Schmooze and News for all us Jews
By Donald H. Harrison
SAN DIEGO — Okoronkwo Umeham and his wife, Gail Feurzeig Umeham, have heard rumors that the Mexican government may apologize for his wrongful incarceration in a Tijuana Federal Detention Center earlier this month, but so far that is all that the reports have turned out to be – rumors. To my way of thinking, far worse than the fact that the Nigerian-American was detained for carrying soup vegetables that Mexican Marines mistook for drugs, was his being chained hand and foot even as he was being taken back to the U.S. border to be set free. Why should a man be humiliated with shackles and manacles when it already has been determined that he is innocent? That’s the biggest outrage.
I’ve received a press release from District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis (who is Jewish) that she’s supporting a member of her staff, Deputy District Attorney Richard Monroy, for the Superior Court judgeship from which Bob Coates is retiring. With the flap about how Dumanis frequently has exercised the right of peremptory challenge to prevent certain out-of-favor judges from hearing criminal cases, it will be interesting to see how the public reacts to her own handpicked candidate for the bench. If there is any backlash against Dumanis’ policies, the Monroy judgeship (assuming he draws an opponent) may be a test case.
In the race for the 6th District seat of the San Diego City Council being vacated by Donna Frye, we were pleased to read that an old friend and a member of our community, Deputy State Attorney General Howard Wayne, has taken the lead in fundraising. Given the crowded field, he will need television time to remind everyone of his records of accomplishments during the six years (maximum three terms) he served this area as a state assemblyman.
My guess is that a lot of Jews who voted for Barack Obama for President will go over to the Republican side next election—assuming that the Republicans nominate someone who seems to be a reasonable choice. John McCain, in my opinion, would have gotten more Jewish votes than he did, but for the fact that Sarah Palin seemed to so many of us to be an off-the-wall choice for vice president. Now, with bad feeling between the leaders of Israel and the United States near an all-time high, many Jewish Democrats and independents will hope the GOP will find someone who is moderate on domestic issues and willing to stick by the Israelis even though the rest of the world is ganging up on them.
Jennie Starr, who already has pioneered social gatherings for Hebrew speakers in the county, now is exploring the possibility of creating a public charter school in which the Hebrew language would be taught in secular fashion. Starr indicates that one possible venue for such a school might be the Carmel Valley area, which can be reached by coastal communities by Interstate 5 and by inland communities by State Route 56. Before such a school can be established, there are many hoops to jump through –not the least of which is showing that there is sufficient support in the community at large to make such a school viable.
Navras Jaat Aafreedi, a gentleman in India whose articles about Jewish life there have been carried by this publication, tells us: “As I attempt to craft a course on Jewish History and Culture – which would be the first university-level course of its kind in South Asia – I am also attempting to have a section of our library devoted to Jewish Studies.” Anyone who wishes to help him should send books or DVDs by registered mail to him at the School of Social Sciences and Buddhist Studies at Gautam Buddha University, Greater Noida, Yamuna Expressway, Gautam Buddha Nagar – 201 308, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Bruce Kesler spotted the story in the San Francisco Chronicle about the new Assembly Speaker John Perez. Growing up in a mixed Jewish and Latino area of Los Angeles, he learned to speak a bissel Yiddish. … The Jerusalem Post reported that when Israel sent medical teams to Haiti following the massive earthquake earlier this year, it prompted some Jews to recall how Haiti had provided refuge to their families escaping from Hitler’s Germany and nazi-occupied Eastern Europe.
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