Glad to meet ‘ya

At the Koret International Jewish Book Awards ceremony at the JCC of San Francisco, author and award winner Rochel Berman startled the crowd with the announcement that she’s been in love with someone else for 50 years (besides her doting husband, who had been snapping her photo all evening). The “other man,” she revealed, was Theodore Bikel, who just happened to be the evening’s emcee, and whom Berman finally got to meet.

Also meeting for the first time that evening were Howard Schwartz and Kristina Swarner, writer and illustrator, respectively, of the Koret award-winning children’s book “Before You Were Born,” reports the Koret Foundation’s Susan Wolfe. Apparently their several monthslong collaboration in producing the book didn’t take place up close and personal. (Isn’t technology grand?)

Free advice from Dr. Don

Don Linker gave out complimentary copies of his book “Keep it Up,” along with advice, to 75 seniors at a Shabbat program at the Osher Marin JCC in October. Noting that his philosophy is “common sense, flexibility and moderation,” he told the audience that moving and stretching are most important, and he encouraged them to take classes for both the activity and the personal interaction. The audience asked “very pragmatic and appropriate” health questions, he says.

Help for special needs

San Jose’s Temple Emanu-El Preschool was named the 2006 “Community Resource of the Year” by the San Andreas Regional Center, which serves people with developmental disabilities. The congregation’s Ted and Lori Moorhead nominated the preschool for the award, which was given to the group for its “significant and exemplary contributions in the field of developmental disabilities,” says Deborah Zimmer.

The Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay’s Center for Jewish Living and Learning orchestrated the first Special Needs Conference in the East Bay in October. The conference was funded by the Elliott and Shelley Fineman Endowment for Jewish Special Education, the Ruth and Marco Goodman Donor Advised Fund, the Daniel King Memorial Endowment for Jewish Special Education and the Libitzsky Family Foundation, all of the East Bay federation’s Endowment Fund.

Short shorts

Author and San Francisco State assistant professor of creative writing Peter Orner is one of five writers worldwide to win a 2006 Literary Fellowship from the Los Angeles-based Lannan Foundation. Orner’s latest novel, “The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo,” is set in Namibia. He won numerous awards, including the Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction, for his compilation of stories, “Esther Stories” … Susan Lefelstein of Walnut Creek was installed as vice president of the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism last month at the group’s biennial convention in Philadelphia.

Rhoda and Shel Wolfe, Lonnie Zwerin and Frank Mainzer, Jobyna and John Dellar, Ellen and Mel Rosen and Lauren Dellar (who lives in Israel) spent 10 days in the fall on a “modestly rugged” (according to Shel Wolfe) hiking trip in Sicily.

Holiday goodies

Fred Raker’s one-man show, “It Could Have Been a Wonderful Life” — a Jewish take on you know what — plays from Dec. 8 to Dec. 24 at the Phoenix Theater. Raker stars as Phil Resnick (a failed comedian) and Jack Benny, among others … Do your Chanukah shopping this Sunday, Dec. 3 at Dandelion (55 Potrero Ave. in San Francisco) and you’ll be helping to support cabaret music at the Osher Marin JCC. The store is donating a portion of its proceeds to OMJCC’s CenterStage.

This columnist can be reached at [email protected].