Archive for the ‘basketball’ Category

Dwight Howard, other NBA stars, to play exhibition ball in Israel

August 19, 2010 Leave a comment

HAIFA (Press Release) – The Maccabi Haifa professional basketball team of the Israeli Basketball Super League, announced on Thursday that the team will host a special preseason basketball clinic and scrimmage on Saturday, September 4 at the Nesher Sports Hall in Nesher, Israel, headlined by current NBA All-Star Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic.
Maccabi Haifa will host the NBA’s “Superman” Dwight Howard, who will conduct a basketball workshop and training session for teenagers in attendance, followed by a dunk presentation by Howard.   Later in the evening, Maccabi Haifa will scrimmage against a former NBA All-Star team led by Jerome Williams (9 seasons in the NBA, 587 games, played for the New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors, and Chicago Bulls), Anthony Bonner (Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks and Orlando Magic), Paul Grant (Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, and Milwaukee Bucks), David Wood (1998 U.S.A World Championship National Team), Laron Profit (Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Lakers) and more. The All-Star team will be coached by Dwight Howard’s father, Dwight Howard Sr.
SportsPower International, a non-profit organization that uses current and former NBA players as inspiring role models to make a positive impact on today’s youth across the world, is bringing the group of current and former professional basketball players from the United States to Israel from August 28–Sept 5, 2010 to demonstrate their solidarity with the people and State of Israel.  Through basketball exhibition games and youth clinics they will let Israelis know that they have dedicated friends in America.  While in Israel the players will also learn more about the country and its search for peace.
“With the arrival of superstars the likes of Dwight Howard to host a clinic for teens for such a worthy cause and for our Maccabi Haifa team to scrimmage against former-NBA stars, we are more than happy to rearrange our preseason schedule,” said Maccabi Haifa’s Vice Chairman Arnon Shiran.  “We are excited for our fans to have the opportunity to witness, participate, and interact with our Maccabi Haifa players as well as current and former NBA stars, for such a festive and unique event.”
Maccabi Haifa’s training camp officially begins on Wednesday, August 25 at 7:00 pm local time. Haifa’s roster features former Virginia University guard Sylven Landesberg,  former Cal State Fullerton guard Frank Robinson, former Arizona State guard Derek Glasser, former Washington State guard Derrick Low, former Auburn and Indiana player Marco Killingsworth, Serbian-born Sasha Bratic, and strong Israeli players including Yoni Nir, Avi Ben-Chimol, and Robert Rothbart.
Maccabi Haifa will travel to the United States to play the NBA’s New Jersey Nets in the first preseason game at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ on October 3, 2010.  Maccabi Haifa’s 30-minute magazine TV show, “Inside Israeli Basketball,” ( is aired monthly from November to June on the YES Network (Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network), SUN Sports (home to the Miami Heat), as well as eight other regional sports networks across the United States.  The show captures the intricacies of Israel and the Super League seen through the eyes of Maccabi Haifa’s American players and their Israeli counterparts.

Preceding provided by Maccabi Haifa

Maccabi Haifa signs former Cal Fullerton guard Frank Robinson

July 24, 2010 Leave a comment

HAIFA (Press Release)– The Maccabi Haifa professional basketball team of the Israeli Basketball Super League, announced on Friday, July 23,  they have signed guard Frank Robinson, who played at Cal State Fullerton from 2004-08, to a one-year contract.
Robinson, 26, played three years at Cal State Fullerton, averaging 15.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.2 steals in 32 games during his senior season. 
The 6-foot-4-inch guard, signed with Olympia Ljubljana (Slovenia) during the 2008-09 season.  He played in 8 Euroleague games, averaging 6.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 20 minutes.   From Ljubljana, Robinson signed with Ludwigsburg (Germany), where he tallied 11 points and 5 rebounds in 11 games.
During the 2009-10 season, Robinson played three preseason games with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks before signing with the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA D-League, where he scored 12.4 points and grabbed 4.1 rebounds in 38 games played.   Robinson played for the LA Lakers’ Summer League team this July in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
“I’m pleased to have Frank Robinson join Maccabi Haifa, because he will bring a lot of athleticism to the team,” said Maccabi Haifa owner and American businessman Jeffrey Rosen from his U.S. base in Aventura, Florida. 
“Frank is an excellent defender and a very good penetrator, which adds another dimension to the team,” said coach Elad Hasin.
Robinson joins a Maccabi Haifa roster that features Sasha Bratic, Yoni Nir, Avi Ben-Chimol, former Arizona State guard Derek Glasser, former Washington State guard Derrick Low, and Robert Rothbart. 
Maccabi Haifa will travel to the United States to play the NBA’s New Jersey Nets in the first preseason game at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ on October 3, 2010.  Maccabi Haifa’s 30-minute magazine TV show, “Inside Israeli Basketball,” is aired monthly from November to June on the YES Network (Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network), SUN Sports (home to the Miami Heat), Comcast Versus (home to the NHL), and Jewish Life Television (available in over 25 million homes in the US).  The show captures the intricacies of Israel and the Super League seen through the eyes of Maccabi Haifa’s American players and their Israeli counterparts.  

Preceding provided by Maccabi Haifa

Robert Breitbard was San Diego’s sports MVP

May 18, 2010 3 comments

Related story by Norman Greene

By Joey Seymour

Joey Seymour

SAN DIEGO — What was just a bunch of “junk in the garage” according to Bob Breitbard’s wife, Lillie, turned into the vast collection of San Diego sports memorabilia, which is housed today in the sixty thousand square foot Hall of Champions Museum in Balboa Park. Bob Breitbard loved collecting sports memorabilia, especially items from great champions who came from San Diego.

In 1946, while president of the California Linen Supply, Bob decided to follow his passion of sports by starting the Breitbard Athletic Foundation, which honors local high school athletes. Breitbard himself was a star football player at Hoover High School and later became their coach. The combination of Breitbard’s collection, the Athletic Foundation, and later the Breitbard Hall of Fame (honoring professional athletes from San Diego), created the San Diego Hall of Champions, the largest sports museum honoring a single city in the country. Whereas the museum is one of the many incredible museums in Balboa Park, Breitbard who passed away of natural causes on Monday, May 17, was an original.

Robert Breitbard was born on April 28, 1919 in San Diego and grew up a fan and participant of sports. He excelled in football while at Hoover High and was great friend with baseball legend, Ted Williams, who called Bob “knucklehead.” They graduated together in 1937. Their friendship would remain strong throughout their lives. Many of Ted’s items, trophies and game used equipment are on display at the Hall of Champions, despite a law suit in 2006 by members of Ted Williams’ family who attempted to have Ted’s 1949 MVP trophy returned to them. After graduating from Hoover High, Breitbard  went on to play football at San Diego State University. In 1945, he became SDSU’s fifth football coach. He would only coach the team for one year.

The desire to focus his life on bringing sports to San Diego escalated in 1966 when he built the San Diego Sports Arena and owned the buildings first professional team, The San Diego Gulls of the Western Hockey League. A year later, he purchased the 12th team to join the NBA for 1.75 million dollars. They would be given the moniker the Rockets due to San Diego’s budding space age industry and the city’s theme at the time, “a city in motion.” Unfortunately, and with much contention, the Gulls folded and the Rockets were sold to an investment firm in Houston, Texas for 5.6 million dollars. The Gulls would return in other forms playing for different minor leagues and under different ownership, but the loss of the Rockets was upsetting to many San Diegans, despite low attendance numbers and poor performance on the court. Breitbard always contended that he did not want to sell the team, but due to major tax hikes on the Arena, Breitbard could no longer operate either team.

After the Rockets left in 1971, Breitbard continued to focus his attention on the museum (which officially opened in 1961), the Athletic Foundation, and the Hall of Fame. He  was also a member of Tifereth Israel Synagogue giving much to San Diego’s Jewish Community. He also donated a great deal to the Sharp Hospital and Salk Institute while also sitting on the boards of the San Diego International Sports Council and San Diego Holiday Bowl. His efforts to persuade the Chargers to move from Los Angeles helped earn San Diego its NFL team in 1961 and his negotiations with Major League Baseball helped persuade the league to add the expansion Padres team in 1969.   

Al Kidd, President of the San Diego Hall of Champions posted a video tribute on the museum’s website saying, “Bob had a big heart and he put a lot of his resources both personally with time and finances into a lot of causes here in San Diego, but in the end, the number one cause was the Hall of Champions.”

Breitbard lost his beloved wife Lillie on November 24, 1997. The two of them, however, will always have seats at the Sports Arena. Loge section 24, Row 1, Seats 11 – 14 are always saved for Bob Breitbard and will continue to be.

The San Diego Hall of Fame honors great athletes from or who represented San Diego like Dan Fouts, Ted Williams, Maureen Connolly, Greg Louganis, Marcus Allen, Marshall Faulk, Archie Moore, and Tony Hawk. Today San Diegans mourn the city’s MVP, Bob Breitbard for all that he did and for the conviction and passion in which he did it.

Joey Seymour is a  Sports Historian and Author of “San Diego’s Finest Athletes: Five Exceptional Lives,” now Available through Sunbelt Publications at

The Jews Down Under~Roundup of Australian Jewish News

May 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Garry Fabian

Compiled by Garry Fabian

Heritage listing possible for first Victorian shul

MELBOURNE, 13 May – Heritage Victoria is  campaigning to protect the site of Melbourne’s  first synagogue from any unsympathetic development.

The building, now known as Equity Chambers and  since 1930 the home to legal offices, was the  original location of Melbourne Hebrew  Congregation (MHC). The land had been granted to  the fledgling congregation by the Port Phillip
District in 1844, only nine years after John Batman established himself on the banks of the Yarra River.

Almost two years ago, developers Williamson  Properties were given planning approval to build  a 16-storey apartment block at 472 Bourke Street.  The developers’ plans show the facade of the  building, some of which was part of the synagogue, will be retained.

With construction yet to begin on the new  development, Heritage Victoria this week
recommended the building, which it said is  architecturally significant as an example of
“exotic revival architectural styles”, be added  to the Heritage Register. A spokesperson for Heritage Victoria said the public can make  submissions via the organisation’s website until  June 22 regarding the significance of the site.

If accepted, the building would join a list that includes Ballarat Hebrew Congregation and Trades Hall, among many other culturally important sites.

MHC life governor and past president Eric Cohen  said that Melbourne’s first shul was situated at  the back of the Bourke Street block and held around 100 worshippers.

The Argus newspaper reported on August 13, 1847,  that a building would be constructed for people  of the Hebrew faith. On the 25th of that same month, a foundation stone was laid by synagogue president Solomon Benjamin. A scroll was placed  in the foundation stone referring to the  congregation as the “remnant of Israel”, a name that MHC still uses today.

Alongside the shul ran a small road named  Synagogue Lane. Today, it is known as Little
Queen Street, with Cohen suggesting the name may  have been changed due to vandalism. However, the  street sign displayed today pays tribute to the lane’s heritage. With money flush during Victoria’s gold rush and  the local Jewish population growing, Cohen
explained that the foundation stone for a new  400-500-seat synagogue on the same site was laid  in 1855. It was a large building and the pillars  outside Equity Chambers are remnants of that synagogue.

In 1927, the building was sold to Equity Trustees  and by 1930, MHC members had moved to their  illustrious new home in South Yarra, where they remain to this day.
Williamson Properties’ plans for the apartment  block show the building will continue to look  similar from street level, with a tiered glass  tower to be constructed behind the facade.

New principal for Yeshiva school

SYDNEY, 13 May – Following  a two month  international search, Yeshivah College has
announced the appointment of a new principal.  Currently the rabbi and head of Jewish studies at  Sydney’s Moriah middle school, Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler will commence his new post in July.

“He is a highly experienced, charismatic and  innovative educational leader, with a unique
blend of diplomacy, consultative approach and  strong leadership skills, and was the outstanding  candidate for the role,” chair of the Yeshivah Centre committee of management Don Wolf said of the incoming principal.

“Rabbi Smukler is a creative and positive leader,  committed to ensuring that Yeshivah College  realises its goal of achieving excellence in all  of its offerings and nurturing the potential of  each individual student and member of staff.”

The rabbi’s new role will see him build  partnerships with students, staff and parents “to
create an environment where children are loved and cared for, so that Yeshivah College is a place where children want to come and learn”.

“My aim is to bring a refreshing perspective of global best practice, innovative educational leadership and thought into an uncompromised environment of Torah values and menschlichkeit,” Rabbi Smukler said in a letter sent to parents this week.

“I am confident that . we can be a truly great school. We can strengthen the positive, happy, quality learning environment in which our children thrive and grow.”

Ordained by the Rabbinical College of Sydney, Rabbi Smukler also holds a masters of education, graduate diploma in education and an  individualised teaching certificate from Israel’s Bar-Ilan University.

Former Bialik College principal Genia Janover headed the recruitment panel, which included Beth  Rivkah Ladies College principal Samuel Gurewicz,  Dr Ray Lewis and members of the school’s committee.

Rabbi Smukler will move to Melbourne together with his wife, Laya, and their four children.

Rabbi Avrohom Glick, a past principal at the school, was appointed interim leader in February  when then principal Rabbi Mordechai Berger vacated the position. Rabbi Glick will remain on staff as a senior teacher.
On the 33rd day….

SYDNEY, 11 May -More than 1000 people ­ from small children to grandparents ­ joined the parade  through Bondi to a Lag b’Omer carnival at Barracluff Park last Sunday.

The carnival included a petting zoo, arts and  craft activities and food stalls. Member for
Wentworth Malcolm Turnbull, Yeshiva Centre spiritual leader Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, NSW  Jewish Board of Deputies president Robin Margo and Waverley councillor Yvonne Coburn all spoke before the parade.

Meanwhile, on Saturday night, Young Adult Chabad  hosted a concert at the Yeshiva Centre, featuring Jerusalem-based singer Chaim Dovid. Dovid brought  the audience to its feet with his hippy-style music.

Lag b’Omer commemorates the 33rd day of the Omer the weeks between Pesach and Shavuot ­ and is considered a celebratory day honouring Rabbi Shimon Bar Kochba.

What’s in a name? Enough for an unholy row

MELBOURNE,  May 13 – Famous people get their names pasted to planes and trains, sporting stadiums  and halls. But an unpleasant spat in the  Victorian Supreme Court has shone a light on the  elusive prestige that attaches to the naming rights on a synagogue.

Just weeks after the Sydney-based Jewish  businessman and former jailbird Rodney Adler met  the leader of the Catholic Church – yes, at the Vatican, in Rome – the Adler family has been accused of trying to resurrect Mr Adler’s reputation by garnering ”billboard”
presentation of his name on the front of a building that houses a Melbourne synagogue.

The Victorian Supreme Court yesterday heard that in mid-March a sign was erected in front of the small synagogue in East St Kilda, proclaiming it  the ”Lyndi and Rodney Adler Sephardi Centre”.

That sign inflamed tensions between the Sephardi  Association of Victoria, which runs the
synagogue, and Dan Horesh, the executor of the estate of the late multi-millionaire Albert Sassoon Yehuda.

Horesh launched legal action last year claiming Yehuda, and later his estate, paid
for and continues to own the exclusive, perpetual  naming rights over the synagogue.

Yesterday, Horesh asked the Supreme Court for an injunction forcing the Sephardi Association to remove the latest version of the ”Lyndi and Rodney Adler” sign before Saturday, when the synagogue is due to dedicate its Hekhal, the small room that houses the Torah.

Chief Justice Marilyn Warren sitting in the Practice Court yesterday heard that Melbourne
businessman David Bardas, who is not a party in the case, donated tens of thousands of dollars towards the construction of the Hekhal, and the ceremony is likely to attract dozens of people.

Horesh’s counsel, David Sharp, told the court  that the Adlers were trying to ”re-establish
themselves in society, particularly Jewish society’,” and part of that involved ”being seen
as significant benefactors to the synagogue’.”

”They had a setback in that Rodney Adler is a criminal, and a significant one,”  Sharp said.
He argued that each day the Adlers’ name remained  on the building, the estate of Albert Sassoon Yehuda lost the benefits of the naming rights it had purchased. ”But what is particularly unconscionable is the Adlers are getting a benefit every day that sign remains,” Sharp told the court.

Adler pleaded guilty in February 2005 to four criminal charges related to his HIH dealings, including disseminating false information, obtaining money by false or misleading statements, being intentionally dishonest and breaching his duties as a director of HIH. He served 30 months of a 4½-year jail term.

The Adlers are not parties to the case. Rodney Adler last year told The Age the donation was made with good intention, and he suspected ”my name is being used as a pawn in a larger dispute” between the estate and the association.

The court heard the original asking price for the naming rights to the building was $450,000, and the price of naming rights to the hall, $125,000.

Just as Chief Justice Warren was about to deliver her decision yesterday, lawyers for Horesh and the Sephardi Association agreed to a formal mediation to try to resolve the matter.


Desperate appeal for $100,000 to save shul

ADELAIDE, 13 May – The South Australian based Adelaide Hebrew Congregation (AHC) has launched a desperate appeal to raise $100,000, warning members that unless the money comes in, the congregation will not be operationally viable.

In a letter sent to congregants last week, AHC president Mark Cohen said dwindling membership and the global financial crisis had contributed to the shortfall. He also claimed long-term loans to Massada College had not been repaid.

Cohen said: “The big issue was that no fundraising had been done for a long time, and
the bank balance had been slipping into the red for a while. There are no patrons of significance in Adelaide anymore, and every cent raised is by generous personal support.”

Calling for aid from beyond Adelaide, he added: “Our shul board has raised over $5000 from its last board meeting, and we hope the appeal will bring in around another $20,000 from smaller donors in the community. It would be wonderful to have additional Australian support for another $75,000, so we can get out of the red and begin a
program of rejuvenation, immigration and community building right away.”

To help raise funds, renowned local artist Franz Kempf has donated one of his paintings, titled “Why Does the City Sit so Solitary?” to the community to sell.

Asked what may happen if the funds aren’t forthcoming, Cohen said: “We will have to call a
special AGM – and ask for permission to sell the  rabbi’s house, but this is a time-consuming, less than optimal, solution.”

Yuval Yarom, president of Massada College,  refused to comment on the school’s financial
relations with AHC. However, he told The AJN he was confident that Massada wasn’t facing an immediate cash crisis. “We will need financial support from the community in the near future and I believe we will get it,” he said. “But we do have a business plan and we are on our way to being able to stand on our own two feet.”

NBL Championship coach joins Maccabi

MELBOURNE, 14 May -Maccabi Victoria Basketball has received an enormous fillip, with the signing of NBL side Melbourne Tigers head coach Alan Westover to the role of technical coaching adviser.

Originally from the Napa Valley in California,Westover is a two-time championship winning coach with the Tigers, and a former player in the NBL in the 1970s and ’80s. He also played college basketball for the University of the Pacific.

The club’s coaching staff will be further bolstered by the appointment of Daniel Sherr as director of coaching.

Sherr is the assistant head of sport at Mount Scopus Memorial College and will be responsible for overseeing the entire basketball program, with a particular focus on coach education and exploring additional playing opportunities for Maccabi players.

President Danny Samuels said the appointment of Westover would give the Warriors an edge.

“The appointment of Alan Westover allows us to expose our coaches to some of the inner workings of an elite program and I believe his contribution to our club, at every level, will be far-reaching. Everyone is very excited,” Samuels enthused.

“Westover is a proven winner who has a wealth of experience at the elite level. For our coaches tohave an opportunity to learn from one of the game’s best is huge – as an added bonus, Alan also has a real understanding of grassroots basketball, having coached his son all the way through juniors.”

Samuels added he was delighted with the appointment of Sherr.

“We are very excited to have someone of Daniel’s calibre as our director of coaching. He has come through our junior ranks as a player, moving into coaching, and definitely provides an excellent role model for our young players to aspire to.”

Scopus building for Cambodia

MELBOURNE,  14 May – Students from Mount Scopus Memorial College will take building into their own hands next month, travelling to Cambodia to construct homes for the less fortunate as part of the Tabitha Foundation House Building Program. The second annual trip for the school, 20 year 9 students will be accompanied by two staff members
for the nine day journey, that will see the group physically complete four houses in a remote Cambodian village.

“The trip is important because it gives students the opportunity, not only for fundraising, but also to physically make a difference to a community in need  and to see the satisfaction on people’s faces once they have been rewarded by our work”, trip co-organiser Braham Morris said.

“The kids are good at raising money and we think  it is great for them where the money is
actually going. This way they raise the money,roll up their sleeves, do some hard work and get the satisfaction”.

While the frames and roofs of the houses are pre-built by qualified builders, the Scopus group will nail the floors and walls together, using the skills they have acquired from a wood-working class. In addition to the construction work, the participants will return to the same orphanage their peers visited last year to complete a gardening project.
New this year, they will also travel up north to Siem Reap to visit a municipal school,
participate in an art project and help teach English to the local children. The 22 will also
sped a Shabbat in the South-East Asian nation as guests of Chabad  Cambodia.

“While the trip is ” a community service project,  not a touring opportunity” the students
will visit the killing field and a former prison. “They will learn about the local history and its parallels with our own history”, co-organiser Adina Wolters said.

It has been a busy lead-up to the trip. Earlier this month, students ran a sausage sizzle, where they raised $1000. They had previously organised a chocolate drive, raising a further $1400. Some students have even taken efforts into their own hands, selling belongings to supplement the funds, as well as hosting a movie screening to
raise additional funds for the trip and project.

My own 15 year old grandson is one of the students on the trip.

Funding boost for Jewish Museum

MELBOURNE,  14 May – The Jewish Museum of Australia’s (JMA) Jewish history gallery got a boost this week, with the State Government announcing a pledge of $400,000 towards its upgrade and a new online learning portal.

Announced by Victorian Minister for the Arts Peter Batchelor and Member for Prahran Tony Lupton, the grant will go towards the upgrade of the musuem’s permanent exhibition to be named in honour of former governor-general of Australia, Sir Zelman Cowen.

“It is a fitting tribute to Sir Zelman Cowen, a great Victorian, pre-emininet figure in
Australian Jewish life and founding patron of the museum,” Batchelor said.
The minister described the JMA as “one of the top community museums in the country”.

“It’s a living, breathing, active cultural centre and a valuable educational resource,” he said. “These are two exciting and transformative projects for the JMA and that’s why we are pleased to contribute $400,000.”

Launched to coincide with Sir Zelman’s 90th birthday late last year, the project had a target of $1.4 million, something Batchelor described as “ambitious”. He quickly added that this was “underestimating the ambition, guts, generosity and support” of the community, who he acknowledged for raising the first $700,000.

“This brings the museum to within $300,000 of the target,” he said. “Work can commence.”

While Sir Zelman was in hospital and not able to attend, his wife, Lady Anna, sister June Helmer and daughter Kate represented him. Batchelor wished Sir Zelman a “refuah shleimah”.

Lupton told of his personal appreciation for the museum.

“We recognise the importance of celebrating and preserving the rich and diverse stories of
Victoria’s communities,” he said. “I commend the Jewish museum for leading the way.”

The announcement was JMA director Rebecca Forgasz’s first official engagement, four weeks into her new role. “It is the largest gift I have ever received and I promise to spend it wisely,” she said, adding that she hopes it will “inspire the community to continue to give generously.”

Fabian is Australia bureau chief for San Diego Jewish World.

The Jews Down Under

March 29, 2010 Leave a comment


Compiled by Garry Fabian

Harmony Day – A Celebration

SYDNEY, 26 March – A Holocaust  survivor’s memoir  about life in Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, and
then in Australia, Lolli’s Apple, was launched as  part of Harmony Day celebrations at the Art Gallery of NSW on Sunday.

Tomas Fleischmann said the book took him eight months to write after his family pestered him to put pen to paper.

“Because I was the first in my family to come to Australia in 1948, when I was only 10 years old,
my family kept telling me to write my story, so  when I retired I thought I would do it just to shut them up,” he said laughing.

“I’m 71-years-old and I have 12 grandchildren so  I guess if they all have children then one day
someone will want to read the story of how the family came to be in Australia.”

Fleischmann was born in Czechoslovakia and lived  in a 50-room castle before he was taken to
Auschwitz with his father during the Holocaust.

At the Nazi death camp his father died, but he was moved to Theresienstadt.

National Council of Imams representative Sheikh  Mohamadu Saleem, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff and executive director commission for ecumenical and interfaith relations at the Archdiocese of Sydney Sister Giovanni Farquer spoke at the book launch.

Also to coincide with Harmony Day, B’nai B’rith  announced the winner of its fifth Harmony Day Poster Competition on Tuesday.

The competition attracted more than 3000 entries from primary and high school students across NSW
and the theme this year was “Harmony ­ we can make it happen”.

“The calibre of entries received this year was exceptionally high,” organiser and B’nai B’rith
stalwart Ernie Friedlander said. “We are delighted with the response and the obvious
commitment by Australian youth to embrace and promote harmony in their communities.”

An exhibition of the winning posters will be on display at the NSW State Parliament until 29
March 2010, followed by an exhibition at the Bowen Library in April.


Holocaust Academic – Where to now?
MELBOURNE, 22 March – While  the act of survival is often examined in relation to the Holocaust,
the question of life immediately after liberation is a less discussed topic.  But this was the
subject of the first panel session at Monash University’s Holocaust aftermath conference this
week.  Chaired by author and son of survivors Arnold Zable, the keynote address was delivered
by Yad Vashem’s Dr Zeev Mankowitz on the topic:  “Vohin – Whither Shall We Go?”

Dr Mankowitz looked at patterns of survivor migration and the pull of Zionism, with Israel regarded as “the answer to this notion of homelessness”.  He also addressed the fact that many Western Europeans
returned to their homes after the Holocaust, truly believing they had the “chance to
reconstruct their lives and make a future in their former homes.” It was a very different
feeling to that experienced by their Eastern European counterparts.  “How can I go back to the
land where every stone tells me of the blood of my brother and sister. How can you erect a
chuppah on our graves?”  The author and academic added that whatever justifications survivors used
to settle in certain places, one thing was clear: “Survivors of the Holocaust, wherever they went
in the world, were always a constructive presence and never a burden, despite what they carried
with them.” 

Three speakers covering different aspects of the Holocaust followed Dr Mankowitz.Author and child survivor Diane Armstrong spoke about immigration and her personal journey with her parents to Australia.  Armstrong said that a redeeming feature of many survivors was the fact that they embraced their new lives and countries, becoming a part of the community and were never
“held back by the desire to return home.”

“Instead of yearning for a past that had vanished, they turned to the future and their
future was here,” she explained. 

Dr Paul Bartrop, an honorary fellow at Deakin University and head of history at Bialik College, spoke of
Australia’s immigration policies, while survivor Tuvia Lipson concluded the session with a
personal account of his journey from the Nazi camps to the Israeli army, fighting in the 1948
war, and eventually on to Australia.  Mr Lipson joked that his reason for not going back to
Poland was simple.  “When I went back after the war, I came across some men who yelled at me in
Polish, ‘You bloody Jew, you go to Palestine,’ so I listened to him and I went!”

Surfing champion apologises to Jewish community

Sydney 24 March – Two-time world champion surfer Mick Fanning has apologised to the Jewish
community for calling someone a ‘f***ing Jew’ after drinking too much at a private function.  Fanning called NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBD) chief executive Vic Alhadeff this week to personally apologise to the community after the comments were published in off-beat surfing magazine, Stab.  The eight-page article about Fanning featured the headline “Tales of a F***ing Jew” printed inside a Magen
David.  Fanning, an ambassador for World Vision, was quoted in Stab after he met one of their
journalists at a Rip Curl victory party after his second world surfing championship victory.  “He
called me and apologised for what he readily acknowledged was inappropriate language,”
Alhadeff said. 

Fanning’s mother Elizabeth Osborne said this week her son has been extremely distressed about the situation.  “After he won the world title Rip Cup had a party at a house onthe beach and that started about 3pm,” said Osborne, who also manages her son.  “Six hours later they had obviously been celebrating when the journalist was introduced to Mick, but Mick had always said he didn’t like how Stab magazine wrote off surfing.”  She said it was during the conversation with that journalist that the
offending words were uttered.  “He called him a f***ing Jew and he knows it was inappropriate,
but he was quite intoxicated and he is really upset and devastated that it happened.”  She said
her son only realised he was speaking to a reporter the next day when he saw photos of the
party showing the man holding a recording device.  Alhadeff said Fanning knew his words,
spoken during what he thought was a private conversation, were wrong and “he has apologised
without reservation”.  “But the magazine deliberately exploited and inflamed the situation
by repeating Mr Fanning’s slur as a heading on eight pages,” the JBD CEO said.  “The message
from this unfortunate saga is that such offensive language is never acceptable, and this has to be
made loud and clear.” 

In a statement issued last week, Fanning accepted responsibility for his words.  “I consider the article to be offensive and arguably designed to cause hurt and distress,” Fanning said, adding he had considered legal action against the magazine.  He said that before this exchange, he had not spoken with Stab reporters because he considered the magazine’s articles to be “racist and anti-Semitic.” 

“I strongly object to views, statements and comments of that nature,” he said. “I acknowledge that my
decision to use words that were inappropriate ­ albeit in an attempt to be ironic, knowing they
were of the type favoured by the magazine ­ was misjudged and wrong.  “I don’t have or condone,
any form of racist or, more particularly, anti-Semitic view,” the surfer said.  Fanning’s
quotes are not the first time the Jewish community has complained about Stab magazine. Last month, it published part of Sacha Baron Cohen’s satirical song ‘Throw Jews Down The Well” on its website.

Jewish Community submission on Race Hate Laws

MELBOURNE, 26 March  –  There is a need to revisit laws we already have, the Jewish community
believes.  In a submission to the Victorian Government’s Hate Crimes Review, the Jewish
community has called for improved investigation and prosecution of hate crimes. 

The community ants the police to set up a specific Hate Crimes Unit to respond to hate crimes and to train all plice so they understand when racial vilification has occurred.  The submission, prepared by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria and the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, said the Jewish community recorded 101 cases of identity-motivated attack last year, most commonly in the formal of verbal abuse but also including missiles aimed at people walking to synagogues, graffiti, racial vilification and less commonly physical violence. 

JCCV president John Searle said in some cases it was clear racial vilification had occurred but police were not prepared to act. “When we raise the possibility of action under the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act what we hear from police is, ‘Let’s not go there’. Often it seems the ordinary copper on the beat does not even realise a crime has occurred.” 

The Jewish Community submission also called for a third-party reporting system, so that victims could go to an organisation other than police to deal with racial abuse; the introduction of specific policing initiatives in vulnerable areas, improved police education and better data management.  

Searle said minority communities who had been pleased when the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act was passed in 2001 were deeply disappointed that there had not been a single prosecution under the Act.   But he said the Jewish community was pleased the Victorian Government had amended sentencing laws last year to ensure judges increased penalties when an attack was motivated by hate.  

The submission recommends some additional legal changes, bringing racial vilification under the Crimes Act and introducing a civil remedy, so that individuals who suffer physical or psychological harm have some recourse.  But Searle emphasised the key issues were not legal. “New legislation is not the answer.  Appropriate legislation is already available; it is the resolve to use it and possibly the awareness of its existence that is the problem.”  
Gersh Lazarow named new rabbi at Bentleigh Progressive Synagogue

MELBOURNE, 24 March – Following an “exhaustiveyear-long process,” Bentleigh Progressive
Synagogue (BPS) in suburban Melbourne has announced the appointment of Rabbi Gersh Lazarow
as its new rabbi.  Currently a teacher at The King David School, he will take on the BPS role
in a part-time capacity, replacing Rabbi Aviva Kipen who resigned from the post in August 2008
after eight years. 

“Having a person like Rabbi Lazarow leading us will make a real difference to our community,” BPS president Frank Moore said.

“He is a very vibrant person.”  Moore said Rabbi Lazarow would continue the congregation’s strong
focus on pastoral care, and while his specific responsibilities had not yet been confirmed,
communal guidance would one of his central roles.  “Rabbi Lazarow’s appointment means moving
on to our next step for our growth,” the president said.  “We have grand plans for our little sanctuary. It is a vibrant and warm community, with a strong sense of family and a warm inclusive environment. Rabbi Lazarow understands that and is looking forward to being a part.” 

King David principal Michele Bernshaw referred to the appointment as a “strategic
partnership” between the school and BPS.  “The school has strong ties with Temple Beth Israel,
the Leo Baeck Centre and Kedem and seeks to enhance our relationship with BPS,” she said in a
statement.  “The King David School, like each of the members of the Victorian Union for
Progressive Judaism [VUPJ], is keenly aware of the growing needs of young Jewish families in the
greater Bentleigh area and we look forward to sharing more news in the future about initiatives
and programs we will be launching together.” 

Rabbi Lazarow took on the King David post in May last year after eight years studying
and working in the United States, where he was ordained as a rabbi.  He completed two masters
degrees, one in Hebrew letters and the other in Jewish education, at the Hebrew Union College
Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles ­ the same school at which he received his
s’micha.  BPS has 158 family memberships and attracts 300 to 400 people on Jewish holidays.
The congregation has been led by VUPJ rabbis and lay leaders from the shul since Rabbi Kipen’s departure.


Sydney Kings back in major league

SYDNEY -The Sydney Kings have been officially readmitted into the National Basketball League
for the 2010-11 season after two years on the sidelines.  The announcement on Wednesday (March
24) comes seven months after the death of former high-profile Kings owner Mike Wrublewski.  Former
Kings player – and Australia’s most successful Jewish basketball player – Brad Rosen is part of
the consortium that hopes to guide the Kings to success. 

“It’s been a long process we are just so happy that this has all worked out,” Rosen said.  “We have had many meetings trying to get this over the line with a lot of people and it’s amazing to be able to say the Kings are back!  “I grew up as a kid and all I wanted to do was play for the Sydney Kings and the club has had a lot of links to the Jewish community.  “I want to be able to go to games and tell my kids, ‘that’s the team I played for’.”  Rosen said it was sad that Wrublewski was not alive to see the return of the
Kings, which he was integral in starting in late 1980s.  “I had a very special relationships with
him because he was one of my best mates’ father and he was also my boss. He will always be in our
thoughts. He is the true King of the Kings and there is no doubt that he will never be

Wrublewski’s son Adam attended the press conference on Wednesday when the announcement of the Kings return was made.  Former executive chairman of Myer and senior executive of Woolworths Bill Wavish, former West Razor Backs chairman Bill Hudson and Sydney businessman Max Schroder are three of the key financial backers of the club. Former coach Bob Turner will be the CEO.


Honoring Righteous gentiles

MELBOURNE, 26 March – One of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria’s most sombre duties is its
annual event at Monash University remembering the Holocaust and its victims, thus searing its
terrible yet sacred memory into the consciousness of the Jewish and larger communities.     This
year’s commemoration will be particularly special in that it will feature a representative of the
Australian Government presenting a Righteous Amongst the Nations Award to Leonarda Paszkudska
and her son August (both deceased).  The Reward will be received on their behalf by August’s son
George and daughter Leonarda, both of whom now live in Bunbury, Western Australia.    

In brief, the reasons for the Award are as follows: When August had realised that his schoolmate, a young Jewish woman named Renata Stam, was to be deported to the camps he convinced Nazi officials
that she was required for housekeeping duties.  Mrs Paszkudska and August then hid Renata in their home in Lebov, Poland from 1942 to 1944.      

Renata lived in the Paszkudska’s home, registered as their housekeeper under a
different name. Leonarda treated her as a family member without receiving anything in exchange.
August used to inform Renata’s father, who had stayed in the ghetto, about her situation until
Stam was sent to the concentration camps.  This story had a fairy-tale ending when August and Renata married following the liberation of Poland in late 1944.     In 2004 the Righteous Amongst the Nations committee decided to posthumously award Leonarda and August.  Following August’s death, Renata had migrated to Western Australia in 1989 and died here in 2006.

As always, the JCCV’s Yom Hashoa commemoration will be a very meaningful and
profound event. 

Australia not expelling Israeli diplomats yet

CANBERRA, 26 March –  The Rudd Government will not consider following Britain in expelling any
Israeli diplomats until the Australian Federal Police (AFP) concludes its report into the
alleged forgery of Australian passports.  Speaking to ABC radio on Wednesday afternoon, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said there were no immediate plans to evict Israeli embassy staff, or take any other action. 

“It is very important to take this step-by-step,” Smith said.  The minister suggested the AFP report
would not be completed for at least a fortnight considering the involvement of forged Australian
passports in the Dubai assassination of Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was discovered two
weeks after the revelation British documentation had been used in the same incident. 

“We have an investigation underfoot and we’ll wait for the results of that investigation.”  A spokesperson from the Israeli Embassy in Canberra said they too were awaiting the results of the AFP
investigation before commenting any further.  Early Wednesday morning, Australian time, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband announced that a member of the Israeli Embassy in Britain ­ reported to be a London-based Mossad representative ­ had been expelled.  In addition, Miliband issued Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman with a letter “seeking a formal assurance from him that in the future the Stateof Israel would never be party to the misuse of British passports in such a way”.  Britain also updated its travel advice for visitors to Israel to “make clear the potential risk, and to set out
the steps they can take to minimise that risk”, Miliband said.

In a speech to the British House of Commons, the Foreign Secretary said his country’s investigation into the passport fraud pointed to Israel’s culpability.  “[The Serious Organised Crime Agency] were drawn to the conclusion that the passports used were copied from genuine British passports when handed over for inspection to individuals linked to Israel, either in Israel or in other countries. They
found no link to any other country,” Miliband said.  “Given that this was a very sophisticated
operation in which high quality forgeries were made, the Government judges it is highly likely
that the forgeries were made by a state intelligence service.” 

The passports of four Australians living in Israel were revealed by Dubai police to have links to al-Mabhouh January assassination. Passports from other countries, including the UK, Ireland, France and Germany,were also implicated.  Foreign Minister Smith reiterated that the passport holders were not involved in any way except as “innocent victims”  

Wishing all readers and staff of San Diego Jewish World a happy, healthy josher and peaceful Pesach

Fabian is Australia bureau chief for San Diego Jewish World

Exhibition basketball game set between Nets and Maccabi Haifa

March 24, 2010 1 comment

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Press Release) – NETS Basketball will host Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Basketball Super League, Israel’s top division, in a 2010 preseason game on Sunday, October 3 at 7:00 p.m. at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. 

The game will mark the first preseason game the NETS will play at the Prudential Center since the team announced it will play its home games in Newark for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. Ticket information is available by calling 201-806-7277.

Maccabi Haifa, owned by New Jersey native Jeffrey Rosen, is currently tied for second place in the Super League and has been ranked as high as 21st in Europe.  Maccabi Haifa’s charity program, “Haifa Hoops for Kids,” a joint initiative between Maccabi Haifa and United Jewish Communities of MetroWest New Jersey, demonstrates the team’s commitment to assisting underprivileged and special needs children in Israel. 

Maccabi Haifa’s 30-minute magazine show, “Inside Israeli Basketball,” is aired monthly on the YES Network.  The show captures the intricacies of Israel and the Super League seen through the eyes of Maccabi Haifa’s American players and their Israeli counterparts.

“We are honored to host Maccabi Haifa at the Prudential Center and to offer our fans the chance to see one of the best teams in Israel and a team rich in history,” said NETS CEO Brett Yormark.

“We are thrilled to bring Maccabi Haifa to America to play the NETS in a preseason game,” said Rosen.  “It has been our goal to build Maccabi Haifa into an international brand and playing an NBA team such as the NETS is just another step in the right direction.”

Preceding provided by NETS basketball