Israel is in our hearts

At the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation’s annual meeting last week, Yossi Amrani, Israel’s consul general, quipped that he “stopped counting the number of times Israel was mentioned at 120 — and that was early on.” This was Yossi’s last address for the JCF constituency — he will complete his post here and return to Israel later this summer.

Among the aforementioned Israel references was a video of the winners of the new “Israel in our Hearts” award, presented at “Israel in the Ballpark” at SBC Park earlier this month. The 13 recipients, who were recognized for their efforts at strengthening relations between Israel and the Bay Area and local commitment to the Jewish state, include: Professor Ze’ev Brinner, Helen Diller, Annette Dobbs, Amy Friedkin, Richard Goldman, Ron Kaufman, Naomi Lauter, William J. Lowenberg, Rabbi Brian Lurie, Bernard “Barney” Osher, Varda Rabin, Roselyne “Cissie” Swig and Thaddeus “Tad” Taube. Osher received another honor recently as well — an honorary doctorate from Brandeis.

It’s 25 years for NIF

It was 1979 when Ellie Friedman and Jonathan Cohen founded the New Israel Fund. The two, along with Bill Coblentz, Hanna Kranzberg, Mel Mogulof, and Jim and Cathy Koshland — all supporters of the NIF since its inception — were among 400 who gathered in May to hear former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at San Francisco’s Merchants Exchange to celebrate the organization’s 25th anniversary. Other guests included Bonnie and Marty Tenenbaum, who were honored for their contributions to strengthening democratic values in Israel; Lela and Gerry Sarnat; Linda and Sandy Gallanter; more than a dozen rabbis; and six tables full of young adults.

And 10 for Emanu-El’s Pearce

Tributes from Rabbis Helen Cohn, Sydney Mintz and Peretz Wolf-Prusan and a lively cabaret by Cantor Roslyn Barak added to the party for Rabbi Stephen Pearce in tribute to his 10 years as senior rabbi at San Francisco’s Congregation Emanu-El, reports Rita Semel. Among the 400 well-wishers were a table of clergy from other faiths, representing Rabbi Pearce’s work in the interfaith community. The congregation presented the rabbi and his wife, Laurie, with a trip designed strictly for R&R — not to Israel, but to Japan.

A very Jewish angle

When Faces asked Andy Fremder for the “Jewish angle” on the East Bay College Fund, which provides scholarships to needy students, he responded, “What could be more Jewish than fighting for social justice and helping out individuals less fortunate than ourselves?” Andy and his wife, Barb, along with Julie Palley and Tom Gold are among the board members who awarded $16,000 Great Expectation scholarships to seven college-bound Oakland high school seniors. The students are paired with mentors from the group, whom they meet and stay in touch with throughout their college experience. The group’s Web site is www.eastbaycollegefund.org.

Short short

Former San Francisco 49er and plastic surgeon John Frank will talk about his latest career — the founding of the Israeli bobsled team – at American Jewish Committee’s annual chapter meeting on Tuesday, June 22.

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

Columnist Suzan Berns can be reached at [email protected].