Faces

A musical toast

Masha Tikhman

Jewish Family and Children’s Services recently paid tribute to RJeneration, its young adult émigré community — Jews with Russian heritage in their 20s, 30s and 40s — on RJen’s 10th anniversary. At the 14th annual Émigré Community Gala on Feb. 7 at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, RJen leadership team members Masha Tikhman, Rita Katz, Alex Varum, Marina Markovsky, Jackie Cherkas, Laura Inger, Natalie Krigel, Irene Fusman, Felix Adler and Yelena Frid toasted JFCS and the hundreds of supporters present in song, and in Russian. Translated to English, they sang, “We are helping all in need, with food, medicine or money. Loans to those who can pay them back, and grants to those who can’t … Keep doing this amazing work, to us, to life, l’chaim!”

“RJeneration members, their friends and their families play an integral role in supporting programs that feed the hungry, take care of our seniors and make sure that our children get the help they need to grow up to be healthy and strong,” said Anita Friedman, JFCS executive director.

 

Cruising along at 100

Georgy Sobolev

Georgy Sobolev celebrated his 100th birthday on Dec. 28, and one month later the wish he made came true. The centenarian, who emigrated from the former Soviet Union 20 years ago when he was 80, lives in his own apartment in San Francisco but receives home care from the Institute on Aging. He had two wishes for his birthday, he told folks from the IOA: to take a cruise on the bay, and to have an in-depth conversation about the future of democracy in Russia with an expert, in Russian. On Jan. 25, Andrei Tsygankov, San Francisco State University professor of international relations and political science, joined Sobolev for a two-hour brunch cruise, courtesy of Hornblower, and they talked, and talked, and talked.

A World War II veteran, Sobolev had a long career, including serving as the chief operating officer of a number of naval ports before coming to the United States. The secret to his long life, he says, is his daily walks and the chats he has with people he meets along the way. P.S. You can hear Georgy’s thoughts on democracy when he talks with his son Leo Sobolev on KALW 91.7 FM’s “Philosophy Talk” at 10 a.m. March 29.

 

Short shorts

EIllie Shapiro

Elisabeth Semel of Berkeley has received Berkeley Law’s annual Rutter Award for Teaching Distinction, given to a professor who inspires students and demonstrates a deep commitment to teaching. Semel is the founding director of Berkeley Law’s Death Penalty Clinic, recently named by the national magazine Jurist as one of the 15 most innovative clinics among U.S. law schools … The Jewish Music Festival and its founder Ellie Shapiro were honored by the Berkeley City Council at its Feb. 24 meeting … Susan Wolfe, president of Hillel at Stanford, presented Tad Taube with a thank you gift at the 10th anniversary celebration of the Taube Hillel House at Stanford on Jan. 29. The event kicked off Hillel at Stanford’s upcoming “Half-Century Celebration” … Leaving San Rafael Civic Center after seeing former President Bill Clinton speak last month, police stopped Jack and Jeanette Kadish and Marvin and Michelle Zwerin of San Rafael to disentangle the traffic — or so they thought. Instead, the prez walked out and stopped to shake hands and share a few words with his admirers before being hustled by his security to a waiting car. “It was pretty thrilling,” said Michelle.

This columnist can be reached at faces@jweekly.com.