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San Francisco’s First Jewish Heritage Month Celebration

May 21, 2015
Posted by: JCRC Staff

An enthusiastic crowd of close to 500 people, including at least a dozen elected officials and city dignitaries, attended the first-ever celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month in San Francisco City Hall yesterday. The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, along with San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Supervisor Scott Wiener, hosted this historic event.

The thirty-minute program was emceed by JCRC board members Michael Sweet and Nick Josefowitz. JCRC President Rosalind Franklin opened the evening with an overview. Federation CEO Danny Grossman, a San Francisco native, introduced Mayor Lee. The mayor spoke about the significance of the event and about the city’s rich Jewish legacy, stating, “Our history is woven thick with the Jewish people and Jewish heritage.”

Following Mayor Lee’s remarks, Supervisor Scott Weiner spoke about his work as a civic representative with strong ties to the Jewish community, of which he is proud to be a part. "We always look for new opportunities to work with every community and to stand up for our brothers and sisters in other communities when they are under attack. When our Arab and Muslim brothers and sisters came under attack we stood with them and we will always, always do that," he said.

Doug Goldman, scion of the pioneer San Francisco family that gave Stern Grove to the city, then introduced SFSU Professor Marc Dollinger, who is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility. Dr. Dollinger gave a lively overview of the many fantastic ways that San Francisco’s history has been influenced by its robust Jewish community and the unique level of integration the community has experienced. Federation Program Officer Ilana Kaufman described what it was like growing up Jewish in San Francisco, and then Jewish Community High School of the Bay senior and San Francisco Youth Commission member Sophie Edelhart talked about her experience as a Jewish youth today.

“San Francisco is a unique place, and what I love about it is that, while I bring my best Jewish self and all the legalistic tradition I've absorbed when I come in to work, everyone else brings the best parts of their culture to the table as well,” Sophie explained. “And that is a true testament to the magic of this city.”

The program concluded with a beautiful and moving musical performance by the children’s choir from Brandeis Hillel Day School. The program was followed by a reception catered by the amazing L’Chaim Foods.


Honorary Committee: Amy Bacharach, Al Baum, Bevan Dufty, Matthew Haney, Nick Josefowitz, Quentin Kopp, Leslie Katz, Barbara Kaufman, Mark Leno, Rafael Mandelman, Cissie Swig, Arthur Wachtel, Scott Wiener and Jill Wynns.

Host Committee: Bill Barnes, Lynn Bunim, Gia Daniller Katz, Jason Elliott, Phil Ginsburg, Daniel Homsey, Aaron Kahn, Hene Kelly, Nancy Kirshner-Rodriguez, Rebekah Krell, Sam Lauter, Joyce Newstat & Susan Lowenberg, Jason Porth, Rebecca Prozan, Hillary Ronen, Emily Salgado, Michael Sweet, Maxwell Szabo, Bob Tandler, Ben Tulchin, Melissa White and Jamie Wolfe.

Community Partners: Anti-Defamation League–Central Pacific Region; Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice; Brandeis Hillel Day School; Congregation Beth Sholom; Hebrew Free Loan; J. the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California; Jewish Family and Children’s Services of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties; Jewish Community High School of the Bay; Jewish Home of San Francisco; JVS; National Council of Jewish Women–San Francisco; San Francisco Hillel; Shalom Bayit; and Walter & Elise Haas Fund.

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