Shorts: Bay Area

Kol Shofar congregants seek tzedakah for Israel

Last March, 17 members of Congregation Kol Shofar were to depart for Israel. Then U.S. troops invaded Iraq, forcing them to cancel a day before leaving.

That trip is now rescheduled for December, and almost 30 members of the Conservative Tiburon synagogue are signed up to go. Set to leave Dec. 17, the group will be in Israel for the entire festival of Chanukah, and will visit three Conservative synagogues.

As they hoped to do last time, the travelers are asking for tzedakah from those congregants not going, to help boost the Israeli economy.

By making a donation, “we can show Israelis that we support good deeds both by being there and by sharing our own good fortune,” said the synagogue’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Lavey Derby, in a letter to congregants.

JVS awarded $300k grant — sort of

The Jewish Vocational Service recently was presented with a $300,000 federal grant to fund its Recession Response Program.

Yet, just after a press conference — complete with an oversized check — JVS Executive Director Abby Snay discovered the grant was under review by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration, as are all last-minute grants authorized by former Gov. Gray Davis.

In other words, the money may not be coming in.

Still, since the grant awards the JVS with federal dollars, Snay is optimistic the funding will come through, and soon.

The program aids those who have been jettisoned from the work force. Help comes through job placement and vocational training, with an emphasis on participants avoiding welfare programs.

Snay thanked a number of state and local politicians for lobbying the Employment Development Department on her behalf, including San Francisco Supervisor Gavin Newsom, State Assemblyman Mark Leno, California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley and Carole Migden, chair of the state Board of Equalization.

The program is largely aimed at benefiting workers laid off from the airline, hospitality, manufacturing, tourism, information technology and finance industries.

Peninsula campus expected to be on time, under budget

Larry Schlenoff, the CEO of the North Peninsula Jewish Campus in Foster City, has predicted the building project will finish on time and under budget, with some of the finished structures ready by January.

The 55-year-old former IBM chief financial officer said the on-campus permanent home for the Jewish Day School of the North Peninsula should be done by then, with the Peninsula JCC’s complex ready by April.

Schlenoff, who took over the campus’ reins in September, said roughly $41 million of the project’s $47.3 million budget is in the bank. He hoped to amass the remaining funds before the campus’ completion, but said it would not affect the building schedule.

“I want people to know this…is like a Jewish main street,” he says.

Jews, Palestinians gather to celebrate the season

Some 150 Jews and Palestinians are expected to celebrate the “season of light” together Sunday in San Francisco.

Sponsored by the 2-year-old Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group of Silicon Valley, guest speakers include Melodye Feldman, a Jewish woman from Denver, who founded a peace camp for Israeli and Palestinian girls, and local Palestinian Muna Aghawani, from Ramallah, who had a life-changing experience as a camper there.

Participants will also include local Jews and Palestinians who attended Camp Tawonga’s first ever Jewish-Palestinian family camp weekend in September.

The evening will include a collective signing of a letter to governments — United States, Palestinian and Israeli heads of state — urging a new quality of listening, and treating both peoples equally.

The first Jewish-Palestinian dialogue group was founded in San Mateo 12 years ago by Len and Libby Traubman. It has since gone on to spawn others locally and around the world.