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TRIBE & TRIBULATION Does Anti-Semitism Threaten American Jews?
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Does Anti-Semitism Threaten American Jews? Tribe & tribulation Kenneth L. Marcus/ JNS.org
In a recent issue of Time magazine, Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, former president of the Union for Reform Judaism, writes that anti-Semitism is “not a threat to American Jews.” He could not be more wrong. Let us start with the obvious. Any threat to world Jewry is a threat to American Jews. According to the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) important new study, there are now one billion adult anti-Semites in the world. As Rabbi Yoffie acknowledges, this is fully a quarter of the world’s adult population. Can American Jewry shrug this off ? One can quibble with the ADL’s methodology, but it is not far-fetched. ADL considers a person to be anti-Semitic if they give a positive response to six out of 11 survey questions like these: “Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars,” “People hate Jews because of the way Jews behave,” and “Jews have too much control over the United States government.” Consider the magnitude of this finding. In 2012, according to the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University, there were 686 reported incidents of physical violence, direct threats, and major acts of vandalism against Jews and Jewish institutions worldwide. This is bad enough on its own, representing an increase of approximately 30 percent over the prior year. Worse, these figures understate the problem. According to the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency, 64 percent of European Jews who have experienced physical violence or threats do not report even the most serious incident. If this holds true for Jews elsewhere, the actual incident rate is approximately three times higher than reported, reaching 2,000 serious incidents annually. But it gets worse. Even the adjusted figures suggest that Jews and Jewish institutions are enduring only one serious anti-Semitic incident per 500,000 antiSemites annually. This means that in any given year, the overwhelming majority of anti-Semites are not acting on their aversions. Their reasons may be lack of opportunity, want of courage, fair of consequence, or adherence to convention. Economists call this “pent-up demand.” As the post-Holocaust taboo against anti-Semitism erodes, the ramifications are troubling. Suppose that one in ten thousand anti-Semites should physically harm or threaten Jews or Jewish institutions in a given year. Under this scenario, serious anti-Semitic incidents would increase to 100,000 per year, even if anti-Semitic attitudes remain constant. In other words, things can get much worse. Should Americans worry? In Western Europe, one in four Europeans harbors anti-Semitic attitudes.
One recent survey indicates that roughly the same percentage (26 percent) of European Jews has been harassed for being Jewish within the last year. Perhaps the worst anti-Semitic incidents will be limited to the Middle East and Europe. But was the Nazi Holocaust no threat to American Jews merely because it remained off American shores? If there is any such thing as Jewish peoplehood, then security threats to any are threats to all. Now consider the dangers to Israel. In the Middle East and North Africa, nearly three quarters of the adult population holds anti-Semitic attitudes. This can only fuel continuing threats to Israel. Can American Jews feel secure as long as Israel remains under continuing danger? Given Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Israel remains under the steady risk of catastrophe. No Jewish American could feel secure about this. Now consider what Rabbi Yoffie probably meant to say. His point is that Americans do not face a direct threat of severe anti-Semitism. He is right that American Jews are not under siege. But he is wrong to minimize the threat that does exist. According to the ADL, only nine percent of Americans hold anti-Semitic attitudes. This sounds good, but it translates to 21,000,000 people. It means that there are far more anti-Semites than Jews in America. This may be one reason why the Federal Bureau of Investigation regularly reports that anti-Jewish hate crimes exceed hate crimes against any other religious group. On some university campuses, Jewish students have recently been spit at and called “dirty Jews” and worse. The problem is greater for those students who are known to support Israel on campuses where anti-Israel activism runs high. As anti-Jewish attitudes increase on some campuses, in some political circles, and in some corners of the Internet, it is naïve to assume that the Jewish American community will not face spillover security risks. Moreover, we cannot assume that the factors that have rendered American exceptional will persist. In a global age, ideas, attitudes and behaviors are less constrained by national borders than they once were. Immigration, trade and international communications all bring foreign elements to American shores, both for better and for worse. To ignore the dangers of resurgent worldwide antiSemitism is to misunderstand the ways in which we will all be touched by developments around the world, whether we choose to recognize them or not. Kenneth L. Marcus is president of The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (www. brandeiscenter.com) and former staff director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Oxford University Press will publish his book on “The Definition of AntiSemitism” in 2015.
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I-15 Jewish sightseeing: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
PART 1: BY DONALD H. HARRISON l sdjewishworld.com SAN DIEGO – Qualcomm Stadium, as it called in its third incarnation since opening in 1967, is a massive concrete structure described as “modernist” by some architects, “brutalist” by others. Either way it is a celebration of structural forms and building materials. Its massive slabs of unadorned concrete give the impression of overwhelming power, not unlike that of a 320-pound tackle advancing on a 180-pound quarterback. Modernism is an architectural style that was made popular in San Diego four years earlier when polio vaccine discoverer Dr. Jonas Salk and architect Louis I. Kahn, two admired Jewish leaders in their fields, unveiled in La Jolla the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, an eyearresting complex of buildings starkly beautiful as they overlook the Pacific Ocean. Wherever you go in the world, if you look hard enough, you will find a “Jewish story. ” Sometimes those stories are obvious to anyone—a synagogue, a mikvah, a town named after a Jewish settler, a celebration of the Bible, or an ode to modern Israel. In other instances, the stories are not so obvious, they are strands in the tapestry of places that you might visit along the Interstate 15, places, for example, like Qualcomm Stadium., which is at the Friars Road exit in San Diego. When the stadium opened for business, it was called simply San Diego Stadium. On Sept 9, 1967 , the San Diego Chargers, then of the American Football League, played the first official game of the season here. They had a Jewish coach by the name of Sid Gillman, who previously had led them through their paces at the now demolished Balboa Stadium. In 1963, under his guidance, the Chargers won the league championship with a commanding 51-10 defeat of the Boston Patriots. Perhaps because of all the excitement engendered by a new stadium, it looked like the Chargers would dominate the league again in 1967. In their first ten games of the season, they ran up a record of 8-1-1, but then disaster, in the form of the Oakland Raiders, struck. Having handed the Chargers their only loss earlier in the season, the Raiders did it again 42-21. The dispirited Chargers then lost the next three games to end up in third place with an 8-51 record. When Gillman and his all-American lineman Ron Mix, also Jewish, looked at each other, there was really only one thing to say: “Gevalt!” If Gillman had something to cheer about, it was that NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle took him up on his idea of having a game played between 6
the champions of the National Football League and the American Football League. Today the Super Bowl is an American institution. In 1968, the Chargers got some company at the stadium. A new tenant was the minor league Pacific Coast League team known as the San Diego Padres. The name was influenced by the fact that San Diego is home of California’s mother mission, Mission San Diego. The mission is within walking distance of the stadium, which is located in the Mission Valley neighborhood of San Diego fronting on Friars Road. In 1969, the Padres were accepted as an expansion team in the major leagues, and were assigned to the National League. In the first game of its first Major League season, the Padres were shut-out 1-0 by the Houston Astros, and after that things just got worse and worse. The Padres would up their season dead last with a record of 52-110. Although there have been distinguished moments in the history of the two professional franchises, the sad fact of the matter is that since the Chargers establishment, the team has thus far played in only one Super Bowl. The Padres have a slightly better record, having fought their way to two World Series. However, the San Diego teams lost all three of these championship games. In 1980 San Diego sportswriter Jack Murphy died, and in appreciation for the key role he had played in getting professional teams to move to San Diego, and persuading voters to approve the bond issue to build the 50,000 seat stadium (it has since been expanded to over 70,000 seats), the stadium was renamed in his honor as San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium, or “the Murph” for short. Later on, in 1997, naming rights for the stadium were sold for $18 million to Qualcomm, a digital communications company which was co-founded by two Jewish professors, Andrew Viterbi and Irwin Jacobs, both of whom today are major philanthropists for both Jewish and general causes. Murphy is still remembered because Qualcomm Stadium surrounds what is called Jack Murphy Field. There is a statue of Murphy and his black Labrador hunting dog, Abe of Spoon River ,standing between one of the entrances to the stadium and the platform of the San Diego Trolley station serving Qualcomm. True, Murphy was Irish but in his Labrador, there was a Jewish story. Abe was short for Abraham. One of the puppies that dog sired was named Isaac. Alas, he
wouldn’t hunt, so Murphy gave him away. The name of his third dog? You guessed it. Jacob. As the Chargers early in their franchise had a Jewish player in Ron Mix, so too did the Padres have theirs in Brad Ausmus, who made his major league debut as a catcher in the 1993 season and stayed with the team until 1996 when he was traded to the Detroit Tigers, the team which he manages today. Gillman, Mix and Ausmus all have been inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in Suffolk County, New York. Not all the Jewish stars who performed at Qualcomm Stadium are so kindly remembered. In 1990, Roseanne Barr decided to make a comedy act out of singing the National Anthem before a Padre game against the Cincinnati Reds. She screeched out the words, and then in imitation of a baseball player, scratched her crotch and spat. The crowd didn’t care for the satire, and the booing, in the form of controversy, continued for many weeks thereafter. Although the Chargers got to play in only one Super Bowl, the stadium has hosted three
Qualcomm Stadium entrance from Friars Road, San Diego
such contests featuring other teams. In 1988 the Washington Redskins defeated the Denver Broncos 42-10. Ten years later, in 1998, the Denver Broncos defeated the Green Bay Packers 31-24. And in 2003 Tampa Bay beat Oakland 48-21. Many Jewish San Diegans have been privileged to attend all three games, among them Charles Wax, chief executive officer of Waxie Sanitary Supply. There also have been two All-Star Games played here. The National League won 7-3 in 1978, in a game in which a fellow who was often thought to be a Jew — but wasn’t — played. That was Rod Carew, then a first baseman for the Minnesota Twins. When Saturday Night Live’s Adam Sandler wrote his Chanukah song, one of the lyrics said that Rod Carew is a Jew– converted–but in fact he wasn’t and hadn’t. His wife was Jewish and their child was being raised Jewish, but Carew himself remained Christian. The other All-Star Game at “The Murph,” in 1992, saw the American League prevailing, 13-6. Jews have moved in and out of the Padres front office as a succession of management teams came
and went, but one well-known Jew who has been more or less a fixture for the Padres has been radio announcer Ted Leitner, who used to be the TV sportscaster on KFMB-TV, Channel 8. Leitner has the knack of giving running play-byplay descriptions while filling in those moments between the action with anecdotes about almost every professional player in every sport ever played in San Diego. The Padres moved from Qualcomm Stadium in 2004 to Petco Park in downtown San Diego, and the San Diego Chargers have been campaigning for a new stadium as well, sometimes broadly hinting if one is not forthcoming the franchised will be moved to another city. Meanwhile, Qualcomm Stadium remains the home field for the San Diego State Aztecs as well as the host to two college Bowl games played in the winter – the Holiday Bowl and the Poinsettia Bowl – each of which has enthusiastic fans. It also has been the venue for numerous concerts, religious revivals, home games of the short lived San Diego Soccers team, and has served as an evacuation center when major wildfires forced
thousands of San Diegans to flee their homes. Point of personal pride: When the late Tony Gwynn retired from baseball after playing all 20 seasons of his major league career for the Padres, there was a ceremony at Qualcomm Stadium that involved various VIPs followed by Tony and Alicia Gwynn walking through a 9-foot diameter baseball that had been crafted from balloons. The Jewish angle was that my daughter, Sandi Masori, and her husband, Shahar, owners of Balloon Utopia, made that giant baseball portal! ______________________________________
Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World. donald.harrison@ sdjewishworld.com WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM
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The Restored Waldorf Astoria is Jerusalem’s newest luxury hotel By Judy Lash Balint/JNS.org
Nissim Mizrahi isn’t quite sure what to make of his new neighbor on Jerusalem’s Harav David Shimon Street. As the Israeli capital’s newest hotel—the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem—opens its doors, the artists and jewelers whose small shops line the cobbled street leading to the hotel’s grand entrance look on in a mixture of relief and bemusement. “What a gorgeous building,” Mizrahi remarks of the restored nine-story hotel just down the street from the U.S Consulate near the Old City. “We’re all really glad the long years of construction are over,” he adds as he wipes construction dust from the display window of his sculpture and jewelry studio, where he has worked since the 1970s. In the days before Passover, the last of the workmen scrambled to put the finishing touches on the grand building that was originally built by the notorious Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el Husseini, in 1929 as the Palace Hotel. In its 2014 Waldorf Astoria incarnation, the outer shell of the building, with its ornate Turkish designed masonry, has been preserved and restored, while the inside of the hotel has been completely rebuilt. “It’s the longest restoration project in Israel’s history,” explains General Manager Guy Klaiman as he leads visitors through the shiny lobby, replete with exquisite Italian furniture and tasteful oversized flower arrangements. The design team included Israeli architect Yehuda Feigin and renowned Turkish interior designer Sinan Kafadar, whose previous projects include the Ritz Hotel and the Four Seasons Istanbul. “The goal was to bring the beauty of the outside of the building in,” Klaiman notes. One feature of Waldorf Astoria hotels worldwide is a clock in the lobby designed to reflect the local culture. In the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, the clock features four faces, with Arabic, Hebrew, Roman, and European numerals. It’s all part of the branding that Klaiman hopes will help distinguish the Waldorf Astoria from the other luxury hotels located just a few blocks away along King David Street. One distinguishing feature of the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem is the size of the rooms. According to Klaiman, the largest rooms in other Jerusalem hotels are around 30 square meters, whereas the 10
Outside the new Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem hotel.
Outside the new Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem hotel.
PHOTOS BY Judy Lash Balint
Inside the new Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem hotel.
smallest of the Waldorf Astoria’s rooms are 37 square meters. Klaiman emphasizes that all 197 rooms and 29 suites in the hotel contain the same luxury features—including 500 count bed linens; double glazed windows; TV in the bathroom; chandeliers; and an iPad. The iPad is for guests to order any services from their personal concierge who is assigned when a reservation is made. Check-in and check-out services are completed by the concierge in the hotel room, not at the front desk. Two restaurants on the ground floor are available for hotel guests and visitors. The Palace Restaurant is a French meat brasserie for lunch and dinner as well as the place where guests eat breakfast. Décor is in smart Art Deco style. The King’s Court is a dairy Italian gourmet restaurant that also functions as a tea lounge and cocktail bar from lunch until late evening, with rich Mediterranean style furnishings and a variety of seating groupings. The hotel is certified kosher by the Jerusalem Rabbinate.
On the lower floors of the hotel are 12 meeting rooms, all equipped with the latest in presentation and business technology; a lounge area with espresso machines lit by Czech-made lighting fixtures; and the largest ballroom in central Jerusalem, which can accommodate 900 people in conference-style eating or 600 for dinner. Fifteen weddings are already on the schedule for the coming year. The centerpiece of the ballroom is a massive chandelier with 15,000 pieces of Czech crystal that took three weeks to put together. The cost of all the chandeliers in the new hotel totaled $2 million, according to Klaiman. The hotel employs 300 people, chosen from among 10,000 applicants. Employees are Jews, Arabs, Bedouin, Armenians, and immigrants, says Klaiman. They were chosen for their friendliness, not for their experience he emphasizes. Klaiman is an Israeli who trained at the Tadmor Hotel Management School in Herzliya and joined Hilton Worldwide in 1988. He previously managed a number of Hilton Hotels
in London before returning to Israel to take over as General Manager of the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, which is operated by Hilton Hotels and IPC Jerusalem Ltd, a company owned by the Reichmann family of Canada. Many of the art and Judaica shops located close to the new hotel are looking forward to an upswing in business. But Nissim Mizrahi, the longtime sculptor and jewelry designer, isn’t getting too excited. Mizrahi shrugs and tells visitors he’s happy the old building has come back to life, as he glances with a smile at the Waldorf Astoria doorman dressed in top hat and tails, holding open the arched glass door to the hotel.
Music & Entertainment
Anti-Israel opera to be viewed Live by hundreds of thousands By Myron Kaplan/JNS.org
An open letter to the New York Metropolitan Opera general manager, Peter Gelb, concerning “The Death of Klinghoffer,” an anti-Jewish and anti-Israel opera: reasons to reject it and viable replacements for it in HD transmission. Dear Mr. Gelb, As a longtime fan of grand opera, I have attended numerous superb live Met performances both at Lincoln Center and via live Saturday matinee performance HD transmissions to theaters (not to mention listening to numerous Met Saturday matinee live radio broadcasts)—and have greatly admired your accomplishments at the Met. So it was with great dismay and disappointment that I learned that the Met had scheduled for the 2014-2015 season its first-ever performances of John Adams’s “The Death of Klinghoffer.” Mediocre music is the least of the work’s problems. Even more serious is a tendentious story line and an inflammatory libretto that falsely maligns Israel and the Jewish people. This story line can be characterized fairly as “Understandably aggrieved Palestinian Arabs wreak vengeance on disabled Jew standing in for all his perfidious co-religionists.” This is an obscene inversion of the reality that was the Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacking and subsequent terrorist murder of passenger Leon Klinghoffer. In this regard, it must be noted that the librettist, Alice Goodman, during the writing of the opera rejected her American Jewish heritage by joining the Anglican Church, the leadership of which is known for its hostility toward Israel. Goodman is now a parish priest in England. The most troubling aspect of the Met’s scheduling of “The Death of Klinghoffer” is the live HD transmission of this opera, set for November 15, 2014—one of 10 such transmitted opera performances planned for the coming season—to more than 2,000 theaters in 66 countries (including more than 700 U.S. theaters). This would make the live performance immediately available to hundreds of thousands of people (and potentially millions according to the Met), giving wide international distribution to what is, at its heart, an anti-Jewish slander. I’m aware that it may not be feasible at this 12
Outside the New York Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center in New York City. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
juncture to cancel all or any of the eight performances of this opera scheduled during the period of October-November 2014, but in order to minimize the harm, the Met should substitute another opera for the HD transmission. As alluded to above, the opera is based on the 1985 murder of a helpless 69-year-old American Jewish man, Leon Klinghoffer, confined to a wheelchair—shot in the head while vacationing with his wife on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea. He was murdered by Palestinian Arab hijackers belonging to the Palestine Liberation Front, a component of Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization, and his body dumped
into the water. The choice of the title, “The Death of Klinghoffer” and not “The Murder of Klinghoffer,” signals the work’s moral evasion and misrepresentation. In a sense, it is consistent with the PLO’s initial comments on the murder, that either Klinghoffer had died of natural causes or his wife pushed him overboard to be able to claim life insurance. The title’s sanitizing of murder is, however, also consistent with the opera’s anti-Jewish tone. Instead of properly characterizing the Palestinian hijackers of the cruise ship as permanent prisoners of their own rage originating from cultural indoctrination, Adams/ Goodman impart idealism to them. The opera opens with these words
sung by the Chorus of Exiled Palestinians: “My father’s house was razed—In nineteen forty-eight— When the Israelis passed—Over our street.” Here, Israelis are likened to the avenging Angel of Death in the biblical story of the original Passover, exacting punishment on the ancient Egyptians after Pharaoh, breaking a promise, refused to let the Jewish people leave Egypt. This amounts to an artistically licensed slander, falsely suggesting that the Israelis, besieged by the armies of five Arab countries and Palestinian Arab “irregulars” bent on driving them into the sea, exacted widespread revenge upon Arabs residing in the ancient Jewish homeland. Hijacker Rambo invokes anti-
Semitic canards: “Wherever poor men—Are gathered they can—Find Jews getting fat—You know how to cheat—The simple, exploit—The virgin, pollute— Where you have exploited— Defame those you cheated— And break your own law—With idolatry.” Rambo’s lyrics, with virtually no artistic embellishment, could have been lifted from Nazi publications like Der Sturmer, as even a casual glance at the archives would confirm. Repeatedly, the Palestinians are portrayed as humane idealists. Hijacker Molqi sings: “We are— Soldiers fighting a war—We are not criminals—And we are not vandals—But men of ideals.” Hijacker Mamoud appears gentle and grieving as he tells of his mother and brother: “She was killed—With the old men—And children in—Camps at Sabra— And Shatilla— Where Almighty God—In His mercy showed—My decapitated—Brother to me— And in His mercy—Allowed me to close—My brother’s eyes—And wipe his face.” This tear jerker falsely implies that Israelis, rather than members of the Lebanese Christian Phalange militia, massacred hundreds of Palestinian Arabs on Sept. 16-18, 1982 in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee districts. It gives no hint that the Phalangists acted in retribution for massacres of Christian Lebanese by the PLO and the September 14 assassination of the country’s Christian president-elect, Bashir Gemayel. Mamoud shows himself to be consumed with seemingly permanent hate and a vision of martyrdom: “The day that I—And my enemy—Sit peacefully—Each putting his case—And working towards peace—That day our hope WWW.LCHAIMMAGAZINE.COM
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dies—And I shall die too.” But even this negative portrayal is mitigated by Mamoud’s meditation on the birds in the air— which may encourage the viewer to sympathize with him. Leon Klinghoffer’s aria expressing his humanity and railing against the terrorists is insufficient to mitigate the harmful impression left by Goodman’s biased libretto and may even be seen as unnecessarily agitating the terrorists: “I came here with—My wife. We both—Have tried to live—Good lives. We give—Gladly, receive— Gratefully, love— And take pleasure—In small things, suffer—And comfort each other—We’re human. We are—The kind of people—You like to kill—Was it your pal—Who shot that little girl— At the airport in Rome?—You would have done the same—There’s so much anger in you—And hate.” Goodman’s biased libretto condemns Jews and Israelis as a group, while the Arab hijackers, when condemned, are characterized as violent or revengeful individuals without regard to their ethnic/religious group. If Adams/Goodman intended some semblance of balance in this respect then they would have included, as well as anti-Jewish canards, anti-Arab/Muslim charges such as “Muslims want to destroy all infidels— their Koran tells them to do this.” But there is no semblance of this in this opera. Then there is the matter of the renewed cruelty this Met production, not so much fiction but rather propagandistically manipulated facts, is likely to inflict upon the Klinghoffer family. After the 1991 premieres of the opera, The Telegraph (London) reported that Mr. Klinghoffer’s two daughters, Lisa and Ilsa, attended a New York production of the opera in 1991, which they described as “appalling” and “anti-Semitic.” A New York Times article reported on the antipathy toward Adams/ Goodman by Lisa and Ilsa Klinghoffer: “We are outraged at the exploitation of our parents and the cold blooded murder of our father as the centerpiece of a production that appears to us to be anti-Semitic.” If it’s necessary to provide at least one first-time HD transmission of a modern opera composed after 1930, there are two excellent candidates already in the Met’s 2014-2015 schedule: Shastikovich’s ‘Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk” and Stravinsky’s 14
“The Rake’s Progress,” both of which, according to critics, have excellent productions, conductors and singers. The Shastikovich substitution would involve merely a replacement of November 15 on the HD schedule with November 29 currently scheduled as a Saturday matinee performance of this opera. The Stravinsky substitution would involve replacement of November 15 on the HD schedule with May 9, 2015 already scheduled as a Saturday matinee performance of this opera. Otherwise, classic operas already scheduled at the Met in 2014-2015, but not scheduled for HD broadcast, include “Aida”—currently scheduled for a Met evening performance on the same day, November 15, as the HD transmission. Why not substitute it on that day with the Adams
Leon Klinghoffer’s aria expressing his humanity and railing against the terrorists is insufficient to mitigate the harmful impression left by Goodman’s biased libretto and may even be seen as unnecessarily agitating the terrorists...
opera? This magnificent Verdi opera is one of the favorites of opera fans worldwide. Certainly it would be a much greater drawing card than the Adams opera in all or nearly all of the countries. Other possibilities include “La Traviata,” “Magic Flute,” and “Barber of Seville.” For “La Traviata,” replace November 15 on the HD schedule with December 27, currently scheduled as a matinee performance of this opera. For “Magic Flute,” replace November 15 on the HD schedule with November 8, currently scheduled as a matinee performance of this opera. For “Barber of Seville,” replace November 15 on the HD schedule with November 22, currently scheduled as a matinee
performance of this opera. Mr.Gelb,I trust that you will reverse an unfortunate decision just as you did in 2012 when, displeased with Opera News reviews of Met productions, you barred the magazine from subsequent reviews. Following an uproar from opera fans, you reversed the brief ban, forthrightly admitting to having made a mistake. Live transmission of “The Death of Klinghoffer,” a slanderous anti-Jewish and antiIsraeli concoction, is much more grave than the contretemps over Opera News. Mr. Gelb, we urge you, for the sake of the Met’s reputation and the constant struggle against anti-Semitism and antiZionism, to at least provide an HD transmission substitution. Sincerely, Myron Kaplan Senior Research Analyst CAMERA (Boston-based 65,000-member Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America)
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Preserving Our Musical Tradition The Jewish Men’s Choir By Amy Barrett year, we are going up to Los Angeles to do a program with a synagogue there, so we are trying to expand our area of outreach now.” The importance of a group like JMC in the community is profound; so the span of reach is very important to the group’s mission. Weber says music and art are a reflection of the culture they were created in. By preserving Jewish choral music, she says the group is truly preserving the culture of our ancestors. “If we study the history of Western music we will learn about the early music going on in the Catholic Church,” she says. “There were Jewish composers writing music which is very similar in nature during this time period, however it was music of the Jewish liturgy and not the Catholic liturgy. Gregorian chants actually developed [and were modeled] after Judaic chants. The Catholic Church was looking for a way to help the congregation remember the text of the mass and so they saw the singing of the text as a way to do this. “Now we celebrate the works of Rossi and Lewandowski as we perform some of the beautiful Jewish choral music that is primarily known only in Jewish music circles; but the SDJMC performs choral arrangements of all types of Jewish music, not only liturgical music. By performing choral arrangements of Yiddish songs, not only are we helping to preserve the Yiddish language, but we are also remembering the culture and traditions of the Jewish people. This is why it is so important to preserve all Jewish music, and not only Jewish Choral music.”
See the Jewish Men’s Choir as part of the San Diego Central Public Library Concert Series! “Historical Judaica” is on Sunday, Oct. 26; 2:303:30 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public.
To learn more or to inquire about having SDJMC perform at your next event, visit kolhakavod.com.
PHOTO Courtesy Jewish Men’s Choir
The Jewish Men’s Choir has been a San Diego institution for more than 10 years. Recently, the group was part of the Lipinsky Family Jewish Arts Fest, where they performed as part of Klezmer master (and San Diego native) Yale Strom’s ticket. The enthusiastic crowd for the evening was treated to Yiddish and Ladino music as guest director Larry Kornit (of B’nai Tikvah) directed. But what makes Jewish choral music different from any other? We asked Ruth Weber, music director and conductor for JMC. I guess [what sets Jewish choral music apart] is the composers themselves,” she says. “A lot of the things that we are trying to preserve are melodies that cantors from the classical and romantic time periods wrote and performed in their synagogues at that time that we don’t hear that much any more.” But JMC is not only about performing liturgical music; some of it is very similar to the non-cantorial music of the time. There is Klezmer choral music and ladino choral music and so on; all of which JMC strives to bring to the community in San Diego and beyond. The group’s first album, “Heritage,” has found a home in Jewish libraries all over the world in the quest to preserve this timeless tradition. The group, also known as KolHakavod (literally meaning “all the respect,” or the Israeli equivalent of “good job!”), has between 28-40 members at any one time attending weekly rehearsals. Group members range in age from high school students to men in their 70s and is looking to expand in the coming months. “We are working on promoting Jewish music to non Jewish groups,” Weber says. “To that end, we will be a part of the San Diego Public Library concert series this year, as part of an evening of Judaica, and are also pairing with the SD Interfaith chorus as a featured group. Later in the
Music & Entertainment
JAZZ in the
PINES This year the 21st Annual Jazz in the Pines in August plans on being a knockout celebration. 18
Idyllwild, CA, April 7, 2014…The Associates of Idyllwild Arts Foundation is proud to present the 21st Annual Jazz in the Pines Saturday and Sunday, August 16 & 17, 2014. Headliners will be announced in the coming weeks. Regularly priced tickets are $65.00 per day for over 25 acts on three stages. The early bird ticket price is $55.00 until May 15 with a special rate of only $100 if you buy both days together. Individual tickets and the ever-popular Patron Package (includes: admission to Friday, August 15 Jazz Jeans and Jewels party, preferred parking, preferred seating in the Holmes Amphitheater and a ticket to each day of the festival) are available for purchase at www.idyllwildjazz.com. Gates to the Jazz in the Pines concert pavilion open at 10:00 a.m. both Saturday, August 16 & Sunday August 17 with acts starting at 10:30 a.m. All three of the music venues, Holmes Amphitheater, Stephens Hall and the ever-popular French Quarter where you’ll hear jazz, blues, R&B and gospel until 5:30 p.m. The festival is located on the grounds of Idyllwild Arts at 52500 Temecula Road in the cool, clean air of the breathtakingly beautiful mountain village of Idyllwild, California. All parking is free with shuttles running continuously between the center of town and clearly designated lots. A variety of food concessions will tempt your taste buds along with a selection of wines, draft beer and margaritas. Over 65 world-class artists will be selling handmade items including art, sculptures, jazz memorabilia, jewelry and Jazz in the Pines collector gifts. For more information call 951-500-4090, or to book accommodations visit www.idylodging.com or www.idyllvacationrentals.com.
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