Aimee Golant mezuzah goes to space; Supreme-ly cool meetings; etc.

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


Space mezuzah

San Francisco metal artist Aimee Golant’s “Barbed Wire Mezuzah” traveled into space with astronaut Mike Massimino on the May 12 shuttle mission to repair the Hubble telescope. The mezuzah is a copy of Golant’s original design that accompanied Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon on the 2003 Columbia mission (which tragically exploded during re-entry). Massimino, who went to flight school with Ramon, asked Golant if she would replicate the original in memory of his friend. Ramon, who was a descendant of Holocaust survivors, requested a design to commemorate the Holocaust, thus the barbed wire. After the Columbia disaster, Golant sent a copy of the mezuzah to Ramon’s widow in Israel.


Supreme-ly cool meetings

Marin’s Brandeis Hillel Day School students Monica Gerber, Lena McDonnell and Alana Sheppard and their families visited Washington, D.C., to celebrate their bat mitzvahs and had a special meeting — with Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Gerber’s grandparents, Mort and Marie Raphael, went to high school with the associate justice of the Supreme Court and called on old friendships to arrange the meeting. Barbara Contini, McDonnell’s mom, reported that they spent more than 30 minutes with the justice and she was “vivacious, warm and enthusiastic.”

Peter Hadar, a Kehillah Jewish High School student, heard Justice Clarence Thomas speak when he went to Washington, D.C., to receive a first-place award for his essay on religious tolerance. Hadar was one of nine regional first-place winners from 31,000 submissions, reported his English teacher, Sam Patterson. His essay was in response to the question posed by contest sponsors, the Bill of Rights Foundation: “What civic value do you believe is most essential to being an American?”


Short shorts …

Congregation Beth Am’s Judith Kleinberg was honored as a “Woman of the Year” by the California State Legislature 21st Assembly District. Assemblyman Ira Ruskin nominated her for her work on behalf of multiple nonprofit groups and causes. She was also included in the “100 Most Influential Women in Silicon Valley” by the Silicon Valley Business Journal for her work with the philanthropic arm of Google … Eve Agiewich, also a member of Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, was named a Peninsula Interfaith Action Local Hero for 2009. She’s on the board of the Community Working Group, which helped to create Palo Alto’s Opportunity Center, and has been involved with interfaith advocacy through the National Conference of Christians and Jews … Lafayette’s Temple Isaiah is kvelling over two new rabbis from the congregation family. Deborah Graetz Goldmann was ordained as a Reform rabbi and Laurie Matzkin as a Conservative rabbi … Some 1,250 people attended Jewish Vocational Service’s 17th annual Strictly Business Awards Luncheon, including Melanie Einbund, an out-of-work financial analyst who led the Ha’motzi and “used the opportunity both to praise JVS for the help she’s received and to hand out her newly polished resume,” reported Wendy Rothenberg of JVS. The annual event raised $878,000 for the agency … Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates named Susan Duhan Felix “Berkeley’s First Art Ambassador” at the opening of her show at the Badé Museum. He was there with his wife, California State Senator Loni Hancock. There will be a closing bash — open to all — on June 30 … San Franciscans Noah Kessler and his wife, Kim Bazile, who are both legally blind, were featured in a recent S.F. Chronicle lifestyle column about how couples meet … State Sen. Mark Leno authored a bill designating May 22 as Harvey Milk Day.

This columnist can be reached at [email protected].