Big top Jews, Giving back, 10 years 11 more, Blessing the sun, Short …

Big top Jews

What’s a nice Jewish girl doing hanging from the ceiling, or balancing ladders and chairs on her head?  That’s what Janice Brenner of San Francisco wondered when she met Amy Cohen, a New Yorker studying at the San Francisco Circus Center. Cohen, 22, said her mom sent her to circus camp when she realized her young daughter was happier climbing trees than doing regular girlie stuff. After celebrating her brother’s bar mitzvah, Cohen is off to England (where circus is considered a high art, she says) to study contemporary circus on a Fulbright scholarship. She hopes to return and start a community circus. “Her passion for sharing circus art is palpable,” reports Brenner. P.S. According to the Circus Center Web site, Ken Levinson, now board president, joined the board after taking clowning lessons there.


Giving back

At a time print newspapers are cutting back, the Stanford Daily now has a modern new building to call its own, thanks to Peninsula resident Lorry Lokey. In his remarks at the Lorry I. Lokey Stanford Daily Building dedication on April 2, he said, “How can I stand by and not be a major donor if something literally set me up for the rest of my life? That’s how I feel about the Daily.” Lokey was editor of the Daily during his senior year and went on to work at UPI (then United Press). He founded Business Wire in 1961. 


10 years, 11 more

When Rabbi Janet Marder celebrates her 10-year anniversary at Congregation Beth Am later this month, she’ll also celebrate the signing of a new 11-year contract with the synagogue. The contract was announced by outgoing president Charlie Rothschild, who noted Marder will “finish her career as our senior rabbi.” Rachel Tasch is the congregation’s new president. 


Blessing the sun

Eva Lindberg of San Geronimo won an honorable mention for her painting “Witnessing the Sun” in a competition for art to celebrate the Jewish contemporary experience of Birkat HaChammah, the blessing of the sun. (It’s the holiday that occurs once every 28 years when the sun returns to its original place in the heavens at the exact time of its creation. It fell on April 8 this year.) Noted Lindberg, “The Birkat HaChammah is our time to rectify our honoring of God’s creation … our main energy source the sun!” You can see her work, along with the other winners’, at


Short shorts …

East Bay’s Mark Schickman has been nominated to the American Bar Association’s Board of Governors, representing California. He’s one of 12 new appointees in the national group, which he notes is the largest professional organization in the world. Schickman, a partner at Freeland, Cooper & Foreman in San Francisco, was president of the San Francisco Bar Association from 1995 to 1996 … Walnut Creek native Alex Green writes that he has opened a publishing house at Back Page Books in Waltham, Mass. The first publication is “State of the Union” by Howard ZinnCynthia Pepper of San Rafael is co-choreographer for the Mountain Play’s “Man of La Mancha” … Eileen Ruby, former president of the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay, has been named to the National Women’s Philanthropy Board.  East Bay federation leaders Claudia Felson, Terry Friedkin and Betsy Pottruck are also board members.

This columnist can be reached at [email protected].