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

Deaths for the week of Jan. 17-23, 2021

Obituaries are supported by a generous grant from Sinai Memorial Chapel. This page will be updated throughout the week. Submit an obituary here.

Max Rodrigues Garcia

June 28, 1924-Jan. 9, 2021

Max Rodrigues Garcia
Max Rodrigues Garcia

Our father, Max Rodrigues Garcia, came to the United States with only hopes and dreams after surviving nearly three years as a prisoner within the Holocaust. He ultimately lived the “American Dream” and with our mother, Pat (1927-2002), they passed those hopes and dreams to us, David (1957), Tania (1960) and Michelle (1961).

Max was born in Amsterdam, June 28, 1924. He never again saw his parents, Elias and Rosetta, nor his sister Sippora, after they were murdered in 1942 and 1943. He was a prisoner of four different German concentration camps, including 18 months in Auschwitz as well as two death marches. When he was liberated by the 3rd Cavalry (U.S. Army) from a concentration camp, Ebensee, in the Austrian Alps on May 6, 1945, he was close to death but he found the strength to attach himself to his liberators. That bond changed Dad’s life, with those vital friendships lasting well into his 80s. The U.S. Army brought him to the United States in 1946.

After eight years of assimilation, including time spent in the U.S. Army and attending university to study architecture (his childhood dream), yet ultimately not receiving a degree, Dad settled in San Francisco, a city that reminded him of Europe. In 1954 he found work as a draftsman, volunteered as an usher at the opera house and of course met our mother, Priscilla Alden Thwaits. They were married in 1956.

He passed his California Architectural boards on his own, studying long hours into the night, receiving his California Architectural License in early 1960. He opened his own architectural practice, Max R. Garcia and Associates, in spring of 1960, first from their apartment and later in downtown San Francisco. During the next 24 years, the firm grew in size to include over 20 employees and an impressive client list.

In 1971, he took himself and his family to Europe for his first visit back since 1946. This was another important moment in Dad’s life; reconnecting him to his home in Amsterdam, returning triumphantly and confident that he not only beat the Nazis, but that he had made choices that delivered him to his dreams. In 1979, Mom published a book chronicling his and his family’s journey called “As Long As I Remain Alive,” which is now in its retitled second edition as “Auschwitz, Auschwitz … I Cannot Forget You.” Dad was one of the founders of the Holocaust Library of San Francisco and was invited to speak around the world, always available to passionately share his personal story of the atrocities of the Holocaust.

Dad’s zest for life and love of travel had him returning to Europe almost every year after he retired in 1986, even attending the Auschwitz 75th anniversary liberation ceremony last year at 95 years old! Throughout his adult life, he was interviewed and celebrated with honours and distinctions, leaving a detailed and incredible legacy; a permanent record of his survival, life and indomitable spirit when surrounded by death.

Dad was a lover of life; of good food and lots of it, bakeries, delicatessens, the arts, and throwing lively parties. He was a fine baker in his own right. He never forgot that the life he lived so well is what he survived all the madness for.

Our dad passed peacefully at 96 on Jan. 9, 2021 while living with his daughter Michelle and her partner, Pam. Max is survived by his three children, their partners, Terry, Dan, Pam; five grandchildren, Nicholas Lush, Caleb Lush, Max Lush, Heidi Winner, Robyn Winner; and his two great-grandchildren, who are currently “under production.”

We encourage donations to celebrate the life of Max Garcia be made to:

Jewish Family and Children’s Services’ Holocaust Center (holocaustcenter.jfcs.org) or the Anti-Defamation League (adl.org).

Judy Shulman

Jan. 8, 1941-Jan. 14, 2021

Judy Shulman
Judy Shulman

Judy (Horwitz) Shulman (1941-2021) died in her home on the Stanford campus on Jan. 14, at the age of 80.

Judy was born in Chicago on Jan. 8, 1941 to Joe and Ethel (Levy) Horwitz. She was the middle child between older brother David and younger sister Barbara. The family soon moved to Highland Park, Illinois, where she graduated from Highland Park High School in 1959. She spent her freshman year at the University of Wisconsin immersed in the Integrated Liberal Studies (ILS) program, which she loved. She sacrificed completion of that program and transferred to Northwestern, when she became engaged to Lee Shulman, a graduate student at the University of Chicago. They had met at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin and he subsequently taught her Hebrew at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, a Conservative congregation that her father and mother helped to found. The 18-year-old teacher and his 16-year-old student fell in love, breaking all the rules. When they married during winter break late in 1960, she was a 19-year-old sophomore at Northwestern and he was a 22-year-old doctoral student at Chicago.

Judy completed her preparation as an elementary school teacher in 1963, when the couple moved to East Lansing, Michigan, where Lee would teach introductory educational psychology for future teachers at Michigan State University and she would teach fourth grade at Wardcliff Elementary School in Okemos. Her first few months of teaching were exciting, punctuated by the excitement of “the new math” and shocked by living through the Kennedy assassination with her 10-year-old pupils.

Babies followed. Allen was born in 1964, and Adina 23 months later. In 1969-70, Judy and Lee spent a sabbatical year in Jerusalem. There she grew closer to Lee’s grandfather, Rabbi Jacob Shulman, who died while they were in Israel. In December of that year, she gave birth to Daniel Jacob, who would carry his grandfather’s name. Judy never tired of community engagement. In East Lansing, she shared in the creation of a new synagogue, Kehillat Israel, completely lay-led, and served many terms as chair of the synagogue school board.

As the three kids were growing up in the comfortable village of Okemos, Judy was inspired to pursue a calling that would become the driving force of her professional life — addressing the challenges of educating new teachers and sustaining the development of veteran teachers. She earned a master’s degree in reading education at Michigan State and collaborated on designing and teaching an exciting program to teach study skills to first-generation students in agriculture. Her first book, with the provocative title “Making It in College,” grew out of that course. Her real gift was supporting people learning to teach.

During a sabbatical year at Stanford, Judy worked as a research assistant to the psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim in his work on children’s reading errors. She became an outstanding mentor and coach for aspiring teachers in Michigan State’s ambitious Teacher Corps program, serving for several years as a “clinic professor.” She also followed her MA in reading with graduate study that focused on educational ethnography and the development of cases. This orientation toward cases and ethnographic inquiry laid the foundation for the rest of her professional life.

When the family arrived in the Bay Area in late 1982, Lee was teaching at Stanford and Judy found a part-time position as a research assistant at the Far West Regional Educational Laboratory in San Francisco. Over time, that position grew into a role as a senior research associate and program director. In that position, she created the Institute for Case Development in Education, which became a national and international resource. During her 25 years at WestEd (to which the Lab had changed its name), she published many articles and seven teacher casebooks, plus her classic “Case Methods in Teacher Education,” which was also translated into Chinese. In 2004, she received the national award for Applying Research into Practice given annually by the American Educational Research Association.

After moving to the Bay Area, Judy served the Jewish community with great energy. She served on the boards of two new Jewish day schools, Gideon Hausner and Kehillah. She served on the board of Congregation Kol Emeth. She served on and chaired the committee that selected the outstanding Jewish educators in the Bay Area for the Helen Diller Award. She served on the grants allocation committee of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation. She organized and worked at food kitchens and at the Ecumenical Hunger Project. There was no role she loved more than serving as a volunteer Jewish chaplain at Stanford Hospital. As part of the program, under the leadership of Bruce Feldstein, Judy did regular rounds visiting patients and also served on the program’s board.

Judy particularly enjoyed teaching about the development and use of cases all over the United States and across the world. In Israel and in Norway, in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Shanghai, and from San Francisco to New York, she offered well-attended workshops and seminars.

Judy was predeceased by her mother and father, Joe and Ethel Horwitz. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Lee Shulman, her children Allen (Debby Dresner) Shulman of Northbrook, Illinois, Adina Shulman of Santa Monica and Daniel (Lisa Weingarten) Shulman of San Diego; grandchildren Joey, Jordy, Becky, Sam and Sarah; as well as her brother Dr. David Horwitz (Essie Waxler) of Los Angeles and her sister Barbara Hoffman (David) of Highland Park and Boca Raton; as well as many loving nieces and nephews.

The late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks observed that the end of the Torah, which recounts the death of Moses as he longingly looked across the Jordan River to the promised land, teaches us three powerful ideas. “We are mortal; therefore make every day count. We are fallible; therefore learn to grow from each mistake. We will not complete the journey; therefore inspire others to continue what we began.” Judy lived a life consistent with those ideas. She intended for her life to inspire others toward the same goals.

Peter Lawrence Block

July 17, 1949–Jan. 31, 2021

Peter Lawrence Block died of Parkinson’s disease on Wednesday, Jan. 13, age 71. He had been living at The Carlisle for many years. His parents were Sol and Alice Bransten Kauffman, and he was later adopted by George Block. Attended Madison School, Town School, Roosevelt Jr. High, Lowell High and UC Berkeley (graduated with honors). He owned Orion Travel with his longtime partner, the late Brian Allen. Passions were old-time ocean liners and cars, Whippets, Egyptology, “I Love Lucy” and the Concorde plane. He leaves many cousins of the extended Haas-Lilienthal-Bransten family who will miss his biting humor and loving nature. Memorial contributions may be sent to the Parkinson’s Foundation or the National AIDS Memorial.

Richard Crystal

Sept. 21, 1942–Dec. 29, 2020

Richard Crystal
Richard Crystal

Richard “Dick” Crystal passed away on Dec. 29, 2020 in Mountain View, California, at the age of 78.

Dick was born on Sept. 21, 1942, to Mary and Morris Crystal in New York, N.Y. He and his family lived in Brooklyn, N.Y. before moving to Mahopac, N.Y., where he attended high school. Dick received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in 1964. He married his sweetheart, Susan, the week after college graduation.

In 1967, Dick received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from RPI. He, and his young family, moved to Rochester, N.Y. to work for Xerox corporation. Xerox would bring Richard and his family to Dallas, Texas and Los Altos, California, where he worked at Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) for more than 20 years.

A lifelong inventor, Richard had over 50 patents to his name, including designing the plastic lid for coffee cans at age 18, bulletproof ballistic nylon for bulletproof jackets used in the Vietnam War, the daisy wheel for typewriters and printers, and more recently he changed the printing industry by inventing inkjet refills for printer cartridges, saving consumers money while reducing waste.

Dick loved spending time with his family on their sailboat or at home. He collected antique typewriters and enjoyed daily hikes in nature at the Rancho San Antonio Preserve. In addition, he and Sue loved to travel and had visited countries on all continents except Antarctica. He was a longtime member of Congregation Kol Emeth in Palo Alto.

Dick is survived by his wife Susan, his children Steve and Ruth Ann, son-in-law Jerome, as well as his grandchildren Charlotte and Sophie. Dick was predeceased by his sister Joan Molnar and his parents Mary and Morris Crystal.

Funeral services took place on Dec. 31, 2020.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Dick’s memory to Hebrew Free Loan, Jewish Family and Children’s Services or Congregation Kol Emeth.

Mary Drabkin

Dec. 30, 1937–Jan. 11, 2021

Mary Drabkin
Mary Drabkin

Mary (née Goldstein) Drabkin passed in Hughson, CA on Jan. 11, 2021 at age 83.

Beloved wife for 36 years of the late Harry P. Drabkin; loving mother of Andrew Scott Drabkin, Ruth Drabkin and the late Roger Sherman Drabkin. A native of San Francisco, she earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from UC Berkeley. In 1961, she was granted a teaching credential and taught in her native San Francisco until 1968.

Upon moving to Modesto, in 1970, she raised her children, was a substitute teacher at Modesto area schools, and spent many hours volunteering for Congregation Beth Shalom, including serving as the religious school director for numerous years and founding a children’s library, in memory of her son Roger.

Mary valued her community and, in particular, many dear and close friends. Her smile was infectious and brought happiness to those who were around her.

A private funeral occurred at Eternal Home Cemetery in Colma and shiva/memorial gatherings were to be hosted by Congregation Beth Shalom of Modesto. In lieu of customary memorials, the family requests with sincere appreciation that memorial contributions be made in Mary’s honor to the Roger S. Drabkin Children’s Memorial Library at Congregation Beth Shalom, P.O. Box 85, Modesto, CA 95353 or the UCSF Helen Diller Cancer Center c/o UCSF Foundation, P.O. Box 45339, San Francisco, CA 94145-0339.

Pauline Liebovitz

April 27, 1917–Jan. 13, 2021

Pauline Liebovitz
Pauline Liebovitz

Our beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Pauline, passed away peacefully on the morning of Jan. 13 at 103 years of age. She was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, one of nine children born to David and Sheine Lampert. She immigrated to the U.S. in 1980, living with her daughter’s family in Palo Alto, until she moved to the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living for her last few years.

Pauline was an active, talented woman who worked as a bookkeeper for over 50 years. She loved playing lawn bowls, a sport she learned in South Africa. Once in California, she traveled to many tournaments, even representing the U.S. national team in a world competition in Australia.

She was known for having golden hands, although not in the kitchen! For many years she sewed for herself and her family and created many intricate needlepoint tablecloths and pictures. Her many nieces, nephews and friends were delighted with the blankets she crocheted or knitted for them, and she was an enthusiastic, generous teacher to many wanting to learn to knit. She gave of her knowledge freely and generously.

She loved to travel, visiting members of her extended family around North America, whose homes were always open to her. She brought energy and a love of adventure wherever she went.

She will be deeply missed by her loving daughter, Heather, son-in-law, Norman Silverman, grandchildren Gina (Reagan), Adam (Lori) and Claire (Lucian), and great-grandchildren Rowan, Eva, Oliver, Hershel and Golda.

Donations in her name can be made to the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living, where she was lovingly cared for.