Grampys party, News from Hillel, L.A. without cars

Grampy’s party

Gene Kaufman’s grandson Micah Kaufman, almost 3, whose parents are Ira and Jen Kaufman, announced that the gathering at the JCC of San Francisco on Aug. 26 was “Grampy’s party.” It certainly was — in honor of Kaufman’s retirement from 23 years as executive director of Sinai Memorial Chapel. Among the folks lauding Kaufman was Stuart Pollak, reading a poem written by his wife, Lee Pollak, who couldn’t be there because she was running Sinai’s grief and growing retreat. Among the poem’s references — Kaufman’s calm demeanor, his 8,395 days on the job, his devotion to the TV show “Six Feet Under,” and a final verse that expressed the feelings of the crowd: “We love you dearly, and as you leave the scene, we tell you you’re a mensch … you’re Gene.”


News from Hillel

U.C. Berkeley Hillel’s Executive Director Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman received the Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence Award at a conference of Hillel professionals in Washington, D.C., in August. He was recognized for his outstanding commitment to fulfilling the group’s mission of service to Jewish students … Lisa Motenko, student life coordinator at Berkeley Hillel, is one of 18 professionals from around the world participating in the LAPID initiative, a leadership program … New Israel fellows have been assigned to Hillels on Bay Area campuses to focus on Israel education and advocacy. The fellows are university graduates and veterans of the Israel Defense Forces. They are Gila Hashkes at U.C. Berkeley; Erez Schachar at U.C. Santa Cruz; Guy Bershadsky at U.C. Davis; Nadav Savai at Stanford University; and Yochai Shavit at University of San Francisco.


L.A. without cars?

Folks from the S.F.–based Jewish Community Federation were greeted with a scary sight when they arrived in the Los Angeles suburb of Brentwood for a Jewish Federation of North America campaign kickoff last month: The streets were empty of traffic, except for police cars. Nancy Grand, federation president-elect, federation campaign lay leaders Richard Fiedotin, Carol Weitz and Tanya Kaminsky, and staff members Maxine Epstein and Susan Mall thought the city was under siege. Nope … President Barack Obama was visiting and his helicopter was landing in the Brentwood post office parking lot, Mall said.


Short shorts

Charles Gordon of Mountain View proudly writes that the “latest feat” of his granddaughter Eve Zelinger is her admission to the Jewish “Girls High School All-America” basketball team. At Castilleja High School in Palo Alto where she graduated last June, Zelinger was a member of the varsity team and will play college hoops at Dartmouth University. In November 2009, she beat 50,000 applicants to become one of the state finalists for a Wendy’s High School Heisman award, for a combination of athletic and scholastic prowess. Eve’s parents are Lisa Gordon and Steve Zelinger of Palo Alto … As reported in Pleasanton’s Congregation Beth Emek newsletter, Eileen Vergino will participate in a 500-kilometer, five-day bike ride in October in honor of turning 55. She’ll be raising money for Beit Halochem, an Israeli nonprofit that supports rehabilitation, sports and cultural centers for disabled Israeli veterans and victims of terror … State Sen. Mark Leno received a leadership award from the World Congress of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Jews Aug. 14 in Los Angeles at the group’s 20th annual world conference. Founded in 1972 in London, the World Congress is the first gay and lesbian Jewish organization in the world.