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Deaths for the week of May 17, 2019


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


Malvin Barer, MSc, MD

May 22, 1931–May 8, 2019

Malvin was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Morris and Molly Barer, immigrants from Eastern Europe. He attended Stuyvesant High School and Purdue University. In 1961, he obtained his medical degree from the University of Amsterdam in Holland.

Malvin Barer
Malvin Barer

Malvin met his wife, Barbara, while visiting London, where she was working at the time. They married in Vancouver, Canada, on June 27, 1962. Following his internship at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Malvin trained as a Fellow in Orthopedic Surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where their three daughters were born: Rebecca, Michelle, and Devora.

The family settled in Oakland, California, where he became a partner in the Webster Orthopedic Medical Group. Over the years, he served as Chief of Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery at Oakland Children’s Hospital and as an orthopedist for the Golden State Warriors, Health Volunteers Overseas, the California School for the Deaf, and at the Paralympic Games. He was a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, International College of Surgeons, the Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy.

Malvin was a marathon runner, devoted member of Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland and proud grandparent of nine. Throughout his life, he cared for many people — patients, friends, colleagues, and especially his beloved family — with his strong spirit and generous heart.


Cantor Julius (Julie) Blackman

Cantor Julius (Julie) Blackman died in his San Francisco apartment on April 22, 2019; he was 105½.

Julie was born in Chicago on October 7, 1913, the second of five children. Growing up, he pursued both music and athletics. Rogers Hornsby offered him a spot on a Cubs farm team, but he had to decline so that he could continue his education. As a young man, Julie was active in social justice causes, singing for groups raising money for Spanish Loyalists fighting Franco, doing community organizing at Hull House, and labor organizing while working at a war plant during World War II.

In 1939, he married Phyllis, to whom he was married for 67 years, and in 1945, he and his growing family moved to Los Angeles. During their years in Southern California, Julie served as cantor for four congregations: Valley Jewish Community Center (VJCC, now Adat Ari El), Temple Beth Zion and Valley Beth Shalom, all in Los Angeles; and Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs. In 1960, he moved to San Francisco to become cantor at Congregation Ner Tamid. Three years later he was appointed executive director of the Hebrew Free Loan. During his years with Hebrew Free Loan, he continued providing services as a cantor on weekends and holidays, helping lead High Holiday services at Temple Beth El in Salinas and later at the Jewish Home in San Francisco; he also substituted for other cantors throughout the year, trained b’nai mitzvah students, and served as interim clergy at congregations which were just starting. (After retiring at the age of 77, Julie was active as a volunteer in many other organizations, including B’nai B’rith and San Francisco Humanities.)

Among his many contributions in these professions, Julie should be recognized for these achievements:

At VJCC he organized a Jewish Music Council, which developed programs including concerts, and presented a Jewish Music Month celebration.

He was founding president of the Cantors Assembly West Coast Region, serving as president for six years.

In the 1950s, he was founding chair of the University of Judaism’s Music Advisory Council.

He greatly expanded the work of the Hebrew Free Loan during his 27 years as Executive Director, increasing assets from $350,000 to $5 million.

In 1964 he instituted a separate student loan program at Hebrew Free Loan, with a maximum loan amount of $500; today, student loans make up 65 percent of the agency’s loans, and students may borrow from $6,000 to $10,000 per academic year.

In the early 1970s he played a pivotal role in helping found San Francisco’s Jewish Vocational Service.

Initiated outreach to other free loan agencies, fulfilling his dream of founding an Association of Hebrew Free Loans in 1981.

In 2002 he was the first cantor from the western half of the United States to be honored with an honorary doctorate of music by the Jewish Theological Seminary.

He is survived by his children Ellen, Paul (Susan), and Beth, his sister and brother-in-law Eve and Eli Catran, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He was predeceased by his wife, Phyllis, in 2007.

The family thanks his longtime doctors who enabled him to reach 105½ in reasonably good health: Dr. Lester Jacobson and Dr. Lawrence Shore.

There will be a celebration of his life in early June. Email the family at ellen.blackman@aol.com for information.

Contributions in his memory may be made to: Hebrew Free Loan (131 Steuart St. #520, San Francisco, CA 94105); Jewish Family and Children’s Services (P.O. Box 159004, San Francisco, CA 94115); Peninsula Health Care District, for the Trousdale Wellness Center (1819 Trousdale Drive, Burlingame, CA 94010); or a charity of your choice.


Jacquie Kauffman Gribens

Jacquie Kauffman Gribens brought light, laughter and brilliance everywhere she went. She embodied the Jewish commandment of doing mitzvot, good deeds, and was never happier than when she was helping others. Jacquie passed away on May 6. She was born in Mexico City on March 27, 1966, to Philip and Wanda Kauffman. Her family moved to Massachusetts when she was 14. Jacquie graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and then went on to attend Suffolk Law School in Boston.

Jacquie Kauffman Gribens
Jacquie Kauffman Gribens

It was there that she met her “bashert,” her destined partner Bruce Gribens, during their first week of school. Bruce and Jacquie were married on August 12, 1989, and Jacquie graduated from law school in May of 1991. She began her career at Merrimack Valley Legal Services in Massachusetts. Then, she and Bruce began to move around the country as Bruce advanced in his consulting career.

Thirteen years ago, they moved with their children Josh, Nick and Allie to the Bay Area. Jacquie continued her devoted work as a volunteer in the public school system and in their synagogue, Congregation Rodef Sholom, in San Rafael. The entire congregation was invited to the Gribens’ annual Purim Party, and we will always think of Jacquie’s unique Mexican versions of the holiday goodies. Most recently, Jacquie served as Board Chair for Lifehouse, a non-profit organization that works to improve the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities, bringing a vibrant spirit and dedication to her work. She also contributed her skills and talent to the Marin County Board of Education, supervising a grant program to assist first-generation students to enter 4-year colleges. Her bilingual fluency and multicultural background enabled her to communicate with the students and their families with great sensitivity. With her natural-born qualities of leadership, humor, and humility, Jacquie was able to touch people in unique ways. She never sat on the sidelines, and she made a difference in the lives of people everywhere she went.

There was nothing more important to Jacquie than her three children, and she reveled in being a mom who was always there for them. One of the family’s fondest memories is the Bat Mitzvah that Allie and Jacquie celebrated together in St. Petersburg, in Allie’s native country, surrounded by friends and family. In addition to her beloved husband Bruce and their children, Jacquie leaves her mother, Wanda Kauffman; her sister and brother-in-law, Michelle and Bruce Sandler and their two sons, Brian and Danny; Uncle and Aunt Alfredo and Rosita Ratniewski and their daughters, Denise Gordon and Janet Ratniewski; father-in-law, Joel Gribens; brother- and sister-in-law, Michele and Alan Peterson and their daughter- and son-in-law, Ariel and Chris Lader. Jacquie also leaves her treasured dogs, Twitch and Rosie. Jacquie was recently predeceased by her beloved grandmother “Abu” Marysia Ratniewski and her cherished father, Phil Kauffman. Donations may be made to Congregation Rodef Sholom (www.rodefsholom.org) and to Lifehouse (www.lifehouseagency.org).


Warren Werner Hirsch

Warren Werner Hirsch passed away peacefully on March 16, 2019, 11 days before his 97th birthday.

Warren Werner Hirsch
Warren Werner Hirsch

Warren was born in Mannheim, Germany on March 27, 1922 to Sally and Millie Hirsch and was the younger brother of Erwin. When he was 14 and opportunities to attend an academic high school disappeared with deteriorating conditions in Nazi Germany, he knew that he had to leave. Despite the misgivings of his parents, he applied for every opportunity to leave. Eventually, he was chosen to leave Germany on a Kindertransport as one of 1,000 children allowed to enter the United States. Warren was sent to San Francisco, not knowing if he would ever see his family again. Although he eventually saw his mother and brother in New York, he never saw his father again, who he later learned was murdered in Auschwitz.

In San Francisco, Warren first landed at Homewood Terrace, a Jewish orphanage, but was eventually placed in three different foster homes. He changed high schools with each move, attending Lowell and Galileo and graduating from Washington High. He attended the University of California and graduated in 1944 with a degree in pharmacy. Following graduation, he was drafted into the military.

After being discharged from the Army, Warren found a job in a pharmacy but always wanted to work for himself. Eighteen months later, he purchased his first store. After working in retail pharmacy for 25 years, he sold the stores and worked at Mount Zion Hospital until his retirement.

Music was an important aspect of Warren’s life from the time he was a child. He was a gifted pianist and was a member of the children’s choir at his synagogue in Mannheim. It was there that he met a little girl named Bianca Zwang. They both left Germany in 1937. Ten years later, Bianca graduated college with a plan to start her life in San Francisco. She attended a wedding in New York, officiated by Warren’s brother Erwin, who was a cantor. Erwin gave Bianca Warren’s phone number, and she called him once she settled at the Emanuel Resident’s Club in San Francisco. Six months after that phone call, Warren and Bianca were married. In 2018, Warren and Bianca celebrated their 70th anniversary along with their children, Clifford (and Lori) Hirsch, Felissa (and Myron) Cagan, and their grandchildren Derek (and Casey) Hirsch, Amanda (and Aaron) Kempema, Melissa Hirsch and Eli Cagan. Shortly after their anniversary, Warren and Bianca were blessed with their first great-grandchild, Simone Kempema.

Warren was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He was the kind and generous “Papa Warren” to his grandchildren and delighted in playing with them, taking them fishing, and watching them play sports. He and Bianca were longtime members of Congregation Ner Tamid and attended synagogue there for as long as they could. They were avid symphony, opera and theater-goers and loved living in San Francisco near their family and many dear friends.

A graveside service was held on March 20th. The family requests that donations in Warren’s memory be made to the Anti-Defamation League.


Lilo Loeb

Lilo Loeb, 94, a beautiful, loving woman, passed away peacefully in Glendale, Arizona on April 23, 2019 after a brief illness.

Lilo Loeb
Lilo Loeb

She was born in Wiesbaden, Germany on January 27, 1925 and immigrated to the United States in 1947. Lilo worked professionally as a seamstress in Chicago and San Francisco. She and our father met during the Holocaust in Theresienstadt and married in San Francisco in 1950.

Lilo is survived by her son Ralph, daughter Janet Williams (Jim) and her grandsons Daniel and Ryan.

We love you with all our hearts and you will be missed by many.


Geraldine Regensburger

May 16, 1929–May 11, 2019

Geraldine “Gerry” Regensburger passed comfortably last Saturday, May 11, five days short of her 90th birthday. She was born and lived her entire life in San Francisco. She was married to Murry Regensburger for 54 years until his passing in 2006.

She is survived by children Adele Kellman (Jeffrey) and Alan Regensburger (Cathy) and grandchildren Rachel Soulages (Greg), Lisa Kellman, Mark Kellman, Sharie Regensburger and Debra Regensburger.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to UCSF Foundation, Lockbox 45339, San Francisco CA 94145-0339 and include MAC Fund B1871 in the memo line of the check.

(Sinai Redwood City)


William Lyle Schwartz

William Lyle Schwartz, M.D., 87, loving husband of Florette Schwartz, passed away at home on Sunday, May 5, 2019. He was the son of the late Samuel and Celia Schwartz, born in Cando, North Dakota on May 7, 1931.

Dr. Schwartz was a graduate of University of California, Berkeley and both University of North Dakota and University of Utah Medical Schools. He started his medical practice in San Mateo, California after completing a residency in Miami, Florida in 1961. After 32 years in private practice, Dr. Schwartz retired and was designated as a Clinical Professor at the University of California, San Francisco. He served as Board President at Peninsula Temple Beth El. In addition, Dr. Schwartz collaborated with Samaritan House, San Mateo County’s leading non-profit agency, and co-founded the first free medical clinic for individuals in need in San Mateo County, for which he received the Jefferson Public Service Award.

Dr. Schwartz is survived by his daughter, Eileen, her husband Al Levin, Ed.D. and their daughter, Rachel; his son, Michael Schwartz, M.D., and his wife Michele and their children Elie and Gabriel.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at Peninsula Temple Beth in San Mateo, California. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Peninsula Temple Beth El or a charity of your choice.


Doris (Jablonsky) Sperber

It is with deep sadness that we mourn the passing of our beloved 111-year-old mother. Predeceased by her devoted husband of 75 years, Reuben, she leaves behind her sons Stephen (Roberta), Joel (Diane), Frederick (Tina), and David (Mary); her grandchildren Damon, Rebecca, Loren, Anna, Evan, Carly, Amelia, and Lindsay; and great-grandchildren Jonah, Caitlyn and Brooklyn. Bat-mitzvahed at the age of 100, she showered us with love and nurturing, serving as a model of how to live in this world honorably. She taught us to treat others with dignity and respect.

(Sinai SF)

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