Florence Dann is to receive a service award from the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, where she has served for four years as an officer of its western region. A member of Irvine's University Synagogue since 1990, Dann has served several times on its board, helped with its newsletter, Web site and religious school, and produced its talent shows, concerts and holiday plays. She currently works for the American Cancer Society and coordinates of their corporate wellness programs.
By soaking up details from the confessions of her émigré students, Stephanie Satie began filling the void in her family history, which her immigrant parents unaccountably refused to discuss.
A television actress in Los Angeles, Satie absorbed the tales of persecution and harrowing escapes while teaching English as a second language to recent arrivals from Iran and the former Soviet Union. Stitched together, Satie wove the stories of contemporary Jewish exiles into "Refugees." The one-woman performance piece showcase's her gift for characterization morphing into heavily accented characters.
"Crawling into someone else's skin helped me learn about what I don't know," Satie told 10 guests who dined with visiting scholars at a fundraiser last month for Orange County's Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE). In character, she told a few student stories at the home of Maria and Phillip Linder of Laguna Niguel. Eight other private homes hosted other scholars, raising $11,000 for the BJE.
Satie's play is to be performed for the Minnesota Jewish Theater in January.
Irvine's Congregation Beth Jacob is more than $3,000 richer by holding a raffle for donated jewelry in October.
But at least one ticket buyer was less than thrilled at his good fortune coming up with a winning ticket. "You have to buy tickets," Julie Brookler admonished her husband, Jerry, who helped organize the game of chance. "But how will it look if I win?" he replied.
Brookler, of Cypress, will surely find out since his was the last of three tickets drawn from a hat at the synagogue on Oct. 21 by Andrea Adelson, The Jewish Journal of Orange County's contributing editor.
The other winning ticket holders were Paul Vann, of Laguna Hills, the shul's president; and Michael and Joan Pokray, congregants from Irvine. Witnesses included Hazel Dyer, the synagogue administrator, and Shachar Landau, the rabbi's son.
Melanie Alkov, a leader of Westminster's Temple Beth David, was in Minneapolis last month at the convention for Reform synagogues. The temple's current board secretary and four-year membership vice president, she was installed as a Women of Reform Judaism national board member.
Visiting in Irvine on All Hallow's Eve as wildfires raged, Rabbi Daniel Landes, director of Jerusalem's Pardes Institute of Jewish Study, used scripture and midrash to explain Judaism's reaction to sorcery and witches.