San Diego Jewish World
Volume 2, Number 30
Volume 2, Number 77
'There's a Jewish story everywhere'

Sunday, March 30, 2008


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Today's Postings

Shoshana Bryen in Washington, D.C.: U.S. must lend support to Colombia as it fights narco-terrorists tied to Hezbollah

Charly Jaffe in San Diego: A teen's guide to Old Ladies

Rabbi Baruch Lederman in San Diego: The honor of service to veterans

Rabbi Dow Marmur in Jerusalem: Anti-Israelism: The new anti-Semitism

Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal in San Diego: On Post Bar/ Bat Mitzvah Letdown

Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem: Why cynicism abounds in Middle East


From the archives: We reprint from the 1953 Southwestern Jewish Press a trailblazing two-part series by Alice Craig Greene that exposed La Jolla's discriminatory housing policies against Jews

The Week in Review
This week's stories from San Diego Jewish World






Anti-Israelism: the new anti-Semitism

By Rabbi Dow Marmur

JERUSALEM—It’s not easy to find impartial assessments of the condition of the Jewish people in general and Israel in particular; most of them have political agendas. Left-wing publications and organizations often urge less militancy and more give-and-take. They counsel, for example, that, instead of seeking to defeat terrorism militarily, the leaders of Israel should negotiate with the enemy and thus give peace a better chance.

Their right-wing equivalents, by contrast, are likely to stress the dangers that Jews are facing everywhere, the need for resolute and strong action, and the futility of compromise. They’re likely to cite the so-called Oslo process, the unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon and Gaza as examples of ominous failures: peace efforts that led to wars. 

For all its scholarly rigor and intellectual acumen, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) belongs to the latter category. Its explorations into anti-Semitism the world over, the treacherous ways in which NGOs and the media misrepresent Israel, and the dangers that Israel is facing from its neighbors reflect this stance.

There’s indeed much to suggest that there are many menacing forces in the world that seek to destroy us. However, there are also states and groups that strongly support the Jewish people and the Jewish state. We have many enemies in the world, but we also have friends and collaborators, but the trend here is to concentrate on the enemies.

The Konrad Adenauer Foundation, according to its director in Israel, is linked to Germany’s Christian Democratic Party and thus of a similar right-wing bend. This week it co-sponsored with the JCPA a high-powered conference under the provocative title, “Israel at 60: Its Historical and Legal Rights Still Challenged?”

The first session was about the deep roots of European anti-Semitism that led to murderous accusations of Jewish world domination, the Jewish thirst for Christian blood, especially that of children, Jewish self-hatred etc. The contention was that these ideas are now applied to scandalous criticisms of Israel by the media, the NGOs and members of the intellectual community, many of them Jews, even Israelis.

The second session stressed that Israel is the only state in the world the legitimacy of which is being challenged. Serious legal scholars pointed out how unjustified that is and spoke of the terrible effects on Israel and the Jews of this scandalous injustice.

The final session showed how the abuse of international law and principles of human rights by countless institutions and individuals has sought to damage Israel. As Irwin Cotler, the former Attorney General of Canada and a world renowned human rights advocate, who was one of the speakers, said (on another occasion), the pariah status of Jews among peoples through the ages has been transposed in our time into making Israel a pariah among states.

The conference began with a statement by Tsipi Livni, Israel’s Foreign Minister, about her government’s dual thrust of punishing the terrorists and negotiating with pragmatic Palestinians in the conviction that the defeat of the former will also strengthen the latter. It concluded with a talk by Binyamin Netanyahu, the Leader of the Opposition, in which he re-iterated his party’s stance on defense, diplomacy and economics.

It was an important but not a cheerful event. For, as the saying goes, the fact that you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that they aren’t after you.

Dow Marmur is the Rabbi Emeritus of Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, Canada. He divides his time between Toronto and Jerusalem.    


Why cynicism abounds in Middle East

By Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM--The tacitly agreed period of calm lasted for two weeks. It began to unravel with occasional rockets sent toward Israel, and came to an obvious end on the day that 20 traveled our way. 

It lasted longer than what had been declared as an official cease fire some time ago, openly agreed and signed by Israelis and Palestinians. That one began at 6 a.m. with the withdrawal of Israeli tanks from Gaza, and ended at 11 a.m. with the first rocket fire toward Israel.

The 20 rockets that came in one day recently may have been retaliation for an Israeli raid that destroyed several empty buildings on the Gaza side of the border. Snipers were using them for cover while firing at kibbutz members plowing their fields. Or the 20 rockets may more simply have been the itchy fingers of Palestinians uncomfortable with calm toward their sworn enemies in Sderot.

Not all is well among the Palestinians in nominal control of the West Bank, which remains the hope of Americans, Europeans, and Israelis wanting two democratic countries living side by side. According to the Jerusalem Post, the Authority is investigating: 

  • The source of a $600 million investment in Jordan being made by a man who served as Yassir Arafat's financial adviser, and more recently as an aide to Mahmoud Abbas

  • Documents released by the Palestine Authority's ambassador to Romania, indicating that Ahmed Qurei, the chief negotiator with Israel, has embezzled $3 million.

  • The charge that Qurei and his son are owners of a cement company selling a key ingredient to Israel for the abominable defense barrier and apartments being built on what Palestinians call their land

  • The charge that another ranking official had tried to smuggle 3,000 cell phones into Israel

Arabs generally are not in much better shape. Reports from the Arab League summit conference in Damascus emphasize key figures not attending rather than actions likely to be taken. Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, and Iraq did not send the customary kings or presidents. Lebanon did not send any representative. The summit is likely to announce an annual allocation in the range of $600-$700 million for the Palestinian Authority. However, members actually delivered only half of last year's allocation.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is on her way to Israel and Palestine. She is likely to spend her time reminding the parties that President Bush insists that negotiations move forward and accomplish something while he is still in office. She will ask Israelis why they have not removed illegal settlements, and roadblocks that hamper Palestinian movement. The Israelis will respond that these actions have been promised, and will be done. Someone is likely to tell her that the steps demanded of Israel are not the moral equivalent of demands that Palestinians stop the violence. Since Israel removed a major block of settlements from Gaza the response has been more than 2,400 rockets.

If the recent past indicates what will happen in the near future, Olmert's government will not bring itself to arouse domestic opposition by removing many, if any, of the illegal settlements. It will ask the IDF's opinion about removing roadblocks. The IDF will document the security risks, and the roadblocks will remain.

Domestic and overseas critics of Israel say that Olmert is too weak, politically, to take the steps necessary to make peace with the Palestinians.

Weak, he may be, dependent on Knesset members from coalition partners and his own party opposed even to discussions about dividing Jerusalem with the Palestinians. But Olmert is a political Hercules compared to Mahmoud Abbas. The Gaza half of Palestine answers to Abbas' enemies, implacably opposed to any agreement with Israel; Abbas himself has shown time and again that he does not have the will or the capacity to act against Palestinian violence, or incitement to violence in its schools, mass media, or mosques.

I have loaded my MP3 music player with folk songs from my youth: Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, The Highwaymen, Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, and others. When not otherwise occupied with my own profound thoughts, I listen to their words while walking the neighborhood and on my way to the university. The music is from the time when Israel evoked positive images among the artsy folk, and there are some joyous songs in Hebrew. Most are plaintive expressions of failure, misery, and hopes disappointed.

Several of the songs offer commentary for the Middle East: The road goes on forever; Blowing in the wind; Where have all the flowers gone?.

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U.S. must lend support to Colombia as it fights narco-terrorists tied toHezbollah

By Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C—We admit economics are not our forte, so maybe we're missing something here. For nearly 17 years, the Andean trade preferences program has allowed Colombia and others to ship most of their goods to the US paying reduced duties. It was an effort to boost legitimate trade and discourage drug production. The deal was one-way; US exporters still have to pay duties when shipping to those countries. President Bush has completed a free-trade deal with Colombia that would open their markets to US exporters, but Democrats in Congress do not want to approve it.
It is understandable that the free-trade agreement is not particularly popular with some people in the region. It is less understandable why anyone in Washington would oppose it. Leveling the playing field a little bit with one of our southern neighbors should play well at home, particularly in an election year.

And Colombia is not just any country. Here we move into national security where we are more comfortable, but the Democrats are still wrong.

Nancy Pelosi opposes the agreement saying Colombia hasn't done enough to curb violence against labor organizers. Charles Rangel, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, won't bring the agreement up for a vote but won't be specific about his concerns, saying it is the administration's job to negotiate with Colombia. "I don't put demands to sovereign countries," he said. The President urged lawmakers to visit Colombia to judge the situation for themselves, but Rangel declines. "There's nothing I could find out in Colombia that would help the situation we find ourselves in."

So Democrats in Congress want Colombia's democratically elected but beleaguered government, in the middle of a hot war against narco-terrorists, to make additional unspecified improvements in "human rights" before we sell our products into their country without paying taxes, while we continue to permit theirs to enter the US with reduced tariffs or duty-free.

The Colombian people elected President Uribe to fight the FARC, a bloody-minded drug/terror group that engages in kidnapping and murdering civilians, receives funding from Venezuela and uses Hizballah to launder its drug money. [Three American contractors were kidnapped five years ago, and only recently has the US received evidence that they are still alive.] The US-trained Colombian military has pushed the FARC into strategic retreat and President Uribe currently has a 70% approval rating among Colombians.

But like insurgencies everywhere - and the FARC is considered by the US military to be the best armed and trained in South America - it can come back if conditions deteriorate, or Colombians believe the US will abandon them in their fight. The Free Trade Agreement is validation of America's commitment to Colombia in the long term, and it should be approved for that reason. And because China, Venezuela and Iran are waiting in the wings for us to fail.

Bryen is special projects director for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA)

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On Post-Bar/ Bat-Mitzvah Letdown

By Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal

SAN DIEGO—Many Bar and Bat Mitzvah students suffer from PBL (Post Bar/Bat Mitzvah Letdown) after their simcha. They spend many months, if not years, preparing for their special days and approach them with excitement and anticipation. However, the day after the service their excitement disappears and they feel a void in their lives. It is as if a major component of their raison d’être  has been stolen away.

One would think that Aaron and his sons would have experienced PBL on the last day of the ceremony at which they were ordained as Kohanim (Priests). The Torah describes the ceremony as  an eight- day event filled with elaborate rituals, ceremonies, and sacrifices. They received colorful priestly vestments and the accolades of their fellow Israelites. One would think that when all was said and done they must have experienced a tinge of sadness.

The Midrash tells otherwise. The Torah states: “Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them; and he stepped down after offering the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the offering of well being.” (Lev. 9:22)

Our Sages asked: “Isn’t it obvious that Aaron would step down from the altar after he finished offering the sacrifices? Why does the Torah need to tell us this?”

They answered: “What the Torah means is: even when Aaron stepped down from the altar he was still filled with joy. (Torah Kohanim) This teaches us than not only do we need to feel joy when we perform a mitzvavh, as it is written, ‘Worship Adonai in gladness’ (Psalm 112), but we need to feel joy after we perform a mitzvah because as Aaron, we have  fulfilled the Will of the Holy One. Furthermore,  if we are to rejoice after completing  a mitzvah, how much more  should we rejoice when we anticipate performing a mitzvah! In short, we should spend our entire lives rejoicing!”

Rabbi Aharon HaGadol added: “Simcha (being joyous) is not a mitzvah, but it is  the heart and foundation of all mitzvot.” (Min HaTorah, Shemini)

Although it is natural to feel a void in one’s life after reaching a goal, our tradition suggests that the sweetness of success and of performing mitzvot and good deeds should remain with us afterwards. We should always strive to find joy and happiness in our lives and to create joy and happiness in the lives of those around us. The simcha we feel and create will motivate us to continually set our sights upon new mitzvot to perform and goals to reach.

Rabbi Rosenthal is spiritual leader of Tifereth Israel Synagogue


AMAZING STORIES OF JUDAISM Dvar Torah: E-lokai Neshama

The honor of service to veterans

By Rabbi Baruch Lederman

SAN DIEGO—We bless Hashem each day for giving us our souls. This blessing teaches us to value our precious souls. When we look at other people and even when we look at ourselves we
may not realize the depth of the neshama (soul) that is within. There is so much greatness and dignity to each and every person, usually much more than meets the eye, as the
following true account written By CPT. Stephen R. Ellison, M.D. US Army, illustrates:

I am a doctor specializing in the Emergency Departments of the only two military Level One-Trauma Centers, both in San Antonio, Texas, and they care for civilian emergencies as well as for military personnel. San Antonio has the largest military retiree population in the world living here. As a military doctor, I work long hours and the pay is less than glamorous.

One tends to become jaded by the long hours, lack of sleep, food, family contact and the endless parade of human suffering passing before you. The arrival of another ambulance does not mean more pay, only more work.

Most often, it is a victim from a motor vehicle crash. Often it is a person of dubious character who has been shot or stabbed. With our large military retiree population, it is often a
nursing home patient. Even with my enlisted service and minimal combat experience in Panama, I have caught myself groaning when the ambulance brought in yet another sick,  elderly person from one of the local retirement centers that cater to military retirees. I had not stopped to think of what citizens of this age group represented.

Eventually I realized that I had seen these men and women coming through my Emergency Department and had not realized what magnificent sacrifices they had made. The things they
did for me and everyone else that has lived on this planet since the end of that conflict are priceless.

I now ask my patients about their experiences. They would never bring up the subject without the inquiry. I have been privileged to an amazing array of experiences, recounted in
the brief minutes allowed in an Emergency Department encounter. These experiences have revealed the incredible individuals I have had the honor of serving in a medical capacity,
many on their last admission to the hospital.

There was a frail, elderly woman who reassured my young enlisted medic, trying to start an IV line in her arm. She remained calm and poised, despite her illness and the multiple
needle-sticks into her fragile veins.  As the medic made another attempt, I noticed a number tattooed across her forearm. I touched it with one finger and looked into her eyes. She
simply said, 'Auschwitz.' Many of later generations would have loudly and openly berated the young medic in his many attempts. How different was the response from this person
who'd seen unspeakable suffering.

Also, there was this long retired colonel, who as a young officer had parachuted from his burning plane over a Pacific Island held by the Japanese. Now an octogenarian, he had a minor cut on his head from a fall at his home where he lived alone. His CT scan and suturing had been delayed until after midnight by the usual parade of high priority ambulance patients. Still spry for his age, he asked to use the phone to call a taxi, to take him home, and then he realized his ambulance had brought him without his wallet. He asked if he could use the phone to make a long distance call to his daughter who lived seven miles away. With great pride we told him that he could not, as he'd done enough for his country and the least we could do was get him a taxi home, even if we had to pay for it ourselves. My only regret was that my shift wouldn't end for several hours, and I couldn't drive him myself.

I was there the night M/Sgt. Roy Benavidez came through the Emergency Department for the last time. He was very sick. I was not the doctor taking care of him, but I walked to his bedside and took his hand. I said nothing. He was so sick, he didn't know I was there. I'd read his Congressional Medal of Honor citation and wanted to shake his hand. He died a few days later.

The gentleman who served with Merrill's Marauders, the survivor of the Bataan Death March, the survivor of Omaha Beach, the 101 year old World War I veteran. The former POW
held in frozen North Korea, The former Special Forces medic - now with non-operable liver cancer, the former Viet Nam Corps Commander.   I remember these citizens.

I may still groan when yet another ambulance comes in, but now I am much more aware of what an honor it is to serve these particular men and women.

Dedicated by Dr. Scott Magnes in memory of Dr. Carl Gisolfi.

Rabbi Lederman is the spiritual leader of Congregation Kehillas Torah in San Diego


Editor's Note: Culled from the current issue of SDJA Student Quarterly, a publication at San Diego Jewish Academy is this piece of satire.

A teenager's guide to Old Ladies

By Charly Jaffe

SAN DIEGO—As I adjust my dress one last time and fix my hair, I brace myself for the bombardment of the wrinkled and fabulous; with the scent of Botox and expensive perfume come intense interrogations masked as casual conversation. These elderly ladies may seem pleasant and harmless, but be wary; they look like butterflies, but sting like bees. There are many types of "chronologically gifted" (as they would phrase it) ladies who will seek interaction. Their motives can be classified into different factions; your meticulously calculated responses should vary accordingly.

The 'I hate your generation' Old Lady—This first type of old lady is the most blunt and cynical, and often times the least ostentatious of these warriors of words. She will walk up to you and look you straight in the eye; she doesn't beat around the bush. Prepare yourself; nothing you say will ever fully satisfy her. Nothing annoys her more than ignorance, rap, and low-cut belly-baring jeans. While faking it is the best possible chance of survival, remember: they are waiting for you to slip up. So if you don't know jack about a topic, do your best to change the subject. To get caught in a lie is a death sentence. Never underestimate her knowledge or her cynicism. If you volunteer two hours a week, she will ask you why you don't volunteer four, and then add in a comment about how you were probably staring at a computer screen or watching trash TV. The best game plan: always agree, always criticize your generation, and always mention your great accomplishments and involvement in current events. Display a wealth of knowledge and throw in a word or two about your love of ballroom dancing and Audrey Hepburn.

The 'I can't wait to brag about you at the country club' Old Lady—This type of old lady tends to be more lavishly dressed, speaks pleasantly about everything and everyone, and is usually a relative. This group has the easiest ladies to talk to because everything you do is impressive, a wonderful reflection of their influence. As she walks up there will be a dramatic hello, with kisses on the cheek, and an exclamation at how beautiful you have grown up to be. Return the compliment, all of the flattery gets brownie points when the report goes back to your parents that you are such a fine, eloquent young adult. So get into it; you're not a benchwarmer on the soccer team, you're its finest star; you didn't get calls home for talking back in class, you are considered to be the greatest contributor. These gals will eat it all up. By mentioning that they set such a great example and inspire, you will make a lasting impression, which comes in handy in future situations when you screw up or need money. They will be the first to take your side since you are ever so accomplished. The best game plan: suck it up and listen to their stories, and respond by reciting your great feats and accomplishments.

The 'my grandchild is better than you' Old Lady—This old lady may be an opulent presentation of wealth or she could be staid in attire and financial success, but she will be out to prove that no matter how great you are, her grandchild, great niece, son-in-law, etc., is better. This is a fight for family pride, and if you want the affection of the said lady, you better be ready for battle. She won't openly display her motives initially, but as time goes on you will realize that she has an agenda: to prove her superiority through her younger relative. As you begin, don't begin listing accomplishments; she will know your motives. Capitalize on the necessary "how have you been?" to not only tell her that you are doing great, but to mention how thrilling it is to be organizing this, or how rewarding it is to volunteer here. She may be suspicious that you know her motives, but has no reasonable proof yet. As she counters your accomplishment with one of her granddaughter's, congratulate her and act impressed. If at any time she becomes bluntly critical, keep your pleasant demeanor, but you are now free to question the authenticity of her claims if possible, and openly brag about yours, as long as you don't sound cocky or critical. The best game plan: come armed with accomplishments, keep a cool demeanor, and be ready for anything.

The 'I am so hip and young' Old Lady—This old lady, Cosmo in hand, is most likely to be dressed in a risqué manner, is often loud, flirty, and not afraid to make a fool of herself on the dance floor. She is the one who will call your name from across the room, "Charly darling!" and exclaim at how utterly fabulous you look as she saunters your way. You can expect an uncomfortable comment about your breast size or about what would happen if she were only a few decades younger, followed by a wink. This is the time that engaging in conversation about pop culture is not only allowed, but encouraged. To get points with this hip G-mama, you should tell her you love her dress, and ask where she got it. This is one of the rare events where it is perfectly acceptable to disagree with an elderly folk. While discussing the hottest movie stars, get into a debate as to why you think Brangelinia is hotter than Tomkat. By engaging in a playful argument, it brings this aging hipster into a friendly conversation. The best game plan: speak casually with her as you would a friend, give endless compliments, and remind her that she seems so much younger than everyone else present.

General idea when talking with Old Ladies—The key in dealing with these often awkward conversations is simple: tell people what they want to hear. Bending the truth is not just helpful advice, but at times it is downright necessary. These different kind of ladies want to hear different things. The easiest solution: avoid them altogether! If you can stay with your generation, you're set. While this is ideal, it is often impossible, and having a game plan for the different types of old ladies on the prowl keeps you one step ahead of the game.

Jaffe is a senior at San Diego Jewish Academy

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La Jolla's anti-Semitic past
Editor's Note: One of the historic issues that newcomers to San Diego often ask about is whether it is
really true that there used to discrimination against Jews in La Jolla. Given the fact that
La Jolla today houses three major synagogue structures (Congregation Adat Yeshurun, Congregation Beth El and Congregation Beth Israel), along with a Chabad house, Hillel house, and the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, we can understand how difficult that may be to believe.

Brett Jaffe, a La Jolla resident who now is a student at Duke University, is researching that part of La Jolla's history. Delving through the archives, we found a pair of stories by Alice Craig Greene that obviously had been influenced by the 1947 film Gentlemen's Agreement starring Gregory Peck (who, ironically, founded the La Jolla Playhouse, notwithstanding La Jolla's discriminatory practices against Jews.) Greene's stories also prompted some interesting letters to the editor of the Southwestern Jewish Press. From our archives, we reprint all of them in chronological order below.

Gentlemen’s Agreement—La Jolla Style
(From Southwestern Jewish Press, February 6, 1953, page 2)

The heroic American search for a truly democratic civilization has produced some vibrant battle-letters like the Declaration of Independence, the Supreme Court decision outlawing restrictive covenants, or Ike’s State of the Union speech.  It is an honor to make room here for a modest but scrappy San Diego entry in that tradition. The writer, Alice Craig Greene, is a resident of generally sleepy Coronado and a widely published fictioneer of the earthy school—James Britton

A phone call from a favorite female acquaintance who sells real estate in La Jolla shocked me into investigating an appalling practice in that best of all possible suburbs.  Mary (we’ll call her) greeted me and then asked about one of my closest friends (John, we’ll call him): “You know him pretty well… Is he Jewish?”  I replied he said he was, and I asked why she wanted to know.

“Well…frankly, he’s been asking some of our real estate people about property and they wanted to know.”  I could guess why the real estate people wanted to know.  But I had to hear her say it to believe it.  I pursued the subject.

“It’s just that—for both sale and rental—we all cooperate to protect property values for our clients out here … You know when They move in, often it affects values…It’s as well to take precautions.”  Precautions! Gentlemen’s Agreement, 1953, La Jolla style!

I knew La Jolla.  All kinds of people, good, bad, wise, stupid, lived there. I had long witnessed elaborate activities n philanthropy and art by its citizens—and equally elaborate activities by other citizens in the fields of dope addiction, sexual perversion, dipsomania, juvenile delinquency, adultery, and crimes of violence—as with every normal town.

To me, organized bigotry on a citywide basis is far more vicious and shocking. I had to know whether such an evil practice is really widespread in La Jolla.

So, I interviewed several La Jolla real estate people.  Of the fifty-odd offices listed in the phone book, I cased ten at random, by phone and in person.  I said my family wanted to know property prices, that we preferred restricted property, implying anti-Semitism on our part.  With only one exception, their response was the same as ‘Mary’s.”

One charming young woman at a major office assured me property values were subtly ‘safeguarded.’ “Of course, it isn’t legal to ‘restrict’ since those laws were passed,” she admitted, “but out here we have a kind of gentleman’s agreement—we all protect each other—and anyone who is obviously unpleasant in that line—well, we’re sorry, but we don’t have a thing for sale just now—that’s all—“

A retired service man in another major office, less frank, implied that both he and I knew what we were talking about and what we were up against. He too deplored it was illegal to restrict, but assured there were ways to handle and protect against the—he shied from the word ‘Jewish’ –Semitic race.

At another office a voluble lady offered statistics to prove needn’t fear this menace in La Jolla.  She sorrowfully reiterated the legal limitations to ‘restricting.’ “But…we manage to cooperate and deal with it—La Jolla is about as free of that sort of thing as anywhere in the country.  I can assure you—nearly all our residents are Christians. The Only Ones who are here are Those Who have bought from owners--.”  Dastardly transactions that could not be prevented by the subrosa ‘protective association! “—Actually we have very few—you needn’t worry—out of about 15,000 people, I don’t think we have more than ten families of Them—“ I repeat—her statistics.

Other offices freely admitted cooperation among their colleagues in an organized front against Jews, even to the extent that if they merely suspected some prospective buyer, they investigated him carefully.

Only one agent even sounded regretful.  I guessed she possibly didn’t subscribe to the whole-hearted effort of the others.  She only said, “—We don’t have many of them—They seem to prefer to go elsewhere--.” She assured me she had Friends.  Lovely People. I hope she was sincere.  IT might simply have been guilt feelings.  For ‘Mary’ too had said, “Don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are, etc.”

Pardon my philosophy, but…what soul-deep insecurity lets a man say ‘I am this and my fellow is that, and he can’t live next door or my property values will plummet”? And make it stick.  Can people’s greed really extend to trading the dignity of another human being for money, even if that phony excuse for bigotry were valid?  Do they go to such lengths to investigate if a man is a wife beater, a transvestist (sic), a heroin  addict? Or are they only concerned with his race, color and religion?

If they refuse to let a man live next door, would they also refuse his help if their home was burning down? Would they spurn his blood if his child’s life were at stake?  One wonders.

Ignorance and not essential viciousness allows the infamy of a ‘G.A.’ to begin. It breeds horror later. I view participants in such a plot with pity and terror. Don’t they realize anyone capable o barring another man from a neighborhood, a club or a sorority because of the shape of his nose, betrays himself as psychologically equipped to attempt genicide (sic), to indict groups of Jewish doctors in Moscow, to run the furnaces at a future Belsen, to make lamp shades of human skin?  There isno difference except in degree.  Inevitably and tragically, one leads to the other. Yet I’m sure none of these otherwise normal, well-meaning people ever considered themselves dangerous beasts.

If I put this a little strongly, it is only because I cannot put it more strongly and find publication.
I am willing to admit that by accident I may have spoken to the only representatives of the La Jolla real estate group who subscribe to this conspiracy.  I would sincerely hope that this is so. And if it is, I am sure the courageous and right-thinking remainder will revolt to stamp out this hideous bigotry in their attractive and otherwise wholesome little community.

Now, don’t get me wrong … Some of my best friends are La Jolla real estate people!
–Alice Craig Greene

“Gentlemen’s Agreement, La Jolla Style” (Part 2)
(From Southwestern Jewish Press, March 6, 1953, pages 1 & 2)

An article published here last month exposing the anti-Semitic, so-called “Gentlemen’s” agreement practiced by a group of La Jolla real estate brokers caused considerable reaction not only locally, but throughout the state, and had national repercussions as well.  Scores of instances illustrating this vicious practice by a number of leading brokers in that San Diego suburb –(the practice of conspiring together to prevent the sale or rental of La Jolla property to Jewish people)—were brought to my attention. Ironically enough, many of these cases reached me during National Brotherhood Week.

One of the most blatant and arrogant anecdotes was furnished not by a Jewish man, but by a former real estate broker in La Jolla who simply couldn’t stomach the ignorant bigotry so widely practiced, and soon moved to another section of town.  But when he first joined the La Jolla Association, he reports that almost immediately he was called in by one of the Association heads who warned him, “There are three things we don’t do in La Jolla—we don’t keep open on Sundays, we don’t put signs on property, and we don’t sell to Jews.”
“We,” of course, meaning the above mentioned group of unenlightened La Jollans whom, I’m sure, the great majority of La Jolla citizens deplore.

This flat statement seems almost unbelievable, except that it is backed up by numbers of others ho were given almost that exact advice.  And in a more tangible way, this practice is illustrated by the story of a major broker who actually was evicted from the Association because he had violated their illegal “regulations” and had sold to a Jewish man.

It was an interesting case. The group of “conspirators” learned that one of their members had given an option on a piece of property to a gentleman they learned was Jewish.  They immediately called this wayward broker on the carpet and demanded  that he give the prospective buyer an ultimatum--$35,000 cash by three o’clock that afternoon, or the sale was off.  Understandably they believed this would kill the sale. Reluctantly, the broker delivered the ultimatum, and was paid, thereby incurring the fury of the association. They called him in, demanded that he forfeit his entire commission on the sale for having violated regulations.  Sick of being a part of the whole filthy business, to which he did not subscribe, he told them he would prefer to withdraw from the organization. And did.  His business hasn’t suffered in the least.  And he’s a happier man.

On file with the Anti-Defamation League in Los Angeles is a letter from Frederick May Company regarding the sale of a La Jolla business firm. May had a purchaser for this store, and since the transaction was being carried on by mail, the La Jolla contact wrote back asking if the purchaser were a Gentile. I quote from the letter—“There is a town prescription that precludes any but Gentiles owning businesses--.”

A Jewish photographer who bought a business directly from a Gentile owner, found later when he tried to get his lease renewed through a real estate agent, that this pressure group was inflexible as far as the organization was concerned. He was told the building was to be remodeled and they could not extend his lease.  The day he moved out, a Gentile moved in, with a long-term lease. A number of others who have gone into business in La Jolla (need we say without blessing of the “association”) have encountered similar pressures.  Difficulties with permits of various types, the impossibility of finding rentals or purchasing houses, and other easily recognized attacks often launched in would-be restricted areas. Professional people have found it impossible to practice there successfully.

Probably one of the most open organizations in its repudiation of the democratic way of life is the stuffy little club on the mud flats south of Scripps Institute. (Mud-flats which, incidentally, are city-owned property leased to this outfit). A doctor who moved to San Diego decided he might join some local club for recreation and companionship.  He is Jewish, but his name does not indicate this. After looking around he decided to query the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.  They replied cordially, answering all his questions. But the doctor discarded the letter after reading the insulting and bigoted information in the letterhead, to the effect that “only white Gentile membership was solicited.”

This club still presumes to issue this anti-democratic “warning” in its brochures.  And a sign which is the height of bigoted and arrogant stupidity actually appears—or has appeared until recently—in the club itself,--“Gentiles Only”—near the swimming pool and tennis courts. One wonders what kind of test they might give to determine whether or not the premises are actually remaining unsullied.  The individual whose twisted mentality who conceived (in his anthropological illiteracy) this posting labors under quite a job of faith in the marital fidelity of his female ancestors back to the beginning of man.

How can any man presume to know what blood flows in his veins, since by now all man is mongrel, with all bloods of every race and culture flowing in the veins of every being? Or even presuming the possible “purity” of blood strain, how far does this club pursue its policy to determine who is what?  Do they faithfully follow Hitler’s idea that the measure of “Jew” extended to anyone back to one-eighth Jewish blood (whatever that is?)

This rather amazing policy reminds us of the classic story of Groucho Marx and his experience with a similarly stuffy and benighted little beach club near Malibu. Groucho thought the place rather attractive, and decided to inquire about membership, so his kids could swim, at a guarded beach. However, the manager apologized, “I’m sorry, Mr. Marx, but this club is ‘restricted.’” Groucho lifted a sardonic, inquiring eyebrow. “You know what I mean,” the manager added uncomfortably, “—only Gentile membership.”

Groucho shrugged, turned away.  Then he turned back, grinning. “Say, it’s true I’m Jewish, but my wife’s Gentile.  That makes my kids only half Jewish.  Would it be all right if they went in your ocean only up to their fannies?”

Space permits only the mention of a few actual instances of the active and organized anti-Semitism on the part of a group controlling the distribution of much property in La Jolla.  They are, actually, countless. Unfortunately all such poison in the form of arrogant, ignorant bigotry is often contagious, and the only way to combat it is to continue to ferret it out and expose it until the good citizens revolt against it.

I am wondering if others find it amusing as well as frightening that the leaders in anti-Semitism in La Jolla are actually following the current Russian anti-Semitic line.  One finds it difficult to reconcile La Jolla’s customary reactionary attitude with possible dictates from the Kremlin or the daily Worker.  It  emerges as a trifle ridiculous, but stranger infiltrations have occurred, I suppose.

At any rate, all such activity is anti-American and anti-democratic, opposed to everything we are supposed to stand for here at home and advertise around the world.  So even though these few La Jolla hate merchants who masquerade as good citizens and business men (I refer specifically to those in the field of real estate who are guilty of anti-Semitism) may not be directed by some foreign creed, they stand in the ludicrous and unhealthy position of subscribing wholeheartedly and actively to the current Communist line.

They might do well to consider their “gentlemen’s agreement” practice actually makes them members of a criminal “conspiracy” banded together to circumvent federal laws. “Conspiracy” is the ugly word under which offenders of this sort can be brought to trial before the United States courts.

Can it be possible that a Senate investigation of our suburb is in order?

--Alice Craig Greene

Letter to the Editor: Coronado has no ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’ (From Southwestern Jewish Press, March 26, 1953, page 14)

The writer, who will complete twenty years residence in Coronado, is very interested in the articles by Alice Craig Greene.  As many of your readers may not know, Mrs. Greene is long-time0married to one of Coronado’s two police lieutenants.  Her friendliness to the Jewish people is therefore possibly indicative of the feeling of the Coronado public.

I have been greeted in San Diego many times by members of our faith who have mixed Coronado with La Jolla, and have uttered remarks showing that many in our midst feel that the same situation exists in Coronado as in La Jolla.  For the record, I want to say that this is far from true. There is no ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’ in Coronado.  The editor of the Southwestern Jewish Press
{Maxwell Kaufman}, former Coronado residents, by the way, can, I am sure, attest to this

Oh yes, there are some cases in Coronado, too, of unfriendliness to our people. Certain so-called Civic Clubs don’t seem to want any of us.  One or two cases in 20 years have shown up.  Every once in a while one of our real estate salesmen find a door slammed by a resident. It’s hard for a Jewish real estate concern to get sales help. Oh yes, there are a few cases, but I’m sure they are less than they would be exhibited almost anywhere else. I’m sure there are few places so clean, in this regard, as is Coronado.

The Coronado City Council and Planning Commission, and all other local officials, have always been entirely fair, considerate and as cooperative with us as with anyone else. Some Coronado businessmen have had various civic posts at different times. For instance, one of them is present Vice President of the Coronado Chamber of Commerce.  Not, all in all, I feel that our Jewish residents, out-of-town owners, and business people get a fair break.  Therefore please tell your readers that if any of them think that conditions in Coronado and La Jolla are the same, they are wrong.

But I do know that conditions in La Jolla are as stated by Mrs. Greene.  I can tell of a few matters I know of in La Jolla, such as the following:—

1.  We (with a Jewish name, in Coronado) receive many phone calls from La Jolla owners each year, who say that “they don’t feel like most La Jolla people; and that they’ll sell to Jews.” It always is that they’ve priced their property too high to sell it in La Jolla to Gentiles, and they think that Jews will pay more to be able to buy there.  I have a stock answer: Namely, that none of my friends will buy in La Jolla—if the community doesn’t want to welcome us, then we will be happy to stay away from there. But I’m glad that they themselves aren’t in favor of the Un-American attitude of their fellow towns people.

2. A well-known Gentile real estate man, with a Jewish wife, told me that when he opened his La Jolla office that a “Committee’ called on him, telling him (so he said) that they wouldn’t stop him from opening there, but that if he sold any property to any Jews that they’d “run him out of town.”  (He doesn’t have his La Jolla office any more—it didn’t last long.)

3.  One La Jolla owner with a building next door to a leading La Jolla real estate firm, contacted me several years ago to say that he felt so strongly in opposition to the prevailing sentiments that he’d like me to rent his place and open a Jewish real estate firm right squarely in the center there.  It was an interesting challenge, and I frankly was interested, for I feel that for every owner who won’t deal with a Jewish firm, there’s another who thinks a Jew can get more for his property.  However due to lack of help at the time, and possibly, too, a disinclination for so hard a fight, I turned down that “opportunity” with thanks.

As far as I am concerned, I don’t even enjoy going to La Jolla for dinner or shopping, for if we aren’t wanted to own property there, I for one don’t feel that I want to have their merchants any more successful through my patronizing them.

The purpose of this letter, however, was to show that Coronado is not the same as La Jolla in the matter of welcoming Jews.  Some of our Gentile business people, such as the owners of the local weekly newspaper, the owner of the leading café here, and the leading florist, even go so far to show their friendship and to give regular donations each year to the United Jewish Fund. Any Jew wanting to live here, or to buy here, not only from ourselves but from our Gentile competitors, will be welcomed.

Arthur Lawrence Cohen, Coronado realtor, member Coronado Realty Board.

Letters to the Editor

(From Southwestern Jewish Press, April 3, 1953, page 2)

Thank you very much for sending us the editorial tear sheet of the February 6 issue of the Southwestern Jewish Press. We read Miss Alice Craig Greene’s editorial “Gentlemen’s Agreement—La Jolla Style” with a great deal of interest.  This is exactly the type of material we like to see published, that is, it takes the Brotherhood theme and puts it into action. 

You are to be congratulated for running this editorial comment.

Vernon C. Hoyt, Director, Commission on Mass Communication, National Conference of Christians and Jews


Friday-Saturday, March 28-29, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 76)

Carol Davis in San Diego: Sondheim's 'Night Music' a Cygnet success
Peter Garas in Canberra, Australia: So maybe Eden wasn't where we thought
Donald H. Harrison in San Diego: Lessons from historical preservationists
Rabbi Dow Marmur in Jerusalem: Israel's confounding aliyah problem
Gary Rotto in San Diego: Puzzling through the divestiture debate
From SDJA Student Quarterly, a publication of San Diego Jewish Academy: Will Bohannon, Jordan Dubin and Charly Jaffe, all in San Diego: SDJA seniors tell presidential choices
Sheila Orysiek: Reluctant Martyr, Chapter One (novel serialization)

Thursday, March 27, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 75)

Lawrence Baron, PhD in San Diego: No respite from racism: 1936 in the evolution of German racial politics
Rabbi Dow Marmur in Jerusalem: Requiem for the Winograd Report
Sheila Orysiek in San Diego: Advice for Obama: In life and in politics we are judged by the friends we keep
Gary Rotto in San Diego: Obama's 'race' speech showed leadership
From SDJA Student Quarterly, a publication of San Diego Jewish Academy:
Eitan Frysh in San Diego: Litter, mice force snack bar to close
Alexa Katz in San Diego: Students help honor Israel at 60

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 74)

Rabbi Dow Marmur in Jerusalem: Christian liturgy profoundly impacts Jews
Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem: U.S. economy, Mideast tensions respond to their own cycles of emotion and excesses
From SDJA Student Quarterly, a publication of San Diego Jewish Academy:
Will Bohannon in San Diego: What is SDJA like for non-Jewish student?
Emma Tuttleman-Kriegler in San Diego: Overseas anti-Semitism stuns student

Tuesday, March 25, 2008 (Vol. 2, No. 73)

Cynthia Citron in Los Angeles: Harry Boychick has a raucous bar mitzvah every Sunday in interactive Hayworth play
Peter Garas in Canberra, Australia: Israeli historian's theory on origins of Jewish people has important implications
Donald H. Harrison in San Diego: 'Brain Death Bill,' conversion to Judaism highlights in life, career of Dixon Arnett
J. Zel Lurie in Delray Beach, Florida: Obama's speech on race compares with John Kennedy's talk on his Catholicism
Rabbi Dow Marmur in Jerusalem: The plight of Christians in Arab states
David Strom in San Diego: Chabon's latest is a fast-moving mystery that raises troubling quesitons for Jews

Monday, March 24, 2008 (Vol. 2, No.72)

Donald H. Harrison in Oceanside, California: The real importance of the Easter bunny
Natasha Josefowitz in La Jolla, California: The 'clonal effect' in Election 2008
Lloyd Levy in London: Ongoing hostility to Israel in British media
Sheila Orysiek in San Diego: Bella Family: The Revolt of the Cousins
Jay A. Waronker in Maputo, Mozambique: Restoring a synagogue in Mozambique

Link to previous editions


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