Mauri Schwartz of San Francisco grew up in Dothan, Alabama — one of the towns featured in “There Are Jews Here,” a film that will show in three venues at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. The documentary examines the challenges of Jewish life in four tiny American Jewish communities. Dothan’s congregation, Temple Emanu-El, has been in the news for its innovative approach to growing its dwindling community: It has been recruiting new families by offering them up to $50,000 for resettlement costs if they relocate. (See story at tinyurl.com/jweekly-dohan.)
“I grew up there in the 1950s and ’60s and it’s exactly as described in the movie in terms of the community being like a family,” Schwartz recalled. “It was very welcoming, very family-oriented.”
She went to Hebrew and Sunday school, had a bat mitzvah and was involved in a Jewish youth group. “The other students felt like they were cousins, if not brothers and sisters,” she explained about the close-knit 100 families that comprised the community. Schwartz last visited Dothan a few years ago and says, “It was and still is a very special Jewish community. I have lived in San Francisco for more than 30 years and love it here, but I haven’t found a congregation close to Dothan’s anywhere.” P.S. She has been in touch with the film’s director, Brad Lichtenstein, who was thrilled to speak with her. The two are getting together when he’s in town.
And, speaking of the SFJFF, you can see previews of several films and get insight into this year’s offerings when Rabbi Eric Weiss chats with the festival’s Lexi Leban and Jay Rosenblatt on Mosaic on KPIX-TV at 5 a.m. Sunday, July 24.
Author and No. 1 fan
San Francisco resident Martin Jacobs has written “San Francisco 49ers Legends: The Golden Age of Pro Football,” which covers the team’s history from 1946 to 1960. It’s his third book on the team that the San Francisco native has followed since he was 9 years old and began hawking peanuts and hot dogs at Kezar Stadium. He began collecting mementos as a kid and today possesses “a bank of knowledge and collection of 49ers memorabilia that is unrivaled,” according to an article about him on the 49ers website. “I would scan the benches after games and grab programs, yearbooks, press guides, whatever. I was a true collector by the time I was 12 or 13,” he said. Jacobs’ book is available on Amazon and there’s a video about him on 49ers.com.
Aaron Steiner Farovitch of San Rafael received the John F. Kennedy Labor Law Award at Georgetown University Law Center, where he just earned his juris doctor degree. The prize is given to the graduating student with the best overall performance in the field of labor law … Deborah Grant of San Francisco is the new vice president of development at the JCC of San Francisco … Sharon Silverman of Millbrae is the incoming president of Hebrew Free Loan. She succeeds San Franciscan John Riley … Rabbi Susan Leider of Tiburon Congregation Kol Shofar served as rabbi-in-residence at the newly opened Camp Ramah Galim in Monterey earlier this month. Ramah Galim, which means Ramah of the Waves, offers specialty tracks in adventure sports, performing arts and ocean exploration.
This columnist can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.