Its Jewish movie time, Huggable heroes, Author, author

It’s Jewish movie time

At the press conference for the 30th annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, executive director Peter Stein surveyed the room to see if anyone had been to all 30 festivals. One lone sole raised a hand.

A lot of people, however, were on their 10th, and a few others (like me) had hit the mid-20s. Noting the “earthquake” around the festival’s showing of “Rachel” last year, Stein said, “The conversation needs to continue and we are eager to foster civil conversations” on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

The festival runs July 24 through Aug. 9 at five main venues. Visit for the lineup of films and all the details.

Nancy Fishman, former SFJFF program director, told the audience about “Tough Guys: Images of Jewish Gangsters in Film,” a special archival series that she curated for this year’s festival.

Her interest in the subject came from hearing family stories about “Dopey” Benny Fein, she said. According to family lore, he was a good gangster, because he only worked for unions, not management. By the way, Benny wasn’t really dopey. In fact, according to Wikipedia, he was a “talented organizer” who put together his own band of robbers. A thyroid ailment caused poor Benny to have droopy eyelids, thus the moniker.

Speaking of monikers, an exhibit of paintings of Jewish gangsters will be on display at the JCC of San Francisco with the great name “Wise Guys: Mobsters in the Mishpacha.”

P.S. Stein and program director Jay Rosenblatt will preview the 2010 SFJFF in a chat with Rabbi Eric Weiss on Mosaic, July 18 at 5 a.m. on KPIX Channel 5.


Huggable heroes

Tatiana “Tati” Grossman, 15, of Palo Alto, is one of 10 teens from the United States and Canada to be named a “huggable hero.” The award is presented by the Build-A-Bear Workshop to honor and celebrate teens for their compassion and dedication to making the world a better place.

Tati was recognized for her work with the African Library Project to increase early literacy in Africa. Aitan Grossman, 13, Tati’s brother, was among 25 finalists for “100 Generations,” a song he wrote and produced about global warming.


Author, author

Linda Frank of San Francisco has published her first novel, “After the Auction.” About it she notes, “The injustice of the unreturned looted art, real estate and bank accounts perpetuates Nazi treachery for countless families six decades after the end of World War II.” Visit for more info.


Short shorts …

Nancy Goldberg of Tiburon is the new president of the board of Jewish Family and Children’s Services. She is a longtime activist on a variety of issues, including human trafficking, domestic abuse and prison reform … Adina Danzig Epelman has left Hillel at Stanford after 10 years as executive director to raise a family, reports Rabbi Dov Greenberg of Stanford Chabad … Ron Arons, Judy Baston, Vivian Kahn, Robinn Magid, Stephen P. Morse and Jim Van Buskirk — all genealogists and Bay Area residents — will speak at the 30th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy beginning Sunday, July 11 in Los Angeles … Israeli Avraham Infeld was honored last month in New York for his body of work and his tenure from 2003 to 2006 as the top lay leader of Hillel. Infeld was a longtime member and past chair of the Amuta, the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation’s Israel advisory board.