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Two Dinners in San Diego

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On Friday I arrived at Rabbi Chalom’s house near SDSU. We stood at the picture of the late Rabbe Schneerson, a picture by Vichinskiy where the eyes seem to follow you and Rabbi recounted the many miracles attributed to the late Rebe: how he saved people’s lives, told people to buy land and find gold, how he predicted childbirth and so on. On the refrigerator is a picture that a friend of his came across out of thousands in Crown heights that was the Rebe and a thirteen year old Rabbi  in New York face to face. 
   We washed hands and Mairav, Rabbi’s wife helped me recite the prayer or bruha to wash the hands, we prayed over the chalah and we ate a meal of fish with garbanzo beans, a Sephardi chicken and rice and some east European bouillon. The guests were American, Israeli and French. Once the kids left to sleep, the table felt a little empty and people scooted slowly towards the Rabbi. 
   It was a simple Friday meal like any other meal for the Rabbi but a special one for most people as it is a true celebration of the weekend. 

     On Sunday I was getting ready for another meal. This time I put on a suit and made my way to Downtown Hilton, white as the stone of Jerusalem. This was the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The large and often feared lobby of the United States Jewry and I was invited by Joe Berman. People in suits filled the large foyer, chatting over drinks and security as usual was tight.         
     The bell rang and everyone took their seats at their tables and food began to be passed out among the hundred or so tables. Susan Davis, a Democrat congresswoman spoke of her appreciation for Israel followed by Lebanese American Republican Congressman, Darrell Issa, who spoke well in-spite of his very shady past and then by a man who proclaimed his love for Israel and the Latino love for Israel, Juan Vargas. 
   It was a who’s who of San Diego, with over a thousand people standing to both American and Israeli Anthems. More speeches followed by brilliant scientific mind of Andrew Viterbi, founder of Qualcomm and by political mind of Tal Beker and the Spiritual voice of Felipe Bernstein. 
    They all asked for money so that AIPAC can continue to lobby US Government on the behalf of Israel. Their idea, that American Jews have a voice and power in Israel through AIPAC. 
In essence that economic and internal affairs are done by Israel but Israel has no vote in America and so the only thing they have to influence American opinion are the voting Jews in US.
They spoke how the state of Israel has to put an end to the victim mentality. They spoke of Iran, Syria and Palestinians and how cooperation between US and Israel created Iron Dome missile defense, saving Israeli and Palestinian lives as it took away the need for Israeli soldiers to go into Gaza. They spoke a little about the problems inside Israel and focused on the problems we have effect over, those on the outside. It became clear just how important it is to Israel that America act in it’s own interests in the area and how often it doesn’t without the correct push. Of course if Israel would resolve the internal problems it would be far stronger to stand up to the forces on the outside. Watching this convergence of great minds for the benefit of American-Israeli relationship, I thought how good needs help, even if evil eventually crumbles destroyed by its own destructive forces.

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