LChaim December 2021

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contents December 2021 / January 2022 •

in this issue... COVER STORY Heidi Gantwerk Brings a New Tune to the Jewish Federation as President & CEO.........................................................................................................

1000 WORDS The Bedouin Embroidering her Heritage onto Plates...............................................................

FOOD Spiced Up Power Chips.................................................................................................................................



JCC Welcomes Shai Maestro ................................................................................................................... Donald Harrison's Legacy in San Diego............................................................................................. Beth Am's 40th Anniversary....................................................................................................................



20 22 24 26

FEATURES How Israel Became a Global Cyber Powerhouse........................................................................

10 18





Prayers & Passages..................................


Mazel & Mishagoss.................................

PUBLISHERS Diane Benaroya & Laurie Miller

L’CHAIM SAN DIEGO, LLC (858) 776-0550 P.O. Box 27876, San Diego, CA 92198



Diane Benaroya: 4








Ariela Alush, Barbara Birenbaum, Michael Gardiner, Donald H. Harrison, Stephanie Lewis, Salomon Maya, Jana Mazurkiewicz Meisarosh, Terra Paley, Mimi Pollack, Rachel Stern, Eva Trieger, Deborah Vietor, Chana Jenny Weisberg, Cheri Weiss


COVER PHOTO BY: Melissa Jacobs ( Copyright ©2021 L’Chaim San Diego LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator” to: Published in San Diego, CA •



 @lchaimmagazine





& passages Under the Chuppah


fter nearly a year of Covid-induced delay, last month my daughter, Emma, finally married her beloved Tyler. These two beautiful souls (both now 27) have been together since high school. I had been hoping they would ask me to officiate but did not want to pressure them in case they had other plans. I was so relieved that very soon after their engagement, they did ask, and I enthusiastically accepted. There are many beautiful rituals associated with a Jewish wedding, all of which have evolved over the centuries. While the specifics vary among denominations and cultures, the basic customs — with some exceptions — span across these lines. For example, the ceremony is held under a chuppah, which means “covering.” This canopy — open on all four sides so all can see — creates a sacred space for this blessed moment in time. It consists of a cloth (or tallit) stretched out over four poles and is meant to symbolize the new Jewish home that the married couple will create. Prior to the start of the ceremony, the couple, the clergyperson, as well as two witnesses sign what is known as the Ketubah (Wedding Contract), which is traditionally also read aloud during the ceremony. Historically, this document was meant to outline a groom’s rights and responsibilities to his bride, including monetary obligations in the event of a divorce. Ketubot are 6

generally beautifully artistic and often ornate. The language may be written in Aramaic or Hebrew and may also include the native language of the couple. Emma and Tyler chose to include the traditional Hebrew as well a less-traditional English version that spoke to their hearts. It included these vows: “We joyfully enter into this covenant and accept all its obligations. Set me as a seal upon your heart like the seal upon your hand. Our promise to each other, in the presence of our family and friends, is valid and binding.” Historically, Jewish wedding ceremonies did not include the exchange of rings. In fact, no mention is made of wedding rings in the Bible, the Mishnah or the Talmud. Nevertheless, it is now an integral part of the ceremony. Traditionally, the groom places the ring on the index finger of the bride and recites in Hebrew, “Behold, with this ring you are consecrated to me according to the law of Moses and Israel.” In non-Orthodox weddings, the other partner may reciprocate with a ring as well. The ring is traditionally meant to be simple and without adornment, perhaps as a symbol of the purity between the partners. During the ceremony, there is a recitation of the Sheva Brachot (Seven Blessings). It opens with a blessing over the wine, symbolizing joy, celebration, and the sanctification of this holy occasion. Themes of these blessings include creation, redemption, and paradise,


and reflect wishes for the newly-married couple to enjoy a long life filled with the redemptive power of personal love. As anyone knows who has ever attended a Jewish wedding (or even seen one in the movies), no Jewish wedding would be considered complete without the final smashing of a glass. One reason offered for this act is borne of compassion: to remind us that there are still broken souls in this world in need of healing. We include them in our thoughts, in effect asking God to make their lives whole again and bring to them the happiness that this couple is enjoying. The inclusion of these and other Jewish rituals into a wedding ceremony invites centuries of Jewish heritage and history into the new marriage. Combining ritual with contemporary practices — such as writing their own vows — allows the couple to place themselves on the Jewish continuum in their own unique way. RABBI-CANTOR CHERI WEISS IS THE FOUNDER AND SPIRITUAL LEADER OF THE SAN DIEGO OUTREACH SYNAGOGUE, A POST-DENOMINATIONAL CONGREGATION THAT WELCOMES PEOPLE OF ALL AGES AND BACKGROUNDS INTERESTED IN EXPLORING A UNIQUE MIXTURE OF TRADITIONAL AND CONTEMPORARY JEWISH MUSIC, PRAYER AND LEARNING. SHE TEACHES JUDAIC STUDIES AT THE SAN DIEGO JEWISH ACADEMY.

We deliver compassionate services that have helped generations of San Diegans transform their lives.

Vital Services During Challenging Times At every age. And every stage of life. We’re committed to meeting people where they are in their journey and equipping them with the tools and resources they need to move forward. From providing critical assistance to those impacted by the pandemic, to caring for seniors and Holocaust Survivors, welcoming the stranger, and empowering vulnerable San Diegans, we’re committed to creating a stronger, healthier, more resilient community where everyone can thrive.

Join Us Invest in Community • Volunteer • Get Help • (858) 637-3000

Moving Forward Together

13 years in a row!





& mishagoss The Time God Left Me a Voicemail


t all began when my cellphone accidentally went through the washing machine, (Not the delicate cycle!) and so I googled solutions – “Submerge your wet mobile device in rice to absorb moisture.” Unfortunately, I only had Rice Krispies in my pantry so as my Android snapped, crackled, and popped, I noticed a grain of cereal wedged into the tiny speaker. I performed intricate surgery with tweezers, needles, and safety pins, but it remained stuck. Resigning myself to a phone without sound, my smartalecky teenager suggested I run it through the washing machine to dislodge the Rice Crispy. Haha, thanks for nothing, Wise Guy. Flustered, I changed my outgoing message, instructing people to text me instead. For stubborn callers who refused, I relied on the transcription my cellphone typed out as it played back the inaudible voicemails. Yesterday came this surprising (and miraculous!) written interpretation: “Hello! This is God with Lox. I understand you’re dissatisfied with the service you’ve been receiving. I’ll drop by your home soon to see what can be done.” Seriously? God? And he’s bringing Lox? Was I supposed to supply bagels? How did he even get my number? (I sure hope my number’s not up!) I wanted to inform God that I wasn’t completely ‘dissatisfied’ with his service, though he might’ve answered a few more of my prayers, (blessing my kids when they sneezed, etc.) so I glanced at my incoming log (because you can’t just ignore God’s calling) expecting his


originating number to be listed as “Blocked” or “Unknown” but lo and behold, he had 1-800 digits! Just like God, making himself accessible to the masses, toll-free! But if we spoke, I knew God’s voice would be muffled and I’d keep saying, “Pardon?” wasting all of God’s minutes, because he probably hadn’t enrolled in Verizon’s Unlimited Plan. Instead, I recorded a new outgoing message, this time with a plea. “Hi! It’s Stephanie, but Good Lord please text me because my speaker’s broken!” I then excitedly entered God’s phone number into my contacts with his name in all capital letters followed by three exclamation points. (Three seemed like the right amount because of that Trinity business, though I knew God was Jewish.) For good measure, I also gave God his own ringtone – The William Tell Overture. Next thing I knew, he had followed directions and my screen lit up with a text from – wait for it … GOD! Here is an exact replication of our intriguing little chat. GOD!: Hi Stephanie. When would be a convenient time for me to make an appearance? (Good heavens! I needed time to clean my house and cook something spectacular to serve. Just think … soon I’ll be serving God!) Me: Gosh, um uh… how many hours do you think you’ll stay? GOD!: With luck and a few adjustments, I’ll have you watching your Life Time in a flash! Me: Nooooo! I don’t want to watch my


Life flash before my eyes. I know what that means. I was nervously awaiting God’s in-person visit, when my cell rang again. I let it go to voicemail but quickly glanced at the transcript to make sure it wasn’t God saying he was stuck in traffic. “Hi! This is the Senior Rabbit from Temple Solel wondering if I can hop by today to pick up the 14 carrots you’re donating for my reproduction.” Rabbit? Hop? Carrots? It was the Rabbi. And ‘hop’ should’ve been ‘stop’ And I was donating a 14K ring for a reproduction auction. He ended with reciting Shema, but it came across as “Hare O Israel…” Dumb smartphone translation app! And suddenly it all became quite clear. I finally figured everything out and therefore I wasn’t at all surprised when five minutes later, my door knocked loudly (And it wasn’t Knock, Knock Knocking on Heaven’s Door.) and there standing on my front porch (in the flesh!) was definitely NOT “God with Lox” but instead it was “Rod with Cox” (acting a bit fresh) – that obnoxious millennial employee who was here to fix my poor cable reception so I could finally watch Lifetime television. 2022 was starting out quite interesting already. Happy New Year, readers! STEPHANIE D. LEWIS (THEQUOTEGAL@YAHOO.COM) WILL INJECT HUMOR INTO ANYTHING YOU HIRE HER TO WRITE.




Grabia incorporates traditional Bedouin embroidery into her work, whether by painting it or sewing it in. PHOTO COURTESY OF ZENAB GRABIA. 10







hen Zenab Grabia was a little girl, she didn’t know any female ceramic artists in her community. There simply weren’t any. But thanks to her, nowadays young women from Israel’s Bedouin community have a successful role model in the craft. Grabia lives with her family in the Bedouin town of Segev Shalom in the Negev, which is also home to her gallery exhibiting ceramics embellished with traditional Bedouin embroidery motifs. Her journey toward becoming a ceramic artist was unusual, not least because she wasn’t a big fan of clay to begin with. “At first I didn’t really understand ceramics,” she admitted. “I was always so afraid of getting dirty, but it was a mandatory course at college, without which you couldn’t get your diploma. So I signed up for a ceramics summer course and began doing ceramics. I started making time for it and creating dishes.” Then she had the idea of adding traditional Bedouin embroidery to her pieces. “I wanted to give my mother a gift that would last a lifetime, and she’s the one who taught me our embroidery. I discussed it with my art professor, and no one had previously done it,” she said. After some trial and error, Grabia reached her desired result. “In some of the dishes, I just paint the

embroidery using different colors, and in others I actually add the embroidery to the dish; I sew it in,” she explained. “It came out really well, and I receive very good responses. People always ask me how I came up with the idea. I see how happy and excited people are with the work, how they

just hold the dishes and examine and ask how it’s done.” GOING AGAINST THE GRAIN

Making it in the art world took her some time, and in some ways included going against the grain of her community. “Aside from me, I don’t know anyone else WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM



Artist Zenab Grabia with one of her many unique artworks at her gallery in the Bedouin town of Segev Shalom in the Negev Desert. PHOTO COURTESY OF ZENAB GRABIA.

who does ceramics at all, although there are people who learned painting or finished a bachelor’s degree in art,” she said. “All my studies took place at a later stage. I completed my 12 years of studies at the age of 24, and then started to head in a more academic direction. Now I’m [planning to study toward] a PhD in arts,” she said. “With all the difficulties that were involved, I survived it and got my bachelor’s degree and my teaching certificate, and that’s when I started thinking differently — that I could do a master’s and that I want it to be in art.” Grabia does her ceramic work on the side; she works full time as a schoolteacher and preschool teacher. Nevertheless, she’s been quite successful. Her gallery became a popular stop for tourist groups, and she has done exhibitions abroad. BLAZING A PATH

“A Bedouin woman really can develop her art this way, but when I was starting out it wasn’t an easy thing to do — even nowadays there’s 12

some difficulty with doing art and teaching art — yet with all of these obstacles I insisted on it with my family until they agreed,” she said. “It makes me happy to see my success and realize that the sky’s the limit for me,” she added. “I’m pleased with it, and also serve as somewhat of a role model — you can now matriculate in art in Segev Shalom.” Grabia notes that her husband, Suleiman al-Abid, is supportive of her ambitions and even assists her. “My husband never studied it, but he caught the ceramics bug from his wife. He helps me a lot. Sometimes we have joint ideas, we travel together to exhibits. He loves it,” she said. She has been especially appreciative of his support through the coronavirus crisis. “I couldn’t have done it without him; I would have broken down a long time ago if I were by myself,” she says. “Covid really affected us. Before, we used to have buses coming to the gallery all the time, but [during the pandemic] only one group came to us.”


It’s not yet possible to purchase Grabia’s works online but she hopes to get an e-commerce option up and running so that she can reach customers anywhere. “Lots of people approach me and ask me for my artwork and I really think that once we also go online, we’ll market what we do abroad too. Inshallah, it will happen,” she says. “I can see that once I put my things online, they’ll get snatched up.” TO CONTACT ZENAB GRABIA, EMAIL ZENABARTGALLERY@GMAIL.COM.

Note: This article was first published by Israel21c.




HEIDI GANTWERK Brings a New Tune to Jewish Federation of San Diego County as President and CEO Heidi Gantwerk. PHOTOS BY: MELISSA JACOBS.





hen longtime San Diegan Heidi Gantwerk and her husband, Andy, want to have fun, relax, be inspired, feel supported, or entertain friends, they do one thing: make music. “For us, music is everything and anything. It’s always been a part of our lives and our family’s life, and it always will be,” Gantwerk says. “There’s only one other thing on par with music for us — our Jewish community.” As Gantwerk officially becomes the permanent President and CEO of Jewish Federation of San Diego County, she’s bringing a fresh outlook to the job combined with decades of experience and community knowledge. She’s served on numerous local Jewish organization boards, consulted professionally for many of San Diego’s Jewish organizations, and has deep roots and close friends in the community. “I think there are a lot of similarities between my approach to music and my approach to living a Jewish life,” adds Gantwerk. “Being involved in the Jewish community brings me meaning and makes me whole. And our community, like music, gives me strength, inspiration, and joy. I am so grateful for the opportunity to give back now in this capacity. I’m standing on the shoulders of my predecessors, giants who shaped this community, including Michael Jesser, z”l.” Gantwerk had been serving as Federation’s interim President and CEO for seven months, following the passing of Jesser. She is the first woman to head the 85-year-old organization. Born in Israel, she has lived in San Diego for 28 years

and already has left an indelible mark in the community. She is part of the musical team of service leaders at Congregation Beth Israel and has served on the boards of San Diego Jewish Academy, Hillel of San Diego, the Center for Jewish Culture and Congregation Beth Israel. Prior to stepping into her current role at Federation, Gantwerk consulted for a wide range of organizations on strategic planning, visioning, evaluation and public engagement. Among her varied clients were many San Diego Jewish organizations, including the JCC, Jewish Community Foundation, the Butterfly Project, Ner Tamid Synagogue, Hillel, Jewish Community Farming Initiative, Leichtag Foundation, Congregation Beth Israel and of course Federation. She and her husband have three grown children all of whom grew up immersed in Jewish life in San Diego. “For 20 years, Heidi and Andy have lifted the spirits of our congregation, with the essence of synagogue prayer — its music,” says Rabbi/Cantor Arlene Bernstein of Congregation Beth Israel. “Heidi and her family have helped nurture and grow the life of evolving Jewish music not only in the synagogue but in the larger San Diego Jewish community as well. Singing and playing for the elderly, giving concerts, creating uplifting wedding celebrations, and performing at rabbinic conferences - these experiences reflect their deep commitment to Jewish life. Combine this passion with her high intellect, knowledge, and professional skills, and we are a very fortunate community to have her at the helm.” Gantwerk will lead a Federation charged with a mission to broaden and deepen engagement in Jewish life to strengthen Jewish identity, foster dynamic connections with Israel, and care for all Jews in need. By mobilizing

the community’s resources, leaders, and organizations to address the community’s most critical needs, Federation creates profound impact around three priority areas: Responding to Jewish Poverty in San Diego, particularly addressing the needs of seniors and Holocaust survivors; Ensuring an Enduring Jewish Community, particularly focusing on community security and developing lay and professional leaders; and Fostering Global People-to-People Relationships, with a focus on connections among Israelis and the San Diego Jewish community. Federation will soon open registration for its spring 2023 CommUNITY Mission to Israel, an opportunity for Jews from all over San Diego to be a part of a oncein-a-generation trip to Israel during its 75th anniversary and marking the 25th anniversary of San Diego’s relationship with its sister region, Sha’ar HaNegev. This will be the first community-wide trip since 2006. “Becoming Federation President and CEO really ties together all parts of my personal and professional life,” continues Gantwerk. “There is a sense for me that assuming this role, at this moment is besheret. After everything that our community has been through in recent years — from the tragedy of Poway to the pandemic — I feel even more of a calling to help lead this community into the future. I’m blessed to do this now with an incredible team at Federation. I saw how Federation staff and lay leaders over the last two years continued their work with imagination, with kindness, and in collaboration with partners locally, in Israel, and around the world. Not once since the beginning of the pandemic did Federation step back or turn away from the work; they doubled down with creativity and resilience.” Federation lay leaders recognize how fortunate they are to have Gantwerk on




Heidi, Rabbi Cantor Arlene Bernstein and Rabbi Jason Nevarez, Congregation Beth Israel.

board. They wanted a leader who could step in and lead immediately, while ensuring that Federation supports Jewish life that helps those in need and offers meaningful experiences for everyone. “Beyond Heidi’s experience, expertise, and knowledge of our community, she has genuine passion for Jewish life in San Diego,” says Jack Maizel, Board Chair. “Under her leadership, Federation will forge new, powerful partnerships and bring together more people in inspiring Jewish life. We’ve worked closely with her over the last 18 months. We’ve already seen her execute on the vision we all have and that she helped us to shape. Especially at this unprecedented time, people need and deserve support and connections to each other. Heidi already is positioning Federation to deliver for the entire San Diego Jewish community.” In addition to its core priorities, additional areas of focus include Jewish teen engagement and the increased need to


respond to rising antisemitism. Federation’s unique role in the community enables it to serve as “connective tissue,” bringing together organizations and individuals to more effectively address issues and needs at scale. It has partnered with ADL, for example, to support a Community Security Director and to provide security training for local Jewish organizations. And Federation leads a coalition of organizations through the Kulam Ba’bayit initiative to support San Diego Jews experiencing poverty, especially Holocaust Survivors and seniors. The initiative distributes money to local organizations to get resources rapidly into the hands of people in need to keep them in their homes. “We are a diverse and vibrant community with so many ways for people to engage in meaningful Jewish life and build long-lasting connections,” says Heidi Gantwerk. “Federation can bring together different organizations and individuals in ways that others simply cannot — whether


it’s to support those in need, to train Jewish professionals and develop lay leaders, to engage our incredible volunteers and strengthen our connection to the global Jewish community, and so much more. “Again I go back to music. Of course a solo performance is beautiful, but when you have an entire choir singing together, each person bringing their unique voice and their passion to the group, well that tends to be very powerful, very impactful on the listener.” With that mindset, Gantwerk builds her “choir” of Federation staff, volunteers, other organizations leaders, and anyone in the community who envisions a vibrant, caring Jewish community that is there for all San Diego Jews today and into the future.








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Serves 8 Vegan, Gluten-Free Ingredients 3 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch round coins (about 5 cups) 4 medium parsnips, cut into 1-inch round coins (about 3 to 4 cups) 2 tablespoons avocado (or olive oil) 1 1/2-2 teaspoons Rachel Beller Nutrition Morning Boost Blend* Pinch of Sea salt *Substitute power spice blend with 1 tsp of organic Ceylon cinnamon + a few pinches of ginger, clove, nutmeg, and allspice. Directions 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

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oil, and power spicing nutrition blend on the baking sheet and season with a pinch of salt to taste. 3. Roast for 30-35 minutes or until tender. Rachel Beller is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), founder of Beller Nutrition and creator of the Beller Nutrition Masterclass. She specializes in oncology and weight management. Visit bellernutrition. com for more information. Beller will be a guest on Sharsheret in the Kitchen on Monday, January 10 at 10am PST. This free national webinar is part of the “Sharsheret in the Kitchen” series, which brings nutritious kosher meal options to

help empower all of us at risk for breast and ovarian cancer to make healthy diet choices. Email Jessica Jablon at jjablon@sharsheret. org to register or for more information. Sharsheret, a non-profit organization, is the Jewish breast cancer and ovarian cancer community. If You or someone you love has been impacted by breast or ovarian cancer, or has elevated genetic risk, contact Sharsheret for free support and resources. For more info, visit or call (866) 474-2774.







t is not by chance that 40 percent of all private cyber investments in the world are in Israeli companies, and that a third of the world’s unicorn cyber companies — private startups worth at least $1 billion — are Israeli. Cybermania: How Israel Became a Global Powerhouse in an Arena That Shapes the Future of Mankind gives an expert view of how Israel became a leading country in the field, and among the first to recognize the magnitude of the cyber revolution. “Today, cyber accounts for 15 percent of Israeli high-tech exports, which is about half of the total exports of the State of Israel, and it will only grow,” according to the book’s lead author, professor Eviatar Matania. “These are amazing numbers, but they do not show the whole picture. After all, there are metrics that cannot be measured, such as defense capabilities. Within a decade, Israel has become a very significant player in the new cybersecurity and cybereconomy arena,” he said. Matania is founding head and former director general of the Israel National Cyber Directorate, a member of Tel Aviv University’s Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center and head of TAU’s International MA programs in cyber-politics and government and in security studies. He is also an adjunct professor at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government. Matania’s coauthor, Amir Rapaport, founded Israel Defense 20


magazine and its global Cybertech conferences, that began in 2014. Matania said although Israel leads in various indices of technology and security, it’s always in relative terms, i.e., per capita or by relative size — except when it comes to cyber. “For example, Israel is strong in academic publications per capita, or in the percentage of national expenditure on research and development. But when looking at absolute numbers, it is clear that other countries like the U.S. and China overshadow us by a considerable margin in absolute investment in research and development,” he said. “In cyber, on the other hand, Israel is a global powerhouse in absolute numbers: 40 percent of all private investments in the world in cyber reach Israel, and every third unicorn company is Israeli. It’s a unique phenomenon,” he said. The book, from Kinneret-Zmora-Dvir Publishers and soon to be published in English, is based on Matania’s experience as head of the National Cyber Directorate and later as director of the National Cyber Security Authority in the Prime Minister’s Office from 2012 until 2018. “The tipping point of Israel’s journey to become a cyber-power was a visit by then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Unit 8200 in 2010,” said Matania, referring to an elite military intelligence unit. “Netanyahu was astonished by what he heard from the soldiers. He understood that the new world of cyber posed an extraordinary risk to Israel, as the country would be vulnerable to attacks from



anywhere in the world. At the same time, he was able to see the cyber opportunity for a small country like Israel, which specializes in both technology and security, to take the initiative.” Matania said the visit to 8200 led Netanyahu to initiate a comprehensive national cyber-security plan with its foundations in academia and industry. The architect of this plan was IDF Maj. Gen. (Res.) professor Yitzhak Ben-Israel, then head of the National Council for Research and Development and now head of Tel Aviv University’s Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center. According to Matania, Netanyahu wanted Israel to be one of the five leading cyber powers in the world. But the result was even better than that. “The national cyber system that I headed was the first of its kind in the world, reporting directly to the prime minister,” said Matania. “There was an in-depth government understanding that it was not enough to wait for the free market to do its thing. Large budgets were invested in academia and industry and in building dedicated cyber defense capabilities.” Six cyber research centers were established at Israeli universities, and the government invested heavily in cyber startups, many of them founded by IDF veterans parlaying their expertise into private ventures. “That’s how Israel got the jump on the whole world,” said Matania. “The British were the second in the world, by the way, and that was only because the then British Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, studied the structure and the Israeli strategy — and then returned to London and was appointed chief of cyber in the U.K. Cabinet.” Matania added that Israel’s cyber capabilities help leverage its political achievements. “When Israel signs a cyber-defense alliance with Cyprus and Greece, it does not necessarily need Cyprus or Greece to upgrade its cyber defense — but in return we get payback in other areas,” he explained. “Israel has become synonymous with cyber — so much so that today we are relying on cyber in the international arena.” Note: This article was first published by Israel21c.


“Boldest Post in the West” • Fight anti-semitism • Support our military overseas • Comradeship • Support Naval Hospital San Diego & Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton and much more... CDR Marc Poland, USN Ret (858) 232-1645 Meet 2nd Sunday of the month 11am Veterans Association North County (VANC) 1617 Missions Ave, Oceanside, CA 92058 JWV is the oldest congressionally commissioned veterans organization in America

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n Thursday, January 20, Israeli jazz pianist Shai Maestro and his quartet will perform at The David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre at the Lawrence Family JCC. A prodigy in Israel, Maestro began his professional career as a member of Avashai Cohen’s band. Learning from Cohen, one of the world’s greatest bassists and an acclaimed jazz performer, Maestro developed into the leader of his own band. His newly formed quartet features Peruvian bassist Jorge Roeder, Israeli drummer Ofri Nehemya, and American trumpeter Philip Dizack. The quartet’s debut album, “Human,” gained critical praise from various jazz publications. The addition of Dizack on trumpet adds further technical accuracy and virtuosity to the band. Today, the quartet is one of the most powerful and harmonious groups in jazz. Maestro began playing classical piano at age five and graduated with honors from the Thelma Yellin High School of Performing Arts in Givataim, Israel. He won the Nation22

al Jazz Ensembles Competition “Jazz Signs” in 2002 and 2003 and subsequently received scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Fund for jazz piano. Maestro attended Berklee College of Music’s Five-Week Summer Performance Program in Boston, where he was awarded a full scholarship to attend Berklee full-time. He declined the offer in the hopes of taking his career to the next level. His talent was undeniable, as just a few weeks later, Maestro received a phone call from bassist Avishai Cohen, known for his long-time collaboration with Chick Corea as well as for his successful band-leading career. In 2018, Maestro signed with major jazz label ECM and recorded his first album on the label, “The Dream Thief.” The album featured his trio, as well as him as a solo-pianist. In its review of that album, All About Jazz spoke of “a searching lyrical atmosphere, emotional eloquence and communal virtuosity that serves the music.” The same can be said of “Human.” As he is known to do, Maestro takes the music forward while also respecting its sense of tradition.


Maestro was invited to join the Avishai Cohen Trio, and he went on to record four albums with the Trio, including two on Blue Note Records. Tickets for the concert are on sale now and can be purchased at or by calling (858) 457-3030. Proof of vaccination is required to enter the building, and masks are required. Tickets are $36. The concert begins at 7:00 pm. Jazz fans will be happy to know that, as part of the 32nd annual San Diego International Jewish Film Festival, “Ronnie’s,” a documentary about the legendary Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London, will be screening in person and virtually. More information can be found at


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80 years ago, on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, 2400 American military personnel were killed at Pearl Harbor, Oahu Hawaii from the infamous sneak attack by the Imperial Forces of Japan resulting in World War II.

• Fight anti-Semiti Overall, total U.S.casualties in the Pacific war against Japan • Support our military o were approximately 112,000 killed and 250,000 wounded similar to the combined losses in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and • Comradeship afghanistan. • Support youth thro

JEWISH WAR VETERANS [JWV] Post 185 San Diego wishes to pay special homage to the memories of the veterans of World War II and to never forget the deaths of our military caused by the unprovoked attack by Japan,

We continue to honor the commitment and sacrifices of all veterans of our armed services who defend and protect our Rick Nathanson, Post Com nation today

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(916) 995-6916


For more info: Allen Milefsky: 619-737-6910 THE OLDEST ACTIVE V Jewish War Veterans is a 501c3 nonprofit national organization. For those interested in donating to ORGANIZATION IN AM Jewish War Veterans of the USA, please submit a donation to P.O. BOX 81171, San Diego CA 92168







onald Harrison is a true mensch, and I am sure many would agree with me. He has been a voice for the Jewish community in San Diego County for many years with his highly regarded online newspaper, San Diego Jewish World. However, he is also aware of time moving on and the value of new and younger voices, so he has decided to hand down the reins and semi-retire. At the end of the year, Jacob Kamaras will take over as editor and publisher of SDJW with Harrison staying on as a contributing writer and editor emeritus. Harrison has positively influenced many people, including myself. Thanks to him, I began a second career as a published writer in my 50s in 2010. His guidance inspired me to actively pursue freelance writing and submit articles to various publications, including L’CHAIM magazine and San Diego Jewish World. More importantly because of his mentorship, I entered a new world where I got to meet fellow journalists, interview a wide variety of interesting people, and make friends outside of my ESL teaching world. This has broadened my horizons in San Diego, and I am grateful to him for that. One of things I admire about Harrison is his sense of adventure and not being afraid to try or learn new things. I am also appreciative of his graciousness with newcomers. He actively participated in a pen pal program I started with my ESL students and took several of my 24


students on tours of San Diego. Another thing I admire is his knowledge of Judaism and his ability to find a Jewish story in the most unlikely places! He written several books about traveling and finding Jewish stories, including Schlepping through American West, 77 Miles of Jewish Stories, and Schlepping and Schmoozing through San Diego County. Ever gracious, Harrison sent his encouragement to the publishers of L'CHAIM when they launched this publication in 2014, and even posted an announcement in SDJW. His charisma and friendliness draw people to him. But don’t just take my word for it. Fellow writers also admire Harrison. “I don’t actually recall the year that I began writing for San Diego Jewish World, but I do know that it was such an ego-rush to see my name and words in print,” From Eva Trieger (who also writes for L’CHAIM magazine). “Harrison is a great editor and taught me so much about writing and how to make a piece publishable. I am eternally grateful for the numerous opportunities Harrison gave me. I learned about so many aspects of San Diego that I would otherwise have been ignorant of. Thank you, Harrison, for being an amazing editor, teacher, and friend.” Like Eva, Harrison also gave me numerous opportunities to review local plays and meet some very interesting people. “Harrison has been a dear friend for many years, a cousin of my

FEATURE STORY wife Paula, and a source of positive inspiration for us all here in San Diego,” writer Michael Mantell and his wife, Paula said. “His standards of excellence, passion for delivering the very best source of relevant news to our community and quest to bring together likeminded people, make him particularly special to us. Being a part of his journalism “family” for so long has been a genuine honor. We know his dedication to family above all, serves as his remarkable fuel. We wish Harrison and his family the very best in their next chapters of life.” Thanks to Harrison, I was able to conduct a delightful interview with Michael and Paula and write several articles on them. I also admire Harrison’s dedication to his family, and they have become part of my own. “Over the years, I have learned much about newspaper article writing, thanks to Harrison’s kindly critiques and wonderful modeling,” Eileen Wingard said. “He has not only been my editor since Heritage days, but we have been like family. My mother, Rose Schiff z’l, adored him and [his wife] Nancy — which is why he was the only non-family pall bearer at my mother’s funeral. For many years, Harrison and Nancy were close friends to my sister, Zina Schiff and her husband, Ron Eisenberg, and Harrison wrote and published many articles about my family, my concert violinist sister, Zina Schiff, her radiologist/author husband, Ron Eisenberg, their children, conductor/law professor, Avlana Eisenberg, Rabbi Cherina Eisenberg, and my husband z’l, language educator/song writer, Hal Wingard and our children, violinist/ Jewish educator, Myla Wingard, actor, Dan Wingard, educational consultant, Tamara Wingard and humanities teacher, Harriet Wingard. The Harrisons attended many of our Pesach seders. Harrison and Nancy were my guests last Sukkoth and Harrison most recently interviewed me about the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, in which I played for 37 years, to write about the orchestra in his forthcoming book about Jewish stories from the off-ramps of Highway 5. Harrison, through his journalistic talent and big-hearted generosity continues to be a great treasure of our San Diego Jewish Community.” Indeed, Harrison’s impact on writers throughout the San Diego community cannot be overstated. “As I neared retirement, Harrison asked me to write a column for the San Diego Jewish World," writer Laurie Baron said. "I began by writing The Wandering Review, a column devoted to reviewing films of Jewish interest, and then moved on to writing a political satire column, and subsequently a satire column written from my dog’s perspective. After undertaking these writing obligations, I came to appreciate Harrison’s crisp journalistic style which was far more compelling and comprehensible than the overly technical and pedantic prose that typified my scholarly articles and books. Although I continue to write for scholarly journals, I now emulate Harrison’s writing style because it is much clearer and more engaging.” Outside of journalism, Harrison’s impact has also been felt by friends and colleagues. “They say that in tough times, you find out who your real friends are.,” Eric George Tauber said. “Well, last year, when my life fell apart, I learned that Harrison and Nancy Harrison are indeed true friends. Because of COVID, my school shut down. I was laid off and every other intensive English program in town was in the same boat, either shut down or barely hanging on. Nobody was hiring. About this same time, my greedy landlord decided to terminate my lease so

that he could renovate my townhouse and jack up the rent. With no proof of a stable income, I couldn’t sign a new lease and the deal that I thought I had turned out to be a scam. When I called Harrison to thank him for everything and say goodbye, he and Nancy extended an invitation to stay at their guest house until I figured out my next move. I still wound up moving back to Cincinnati, but they softened my landing. That summer, I was able to process what had happened, lick my wounds, and make proper plans to move back East.” Although Harrison is passing on the reins to a new editor at the helm of San Diego Jewish World, he is not really retiring as he will continue writing. His legacy will not be forgotten, and that legacy will be carried on under Kamaras’ capable leadership.






or 40 years, Congregation Beth Am’s Conservative community has called North County home and continues to grow stronger, inspiring connection and continuity. Recognizing and honoring the past and setting the stage for growth and progress, the congregation is planning to celebrate this auspicious milestone with a grand celebration weekend, January 21-23, 2022, entitled Hinei Ma Tov, because it is just so good to be together after all these years. In 1982, a group of dedicated Jewish families wanted to establish a Conservative presence in Coastal North County San Diego. The undertaking proved to be prophetic. Rabbi Wayne Dosick, together with a small group of families, formed Congregation Beth Am. Settling in the facility affectionately called the “Tire Store,” membership grew quickly with people coming from as far south as La Jolla and as far north as Oceanside. The very first year, Beth Am opened their


Hebrew school, the Jewish Learning Center. During the early years, the synagogue was run by volunteers who genuinely felt like family. This family feeling continues and is felt strongly by regulars of all ages. HOUSE OF THE PEOPLE

During the first years, the congregation focused on growth, learning, and helping people get involved. True to its name, Beth Am had truly become the “House of the People.” After Rabbi Dosick left and before a new rabbi was hired, Judy Sperling and her husband Jack, who were among the founding members, led services each Friday and Saturday, keeping those early members connected and living up to their name. In July of 1991, Beth Am hired Rabbi Arthur Zuckerman, lovingly known as Rabbi Zucky. Membership quickly grew from 160 to over 400 families. Rabbi Zucky instituted the 7 days/week minyan, programming for all ages, a preschool, and youth department.



By 1994, the Board of Directors realized that the “Tire Store” could no longer contain the burgeoning congregation and schools. A Capital Campaign began, and the land was purchased for the permanent location in Carmel Valley. A temporary building was erected, and the congregation joyfully walked and danced our Torahs over from Solana Beach. Sperling recalls some of those lean years when times were tough and it was only by the generosity of those dedicated early members who answered the call to SOL (Save our Land). Trailers served as sanctuary and meeting rooms for longer than anyone thought possible and the collective excitement was positively palpable when the Lizerbram Family Sanctuary and Hassman Family Social Hall doors opened on a stunning night in June of 1999. At that time, it was only a short walk to move the Torahs, including the cherished Holocaust Torah donated by Hugh Friedman, z"l, and Lynn Schenk, to their permanent home behind the beautiful stained glass ark. Opening those immense ark doors to retrieve the Torahs from which B’nai Mitzvah students read is a powerful experience for Judy, who has taught at every level in the vast learning community and feels extremely proud of the ‘front row’ view from which she serves to this day. The same year they opened the doors to their permanent buildings, the congregation hired Rabbi David Kornberg as Assistant Rabbi, who instituted the Center for Lifelong Jewish Learning, among many other contributions. In 2004, upon Rabbi Zuckerman’s retirement, Rabbi Kornberg was enthusiastically welcomed as Senior Rabbi. With over 500 families to serve, the Board of Directors decided to hire an Assistant Rabbi and after a two-year search, welcomed Rabbi Matthew Earne in 2006. Congregation Beth Am is blessed to have two vibrant and creative Rabbis who complement each other so well. Community participation in learning and leading also holds a special place for newer members like Diana Lerner, who joined in 2015 after enjoying a warm welcome as a Torah reader. Her active participation has extended to include service as Gabbai, and religious practice committee. She especially enjoys tending the “L’Chaim table for those over the age of 21 on Saturday mornings, enjoying a sip of joy after an enriching worship service.” Learning regularly with Rabbi Kornberg, she appreciates the remarkable way he engages with each participant personally. Among her favorites is Beth Am’s Campfire Shabbat, held monthly and led by Kornberg and Ephron Rosenzweig on guitar. Elisheva Edelson has been a member and teacher for about half the life of Congregation Beth Am. While she was not involved in its founding, she feels the love and dedication of many members, people serving on the board, directors and teachers of the schools and the beloved Rabbis. “My closest family are among many other families that are members at Congregation Beth Am and as members, we form a link in the long golden chain that will keep Congregation Beth Am moving ahead, facing the challenges that the future may bring and enjoying all that

Congregation Beth Am offers to its members in all aspects: religion, culture and education.” In 2017 after a successful year’s Capital Campaign “Building The Dream: Our Time... Our Turn… Our Future”, with pride and strength of committee chairs: Ingram Chodorow, z”l, Wayne Harris, and Jeff Liber opened the doors to the new Education buildings and offices. The entire Beth Am community enjoys enthusiastic satisfaction in reaching this milestone. Shortly after the new buildings were completed, Gilad Hoffman came ‘home’ to CBA as Executive Director. His grandparents and parents contributed to the original capital campaign, he and his family attended services regularly and he became Bar Mitzvah in the Beth Am community. Now his child attends the Early Childhood Center and he couldn’t be happier contributing “to this vibrant community, “where the future is bright.” FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER FOR THE CELEBRATION EVENTS, CALL (858) 481-8454, OR EMAIL WELCOME@BETHAM.COM.



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