Shorts: Bay Area

Israeli unable to reach summit of El Capitan

Felix Slamovics, the Israeli climber with Lou Gehrig’s disease who tried to tackle Yosemite’s El Capitan last week, could not quite get to the top of the mountain.

Bad weather slowed him down, and several of his accompanying climbers (including one of his most experienced guides) were forced to descend because of prior commitments.

Slamovics’ climb was a lifelong dream, and also a fund-raising tool for medical research. For more information or to make a donation, visit

Berkeley library director apologizes for promotion of speech

The head of Berkeley’s public library system recently wrote a letter to the regional branch of the Anti-Defamation League apologizing for promoting a pro-Palestinian’s speech at a branch with the phrase, “Come hear about reality in the West Bank of Palestine.”

Jackie Y. Griffin’s letter to regional ADL director Jonathan Bernstein noted that the library was cavalier in using the term “reality” in that way, and one of the sponsoring groups, the Friends of the Berkeley Library, should not have been associated with such a partisan issue.

“In public libraries, we spend a lot of time talking about both intellectual freedom and about the chilling effect that our behaviors can have on people using the library. We believe strongly that people should find all points of view represented in the library,” she wrote.

“We also believe that a truly great library contains something that offends everyone.”

Middle East scholar to discuss the aftermath of pullout from Gaza

Historian Michael Oren, author of “Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East” and a senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, will speak 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8 at Berkeley Hillel, 2736 Bancroft Way.

Oren’s topic will be the Middle East in the wake of Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

The lecture is free for students, $5 for non-students. Information: [email protected].

S.F. man profiled in AJCommittee book

San Francisco’s Albert Cheng is one of the men and women featured in this year’s edition of “America’s Table,” published by the national American Jewish Committee.

Something of a Thanksgiving Haggadah, “America’s Table” celebrates the diversity of life in the United States.

Cheng is a founder of the organization In Search of Roots, a San Francisco group that annually selects about a dozen young Americans with Chinese or mixed ancestry for a yearlong intensive genealogical search, culminating in a trip to China.

“America’s Table” is available through local AJCommittee chapters and online at