Thursday, June 28, 2012 | return to: columns, faces



by suzan berns

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Napa wines at the White House

Ernie Weir
Ernie Weir
Ernie Weir, owner and operator of Hagafen Cellars in Napa, writes that two of his wines were served at the White House when President Barack Obama awarded Israel’s President Shimon Peres the Presidential Medal of Freedom on June 13. “It was one of our proudest moments to be part of this ceremony,” Weir reports. The first wine, he says, was the “straw-colored” 2010 Lodi Roussanne, “a refreshing white wine that pairs well with most first courses, either vegetable or fish-based.” The second was the winery’s 2008 pinot noir, “which can be enjoyed either slightly chilled or as the main event when matching with salmon as in this case.” Weir adds that Hagafen wines have been served at the White House by every president since 1980, when Ronald Reagan hosted Israel’s Prime Minister Menachem Begin.


Salkind duo honored

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music will honor the musical legacy and lifetime leadership of the Peggy and Milton Salkind piano duo on July 5 at the opening gala of the fourth Salkind International Piano Duo Festival. Peggy Salkind, who will receive the special honor, retired recently after 38 years at the Conservatory. Her late husband was president of the Conservatory and guided it for 24 years.  The festival will feature seven international piano duos.  Readers of j. can receive a 20 percent discount by purchasing tickets at and entering the code “Debussy.”


Not a yenta

Judith Gottesman
Judith Gottesman
San Francisco’s Judith Gottesman cleared up the true meaning of “yenta” for NPR’s Chana Joffe-Walt. As she interviewed a man who helped match up Spanish banks that wanted to merge, Joffe-Walt quipped that one might call him a yenta. Not really, said her mom in a postshow phone call. Thus the Jewish reporter sought out a real-life matchmaker — Gottesman — who explained that the correct word for matchmaker is shadchanit (or shadchan, if it’s a man). The blunder, Gottesman noted, probably comes about because the character Yente in “Fiddler on the Roof” is a matchmaker — and a nosy busybody, which (of course) is the true meaning of the word.




Short shorts ...

Congratulations to j.’s editorial assistant George Altshuler, who received formal kudos for his work at the Addison Independent, where he did an internship in 2010 during his college years. The Vermont Press Association awarded him third place in the “local story” category for nondailies for three pieces in a series he wrote called “Making a Life in Addison County” ... Sarita Bronstein has been named the new executive director of Hillel of Silicon Valley. Bronstein is one of the founders of Kehillah Jewish High School and the middle school at Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School (both in Palo Alto); she also planned trips for the S.F.-based Israel Center and launched the Bay Area chapter of the Friends of the IDF. … Heather Erez, a former S.F. Hillel staffer, is the new director of youth education at San Francisco’s Congregation Emanu-El. … Joelle Burnette, a member of Congregation Beth Ami in Santa Rosa, will talk about her new book, “Cancer Time Bomb” and the genetic mutation that puts Ashkenazi Jews at risk, in the synagogue’s social hall at 2 p.m. July 8. … Finally, a personal note: Today’s j. is dated June 29, and it’s my mother Gloria Reich’s 91st birthday. Happy birthday, Mom! And thanks for the great genes! I just returned from a trip to Akron, Ohio, where my sisters and I kvelled as she received an award from her federation for a lifetime of community service.


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