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Deaths for the week of Feb. 4, 2022

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

Marjorie L. Akselrad

Aug. 3, 1928–Jan. 31, 2022

Marjorie L. Akselrad
Marjorie L. Akselrad

Marjorie L. Akselrad, age 93, of Palo Alto, CA, died peacefully on Jan. 31, 2022.

Marjorie (Marge) was born in August 1928 to loving parents, Rebecca and Solomon Rosenberg of Eugene, Oregon.

Marge earned a BA in Business Administration from UC Berkeley. She was in college before it was customary for women to go to college. She graduated in 3 years. Marge said her favorite subject was Bridge, a card game she loved to play throughout her life. She made many lifelong friends while spending time at the Palo Alto bridge club. Marge was a life master bridge player.

Marge loved “old” movies. TCM was one of her favorite TV stations. She was a voracious reader, being designated by the Mitchell Park Head Librarian as the most read citizen in Palo Alto. She was also an avid sports fan of the San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors. She also cheered on Berkeley’s football team and was an Oregon Duck fanatic as well.

Marge was the proud matriarch of a large extended family. She had yearly “cousins” family get-togethers where family members would gather and catch up. Everyone looked forward to the annual event.

Marge had a sympathetic ear and sage advice for those who sought it. Some of her euphemisms were: “There’s no substitute for time,” “The complaint department is closed” (while raising four children – this came in handy!), “Don’t let others have power over you,” and “Doormats get walked on.” Marge was an empathetic listener and a true champion of her children.

In 1953, Marge met Rabbi Sidney Akselrad through a mutual friend. Within 3 months they were married. Marge and Sidney shared common beliefs and values, which they instilled in their children. With Marge’s full support, Sidney became a prominent civil rights activist. They had a very happy marriage until Rabbi Akselrad’s passing in 2006. Marge was devoted to Sidney and to their four children.

Marge is survived by her children Audrey Akselrad Smith of Sunnyvale, CA; Deena Shi (Ed) of Brentwood, CA; Rabbi Sanford D. Akselrad (Joni) of Henderson, NV, and Lisa Akselrad (Cindy Stalkup) of Fremont, CA. In addition to her children, Marge is survived by her niece, Heidi Becker, great-niece, Jessica Hecox, six grandchildren, Linda Smith, Caitlin Smith Castelino, Michelle Costa, Rebecca Shi, CJ Akselrad, and Sam Akselrad, as well as three great-grandchildren, Genevieve Akselrad, Amelia Costa, and Rylan Castelino.

Private services were held at Hills of Eternity Memorial Park in Colma, CA. A memorial service will be livestreamed at a later date.

Donations in Marjorie’s memory can be made to: The Rabbi Akselrad Lecture Fund, Congregation Beth Am, Jewish Family and Children’s Services and Parents Helping Parents.

May Marjorie L. Akselrad’s memory be a blessing.

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Jerome Victor Blum

May 4, 1929–Jan. 24, 2022

Jerome Victor Blum
Jerome Victor Blum

Dr. Jerome Victor Blum, known as Jerry to his family and friends, passed away a few months shy of his 93rd birthday on Jan. 24, 2022 in the comfort of his own home, surrounded by Jocelyn, his loving wife of nearly 65 years, and his four children.

Jerry was born on May 4, 1929 in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was the youngest of three children born to Yetta and Joseph Blum, both of whom were immigrants from Eastern Europe.

After graduating with a B.A. from Columbia College in 1949, Jerry received his M.D. from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1955 and then completed his internship at the University of Wisconsin. In 1956, he enlisted in the US Naval Forces and was sent to the Great Lakes Naval Station for training. Later that year, he met his wife, Jocelyn Ticko, who was a student at University of Wisconsin. They were married one year later in 1957 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Shortly after their wedding, the Blums relocated to Camp Pendleton in Southern California, where Jerry served as a US Naval officer attached to the US Marine Corps.

In 1959, Jerry began his ophthalmology residency at Tulane University (Charity Hospital) in New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1961, he was a Retina Fellow at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1962, the Blum family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Jerry established his private practice in ophthalmology. In 1967, Jerry and Jocelyn returned to California and for the next 30 years he was in private practice in Santa Clara. In the early 1990s, he instructed Stanford University medical residents at Valley Medical Center in San Jose.

In addition to his family, Jerry’s greatest passion was to deliver the highest quality health care to patients who may not otherwise have access. In his private practice, he often provided care on a pro bono basis to patients who did not have the financial means or health insurance to cover their care. Over several decades, he also developed and led his own volunteer medical care missions to China (1981), Israel (1991), the Czech Republic (1992) and Bosnia Herzegovina (1995).

Jerry was deeply passionate about Veterans Affairs and worked tirelessly to raise visibility for this cause. In 2007, he submitted a proposal to his local state senator, Joe Simitian, who held an annual “It Oughta Be a Law” contest. Jerry proposed legislation requiring mandatory screening and treatment for veterans returning from tours in Afghanistan and Iraq for traumatic brain injuries and PTSD. This proposed legislation became law in the State of California in 2008. In 2010, Jerry received the Jefferson Award for public service to honor his efforts on behalf of veterans and the passage of this legislation in California.

Jerry lived a beautiful, inspirational life that was filled with meaning and purpose. He gave his heart and soul to his family, friends, patients and community. Throughout his life, he was deeply committed to social justice and advocating for those whose voices may not be readily heard. Jerry was known for his sense of humor and his love for people. His intellectual curiosity and lifelong passion for learning kept him forever young at heart.

In the local community, Jerry was an active member of Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos for nearly 55 years. He also spent countless hours playing tennis with friends at the Foothills Tennis and Swimming Club in Palo Alto over the course of five decades, playing into his late 80s. In addition, he was a passionate fan of the local sports teams and loved to attend games with his family and friends, cheering on his beloved 49ers, Giants, Warriors and Stanford Cardinal.

Jerry was buried on Jan. 27, 2022, the date which also marks the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on what is now known as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Although not a survivor himself, his life work was deeply influenced by his commitment to keep alive the memories of those who perished in the Holocaust and in other genocides.

Jerry is survived by his wife, Jocelyn; his children – Heather (Roberto) Rosenkranz, Jon Blum, Jason Blum and Peter (Hillary) Blum; his grandchildren – Tamara (Patrick) Lawler, Adrian Rosenkranz, Monica Rosenkranz, Isabel Blum, Alexandra Blum, Shayna Blum and Noah Blum; and his (big) sister, Shirley Perlman.

The past four months in hospice care (at home) were his final gift to his family – and his family is so grateful to have shared this “bonus” time with him and together as a family. The family also has the deepest gratitude and appreciation for his caregivers, who gave so selflessly to lovingly care for him in these last months.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be sent to either the Pathways Foundation for Hospice Care (pathwayshealth.org), the Rabbi Akselrad Lecture Series Fund at Congregation Beth Am (betham.org/june2021-fif) or the Research Fund for Dr. Edward Damrose at Stanford University (medicalgiving.stanford.edu and write in “In Memory of Dr. Jerome Blum/Damrose Research Fund” as the “Other Designation”).

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John Avery Franklin

Dec. 6, 1941–Jan. 21, 2022

John Avery Franklin 
John Avery Franklin

John Avery Franklin passed away in his Marin County home on Jan. 21 at the age of 80. He died after a three-month fight with esophageal cancer.

He was surrounded by family during his final week, showered with love and support. He led the way with acceptance and humor during this challenging time, making his family laugh until the very end.

John is survived by his wife, Nora Contini; his two children, Jeremy Franklin and Emma Stubbs, and their spouses, Elise Franklin and George Stubbs. He was a passionate husband and an incredible father.

John will be remembered for his easy smile, his sense of humor, his love of classic cars, his Hawaiian shirts, his natural charm, his deep knowledge of plants and landscaping, his stripy socks and iconic glasses, his deep sense of loyalty, and the pride he had for his wife and children.

Hannah Philippine Greendorfer

Feb. 22, 1933–Jan. 2, 2022

Hannah Philippine Greendorfer (nee Laschanky) passed away on Jan. 2, 2022 at the age of 88. Hannah was born in the former Czechoslovakia, in the small village of Teplitz-Schönau, to her beloved parents Rudolf and Margarethe (nee Schorr).

Not long after her birth, her family was forced to move due to nascent Nazi activity in the region. First relocating to her father’s village of Klatovy, Hannah and her family continued to be persecuted and ultimately relocated to Prague.

Nazi forces invaded Prague in 1939 and Hannah’s family was targeted for extermination. Due to the fact that Hannah’s paternal grandfather had briefly lived in the United States in the 1800s, and obtained citizenship at that time, the Nazis realized that Hannah’s father had more value to them alive, as he could travel to the United States, a place he had never been before, to claim citizenship, which he did in the early 1940s, leaving his entire family behind in an attempt to save them from death camps.

While her father was in the United States to obtain legal citizenship and, hopefully, safe passage out of Nazi occupation in Europe, SS soldiers abducted Hannah, at age 8, and her mother from their apartment in Prague and then separated the two. Though Hannah never spoke about her memories of this horrific time, her mother provided details of Nazi soldiers executing Jews in the streets of Prague in front of Hannah and forcing her to play in Jewish cemeteries, and the trauma of the Holocaust was something that affected Hannah her entire life.

In the course of the year that her father was in the United States to save his family, Hannah and her mother were held in Nazi custody in various locations and camps. At the same time, the Nazis decided that only Hannah and her mother, and not the rest of the family, would be spared execution. Thanks to the efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Europe and the Swiss consulate in Prague, Hannah and her mother, after being held by Nazis for over a year, received permission to leave Europe in exchange for German nationals being held by the United States. Hannah was put on a train in Prague alone to meet her mother in Liebenau, Germany (a camp where she was being held), and they would then travel across war-torn Europe to Portugal. At the Liebenau stop, Hannah’s mother couldn’t locate her daughter; after frantically searching the train three times, she ultimately found young Hannah curled up under a seat on a train with a doll in her hand. They were reunited for travel through the heart of World War II Europe to Lisbon, where they then boarded the SS Drottningholm to Ellis Island. Shortly after Hannah and her mother left Europe, the rest of her extended family was rounded up and killed in the Theresienstadt and Treblinka death camps.

Though neither Hannah nor her parents spoke English, or even knew anything about the United States, and there were no government programs to provide language, financial or other assistance to refugees or immigrants, the family made its way to Seattle, Washington, where they established a new life.

It didn’t take long for Hannah to learn English and assimilate into American culture, and she soon made lifelong friends in Seattle’s Jewish community. Hannah excelled in school and was one of the few women to study to become a pharmacist at the University of Washington.

Through one of her close friends, Hannah was introduced to Leonard Greendorfer, and she moved to San Francisco to marry him. Hannah and Leonard wasted no time in starting a family, first with son Samuel Henry, then Marc Arthur and finally Lynne Michelle.

Though she faced many types of discrimination, Hannah quickly rose to the top of her profession and remained a trusted and respected pharmacist for the duration of her life, all while raising three rowdy children and making a home for her family. Hannah loved being involved in religion and was a cornerstone of the family synagogue, Temple B’nai Israel in Daly City, where she was active in the sisterhood and was famous for her cooking skills. Anyone who ever frequented the old Gemco in Colma was sure to have known Hannah, who was synonymous with the pharmacy there, and doctors across the Bay Area knew and respected her as a trusted and compassionate pharmacist.

Hannah and Leonard loved to travel both domestically and internationally and were fortunate enough to be able to explore Europe multiple times, Asia (including Japan, where Leonard served at the conclusion of World War II) and Israel as frequently as possible. In fact, the last international trip Hannah and Leonard took together was to Israel.

Hannah’s greatest joy was family and everyone in the family looked forward to Hannah’s famous meals, from the kreplach, matzo ball soup and brisket at Pesach to chopped liver and latkes at Hanukkah to her amazing homemade dill pickles throughout the year. In a nod to her European roots, Hannah could cook a roasted duck, red cabbage and potato dumplings that would make her Czech family proud.

Hannah was the ultimate Jewish mother (both to her own children as well as the community) and to her last breath, focused on the well-being and happiness of her three kids. It is no exaggeration to say that Hannah was everyone’s mother, and she had an endless ability to both care for, and set straight, anyone she met.

Hannah was predeceased by her husband Leonard in 2020 and is survived by her sister, Ellen, sons Sam (Cathy Greendorfer) and Marc (Lauri Moss) and daughter Lynne Greendorfer-Castillo, her granddaughter Lee Ann Greendorfer and grandsons Joshua David Greendorfer (Chelsea Greendorfer) and Michael Castillo, as well her sister-in-law Gayle Miller and numerous nephews and nieces.

A family service was held at Eternal Home in Colma. Hannah was not as vociferous with her politics as her husband was (as witnessed by his obituary), but she was passionate about Judaism and Zionism. The reestablishment of the Jewish homeland of Israel gave Hannah great comfort that her people would never again be without a safe haven or a means to defend itself. One of the few things that caused Hannah to speak out was the recent trend of invoking Nazism for political purposes, especially by her fellow Democrats when it came to the current political environment. Whether you were on the left or the right, Hannah would have chastised you for comparing political differences to the absolute evil of Nazism and the Holocaust.

In lieu of flowers, Hannah’s family suggests charitable donations to Chabad of the Tri-Valley, where Hannah was a proud congregant: tinyurl.com/cha-tv-donate.

Gary L. Koppel

Jan. 19, 1952–Jan. 9, 2022

Gary L. Koppel
Gary L. Koppel

On Jan. 9, 2022, Gary L. Koppel of Oakley, California, entered into his final rest.

A native of San Francisco, Gary was born to Gerda and Matthew Koppel. He received his bachelor’s degree in business from the University of California, Berkeley, and his doctorate in jurisprudence from the University of California, Hastings, College of Law.

Gary was an intellectual. He practiced law for a few years but felt one could “only get as much justice as they could afford.” However, the theoretical discussion of law was something he could sit and discuss for hours over bottomless cups of coffee. His career transitioned to computer programming, where he worked until his retirement.

Gary was a man of his word. If he said he would do something, you could count on it getting done. He was a good conversationalist and good at getting those around him talking.

Gary was a thoughtful and generous person and loved being around family, attending all family events. Gary had a fondness for stray cats and rescued many over the years.

Gary is survived by his longtime partner, his brother and sister, and four nephews.

He will live forever in our fond memories.

Donations are appreciated to East Bay Animal Rescue and Refuge (ebarr.org).

Jean Milgram

Jean Milgram
Jean Milgram

On Sunday, January 23, 2022, Jean Milgram, a child of the Holocaust, passed away peacefully at the age of 101. For those who knew her, Jean was an exceptionally special, selfless and loving person who will be dearly missed by everyone who had the good fortune to know her. Born in Gherla, Romania, in its Transylvanian region that had been annexed from Hungary just three years prior to her birth, Jean was raised ethnically Hungarian in the Jewish faith, and spoke both Hungarian and Romanian.

Jean evaded the Nazi invasion of Romania by embarking from France aboard a ship bound for the United States with the help of her uncle in 1939. Despite her hopes of reuniting with her in the USA, Jean’s mother soon perished in Auschwitz following the German occupation of Romania in 1940. Arriving in New York alone and penniless, Jean learned to quickly embrace her new country. “All of the people that complain about living in America didn’t have to go through what I went through in Romania.” Jean told J. (the Jewish Bulletin) in a 2002 interview. “If you were Jewish and lived in Romania during the war, you wouldn’t have a chance to complain. From the moment I got here, I never once complained about living in America.” Living in New York, Jean soon met her future husband, Leopold Milgram, with whom she shared her Hungarian-Romanian roots. Moving to Los Angeles and eventually settling in San Francisco in 1957, Jean found employment as a bookkeeper at the upper-scale I. Magnin department store. Jean joined her husband in retirement in 1985, only to lose her beloved Leo later that same year.

At age 80, Jean was still spry enough to be walking five miles a day, and often engaged in her favorite pastime of playing a mean game of Scrabble and reading a novel every week. Not wishing to sit idle, Jean took up volunteering full time, ushering at both the War Memorial Opera House and the San Francisco Symphony and running the gift shop at Kaiser Hospital. Knitting blankets and beanies for newborn infants, volunteering at the San Francisco Food Bank and at Seniors Plus and the JCC of San Francisco, Jean also found the time to be actively involved with Hadassah.

Jean desired to travel, and by finding a companion in her friend Martin Jacobs, they journeyed and saw the world together. Jacobs began joining her on cruises in 2000, sailing together to China, Japan, even Iwo Jima, among other places. In 2017, Jean was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was given months to live. “Apparently she had an angel watching over her,” said her doctor. Jean refused any treatment and continued living her life to the fullest. Jean is survived by a great many devoted friends.

Steven Robert Tulkin

May 29, 1943–Jan. 17, 2022

Steven Robert Tulkin 
Steven Robert Tulkin

With tremendous sorrow, we announce the passing of distinguished psychologist Dr. Steven Tulkin, joyfully-loved husband, father, stepfather, grandfather and invaluable friend. Steve left this world peacefully and surrounded by love at his home in San Mateo at the age of 78. His family, friends, colleagues and patients cherished him for his remarkable perceptiveness of the human heart and his unfailing ability to find wisdom, dignity and healing in every human dilemma. His quiet brilliance and intellectual curiosity found expression in academia and in clinical practice, and his deep insight was treasured by all who knew him.

Judaism shaped Steve’s life and comforted him in his struggle against cancer, along with the devoted care he received from his wife, Sydney, and the countless acts of love and support provided by other family members, friends, clergy, medical professionals, Peninsula Temple Beth El and the wider community.

Steve was born in the Bronx and raised in Hyattsville, Maryland. Parents were David and Mae Tulkin, his mother’s family having fled Russia in 1912, and his father being the first American-born in his family. Younger sister Susan and Steve were close, sharing a contagious sense of humor until Susan/Shoshana’s death in 2012.

In January 1991, Patricia Landman, Steve’s wife and mother of their two young sons, David and Joshua, passed away. They shared many adventures at home and abroad.  Throughout their years together, Steve was a loving and caregiving husband to Pat.

In 1992, Steve married Sydney Kapchan, and with their three sons, David and Joshua Tulkin and Joel Nickerson, they made a new home for their family. Steve loved his “boys,” and from their sports events to career milestones, Steve was their cherished father and stepfather; later, a supportive father-in-law and doting grandfather. Steve’s twinkle and his reputation for the best grilled Thanksgiving turkey and the most scrumptious latkes remain unparalleled.

While in high school, Steve was regional president of AZA, and as an undergraduate at U. of Maryland, he spearheaded creation of a new fraternity. After graduation in 1965, Steve attended Harvard University, earning a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1969. In 2002, Steve earned a postdoctoral M.S. in clinical psychopharmacology from the California School of Professional Psychology.

Dr. Tulkin’s prodigious career spanned six decades, garnering the highest respect and honors from his colleagues.  Although he earned tenure and published more than 60 scholarly articles, it was in his clinical work that Steve found his greatest professional satisfaction; he continued to see patients until shortly before his death.

Dr. Tulkin was a professor of psychology at the University of New York at Buffalo from 1970-1978.  He was awarded two Senior Fulbright Lectureships: teaching at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, and later at Chiang Mai University in Thailand.  In 1978, Dr. Tulkin became Chief Psychologist of Behavioral Medicine at Kaiser Permanente at Hayward Medical Center, where he served for 21 years, co-creating the country’s first model of integrated behavioral and primary care medicine, in addition to directing Kaiser’s pain management and chemical dependency programs.  After retiring from Kaiser, for the next 16 years, Dr. Tulkin directed a national program at CSPP/Alliant University in which psychologists earned postdoctoral master of science degrees in clinical psychopharmacology. Working tirelessly with colleagues to change laws, so that psychologists with this degree could help thousands of underserved people receive necessary comprehensive health care, led to successes throughout the U.S., including Indian Health Services, and in New Zealand and South Africa.

He was an innovator and leader in the American Psychological Association, California Psychological Association and the San Mateo County Psychological Association. Upon retirement, he was awarded the distinction of Professor Emeritus by Alliant University; he also served as adjunct professor of psychology for Stanford Medical School.

To know Steve was to experience his singular focus when listening to and understanding others. His appreciation and curiosity extended to a love of cultures around the world. He shared his love of travel with Sydney; the two of them traveled to every continent. His commitment to his family was absolute. He was also a strong supporter of Israel, particularly in his volunteer work with the New Israel Fund. His excitement about and loyalty to the Oakland As was unwavering.

Above all, Steve’s full presence in body, mind, heart and spirit was profound.

Survivors include his wife, Sydney Kapchan, sons David Tulkin and Joshua Tulkin (Annie), stepson Rabbi Joel Nickerson (Julia), niece Laura Shimer Hinkle (J.R.), and grandchildren Porter, Finnley and Luck Tulkin, Patricia Tulkin, and Ella, Kayla and Rebecca Nickerson.

Donations would be appreciated to Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo, to the New Israel Fund or to the charity of your choice.

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