Merl Ross in front of the de Young with one of her artworks that is currently on display in the de Young Open.
Merl Ross in front of the de Young with one of her artworks that is currently on display in the de Young Open.

Honors, happenings, philanthropy, comings & goings — Nov. 2020


Honors

Tad Taube
Tad Taube
Sen. Dianne Feinstein
Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Bay Area philanthropist Tad Taube, in his capacity as honorary consul of Poland, will be honored Dec. 14 at the American Jewish Committee’s virtual Hanukkah gala, “Diplomacy at 75: Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Founding of the United Nations and AJC San Francisco.” Feinstein and Taube will be presented with the Light Unto the Nations Award at the event, which will include a menorah lighting and featured speakers San Francisco Mayor London Breed and AJC CEO David Harris.


Happenings

J. Editor Sue Fishkoff conducted a livestream interview with David Horovitz, founding editor of the Times of Israel, on Nov. 18. They discussed the U.S. elections and talked about how a Biden administration would affect Israel. Horovitz said that he believes the U.S. rejoining the Iran nuclear deal would be bad for Israel, but sees the possibility of restarting the peace process as good for Israel. Iran is the greatest threat to Israel, more than Americans realize, he said. About 300 people logged on for the interview. It was hosted by the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies at UC Berkeley, where Horovitz is the Morton and Amy Friedkin Scholar-In-Residence.

J. Editor Sue Fishkoff and Time of Israel founding editor David Horovitz talk over Zoom.
J. Editor Sue Fishkoff and Time of Israel founding editor David Horovitz talk over Zoom.

Merl Ross, a native San Franciscan who grew up attending Congregation Beth Sholom in San Francisco and is currently a member of Congregation Beth El in Berkeley, has two of her paintings included in the de Young Open currently on display at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. More than 850 pieces by 762 Bay Area artists were selected for the exhibition. “A desire to create new forms of expression during the pandemic has been widespread among artists,” Ross told J. “An opportunity to share this work presented itself this past summer when the de Young [held an open call] for a juried exhibition to celebrate the de Young’s 125th anniversary … The show embodies the depth and range of art being created today by Bay Area artists.” Ross has an MFA from UC Berkeley. Her studio is in Berkeley, where she also teaches painting.


Comings & Goings

Amarelle Green
Amarelle Green

Amarelle Green has been named Friends of the IDF San Francisco Bay Area executive director. She joined Friends of the IDF as director of development for Silicon Valley last year. “In the short time she has been with us, Amarelle has proven to be passionate about FIDF,” said longtime FIDF local board member Francine Gani. “Amarelle is a true asset to our region and I know that our whole board is looking forward to [continuing] to work with her to further FIDF’s success.” Green has helped raise $2.3 million so far in 2020. As a sergeant in Israel’s air force, she was operations coordinator for an F-16 Squadron.

Scott Wiener, who represents San Francisco and northern San Mateo County in the California Senate, has been elected vice chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus. “I am honored to assume the role,” Wiener said in a statement. “Growing up as one of the only Jewish kids in my town, I saw first-hand the critical importance of the Jewish community standing together to advocate for our values … The Jewish Caucus is a strong voice for justice, and we’ll work hard to serve the people of California when it comes to facing these massive challenges.” The caucus was founded in 2012 and focuses on Jewish consensus issues, such as funding to rebuild fire-damaged summer camps, assistance for Holocaust survivors and the fight to remove what it called anti-Jewish bias from the state’s proposed high school ethnic studies curriculum.

a man with a short beard and glasses holds a microphone and addresses a crowd outside
State Sen. Scott Wiener speaks at the Families Belong Together rally in San Francisco, June 23, 2018. (Photo/Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

Robin Mencher will replace Avi Rose as executive director of Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay starting Dec. 14. Most recently, Mencher was executive director of KQED Education. “There, she built an educational service around the impact outcomes of equity and access, media literacy and youth civic engagement,” JFCS said in announcing the news. Mencher also served as program director of the San Francisco Education Fund and as a high school teacher in San Lorenzo. “I’m honored to serve as the next Executive Director of JFCS East Bay, building capacity for our community to thrive through transforming trauma into agency and providing the fundamentals of care at every stage of life,” Mencher said. “This organization is a foundation of support to all who live in the East Bay. I’m looking forward to working in partnership with the community to meet the acute needs we face today during the Covid-19 pandemic and continuing the vision of transformation in the long term.” Rose, who held the position for 15 years, will be recognized for his years of service at a Dec. 17 virtual celebration.

Heather Malcolm is the new office manager at Congregation B’nai Emunah in San Francisco. Most recently, she was the front desk administrator and a sewing and design teacher at San Francisco Waldorf High School. She has also coordinated conferences at the California Institute of Integral Studies and was catalog editor at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur.


Philanthropy

Dylan Tatz
Dylan Tatz

Dylan Tatz succeeded David Becker as president of the Bay Area-based Newton and Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust on Nov. 1. Tatz has been at BCT since 2016, serving most recently as executive vice president. A press release said that he is “honored to be the first individual outside the Becker family to serve as President.” Before BCT, he was the executive director of a Bay Area music education nonprofit, an associate at McKinsey and Company, and founded and led a Silicon Valley consulting firm. The Becker Charitable Trust is “dedicated to safeguarding democratic values and ensuring the future of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.”

The Bay Area-based Jews of Color Initiative has received a grant from UJA-Federation of New York to open a hub in New York “to better serve the city’s Jews of Color and to strengthen and grow their community.” The three-year grant will support mentorship and leadership development programs for Jews of color in the New York area. “New York City has one of the largest and fastest-growing populations of Jews of Color in the U.S., including an up-and-coming generation of young innovators and leaders,” Ilana Kaufman, executive director of the Bay Area-based Jews of Color Initiative, said in a press release. “We want to invest in the vibrant JoC community of New York and create meaningful Jewish experiences offerings that reflect their lives and interests.” A study by the organization found that as many as 15 percent of New York’s Jewish households are multiracial.


Our Crowd is a monthly feature. To suggest an item, email 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.