Rabbi Michael Barenbaum

Died surrounded by family on May 29, 2014 after complications from an infection. He was 76 years old. He was the beloved husband of 42 years of the late Hannah Barenbaum; father to Daniel and Michelle Barenbaum and Naomi and Robert Leonard; grandfather to Emma, Samuel and Henry Barenbaum, and Sadie and Simon Leonard; son of the late Abe and Rena Barenbaum; and beloved cousin, friend, mentor and teacher.

Michael was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He studied to be a rabbi at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, and he lived for several years in and around Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts. But he and his family called Marin County, California, their home.

As the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Rodef Sholom for 27 years, and Rabbi Emeritus there since then, Michael was a spiritual leader and mentor to many, in a community that he loved and nurtured. He was instrumental in the creation of the Osher Jewish Community Center campus, the migration of Brandeis Hillel Day School to its Marin location at Rodef Sholom, and the founding of the Hospice at the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center.

But as important as his role as rabbi and community leader was to him, his greatest achievement was as a true partner to Hannah, in devotion to each other and their family. Nothing gave him more pleasure than being surrounded by his grandchildren and children.

A memorial service was held at Congregation Rodef Sholom, San Rafael. Donations can be made in Michael’s memory to the Rabbi Michael Barenbaum Endowment Fund at Congregation Rodef Sholom.


Nathan Leonard (Len) Morgenstern

Prominent physician, educator, East Bay Area civic leader, computer programming enthusiast, and dedicated father and grandfather, died May 29 following head trauma from a fall. He was 91 and a longtime resident of Moraga, Rossmoor and, most recently, the Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living in Danville.

Morgenstern was born in Omaha, Neb., during a late-season blizzard. Like a scene from a silent movie melodrama, his father and uncle had to dig away snow from sidewalks and streets to get his mother Fannie to the hospital for the delivery. His father Isaac worked as a teacher but suffered from tuberculosis, which sometimes kept him away from the family. A brilliant student, Len was advanced several grades and later joined accelerated education programs with the Army Specialized Training Program toward college and medical school graduation during World War II. He served his military service after the war in various Army bases around the U.S.

While working in Salt Lake City in the late 1940s, Len met his future wife, Mary Lou Evans, who was a bacteriologist there. The pair were married in Chicago, where Len served his pathology residency. Following a stint in Los Angeles, the couple moved to Oakland, where Len took a position at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center. He was to work there for 35 years, rising to the position of Chief of Pathology. He published widely on cancer, and taught as an adjunct professor of neuropathology at the University of California San Francisco.

In 1955, the family moved to Moraga and put down roots in the community. With children David, Jamie and Ann, the family grew and became very involved with Temple Isaiah of Lafayette, both socially and in leadership. They were active on committees; Len serving as president. After retirement, he was editor of the synagogue bulletin.

Len believed very strongly in service to the community and education. In the 1960s, he served on the board of the Moraga School District; in 1962, he was elected clerk and later served for years as President. In addition, Len was a member of groups such as Toastmasters International and various computer support clubs. He also donated his summer vacation time as a doctor at the URJ camp in Saratoga.

Len’s major “hobby” was computing; however, his programming was on a professional level. In the 1960s, he arranged to run programs on mainframes near the hospital (in the FORTRAN punch card and paper tape days). He purchased an early “home-brew” CPM computer in the 1970s and various DOS machines followed. When he retired, his gift from the hospital was a Macintosh computer.

With retirement, Len became very active in the International FORTH Interest Group (FIG) of the FORTH computer language, helping to organize meetings and conferences. He traveled around the country presenting papers and was widely published in FORTH Dimensions and other programming journals. In his last decade, Len decided to try his hand in fiction and joined a creative writing club. He loved music and often went to concerts.

Len is mourned by sons David (Inara) and Jamie (Linda), and daughter Ann (Jeff), and his grandchildren Ariela, Dara and Rebecca. He is survived by his sister Charlotte Katz. May his memory be for a blessing.

Donations to Temple Isaiah and to the URJ Camp Newman in Santa Rosa, Calif.


Sally Rubinstein

Of Orinda, California, passed away on May 27, 2014 surrounded by her loving family.

 Sally Seidman was born on Nov. 11, 1932 in Cleveland, Ohio. After graduating from Ohio University in 1954, she became an elementary school teacher. She taught for five years in Ohio before moving to California. She then taught fifth grade at Orinda Union Elementary School from 1959 until 1962.

Sally met Michael Rubinstein in San Francisco, and they were married on Sally’s birthday in November of 1960. They were happily married for 53 years. In addition to her husband, Sally is survived by her two children, Cara Hoxie of Orinda, California, and Daniel Rubinstein of Glencoe, Illinois; her son-in-law, Tim Hoxie; her daughter-in-law, Abigail; and her five grandchildren, Philip, Benjamin and Theodore Hoxie, and Alexandra and Olivia Rubinstein, as well as her two brothers: Alex Seidman of Shaker Heights, Ohio, and Irving Seidman of Amherst, Mass.

Sally was actively involved in the lives of her children and grandchildren. Most recently, she delighted in following the baseball, football and musical activities of her grandsons, and the soccer and ice hockey careers of her granddaughters.

Sally was an elegant woman deeply devoted to her family. She tenaciously battled breast cancer for nearly 17 years before succumbing to the disease. She will be lovingly remembered as a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother, and she will be dearly missed by all of her family and many friends.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution to the Crowden Music Center, 1475 Rose St., Berkeley, CA 94702, or to Rehabilitation Services of Northern California (RSNC), 490 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523.

Sinai Memorial Chapel (925) 962-3636