March 13, 2003
Grocery Shop for Israel
Boost Israel's gross national product while buying its grocery products.
That's the idea behind Fine Foods From Israel, a collaboration among the California Israel Chamber of Commerce, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute, and includes a diverse range of sponsors, like StandWithUs.com, Israel Discount Bank and various schools and synagogues.
The March 19-31 citywide event, which urges Angelenos to "Savor the Flavors of Israel," features the participation of 90 markets, including 56 Ralphs supermarkets and kosher outlets such as Valley Glatt Kosher Market and Elite Market in the Valley, Kosher Club and La Brea Kosher Market in Los Angeles, Fairfax Market (Sami-Makolet) and Picanty in the Fairfax District, and Elat Market and Nut House in the Pico-Robertson area. Store discounts, promotions, and food samples will allow customers to partake in fresh produce and dairy products, Mediterranean cuisine, kosher goods and other specialties of Israel.
"It's good timing," said Doron Abrahami, consul for economic affairs of Israel in Los Angeles, "because it's two weeks before Pesach and everything you can buy for Pesach, you can buy Israeli products."
Israel, which presently has a $100 billion economy, ships about $38 billion in total exports, an estimated $1 billion of that food-related.
"Trade can always be improved," said Teri Cohan Link of the California Israel Chamber of Commerce, "and with what's going on in Israel right now, there's been a serious disruption with trade."
"Beyond whatever we do philanthropically, it's important that people do consider purchasing Israeli products," Federation President John Fishel said.
The campaign will also encourage locals to purchase at least $1,000 of Israeli goods annually.
For more information, call (323) 658-7924 or visit www.finefoodsisrael.com . -- Michael Aushenker, Staff Writer
Bratton on Terror
With only 9,000 officers for a city of 5 million, the Los Angeles Police Department has been woefully underequipped to tackle the 250,000 gang members roaming the city, Police Chief William Bratton told a packed audience at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles on March 6. This is one of a number of appearances Bratton is making in the Jewish community.
With 650 murders in 2002 and homicides increasing 100 percent in two years, the LAPD has been unprepared to deal with terrorism, Bratton said, explaining that scandals such as Rampart have driven away 1,000 officers, and the impending war has also siphoned off additional officers.
"Next to New York and Washington, we are the biggest target in the country," he said. "We are a city that is not prepared. L.A. has underinvested in its police force."
Bratton has hired a new team of top brass and consultants, including terrorism expert John Miller, one of the few journalists to conduct a face-to-face interview with Osama bin Laden.
"We are much better off now than we were four months ago ... a year ago, and we're getting better all the time," Bratton said. "I think we can do it. I have a lot of faith in this department."
Bratton, who is married to Jewish Court TV anchor Rikki Klieman, said he wants to restore prestige to the force. "My goal, quite simply, is to reduce crime, fear and disorder," Bratton said.
Bratton will be the guest speaker at The American Jewish Committee's Civic Achievement Award Dinner honoring Rick J. Caruso on March 20. For information, call (310) 282-8080.
For a previously published Journal interview with Police Chief William Bratton, go to www.jewishjournal.com/archive . Keyword: Bratton. -- MA
Purim for Soldiers
West Coast Chabad Lubavitch has sent more than 2,000 mishloach manot (Purim baskets) to Jewish soldiers serving in Kuwait. The packages were packed by Chabad schoolchildren in California and then airlifted to the Mideast on Tuesday.
"Many of the Jewish men and women serving in the military are convinced that the Jewish community in the United States is unaware of the Jewish population in the military," said Lt. Col. (Rabbi) Mitch Ackerman, who will be traveling to Kuwait this Purim as an Army chaplain and who helped Chabad organize the airlift. "This support or recognition creates a most positive experience and is greatly appreciated."
Ackerman will personally deliver many of the packages to the soldiers, and he will also be reading the Megillat Esther to the soldiers in Kuwait.
"These mishloach manot packages are a way that we can bring the spirit of Purim to the soldiers now," said Rabbi Chaim Cunin, public relations director for West Coast Chabad Lubavitch. Cunin noted that in the 1940s, the Lubavitcher rebbe had distributed prayers to the Jewish members of the armed services.
"People are often surprised that Jewish kids are serving in the military, but it is very common," Cunin said. "We are doing our best to show that they have the support of the Jewish people all around the world." -- Gaby Wenig, Contributing Writer