Faces

Testifying

Herman Shine

When Sam Richardson, a high school senior from Danville, visited Auschwitz earlier this month he was armed with firsthand reflections from Herman Shine, who escaped from the camp in 1944. San Mateo resident Shine, 94, and his wife, Marianne, hosted the teenager and his father, David Richardson, along with Oscar Rosenbloom, who arranged the meeting. Rosenbloom, of Palo Alto, had recently attended a Facing History seminar in which the importance of “witness testimony” was emphasized. Meeting Shine, he thought, would be a “marvelous opportunity for Sam,” Rosenbloom said.

Richardson traveled with other 11th- and 12th-graders on the teen program Shalhevet, co-sponsored by the Oshman Family JCC, Jewish LearningWorks and BBYO. The group left on April 4 for a two-week trip to Israel and Poland. Shine and the late Max Drimmer, who fled Auschwitz together, are the subjects of the documentary “Escape from Auschwitz: A Portrait of Friendship,” airing on San Mateo PBS station KCSM for Yom HaShoah on May 4 and 5.

 

‘Wrestling Jerusalem’ — the movie!

Aaron Davidman

Aaron Davidman’s powerful one-man show “Wrestling Jerusalem” is now a movie, with a sneak peek coming up next week at the Newport Beach Film Festival. Scenes were filmed in the theater and the dressing room and on location in the desert. In the production, which is set in the United States, Israel and the Palestinian territories, the Berkeley resident plays more than a dozen characters to portray the complexity of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, offering “a personal investigation of the intersection of politics, identity, cultural narrative and spiritual yearning,” according to publicity materials. More than 10,000 people reportedly have seen the piece in venues around the country. The 100th performance took place in New York City earlier this month.

 

Surviving ‘Survivor’

In case you haven’t been following “Survivor,” Neal Gottlieb of Sausalito, who competed in the CBS reality series, unfortunately didn’t take home the $1 million prize. After suffering a serious infection on his knee, he was evacuated from the Cambodian island where the adventure took place and stayed in the hospital for two days. He did return to sit on the jury that will choose the winner. By the way, all of this action took place from March to May of last year. In real life, Gottlieb is the CEO of Three Twins Ice Cream based in Petaluma.

 

Short shorts

Cantor David Frommer

Cantor David Frommer of Santa Rosa Congregation Shomrei Torah served as an Army chaplain in Afghanistan and Kuwait, and now he has been called to Afghanistan to lead 10 seders for troops serving there. Frommer, who is married to Rabbi Carla Fenves of San Francisco’s Congregation Emanu-El, is the first-ever cantor in the U.S. military, where he is battalion chaplain with the California Army National Guard. … Proud mom Rita Semel writes that her daughter Elisabeth Semel will receive an honorary doctorate from Bard College, her alma mater, in recognition of her work as director of the Death Penalty Clinic at U.C. Berkeley School of Law … Mazel tov to Elaine and Barry Gilbert of San Rafael, who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on April 10. Among the guests were about a half-dozen people who attended the 1956 event, along with children Dana, Barry Jr. and former tennis pro Brad Gilbert and lots of grandkids … In the newly renovated U.C. Theatre in Berkeley, the Shana Penn Lobby leads to the Taube Family Music Hall. Penn is executive director of Taube Philanthropies, chaired by Tad Taube, which provided a $1.3 million matching grant for the revamp.

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