Leaders of the Korean and Jewish communities in Los Angeles have joined forces to vigorously protest anti-Semitic cartoons in a book published in South Korea and translated into English.
A typical cartoon depicts a newspaper, magazine, radio and TV set with the caption: "In a word, American public debate belongs to the Jews, and it is no exaggeration to say that [U.S. media] are the voice of the Jews."
The publication in question, which is in comic book format, is one in a series titled, "Distant Countries and Neighboring Countries," and is designed to teach young Korean students about other nations.
It was written by Lee Won-bok, a popular South Korean university professor and author, and the book's English translation has reportedly sold more than 10 million copies.
"I don't have words to describe the outrage I feel," Yohngsohk Choe, co-chairman of the Korean Patriotic Action Movement in the U.S.A., told the Los Angeles Times.
Choe was among leaders of the large local Korean American community who met last Friday with Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Choe added, "The depictions are explosive. They have the potential to harm good relationships with our Jewish American neighbors in Los Angeles."
Cooper said he had written the publisher of the book, asking her "to carefully review the slanders in this book that historically have led to anti-Semitic violence and genocide," and "consider providing facts about the Jewish people, our religion and values to young South Koreans."
The publisher, Eun-Ju Park, answered by e-mail that she would check into the matter "more closely and correct what needs to be corrected," a response Cooper considered unsatisfactory.
-- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor
Jewish liaisons for Bush and Clinton outline work in 'the real West Wing'
Noam Neusner, who served as Jewish liaison and special assistant to President George W. Bush, said last Thursday that while the president welcomes comments from major Jewish organizations on matters of national policy, "it was kind of crazy" for the Union of Reform Judaism to pass a resolution condemning the Iraq War.
Neusner and Jay K. Footlik, who was President Bill Clinton's Jewish liaison, spoke at Sinai Temple at the 2007 Rabbi Samuel N. Sherman Memorial Lecture. Titled, "The Real West Wing," the event was co-sponsored by StandWithUs and moderated by Rabbi David Wolpe.
It is the job of the Jewish liaison to advise the president on a wide range of issues, including such things as lives of Jews in the military, allegations of proselytizing or arranging the annual White House Chanukah party. Footlik said some people believe that the Jewish liaison works for Jewish community, rather than for the president. He pointed out that American Jews are "not shy" about telling the White House their feelings.
In response to a question about anti-Semitism in America, both men said that in spite of the impact of President Jimmy Carter's recent book, support for Israel remains solid, but they stressed "you can't take it for granted."
Each cited examples of their administration's commitment to Israel and the Jewish people and expressed confidence that regardless who wins the 2008 elections, American support for Israel will remain strong.
-- Peter L. Rothholz, Contributing Writer
Milken schools chief announces retirement
Stephen S. Wise Schools went into high gear to find a successor for Dr. Rennie Wrubel, who last week announced her intention to retire from the position of head of school of Milken Community High School and Stephen S. Wise Middle School on June 30, 2008.
Wrubel, 62, has headed the schools for 10 years, during which time she has increased enrollment, made both the academics and Judaic studies more rigorous and built up the Jewish culture of the school, according to Metuka Benjamin, director of education for Stephen S. Wise Schools.
"She has been a great asset to Milken and really helped develop and build Milken," Benjamin said. "She brought it to the next level."
On Feb. 22, Wrubel sent a letter to Benjamin, explaining that she and her husband, who is 10 years her senior, longed to spend more time with each other and with family. Her daughter and son-in-law live in Israel with three children -- a 4-year-old and twin 10-month-olds.
"Leading Milken for these past 10 years has been the highlight of my 41 years in education. It has been far more than a job to me; it has been an act of love," Wrubel wrote, saying the decision to retire was one filled with emotion.
Milken is planning an international search for the position in the 16 months before Wrubel retires. With its $30 million campus, challenging academics and robust programming, the school aims to compete with L.A.'s best prep schools.
A search committee is already in formation, and administrators have hired Littleford & Associates, a consulting and executive search firm that has worked with the synagogue and its schools in the past and understands the culture and needs of the school, Benjamin told parents in a letter. John C. Littleford has already visited the school to conduct focus groups to develop a leadership profile for the position.
Once candidates have been identified and narrowed down, small groups of parents, teachers, alumni, students and administrators will have a chance to interview semifinalists and give input to the search committee. The committee aims to make a final recommendation by February 2008.
-- Julie Gruenbaum Fax, Education Editor
Police Chief Bratton warns terrorism will be threat for the rest of our lives
"Terrorism, like crime, is going to be with us the rest of our lives" LAPD Chief William Bratton told Rabbi David Woznica at an open forum at Stephen S. Wise Temple Monday night.
"Since we are a likely target, we share intelligence with the FBI and the governments of Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and Israel. We know we must trust one another and learn from each other."
He went on to reassure his audience, however, stating that "we are highly regarded for our capability and creativity, and there's no place as well prepared as this place."
The LAPD currently has 9,503 uniformed police officers, plus another 3,000 civilian employees. "We need a minimum of 12,500 officers" Bratton stated. "Even if we had that number, we would still be less staffed than other major American cities. If L.A. were to have the equivalent number of police officers for its size as New York City, we would need 17,500."
Bratton called on the audience to help him get the needed additional personnel. "Until we have a larger force" he explained "we are compelled to act like a fire department and respond to incidents, since we don't have the staff for crime prevention."
JFLA offers interest-free loans to nursing students
To help ease the local nursing shortage, the Jewish Free Loan Association has launched a new program to offer interest-free loans to nursing students.
The new program extends loans up to $5,000 per year for area nursing students. JFLA hopes to raise up to $1 million over the next three years to fund the project.
"We're trying to relieve the financial burden faced by nursing students throughout the city," JFLA Executive Director Mark Meltzer said. "With the baby boomers heading into retirement, nurses are more in demand than ever."
Southern California, like the rest of the state, suffers from an acute nursing shortage. The California Institute for Nursing & Health Care in Berkeley reported in May that, with the exception of San Francisco and Redding, the state has fewer registered nurses per 100,000 population than the national average. The California Employment Development Department recently said the state will need more than 109,000 new RNs by 2010, but that nursing schools are expected to produce only about half that number.
For more information on the nursing student loan fund, call (323) 761-8830
-- Marc Ballon, Senior Writer