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

Googling power

Leigh Purdy received a package from America at his Canberra, Australia, home addressed to someone he didn’t know, so he did what every modern guy would do … he Googled it. He found the sender, the East Bay’s Hope Alper, in an item in a July 2006 Faces column, and emailed j. in hopes that it was the same Hope. It was — and the package was delivered in person to Alper’s friend, who lives nearby. “I guess my fame lies within the pages of the j. weekly,” writes Alper.

Author, author

Jan Newman of Hillsborough met her husband Bob Newman by happenstance, she believes, and in 38 years of married bliss she’s heard lots of like stories. She put them all together in “Chance Meetings That Tied the Knot.” Other couples featured in the Newman’s new book include Betsy Rosenberg and Alan Zimmerman, Gladys and Larry Marks, John and Ellen Rothmann, Jeanie and Richard Schram, and Jeanie’s parents Bob and Shirley Rosaler. Check www.chancemeetingsthattiedtheknot.com for info on Newman’s appearances.

Rita Lakin of San Rafael created Gladdy Gold, “the oldest living private eye in Florida,” who according to her press material is “Miss Marple in Yiddish.” The book is “Getting Old is Murder” and Lakin’s appearance schedule can be found at www.ritalakin.com.

Jewish stars

Walnut Creek’s B’nai Tikvah congregant Jennie Chabon and Cantor Emeritus Stephen Richards entertained — and wowed — the audience at a special event for donors to the Contra Costa International Jewish Film Festival in mid-January. Riva Gambert, the East Bay Federation’s community programs director, produced the show and also provided a terrific catering truck reports Arlene Burbank, marketing director for the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay. The film festival starts March 4 at the JCC and CineArts.

Berkeley’s Congregation Beth El honored Marlene Getz for 25 years of service to the synagogue in January. Getz has taught nursery school and K-4 classes, and is responsible for shooting photos and designing collages for the congregation depicting the synagogue’s history.

Dear Sudan is growing

New Dear Sudan grassroots groups, dedicated to stopping the genocide in Darfur, have sprouted up around the Bay Area. Martina Knee in San Francisco and Sandy Tandowsky in the North Peninsula are leading efforts in their areas, while Gerri Miller and Nechama Tamler continue their work in Marin and the South Peninsula. A number of events, including an April 30 morning vigil at the Golden Gate Bridge, are planned during national Darfur Days of Conscience in April. For information about how get involved in helping to stop another genocide, email [email protected]

Short shorts

Greenbrae resident Neal Birnbaum has been named president-elect of the American College of Rheumatology, the professional organization for rheumatologists. He has practiced in San Francisco since 1977 and has served as Chief of Staff at the California Pacific Medical Center. … Jeff Katz, KNEW radio talk host, received the 2005 James Madison Award from the Second Amendment Foundation. The award is given annually to pro-gun rights members of the media community. … Israeli architect Irit Axelrod, who has practiced for 12 years in Tel Aviv, has opened a San Francisco office. Her designs include the Education Center at the David Ben-Gurion Heritage Site in Israel as well as residential work featured in Dwell magazine.