Big kudos and mazel tov

Marvin Cohen

Piedmont physicist Marvin Cohen, a professor at U.C. Berkeley and senior faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will receive the 2017 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics. Cohen’s research enables scientists to make detailed atomic-scale calculations, so that new materials can be created with improved mechanical, thermal, electrical and optical properties. He will be honored May 4 at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute. Cohen’s work includes research in nanoscience and nanotechnology. He has previously been honored with the National Medal of Science and the Technology Pioneer Award from the World Economic Forum. Cohen joins a list of such past Franklin laureates as Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Stephen Hawking, Jacques Cousteau and, more recently, Jane Goodall and Bill Gates.

Jenny Levine-Smith of Healdsburg was awarded the North Bay Business Journal’s fifth annual Nonprofit Leadership Award for her work to ensure the survival and growth of the Congregation Beth Ami Community Nursery School. Lee Feinstein of the Santa Rosa congregation said that “Jenny was tasked with re-establishing a fragile trust, rebuilding the staff, and recruiting 20-plus new families,” as well as increasing the previous morning-only school to 10 hours daily to accommodate working families. “Without Jenny, it’s unclear if the school would have survived. With her, it has thrived,” he added.


A new beginning

Alison Faith Levy

Alison Faith Levy, a San Francisco singer-songwriter and frequent performer at Jewish community children’s events, is upping the ante in her career: In January, she will embark on a master’s degree program in Jewish education at Hebrew College of Boston. “Over the past few years I have been so blessed to be called to teach and lead early childhood music education in the Jewish community, and this will be a way for me to deepen my knowledge,” she said. Levy’s career has moved from children’s music (the Sippy Cups) to adult (the McCabe & Mrs. Miller duo) and back again to children’s. She’ll play with her Big Time Tot Rock Band on the first day of Hanukkah (aka Christmas Day) at the Contemporary Jewish Museum’s annual Community Free Day. Check out her website, www.alisonfaithlevy.com.




Short shorts

Aaron Davidman

Aaron Davidman, writer and performer of “Wrestling Jerusalem,” received the Tikkun Award at the publication and community’s 30th anniversary celebration last month in Berkeley. Davidman’s production, which began as a solo performance and is now a feature film, follows one man’s journey into the heart of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. (See the Nov. 11 J. for more info on Tikkun’s 30 years.) … Jewish LearningWorks has named Dana Sheanin to a new position as chief learning officer. She will supervise external and internal educational programs and support for Bay Area educators. Her former positions include senior director of community impact with the Jewish Federation of the East Bay and the Jewish Community Foundation …The Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative has named Los Angeles-based Sara Allen as the first director. The collaborative of national organizations, led by San Francisco’s Jim Joseph Foundation and supported by the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, was created to invest in compelling Jewish programs to reach a broader spectrum of teens…Former S.F. Chronicle entertainment reporter Gerald Nachman of San Francisco recently published “Showstoppers!: The Surprising Backstage Stories of Broadway’s Most Remarkable Songs,” about the creation of the most memorable numbers and why they endure.

This columnist can be reached at [email protected].