Shorts: bay area

New director at NIF

Steven Rothman is the new regional director of the New Israel Fund.

NIF was founded in San Francisco almost 25 years ago to fund Israeli organizations that promote democracy, Jewish-Arab relations, the status of women and other minorities and religious pluralism.

Rothman, 32, has been associate director of the San Francisco office of NIF since 2001.

For a Jewish communal worker, Rothman has an unusual background. After college, he lived in Damascus for a year. Then, after obtaining a master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies, he lived in Yemen for four months on a grant funded by the U.S. government. While there, he studied media and nation-building.

Before coming to NIF, he was assistant director of the San Francisco office of the American Jewish Committee.

Rothman replaces Jim Scheinman, who became director a year and a half ago, replacing Laura Talmus, who was director for 10 years.

Koret Foundation promotes two

Sandra Edwards, the Koret Foundation’s director of grants, is assuming the new title of chief operating officer of the S.F.-based foundation.

Edwards, who has been with the foundation for 18 years, was the first woman to head all its grant-making activities.

In addition, Claudia Hardin, director of finance and administration, was promoted to chief financial officer. Debra England was hired as a program officer and Susan Wolfe was hired as the new director of communications.

Lecture series brings top Jewish speakers to S. Bay

The South Bay Institute for Jewish Living and Learning will feature three noted speakers in its upcoming 10th anniversary Distinguished Lecture Series.

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of the widely selling “Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History,” will present the first talk, starting Feb. 26.

On March 18, Israeli defense expert and Jerusalem Report founder Hirsch Goodman will discuss, “When David Becomes Goliath: Israel and Its Image Problem.”

Best-selling author Rabbi Harold Kushner will talk on April 22 about “Living a Life That Matters.”

All three lectures will start at 7:30 p.m. and take place at Congregation Beth David, 19700 Prospect Road, Saratoga. Tickets and further information about the series are available by calling (408) 358-5918.