Disability rights advocate honored

Judy Heumann

Former Berkeley resident Judy Heumann was recognized by the Berkeley Rotary Club Peace Committee at a public ceremony on July 16 for making a significant contribution toward world peace in her lifetime. Heumann, currently special adviser for International Disability Rights at the State Department, was recognized along with Ed Roberts, who died in 1995. The two have long histories of fighting for the rights of people with disabilities around the world.

“We deemed that people who work for human rights in any way are also working for peace,” said Maxim Schrogin, chair of the committee. “Judith and Ed gave individuals with disabilities and their families the right to live less restricted and more peaceful lives.” A bronze plaque inscribed with their names will be dedicated near a specially designated redwood tree at the Rotary Peace Grove in Berkeley’s Tilden Park.

Noting that she was gratified to receive the award, Heumann said that 15 percent of the world’s population has some form of disability. “Disability rights is about including all people in society and learning about each others’ differences — and accepting diversity.”

Both Heumann, who has used a wheelchair since she was a young child, and Roberts had polio. The Rotary Club has funded distribution of Salk and Sabin vaccines internationally for many years. “It’s beshert [ordained in heaven] that this club that has done so much against polio has chosen to honor two individuals who were victims of the disease,” said Schrogin.

Heumann was formerly deputy director of Berkeley’s Center for Independent Living and was a member of Congregation Netivot Shalom. “From my perspective, part of my Jewishness is to create harmonious relationships and environments where people can live in peace and mutual respect,” Heumann said.


And the winner is …

Reva Salk

The competition was stiff at the opening of the Contemporary Jewish Museum’s “Project Mah Jongg” on July 13. In the mah jongg gallery (aka the Swig and Dinner Gallery), Reva Salk, who celebrated her 98th birthday that very day, bested her daughter Toby Salk by one tile to become winner of the first game to be played at the exhibit. The women got interested in the game by watching their respective moms play it. In fact, Toby, who teaches mah jongg, plays with a set belonging to her grandmother, Reva’s mom. Some 250 people attended the opening of the exhibit, which will continue until Oct. 28.


Short shorts

Board member Marci Glazer will step in as interim executive director at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco when executive director Barry Finestone leaves the post on Aug. 14. Glazer has held leadership roles in both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. “We are very fortunate indeed to be able to call upon someone who has at once such a knowledge of and depth of commitment to the JCCSF and its staff and programs,” said Warren S. Browner, board president. A search for a permanent executive director is ongoing … Alon Shalev, former longtime director of San Francisco Hillel,  is now executive director of the San Francisco and Western Region for American Jewish World Service (AJWS) … Alameda native Daniel Caspi, 34, now living in Chicago, was named to the Double Chai in the Chi: 36 Under 36 list of young Jewish movers and shakers in Chicago … Larkspur resident Michael Futterman has been named to the Tamalpais Union High School District Board.

by Suzan Berns

This columnist can be reached at [email protected]