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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘San Diego’

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner to Get Therapy for Sexual Misconduct

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner announced he will undergo therapy amid calls for his resignation over allegations of sexual misconduct.

In a brief statement to reporters Friday, Filner said he would be entering a treatment facility on Aug. 5 for two weeks of intensive therapy.

In his statement, Filner said his actions were “inexcusable” and issued public apologies to the women involved, the people of San Diego and members of his staff. He said treatment would continue even after he returned to work on Aug. 19.

“I must become a better person,” Filner said.

The mayor, who is Jewish, has been the target of mounting accusations that he made unwanted sexual advances toward women, including inappropriate touching.

Irene McCormack Jackson, Filner’s former director of communications, filed a lawsuit against the mayor last week alleging he had frequently put her in a headlock, made sexual comments and once said she should work without her panties on. On Thursday, four more women made accusations that Filner had touched them inappropriately.

Filner has so far rebuffed calls for his resignation, including most recently from Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman and chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, who said she was “personally offended by his actions.”

Permanent Artificial Heart Implanted in Israel For First Time

Monday, April 30th, 2012

An artificial heart has been permanently implanted in a patient in Israel for the first time.

Up until now, artificial hearts have been used in Israel to help a damaged heart continue to pump until a donor organ could be located.

The operation on a 63-year-old cardiac patient, who was also in organ failure, occurred over the weekend at the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikvah, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Mechanical heart transplant expert Dr. Jack Copeland, of the University of California at San Diego came to Israel to help with the transplant, the newspaper reported.

The hospital is still searching for a human heart for the patient.

Israeli-Based “DogTV” For Dogs At Home Alone

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

The new made-in-Israel US cable channel, DogTV, is scientifically designed to make dogs happy when they’re left at home alone, according to Israel21C.

DogTV began a six-month free trial of the 24 hour digital channel on February 13 in San Diego. If successful, it will be available by subscription. San Diego was chosen as the test market by DogTV creators because of its emphasis on dog friendliness, including special dog beaches, parks, and daycare centers.

According to their research, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Humane Society of the United States, and the American Veterinary Medical Association recommend leaving TV on for dogs who are home alone, in order to stimulate them and reduce the possibility of stress or depression.

The channel’s programming will be divided into three categories – relaxation, stimulation, and education – accustoming them to the sounds of street traffic or noisy household appliances.

My Own Hashgachah Pratis

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Several weeks ago I started a series on hashgachah pratis, or Divine Providence. Every believing Jew knows that events do not just unfold randomly; the story I told of two brothers named Yaakov and Yedidya clearly testified to that reality in a contemporary setting.

My column about the boys’ experience inspired many readers to share how their own personal challenges had enhanced their awareness of the guiding Hand of G-d in their lives.

What I never expected was that I would be sharing my own story of hashgachah pratis – certainly not under the circumstances I am about to describe.

For many years now, I and members of my family have spent Pesach at various resorts. This year was no exception. I had the opportunity to experience with some of my family the wonderful KMR program, run by the Werner family and featuring caterer Michael Schick, in the picturesque setting of the Park Hyatt Aviara in San Diego.

The program features a beautiful synthesis of entertainment and inspiration. Rabbis and rebbetzins are responsible for the enlightening Torah aspect of the program. In this case the rebbetzin, as you may have guessed, was me.

I was scheduled to speak at the beginning of Yom Tov and during the concluding days. The first days, Baruch Hashem, were wonderful, but the last days gave me a jolt I never anticipated.

On the final day of chol hamoed, in the middle of the night, I fell.

Some might wonder what on earth was I doing at 3 a.m., but those who know me are aware that my hectic schedule prevents me from going to sleep at a normal time. In any event, I fell, and it was not a simple fall. In all my years I don’t think I ever experienced such excruciating pain. My screams woke many guests. My daughter, whose room was nearby, came running with my son-in-law. I couldn’t move, not to the right or to the left. The pain was all encompassing.

Quickly the medics arrived and they called for an ambulance. As I was lifted onto a stretcher my agony became even more unbearable. While this was happening, it occurred to me somewhere in the back of my mind that most likely I would need surgery. Here I was in San Diego, far away from New York where I am familiar with the hospitals and doctors who attend to such acute injuries.

My daughter requested that the ambulance driver take me to the best hospital and, Baruch Hashem, we were not disappointed. I was blessed to receive the finest medical care and to encounter the kindest and most compassionate staff of nurses and physicians at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, led by an amazing CEO, Carl Etter.

The orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Christopher Hajnik, operated with dispatch. Time was of the essence – the evening would usher in Yom Tov.

As I learned firsthand, Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas is one of the finest medical centers in the country. Of more than 6,000 hospitals in U.S., it is ranked in the top 100. Even as I write this column from my hospital bed I am in awe of this facility. B’ezras Hashem, I will be soon be transferred to Scripps rehab where the process of learning to walk again will commence.

In the interim, in the midst of my tears, I knew I had to give honor to Hashem – something that my saintly parents – HaRav HaGaon HaTzaddik Avrohom, zt”l, and Rebbetzin Miriam Jungreis, a”h – taught me and that I try to do on all occasions. I spoke words of Torah and I discovered listening ears, minds and hearts. This was evident among the nurses and physicians – and CEO Carl Etter as well.

Prior to being wheeled into the operating room I blessed Dr. Hajnik and prayed that Hashem should send the Malach Rafael – the angel of healing – to guide his hands. I was so grateful to see his reaction. His eyes reflected faith rather than cynicism.

This same faith was seen everywhere. I shared words of wisdom from our Torah with this genuinely warm group of people. Soon I discovered that the calling card of Carl Etter is his humility. He spoke of his genuine faith in G-d. He expressed this by referring to teachings from the Bible. He spoke of truth, compassion, charity, integrity, honor, love and loyalty. He told me of his admiration for the wisdom of the Jewish people, the people of the book.

Carl spoke of his passion to teach and share with others G-d’s Word. He considers himself a wealthy man with many treasures – spiritual treasures all stemming from his faith in G-d.

Then I met the physical therapist assigned to help me. He was humming a tune, and the lyrics made me pause: “G-d brought forth the people of Israel on wings of eagles…” What an amazing song to hear in San Diego at Scripps Memorial from my physical therapist. Of course, we Jews – Am Yisrael – should be singing about wings of eagles – wings that will carry Elijah the Prophet as he announces the coming of Mashiach, soon in our day.

NCSY Philanthropy

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Over the past three months seven groups of NCSY teen leaders researched non-profit organizations, meeting with and learning from these organizations’ representatives about the Jewish perspective regarding philanthropy.

On February 29, at Young Israel of Century City, NCSY held its first Decision Day. Judges heard presentations from the students, and granted the following groups $5,000 – to be split among them. The winners were Camp Chesed, Shoes that Fit, G’mach of San Diego, and The Hero Project Holocaust Education Reach-Out.

(L-R) NCSY Regional Director Solly Hess; David Malka; Menachem Kashanian; Daniel Sacks; and NCSY West Coast Executive Director Rabbi Effie Goldberg.

 

(L-R) NCSY Regional Director Solly Hess; Brandon Lurie; Sam Rhodes; and NCSY West Coast Executive Director Rabbi Effie Goldberg.

 

(L-R) Jaques Hay; Yosef Peretz; NCSY Regional Director Solly Hess; Sarrica Fink; Danielle Vildodrf; Eliana Jalali; and NCSY West Coast Executive Director Rabbi Effie Goldberg.

 

One For The Books

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

He’s not Jewish, he’s not Lithuanian and he’s not a librarian, but Wyman Brent, an American from San Diego, is building a Jewish library in Vilna. The library is the melding of Brent’s three loves – books, Lithuania and Jewish culture. It’s sort of the culmination of an odyssey, which has taken him to various parts of the world and through many periods in history.

Hopefully, the library will open its doors in a couple of months, but its official opening is scheduled for October 1, 2009, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Vilna Gaon Museum, which is donating the space.

The 46-year-old self-appointed librarian first came to Lithuania in 1994. “I felt at home. It felt like the place where I belonged.” He had come to Russia to see the country and had read a book called The Hills of Vilnius (Alfonsas Bieliauskas and M. Ryley). So he came to see the city, which was described so beautifully in the book.

Brent isn’t Jewish and to his knowledge, there are no Jews in his centuries-old family tree. What began as a fascination with WWII and the Holocaust led to his traveling to Europe and visiting places of Jewish culture. On a 1993 visit to Prague, he was struck by the contrast between an exhibition of drawings by children from the concentration camps who had been killed, and that of the Jewish cemetery outside where he saw a rabbi walking with his students. And Wyman thought, “It’s wonderful that Judaism is still so very much alive.”

 

 

Wyman Brent on Casimir Street in Vilnius, a several-minute walk from Pylimo 4, which is the address of the Vilnius Jewish Library, and the Vilna Gaon Museum housed in the same building.

 

Of the 600,000 people living in Vilna today only about 4,000 are Jewish. Brent wants to build the library not only for the Jews of Vilna but also for everyone. Vilna already has a Jewish library. It’s small, well hidden and unused, according to Brent. He is very upset because the Turto Bankas is planning to sell off the former Vilna Ghetto Library this April 8, 2009, at 9:00 a.m.  “I am absolutely sickened by the thought that this bank will be allowed to sell off what does not legally, ethically or morally belong to it.”

His goal, he says, is to promote tolerance and understanding, an idealistic view he has held since he was a young child. He is also familiarizing himself with the Jewish religion and culture by attending synagogue services and hanging out at the JCC, which is also supporting his project. He doesn’t speak Hebrew yet, nor Lithuanian, for that matter. “I love to read but I hate to study,” he quips dryly.

 

 

Wyman Brent visiting with Joseph Levinson, a Shoah survivor who is signing his books for the library. Joseph is editor of Book of Sorrow, which is composed of photos of sites where Jews were killed in Lithuania. He also edited and wrote part of Holocaust in Lithuania.

 

To date, Wyman has a stock of 4,500 books, 60 CDs and 100 DVDs mostly purchased from his own funds. He estimates that he has already invested over $20,000 to buy and ship books. And he is beginning to feel the burden. He works nights at a youth hostel where he currently lives, and devotes his days to setting up the library. 

Brent has a rather broad definition of a “Jewish book.” As long as it was written by a Jew (he doesn’t check their tzitzit), the book is welcome.

 

 

Wyman Brent with Rachel Kostanian, Deputy Director of the Vilna Gaon Jewish Museum. Photo taken in the Vilnius Jewish Culture and Information Center.

 

 

“I have the greatest respect for Jewish history and culture, but if I just stock books relating to history, religion and culture in the library, the fact of the matter is, that only scholars and a handful of people will be reading them.” Brent wants everyone in Vilna and even visitors from around the world to come to enjoy his library. His goal is 100,000 books – and his collection, so far, features books in math, science, humor, sports, and medicine – all in English. “It’s a popular language in Vilna.”                            

 

“Although the museum is providing space and paying for a computer, which is great – I’m struggling financially.” Brent is hoping someone will offer him a grant or a stipend to help him pursue his dream of building his bibliotheca. “I’ve always loved libraries, thanks to my parents,” he says. He volunteered for many years at the library in San Diego.

 

 

Wyman Brent with Israeli Ambassador Chen Ivri – photo made last year at ceremony honoring Righteous Gentiles.

 

Brent’s plans for the library include a multi-media center and nightly activities featuring poetry readings, art exhibitions and concerts. “If things go well, I would like to stay here forever, and run the library.”

If you want to take a page from Wyman’s book and contribute to the library, he can be reached by email at: vilniusjewishlibrary@yahoo.com, or by phone at 370 5 2625357.

Books can be sent to him at: Wyman Brent, Ausros Vartu 20-15A, Vilnius LT-02100,Lithuania.

The Vilna Gaon Jewish Museum is located at: Pylimo 4 Vilnius (Vilna) Lithuania.

A Taste Of Summer

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Spring training is underway in Arizona and Florida and we’re all looking forward to our favorite teams coming home to start the regular season in April.

 

I’ve just had a taste of baseball and warm weather out west. I enjoyed a stay in San Diego where, though the weather is not as warm as it is in Miami, a motel stay is far cheaper and out-of-town guests get a very warm welcome from the local community.

 

The motel was a pop-up away from the kosher eateries under the supervision of Rabbi Avrom Bogopulsky, the popular spiritual leader of Beth Jacob Congregation, where I davened twice daily.

 

            One of the attractions for me in San Diego is Petco Park, home of the Padres. On non-game days the public is allowed to use a plaza adjacent to the top row of the right field bleachers that connect to downtown streets. It’s a great area to enjoy the sunshine, contemplate the upcoming season and drink in the view of the diamond and green grass. The Chabad rabbi lives close by and the Chabad House, which is a bit closer to the heart of downtown, has a daily and Shabbos minyan.

 

            We (wife and I) enjoy going from San Diego to Los Angeles by train, which takes two hours and 50 minutes with a couple of stops. My favorite stop is Anaheim behind the outfield parking lot of the Angels stadium. From there it was on to downtown L.A. where we rented a car and drove the few minutes to Dodger Stadium.

 

After a couple of hakofos around the imposing 47-year-old (but still beautiful) stadium, we made our way to the Beverly-Fairfax area and one of the establishments listed in The Jewish Press Dining Guide. Besides ballparks and kosher eateries, I like to check out shuls. Even though it was quite a distance from the overnight motel we stayed at, I chose two different shuls in the Beverly Hills area in which to daven –one in the evening and one in the morning. We had meals in three different kosher restaurants, all good and all listed in The Jewish Press.

 

            You can shorten the flight east by stopping in Phoenix and visiting several spring training sites. Fourteen teams use Arizona as their spring training home (l2 in the Phoenix area and two in Tucson) while 16 teams hang their caps in Florida. Obviously, you can cover more spring training complexes in less time with a Phoenix stay. The motels are far cheaper there than in Florida this time of year and there is a kosher eatery in Phoenix and one in Scottsdale.

 

Besides scattered Chabad Houses in the area, Phoenix has three small daily minyanim. The biggest at this time of year is at Scottsdale’s Chabad headquarters, located in a shopping center next to a combination kosher eatery and Judaica store. A couple of miles back down Scottsdale Avenue is the spring home of the San Francisco Giants.

 

Unlike Florida, where it’s usually well over an hour from one baseball spring complex to another, it’s only about 20 minutes via the streets from one Phoenix area spring ballpark to the next.

 

             But the two best prospects in baseball (in my opinion) are not in Arizona but in Florida. Baltimore rookie catcher Matt Wieters is a terrific switch-hitter with good power and a great arm. He may start the season with the Orioles (who are now based in Ft. Lauderdale) and could be an all-star in 2010. Look for Tigers starting prospect Rick Porcello (now pitching in Lakeland with the big club) to start the season in the minors and be in the majors late in the season. The Tigers have a couple of other flamethrowers who starred in college ball and the low minors and should make an impact by 2010.

 

You don’t have to go to Arizona or Florida to cover spring training if you have the new baseball channel. MLB-TV made its debut in January and it’s all baseball all the time. Every team is televised equally during spring training. Thirty teams in thirty days, says the advertising slogan. During the season, the station will cut into ballgames at interesting times until the last out of the last West Coast game.

 

As with the Internet, we have to use our televisions wisely and according to our values. I’m not telling people they should have a TV, but for those who do and who like baseball, the baseball channel is the one to watch.

 

Irwin Cohen, the author of seven books, headed a national baseball publication for five years before earning a World Series ring working as a department head in a major league front office. His Baseball Insider column appears the second week of each month in The Jewish Press. Cohen, who is president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul, is available for speaking engagements and may be reached in his dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/sports//2009/03/11/

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