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

Deaths for the week of Feb. 22, 2019

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

Edwin Joseph Block

Joseph Block
Joseph Block

Edwin Joseph Block passed away at 99 on Feb. 9, 2019 after a short illness. A third-generation Californian and native of San Francisco, he attended Galileo High School and the University of California in Berkeley. He was the son of Eugene and Ruth Block, pillars of the San Francisco Jewish community. At UC Berkeley he met Marjorie Phillips Block, the love of his life and wife for 69 years until her passing in 2011.

Edwin is survived by his three children: Judie Block of Capitola, CA; Bradford Block (Diane Block) of Riverwoods IL and Betsy Block (Joseph Goldhammer) of Denver, CO. Edwin had six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Services were held Friday, Feb. 15, 2019 at Home of Peace Cemetery. Contributions may be made to the Lassen Park Foundation and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

(Sinai SF)

Beverly Buller


Beverly was born in Chicago. At the age of 9 her father (Ben) passed away, so her mother, Beatrice, relocated Beverly and her younger sister Mary to Stockton, CA. Beverly attended Stockton High School and after high school moved to San Francisco. Beverly worked as a secretary for a maritime shipping company and later became a dance instructor at the Arthur Murray dance studio. Dancing would remain a lifetime passion for Beverly.

Beverly Buller
Beverly Buller

In San Francisco, Beverly met and married Jack Buller in 1949. They were happily married for 48 years until Jack’s passing in 1997. Beverly was a devoted wife and mother to her two children (Mark and Stephanie). She was also a superb homemaker who was happiest in the kitchen, where her family and friends enjoyed her delicious and healthy meals.

After Jack’s passing, Beverly met and married Gene Tannen in 1998. This marriage created a second family for Beverly with two stepchildren ( Hillary and Marc). Beverly became particularly close to Hillary and her husband, Jim. Beverly and Gene enjoyed traveling in their senior years until Gene’s passing in 2012.

Beverly was an extrovert who mixed well with people and formed many lasting friendships. Throughout her life she remained close to her sister, Mary, who was a source of strength; her nephew, Brian, recognized as a quiet gentleman; her niece, Wendy, known for her sharp and entertaining wit; and her nephew, Craig, whose baked cookies were always appreciated.

In her final years Beverly was well looked after by her dream team of caregivers, Gina, Pam, Venus, Jameica and Sara.

Beverly is survived by her children Stephanie and Mark Buller, grandson Daniel Buller, sister Mary (Juster), niece Wendy (Juster), nephew Brian Juster (and Jane), nephew Craig Juster (and Renee), stepdaughter Hillary Ford (and Jim) and the extended Juster and Ford family members.

Beverly will be greatly missed by her family and many friends. A private service was held for the family on February 3, 2019.

(Sinai SF)

Steven David Hallert

Aug. 25, 1941–Feb. 12, 2019

Steve Hallert, of Walnut Creek, passed away after a brief illness at the age of 77.

Steven David Hallert
Steven David Hallert

Steve was born in Evansville, Indiana to parents Jess and Helen Hallert. He graduated from Indiana University in 1963 with a degree in finance and moved to California to attend UC Berkeley’s School of Law. With his strong sense of independence and optimism, he started his own law practice immediately after passing the bar and was later joined by his brother, Marc. He ended his 51-year career in March 2016 as one of the most sought-after family lawyers in the state.

He was respected by all for his knowledge of the law, consummate professionalism, hard work and fair dealing.

He was a member of the Contra Costa County Bar Association and its president in 1984. Steve was also invested in his community. He was a founding member of the Contra Costa Jewish Community Center, later becoming its president. He was also active on the board of Temple Isaiah and other community fundraising.

He leaves behind a legacy of family — his wife, Phyllis; daughter Lea Korito (Jeremy); son Gregory (Mark Goodman); stepsons Charles Pebley (DeAnna); Daren Henderson (Victoria); and stepdaughters Angela Holbrook (Matthew) and Amy Foley (Daniel Jr.), as well as eight grandchildren, brother Marc Hallert (Cherie), sister Barbara Morrison (Robert), and numerous nieces and nephews.

Steve liked to start his mornings reading the financial news while riding his stationary bike. It kept him in shape for the bike trips he and Phyllis enjoyed for more than 18 years. In retirement, Steve became active as the treasurer for Mutual 68 in Rossmoor.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made in Steve’s name to any of the following organizations: Doctors Without Borders, the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, and Jewish Family and Community Services East Bay (JFCS East Bay).

(Sinai Lafayette)

Minnette Hochfeld Hamerslag

Jan. 4, 1925–Feb. 15, 2019

Minnette Hochfeld Hamerslag was born in Portland, Oregon, Jan. 4, 1925 to Sam and Bessie Hochfeld. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Bacteriology from the University of Washington. She moved to San Francisco a year after her graduation and met Jay Platt Hamerslag Jr. soon after her arrival. They were married July 11, 1948, eventually moving to Menlo Park.

Minnette Hochfeld Hamerslag
Minnette Hochfeld Hamerslag

She and Jay had three children: Nancy (Parker), Beth (Weiss) and Steven Hamerslag. She was very active in her community, being involved with PTA, San Francisco Symphony League, the Jewish Community Federation and Temple Beth Am in Los Altos, to name a few.

Jay and Minnette retired to Rancho Mirage, California in 1989, and she remained living there 10 years after the passing of Jay in 2003. Moving back to San Mateo in 2013, she lived at the Peninsula Regent, established new friends, reconnected with old ones and loved being close to her family again in the Bay Area. She loved playing bridge, golf and tennis. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She was a gracious hostess and a fabulous cook.

Preceding in her passing are her beloved husband, Jay, and her two sisters, Charlotte Rosenthal and Ruth Weinstein. She leaves behind her three children, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, along with many other relatives and friends who loved her and will miss her.

There was no memorial service per her request, but donations can be made in her honor to the charity of your choice.

Felicia Kuvent Michalski


A powerful force of nature, a body in motion, passed from the scene this month, a fighter until the end.

Felicia Kuvent Michalski
Felicia Kuvent Michalski

Felicia Michalski was a Holocaust survivor running for her life at the age of 19, but she staunchly refused to be cast as a victim, determined to survive and thrive. Hardened by the contradictions of life, she was a warrior for justice and at 5-foot-2 stood taller and stronger than any team of men.

Her life story defied all common sense because hers was the story of spirit, hope, faith and an intense desire to survive. With her husband, Joseph, she never looked back, fully embracing the blessings of American freedom and opportunity, determined to educate their three boys and “make it” in their beloved new home. Never shy about expressing her thoughts, opinions or wishes, Felicia was remarkably independent in a world that did not value or acknowledge strong, capable women.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Fela Kuvent and her brother, Yaacov (Uncle Kuba), ran for their lives from their native Poland. Making their way through Poland to Ukraine in the depths of winter, they escaped capture by the Nazis several times. Ironically, the Russians captured them and sent them to Siberia as slave laborers. When their camp was needed to house captured Nazi soldiers, the civilians were released. She led in the construction of two large rafts fashioned out of tree logs. They floated down several Siberian rivers for two weeks, with many escapees dying along the way. Near death herself, she and her brother arrived in Dzumbul, Kazakhstan. A few miracles later, her betrothed, Josef Michalski, also from her village of Gostynin, found her dying of typhus fever. He nurtured her back to health, and soon they married and had two sons in Dzumbul, Jerry (1943) and Henry (1945).

Back in Europe, the horrors of the Holocaust that consumed their entire families were revealed, making immigration to a safe country imminent. For three years the young family lived as refugees in a DP (Displaced Persons) camp. After years of paperwork, the United States finally granted permission for the Michalski family to settle in America. Eager to start a new life, one of hope and opportunity, they never looked back, instead instilling in their sons a love of American values and the promise of a better life. After a difficult year in New York, the family moved to San Francisco, where George, named after Felicia’s father, Gershon, was born in 1952.

Felicia spoke more than six languages and possessed a keen eye and a sophisticated taste for beautiful objets d’art. Self-taught, she mastered the art of collecting and became an expert in many areas to the point where dealers and curators sought her opinion. Above all, she deeply loved and was proud of her three sons: “My three hot boys, my dear little chickens.” No one worked harder than Felicia and Joseph in providing for their family, truly the last of the Greatest Generation.

Felicia was preceded in death by her adoring husband Joseph of 54 years, her beloved brother Kuba and sister-in-law Tova of Israel, and her oldest son Jerry, who passed away in 2014. She is survived by her sons Henry (Lynn) and George; three grandchildren Wendy (Ryan), Elaina and Geoffrey (Meghan); four great-grandchildren Bryson (7), Caleb (5), Dylan (5) and Jacob (2); and her nephew Reuven (Mirella) and niece Zahavah of Tel Aviv.

Anyone who met Felicia cannot forget the experience. She was charming, straightforward, deeply intelligent in the ways of the world and of human behavior, and had no time for pills, ills or fools, preferring the arts, culture and a meaningful conversation. May her memory be for a blessing.

Seymour Seidscher

Feb. 4, 1926–Feb. 9, 2019

From Chicago to Los Angeles to San Francisco and to his final home in San Mateo, Seymour Seidscher lived a full life for all of his 93 years. From high school to serving in the Navy in WWII and then to college at USC, he began his first career as a furniture representative and then a midlife change through law school and his general business practice as an attorney in the San Francisco Furniture Mart (now the Twitter building), where he had his office for 60 years.

Seymour Seidscher
Seymour Seidscher

He was prolific with a pencil and sketch pad and enjoyed carving walking sticks and traveling to see children and grandchildren. He was a good friend to all who knew him, a wonderful and loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

Seymour is survived by his wife Marcyl, daughters Jeri (Ted) and Debra (Jupe), sons David and Michael, grandchildren Chad (Ploy) and Sandra, and great-grandchildren Lyra and Luke.

Services were held at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos on Feb. 13, with interment at Gan Hazikaron in Skylawn Memorial Park in San Mateo. Donations can be made to the ALS Association.

(Sinai Redwood City)

George Tabak

Aug. 24, 1935–Jan. 26, 2019

George Tabak, 83, was born in Budapest, Hungary, a few minutes after his twin sister. His brother was born a few years later. In 1944, George, his siblings, their mother and other extended family marched from their home to the Ghetto in Budapest during WWII while his father served in a Hungarian labor camp. After the war, George and his family returned to their Pest apartment, but not for long. In 1956, he and much of his family made a run for the border during the Hungarian Revolution. His story of surviving the Holocaust and their voyage to America is the stuff that movies are made of.

George Tabak
George Tabak

The family settled in Oakland, and soon they were able to bring out their mother and youngest sister to join them.

George moved to San Francisco’s Sunset District upon meeting his wife, Edith, at a dance at the JCC on California Street in 1967. They had two children, both of whom he adored and cherished.

In the early 1970s, he started a secondhand business: The Attic on the corner of 35th and Taraval Street with prominent signage “Antiques, Junktiques and Funktiques: if it ain’t here, it’s not worth having.” George was devoted to his customers and his merchandise. He worked long hours in his store as well as doing antique shows and flea markets. He was respected and well known in the Bay Area circle of antique dealers. He had a special way with people, from his closest family to the bank teller. Everyone loved him and his goofy hats and ties, as well as his captivating stories.

George loved to travel. He enjoyed Las Vegas, New York and Europe mostly for sumptuous buffets, exquisite pastries, lavish theater and revue shows. He loved to write expressive postcards from his destinations to his wide cache of friends and family.

In 2010, his grandson was born and became the apple of his eye. He had a new audience for all of his funny stories and life lessons.

In 2013, a very special woman came into his life while he was on a bus returning from Reno. They became extremely close, sharing a loving friendship.

He was more than courageous in his 11-month battle with inoperable melanoma. Up to the end of his colorful life, George remained true to who he was: a kind, thoughtful, appreciative, dignified gentleman. His interactions with medical professionals, caregivers, friends and family were always sincere and punctuated with his trademark humor.

He will be missed for too many things to name, but most of all for the way he made you feel whenever you were around him.

He is survived by his sisters Eva (George) Fulop and Judy Weiss of Danville, brother Thomas Tabak (Genie) of Greenbrae, special friend Maria Der and her family of Concord, daughter Lisa Gigi Tabak (Jeff Lipsett), son Steven Marc Tabak, grandson Ari Oliver Lipsett, and many nieces, nephews and their children. Contributions in his memory can be sent to Oakland Hebrew Day School (ohds.org).