Taking a ride for FIDF
Douglas Fish of Walnut Creek wasn’t much of a bicycle rider — in fact, he didn’t even own a road bike. But when Jonathan Bernstein, executive director of San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, last year asked him to represent the FIDF board (on which Fish serves) in the first-ever FIDF cycling tour of Israel, Fish bought a bike and began training. Six months later, from Oct. 24 to 31, he joined 28 other Americans and six wounded Israeli veterans on a ride from the Galilee hills in the north to the Red Sea in the south to call attention to FIDF’s work supporting soldiers.
Fish, who said he stays fit as a competitive tennis player, had resolved in 2015 “to get out of my comfort zone.” Bernstein’s invitation to ride 400 miles, including 30,000 feet of uphill riding, was clearly an opportunity to do that. About biking through the Jewish state, Fish said: “I lived in Israel for 10 years and have traveled throughout the country, but never experienced the splendor of visuals, smells and noises from the seat of a bike.” He admits he thought about giving up (“daily,” he quipped), but seeing the wounded warriors — all amputees — pedaling with prosthetic devices inspired him to keep going. “One of them didn’t even have a prosthesis. He pedaled with one leg. They didn’t give up, so how could I?” he said.
Riding into Eilat on the final day, after several days in the desert, “was exhilarating,” Fish said. “A Shabbas evening feast culminating with the camaraderie at our awards ceremony was a fitting conclusion to this life experience.” The message he’ll be repeating as he recruits for next year’s ride is that “FIDF is amazing, and so is its cycling tour of Israel.”
1,400 latkes and counting
It takes 85 pounds of potatoes, 35 pounds of onions, 50 eggs, 13 pounds of matzah meal and 12.5 liters of olive oil to yield 1,400 potato latkes. And Jack Stuber of Albany made them all in his home kitchen. About 900 were for the Hebrew school and Hanukkah parties at his congregation, Kehilla Community Synagogue in Piedmont. The rest were distributed to friends and family. It all started in the 1980s when Jack and his wife, Tree Gelb Stuber, began making latkes for their own parties. When their kids were in Hebrew school in the 1990s, Stuber said, he became the school’s latke supplier. This year’s undertaking began on Oct. 24 and lasted through Dec. 24, when the final crispy pancakes were served. And since you’re probably wondering … yes, he grates with a food processor; yes, he freezes them; and yes, the Stubers (finally) invested in a good industrial oven hood and fan several years ago.
Richard Fiedotin has been named the next board chair at the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation. He will succeed current chair Tom Kasten on July 1 … The Jewish Community Relations Council will celebrate community champions at its annual Behind the Scenes gala on Feb. 24 at the JCC of San Francisco. Honorees are community leaders (and brothers) Bob Friend and Donny Friend, for their commitment and philanthropic leadership in the Jewish community; Michael G. Pappas, executive director of the San Francisco Interfaith Council; and Informed Grads, a University of California-wide graduate student group, for its work on the state’s campuses opposing BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
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