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

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(column 20, Feb. 21, 2011)

Compiled by Donald H. Harrison

Jewish Organizations

 In a “Save the Date” message for June 3-5, Alan Friedman, executive director of Camp Mountain Chai, says a planning committee is at work for the 3rd annual Men’s Getaway Retreat.  Dreaming up activities for the weekend themed “Fitness for the Body and Soul” are Todd Kobernick, Ed Samiljan, Jim Lewis, David Bark, Michael Bark, Dan Kassel, Dan Schwimmer and Buddy Voit

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The Center for Jewish Culture
will explore Passover in its March 9-May 23 exhibit: “Invitational Passover Show: Old Story/New Work” at the Gotthelf Art Gallery at the Lawrence Family JCC. There are 28 artists in the show, all but two of them from San Diego County–“a wonderful celebration of local artists,” says Randy Saverese, gallery chair.  “We are excited to host such a diverse group.”  They include: Melissa Garfield Bartell, Lizet Benrey, Sandra Berlin-Kroll, Lisa Braun-Glazer, Rivian Butikofer, Pamela Carnot, Steve Gould, Becky Guttin, Johanna Hansen, Edna Harris, Josh Herman, Jacqueline Jacobs, Debby & Larry Kline, Carol Korfin, Molly Lipsher, Viviana Lombrozo, Liz Mamorsky, Vivien Ressler, Heather Roddy, Helen Segal, Dorit Shaitrit, Lisa Slovis Mandel, Stacy Smith, Susan Stern, Warner Varno, James Watts, Jackie Zucker. 
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The Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) has invested a total of  $15 million in 100 Jewish day schools across the U.S., to improve their secular studies offerings in recognition of the fact that Jewish parents want their children to be strong not only in Jewish studies but high-tech and regular academic subjects as well.  According to Audrey Jacobs, both the San Diego Jewish Academy and Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School (which she represents) have received funds from the non-profit center. 

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Chabad at La Costa has an arrangement with Ralphs in La Jolla, similar to ones available from the grocery store for other Jewish congregations. Rabbi Yeruchem Eilfort explains in the congregation’s newsletter: “We love shopping at Ralphs La Jolla’s newly designed kosher section, don’t you? Ralphs is further helping our community by offering a Community Contribution program whereby the shul can earn money on every dollar you spend! Simply register your Ralphs Rewards Card online at www.Ralphs.com , click on the Community Contributions page, and enter Chabad at La Costa’s name. Every time a member shops for groceries and swipes their card, Chabad at La Costa automatically starts earning a rebate, received on a quarterly basis. If you do not have access to the online sign-up method, please call 1-800-443-4438 to learn about the alternative sign-up method.”

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Congregation Beth Am has a new spin on Jewish education.  In a program called “The Jewish Ultrafit Challenge: A Workout for the Mind,” it urges potential attendees to “stretch your mind, strengthen your knowledge and flex your Jewish muscles.”  Separate programs are being offered in “Practical Judaism,” “Spirituality” and “Israel,” with those who want more than one able to enroll in the “cross training program.” Among community teachers–er, should we say “fitness instructors”– are Rabbi David Kornberg, Rabbi Matthew Earne, Marilyn Clement, JJ Surbeck of T.E.A.M., Sima Ross, Rabbi Shai Cherry, Richard Lederer, Edit Zelkind, Linda Fredin and Elisheva Edelson. 


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Congregation Beth Israel has teamed up with the Jewish Studies Program at San Diego State University to produce a 4-part lecture series on contemporary Israel and the Middle East.  Lawrence Baron, acting director of the Jewish Studies program, informs us of the credentials of Steven L. Spiegel, who will address a crowd at Beth Israel at 7 p.m.,  Monday evening, Feb. 28. “He serves as director of UCLA’s Center for Middle East Development. He also provides assistance to Middle East programs at the statewide Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation of UCSD and studies American foreign policy in the Middle East. He has authored or co-authored over 100 books, articles and papers. Dr. Spiegel has also written a major international relations textbook, World Politics in a New Era. Dr. Spiegel helps produce cutting edge ideas for promoting Middle East regional security and cooperation.  For this work, he received the Karpf Peace Prize in 1995, awarded to the UCLA professor considered to have done the most of any faculty member for the cause of world peace in the previous two years.”
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San Diego Israel Coalition is urging its membership to attend tonight’s speech at 7:30 p.m. at Beth Jacob Congregation by nationally syndicated radio commentator Michael Medved on the current turmoil in the Middle East. “Instability has once again taken hold in the Arab nations surrounding Israel. Now, more than ever, we need to have a clear understanding of why this volatility is happening and how it affects the only democratic country in the region. What role should the United States play? What can we do as individuals to make a difference? Michael Medved will “focus like a laser beam” on these important issues and his inspiring words will move us to act!    

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Lots doing at Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School.  Its largest first grade class ever—40 students—received siddurim in a ceremony marking the transition from just singing the prayers to learning how to read them.  And, Israel’s Goodwill Ambassador, and former Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball player Tal Brody, who led Israel to numerous basketball victories over international opponents, dropped by and signed basketballs for excited students.

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Reader Recommendations
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Gail Feinstein Forman
was intrigued by a story by Nicholas Wade in the New York Times about a group of dwarfs, apparently descended from Sephardic Jews, who are practically cancer and diabetes free thanks to their unusual genetics. 

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Jews in the General Community
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Among those  who will be inducted into the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame on March 12 is Judy Forman, operator of the Big Kitchen Café.   Ashley Gardner, the museum’s director,  comments that Forman “has a most interesting story about growing up in the only Jewish family in  a small town on the east coast.  I think it actually impacted her future life.  She did work with gangs in Detroit and was exceptionally good at it.”  In San Diego, the honoree “opens her home, her business and her heart to making change in individual women’s lives,” Gardner adds.  “She is a staunch supporter of social justice and women’s rights and history and is a role model for women in San Diego.”  Other inductees at the same ceremony, to be held in the Alumni Hall at San Diego State University, will be former San Diego City Councilwoman Donna Frye; the late Midge Costanza (who became active in civic affairs here after serving as a special advisor in President Jimmy Carter’s White House); Chicana Studies pioneer Rita Sanchez; Clara Harris, an advocate for multiculturalism; and Martha W. Longenecker, founder of the Mingei Museum in Balboa Park.

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Rabbi Ben Kamin has reason to be pleased.  His book on Black-Jewish relations in the aftermath of Martin Luther King’s assassination has been listed as recommended reading by the Chicago Tribune.

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Recently the late Sol Price was on the cover of the Journal of San Diego History, and now the FedMart and Price Club founder is being honored as  a “History Maker of the Year” by the San Diego History Center, known formerly as the San Diego Historical Society.  In a “Costco” themed event March 26 to be chaired by Murray Galinson and Paul Peterson, Price will be honored by his son Robert Price, who wrote the cover story; Jim Sinegal, CEO and Costco founder (and Price Club successor), and Rick Libenson, a Price Club founder.   The event will be held at the Town & Country Resort and Convention Center, and will include international tasting stations, hosted bar and dessert.  Tickets range from $75 per person to $150 per person.  More information at (619) 232-6203, Ext. 109.

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Klezmer authority, documentarian and scholar Yale Strom is involved in another creative project.  “We successfully recorded our radio/audio drama The Witches of Lublin – this Yiddish, feminist magic realism story is based upon the little known fact that there were women Jewish musicians/klezmers in the 18th century who performed in Germany and Poland. The play stars Tovah Feldshuh and features Simon Jones, Barbara Rosenblat and author Neil Gaiman, among other amazing talent,” he writes in an e-mail.  Additionally, the music for this radio show has been put onto a CD, “The Devil’s Brides.”   Watch (and listen) for both as they head for public release.  http://www.thewitchesoflublin.com/   In the meantime, Strom’s group, Hot P’Strom’i , including his wife Elizabeth Schwartz and Lou Fanucchi, will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 5, at the Folk Dance Center at Dancing Unlimited, 4569 30th St.

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Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World.  He may be contacted at [email protected]

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