Art as politics

A capacity crowd of 400 showed up at the Contemporary Jewish Museum on erev Valentine’s Day (Feb. 13) for the members’ preview of “Arthur Szyk and the Art of the Haggadah.” A graphic artist, Szyk used his work to make visual commentaries on politics. In his haggadah, created in the 1930s, Szyk illustrated the story of Passover in the style of medieval illuminated manuscripts, portraying ancient Hebrews as contemporary Eastern European Jews and the Egyptians as modern-day Germans. “He rejected art for art’s sake,” commented Irvin Ungar, an art historian and Szyk expert who explained the references in the small (51⁄2 by 61⁄2-inch) illustrations.

Before visiting the galleries, guests were treated to light nosh, wine and music by Anthony (Mordechai Tzvi) Russell and Veretski Pass, who performed selections from “Convergence,” a musical show that melds Yiddish and Jewish liturgical songs with African American spirituals. Among the attendees were Roselyne “Cissie” Swig, Rabbi Allen Bennett and many friends from my days at the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation, including Cindy Rogoway (with sister and brother-in-law Sheri and Paul Robbins, mom Jan Rogoway and husband Joe Goldberg) Nechama (and Howie) Tamler, celebrating her birthday, and Vavi Toran. The exhibit will continue through June 29, with several Ungar-led tours slated. Visit www.thecjm.org for details.


Comings and goings

Victoria Silverman

Ed Cushman, executive director of Hebrew Free Loan, will retire this spring. He’s been a Jewish community professional for 35 years, including a stint at the Jewish Community Federation, and HFLA director for the last 12 … Rabbi Mychal Copeland is stepping down from her position at Hillel at Stanford, where she has served as rabbi and Jewish educator for 11 years, to become the director of InterfaithFamily Bay Area in San Francisco … Victoria Silverman of San Francisco is the new executive director of the Pacific Northwest regional office of American Friends of the Hebrew University. She’ll spearhead fundraising efforts in Northern California, Alaska, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii.




Judith Chapman Award

Sue Diamond of San Francisco has been named the federation’s 2014 Judith Chapman Memorial Women’s Leadership Award winner. She will be honored at the Power of One event on April 24. Diamond has served in many capacities both at the federation and the JCC of San Francisco, where she was a board member for 11 years and board president for three of them. She heads her own law firm where she works with nonprofits. The annual Judith Chapman Award honors a female role model who goes above and beyond in dedicating time, energy and resources to the Jewish community.


Short shorts

Aaron Kahn

Shaina Zins of Danville and Anna West of Pleasanton have been accepted into the American Hebrew Academy Honor Society, an international organization that recognizes eighth- and ninth-grade students who have demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics, the arts and service to the community … Teshie (Theodore) Bronk, 15, of Boy Scouts Troop 64 in Portola Valley has become an Eagle Scout … Gary Pollard has been elected to a three-year city council term in Foster City. He was president of Peninsula Temple Sholom from 2002 to 2004 … In an email with the subject line “Jewish Boy from Berkeley Plays D1 College Hockey,” proud mom Janet Schneider writes that her son Aaron Kahn, 20, is a goalie on the Ohio State ice hockey team. He played for the AAA San Jose Jr. Sharks before college.


by Suzan Berns

This columnist can be reached at faces@jweekly.com.


Suzan Berns