Holocaust Bill Passed by Assembly
A revision of Holocaust studies in California's schools is on its way. On May 23, the Assembly unanimously passed Assembly Bill 2003, the Holocaust Genocide Education Act. The bill outlines a plan to establish a 12-member Holocaust-Genocide Commission that would in turn create a "center for excellence" to provide resources to schools and colleges, including teacher training and certificate programs for Holocaust and genocide studies.
According to the Assembly counsel's summary of the bill, the centers would work with the California State University system, as well as with such established organizations as the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, the Northern California Holocaust Resource Center in San Francisco, the Cambodian Center in Stanislaus County and the Armenian Education Institute. The bill also includes the recommendation that survivor testimony be made central to teaching about slavery, genocide and the Holocaust.
Co-author Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood) said he was very pleased with the results of the vote.
"The response to the whole concept has been very positive," he said. "The only opposition we received was from Turks all over the world phoning and writing us [members of the Assembly] saying that the Armenian genocide did not exist, was way overblown or that just as many Turks died on their side."
The Assembly made one alteration to the bill, cutting the number of "centers for excellence" from three to one, which in turn reduced the funding significantly (from $250,000 for the first year to $50,000). Still, Koretz said that in the present economy, any new project is lucky to win approval.
The bill is set to be heard by the Senate's Education Committee on June 19. It has already acquired the support of six co-authors including Sens. Richard Alarcon (D-Sylmar), Betty Karnette (D-Long Beach), Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento) and Jack Scott (D-Altadena). To read the revised bill, go to: http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/acsframeset2text.htm.
-- Wendy J. Madnick, Contributing Writer
Courthouse Named for Mosk
The legacy of the late California Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk went on permanent public view this month when officials renamed the main civil courthouse at First and Hill streets the Mosk Courthouse.
In a ceremony held at the Music Center, officials praised Mosk as a champion of civil rights and a model to all jurists who pass through the courthouse doors.
Mosk, who died last year at the age of 88, served 37 years on the Supreme Court. Appointed by then-Gov. Edmund G. "Pat" Brown in 1964, Mosk pioneered voting rights, employment rights and human rights. He affirmed the right of counsel for those accused of crimes long before the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Miranda vs. Arizona. Former colleague Ed Sanders told The Journal that Mosk "resonated with issues" that meant justice for Californians.
During his tenure -- the longest of any justice on the state Supreme Court -- Mosk wrote decisions upholding the rights of disabled parents to maintain custody of their children and allowing women injured by the anti-miscarriage drug DES to collect damages from the pharmaceutical industry.
The speakers honoring Mosk included his son, newly appointed State Court of Appeal Justice Richard M. Mosk, Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George and Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. Also in attendance was the judges widow, Kaygey.
"Mosk," Yaroslavsky noted in his commendation, "exemplified the American ideals of tolerance, fair play, individual rights and civil liberties. Few jurists have so honored those principles and done more to uphold and advance them than he has." -- Staff Report
Beth Jacob 'Adopts' Five Families
During the annual Shavuot Yizkor appeal, congregants of Beth Jacob Congregation in the Pico-Robertson area pledged more than a half-million dollars for five families who were victimized by terror in Israel and who were adopted by the shul. Rabbi Steven Weil told Beth Jacob congregants about the plight of Adelia and Atzmon Moshe, a young newlywed couple who took in their two nieces who were orphaned when their brother and sister-in-law were gunned down in a drive-by shooting. The Moshes, who are expecting their first child, live in a tiny two-bedroom home, sleep on mattresses on the floor and are awakened at night by their young niece who is haunted by nightmares of her mother's blood.
A half a million dollars was raised in half an hour. One family increased its initial gift from $35,000 to $100,000. Another family, whose daughter is getting married in a few months, pledged $5,000. A third family decided, with their daughter, that instead of a large bat mitzvah party, they would give $3,500.
This was the first congregational appeal to raise the funds that could provide for the immediate needs of the five families. Prior to the Shavuot appeal, Beth Jacob members had collectively given at least $1 million dollars over the past 18 months to buy bulletproof buses, vans, jackets and ambulances. -- Staff Report
Jews for Judaism's New Offices, Services
Jews for Judaism, a countermissionary organization, has recently moved and expanded its services to include a marriage and family counseling center. The new center, staffed by Dvora Kravitz, a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in adolescents and life-cycle transitions, is located at 9911 W. Pico Blvd. For more information, call (310) 556-3344. -- Staff Report