Thursday, June 12, 2014 | return to: columns, faces



by suzan berns

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Making sense of the senses

Thalma Lobel
Thalma Lobel
Professor Thalma Lobel of Tel Aviv University believes that people are influenced by the feel of textures, so the front cover of her new book, “Sensation: The New Science of Physical Intelligence,” is smooth and the back is rough. Lobel discussed varying ways we are affected by our senses (holding a warm cup of coffee makes us friendlier) on May 22 at a lunch for supporters of American Friends of Tel Aviv University, hosted by Diane Kahn of Belvedere. “She had so much to share and everyone was hanging on to every example,” wrote Carolyn Steinberg, AFTAU Northern California director. Among the guests enjoying food and factoids were Ayelet David of San Francisco, Nancy Goldberg, Varda Rabin and Roberta Zucker, all of Tiburon.


Reaching out

Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael received the Community Advocate Award from Marin County School Volunteers for the synagogue’s ongoing partnership with Venetia Valley K-8 School. “It’s been an amazing year of watching our relationship with them grow,” said Moji Javid, Rodef Sholom director of community connections, who accepted the award from Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) on behalf of the congregation. Projects have included creating a garden at the school, a Mother’s Day event and international story night. In Los Gatos, at Yavneh Day School’s annual Social Justice Fair last month, sixth- and seventh-graders distributed nearly $6,000 in funds they raised to organizations reflecting the Jewish values that they focused on during the year, such as caring for the sick and elderly and being kind to others. Among the recipients were St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, for its Philippines typhoon relief.


Seeking memorabilia

Petaluma’s Jewish community is seeking photos, artifacts and other memorabilia to share with the community when it celebrates its 150-year anniversary on Nov. 1. Organizers are also looking for volunteers to help with the festivities. Contact B’nai Israel Jewish Center at (707) 762-0340. … And, if you’ve got photos, stories or videos related to the late Seymour Fromer, Bill Chayes and Ava Kahn would like to hear from you for their film, “The New Jewish: The Fromers, ’60s Berkeley and Beyond.” Visit


Short shorts

Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff
Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff
Haggai Resnikoff of Berkeley was ordained as a rabbi by Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in New York on May 29. He will serve as a faculty member and director of community learning at the school. Before attending rabbinic school, he was a Judaic studies teacher at Tehiyah Day School in El Cerrito. … Gordon Gladstone is the new executive director at Congregation Shir Hadash in Los Gatos. He most recently served as Northwest regional director of J Street. … Tuvya Bergson-Michelson, a seventh-grader at the Nueva School in Hillsborough, is the third-place (and $10,000 college scholarship) winner in the National Geographic Bee.

On a personal note … I join the community in mourning the loss of Rabbi Michael Barenbaum, rabbi emeritus of Congregation Rodef Sholom — my rabbi and my friend. Our paths crossed often professionally, as well — the first time in the late 1980s, when I, new to the Bay Area, interviewed him about the Marin Jewish Community Campus, just getting underway. Last year, I interviewed him along with his pal and colleague Rev. Doug Huneke for a video about the Marin Interfaith Council, which they founded in 1982. He was a bold and caring leader for the whole community and will be missed by so many who loved him.

by Suzan Berns

This columnist can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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