris Lipinsky, will be glad to give you any information.  Call her at AT 4-2332.

Ways and Means chairman, Ida Beck, and her committee are hard at work on an affair to be sponsored by the Women’s League, to be given Nov. 18.  Watch for further details in the next issue of this paper.

“Maisel Day” Slated for Nov. Third For Hebrew Home Group
Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Page 7

The Women’s Auxiliary of the Hebrew Home for the Aged has announced that their second “Maisel Day” will be highlighted by a luncheon on Nov. 3 at the Mission Valley Country Club. MR. Max Maisel, through Frances Moss, president of the Auxiliary, extends an invitation to all to be his guest for lunch in celebration of the start of construction of the new Home for Aged.

Transportation from University and 8th Aves. Has been arranged for bus passengers. Cars will be stationed there from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will be plainly marked.

Mrs. Alex Newman, general chairman, has promised an interesting program with exciting door prizes.  Assisting her are Mrs. Paul Cudney, program chairman; Mrs. Morris Fried, membership chairman, and Mrs. Alex Cohen, decorations.

Reservations can be made by calling CO 4-8539, AT 2-6335.

Stands on Record, Says Senator Kraft

Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Page 7

State Sen. Fred H. Kraft said this week that he stands on his record of performance in seeking re-election.  He gave this summary in a final statement to voters:

“Economy: Opposed to unnecessary additional taxes.  Has worked vigorously to balance budget while serving on Revenue and Taxation Committee so that California will live within its income.

“Water: Actively supporting study of proposed Feather River Project a potential future source of water for San Deigo Couty.

“Highways: Presently serving on interim committee on Highways, Streets and Bridges developing program and to assure San Diego County adequate road construction and improvement.

“Legislation: Author and co-author of important legislation furthering growth of San Diego County and its communities.

“Juvenile Delinquency: Chairman of Senate Public Health and Safety Committee which drafted strict laws covering narcotics and drug smuggling … now used as models throughout nation.”

Jewish Couples Club Prepare Social
Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Page 7

The Jewish Couples Club will hold their next meeting and social November 20 at Tifereth Israel synagogue. The affair is not closed, and all invited and promised a stimulating evening. Details will be in the next edition of this newspaper.

The Halloween Costume Party Judges voted the Grand Prize to the Abe Sandlers for the most outstanding costume.  The Sandy Alters took the “most original prize, and the Hersch Segals “the simplest”, and the Bob Grossmans the “most humorous.”


James M. Edmunds Criticizes Opponent
Southwestern Jewish Press, October 29, 1954, Page 7

James M. Edmunds, Democratic nominee for State Senator, criticized the Legislature in Sacrament for its lack of accomplishment.  Pointing to the description of the 1953 Legislature as a “do-nothing session” by Fortnight magazine, Edmonds sated, “we must have a well-planned program to meet our growing needs.  We should elect legislators who have the energy and desire to provide us with good government and a prosperous economy.”

Edmunds’ a World War II Navy veteran and resident of Chula Vista, cited as some of the things he will  for: an expanded industrial base; development of new water sources; more effect, anti-subversive legislation, improved narcotics control, and adequate liquor reforms.

Edmunds pointed out that “we are now seeing concrete evidence of how deep corruption has gone in the liquor license scandals.  My opponent has a record of being absent or voting against the proposed liquor reform measures.

“One of the big jobs facing the new session will be passage of sound liquor legislation. We must put an end to laws that invite bribery and corruption.


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

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

EU readies more sanctions against Iran

July 22, 2010 Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

The Jews Down Under~Roundup of Australian Jewish News

July 5, 2010 1 comment

Garry Fabian

Compiled by Garry Fabian

Jewish community has get together with law enforcement officials

MELBOURNE– 2 July – Victoria’s top cops rubbed  shoulders with rabbis and other communal  dignitaries at a reception last week highlighting  the close working relationship between the community and the state police.

Among the boys in blue at St Kilda Town Hall were  Commander Ashley Dickinson and Chief Commissioner Simon Overland, while enforcers of Jewish law  included Rabbis Yaakov Glasman, Meir Shlomo Kluwgant and James Kennard.

Addressing the gathering, Jewish constable Anthony Tannenbaum spoke of the rigorous
application process for joining the force. “I  remember the sergeant doing my interview asked me  why there weren’t more Jewish police applicants.  I replied with as honest an answer as I could . Jewish mothers.”

Recalling his graduation ceremony in 2008, he  added: “I know my family felt tremendous  pride.  They could now tell everyone they had a  son who practised criminal law.”

Thursday night’s event, hosted by the police and  supported by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, was also attended by representatives of  other faith groups as well as  the Mayor of Glen Eira and the Deputy Mayor.

Proposed Eruv raises angst among locals

SYDNEY, 1 July – Jewish community plans to overcome an ancient and restrictive religious
commandment by creating a virtual wall around an entire North Shore suburb is upsetting local residents.

But its push for greater freedom has caused angst among some St Ives residents, who say it will
block their views and create a “Jewish ghetto”.

Under Jewish law it is forbidden to push or carry objects beyond the private home on the Sabbath
and during holy festivals such as the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah.

That means parents are often unable to take babies and young children to synagogues or parks
because they cannot push them there in prams. Likewise, the elderly and disabled cannot be pushed in wheelchairs.

But the creation of a part-symbolic, part-physical zone known as an eruv allows Jews
to carry out such activities within its boundaries.

“Really the ultimate aim is to basically help families, liberating people from their homes,
such as young mums with kids in their prams,” said David Guth, 32, of St Ives.

The married father of three children, including a five-month-old baby, is a member of Northern
Eruv, a group seeking Ku-ring-gai Council’s approval to create an eruv around St Ives.

An eruv already exists in the Waverley area, including along the promenade at Bondi Beach, but
is so inconspicuous few people know it is there.

Most of the 20-kilometre boundary of the St Ives eruv would be demarcated using wires, cables and
power poles owned by Optus, Foxtel and EnergyAustralia. But about 20 per cent would be
formed by erecting 26 aluminium poles six metres high in 14 locations across St Ives. The poles would then be linked by a wire.

The development application drew 21 public submissions. Four, including one from the NSW
Opposition Leader, Barry O’Farrell, were supportive.

Most objectors were concerned about the impact the poles would have on views but some went
further, claiming an eruv would benefit one religious group at the expense of others.

The chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Vic Alhadeff, dismissed the concerns,
saying the plan would have little effect on the environment because it was “in the form of existing poles and wire”.

Foreign Minister’s statement  draws community ire

CANBERRA, 1 July – Tensions flared between the community and the Government this week over a
statement released marking the fourth anniversary of the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit.

The clash came in the wake of comments by Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, which the Executive
Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) slated as “tepid” and “especially troubling”.

Friday’s statement from Smith noted that “Shalit was captured in a cross-border raid into Israel
by the armed wing of Hamas and has been held in captivity in the Gaza strip by Hamas since that
time.” It went on to say “Australia joins other members of the international community in calling for his immediate release.”

The statement then focused on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and humanitarian assistance for Gaza.

While he thanked the minister for calling for Shalit’s release, in a letter sent to Smith on Monday, ECAJ president Robert Goot claimed: “The remainder of the announcement was disconcertingly lacking in substance and tepid in its tone. To say, as you did, that Gilad Shalit ‘has been held in captivity in the Gaza strip by Hamas’ is to gloss over the most heinous aspect of his captivity – the fact that he has been held incommunicado for four long years.”

Goot went on to observe, “At the time of your statement . the Foreign Minister of Italy, is reported as stating ‘that the condition of Gilad’s captivity breached all international rules and showed the terrorist nature of Hamas’.

Meanwhile, Rome’s City Council made Gilad Shalit an honorary citizen of the Eternal City.”

He also drew a comparison with a statement from Human Rights Watch, which claimed “Regardless of
Hamas’ grievances against Israel, there are no grounds to cut Shalit off completely from his family”.

Describing Shalit’s captivity as “a burning humanitarian issue which must be considered in
its own right and divorced from the issues in contention between Israel and Hamas”, Goot said.
“It is regrettable that your announcement omitted to make this distinction. It is an omission that
is especially troubling to Australian Jewry, in light of the general tenor and positive outcome
of our recent discussions at the Lodge.”

He was referring to a meeting last month between then-prime minister Kevin Rudd and community
leaders intended to heal any rift following the Government’s harsh line against Israel following
the passport crisis and flotilla affair.

Goot concluded: “We cannot help feeling let down by the inexplicable failure of your announcement
to make the clear statement of principle, and send the strong message of support which the occasion required.”

When asked about the ECAJ letter, a spokesperson for the Foreign Minister told The AJN, “Australia
was one of only a handful of countries to make a formal statement urging Shalit’s release,
reflecting the strength and sincerity of Australia’s views. Sadly, many others have remained silent in the face of his deplorable detention.”

New Minister’s appointment welcomed by community

MELBOURNE, 1 July –  Jewish school representatives plan to rekindle their relationship with newly
appointed Education Minister Simon Crean.

Crean, who Jewish leaders have nicknamed Shimon because of his strong friendship with the
community, was appointed Minister for Education, Employment, Workplace Relations and Social
Inclusion on Monday by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

His former portfolio of trade was given to current Foreign Minister Stephen Smith.

Nechama Bendet, co-chair of the Australian Council of Jewish Schools, expressed satisfaction
with the former Labor leader’s appointment to the important position.

“We warmly congratulate Minister Crean on his appointment as Education Minister and are confident he will continue to support the education of every child in every school and the
sector’s capacity to provide Australian families with meaningful choice and diversity in their child’s schooling,” she said.

Bendet explained that when Crean was shadow minister for education in the mid-1990s, Jewish
educators had an “extremely good relationship” with him.

He showed “an understanding of the Jewish community, and Israel, for which the community has been most appreciative”.

The co-chair, who is also business manager at Melbourne’s Yeshivah-Beth Rivkah Colleges, said
the council would request a meeting with the new minister shortly “to offer any assistance to him”.

The Australian Council of Jewish Schools represents the interests of the country’s Jewish educational institutions to Government. It, and other Jewish representative organisations, had a close working relationship with Gillard, the previous minister, in looking after the specific needs of Jewish schools, including resolving funding anomalies and incorporating Holocaust education into a new national curriculum.

Meanwhile Smith, who has been occupied in recent months with matters pertaining to Israel –
evicting an Israeli diplomat over allegations the country had forged Australian passports, acting
to try and prevent Israel’s enemy, Iran, from developing nuclear weapons, and responding to the
deaths of nine people on a flotilla that challenged Israel’s blockade off Gaza – will have an even fuller plate. Smith told reporters he was confident he would manage the extra workload.

“The two ministers in the past have been served by one department [of foreign affairs and
trade],” he told the ABC. “Now one minister will be served by one department.”


PM says slurs don’t’ stand up

CANBERRA, 2 July – New Prime Minister Julia Gillard hit back at accusations she has a conflict of interest over her support for Israel, saying her commitment to the country goes back many years.

She also confirmed she was hopeful a planned visit to Israel by new Education Minister Simon
Crean would go ahead in coming weeks, and emphasised her soft spot for the local Jewish
community based on a shared passion for education.

Speaking on Wednesday – in her first interview with a newspaper since becoming Prime Minister –
Gillard denied her partner Tim Mathieson’s employment with property group Ubertas – directed
by Australia-Israel Cultural Exchange founder Albert Dadon – influenced her parliamentary activity.

“My interest in Israel and my support for Israel is longstanding, much longer standing than my
partner’s employment with Ubertas,” she said. “The things that I’ve done, for example when I
was acting prime minister dealing with the Gaza crisis and issuing a response on behalf of the
Australian Government, that was well before any suggestion that Tim would go and work with the Ubertas Group.”

She continued: “Seriously, I don’t think it stands up”.

Dadon confirmed that Mathieson’s role at the company is simply to sell apartments.

The PM, who was sworn in by the Governor-General last Friday, said she understands intense
interest in her and her family’s lives goes with the position.

“I understand and accept that, it is the way things are going to be,” she said.

Commenting on her predecessor’s recent decisions to expel an Israeli diplomat after intelligence
suggested Israel had forged Australian passports and to call for an Israeli inquiry into the Gaza
flotilla crisis and for additional humanitarian items to be allowed through the Gaza blockade,
Gillard said she backed Kevin Rudd’s stance.

“I have served as a member of the national security committee in my capacity as deputy prime
minister and the decisions that you’ve seen of the Government were taken by the national
security committee,” she said. “On the question of the passports issue, as a nation, we’ve made
our point there about the use of Australian passports and we are looking to move on.”

Adelaide Shop keeper  rejects exhibition poster

ADELAIDE, 2 July – A Holocaust survivor staging an Adelaide exhibition on the Shoah was appalled
when told a flyer for the event could not be posted outside a local store because a regular
customer “does not believe in the Holocaust”.

Adelaide sculptor Andrew Steiner , 77, who survived the war in Budapest, losing 13 members
of his family, said he was shocked when a staff member informed him that a A3 sized poster,
affixed to a pillar outside the shop, had to come down.

When contacted Digital Concepts in Norwood (an Adelaide suburban shopping mall), the shop
assistant who had spoke to Steiner said “The flyer had ‘Holocaust’ written on it, and we have
customer that comes here regularly, who doesn’t believe in the Holocaust, so if we have stuff
like that, then we have to get into arguments with people, and we cannot be bothered”.

The store manager later issued an additional explanation and confirmed that notorious Holocaust denier Fredrick Toben was regular customer. However he insisted the content of the flyer was not the reason it was removed. He added that posting notices in the common areas in the shop violated his lease A spokesperson for the centre confirmed it was its policy.

Steiner said he had posted about 40 flyers in libraries, civic centres and shopping areas around Adelaide, and had not any objection elsewhere. Anti-Defamation Commission executive director, Deborah Stone expressed her dismay at the shop assistant’s reaction. “The Holocaust is not a matter of  belief, it is fact of history.Exhibitions like this one are an important part of educating people to understand what happened and protecting human rights in the future. Fredrick Toben’s offensive behaviour in denying
the Holocaust has been condemned by Australian courts.  No retailer should be pandering to that”.

The exhibition – Remembering the Holocaust: Art and the Holocaust – was devised financed and
curated by Steiner, who had been preparing it for 18 months. It is running at the Adelaide
Immigration Museum until the end of August.

Call to prayer goes high tech

MELBOURNE< 5 July – Tefillah and technology merged last week, after a businessman introduced an
innovative way to gather a minyan for afternoon prayers in Melbourne’s CBD.

David Werdiger, who hosts a mincha minyan in his city office, implemented an SMS system whereby a
message is sent to a distribution list in the morning.

“Every morning we broadcast a message asking who can make it. Once we get a minyan (10 men over
the age of bar mitzvah), we broadcast another message confirming. If we don’t get a minyan in
time, we advise people so they can make other arrangements,” Werdiger said.

Werdiger approached a partnering company responsible for developing customised SMS
applications and the business was “happy to assist” in turning his idea into reality.

“The original idea was that the system would automatically broadcast a confirmation once 10
yeses had come in. We aren’t there yet, but it requires minimal effort from the coordinator,” he said.
The minyan, called Jews in the CBD or JBD, is currently held in a Collins Street office near the Rialto Towers.

“When we were running the minyan in previous venues, people would be standing there calling or
texting friends to see if they could come.

“So I thought it would be much easier if we could automate it,” he said, adding that after just one
week of using the new method, people are already giving their suggestions for further ideas.

“People seem to respond to SMS much faster than to emails. Using it for the first week has
brought forth some other ideas and enhancements, like a secondary list of people who would respond
to a call to be a “tzenter” [Yiddish for 10th one], and other ways to automate the system,” Werdiger said.

“People have been very supportive in suggesting others to add to the distribution list, and ways
we can make the minyan more attractive.”

With more than 10 attendees each day last week, Werdiger is now considering extending the minyan further.


Fabian is Australia bureau chief for San Diego Jewish World.