a bald man with a short bear leans on a bookcase
Rabbi Daniel Lehmann at Hebrew College in Boston, the institution he led before his brief tenure at the Graduate Theological Union.

Honors, happenings, comings & goings — Aug. 2021


Honors

Shana Penn
Shana Penn

Taube Philanthropies executive director Shana Penn will receive the European Solidarity Centre Medal of Gratitude on Aug. 31 in recognition of her groundbreaking research on the role of women in the Solidarity movement that led to the end of communism in Poland. “Her work influenced other scholars, activists, cultural actors and politicians to look at the legacy of Solidarnosc from that perspective,” said the European Solidarity Centre. Her 2005 book is “Solidarity’s Secret: The Women Who Defeated Communism in Poland.”

Anita Friedman
Anita Friedman

Anita Friedman, executive director of S.F.-based Jewish Family and Children’s Services, will be given the American Friends of Tel Aviv University’s Visionary Leadership Award during an Oct. 7 virtual gala. At Friedman’s suggestion, the funds raised at the event will go toward student scholarships and to the Center for Combating Pandemics.

Ron Levy
Ron Levy

San Jose State University student Ron Levy has won the first place Movement Builder Award for Creativity and Impact from the pro-Israel organization StandWithUs. The award is presented each year to a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow “who approached and successfully implemented Israel programming with a specific and dynamic strategy.” Levy was recognized from among 150 fellows. “Ron’s strategy focused on providing his peers with different opportunities and avenues to learn about and connect with Israel, from the Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival to a workshop about how to answer the toughest questions about Israel,” StandWithUs wrote in an email to J. He was also involved in campaigns to bring the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s definition of antisemitism to De Anza Community College and Foothill College.


Happenings

A collection of writings by Rabbi Larry Raphael, who died in 2019 at age 72, has been published in time for the High Holidays. “For a Good Year: Selected High Holy Day Sermons” was compiled by his wife, Terrie Raphael, and includes sermons from his tenure as a dean at Hebrew Union College through his years as senior rabbi of Reform Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco. “For all those of us who fondly remember studying with [him], it will feel like a conversation with a dear friend,” the congregation wrote in a press release. The book is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Rabbi Larry Raphael, 72, rabbi emeritus of Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco, passed away March 17, 2019.
Rabbi Larry Raphael, 72, former leader of Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco, passed away in 2019.

Comings & Goings

Ron Arons
Ron Arons

Oakland’s Ron Arons was elected secretary of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies at the 41st Annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, which was held virtually this month. Arons is a former tech marketing executive, a data-visualization maven and author of three books on genealogy (two of which focus on researching criminals). He also has been published in the peer-reviewed journal the American Genealogist and has been awarded a research grant from the New York State Archives. Arons has traced his own family roots in Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Belarus, Lithuania and England.

Teresa Drenick
Teresa Drenick

Teresa Drenick has been named deputy director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Central Pacific Region. She previously served for three decades as an assistant district attorney in Alameda County, working as a trial attorney, public information officer and head of the domestic violence unit. “She brings a wealth of experience and personal commitment to our work,” wrote ADL regional director Seth Brysk. “The work and mission of the ADL inspires me,” Drenick said in a press release. “As the daughter of two Holocaust refugees, I am keenly aware of issues and challenges surrounding antisemitism and the victimization of marginalized people.”

Rabbi Laurie Hahn-Tapper
Rabbi Laurie Hahn-Tapper

Rabbi Laurie Hahn-Tapper is the new associate dean for religious and spiritual life at Stanford University, her undergrad alma mater. She previously served as director of the Brandeis Collegiate Institute and adult programs at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute in Simi Valley. She also was a school rabbi at Yavneh Day School in Los Gatos and has worked at a number of other Jewish day schools and summer camps around the country. Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann, senior associate dean for religious life at Stanford, wrote in a statement, “As a seasoned educator and an alumna, she will help students to discover meaning and purpose, supporting them as they realize their dreams.”

Beth Jones is stepping down as director of membership at Congregation Beth Sholom in San Francisco after 16 years. “She has worked tirelessly to support our community and she will be dearly missed,” executive director Vered Cohen wrote in an email to the community. Jones was honored at Beth Sholom’s Friday night Shabbat service on Aug. 13.

Rabbi Daniel Lehmann is the new head of school at Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School in Palo Alto. He previously served briefly as president of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and for years as president of Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts. Though he is new to the K-8 school, he has old family connections. “My parents were actively involved with Hausner during its early years over 30 years ago,” he said in a press release. Lehmann’s father was the school’s first treasurer and his mother was a teacher there and acting principal at one point. His brother served on the board and his nephews and niece were students there. “It is a source of great pride to continue that legacy of leadership established by my family,” Lehmann said. In addition to his work at Hebrew College and the GTU, he was the founding headmaster of Gann Academy in Boston, founding director of the Berkshire Institute of Music and Arts, co-founder of the Hevruta Gap-year Program of the Shalom Hartman Institute, co-founder of the high school Moot Beit Din competition and co-founder of the North American Association of Jewish High Schools. “I am convinced that Hausner has great potential to be a national and international leader in pluralistic education, intentionally engaging the beautiful diversity of our community and educating our students to pursue justice and seek the common good using the knowledge, skills, and creativity cultivated during their years at Hausner,” Lehmann said.

Rebecca Randall
Rebecca Randall

Rebecca Randall has been appointed managing director of philanthropy at the S.F.-based Jewish Federation. “Our philanthropy advisory practice that was launched in 2017 is now out of the startup phase and we’re in a new place where we want to bring the best customer service, stewardship, and outreach,” said Joy Sisisky, Federation’s chief philanthropy officer, in a press release. “Rebecca’s experience in strategic growth, marketing, development, and outreach come together so nicely for this particular position.” Randall previously served in executive roles at Common Sense media for 17 years and was vice president of the United Way of the Bay Area before that.

The S.F.-based Jewish Community Relations Council has elected new board officers: president Jennifer Wolfe of Mill Valley, vice president Russell Cohen of San Francisco, vice president Jan Reicher of San Francisco, treasurer Sandi Bragar of San Francisco and secretary Karen Kronick of Palo Alto. “I could not be more proud to be taking on this leadership role at such a critical time for our community,” Wolfe said in a press release. “Through JCRC’s continued work building bridges of understanding across the diverse communities of the Bay Area, we will be addressing antisemitism and racial justice in new and impactful ways in the months ahead.”

David A.M. Wilensky
David A.M. Wilensky

David A.M. Wilensky is the digital editor of J. He can be reached at [email protected].