A poignant reunion

Jewish Vocational Services’ Strictly Business annual award and fundraising lunch celebrated its 15th year on April 19 and among the attendees was Stella Miretsky, the very first honoree, who had a teary reunion with Abby Snay, JVS director. When Miretsky received the award, Snay said, she was a recent émigré who had completed training with JVS and landed a job as an office clerk at Sutro and Company. Today she’s an investment adviser at Wells Fargo. The event was the biggest ever, with 1,050 supporters filling the room and raising about $650,000 for the agency.

Another émigré success

Gene Kaufman reports that the annual Russian Émigré Seder, which is co-sponsored by the JCC of San Francisco and Sinai Memorial Chapel (where he is the director), was as moving as ever. “When being among these Russian Jewish elderly,” he says, “I have great pride in knowing that Sinai is an integral part of preserving their traditions which were denied to them for so many years in the former Soviet Union and great joy of sharing their festive mood.” Kaufman has attended 18 of 27 seders, but Barbara Litt, director of the JCC’s émigré group, and former Sinai Memorial Chapel president Arthur Becker have been at all 27. Adam Geldman led the seder and Sara Zinger, Efim Reznik, Roman Shatsov, Irina Vernik and Alla Kris were participants.

Saving Darfur in S.F.

New Mexico Governor and presidential candidate Bill Richardson will speak at Sunday’s Global Day for Darfur, and Gerri Miller reminds folks not to tarry if you want to hear him. Richardson, who visited Sudan recently, is first on the rally agenda at 4 p.m. at the S.F. Civic Center. Martina Knee of the S.F. Bay Area Darfur Coalition is a key organizer. Volunteers are needed. If you can help, email volunteer coordinator Terry Seligman at [email protected]. For info on the day, visit www.darfursf.org.

Short shorts

Tad Taube will receive the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars of the Smithsonian Institution on May 14 at the Four Seasons Hotel … Rabbi Joshua Fenton is director of Jewish life and learning at the Addison-Penzak JCC. The new position is funded by a grant from the Koret Foundation … San Francisco resident Judith Klain, director of Project Homeless Connect, traveled to Washington, D.C. to accept two awards on April 26, reports Sonja Hyams, a volunteer for the group. They include the 2007 Acts of Caring Award that recognizes the top county programs in the country, and 2007 Acts of Caring Legacy Award for Excellence and Innovation for the program that most fully embodies the spirit of volunteerism.

S.F.’s Congregation Emanu-El received the Irving J. Fain Social Action Award from the Union for Reform Judaism for its efforts in “overall social action programming.” The congregation’s volunteers will be feted at services on May 11 by Rabbi Lee Bycel, who recently returned to the Bay Area as the West Coast Executive director for American Jewish World Service … Naomi Parker of Shir Hadash in Los Gatos and Gabriella Volodarsky of Temple Sinai in Oakland are participants in URJ’s North American Reform Jewish Fellowship… Ted Schlein, partner of Menlo Park-based Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, is the new chairman of the National Venture Capital Association. Pascal Levensohn is one of the new board members.