More than $2 million was raised and more than 450 people attended a pair of gala dinners hosted by the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces in San Francisco and Silicon Valley on Oct. 20-21. The galas celebrated 70 years of the IDF and featured speeches by active and former IDF soldiers. The money raised at the events will go toward FIDF well-being and educational programs for soldiers.
A Wider Bridge, which works to expand LGBTQ inclusion in Israel, held its San Francisco gala on Oct. 16 at Bimbos 365 Club. The event honored Ofer Erez, executive director of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, and Sam Lauter, a public affairs consultant and owner of Oakland-based BMWL and Partners. Daniel Hernandez, a member of the Arizona House of Representatives and a co-founder of the LGBT Caucus in Arizona, was the featured speaker.
About 120 people attended a late October celebration of Rabbi Edward Zerin at the Jewish Community Library. Zerin, 98, author of 10 books including “Jewish San Francisco,” gave a talk on his philosophy of personalizing the Torah.
Attendees who offered words of tribute included San Francisco State University Jewish studies professor Marc Dollinger, Jewish Community Library director Howard Freedman, novelist Michael Lavigne, Rabbi Beth Singer of Congregation Emanu-El and Jewish LearningWorks CEO David Waksberg.
Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay hosted a lunch in early November for Holocaust survivors in the wake of the Pittsburgh shootings that left 11 congregants dead. The lunch, held at the JFCS office in Berkeley, was intended to provide a space for sharing and support as survivors process the attack at the Tree of Life synagogue.
Sunnyvale Mayor Glenn Hendricks visited the Green Team at South Peninsula Hebrew Day School in late October. The club, under the guidance of SPHDS first-grade general studies teacher Lori Meyers, is composed of third and fourth graders who are focused on decreasing the school’s carbon footprint, reducing waste and educating their fellow students about recycling.
Rabbi Pam Frydman will be installed at San Francisco’s Congregation B’nai Emunah on Sunday, Nov. 18, in a program that will feature remarks by Rabbi Stan Levy of B’nai Horin — Children of Freedom in Los Angeles. Frydman has been at B’nai Emunah since August. She was the founding rabbi of Or Shalom Jewish Community in San Francisco and also served Congregation P’nai Tikvah in Las Vegas. She also was founding co-chair of Rabbis for Women of the Wall.
Roslyn Sholin, whose family archives were the basis for the “My Attic, Your Story” display at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto last year, was awarded a community fellowship for the fall semester and is studying at the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies, part of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. The fellowship, established in 2017 and open to Bay Area Jewish educators and community professionals, provides full tuition for a single course in Jewish studies at the GTU.
The REAL Mental Health Initiative at San Rafael’s Congregation Rodef Sholom is the first organization to receive the Each Mind Matters Impact Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership, innovation and sustained impact of mental health awareness and promotion. The award was presented by state Assemblymember Marc Levine, a congregant at Rodef Sholom, and by officials from Marin County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services at an Oct. 25 dinner at the synagogue. The initiative, which started in 2014, hosts speakers covering topics including suicide and addiction.
Professor Kitty Millet, chair of the Jewish studies department at San Francisco State University, has joined the editorial board of MONITOR Global Intelligence on Racism, the world’s first magazine bringing academic expertise on racism to global public debate. The magazine is based in Florence, Italy.
Comings & Goings
The Jewish National Fund’s Northern California Board has a new president. Helen Loewenstein, an Oakland native who has been involved with JNF for nearly a decade, assumed the role at the beginning of October. Dick Berman had been president for the past three years.
Katie Quinn is the new chief operating officer of The Kitchen, a Jewish startup in San Francisco’s Mission District. Quinn has worked in the Jewish community since 2011, most recently as associate director at Camp Tawonga.
Johanna Meckel is the new community outreach and development coordinator at Hasidah, a Berkeley-based nonprofit that raises awareness of infertility and provides financial support to members of the Jewish community seeking treatment. She will be developing Hasidah’s baby registry program and trying to build awareness about family-building challenges in the Jewish community. A 2006 graduate of UC Santa Cruz, she worked at two Bay Area Hillels and taught English in Israel before working with the pro-Israel group StandWithUs.
Executive director Jen Roitman will be leaving Chochmat HaLev after seven years at the Berkeley spiritual institution. Roitman said she plans to remain an active member of the community, and Chochmat HaLev created a search committee to look for her replacement when she leaves in January.