March 31, 2005
Temple Museum Marks 350 Years of Jews in America
A Rancho Palos Verdes congregation has built a museum inside its temple to celebrate 350 years of Jewish life in America. The exhibit at Congregation Ner Tamid covers various topics related to Jewish life, ranging from early immigration, intolerance and work in trades to information about famous Jews in politics, the military, entertainment and sports.
This tapestry of experience is conveyed with timelines, maps, posters, artifacts, personal histories, art and the original signatures of luminaries. The Celebrate 350 Museum highlights the significant impact that Jews had on the formation and development of the United States.
Since opening its doors in January, the museum has hosted students, church groups, librarians and community volunteers from throughout the Los Angeles area. Docent-led tours are available by appointment. The exhibit is open for self-guided tours Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Visitors should call ahead.
Rabbi Jerry Danzig and temple leaders also have organized numerous educational events to commemorate "Celebrate 350." On Friday, April 15, at 8 p.m., Dr. Max Novak, UCLA professor emeritus, will lead a discussion on the "Impact of Jewish American Writers on American Literature."
The free event is open to the public, and no reservation is required.
All events take place at Congregation Ner Tamid, 5721 Crestridge Road., Rancho Palos Verdes, (310) 377-6986. -- Julie M. Brown, Contributing Writer
Palestinian Funding Raises Capitol Hill Concern
Israel and the United States need "serious transparency" from the new Palestinian leadership to achieve long-term peace, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told the Republican Jewish Coalition of Southern California on March 20 at the Museum of Tolerance.
Cantor added that congressional leaders are concerned about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's promotion of increased funding for infrastructure in Palestinian-controlled territory. There's concern on Capitol Hill, he said, that such funds would indirectly be funneled to Palestinian terrorist groups.
"That money to the Palestinians is very, very troubling to me," Cantor said. "God forbid they use it to fund terrorism again."
This possibility also has raised concerns about Israel's plan to withdraw from occupied territory in the Gaza strip.
"That does tend to color how members of Congress look at disengagement," he said.
Cantor, the chief deputy majority whip, also spoke earlier that day to about 100 Republican Jewish Coalition members at Newport Beach's Sutton Place Hotel. The Jewish congressman was slated to speak in person at both events, but instead stayed in Washington because of emergency legislation related to removal of life support for Terry Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman.
Cantor spoke via an Internet video hookup for the Museum of Tolerance event and by audio hookup for the Newport Beach gathering. -- David Finnigan, Contributing Writer
Waxman Sees Iran Danger
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) called Iran a ticking time bomb at a recent event at the Nessah synagogue in Beverly Hills.
"We do have a ticking time bomb," Waxman said of Iran during his 45-minute speech before an audience of Iranian Jews. "Those terrorists want to create a theocracy."
Waxman has been a persistent critic of President Bush, but he praised the president's European trip as a positive gesture toward key European allies and his statements in support of reformers in Iran.
"Those overtures are important to reach out directly to the Iranian people," he said.
Separately, Waxman spoke optimistically about changes in Palestinian leadership, but also said that a broad, deep psychological shift must occur among Palestinians if peace is to be achieved.
"The real dilemma is that Palestinians have never made clear they're willing to live with a Jewish country," Waxman said. "In this world, there has to be one Jewish country, and they have to accept that fact."
"There's no easy solution," he added. "We don't have the world with us at this point. There's going to have to be a period of time of confidence building." -- DF