Richmond?s Illuminating Connection to the Statue of Liberty

Berkeley historian and author Richard Schwartz will tell the story of Jewish actor Maurice B. Curtis, who used his fortune to light the Statue of Liberty in 1886 when the US Congress didn?t want to spend the money. He is the author of The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty: The Extraordinary Rise and Fall of Actor M.B. Curtis. The book?chronicles the actor?s rise??from overnight success in a groundbreaking play that transcended the stereotypes of Jewish characters of his time to a successful real estate career ? and ultimate ruin.


Curtis was the?manager of the Richmond Opera House, which was in operation from 1907 to 1918, and featured well-known performances including Uncle Tom?s Cabin and Girl of the Golden West. His acting career virtually ended when he was accused, and later acquitted, of shooting a San Francisco police officer.

The event is part of the Pioneers to the Present: Jews of Richmond and Contra Costa?exhibit series.


Fred Rosenbaum Speaks on his book Taking Risks

Fred Rosenbaum speaks about his book, Taking Risks, the story of Joseph Pell who was a partisan fighter during World War II. Joseph made his way to California after the war and eventually founded Moo’s Ice Cream in Richmond.

Fred Rosenbaum, the Founding Director Emeritus of Lehrhaus Judaica, led the?school for 44 years until 2017. He has written eight books on modern Jewish?history including?Cosmopolitans: A Social and Cultural History of the Jews of the?Bay Area?(University of California Press, 2009).?According to Kevin Starr, ?no?single community has contributed comparably to the rise and development of this?region?and no book tells this story better than Fred Rosenbaum?s.?

His book?Taking Risks?(with Joseph Pell) was praised by Michael Krasny as??especially compelling,? and his?Out on a Ledge?(with Eva Libitzky), an Amazon?bestseller, was deemed ?honest and piercing, unsentimental and yet deeply?moving,? by Michael Berenbaum, Founding Director of the United States?Holocaust Memorial Museum. Rosenbaum?s work has been translated into a?dozen foreign languages.

Among many honors, he won the Anne and Robert Cowan Lifetime Achievement?Award for outstanding writing on Jewish themes by a Bay Area author and was?the first educator from Northern California to receive the Award for Exceptional?Jewish Educators from the Covenant Foundation in New York.?He has taught at several Bay Area universities including the Graduate?Theological Union, lectured widely in the United States and abroad, and has?been the traveling scholar on numerous Lehrhaus study tours ? to Eastern and?Western Europe, Israel and the Middle East, South America and Cuba, the?American South, and his native New York.

An Unlikely Romance

Unlikely Romance

Local authors Julie Freestone and Rudi Raab speak on their novel Stumbling Stone (2015, Alvarado Press).How likely is it that the daughter of Jewish immigrants would cast her lot with the son of a high-ranking Nazi? However improbable, reporter Sarah Stern and German-born, Berkeley, California cop Karl Schmidt fall in love and embark on an all-consuming quest, probing his tangled past and the family?s sinister secrets.?Stumbling Stone?chronicles their?journey across two continents and the discovery of horrifying surprises they never could have imagined.

Jewish Genealogy: Finding your Jewish Roots with Stephen Harris

Dr. Stephen Harris will present “Jewish Genealogy: Finding your Jewish Roots” in conjunction with the temporary exhibit Pioneers to Present: Jews of Richmond & Contra Costa County. This exhibit is the latest in the “Know Your Community” series of public programs. ?The goal is to provide beginning genealogists with enough information to conduct their own research,? says Harris, who has been a professional genealogist since 1991, helping families, attorneys, and businesses with their genealogical research needs.? The program will present the basic steps in genealogical research, describe how to proceed amidst a wealth of data sources (including online services, offline archives, DNA analysis) and explain how to evaluate and organize evidence.

Dr. Harris is past president of the California Genealogical Society, has lectured extensively on genealogical subjects, and is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Learn more on his website


Bubbe Reads Storytime with Jewish Granny

Bubbe Reads: Storytime with Jewish Granny

Join us for a fun and educational out of school time event! From 1-3 PM on February 18, 2019 (President’s Day) a group of nice Jewish grannys will be reading stories for kids of all ages.

What is a Bubbe? Bubbe means Grandma in Yiddish! The Bubbes will read stories celebrating Judaism and multi faith. A Bubbe will be available to read in Spanish.

Light refreshments will be served.

The program is part of the Pioneers to the Present: Jews of Richmond & Contra Costa County exhibit series that runs through June 30, 2019.

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