Friday, June 28, 2013

Federation's Extraordinary Board of Directors Wraps Up 2013

Left to right: Michael Sonduck, Theresa Dupuis, Ira Feinswog, Gary Shekter, Andy Ratner, Susan Shmalo, Jennifer Levitt, Claire Ellman, Jack Maizel, Terri Bignell, Andrea Oester, Steve Shulman, Lori Polin, Brian Tauber, Laura Tauber, Jeff Silberman, Caryn Viterbi, Jeff Deverett (Not Pictured: David Geffen, Gary Kornfeld, Jon Schneider, Judith Belinsky, Leigh Johnson, Simon Vainer, Stuart Starr, Tad Parzen, Todd Kirschen)
It was a bittersweet afternoon as Federation's Board of Directors held their final meeting for the 2013 fiscal year.  These extraordinary volunteers have spent countless hours guiding the direction of your Federation.  A HUGE toda raba to all of these amazing people - thank you for everything you've done to make Federation great!

See more pictures here.

Jewish Federations Aid Calgary Flood Relief Efforts

Drew Staffenberg, the executive director of the Calgary Jewish Federation, stood yesterday in what had been someone’s basement – but was now consumed in brown mud.

For days, he and Federation staff, board members and volunteers have been carting ruined furniture from flooded homes to dumpsters on residential streets lined with identical debris-filled bins.
“There are no words,” he said this morning. Staffenberg has been spearheading the Calgary Jewish Federation’s response to the worst flooding ever to hit the Canadian province, with volunteer crews visiting homes to help try to salvage personal items and clean up.

Torrential rains last week churned unprecedented flooding across southern Alberta, killing two people, forcing 100,000 to flee, submerging parts of the capital and causing billions of dollars in damage to homes, businesses and institutions.

Buildings Submerged by Calgary Flooding. View more photos here.
While no Jewish communal buildings or agencies were damaged, Staffenberg said, many members of the 10,000-strong community have suffered major losses to homes or businesses, most of which lacked flood insurance. Some people remain out of work, as well, with many businesses closed indefinitely.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said, after visiting homes buried with mud up to 14 feet. “I’m sure those in New Orleans, New Jersey and New York, among others, can understand.”

The Jewish Federations of North America has opened a mailbox to support the local Federation’s response, with 100 percent of donations going to the community. Please click here to donate. You can also mail checks to the Federation Calgary Flood Relief Fund, care of:

Jewish Federation of San Diego County
4950 Murphy Canyon Drive
San Diego, CA 92123

In the flood’s wake, the Federation launched the Calgary Flood Emergency Fund, now joined by other efforts including UJA/Federation of Greater Toronto. The Federation is working with the Calgary JCC and Calgary Jewish Family Services, and has been assembling and distributing critical emergency aid including food for victims and for volunteers, drinking water, blankets, and hygiene kits.

Federation is also helping to provide financial aid for those unable to work or displaced from their homes, while assessing longer-term needs.

Meanwhile, Federation volunteers have been out in force, shoveling mud, toting drywall, loading dumpsters, and power-washing floors, he said. Staffenberg helped one household save family photos, laying them to dry on an untouched second floor of a home otherwise covered in mud.

The community’s response has been nothing short of “heartwarming” amid the devastation, he said. “I have only heard ‘how can I help,’ ‘what can we do,’ ‘let us know what you need,’” he said. Ultimately, he added, “we’ll all be OK here.”

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Friendship Walk Donates to Hydrotherapy Center in Sha’ar HaNegev

The partnership between the Jewish Federation of San DiegoCounty and the Friendship Circle was apparent again at this year’s San DiegoCelebrates Israel – Yom Ha’atzmaut Festival, at which the 5K Friendship Walk kicked off the festivities for Israel’s 65th Independence Day, which attracted more than 5,000 attendees. The Friendship Walk generated $83,840 for children with disabilities both here and in Israel - $5,000 of which was granted as a designated gift to Federation for the Hydrotherapy Rehabilitation Center in our sister city of Sha’ar HaNegev. Recognized by Israeli Health Services and insurance companies, hydrotherapeutic treatment combines immersion in warm water with directed physical activity to rehabilitate people suffering a broad range of physical and mental disabilities.
The Hydrotherapy Rehabilitation Center offers 15,000 treatments annually and serves the entire region of Southern Israel. This generous grant donated by the Friendship Walk directly supports children with disabilities that utilize the treatments and facilities at the Hydrotherapy Center.  Thank you to those who came out to support, and a HUGE toda to Friendship Walk for supporting this important program!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Re-Jew-Venation - Thoughts by Lisa Braun Glazer of Waters of Eden San Diego

Dear Jewish Community,

Having just returned from Eastern Europe, what I witnessed completely surprised me: Jews are alive and well in places like Berlin, Krakow and Warsaw and are actually "re-Jew-venating" them. Jews are now coming out of the shadows and are eager to learn about Jewish culture, holidays, and customs. Certainly not what I expected! What I saw was not an attempt at recreating the past but rather sincere and enthusiastic efforts to create something new and authentically Jewish but also clearly embedded in those ambient cultures. This is definitely not a return to 'what was' but something entirely new, and the goal is not to return to the way things were but a response to modernity and to people's desire to connect to their roots and to each other. 

Mommy & Me program, Berlin JCC

Let's face it - we have lost untold millions over the centuries through anti-Semitic persecution and mass extermination. The pain we feel for the victims and their never-to-be-born progeny when we are in these memory-laden places cannot ever bring them back, nor can it reconstitute their ashes. But what is clear is that there is a rich Jewish presence and history of 1000 years in both Germany and Poland and we must not only allow but need to encourage the evolution of Jewish ritual and practice so that there will be a future. In fact, this has been our hallmark over time, and I would contend, the reason that we Jews have continued to survive and thrive over the centuries. Our response to and integration of aspects of the surrounding culture and the blending together with our own rich Jewish wisdom often underpin the most exciting and compelling new trends. For example, it is no accident that the ordination of women rabbis finally occurred 40 years ago because of the women's rights movement in the US.  Even in this brief period, women have literally added so much to our collective Jewish voice in music, Torah interpretation, ritual, and prayer. There can be no turning back the clock.

It thrilled me to see sprouts of new Jewish communal life. I loved meeting young people and their elders who are choosing to embrace their Jewish heritage, forging new Jewish paths in Germany and Poland. They are encouraged by their countries' acknowledgment of past atrocities and highly visible efforts to restore synagogues, promote festivals of Jewish culture, and support of the building of monuments, memorials, and museums highlighting Jewish contributions to their cultures; it's even becoming fashionable to have Jewish roots! This synergy is producing something new and exciting yet inextricably connected to our history. 


Museum of the History of Polish Jews - opened May, 2013 

I emphatically believe that we in the North American diaspora must continue to evolve as well, even as we maintain a connection to our roots. New interpretations of ancient rituals like mikvah are essential to the renewal and rejuvenation of contemporary Jewish life. The essence of Waters of Eden is to build new connections thus invigorating pluralistic Jewish life in our community and inspiring such aspirations everywhere.

 -Lisa Braun Glazer, Ph.D.

 Check out this Waters of Eden video:

Rabbi Lenore Bohm's Splash Speech

Rabbi Lenore  Bohm's Splash! Speech

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Letter From Larry to El Al Airline

Dear El Al,

In May of 2012 I was lucky to win a free round trip El Al Airline ticket to Israel. My free ticket was from a drawing during the Jewish Federation of San Diego's annual SD Celebrates Israel – Yom Ha'atzmaut Festival. In the spring of 2013 I flew Non-stop from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv. The non stop EL AL flight was easy on my body and I highly recommend it. I thought non stop might be too long. I was wrong. It is the only way to go! The food was good. The staff was attentive and very friendly. I greatly enjoyed the relaxed style of help yourself to snacks and drinks between meals. Free wine with dinner. Movie to watch. Little things, such as making sure all the shades were down so everyone could sleep easily, meant a great deal to me. I strongly suggest this non stop El Al flight for everyone flying to Israel. This was my 6th trip to Israel using different airlines. This was by far the best flight. I can not wait to fly again on El Al. Thank you Jewish Federation of San Diego. Thank you El Al Airline.

Dr. Larry Herring
Rancho Bernardo

IAN Responds to Biased USA Today Article on BDS and Alicia Keys

On June 12, USA Today published an article entitled, “Alicia Keys urged to cancel concert in Israel,” which was presented as an original news story covering the Grammy-winning singer’s upcoming performance in Israel. In reality, nearly all of the content was copied-and-pasted from a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) organization’s press release, resulting in a biased, subjective and misleading report. In response, the Israel Action Network penned the following letter to the editor, which we share with you in its entirety below.

To the Editor:

In response to the June 12 article, "Alicia Keys urged to cancel concert in Israel":

As an organization committed to achieving a two state solution and promoting peace and reconciliation among Israelis and Palestinians, we find your recent coverage of Alicia Keys’ upcoming performance in Israel troubling on many levels.

For starters, the story, which is printed as an original piece by the reporter Steve Jones, is actually cut and pasted nearly verbatim from a press release from the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. This is a group which supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement, a global network of individuals and organizations seeking to isolate Israel politically, economically and culturally. Under the guise of seeking “peace,” the BDS movement instead seeks to undermine the “two states for two peoples” solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the commonly accepted goal of the United States, European Union and United Nations. In fact, Omar Barghouti, a BDS Movement founder, publically stated, “Good riddance! The two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is finally dead. But someone has to issue an official death certificate before the rotting corpse is given a proper burial and we can all move on ...”   In short, the BDS movement seeks to  delegitimize Israel by securing a one-state solution that dissolves Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state. 

In addition to the blatant use of a press release by an advocacy organization as a news story, the content is nothing more than a one-sided attack on Israel that is both biased and misstates the facts. Painting Israel as an apartheid state is factually and morally incorrect.  The story only presents one side of the issue and chronicles the self-described achievements of the BDS movement, rather than presenting facts and including a list of all the artists and intellectual leaders who are performing and working and presenting in Israel.   It is irresponsible for your news outlet to not only to attempt to influence Ms. Keys, but to fail your readers with faulty reporting. To be clear, apartheid-era South Africa was a state-sanctioned system of racial segregation which dominated nearly every aspect of daily life between 1948 and 1994. This is not even remotely the case in Israel, where there is one law for all citizens and minorities have full political rights under Israel’s Declaration of Independence. The situation in the West Bank is not comparable and must be viewed within the context of the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict.

More so, the allegations of human rights abuse are also misguided and unfounded. Both the article and press release claim Israel is guilty of denying Palestinians health care and education, yet there is no mention of the fact that Israeli hospitals regularly take in hundreds of Arabs and Palestinians. In fact, the Israeli Defense Forces just released statistics revealing they treated over 1,500 patients in the West Bank in 2012. Additionally, Israel sends approximately 6,000 tons of goods into the Gaza Strip every day including medical supplies, food and constructions materials.

Finally, Alicia Keys has already rebuked BDS activists herself. In a statement to The New York Times she said, “I look forward to my first visit to Israel. Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show.”

We call on the editor of USA Today to correct the story.  Further, we urge everyone concerned about a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to take a note from Ms. Keys’ and echo her sentiments, which promote peace and reconciliation over divisiveness.

Israel Action Network

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mazel Tov to Debra Stern-Ellis for Winning our Telethon Drawing!

Telethon volunteers like Debra are critical in supporting our Federation, and as we close the campaign June 30, are working event harder to raise funding for our Jewish community here in San Diego, in Israel, and around the world.  Thank you, for all that you do.

YAD Brings Out Heroes to Run for Boston

We had a great time meeting all the super heroes in San Diego Sunday June 9th, at the Super Hero 5k

YAD holds in annual fundraiser every spring to help raise fund for the important work that Federation does locally, nationally, and around the globe. For the past 5 years YAD participants have danced the night away at the annual Tzedakah Ball. With the huge success at Men's Event and Option, event chairs Marie Maya and Carly Simms wanted to think outside the box and do something completely different this year.

The 5k and BBQ drew out a croud of nearly 250 people and raised over $8,000. There was huge support from the community with donations from Karl Strauss, Disneyland, Monster, MOGL, Uber, and tons of museums and landmarks in San Diego. And sponsorship by Channel 6. YAD is excited to see this event grow and help more causes in need!
at Liberty Station Park. The Super Hero 5k run was put together by YAD (Young Adult Division), a part of the Jewish Federation of San Diego. The event proceeds went to help aid the victims of the Boston marathon bombing though our partners in Boston Combined Jewish Philanthropies and OneFund Boston. The event aimed to recognize the everyday heros that often go unnoticed. There were so many families and supportive people who made this event come to life.

See more great pictures here and here.

Start Something BIG Become a Big Pal with JFS

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Women's Philanthropy Does a World of Good at JFS Hands Up Youth Food Pantry

Last Sunday was a red letter day of tikkun olam for Women’s Philanthropy at the JFS Hand Up Youth Food Pantry, when nearly 50 volunteers, under the auspices of the Women’s Philanthropy Social Action Committee and Lion of Judah division, spent the day at two of the service’s locations.  Along with a number of their children, the volunteers worked at the Murphy Canyon Distribution Center and the main JFS location.
 Volunteers at the JFS site sorted donations, stocked and organized the food shelves, and assembled food bags for delivery to other Hand Up distribution sites. At the Murphy Canyon Center, volunteers set up the distribution line and then opened the line to more than 135 military families.  While the parents shopped for food, several volunteers entertained the children with arts and crafts projects and sports activities. 
Shelly Hahne, Hand Up Supervisor stated, “Hand Up Youth Food Pantry utilizes more than 1,000 volunteers each year and is critical to the program operations.  The Women’s Philanthropy volunteers and the Lion of Judah division were energetic and a pleasure to work with.”
The volunteers agreed that the hard work was extremely rewarding, and that their experience was a true labor of love which was made even more meaningful because they were able to share it with so many children.
For further information about Women’s Philanthropy and Lion of Judah, contact or

Friday, June 14, 2013

San Diego NCSY & the San Diego Rep Present: Soulfarm - The Ultimate Jewish Jam Band!

June 18, 7:30pm on the Lyceum Stage

The ultimate Jewish Jam band rocks the house on San Diego's number venue to support local Jewish teens.
Founded in Israel by Grammy Award winner lead guitarist C Lanzbom and guitarist and lead singer Noah Solomon Chase. Their sound has been dubbed as New American music, full melodic song writing and progressive modern arrangements. Their live shows are full of Mediterranean flavor with captivating guitar leads, dance rhythms and strong percussion breaks.  
$18 Adults, $12 Students
For tickets:  619-544-1000
In partnership with the San Diego Rep and The 20th Annual Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival 
Proceeds from the concert go to support NCSY's programming in the San Diego Jewish Community.
San Diego NCSY is the place for Jewish teens to connect with their Jewish heritage & be inspired by Jewish role models who empower them to become tomorrow's Jewish leaders. San Diego NCSY has been recognized for two consecutive years as a leading innovator in the area of Jewish Teens programming by the Jewish Federation of San Diego. Fore more visit or

Friday, June 7, 2013

Hebrew Day School Celebrates 50th

Mazel tov to Soille Hebrew Day School from Federation! Our donors have contributed to the continuity of Jewish education through funding of these important schools for decades.  See this great article by San Diego Jewish World Editor, Don Harrison:

Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School celebrated its 50th anniversary on Sunday  night, June 2,  at a banquet featuring  recollections of two of the school’s pioneer board presidents and a tribute to the late philanthropists  Morrie and Barbara Steiman who helped the Orthodox Jewish school surmount some tough financial times.

Read More:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Federation Partner JFS Announces Rubenstein Family Scholarship!

San Diego Jewish community students who plan to attend college or a vocational school in 2013 -14 - Apply NOW!

The Rubenstein Family Scholarship Program offers financial assistance for post-secondary education. Each year the program grants approximately 10-15 scholarships of up to $2,500 to applicants who meet the criteria of: 

· Financial need

· Student financial contribution

· Academic performance

· Community involvement

For more information and to download the policy statement and application form visit
Jewish Family Service thanks Dr. Rubenstein for making the goal of a higher education easier for some of the brightest young minds in our community!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Who tends to the Rabbi when he is ill? We all do! A mitzvah for Yitizi - June 10

A young Rabbi in our community is very ill. Jews from across the county are joining together for a special evening to give him Chizzuk - Strength in his debilitating battle with early ALS. Please join in this special mitzvah by attending "A Mitzvah for Yitzi" on June 10th at 7PM at the Chabad Hebrew Academy. You can visit to add to the hundreds of mitzvot that are being done in Rabbi Yitzi's honor.
A Mitzvah for Yitzi
June 10 - 7PM
Chabad Hebrew Academy
10785 Pomerado Rd.
Scripps Ranch, 92131

There will be no fundraising at this event. Admission charge is: One Mitzvah. Refreshments and food are sponsored by Morris & Evelyn Darey of The Place Catering.

To read more about Rabbi Yitzi's amazing story of faith and positivity please read this issue of the Jewish journal:

You can also visit to contribute directly to the families medical needs.

Monday, June 3, 2013

JFNA Calls For Western Wall to be a “Spiritual Center for all Jews,” Backs Sharansky’s Kotel Compromise Efforts

The Jewish Federations of North America today called on Israeli and Diaspora leaders to ensure the Western Wall remains a “spiritual center for all Jews” in an official resolution supporting Natan Sharansky’s efforts for prayer access at the Kotel.

The JFNA Board of Trustees and its Delegate Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution to support the Jewish Agency Chair in his efforts to find a compromise to the issue of equal prayer access at the Wall. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed Sharansky to solve the issue, in the wake of demonstrations by the Women of the Wall and counter-protests by some ultra-Orthodox groups.

“Jewish Federations and our community greatly appreciate the efforts of Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Sharansky, and those of religious leaders across the community, who seek to unite our people by ensuring individuals can pray as they choose at the Kotel,” said Michael Siegal, chair of the JFNA Board of Trustees.

The resolution, drafted by JFNA’s Rabbinic Cabinet, which represents a cross section of rabbis from all religious streams, expresses JFNA’s “appreciation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s continued commitment to work on behalf of and to strengthen Jewish unity by seeking to resolve the issue.”

The Sharansky plan calls for a dedicated egalitarian prayer space at the Robinson’s Arch area of the Wall. JFNA also promised to work with Sharansky as he “develops a pathway whereby the Kotel is a spiritual center for all Jews and a symbol of unity for the entire Jewish community world-wide.”

“By issuing this resolution, the Jewish Federations are giving voice to the strong desire across our community to resolve this critical issue and ensure that all Jews can experience the most spiritually powerful place in Judaism,” said JFNA President and CEO Jerry Silverman.

JFNA has been convening Sharansky and religious leaders from across the spectrum for meetings at its New York offices to discuss the issue, with the most recent gathering taking place last week.