a lit memorial candle with a Sinai Memorial Chapel logo on it

Deaths for the week of April 6, 2018

Regina “Rifka” Dombek born May 7, 1926 to Joseph Sofnoski and Edith Fishman. Passed from this life on March 30, 2018. Loving mother to Bobbie Dombek Lince of Hillsborough, CA, Edward Dombek of Burlingame, CA, and Joseph Dombek. Mother-in-law to Edward Lince and Elda Dombek. Loving grandmother to Eric Levy, Stacy LaRosa and Justin Dombek.    Grandmother-in-law to Veronica Levy and Jason LaRosa. Beloved great-grandmother to Braxton LaRosa, Jaxon LaRosa, Grace Levy and Charlotte Levy. Widow to the late Henry Dombek who passed from this life November 8, 2010.

Regina “Rifka” Dombek
Regina “Rifka” Dombek

Regina and Henry Dombek met after the war where they had both been imprisoned in concentration camps — Regina in Auschwitz and Henry in Bergen-Belsen and Birkenau. Shortly after they were liberated, they married; had a son, Joseph; and came to the U.S. to build their home. Edward and Bobbie were born in the States. Together, Henry and Regina built a great life as furniture-store owners for over 45 years.

After Henry’s passing, Regina became active in Peninsula Shalom Friendship Club, where she made friends and travelled to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and so many other places. She joined B’nai B’rith Women’s Organization and had a great time with so many events.

She was loved by her family and was a fighter until Alzheimer’s got the best of her and slowly chipped away at her spirit and her mind.

Funeral services were held on April 2, 2018 with burial at Eternal Home Cemetery next to her beloved husband. Donations to the Alzheimer’s Foundation to hopefully find a cure are suggested.

(Sinai Redwood City)

Alice Fischgrund
March 15, 1928 – December 9, 2017

Born in Los Angeles to Karl and Celia Weiss, moved to San Francisco as teenager, attended Lowell High, UC Berkeley and San Francisco State.  Acted and danced ballet during that time. Became a social worker for San Mateo County and a librarian at Stanford’s Hoover and Cubberly, SRI and Vidya. After that was an energetic volunteer on Palo Alto Disability Task Force, Mediation Task Force for 25 years, Bar Association fee arbitrator, and West Bay Opera Guild member, among many other activities. A lifelong Democrat, delegate to State Democratic Convention and California Democratic Council from the Menlo-Atherton Democratic Club.

A great and loving wife, mother and grandmother to husband Herb, daughter Adrienne, and grandchildren Ariana, (husband Marc), and Sam. Lived in England and France and spent much time in Japan during Herb’s working days. An avid reader, theatergoer, needle pointer. Kept going full speed until slowed down in recent years by Parkinson’s disease.

Memorial donations to Congregation Beth Jacob, Holt Opera Scholarship Fund, Palo Alto Players.

(Sinai Redwood City)

Rabbi Meyer Heller

Born Brooklyn, NY, Dec. 28, 1921. Passed peacefully in his sleep, March 17, 2018.

Fondly known to his congregants and friends as Rabbi Mike, he was respected as an ethical, compassionate, and magnanimous man — a mensch — who, in the midst of California and Hollywood wealth and glamor, always stayed humble and self-effacing. He could mix with the stars but it never went to his head. He was dedicated to his family, to Judaism, to his profession, and to his congregations and congregants.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Esther Marcovitch Heller, and his second wife, Judy Freedman Stockler Heller. Loving son of Fanny Appel Heller and Moses Heller; devoted brother to Alan Heller. Dedicated, loving, supportive parent to Marc, Joel, Dianne Stockler, Judy, Sherry Stockler, David, and Danny. Grandfather “Pops” to Jason, Aaron, Brenner, Benjie, Miriam, Micah, Soleil.

Rabbi Meyer Heller
Rabbi Meyer Heller

He was a graduate of Boys High School, Brooklyn; Yeshiva University, New York; and Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, where his rabbinical thesis topic was “Humor in the Torah.” He proudly served in the U.S. military as a member of the Army Signal Corps.

He served as assistant Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El of San Francisco, 1951-1963; Head Rabbi at Temple Solael of Woodland Hills, 1963-1965; Co-Rabbi at Temple Israel of Hollywood, 1965-1969; Head Rabbi at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, 1969-1999; and Rabbi Emeritus at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, 1999-2007. Camp Rabbi, Camp Saratoga (Swig), 1951-1963 and Wilshire Boulevard Temple Camps, 1964-1977

He is fondly remembered by many in his congregations for his children’s sermons that were entertaining, easily understood, and carried a moral lesson, delivered from the point of view of characters he’d created, with names like “Peter Pin” or “Henry Hammer.”

Always an athlete, he played baseball and football in high school. Later in life, he was a regular at the Hollywood and Beverly Hills YMCAs, playing basketball and volleyball. Rabbi Mike kept a record in his locker of every win and loss, over 30 years of playing volleyball for over an hour per day, at the Beverly Hills Y! He was renowned for towering softball home runs and for playing pick up sports with neighborhood kids in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Rabbi Mike is remembered by individuals he touched over the course of his decades-long rabbinical career for being a remarkable and inspirational mentor and teacher. One of the most impactful messages he regularly imparted was perhaps his most cherished life lesson: “If you love someone, tell them now. Tomorrow it may be too late.”

Memorial contributions may be made to Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, care of Rabbi Jonathon Aaron, 8844 Burton Way, Beverly Hills, CA 90211 or to Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, Early Childhood Education Program, 3200 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94118.

Jonathan Adam Lazarus passed away at his home on the morning of March 21, 2018.  Jon was born in Hartford, Connecticut on July 13, 1975 to Sylvia and Martin Lazarus.

Jon grew up in Bloomfield, Connecticut and graduated from the Bess & Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy and Bloomfield High School (class of 1993).  He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Computer Science in 1997 and 1999, respectively, from Johns Hopkins University. After completing his master’s degree, Jon worked as a software engineer at Integrated Surgical Systems in Davis, California. He then spent fifteen years at KLA-Tencor in Milpitas, California in technical and leadership roles of increasing levels of responsibility, including Director of Software for the Wafer Inspection Division.

Jonathan Adam Lazarus
Jonathan Adam Lazarus

In 2016, Jon joined Berkeley Lights in Emeryville, California at its Vice President, Software. In that role, Jon helped the company to develop breakthrough platforms and devices to solve the most challenging aspects of the treatment of disease.

Family meant everything to Jon. Beginning on his first birthday, Jon spent his summers enjoying the waters of Niantic Bay in Connecticut with his family and close friends.  Jon was known as someone who always had a smile on his face. He loved music and found great joy in playing his guitar. He was a mentor and friend to many, inspiring everyone he met with his focus on what was possible rather than any limitations.

Jon is survived by his wife Rebecca, their daughter Madeline, his parents Sylvia and Martin, his brothers Josh and James, and many other beloved family members. We will miss him more than we can say.

(Sinai SF)

Elayne Ruth Sapers Greenfield Lofchie was born to Maurice and Anna Sapers on May 28, 1923, in Somerville, MA. She passed away on March 20, 2018, the first day of spring, at peace in her home in Rossmoor, Walnut Creek, CA and surrounded by her loving family, caregivers, and treasured collection of dolls. Elayne was the beloved wife of 30 years to Alfred Greenfield, deceased 1971, and 25 years to Bennett “Barish” Lofchie, deceased 2000.

Elayne graduated from Brookline High School in Massachusetts, married the love of her life at age 18, and attended Boston University for two years. She then left to raise her family — daughter Donna, born in 1944, and daughter Amy, born in 1946. In Brookline, she was active in her congregation, developing creative programs and ensuring an upbringing for her children that was steeped in Jewish traditions and values. As someone who struggled with asthma throughout her life, she also contributed her time and energy to National Jewish Health.

Elayne Ruth Sapers Greenfield Lofchie
Elayne Ruth Sapers Greenfield Lofchie

After moving to Walnut Creek with her second husband Barish in 1986, she embarked on a rich and full life in Rossmoor, including becoming music coordinator for High Holy Day services and president of the local chapter of Brandeis Women’s Association. Following in her mother’s footsteps, she was active in ORT and NCJW. Her messages were educational and uplifting. Her gift to organizations on both coasts was her specialty in creating visually beautiful, meaningful programs.

Elayne’s undaunted zest for life took many forms, including as a writer, traveler, community member, and the family’s matriarch. She took up poetry and in her 80th year produced “From Me To Me To You,” a volume of poems that reflected her struggle after Barish’s death and efforts to integrate the past with the present. Her daily life and hopes for her family and the world were based in Jewish values. She was a perfectionist, had a wonderfully dry sense of humor, possessed deep listening skills, and had something to say about everything. Her devotion to learning was surpassed only by her passion for the wellbeing of her family.

Elayne profoundly appreciated the help and companionship she received in the last few years of her life from both her family and the “girls” who provided loving care 24/7. She was a devoted mother to Rabbi Donna Adler (Rabbi Bruce Adler) and Amy Rassen (Dr. Joshua Rassen), beloved grandmother to Jeremy Rassen (Greg Rassen), Elisa Rassen, and Aaron Adler, and loving great grandmother to Gabriel and Sylvia Rassen. She leaves behind her brother Merton Sapers (Fran Sapers) and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Known as “Gammy” to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Elayne was cherished by all who knew her. She will be sorely missed.

Graveside services were held at Oakmont Memorial Park on Sunday, March 25. Remembrance contributions can be made to NCJW-SF, 2000 Van Ness Ave., Suite 411, San Francisco, CA 94109, or to a charity of your choice.

(Sinai Lafayette)

Lotus Fields Melmon, 99, died peacefully on Monday, March 19, 2018 at her home in Belvedere.

Lotus Goldie was born in Chicago on July 6, 1918. Her family moved to San Francisco, where Lotie worked at City of Paris until she met and married Herbert Fields.  They moved to Hillsborough and “Hy” and Lotie became founders of Peninsula Temple Shalom where Hy served as president and Lotie served in the sisterhood.

Lotus Fields Melmon
Lotus Fields Melmon

After Hy’s death, Lotie met and married Harry Melmon and inherited all the Melmons. Lotie treasured us and the Melmons treasured her. Harry and Lotie worked side-by-side in their pharmacy, 450 Sutter Pharmacy.  Harry and Lotie enjoyed a fun-filled life on the Belvedere lagoon, where she enjoyed her neighbors and loved to work in her garden with her friend and gardener, Jose.

Lotie is survived by both her loving families: Catherine Fields and her sons Jonathan and Adam, Ron and Nancy Melmon, daughter Jennifer, Eve Melmon and Mark Bush, and great-grandchildren Rhya and Gary Bush.  Lotie was especially close to her niece, Gayle Blum, her husband Michael and their children, Debby and Evin Gelleri, Hannah and Madelyn, their son Jeffrey and Melissa Blum and new great-nephew Walter. Lotie and Gayle lived a block from each other which made for a very close bond. They were more mother/daughter than aunt/niece.  Lotie is survived by many loving nieces and nephews and many friends who will always remember Lotie’s wit, her beauty and elegance.  We especially want to thank Geri Thayer, her caregivers Viri and Sera and Hospice by The Bay for their loving care. Donations in her memory may be made to Hospice by the Bay, Tiburon Library, or a charity of your choice.

(Sinai SF)

Rantz, Valeska (Val) — September 18, 1916-April 1, 2018. A third-generation San Franciscan passed away peacefully surrounded by her family. Dearly beloved and devoted wife of the late Bob Rantz for 65 wonderful years; ever-loving mom of Gayle (and Art) Rosenberg; beloved Grandma of Jill Rosenberg and Steven Rosenberg (and Melissa). Adored Great-Grandma of Violet and Dylan Fully Rosenberg. A graduate of Lowell High School and San Francisco State, where she earned a BA and a teaching credential; a long-time member of Lakeside Hadassah; and a founding partner of Rantz Supply with her husband Bob.

Her family devotion will be cherished and remain in their hearts forever.

Funeral Services were held. Donations may be made to The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, 5 Third Street #815, San Francisco, CA 94103; Junipero Serra High School, 451 West 20th Avenue, San Mateo California 94403; Melrose Leadership Academy 4730 Fleming Avenue, Oakland, California 94619; or the charity of your choice.

(Sinai SF)