Chicken and tzedakah

Maxine Epstein

Maxine Epstein of San Rafael exercised her comedy chops at the Marin Jewish Women’s Brunch at the Osher Marin JCC early this month with a humorous monologue about her life, her 30 years “pushin’ a pushke” for Jewish organizations and her chicken neurosis, which began, she said, when she witnessed her grandfather whirling a live chicken over his head in the Jewish custom of kaparot.

Epstein, whose day job is director of institutional development at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay, entered the auditorium decked out in a chicken costume and proceeded to ask audience members, “Why do you give?” She told the amused group that she tried out a number of jobs, including being a therapist (“Not good … I think listening is overrated”), settling on fundraising after she received direction (from above) through a chicken dinner.

Epstein was preceded by author Lisa Alcalay Klug, whose latest book is “Hot Mamalah: The Ultimate Guide for Every Woman of the Tribe.” Some 240 women attended the brunch, sponsored by Marin congregations and women’s groups and the Koret Taube Center for Jewish Peoplehood.


Soccer stars

Josh Cohen

The latest issue of Jewish Sports Review includes mentions of three local soccer standouts. The publication’s 2012 All-America college men’s soccer team (for non–Division 1 colleges) includes Los Gatos’ Jared Bernstein of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Sunnyvale’s Josh Cohen of U.C. San Diego. Bernstein, a senior, started 19 of 20 games and scored seven goals for the Stags, who made the NCAA tournament. Cohen, a goalkeeper, had a great junior year, posting a record of 6-2-3 (wins-losses-ties) with eight shutouts. The publication also included a few words about Palo Alto’s Andrew Jacobson, 26, noting that he started 31 games as midfielder for FC Dallas in the top U.S. pro league, Major League Soccer.


More new books

Elaine Starkman of Walnut Creek has published her fifth book of poetry, “Hearing Beyond Sound,” available through Amazon or by contacting her at [email protected] “Many poems were written while or after our two years living in Israel,” she writes … San Franciscan John Rothmann’s latest book, co-written by Alec Kirby and David Dalin, is “Harold E. Stassen: The Life and Perennial Candidacy of the Progressive Republican.” Stassen is most known for his 10 unsuccessful attempts to become the Republican candidate for president.


Short shorts

Shulamit Wise Fairman, music director at Kehilla Community Synagogue and newly ordained as a cantor, will be honored at the congregation’s Chai Shabbat on Saturday, Jan. 26 … Denver’s Rabbi Joe Black, named a Top 10 artist by Moment magazine in two categories of Jewish music, children’s and “male, adult contemporary,” will be in concert at Alameda’s Temple Israel on Feb. 9 in celebration of the installation of Rabbi Barnett Brickner. Tickets are available at rabbiblack.brownpapertickets.com … Guerneville’s Sonia Tubridy and the Amaryllis Trio will perform in Sebastopol on Saturday, Jan. 26 and Guerneville on Feb. 3. Call (707) 869-3273 for info … Berkeley drummer (and writer) Perry Garfinkel writes that he has “joined a local band that could be called ‘Jews and the British Blues,’ since most of the members are either all Jewish, half-Jewish or married to Jewish women, and they play Stones and Buddy Holly covers.” The Whitecliff Rangers perform at Berkeley’s Freight and Salvage on Feb. 2, as the opening act on a night called “The Freight Goes British.

This columnist can be reached at [email protected].