Shorts: Bay Area

Wine trail uncorks July 26

L’Chaim Napa Valley is sponsoring two events this summer.

The first is the Jewish Vintners Wine Trail on Sunday, July 26 in the Napa Valley. The second is a tour of the art and architecture of the Clos Pegase Winery on Aug. 30.

The wine trail begins at 1 p.m. and concludes several wineries later at 6:30 p.m. with a light outdoor supper at Judd’s Hill.

Each participating vintner will provide special treats, such as food pairings, barrel tastings and tours of the grounds not usually open to the public. The winemaker may also be on hand to speak to the group.

Participating wineries include Alpha Omega, Bighorn Cellars, COHO Winery, Don Ernesto, Frank Family Vineyards, Hagafen Cellars, HALL Wines, Honig Vineyard and Winery, Israel Wine Company, Judd’s Hill, Lieff Wines, Oakville East, Prix Vineyards, Rock Creek Vineyard, Spring Mountain Vineyard, Tetra and Wine Garage.

Tickets for the wine trail range from $75 to $95.

The Aug. 30 tour of Clos Pegase Winery begins at 2:30 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. It includes a presentation on art and wine by founder and owner Jan Shrem, a lesson in cabernet wine-making and a dinner at the winery’s bistro. Tickets for the tour cost $125.

To register for either event or for more information, contact

Jewish museum, film fest get stimulus cash

The National Endowment for the Arts has granted the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and the Contemporary Jewish Museum $25,000 each in federal stimulus money.

The grants were part of a massive federal stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, that was signed into law in February and included $50 million in emergency aid for arts institutions.

On July 7, the NEA awarded $29.8 million in 631 grants to arts groups around the country, most in amounts of $50,000 and $25,000. More than 2,400 applications were received for the funds, which must be used to preserve jobs threatened by decreases in private donations.

Peter Stein, executive director of the SFJFF, said the grant is good news for his full-time staff of nine and part-time crew of 15. “It’s going to essentially assist us with staff salary support, keeping people on board that we might have had to cut in the form of job loss or furloughs,” Stein said.

But, added Stein, “$25,000 is fabulous, and at the same time it is a rather small fraction” of the festival’s annual operating cost, which he pegged at $1.7 million.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum will be using the money to help support its presentation of programs and exhibitions that explore contemporary perspectives on Jewish culture, history, art and ideas, according to Connie Wolfe, the museum’s executive director.

In April, the NEA distributed the first portion of its $50 million in federal stimulus funds by granting 63 awards worth $19.8 million to its state and regional partners. Most of the remaining $30.2 million was doled out last week to arts groups that had received NEA grants in the past four years.

Rabbis launch fast for Gaza

An ad hoc group of some 60 rabbis, including at least eight from the Bay Area, and more then 350 other supporters were set to kick off a communal fast on July 16 to protest Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Called Ta’anit Tzedek–Jewish Fast for Gaza, the water-only fast is scheduled to take place on the third Thursday of every month from sunrise to sunset. Participants also are being asked to sign on to a statement at the group’s Web site, which defines its initiative as one “that seeks to end the Jewish community’s silence over Israel’s collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza.”

As of July 15, Bay Area rabbis that appear as supporters on include Rabbi Devra Noily of Oakland, Rabbi Paula Marcus of Santa Cruz, Rabbi David Cooper of Piedmont, Rabbi Pamela Frydman Baugh of San Francisco, Rabbi Michael Lerner of Berkeley, Rabbi Gershon Steinberg-Caudill of El Cerrito, Rabbi Julie Saxe-Taller of Berkeley and Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb of Berkeley. Synagogue affiliations were not listed. For an updated list, see the Web site.

The fast is led by Rabbi Brian Walt, former executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America, and Rabbi Brant Rosen of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, Ill.

Organizers said the fast has four goals: calling for a lifting of the Israeli blockade of Gaza, which has been in place since Hamas’ electoral victory in early 2006; providing humanitarian and development aid to the people of Gaza; calling on Israel, the United States and the international community to negotiate with Hamas to end the blockade; and urging the U.S. government to “vigorously engage both Israelis and Palestinans toward a just and peaceful settlement of the conflict.”