Archive for the ‘Panama’ Category

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

June 12, 2010 Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Southwestern Jewish Press, May 28, 1954, page 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Southwestern Jewish Press, May 28, 1954, page 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


“Adventures in Jewish History” is sponsored by Inland Industries Group LP in memory of long-time San Diego Jewish community leader Marie (Mrs. Gabriel) Berg. Our indexed “Adventures in San Diego Jewish History” series will be a regular feature until we run out of history.



Bang or ‘Boom,’ it’s still a leap of faith

January 19, 2010 Leave a comment

By Carol Davis

SAN DIEGO–There are some who, like myself, believe in the Big Bang Theory. Then there are others who believe in evolution and then there are those who believe in the literal translation of the bible. Who can say what’s right, wrong or otherwise. It matters not, but in his dark comedy boom where a theory of evolution meets a theory of doom, Peter Sinn Nachtreib’s ninety-minute (or so) piece reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode in living color with lots of noisemakers, flashing lights and special effects.

Nachtreib’s play boom is the most produced show this season according to Artistic Director (and director of this production)  of the San Diego Repertory Theatre Sam Woodhouse. In his opening night welcoming remarks before the show, Woodhouse noted that the play is being mounted in no less that fourteen theatres across the country.

It premiered in New York in 2008 and was a Pulitzer Prize nominee. Now all sci-fi fans can revel in this almost made for prime time TV sit-com as it makes its way through the universe satisfying someone’s quest for the answers of those questions posed above: how did it all begin and how will it end?

Armed with three very talented actors Steven Lone as Jules, Rachael VanWormer as Jo and Sylvia M’Lafi Thompson as Barbara (narrator/witness/ Rod Serling reincarnate?) this little tale of Man? Boy? (Adam?), Woman? Girl? (Eve?) and story teller, boom starts off in Jules’ campus basement/lab apartment (we learn later it’s a bomb shelter) where he has been hoarding enough food and supplies to last him through any catastrophic disaster, which he believes to be imminent. 

He’s a marine biologist, and gay. As a graduate student at his unnamed university, he’s been studying the spawning habits and sleep cycles of fish (something he did in his real life work as a research assistant, watching fish spawn for four months off the coast of Panama, while an undergraduate at Brown University in Rhode Island), ergo the interest in the fish. Jo is journalism major who answered his ad on Craigslist for someone to have “sex to change the course of the world”.

She comes on to the scene expecting great sex because of the ad. She’s on it or rather all over him! Right from the get go it’s all about the sex for her.  Her journalism project is on random sex in a decaying world. He, on the other hand needs a little foreplay like an explanation of what he’s about, his parents and their disastrous demise and where he’s from. (Did he say he was from Worcester?)

Nachtrieb’s dialogue comes fast and furious between the two and it’s a kick to watch them as she tries to undress/seduce him while he wants to talk to her about his family tree. It’s clever, slick, charming and more often than not, brings about a chuckle or two.

About two minutes into the play though he confesses he’s gay. (Of course the gay thing wasn’t mentioned in the ad). He wants to explain his theory of fish evolution. She’s looking for a story and doesn’t have an interest in marine biology, the apocalypse or him. This is not a case of opposites attracting. It’s more like train crash waiting to happen.

While the two grope, go around in circles about the end of the world he confesses his goal here is to save humanity since he’s already determined life, as we know it will be destroyed sooner rather than later.

She freaks out when she learns he wants her to have his babies so together they can rebuild the world! The thought of having a baby coming through her body sends her flying off into the purple, double bolted, locked steel door that not only won’t open, but it knocks and shocks her out completely.

AND THEN BOOM! Lights, camera, action! Barbara steps in or down.

Definition: Boom: the sudden radical change in the state of things.

Barbara (an imposing Thompson) stops the action, comes down from her command post (a second story platform equipped with timpani, gongs, switches and TV monitors) to inform us that what we’ve just seen is a museum or theme park attraction of what life might have been like thousands of years ago. She tells us that as the docent and storyteller she gets to manipulate the couple and this is only one version of what might have happened.

From here, it’s a leap of faith as to where the story goes. And while it’s charming and the idea sounds like fun, it puts a whole new slant on the way we digest the play.

As mentioned earlier, Nachtrieb’s boom is clever and fun but without the support of an excellent cast, it could have been disappointing. Rachael VanWormer is a woman in perpetual motion as she tries to maneuver around, over and under Lone. Her timing is perfect and she seems to be quite the escape artist slinking and outlasting her partner in the art of lovemaking. Just when we least expect it, she has her notebook out and she’s taking notes, talking to the fish (oh yes, there is a fish tank right in the middle of the stage) and/or crashing into doors.

He on the other hand is a hopeless nerd who ‘gets no respect’. Lone is perfect as Jules. He’s a quirky, oddball and misfit who is ready to move mountains to prove his theory regardless of who might or might not be paying attention. He just doesn’t get it; or maybe we don’t. It’s hard to say. And while the chemistry doesn’t jell for Jules and Jo, it’s a great combination for Rachael and Steven. The two are perfectly matched as too opposing fields in the yin and yang world of their relationship.

Sylvia M’Lafi Thompson is her usual strong willed, strong presence; strong personality and force directing the action and stopping just long enough to give her own rendition of the way things might have been up to this point.

 She goes on about what the fish might be thinking and then moves on to her own detailed story of her own conception. It’s a captivating story and one that has the audience’s ear. She’s a master storyteller. Her calm manner is an ideal contrast to the frenetic actions of Jules and Jo.

David Lee Cuthbert’s busy set is just what the doctor ordered in the Lyceum Space especially the upper level with all the gadgets and instruments. Jennifer Brawn Gittings costumes fit the personalities. Tom Jones background music lends a good contrast to the wilder side of comets crashing and drums vibrating.

Director Sam Woodhouse has cause to celebrate for pulling off this entertaining and thought provoking San Diego local premiere of Nachtreib’s popular boom! It continues through Jan. 31st.

Where: Lyceum Space 79 Horton Plaza downtown San Diego

Dates: Wednesdays 8PM; Thursday and Saturdays 8PM; Sunday 7PM; (2PM Jan 30th only)

Tickets: $29-47 (student discounts $18)

For more information visit or call 619-544-1000.

See you at the theatre.

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

January 11, 2010 10 comments

Loretta Adams at home

By Donald H. Harrison

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She didn’t let them get her down. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harrison is editor of  San Diego Jewish World

Thanking Israel’s steadfast friends

November 7, 2009 4 comments

By Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO, November 6, 2009–Besides the United States and Israel, there are 16 countries that I definitely think that I and my fellow Jews should find a way to thank for sticking by Israel in the recent United Nations General Assembly vote on the Goldstone report.

These are Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Poland, Slovakia, and Ukraine.

More so than the 16 countries that did not vote and the 44 countries that abstained on the Goldstone Report accusing Israel of “war crimes” during Operation Cast Lead, those 18 countries deserve our gratitude for having voted against yet another gang attack on Israel.

I am a firm believer in the motto that one must divide the world into two categories – “friends” and “potential friends.”  So I do not call for any retribution—no declaration of boycotts—against those who misguidedly either abstained or voted in favor of this prejudiced, propagandistic, deeply-flawed Goldstone report. 

The leaders and people of these countries need to be educated, persuaded, and given our full intellectual attention so eventually they, too, can join the noble fraternity of 18 righteous nations.  Obviously some countries are far more “potential” than others, but let’s not give up on any of them.

Rather let us do what we can to show the countries who stood in the UN General Assembly with Israel against the Goldstone report that their friendship is dear to us, that we wish them well, and that we would like to find ways to deepen our relationships with them.

In that my wife Nancy is a travel agent, I am going to see if it’s possible to arrange a South Pacific tour that might take in some or all of the following countries: Australia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau.  Or perhaps  there’s the possibility of a European tour, during which we’d visit any or all of the following: the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine. 

If we remain in the Western Hemisphere, we might be able to schedule ourselves to visit Canada and Panama, and to spend some of our tourist dollars right here in other parts of these United States.

Nancy and I have been to Israel many times, and, of course, a wonderful way to show solidarity with the people of Israel is to take another vacation there, making certain to re-visit San Diego’s partnership region of Sha’ar Hanegev, which along with the neighboring city of Sderot, bore the brunt of Hamas rockets fired from Gaza before Operation Cast Lead.

Members of our community who are looking for outlets for their philanthropic dollars would be wise to invite presentations from representatives of charities within these noble 18 countries.

And, with Chanukah coming up, I hope others will join me in seeking out gifts that were manufactured in any of these Noble 18 countries – these Chai states. 

Again, for the record, the countries deserving our appreciation are:  Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Poland, Slovakia,  Ukraine, and our own blessed United States of America.