Archive for the ‘Shavuot’ Category

Adventures in San Diego Jewish History, June 11, 1954, Part 1

June 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Compiled by San Diego Jewish World staff

Shavuoth Observed By Confirmation Services at Temple and Synagogue
Southwestern Jewish Press, June 11, 1954, Page 1

Confirmation Services were held last Sunday at both Temple Beth Israel and Tifereth Israel Synagogue. Known as the Season of the Giving of the Torah and the Festival of the First Fruits, the holiday of Shavuoth, was observed by the entire community at the Synagogues.

Services at Tifereth Israel Synagogue where eight confirmants took part in a program included Presentation of Certificates by Mr. Edward Breitbard, President of the Synagogue and awarding of gifts by Mrs. Harry Wax, President of the Sisterhood.  The ceremony theme was “The Jewish Concept” and was under the direction of Rabbi Monroe Levens assisted by Cantor Joseph Cysner and the Synagogue choir.

Members of the Confirmation class were Nancy Ruth Goodman, Betty Krasnow, Ruth Moskowitz, Philip Sarfan, Gloria Lee Toerner, Carole Toole, Evelyn Witz, and Eve Janet Zwanziger. A recewption was tendered by parents of the confirmants.

At Temple Beth Israel, Rabbi Morton J. Cohn conducted the services assisted by Cantor Julian K. Miller and the Temple Choir. The ceremonial theme was centered around “300 Years in America.”

Mr. Mack Esterson, President of the Temple, and Mrts. Mack Esterson, President of the Sisterhood, presented the Confirmants with Prayer Books and Bibles.  Mr. Irving Friedman, vice president, and Mr. Richard F. Lustig, president of the Men’s Club, also made awards. A violin obligato was played by Mr. Samuel Jaffe.

Members of the Confirmation Class were Sandra Lynne Byrock, Diane Helene Castleton, Alan Kirk Friedman, Fred Ronald Goodman, Bruce Gerald Handwerker, Suzanne Hutler, Merle Joanne Krasnow, Howard Boyd Levinson, Preston Michael Martin, George Thomas Wise, Linda Zuckerman.

Following the services, the confirmants were  honored at a reception given by their parents.

Jobs Sought for School Youths
Southwestern Jewish Press, June 11, 1954, Page 1

“Your odd jobs give youth an even chance!”  This slogan is spearheading the drive for part-time jobs for the youth of San Diego … a drive now getting under way this week preceding the regular school session finale. The San Diego Junior Chamber of Commerce is promoting the “Jobs for Youth” drive with the support of the Parent-Teachers Association.

There are now over 2,000 students, including 12th graders, who have registered for work in the Junior Employment Service Office and who want jobs after school and on Saturdays.

Citizens of San Diego are urged to get behind this drive –to create more jobs so that youth can be busy along constructive lines—earning their way – learning responsibilities and at the same time becoming more independent.  Busy youth will have less time to succumb to the temptations of delinquency. Boys can make deliveries, do gardening, wash cars, attend service stations, mow lawns, serve as bus boys, etc., etc.  Girls can sit with babies, do housework, be waitresses, do secretarial work, sell, run errands, etc., etc.

All boys and girls are carefully screened by the Service to determine what tasks they can best perform.  For a part-time worker, call the Junior Employment Service (CY-8-4681) at the San Diego City Schools Education Center, Park Boulevard and El Cajon Boulevard.

‘Golden Nugget’ Nite Sunday at Beth Jacob
Southwestern Jewish Press, June 11, 1954, Page 1

Beth Jacob Men’s Club ‘Golden Nugget’ Nite takes place this Sunday, June 13, at 6 p.m. in the Beth Jacob Center.

This is the affair that the whole town will talk about, and one you will not want to miss. The Ladies Auxiliary is preparing a real Jewish home cooked meal that is out of this world and will include gefilte fish, sweet and sour meat balls, brust braten, tzimmis, vegetables, salad, etc., all you can eat for only $1.50 per  person. This also entitles you to a free chance at the big bond door prize.

The drawing for the Las Vegas 5-day all expense vacation or two, including free air transportation, will take place that night.  Donations for this are only $1.00 and can be secured from any member at the door.  Winner need not be present.

The evening will be replete with all kinds of game, cards, bingo, poker, and anything you care to play. There will be many valuable and big prizes, also cash, and a drawing for a terrific prize every 30 minutes.

Give your wife a break this Sunday night and a vacation from the kitchen. Come down and have a great meal, a lot of fun, good luck, and who knows, maybe you can take her to Las Vegas, all on the house. See you Sunday, June 13, at Beth Jacob!

San Diego Honored by Appointment
Southwestern Jewish Press, June 11, 1954, Page 1

Milton Fredman was appointed vice chairman of the Western Region of the USO-Jewish Welfare Board, it was announced by Henry Weinberger, chairman of the San Diego USO-JWB Armed Services Committee.

The appointment was made on May 23 in Los Angeles at a conference of the Southwestern Section of JWB by Walter D. Heller of San Francisco.  In making the appointment, Mr. Heller said, “Freedman will have a key role in helping to formulate policies of the organization in eleven western states and British Columbia.”  Friedman is also chairman of Military relations of the San Diego Armed Services Committee.

Also in attendance at the Southwestern, USO-JWB Conference were Mr. and Mrs. Henry Weinberger, Mrs. Rose Neumann, Mrs. Jennie Turner, Mrs. George Katz, Mrs. Doris Friedman,  Miss Julia Abraham and Abraham Friedman.

The conference was a prelude to the annual meeting of the Western Region of JWB, to be held in San Diego on November 12, 13 and 14.

Pioneer Women Present Raasche At Donor Dinner
Southwestern Jewish Press, June 11, 1954, Page 1

Pioneer Women, Negba Chapter, will hold its annual Donor Dinner on Sunday, June 20, at 6:00 p.m. at Manor Hotel. Mrs. Charles Press, Chairman, and Mrs. Florence Conway, Co-Chairman, have planned a fast-paced program.  Mrs. Naomi Conn, a recent visitor in Israel, will speak on “Israel Re-Visited.”

The entertainment highlight of the evening will be the appearance of folk singer, Raasche, who has recently returned from a triumphant European tour.

Mrs. Conn will install the following officers: Mesdames Philip Abrams, Pres.; Harry Weitzman, 1st Vice Pres., Goldie Kitaen, 2nd Vice Pres; Ben Segal, 3rd Vice Pres., I. Lebb, Fin. Sec’y; Bob Gaberman, Rec. Sec’y, I. Gordon, Treas.

The annual Donor Dinner celebrates completion of a year of work for Pioneer projects in Israel which covers a wide range of social services and rehabilitation of immigrants to Israel. Awards will be preented to outstanding workers of the past year and certificates to $100.00 donors. The drawing for a set of Rogers Silverware will take place and the winner will be notified and need ont be present.

Sponsors Sought for Refugees from Europe
Southwestern Jewish Press, June 11, 1954, Page 1

The Émigré Committee of the United Jewish Fund is seeking the cooperation of fifteen Jewish citizens of San Diego to assist in filing agency endorsed assurances for the immigration of Jewish families to the United States.

United Service for New Americans has informed the Émigré Committee that Jewish communities throughout the country are making a concerted effort to settle in our American communities families or individuals who still remain in Europe. They need various kinds of help desperately.

It is hoped that San Diego citizens can participate in this project so that these Jewish persons will have the opportunity to apply for the limited number of visas available under the Refugee Act of 1953.

The documents to be filed are simple forms that do not require financial statements.  Information that the citizen is asked to submit is 1) name, age, birthplace and address, 2) number of people dependent on him for support,  3) number of persons sponsored by him within the last five years for immigration into the United States, 4) number of assurances previously submitted by him under the Refugee Relief Act of 1953.

Persons who wish to volunteer this help should contact the United Jewish Fund, Albert A. Hutler, Exec. Dir., or the Jewish Social Service Agency, Mrs. Henrietta Rubenstein, Exec. Secretary, at BE-2-5172.

Fund Drive Grinds To A Close June 30
Southwestern Jewish Press, June 11, 1954, Page 1

With 160 pledges reported by workers in the Combined Jewish Appeal, the United Jewish Fund continues to move forward toward it 1954 goal.

With the main portion of the drive to be closed on June 30, Chairman Sol Price and Co-Chairman Seymour Rabin expressed their thanks for the achievement of the Women’s Division which has completed its drive, led by Helen Schulman, with close to  $35,000 raised.

Coverage of prospects in general has been excellent, with an outstanding job being done by county areas through the leadership of Alex Maisel, Escondido; Jerry Appleby, Oceanside; Irwin Sonnebaum, Coronado; Sam Bennett, South Bay Area.

Congratulations to the United Jewish Fund Campaign may be forwarded to the office at 333 Plaza.

Bonds for Israel to Open Drive Soon
Southwestern Jewish Press, June 11, 1954, Page 1

Murray D. Goodrich, prominent San Diego business and communal leader, has accepted the chairmanship for 1954 of the San Diego Committee for State of Israel Bonds, with Isaac Domnitz leading Zionist figure as his co-chairman, it was announced by Mr. Samuel Rothberg, National Campaign Chairman. Mr. Goodrich and Mr. Domnitz will direct the campaign for Israel’s second Bond Issue – the Development Issue.

The San Diego committee begins its campaign immediately to organize for the promotion of the sale of the Development Issue, to begin in July, which is expected to provide a total of $75,000,000 in 1954 for the development and expansion of Israel’s agriculture, industry and commerce.

S.D. Fair Will Have Unusual Events June 25th
Southwestern Jewish Press, June 11, 1954, Pages 1-2

“Dancing Waters,” an unusual and colorful combination of water, lights, music, engineering and showmanship, will be a featured attraction of the Southern California Exposition and San Diego County Fair at Del Mar, June 25 through July 5.

Since its debut in Europe at the West Berlin Industrial Exhibition in 1952, “Dancing Waters” has played to more than 10 million persons. The performance at Del Mar will be the second on the Pacific Coast.

“Dancing Waters” has been called a pipe organ ballet of water.  More than 38 tons of water are manipulated in jets by a giant console similar to a pipe organ. The console, one of the most complicated stage props designed, consists of several thousand feet of steel pipe, 19 electric motors, 4,000 jets and 50,000 watts of power.

Red, blue, green and gold lights play on the whirling streams of water creating an effect similar to a full ballet chorus.

“Dancing Waters” is one of several unique attractions offered without cost to patrons of the exhibition. Some of the others include an atomic energy museum, preview of progress, exhibition of Navy combat paintings and demonstrations of armed forces equipment.


“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.

Jerusalemites crowd the Old City for Shavuot

May 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Scene at Birkat Cohanim on another holiday, Sukkot

By Judy Lash Balint

Judy Lash Balint

JERUSALEM–It’s 5:00 a.m on Shavuot morning and I’m having trouble finding an empty seat at any shul in Jerusalem’s Old City. Every synagogue is already packed as I make the mistake of lingering a few minutes too long at the Kotel amongst the tens of thousands who have made their way there after a night of learning.

The atmosphere is light, almost light-headed you could say from lack of sleep, as young and old congratulate each other for making it through the night. Only the young yeshiva boys puffing away on cigarettes spoil the atmosphere. Small groups of secular Israelis wander through the crowd. “This is amazing,” mutters one woman.

After dropping in at three shuls, I finally find a spot in the hallway of the Ramban synagogue near the Cardo.

After Hallel and the reading of the Ten Commandments, a swift Haftarah reading brings us to the Yizkor memorial prayer. Only a few women are left inside as the young girls who filled the place and have not yet lost parents file out. It’s about the same proportion down at the Kotel—it seems that at least two thirds of the masses thronging the Kotel plaza are under 30.

Coming barely a week after Jerusalem Day, when similar numbers of mostly young people fill the area to celebrate the reunification of the city, the Shavuot early morning spectacle   is another affirmation of the strength of the connection of the people to its roots.

In the blessedly cool air of the pre-dawn, it’s as if the Kotel is a giant magnet pulling in the multitudes from every direction. Flooding down Agron Street in front of the U.S Consulate building and its sleepy guards, the crowd gathers force and takes over the Mamilla area. The Tower of David and Jaffa Gate rise in front of us, outlined by spotlights.

It’s 4:40 a.m as we surge forward and down the steps of the David Street shuk only to encounter a human traffic jam as we make the turn from the Street of the Chain into the approach to the Kotel. A few groups of Arabs heading to work are walking up in the opposite direction. No one bothers them as they make their way out of the Old City through Jaffa Gate.  On the way down, I follow Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger who is surrounded by a 4-person security entourage as he walks along holding hands with his grandson.

There are only four entryways into the Kotel plaza and they’re all completely overwhelmed by the numbers of people pressing to get in.   There’s barely room to move as more and more people surge in from each of the four entry points. I head up to the stairway in front of the Aish building and take up a position at the railing just in front of the gold menorah overlooking the Kotel plaza adjacent to the last flight of steps leading down to the plaza. It’s the best place to take in the majestic transformation from night to dawn over the Temple Mount.

Within a few minutes, a thirty-something bearded man draped in a tallit approaches and asks me to move because he and his minyan are about to start davening. A young boy brings over their sefer Torah and unceremoniously places it next to me on the metal shelf that’s a diagram of the view in front of us.  Since when is this a designated davening spot? There are other women coming and going, and the men have obviously seen that I was there before they decided to set up. I tell them that they didn’t disturb me and I wouldn’t disturb them, and I left in my own good time.  Their insistence that the rest of us have to move just so they can daven wherever they want is another small example of the creeping takeover of so many of our national holy sites.

Unlike other years, when the bright sun peeks over the Mt of Olives, this morning’s sunrise is masked by clouds. The bright green lights adorning the two mosques behind the Temple Mount shine in the semi-darkness. As the sky begins to change color and turn slowly from a midnight blue to a steely grey, the garish lights vanish. Exactly at sunrise, chattering starlings swoop down, and the voices of the throng rise in prayer.

On this holiday of Shavuot that commemorates the giving of the Torah, the symbolic wedding between God and the Jewish people, most of the women are wearing white and the centuries-old Kabbalistic custom of Tikkun Leil Shavuot, a night dedicated to Torah study is observed by hundreds of thousands of Israelis. On the eve of the holiday, commentators on Israel Radio remark on the phenomenon of secular Jews eager to take part in some kind of Torah learning on Shavuot. Daily papers feature tightly packed full pages of venues where learning of all kinds is taking place all over the city. Many places are forced to turn people away for lack of space at their study sessions.

A few years ago, a May 18 2007 editorial in the American Jewish weekly newspaper, The Forward, noted, “…the proportion of Jews that turns out for the festival (Shavuot) will not be great…Shavuot simply hasn’t caught on with recent generations of Jews.” Perhaps things have changed this year, otherwise Shavuot could be another sign of the widening gap between Israel and the Diaspora.

Judy Lash Balint is a freelance writer based in Jerusalem.  Her stories appear on her website,  Jerusalem Diaries:In Tense Times

People, not angels, need the Torah

May 14, 2010 Leave a comment

By Rabbi Baruch Lederman

Rabbi Baruch Lederman

SAN DIEGO–On Shavuos we rejoice as we appreciate our wonderful Torah. Our Sages tell us (Shabbos 88b)  that when Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses), was up on Har Sinai (Mount Sinai), receiving the Torah  from Hashem (G-d), the Angels were in an uproar. They complained Hashem should give
them the Torah, not the Children of Israel.

“Master of the Universe, why give the holy Torah to human beings who are sinful, deceitful  and frail,” the Angels argued, “Give the Torah to us. We Angels are perfect and obedient. We  sing songs in praise of You every day. We follow your bidding to perfection. We are far  superior to mere mortals both in strength and in knowledge. We understand secrets that
would boggle the mind of man.”

They were so aggressive in their demeanor, Moshe was afraid they were going to kill him.
Moshe clung to the Kisei Hakavod (G-d’s Heavenly Throne) for dear life.

Hashem said, “Moshe, do not be afraid. Answer the angels.”

Moshe gathered up his courage and responded,” Angels, the Torah say ‘Honor your father
and mother.’ Do Angels have parents to honor?”

They had no choice but to reply, “No.”

Moshe continued, “Angels, the Torah says, ‘Thou shalt not steal.’ Would an Angel ever steal?”


“Angels, the Torah says not to eat unkosher food. Does an Angel even eat?”

Again the Angels had to admit, “No.”

“You are right,” Moshe explained, “Angels are more perfect than humans, but it is our frailty that
makes us need the Torah. We have parents whom we tend to neglect, unkosher food that we
are tempted to eat, money that we are blinded by. Every day in the life of a human is filled with
temptations and opportunities to sin. The Torah is the medicine that will help us live our lives
with purity. It will enable us acheive greatness.”

“You see Angels,” concluded Moshe, “It is because of our many imperfections that we SHOULD
receive the Torah.”

Hashem then gave the Torah to the Children of Israel and the Angels did not complain.

The Torah is our life and the length of our days.  May we rejoice as we realize what a special and precious gift we have – The Torah.

Dedicated by Herb & Bette Shatoff in memory of their dear parents.

Rabbi Lederman is spiritual leader of Congregation Kehillas Torah in San Diego.

Temple Etz Rimon to receive own Torah for Shavuot

May 12, 2010 Leave a comment

CARLSBAD, California (Press Releaase)–During its celebration of Shavuot–marking the time when the Israelites received the Torah at Mount Sinai — Temple Etz Rimon will receive its own Torah.  The sacred scroll, to be dedicated during the 7 p.m. services Friday night, May 14, was donated to the Reform congregation by Sunny and Dirk Frowein. 

Special guest Rabbi Haim Asa, Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth Tikvah of Fullerton,  will address the congregation.  Rabbi Asa assisted with the purchase of this new scroll, and his son is the scribe who helped restore the scroll.

Temple Etz Rimon rents space from Pilgram Church, 2020 Chestnut Ave, Carlsbad.
Preceding provided by Temple Etz Rimon

Jerusalem Day, the 28th of Iyar

May 11, 2010 Leave a comment

By Shoshana Bryen

Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C–The Jewish and Christian holy days of Passover and Easter have passed; Shavuot and Pentecost are coming. In between, the 28th of Iyar-corresponding to 7 June 1967 and 12 May 2010-marks the unification of Jerusalem in the hands of the State of Israel. The city has been occupied over time by the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Ottoman and British Empires; occupied occasionally by Egyptians, Crusaders, Mamluks and Jordanians. But the holidays remind us that Jerusalem has, from the time of the Bible, been the capital of the Jewish people and of no other people. 
In 1947, the UN General Assembly partitioned the 23 percent of the British Mandate for Palestine that remained after the creation of the Kingdom of Transjordan into separate Palestinian Arab and Palestinian Jewish sectors, planning to create two new states. They took a pass on Jerusalem-voting to make it and Bethlehem corpus separatum, an area legally separate from its environs. “In view of its association with three world religions” it would be “accorded special and separate treatment from the rest of Palestine and should be placed under effective United Nations control.”
We will never know what “effective UN control” would have looked like.
In May 1948, the Jordanian Legion entered the UN zone, besieged the Jewish residents and annexed the eastern side of the city. Did you ever wonder why it is called “Arab East Jerusalem”? It is because they expelled the Jews and worked hard to erase the historic Jewish connection from the city. In the Ceasefire Agreement of 1949, Jordan promised to appoint a committee to discuss free access of Jews to the holy sites including (but not limited to) the Western Wall and the cemetery on the Mount of Olives. It never happened. Instead, Jordan cut roads through the cemetery and used the tombstones for paving and latrines in Jordanian army camps. More than 50 synagogues, libraries and Jewish schools were deliberately destroyed or defaced. The Cave of Shimon the Just was used as a horse stable.
Appeals to the UN for “effective control” were not effective. 
The wall that split Jerusalem, cutting Jews-not only Israelis-off from their heritage, was as effective as the Berlin Wall. In 1967, the King of Jordan miscalculated, shelling the west side of the city from behind the UN barrier. In response, Israel made it whole again.
It is right and crucial that unified Jerusalem be the capital of the modern State of Israel, precisely because the city holds sites holy to people of the Jewish, Christian and, much later, the Muslim faiths. 
Only when the State of Israel has been the guardian of the unified city has it been-as the UN said it intended-a city open to all faiths. Today, the mosques are controlled by the Waqf, the Islamic religious society. Churches are maintained by various Christian denominations. The Western Wall, the Mount of Olives cemetery and the restored Hurva Synagogue are in Jewish hands. The Government of Israel ensures open access-and only the Government of Israel can be relied on to ensure open access to the Jewish people. 
Why, we ask, does the Obama Administration insist that Israel find a way for Jerusalem to serve as the capital of the Palestinians when it has never been an Arab political or religious seat? Religious Muslims should be glad the Jewish people regard the Muslim right to reach Muslim holy places as an obligation of the State of Israel-when no similar right accrued to the Jews. And the United States should regard the reunification of Jerusalem under a tolerant and democratic government to be praiseworthy.

Bryen is senior director of security policy of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.  Her column is sponsored by Waxie Sanitary Supply in memory of Morris Wax, longtime JINSA supporter and national board member.

Five congregations plan Shavuot study-in at San Diego Jewish Academy

May 3, 2010 Leave a comment

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)–On May 18, San Diego Jewish Academy and several local synagogues will host a community wide event entitled Tikkun Leil Shavuot: An Evening of Learning, which will focus on uniting the Jewish community.

In July of last year, San Diego Jewish Academy (SDJA) invited local synagogues to participate in a compact designed to broaden and enhance the educational and spiritual opportunities available to San Diego’s Jewish community. This partnership became known as the Synagogue – SDJA Compact.

In conjunction with local synagogues Congregation Beth Am, Beth El, Beth Israel, Temple Solel and Ohr Shalom, SDJA will host this May 18 event on its campus. Shavuot is a traditional Jewish holiday that involves studying late into the evening. The goal of the event is to bring the diverse Jewish community together to explore its differences by examining the topic of pluralism, which is also a core value of SDJA.

Pluralism is defined as the tolerance of multiple religious beliefs in one community or society. Although Judaism is a unified culture, the religion has various sects with different beliefs, which makes pluralism an appropriate topic for the evening. The evening will feature various study groups and discussion panels relating to this topic.

“San Diego’s Jewish community is broad,” stated David Kornberg, Rabbi at Congregation Beth Am. “An event like Tikkun Leil Shavuot gives us an opportunity to come together as a community, explore our differences and figure out how we can work together.”

Tikkun Leil Shavuot: An Evening of Learning will begin at 6:00 pm with a candle lighting and prayer, and then be followed by an optional kosher dinner for $10. Dinner tickets need to be purchased in advance to observe religious beliefs. At 7:15 pm, the evening will culminate with the keynote speaker, Rabbi Mordecai Finley, Ph.D., who is the former president of the Academy for Jewish Religion. After the keynote speaker, the event will continue with various learning sessions and discussion panels from prominent Jewish San Diegans. The study groups will continue late into the evening, as is traditional on Shavuot, and a dairy dessert will be available to attendees as well. 

“We tried to offer diverse programming that would appeal to a wide Jewish audience,” said Larry Acheatel, executive director at SDJA and discussion group leader. “It is important to provide an event that can accommodate all ages and Jewish beliefs. We are even offering special teen programming,” continued Acheatel.

The event is free to the public and welcomes all San Diegans. For more information or to purchase dinner tickets, visit or contact Rebecca Besquin at (858) 704-3861 or

Preceding provided by San Diego Jewish Academy