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

Death announcements for the week of Sept. 16, 2022

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

Harlene Backman

Harlene Backman
Harlene Backman

We regret to inform you of the passing of our dear mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Harlene Backman, a”h, 84 years old, Batsheva Shoshana bat Menashe.

Devoted wife of 55 years to Harvey, z”l; loving daughter of Monty and Julie and granddaughter of Jennie; loving and devoted mother to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A native San Franciscan, she attended Lincoln High School.

Our beloved mother was a very caring, loving and kind individual. Vivacious with a wonderful personality and contagious smile, Harlene was loved by everyone and greeted everyone by name.

Harlene was known for her beautiful poetry (recently published) which highlighted God, nature and her love for humanity. She loved to paint, dance, sing and listen to music.

Harlene worked in her younger years at the Emporium and then by her husband Harvey’s side at their pharmacy in Marin County.

Harlene and Harvey moved to New York City in 2007. At the Atria assisted living, they enjoyed Shabbat services and meals together with the other residents as well as all of the activities.

Harlene was a member of the Sisterhood of Beth Israel Judea in San Francisco, the Rebekahs of the Odd Fellows and the Shalom Club, and was very active in the Jewish community in San Francisco and New York.

Our mother was truly one-of-a-kind. She loved life and wanted everyone around her to experience joy and happiness. Phone calls to friends and family always ended with “So long, I love you.” May she rest eternally in peace with God.

Donations may be made to RiverdaleHatzalah.org

Carole Breen

July 24, 1936–Aug. 3, 2022

Carole Breen
Carole Breen

Carole passed away at the age of 86 on Aug. 3 with her loving husband of 65 years, Marvin, at her side. Born in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, Carole was raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, and attended Sophie Newcomb (Tulane) University, later completing her master’s degree at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University.

Longtime resident of Tiburon, Carole was very active in the S.F. Bay Area Jewish community. She served as the first executive director of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund, board member of American Jewish Committee and president of the board of Jewish Family and Children’s Service. Carole was a docent at the Asian Art Museum for over 40 years. Fluent in French, Carole cherished her regular “French group” meetings.

Carole was the loving mother of Robin and Don Moses of Mill Valley, and Neff Breen and Ken Anderson of Lisbon, Portugal. She was the beloved Nonie to her granddaughters Sarah and Aimee, the lights of her life. Carole’s enthusiasm for learning, passion for social justice, unbridled energy and humor will be forever missed by her family and wide circle of devoted friends. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the San Francisco Asian Art Museum.

Sally Brown

Dec. 26, 1927–Aug. 31, 2022

Sally Brown
Sally Brown

Sally Brown, a beloved resident of Livermore, died on Aug. 31, 2022 at the age of 94.

Miss Sally, as she was fondly called, was known to many for her fierce determination, her generosity and her volunteerism.

Sally was born on Dec. 26, 1927 in New York City, the daughter of Arthur Ray Brown and Bertha Losak Maderas Brown. She grew up in the Ferrer Colony, an anarchist community in Stelton, New Jersey, attending the Modern School. She graduated from the New Jersey College for Women, and earned a master’s in education from Rutgers University.

Sally was a much-loved elementary school teacher in Livermore (known to her students at the time as Mrs. Feinberg) from 1964 until her retirement. She then began a new career as an attorney, graduating from the JFK School of Law in 1992. For seven years she served as a volunteer attorney for Legal Services for Seniors.

Sally was a recognizable presence in Livermore: at concerts at the Bankhead, listening to music at the farmer’s market, attending community events, shopping at thrift shops and walking everywhere. She had a regular gig singing folk songs at the VA Medical Center in Livermore.

Sally was a devoted longtime member of Congregation Beth Emek from its days in Livermore, and generously supported the building of the synagogue in Pleasanton. Sally loved to sing in the Beth Emek choir, knit with the Crafters group and compose hysterically funny parodies for the synagogue’s annual Purim celebration. She was an avid participant in the synagogue’s Torah study group, and had a favorite seat in the sanctuary (“that’s where Sally sits”) for worship services.

Sally was best known for her outspokenness and her sense of justice. Her passion and her integrity earned her the admiration of all.

Sally was preceded in death by her daughter Judy Feinberg, and is survived by daughters BJ Bernette and Susan Feinberg, son Marvin Freedman, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial service was held at Congregation Beth Emek in Pleasanton. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Congregation Beth Emek or a charity of your choice.

Micah David Bycel

July 19, 1980–Aug. 27, 2022

Micah David Bycel
Micah David Bycel

Micah entered the world on early Shabbat morning, July 19, 1980, and his parents. Judy Pam-Bycel and Lee Bycel, were ecstatic about the birth of their first son. Even in his early years, one could see that he had a distinct sensitivity, warmth, joy and presence, qualities that would endure throughout his life. This man, full of heart and love, died suddenly at the age of 42 on Shabbat afternoon, Aug. 27. He is mourned by his wife, Liat; his children Eva (8) and Levi (6); his brother Moti (Danielle); his parents Judy and Lee; his nieces and nephews, his entire family; and many, many friends. Micah mindfully and intentionally shaped a life that was a chorus of meaning, purpose, enjoyment, and gratitude. His composition was tragically ended, but the resonance of the melodies of life he created live on and impact all who knew him.

He grew up in Mar Vista, California. His childhood was filled with many wonderful moments at Stephen Wise Day School, Windward High School, Mar Vista Park and his many summers at Camp Swig and Camp Newman. He deeply resonated with the living Judaism he experienced there which had a lifelong impact on him. What was abundantly clear was how engaged he was in all that he did, from playing piano, to pitching on the baseball diamond, to hanging out with his friends, to his passion for photography and his role as a leader. He was his high school’s graduation speaker, and he received an award for All Around Excellence. He was anchored in values of respect and kindness, had an inherent humility and understood that the most important acts in life are the everyday ones.

Micah was 2½ years old when his younger brother Moti was born. As kids, they thrilled in all they did together — playing games, riding bikes, hanging out on Stoner Ave., going to Dodgers games, and wrestling in some intense brotherly matches. The two remained best friends and close throughout Micah’s life. Micah was Moti’s role model and hero, and Micah adored his little brother and was inspired by the balanced and thoughtful way Moti had shaped his life. Micah attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and spent his junior year at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He felt so rooted in Israel that it became his second home, even with his deep concern about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After finishing his undergraduate studies in history, he went to live on Kibbutz Lotan in the Negev.

After returning from Israel, Micah was admitted to the prestigious Coro program — a yearlong intensive course to shape future leaders with the knowledge, skills and networks to accelerate positive change in all sectors of society. He credits the rigorous program with teaching him how to think strategically, expansively and creatively and then synthesize his thoughts into focused actions. At a New Year’s Eve party at the end of 2003, Micah met Liat (daughter of Elaine and Rami Shani), and the connection was deep and magical. In 2007 they moved to New York where Micah earned a master’s degree from NYU. They were married in 2008. They shared a life rooted in Jewish values, the sacredness of life and laughter. Liat’s words at their wedding so well captured him: “Micah is thoughtful, understanding, and loving. I love his curiosity about life, his love of friends, his critical thinking. I love his personality and his ability to flourish in so many different situations.” The two of them truly brought the best out in each other, and all who knew them marveled at their understanding, support, communication and ever-growing love. In 2014, their daughter Eva was born, followed a few years later with the birth of their son Levi. They shaped a loving, nurturing and fun-filled home in San Francisco and then in Lafayette, where they spent time as a family and with friends enjoying the delights of the Bay Area. Micah’s schedule allowed him the flexibility to spend lots of meaningful time with the kids. He took great pleasure in walking them to school, taking them to activities, volunteering as room parent and coach, and playing creative games with them and with Liat raising two amazing kids. Micah had a fulfilling career at Metrovation. He contributed much to the company and took great pride in his role in creating Hotel SLO in San Luis Obispo. He oversaw the project and worked tirelessly and collaboratively with his partners to create a hotel that reflects both Micah and Metrovation — welcoming, beautiful and graciously embracing, a hotel which is known for high-quality guest services.

One of Micah’s great passions was the Dodgers. For Micah it was more than being a fan, it was a way of life with great interest in the powerful rituals, the nuances of the game, history and intense spirit shared with Moti and Lee when they celebrated a World Series win in 2020. He also was proud of the Dodgers’ history of diversity and inclusion.

Since Micah’s death, the outpouring of love and comments has been astounding and deeply affecting. Hundreds of people attended his funeral, with over a thousand more attending on Zoom. The words attributed to him — great friend, deeply caring, always present and mindful, curious, joyous, funny — all the magnificent words used to describe him would have embarrassed him. He was humble, a person who was mindful of his own flaws. He only wanted people to fully embrace life, to laugh with friends and family, and do a bit more to transform the world each day.

The poet Ingersoll speaking decades ago while mourning his brother said, “He added to the sum of human joy; and were everyone to whom he did some loving service to bring a blossom to his grave, he would sleep to-night beneath a wilderness of flowers.”

Micah, too, in his wonderful way added to the sum of human joy. All those he encountered in his personal and professional lives will always hold him in their hearts. He too will sleep under a wilderness of flowers. How grateful we are to have known this extraordinary man. Our hearts are broken by his death because we loved him so much and always knew we were loved by him. The music of his well-lived life will long endure.

Lynne Dianne Raider

July 5, 1943–Aug. 26, 2022

Lynne Dianne Raider
Lynne Dianne Raider

Lynne Raider was born in New York, raised in Mobile, Alabama, but was predominantly, and proudly, a San Franciscan.

Beloved by all who knew her, Lynne touched many with her charitable nature, her love for art, music, birding, tennis (especially Roger Federer) and good food, and for her joyous and independent spirit.

A proud UC Berkeley grad, Lynne spent many years working in retail, and then Pacific Bell, from which she retired. In a time when it was extremely uncommon, she raised her only child, Melinna, as a single mother.

In recent years, Lynne became a strong advocate for Parkinson’s disease research, participating in many studies and conferences to help search for a cure.

Although she was raised with a brother and sister (David Raider and Paula Raider, both of blessed memory) she discovered two years ago that she had a half sister, Joyce Hamersmith, living in Miami. In July, Lynne visited Joyce, met her entire new extended family and dipped her toes in the Gulf Coast waters one last time.

Lynne is survived by her daughter, Melinna Gershik and son-in-law Adam Hanin; her grandchildren Sam and Sarah Gershik and Arianna and Alexandra Hanin; and her sister Joyce Hamersmith.

Donations in her memory may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation; Food Runners; Springhill Avenue Temple, Mobile, AL; UC Berkeley (Go Bears!); or any cause that will make the world a better place.

Sinai Memorial
(415) 921-3636

Barbara (Babs) Schrager

Jan. 29, 1932–Sept. 9, 2022

Barbara (Babs) Katz Schrager
Barbara (Babs) Katz Schrager

Barbara (Babs) Katz Schrager passed away on Sept. 9, 2022. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Donald Schrager, parents Benjamin and Sophie Katz, sister Ardis (Murray) Miller, daughters Dyanne Krasow, Beverly Beck and grandson Joshua Weintraub.

Babs is survived by her youngest daughter Sidney (Steven) Weintraub of Cary, NC, grandchildren Daniel Krasow of Brooklyn, NY, Erin (Joe) Glauberman of San Francisco, Barry (Leandra) Krasow of Jamestown, CA, Joel (Chi) Weintraub of Raleigh, NC, Rebekah Weintraub of Austin, TX, Nathaniel Weintraub of Sarasota, FL, great-grandchildren Beatrice, Norman and Goldie Glauberman, Sylvia Weintraub, William Dean Krasow, niece Wendee (Ivan) Cutler of Greensboro, NC and other extended family and friends.

Born in Portland, OR, and raised in San Francisco, Babs graduated from Lowell High School. Later in life she began a very successful real estate career on the San Francisco Peninsula. She had a wonderful, adventurous life until dementia stole her life many years ago.

Aside from being very family-oriented, she was a dear friend to many. Babs was always well put together and fashion conscious. She was well traveled and loved staying in the finest hotels. She valued etiquette and how to be a good friend and house guest. Her chopped liver was drooled over at family gatherings.

Donations can be made in her name to a charity of your choice.

A private family burial has already taken place.

Sinai Memorial Chapel
(650) 369-3636

Norma Jean Siegel

Aug. 1, 1924–Aug. 16, 2022

Norma Jean Siegel
Norma Jean Siegel

It is with great sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of our dear mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend, Norma Jean Siegel, who was surrounded with love by her devoted family. We will forever feel blessed to have celebrated her 98th birthday with her on Aug, 1.

Norma was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, during the Depression, to Sam and Gussie Rudorfer.  When Norma was 14 years old, her father passed unexpectedly. Her beloved mother, Gussie, the matriarch of the family, instilled the values of hard work, the importance of family, and being a strong and independent woman. These were the characteristics that made Norma that “one of a kind” personality and role model to her family and friends.

Norma was one of seven siblings, who were all brought out to California by her beloved brother, Max Rudorfer. They lived on a chicken ranch in Petaluma for several years before making their way to San Francisco. On a blind date at the age of 19, Norma met the love of her life, the dashing Army officer and veterinarian, Dr. Ernest Siegel. They worked to successfully open and run several pet hospitals from San Francisco to San Mateo. Later in life, they started a pet store business in the Hillsdale Shopping Center. Norma was a smart businesswoman and entrepreneur, with a love of all animals and a talent for sales.

Eventually, they settled in the Peninsula and made a wonderful life together. Norma and Ernie enjoyed a loving and happy marriage of 62 years, traveling the world, enjoying the beauty of art and music, and celebrating Jewish traditions with family and dear friends. Sadly, sixteen years ago, Norma’s beloved Ernie passed away. Norma carried on and made the best life she could for herself with the love and support of her family and many friends. She left a legacy of love and devotion for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who were her “everything in life.”

She will be dearly missed by her children Rise and Marty Cherin, Joyce Bartel and Jerry Burstein, grandchildren Kim and Andrew Oliff, Stacy and Tony Leo, Michael and Chelsea Cherin, great-grandchildren Cooper and Joey Oliff, Scarlett, Hayes and Pierce Cherin, and many nieces and nephews, with a special place in her heart for her niece Nanci Powell.

Norma Jean was a truly beautiful woman. Everyone who knew her, loved her. She may be gone from our daily lives, yet will be in our hearts and stories for generations to come.

A private family funeral was held at Hills of Eternity Memorial Park on Aug. 19. Donations can be made to the Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA, or a charity of your choice.

Sheldon Wolfe

June 25, 1933–Sept. 2, 2022

Sheldon Wolfe
Sheldon Wolfe

Sheldon Wolfe was born to Dorothy and Robert Wolfe on June 25, 1933. He grew up in San Francisco, where he graduated from Lowell High School. Later he attended UC Berkeley and rooted on those Bears for the rest of his life, attending countless Big Games, which became a family tradition.

He served in the U.S. Navy for three years. On a fortuitous night off, he met the love of his life, Rhoda Levit, and they married in 1958. After the Navy, he went to Boalt School of Law in Berkeley, where he distinguished himself as an outstanding student whose mind was as deep as he was tall. After receiving his law degree, he and Rhoda moved to San Francisco, where Sheldon began his career as an attorney with Pettit and Martin until their closure. Later he joined the law firm of Steefel, Levitt and Weiss, which was absorbed by Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, from which he retired at age 84.

Sheldon loved his work and was also passionate about travel and learning and sports, and he devoted himself to giving back to his beloved community. Sheldon was deeply committed to strengthening the Jewish community and bonds with the State of Israel, which he visited countless times.

Sheldon was very generous with his time and resources. He offered his leadership as a volunteer for many organizations, including the Jewish Bulletin. But nothing mattered more to Sheldon than his family. He was a loving husband of 64 years to Rhoda Levit Wolfe, beloved father to Rabbi Greg Wolfe (Julie Hochman) and Amy Wolfe. Wonderful grandfather to Ariella Wolfe Maurer (Nick Maurer), Noah Wolfe, Maya Wolfe and Jasper Wolfe. He was deeply loved by his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Sally and Dr. Gil Gradinger, nieces and nephews and extended family and many, many friends.

Shel passed away peacefully on Sept. 2, 2022, surrounded by his loved ones. He will be greatly missed and leaves an inspiring legacy, having touched innumerable lives with his humor, wisdom, work ethic and passion for his S.F. sports teams. Shel will be remembered for deeply caring for his friends and family and for making the world a better place.

Contributions in Sheldon’s memory can be made to a memorial fund at Congregation Sherith Israel dedicated to sponsoring lectures fostering a love and appreciation for Israel, which was so dear to Sheldon. Please be sure to note that your donation is in Sheldon’s memory. sherithisrael.org/form/general-fund.html