Malka Wallick (left) and Rivka Borek in a pre-production photo for "Indecent" at the San Francisco Playhouse. (Photo/Jessica Palopoli)
Malka Wallick (left) and Rivka Borek in a pre-production photo for "Indecent" at the San Francisco Playhouse. (Photo/Jessica Palopoli)

Happenings, comings & goings, honors and philanthropy — May 2023

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Happenings

J. The Jewish News of Northern California has been chosen to take part in the News Safety Project — an initiative of the International Women’s Media Foundation that aims to help ensure the safety of journalists in an increasingly complex world. The project has offered trainings to journalists for the past three years, but this will be its inaugural cohort, with 16 news organizations around the world participating including J. Members of the group will get customized safety training, access to resources and consultations with safety experts, support in developing newsroom safety protocols, and an opportunity to share lessons learned and best practices with their peers.


Comings & Goings

Dr. Adrienne Green
Dr. Adrienne Green

Dr. Adrienne Green is the new chief executive officer of the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living and will begin July 18. She will be the first M.D. to be hired as CEO in the nonprofit’s 150-year history. Green most recently served as chief medical officer for adult services and vice president for regulatory and medical affairs at UCSF Health for eight years. San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living was also selected in June by state Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco as a California Nonprofit of the Year.

The American Jewish Committee San Francisco announced changes to its board and organizational makeup at its May 8 annual meeting. Jill Silverman of San Francisco is the new board president. She joined the board of AJC San Francisco in 2019 and has served as public policy chair and vice president. AJC also added six new board members: Daniel Gabay of Oakland, Marjory Kaplan of San Francisco, Barry Kramer of Palo Alto, Yael Oberndorf of San Francisco, David Soffa of San Francisco and Roberta Zucker of Tiburon.

Jill Silverman (Photo/Courtesy AJC)
Jill Silverman (Photo/Courtesy AJC)
Rabbi Serena Eisenberg
Rabbi Serena Eisenberg

Rachel Urman of San Jose is the new director of AJC’s Northern California regional office. She was previously a director of synagogue initiatives for AIPAC in the Pacific Northwest. And Rabbi Serena Eisenberg, who served as the NorCal regional director for five years, has started a national position as AJC’s director of regional engagement overseeing 25 U.S. regional offices.

Becka Ross
Becka Ross

Becka Ross will join Santa Cruz Hillel as executive director, effective June 15. The 2014 graduate of Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles previously served as director of development operations at the Global Fund for Women and has had several jobs in the Jewish community, including at the former iteration of Jewish Silicon Valley, where her assignments included engaging the next generation and women’s philanthropy.

Sharona Israeli-Roth
Sharona Israeli-Roth

Sharona Israeli-Roth is the founding president and executive director of EarlyJ, a new initiative aiming to transform Bay Area Jewish early childhood education. Israeli-Roth has more than two decades of experience as a Jewish educational leader, and most recently served as vice president of online education for the Israeli American Council, where she created Ofek Hub to provide low-cost, online Hebrew language and Israeli culture classes for all ages.

Maya Katz-Ali
Maya Katz-Ali

Maya Katz-Ali of Oakland is one of three people selected to the Jews of Color Initiative’s inaugural cohort of Philanthropy Fellows. The fellowship aims to build diverse program staff at Jewish organizations and equip fellows with skills, knowledge and a network to continue working in Jewish philanthropy. Katz-Ali previously was the Bay Area field manager at OneTable and is a speaker and community ambassador for Lunar: The Asian-Jewish Film Project.

Rabbanit Victoria Sutton is one of 20 scholars selected for the inaugural cohort of Word-by-Word: A Jewish Women’s Writing Circle from Sefaria, an online, open source digital library of Jewish texts. The program is designed to increase and elevate Jewish scholarly publications authored by women, and fellows will receive writing support and guidance to complete books on Jewish texts. Sutton served for eight years as the director of education and community engagement at Congregation Beth Israel, a Modern Orthodox synagogue in Berkeley.


Honors

Several locals were elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the oldest learned societies in the United States. Steven J. Zipperstein, the Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History at Stanford University, was elected for his academic work in history. He previously taught at Oxford University and universities in Russia, Poland, France and Israel. He was also director of the Taube Center for Jewish Studies at Stanford for 16 years. Risa Wechsler, cosmologist and professor of physics at Stanford, was elected for her work in astrophysics. Wechsler also teaches particle physics and astrophysics at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and is director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC). Author and financial journalist Michael Lewis of Berkeley was elected for his work in journalism and media. Larry Diamond, a professor of political science and sociology at Stanford,  is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.

Mia Finestone of San Rafael was one of three recipients of the 2023 Hadassah Leaders of Tomorrow Award. The award grew out of a 100-year-old partnership between Hadassah and Young Judaea, and is given to young women who have demonstrated leadership potential. Each winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship toward tuition for Gesher, the annual Israel summer leadership program of Young Judaea. Finestone is finishing her junior year at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay in San Francisco.

San Francisco Playhouse and the Yiddish Theatre Ensemble have won an Excellence in Theatre Award from the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle for their production of “Indecent.” Written by Paula Vogel, “Indecent” is based on events around the scandalous Broadway debut of Sholem Asch’s “The God of Vengeance,” considered a seminal work of early Yiddish theater by some and traitorous libel by others.

Father-son duo Rabbi Yosef Langer and Rabbi Moshe Langer of Chabad of San Francisco received a Jefferson Award from KPIX-TV for their work in the community through the Giving Kitchen, a Chabad initiative that offers free food for elderly and unhoused S.F. residents. The Jefferson Awards are given at local and national levels to recognize people who have demonstrated outstanding public service.


Philanthropy

KlezCalifornia has announced the establishment of the Yiddish Culture Fund, with grant applications opening in July. The fund is part of the Bay Area–based organization’s transition from producing Yiddish culture programs to facilitating and supporting the next generation of Yiddish culture leaders. The fund received an initial matching grant of $18,000 from the Isaac Philanthropic Fund, with an additional $8,000 raised by members. KlezCalifornia hopes  to raise a total of $50,000 this year. In awarding grants, it plans to prioritize projects in the Bay Area, projects aimed at youngsters, and small or new projects.

Lea Loeb
(Photo/Aaron Levy-Wolins)
Lea Loeb

Lea Loeb is engagement reporter at J. She previously served as editorial assistant.