NIF honors guardians

Debra Pell

Honoree Debra Pell had the audience teary-eyed at the New Israel Fund’s Guardian of Democracy dinner as she spoke about her passion for pro-democracy issues in Israel and how her daughters show their support for what she does. Addressing 525 supporters at the sold-out event on Oct. 22, Pell described her 17-year-old daughter’s 60th birthday present: a jar filled with 60 reasons she loves her mom. The final one — and the clincher — said, “I love you, Ima, because you moved to Israel.” A Marin native, Pell was active in the local Jewish community before making aliyah in 1996. She’s a member of the New Israel Fund national board.

Aimee Kushner

Also honored was Aimee Kushner, a member of NIF’s New Generations Leadership Council and a liaison to the regional board. Member of Knesset Merav Michaeli and Israeli activist Mickey Gitzin also addressed the group. “The mood of the evening was very electric,” reported Becky Buckwald, co-director of NIF’s San Francisco region. At a challenging time for Israel, “We came together to talk with like-minded people and hear hopeful news.” The event raised nearly $500,000 for NIF.


Happy 25th to Hausner

Some 325 Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School supporters celebrated the school’s 25th anniversary and the completion of its campus and capital campaign on Oct. 25. Co-chaired by Apryl Stern and Emeri Handler, the event honored Laura and Gary Lauder for their history of support of the Palo Alto school and Jewish community. Susan Wojcicki and Dennis Troper dedicated the Graziella and León Troper Center for Arts and Athletics in honor of Dennis’ parents. After speaking about recent anti-Semitism in the world, guest speaker Deborah Lipstadt, professor of modern Jewish history and Holocaust studies at Emory University, added an optimistic note. “A strong Jewish education can ensure that Judaism is a positive identity and a ‘treat’ for the next generation of Jews,” she said. A story on video told by Steve Feldstein, one of the school’s founders, about his second-grade daughter calling a gazebo in a public park a sukkah confirmed Lipstadt’s point. “We achieved what we set out to do,” he said. “She sees the world through Jewish eyes.”


Challaween, anyone?

Dana Blankman

Dana Blankman and Leading Lady Delights offered a special for the last Shabbat in October: a Challaween. That’s the hard “ch,” as in challah. The Oakland owner of a cottage food business (which means she’s licensed to cook and sell from her home kitchen) stuffed her 1-pound challah with chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and Twix candy bars. Blankman said her business is “high touch” — that is, she gets to know everyone she sells to, and she doesn’t deliver. She makes her regular OMG challah on request, perhaps with added goodies, and has a list and photos of yummy baked goods on www.leadingladydelights.com. Warning … don’t look at it when you’re hungry.


Short shorts

There’s a bunch of Jewish barbershop singers in Marin and they’ll be entertaining at 2 p.m. on Nov. 22 at Marin Showcase Theater in San Rafael, reports Newton Harband of San Rafael, president of the Marin Golden Gate Barbershop Chorus. Other members include Paul Goldsmith of Mill Valley, Fred Saland, Alan Glas and Steve Perl of Novato and Michael Fox of San Rafael … “Surviving Skokie,” a documentary by Marin filmmakers Eli Adler and Blair Gershkow, won the audience gold award in the Valley of the Docs category at the Mill Valley Film Festival.

by Suzan Berns

This columnist can be reached at [email protected]