East Bay ‘Alight’

Rabbis Roberto Graetz and Judy Shanks of Temple Isaiah and Yonatan Cohen of Congregation Beth Israel were among 200 supporters of the Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Foundation of the East Bay who networked, sipped Israeli wines and enjoyed great food in the group’s new digs — atop the Magnes museum — on Sept. 17. The festive event also featured a klezmer band and kicked off the new year and the federation’s campaign.

Claudia Felson

“Alight” was chaired by Claudia Felson, who serves as chair of the Israel and Overseas Com-mittee. Besides shmoozing and noshing, the evening featured a rollout of the federation’s new concierge program, which aims to help individuals find what they need in the community, said Joanne Neumann, development director. In addition, representatives from federation beneficiary agencies, such as PJ Library, the Jewish Agency and Birthright, were on hand to tell celebrants how their federation donations are used to support their agency’s mission.


Earthquake relief

After the Napa earthquake, the county’s Congregation Beth Shalom set up an earthquake relief fund and reached out to congregants for contributions. The results: $7,500 was distributed to six local nonprofit groups that are helping community members affected by the quake. Member Sandy Huffman, who has a background in grant-making, and a committee including Leslie Medine, Suzanne Shiff and Donna Mendelsohn organized the distribution. “The Earthquake Relief Fund is one aspect of Congregation Beth Shalom’s social justice program which is deeply committed to making life in Napa better for all people,” said Rabbi Lee Bycel.


Turning 70

Michael Krasny

KQED Radio’s “Forum” host Michael Krasny was roasted in song at his 70th birthday party on Sept. 28 in Marin. “Michael, we know you’re really a star, but can you program your DVR?,” sang Rita Gershengorn of San Rafael to the tune of “Matchmaker, Matchmaker.” Rita Abrams of Mill Valley sang her original lyrics to the tune of “Mame,” ending each line with “Michael,” with the audience singing along. Among 200-plus guests were Roselyne “Cissie” Swig and Rabbis Brian Lurie and Doug Kahn. Michael’s daughters Lauren and Alexa Krasny and wife, Leslie Krasny, who roasted her husband in rhyme, hosted the party.


Short shorts

Neal Tandowsky, chair of the board of directors of the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center, will be honored at the group’s annual gala, Hearts & Hands Together on Oct. 22 at the JCC of San Francisco. It will feature “the singing cantors” — David Margules, Lauren Bandman, Roslyn Barak, Kay Greenwald, Leigh Korn and Elana Rosen-Brown. The evening is dedicated to the late Rabbi Michael Barenbaum, a former board member. Visit www.jewishhealingcenter.org for info … Rabbi Beth Singer of Congregation Emanu-El aired her thoughts on anti-Semitism on KQED Radio’s “Perspectives” on Sept. 17. To listen, visit www.kqed.org/a/perspectives and find the air date … Penny Rosenwasser won the Association for Women in Psychology 2014 Jewish Caucus Award for Scholarship for her book “Hope into Practice.” It also won an honorable mention for nonfiction at the New York Book Festival … American Jewish Committee regional director Mervyn Danker received the Mahatma Gandhi Award for Religious Pluralism from the Hindu American Foundation … Joan Levison of Mill Valley is the new executive director of Menorah Park in San Francisco, succeeding Nurit Robinson, who has retired.

by Suzan Berns

This columnist can be reached at [email protected]