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

Death announcements for the week of Nov. 11, 2022

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

Stephen Herbert Astor

I was heartbroken when my father died last week. I was tasked with writing his obituary, but what I wrote sounded formal and formulaic. Not at all like my dad. He was neither.

My dad was exceptional and truly one-of-a-kind. He did things his way, not one to follow the crowd. He was handy, fixing sinks, building furniture and staining decks.

My dad was clever and witty, writing books, poems and limericks. He wrote his own memoir, titled “Being a Grown-Up,” as well as novels and self-published books he put on Amazon, with titles like “One Minute D’var Torah,” “Stephen, There is a G-d,” “100 Cosmic Questions I Need Answered Before I Die,” “How American Media Like the New York Times and CNN Inflame The Arab-Israel Conflict” and “If a Naked Lady Offers a Bite of her Apple: Turn Around and Walk Away.”

Stephen Herbert Astor
Stephen Herbert Astor

So, in his irreverent spirit, I wrote a poem for his obituary. 

Here’s to you dad. I love you ♥️ Beth. 

Stephen Herbert Astor, z”l, died on October 27, 2022
He left behind his loving and devoted wife of 59 years, Merry Lou

He was predeceased by his incredible, accomplished son
Jeffrey Scott Astor, z”l, unparalleled by none

His daughter Beth, loved his lectures, humor and wit
Trying to make her laugh, he never did quit

Jenna, Gabriel, Maya and Ava, his grandkids totaled four,
They all called him Poppa, and boy did they adore

Their Poppa was creative, smart, loving and kind
A more active grandfather you never could find

He was born to Sadie & Rudy Astor in August ’41
In Boston, Mass., which is where he begun

Stephen Herbert Astor
Stephen Herbert Astor

He was a Harvard grad who wrestled in school
Then on to Albert Einstein Medical School where he was nobody’s fool

Steve served as a captain in the Air Force with his family in tow
Working as a pediatrician, he helped more kids than we know

In ’71, Steve and Merry moved out west,
Where his allergy practice in Mountain View was one of the best 

Steve lived a rich and beautiful life, pursuing passions galore
Writing, gardening, running, biking, waterskiing, kayaking, tennis, photography, travel and more

He called himself a “hobby enthusiast,” always on the go,
Writing and self-publishing books, building benches and desks like a pro

He felt a deep love of Israel right down to his core
He wrote books and traveled there, supporting the people and more

He gave generously to Jewish causes, taking no credit at all
As a husband, father and grandfather, he always stood tall

His family and friends are left with broken hearts and deep pain
We miss him dearly and can’t wait to see him again

Donations in Steve’s memory can be made to: The Jeff Astor Legacy Fund, in memory of his son Jeff, who died in 1991 at the age of 24 years old. jewishfed.org/jeff-astor-legacy-fund

Stephen Herbert Astor
Stephen Herbert Astor

Debra Kay Frank

Sept. 8, 1949- Sept. 12, 2022

headshot of Debra Kay Frank
Debra Kay Frank

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Debra Kay Frank, wife, mother, grandmother, friend, MFT.

Debra was a warm-hearted person, a natural giver who loved and cared for her family and friends above all else. She took pride in creating experiences for us to be together as a family. When she loved something, she wanted everyone to experience that same joy, be it a concert, a restaurant or a recipe.

She took great pleasure in watching her children grow through the various stages of life, and showed up for them every chance she got. She had a passion for animals, and made a point to always have them in the house — a feat given her tolerant husband is mildly allergic. She greatly enjoyed entertaining her friends at her home, and laughing with them through the night. She loved to help others, as it gave her a sense of purpose in life.

Debra was born in Wichita, Kansas, to loving parents Jean and Nate Kraft. The Krafts moved to Atherton, where she grew up with her older sister, Candace. Debra studied at the University of Arizona and later moved to Israel, where she lived and worked as a personal assistant with the Corps of Engineers of Israel. Debra recalled her time in Israel with great affection, for the impact it had on her character — strengthening her religious and cultural ties to Judaism — as well as the lifelong friendships she made.

In 1983 Debra met Jonathan, the love of her life, at a Jewish singles mixer in San Francisco. Jonathan took Debra to the hardware store on their first date, a story fondly recounted many times, and their journey as a couple began. Six months later they were married, and not long after, their first child, son Joshua, was born. The Franks moved to Orinda two years later, just before giving birth to their second child, Rachael.

Jonathan and Debra enjoyed many adventures together, including frequent travel to the Central Coast and Carmel. They loved to bike and hike, sit in the sun, enjoy the music and watch the ocean. Debra often shared that being by the ocean — with the seagulls, the salty air and the sandy beach — made her feel free.

Debra dove into motherhood caring for her children at home, and providing all the love and support the little ones needed. When her kids got a little older, she practiced real estate for several years before moving on to work that felt more meaningful to her. She spent time working with the deaf community and also volunteering at the synagogue library. She worked as a college admissions adviser, helping prepare students for their next step in life. She then went back to school, earning her M.A. in counseling psychology to become a MFT. She started work in her new career as an administrator and crisis counselor at Mt. Diablo Unified School District. After 12 productive years, she retired from the school system into an active private therapy practice.

Just months before being diagnosed with cancer, Debra became a grandmother to Josh and Bena’s firstborn, Julian Jesse Frank. Interacting with Julian and watching him grow was the greatest joy and gift for Debra in her last year of life.

Debra Kay Frank succumbed to a battle with cancer on Sept. 12, 2022, just four days after her 73rd birthday. She is survived by her husband Jonathan, her two children Joshua and Rachael, and her grandson Julian. She was a kind, wonderful, compassionate woman. We love and miss her very, very much. May her memory be a blessing.

Sarah Salem-Robinson

June 1, 1959–Oct. 24, 2022

headshot of Sarah Salem-Robinson
Sarah Salem-Robinson

Sarah lived each day to the fullest and took charge of her medical care up until the day when she asked to have her family at her bedside at Stanford Hospital. Sarah passed away at the age of 63 from uterine leiomyosarcoma (LMS) on Oct. 24, 2022.

Sarah clearly chose life, beating all odds to survive the aggressive cancer that ravaged her body for over 10 years. Sarah did not allow the cancer to diminish her spirit. It was Sarah’s love and devotion to her two sons that gave her the courage, strength and resolve to continue the struggle.

Sarah was born in Paris, France, to Arlene and Henry Salem, of blessed memory. As Jewish refugees fleeing Egypt, Sarah’s family arrived in San Francisco in 1961, where Sarah was raised in the Richmond District. She later moved to the Peninsula, where she took responsibility to become a homeowner with the help of her parents at the age of 24.

Sarah was very industrious and judicious, working on home projects and learning to draw her own blueprints for home improvements. Sarah pursued her studies to work in two different but related fields — as a clinical scientist and a physician’s assistant, where she made many friends.

Sarah was a talented gardener and a fabulous hostess. She planted vegetable gardens, fruit trees and her home was surrounded with colorful flower beds to greet the many family and friends she hosted, including two backyard weddings. She loved animals and cared for multiple rescue dogs, service dogs, birds and chickens.

In her last 10 years, Sarah became a leading activist in the world of cancer survivors, passionately and tirelessly pursuing all avenues to both beat the metastasizing LMS within her as well as to prevent other women from undergoing “minimally invasive” potentially deadly morcellation surgery. Sarah had undergone morcellation surgery in 2012, which seeded the deadly cancer throughout her body.

As an advocate of women’s health, she worked with LMSDR.org; participated in support groups and in medical panels; was interviewed by the Washington Post and spoke on “The Dr. Oz Show.” Sarah even pursued legal action against a medical instrument corporation. Over the years, Sarah underwent numerous surgeries and clinical trials in an effort to eradicate the metastatic sarcoma.

Sarah is survived by her ex-husband, Alan Robinson; her two sons, Aaron (Helen) and David Robinson; her sister, Esther (Felipe); her brother, Morris Salem; her brother, Dr. Leon Salem; her brothers-in-law, Julius (Cindy) Robinson; Dan Robinson; Mark (Pam) Robinson; her nephews Reuben and Oren Politi and her nieces Julia Salem; Orly Politi; and Ronitte (Yisroel) Novick and family. Sarah will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved her. May her soul rest in peace.

Annette Ethel Schriebman

Oct. 9, 1926–Oct. 29, 2022

headshot of Annette Ethel Schriebman
Annette Ethel Schriebman

Annette Ethel Schriebman, beloved widow of Harry Schriebman and daughter of Saul and Adele Sabel, died peacefully in her home on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. Annette was born on Oct. 9, 1926 in San Francisco. She met Harry at the S.F. JCC Purim Dance and they were married in 1946; they remained married for 74 years, until Harry’s passing in 2020.

Annette and Harry moved to Fairfax, where they raised their two children, Jeffrey and Joyce. Annette was president of the Manor School PTA and was involved in her childrens’ school activities. Throughout her life, Annette was a passionate antique collector and she frequently lectured and taught others about antique glass.

In the 1970s, Annette and Harry moved to Corte Madera, where they were actively involved in many aspects of the community. Annette led fundraisers for the Friends of the Corte Madera Library and spearheaded the creation of the library garden. She and Harry volunteered with the SF-Marin Food Bank and were founding members of Congregation Kol Shofar.

In 2000, Annette and Harry served as grand marshals in the town’s Fourth of July parade. Annette was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She loved sewing and knitting, teaching her grandchildren to cook, making kosher dill pickles, and dressing up in costume for her grandchildren on the Jewish holidays. She was blessed to have four great-grandchildren, with one more on the way, and was known as “Cookie Grandma” because she made a point to have cookies on hand to pass out when they came to visit.

Annette was the matriarch of her family and she will be deeply missed by those who knew and loved her.

She is survived by son Jeffrey Schriebman and his wife Judy (Webb); and daughter Joyce Schriebman and her husband Yehezkel Landau; as well as five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren; along with her sister Jean Garber. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Friends of the Corte Madera Library or the SF-Marin Food Bank.

Carolyn Kulakofsky

May 16, 1933–Oct. 28, 2022

headshot of Carolyn Kulakofsky
Carolyn Kulakofsky

Carolyn Kulakofsky, 89, was born in Gary, Indiana, on May 16, 1933. She passed away peacefully on Oct. 28, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Carolyn was born to Eugene and Thelma Cohn. The oldest of two children, Carolyn is survived by her sister Judy Kramer of Wilson Oregon. Carolyn was preceded in death by Michael, her loving husband of 66 years. Carolyn and Mike met on a blind date and what followed was a love affair that lasted a lifetime. Carolyn is survived by her sons, David Kulakofsky (Margie); Daniel Kulakofsky (Judy); and Joseph Kulakofsky (Ryuko). Until the very end, Carolyn adored her seven grandchildren, their spouses, her three great-grandchildren and her numerous nieces and nephews.

After graduating from Horace Mann High School in 1951, Carolyn was off to college. Carolyn graduated from Indiana University in 1955 with a degree in speech pathology and audiology. Carolyn moved to Chicago after meeting Mike and they were married soon after in October 1955.

Carolyn started her career as a speech therapist before joining Mike in a new business venture in 1969. They worked together for the next 30 years to build a successful computer service bureau and software business. All the while Carolyn raised her three boys with love and many outdoor adventures, canoeing and camping across America. After retirement, Carolyn and Mike continued their adventure with a three-year motorhome trip around the country.

Carolyn took responsibility to her community seriously. She was a lifelong volunteer for many organizations and lent her beautiful soprano voice to the synagogue choir for many years. She had a special passion for Hadassah, where she held various leadership positions into her 70s. Carolyn supported Hadassah Hospital and numerous environmental and wildlife causes at home and in Israel.

Carolyn will be remembered for her intelligence and generous spirit. Her warm heart and wonderful pies will provide cherished memories for her loving family. We will miss you, Mom.