Shorts: Bay Area

Oakland’s Temple Sinai congregant gets ‘All-Star’ honor for feeding the hungry

Dan McCloskey, a congregant at Oakland’s Temple Sinai who has helped to put food on thousands of Bay Area tables, has been named a “Hunger All-Star” by Tyson Foods.

The designation honors McCloskey, who has raised nearly $300,000 for the Alameda County Food Bank and who spearheads annual High Holy Days and Thanksgiving turkey drives that feed roughly 70,000 people a year.

Moreover, the April 1 award ceremony was capped by a Tyson Foods donation of 15 tons of protein to the food bank.

“The community really, really needs the support of our congregations for food. The food bank absolutely depends on the support of the congregations to provide canned foods and all the requested items,” McCloskey, of Oakland, told j. in 2004.

“Each year, the need gets worse, especially with the economy and the cost of rent in the Bay Area. People just don’t have money for food.”

For more information, visit or

Workshops to look at Holocaust project

A series of workshops exploring Yad Vashem’s effort to record the names of the 6 million Jewish victims of Nazism will be held in San Francisco on Tuesday, April 8 and Thursday, April 10.

The Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies and the American Red Cross will host the “Shoah Victims’ Names Recovery Project” workshops, led by Cynthia Wroclawski, international outreach manager for Yad Vashem Jerusalem.

Topics will include a historical overview of the project, the best outreach practices and how best to implement the project on a local level.

Each workshop is geared toward different members of the community: social workers, outreach staff and volunteers who service the survivor community April 8 at 8:30 p.m.; the weekly Café By the Bay gathering of Bay Area survivors April 10 at 2 p.m.; and volunteers and the general community April 10 at 6 p.m.

The workshops will be held at Jewish Family & Children’s Services, 2150 Post St., S.F. RSVP to [email protected].

Cooking class for stress-free seder

Stressed over the seder? Don’t be! J. cooking columnist Rebecca Ets-Hokin will teach a class on stress-free, make-ahead seders at the JCC of San Francisco on Tuesday, April 8 at 6:30 p.m.

Attendees will learn how to make traditional favorites as well as contemporary innovations from American, Sephardic and Ashkenazi cuisines. The menu will include matzah ball soup, California “gefilte” fish with salsa verde, mixed vegetable tsimmis, grilled herbed chicken and Pavlova. Cleaning the house for Passover, the Haggadah, the seder plate and kosher-for-Passover foods will also be discussed. Attendees will receive written recipes, outlines, resources and generous samples.

The JCCSF is located at 3200 California St., S.F. The “Do-Ahead Passover Seder” costs $45 for members, $50 for non-members. For information or to register, call (415) 292-1278 or visit

Mezzo-soprano to sing at Emanu-El

Mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack will perform music of Rossini, Debussy, Cole Porter and others at an April 6 concert held at S.F.’s Congregation Emanu-El.

Mack will inaugurate the 25th season of the San Francisco Opera Center’s Schwabacher Debut Recital Series. On the program are Rossini’s song cycle “La Regata Veneziana,” “Trois Chansons des Bilitis” by Debussy, songs by Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and Harvey Schmidt, and music from Mack’s native Argentina. Pianist Peter Grunberg and cellist Thalia Moore will accompany her.

The performance takes place 5:30 p.m. April 6 at Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake St., S.F. Tickets: $20. For more information, call (415) 864-3330.

Local series examines Jewish texts in the time of Jesus

The East Bay Jewish Forum, a 10-session series of morning lectures by Rabbi Harry Manhoff of Temple Beth Sholom, is set to begin next week in San Leandro. Calling the series “Jesus and the Jewish Teachings of His Time,” Manhoff will compare Mishnah, Midrash, Targum and Talmud to the Gospel of Matthew.

The series runs over consecutive Thursdays beginning 10:15 a.m. April 10, at Temple Beth Sholom, 642 Dolores Ave., San Leandro. A donation of $5 per seminar or $40 for all 10 sessions is requested. Proceeds will endow the East Bay Jewish Forum lectures. For more information, call (510) 357-8505.

U.S. House passes resolution recognizing Jewish refugees

A nonbinding resolution stipulating that any U.S. negotiations on Palestinian refugees must also mention the refugee status of hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern Jews passed the House on April 1. In a voice vote, the resolution won “ayes” from more than two-thirds of the House.

“This brings our issue to the narrative of the Middle East conflict when it comes to refugee issues,” said Gina Waldman of San Francisco, co-chair of Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa.

While some critics of House Resolution 185 have painted this as a Jewish “money-grab,” Shelomo Alfassa, the U.S. director of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, said that monetary compensation is not the goal.

“This is not an issue of money. We are looking for, at some point, that Jews will be recognized as a victim population. And today the United States Congress did that,” said the New York resident.

“Jews were indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa for almost 3,000 years. People don’t know that and Arabs want to make sure people don’t know that.”

Added Waldman, “We are not competing with the Palestinians. Our case stands alone to be looked at as part of this historical narrative.”

The similarly worded Resolution 85 is currently circulating in the Senate.

German, Israeli consuls to speak at U.C. Berkeley

German Consul General Rolf Schutte and his Israeli counterpart, David Akov, will share the podium Monday, April 7, for noontime speeches at 223 Moses Hall on the U.C. Berkeley campus.

The subject of the speeches will be six decades of Israeli-German

political, cultural and economic relations. For more information, visit or call (510) 643-5777.

Organization creates seder insert

Two local Jewish educators have founded Or Hadash USA/Return to Daylight, an organization meant to awaken the Jewish community to what the group’s founders, Robin Braverman and Joel Siegel, see as an erosion of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The premiere Or Hadash USA project is a Hagaddah insert for the Passover seder. Called “The Four Americans,” the insert asks seder participants to contemplate issues of democracy and threats to freedom. The insert can be downloaded at

To contact the organization, write to Or Hadash, 1900 Aspenridge Court, Walnut Creek, 94597, or email [email protected].

Conservation in Israel is topic of talk

Michal Perle-Kellner, an Israeli environmental engineering expert, will speak at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 9 at the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation, 121 Steuart St., San Francisco.

Perle-Kellner was the only Israeli candidate selected for the 2007-08 Humphrey Fulbright Fellowship program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. She studied at Israel’s Technion Institute for 10 years, and is currently studying at Pennsylvania State University to learn more about soil and water remediation technologies, pollution legislation and regulation in the United States.

Perle-Kellner is active in the environmental regulatory processes in Israel and is often consulted about ways to improve Israel’s public health and environmental policies.

40th anniversary after Poland’s crackdown

A panel of speakers and a film are scheduled for 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 10 for a 40th anniversary commemoration of Poland’s pro-democracy student marches and the vicious, anti-Semitic repression that followed.

The event is to be held at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, at 2451 Ridge Rd., Berkeley. It is co-sponsored by the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies at Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union, U.C. Berkeley’s Department of Jewish Studies and Stanford’s Taube Center for Jewish Studies.

Speakers include Shana Penn, a visiting Jewish studies scholar at the GTU; Irena Grudzinska Gross, a leader of the 1968 protests; and Konstanty Gebert, a fellow participant and journalist. The 2007 documentary “Gdansk Railway Station” will also be shown.

To RSVP for the event, email [email protected] or call (510) 649-2495.