GOP and Dems Spar in Presidential Debate
Los Angeles' first Jewish debate on the presidential election offered a taste of the partisan enmity awaiting voters in the coming months.
The June 3 "Jewish Vote 2004" event at the Museum of Tolerance, organized by StandWithUs, was the first in what is expected to be a series of four debates between Democratic and Republican leaders in the run-up to the presidential election in November.
Representing the presumptive Democratic candidate John Kerry were Andrew Lachman, co-chair of Jews for Kerry, and Paul Kujawsky, president of Democrats for Israel. Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Southern California Chair Bruce Bialosky -- representing Jewish Voters for Bush -- and area RJC Director Larry Greenfield stumped for the president.
Lachman and Kujawsky took President Bush to task for lack of planning in the Middle East, a weak economy, efforts to limit abortion and a faith-based initiative that favors evangelicals. In their attack on Kerry, Bialosky and Greenfield portrayed the Massachusetts senator as irresolute on terror and Israel, a tax-and-spend liberal and the husband of a woman who indirectly supported the Council for American Islamic Relations.
After the three-hour debate, feedback from observers from both sides of the aisle indicated that the first round went to President Bush.
"The Republicans were on message and strong in their attack against Kerry, but they didn't answer questions," said moderator William Rosendahl, a former Adelphia Cable executive who is running for the 11th District City Council seat.
He found the Democrats to be thoughtful in their delivery, but "not articulate in why Bush shouldn't get four more years."
The next debate will take place Thurs., July 8, 7 p.m. at Sinai Temple. For more information, visit www.standwithus.com. -- Adam Wills, Associate Editor
Shalom Institute Dedicates Bennett Center
Malibu's Shalom Institute Camp and Conference Center on June 6 dedicated the Marla Bennett Israel Discovery Center and Garden, named after the 24-year-old Jewish summer camp veteran killed in the 2002 cafeteria bombing at Hebrew University.
"She loved camp; this was her second home," said Shalom Institute executive director Bill Kaplan, who hosted Bennett's parents among the 130 people at the Sunday afternoon dedication.
Originally from San Diego, Bennett was a Camp JCA Shalom camper, counselor, unit head and program director. The UC Berkeley graduate was at Hebrew University studying to become a Jewish educator when a bomb exploded in the cafeteria on July 31, 2002. Her namesake learning center includes Israeli flora, organic farming and gardening, Jewish traditions and environmental issues, a Bedouin tent, a small archaeological dig and planter boxes named after Israeli cities and valleys.
Along with a letter read from Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, the dedication included a Congressional Record statement read on the floor of Congress June 2 by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles): "Her infectious personality and compassion for others will be memorialized...." -- David Finnigan, Contributing Writer
Rabbi William Kramer Dies at 84
Rabbi William M. Kramer, the multifaceted spiritual leader, historian, author, professor, lawyer, therapist and actor, died Tuesday at 84 from complications of congestive heart failure. Funeral services will be held at noon on Thursday, June 10, at Hillside Memorial Park, 6001 Centinela Ave., and are open to the public. An appreciation of his life and contributions will appear in the next issue of The Journal. -- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor
UCLA Grad Nominated as Student Regent
UC Davis law school student Adam R. Rosenthal was nominated 2005-06 student regent on May 20 by a University of California regents selection committee. His recommendation will be considered by the regents at its Sept. 22-23 meeting.
Rosenthal recently completed his first year at UC Davis after graduating from UCLA in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in history and a minor in Jewish studies. During his time at UCLA, Rosenthal served as president of Hillel and was co-founder of the Coalition for Peaceful Coexistence, a Jewish-Arab dialogue group.
If approved by the full board, Rosenthal's term as student regent would officially begin in July 2005, although he could participate in all deliberations without voting prior to his start date. -- AW