Israel @ 60 with the president

Several Bay Area Jews have been invited to be a part of President Bush’s contingent at official dinners and receptions in Israel at the 60th anniversary celebration. Menlo Park real estate developer Linda Law and her husband Skip, Dr. Irving Weisman of Stanford University, and Steve Poizner, California Insurance Commissioner, will join the president on May 14-15 (the secular anniversary of Israel’s founding). They’re among 21 Jewish leaders from the U.S. attending.

A ‘chai’ women’s Shabbat

Oakland’s Temple Sinai Sisterhood will lead its 18th — chai — Sisterhood Shabbat on May 16. Leona Chester, wife of Rabbi Steve Chester, brought the tradition to the temple, reports Laurie Leiber. To plan the Shabbat, committee members meet for months to prepare, discussing the service and the Torah portion. Participants “dig deep into their own experiences to find and share a personal connection with the liturgy,” Leiber adds. Lora Thielbar and Jan Taksa are co-chairs this year.

Gleaned from local news …

Rebecca Rosen Lum (former j. reporter) writes in the Contra Costa Times that Rabbi Mark Bloom of Oakland’s Temple Beth Abraham buys memberships to JDate for his single congregants to help them find their beshert. And, it turns out that half the weddings he does are for people who have met on JDate. (Sounds like a good investment in Jewish continuity — which he says is his goal.)

And the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that Shuli and Ronit Madmone have opened Whole Spice, a fresh spice store at Oxbow Market in Napa. The two have “spicy” forebears: Shuli’s mother was from Yemen, and Ronit’s parents from Morocco. They both grew up in Israel, but met seven years ago in San Rafael. You can check out their products at www.wholespice.com.

Matzah mitzvah

When caterer Wendy Kleckner heard about the matzah shortage, she donated 25 boxes to Gail Green at Jewish Community Information & Referral to be distributed to callers in need.

Short shorts …

Jewish Home volunteer Nina Weil and the Home’s Healing Touch program have been awarded an Outstanding Program Award from the Associates of Jewish Homes and Services for the Aging. The program, which includes gentle, non-invasive hands-on techniques, complements traditional medical care and is particularly helpful in decreasing agitation in residents with dementia … Former j. Kohn intern Karen Marcus has been accepted to the Israel Project Media Fellowship. She’s one of only 20 fellows and will work in Jerusalem this summer … Irving Zale of San Rafael was honored by Assemblyman Jared Huffman as part of the State Assembly’s annual California Holocaust Memorial Week in Sacramento…Karla Smith, past president and campaign chair of the Contra Costa Jewish Day School, was a presenter on the subject of capital campaigns at the PEGE conference in Boston, attended by 1,300 day school leaders … Debra England has been promoted to Senior Program Officer at the Koret Foundation. Her portfolio includes K-12 education and advocacy … Rose Barlow of Marin has been named the new director of development for the Bureau of Jewish Education. She comes to the BJE with a thorough understanding of its work: she has been on the board and served as secretary and nominating committee chair … Perry Garfinkel, formerly of Oakland, now living in Massachusetts, writes a column in the Huffington Post. Visit his web site at www.BuddhaorBust.com to read past columns.

This columnist can be reached at [email protected].