PBS airing Ken Burns' docu on Righteous-Gentile, Holocaust rescuers; US Holocaust Museum Lecture tour details

Documentary Tells Untold Story of American Husband and Wife Who Spent Nearly Two Years on Life-Threatening Missions in Europe to Save Refugees and Dissidents from Nazi Occupation

DEFYING THE NAZIS: THE SHARPS’ WAR, a new documentary co-directed by Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowsky about a little-known but important mission by an American minister and his wife to rescue refugees and dissidents in Europe before and after the start of World War II, will air on September 20 at 9 pm (check local listings) on PBS. Join the conversation with #SharpsWarPBS. 

Artemis Joukowski and Ken Burns promote Defying the Nazis

The 90-minute film tells the story of Waitstill and Martha Sharp, a Unitarian minister and his wife from Wellesley, Massachusetts, who left their children behind in the care of their parish and boldly committed to multiple life-threatening missions in Europe. The couple provided relief to embattled groups, raised money for refugee aid and smuggled Nazi targets, including children, out of the country. They are two of the five Americans who have been inducted by Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust museum, as Righteous Among the Nations
Waitstill and Martha Sharp on grandson's bookcover

Over two dangerous years they helped to save hundreds of imperiled political dissidents and Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi occupation across Europe. “The story of Waitstill and Martha Sharp is one of the most incredible tales of compassion, sacrifice and heroism that I have ever heard, and I was completely unaware of it until five years ago when Artemis Joukowsky first shared it with me,” said Ken Burns. “Nearly three years before America as a nation became involved in the Second World War, these two unassuming, so-called ‘ordinary’ Americans gave up everything they knew and loved and risked their lives to become involved in a war 4,000 miles away because they knew there were people in grave danger who needed help.” 


On Oct. 7, 2015 the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum presented “Two Who Defied the Nazis” as the 7th annual, Linda and Tony Rubin Lecture The program, a timely reminder of what refugees endure, was held at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. The Sharps' remarkable actions are documented in a collection of personal papers that have been donated to the Museum. 

The Museum’s Western Regional Director, Steve Klappholz and the Defying's director and filmmaker (and Sharp grandson) Artemis Joukowsky appeared.  Mr. Klappholz (in a prepared statement) wrote “We are fortunate to have such a high-caliber film produced by Ken Burns to learn about the heroics of these two individuals and to better understand their challenges and struggles during what was the beginning of such a bleak time in Europe.” JewTube.Info spoke with him at the event.




Artemis Joukowsky- grandson of Sharp heroes
Artemis Joukowsky, a film producer and co-founder of No Limits Media, is the grandson of Waitstill and Martha Sharp and has spent decades researching their story. He is the author of a companion book to the film, featuring a foreword by Ken Burns, published by Beacon Press.
“Beyond the cloak-and-dagger suspense of my grandparents’ experience, it is a story of what America meant to refugees fleeing war-torn countries to build new lives. And it underscores what Waitstill would call ‘a collaborative effort’ of how a small but effective underground network of rescue workers saved as many lives as they could, and how important that lesson is for what is happening today,” said Mr. Joukowsky.




White House forces limitations on Israel in new military-aid conditions

Obama limits all appropriation to be spent in America, blocks Israel from Congress.
"The U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Mis-Understandingby Eli Lake,  Bloomberg.com 15 Sept '16 
Netanyahu meets Obama in Oval Office Nov '15 (Doug Mills/NY Times)
According to the governments in Jerusalem and Washington, this was a great week for the U.S.-Israel relationship. The two countries arrived at a "memorandum of understanding" to extend the U.S. subsidy of Israel's military budget until 2028. President Barack Obama, no fan of Israel's current leader, declared: "America's commitment to Israel's security is unshakable."
It would be pleasant to believe this. It's not true though. America's commitment to Israel's security is quite shakable. Indeed, Obama has done much of the shaking. That reminder puts the new memorandum into perspective.
For much of Obama's presidency, he said he would lift sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iran dismantling its nuclear infrastructure. This was a big part of how he dissuaded Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, from bombing Iran's nuclear facilities.
But that's not the deal the U.S. and other nations struck with Iran. Obama ended up agreeing to legitimize and legalize Iran's nuclear infrastructure and to lift limits on production of nuclear fuel after 15 years. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu protested Obama's Iran bargain to Congress, the White House quietly encouraged fellow Democrats to boycott his speech.   
After all of this bad blood, in the last months of his administration, Obama has decided to sign an agreement with Israel that guarantees $3.8 billion per year between 2018 and 2028. On paper it seems generous. As Susan Rice, Obama's national security adviser, said Wednesday, this is the "single largest pledge of military assistance -- to any country -- in American history."
The fine print tells a different story. The key word in Rice's statement is "pledge." Congress is the body that appropriates the annual aid budget. When Obama is long gone, it will be Congress that doles out the money for Israel to spend on U.S. military equipment. So one aspect of the aid deal should raise eyebrows: terms saying that Israel will stop making its case directly to Congress for military aid.
Morris Amitay, a former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, told me he had never before heard of a president asking a sovereign country, as part of an aid package negotiation, not to lobby Congress.

Dodgers get long-denied Kosher franks; Gentiles bemoan closure on Shabbat, Sukkot

Dodger fan, Rabbi Zvi Block, finally enjoys game like others
With its decades-long legacy playing in the Jewish-deli capital of America, the former Brooklyn Dodgers never brought the tradition of kosher hot dogs to Elysian Park. This left many kosher-observant, night-game attendees empty-stomached. With Sandy Koufax back as a pitching consultant, and centerfielder, Joc Pederson on the roster, did new President & CEO, Stan Kasten, finally bring the momentum to add the club to the list of Major League Baseball stadiums offering kosher food at the ballgame?

Despite the city's large number of Jewish emigrants from the Northeast, L.A.'s Dodger Stadium hasn't offered much for those with a taste for a traditional-deli frank. The staple, Farmer John "Dodger Dog" contains "traif"- pork. While some stands sell a more expensive "All-Beef" variety, brown-mustard has become rare to find- and no sauerkraut at all- the only vegetable condiments are minced, raw-onions and pickle relish.

How well does Americas 2nd most populous Jewish town accomodate kosher diners at the ball park? NYC-raised, sports radio host, Vic "the Brick" Jacobs (AM570) discusses the LA Dodgers players' dining idiosyncracies as we recognize Dodger Stadium finally accomodating kosher attendees through the glatt, Jeff's Gourmet Kosher Sausages stand in the Right Field pavilion.



After 35-years of importuning by civic-activists, like Stanley Treitel, Jeff's Gourmet Kosher Sausages of Pico Blvd managed to work-out a glatt-kosher concession arrangement with Dodger Stadium, to fill the void for kosher attendees. Long after a number of other cities stadiums accomodated kosher fans, Jeff's started in July 2015 and the 2016 is their first full season (closed for Sabbath observance Friday eve and Saturday).


Jeff Rohatiner brings Pico kosher franks to ballpark
Rather than situating it in a central location, Jeff's Gourmet Kosher has been relegated to a barely marked booth behind the scoreboard in Right Field. Fans sitting in the upper decks have to travel down guarded stair levels (and back) just to procure a kosher frank in between innings.

But, the word has gotten out that not only does Jeff's offer only kosher franks and sausages, they are a better meal than Dodger Dogs. Not only do they have brown mustard for their custom buns, they serve sauerkraut- and they'll even grill peppers and onions to top your wurst.

What affect has Jeff's had on Dodger fans- both Jew and Gentile? Listen to Jewish actor Josh Malina ("The West Wing," "Sports Night") and father, Robert, relate how the Dodgers' kosher offering has enhanced their MLB game experience- among others' as well.



The well-kept secret is that the kosher stand offers the best franks in the park.  Look for Jeff's Gourmet Kosher Sausages in the Pavilion-area behind the Right-Field bullpen at Dodger Stadium- or on 8930 W. Pico Blvd, west of Robertson Blvd. The Dodgers hold their annual, Jewish Community Day on Sunday Aug 28, 2016.