Inspiring challahs

Ella Potash

“The origin story for Facebook’s biggest hope for the next decade begins with a basket of fresh challah bread.” So begins a story in Newsweek magazine (April 14, Tech & Science) about the tech company’s new Messenger bot. (For others like me who aren’t tech-savvvy, “bot” is short for robot and, simply put, the Messenger bot is a software application that enables interactive conversations online.)


The fresh challah that inspired the bot was made by Ella Potash and delivered to the Facebook campus, where product manager Seth Rosenberg, who was seeking a Jewish connection, became a customer. Potash’s personal conversations with Rosenberg and other clients through a Facebook app were like “having a conversation with a real person the way buying things used to be,” Rosenberg said.

Potash, who is co-director of Chabad of Redwood City with her husband, Rabbi Levi Potash, began selling challahs last July with a recipe and mixer left to her by her late father. The foray to the Facebook campus began with six braided loaves. Now, thanks to Newsweek and a follow-up video distributed by Chabad, she’s selling about 75 challahs each week. And yes, she says, “I pretty much talk with everyone who orders.” Besides challahs, Potash has added a weekly dessert to her menu. “Rugelach is the most popular,” she notes. How does she make time for it all? “For me, it is a mitzvah to have a part in so many Shabbat tables. It’s a labor of love!” Contact Potash at [email protected] for your challah order.


And inspiring leaders

Marilyn Waldman

Sam Goldman

David Friedman

Marilyn Waldman, Sam Goldman and David Friedman have been named the winners of three awards given annually to outstanding leaders and philanthropists by the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Federation. They will be presented at the group’s Day of Philanthropy on Sept. 22. Waldman will receive the Judith Chapman Memorial Women’s Leadership Award, given to a female role model and an outstanding Jewish volunteer leader who goes above and beyond in dedicating her time, energy and resources. Among numerous activities in the community, Waldman was a founder of the Contemporary Jewish Museum.


Goldman will receive the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for Young Leadership, presented to a volunteer in the Federation community under 40 years old who shows great potential for future leadership. His roles in the community include co-chair of the LGBT Alliance and a 2014 Wexner Heritage Program alumnus.

Friedman has won the Robert Sinton Award for Distinguished Leadership, which honors a community member who embodies Sinton’s passion for communal volunteerism and leadership. Friedman has been actively involved with the Jewish Home of San Francisco, serving on the board for 20 years and as its chair.


Short shorts

Scientist, educator and entrepreneur Corey Goodman of San Francisco was one of three people given the King David Award at the annual Jewish American Heritage Month Congressional Celebration held on Capitol Hill on May 11. The award is presented by the Jewish American Heritage Commission to individuals who embody the success of the American Jewish experience. Goodman is an adjunct professor of neuroscience at U.C. Berkeley who serves as chair of the California Council on Science and Technology, where he advises the governor and state legislature … Brandeis Marin music teacher Jesse Scott is among 290 music teachers from 41 states who are quarterfinalists for the Grammy’s music educator award.

This columnist can be reached at [email protected].