Shorts: Bay Area

Mendocino congregation aiding homeless

The Mendocino Coast Jewish Community has opened its heart to the local homeless population this winter. The congregation is working with others in the Mendocino/Fort Bragg interfaith community to open the Footlighters Theater as a long-term winter shelter. The congregation is also working with the Gleaners’ soup kitchens in Fort Bragg, seeking to expand food service one extra day a week.

Donations are needed at the Footlighters shelter, including blankets, sheets, towels, T-shirts, socks, ponchos and personal toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, soap, etc.).

Those interested in helping should contact Rachel Lahn at (707) 895-2006 or Anna Marie Stenberg at (707) 964-9109.

Reno man awaits sentencing for e-mail threats

A Reno man described by the Anti-Defamation League as the “self-proclaimed leader” of Nevada’s branch of Aryan Nations has pleaded guilty to sending in bulk a threatening e-mail to politicians, newspaper employees and Jewish organizations.

Steven J. Holten, 40, was arrested Sept. 20 after sending his widely read e-mail two days previously. The signed letter was addressed, in part, to “All Mud Races” in San Francisco and Reno. In it, he accused employees of the San Francisco Chronicle and Reno Gazette of supporting “The Jew agenda,” and threatened to take “violent action … We ask that you surrender to our neo-nazi belief before it is too late.”

He also wrote: “We have a right to kill any enemy that is a threat to Aryan Nations. And we will do so. The holocaust for our enemies we have planned for Reno, Nevada and San Francisco, California will occur.” He specifically threatened violence against the newspapers’ door-to-door subscription solicitors should they visit the homes of an Aryan Nations member.

Holten’s e-mail landed in hundreds of inboxes, including those of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Matt Gonzalez, officials in Sacramento and Martinez as well as several Reno and San Francisco Jewish organizations.

He pleaded guilty to transmitting a threat via interstate commerce in a Nevada District Court in late November. At his March sentencing, he faces up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Trip to Poland, Israel for Bay Area Jewish teens

The Bureau of Jewish Education and Peninsula Havurah High have come up with a travel opportunity for Bay Area Jewish high school juniors and seniors.

Dubbed “Shalhevet,” or Hebrew for flame, the new program takes Jewish teens on a two-week trip this spring, first to Poland to visit the death camps and explore Jewish life in prewar Eastern Europe, followed by a week in Israel.

Prior to departure, participating teens will take an eight-week course, which gives context and perspective on the trip. The course will be offered in San Francisco and the South Bay.

Up to 35 teens will be accepted into the program. The S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation will subsidize a significant portion of the costs of the trip. Deadline for applications is Monday, Jan. 10. For further information, contact Nechama Tamler at the Bureau of Jewish Education, (415) 751-6983 ext. 143, or Claire Mikowski at ext. 128.

Berkeley activist will get deportation hearing

Kate Bender-Raphael will appear in an Israeli court on Sunday, Jan. 16, to determine whether she will be deported from Israel. The Dec. 28 decision to hear her appeal came on the 15th day of her detention.

Bender-Raphael, 45, a longtime Berkeley activist, was in the West Bank under the auspices of the International Women’s Peace Service. She was arrested Dec. 14 in the West Bank village of Bil’in while filming a confrontation between activists and the Israel Defense Forces, over the building of a new section of the security barrier.

Bender-Raphael, who is active with Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT) and San Francisco Women in Black, was arrested last year for the same offense and was eventually deported.

Documentary on hate crimes

“Not in Our Town Northern California: When Hate Happens Here,” a documentary exploring various cities’ responses to hate crimes, will show at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 13, at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market St.

The event is co-sponsored by a number of community groups including the Anti-Defamation League, Community United Against Violence, Justice for New Americans, LGBT Alliance and the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation. A panel discussion follows the film.

The film kicks off “Frameline at the Center: Free Screenings for the Community,” a monthly series of films and panel discussions addressing hot-topic social and political issues viewed through lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender perspectives.