Shorts: Bay Area

Taube gives award to non-Jewish Pole

The S.F.-based Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture recently presented its first Irena Sendlerowa Memorial Award to Janusz Makuch, creator of the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow.

The award is given to a non-Jewish Pole who helps preserve Jewish heritage in Poland. It is named for Sendlerowa, who saved 2,500 Jewish children during World War II.

Makuch staged the first Jewish Culture Festival in 1988, with its program focused on a scholarly conference on the encounter between the Jewish and Polish cultures.

PJA publishes death penalty reports

The Progressive Jewish Alliance has published two new resources on the death penalty and Jewish teachings regarding capital punishment.

The resources include a pamphlet that advocates for PJA’s work on ending the death penalty in California and an in-depth study of attitudes toward the death penalty in Jewish tradition, as well as contemporary views. Both are available free from PJA, which is also offering to conduct free educational workshops for any interested community groups, both within and outside the Jewish community.

For more information, contact PJA at [email protected], or Sara Bolder at (510) 527-8640 or [email protected].

East Bay JFCS offers LGBT premarital counseling

With the California Supreme Court affirming the right of gays and lesbians to marry, Jewish Family and Children’s Services of the East Bay will now offer premarital counseling for lesbian and gay couples.

“We have a long commitment to affirming all kinds of diversity,” says staff counselor Valerie Rosenfeld, “and this is our way to strengthen that community. This is a way to support families, individuals and children.”

JFCS’ mental health staff offers these services in Berkeley and Walnut Creek. For more information,

contact Valerie Rosenfield at (510) 704-7480 ext. 299.

Kids’ concert raises funds, self-esteem

The KidsJam Rock-a-Thon on June 8 at Larkspur’s Lark Theater raised $5,000 for a music lab at Performing Stars of Marin, a nonprofit providing arts and enrichment opportunities to low-income children.

The benefit show was the brainchild of Miller Klitsner and Zev Shearn-Nance of Congregation Kol Shofar, who designed the all-kids concert to fulfill the community service requirement of their upcoming bar mitzvahs.

Many “in kind” services and sponsorships helped the kids stage the event. “It was incredible exposure and valuable self-esteem for the kids to play on stage, and raised awareness for Performing Stars,” said Dan Klitsner, Miller’s father. A second annual KidsJam Rock-a-Thon is already being planned for next year.

Former IDF director to speak in Bay Area

Israel Danziger, director of operations for Israel’s Mishmeret Yesha (Guardians of Judea and Shomron), will be in the Bay Area next week for several speaking appearances.

A former member of the Israel Defense Forces, Danziger has been living in the West Bank and is responsible for training reservists who live in the territories to become part of IDF Rapid Response Teams.

Danziger will speak 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 26 at a private home in Piedmont; 12 p.m. June 29 at Congregation Chevra Thilim in San Francisco; and 8 p.m. June 30 at Congregation Am Echad in San Jose. For details: Piedmont, (510) 547-8268 or [email protected]; San Francisco, (415) 752-2866 or [email protected]; San Jose, (510) 547-8268 or [email protected].

Peninsula groups build school literacy project

Congregation Beth Am of Los Altos has partnered with the Jewish Coalition for Literacy and the East Palo Alto Kids Foundation to improve and enhance literacy and reading skills at a public school in East Palo Alto.

The Costaño Elementary School Book Project kicked off June 3, when students received custom-built bookshelves and a selection of books to take home. The evening was partly in Spanish and partly in English, since many of the children’s parents don’t speak fluent English.

The bilingual evening aimed “to teach parents how, in spite of their own literacy and language challenges, they can support their children as they learn to read,” said Jennifer Advani, Peninsula program manager with the Jewish Coalition for Literacy.

The project has collected more than 4,000 books through book drives, some of which were organized by students at Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School and at Oak Avenue and Santa Rita elementary schools.

The Jewish Coalition for Literacy is a program of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Relations Council. For information, contact the JCRC Peninsula office at (650) 940-1225.