Going home

Joe Felson and Amnon Rodan will visit their homelands in May. The two, along with wives Sherry Felson and Katie Rodan, will lead a group of East Bay federation donors on a Major Gifts mission to Poland and Israel. Joe’s dad, a Holocaust survivor from Poland, fought with the partisans during World War II. Amnon is an Israeli whose father came to pre-state Israel and fought in the War of Independence.

And expelled

Italy-based Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent Ruth Ellen Gruber, visiting San Francisco for research and speaking engagements last week, noted that it was during the same week in January that she was arrested in Poland in 1983 under trumped-up charges of espionage. She was held for 23 hours, interrogated and then escorted out of the country. Then working for UPI, she could not return to the country for seven years. Ruth and klezmer musician Josh Horowitz chatted about contemporary Jewish life in Europe with Francesco Spagnolo on CBS-5’s “Mosaic.” (The show will air again in February.)

Green Jews

Camp Tawonga naturalist Lom Friedman and Brandeis Hillel’s Rabbi Henry Shreibman focused on the environment and other “green” issues and the Jewish take on them, on KRON-TV’s “A Jewish Perspective,” which Henry hosts. The show will air post-Tu B’Shevat, the green Jewish holiday, on Sunday, Jan. 30.

Sex and the afterlife?

The flier for Oakland-based Rabbi Judah Dardik’s “Exploring Judaism” workshop promises info on both. Dawn Kepler, director of the East Bay federation’s Building Jewish Bridges, said Dardik “could turn the whole world Orthodox, if anyone could.” As he opened the last series, according to Kepler, the young rabbi mused: “I know I promised all of you sex tonight, but we’re going to have to get to know each other first.” The workshop uses clips from Woody Allen, Albert Brooks, Mel Brooks and others. It’s open to anyone, it’s free, and it’s happening now at the Contra Costa JCC in Walnut Creek.

Short shorts

Belvedere resident Peter K. Maier received the S.F.-based federation’s United Jewish Communities Endowment Achievement Award. A longtime leader of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund, Peter was recognized nationally for his leadership, vision and dedication to the growth of the federation’s endowment programs. … S.F. Chronicle columnist Jean Gonick was the recipient of a $5,000 grant for published writers from the newly established Ann and Robert Cowan Writer’s Fund of the S.F. federation’s JCEF. She was recognized for her “Failing at Living” column. … Direct mail maven Mal Warwick of Berkeley was named Outstanding Fundraising Executive by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Northern California Grantmakers. He received the honor recently on National Philanthropy Day in San Francisco.

The Jewish Community High School of the Bay received a $15,000 three-year Bookshelf grant from Avi Chai Foundation, a private New York-based foundation dedicated to growing the day school movement, according to Jan Reicher, the school’s publicist. … Olga Bernstein reports that in the first KVM national comedy and theater competition for Russian emigres, held recently in Boston, the Contra Costa JCC comic team won silver medals. Team “capitan” Pavel Anisimov was “Capitan of the Year,” joke-writer Maksim Oykher received trophies for the two best jokes and Kate Kashpersakya was named best actress.

Suzan Berns is a freelance writer and publicist. She can be reached at [email protected].