Filmmaker’s Forrest Gump moment

San Francisco filmmaker Ken Schneider went to Cuba last month for the Latin American premiere of “Havana Curveball,” the film he and his wife, Marcia Jarmel, made about their son Mica Jarmel-Schneider and his efforts to send a shipment of baseball equipment to Cuba as his bar mitzvah project. In a remarkable moment of synchronicity, Schneider was sitting in a café in Cuba when President Obama appeared on the restaurant’s television and announced the new relationship between the United States and Cuba.

“Everything has changed,” Schneider told the audience that evening in his introduction to the film. He and Jarmel added in an email: “When the end credits rolled, there was great emotion and some tears in the room.” The kudos they received “confirmed what we believe deeply, that art heals, that stories speak universally, that open communication speaks volumes.” The film will show in San Francisco and Berkeley in February. For information, visit www.havanacurveball.info.


Iron Dome, up close and personal

Jack and Candee Klein

Among the unusual sights — and sites — that Jack Klein and his wife, Candee Klein, saw when they traveled to Israel in November was Iron Dome. The Hillsborough couple was part of a leadership mission sponsored by the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. The group toured the Iron Dome missile battery to see first-hand the system that has deflected rocket attacks and met with IDF soldiers serving on the front lines and others who benefit from FIDF programs. Klein said other highlights included a helicopter ride through the desert and meeting a couple who are “relocators” — people who moved to the desert from Tel Aviv. “They’re doing pretty well,” he commented. George Cohen and Sam Tanner, both of the East Bay, and Francine Gani of Palo Alto were other Bay Area participants.


Fox on Fox

Nancy Fox of San Anselmo was doing her monthly gig at Kindred Nursing and Transitional Care in Greenbrae, where she plays piano each month for residents, when “Maree Gilmore rolled in — in her wheelchair,” said Fox, and began tap dancing to the music. “I was blown away,” she added. In fact, Fox enjoyed it so much that she arranged to celebrate her own 75th birthday at Kindred. “I wanted to play piano and be with Maree and her joyful feet.” Fox’s daughter Laura Schifrin videotaped the routine and put “Taptoe Through the Tulips,” with a headline stating “Disabilities Don’t Limit,” up on YouTube. When a producer from KTVU-TV, a Fox affiliate, heard about it, she saw a perfect Christmas story: Fox and Gilmore appeared on the evening news on Dec. 25. “I hope our duet will inspire people with disabilities to continue doing what they love,” Fox said. You can see the interview at www.goo.gl/Awdcza and “Taptoe” at www.tinyurl.com/youtube-taptoe.


Short shorts

Lisa Gurwitch

Lisa Gurwitch has been named president and CEO of K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers, a New York–based charity that provides merchandise to people affected by poverty and tragedy. Gurwitch served for 18 years at the Jewish Community Endowment Fund of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation … Rabbi Heath Watenmaker was installed in November at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills … Michael Saxe Taller of Berkeley is the new executive director of Kehilla Community Synagogue in Piedmont. His wife, Julie Saxe Taller, is a rabbi at San Francisco’s Congregation Sherith Israel … The swim team from San Francisco’s Or Shalom Jewish Community was the top fundraiser in the large-team category for Swim A Mile 2014, a competition to support the work of the Women’s Cancer Resource Center in Oakland.

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