Shorts: Bay Area


East Bay event raises funds for Israel

An East Bay solidarity gathering raised much-needed funds to assist Israelis facing rocket attacks from Gaza. Co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay, the Jewish Community Foundation, the Jewish Community Relations Council, AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League, the East Bay Council of Rabbis and BlueStarPR, the Jan. 14 event took in more than $17,000.

Held at Oakland’s Temple Sinai, the event featured speakers including Consul General of Israel Akiva Tor, Temple Sinai Rabbi Steven Chester, East Bay federation board member Amnon Rodan and AIPAC Regional Director Zack Bodner.

The money raised at the event goes directly to needs in the East Bay federation’s partnership region in the south of Israel, Kiryat Malachi-Hof near Ashkelon. To donate to the federation’s fundraising efforts, go online to

JFCS to host eighth annual Émigré Gala

The Émigré Committee of S.F.-based Jewish Family and Children’s Services will hold its eighth annual Émigré Gala Jan. 31 at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.

More than 500 leaders in the Bay Area Russian-speaking Jewish community are expected to attend the fundraiser, which will feature Russian-style hors d’œuvres and wine reception, dinner, dancing and live entertainment.

Proceeds will help provide services to members of the émigré community in the Bay Area and Israel including emergency assistance during times of crises, paid internships and Jewish involvement opportunities for youth, care and support for victims of trauma and their families, and support for seniors.

JFCS clients will share their stories, and State Sen. Joe Simitian, Israel Consul General Akiva Tor, and other dignitaries and elected officials are expected to attend.

The Émigré Gala takes place 6:30 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Westin St. Francis, located at Union Square in San Francisco. Tickets are $180-$295. For inform-ation, call (415) 449-1256 or e-mail [email protected].

Oshman Family JCC marks Mitzvah Day

To get a good idea of how successful the Oshman Family JCC’s community Mitzvah Day was, it’s best to take a look at the numbers.

Almost 600 volunteers racked up more than 1,500 hours of service while participating in 26 projects and events on Jan. 19 in Palo Alto. Participation nearly tripled from last year’s event, organizers said.  

Activities included organizing a food drive for the Second Harvest Food Bank (collecting more than 800 pounds), cooking and serving meals to the homeless at shelters and soup kitchens, building bookcases for disadvantaged elementary school students and assembling packages and cards for U.S. and Israeli soldiers. Participants also entertained seniors, made meals for homebound adults and veterans, donated 20 units of blood and planted 20 trees.

Jewish learning event scheduled

The S.F.-based Bureau of Jewish Education and upwards of 500 members of the South Peninsula Jewish Community are expected to converge for this year’s Feast of Jewish Learning on Jan. 31.

The “Feast” is an annual, communitywide outreach program for Jews of all ages, backgrounds and interests, from secular and/or unaffiliated to Orthodox. The Feast provides a taste of Jewish learning, hoping to spark interest for further Jewish exploration.

The Jan. 31 event begins with the 11th annual “Night of Jewish Unity” at 7 p.m. at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills. Open to all, the evening begins with a Havdallah service and includes a series of classes and activities.

This year’s theme of “Lost and Found” will encompass spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical and mystical topics intended to guide participants toward finding a meaning or purpose for their lives, according to Mariana Roytman Schiffner, the event’s director.

Teachers will include local rabbis, scholars and educators, such as Rabbi Elisheva Salamo of Palo Alto’s Keddem Congregation and Beth Am Rabbi Janet Marder. There will be special programs offered in Hebrew and Russian, and a second Feast of Jewish Learning event is planned for March at Jewish Community High School in San Francisco.

For more information, call (650) 852-3516, visit feast.htm or e-mail mrosengaus@

Teens sought for summer program

The American Jewish Society for Service is accepting applications for a community service program this summer for Jewish high school students.

Participants will have the opportunity to work with local nonprofit agencies at selected locations throughout the country to help build or renovate housing, develop playgrounds and parks, and perform other acts of tikkun olam.

As part of the experience, students will live together and meet with city and state officials to further immerse themselves in the in the local culture and community. Four staff members with knowledge of experiential learning, teen education and Jewish values supervise the group.

The program runs June 28 to Aug. 7 and costs $3,600 plus airfare. Financial support is available. For more information or to apply, visit