Jen Miriam Altman
Jen Miriam Altman

Honors, happenings, comings & goings — Oct. 2021


Honors

Yonatan Winetraub, a Stanford Medicine Ph.D., is one of the winners of the $1.25 million National Institutes of Health Director’s Early Independence Award. Winetraub’s claim to fame came as co-founder of SpaceIL, the organization which crashed an Israeli-made lander on the moon in 2019. As detailed in J. earlier this year, he’s also the man behind a very Israeli experiment attempting to grow chickpeas in space (you know, for hummus). The award recognizes his work using machine learning to image cancer cells.

SpaceIL co-founders (from left) Kfir Damari, Yonatan Winetraub and Yariv Bash insert a time capsule into their spacecraft. (Photo/SpaceIL)
SpaceIL co-founders (from left) Kfir Damari, Yonatan Winetraub and Yariv Bash insert a time capsule into their spacecraft. (Photo/JTA-Courtesy SpaceIL)

Chochmat HaLev honored Jen Miriam Altman at services on Oct. 8 for 13 years of leading the Berkeley congregation’s Tot Shabbat services. “Jen Miriam has shown many of our youngest Chochmat children the wonders of Shabbat with her puppetry and music,” board president Jeffrey Kessler wrote in an email to the community. “Despite declining numbers of age-appropriate children from Chochmat attending Tot Shabbat, we [have] continued to support access to this program through the [pandemic]. We hoped more tots and their parents would join our family programming, but unfortunately, this did not happen.” Though the congregation will not be continuing Tot Shabbat, Altman will continue offering Tot Shabbat through the Jewish Baby Network.

Bob Lurie
Bob Lurie

Bob Lurie, former owner and president of the San Francisco Giants, is now one of 54 team legends honored on the Giants Wall of Fame. He is only the second non-player honored on the wall. His bronze plaque was unveiled at Oracle Park before a game against the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 18.


Happenings

Rabbi Rebekah Stern
Rabbi Rebekah Stern
Rabbi Ira Rosenberg
Rabbi Ira Rosenberg

Congregation Beth El of Berkeley will celebrate two rabbinic installations of this fall. Rabbi Rebekah Stern, who has been at Beth El for seven years, will be installed as senior rabbi. Her installation will take place during Friday night services on Oct. 22 in person in the Beth El sanctuary, with a festive oneg to follow. The following day, celebrated Jewish musician Dan Nichols will give an outdoor concert in her honor. And the installation of Rabbi IraRosenberg, who is new to Beth El, will include two Friday night services on Nov. 12: an outdoor Shabbat Ruach service followed by an indoor service in the sanctuary, with a festive oneg to follow. All three services will be streamed on Zoom.

Rabbi Mayer Brook
Rabbi Mayer Brook
Dassi Brook
Dassi Brook

A new Chabad opened up in Portola Valley just before the High Holidays. Chabad Portola Valley & Woodside is led by co-directors Rabbi Mayer Brook and his wife, Dassi, who moved to the area with their two young sons from New York in April. “There’s not many Jewish activities in this area; you have to go past the highway to other cities,” Rabbi Brook told Palo Alto Online. “There’s quite a few churches, but there are no other Jewish organizations that are in the hills.”

Kami Osher
Kami Osher

Kami Osher, 15, who moved to the Bay Area from Israel a year ago, earned a wild card spot in the qualifying round of the $60,000 Berkeley Tennis Club Challenge, a professional women’s tournament that included at least eight players ranked among the top 250 in the world. In the shadow of the historic Claremont Hotel, Kami showed pluck and promise in a 6-2, 6-1 loss to 27-year-old Chanelle Van Nguyen, the No. 16 seed.  Osher was accompanied not by a coach or trainer but by her father, Yossi, a senior product and test engineering manager transferred to Santa Clara last year by Israeli tech company Marvell. Kami’s biggest worry after her loss? “Piles of homework waiting for me,” she told J. board member Nadine Joseph. Osher is a junior at Fremont High School in Sunnyvale.

Applications are open for the 2022 cohort for LABA East Bay: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture. This will be LABA’s third East Bay cohort after starting in New York. The program brings together artists from diverse disciplines and backgrounds for a year of text study and artistic creation. The theme for this year’s program is “Broken.”


Comings & Goings

Judy Yudof
Judy Yudof
Eric Horodas
Eric Horodas

Judy Yudof and Eric Horodas are the new co-chairs of the advisory board for the Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies at Berkeley Law. (The institute was named the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies until earlier this year, when it received a $10 million gift from the S.F.-based Helen Diller Foundation.) Yudof has been involved in Jewish organizations for decades. She was the first woman to serve as international president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Yudof also served on the council of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and on the board of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. Before relocating to Florida, she was president of the Contra Costa JCC, and on the boards of J., Contra Costa Jewish Day School and American Jewish Committee (San Francisco region). Horodas is an investor and hotelier. In 1995, he co-founded S.F.-based Greystone Hotels, a company that owns and  manages 12 hotels and four restaurants in California and Oregon. He also is a principal of Handro Properties and was a founding partner of the law firm Rubinstein and Perry law firm. Horodas is involved with the Anti-Defamation League, ADL Foundation, Friends of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and the Wilson Society at the University of Rochester, and he’s a trustee of the Oakland-based Horodas Family Foundation.

Katie Quinn
Katie Quinn

Katie Quinn is stepping down as executive director of independent San Francisco synagogue The Kitchen to become chief program officer of family life at the JCCSF. “When Katie arrived, while we were not short on charm, there weren’t many systems holding The Kitchen together organizationally. In just a few years, along with a stellar team, Katie built it all,” Rabbi Noa Kushner wrote in an email to the community. “Importantly, Katie did this genuinely, with her ever-present sunny affection that we all came to know, trust, and treasure. While we know we will see her in the years to come, we will surely miss her leadership and presence.”

Chelsea Mandell
Chelsea Mandell
Kayla Pollak
Kayla Pollak

Meanwhile, The Kitchen is bringing on two new staffers. Chelsea Mandell, a third-year student at the Academy of Jewish Religion in Los Angeles is the congregation’s new rabbinical student-in-residence. And Kayla Pollak, who previously served at Romemu congregation in New York City and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, is the new family education coordinator.

Ely Benhamo
Ely Benhamo

Ely Benhamo has been named OneTable’s first director of major gifts. Benhamo, who lives in San Francisco, spent the past six years with AIPAC, where she launched the Miami real estate division, San Francisco tech division and the AIPAC Coffee House initiative. Most recently, she was AIPAC’s East Bay and Sacramento director. She is also on the advisory board of Jewtina y Co. and a founding board member of the S.F. chapter of Jewish Women International’s Young Women’s Impact Network. OneTable helps Jewish young adults organize, host and attend group Shabbat dinners.​​

Quentin Kopp
Quentin Kopp

Retired Judge Quentin L. Kopp, 93, has been appointed by San Francisco Mayor London Breed to the War Memorial Board of Trustees. He replaces the late Wallace Levin, who died in July.  “Of the 11 members, I’m the only Korean War veteran, just as Wally was,” Kopp told J. The governing board of the War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco consists of 11 trustees, all appointed by the mayor. Kopp served as a San Francisco supervisor from 1971 to 1986, then was elected to the California Senate, serving three terms. He was then appointed a judge in San Mateo County, where he served until his retirement in 2004. He sits on four other boards: J., the Korean War Memorial Foundation, the California First Amendment Coalition and the Northern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. The War Memorial board, he said, is “the only one I don’t have to raise money for.”

Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto is welcoming two new staff members. Rabbi Dennis Eisner is the new director of institutional advancement and Joshua Krug is the new director of Jewish life and learning. Eisner, ordained at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, will lead strategic fundraising, “harness[ing] the energy of our students by highlighting their positive attributes as they pursue, and actually create, a better world,” he said in a press release. Krug, who recently earned a Ph.D. in education and Jewish studies, will provide pastoral care for students. “I am intrigued by the school leadership’s focus on and approach to the sacred practice of learning,” he said. “Kehillah feels like a laboratory for contemporary Jewish education and culture.”

The pro-Israel group StandWithUs has announced its 2021-22 student leaders. The college campus Emerson Fellows are Joshua Jankelow at Stanford University, Benjamin Mizrachi at UC Berkeley and Maiah Pardo at UC Santa Cruz. And the Kennet Leventhal High School Interns are Rachel Erlikhman at Carlmont High School in San Carlos, Carmel Raviv at Fremont High School in Sunnyvale, Akiva Pelta at Jewish Community High School of the Bay in San Francisco, Benjamin Reznikov at Lowell High School in San Francisco, Abigail Ozarov at Mountain View High School and Ranni Albert at Piedmont High School. Both programs train students to educate about Israel and combat antisemitism in their school communities.

Ranni Albert
Ranni Albert
Rachel Erlikhman
Rachel Erlikhman
Maiah Pardo
Maiah Pardo
Joshua Jankelow
Joshua Jankelow
Carmel Raviv
Carmel Raviv
Benjamin Mizrachi
Benjamin Mizrachi
Benjamin Reznikov
Benjamin Reznikov
Akiva Pelta
Akiva Pelta
Abigail Ozarov
Abigail Ozarov
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].