Turning up the heat

Stephanie Singer came to the rescue — at least partly — at the JCC of San Francisco’s BookFest on Feb. 26 when author and interviewer Elizabeth Rosner interrupted her dialogue with keynote speaker Nicole Krauss to state that it was freezing on the stage. Minutes later, Singer, the JCCSF’s manager of lectures and special programs, stepped up and placed her own jacket around Krauss’ shoulders. (She had only one jacket, so Rosner continued, quietly shivering.) Krauss told her audience that one of the most important things she inherited from her Jewish upbringing was asking questions. “The Talmud demands that we doubt … it keeps the argument alive and aloft,” she said. Fans of the authors sold out the JCC’s Kanbar Hall and, postpresentation, formed a queue to purchase books that far exceeded the noontime café line. Rebecca Spence of Berkeley and Nechama Tamler of Palo Alto, along with other attendees I polled, noted their favorite of Krauss’ three books was “The History of Love.”

Whooping it up!

Henry Carrey

One of the many magic moments at last month’s KlezCalifornia Yiddish Culture Festival was “whooping at the top of your lungs” in the three-story JCCSF Atrium, reports Judy Kunofsky, executive director of KlezCalifornia. “In one of the dances, we moved into the circle repeatedly, and at the center jumped and whooped!” The warmth of the community, inspired by Yiddish culture, plus knowing that whooping in the Atrium again was unlikely, contributed to “quite an experience,” she explains. Some 500 people took part in the workshops, concerts and sing-along over the weekend, including Henry Carrey, who is moving to Boston shortly. But before he leaves, he has a March 14 gig at the BJE Jewish Community Library about his mom, Yiddish singer and radio star Leyke Post, which will include anecdotes and music. Visit www.bjesf.org for info.

Chag Purim

“Shmaltz” was the word at Congregation Beth Israel Judea’s Purim parody of the movie “Grease,” writes Deborah Bouck. Rabbi Danny Gottlieb led the festivities and Ricki Weintraub and Cantor David Morgenstern, the music … Congregation Etz Chayim in Palo Alto takes the commandment to get drunk on Purim seriously. The annual hamanschlossen — a beverage, not a pastry — is part of the congregation’s Purim festivities. The contents of the special Purim cocktail, which changes each year, were voted on at a pre-Purim tasting party, hosted by Aimee and Colm Lysaght, says Bob Wolfert, program chair. Drinkmeister Evan Goer provided five different options for the taste test. The best — dubbed this year’s hamanschlossen — was rum and coke. Vodka Vashtis (vodka and coconut rum) and — for the kids — the Royal Purple Ahasuerus (apple juice, grape juice, lemonade and Sprite) were the runners-up … And at Cotati Congregation Ner Shalom, congregants were encouraged to bring boxes of pasta or other dried foods to use as noisemakers during the Megillah reading, then donate them to a food pantry post-Purim.

Short shorts

Cynthia Pepper

Cynthia Pepper of San Rafael was hired by Jamie Redford (yes, that Redford) to cast his film “The D Word: Understanding Dyslexia.” The documentary, which showed at the Sundance Film Festival, will air on HBO. Visit www.dyslexiathemovie.com for info … Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland is having a “Chulent” cook-off on March 17. Notes the flyer, “Meat is optional, but you want to win, don’t you?” The winner receives a crockpot and bragging rights.




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