Thursday, June 3, 2010 | return to: columns, faces


The early shift, Bimah-bound, A transformative experience

by suzan berns

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The early shift

A gang of 30 friends and family surprised Jason Porth of San Francisco, board president of the Raoul Wallenberg Jewish Democratic Club, at 6:45 a.m. outside Louis’ Restaurant last month in honor of his 37th birthday. When he went inside, proprietor Tom Hontalas handed him chef “whites” and a spatula and gave him a chance to “indulge his desire to be a short-order chef for a day,” reports Jason’s wife, Abby Porth, associate director of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Relations Council. The birthday boy happily cooked up eggs, hotcakes and waffles, ending his duties with a batch of over-easy eggs for himself.


Temple Emanu-El’s adult b’nai mitzvah celebrants will include a mom-and-son combo on June 19. Writes Deborah Lopez, “The Anshei Mitzvah ceremony will include yours truly, Deborah Rachel Reaven Rohrer Lopez, 62, and her almost-39-year-old son Daniel Carlos Rohrer.” And flying in from Akron, Ohio to celebrate are Lopez’s aunt Lois Reaven and brother Noah Reaven. Renee Ledesma and Denise Garbinski also will celebrate bat mitzvahs that day.

At Congregation Rodef Sholom Rosie Hornstein of San Rafael will discuss her “sheroe” (a female hero) Rosa Parks at her bat mitzvah this weekend. She’ll share the bimah with Danielle Margules, daughter of the temple’s Cantor David Margules and Marnie Margules.


A transformative experience


Shir Hadash seventh-grader Eric Jedel won the Addison-Penzak JCC’s annual Kiva Teen Challenge, in which teens make a $25 micro-loan and write about the experience. It was transformative for Jedel, as well as the recipient, a mother of six who sells clothing in Tajikistan, he learned. “Before I loaned at Kiva, my eyes were squinting, but now they are open,” he wrote.


Torah online


The Union for Reform Judaism is publishing Rabbi Yoel Kahn’s essays on the weekly Torah portion for 10 weeks ( learning/torah) Kahn, of Berkeley’s Congregation Beth El, will install Reuben Zellman as the congregation’s assistant rabbi and music director on June 18. In addition, on the same Shabbat, the congregation will honor Kahn for 25 years in the rabbinate.


Short shorts …


Elliott Felson, Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation board co-chair, facilitated a program for JPEF in New York with actor Liev Schreiber last month. The S.F.-based group is expanding its work to the East Coast and “Liev was nice enough to come help us as he thinks what we do is worthwhile,” writes Mitch Braff, JPEF director … The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces of the Bay Area will launch its first-ever mobile campaign at Israel in the Gardens this weekend. People will be able to text to get more information on FIDF programs, events and alerts and to make donations, writes Anat HarrelTiffany Schlain cited the Talmud and made other Jewish references when she spoke at the U.C. Berkeley graduation ceremony in May … Elizabeth Axelrod was the winner of the five-star luxury raffle at the May 16 Jewish Community High School of the Bay’s spring celebration. The event raised $115,000, which will be used for tuition assistance at the school … Participating in the American Technion Society’s board meeting in March were Frank and Sharon Meyer and Howard Shwiff of San Francisco and Hyman Mitchner of Los Altos. … Michael Mason is the new youth education director at Congregation Beth Am, replacing Robyn Siegel (now a full-time mom).

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