Honors at the BJE

At its annual meeting May 21, the Bureau of Jewish Education honored associate director Toby Rubin and bid a fond farewell to retiring associate director Kerin Lieberman. Lieberman’s career at the BJE spanned a whopping 34 years during which she initiated the now-ubiquitous Feast of Jewish Learning, among many other things. Rubin led the development of the Teen Initiative, launched the Jewish Service Learning Project and the Jewish Professionals Co-op (also among other things). Marlene Sturm chaired the event and Daniel J. Kramer, Ellen Goodman, Gary S. Kohn, Julie Dorsey and Barbara Wilson were welcomed to the BJE board.

In the north …

Ruth Lachman and Gloria Solomon are the JCC of Sonoma County’s Volunteers of the Year. The two received their awards at the JCCSoCo’s 13th Annual Meeting on June 5, presided over by president Joshua Katz. Outgoing board members are Mark Freed, Herb Polesky and Steve Turer.

And in Israel …

Palo Alto’s Carol Saal received an honorary doctoral degree from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheva, Israel. Saal, who was recently elected to her third term as national president of American Associates of Ben-Gurion University, was honored for her leadership and philanthropy that has helped expand the university’s high-tech facilities. Among the Bay Area folks celebrating with Carol were husband Harry Saal and son Nate Saal, Eric and Illeana Benhamou, Zvi and Ricki Alon, Daphne and Shamy Noily, and Wendy and Howard Kleckner.

Books and theatrics

You can get tutored on short story masterpieces by S.F. State professor Michael Krasny in your living room (yes, he’s also the host of KQED’s “Forum”). A DVD, released this month by the Teaching Company, features lectures on stories by Isaac Babel, Nadine Gordimer, Grace Paley, Franz Kafka and Bernard Malamud, to name a few. And Krasny’s book, “Off Mike,” has had a second printing.

Dan Pine, a staff writer and columnist for j., is now a playwright, too. “Death in Van Nuys,” his first play, will be produced as a staged reading as part of Alameda’s Virago Theatre Company’s Visions and Voices summer series. The reading will be at Julie’s Coffee Tea Garden in Alameda on July 14 at 7 p.m. Here’s a teaser (from the theater’s Web site): “In this intimate comedy, a lifetime of regrets work themselves out when a middle-aged divorced man moves in with his dying father — a former stand-up comedian and unrepentant communist.” For more information or to get tickets, visit www.viragotheatre.org or call (510) 865-6237.

Short shorts …

Former S.F. resident and Congregation Beth Sholom member Stephen Abramowitz (now living in Marlborough, Mass.) writes that at 40, he has graduated from Hebrew College in Newton Centre, Mass., with a cantorial ordination and master’s in Jewish education. He’s looking forward to davening at the new Beth Sholom sanctuary later this summer … Mimi Sells reports that Karen Einbinder, formerly at the JCC of San Francisco, has joined the Albert L. Schultz JCC staff as the new chief program officer. Randi Brenowitz, ALSJCC chief operating officer is now the director of community relations. Both will be involved in the transition to the new Oshman Family JCC on the Taube-Koret Campus for Jewish Life … Elaine Bachrach, director at the Oakland Midrasha, retired in May after almost two decades in the position. In the past, she also served as director of the Contra Costa Midrasha … Shana Penn of Berkeley became the president of the Jewish Film Festival board in January, succeeding Doug Okun.