September 2014

Team SF at the JCC Maccabi Games®
32nd annual Maccabi Games

Sun, rain, humidity and thunderstorms: The San Francisco delegation to the 32nd annual JCC Maccabi Games in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, hit the full range of East Coast summer weather. But that didn’t stop Team SF from representing in 10 different sports, from basketball to swimming.
Nineteen returning participants and 33 first-timers headed for the games the week of August 11, to compete against 29 other delegations from across the US and around the world. Teams from Mexico, the United Kingdom and Israel came a long way to be a part of the largest organized sports program for Jewish teens in the world.
More than 1,200 athletes participated in the Games this year. Visitors stayed with host families and did everything together: competing, eating, socializing and giving back to the community with JCC Cares, the program’s annual community service project. The spirit of friendship (re-ut) met the value of tikkun ha-olam (Repair of the World), with a big measure of joy (rina) thrown in as athletes competed in the sports they love. Also important – and posted prominently throughout the game venues – were urgings to honor the “Rachmanus Rule” of fair play. In practice this meant no to “trash talking” or making fun of weaker teams, and yes to being a good loser or a gracious winner. That many teams were seen hanging out with other teams off the playing field suggests that the athletes rose to the challenge of valuing camaraderie over winning.

Russian Émigré Engineer Crafts Intricate Copper Sculptures

Copper Sculptures

Leonid Korchemsky, 85, has spent a lifetime working with his hands. Born in 1928 in Kiev, Ukraine, to a Jewish family, Korchemsky worked in a fix-it shop starting at the age of 13. His father told him he’d been “born with a hammer in his hand.” After World War II, which claimed the life of his brother, Korchemsky studied civil engineering, a field he would work in for most of his life.
In 1979 he and his family moved to the US, ending up in San Francisco, where Korchemsky now lives with his wife, fellow artist Anna Perlstrauss, in a house in the Richmond District with a garage given over entirely to the couple’s artistic pursuits.
After Korchemsky retired in the mid-1990s, he began crafting charming intricate copper sculptures that depict scenes from everyday life, many evocative of the long-ago days of the shtetl. A scene that measures just 6 x 10 x 5 inches, for instance, shows three Jewish elders seated at a table. There are sculptures titled The Torah Scriber, Shabbat Candles and Prayer on the Street. One scenario, less than a foot tall, depicts a man and his two sons facing the Western Wall, all deep in prayer.
Some of the sculptures depict musicians, including the proverbial fiddler on the roof. There are also poignant scenes of older couples walking together or having tea for two. Korchemsky’s copper sculptures are on display at the JCCSF’s Katz Snyder Gallery through October 15 and many are available for purchase. A portion of the proceeds benefits the JCCSF.

Repair the World:
Tikkun Ha-Olam

Repair the World

Most of us want to do good, to make our community a more just and connected place and to improve the lives of those less fortunate. Recognizing that, the JCCSF partners with local organizations to help our city and its inhabitants thrive, while also giving our community members the chance to take part in the process.
This fall we have a wide range of volunteer opportunities coming up, from harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables straight from the farm to preparing meals for the hungry to sorting and packing donations to a local food bank. Fall events you may want to participate in include:
Nurture Nature at the San Francisco Botanical Garden
Sunday, 9/14, 9:00 am – Noon
Urban Harvest at Alemany Farm
Sunday, 10/5, Noon – 5:00 pm
Prepare a Meal at Glide Memorial 
Sunday, 11/2, 9:00 – 11:00 am
Stock the Shelves with SF-Marin Food Bank
Sunday, 12/7, 9:00 – 11:00 am
For more information visit
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