(From left) Doron Shefer, Noemie Kohn and Tal Barron are doing part of their Israeli national service at Gan Mah Tov preschool at Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland.
(From left) Doron Shefer, Noemie Kohn and Tal Barron are doing part of their Israeli national service at Gan Mah Tov preschool at Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland.

Honors, comings & goings, happenings, opportunities, philanthropy — Aug. 2022


Honors

Dara Pincas
Dara Pincas

Dara Pincas has been recognized by Savoy magazine as one of the “Most Influential Black Americans in Corporate America.” A lawyer and Berkeley resident, she is vice president of Healthcare Law Genentech, which provides health care law counseling to the pharmaceutical giant. She previously worked for Pfizer Inc. in a number of roles, including as general counsel of the Israel subsidiary, and did a clerkship in the Clinton White House. She serves on the boards of Contra Costa Jewish Day School, the JCC East Bay and the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, and is a 2022 Wexner Heritage Program Fellow. A native of New York, she lived with her husband, Oded, in Tel Aviv for eight years before the family moved to the East Bay five years ago.

Rabbi Stephen Pearce
Rabbi Stephen Pearce
Rabbi Sydney Mintz
Rabbi Sydney Mintz

Rabbi Stephen Pearce and Rabbi Sydney Mintz were honored Aug. 5 for their longtime service to Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco. Pearce, the synagogue’s rabbi emeritus, served as senior rabbi from 1993 to 2013 and has been in the rabbinate for 50 years. Mintz, senior associate rabbi, has been at Emanu-El since 1997 and has served in the rabbinate for 25 years.


Comings & Goings

Tzachi Rechter
Tzachi Rechter

Tzachi Rechter has been named the new head of school for Yavneh Day School in Los Gatos.  An Israeli native, Rechter moved to Silicon Valley with his wife and two adult children in 2015. An entrepreneur and business consultant as well as an educator, he has served on the boards of Jewish congregations in Hong Kong and Jewish high schools in Israel and the United States, including several years on the board of Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto.He holds an MBA from Northwestern University and a B.A. in Jewish education from Beit Berl College in Israel. Rechter will succeed Cindy Schlesinger, Yavneh’s immediate past head of school, and Saran Munson, the current interim head, starting on Nov. 1. Yavneh is an independent K-8 Jewish day school.

Hadas Rave
Hadas Rave

Hadas Rave is the new director of youth and family education at Congregation B’nai Shalom in Walnut Creek. Rave received the Helen Diller Family Award for Excellence in Jewish Education in 2017 and previously served as director of Jewish life at the Contra Costa Jewish Day School. “After 25 years in the field of Jewish education, I’ve learned so much about how Judaism can help us become the best version of ourselves,” said Rave in an email. “I am excited and honored to begin a new learning journey at Congregation B’nai Shalom!”

Rabbi Boruch and Mushka Hecht with their four daughters.
Rabbi Boruch and Mushka Hecht with their four daughters.

Rabbi Boruch and Mushka Hecht are joining Chabad of Costa Contra as youth directors, running children’s events and programming, including Chabad of Contra Costa’s Hebrew school; Camp Gan Israel; and Costa Contra’s local chapter of CTeen, the Chabad youth group. Boruch, Mushka and their four daughters previously lived in Bangkok, Thailand, and Long Beach, California, where they directed children’s programs and teen clubs and taught preschool.

Beth Jacob Congregation of Oakland welcomes three banot sherut (Israeli emissaries completing a year of national service by volunteering) to the Gan Mah Tov preschool and Beth Jacob communities: Doron Shefer, Noemie Kohn and Tal Barron. They will be working with Gan teachers to enhance the level of Jewish and Hebrew learning at the preschool and with Rav Shua Brick, director of family learning, to help out with Beth Jacob’s youth programming.

Deborah Lauter, the new director of the New York City Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, attends a news conference in Brooklyn to denounce the deadly hate crime shooting in Jersey City, N.J., Dec. 12, 2019. (Photo/JTA-Andrew Lichtenstein-Getty Images)
Deborah Lauter, then director of the New York City Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, attends a news conference in Brooklyn to denounce a deadly shooting in Jersey City, N.J., Dec. 12, 2019. (Photo/JTA-Andrew Lichtenstein-Getty Images)

UC Berkeley grad Deborah Lauter is the new executive director of the New York-based Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights. Prior to her current position, Lauter created and led the New York City Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes and served for 18 years in leadership positions at the Anti-Defamation League, including as senior vice president, where she oversaw the organization’s programs on civil rights and on Holocaust and anti-bias education. Previously she headed San Franciscans for Good Government. She is the daughter-in-law of the late Bob and Naomi Lauter, Bay Area Jewish leaders who were instrumental in building up the Northern California branch of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, among other Jewish and city-wide activities.

Melita Silberstein
Melita Silberstein
Stephanie Frankle
Stephanie Frankle
Sammy Kanofsky
Sammy Kanofsky

Wilderness Torah has three new staff members. Music specialist, educator, singer/songwriter and Jewish song leader Melita Silberstein now serves as the Family & Tots program manager and Stephanie Frankle as Avodah coordinator. Sammy Kanofsky, founder of SoulLight Ecotherapy, is the new youth programs manager.

Zohar Zanescu
Zohar Zanescu

Zohar Zanescu is the new Israel Fellow at Hillel of Silicon Valley. Zanescu has a B.A. in history and education from Haifa University and served in the Israel Defense Forces’ Home Front Command.


Happenings

Twenty Bay Area teenagers traveled to Israel for a special three-week summer seminar as part of the yearlong Diller Teen Fellows program, an immersive leadership opportunity for teens from across the world. Program participants include self-identified Jewish 10th and 11th graders selected for their leadership potential. “Being a Diller Fellow has been such a cool experience. It’s such a unique program, and through it I’ve met so many new people both in my local cohort and across the world,” said Mikaila Levine of San Rafael, according to a press release from the Helen Diller Family Foundation.

Mikaila Levine
Mikaila Levine

“It has opened my eyes to the differences in traditions and practices globally, but also has shown me the many similarities in what it means to be a Jew. I’ve loved being a part of this program and growing alongside teens from around the world!”


Opportunities

The Jewish Family and Children’s Services Holocaust Center is accepting applications for its Pell and Manovill University Fellowships. Pell and Manovill Fellows support Holocaust Center programming, create innovative lesson plans, mentor students, form relationships with Holocaust and genocide survivors and lead engaging discussions. Paid positions, the fellowships offer course credit on completion and are available to undergraduate and graduate students studying in California. The application deadline is Sept. 19.

The Northern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame is accepting applications for two student athlete scholarships: the Aerial Gilbert Award and Dennis Brown Mensch Award. Applicants for the Aerial Gilbert Award must identify as Jewish or acknowledge their Jewish heritage and have overcome significant life obstacles to be eligible. Non-Jewish students are eligible to apply for the Dennis Brown Mensch Award, which is given to a student with an outstanding academic, athletic and community service record who epitomizes the concept of tikkun olam — defined as “repairing the world through generosity and charitable service to the community at large.” Both scholarships are available only to high school students graduating in 2023. Application deadline is Sept. 16.

JFCS is offering palliative care volunteer training as part of its Seniors At Home program. Volunteers will learn the Jewish values and customs behind bikkur cholim (providing comfort and support to the sick) and how to provide support and service to people of all ages with serious illness and those at the end of life. Mandatory training takes place over three sessions over the course of a week, starting Sept. 14. The training fee is $180; however scholarships are available, and no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

The Mitzvah Project, a Holocaust/social justice-themed, theatrical-educational program, is recruiting four highly skilled performing artists who are descendants of Holocaust survivors. They will be trained by award-winning director Nancy Carlin and Mitzvah Project founder Roger Grunwald to become Teaching Artists and present the Mitzvah Project at high schools, colleges, synagogues, churches and Holocaust centers, locally and around the U.S. The program is funded in part by the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund of the Bay Area and the Posen Foundation of Israel.


Philanthropy

The San Francisco–based Jewish Film Institute announced the recipients in its third cycle of JFI Completion Grants, with $75,000 in funding distributed to six independent documentary film projects. The grants provide resources for filmmakers completing the final stages of their films. “We are thrilled to support this beautiful and impactful group of documentaries,” JFI said in a statement. “In these tumultuous times, we were buoyed by the creativity, passion and breadth of ideas expressed across the films in consideration. It’s a multi-generational slate composed of several different styles of filmmaking, but all with a commitment to using the media of non-fiction cinema to move people and make a positive impact on the world.”

 

Lea Loeb
Lea Loeb

Lea Loeb is J.'s editorial assistant.