How to retire
Yael Cushman’s first-graders at Brandeis Hillel Day School in San Francisco had some advice for their teacher to give her dad, Ed Cushman, at his retirement party on May 4. “You should — you need to —move to Florida,” wrote one student (whose East Coast grandparents had done just that). “Get a parakeet,” said another. Some 175 friends and colleagues filled tables at the Lake Merced Golf Club, where Cushman was feted by Hebrew Free Loan for his 35 years of service in Jewish community organizations, including the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund and, for the last dozen years, as HFLA executive director. “I was hoping to start my comments saying ‘How about those Warriors?’ ” Cushman, a big sports fan, mused. (Alas, the Warriors had lost the night before.) He warned the group that he was likely to get choked up as he thanked those who had supported him throughout his career, and when he got to his family, he did. “Tell me in the car going home,” wife Sharon Cushman called from the audience.
Rabbi Lee Bycel has been named by President Obama to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. He is the first rabbi from the Bay Area to be appointed since the late Rabbi Joseph Asher served as a founding member. Bycel is the rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom of Napa Valley and teaches Holocaust and genocide studies as an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco. He joins Susan Lowenberg and Amy Friedkin of San Francisco who currently serve on the council. The council is the governing board of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which opened in 1993.
Comings and goings
Deborah Newbrun is leaving the Bay Area’s Hazon. During her four years as director, she helped raise the local profile of the national environmental organization through the Golden Gate Ride, Jewish food festivals and the Food Justice Seder. Drisana Davis will succeed her … Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco is holding a farewell Shabbat service on Friday, May 16 to honor Rabbi Jonathan Jaffe, who will become the senior rabbi at Temple Beth El of Northern Westchester in Chappaqua, N.Y. … Congregation B’nai Tikvah in Walnut Creek has several events planned to honor outgoing Rabbi Raphael Asher, son of Rabbi Joseph Asher, for his three decades of service. For details, visit www.tikvah.org … Noach Dzmura is the new campus outreach coordinator/rabbinic student recruiter for the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism … Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills honored departing staff members Rabbi Adam Rosenwasser and youth director Erin Goldstrom at Shabbat services on May 9 … Dan Eisner is moving on after several years as education director at Congregation Beth Shalom of Napa Valley.
Donna Mendelsohn of Napa writes that her daughter, Leza Lowitz, and Leza’s husband, Shogo Oketani, who live in Tokyo, have won the 2014 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in the young adult category for their book “Jet Black and the Ninja Wind.” Lowitz (whose dad is John Lowitz of Berkeley) and her family are active in Chabad of Tokyo … Kehillah High School senior Noa Hadar sang “Hatikvah” at the Israel Independence Day celebration in San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza on May 6 … Israel’s Yad Vashem will publish a Hebrew version of “Broken Glass, Broken Lives,” 86-year-old Berkeley resident Rita J. Kuhn’s story of her childhood and adolescence in Berlin from 1933 to 1935 … Spoken word poet Dyanna Loeb, 26, of Oakland was one of 65 young Jewish artists selected to attend Asylum Arts: International Jewish Artist Retreat in March. When she’s not performing, Loeb is community relations manager for S.F.-based JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa).
by Suzan Berns
This columnist can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.