Rabbi Jeremy Morrison, the executive director of Lehrhaus Judaica, and Sarah Waxman, founder of At the Well, were among 16 people selected from a nationwide pool of 150 applicants for ELI Talks’ spring cohort of its speaker fellowship. The group will have three months of training around Jewish idea development, storytelling and stage presence. Speakers will give their talks to a live audience in Detroit in mid-June and the videos will be released this summer.
Two staff members at the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation have been chosen as Next Gen Jewish Federation Fellows, an 18-month program supported by the Jim Joseph Foundation that offers participants training to become innovators and leaders. Sharon Siegel, manager of young adult engagement and philanthropy, and Alia Zeno, major gifts officer for next generation and young families, were selected for the program.
Ellen Fletcher, a civic leader for decades in Palo Alto best known for her advocacy for cycling and environmental issues, is one of six nominees being considered by the Palo Alto Unified School District as it decides whether to rename two middle schools. Fletcher, a native of Berlin who escaped Nazi Germany as part of the Kindertransport program that brought Jewish children to England, went on to become a longtime member of the Palo Alto City Council. She died in 2012 at the age of 83.
Rabbi Howard Zack and his wife Linda Vlosky Zack will be the inaugural recipients of the Rabbinical Council of America’s Distinguished Leadership Award, presented May 1 at the RCA convention in Stamford, Connecticut. Zack served as senior rabbi at Oakland’s Beth Jacob Congregation for 15 years in the 1980’s and 1990’s. In 2012 the couple moved to Columbus, Ohio, where Zack became senior rabbi at Congregation Torah Emet.
Rabbi Yehuda and Miriam Ferris, longtime heads of Chabad of the East Bay, were featured on the cover of the March issue of Claremont Living, a magazine aimed at residents of that Oakland/Berkeley neighborhood. In an article titled “Leading and Loving by Example,” Miriam says she learned a key parenting tip from the book “Cheaper by the Dozen,” where the father of 12 children paired them up by age, so an older sibling would take care of a younger one. “It works!” she told the magazine, pointing to the 10 children she and her husband have raised.
It will be a double simcha May 4 at San Francisco’s Congregation Sherith Israel as Rabbi Emeritus Martin Weiner and Cantor Emeritus Martin Feldman celebrate milestone birthdays at a special Shabbat service. Weiner, whose 31-year tenure as senior rabbi at Sherith Israel began in 1972, is turning 80. Feldman, who is marking his 90th birthday, served the congregation for 43 years after moving to Sherith Israel in 1960.
The spring benefit event at Palo Alto’s Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, which raised more than $235,000, was focused this year on increasing the Hausner Scholarship Fund. The fifth annual spring benefit on March 10 was a night of entertainment, dining and dancing in the school’s gym. About one-third of Hausner students receive tuition assistance totaling more than $1.2 million each year.
A Torah that escaped the Nazis now has a permanent home at AlmaVia, an Elder Care Alliance community in San Rafael. The scroll was written in Germany in the mid-1800s and was safely taken from northern Germany when David Hamburger, president of the Jewish community in the town of Fuerstenau, went into hiding in 1938. After Hamburger’s death following the war, his son Siegfried brought the Torah to the Bay Area in 1958. Eventually, it made its way to Rabbi Jerry Levy, leader of the Jewish congregation at AlmaVia, where it now is kept in a display case.
“Friends and Family” was the theme as Jewish Family and Children’s Services held its annual Fammy Awards Gala on March 17 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in San Francisco. The event honored Sonoma County first responders and victims of the North Bay wildfires, with special mention to Yotam Polizer, co-CEO of the relief agency IsraAid; Harvey Schloss, a JFCS champion for children and families (who, sadly, died shortly after the event); and the JFCS 3g Young Adult Leadership Council, which encompasses grandchildren of Holocaust survivors.
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors declared March 27 as a “Day of Education and Sharing” in honor of the birthday of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the late leader of the Chabad movement. Education and Sharing Day USA is celebrated annually in many American cities and counties as a way of instructing youngsters on morality and ethics. It was established in 1978 by a joint congressional resolution.
Josephine Clyne, who left her native Vienna in 1939 and spent 16 years in London before immigrating to the Bay Area and working for many years as a seamstress in San Francisco, became a centenarian on April 12. Her 100th birthday was celebrated at Atria, an assisted-living community in Burlingame where she now lives. Clyne, who told J. her father was murdered by the Nazis and her only brother survived three concentration camps, said she and a younger sister managed to get out of Austria just in time. She worked at first in an aircraft factory in England, and later sewed military uniforms there. Her secret to reaching 100? Clyne says she swam almost every day for most of her life and still walks a lot, though these days often with a cane.
Comings & Goings
Rabbi Amy Eilberg, who in 1985 became the first woman rabbi ordained in Conservative Judaism, has joined the staff of Faith in Action Bay Area to serve as coordinator of Jewish community engagement. Eilberg previously worked with the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center and the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution. In her new position, she will provide in-depth educational and dialogue opportunities for Bay Area Jews involved in social justice work.
Michael Chertok has taken over as director of philanthropy at the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation, and will primarily be located at the Federation’s office at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto. Chertok recently finished his tenure as president of the board of Congregation Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco and previously worked at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation as vice president of donor experience and engagement.
Aimee Durfee is the new chief program officer at Jewish Vocational Service. Durfee has more than two decades experience advancing economic justice issues, including a stint most recently as a senior program officer at the Y&H Soda Foundation in Moraga.
David Green is returning to the JCC of San Francisco as chief program officer for roots and culture after spending one year as executive director of Kevah, a Berkeley-based nonprofit that helps individuals and organizations build Jewish learning communities. Before moving to Kevah, Green led the JCC’s adult education programming.
Cantor Elaya Jenkins-Adelberg will join Berkeley’s Congregation Beth El as cantor starting in July. She is from the Bay Area, having had her bat mitzvah at Oakland’s Temple Sinai and serving as a song leader at Camp Newman.