Polly Bergtraun, 89, peacefully passed away June 9, 2014 in the presence of her devoted son and daughter. Polly (Hertz) was born with her twin sister, Dolly, on April 17, 1925 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Her life spanned two continents, surviving the Holocaust without Dolly (perished in Auschwitz) and immigrating to San Francisco in 1948.
For almost a decade she worked at the Netherlands Information Service spreading Dutch cultural history and lore, joining the “Worldlings Club” where she met the love of her life, Eric. Married in 1957, they built for the next 51 years their American journey together, creating a family while taking care of both sets of parents who had immigrated here as well. All who came in touch with them were swept into a deep sense of home, food and caring that were the hallmark of Polly and Eric’s existence.
Polly shared everything with Eric, from travels to art, theater, Boy Scouts, Engineering Society and ever-deepening affiliation with their synagogue, Congregation Beth Am.
After 45 years of homemaking in Los Altos and Eric’s passing in 2008, Polly had to chart a new path of her own, and upon her entrance into the Moldaw Residences the strong friendships she created there sustained her profoundly.
Above all, Polly was a great believer in the power of “family” and she will be deeply missed by her son Alex, with Michelle and sons Asher and Ruben, and by daughter Caroline Hayes and children Santana, Lauren and Zachary and great-grandson, Mason.
A celebration of Polly’s life was held at Congregation Beth Am. Donations in her memory may be sent to Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund, Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022; or American Field Service, www.afs.org/donate/donate (120 Wall St., 4th floor, New York, NY 10005.
Madeleine Henriette Bertram Carmel
May 25, 1916–June 30, 2014
Born in San Francisco in 1916 to Romanian immigrants, Mandy grew up in Venice Beach, Calif. in a penniless but close-knit, extended family. Following high school she attended UCLA and received her master’s degree in medical social work from U.C. Berkeley — her “beloved” Cal.
Mandy met her future husband and love of her life, Dr. Arthur Carmel, in, of all places, Carmel, Calif., and they were married for a beautiful 63 years. Survived by her three children, Dr. Jeffrey (and Maddie) Carmel, Dr. Richard (and Jori) Carmel, and Robyn Carmel; six grandchildren, Jodi Aviva (and Rabbi Asi) Spiegel, Jennifer (and Brett) Nissenberg, Erica (and Eugene) Podkaminer, Bryan (and Anamay) Carmel, and Aaron and David Wasserman; also survived by 14 great-grandchildren!
An environmentalist, political activist, philanthropist and world traveler, Mandy was known for her endless patience, sense of humor and loving kindness, and also for being “cool” long before that was cool! She taught ESL (English as a Second Language) and was passionate about her students, who adored her in return. She was a docent at UCLA and the Los Angeles Skirball Museum, giving by far the most entertaining tours.
Mandy and Arthur were co-founders of three synagogues in Los Angeles and made many trips to Israel, including the last one when, at the age of 82, Mandy crawled on hands and knees through the Bar Kochba caves and tunnels and befriended everyone whom she met along the way. Her life and memory are both an inspiration and a blessing. Donations in Mandy’s memory may be sent to VITAS Community Connection, c/o VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, 670 N. McCarthy Blvd., Suite 220, Milpitas, CA 95035 or vitascommunityconnection.org.
Sinai Memorial Chapel (415) 921-3636
Alan David Stoff
Alan David Stoff, of Palm Desert, Calif., died June 28, 2014. He was born Nov. 24, 1926 in San Francisco. He is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Barbara, his daughter Susan (and Gary Fertig of Alameda, Calif.) and his two granddaughters Julie (and Aaron Schoonmaker) and Emily Fertig.
Alan proudly served the country in the Merchant Marines during World War II. He provided care for his patients in San Francisco as a podiatrist for 34 years. Even after “retiring,” Alan continued running his apartment in San Francisco and provided hundreds of tenants with a warm home over the years. He enjoyed traveling the world with his wife.
For 87 wonderful years, Alan has been the family’s rock. A source of strength when we were down, the one we always looked forward to sharing the happy moments with and the person who offered the best advice in any situation.
His loyalty and dedication to his family is what those closest to him admire most. He’ll always be a shoulder to lean on, our comfort and our best friend.
Cecile (Ceil) Emanuel Winton
July 29, 1917–June 9, 2014
Was a native of New York, an only child of Belle and Milton Emanuel. She is survived by her loving sons, Chester (wife Nancy) and Donald (wife Jean) Winton, cherished grandchildren Michelle Rabin, Erin DiGennaro (husband Marc), Jeffrey and Todd Winton (wife Jane) and adored great-grandchildren Jacob and Ellie Rabin and Josephine and Alexandra DiGennaro and Skyler Winton. “Ceil” was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Harry Winton.
Cecile had a hard time during the depression in New York. At age 15 she began her working career at B. Altman’s on Fifth Avenue. In New York she met her husband, Harry, and they were married for 63 years. In 1951 the Wintons moved to San Mateo where Ceil worked for Avon and was one of the first employees at Macy’s in Hillsdale.
Ceil was very active in community affairs, beginning as a volunteer with Friendly Visitors. She went door to door to generate support for getting the San Mateo Senior Center built. She volunteered almost 10,000 hours with Mills Hospital Auxiliary where she was a life member. She assisted in administering their yearly flu shots. RSVP claimed that throughout her life, she volunteered over 30,000 hours in San Mateo County.
Ceil was an ace fundraiser for many causes. On “To Make a Difference Day,” she made and collected over 3,000 cookies that went to many senior retirement homes. She loved baking cookies and was known as the “cookie monster” as she shared cookies with friends and those in need of help. In 1980, Ceil was named “Woman Senior of the Year” in San Mateo County. In 1991 she was the first person to be recognized by the San Mateo Times as San Mateo’s Citizen of the Year.
In 1978 she, with the late Rabbi Sanford Rosen and Susan Ammons of the Peninsula Jewish Community Center, started a senior 50+ club at Temple Beth El (now called the Senior Friendship Club). In 1982 she became president of the club and more recently also served as editor of their newsletter. She loved organizing parties for this group well into her 90s. Ceil was not a complainer and kept going even in pain. Her motto was “I will stop when I drop.” And so it was.
A memorial celebration of her life will be held at 10 a.m. Sunday, July 13 at Temple Beth El. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory to Temple Beth El or the charity of your choice would be greatly appreciated.
Jaime Leah Wynn
Oct. 27, 1978–June 13, 2014
Beloved daughter, sister and friend, Jaime touched many people’s lives with her beautiful art, poetry, humor, creativity and powerful spirit.
Jaime was born in San Francisco. As a young woman, she attended Mills College and U.C. Santa Cruz, receiving her B.S. in art and community studies. She spent many years at Precita Eyes, a mural center in San Francisco, and her beautiful and inspiring murals can be found throughout the Bay Area, as well as in Israel and St. Petersburg.
Jaime received her M.A. in Jewish education at the American Jewish University in L.A. and went on to teach children at multiple synagogues in California and New York. She also led the Artists Fellowship at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education in New York, combining her passions for Jewish learning and artistic expression.
Jaime confronted cancer head-on with courage and hope. A fiercely independent person, she will be remembered for her brilliant mind and warm heart, her ability to translate complex emotions into words and art, and her incredible strength of will.
She is survived by her parents, Richard Wynn and Sandra Cohen-Wynn, her brother Myles Wynn and her sister Lesley Wynn. She will be dearly missed by many loving family members, friends and colleagues around the world. May Jaime’s memory be for a blessing.
Jaime was most at home outside in nature, and especially loved the Pacific Coast. A public memorial service was held on June 19 at Fernwood Cemetery, Mill Valley. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the San Francisco Food Bank.
Sinai Memorial Chapel (415) 921-3636