Let there be musicals

Two musical classics now have a Jewish twist, thanks to the quirky minds of the younger set. Becky Gimbel tells us that U.C. Berkeley’s Jewish Student Union and Berkeley Hillel are producing “Bye, Bye Birdie” with “mishugas” where there used to be “nonsense,” and Israeli dancing to complement the tap. You can see it on Sunday May 2, at Berkeley Hillel. Lois Marcus and Len Cohen are president and v.p. of Hillel’s board of directors. … Talya Brott plays Glinda the Good Witch and Melissa Meastas the Gatekeeper of Oz when Oakland Hebrew Day School kids bring you “The Wizard of Oz,” complete with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” sung in Hebrew. It’s on Sunday, May 9, at the Piedmont Veterans Memorial Building.

The right, the left — and the ‘Average Joe’

The S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation’s contingent to United Jewish Community’s annual Young Leadership Conference was 60 strong, thanks to YAD leaders Lisa Lyons, Jeff Maltz, Lloyd Silver and Jordan Sills. In the midst of the Israeli and American political discussions, Adam Mesh, the “Average Joe” of TV fame, offered a welcome non-political break. He admitted not being very involved Jewishly but promised the 1,800 delegates that he’d change.

A different kind of Torah study

Torah study takes a different tack — times two — in Marin. Rachel Biale of the Osher Marin JCC has lined up the Rev. Bruce Bramlett to lead the weekly Lunch & Learn during May and June. He’ll focus on the Christian Bible. And then there is Torah on the Trails, a hike, with a break for snacks and study — all before work, monthly on the second Wednesday. Congregation Rodef Sholom’s Rabbi Michael Lezak is the hike (and Torah) maven. He joined the congregation in July and will be officially installed Friday, April 30, by his father-in-law, Rabbi Lawrence Kushner.

How do you say ‘kvell’ in Chinese?

It was a first at Noah and Hope Alper’s new kosher dairy restaurant in Berkeley. Benjamin Lyon and Yang Yang brought their multiethnic gang of family and friends to Bar Ristorante Raphael to celebrate their wedding. The food was authentic Italian, but the karaoke singing was Chinese, Yiddish, Russian and even a little American. Benjamin’s mom, Desmid Lyon, is with the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay and the Berkeley Midrasha.

Quick notes … Randi Brenowitz of Palo Alto chairs Women’s American ORT’s Triennial National Convention this weekend in NYC. She’s a national vice president. … In June, Harriet Saltzman will become the first female president of Chai House, the San Jose nonprofit Jewish senior housing facility. … Cantor Julius Blackman, Daniel T. Goldberg and Arthur Zimmerman are special honorees at Hebrew Free Loan Association’s Spring Legacy Brunch on Sunday, May 2, chaired by Sharon Silverman. Blackman also chaired B’nai B’rith’s annual Yom HaShoah Commemoration at the Holocaust Monument in Lincoln Park.

Tell Faces what’s going on in your organization. Please send humorous, poignant or otherwise noteworthy anecdotes to [email protected].

Suzan Berns, a freelance writer, was associate director of communications for the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation. She can be reached at [email protected].