San Diego Jewish World

                                            Sunday Evening
, July 1, 2007    

                                                                      Vol. 1, Number 62

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7/1/07 SDJW Report
(click on headline below to jump to the story)

International and National

Israel provides background on its aerial attacks in Gaza

Israelis help Cyprus fight Troodos Mountains fires

Avraham Hirschon, accused of corruption,
 resigns as Israel's finance minister

Katzav's troubles may continue beyond resignation

Regional and Local
Copper Scroll from Jordan is a treasure
hinting of locations of more treasures

Arts and Entertainment

Jewish stories everywhere?  This one takes place in Zimbabwe

True West a treat for true theater lovers


Jews in sports

Anderson Travel
JCC Fitness
Jewish American Chamber of Commerce
Seacrest Village Retirement Communities

Israel provides background on its aerial attacks in Gaza

JERUSALEM (Press Release)— On Saturday night, June 30, the IDF carried out three aerial attacks in the Gaza Strip, targeting terror operatives and infrastructure:

  • An Islamic Jihad terror cell in Khan Yunis which was planning a suicide bombing.

  • An Islamic Jihad terror cell in Al Mughazi planning attacks against Israel.

  • An Islamic Jihad weapons storage facility in Al Mughazi.

Here is the background:

The Khan Yunis cell

Ziyad Shahker Diab Rannem, a 38 year-old resident of Rafah, was a senior Islamic Jihad terror operative involved in terror activity against Israel since 2002. In the past years Ziyad Rannem served as deputy commander of a terrorist infrastructure in Rafah and Khan Yunis.

In May 2004 he planned and took part in the shooting attack on the Kissufim road in which a pregnant woman and her four daughters were murdered and three other civilians were injured.



In January 2005 he directed a combined bombing and shooting attack on an IDF vehicle patrolling the greenhouses of the community of Morag, in which one civilian was killed and three soldiers were injured.

In January 2005 he directed a shooting attack at Kissufim in which an IDF officer was injured.

Ziyad Rannem was recently involved in directing further attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF forces.

Ra'ed Fuad Shahker Rannem, a 21 year-old resident of Rafah, was an Islamic Jihad terror operative involved in terror attacks against Israel since 2005. Ra'ed Rannem was a weapons production expert and provided weaponry for attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF forces, constructing Qassam rockets and bombs. He was also involved in rocket launchings and shooting attacks in Israeli communities. He was recently preparing weaponry for additional attacks.

Muhammad Anuar Hammis Ra'i, a 21 year-old resident of Rafah, was a senior Islamic Jihad terror operative who planned and executed attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF forces, including rocket launchings and attacks near the Gaza Strip security fence.

The preceding story was provided by Israel security services via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Israelis help Cyprus fight Troodos Mountains fires
JERUSALEM (Press Release)—Following an appeal from the Foreign Ministry of Cyprus to the Israel Embassy in Nicosia, emergency firefighting assistance was dispatched over the weekend from Israel to extinguish the fires raging in the Troodos Mountains.

The Israel Foreign Ministry organized the aid, which included a firefighting aircraft belong to the Chimnir company, an Israel Air Force cargo jet carrying seven officers and soldiers, including a doctor from the Home Front Command, a fire extinguishing team and 33 tons of fire extinguishing materials.

The governments of Cyprus cooperated in the mission, and the United Kingdom permitted the planes to land at a British airfield near the site of the fire.

The planes returned home early Sunday morning.

The preceding story was provided by Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Nancy Harrison of Anderson Travel presents: Adventures in Cruising

Watch this ad for a different cruising photo each day. The adventure can be yours!

My thanks to Abe & Bea Goldberg and Ruth Kropveld for sharing photos of their family cruise on Holland America's Ryndam.

Call Nancy Harrison at (619) 265-0808 to help you book a cruise from San Diego or anywhere. Or click this ad to go right to her email.


Aboard Holland America Ryndam
San Diego  to Mexico cruising

Bea Goldberg, right, and mother Ruth
Kropveld enjoy a Pacific sunset
aboard the Ryndam


 Avraham Hirschon, accused of corruption,
 resigns as Israel's finance minister

JERUSALEM (Press Release)—Prime Minister Ehud Olmert this morning, accepted Minister Avraham Hirchson's letter of resignation in which the latter wrote that he wishes to devote all of his time and efforts to clearing his name and proving his innocence. 

Minister Hirchson added that even though the law allows him to continue in office, it would be proper to appoint a Finance Minister that could devote all his efforts to the Israeli economy.
Prime Minister Olmert subsequently spoke with Minister Hirchson and wished him success in the struggle to prove his innocence.  The Prime Minister expressed his appreciation over Minister Hirchson's professional achievements as Finance Minister and on the way in which he navigated the Israeli economy to impressive success.
Prime Minister Olmert said: "Even the step that Minister Hirchson is taking today puts the good of the economy ahead of any personal or other concern.  This is worthy of respect and admiration."

The preceding story was provided by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office


Letter from Jerusalem
             By Ira Sharkansky

Katzav's troubles may continue beyond resignation

JERUSALEM--Moshe Katzav, former President of Israel, is no longer accused officially of rape. Two charges of that crime indicated in preliminary documents did not appear in the plea bargain arranged by his attorneys and the Attorney General. Katzav has accepted the terms of resignation, being charged with committing indecent acts without consent, sexual harassment of two women, and harassing a witness. While the crimes carry a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment, the plea bargain calls for a suspended sentence, and some compensation to victims.

It's not quite the case that "all hell is breaking loose," but lots of women and not a few men are upset. A protest demonstration in Tel Aviv drew a modest crowd. The reporter on the scene for the public television channel reported that 200,000 people had appeared. When pressed by the newsperson in the studio that perhaps he meant 20,000, he repeated that people were telling him that there were 200,000, and continued to speak enthusiastically about the support for punishing Katzav more severely, and firing the Attorney General.

Next day's newspaper estimated the crowd at 20,000. The Israeli standard of comparison is the 400,000, said to have been at a protest in 1982 when Ariel Sharon was found at least indirectly responsible for a massacre of Palestinians in Beirut.

If anyone out there wants a good looking, slightly chubby, but not too bright or professional reporter who might serve as a local weather boy, if he can report in something other than Hebrew, there may be one available here. 

One of the principal accusers of Katzav held a press conference after the announcement of the plea bargain. She detailed the sexual behavior of a low life who worked his way with effort and luck to become the President of Israel. She also demonstrated why the prosecutors did not include her charges among those filed against Katzav. Twice she submitted letters of resignation as an employee of the presidency. When they were rejected, she continued to work with Katzav. She also accepted a promotion.

It has been a while since Israeli courts demanded that a victim fight vigorously in order to establish a charge of rape. But a prosecutor wants something stronger in the direction of "No" than demonstrated by this victim.

The Attorney General described Katzav as a serial sexual offender in a news conference, but admitted to the problems in justifying the strongest charges in court. He also expressed concern about subjecting the presidency to a long and gruesome trial. The story of Richard Nixon sheds some light on these calculations.

The issue is not over. Several groups are petitioning the Supreme Court to overturn the plea bargain. The judges of the lower court may demand revision, especially of the sentence suspension, when the issue comes before them. Commentators are likely to work on this for some time.

Katzav may screw himself. Soon after the plea bargain was announced, he and family members asserted his innocence, and said that he accepted the bargain only to save his family the pressures of a trial. Then the senior prosecutor threatened that such behavior would invalidate the bargain, and start the process again.  The almost-former president may yet find himself one of the least enamored guests of the Prison Authority.

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Jews in the News          
 Like you, we're pleased when members of our community are praiseworthy, and are disappointed when they are blameworthy.
Whether it's good news or bad news, we'll try to keep track of what's being said in general media about our fellow Jews. Our news spotters are Dan Brin in Los Angeles, Donald H. Harrison in San Diego, and you. Wherever you are,  if you see a story of interest, please send a summary and link to us at and we'll acknowledge your tip at the end of the column. To see a source story click on the link within the respective paragraph.

*Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers and other songwriters of the first half of the 20th century are featured in Wilfrid Sheed's The House that George Built, approvingly reviewed by Charles McNulty in today's Los Angeles Times.

*Marty Block, president of the San Diego Community College Board, says the fact that master plans are developed during open meetings gives real estate speculators some advantage when the district tries to acquire property.  However, he said, doing the public's business in public is important.  The question arose with a San Diego Union-Tribune report by
that developers Mike Madigan and Paul Nieto were able to profit by a half million dollars by purchasing a property ahead of the college district, and then reselling it.

*U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, summing up the rightward shift in the current Supreme Court term, said "it's not often in the law that so few have changed so much."  The story by David G. Savage is in today's Los Angeles Times.

*Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said he saw "no credible evidence" that the suicide car bombing of the Glasgow Airport by terrorists indicated any threat to U.S. airports. A combined wire service story is in today's San Diego Union-Tribune.

Actor Kirk Douglas attended the 86th anniversary bash of the Hollywood Bowl, commenting how much he'd like to be that age again.  He is 90.  The story by Jenny Sundel is in today's Los Angeles Times.

A Copley News Service team looking into potential conflicts of interest on the part of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Democrat, California) whose subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee determines what may be spent by the Pentagon on outside contracts, reported it found no evidence that Feinstein ever steered a contract to companies in which she and her husband, Richard Blum, were heavily invested. The story by

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The Jewish Grapevine                                                  

CYBER REFERRALS—The American Jewish Committee website extolled a piece in yesterday's Wall Street Journal by Lucette Lagnado describing her return to the Cairo in which she had once lived until Gamel Abdel Nasser made it clear in the 1950s that Jews and Europeans were not welcome in Egypt. ... For those of you who have visited the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum and are hungering for more exposure to this great religious and archaeological find, visit the website of the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem, which has photographed and allows you to see all 54 columns of the Great Isaiah Scroll.  Here is a link... Janet Tiger is distressed that popular theatre critic Pat Launer will no longer be featured on KPBS radio.  The background of this development is on Launer's personal website.

GROWING, THANKS TO YOU—The chart below by Webalizer provides summaries of the daily averages and monthly totals for San Diego Jewish World for the two months since our online publication was transformed from to a site that includes both daily news and archival material on Jewish places to visit. The daily number of visitors has increased from 2,308 to 2,898, an increase of more than 500 visits per day. Therefore we had 86,952 visitors in June (which has only 30 days) compared to 71,566 visitors  in May (which has 31).  The number of pages visited are just about double the number of visitors, meaning that a typical visitor came in on one page, usually our home page, and left the site on another. The number of sites which connected to our site declined from 25,605 to 23,615, a disappointment for which we have no explanation.  We can speculate that people who used search engines like "Google" to find specific topics may have found more of what they were looking for in May on our site than they did in June.  Regardless, it appears that we have developed a core constituency of over 20,000 readers. We will work hard to earn your loyalty and to build upon your readership.  Thank you for your support.

Summary by Month
Month Daily Avg Monthly Totals
Hits Files Pages Visits Sites KBytes Visits Pages Files Hits
Jun 2007 12654 8368 5562 2898 23615 21458182 86952 166889 251044 379621
May 2007 11898 8234 4457 2308 25605 21268566 71566 138168 255265 368855

IN MEMORY—Frieda Goldberg, 85, of Rancho Bernardo, died Tuesday, July 26. Among her survivors is her son, Jack Goldberg, of Rancho Penasquitos.

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Regional and Local

Copper Scroll from Jordan is a treasure
hinting of locations of more treasures


WHY IS THIS SCROLL different from all other scrolls at the Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibition in
 San Diego. Curator, Risa Levitt Kohn, (r) provided three reasons this evening

Dead Sea Scroll from the Department of Antiquities of Jordan: photographs by Dr. Bruce Zuckerman and Kenneth
 Zuckerman, West Semitic Research. Courtesy of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan and West Semitic Research;
 Photo of Risa Levitt Kohn by Donald H. Harrison

By Edward Zeiden

SAN DIEGO--As you're ending your journey through the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum, you come across something that catches your eye.  It's another piece in the collection of scrolls, except this one is different, very different. 

This scroll is composed completely of copper!  The rest of the scrolls are leather or parchment, in danger of slowly deteriorating without the intervention of conservationists.  But this copper scroll, although subject to corrosion, was clearly constructed to last. 

That is not the only reason this scroll is different from all other scrolls in the exhibit. Unlike the rest of the Dead Sea Scrolls this one came from Jordan instead of Israel.  Also distinguishing it from the rest is that it holds no biblical reference.  It's actually a treasure list or "golden ticket" if you will.  This scroll lists 64 locations where various items of gold and silver are said to be hidden. 

The problem with the descriptions is that whoever wrote them assumed they would be read by a contemporary, not by someone 2,000 years after his time.  The writer describes places the way we might give directions to the local store.  He refers to places whose names are no longer known.

For example, one bullet point states:  "In the irrigation cistern of the Shaveh, in the outlet that is in it, buried at eleven cubits: 70 talents of silver.”  But what is the Shaveh?  Where is it?

Where did this treasure even come from in the first place? you might ask.  Some think it came from the Qumran community itself, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.  Others believe it came from the First or Second Temple complex in Jerusalem.  The most widely accepted theory suggests the treasure consisted of funds accumulated throughout Israel from about 70 to 130 C.E.

Dr. Risa Levitt Kohn, curator of the exhibit, suggested in a press release that  "the Copper Scroll has a story fit to be an Indiana Jones movie."  The fact that the treasure hasn’t been found may mean it doesn’t really exist, its writers possibly sending readers on a "wild goose chase," as it

Even if there is a treasure, there are major problems for treasure hunters. First, the scroll was written in an ancient form of Hebrew. Some words are not known today, Kohn said.

Furthermore, the scroll had corroded over the years, and could not be simply unrolled.  It actually had to be cut into strips to be read.

While this unique copper scroll may unlock vast riches beyond our dreams,  the intriguing treasure list is still shrouded in mystery.  

And, according to Kohn, there was a bit of intrigue in getting the Copper Scroll to San Diego at the same time as the Israeli scrolls came.   Although Jordan and Israel today are at peace, the former enemy nations have never jointly exhibited their scrolls.

In a lecture tonight to approximately 200 people, mostly drawn from  Congregation Beth El of La Jolla, Kohn said just having the Copper Scroll was something of a coup for the Natural History Museum.  It is the first time it has been exhibited outside of Jordan since its 1967 war with Israel. 

“It was a quite an interesting set of negotiations that needed to take place to convince both antiquity authorities that it would be wonderful for them to cooperate on this cultural venture outside of Jordan,” she said.

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Arts and Entertainment

People of the Books

Jewish stories everywhere?  This one takes place in Zimbabwe

WHEN A CROCODILE EATS THE SUN  by Peter Godwin; Little, Brown and Co.; 341 pages; $24.99.

Reviewed by Norman Manson

For its first 115 pages, this book is as advertised in its subtitle on the jacket, "A Memoir of Africa."

But on page 116, the reader is thrown a wicked curveball, revealing the stunning fact that the author's father, who really is the book's main character, is not the quintessential English gentleman he purports to be, but rather is a Polish Jew, a son and brother of Holocaust victims, who has totally reinvented himself.

This revelation adds an intriguing twist to a work that is enlightening and informative, giving the reader an in-depth picture of a continent that is virtually terra incognita for most Westerners. And it is a dark, gloomy portrait.

In recent years, the names of Darfur, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and a few other African places have made it into American newspapers and TV newscasts. Zimbabwe, however, has somehow stayed under the radar for the most part - and Godwin does his best to remedy that.

The former British colony of Rhodesia gained its independence after a bloody civil war in 1980,and since then has been ruled by a dictator named Robert Mugabe. Over the years, he has managed to keep a lid on his subjects, both black and white, but the nation - such as it is - has been slowly but surely sliding into chaos.

Godwin focuses on the years of his father's decline, from 1996 until his death in 2004, but these also were years of worsening strife in Zimbabwe, where his parents have lived since the 1950s and from where they refuse to leave. Farmlands and other property were seized from their rightful owners - who included both whites and blacks opposed to Mugabe - and given to the dictator's close associates, who were thus able to enrich themselves. Meanwhile, the economy was coming apart, with the inflation rate soaring to the point where Zimbabwean currency was (and still is) virtually worthless.

Godwin now lives in New York and writes for various publications including The New York Times and National Geographic. He manages to obtain writing assignments regularly that take him to southern Africa, enabling him to visit his ailing father and see for himself the deterioration of his homeland.

And at the same time, he finally learns of his father's past and delves into Holocaust records in an effort to learn the fate of his father's mother and sister.

The personal story is tied in deftly with the tragic story of a nation in deep trouble, and the result is an eye-opening account a of a tragic time for both the family and the country. And it also depicts the life of a man who, having denied his Jewishness and taken on a totally new identity, now in his dying years is finally able to come to terms with his past - how he went from Poland to England to attend school just before the Nazi invasion of his homeland, served in a Polish army-in-exile unit during the war, and with the Communist postwar takeover of Poland, could not return home. So he became an Englishman, eventually changing his name from Goldfarb to Godwin and going to colonial Africa  as an engineer. And, along the way he met and married a red-haired Scottish young lady over her mother's vehement objections.

The story holds the reader's interest throughout, and provides an excellent learning experience about one part of the deeply troubled African continent.

One final note: The book's title derives from a village superstition

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Arts in Review

 by Carol Davis 

 True West a treat for true theater lovers

CARLSBAD, Calif—While some might not like the subject matter of Sam Shepard’s True West  and might find it uncomfortable watching the events of this play unfold, they would be hard pressed not to be impressed by the current production of it in the new facility of The New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad. (More on the facility later.)

Shepard’s play, the ‘third of his family plays’, hits all the raw nerves in dealing with family relationships; love, hate, revenge, jealousy, rage, sibling rivalry, you name the emotion. And when the dysfunction in the home is propelled by alcohol, well, that’s another story altogether. The father, the unseen person spoken of in every emotional tone, the mysterious drunk hidden away in some institution, is really the third leg in this family troika.

Lee (Francis Gercke) puts his had on shoulder of agent Sam (Jack Missett)
as Austin (Joshua Everett Johnson) looks on in scene from
True West
Adam Brick photo

Shepard’s play centers around two brothers. Austin, (Joshua Everett Johnson) and Lee (Francis Gercke). Austin is the clean cut, Ivy League graduate, soon to be big time writer with a wife and two kids back East. When the play opens, he is pecking away at his typewriter on the table in the patio area of his mother’s house in suburban Los Angeles. Nick Fouch designed the realistic and useable patio  and kitchen area with a true 60’s/70’s, So Cal.  look (at the edge of the desert)with running water and a full supply of food in the fridge.  His mom is on a trip to Alaska and Austin is taking care of her plants while editing the screenplay he hopes to be bought as a movie sooner rather than later.

Lee, on the other hand is a scruffy, out of control petty thief who never graduated high school and who took off into the Mojave desert living off the fruits of the land because he couldn’t seem to make it any place else.  His role in life was to taunt and terrorize his younger brother just for the heck of it. He surprises Austin when he shows up at the family home.

He has come back, unexpectedly,  with his several Bud six packs because he needs a place to hide, do a little R&R and a little small time thieving, TV sets are his specialty,  for some extra thrills. They hadn’t seen each other in a long time and old habits don’t change because one or the other is out of sight. Austin doesn’t trust Lee and Lee picks up his bullying where they left off  the last time.

Both brothers spar in the beginning with Lee pushing, batting, poking and badgering Austin while constantly tugging at his pants, hiking them up tucking in his soiled shirt, wiping his lips and pacing back and fourth.  Austin, his white V necked sweater evenly smooth over his clean jeans continues typing while staving off his brother’s advances, cleaning up the beer he has so carelessly dribbled over the floor.

Suddenly, Lee comes up with an idea for a screenplay  about the West, and in an attempt to appease his brother, Austin agrees to type it out and show it to his agent, whom he is expecting momentarily. The story is about a chase through the desert, one guy chasing  another, that becomes eerily, their story.

Austin wants Lee out of the house when his agent, Saul, a stereotypical looking/acting Jewish wheeler dealer (Jack Missett) arrives. So over his better judgment, Austin gives Lee the keys to his car, but Lee decides to stay after he gets the keys. When Saul  does arrive he is in shorts, dripping with a thick gold bracelet, pukka beads around his neck and a flashy pinky ring.  Lee convinces  Saul to take his story, a true Modern Western, over Austin’s love story. They deal, making a golfing date to solidify the details. Lee is off and running, smacking his lips, rubbing his hands together and smelling fame, leaving Austin bewildered, to pick up the pieces and wonder about his future. (Jump to continuation)

            Jews in Sports

Unless otherwise indicated, source for these stories is today's edition of The San Diego Union-Tribune, to which we gratefully provide the links below.

Youkilis                                                  Green                                                 Schoeneweis
BASEBALL—The Boston Red Sox dropped a game 5-4 to the Texas Rangers, but no one would blame Kevin Youkilis In five plate appearances, he walked three times and homered once, bringing his season RBI total to 43 and his batting average to .326. ... Shawn Green singled and received a walk to get on base twice, but he never got to score any of the New York Mets runs as his team coasted to a 8-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. Mets reliever Scott Schoeneweis pitched an inning in relief, giving up one hit but no runs, while striking out two batters.  That brought his ERA down to 5.65. ...

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Story continuations

 Gaza ...
(Continued from above)


In May 2004, Ra'i placed the roadside bomb detonated against an IDF APC operating in the Philadelphi corridor, and also fired an RPG at it during the attack. Five soldiers were killed in the attack and five others were injured.

Ra'i was recently involved with Ziyad Rannem in planning suicide bombings against Israeli communities and IDF forces in the Gaza area.

The Al Mughazi cell

Salah Abed Al Hafez Ahmad Kofa, a 45 year-old resident of Al Mughazi, was a senior Islamic Jihad terror operative involved in many attacks since 2001 and was a major force in the organization's weapon production efforts.

Salah was involved in the attack at the Kissufim crossing on June 9th 2007, in which a vehicle emblazoned with the "TV" and "Press" signs was used to infiltrate Israel and gunmen exchanged fire with IDF forces for several hours before one of them was killed.

In March 2004 he was involved in a terror attack at the Erez crossing in which gunmen in two cars camouflaged as IDF vehicles arrived at the Erez crossing and opened fire at Israeli forces. Two Palestinians were killed in the attack and eight were injured. Salah Kofa prepared the vehicles used in the attack.

Kofa was recently involved in attacks against IDF forces in the Gaza Strip security fence area.

  The preceding story was provided by Israeli security sources via Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


 True West...
  (Continued from above)

By the second act Lee, in a turn about , is dictating HIS ideas for Austin to type. He wants Saul to see the finished product so he can get financing from his money men as soon as possible. Lee who is becoming Austin, has the upper hand in the fiction department and Austin, under pressure to accommodate his brother, bangs away at the typewriter all the while hoping Saul will change his mind.

But something happens along the way, and Austin decides he’ll try some neighborhood heists just to show Lee he can do it. Of course there is a dare by Lee. He always wanted to be like Lee, he confesses, to live on the edge, to stop being the goody two shoes, to live the unconventional life.

Things go from bad to worse as their drinking increases, and the seven or eight toasters Austin steals from the neighbors houses to prove he could, are now popping with toast that land all over the floor, and by the time their mother, (Dana Case) who is a little loopy, comes home, they are both as drunk as hell, the house is topsy turvy and Austin is, well, becoming Lee.

There is one thing that NVA cannot be denied and that is the ability to breathe life into a production no matter how distasteful, gut wrenching or tense  the subject matter. They do it so well. And what two better actors to bring these characters to their prime than Johnson and Gercke? The roles are perfectly matched for these two men who so chillingly play drop dead opposites of the same person. It’s as if they turned each other inside out, or just vanished into the other’s self.

Director Kristainne Kurner has her actors nailed just right. With a measured pace and a thoughtful, almost menacing look, Gercke begins his disarming slowly. His slicked back pompadour hair, mustache and lisp (which is the frosting on the cake) make him a person to be reckoned with. He’s scary, sneaky, intense and will pounce at any given moment. Gercke IS Lee.

Johnson, as Austin, has the clean cut look  one would never suspect of having a violent bone in his body. It’s amazing, however, to see the transformation of the two brother’s in a role reversal  and to watch the  physical violence that must be played out amidst  their jealously, hatred and history. That, combined with  the dark, sadistic humor of Shepard that rides the tale of this tiger and becomes  another rite of passage for the two, is a fitting conclusion to Lee’s outrageous story and their survival. Austin, the gentler of the two does get his day, but at a high price.

Shepard is often compared to Harold Pinter with his long silent pauses and dark humor. True West starts off  with long pauses and stop go dialogue that may or may not be Pinteresque, but it is now Shepard’s trademark. See any of his plays and they have that same slow, stop, pause give and take that gives a more dramatic pitch to an already heavy story.

Missett gets Saul down to a tee and Case has her moment as the distant mother who will never understand her sons. The whole family needs therapy but we all know that will never happen, so we just try to work it out in our own minds and wonder what we would do given the situation.

True West is a sure winner and NVA continues to produce quality theatre with high marks in every category. It continues through July 15th. For more information call: 760-433-3245 or


New Village Arts Theater, established in 2001 by Kristianne Kurner and Francis Gercke (real husband and wife) has finally moved into its new space at 2787-B State Street in Carlsbad. Over the years the theatre group had been using the Jazzercise studio also in Carlsbad, which has graciously hosted this up and coming theatre company. 

The new space is close to the ocean and the Carlsbad train station; expect to hear a train whistle or two during a performance. It was formally home to the Children’s Discovery Museum, North San Diego County.

The city of Carlsbad, with the nudging of economic development manager, Cynthia Haas, worked out a deal that the theatre couldn’t resist. It’s a 6,000 square foot space with a seating capacity of 99. Small and intimate with dressing rooms, an art gallery in the lobby and air conditioning that is truly functional thanks to a generous gift by June and Jerry  Gottleib, this space is a work in progress. 

The beautiful wooden cathedral ceilings give the entry a spacious and warm and welcoming look. It’s home to the talented ensemble that is proud to be a part of NVA.

See you at the theatre.

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