Paul Simon Abramovitz passed away Oct. 4, 2016, aged 65, due to complications of White Matter disease. Beloved son of Harry and Evelyn Abramovitz and stepson of Abe Gilbert, Paul is survived by his sons Joel and David Abramovitz, his sister and brother-in-law Karen and Steven Sager, his former wife Ruth Rosenthal, his nieces and nephews Julie and David Iskowitz and Stacey and Adam Sager, his great-nieces and nephews Joshua, Avi, Gabriel and Yonatan Iskowitz and Yael and Shira Sager, and his many beloved cousins and friends.
Paul was a lifelong San Franciscan, active for many decades in Jewish organizations. He was an avid Giants and 49ers fan, as well as the Cal Bears. Paul was a magician, comedian, singer and dancer who loved watching and being in theater. He is deeply loved and will be deeply missed.
Contributions appreciated to Brandeis Marin, Congregation Beth Shalom of Napa, the Jewish Home and the UCSF Memory and Aging Center.
Stephen Mark Dobbs of San Rafael passed away on Oct. 25, 2016. He took great pride in the variety of roles he played in life: husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, uncle, scholar, educator, writer, historian, volunteer and community leader, to name a few.
Born on June 5, 1943, in San Francisco, he was the eldest son of Harold and Annette Dobbs. He is survived by wife Victoria and their sons Joshua, Gabriel and Noah; son Aaron (Marissa); grandchildren Ruby and Elijah; siblings Marilyn Higuera, Gregory Dobbs and Cathy Goldstein; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Throughout his life, Stephen pursued his passions with curiosity and rigor. Stephen studied philosophy, history, education and the arts at Stanford University, earning his Ph.D. in 1972. For the first part of his career, he focused on academia, primarily as a professor of arts and humanities at San Francisco State University. He also served stints as a visiting professor or scholar at Harvard, Stanford, University of London, University of Washington and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
In the late ’80s, Stephen turned his attention toward a second career in the foundation world as a senior program officer at the Getty Center for Education in the Arts. In 1989, Stephen became executive director of the Koret Foundation in San Francisco, and two years later, he was named president and CEO of the Marin Community Foundation, which he ran for seven years.
For most of the past two decades, Stephen pursued a variety of writing interests and community work while continuing his work in the philanthropic community. He served as executive director of Taube Philanthropies, executive vice president of the Bernard Osher Foundation and, until recently, he remained a consultant to several private family foundations, including the Laszlo N. Tauber Family Foundation and the Lisa & John Pritzker Family Fund. He authored and/or contributed to a number of books on education, leadership, nonprofit management and history.
For over 40 years, he volunteered and held leadership positions in the Jewish and general communities. He served as president of the Mount Zion Health Fund, One Act Theater Company, Brandeis Hillel Day School; a vice president of Congregation Emanu-El and the Bureau of Jewish Education; and on the board of directors of the Jewish Community Federation, Lighthouse for the Blind, Goldman Institute on Aging and Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Stephen possessed an unquenchable thirst for reading and learning, holding a special fascination for the history of his hometown and the Jewish community. After a 20-year absence, he returned to San Francisco State to teach his popular course on the city’s history. Even outside the classroom, he never stopped pointing out landmarks or street names before offering comprehensive lessons on their histories.
Stephen’s family gives special thanks for the wonderful care provided by Dr. James Davis and Dr. Georges Naasan.
Per Stephen’s wishes, the family will hold a private memorial gathering at a later date. Contributions in Stephen’s memory may be sent to the Harold Dobbs Cancer Research Fund at the Mount Zion Health Fund or to the charity of your choice.
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Barbara Emerich, longtime resident of Los Altos and founding member of Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, died Oct. 7 at Stanford after a short illness. She was 96.
Emerich, née Bine, was born and raised in San Francisco, attending Congregation Emanu-El where she taught religious school while she was still in high school. After she married Robert Emerich and moved to the mid-Peninsula, she worked with several families to establish a local Jewish community and launch Congregation Beth Am. At Beth Am, Emerich helped to establish the Sisterhood (now Beth Am Women), was active with the Education and Social Justice Committees, and participated in Peninsula Interfaith Action.
A passionate advocate for children and social justice, Emerich also brought her activism to the wider community, serving with the PTA, the Community Health Abuse Council, Santa Clara County Justice System Advisory Board, the Child Advocacy Council in Santa Clara County and Santa Clara County’s Child and Adolescent Advisory Commission. Emerich remained an active participant in the synagogue, attending educational, social justice and spiritual activities until her death.
She was predeceased by her loving husband, Robert Emerich, and her oldest daughter, Pohara Heart (née Sally Emerich). She is survived by her children, Carol Emerich and Melvin Emerich, both of Cupertino, and René Emerich (Tricia) of Los Altos, along with her grandson, Robert Emerich.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 6 in the sanctuary at Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills.
Donations may be made to the Sixth District PTA/Barbara Emerich Scholarship Fund, 1290 Ridder Park Drive, M/C 214, San Jose, CA 95131 or to a fund of your choice at Congregation Beth Am.
July 3, 1918-Oct. 24, 2016
Sylvia Harris (née Smith). Born in Liverpool, England. Preceded in death in 1993 by husband Jack Harris. Survived by children Louis (Linda) Harris (San Mateo) and Paula (Bill) Meier (the Villages, Florida); grandchildren Michelle (Andrew) Gross (Union City, California), Robin (Brian) Slipock (Las Vegas), Angel (Leon) Lang (White Bear Lake, Minnesota), and Aaron (fiancée Amanda Keller) Meier (Forest Lake, Minnesota); and great-grandchildren Dina Slipock, Rebecca Gross, Jaxon Meier, Dillon Lang and Lindsay Lang.
Sylvia was a World War II British war bride, having met U.S. soldier Jack in Liverpool in 1944. They married in 1945; she and her infant son sailed to America on the Queen Mary in 1946 to join Jack. They settled in Chicago; she and Jack retired in 1975 to San Mateo.
Sylvia was a diehard Chicago Cubs fan and managed to see her beloved team make it to the World Series before her passing. Special thanks to Atria Hillsdale of San Mateo and Sutter Home Care Hospice for their compassionate care during these past few months.
Graveside services were held at Hills of Eternity Cemetery, Colma. Donations may be made to Peninsula Sinai Congregation in Foster City, Sutter Care at Home Hospice, or a charity of your choice. Affectionately known as “GG,” she will be missed by many.
Sinai Memorial Chapel (415) 921-3636
Eliot D. Klugman, of blessed memory, passed away on June 2, 2016, in Seattle, surrounded by family. He was 76 and passed away from complications due to Parkinson’s disease, which he battled for close to a decade.
Born in Minnesota, Eliot’s family moved to Albany, California, when he was a young boy and he spent nearly his entire life in the Bay Area. In recent years, Eliot and Sandy moved to San Diego and then to Seattle in 2015 to be near their children. He was unstintingly devoted to family and the Bay Area Jewish community, specifically Emek Beracha (formerly the Palo Alto Orthodox Minyan), Beth Jacob of Redwood City, the South Peninsula Hebrew Day School, the Jewish Federation, Chabad and more. He served in leadership capacities within a number of Jewish organizations.
He owned a successful floor covering business for many years and contributed flooring to numerous Bay Area Jewish institutions. A lifelong Bay Area sports fan, Eliot loved to read the San Francisco Chronicle, bike through the hills of the Peninsula, attend Torah classes and celebrate Shabbat/holidays with his family.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 46 years Sondra Klugman, his three children Lisa, Arielle and Joshua, and nine grandchildren. Donations in his memory should be made to Congregation Emek Beracha at www.emekberacha.org/donate or to the Meyrow Foundation Parkinson’s Wellness Fund at www.themeyrowfoundation.org/donate.
Ruth Kruger was born in May 1928 in San Francisco and grew up on Funston Avenue. She attended San Francisco schools, graduating from Lowell High School and San Francisco State College. She then became a secretary. She married Henry Kruger in October 1953. Their only child, Harold, was born three years later. For many years, Henry owned the Vella Variety store on San Bruno Avenue in San Francisco. Henry and Ruth were members of the Lake Merced Country Club. Ruth is survived by her son. She was preceded in death by Henry, who died in 2014. She was also preceded in death by her parents, Samuel and Dora Kevich, and her sister, Edith Arnoff.
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Toni Norack passed away peacefully at home on Oct. 29 at the age of 62. Toni was the daughter of Rosalyn and Arthur Norack and the stepdaughter of Irving Goldman. Toni was the loving sister of Laureen Frost. Toni was the loving granddaughter of Ida and Nathan Norack and Ida and Louis Sydel. Toni was the loving cousin to Denise, Linda, Lenny, Karen, Lisa and Cheryl. Toni was the loving stepsister of Arlene and Lois Goldman. Toni was the loving friend of Robert, Diane and Brenda Del Fiorentino.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to your local SPCA. Services for Toni were held at Home of Peace Cemetery, Colma.
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David Orner passed away on Oct. 16, 2016, at the age of 93. He was beloved by his family and friends and will live on in their hearts.
David was born in Vienna. In 1938 on Kristallnacht, the SS came to his home to arrest his father, who was not there, so they arrested David, who was just 15 years old, along with his grandfather. He spent a terrifying night in solitary confinement and would have been sent to a concentration camp had it not been for the intervention of his mother. Through a contact of hers in the police department, David and his grandfather were released.
Months later she was able, through Youth Aliyah, to have David transported to Palestine, where he was placed in an agricultural school and labored in the orange groves. In the ensuing years, not knowing where his father was, he unexpectedly ran into him in Tel Aviv and they began living together in extremely poor conditions. David was separated for eight years from his mother and sister, who had fled Vienna for New York, and they reunited when he was finally able to obtain a visa to the U.S.
David worked in New York as a wood turner, a trade he learned in Tel Aviv, and in later years he worked in the philatelic field. He met his wife at a folk dance and they were married for 26 years, had one child and eventually moved to San Francisco.
David’s interests included stamp collecting, soccer, folk dancing, opera, lectures and singing/performing in Hebrew, Yiddish, German, Italian and English, accompanying himself on guitar. David’s greatest interest was in health and sharing with people the benefits of a natural foods diet. He became a vegetarian in his 40s and was a vegan for many years.
David was an avid reader and often had as many as four or five books at a time on his kitchen table. In recent years he concentrated mostly on books about the Holocaust.
In his 60s and 70s, up until age 80, David was an ardent hiker. He hiked with the Sierra Club and the Jewish Singles Hiking Club, and on very strenuous hikes on Mount Tamalpais, David’s friends often marveled at how hikers half his age were unable to keep up with him.
David was described by all who knew him as a kind and gentle man. He was a man of integrity who kept his word, and was a man of tremendous strength, who in the face of the hardships in his life, and the suffering he endured in his remaining years, persevered and never gave up.
David was a devoted, committed, extremely loving father. His daughter loved him just as deeply and will forever miss him. He is survived by 13 nieces and nephews, his former wife, Channa Orner, and his daughter, Aviva. A graveside service was held in October.
Contributions in David’s memory are welcome at Jewish Family and Children’s Services in San Francisco, which provided invaluable support and connection to David through the years, and in particular, in the remaining months of his life.
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Donald Woolfe, beloved husband, father, grandfather and uncle, passed away on Friday, Oct. 28, peacefully at home, following the celebration of his 81st birthday. Born in Chicago on Oct. 25, 1935, Don was the child of Joseph and Rose Woolfe and brother of Iris and Florence, all of Seattle, Washington.
He received his bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Washington, a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Oregon and a second master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Washington. In between master’s degrees, he served in the United States Army.
During his career years, Don served as planning director for Mercer Island, Washington; Tulare County in California; San Mateo County; and the city of Woodside. He also had his own private consulting firm from which he practiced architecture and planning.
Don married the love of his life, Charmion, on May 17, 1961. With his wife, they explored more than 50 countries around the world, where he enjoyed the architecture and using his knowledge of multiple languages.
Don was an avid mountain climber (climbing Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens), snow skier, competitive tennis player and a truly remarkable classical guitarist and folk singer. He was active in the Jewish community and served as the president of Peninsula Temple Sholom. Don enjoyed participating in the musical Purim plays at temple each year and singing services for seniors in care facilities. He was a member of the Children’s Drama Group, which entertained elementary school children with musical adaptations.
Don was a sports fanatic, supporting his beloved Huskies, as well as all of the Bay Area sports teams. His sense of humor, which saw its basis in puns, will forever be remembered and immortalized by his family.
He is also survived by his daughter Daphna Woolfe, her husband Byron Lee, his son David Woolfe and his wife Ellen Haas and grandchildren Nathan Lee and Leslie Haas and many wonderful nieces and nephews. Services were held Oct. 30 at Home of Peace Cemetery, Colma.
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