Robert D. Haas will be honored with the Pride Freedom Award at the San Francisco Pride Parade on June 30. According to sfpride.org, “In 1982, as a senior executive at Levi Strauss & Co., Bob joined in the effort of a group of employees handing out leaflets alerting fellow employees to a still-unnamed disease fatally impacting gay men.” Later, as CEO, Haas established Levi Strauss as a corporate leader in responding to AIDS. In 1992, it became the first Fortune 500 company to offer benefits to same-sex partners. To date, the Levi Strauss Foundation has provided $70 million to HIV/AIDS organizations. While he was a board member of the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, established by his parents, the fund became an early donor to efforts to pass marriage equality.
Lucy Beckett, 17, of Elk Grove, is among the recipients of the 2019 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards and will receive the $36,000 prize that goes with it. She is one of the founders of Camp Nefesh, a project of Congregation B’nai Israel in Sacramento, a day camp for refugee children living in the area. “Our synagogue is very passionate about immigrant and refugee rights,” Beckett told J. last year. “I also am passionate about helping children.” The award is given annually to 15 teens across the country.
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, a national Jewish social justice organization with a strong local presence, announced that five Bay Area residents have been chosen for the first national cohort of Jeremiah Fellows: Rebecca DeHovitz, an educator at Peninsula Bridge, a nonprofit college access program for low-income students; Maya Joshua, Kehilla Community Synagogue’s program and communications manager; Maya Katz-Ali, who works at Be’chol Lashon, a Bay Area-based organization focused on Jewish diversity; Levi Ramer, a transgender man representing his community as a force for positive social change; and Hannah Trumbull, an interfaith organizer at Youth Spirit Artworks.
Zoe Jick of Palo Alto was honored May 19 with a Tikkun Olam Award by the Rashi School, a Reform-affiliated Jewish day school in Boston. The award is given to Rashi School alumni who “demonstrate a strong commitment to social justice,” according to a press release. Jick is the associate director of Jewish content at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto. In her position at OFJCC, she creates programs that promote Jewish text study, engagement with Israel and social justice, according to the press release. In the fall, she will spend a day at Rashi sharing her experiences with students.
Ron Brachman, director of the Jacobs-Technion Cornell Institute grad school in New York, spoke to a group of American Technion Society Bay Area board members and supporters in San Francisco on May 2. The event was hosted by board member David Kaufman of Tiburon, who opened with a prayer for Yom HaShoah. Brachman spoke about the impact of the Technion in New York, which is home to the institute he leads, and around the world.
Comings & Goings
Rachel Brodie is the inaugural senior educator at the Jewish Studio Project in Berkeley. She has been a participant in JSP programs and a consultant for the organization for two years. Her previous Bay Area positions include chief Jewish officer at the JCC of San Francisco and executive director of Jewish Milestones. “Rachel’s brilliance as a facilitator, passion for learning, and collaborative nature make her the perfect leader to join us in bringing this work more fully in the world,” JSP cofounder and creative director Rabbi Adina Allen said in a press release.
Rabbi Richard Address is the new dean of the Berkeley-based Gamliel Institute, which educates Jewish leaders in burial and mourning practices. He will take over from Rabbi Stuart Kelman, who founded the institute as well as Berkeley’s Congregation Netivot Shalom. Address is the founder of the organization Jewish Sacred Aging. “We have spent more than a year searching for an individual who is both an excellent teacher and a visionary; Rabbi Address is both,” Kelman said in a press release. “Having devoted much of his life to teaching about Jewish aging, his work directly complements the work to date of the Gamliel Institute.”
Sam Berrin Shonkoff is the new assistant professor of Jewish studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. This fall he will teach “Modern Judaisms: Religion, Culture, or Nationality?” and “Hasidic Mysticism.” Shonkoff was born in Berkeley and served most recently as a visiting assistant professor at Oberlin College. “The GTU fosters such a holistic approach to religious and Jewish studies in uniquely powerful ways,” he said in a press release. “I am thrilled to participate in these conversations about what it means to study religions in the twenty-first century.”
Irène Hodes is the new film festival director at JCC Sonoma County. She lives in Healdsburg, working in the wine industry. Hodes has lived in five countries, including seven years in Israel, and has been a writer, performer and arts administrator around the world. The 24th annual Sonoma County Jewish Film Festival will take place in October.
Yael Krieger is the new cantorial soloist at Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland. “I was born on Kol Nidrei night, the daughter of a cantor, who welcomed me into the world with a song,” she said in the Beth Abraham newsletter. Since she was 18, Krieger has held High Holiday pulpits at congregations around the country. Since moving to the Bay Area in 2011, she’s served as director of educational support at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay in San Francisco.
Rachel Dubowe is the Union for Reform Judaism’s new California camps assistant director, supporting URJ Camp Newman in Santa Rosa, as well as two URJ sports and science-tech camps in Southern California. As part of the position, Dubowe will also serve as regional adviser to the Southern California branch of NFTY, the national Reform youth organization. “I could not be more thrilled to return to the world that shaped me as a Reform Jewish teenager from Los Angeles,” she said in a press release. “I am so excited for what this new position … will bring!”
Luba Troyanovsky is the new president of the board of Jewish Family and Children’s Services based in San Francisco. She grew up in Soviet-era Ukraine, surrounded by anti-Semitism and practicing Judaism in secret. When Troyanovsky and her family came to the Bay Area in the ’70s, JFCS helped them settle in and acclimate. She got involved with JFCS as a volunteer in 2001 when she helped plan JFCS’ first Emigre Community Gala, now an annual event. “Being a part of JFCS’ leadership feels like somewhat of a homecoming for me,” Troyanovsky said in a press release. “It has allowed me to celebrate my culture, to remember and bear witness to our shared past, and to further the dreams of immigrants like me.”
Cantor Risa Wallach is stepping down from Congregation B’nai Shalom of Walnut Creek. A congregational committee will search for a new cantor over the next year. In the meantime, High Holiday services will be led by Cantor Jeremy Lipton, head of school at Minneapolis Talmud Torah. Berkeley-based musician and writer Ben Kramarz will lead alternative High Holiday services. And Cantor Barbara Powell, of Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood City, will fill in as b’nai mitzvah tutor. B’nai Shalom has also received a grant from the Contra Costa JCC to support family Shabbat programs; veteran Bay Area song leader Isaac Zones will lead Friday night family services periodically.
Rabbi Misha Clebaner recently was ordained at Hebrew College in Boston. He was born in the Soviet Union and moved to San Francisco with his family in 1993. Clebaner will soon depart for Sydney, Australia, where he will start a position at North Shore Temple Emanuel. He is a blogger and host of the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast. Clebaner’s family is involved with S.F. Congregation Emanu-El, where he and his sister became b’nai mitzvah.