August 4, 2022
By Jacob Kamaras
Pictured on Sunday, July 31, in La Jolla are (from left to right) Don Harrison, editor emeritus of San Diego Jewish World, holding the $1 he received for selling the publication to Jacob Kamaras; Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs, holding her Jewish Community Leadership Award plaque; and Kamaras. Credit: Ben Dishman.
LA JOLLA, California — First, there was the Revolutionary War’s “shot heard ’round the world” in 1775.
Then, there was Bobby Thomson’s shot heard ’round the world to win the 1951 National League pennant for the New York Giants.
But for San Diego Jewish World this past year, the focus has been on the “dollar heard ’round the world.”
Don Harrison, our publisher and editor emeritus, told Times of San Diego when we announced the sale of the publication last December, “I’m selling-out. It was a tough negotiation, but we agreed on a sales price to Jacob of $1. But, I don’t want Jacob to just casually hand over a ceremonial, one-dollar bill. I want this event to be done in a public setting with an audience and a certain flair and panache.”
On Sunday, July 31, in La Jolla, I finally delivered — handing Don a framed $1 bill alongside a printout of that Times of San Diego article during San Diego Jewish World’s first annual event. Here’s what I advised Don: Don’t spend the dollar all at once, don’t invest it in the stock market right now, and definitely don’t spend it at the gas pump. For his part, Don noted that given the current inflation crisis, I got an even better deal than we initially believed.
While the dollar heard ’round the world provided a crowd-pleasing shtick for the event, the larger purpose of the gathering was ushering a new era for San Diego Jewish World.
As I told more than 50 attendees, Don’s brand of Jewish journalism is more than a “rough draft” of Jewish history. By finding a Jewish story everywhere, Don has taught us that we can appreciate our history while it continues to unfold in every moment. Last Sunday marked the start of a new chapter in that history, specifically for San Diego Jewish World and I would say for the entire Jewish community in San Diego.
That’s because San Diego Jewish World, with the event, introduced itself as more than a news outlet. We’re a community organization — a community of writers, a community of readers, and an unfolding part of the story of San Diego’s Jewish history. Don is essentially a communal institution unto himself, which is why our publication’s leadership transition was so significant. Don grew and nurtured this community; most notably, he treated his writers like family. Now, we have an opportunity to take his vision to the next level. As we not only continue but expand this community, we’ll host more events, both in-person and virtual. Specifically, each year, we’ll honor one contributor inside the San Diego Jewish World community and one Jewish communal leader from outside our organization.
This year, the inaugural recipient of our Jewish Community Leadership Award was Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs, who we honored for her tireless work and innovative spirit in pursuit of supporting Israel and fighting antisemitism around the world.
I shared last Sunday that during a visit to Southern California in 2012, I had the privilege of meeting both Roz (in Los Angeles) and Don (in San Diego) for the first time. Ten years later, San Diego Jewish World brought things full circle by honoring Roz and Don at the same event.
Aside from giving me the deal of the century when he sold the publication, Don provided me with the game-changing and outside-the-box perspective that I could return to journalistic work through San Diego Jewish World while simultaneously maintaining my career in public relations.
Of particular note last Sunday was the sense of family and community that Don has cultivated through San Diego Jewish World. In his remarks, he mentioned the presence of what seemed to be nearly every single attendee.
Roz, amid the immense growth and global impact of StandWithUs over the course of two decades, has remained approachable, accessible, and down-to-earth. This makes her a shining example of what we should expect from our national and international Jewish community leaders.
I left our event with a newfound sense of purpose and energy surrounding San Diego Jewish World’s important role in the local Jewish community, and quite hopeful about the publication’s future.
It has certainly been a dollar well spent!
Read the full article here.