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Our San Diego Alef Bet, July 15, 2006

{Names with links are honorees of the Louis Rose Society for the Preservation of Jewish History.  If you would like to honor a member of the San Diego County Jewish Community who is  not living in your own household, you can write a tax-deductible check for $36 to the Jewish Community Foundation/ Louis Rose Fund, and send it to the foundation at 4950 Murphy Canyon Road, San Diego, CA 92123.  Be sure to designate on the memo line of the check whom you would like to honor.  Additional honorees may be designated for contributions of $18 (chai) to the Louis Rose Fund)

By Donald H. Harrison

David Amos, conductor of the Tifereth Israel Community Orchestra, which includes musicians of many faiths, is presenting a Summer Pops concert at the Allied Gardens Recreation Center on Greenbrier Avenue at 7 p.m.  This is the second year that the orchestra has performed under the open skies at the recreation center. Here's a column by Amos on the "pops" phenomenon.

Israeli-born Barbara Bieserman-Dagan, wife of Israeli shaliach Eyal Dagan, occupies an important position of her own in the San Diego Jewish community, thanks to a grant from the Stone Family Foundation through the Jewish Community Foundation to Congregation Beth El.  She will serve as an outreach director, developing programs to persuade unaffiliated Jews of the benefits of synagogue affiliation. 

Dr. Robert & Sondra Berk
and Dr. Gerald & Una Yakatan have been saluted by the San Diego Chapter of the American Technion Society as lead donors in a project providing two endowed doctoral fellowships in biotechnology/ pharmaceutical citizens to be awarded each year to Israeli citizens. 

Jessie Blank, United Synagogue Youth adviser at Congregation Beth El, and 14 USYers had plenty to carry home from a recent Far West USY Regional Convention.  They won 10 awards for excellence.

F Barbara Filner, director of the National Conflict Resolution Center's Training Institute, conducts an intensive four-day seminar August 15-18 on conflict resolution of all types—business/workplace, family, neighborhood, consumer, eldercare and more.  The interactive experience empowers attendees to seek creative and collaborative solutions to disputes in their own environments.  The seminar costs $850 for those who register by August 1;  $950 thereafter.    Registration may be made on the NCRC website:

U.S. Rep. Bob Filner  (D-San Diego), a former history professor at San Diego State University, says increased costs for college students are the inevitable result of the "Republican raid" on funds formerly set aside for student loans.  To read his column on this subject, click here.

Tina Friedman, community relations director for the United Jewish Federation, reported yesterday that although a number of San Diego groups were in Israel as hostilities erupted with Lebanon, all were safe.  Besides a Camp Ramah program on which her own 15-year-old daughter, Aliza, is participating in the Sha'ar Hanegev region, 24 students on the Scott Stone Memorial Trip to Israel, and congregants on a trip sponsored by Temple Solel all are reported doing well.  Friedman also reported that although fires are burning in the San Bernardino National Forest, campers at the community sleep-away Camp Mountain Chai were not in any present danger from the flames.

H Noah Hadas, director of adult education at the Agency for Jewish Education, has much on his plate these days.  He is in the process of forming an 11-day, biblical study tour of Israel, to be held in 2007 under the auspices of the Melton Centre of the Hebrew University.  He's also organizing an intensive Hebrew immersion or "ulpan" program to begin later this year at various San Diego locations.  You can reach him about either program, or both, at (858) 258-9200.

J Glenda Sachs Jaffe, who has held various portfolios at the United Jewish Federation over the past decade, has been named coordinator of a new joint marketing campaign by the UJF and the Agency for Jewish Education to market Jewish day schools in San Diego County.  She starts the new job August 1.  

M Mada Markley, retiring after 14 years of teaching 1st grade students at Chabad Hebrew Academy, was presented not only with a plaque but with a photo of the entire student body by the flag pole, as a memento of her service. The presentation was made at Chabadc's recent gala.

Dr. Hillel Mazansky, M.D., is heading an ad hoc campaign in San Diego County to help save the life of a Jewish girl in Cuba—Diana Velazco Martino, 7, who has multiple sclerosis but no Interferon Beta 1B to fight the disease.  He recently wrote to the drug's manufacturer, Hoffman La Roche Inc., seeking a donation of the drug for Diana.  If there are any pharmacists in San Diego or Tijuana who can help obtain the badly needed medication, Mazansky urges them to please contact him urgently at (858) 456-4066.

Every one of the Vietnam Veteran Stand Downs conducted since 1988 have been special, but this upcoming one, July 14-16, marks the 18th or chai anniversary of the program jointly conceived by Dr. Jon Natchison and Robert Van Keuren to bring some relief and care for our nation's homeless veterans. Camping on the baseball field of San Diego High School, the veterans will receive a variety of free services—showers, haircuts, acupuncture, massages, legal advice, medical checkups, social welfare referrals, job counseling and housing assistance.  The program has spread to cities all across the country.  In addition, San Diego has a large permanent program on Pacific Coast Highway for homeless veterans. 

Joshua Neely, who has been helping  with education programs at Ner Tamid Synagogue, has been ordained as a rabbi by the Ziegeler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism.  Ner Tamid's spiritual leader, Rabbi Arnold Kopikis, presented Neely for ordination at a ceremony held at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.  Neely is the son of longtime Jewish community activist, Charlene Neely.  The newly ordained rabbi will serve as an assistant rabbi at Beth Israel Congregation in Owings Mills, Maryland.

After compiling a remarkable 50-year record teaching Jewish religious school, the last 30 of those years at Congregation Beth Israel, Joseph Roditi had decided to retire.  "When I consider your half century career as a teacher of Torah, I am in awe," wrote Rabbi Paul Citrin in a public commendation.  "Your devotion has been unwavering even as your love of Torah and of students of Torah has never dimmed. It is your love of the tradition and your concern for your students which have motivated generations of young people to identify in positive ways as Jews...."

Dan & Marla Rosenbaum received a grateful "Shaloha" from Temple Beth Sholom, which as a result of their $3,000 loan was able to refurbish its sanctuary.  A Hawaiian-themed fundraiser in the Conservative congregation's social hall featured a kosher luau, hula and drum lessons, and from another far flung part of America, teriyaki salmon flown in from Alaska.

S Archaeologist Jerry Schaefer has stepped up to the vice chairmanship of the City of San Diego's Historical Resources Board, following the surprise resignation of chairman Lloyd Schwartz and the elevation of the former vice chair, landscape architect Laura Burnett.  The resignation leaves the 15-member board with only 10 members, with 8 affirmative votes needed to designate a property as historical and thereby eligible for a property tax break under the state's Mills Act.  The San Diego City Council will consider on Tuesday a measure to reduce the board's complement from 15 to 11, meaning six affirmative votes would be sufficient for a historical designation.
Realtor Michelle Silverman has been honored by Prudential California Realty with its Chairman's Circle Platinum Award, meaning she is in the top 2 percent of Prudential agents throughout the nation. A member of Congregation Beth Israel, she has been active in United Jewish Federation, the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, and as a supporter of Second Chance/ Strive, a program providing jobs and housing for the homeless that is run by her husband, Scott Silverman. 

T Jennifer Tabak-Levy, an active member of our Jewish community,  is one of thousands of people planning to participate in the 60-mile Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk over three days in November.  This will be the fourth time she has participated in the mega-shlep to raise funds for breast cancer research.  Now the fundraising effort has gone high-tech.  Tabak-Levy has a website via which friends, relatives and sympathizers may make direct financial contributions in recognition of her efforts  to the sponsoring charities, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the National Philanthropic Trust. To visit the site, click here.

W Maxine Weseley, who teached Judaic Studies to 8th graders at San Diego Jewish Academy, asked her students to contribute a penny a day for tzedakah. At the end of the term, $250 had been collected and the students voted to contribute the money to the pediatric wing of the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.  Said Weseley: "I want students to understand that it doesn't take a lot of money to help others."
Care to share an item about yourself or other members of the San Diego County Jewish community? Please email Donald H. Harrison at or phone him at 619-265-0808.