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Death announcements for the week of Jan. 26, 2024

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

Eleanor Jacobs Coffman

Feb. 24, 1935–Jan. 11, 2024

Eleanor Jacobs Coffman
Eleanor Jacobs Coffman

Eleanor Jacobs Coffman, a proud third-generation native San Franciscan and Congregation Emanu-El member, passed away unexpectedly but peacefully at home on Jan. 11, 2024. She lived her 88 years to the fullest, embracing each moment with love.

Eleanor and her younger sister grew up in Pacific Heights/Cow Hollow, the daughters of Alphine (Kahn) and Jessyl Jacobs. Her paternal great-grandfather, Nathan Jacobs, immigrated to California from England by walking across the Isthmus of Panama in 1850 and sold wares up and down the Sacramento River. Her maternal great-grandparents, Rabbi M.S. Levy and Annie Teacher, immigrated to California from England in 1870; Rabbi Levy served Temple Emanu-El in San Jose, Temple Sinai in Oakland, and finally Congregation Beth Israel in San Francisco. Eleanor’s mother Alphine and grandmother Miriam both joined San Francisco’s Congregation Emanu-El, and Eleanor continued the family tradition as an active member throughout her life. She attended Grant School and Lowell High School before going on to major in English at University of California, Berkeley. Eleanor married her beloved husband Ralph Coffman in 1957, and maintained her connections with Ralph’s Los Angeles-based family through the rest of her life.

Eleanor and Ralph loved to travel, attend the opera and host their close friends and family in their San Francisco home and their cabin near Alpine Meadows at Lake Tahoe. As a preschool teacher for close to 30 years, Eleanor shared her patience, natural zest for life, and love of reading, music and creativity with hundreds of children across the City.

After Eleanor and Ralph welcomed their son David in 1976, their circles expanded to include David’s friends and their families as well. When Ralph died after a difficult illness in 1989, Eleanor raised David while continuing to work and maintain her many social and volunteer commitments. She also took on new leadership roles at Congregation Emanu-El (including the Synagogue 2000 project, Museum Committee, and Head Rabbi Search Committee), and at Camp Tawonga, where she served on the Tawonga Board and helped develop its Grief and Growing program. She tutored in local elementary schools, cooked and delivered meals for those in need, and was always available to offer support and kindness.

Eleanor was a loving mother to David (and later, to her daughter-in-law Heather), and shone brightest as a doting grandmother to Naomi (14) and Leo (13). When they were in preschool and elementary school, Eleanor frequently read to their classes and taught Jewish traditions to their classmates.

Eleanor was preceded in death by her parents, Alphine Kahn Jacobs and Jessyl Jacobs, her sister Jerrell Jacobs Siegel, and brother-in-law Marvin Siegel. Eleanor is survived by her son and his family (David, Heather, Naomi and Leo Coffman of San Francisco), her beloved nephew Dan Siegel and his family (wife Lisa Langer and their sons Jacob and Ben Siegel of Menlo Park), and adored niece Larissa Siegel Solomon and her family (husband Rowan Solomon and children Asher and Talia Solomon of San Francisco). Eleanor is additionally survived by cousins, nieces, and nephews, and grand-nieces and -nephews from both her family and Ralph’s, along with a close-knit circle of friends, many of whom were like family and were a part of her life for decades.

Funeral services were held at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, California on Jan. 17, 2024. If interested, please consider making a donation in Eleanor’s honor to Camp Tawonga (tawonga.org/support/donate) or Congregation Emanu-El (emanuelsf.org/donate), or to another organization that champions the values Eleanor embodied so well.

Sinai Memorial
(415) 921-3636

Linda Rogozen Tobias

Aug. 5, 1922–Jan. 2, 2024

Linda Rogozen Tobias
Linda Rogozen Tobias

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Linda Tobias at the age of 101. She lived a long, full life and was greatly loved and admired by her family and friends.

Born in 1922 in London, England, Linda was the only child of Rachel and Ralph Muslin. Later, the family moved to the greater Manchester area. During World War II, she endured air raids and was conscripted to work as a bookkeeper. One evening at a theater, she met Alexander Rogozen, an American doctor who joined the Red Cross and was sent to work at a hospital in Manchester. They married two and a half months later. In 1945, Linda and Al came to the United States on the first unescorted ship to cross the Atlantic Ocean, proudly sailing with its lights on.

Linda and Al settled in San Jose, where the growing town needed doctors. Al opened his OB/GYN practice, and Linda kept the books. Before long, their daughter Kendra was born, followed by their son Brenton 22 months later. They joined Temple Emanu-El in San Jose. In an age before computers or easy transatlantic phone calls, Linda dutifully wrote weekly letters to her parents in Manchester. She took her children to England for a few summers to spend time with their grandparents and other family members. Linda was an active parent at her children’s schools, and she enjoyed crafts, especially sewing and knitting. She and Al loved to entertain and play bridge. They were married for 23 years until Al suffered a fatal heart attack.

A few years later, she met Bob Tobias through a friend, and they married. Together, they traveled and went on golf trips. Linda, who was unable to go to college during WWII, attended West Valley College and, at age 62, earned her AA degree. After 20 years together, Bob became ill and passed away.

Fiercely independent and very social, Linda continued to play bridge and golf, went on several cruises, took piano lessons, exercised and joined a book club. She was active in her local Hadassah group, supported City of Hope and Jewish organizations, and knit and donated blankets, scarves and hats. She hosted family Thanksgiving dinners well into her 80s, always including her widowed friends. Anyone who came to her home was offered food and trinkets as they left.

At age 95, Linda moved to The Terraces of Los Gatos, a senior retirement community, where she lived independently, playing bridge and mahjong, and working in the community’s notions shop. She even won a golf putting contest. In March 2023, she suffered a stroke and moved into assisted living at The Terraces. She still enjoyed Bingo and visiting with pet therapy dogs and used her walker to dance her way down the hallway.

Family was very important to her, and she loved being with and seeing pictures of them. She will be greatly missed. May her memory be for a blessing.

Linda is survived by her children Kendra Kasten (Tom) and Brenton Rogozen (Carolyn). She was grandmother to Jeffrey Kasten (Ksenya), Alyssa Kasten, Shaina Rogozen Liu (Andy) and Jonathan Rogozen and great-grandmother to Avaline and Leonie Kasten and Mika and Yuzu Liu.

Her family thanks the wonderful staff and caregivers at The Terraces as well as the Bristol Hospice staff who supported her the last two months. Funeral services were held at the Home of Peace section at Oak Hill Cemetery in San Jose. Donations in her name may be given to City of Hope or Hadassah.

James Sulka Blattner

June 25, 1934–Dec. 25, 2023

James Sulka Blattner, 89, of San Francisco passed away peacefully on Dec. 25, 2023, surrounded by his loving family. Jim was an incredible, involved father, a beloved husband, and the giver of the best gifts to his granddaughter. He was an advocate and active volunteer for many worthy causes, a skilled green thumb and a fixture of the Fillmore Street scene.

He is preceded in death by his beloved wife Jean Blattner, his mother Ruth Sulka Blattner, his father Bernard Blattner, and his brother Alan Blattner. He is survived by his son Samuel Blattner (Stephanie Longfellow), his granddaughter Anika Longfellow Blattner, his nephew Evan Blattner (Tanja Birke), and many cherished cousins in the Blattner and the Wade clans.

Jim was born in Lima, Ohio, where he attended local schools with his close-knit group of cousins. After graduating from Ohio State University, he joined the army serving in Korea. Upon return, he moved to San Francisco, a city he loved wholeheartedly and where he was lucky enough to meet his beloved late wife, Jean. Together they made a lovely home on Clay Street and raised their cherished only son, Sam.

Jim worked for American Airlines, Dean Witter and the Bank of California prior to a long career with the Department of Agriculture in the Child Nutrition Program. He earned his MBA from Golden Gate University. After retirement, Jim found meaning in helping the underserved and was a tireless supporter and volunteer for the Larkin Street Youth Center and Food Runners. He enjoyed gardening, visiting Yosemite, listening to live jazz, being with friends and family, and a nice cocktail or glass of red wine at the end of the day.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jim’s name to Congregation Sherith Israel, the Let Them Eat Bread Fund at Jewish Family and Children’s Services, or a charity of your choice.

A memorial service was held at Congregation Sherith Israel and burial was at Hills of Eternity Memorial Park in Colma.

Rabbi Jerry Levy

Yosef Meir ben Avraham, Rabbi Jerry Levy, passed away the morning of Dec. 31, 2023.

Rabbi Levy was a graduate of the University of Illinois with a BA in both Philosophy and Chemistry. He then went on to Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion and was ordained in 1971. His first rabbinical position was as an Assistant Rabbi at Beth Israel in San Diego, CA. From there, he went to Congregation Or Ami in Richmond, Virginia, and then worked as Associate Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in San Jose, CA. In 1980, he was the founding Rabbi of Shir Hadash in Los Gatos, CA. Upon leaving Shir Hadash, he served as Rabbi of Congregation Emeth in Gilroy, CA.

Rabbi Levy’s roots remained in the Bay Area. He worked closely with Sinai Memorial Chapel and officiated over 600 funerals for unaffiliated Jews of the Bay Area. Over the years, he was an auxiliary chaplain at multiple elder care facilities where he brought light, conversation, Jewish education, and tradition to their communities. He led the Passover seder at the VA Hospital in the Presidio every year; tutored many b’nai mitzvah students; published Shalom Maker, The Journal of Visual Torah; and officiated at many life-cycle ceremonies in support of those who were unaffiliated in the Bay Area.

Rabbi Levy was a philosopher, a theologian, a creative dreamer, an artist, a photographer, a master of the sermon and the eulogy, and a loving father and grandfather. If you knew Jerry, you knew a man who never left home without his camera. He traveled the world taking pictures of the unordinary, the unconventional, the otherwise missed moments, all while capturing refracted light and red-washed brightness radiating from the sun.

He is survived by his son, Yoni Levy, and daughter, Beth Sacks, and his nine beloved grandchildren.

Rabbi Levy was laid to rest at Gan Shalom Jewish Cemetery in Briones among the beautiful California landscape.

Sinai Memorial
(415) 921-3636