Honors, happenings, comings and goings, opportunities — Sept. 2022 – J.
Rabbi Stacy Friedman was voted “Best Spiritual Leader” by the readers of the Pacific Sun, a free weekly at Le Marin. Before joining Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael in 1993, she held positions in New York, Montana and Victorville in Southern California. Friedman was named chief rabbi in 2003.
Bezawit Abebe was selected in the 2022 cohort of Charles Bronfman Israel Policy Forum Atid Conveners. Abebe and other young professionals from across North America will participate in an in-person program Nov. 12-15 where they will learn about the Israel Policy Forum’s vision to advance a viable two-state solution. Abebe attends law school at Golden Gate University in San Francisco and is a research fellow at Be’chol Lashon, advocating for diversity within the Jewish community.
Berkeley Hillel has completed its switch to solar energy after a year of effort. The project was led by students from Berkeley Hillel Dayenu Circle, a student-led chapter of the Jewish Climate Action Organization and Berkeley Hillel Student Council. The system was installed by Berkeley-based solar contractor Sun Light & Power and made possible through grants provided by Fred Isaac of the Frederick J. Isaac Philanthropic Fund, Interfaith Power & Light, and Jewish Solar Challenge. “Working on the solar project has been one of the most satisfying ways for me to take action on the climate,” said Daniel Conway, a sophomore at UC Berkeley studying environmental economics and politics. in a press release. “I feel so lucky to have the Berkeley Hillel building as a space to relax… The fact that it is now powered by renewable energy via solar panels makes it all the more meaningful.”
Chabad of Danville and San Ramon completed their first community Torah scroll at a festive event on August 28. softer (ritual scribe) wrote the last letters of the Sefer Torah before the eyes of the participants. When finished, they danced with the new Torah. There were also activities for children. The Torah was commissioned by the local community and will be used for generations to come.
In August, the children of Camp Gan Israel (offered through Walnut Creek-based Chabad of Contra Costa) made loaves of challah from scratch, which were then donated to the Loaves of Love project. Loaves of Love is a Brentwood-based Chabad of the Delta kindness project in which dedicated volunteers distribute delicious homemade challah breads to community members on Shabbat.
Culture of value and career now has partnered to host “The sights and sounds of a sweet new year” at the JCC in San Francisco on September 14. Planned and supported by many members of the Bay Area Jewish community, the event was focused on the mission of career now: Empowering emerging Jewish professionals to advance in their careers while incorporating Jewish values into their lives, through networking/educational opportunities with Jewish leaders. Value Culture is an SF-based, Jewish-powered nonprofit organization focused on cultural and philanthropic engagement.
Comings and goings
After 11 years with San Francisco Hillel, Rachel Nilson Ralston moved on to a new role as Program Officer at the Newton and Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust, based in Larkspur. Prior to becoming chief executive three years ago, Nilson Ralston served as engagement coordinator, director of student life and deputy director of SF Hillel. Abi Karlin-Resnick will serve as interim principal of SF Hillel, which hosts students from SFSU, USF, UC Hastings, UCSF, Golden Gate University, Academy of Art University and local community colleges.
Iris Aluf Medina is the new Director of Business Development for the California-Israel Chamber of Commerce. Medina is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and fundraiser and has worked with businesses in San Francisco, Istanbul and Israel. She was previously a sales and account manager at SF-based drone manufacturer ZM Interactive (now Kaizen Aerial Solutions).
Jewish LearningWorks has five new board members: Daniella ForneyDeputy Director of Education and Adolescent/Youth Programs at Temple Isaiah; Donald E. Hellerretired provost and vice president of academic affairs at USF; Sasha Josephproject coordinator for the Jewish Women of Color Resilience Circle at Dimensions Educational Consulting; Cindy Schlesinger, former director of the Yavneh Day School; and Robert Terrell Smithan educator who has studied contemporary Jewish thought and religious and cultural identity within the Argentine Jewish community.
Christine Jefferson joined the board of directors of Jews of Color Initiative. Jefferson is the first-ever Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the San Francisco 49ers, where she leads inclusion and diversity efforts across the organization. She is also a member of several boards, including the SF-based Jewish Community Relations Council, Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco, and Ohio-based Better For You Wellness.
J. personal writer Emma Goss joined the board of trustees at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto. Graduated in 2011, she is the first Kehillah alumnus to join the Board of Directors. Goss, who started at J. in September 2021 and also works as reporter at KTVU Channel 2, is a community connector for The Orchard, the young adult community of Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, and is a member of the Junior League of Palo Alto – Mid Peninsula, where she volunteers to support arts and educational initiatives for women and children. “I am honored and excited to join the Kehillah Board of Directors and bring the perspective of alumni to the table,” Goss said. “Kehillah was still a young school when I was a student, and now she has matured to an age where alumni can play a bigger role in her future.”
Caroline Kesler is the first community director of GatherBay, an initiative to connect young adults to Jewish life. Kessler worked at UpStart, a Bay Area incubator for innovative Jewish businesses; SF-based Jewish Professional Service; Ayin Press, an artist-run publishing platform rooted in Jewish culture; and the Berkeley-based Jewish Studio Project.
Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay has six new board members: Rena Davishead of California government affairs and public policy at Google, who also serves on the board of the California Asia-Pacific Chamber of Commerce; Elisabeth Friedman Branoffexecutive director of major gifts at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business who serves on the board of Berkeley Hillel; Aliza Metznerwho serves on the Diller Teen Awards Selection Committee and the JFCS East Bay Art of Living Gala Annual Fundraising Committee; Harris Mojadedipolitical analyst in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at UC Berkeley and son of refugees from Afghanistan; Dr Shamila Rahim, an Afghan immigrant who works at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland; and Marjorie Stamper-Kurnsenior consultant at the social impact consultancy Justice Collective.
StandWithUs has announced its 2022-23 Student Leaders. Emerson Scholars on the University Campus are Koren Gilbai (Standford) Jonathan Kfir (UC Berkeley), Aaron Horwitz (State of San Jose), Carly Klinger (UC Davis) and Louis Adler (UC Santa Cruz). Kenneth Leventhal High School interns are transparent steam room (Mountain View High) and Eli Tsives (Saratoga High). Both programs train students to educate about Israel and combat anti-Semitism in their school communities.
The Bronfman Fellowship is is accepting applications for its 37th cohort. Open to 26 high school students, the 2023 scholarship begins with an immersive seminar in Israel between the fellows’ junior and senior years, followed by monthly virtual experiences and two seminars in the United States. The program is open to American and Canadian 11th grade students who identify as Jewish; no prior Jewish education is required. The application deadline is December 5.