A lone man in a dessert throwing his arms up
Aaron Davidman in the movie based on his one-man show, "Wrestling Jerusalem"

Honors, happenings, comings & goings — August 2019


Happenings

The movie “Wrestling Jerusalem,” an adapted version of an Aaron Davidman one-man play that premiered in San Francisco in 2014, is headed to Europe for the first time with showings on Sept. 5 on London and Sept. 10 in Paris. “Largely autobiographical, ‘Wrestling Jerusalem’ recounts Davidman’s vagabond journey across Israel and the West Bank,” Dan Pine wrote in a 2016 review in J. “Along the way he meets a stubborn religious Zionist settler, determined Palestinian activists, a commander in the Israel Defense Forces, an Israeli emergency room physician and even an Israeli stoner at the Dead Sea traumatized by the suicide bombing death of two friends … Davidman plays them all, male and female, young and old. He not only nails the Israeli and Palestinian accents right down to the last phoneme, but he also captures every nuanced, heartbreaking emotion in that strife-torn land.”

The Jewish Community Free Clinic, the only completely free medical clinic in Sonoma County, will celebrate 18 years of service at “Taste & Toast L’Chaim Harvest Celebration” from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 8 at Shone Farm in Forestville. The event will feature wood-fired pizza, paella, local wine, craft beer, yoga, massage, face painting and live music. For details, visit tinyurl.com/jcfc-celebration.

Karen Glenn with her tzedakah project presentation (Photo/Courtesy Sari Berkovich)
Karen Glenn with her tzedakah project presentation (Photo/Courtesy Sari Berkovich)

Karen Glenn, a 12-year-old student at Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School in Palo Alto, has completed her required tzedakah project after a trip to Israel to visit the beneficiary of her project, World ORT Kadima Mada. Throughout the year, Hausner students raise money for a cause of their choosing and do a presentation to their classmates about it. ORT is an Israeli educational organization, which works to “bridge the gap between aptitude and opportunity” for students from less affluent families and communities. Along with her parents, Orit and Jeffrey Glenn, Karen visited ORT’s Mada Park (Science Park) near Haifa, which features an oceanarium and planetarium. “I visited the Mada Park and I was able to see some classrooms as well,” Karen said in an ORT press release. “We were very impressed by the park and the impact ORT has had on education in Israel. I was really able to see firsthand some of the things ORT does and it felt really good to know that I was able to help such an incredible organization.” ORT graduate Matan Levi visited her presentation at Hausner. “I saw her presenting her work with a lot of confidence, knowledge and passion,” Levi said in the press release. “I was blown away by Karen’s knowledge, maturity and ability to articulate complex topics at such a young age. She truly sees the importance to the world of ORT’s cause.”


Honors

Neri Oxman
Neri Oxman

Israeli American artist, architect, designer and MIT professor Neri Oxman has been awarded the 2019 Contemporary Vision Award by SFMOMA. “Oxman boldly steps forward to address contemporary environmental concerns and existing systemic issues through science, technology and design, but mostly through imagination,” SFMOMA curator of architecture and design Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher said in a press release. “Her vision of the future is one of hope and possibility, which we need.” Tickets are available at sfmoma.org/cva for an Oct. 30 award dinner featuring a conversation between Oxman and Dunlop Fletcher.

Daniel Chesir
Daniel Chesir

At Shabbat evening services on Friday, Aug. 23, Congregation Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco will honor its founder, Daniel Chesir. “In 1977, three Jewish men put an ad in the paper that they were starting ‘a gay synagogue,’” reads an ad for the event. “Forty-two years later, our community is thriving … It will be a fabulous walk down memory lane for our earliest members, and our many new members [will] get a feel for how groundbreaking this community really was … and continues to be.” Former Sha’ar Zahav Rabbi Yoel Kahn, who now serves Beth El in Berkeley, will deliver the sermon. Services will be led by current Sha’ar Zahav Rabbi Mychal Copeland, Cantor Sharon Bernstein and Ron Lezell, another early member of the synagogue.


Comings & Goings

The S.F.-based Jewish Community Relations Council has announced the election of its new board officers: Paul Resnick of Mountain View, president; Russell Cohen of San Francisco and Jennifer Wolfe of Mill Valley, vice presidents; Neil Tuch of Los Altos, treasurer; and Aaron Danzig of San Francisco, secretary. There are also some new at-large board members: Sandi Brager of San Francisco, Col. Peter Gleichenhaus of San Francisco and Joshua Reynolds of San Francisco. In a press release, the JCRC said, “Serving as an officer of JCRC is a meaningful way to support and guide JCRC to achieve its vision of a more just society and a secure and vibrant Jewish community.” The new officers began on July 1.

Sara Kupor
Sara Kupor

The JCC East Bay’s new Shamash Resident is Sara Kupor. “The Shamash Residency is a special opportunity for a local rabbi, scholar or educator to offer Jewish learning with the JCC staff and community,” the JCC said in a press release. Kupor, who has taught and run educational programs at congregations Beth El (Berkeley) and Kol Shofar (Tiburon), as well as at several other synagogues around the country, “uses Jewish music, dance and humor to explore and celebrate Shabbat and other Jewish holidays as well as Torah study in all its dimensions.”

Raphael Magarik
Raphael Magarik

Raphael Magarik, newly minted Ph.D. at UC Berkeley, begins teaching as an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago this month. His work combines biblical studies with the history of Protestant theology and modern literary theory. As he said in a recent Q&A with the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion: “My dissertation argues that Protestant Bible commentators invented the idea of the biblical narrator. That is, starting with Luther and Calvin, Protestant readers started to imagine the biblical text as reflecting both a divine author and a human, mediating, narrating presence.”

David A.M. Wilensky
David A.M. Wilensky

David A.M. Wilensky is the online editor of J. and "Jew in the Pew" columnist. He can be reached at david@jweekly.com.