A bissel this, a bissel that~San Diego Jewish news and chatter

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(Column 15, February 3, 2011)
 

Donald H. Harrison

Compiled by Donald H. Harrison 

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Jewish Organizations
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Western States Jewish History has put San Diego’s first federal judge, the late Jacob Weinberger, on the cover of  its winter edition.  Judge Weinberger came to San Diego after serving as a member of the convention in Arizona responsible for statehood.  In the Jewish community, he is remembered as the founding president of the United Jewish Fund, today known as the Jewish Federation of San Diego.

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Tifereth Israel Synagogue is flying a new U.S. flag in front of the chapel.  Acquired for the Conservative congregation by Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, the flag “was flown over the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. on November 9, 2009,” acco0rding to Jerry Hermes, administrative vice president of the congregation.

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Dozens of San Diego Jewish organizations recently convened under asupices of the Jewish Community Foundation  to discuss their endowment progress.  To date, 800 Jewish families have promised an estimated $217 million dollars in legacy gifts to Jewish and secular organizations locally, national and in Israel.  In its seventh year, the Endowment Leadership Institute program has helped local Jewish organizations build significant endowments and assisted them with creating stronger governance practices through its complimentary program called the Governance Leadership Institute (GLI).  The program is considered a national model for non-profit organizations and is currently being replicated in six different communities in the United States.   “This program has transformed the Jewish community locally, nationally and internationally,” says Jane Scher, Chair of the GLI program. “For me personally, it is one of the most important efforts in the Jewish community.” Jill Spitzer, Chief Executive Officer of Jewish Family Service San Diego, echoed the same sentiment, “The Endowment Leadership Institute has put endowments on the front burner with a number of donors.  ELI has been a tremendous support system for us.”

You might think of Pomerado Road in Poway as a refuge for inter-religious harmony.  Two Jewish congregations on that busy street—Temple Adat Shalom and Ner Tamid Synagogue—will be hosting affairs bringing together clergy and lay leaders of numerous faiths.   At 7:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 7, Temple Adat Shalom (15905 Pomerado Road) hosts a trialogue among its spiritual leader, Rabbi David Castiglione, and Rev. Glenn D. Larsen Jr. of the Community Church of Poway, and Khaleel Mohammed of  the faculty of San Diego State University on how Judaism, Christianity and Islam interpret the first Two Commandments (‘I am the Lord…’ and ‘Do not have any other God before me…”).  The following month—from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, March 6—Ner Tamid Synagogue (15318 Pomerado Road)—will host a symposium on women taking lay leadership roles in various faith groups.

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Radio talk show host and columnist Michael Medved has a ready-made topic for his speech at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 21 at Beth Jacob Congregation: “Middle East flashpoint: Assessing the threat to Israel.”  Sounds like one he won’t be able to write out too far in advance, the situation seems to change every minute.

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Reform congregations in San Diego County and throughout the country will mark February as Disabilities Awareness Month, with many sponsoring outreach programs to people with disabilities and their families.  More information can be found on the Union for Reform Judaism website

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Tal Brody, an American-born, former Israeli basketball star, now is an ambassador of good will for that country.  He’ll tell of his experiences as an athlete and an Israeli at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 16 at the Lawrence Family JCC.  The event is sponsored by T.E.A.M (Training and Education about the Middle East).

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When the Jerusalem Post covered a conference in Toronto, Canada, of Israelis living abroad, one of the people whom reporter Rhonda Spivak sought out for her story was Jennie Starr of San Diego, founder of Tarbuton, which offers programs in Hebrew for Israelis and their families.   

Nicky England, a High Tech High student who volunteers at JFS’ Hand Up Food Pantry, wrote in a recent e-circular about a seminar that volunteers from five local high schools  attended last month. Jennifer Tracy of the San Diego Hunger Coalition taught “how to pre-screen clients for CalFresh (formerly the food stamp program) and assist clients in completing the application for benefits. We are concerned that San Diego has the lowest CalFresh enrollment rate of any city in the United States and we are determined to change that statistic.With Jennifer’s help, the Hand Up leaders learned the ins and outs of CalFresh eligibility and how to assist clients with the application process. During the training we watched a video about hunger and the origins of the food stamp program, learned how to use an Excel-based pre-screening calculator, and practiced pre-screening clients using fictitious client scenarios….”

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Jews in the General Community
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San Diego City Councilwoman Marti Emerald fended off a proposal to defund a joint use park that would serve both the City of San Diego and the Language Academy Elementary School (formerly Montezuma Elementary School).  Saying that the project had been funded three years ago, but not implemented because of city staff delays, Emerald was able to persuade the City Council to unanimously agree to complete the project in the neighborhood near San Diego State University.

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Finding Emilie is a new novel by Laurel Corona that is due out in April.   Now, the author, San Diego City College humanities professor and occasional contributor to San Diego Jewish World, is working on finding a good way to celebrate. As the novel is set in France, she is playing with the idea of having a bash with friends at a local French restaurant.  A good idea, n’est-ce pas?

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Leon Natker, general director of the Lyric Opera, describes his company’s updated production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers as “ sultry and sexy” “This is a show where Gilbert pokes fun at struggling monarchists as democracy was taking over Europe,” he said.  “That process didn’t really end until after WW II; that’s why we’re updating the action.”

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On Point, the monthly newsletter of the NTC Promenade, recently approvingly quoted from the La Jolla Light’s interview with  choreographer John Malashock “If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?” John’s response, “Luce Auditorium! Malashock Dance is now located at Liberty Station in Dance Place San Diego, a facility I helped conceive. Right next door to the dance building is an auditorium with beautiful designs to be renovated into three performance spaces for dance and film. It would become our home theater, house numerous film festivals, and bring Liberty Station to life as a true destination for the arts.” The public is invited to a Community Forum to meet NTC Promenade architect Chris Bittner and see proposed designs for transforming Luce into a new Performing Arts and Cinema Center on Tuesday, February 15 at 6 p.m. in the NTC Command Center, 2640 Historic Decatur Rd.”  So why do they call the newsletter “On Point?”  NTC Promenade is located in Point Loma.

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Our readers’ other reading
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Dan Schaffer recommends an article in the American Thinker concerning Adolf Hitler’s overriding influence on the Muslim Brotherhood, which now appears likely to be incorporated into a new government should Hosni Mubarak step down.

Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World.  This column runs Thursdays and Mondays, with contribution of items most welcome at [email protected]

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