Shorts: bay area

Lantos, Feinstein come to Russian emigre’s aid

Rep. Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein have taken up the cause of Yana Slobodova, writing letters on her behalf asking for a stay of her Friday, Feb. 27, departure date so her case can be examined further.

Slobodova, 30, a Russian Jewish piano teacher who lives in San Francisco, is being deported for entering the United States eight years ago with false papers. The Bay Area Council for Jewish Rescue and Renewal has been working tirelessly on her behalf.

“I am deeply concerned specifically by the extreme emotional hardship that Yana’s parents would suffer if she were deported to Russia, due to their firsthand knowledge of the discrimination and persecution to which Yana would be subjected, as well as by the devastation the entire family would suffer should they be torn away from each other,” Lantos wrote to David Still, district director of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Slobodova had not yet heard by press time on Wednesday, Feb. 18, whether she will be granted a stay that will allow her to remain in the United States with her husband, Alexander Makarchuk, who is a naturalized citizen, and their 21-month-old son, Nikita. Her parents are due to become citizens soon.

On Wednesday, the BACJRR and Slobodova’s attorneys were trying to get an audience with Still. They were also waiting for letters of support from Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Barbara Boxer.

If a stay is not granted, Slobodova is scheduled to leave for St. Petersburg on Monday, Feb. 23.

Belmont man’s chicken soup takes him to the Big Apple

Jerry Greenberg, 62, a retired computer industry executive from Belmont, is one of five finalists in the “Chicken Soup Challenge” sponsored by Shabbat Across America.

Greenberg, who read about the contest in j., was inspired by chicken soup he had eaten in a Jamaican restaurant in Sacramento. His recipe combines “foods from all over the diaspora — yucca, coconut, turmeric, jalapeño, Mediterranean influences from Hispaniola, African, Indian, plus the typical Askenazic kind of thing like cabbage and turnips.”

He leaves Sunday, Feb. 22, for New York. There, he will compete in a cook-off on Tuesday, Feb. 24, at Abigael’s, a kosher restaurant where Jeffrey Nathan, the contest’s executive judge, is head chef. The winner will get a trip to Israel.

Greenberg, a board member of Keddem Congregation in Palo Alto, is the only male finalist in a contest that drew some 700 entries.

L’Chaim Judaica shop about to bid adieu

No buyer stepped forward to take over L’Chaim, so the Danville Judaica shop will be closing on Thursday, Feb. 26. Co-owners Eileen Velen and Aziza Mara had hoped someone would purchase what has been a “labor of love” for them for nine years.

Everything will be on sale in those last days, including the fixtures, at the store, 179 Hartz Ave. For information, call (925) 743-8303.

Healing center to honor female rabbis and cantors

In a fund-raising event it hopes to make into a yearly occurrence, the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center will honor the Bay Area’s female rabbis and cantors at a San Francisco dinner.

The event, to be held 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, at the Four Seasons Hotel, will be emceed by local television personality Emerald Yeh. Tickets are $150.

For more information and to purchase tickets, call Rae Hendriksz at (415) 750-4197.

Israel Arab actor gets visa for play, but trip uncertain

The Israeli Arab actor who was not able to perform in a play sponsored by the S.F.-based Israel Center has been given a visa to enter the United States, but it’s still uncertain when he will come.

“Ambassadors of Very Good Will” had to be canceled on several college campuses when Ibrahim Miari originally was denied a visa to enter the country.

Miari is also working in Traveling Jewish Theatre’s “Middle East Project,” which had to change its rehearsal schedule to accommodate his absence but still plans to present the final play in the late fall.