Jewish Journal

Up Front

Posted on May. 28, 1998 at 8:00 pm











Attention: Jim Cameron

When my family gets together to talk about big sinking ships, the word Titanic never comes up. We remember the Volturno.

Eighteen months after the Titanic hit bottom, the Volturno set sail for America, carrying 657 bedraggled, desperate dreamers from Eastern Europe to the Golden Land. Among the passengers: five members of my family, including my Grandmother Bella.

On Thursday, Oct. 9, 1913, a week out of Amsterdam on its way to New York, a tremendous explosion rocked the Volturno. My family rushed to the top deck to see that the forward part of the ship was ablaze. An S.O.S. was sent out by wireless to nearby ships. And then everyone waited. Some passengers jumped overboard. Others were drowned while trying to escape on unstable lifeboats. My great-grandmother decided that her family would wait for the water to come to them. It was a fateful choice: As a result, theirs was the only family on board not to lose a member.

Ten rescue ships arrived on the scene, only to find the Volturno unapproachable due to a raging storm. The next morning, an oil ship arrived and pumped 50 tons of oil into the ocean, instantly calming the waters. Rescue operations began immediately, and within a few hours, all the survivors were taken to the various rescue ships. One hundred thirty-six passengers perished.

The Red Cross Emergency Relief Committee arranged with the Commissioner of Immigration to discharge the rigorous entry formalities. The Council of Jewish Women immediately met and cared for many of the passengers who only spoke Russian or Yiddish.

My great-aunt Sarah, 91, (left) was just 7 when the incident occurred. She recalled being lowered to the rescue boat while hanging onto a rope, and almost falling into the water before having her legs grabbed by someone and pulling her safely in. -- Cary Ginell, Contributing Writer




Alexander Haig

'Bush Blew It'

"Bush blew it in the 10th round."

On his recent Los Angeles appearance at the Skirball Cultural Center, Gen. Alexander Haig pulled no punches as he blasted the Republican administration's handling of the Gulf War. President Reagan's first secretary of state was no less critical of the Clinton administration, stating bluntly, "I am disturbed by the current state of U.S./Israeli relations."

Haig opened his lecture by quickly dispelling the notion circulating among many Jews (in light of some recently released audio tapes) that President Nixon was an anti-Semite. Of all the U.S. leaders he dealt with, Haig ranked Nixon -- under whom he worked as chief of staff -- as "perhaps Israel's greatest friend." In fact, it was Nixon, Haig claimed, who doubled assistance to Israel at the outbreak of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, despite massive tensions among Nixon's Cabinet and the Pentagon's vehement efforts to block aid. He deemed Nixon's decision as "particularly courageous," considering the Watergate scandal unfolding at the time.

An audience member asked Haig how peace could be achieved when Yasser Arafat's message to the American media and the Arab press has been two-faced. Haig, who earlier described the Palestinian Authority leader as an "inconsistent, erratic and negligent" character, responded, "When he's in a corner, he'll meet the needs of the moment."

But the main topic of the hour was Israel, a country that he emphasized was America's most crucial ally.

"When we are faithful to Israel, we are faithful to ourselves and our values." -- M.A.



Tips from a Teen-age Golf Pro

Todd Golditch is what you might call a "below par" golfer.

In 1994, the Northridge native won the gold medal at the Maccabiah Games in Cleveland, then repeated this feat when the Games were held in Los Angeles the following year. A University of Pennsylvania freshman, Golditch last month helped lead the Quakers to their first-ever Ivy League golf championship. He placed fourth individually.

Golditch, 18, credits much of his success to the support of his mother, Joanne, and the coaching of his father, Bud.

"My father taught me how to play," says Golditch, a Chatsworth High School product. "He knows how to correct my flaws."

Home for the summer, Golditch took some time out to talk shop with The Journal:


1) Play a short game. Work on your chipping and putting.

2) Stay confident mentally.

3) Improve each shot individually.

4) After a bad shot, put it past you and hit the next one better.

SECRET OF MY SUCCESS: The only thing I do is make sure I get a lot of rest. Walking 36 holes on the first day is pretty tough. On the course, I'll have some fruit, maybe a banana, but I don't really stick to anything.

PAR NONE: I really don't have any favorite [professional golf players]. I don't have one standout player. I'm a fan of everyone's game.

CLUB OF CHOICE: My driver.

GREENER PASTURES: The best course I ever played was one in Sacramento called Twelve Bridges. I've played in a couple of national tournaments there. It's a really tough course. The rough was really high, so there's a huge premium on hitting your drives on the fairway. The greens were really undulating and fast.

SAVE THE BEST COURSE FOR LAST: My coach has given us an incentive to play a course in New Jersey called Pine Valley. It's ranked No. 1 in the world. We're going to play there in September.

DEALING WITH GROUPIES: Unfortunately, I don't. I wish I had that problem. Maybe in a couple years....

"CADDYSHACK" OR "TIN CUP": "Caddyshack." I've actually seen it for the first time a week ago. Everyone told me I should see it. I thought it was really funny. -- Michael Aushenker, Community Editor

From left, Bud Golditch, Francis Vaughn (Penn golf coach), Todd Golditch and Joanne Golditch with trophy from 1910

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