Golden State forward Omri Casspi wasn’t the only Jew who played a starring role before, during and after the Warriors’ 112-97 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Jewish Heritage Night during Hanukkah. Before the Dec. 14 game, the national anthem was performed by Jordan Feinstein, lead singer of the San Francisco band Jordan and the RituaL, and at halftime, there was a scrimmage between teams from the JCC of San Francisco.
In addition, Piedmont resident Arthur Weil, 92, who speaks to Bay Area students about his experiences as a Holocaust survivor, was presented with the Walmart Community Playmaker Award. After the game, the Israeli-born Casspi, who had his biggest game of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds, lit a giant electrical menorah on the court to celebrate the third night of Hanukkah.
Ben Berkowitz and Marc Smolowitz are the 2018 filmmakers-in-residence at the S.F.-based Jewish Film Institute. Berkowitz is working on a narrative mini-series called “Vagrant Viking” that focuses on the explorer Peter Freuchen, a Danish explorer notable for his role in Arctic expeditions. Smolowitz is producing “The Lonely Child,” a documentary that traces the impact of a Yiddish lullaby written during the Holocaust describing a little girl in hiding. The daughter of the girl in the song, J. contributing editor Alix Wall, goes on a quest to meet the people who are keeping the song alive today, inviting musicians to perform their own interpretations of it.
Sue Bojdak, the director of education at Temple Sinai in Oakland, is one of 11 people chosen for a new program, the Fellowship for Educating for Applied Jewish Wisdom. The yearlong program, which begins this month, is sponsored by the Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah.
Robert Sockolov is proving that it’s never too late to make an artistic debut. Sockolov, 87, a San Francisco native, will be showcasing his paintings from the past half-century for the first time at the Caldwell Snyder Gallery in San Francisco. All proceeds from the Jan. 30-Feb. 5 show will benefit the nonprofit Institute of Aging. Sockolov is one of 29 principal owners of the San Francisco Giants and the former owner-president of Rochester Big & Tall, and is a member of Congregation Sherith Israel. He is a self-taught artist whose inspiration for his brush-and-oil works came from his daily commute for 30 years from Marin to San Francisco.
This year’s Hanukkah celebration at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Napa turned into a way of honoring the first responders who worked to save residents and their homes during the North Bay wildfires in October. On the third night of Hanukkah, Chabad of Napa Valley had one of those first responders, California Highway Patrol officer-paramedic Whitney Lowe, light the first candle of the menorah. Roy Barush, who lost his home in the fires, lit the other candles.
The girls’ middle school basketball team from Brandeis Marin in San Rafael played during halftime of a late November Warriors game at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
Nearly two dozen Bay Area teenagers spent part of their winter break at United Synagogue Youth’s international convention in bone-chilling Chicago, including service projects at 30 local organizations — including a soup kitchen and other community shelters — on Christmas Day. Nearly 1,000 teens, educators, staff and alums gathered at USY’s 67th annual convention. USY is the youth movement for Conservative Jewish teens across North America.
Comings & Goings
Jamie Allison-Hope will succeed Pam David as executive director of the S.F.-based Walter and Elise Haas Fund. Allison-Hope, who will be leaving her job as vice president of programs at the S.H. Cowell Foundation, begins her new job on Feb. 1. David led the Haas fund as executive director for 15 years. Allison-Hope will be only the third executive director in the 65-year history of the fund.
Eric Stone is the new executive director of Congregation Shir Hadash in Los Gatos and will be starting his job on Jan. 22. A native of New Jersey, he was executive director from 2007 to 2015 at Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood City and since 2015 at Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo. He was executive vice president and general manager at the Learning Company before that.
After more than four years serving as the Public Affairs and Civic Engagement Manager for the S.F.-based Jewish Community Relations Council, Joe Goldman has accepted a position with Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger at the nonprofit’s Los Angeles offices, becoming the new Senior Policy Associate. He starts Feb. 5.
Rabbi Niles Goldstein was installed in his new position at Congregation Beth Shalom in Napa in early December. Rabbi Emeritus Lee Bycel performed the ceremony installing Goldstein, his former student. Bycel’s retirement after nearly six years at CBS cleared the way for the arrival of Goldstein, who was a student at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles a quarter-century ago during Bycel’s 15-year tenure as dean of the rabbinic school there. Goldstein, who moved to Napa from Chicago, founded the New Shul in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1999 and in 11 years built it up from a few dozen members to a congregation of about 200 families.