Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

Post-WWII Jewish Designers Draft a Brave New World

May 26, 2014

This article was first published in The Times of Israel.

Eichler model home advertisement, c. 1960. Photographic print of original color postcard image, 8 1/32 x 10 in. Photo courtesy of the Local History Collection, Orange Public Library, Orange, California. Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply.

Eichler model home advertisement, c. 1960. Photographic print of original color postcard image, 8 1/32 x 10 in. Photo courtesy of the Local History Collection, Orange Public Library, Orange, California. Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply.

SAN FRANCISCO — A new original exhibition at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco shows that while the Jews may be an ancient people, they are also a definitively modernist one

“Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism” is the first major exhibition to explore the role of the many Jewish architects, designers, and patrons —both American- and European-born — in the formation of a new American domestic landscape post-World War II.

Though names such as Alex Steinweiss, Ruth Adler Schnee, Henry Dreyfuss, and Saul Bass may be unfamiliar, even a cursory look at their represented objects affirms their impact. With a preference for abstraction, these designers continue to influence everyday surroundings decades after the modernist movement reached its apex. One need only go on a weekend shopping trip to the local IKEA to grasp their democratization of style.

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© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

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Brandeis Hillel Campuses in Marin and S.F. Agree To Split

February 6, 2014

This article was first published in JWeekly.

Brandeis Hillel Day School on Brotherhood Way in San Francisco photo/courtesy bhds

Brandeis Hillel Day School on Brotherhood Way in San Francisco photo/courtesy bhds

The San Francisco and Marin campuses of Brandeis Hillel Day School have decided to end their formal relationship and split into two independent schools.

The board of trustees announced last week that the campuses would separate fully by the 2015-2016 school year, following more than a year of transition.

The unanimous decision by the BHDS board on Jan. 28 came after several months of consideration with a group of community and school leaders in Marin, called the Marin Working Group.

“The underlying issue is that the two campuses operate in two different markets,” explained Marc Dollinger, a former BHDS parent and board chair and the organizer of the Marin Working Group. “Marin has strong public schools and weaker Jewish identity, while San Francisco has weak public schools and more Jews.”

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© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

S.F.’s Hartman Institute Helping Community to Evolve

January 16, 2014

This piece was first published in JWeekly.

Yehuda Kurtzer, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, leads a roundtable discussion for Jewish professionals at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in 2013.

Yehuda Kurtzer, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, leads a roundtable discussion for Jewish professionals at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in 2013.

Chances are that on any given day, there is a Shalom Hartman Institute Jewish educational program going on somewhere in the Bay Area.

It could be a small gathering of community leaders meeting at a private home to study Jewish text, or a study session for local rabbis.  Or it could be a Jewish organization’s leaders sitting in the boardroom, exploring major Jewish questions with a Hartman scholar.

Founded in 1976 by American-born Rabbi David Hartman (who died last year), the Shalom Hartman Institute is a pluralistic research, leadership and educational center based in Jerusalem.

Five years ago, the institute established a North American headquarters in New York. In September 2011, it opened an S.F.-based office, headed by Bernie Steinberg, the first vice president  for the West Coast for the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, now working as a Hartman scholar.

In the past several years, the Bay Area has become a major center for the institute.

The aim: To inspire transformative thinking about big Jewish ideas and major questions facing Jews today. The institute works directly with area community leaders, both spiritual and institutional, as the agents of change.

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© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.