Bulletin hits 100 celebration to last all year

Violinist Itzhak Perlman will kick off the year-long event –"100 Years of Jewish Journalism" — by performing Monday, Jan. 22 in a sold-out concert with the Marin Symphony Orchestra.

"We tried to plan a range of events representative of the entire community — artistic, athletic, visual, auditory, intellectual, charitable and educational," said Marc S. Klein, Bulletin editor and publisher.

The anniversary events, coordinated by Susan Mall, "aim not only to salute Bulletin's readers but to celebrate the paper's role as a unifying force" in the Jewish community, added Nora Contini, Bulletin associate publisher.

To mark the centennial, the Bulletin plans to publish a special commemorative issue in the spring, and will include the image of its 100th year poster on front -page mastheads throughout 1996. The Bulletin volume number also is being changed — to 100, correcting numbering errors that had taken place during the past 10 decades.

The Jewish Bulletin brings together Jews from Sonoma to Santa Cruz, from Reform to Orthodox to unaffiliated. It is also a kind of a journalistic bridge, connecting Gold Rush pioneer Jews of the Bay Area's past with Jewish readers of today, Contini said.

To underscore that idea, programs during the year will commemorate both the paper's past and present functions in the Jewish community.

Some of that programming specifically will be geared for families, including a Feb. 17 havdallah service and Planetarium Sky Show at the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco co-sponsored by the Bureau of Jewish Education.

The Festival of the Booths, at Temple Emanu-El in September, will also be a family-oriented day, one that will mark both Sukkot and the newspaper's 100th anniversary.

Because the Bulletin throughout its history has been dedicated to tzedakah, this year's festivities will be capped with a Chanukah drive co-sponsored by Jewish Family and Children's Services. There also will be a June 2 Walk For Water that will benefit the Jewish National Fund.

Klein, who has managed the Bulletin for the past 12 years, also stressed that part of the paper's mission is to bring a "very assimilated community" into Jewish life, "encouraging Jews to get involved socially, politically and intellectually."

In that regard, some of the Bulletin centennial events will be aimed especially at sparking the intellect. They include an April 9 discussion of "Careers in the Media" at Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco, and a fall seminar on the top 10 issues in the Jewish community over the past 100 years (co-sponsored by the S.F.-based Jewish Community Relations Council).

Furthermore, the role of Jewish journalism in society will be debated at the American Jewish Press Association's annual conference in San Francisco at the end of May.

For readers who particularly love to see words come to life, A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books will co-sponsor several events as part of its People of the Book series. Included will be January and February readings of "Visas For Life," by Yukiko Sugihara, wife of the man known as the "Japanese Schindler." Segments of the book will be read by Sugihara's son, Hiroki.

In October, Klein will lead a more hands-on learning experience. The Bulletin editor and publisher will head a politically-oriented trip to Israel marking Jerusalem's 3000th anniversary. The 12-day mission will be co-sponsored by almost every Jewish organization in the East Bay, whose Jewish Observer newspaper merged with the Bulletin in 1982.

Said Klein, "It's important that we join with the Jewish homeland in celebrating our joint anniversaries, and that we remind Bay Area Jews of the important part that Jerusalem and all of Israel has played in our history."

A significant role in the history of Bay Area Jewish journalism has been the Bulletin's entertainment coverage. Artists from George Gershwin to Jerry Seinfeld have been written about; museum exhibits and theatrical offerings have been listed for almost the entire 100 years. Linked to that history will be a series of cultural events.

Art lovers can catch an exhibit of Jewish photojournalism at the Jewish Museum San Francisco this spring. A concert featuring the work of Jewish lyricist Yip Harburg will be held May 18, an installation by Israeli artist Uri Tzaig at the University Art Museum at U.C. Berkeley will open in April, and a film about journalism will screen at the Jewish Film Festival in July.

In addition, a Judah L. Magnes Museum exhibit that will open in July will look back at the early days of Jewish journalism in the Bay Area — including that of the Emanu-El, which was named by its editor and founder, Rabbi Jacob Voorsanger, after his "distinguished congregation" and the name's translation ("God with us"), which he believed should be its motto.

Leafing through the yellowing, faded pages of bound early editions, readers would notice similarities in content between the Bulletin and its forerunners: Jewish news, listings, editorials, entertainment and features.

But one can no longer book an 11-day, $66 Alaskan cruise (as advertised in a November 1914 issue), of course. And few of today's readers would snap up Marion McGuine's "surgical and maternity corsets," listed in the same issue.

Bulletin readers, however, now post more than 300 personal ads a week — more than any other Jewish newspaper in the country — and increasingly attend Bulletin-sponsored mixers called "Singles Schmoozes."

To honor the paper's new role as matchmaker, the centennial celebration will feature a July Blue and White Ball, a denim and black-tie dance co-sponsored with Bay Area Jewish singles groups for SJMs and SJFs.

Meanwhile, almost 1,000 people visit the Bulletin's World Wide Web site each week on the Internet at http://Jewish.com /jb

Whether readers find the Bulletin on the Internet, on the newsstand, or in their homes every Friday, Contini says she hopes they keep reading.

"The Bulletin doesn't exist without the community we report about. In celebrating the paper and its history, we are celebrating the diverse Jewish community in the Bay Area."