Shorts: Local

S.F. foundation’s gift funds Israel center

The single-largest gift in the history of Bar-Ilan University — $18 million from San Francisco’s Jim Joseph Foundation — has paved the way for a massive new educational institution on the Israeli campus. The seven-story, 65,000-square-foot Jim Joseph Jewish Education and Values Building “will be the largest educational institution dealing with the challenges of the Jewish people,” Bar-Ilan University’s president, professor Moshe Kaveh, told the Jerusalem Post. The building will house an online research and “responsa” system through which Jewish educators around the world will be able to submit a question or problem related to their field and receive a response from experts at Bar-Ilan’s Ramat Gan campus within 24 hours. A specially trained team of some 50 experts already answers thousands of questions each month submitted through the Web site of the university’s Lookstein Center for Jewish Education, an institution that would move into the new building. “Every problem in the Jewish world — if we’ve identified it — we’ll research and track it and solve it,” promised Kaveh. The Jim Joseph Foundation was formed in 2003 following the death of Joseph, a wildly successful 68-year-old Bay Area developer. With funds exceeding half a billion dollars, the organization works to bolster Jewish educational programs in the United States and abroad.

Woolsey bill honoring Shoah heroes passes

A trio of U.S. government officials who aided in the creation of the War Refugee Board, which saved Jews and other persecuted minorities in the closing days of World War II, were recognized in a bill that unanimously passed the House on Monday, June 11. HR 226 was introduced by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma). It specifically honors Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Josiah DuBois and John Pehle.

Created in January 1944, the board collaborated with diplomats from neutral nations, nongovernmental organizations and European resistance groups to save many Jewish lives.

Shop seeking Judaica art

Chochmat HaLev in Berkeley is growing its gift shop and, in the process, the store manager is looking for artists who would like to sell their artwork on consignment. Interested artists should contact Myra Kaplan at (510) 531-4371.

JNF launches Web memorials

The Jewish National Fund has officially inaugurated the Living Memorial Program, which allows loved ones to create Web memorials for Israeli soldiers and victims of terrorism. The first such page was created last summer in memory of Marla Bennett, a U.C. Berkeley alum killed in a terror bombing at Hebrew University in 2002. The page has raised more than $28,000 to benefit the JNF’s wartime emergency campaign. The money was used to take young Israelis out of bomb shelters and send them to camps in central Israel. For more information, visit

Immersion program offered at USF

Ulpan San Francisco, an intensive three-week Hebrew language program, will be offered this summer on the University of San Francisco campus. Designed to immerse participants in Israeli language and culture, the course incorporates conversation, reading, writing and singing, and is offered for multiple levels of Hebrew proficiency. The program will run from July 9-27. Contact the Swig Judaic Studies Program at (415) 422-6601.