Thursday, January 11, 2007

Doing the Palm Springs Film Fest. Shows are better than ever. Even the entry from Kherghistan was slick.

Well maybe three a day is a bit masochistic. What was that one we saw this morning?

One in particular stirred memories. It was titled Äviva My Love" and was about an Aviva Cohen in Israel.

The Aviva Cohen that entered my thoughts was the daughter of Walla Walla's first Rabbi, Franklin Cohen.

I talked to her younger brother, Hillel Cohen, Rabbi Emeritas, of the Riverside Ca. Congregation.

Asked about Aviva. I said my brother had a bit of a crush a a child.

He replied that everyone loves Aviva. He related this story.

In the late 1930's Rabbi "Fritz" Cohen, active in the Zionist movement in Germany and a highly visible Rabbi in Berlin could see the handwriting on the wall.

He made a decision to emigrate to the U. S. To do so he needed to get paperwork started. At some phase he found himself in a very long line to be considered for some vital permits.
Since his wife was not well that day he had taken the preschool Aviva with him. He was about to scold Aviva for flirting with a man walking by. He was really scared when the officious looking bureaucrat grabbed his arm and said come with me.

The officer slipped behind a desk and bade them sit. He asked a few questions and then said "I fell in love with your cute little daughter, I am issuing your family priority papers to expedite your exit from Germay. With this clearance you should have no problem with further processing."

The Cohens landed in New York. Fritz Cohen changed his name to Franklin and was assigned to a waiting community, Walla Walla, where he divided his time with rabbinical duties to the congregation, producing an interfaith radio program, being USO chaplin to military in Pendleton and Pasco, and being bookkeeper to Epstein Bros. scrap metal company.

He moved on to Seattle as leader of Herzl Synagogue then to California where he served various pulpits and later was a cofounder of the University of Judiaism in Los Angeles.

If he hadn't taken Aviva with him that day ?????


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