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Deaths for the week of Sept. 7, 2018


Obituaries are supported by a generous grant from Sinai Memorial Chapel.


Norman William Aron, resident of Sunnyvale

Norman William Aron, loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather, died on August 25 at the age of 93. He was born on May 5, 1925, in Youngstown, Ohio, to Samuel and Dina Aron, Yiddish-speaking Jewish Lithuanian/Russian immigrants. He was the second youngest of nine children, and the youngest of four boys. The family lived in a four-room, one-bath apartment above the small grocery market owned by Sam and Dina. Sam died when Norman was 11. Dina remarried and Norman gained a stepsister, with whom he was also close.

Norman William Aron
Norman William Aron

Norman’s loves included family, both immediate and extended, business, and giving to his community. He was a very optimistic and fashionable person who had a wonderful sense of humor, enjoyed golf, reading, taking long walks, and travel.

In 1945 Norman married his high school sweetheart, Bertha Berman, and together they raised three children. Bertha died in 1978. He then married Ruth Abrams. He was beloved by his extended family, many of whom credited him with providing love, guidance, and, at times, financial support to ensure happiness and stability in their childhood and adult lives. Norman is survived by children Gary (Fran), Linda, and Joyce (Mark); seven grandchildren (Jonathan, David, Rachael, Jessica, Beth, Marni, Zach); and 11 great-grandchildren.

Although a good student, after high school Norman had to work in the market and was unable to go to college. Norman, serving as president, and his brothers were able to turn their small grocery market into a 36-store regional supermarket chain, Century Foods. In 1968, foreseeing the collapse of the economy in Youngstown, Norman moved his family to Los Altos. There, with no college education, he established himself as a business consultant to individuals and corporations, such as Nob Hill Supermarkets and Ross Department Stores. After Norman married Ruth, they made a new life together in Palm Desert.

In each place he lived, Norman gave to his community. In Youngstown, he served as chairman of the local Israel Bonds drive and was also instrumental in the building of Temple Ohev Tzedek in Youngstown, serving as its first president. In the Bay Area, Norman served as Vice President on the board of Temple Beth Jacob. In retirement in Palm Desert, he served on many nonprofit boards, including the Children’s Discovery Museum, Eisenhower Hospital Foundation, and Rotary Club, for which he was the Rotarian of the Year at the age of 81. He was appointed executive in residence at the University of California, Riverside, Palm Desert campus, and helped raise money for scholarships for disadvantaged youth of the Coachella Valley to attend college and to play in the youth symphony.

Norman’s children are grateful to have spent the last 5 years with him in the Bay Area.

(Sinai Redwood City)


Peter Berck was born on April 26, 1950, and died on August 10, 2018, after a brave fight against cancer. Peter grew up in New York, attended college at UC Berkeley and earned a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT. Returning to Berkeley, he spent his academic career of nearly 42 years at Cal in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, College of Natural Resources.

Peter Berck
Peter Berck

He is survived by his wife, Cyndi, sons David (and Anna) and Joseph, daughter Michelle, four grandchildren, brother Alan (and Maggie), cousin Victor and the Parker/Frisch clan, parents-in-law William and Arline Spindell, nieces and nephews, and countless friends. We will always love and miss him.

Peter was one of the world’s foremost environmental economists; he did practical research on farming, forests, fisheries, pollution, energy and climate. More importantly, he was a beloved teacher and mentor to generations of students and colleagues. During his final weeks, close to a thousand of them wrote tributes to his open door, good advice, hearty laugh, and genuine caring.

A citizen of the world, Peter became an honorary Swede during two sabbatical years; promoted agricultural research partnerships with Israel; climbed the Great Wall with Chinese colleagues; and bubbled with excitement at seeing African wildlife as part of conservation research. Peter loved everything outdoors and was a Boy Scout leader.

A “Peter Berck Campership Fund” has been set up by the Mount Diablo-Silverado Council of Scouting BSA, 800 Ellinwood Way, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523. Peter also was active in the Jewish community. He is buried in Gan Shalom (Garden of Peace) Cemetery in Briones. On Sunday, September 23, from 2 to 5 p.m., a service and memorial will be held at Temple Isaiah, 945 Risa Road, Lafayette.


Herbert Allen Bloom

Sept. 1, 1937–Aug. 27, 2018

Herbert Allen Bloom passed away on August 27. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Harriet Jean Nathan Bloom; his son Dr. Barry (Lauren); son Rabbi Mark (Karen); daughter Jennifer (Dr. Mitchell Creinin); his grandchildren Ilana and Zach Creinin; and Micah and Jonah Bloom.

Herbert Allen Bloom
Herbert Allen Bloom

Herb was born in Chicago and moved with his family to Los Angeles when he was 9. He attended UC Berkeley, where he met the love of his life, Harriet. Herb began practicing law in 1965 in San Francisco and in 1973 established a Family Law practice in San Mateo. He always said he practiced Family Law the “right way,” putting his clients’ interests first. In 1975 he established the Family Law Section of the San Mateo County Bar Association, thereby opening to all lawyers in San Mateo County the ”Section” concept. In 1976 he was admitted to the United States Supreme Court. In 1985, at his suggestion, Family Law lawyers were used as Pro Tem Judges in the Superior Court in Family Law cases. He proudly served 12 years as a Judge Pro Tem.

In 1973, the family moved to Hillsborough, where Herb and Harriet lived until the children were adults. As a family they traveled extensively, including a trip around the country in a motor home in 1977 and a month-long trip to Europe in 1980. Herb and Harriet continued to travel extensively all around the world until well into their 70s.

Herb loved Cal football, where he held 50 yard-line seats for over 50 years and was an original Bear Backer. He also loved playing golf weekly at Green Hills Country Club from 1968 until his death. Herb was active in the Temples where he belonged and served as President of Temple Beth Israel Judea.

In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to be made to Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland, CA or the charity of your choice.

(Sinai Lafayette)


Roslyn Irene Cheskin

It is with great sadness that the family of Roslyn Irene Cheskin announces her passing on August 22, 2018, in Saratoga, California, at the age of 89 years. She will be lovingly remembered by her children, Uri Cheskin (Sima), Shira Joseph (Saul) and Barry Cheskin (Lisa), as well as her 10 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by many years by her husband, Leon Cheskin.

A native of New York, Roslyn grew up in the Bronx. She lived most of her life in Morristown and then Madison, New Jersey, until 2014, when she moved to Saratoga, California. She was an inspired and beloved teacher, teaching kindergarten in the Morris School District in New Jersey for over 20 years.

She was a devoted daughter, mother, wife, grandmother and great-grandmother. She will be missed by so many.

Funeral services were held in Long Island, NY, on August 24, 2018.


Diane Dorfman

It is with a heavy heart that the news of the passing of Diane Dorfman is being shared. On August 2, 2018, she succumbed to lung cancer, in her own bed at home. True to herself, she was fiercely independent of mind and continued to call the shots and direct her care until the end. Her strong will served her well during the past few months, when her health began to decline.

Diane Dorfman
Diane Dorfman

Diane was born on January 31, 1922, in Riga, Latvia. Her parents had spent the previous six months escaping from the pogroms in Russia. By the time she was 6 years old, the family moved to Petaluma after living for short periods of time in Springfield, Massachusetts; Philadephia; and San Francisco. Her parents bought a small ranch on the West Side and raised chickens, and after several years a small dairy herd was added. She graduated from Petaluma Senior High in January 1940. She had hoped to move to San Francisco and continue her education, but she met Joe Dorfman and her plans made a change. On September 29, 1940, they were married and remained in the community.

Over the years, Diane raised her children, participated in PTA, taught Sunday school at B’nai Israel, became a life member of Hadassah, belonged to the Sisterhood of B’nai Israel, and supported the activities of her children. She was an auxiliary volunteer at Petaluma Valley Hospital for 35 years, finally retiring in November 2017 at the age of 95. She was also a life member of the Petaluma Historical Museum Association, where she also served as a volunteer. In addition, she was a member of Sage and also frequented Friendship Circle in Santa Rosa.

She thoroughly enjoyed live theater, music, film, eating out and getting together with the gals over lunch. Greatly missed being able to attend the last two lectures of the Marin Lecture Series this spring, as her health declined. For many years she was a participant of day-tripping activities and experienced many enjoyable and educational times with the organization and met some wonderful people who became new friends. Diane loved to read and could never pass up an opportunity to browse for a new book. She jokingly used to say that she could never die because she still had too many unread books. And she loved jewelry as much as her books. She always looked forward to doing the daily crossword and word jumble. She had a special love in her heart for dogs, having owned many since she as a child. It was a rare day that her car never left the garage to go somewhere, and she drove up to her 96th birthday.

Diane was predeceased by her parents, Morris and Pauline Brody; her infant son Clifford; her beloved son Steve; and her husband, Joe. She is survived by her daughter Cynthia (Napa), her brother Seymour Brody, sister-in-law Sue Brody, and many nieces and nephews. In addition, she leaves behind many multigenerational friends. Her regret of late is that she did not live long enough to see the outcome of the Mueller investigation. Diane will be missed by many.

Services were held on August 6, 2018, with burial at B’nai Israel Cemetery. Donations may be made to the Steve Dorfman Memorial Scholarship Fund, California State University, Chico, 400 W. First St., Chico, CA 95929, or to Petaluma Animal Services, 840 Hopper St., Petaluma, CA 94952.

May her memory be for a blessing.