Baruch Dayan Emet–Jane Kahn

With heavy hearts we share the news that that Jane Kahn passed away on
Wednesday, December 26 (18 Tevet 5779). Jane was 64 years old. 

Jane is survived by her husband, Michael Bien, and her sons, Ben, Max, and
Joseph Bien-Kahn, and her daughters, Allison Jamtaas and Katy Mann.

There will be a public memorial for Jane.
DATE: Friday, December 28
TIME: 2 p.m.
PLACE: Sinai Memorial Chapel located at 1501 Divisadero Street, San Francisco

The burial and shiva will be private.

Zichrona l'vracha - may her memory be a blessing.

Baruch Dayan Emet – Dr. Richard (Dick) J. Cohen

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It is with our deepest sorrow that we inform you of the death of beloved congregant and former CBS Board member, Dr. Richard (Dick) J. Cohen, who died on Tuesday, December 25 (18 Tevet 5779) at the age of 82.

Dick was a proud native of Brooklyn, New York and graduated from James Madison High School and Columbia College. He earned his medical degree from the State University of New York’s Downstate Medical Center in 1961. 

Following an internship at Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington, D.C, Dick moved to San Francisco in 1962 for a residency in Internal Medicine and subspecialty training in both Hematology and Medical Oncology at Letterman General Hospital and at UCSF. 

Upon completion of training in 1965, Dick was sent to Vietnam where he served for 12 months as Chief of Medicine at the 17th Field Hospital in Saigon. For service against hostile forces, Dick was awarded the Bronze star and Commendation medals before returning to Walter Reed and continuing his specialty training. He became Board Certified in both Medical Specialties and Internal Medicine, becoming a Fellow of the American College of Medicine in 1965.

In 1967, Dick was invited to return to San Francisco to join a consultative practice as well as active teaching at UCSF, Children’s Hospital, Mt. Zion Medical Center, and California Pacific Medical Center, enjoying his active practice in all three medical specialties until his retirement in 2011. Dick was renowned especially as a teacher to his peers and to generations of residents and Fellows in training. A highlight of Dick's teaching was his delivery of the Sherlock Holmes lecture every December where, dressed in frock coat and deerstalker hat, he taught the art of deductive reasoning. Having received numerous awards in teaching over the years, Dick was pleased to be awarded the Charlotte Baer award in 2005, the highest honor that can be bestowed by UCSF on a member of the Clinical Faculty. 

Dick's many hobbies included collecting fountain pens (to make up for having never received one at his Bar Mitzvah), bow ties and wine. With his wife of 59 years, Dr. Sandra Cohen, he was a regular attendee at both opera and ballet.

Having grown up in Brooklyn as a devoted fan of the Dodgers, he transferred his baseball allegiance to the SF Giants and was invited to serve as a ”Balldude” in 2004, working many games a year, wearing his full uniform emblazoned with “Doctor C #18", which translates as Chai in Hebrew, the word for “Life.”  In retirement, Dick also enjoyed his courses at the Fromm Institute at USF as well as the many friendships made there.

The love of his life was his wife Sandra, whom he met during his senior year at Columbia while she was attending Barnard College. Sandra later earned her PhD degree at UC Berkeley and began her career as a practicing psychologist in San Francisco. In addition to his wife, Sandra, Dick's survivors include his son, Aaron, of Berkeley, daughter and son-in-law, Eve and Keith Cohen-Porter of Denver, Colorado, and adored granddaughters, Thea and Bailey Cohen-Porter.

DATE: Friday, December 28
TIME: 11 a.m.
PLACE: Sinai Memorial Chapel at 1501 Divisadero Street in San Francisco.
Burial will follow at Home of Peace cemetery at 1299 El Camino Real in Daly City.

Shiva lunch following the burial at 2 p.m. at 1926 8th Avenue, San Francisco.

Shiva visitors are welcome Sunday and Monday afternoons at the family home. Contact for address.

Contributions in his memory may be directed to Congregation Beth Sholom.

Zichrono l'vracha – may his memory be a blessing!

Leo Kessler's Bar Mitzvah on December 22


My name is Leo Kessler. I attend A.P Giannini Middle School, and I am in seventh grade. I like to play basketball with my friends, and to skate freestyle around the city.

This weekend I will be sharing a very special day with my family, friends and congregation when I am called to the Torah to become a Bar Mitzvah. I think becoming a Bar Mitzvah is about taking in the differences of being a kid to becoming an adult. To elaborate, it’s the understanding of the fact that you have crossed a threshold and now things will never be the same.

There is also the fact that in order to totally understand this ceremony, you literally have to take away a lesson from your speech and use it. I’ll be digging deep into the story of Joseph, to see the transitions that he made from being a scared kid in a pit to being a leader. Joseph’s life between the worlds of the Israelites and the Egyptians can be related to today’s B'nai Mitzvah.

I’d like to thank Rabbi Elisheva and Rabbi Ain, for guiding me straight to this event and never giving up on me. Thanks to my former teachers, Jacob Erez and Randy Weiss, for creating the foundations of my Hebrew learning in order to get me ready for this day.



Sunday, December 9 was the big day, and we had a great turnout! A big thank you to all of the volunteers that came and helped complete much needed repairs in the shul and stayed to celebrate Hanukkah with us! 


• Dale Kleisley for putting the Hanukkah party together.
• Debra Surkin Perloff for making the delicious food.
• Karen Benjamin for sharing a delicious champagne tequila recipe and for picking up the Tequila
• Ira Levy for helping plan the event and tending bar
• Eli Levinson & Noa Resnikoff for their Hanukkah song performance
• Adam Lowy and Jonathan Bayer for their Hip Hop Hanukkah with Assist and the Scrappy Maccabee!

The Troupe de Beth Sholom players who starred in the play How Ms. Menorah Saved Hanukkah:
• Rabbi Dan Ain
• Ben Chinn
• Beth Jones
• Dan Rubinsky
• Bat El Saad
• Vered Levinson
• Katherine Friedman Barboni
• Jonathan Bayer


Myles Baruch's Bar Mitzvah on December 15

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Shabbat Shalom,

My name is Myles Baruch and I go to school at Aptos Middle School in San Francisco. Some things that I like to do are playing games with my family, playing baseball and rock climbing. I’ve been a certified scuba diver for two years. I like to scuba dive because it is a whole different world and you can see different animals that you cannot see on land.

In my parsha, Joseph is finally reunited with his family and with his brothers who sold him into slavery. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery because they were jealous of how he was their father’s favorite. However, being sold into slavery ended up being a good thing because – in the end, he was able to keep his family alive by providing food, shelter, and water for his family during the seven years of famine. It was also a good thing because when the Jews became slaves, he was able to create a yeshivah for the Jews to live and study Torah.

Eventually, Joseph forgave his brothers because he understood that the experiences that he went through were from G-d, and those experiences helped him gain a better understanding of who he was. They were used to teach him about forgiveness and how to treat others, even those who had wronged him in the past.  

Joseph’s trust in G-d, and belief in what G-d wanted him to do, allowed him to forgive his brothers. When he was finally reunited with his brothers, he cried because he had missed them and was grateful to have his family back. He was able to let the past anger go. 

As a result of Joseph being sold into slavery and then subsequently placed in jail, he was able to move past his previous immaturity and anger, as well as discovering and appreciating his own personal talents.

Initially, Joseph’s dreaming had gotten him into trouble with his brothers. But, as he became wiser and experienced his own ups and downs, he learned how to better understand his gift and utilize it to accomplish things that others could not. Joseph was called upon to to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, and as a result, became a trusted person to Pharaoh.

I imagine that everyone has a unique quality that he or she brings to the world; maybe it is an experience they had or something they are good at, or the way they can see the world. What is important to remember is that our experiences help us see the world differently – which makes all our voices unique and important.

As it says in the Midrash – “There are 70 Faces to the Torah; Turn it around and around, for everything is in it.”

To me, this means that everything can be found in Torah and that it is up to us to decode the words of the Torah in our own unique ways. That, in fact, this is what is meant by Torah study.

As Rabbi Ain and I were studying Torah together, I found that I did this naturally and when we were discussing some difficult portions of the Torah – I was able to share with the Rabbi new ways of looking at it. Ones that he hadn’t considered or even seen before in the text.

I want to thank Jacob Erez for being patient and helping me learn my Haftorah. Thank you for being a great teacher and tutor. Finally, I would also like to thank Rabbi Ain for helping me understand and explore some deeper lessons of the Torah.

May we all use bad experiences as a way to learn new things.

Ella Sturm's Bat Mitzvah on December 8


Hi! I am Ella Sturm and I am in 7th Grade at San Francisco Day School. At school I enjoy art, playing trumpet and learning about history. For the past few years I have been a part of First Lego League (Robotics) and it has given me a great perspective on teamwork and competition. I like space, especially Mars, and would love to be an astronaut one day. Outside of school I enjoy hanging out with friends and watching TV, going to Giants games with my dad, traveling East with my mom, and spending time with my brother, Toby. I also like boxing and playing baseball.    

Over the last few years, I have been preparing for my Bat Mitzvah by attending Shabbat School. I have learned a lot from my preparation including time management, prioritizing things that need to get done (even if they are not what I want to do), and that Judaism and this community welcome hard questions. And I ask some hard questions. My Torah portion, Miketz, tells the story of Joseph and the highs and lows of being part of a family and community.  I drew some connections to my relationship with my brother and my family. I also related to how far Joseph came from being a slave at the bottom of a pit to being the second in command to Pharaoh.  

I want to thank Rabbi Ain, who took time to help me with my speech and pushed the boundaries of my assumptions and perceptions. I also would like to thank my tutors Noa Bar and Stuart Blecher, who, after a rough beginning, helped me to learn my Torah portion and prepare for my Bat Mitzvah. Finally, I would like to thank my parents for everything they do to support me and for giving me room to grow.  

A Mitzvah for Teens on Maccabee Mitzvah Day

Help Makeover the Youth Lounge 
(especially for teens and tweens!)

Come join SFUSY in rededicating the Youth Lounge, ensuring an inviting and welcoming space for generations of youth to come! Possibilities include: painting the walls, hanging pictures, setting up objects, decorating, and envisioning future plans. 

Please bring with you any of the following materials: paint, string/fairy lights, light bulbs, furniture (beanbags, tables, lamps, etc.), pictures, banners, posters, streamers, other decorations, or objects/fixtures symbolic of Judaism and youth. 

DATE: Sunday, December 9
TIME: 1 p.m.
PLACE: Youth Lounge

Perform another Mitzvah on Maccabee Mitzvah Day - Donate to CTS!

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On Maccabee Mitzvah Day at CBS, bring donation items to Beth Sholom for the Community Thrift Shop. Declutter your home and perform a mitzvah at once!

Donations will be accepted on December 9 from 12:30-2:30 p.m.

Items You Can Donate at CBS
• clean, gently used adult clothing and shoes
• jewelry and accessories
• art and collectibles
• housewares
• DVDs and CDs
• electronics
• books
Items should be clean and in good condition. Not sure about your item? 
Check the CTS website. 

Items Not Accepted at CBS
• children’s clothing, toys and linens
• larger items or furniture
For larger items that need to be picked up, call CTS directly at 415.861.4910.

On Maccabee Mitzvah Day, volunteers will doyou the mitzvah of delivering your items to CTS! However if you wish to take the tax deduction for your donation, please deliver your items directly to CTS. Make sure to have your donations credited to Beth Sholom!

If you are available to help with collections on Mitzvah Day, or you have a van or station wagon that we could use to deliver our goods to CTS, please contact Kelsey Russom.

Maccabee Mitzvah Day & Hanukkah Party: Rededicate & Revive!

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Join us on Sunday, December 9 in a communal volunteer effort to rededicate and beautify our sacred temple. We'll have the opportunity for hands-on beautification and restoration followed by a festive Hanukkah celebration.

Let's be the light and shine the light on our spiritual home...together we can perform the mitzvah of elevating our incredible space. This event is FREE & Open to All.


1-4 p.m. Mitzvah Teams

There are a range of projects to undertake that day. You can choose the project that you prefer and you'll work in a small team with a house committee member. Please read more about the projects below and then register for the team in which you would like to contribute.

4-6 p.m. Party Time!
A festive celebration including: Candle Lighting, Food & Drink, Games, Dramatic & Musical Performances & More!


Team 1: Landscaping  | Captain: Allen Levy
We’ll work on the Zweifach Meditation Garden, the Eva Gunther Plaza deck and wall planters, and a few other small projects. In the long term, we’d like to form a gardening committee to manage these spaces on a regular basis, so please contact Allen if you are interested in that.

Team 2: Interior Decor | Co-captains: Rosemary Rothstein/Mark Gunther
We have a collection of art and memorabilia that needs to be hung on various walls. We have chosen the locations. We'll be hanging a temporary exhibition in the Chapel Gallery, and permanent installation, on drywall or concrete, of other art items.

Team 3: Hanging the Tribes | Captain: David Madfes
Those of you who are long term congregants will remember the metal sculptures depicting the 12 tribes that used to hang above the bimah in the old sanctuary. These are going to be mounted on the concrete wall above the reception desk in the lobby. As each tribe is in at least three pieces, need to be mounted directly to the wall, and need to align precisely with each other when hung, persons with carpentry experience would be welcome for this task.

Team 4: Moving the Tree of Life | Captain: David Madfes
The Tree of Life memorial wall is being moved from the Library to Koret Hall. We need some strong folks to help with the moving and installation.

Team 5: Storage Space Management/cleaning | Captain: Mark Gunther
Working with Beth, this team will be inventorying items we have in our various storage spaces, moving stuff around to better locations, and discarding things that have passed their sell-by date. We also may power-wash the EG Plaza deck and walls, exterior stairwells, and other places as needed. 

Team 6: Renewing the Pews | Captain: Harry Meyer
This team will wash, vacuum, assess, refinish and move as necessary the pews in the Gronowski Chapel and Makom Shalom. There may be additional light carpentry tasks for this team as well.

Additional work: There is always something to do around the shul! We have some electrical work to do, replacing ballasts and fixtures. There is some repair work to do, such as replacing door handles. There may also be some other technical work related to building systems such as phones, computers, HVAC, A/V, security and so forth. If you have expertise in these areas and would like to join our team of handypersons, please contact Mark Gunther or David Madfes

And, of course, there is always the much appreciated ongoing option to donate gelt towards these efforts.

Jerry Neuhaus featured in local newspaper


Long-time CBS congregant, Jerry Neuhaus, was featured in a great article in The New Fillmore, a local paper that covers one of San Francisco’s most vibrant neighborhoods. The article, written by Howard Freedman, covers Jerry's life story: from his birth in Spangenberg, Germany, to his immigration to the U.S. in 1937 (bringing along a sacred Torah scroll), and the establishment of the Neuhaus Brothers clothing store, which played such an important role in the development of San Francisco's Fillmore District.