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Settling in

Lori Starr, recently arrived from Toronto to head the Contemporary Jewish Museum, said all of her family members — including the 11-year-old dog — are thrilled with their new West Coast home. On day four as executive director, Starr greeted folks from the media and the arts in the Yud Gallery. Her vision for the museum, she said, is to “interpret and reinterpret Jewish life for the 21st century.” She wants the CJM to be known for addressing cutting-edge questions through multidisciplinary art. “Jewish people are really good at asking questions,” she noted.


Not lost in translation

Piotr Wislicki

Philanthropist and honorary consul for Poland in San Francisco Tad Taube took on a new role — translator — at a reception for Bay Area donors to the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Poland. The S.F. event, on June 12 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, featured Piotr Wislicki, chairman of the Warsaw museum, speaking in Polish while Poland native Taube translated. “This is a museum not of death, but of life,” said Wislicki, as he thanked local philanthropists for their funding. “It demonstrates that Jewish life is having a renaissance in Poland.” P.S. Taube is the museum’s lead donor, and some 30 percent of the institution’s support comes from the Bay Area.


Summer theater

Joan Mankin

Actor, clown and teacher Joan Mankin is directing the San Francisco Mime Troupe’s 2013 summer show, “Oil & Water,” which will run from July 4 to Sept. 2 in various locations. Visit www.sfmt.org. In press info, publicist Lawrence Helman notes that the 54-year-old troupe’s Berkeley headquarters “is a treasure trove of scenery and costume history” and was the original home of Fantasy Records, founded by the late brothers Max and Sol Weiss. (Full disclosure … younger brother Milt Weiss is my “BFF.”) And, to bring it full circle, Fantasy released the recording of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl,” portions of which can be heard at the CJM’s current exhibit on Ginsberg, “Beat Memories.” Back to Mankin … she’s also starring in “Wunderworld,” described as pantomime with music, in which 80-year-old Alice returns down the rabbit hole for another adventure. It’s at the Children’s Creativity Museum Theater in San Francisco from July 13 to Aug. 11.


Camp Louise, circa 1950s?

If you went to Camp Louise in Cascade, Md., in the Catoctin Mountains in the 1950s (or thereabouts), Paula Stiffman Goren of Orinda and Harriet Naviasky Sollod of San Francisco want to hear from you. The Baltimore natives have met a few Bay Area women who went to the Jewish girls’ camp, and they think there are more around. They’d like to plan a reunion, with date and place to be decided. Intrigued? Email [email protected].


Short shorts

Doria Charlson of San Mateo was awarded a Fulbright research scholarship for a yearlong study of the cultural and economic impact of Sephardic Algerian Jews who moved into the Alsace region of France after the Algerian war. Charlson just graduated from Stanford, where she was president of Hillel and her work “Judah Monis and Puritan Hebraism” won the Donald and Robin Kennedy Award for outstanding research essay on a Jewish theme … State Sen. Mark Leno presented the Jewish Family and Children’s Services’ Holocaust Center and the USC Shoah Foundation with proclamations from the Legislature for promoting moral courage and social responsibility at the groups’ tribute to survivors on June 9.

This columnist can be reached at [email protected].