Rabbi Jennie Chabon and her son Ezra perform in a video for the Contra Costa Jewish Day School gala.
Rabbi Jennie Chabon and her son Ezra perform in a video for the Contra Costa Jewish Day School gala.

Honors, happenings, comings & goings — May, 2020


Honors

Alison Faith Levy will be awarded the Betty K. and Philip Fein Memorial Prize for outstanding student in Jewish Education on June 7 when she receives her master of Jewish education degree from Hebrew College in Boston. Levy is a prolific musician and the tots program coordinator at Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo. Her third album for children and families, “You Are Magic,” will be released in the fall.

The Sacramento-based organization Women’s Empowerment gave its Tikkun Olam Award to the Sacramento chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women in a May 21 virtual ceremony. The chapter was recognized for its action on issues such as child welfare, women’s rights, reproductive freedom, domestic violence, elder abuse, teen relationships and human trafficking.

The board of the Sacramento chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women.
The board of the Sacramento chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women.

Happenings

Contra Costa Jewish Day School’s annual gala was held on Zoom this year, with more than 300 people tuning in for the May 3 event. “Our supporters responded with extraordinary generosity — helping to make it our most successful event to date,” director of institutional advancement Eden Allswang Bruner told J. in an email. In all, the event drew in $300,000. The inaugural Be the Light Award was given to Karla and Neil Smith, who have supported the school since its earliest days. The event also included a performance by Rabbi Jennie Chabon and her son Ezra, who graduated from CCJDS last year, and several video features.

Karla and Neil Smith being honored during the Contra Costa Jewish Day School gala over Zoom.
Karla and Neil Smith being honored during the Contra Costa Jewish Day School gala over Zoom.
Carol Christ
Carol Christ
Manny Yekutiel
Manny Yekutiel
Rita Semel
Rita Semel

The S.F.-based Jewish Community Relations Council’s annual “Behind the Scenes” gala, originally scheduled for March 11, has been turned into a series of videos on the JCRC website. This year’s honorees are Manny Yekutiel, Carol T. Christ, Jennifer and Tony Smorgon and Rita R. Semel. Yekutiel, owner of Manny’s, a restaurant and civic event space in the Mission, was given the JCRC Jewish-Civic Leadership Award. Christ, chancellor of UC Berkeley, was honored with the Courageous Leadership Award. The Smorgons received the Distinguished Leadership Award. And Semel, executive director emerita of the JCRC, was singled out for special recognition. Videos about each recipient as well as a welcome video from JCRC executive director Tye Gregory can be viewed at jcrcbehindthescenes2020.org.

Sixteen female cantors from the U.S., Germany and Israel sang “Yerushalyim Shel Zahav” in honor of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) on May 21-22. Cantor Roslyn Barak, cantor emerita at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, represented the Bay Area. The video performance was organized by JVocals, an online platform that helps people hire Jewish musicians for events; it was founded by Motti Hasfari, who serves as High Holidays cantor at Congregation Sinai in San Jose.


Comings & Goings

Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan
Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan

Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan will retire from HaMaqom | The Place on June 30. He joined the organization, then called Lehrhaus Judaica, 10 years ago as chief program officer. In February, Wolf-Prusan was named co-executive director alone with Jaimie Baxter. A gala that was planned in his honor was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. “I am grateful for the kindness and support of all of you who made generous contributions and purchased tickets,” Wolf-Prusan wrote in a farewell email to the community. “I am honored and complete… I wish the best to our new CEO, Rabbi Darren Kleinberg, Ph.D., and imagine HaMaqom emerging into a bright future.”

David Kadosh
David Kadosh

David Kadosh is the new Northern California regional director of Club Z, a Zionist teen youth group. Previously he was executive director of the Western region for the Zionist Organization of America, where he worked for 11 years in a variety of roles, including managing director of campus programs for the West Coast.

Rachel Darling
Rachel Darling

Rachel Darling is now the executive director of Hillel at Davis and Sacramento, after serving as interim executive director since November. Previously she was talent acquisition manager for the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, where she worked for three years. Prior to that, she was program director at Hillel at Davis and Sacramento; she earned her bachelor’s degree at UC Davis. “Rachel’s warm and welcoming personality and enthusiasm have brought a new sense of excitement and inclusion to Hillel,” said Hillel at Davis and Sacramento board president Simone Naftulin.

Shaina Hammerman
Shaina Hammerman

Shaina Hammerman has been named associate director of Jewish studies at Stanford University. She was previously an adjunct professor in the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice at the University of San Francisco and has taught humanities courses to college students at San Quentin State Prison as part of the Prison University Project. Hammerman is also the author of “Silver Screen, Hasidic Jews: The Story of an Image.” She has a Ph.D. in Jewish history and culture from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.

Joyce Linker
Joyce Linker

Joyce Linker has been named chair of the board of trustees for the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. She succeeds Elliott Felson, who has served as board chair since July 2017. Linker joined the board in 1987 and is the museum’s longest-serving trustee. She has been especially engaged with the museum’s photography exhibits over the years and is a photography collector herself. Linker is also a member of the SFMOMA Photography Accessions Committee, the board of the California College of the Arts and the Investment and Donor-Advised Funds Committee of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation. Linker was also the first woman to serve as president of the JCCSF.

Daniel Cohn
Daniel Cohn

Two members of the Bay Area Jewish community have been named to the board of the American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Daniel Cohn is a partner at the San Francisco office of Farella Braun + Martel, and Noga Niv is a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Palo Alto who supervises clinical trainees at Stanford University Counseling and Psychological Services. “Their combined leadership and distinctive expertise will make a measurable impact on our organization’s mission of sharing and advancing Tel Aviv University’s innovative education, research, and community building in the United States,” said AFTAU CEO Jennifer Gross in a press release.

Our Crowd is a monthly feature that highlights goings-on in the Jewish community of Northern California. To have your personal or organizational honor, happening or coming/going included in next month’s Our Crowd, email David A.M. Wilensky at david@jweekly.com.

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

David A.M. Wilensky is the digital editor of J. He can be reached at david@jweekly.com.