Week of death, birth, simchas for San Diego Jewish World
By Donald H. Harrison
SAN DIEGO–It’s been a busy week, marked by death, media controversy, a book release, birthdays and a brit milah for people closely associated with San Diego Jewish World, and I’d like to take the personal time to acknowledge and comment on these.
First, as all our readers know by now, the inimitable Gert Thaler, chronicler and leader of the San Diego Jewish community, died last Saturday at 91. Many people have written about their admiration and love for Gert in the comments space connected to the obituary we ran about her. Her family has been contributing to this section as well, and I know they will appreciate your adding your thoughts. You can do so by following this link and scrolling to the bottom of the obituary.
I was always struck by Gert’s energy and passion for the Jewish community. I lost count of the number of times that I would arrive somewhere to cover an event and find Gert already there, her portable oxygen tank at her side and friends all around ready to fill her in on the latest news of San Diego. When she was writing for the old San Diego Jewish Press-Heritage as our columnist, and later as an occasional contributor to this online newspaper, we were privileged to have a living treasure trove of San Diego Jewish history and lore on our staff. All of us shall miss her.
Norman Greene, who had been my partner in publishing the San Diego Jewish Press-Heritage, was particularly close to Gert, as can be seen from the beautiful eulogy he delivered at her funeral service Tuesday at Ohr Shalom Synagogue. The following evening, he and Bobby (Roberta) hosted a function at their home to welcome their newest grandchild, William Rhys Matorin, into the covenant of the Jewish people. It is amazing how often great sadness and great joy come hand-in-hand into our lives. Many of the same people who had mourned Gert’s passing now were celebrating with Norman and Bobby, and with William’s parents, Dana and Robert Matorin, over the arrival of a new prince William. And to top off the simcha, the very same day was the 3rd birthday of Spencer Matorin, William’s proud brother. Spencer has yet to have his first haircut, and when he does, some of his long blonde hair will be donated for use in a wig for a child who can’t grow his own hair. What a wonderful mitzvah.
Other members of the San Diego Jewish World family also have been busy. Danny Bloom, who lives in Chiayi City, Taiwan, keeps up on news in the rest of the world through regular, exhuastive searches of the Internet. Watching a clip of Ricky Gervais on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, he denounced what he considered tasteless humor at the expense of Holocaust icon Anne Frank and her family. His story appearing in the San Diego Jewish World was picked up by news organizations in England, and Gervais responded in a column for the Jewish Chronicle. He explained that among the comedic sketches he does are those depicting people who are incredibly arrogant, yet undeniably stupid. Not Anne Frank, but an imaginary Nazi official was the target of the sketch in question, Gervais explained. Bloom’s indirect exchange with Gervais can be followed through this link.
Meanwhile, Room 306, Rabbi Ben Kamin‘s new book about the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis and the multi-racial effort to turn the room where King stayed into a national shrine has been published by Michigan State University Press. Here’s a clip of Kamin being interviewed on Memphis television about the efforts to turn the site into a memorial. Kamin, who writes a regular column for San Diego Jewish World, previously had served as rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel.
And, if all this is not enough, I want to acknowledge the 11th birthday today of Shor Masori, my grandson whose adventures have been chronicled now and again in my column. Because his parents Sandi and Shahar had a Balloon Utopia appointment in the early morning, Nancy and I got to have breakfast with Shor and his 5-year-old brother yesterday before taking them to their respective schools. I carried on about how I’d never have a chance to have breakfast again with an oldest grandson who was 10 years old –that the next time we’d do it, he would be a whole year older. Shor smiled at me tolerantly, but I could tell what he was thinking. “Get over it, grandpa!” What Shor doesn’t realize is that it was only a blink of an eye ago when he was having a ceremony like William’s — or so it seems to me.
Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Short URL: http://www.sdjewishworld.com/?p=26879