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

Deaths for the week of March 22, 2019

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

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

Stanley Cleaner

May 17, 1931-March 12, 2019

Stanley Cleaner
Stanley Cleaner

Stanley Cleaner passed away on March 12, 2019 at the age of 87. Born on May 17, 1931 in New York, Stan was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. A Brooklyn native, Stan was the son of Harry and Tillie Cleaner (may their memories be for a blessing) of Williamsburg, NY, and a brother to Arthur Kleiner (Rose) and Marcia Gniwesch (Jack, may his name be for a blessing). In his youth he was an avid athlete (he played in Madison Square Garden) and was known to bet on ponies and roll the dice. He loved to be part of the action and even spent time as a New York City cab driver, once driving Jackie Gleason. He served his country as a Marine during the Korean War, and upon his honorable discharge, he moved to California to live with his aunt and uncle, Sam and Ceil Feldman (may their memories be for a blessing). In San Francisco, Stan met and married Lorraine Kaplan of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Stan and Lorraine were married in 1959 and shared 59 years of happiness. In his early California days, Stan worked as a truck driver, delivering deli meats to supermarkets, until he opened Town and Country Billiards in Daly City, CA in 1966. He was loved by all of the “regulars” at the pool hall and known for his wit, generosity, and affable style. As a young father, Stan was a proud member of his synagogue (Adath Israel of San Francisco), serving on the Board of Directors and as a Youth Leader. Stan and Lorraine were blessed with two children, Mark (Lisa) and Murray (Andrea), who were their pride and joy—until their grandchildren (Jennifer [Kenneth], Selena [Elliot], David, Lauren, and Rena) and great-grandchild (Ella) came along. Upon retiring, Stan and Lorraine moved to Lincoln Hills, CA, to be closer to their children and grandchildren. Stan, who adored his mother, was incredibly proud of his family. From his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild to his many nephews, nieces, and their children, he found his greatest joy in their happiness and successes. Stan’s infectious style, silly mannerisms, and joyful smile will live on in all who knew him.

(Sinai SF)

Tina Cominsky

It is with great sadness that our beloved family matriarch, Tina Cominsky, aka Clementine Shakerdge Cominsky, left us on 2/17/19 in Mountain View, CA after a sudden and brief illness.

Tina Cominsky
Tina Cominsky

Born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1928, our beloved Tina bravely escaped from Iraq along with her parents and four of her siblings in 1944 to Egypt, then Palestine and eventually to the U.S. in 1946.

She built a rich and beautiful life working as a saleslady and home organizer and enjoyed reading Turkish coffee fortunes. She dedicated herself to sewing and creating specialty items and gifts for all around her as a show of love. She loved to dance.

She is pre-deceased by her adoring husband of 30 years, Morton Cominsky, and is survived by two loving daughters, Joyce Goldsmith (Eugene) and Linda Klein (Michael).

Tina was the proud grandmother of 5 grandsons, Paul (Lauren) and Marc (Natalie) Goldsmith and David (Kailey), Andrew and Zachary Klein. Her new great-grandson, Jax Arthur Klein, filled her heart with joy.

She also leaves behind her surviving Shakerdge brothers, Ronald and Fred, and sister Esperance Haya.

Tina was laid to rest beside Morty in the Cominsky Family Circle at Mount Hebron Cemetery in Queens, New York.

Our Safta and Matriarch will be with us forever. She left a legacy of love and celebration of life with all of her extended family and friends and will be with us forever in eternity.

Donations may be made in her name to Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood City or the Jewish Chaplaincy at Stanford Hospital.

martin dvorin

martin dvorin left our world in his sleep Monday, March 11, 2019.

marty came into our world January 31, 1923 in Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York to Minnie and Irving Dvorin and grew up in a neighborhood of four-family private brick houses, pushcarts, the famous Loews’ Pitkin Theater (where one could momentarily forget the Great Depression), and notorious mobsters (“Murder, Incorporated”). marty’s younger brother, Robert, was born September 4, 1927.

Education started in P.S. 165, P.S. 183, and the Samuel J. Tilden High School until May 1936, when the Dvorin Family moved from New York to Linden, New Jersey. marty graduated in June 1940 from Linden High School, where he took all college prep courses, four years of metal shop and other shops. He was Chief Photographer for the school yearbook. Afternoons and summers he worked in a photo shop.

Dissuaded from applying to college, after graduation marty worked in a jewelry shop, then at the General Instrument Corporation, where, through a series of moves, he became a model and toolmaker at age 19. It was at this time that marty met the enduring sweetheart of his life and partner for 50 years, Harriette Gandel, who was attending Newark State Teachers College on a four-year competitive scholarship. On October 31 (Halloween), 1942, they were introduced by marty’s cousin, Charlotte Dvorin, who was attending college with Harriette.

World War II arrived; marty enlisted in the United States Navy and was sworn in on November 16, 1942 as an apprentice seaman. After Boot Camp, where marty did stand-up comedy acts, marty attended Wentworth Institute in Boston, Mass., studying marine engineering, where he graduated with honors, earning a medal for being top man of 15,000 students. From the South Pacific Theater of Operations, the Navy sent marty back to the U.S. mainland to the Engineering School at Columbia University, where he made the Dean’s List every trimester. That war over, marty returned to active service. Harriette and marty were married December 22, 1945. marty was honorably discharged in April 1946 as a Machinists’ Mate, First Class.

martin dvorin
martin dvorin

With two years’ engineering school “under his belt,” marty returned to General Instrument Corp. as a technician and soon was promoted to Production Engineer, automatic record changers. (Remember vinyl?) Another recession and marty was unemployed but worked as a photographer until returning to industry as Chief Industrial Engineer for Lavoie Labs in Morganville, New Jersey. He completed his B.S. in May 1958 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, with majors in Mechanical and Management Engineering and a minor in Fine Arts at Rutgers University. He was inducted into Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society, the first in that college as a fully employed night school student. On that same stage, fifteen minutes before marty, “Kid brother” Robert Dvorin received the B.S. in Chemical Engineering. Quirk of the alphabet, and a family joke.

While still an undergraduate, marty was employed as Plant Manager, Eastern Division of Revell, Inc. Leaving Revell, marty became Manager of Quality Assurance for Wilpet Tool and Manufacturing in Kearney, NJ, then changed direction to do creative product design, with interests more suited to his desires.

As Manager, New Products Development for the Glaser-Steers Division of Ametek, marty conceived, then led, the engineering team that developed a new concept in automatic record changers. This design, one of the world’s most popular, and the first cordless portable, manufactured and marketed by the General Electric Corp., was shown at the 1964 World’s Fair in NYC and featured in Life Magazine and technical journals. For this project, marty was awarded the first two of several patents for his many inventions in a variety of products.

In October, 1960, Bausch and Lomb, Inc., invited marty to Rochester, NY, where he became B&L’s “skunk works,” recruiting teams of engineers to develop exciting new concepts in opto-electromechanical systems. Projects included early fiberoptics manufacturing, cameras for the CIA and instrumentation that was used to pinpoint the lunar landing sites for the NASA Apollo program. During this time, marty attended the Institute of Optics nights at the University of Rochester, earning the M.S. in optical engineering in May, 1966.

At that time, the U.S. was facing a national crisis: we were losing our optical technicians to deaths and retirements. marty and others realized as well that we also needed to launch a new generation of photonics systems technicians, with new skills, for emerging technologies, and marty was recruited to build a program at Rochester’s Monroe Community College to address this problem. First, while finishing up a project for B&L, he taught nights as Adjunct, then joined the M.C.C. faculty in August 1968 as a Full Professor, tenured.

The M.C.C. optics/photonics program made it a point to recruit minority students, which at the time included women. After a tumultuous start, the pioneering Optical Systems Technology Program became internationally recognized as world-class (“a natural resource”), and many similar programs have grown up around the United States. In 1976, marty was elected “Dean Martin,” founding dean of the newly established Division of Engineering Technologies at M.C.C. In 1977-78 he sponsored an Israeli scientist’s sabbatical. In 1980, partially for health reasons and partially because continuity had been established, marty took early retirement, to return to industry, and soon received a plethora of unsolicited job offers.

The one which was most appealing was as Chief Scientist for Optical Sciences Group of San Rafael, California, which was expanding to a modern, enlarged facility in Petaluma. When the new plant became operational, marty changed direction, spending more time researching, out of necessity, Health and Longevity, on which he wrote and lectured after “rebuilding” himself as a coronary artery disease patient. Harriette and marty also taught on-site courses in optical technology and techniques to companies in Silicon Valley.

marty’s great love, Harriette, died on September 27, 1992 of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura.

Although heartbroken, marty planned to go on continuing with his active life, which included writing in several venues, researching and reading in various areas which had not been included in his previous schooling.

He had a six-year happy relationship with Joyce Hunter. They ate and travelled together, and marty also took solo trips. Joyce died of “pre-existing” illnesses, and marty had the company of three successive companions, with whom he shared activities in which they had common interests.

In the year 2000, deciding it was time to seek a new environment, marty moved to the Marin Valley Mobile Country Club in Novato, California, living in a double-wide coach, for which he designed and built additions that made living there easier, safer and more efficient.

marty had several health “events” and used the knowledge from his research to each time “rebuild” himself to a more functioning, active senior. Until seriously injured in February 2014, he could be found hiking the hills around his home, cooking his international meals in his easy-to-maneuver “galley,” or composing on his iMac, which was slowly learning to let him use it.

He maintained an active social life and kept in contact with his former students, his “extended family,” some of whom have built internationally recognized, leading, state-of-the-art precision photonics companies.

marty leaves two daughters, Miriam Dvorin Spross, Ph.D. (Rex A. Spross), who teaches World Music at Santa Rosa J.C., and Rebecca Dvorin Strong (Fred Strong), an artist living in Seattle, Washington.

The “apple of marty’s eye” is granddaughter Emma Dvorin Strong, a graduate of the University of Washington, Seattle, who majored in Social Anthropology and Dance and minored in Education. She now lives in Oakland.

marty also leaves his brother, Robert Dvorin (Vicki Dvorin), of New York City.

A talented family and a cadre of skilled students are included in marty dvorin’s legacy.

Composed by martin dvorin, Novato, California, January 2014, revised February 2016

Annette Gologorsky (Belkin)

October 24, 1922 – February 28, 2019

Annette Gologorsky
Annette Gologorsky

Annette was born in Chicago, IL to Jacob and Rebecca Belkin. During WWII she enlisted in the Women’s Marine Corps and served her country receiving Morse code messages from ships in the Atlantic. In 1949 she graduated from UC Berkeley, where she met her beloved husband of 58 years, Fredric Gologorsky, who predeceased her in 2006. They raised their four children in Berkeley and remained in the same house since 1960. Annette taught elementary school in Berkeley, and her students remember her as a devoted, patient, and creative teacher who helped them achieve their very best. Annette was an adored mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend. Many turned to her for her wisdom, compassion, honesty and practicality. Her home was open and warm and was a frequent gathering place for family and friends. Loving mother of Paula Waluch (Vic), Shella Chazan (Temby), Debra Gologorsky (Wes) and Jonathan Gologorsky. Cherished grandmother of Justin Waluch (Jane), Laura Solomon (Michael) and Claire Waluch; Michael, Adam and Eran Chazan; Evan, Rebecca (Dylan Wolman) and Matthew Gologorsky; Natalie Gologorsky; and also by Elysha Johnston (Robert). Loved by her great-grandchildren Jack, Charlie, Luke, Caroline, Catherine, and Anna.

We will miss her greatly.

Services will be private.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area and The Berkeley Education Foundation.

Bill Heller

Bill Heller, 91, died on Friday, March 15, 2019 at his home in Atherton, CA of Parkinson’s-related complications. Bill is survived by his loving wife of 35 years, Susan Heller; sons Peter and Daniel Heller; daughter Laura Heller Lauder; and five grandchildren: Alexandra, Zachary, Eliana, Joshua and Jack.

Bill Heller
Bill Heller

Born and raised in Canton, Ohio, Bill attended Ohio State University, where he was in the ZBT fraternity. He was drafted into the US Army in 1945, where he played the saxophone in the marching band, among other postings. After his Army service, Bill completed his college education at Northwestern University in 1949, where he earned his degree in English, with a minor in Speech.

Upon graduation, Bill joined his father Paul Heller in the family business, Canton Barrel and Bag, which Paul had started shortly after Prohibition was lifted in 1933. The business provided white oak barrels to wine and whiskey businesses, mostly in the Americas. Bill worked with his father for over 35 years. He changed the name of the company to Canton Wood Products and grew the market by 20 more countries worldwide. Along the way, Bill developed beautiful, life-long friendships with many Japanese, Australian, Scottish, and Spanish coopers and a multitude of wine and whiskey-makers.

Bill was an avid jogger, tennis player, swimmer and cyclist, starting in his 30s when President Kennedy challenged Americans to get fit. Bill jogged for 57 years and was often seen at the Stanford track until the age of 89. The swimming pool at the Palo Alto Jewish Community Center is named the Bill Heller Pool, and he swam there daily until age 86. The Gym at the Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School is named for Susan and Bill, as students exercise there daily, pleasing Bill to no end. His exercise increased the length and quality of his life.

Bill will be especially remembered by his five grandchildren as a warm, attentive and loving grandfather, always ready with stories of long ago and places far, far away.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made in memory of Bill to one or both of his scholarship funds held at The Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund:

  • The Bill Heller Memorial Bay Area Jewish Day School Scholarship Fund
  • The Bill Heller Memorial Bay Area Preschool Scholarship Fund

Gifts will be split between the two funds, unless directed otherwise by the giver. Contributions may be made by check or by donor-advised fund grant recommendation directed to:

The Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund
Attention: The Bill Heller Memorial Scholarship Fund(s)
121 Steuart Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

Funeral services will be held in Canton, Ohio, where Bill will be placed next to his devoted parents, Mary and Paul Heller.

(Sinai Redwood City)

Rhoda Levin

Rhoda Levin
Rhoda Levin

Rhoda Levin passed away in Santa Rosa, California after a long period of illness. She was born on January 14, 1930 in Chicago, IL to Samuel Pollack and Rose (Lyons) Pollack. She had also lived in Covina, CA; Highland Park, IL; Los Altos Hills, CA; Tempe, AZ; Ashdod, Israel; Healdsburg; and Santa Rosa, CA. She was a member of Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills for nearly two decades. She was a former President of Women’s American ORT, which builds and staffs technical schools for the underprivileged in 37 countries across five continents; employs 7,000 teachers; and offers mostly tuition-free education to over 300,000 students annually. She was married to Nathan D. Levin for 54 years until his death and was loving grandparent of William Samuel Levin, who died in infancy. Rhoda was the loving parent of Roschelle Levin, who passed away in January 1977. She is survived by Allen, Jeffrey and Larry Levin, and she was the doting grandparent of Aaron and Miles Levin and great-grandparent of Nolan Levin. She was also the loving mother-in-law of Jane Nakai and Laurie Lamantia.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to Women’s American ORT (ORT.org).

Funeral and burial services was scheduled for Friday, March 22 at 11:00 a.m. at Hills of Eternity Cemetery, 1301 El Camino Real in Colma, California.

Milton Moskowitz

Milton Moskowitz, 91, a pioneer in corporate social responsibility, died peacefully March 5th at home in Mill Valley, CA of natural causes.

Moskowitz is best known for his best-selling books and articles about the corporate world and his popular annual Fortune magazine articles on the “100 Best Companies to Work For.” He co-authored the lists with Robert Levering until 2015, when he was in his late 80s.

Milton Moskowitz
Milton Moskowitz

Among his seven books were “Everybody’s Business: An Almanac: An Irreverent Guide to Corporate America” and “The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America,” which he coauthored with Levering and Michael Katz. The book and the Fortune articles of the same name have spawned dozens of best workplaces lists both in the US and globally.

Along with his second wife Carol Townsend, Moskowitz introduced and produced the annual list of “The 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers,” which appeared for 12 years in Working Mother magazine. On his own, Moskowitz published “The Global Market Place” and “The Executive’s Almanac: A Diverse Portfolio of Eclectic Business Trivia.” In a 1997 profile, the San Francisco Chronicle referred to him as “the man behind the golden lists.”

When Moskowitz and Levering set out to write the first “100 Best” book, they were entering unchartered territory. Business journalism was typically written only for managers or investors. Because so little was written about companies from the viewpoint of employees, the pair visited some 135 companies over a two-year span and interviewed hundreds of workers and managers to compile their first list.

An instant hit, the book became a New York Times bestseller in 1984. A new edition came out nine years later.

The first Fortune article appeared in 1998. They no longer had to visit the hundreds of companies that applied every year. Instead, Levering helped develop a survey called the Trust Index, which could be distributed to a random sample of employees.

The survey is now administered by Great Place to Work, an Oakland-based research and consulting firm that also produces Best Workplaces lists in some 50 countries. Moskowitz would proudly assert that their methodology meant that companies only made the list because their employees had voted them onto it.

Appearing on the Fortune list has become a highly coveted award within the corporate world, largely because it helps firms attract and recruit the best employees. “When we started,” Moskowitz once said, “companies were only interested in financial measures like dividend growth or earnings-per-share ratio. Now creating a great workplace has become an explicit corporate goal, something I think we helped to accomplish.”

Moskowitz’s journalism career started in 1951 as a copy boy at the Chicago Sun and included stints as a staff correspondent for the old Hearst wire service, International News Service, as well as for Reuters and Advertising Age in London and New York.

He spent five years as head of public relations for J. Walter Thompson before returning to journalism. He preferred looking at the corporate world from the outside rather than from within, he said.

In 1968 he inaugurated a newspaper column called “The Money Tree” that ran three times a week for 18 years in the San Francisco Chronicle. It was syndicated to more than 30 newspapers across the country. He said the column sought to “demystify the business world for the lay reader.”

The same year he began the newspaper column, Moskowitz formally launched a bi-weekly newsletter, Business & Society, the first business publication focused on corporate social responsibility.

The idea of corporate social responsibility, much less a dedication to reporting on it, was nearly nonexistent in 1968 when Moskowitz began the newsletter. Because there were so few sources of information, Moskowitz built the field on which decades of researchers and journalists could build.

The newsletter’s “constant drumbeat was to encourage corporations to become engaged in tackling social problems,” Moskowitz later wrote. One of his earliest crusades advocated for the desegregation of corporate boards. He reminded his readers that while Jackie Robinson had integrated major league baseball in 1947, 20 years later only one major U.S. company had a black director. His newsletter survives today as Business and Society Review, a quarterly published by the Center for Business Ethics at Bentley University in Waltham, MA.

To Moskowitz, companies were like people, each with a distinctive social personality. His newsletter singled out companies for their progressive social efforts and published an annual list of the most “socially responsible companies.” But Moskowitz was no corporate shill. He could be unsparing in his criticism of firms he considered bad corporate citizens.

In 1973 he labelled Standard Oil of California (now Chevron) as “the worst company in the U.S.” and as “second place to no one when it comes to social idiocy” for what he called its abysmal environmental record, pitifully small philanthropic contributions despite record profits, lack of transparency, and for being “one of the most blatant discriminators in the state of California” in its hiring practices.

Moskowitz’s newsletter reflected a personal legacy of powerful progressive sensibilities, as well as that of the then-current times—civil rights, opposition to the Vietnam War, and concern about the environment. But he aimed his newsletter at businesspeople who were most attuned to the bottom line, so he tied his commentary to the financial impact of companies’ social policies.

At the time, some social-minded investors were looking for ways to put their money into stocks whose practices matched their beliefs. In 1971 Pax World became the first company to create a mutual fund that screened stocks using social criteria. A handful of other investment firms soon followed.

Recognizing Moskowitz’s contribution, the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment introduced the Moskowitz Research Prize, which has been awarded annually since 1996 for outstanding papers on quantitative research related to socially responsible investing. The Moskowitz Prize is currently being administered by the Haas Business School.

Socially responsible investing has gone mainstream in large part because Moskowitz’s thesis has proved to have considerable merit. As of 2018, investors have put more than $12 trillion into professionally managed, socially responsible funds that include environmental, social and governance factors, according to the United States Social Investment Forum. That figure represents a 38 percent increase since only 2016.

Those who worked with Moskowitz said he was a joy because he didn’t have a big ego. He had total integrity. Unlike many of the people he reported on in the corporate world, he was incorruptible. He didn’t care about money or material gain. He was devoted to revealing the reality of the corporate world, and he believed that the business world was too important to be left to businessmen.

A voracious reader, Moskowitz read four daily newspapers and a dozen magazines a month and read three or four novels or works of nonfiction at a time. He also had a prodigious memory. He invariably amazed his colleagues with his ability to recall names of long-retired CEOs or obscure facts about many of the hundreds of companies he investigated.

Moskowitz was also a great storyteller. His friends loved to hear him tell amusing stories or offer his perspectives on current political events.

He loved going to the symphony, opera, theatre, movies, and San Francisco Giants baseball games. He had a taste for fine wines and gourmet food, especially meals prepared by award-winning chef Preeti Mistry, whose wife Ann Nadeau was one of his long-time colleagues at Great Place to Work.

Moskowitz and his wife Liz enjoyed traveling both internationally and within the U.S. The couple took daily walks along scenic trails near their home in Marin County until the last few months of his life. He was an avid bridge player, playing at the College of Marin for four hours every Monday for a decade. He had a close family life and particularly enjoyed spending time with his grandkids.

Milton Ralph Moskowitz, widely known as Milt, was born September 1, 1927 in Yonkers, New York to Morris Moskowitz and Florence Goodman, Jewish immigrants from what was then Hungary. His father would eventually work in a fur factory near the Bronx River.

Moskowitz edited two college newspapers: the Heights Daily News, published in the now-discarded Bronx campus of New York University, and the Chicago Maroon, at the University of Chicago. In between his two college stints, Moskowitz served 18 months in the U.S. Army, where he covered the sports scene for The Bayonet, published at Fort Benning in Columbus, GA. He credited his exposure to the segregated South as helping to inspire a lifelong commitment to racial equality and social justice.

He dropped out of a master’s program at the University of Chicago to make money after getting married to his first wife, Jean Rae Mell of Chicago. He was insanely proud to have been granted a Master’s degree from the university in 2008 after they accepted one of his books to satisfy the requirements for his thesis.

Moskowitz was married three times. He was divorced from Jean Rae Mell in 1982. Two years later he married Carol Townsend, a New York City native whose mother was the film critic, Irene Thirer; Carol died in 1995. And in 2005 he married Elizabeth (“Liz”) Rollins, daughter of the Esquire illustrator E. Simms Campbell. Besides his wife, his survivors include his brother Gerald (“Jerry”) Moskowitz of San Rafael, CA; three children, Jonah, Eben and Abigail Moskowitz, all of San Francisco; four stepsons, Laird Townsend of Great Barrington, MA, Lee Townsend Jr. of San Francisco, Blaine Townsend of Mill Valley, and Salim Rollins of Nairobi, Kenya; three stepdaughters, Leigh Ann Townsend of Mill Valley, Leslie Parks-Bailey of Atlanta and Fatma Rollins of Nairobi; and seven step-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his brother Lawrence (“Larry”) by less than a year.

A memorial celebration is planned for sometime this summer.