Artist Naomie Kremer has a video installation through November at the American Gallery at the Manifesta Biennial in Marseilles.
Artist Naomie Kremer has a video installation through November at the American Gallery at the Manifesta Biennial in Marseilles.

Honors, happenings, comings & goings — September 2020


Honors & Awards

Aviva Davis
Aviva Davis

Oakland native and college senior Aviva Davis has been named to the first class of Alma College Writing Fellows, a program run by the Jewish millennial-focused news site Alma. (Alma is part of 70 Faces Media, which also owns the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.) There are 18 fellows from around the world, “representing many faces of young Jews today”, according to Alma’s announcement. Davis goes to Brandeis University, where she studies psychology and creativity, the arts and social transformation. “She also works closely with the Bay Area-based Jewish nonprofit Be’Chol Lashon, contributing to the conversation about the history and experiences of Jewish communities of color around the world,” says her heyalma.com bio.

Bay Area artist Naomie Kremer has a video installation through November at the American Gallery at the Manifesta Biennial, an arts and culture festival that takes place in a different European city every two years. This year it’s in Marseilles, France. Kremer is among the 13 artists the American Gallery invited to make work about people saved from the Nazis by American journalist Varian Fry at the beginning of World War II. Kremer’s entry is a film about Alma Mahler, one of the people Fry saved, which is projected in visuals and text on the floor and two walls. An online version is viewable here.

Four local Jewish teens have been named 2020-21 Kol Koleinu Teen Fellows by the Union for Reform Judaism, United Synagogue Youth and Moving Traditions. This year’s cohort consists of 50 young women “who will explore and deepen their feminist knowledge, channel their voices to share their beliefs, and use their skills to create tangible change in their communities.” The local fellows are Julia Gentin, a junior at Mountain View High School; Laine Schlezinger, a senior at Burlingame High; Allie Tarkoff, a junior at Bentley Upper School in Lafayette; and Julia White, a sophomore at Bentley.


Comings & Goings

Rabbi David Cooper, among the co-founders of Kehilla Community Synagogue in 1984 who served as community rabbi there from 1999 to 2017, transitioned in July into the role of rabbi emeritus after three years as active emeritus rabbi. He’ll still be around the synagogue helping lead, for example, upcoming High Holiday services. But, as he wrote in an email to the congregation, “being off-staff means I have a greater power to say ‘No.’” In an email announcement, the former Berkeley congregation, now in Piedmont, wrote: “Kehilla has been incredibly fortunate to have had Rabbi David as a driving force in its development and growth as a community ever since Kehilla was founded more than 35 years ago. His wisdom, love of Jewish community and passion for justice have enriched and inspired us all. And his commitment to shared, egalitarian leadership has made room for Kehilla to develop such a large group of spiritual leaders.”

Rabbi David Cooper of Kehilla Community Synagogue in Piedmont speaking to protesters at the Otay Mesa Detention Center near San Diego, June 23, 2018. (Photo/Chris Stone-Times of San Diego)
Rabbi David Cooper of Kehilla Community Synagogue in Piedmont speaking to protesters at the Otay Mesa Detention Center near San Diego, June 23, 2018. (Photo/Chris Stone-Times of San Diego)
Jay Zimmer
Jay Zimmer

After six years, Jay Zimmer will step down as CEO of the Reutlinger Community, the Jewish senior home in Danville, on Oct. 2. “I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the support and effort that you have given me over these past six years. I am grateful for your presence in my life and wish you continued success, safety and good health going forward. You’ll be in good hands with Eskaton,” he said in an email announcement, referring to the management group that recently took over operations of Reutlinger. According to his announcement, he will begin a new position as CEO and president of “a not-for-profit senior living organization located in California” on Oct. 12.

Akiva Tor
Akiva Tor

Akiva Tor, who served as Israel’s San Francisco-based consul general to the Pacific Northwest from 2008 to 2012, has been appointed Israel’s ambassador to South Korea. It is his first ambassadorial position. He will head to Seoul in mid-October, after Sukkot. Tor, who was much beloved by the Bay Area Jewish community and whose family belonged to Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland during his tenure, has spent the last seven years back in Israel as head of the Foreign Ministry’s Bureau for World Jewish Affairs and World Religions.“It was time for a change after seven years in the current post, and I was happy to get an assignment in a very dynamic place with great potential for Israel, but also many challenges,” he wrote to J.

Rebecca Goodman
Rebecca Goodman

Rebecca Goodman is the new youth and family education director at Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, taking over for Elizheva Hurvich. “My role at Netivot Shalom is to re-envision Jewish education in the virtual and socially distant world we’re in this summer while planning for a return to in-person programming as soon as the city of Berkeley gives us the green light,” Goodman said in an email to the congregation. She has worked for several Bay Area Jewish organizations and congregations and has master’s degrees in Jewish education and nonprofit management from Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion.

Rabbi Zecharia and Rivkah Phillips have arrived at Chabad of Contra Costa in Walnut Creek. The new Chabad shluchim (emissaries) will focus on expanding the preschool established by Chabad of Contra Costa co-directors Rabbi Dovber and Chaya Berkowitz and creating youth and teen programs.

Rabbi Zecharia and Rivkah Phillips have arrived at Chabad of Contra Costa in Walnut Creek.
Rabbi Zecharia and Rivkah Phillips have arrived at Chabad of Contra Costa in Walnut Creek.
David A.M. Wilensky
David A.M. Wilensky

David A.M. Wilensky is the digital editor of J. He can be reached at david@jweekly.com.