Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Sweet Night of Women, Wine & Chocolate

On Tuesday, February 24, Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy gathered to schmooze with other like-minded women, sample wine pairings, and nosh on cheese and chocolate. More than 60 Jewish women from all throughout San Diego came together at Carruth Cellars in Solana Beach for a Federation event that was unlike any other.

“The laid-back, casual, and relaxed ambiance along with the shabby-chic décor was a perfect setting that made for a magnificent social, educational, and philanthropic gathering, which was a great success,” said Kara Liederman, General Campaign Development Manager at Federation.

The evening kicked off with a few opening words from event co-chairs, Laura Vainer and Samantha Cohen, who unveiled Women’s Philanthropy new initiative — Shalom San Diego - which will be spearheaded by Women’s Philanthropy. The new initiative aims to transform San Diego into one of the most welcoming, all-inclusive, caring, connected, and vibrant, Jewish communities in the nation. After introducing the new focus of Women’s Philanthropy, a thank you was extended to all parties who helped to make the event possible, including: Leigh Johnson, Lisa Kornfeld, Laura Tauber, Theresa Dupuis, and Federation staff.

After introductory remarks were made, Rabbi Yael Ridberg gave a short speech and discussed the story of Esther and reflected on the upcoming Jewish holiday – Purim. In her speech, Rabbi emphasized the importance of divinity within and all around us as well as the importance of always striving to be divine women. Rabbi also talked about an obligation, as Jewish women, to reach out to people who don’t necessarily view themselves as a part of the Jewish community due to actual and perceived barriers, such as interfaith marriages/relationships and sexual identity (i.e. being a member of the LGBTQ community), and how we ought to welcome, connect, and include everyone in our Jewish community. Rabbi restated that Women’s Philanthropy is and will be “natural leaders of Shalom San Diego.”

The final highlight of the evening came from Michael Sonduck, President and CEO of Federation, in his concluding speech. He addressed the dire and devastating crisis in Ukraine, describing the thousands of vulnerable Jewish citizens without access to food, water, shelter, medicine, and basic necessities. Michael reiterated Federation’s mission – to broaden and deepen engagement in Jewish life, to strengthen Jewish identity, foster dynamic connections with Israel, and to care for all Jews in need around the world. Michael called upon all the women to take immediate action by reaching out to help care for our Jewish brothers and sisters in Ukraine.

“Women, Wine, and Chocolate was a great success, an incredible gathering, and a genuinely heartfelt, lovely evening,” said Lisa Kalal, Federation’s new Director of Women’s Philanthropy. “My team and I look forward to delivering more intimate, inviting, and engaging fundraising events, just like tonight throughout the remainder of year.”

Click here to view photos from the event.

MK Yuli Edelstien | Offers Unique Perspective on Aliyah

In the wake of rising worldwide anti-Semitism and in light of the recent blatant, horrific, and atrocious attacks that were carried out on Jewish communities in France and Denmark, the subject of aliyah has become an extremely pressing matter, current topic of conversation, and a serious reality that thousands of Jewish families are grappling with in Europe, in Israel, and around the world.

Following the attacks on Jewish communities in Europe, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, voiced encouragement for all Jews, especially those who feel unsafe in their communities, to make aliyah. Netanyahu’s call for aliyah promises that all Jews will be welcomed with open arms, guarantees much-deserved protection, and invites all Jews to come home to Israel. As it goes when it comes to politics – especially delicate, multifaceted, and complex policies such as those of the Middle East – Netanyahu’s message elicited a very mixed global response, receiving both praise and criticism.

However, an alternate message regarding aliyah was suggested by MK Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s Speaker of the Kenesset, during an exclusive interview with one of Federation’s main partners – the Jewish Agency for Israel. In the interview, Edelstein spoke of the importance of developing a Jewish identity as well as the importance of forming of a personal bond with the state of Israel prior to aliyah, which he believes will help Jews who are considering aliyah make an informed decision.

“We have to maintain the line that the Jewish Agency has taken: strengthening Jewish identity and the bond with Israel. That does not mean we should neglect aliyah – quite the opposite: you develop Jewish identity and the bond with Israel in order to help people make a decision that is very personal for them and right for us, as residents of the state of Israel. The decision to make aliyah should not be made because of terror attacks or fear, but out of a sense of conviction, Jewish identity and a bond with Israel,” said MK Yuli Edelstein.

Click here to read the full article about Edelstein’s alternate perspective, novel concept, and his fascinating life story.

Federation Remembers Zimna Birhani Z"l

In the winter of 2013, several members of our San Diego Jewish community went on an American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) humanitarian mission to Ethiopia. The aim of the mission was to provide clean water and to build schools for four remote villages in the Gondar Region. The mission also provided scholarships for eight Ethiopian women to attend nursing school to become mid-wives so that they could eventually return to their home villages to provide much needed medical assistance. The members of the San Diego delegation were: Ashley Stone, Gloria Stone, Laurayne Ratner, Laura Galinson, Charlene Seidle, Karen Paterson, and Jane Fantel accompanied by two teenagers – Hannah Fantel-Galinson and Zakai Stone.

Members of the San Diego delegation had the honor of interacting with a remarkable man, the late Zimna Birhani z”l. Zimna was the group’s tour guide for the first few days of their mission. On the tour, Zimna passionately retold his personal story about the exodus of thousands of Ethiopian Jews to the land of Israel.

Between 1955 and 1965, approximately 27 Jewish Ethiopian teenagers, known as the “Kfar Batya” group, were brought to Israel where they were trained by the Jewish Agency of Israel (JAFI) to become emissaries for Israel. Once group members were trained, they returned to their villages as highly qualified and skilled teachers. One of these amazing teens was Zimna Birhani.

Zimna’s name isn’t well known, but in 1955, at the young age of 13, Israel’s Secret Service brought him to Israel. At the age of 18, he returned to Ethiopia and worked to help organize, educate, and guide Ethiopian Jews to safety in Israel. He played significant roles in Operation Moses and Operation Solomon and was also the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Ethiopian emissary for several years. In more ways than one, Zimna served as and represented the voice of Ethiopian Jewry to Israel.

Zimna was recently honored in Israel for his service to the Jewish people. He was recognized for his unrelenting courage, selflessness, daring nature, and veracity. Heads of Israeli organizations came to pay tribute to Zimna for his heroic and boundless deeds. Sadly, Zimna passed away from cancer on February 21st.

In his remembrance we reflect on the countless Ethiopian lives that he saved while working to secure their safe arrival to Eretz Israel.

May his memory be a blessing.

Friday, February 20, 2015

We Stand With Copenhagen

The Jewish Federations of North America are shocked and grieved following yesterday’s attacks on the Krystalgade Synagogue and the cultural center in Copenhagen that has left at least two people dead - including Dan Uzan, a Jewish volunteer security guard - and others injured.

Michael Siegal, chair of JFNA’s Board of Trustees stated, “We are once again horrified by these violent attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions as well as those meeting peacefully to discuss the value of freedom of speech. The disturbing recent pattern of Jews being murdered in Europe, simply because they are Jews, must be condemned by people and governments across the world. We send our deepest condolences to the families of Dan Uzan and the other victims, and wish a speedy recovery to those injured, including numerous police officers.

“The Jewish community of North America stands shoulder to shoulder in firm solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters in Denmark – and indeed with all of the Danish people at this very difficult time.”

Paul Goldenberg, director of the Secure Community Network (SCN), will travel to Copenhagen this week to support the community in addressing security issues. SCN, the national homeland security initiative of The Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, has regularly consulted with Jewish organizations in the United States and around the world on security-related matters and in the wake of terrorist attacks such as the ones perpetrated in Denmark in recent hours.

As we mourn with the Danish Jewish community, JFNA leadership will continue to confer with government agencies and officials on matters of Jewish communal safety, and update Jewish community leaders as necessary.

Click here to read the letter that was sent to communal leadership in Denmark.

Farewell to Dr. Misha Galperin | CEO of JAFI

The Jewish Agency for Israel has announced that Dr. Misha Galperin, President and CEO of its External Affairs arm, Jewish Agency International Development (JAID), will be stepping down at the end of his five-year term in June of 2015. Click here to read the official press release. 
The Jewish Agency for Israel has announced that Dr. Misha Galperin, President and CEO of its External Affairs arm, Jewish Agency International Development (JAID), will be stepping down at the end of his five-year term in June of 2015.

Dr. Galperin, formerly CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and COO of UJA-Federation of New York, was recruited to build The Jewish Agency’s resource development and marketing operations worldwide. According to Sharansky: "Misha's commitment to the Jewish People and his vision of what it takes to strengthen the global Jewish family were essential drivers of his success within The Jewish Agency. He was a true comrade-in-arms in our quest to connect and inspire Jews worldwide with their people, their heritage, and their Land."

During Dr. Galperin's tenure, he oversaw the growth of philanthropic revenues from donors beyond the Agency’s traditional funding sources. In 2014, contributions from donors other than JFNA and Keren Hayesod reached approximately $40 million. According to Chuck Ratner, Chairman of the Agency’s Board of Governors: "Misha's creativity, energy, and professionalism transformed The Jewish Agency's culture to become donor-sensitive while continuing to be mission driven. His success with individual donors and foundations and his leadership of the team he created have revolutionized the Agency's ability to raise funds and attract supporters".

In looking back over his five years with The Jewish Agency -- much of it traveling around the globe -- Dr. Galperin observed that "I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish, but I am looking forward to spending more time with my young kids and my wife. I also look forward to resuming my work as an advisor to major philanthropists and foundations, and to writing and teaching. I wish The Jewish Agency well, as it continues to carry out its sacred work.”

In commenting on the notice of Galperin's departure from the Jewish Agency, Michael Sonduck, CEO of the Jewish Federation of San Diego County, said, "I have known and worked with Misha for many years. His personal story, commitment, and accomplishments serve as inspiration for all of us who work for the Jewish people."

Torahs Taps and Taboos

On Tuesday, February 17, NextGen and Moishe House teamed up to host “Torah on Tap”, a new discussion series that brings young adults together to indulge in Jewish learning and local beer. Torah on Tap isn’t your bubbe’s Sunday school class. The exciting and innovative series explores interesting, relevant, and taboo Jewish topics, led by a resident rabbi/educator of the month. 

More than 60 young adults from all throughout San Diego congregated at the Coronado Brewing Company Tasting Room to kick off the series. Rabbi Brad Greenstein led an engaging discussion on love, relationships, and sexuality. Rabbi Brad Greenstein spoke about the importance of self-love before loving someone else; sex as a form of communication and connection; and the expression of trust between partners through a Jewish lens.

After the rabbi spoke, attendees were encouraged to visit flip charts that were spread throughout the room, each featuring different questions relating to the theme of the night. For instance, two popular flip charts that people gravitated towards, gathered around, and conversed at, featured the questions of ‘How do you love yourself?’ and ‘What’s the relationship between sexuality and spirituality?’

“I am thrilled that we were able to partner with Moishe House to create a social and Jewish educational event series,” said Danny Fleischer, NextGen Manager, “It’s incredible to witness so many young adults with a thirst for beer and passion for Torah convening to further their Jewish learning. I can’t wait to deliver future Torah on Tap events, as we have a list of interesting and exciting Jewish topics to explore.”

Stay tuned for more information on the next Torah on Tap Series. 

Click here to view photos from the event. 

Heather Wolfson | Senior Director of Community Partnerships

The Jewish Federation of San Diego County is pleased to announce that Heather Wolfson has been appointed Senior Director of Community Partnerships. She will work closely with the CEO, Board of Directors, partners and Federation staff to implement mission-driven initiatives in three strategic areas: building a vibrant and long-lasting Jewish community for future generations, broadening and deepening connections to Jewish life in San Diego, and transforming San Diego into one of the most welcoming, all-inclusive, caring, and connected Jewish communities. Heather will lead Federation’s Community Teen Initiative, NextGen young adult outreach, Aging in Community program, Shalom San Diego initiative, and Israel and Overseas program.

“We are delighted that Heather is stepping into this important leadership role,” said Michael Sonduck, President and CEO of Federation. “In her two years at Federation, Heather has been instrumental in the implementation of Federation's new vision and mission. With her remarkable background in non-profit management, impeccable track record of achievements in Jewish leadership, and unrelenting energy – we know she will be an engine of growth and engagement in our local Jewish community.” 

While working to receive her dual B.A. in journalism and communications from the University of Arizona then her M.B.A. from Loyola Marymount University, Heather worked in the nonprofit world. While living in Los Angeles, Heather served as a nonprofit management consultant and Managing Director of the Avi Schaefer Fund. In addition to her extensive non-profit experience, Heather is well versed in and has demonstrated professional leadership in the Jewish community. In her previous positions, Heather served as Special Projects Coordinator at Hillel; Marketing Manager of MAZON: A Jewish response to Hunger; and Western Regional Director of NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation.

Outside of work, Heather is an active and involved community member. She is currently a member of the ROI community, serves on a handful of community committees, and has participated in the Emma and Jeremiah (Progressive Jewish Alliance/Bend the Arc) Fellowship program. When Heather isn’t serving the San Diego Jewish community, she can be found spending time with her husband, two children, and extended family.

“As a mother of two young boys, creating a strong, vibrant, caring, and connected Jewish community is extremely important to me,” said Heather. “San Diego is home to me, and as I raise my children – imparting Jewish identity, education, and values – I want my kids to have a strong and supportive Jewish community to grow up in and to become members of.”

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Anti-BDS Conference | StandWithUs | March 21-23

Event Information

Hyatt Century Plaza 2025 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067
Saturday Evening, March 21 – Monday Afternoon, March 23

VIP registration includes the following:

  • A VIP private reception with Alan Dershowitz and other experts on BDS
  • Preferred seating throughout the conference
  • Free valet parking
  • All meals
  • All sessions
  • All conference materials

Early Bird (Before Feb. 15)

VIP Rate $800 for the first attendee $700 for each additional attendee
General Admission Rate $400 for the first attendee $300 for each additional attendee

Regular (After Feb. 15)

VIP Rate $1,000 for the first attendee $800 for each additional attendee
General Admission Rate $450 for the first attendee $400 for each additional

If you are a college student interested in attending this conference, please click here to fill out an application. Student spaces are limited! In addition, some student leaders may be eligible for a subsidy to attend the conference.

General Admission registration includes five meals, all sessions, and materials.

If you will need a hotel room, please contact the Hyatt Century Plaza directly at (310) 228-1234 to arrange your reservation.

Please contact Erinn Alcabes at with any additional questions.

Rabbi Uri Regev | March 9

Israel Scouts of SD | 5th Annual Purim Party | March 7

Shevet Galim - Israel Scouts of San Diego presents:

Shevet Galim's 5th Annual Purim Party

Lights, Camera... Action!

Get ready to be the Star of our annual Purim Party.
Following the success of last year's Black & White theme, we are going to party in full color this time around... "Hollywood style." So dress up as your favorite character from the movies, and get ready to boogie down the red carpet.

Save the date: Saturday evening March 7th (Adults only)

Tickets can be purchased online at:

Beth Israel | Purim Carnival | March 1

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015

Reflections on JFNA Solidarity Mission to Paris

By Mark Gurvis/ 

My early days as a Jewish Federation professional came at a time when our system was evolving away from reliance on messages of combating anti-Semitism and statements of “never again,” to one of strengthening our communities through education and meaningful engagement.

Yet reflecting on the turbulent and troubling start to 2015, I cannot help but be struck by the rapid change in our global agenda. Last year, we were working with the Israeli government to explore how to strengthen Jewish life and connection globally. Now, we are increasingly focused on protecting Jewish lives and securing Jewish institutions worldwide. Last month, we at The Jewish Federations of North America opened the France Emergency Fund, the fourth time within a year we turned to our communities in response to an overseas crisis—two rounds in Ukraine, the conflict in Gaza, and now in France.

This week, I joined an intensive two-day trip to Paris with Jewish communal and civic leaders, experiencing remarkably emotional moments. We attended a memorial service at the Hyper Cacher supermarket, placed flowers at the Charlie Hebdo offices in honor of the victims who were brutally murdered there, and heard the harrowing story of one of those held hostage in the kosher market.

But the two days were packed with much more. We met with the leadership of the key organizations of the French Jewish community, spent time with both the U.S. and Israeli ambassadors to France, and spoke with the main French government officials responsible for addressing the complex and intertwined challenges of anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, and violence.

The French Jewish community is the third-largest Jewish community in the world, with a long and proud history and significant resources. French Jews have been shaken by the evolving reality of violent anti-Semitism. Their current reality consists of army and police guards at their institutions, even guards sleeping overnight in their schools. While they are grateful for the protection, their communal institutions were never meant to become armed fortresses.

To see an aliyah fair overwhelmed by thousands of young French Jews exploring opportunities to study, work, volunteer, or live in Israel is to recognize that the community’s next generation is openly questioning their future in France. At the same time, we must recognize that this community—with a strong population of more than 500,000 and with a vibrant network of synagogues, schools, community centers, student organizations, cultural institutions, and service organizations—is not going to disappear.

We must address the real security issues the Jewish community faces, in France, throughout Europe, and also here in North America. We, and Jewish communities worldwide, face a long road ahead of increasing our preparedness and protection. The creation of the Jewish Federations’ Secure Community Network represents our system’s serious shift of attention and resources to this priority. The French Jewish community is now awakening to this reality and working quickly to address it. Our assistance through the France Emergency Fund will help French Jews take their next steps; their community, will ultimately bear the long-term responsibility.

There is a deep anxiety today among French Jews—not just about their physical security, but also about whether France will continue to hold onto its unique social fabric. President François Hollande has been quoted widely for his statement that, “France without Jews will no longer be France.” Those of us coming off this two-day immersion only scratched the surface, beginning to understand the depth of this reality. Hollande’s was a sincere statement, but it was also evident during this trip that there is no clear path to addressing the complex challenges that France faces.

Mirroring our own reality, the challenges for French Jews also extend to assimilation and engaging with the next generation. The community estimates that only 50 percent of its members are connected with the vibrant network of community institutions.

The external threats from rising Islamic fundamentalist terror, and the internal challenges of meaningfully engaging the next generation, offer all Jews around the world opportunities to connect, to learn from one another, to strengthen one another, and to inspire one another.

There came a time when the old United Jewish Appeal (UJA) slogan, “We Are One,” went out of fashion. It was presumed to be focused on political uniformity and gave way to concerns about diversity of expression. But today, we can and should understand “We Are One” in a different way—that we, as Jewish communities and Jewish individuals, face a common set of renewed challenges and threats, both internal and external. They may be shaded differently based on local context but, underlying the surface differences is a common core, and hopefully a common destiny. Our fates are interconnected and intertwined.

Are We One? We had better be.

Mark Gurvis is the Executive Vice President of The Jewish Federations of North America.
To view an album of highlights from Federation's Solidarity Mission to Paris, click here

Federation Welcomes Lisa Kalal as Director of Women's Philanthropy

The Jewish Federation of San Diego County is pleased to announce that Lisa Kalal has joined the Federation staff as Director of Women’s Philanthropy. Lisa will lead the Women’s Philanthropy of Federation and Shalom San Diego, an initiative aimed towards connecting new residents and those who are unengaged to the San Diego Jewish community.

She will work closely with the CEO, Board of Directors, partners, and Federation staff to implement mission-driven initiatives in two strategic areas: enriching Jewish identity for women and girls locally, nationally, and internationally, and building a strong, vibrant, diverse, and all-inclusive San Diego Jewish community. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Lisa to Federation,” said Michael Sonduck, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of San Diego County. “After an extended search to fill this position, we are excited to have found someone with Lisa’s background, experience, reputation, and energy- we look forward to working with her to further grow and engage the San Diego Jewish community.”

Lisa has an exceptional background in non-profit development, fundraising, community outreach, volunteer management, and has a remarkable track record of philanthropic leadership. Lisa comes to Federation from the San Diego Opera, where she served for almost 20 years as Director of Development of Major Sponsorships and as Director of Institutional Giving. In addition to her passion for the arts and community enrichment, Lisa is dedicated to Judaism and Jewish community. 

For more than ten years, Lisa has been an integral part of the local San Diego community, serving as a volunteer, active congregant, and involved parent at Congregation Beth Israel. Lisa resides in Tierrasanta with her husband and three children, who are actively involved in Jewish youth and teen programs throughout San Diego. Her children’s strong sense of Jewish identity and their deep rooted connection to Judaism, which Lisa credits to religious school at Congregation Beth Israel, Jewish youth group involvement, and Jewish sleepaway camp at Camp Mountain Chai, makes her extraordinarily proud. When Lisa isn’t working to enrich the lives of others, she can be found studying science, enjoying opera, classical music, and theatre.

“As a Jewish mother, there is nothing more fulfilling than to watch your children grow up with Jewish pride, especially for me, as I didn’t have such opportunities for Jewish involvement when I was growing up,” said Lisa Kalal, “I love that my children are developing their own passions for Judaism through involvement in youth activities, in fact, the abundance of Jewish youth opportunities in this city is one of my most favorite reasons for living in San Diego, and I look forward to working with Federation to further enrich the Jewish community.”

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

JDC Stands in Solidarity with French Jewry | February 2015 Report

Below is an excerpt from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s (JDC) February report, relief proposal, and update on the French Jewish community. Click here to read the full, comprehensive, and detailed report.  


The French Jewish community is vibrant, self-sustaining and multi-faceted. Home to some 550,000 Jews, it is by far the largest Jewish community in Europe. Yet, screams of "death to the Jews" in the streets of Paris, and routine bullying, intimidation and violence have altered life for French Jewry. This new reality is compounded by the broader political and economic climate in France – a failing economy characterized by sky-high unemployment rates for young adults and stagnant wages, disenfranchised youth and struggling young families, and escalating Jihadist radicalism. Today, the French Jewish community is rallying its resources to address the community's emerging needs to:

·         Bolster security
·         Develop and offer widely available psychosocial relief
·         Put in place contingency plans and crisis networks
·         Assist vulnerable and needy members of the community
·         Pursue routine communal activities for the Jews who remain in France
·         Assist community members who choose to move to safer neighborhoods or to emigrate

The French Jewish community will not abandon its most vulnerable members, and is currently in the initial stages of devising an initiative called REBONDS, which translates to rebound in English. JDC is working with partner organizations in the U.S., France, and Israel to deliver immediate, short, and long-term relief to French Jews. 

Below is a relief timeline outlined by JDC.

Click here to read the full and informative report.

JDC Update on Ukraine | February 2015

young clients of JDC receiving food packages.
The Jewish Federation of San Diego County strives to deliver up-to-date and accurate reports on behalf of our partner organizations that are working to take care of Jews in need around the world.  One of Federation’s main partners—the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), is on the ground in Ukraine working day and night to assist vulnerable Jewish populations.

Last month, Federation released JDC’s January report— An Update on Ukraine. However, as the crisis in Ukraine took a turn for the worse in late January, due to a massive rocket attack in the city of Mariupol that killed 30 people, injured more than 100, and flared up a series of deadly assault; the reach, scope, and impact of JDC has greatly increased.

As highlighted in last month’s report, prior to the crisis, JDC was assisting more than 60,000 elderly adults – the most vulnerable population and 9,000 at-risk youth in 1,200 locations throughout Eastern Ukraine.

As of January 28, 2015, over 4,600 individuals in conflict zones are receiving life-sustaining services from JDC, such as food assistance, medical help, trauma support, accommodation subsidies, and other emergency services.

To date, there are more than 2,200 Jews utilizing JDC’s Winter Relief program, a service that distributes blankets, winter clothes, and electrical heaters in regions where electricity and heating fuel are in short supply. In just four months, more than 2,000 Jews in more than 100 eastern communities have been added to JDC’s social welfare network. Of the clients newly added to the network, 750 were added to the social welfare list in January alone!

Despite escalating violence, constant shelling, and the eruption of bombs, JDC continues its critical and life saving work uninterrupted by providing food, medical assistance, winter relief, and home care services to their list of clients that continues to grow on a daily basis.

None of this life saving work would be possible without you. Your continued support allows us to care for all Jews in need around the world.

Click here to read JDC’s full February report

Thank you, for all you do.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Shabbat Schmooze with Michael Sonduck | February 21

Shabbat Schmooze with Michael Sonduck

Attend Congregation Beth El's Shabbat Schmooze, a luncheon following Shabbat services on February 21st, featuring Michael Sonduck, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of San Diego County. Michael will be discussing the Pew Study and its implications on our local and national Jewish community. 

Don't miss out on this exciting event, click here to RSVP

Torah High Presents Wild West Casino Night | February 22

San Diego Jewish World to Offer Free Obituary Publications

Dear residents of the San Diego Jewish community,

San Diego Jewish World joins with your relatives and friends in offering you condolences on the passing of your loved one. We know what a difficult time this is for you, and with the assistance of your rabbi, we would like to make this hard time a little easier.

If you would like, and it will provide you comfort, we will publish free of charge on San Diego Jewish World ( the eulogy that your rabbi delivers, as well as those given by any other participants in the funeral service, so that you can send it by email to anyone you desire anywhere in the world.

Please send us a note giving permission to run the eulogy, stating your name and that of the deceased, and your relationship. Additionally, if you desire, send to us a jpg image of your loved one. These communications may be sent via We will include the photo with the eulogy. We will provide space as well for people to send in their tributes, which will be published in the space below the eulogies.

The eulogies will remain on the web permanently so that people searching via Google or other search engines will be able to find the eulogies in the future. This will be particularly helpful to the genealogists in your extended family and to historians.

Why are we doing this? We know how very expensive it is to place an obituary notice in the major news media. A lengthy piece can actually run into the thousands of dollars. With all the other funeral expenses that you have, we would like to do what we can to ease the burden on our fellow Jews.

The San Diego Jewish community is a warm, caring community, and we appreciate the opportunity to be able to give back in a meaningful way. If you require more information please contact me via the email above.

May you be comforted in this time of grief!

Very sincerely,

Donald H. Harrison, editor

Kol HaKavod | Two Outstanding Teens | Friendship Circle SD

Chloe Dahan and Jamie Zimmerman. Below: Children with special needs work on their art.
The Federation would like to extend a sincere yishar koach (way to go) to two of San Diego's outstanding young Jewish women--Chloe Dahan and Jamie Zimmerman. The two teens spent an entire summer planning a performing-arts program for Jewish girls and teens with special needs, a Friendship Circle program dubbed "Shooting Stars," which launched last year and has since gained national attention.

Due to Chloe and Jamie's leadership, dedication to Jewish community, and popularity of the program itself, Tzivos Hashem: Jewish Children’s International announced the two young women as winners of their annual "Power of Jewish Children" contest.

"The Jewish Federation of San Diego County applauds Chloe Dahan and Jamie Zimmerman for their excellent work and for receiving this esteemed award," said Michael Sonduck, President and CEO of Federation. "The leadership, innovation, and dedication to philanthropy and Jewish community demonstrated by these two young women, falls in direct alignment with  Federation's mission and its Community Teen program."

To read the full article published by Chabad Lubavitch World HQ on Jan. 28 and to learn more about the program, click here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Petition for Communities Against Cultural Boycott of Israel

Dear Communities,

With your support, the Israel Action Network (IAN) continues to successfully organize and counter national campaigns of delegitimization targeted against Israel. In this regard, our attention must now turn to the realm of cultural boycotts of Israel.

IAN is working in close coordination with the Creative Community for Peace (CCFP), which has alerted us that nearly 16,000 cultural boycott proponents have signed a petition targeting jazz artists scheduled to perform at Israel’s International Red Sea Jazz Festival next month. It urges artists to cancel their planned performances by making disturbing claims that Israel is using their music to whitewash genocide, apartheid, and the deaths of Palestinian children.

These cannot be the only messages that artists hear. Therefore, in response, we urge you to sign and circulate CCFP’s Anti-Boycott Petition. It boasts over 26,000 signatures and is shown to every artist scheduled to perform in Israel.

CCFP, which works to counter cultural boycotts, is comprised of prominent members of the entertainment industry who believe that music and the arts promote peace, oppose cultural boycotts that single out Israel, and encourage all artists to experience and see Israel for themselves. It utilizes behind-the-scenes relationships to speak with artists and their reps on a one-on-one basis to introduce them to Israel and reveal the true aims of the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, in order to prevent show cancellations.

It is now extremely urgent that our communities sign CCFP’s Anti-Boycott Petition for two key reasons:

1. Jazz musicians represent a group that is most vulnerable to boycott propaganda, often leading to multiple, domino-effect cancellations. Even artists who do not support BDS may cancel due to threats and concerns for their personal safety based on a parroting of misinformation.

2. The pro-BDS petition distorts the truth and paints a factually and morally inaccurate picture of Israel to 16,000 people. Prior similar petitions have never even raised half of this number, which BDS proponents will surely publicize to lend legitimacy to their cause.

Please alert your communities to this troubling threat and ask them to sign CCFP’s petition and share it widely, via email and social media. We must work together to neutralize this pro-boycott petition effort, and ensure that music and artistry is used to promote peace, rather than divisively tear it down.

Thank you,


Noam Gilboord
Director of Community Strategy
JFNA/JCPA Israel Action Network

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Cancer Mirror a Tribute to Jan Tuttleman z"l | February 9

Former Federation Board Chair and beloved philanthropist, Jan Tuttleman z"l is remembered in a new film premiering at Jewish Film Festival, on February 9th. Click here to learn more about Jan and the film created and directed by her daughter, Sophie Tuttleman,

The event, sponsored by Jewish Community Foundation and Jewish Women's Foundation, will feature Sophie Tuttleman as a guest speaker. Please join us to honor an irreplaceable leader of the San Diego Jewish community. 

The Cancer Mirror, Film Short Premiere
Sponsored by the Jewish Women's Foundation
Sophie Tuttleman, Director

Monday, February 9, 5:00 pm
 David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre
4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla 92037
Find out more about the film here and purchase tickets here 
(scroll down to Program #9).

Women's Philanthropy Presents: Little White Lie | February 14

AFA Presents Melanie Philips | February 17

Melanie Phillips 
Date: Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 7:00 pm
Location: Temple Beth Israel 9001 Towne Centre Drive, San Diego, 92122
Admission: $10.00
No RSVP necessary 
For Information call: AFA at 310-444-3085 or Local AFA Board Member at 858-481-0798

Or go to

Parking: Gateway parking structure adjacent to synagogue; preferred entrance at 9171 Towne Center Dr. to avoid congestion
About the Speaker:
Melanie Phillips is world renowned for her work as a British journalist, News Editor of the Guardian, broadcaster,  and author. Her weekly column, which is currently appearing in The Times, has appeared over the years in the Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times, and Daily Mail. She has a weekly radio show on Voice of Israel, is a regular panelist on BBC Radio's The Moral Maze and appears frequently on BBC TV's signature political shows Question Time and The Daily Politics. She also writes regularly for the Jewish Chronicle and the Jerusalem Post, and has spoken to great acclaim on public platforms throughout the English-speaking world.

Her best-selling book Londonistan, about the British establishment's capitulation to Islamist aggression, was published in 2006 by Encounter, New York. She followed this in 2010 with The World Turned Upside Down: the Global Battle over God, Truth and Power, with a foreword by Broadway and Hollywood screenwriter David Mamet and also published by Encounter. Guardian Angel, the memoir of her personal and political journey from being the darling of the left to the iconic defender of Israel and the west, was published in 2013 by emBooks.

You can follow Melanie’s work at , on Facebook at or on Twitter at @MelanieLatest. Her radio show can be heard at

Cosponsored by: 

Temple Solel | Purim Carnival | March 8