Alice Reiner, creator of Jewish Home program, 87

Alice Levine Reiner, founder of the Jewish Home’s Forsake Me Not program that paired isolated seniors with couples in the community, died Saturday, Dec. 3 in San Francisco. She was 87.

Reiner was born Alice Levine on Oct. 16, 1918, in Brooklyn, N.Y. The youngest of five children, her father was a master tailor and her mother was a seamstress.

In 1945 she married Bernard Reiner, and in 1965 they relocated to San Francisco for business reasons.

In San Francisco, they worked largely as a team, helping émigrés with job and financial assistance.

They were pillars of San Francisco’s Congregation Beth Sholom, and each served as president of B’nai B’rith chapters.

When her husband served as president of the board of the Jewish Home, Alice Reiner created the Forsake Me Not program.

The program assigned couples in B’nai B’rith to a senior at the home whose family lived far away. The couple would take that senior out for occasional dinners or outings.

“At its height we had about 25 couples in this program, which was chaired and organized by Alice in collaboration with our volunteer-services staff,” said Sherie Koshover, director of communications for the Jewish Home. “She and Bernie were very dedicated to the program.”

Reiner’s son-in-law, Brian Michaelson of Del Mar, said that at first, the Reiners began taking out residents. Then they got friends of theirs to do it, and that’s how the program started.

“That reflects the way she viewed life, to be there for other people,” he said.

Michaelson said that much of his father-in-law’s success was largely due to her, that they had a real partnership. Reiner traveled widely, and went to Israel numerous times.

“She was really a quality person. She expected both for people to do things right, and for them to do the right thing.”

Reiner was predeceased by her husband in 2000. She is survived by daughters Margaret Michaelson of Del Mar and Claire Kinzinger of Anacortes, Wash., son Edward Reiner of San Francisco and seven grandchildren.

Donations should go to Congregation Beth Sholom, 1301 Clement St., S.F., CA 94118 or the Jewish Home, 302 Silver Ave., S.F., CA 94112.

Alix Wall
Alix Wall

Alix Wall is a contributing editor to J. She is also the founder of the Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals and is writer/producer of a documentary-in-progress called "The Lonely Child."