Shirley Kaufman Daleski


Poet and translator Shirley Kaufman Daleski died peacefully Sept. 25, 2016, from Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 93. She was born in Seattle, graduated from UCLA, married Dr. Bernard Kaufman Jr. and raised her three daughters with him in San Francisco. She went back to school at San Francisco State University to complete a master’s degree in creative writing and became part of the vibrant poetry scene of the city in the 1960s.

A lifelong Zionist, she moved to Israel in 1973 where she made a home for 37 years in Jerusalem with her second husband, professor Hillel (Bill) Daleski. After his death she returned to the Bay Area in 2011 to be with her daughters, grandchildren and great-grandson.

She won the United States Award of the International Poetry Forum for her first book of poems in 1969. Among her many awards were grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Rockefeller Foundation residency at Bellagio, the Pushcart Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award for lifetime achievement from the Poetry Society of America, and the Israel President’s Prize for literature by a writer in English.

She published nine books of poetry, most recently “Ezekiel’s Wheels” in 2009. A volume of her selected poems translated by Aharon Shabtai was published in Hebrew, and a bilingual volume of her poetry translated by Claude Vigée was published in France. Her work has been praised in the Nation as “progressive, passionate and unfailingly feminist.”

She also distinguished herself as a translator from Hebrew into English of Israel’s leading poets, among them Abba Kovner and Meir Wieseltier. In 1999 the Feminist Press published “The Defiant Muse,” a bilingual collection of feminist Hebrew poetry from the Bible to the present, edited by Shirley Kaufman, Galit Hasan-Rokem and Tamar Hess, with many translations by Kaufman.

 Kaufman read her works for the Academy of American Poets, the Library of Congress, the Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y in New York, and many other centers and universities throughout the United States, and at poetry festivals worldwide. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including American Poetry Review, the New Yorker, the Nation, the Paris Review, the Pushcart Prize Collection and the Norton Book of American Jewish Literature.

 She is survived by her three daughters — Sharon Kaufman and husband Seth Kaufman, Rabia Van Hattum and husband Benjamin Van Hattum, and Deborah Kaufman and husband Alan Snitow — nine grandchildren, and one great-grandson. Private services were held for the immediate family. A memorial in the coming months will be announced. Donations in her memory may be made to the New Israel Fund.

Sinai Memorial Chapel

(415) 921-3636

Martina W. Knee, born March 12, 1954, passed away Sept. 26, 2016. She was a wife, a godmother to her South Sudanese son (an amazing relationship in its own right), an anti-genocide and human rights activist and a corporate lawyer. She was a woman who always took care of others’ needs because of her empathy and compassion. Her whip-smart intelligence and wit carried her into the inner circles of corporate counsel work for high-tech companies and into the offices of Congress to speak on behalf of those around the world whose voices were silenced by the violence of their own governments.

Immigrating to the U.S. from Austria at the age of 2, Martina left an environment benighted by the results of the Holocaust, which her family experienced on mental, emotional and spiritual levels. Although her parents were doctors, which carried weight in the Austrian meritocracy, she knew that her mother was a half-Jew, who had somehow survived the terrors of World War II, although many in her mother’s immediate family committed suicide to avoid being taken to the death camps. Her maternal grandmother was Jewish, but she and her Catholic husband both converted to Lutheranism to avoid the discrimination against interfaith marriages, especially with Jews. This was Martina’s legacy as a second-generation Holocaust survivor.

As a child, she gained her work ethic from her father: He had always been a perfectionist, asking her where were the other three points if she scored a 97 percent on a test. She was first educated in Washington, D.C., at Holton-Arms School and later moved to Chicago with her mother, graduating from New Trier East High School. She began her undergraduate education at University of Chicago and completed her B.A. at U.C. Berkeley and then a J.D. from Berkeley Law and Boalt Hall, U.C. Berkeley. She worked her way through Berkeley as a medical secretary for UCSF psychiatrists during the day and transcribing medical records at night at St. Luke’s Hospital.

Raised as a Christian by her essentially atheist parents, Martina did not understand that in fact, by virtue of her maternal grandmother and mother’s Jewish identities, she was Jewish. Married to Michael, a practicing Jew, Martina did not discover her own true religious identity until the age of 49. In preparation for burying her mother’s cremated remains, she went to see a rabbi and explained she had never converted although she had married a Jew. The rabbi looked at her and said, “What are you talking about? You are Jewish!” She was 49 years old at this point, and finally had a sense of belonging to something other than her immediate family. She knew she had a heritage and started taking classes and attending services, which eventually led to her adult bat mitzvah a year and a half later. She described being observant as “one of the most important things in my life,” because she retrieved the birthright that her own mother had been denied by Austria’s historic anti-Semitism.

She served as corporate partner in Silicon Valley and San Francisco for Heller Ehrman. As a woman she had to be twice as good as her male colleagues. She often raided the vending machines at 3 a.m. for a bit of sustenance. In 1995 she returned to the D.C. area, where she worked as general counsel for UUNet, a high-tech startup that become the world’s largest internet service provider. Martina traveled globally weekly to pursue her work in mergers and acquisitions for UUNet. In 2005 she retired from corporate life and returned to San Francisco after more firmly establishing her Jewish identity and learning about the genocide in Darfur.

Martina knew little about this genocide until reading about it through the American Jewish World Service. She was shocked that the ongoing genocide was not “at the top of the news cycle every minute of the day.” In the same way she prepared for legal cases, she studied what was happening and began donating. She realized that “If I could help just one child not experienced what I had experienced as a second generation survivor,” then her efforts would be worth it.

She plunged into her anti-genocide work, first as executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition. She also gave generously of her time and resources to co-found Act for Sudan, an alliance of American citizen activists and Sudanese U.S. residents who advocate for an end to genocide and mass atrocities in Sudan.

In 2009 she became a Carl Wilkens Fellow, an organization founded by Carl Wilkens, the former head of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency International in Rwanda, who was the only American who chose to remain in the country after the genocide. It is the only adult leadership program specifically focused on increasing the capacity of community leaders and grassroots organizers to create sustained political will for the prevention and cessation of genocide.

She co-chaired the International Human Rights portfolio of the Jewish Council for Public Affair’s Task Force on Israel, World Jewry, and International Human Rights. She was a member of the board of directors of the Helen and Joe Farkas Center for the Study of the Holocaust; on the advisory board of the University of California, Berkeley Law School Human Rights Center; an officer and director of Living Ubuntu, focusing on health and well-being, and the effects of stress, trauma and compassion fatigue and increasing awareness of their global and local impact. She served as a member of the Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties; a member of the Jewish Public Affairs Council; a member of American Jewish World Service; and Northern California director of the 2009 Pledge to Protect National Canvass, an effort to build a broad base of support in advance of legislation implementing key provisions of the Genocide Prevention Task Force Report of 2008. She supported countless other human rights organizations.

Martina was honored as a “Darfur Hero” by the Save Darfur Coalition in October 2007 and received the Honorable Tom Lantos Memorial Humanitarian Award of the year, 2008.

In 2006, Martina and her husband became a support system to members of a South Sudanese family who emigrated from war-torn Sudan and the Ugandan refugee camps they had lived in for many years to settle in San Francisco. They helped several of the younger members of the family become educated, including one member, Emmanuel, who earned a college degree with their love and support. This young man has become like a son to them.

Martina developed a wide circle of anti-genocide colleagues around the world, many of whom have written moving declarations of her as an inspiration to their own work. Hers is one small but powerful voice that spoke out eloquently on behalf of others.

The funeral service was held at Sinai Memorial Chapel in San Francisco on Sept. 29, 2016, followed by burial at Sha’arei Shalom (Gates of Peace) at Mt. Tamalpais Cemetery in San Rafael.

Contributions in lieu of flowers should be sent to:

•HIAS, Memorial Gift in honor of Martina

Knee, 1300 Spring St., Suite 500, Silver Spring, MD 20910

•Lehrhaus Judaica, Memorial Gift in honor of Martina Knee, the Reutlinger Center, 2736 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

•Community Service Fund at Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake St., San Francisco, CA 94118

Jane Segal Unger

Dec. 17, 1926–Sept. 20, 2016

Jane Unger was born in Richmond, Virginia, to Harry and Sarah Segal. She grew up in Richmond, where she met and married Dr. Allan Unger (who preceded her in death). Allan and Jane had three children. Their family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1960.

Jane was an avid bridge player, having achieved the rank of life master. She was an outstanding cook, designed and created beautiful needlepoint tapestries, and excelled at flower arranging. Jane held several leadership positions at Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco throughout her life.

She is survived by her daughter Harriette (Richard Grabstein), her son Robert (Lora Thielbar), her son Richard (Connie), as well as eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, her sister Sally Adler and brother David Segal.

Donations can be made to the Irene Swindells Alzheimer’s Residential Care Program by visiting, clicking on Give Now and selecting Alzheimer’s Program and Services from the online Designation menu, or to Jewish Family and Children’s Services. Private services were held.

Sinai Memorial Chapel

(415) 921-3636