February 1, 2006

Vol. 2, No. 2 Louis Rose Society for the Preservation of Jewish History

On-Line Biographical Encyclopedia of San Diego's Jewish Community winning support from variety of organizations

Our on-line biographical encyclopedia of San Diego's Jewish Community is winning support from a variety of communal organizations.  Three groups—the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Community Foundation and the United Jewish Federation—have completed the process to honor all their past presidents, and two others—the Anti-Defamation League and the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center—report they are close to completion. Still others are in the pipeline.

Under the program, when an organization honors its past presidents (or any other volunteers and professional staff), the Louis Rose Society creates a special web page for that organization, and lists the honorees in their chronological order of service.  Each honoree listed on an organization's page then is linked to his or her individual page, on which we will be happy to include a photograph as well as comments giving the reasons why that person was honored.  From the individual's page, we also link to archived stories that have appeared in such publications as the Southwestern Jewish Press, San Diego Jewish Press-Heritage and San Diego Jewish Times about that person.  If that person was or is a writer, we also have links to articles he or she wrote in those publications.  Furthermore, we link to other on-line sources, such as stories that appear in the San Diego Union-Tribune and other publications about the honoree.  In this way, we are hoping to compile information on  "the life and times"  of each of our honorees—information that may be cited as source material by students and scholars.

In keeping with our policy of making everything we do inexpensive, the cost for creating such organizational histories is phenomenally low.  An organization, like an individual, joins the Louis Rose Society for $36.  With membership comes the right to honor one individual.  Additional honorees cost $18 (chai) per person.  Tax-deductible checks to pay for the program should be mailed to the Jewish Community Foundation (Louis Rose Fund), 4950 Murphy Canyon Road, San Diego, CA 92123. 

Once a person is honored, we begin the ongoing process of posting material that we find about the honoree in newspaper archives.  This involves first indexing the old newspapers, finding the articles that pertain to the honorees, copying them, and posting them to the site—obviously a labor-intensive process, for which we definitely need more volunteers!  We are currently indexing the archives on two tracks, the first starting with "old clippings" dating back to 1922; the second, starting with more recent clippings beginning in 2003.  You can keep track of our progress through the archives by visiting the index page on this site. Please consider volunteering for this important project—if you enjoy history, you will find yourself fascinated by old newspaper accounts detailing the growth and controversies of our community.  To volunteer, contact  me, Don Harrison,  at sdheritage@cox.net, or by phoning me at 619 265 0808.

Photo Essay: January 29, 2006  Jewish Tour of Old Town San Diego

Eighteen people, including four LRS honorees—Shimon Camiel, Norman Greene, Roberta Greene, and Dan Schaffer—attended the tour of Old Town San Diego on Sunday afternoon, January 29, conducted by LRS President Donald H. Harrison.

Naturalist Rick Kamen will lead our next tour of Rose Canyon  at 2 p.m., Sunday, February19 (moved back from its original January 26 date). The tour will leave from the parking lot of University City High School, 6949 Genesee. To reserve, please contact Don Harrison at 619 265 0808 or sdheritage@cox.net  As always, there is a low admission charge—-a minimum $5 contribution to the Jewish Community Foundation (Louis Rose Fund), which may be paid on the day of the tour. For those of you who took Rick's last tour, he says we will be visiting some different sites and seeing some interesting botanical specimens.

Here is a reprise of the Jewish Tour through Old Town San Diego:

Louis Rose Society honorees Shimon Camiel (left) and Dan Schaffer were among the 18 persons who participated in a tour of Old Town San Diego
led by Don Harrison.  The tour began at the Robinson-Rose House, which is pictured on the right.  The home, built by James W. Robinson, a one-
time acting provisional governor of Texas, was sold by his widow, Sarah, to Louis Rose, who was Robinson's friend and political partner.

Inside the Robinson-Rose House, one finds a diorama of Old Town San Diego including buildings of the period between 1821 and 1872. A side view of the
Robinson-Rose House itself can be seen a little above and to the right of the middle of the picture.  In an adjoining room, a portrait of Louis Rose, after the
well-known photograph of San Diego's first Jewish settler, is displayed.  A mezuzah on the door symbolizes the fact that what today's park headquarters was
once a Jewish home (with a residence on the second floor, and businesses on the first floor). In this building, Rose once hosted High Holiday services and also
helped to form the Hebrew Benevolent Association of San Diego.  Across Old Town  Plaza, in demonstration of the various religious influences on San Diego,
the Casa de Estudillo is equipped with a small chapel that was used by visiting padres.

From the Robinson-Rose House, our tour group proceeded counter-clockwise around the Plaza.  The Casa de Wrightington which sits at a 90 degree
angle next to the Robinson-Rose House had a garden in which Henrietta Rose, daughter of Louis Rose, used to play as a little girl.  When Louis Rose
took ill, the Wrightingtons sometimes looked after Henrietta.  Further along the south side of the Plaza is the Commercial Restaurant.  Among
businesses owned by Louis Rose was the Commercial House—a hotel and restaurant—but it was located in a different portion of Old Town, near
what today is known as the Paseo del Pasado and until recently was the Bazaar del Mundo.  The Commercial House in Rose's day was one of the
buildings associated with Avenida de los Judíos--Jews Street.

Further east along the south side of the Plaza is the Colorado House, home of the Wells Fargo Museum, which includes among its exhibits a photograph of J.S.
, a Jewish merchant who had the concession to be a Wells Fargo agent.  Mannasse and his partner, Marcus Schiller,  would serve in succession as members of the City Board of Trustees, thereby following in Louis Rose's political footsteps.  In another display case is a copy of a poem by the satirist, George Derby, who wrote
under the pseudonyms of "Squibob" and "Phoenix."  Called Sandaygo, this particular poem has occasioned protests from the Anti-Defamation League to Wells
Fargo, once resulting in the poem's removal.  But the poem has found its way back to the display case, notwithstanding its defamation of Jewish merchants with lines
allegedly describing life in San Diego during the period:... And four stores for every white human/ Which are kept by the children of Zion/ Where they sell their goods bort at auction/ At seven times more than they costed.

Adjacent to the Colorado House and Wells Fargo Museum is the old San Diego Courthouse and City Hall, which was the site of a Grand Jury hearing in 1859 in which
a posse went to the Franklin Hotel, two doors away (on the other side of the Colorado House, but no longer standing today) to remove Moses Mannasse—a cousin of J.S.
Mannasse—from Jewish High Holiday services in order to require him to testify as a witness to a stabbing.  Mannasse, who protested that his removal from the
service  prevented the Jewish community from having a minyan for this important day of worship, refused to testify—until after sundown.  Whether Mannasse was
correct in his protest, or whether he should have simply given his testimony and returned to the services, was a matter for debate in Anglo-Jewish newspapers
throughout the country.  The most  vociferous in denouncing the grand jury was Lewis Franklin, owner of the Franklin House and a man who in 1849 hosted the first
known High Holiday services ever held on the West Coast of the United States in his tent in San Francisco.  A plaque inside the courtroom lists the original county
Board of Supervisors of 1853, a group that included Louis Rose.  The Casa de Estudillo, at left, on the east side of the Plaza, was owned by a family who befriended Rose
when he first arrived in San Diego, helping him to settle in Old Town.

From Old Town State Park, the tour proceeded up Juan Street to County Heritage Park, which is dominated by the original Temple Beth Israel building, which was
relocated from its original site at Second and Beech Streets in the downtown San Diego area.  After noting the Ten Commandments above the roofline and
the Magen Davids on the window, the tour group came inside where Don Harrison gave a brief history of synagogue development in San Diego.  Note the empty aron
kodesh and a ner tamid behind him.  The Beth Israel building is available to groups of all religious denominations, as well as to non religious groups, and
is operated by the County of San Diego.  At right, Trisha Cates, supervising ranger of County Heritage Park, points to photographs of  Temple Beth Israel being
moved in halves to its new site, and to portraits of such historic Beth Israel figures as Samuel I. Fox (left), Marcus Schiller, and Adolph Levi.  The display is in the Senlis Cottage, across a walkway from Temple Beth Israel.   {Photos by Donald H. Harrison and Eric Poliak}