Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

Rabbi Leno?

Newly elected State Senator Mark Leno was among the local politicos who shmoozed it up in Marin last month at a pre-Chanukah celebration hosted by Jewish Family and Children’s Services’ Public Issues Committee (PIC). Interspersed among serious observations on the state of the state’s budget and the economic conditions in the county, Leno joked that JFCS’s Anita Friedman had outed him as a rabbinic school dropout when she noted in her welcoming remarks that he had gone to “rabbi school.” He also thanked event organizers for serving two of his favorite foods — latkes and tuna tartare. Rabbi Chai Levy of Congregation Kol Shofar opened the evening, Iris Metz, PIC chair, emceed it and Nancy Goldberg introduced Leno. Nancy Masters is JFCS regional director. The Jewish Community Relations Council, North Bay Region, and Marin’s Jewish organizations co-sponsored the event.

How to beat the winter blahs

With music … Opera aficionado James Sokol’s multimedia presentation celebrating the voices and roles of Placido Domingo and Renee Fleming is the main feature (along with a dessert buffet) at the Osher Marin JCC’s benefit “Exploring Opera” on Jan. 11, 1 to 4 p.m. Get tickets to the event plus tickets for opera-oriented auction items at www.marinjcc.org.

With comedy … Was Warhol good for the Jews? Read about comedy monologist Josh Kornbluth‘s take on the question for the Contemporary Jewish Museum in this issue.

With fun and friends … It seems like only yesterday that JFCS was touting the first Émigré Gala. This year’s event — the eighth! — on Jan. 31 is co-chaired by Alexander and Anna Lushtak, with help from Dale Boutiette and Alla Gershberg, San Francisco co-chairs; Igor and Tatiana Cherkas, Marin co-chairs, and Boris and Alla Lipkin, Peninsula co-chairs. For information, call (415) 449-1256.

Going green

Power of One, the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation’s Women’s Alliance annual event, on April 26 is being billed as a “Green Brunch” instead of the usual (not-so-green?) dinner. The keynote speaker is Moosewood Cookbook’s Mollie Katzen and it will take place on Treasure Island’s Pavilion by the Bay. The group is recruiting table and corporate sponsors now. Contact Dina Jacobs at [email protected] with suggestions.

Short shorts …

Vacationing in Israel, Lisa Tabak and Jeff Lipsett of Oakland decided to go to Shabbat services at Tel Aviv’s Knesset Sinai and ran into Yitzhak Santis, his wife, Anat, and their daughter. He’s on sabbatical from his job at Jewish Community Relations Council … In a story in the San Francisco Examiner on Dec. 11, Ellen Rothmann of San Francisco said the piece de resistance of her garden — the subject of the article — is a giant eucalyptus tree straight out of a Harry Potter book. Being a good wife, Ellen also strayed from roses and hydrangeas long enough to mention husband John Rothmann‘s new book, “Icon of Evil” … Michael “Mickey” Luckoff of Kentfield was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in November. He’s president and general manager of KGO Newstalk and general manager of KSFO Talk Radio … The Contemporary Jewish Museum was recognized for “engaging exhibitions and programs that explore Jewish culture, history, art and ideas” with a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Northern California Grantmakers in November. Board of Trustees chair Roselyn “Cissie” Swig accepted the award from former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

This columnist can be reached at [email protected].