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

Deaths for the week of Feb. 8, 2019

Obituaries are supported by a generous grant from Sinai Memorial Chapel.

Beatrice Geballe Cahn

Bea Cahn passed away on Nov. 17, 2018 at the age of 97. A third-generation Californian and native of San Francisco, she attended Lowell High School and the University of California, Berkeley. She was the daughter of Harry and Alice Geballe and was raised with her sister Miriam and closely with her two cousins, Ron and Ted Geballe, sons of Harry’s brother Oscar and his wife, another Alice Geballe. At Lowell, Bea met Alan Cahn, the love of her life and husband for 58 years until his passing in 1999.

Beatrice Geballe Cahn
Beatrice Geballe Cahn

World War II took the newlyweds to Boston and to Brooklyn, but they returned to California after the war. Bea and Alan raised their children, Robert and Linda, on the Peninsula. The Cahns were active in the Jewish community, beginning as youths at San Francisco Temple Emanu-El and subsequently with their young family at Temple Beth El in San Mateo and at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos, where they were among the founding members. As secretary of the newly-formed synagogue, Bea was the one who signed the purchase of the land where Beth Am stands today.

While at Cal, Bea played on the women’s golf team, and later in life she took up the sport once again and introduced Alan to it as well. They continued to enjoy golf together for many years. Their skills at bridge, however, were considerably greater than those for golf. The bridge club she and her women friends created endured for many decades. After Alan’s retirement, the two traveled extensively in Europe. After Alan passed away, she enjoyed the companionship of Eric Hart, who opened her to a new world of arts and culture.

Bea’s life centered on raising her children, Robert Cahn and Linda (Cahn) Kurz. After their marriages to their spouses, Fran and Mordecai, she devoted herself to her grandchildren, Deborah Cahn-Weiner, Sarah (Cahn) Handelsman, Nathaniel Kurz and David Kurz, and still later to her great-grandchildren, Zachary Weiner, Jakob Weiner, Mina Handelsman and Eve Handelsman.

Shortly before her passing, she was surrounded by the three generations of her family, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Services were held at Congregation Beth Am on Nov. 20. Contributions may be made to Congregation Beth Am.

Rebecca McNally Gilden

Rebecca McNally Gilden died peacefully at the age of 48 in her home in San Jose on Wednesday, Jan. 30.  She died after an eight-year battle with breast cancer.  She was a fireball, streaking colors across the sky, loved by her husband, two kids, two sisters, parents, and countless family members, friends and coworkers.

Rebecca McNally Gilden
Rebecca McNally Gilden

Rebecca was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and grew up in Stone Mountain, Georgia. At Parkview High School, she was the drum major, played the clarinet and earned the John Philip Sousa award.  She earned a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1994, where, as a sophomore, she was the school’s youngest female drum major.  She earned a Dual MBA and Master of Engineering in Manufacturing from the Tauber Institute at the University of Michigan in 1999.

During her undergraduate studies, Rebecca worked at Motorola in Sunrise, Florida. Among her technical accomplishments, she earned U.S. Patent 5442713 for cordless phone wind noise reduction.  She also worked at Texaco in Houston in Central Offshore Engineering.

Upon graduation, Rebecca worked for 12½ years at Ford Motor Company as a Product Engineer, Production Line Supervisor, Global Supplier Strategy Manager and Supply Base Launch Manager for the Expedition/Navigator.  Key accomplishments include Ford’s Manufacturing Leadership Program Class of 2000 and U.S. Patent 5752566 for high-capacity condensers.  Rebecca then worked for almost 12 years at Apple Inc. as Senior Manager for Enclosures Quality and next as Apple’s Color and Texture Subject Matter Expert. In addition to building an enclosures quality organization, Rebecca launched countless products, including the original iPhone, MacBook Air, and the aluminum MacBook and MacBook Pro.

Rebecca was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, then again in 2013. Rebecca’s metastatic diagnosis was in 2016. During this time, Rebecca was a relentless advocate for friends and women everywhere for mammograms and preventive scans. She accompanied women with newly diagnosed cancer to doctor appointments and helped arrange cancer resources for those in need. She was featured in the 2017 annual report for Good Samaritan Hospital’s Cancer Program. She was very public in sharing details of her cancer battle, helping women far beyond her circle of friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to a foundation/scholarship to be established in Rebecca’s name to support engineering scholarships for women (information will be posted to Rebecca’s Facebook page) or to Metavivor, an organization which supports metastatic breast cancer research, support and awareness (www.metavivor.org).

Rebecca is survived by her husband of 24 years, Craig Gilden, and children Alexandra and Jason of San Jose, California; parents James Michael and Mariela del Carmen McNally of Stone Mountain, Georgia; and sisters Laura McNally of Chicago, Illinois and Christine Ramond of Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

(Sinai Redwood City)

Bruce Irvine

March 10, 1950–Jan. 26, 2019

Bruce Yoder Irvine, also known as BY, was born in 1950 in Los Angeles to Louise Irvine (née Yoder) and Dr. Alexander Ray Irvine Jr.  He passed away on Jan. 26 after a two-year battle with cancer.

Bruce Yoder Irvine
Bruce Yoder Irvine

Bruce went to high school at the Harvard School for Boys in North Hollywood and then attended Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Shortly after graduating college, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived until his death.

His love of cooking was fostered in his childhood home and blossomed after college as he worked in the restaurant industry in various capacities. It was while working at the Dutch Goose in Menlo Park that he met his wife of 40 years, Merrylen Sacks. His second career was as a retail and commercial banker in the Bay Area. When not working, Bruce had many interests including golf, fishing and cooking. He had a deep appreciation of art and loved being in nature.  Karate was one of his true passions and he trained for many years, culminating in a 4th-degree black belt. He was an athlete and avid sports fan, attending countless Stanford football and basketball games. He was also a decades-long Warriors fan, well before their present-day glory.

Nothing gave Bruce more pleasure than being surrounded by his family and friends, especially while he barbequed or prepared a meal. He was an intelligent and witty man who always conducted himself with equanimity and grace until his final days. He was an engaged father, grandfather and friend. The gifts of love, support, kindness and generosity that Bruce gave to so many over the years were acknowledged by the heartfelt messages he received in the last weeks and months of his life.

Bruce is survived by his wife Merrylen; son Jesse (Jana); daughter Sarah (Boris); grandchildren Adam, Aliyah, Ezra and Eli; and his brothers Dr. John Irvine and Stuart Irvine and their families, as well as many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins and close friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Rae Anne Casazza.

Interred at Hills of Eternity Memorial Park, Colma. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Congregation Beth Am, Mission Hospice, the Bonnie Addario Lung Cancer Center or the Pacific Stroke Association.

(Sinai Redwood City)

Théophile Joseph

May 4, 1920–Jan. 25, 2019

Our wonderful patriarch and French Resistance hero, Théophile Joseph, died peacefully on Jan. 25 at his home in Berkeley, with his wife Monique and daughter Nadine holding his hands.

Born in Neuwiller in Alsace, he fought in the French Resistance and helped liberate Alsace. He later moved to Paris and then New York City for Louis Dreyfus Company, where he rose to vice president and managed all Canadian operations. When he left Louis Dreyfus, he plunged into a second career with as much gusto, as arbitrator, professor and consultant, sent to Algeria and Kenya to solve agricultural problems.

He moved to Nice, France, where he played tennis and bridge, attended Yiddish classes and became active in a Holocaust education group at the small Ashkenazi synagogue there.

Théo was nicknamed Toto by his family and selected the name “Swing” (because of his love of jazz) in the French Resistance. There, in the Revanche unit, he was so bold and trustworthy that he was selected as one of two people in the unit to know and memorize (there were no written logs) the real names and addresses of all the unit members in case of death or capture.

His daughter dubbed him “Toto le parfait” (perfect Toto) for his generosity of spirit, humor and openness (he taught her how to box and kick any harasser in the balls).

He cheered for the underdog (a Mets fan in NYC) and his passions ran the gamut from soccer (playing as well as watching) to socialism (loyal reader of Le Canard enchaîné), from Torah to Tchaikovsky. He will be best remembered as charming, funny and devoted to his family.

Toto is survived by his wife of 70 years, Monique, and his daughter, Nadine (Neil); grandchildren Nicole (Morgan), Maya (Michael) and David; and great-grandchildren Jackson, Max and Emmett.

Graveside services were held at Home of Eternity in Colma. In lieu of flowers or chocolates (his favorite food), donations can be made in his memory to J. the Jewish News (jweekly.com/donate). Théo believed in a free, independent Jewish press.

Gina Ryvka (Nirenberg) Kimelman


On Jan. 25, 2019, 20 Sh’vat 5779

Beloved wife of the late Gerson Kimelman and sister of the late Helcia Nirenberg, Gina is survived by her loving son Mikael (Susan) Kimelman of Pittsburgh, PA; grandsons Benjamin Kimelman of Davis, CA and David Kimelman of Washington, D.C.; sister Pola Abram of Millbrae, CA; and nephews Leif Abram of San Francisco, CA and Steven Abram of Nashville, TN.

Born in 1923 in Lodz, Poland, Gina survived the Lodz Ghetto and multiple concentration camps and was liberated from Bergen-Belsen. After liberation, Gina lived in Sweden for 14 years before moving to San Mateo, CA in 1959. In 2009, Gina moved to Pittsburgh, PA.

Interment was at Hills of Eternity cemetery in Colma, CA. Contributions may be made to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial and Museum (www.ushmm.org) or the Jewish Agency on Aging–AHAVA Memory Care Residence (jaapgh.networkforgood.com).

(Sinai SF)

Blossom Willens Levin

Nov. 24, 1920–Jan. 28, 2019

Blossom Willens Levin died peacefully at home in San Francisco on Jan. 28, 2019, at age 98. A native of Chicago who moved to San Francisco 11 years ago, Blossom was the beloved wife of Irving Jerome Levin and mother of Sue Ann, Myron, Irving and Jonathan. Smart, thoughtful and outspoken, Blossom was loving but tough and possessed of a keen intellect, a great spirit of adventure and a strong sense of social responsibility and commitment to her family, community and country.

Blossom Willens Levin
Blossom Willens Levin

Blossom was the daughter of George and Mollie Willens and older sister to Geraldine Sobel and Betty Baruck Rubin. A graduate of Chicago’s Senn High School and a two-year program at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, Blossom completed her undergraduate education at the University of Chicago, graduating in 1941. Although her ambition was to become a museum curator, she also was determined to do her part to end the evils of fascism and anti-Semitism and was in the early group of officers in the women’s branch of the U.S. Navy known as the WAVES, rising to the rank of lieutenant junior grade. After the war, she met her husband, Irving. They married in 1947 and made their home in Michigan City, Indiana.

Blossom became the designer for the family clothing business, Society Lingerie Company, headed by her husband. She was active in all manner of projects and causes supported by her synagogue, Sinai Temple, as well as in the larger community. When her children were old enough, she volunteered at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago and worked on archaeological digs in Israel and at Native American sites in the rural U.S.

After Irving died in 1978, Blossom moved to Chicago, to the Lincoln Park neighborhood near where she had grown up. She became involved in a variety of community activities while maintaining her deep connection to Michigan City. She never became a museum curator, but she did become a docent for the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Architecture Foundation, conducting tours and doing outreach into her 80s. She served on the board of the Chicago chapter of the American Jewish Committee and joined a weekly Torah study group at Chicago’s Emanuel Congregation. She traveled to remote locales like Ethiopia, Nepal and Cuba, long before those places were easily accessible or in vogue.

In late 2007, Blossom made her way to San Francisco. She would leave her son Jonathan and his family, who lived in northern Indiana, but the winters had become too difficult. Her daughter Sue Ann lived in the Bay Area, and her two other sons lived on the West Coast.

It was in this last phase of her life that Blossom, who had been a single person for 30 years, found a cherished partner in Arthur Inerfield. They traveled together and were inseparable. There also was sadness and loss. Sister Gerry passed away in 2007; Jonathan, her youngest child, died suddenly and unexpectedly in 2008; Arthur died in 2017; and in 2018, Blossom lost her sister Betty and son-in-law Bob Schiff.

Blossom is survived by her children Sue Ann Schiff and Myron and Irving Levin; daughters-in-law Zoe Walrond, Stephanie Fowler and Frenda Levin; grandchildren Robert and David Schiff (Sue Ann), Zachary Rouse and Kate Molly Levin (Myron), Gabriel, Elizabeth, Joshua and Alexander Levin (Irving); and Ben and Mollie Levin (Jonathan), as well as four great-grandchildren, six nieces and nephews, and numerous grand-nieces and -nephews.

The family wishes to thank Blossom’s devoted caregivers, including Lourdes Roxas, Merlinda De Asis, Edna Cacal, Femi Eslabra, Herusalen “Baba” Lauchengco, Kidist Hailu and Teresita Jasmin, as well as Drs. Glenn Cooney, Arnaldo Moreno and Louise Walter, Rabbi Me’irah Iliinsky, and the staff of Rhoda Goldman Plaza and Care for Seniors for their care and kindness.

Services were held on Sunday, Feb. 3 at Sinai Temple in Michigan City, with burial at the Sinai Temple Cemetery. Donations in Blossom’s memory may be made to the Blossom and Irving Levin Jewish Cultural Fund of Sinai Temple, Michigan City, Indiana, American Jewish World Service or a charity of your choosing.

(Sinai SF)

Bryan Solomon Schwartz

July 23, 1970–Feb. 1, 2019

Resident of San Jose. Cherished son, loving brother, beloved nephew, gone from our lives much too soon. Bryan struggled valiantly for many years with whatever health challenges came his way, bringing a bright light to all who knew and loved him.  He will be greatly missed.

Bryan Solomon Schwartz
Bryan Solomon Schwartz

Bryan is survived by his parents, Joel and Myrtle; brothers David and Joey (Michelle); nephews Jason and Blake; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

Donations in Bryan’s memory may be made to Congregation Beth David, 19700 Prospect Road, Saratoga, California 95070.

Bryan was laid to rest in the Shalom Gardens area of Los Gatos Memorial Park on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019.

(Sinai Redwood City)

Helen Fay Silverman

Helen Fay Silverman passed away on Jan. 30, 2019. Fay was born in San Francisco on Jan. 2, 1934 to immigrant parents from Lithuania and Ukraine.

Helen Fay Silverman
Helen Fay Silverman

Fay was a proud San Franciscan and loved the city. As a child, in addition to her immediate family, numerous aunts, uncles and cousins lived nearby. She was close to her extended family and had countless friends to whom she remained close throughout her life. She studied at George Washington High School and City College. In her youth she was active in performing musical theater. She married Edward Silverman of Kansas City, Missouri at age 19. Fay and Eddie raised their family in Daly City and Foster City, during which time they were active members of Beth Israel-Judea Synagogue in San Francisco. In retirement, Fay and Eddie lived for over 20 years in Hod Hasharon, Israel, where they assisted in raising their grandchildren, and volunteered helping soldiers and new immigrants.

Fay was a loving mother to David and Audrey Silverman, Michael and Teddi Silverman, and Brenda Shaffer, and the beloved grandmother of Rachel and John-Peter, Melanie, Yael, Omri and Tamar. She welcomed her great-granddaughter Elyse to the world in September 2018.

Fay was well-known for her outstanding sense of humor, her great storytelling, her singing and dancing, and more importantly, her warmth and friendliness to all she met.

A memorial service was held for Fay. In lieu of flowers, donations in Fay’s memory to the Melanie Silverman Bone and Soft Tissue Cancer Fund at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles would be appreciated.

(Sinai Redwood City)