From the Dusty Archives
San Francisco's Congregation Sherith Israel was founded in 1851, the same year as the city's other leading Jewish congregation, Emanu-El. Its first buildings were on Stockton Street and then Post and Taylor Streets. The congregation finally settled on Webster St., where the synagogue was used as a courthouse after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. During that time, Abe Ruef's corruption trial took place in the building, as it was one of the few buildings of its size that survived the calamity with very little damage.
Bassya (Maltzer) Bibel (1908-1980) was a poet, author, secretary, and an actress. She arrived to San Francisco in 1921 from Kopaygorod, Podolia (Kopayhorod in modern Ukraine). After settling in the city, she became very involved with a San Francisco Yiddish dramatic group. Bassya Bibel authored several volumes of poetry, including In Hours of Silence (1969), Fleeting Moments (1970), Passing Shadows (1974), and A Net of Black Clouds (1977).
Darius Milhaud was born in France and immigrated to the U.S. in 1940. He was then a professor at Mills College, in Oakland, Calif., from 1940 to 1971. His opera, David, premiered at La Scala in Milan in 1955. In 1956, Jack Amidor and Seymour Fromer produced the American premiere at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, thanks to the fundraising efforts of The Festival of Faith and Freedom Committee of the American Association for Jewish Education.
The Jewish Music Festival started in Berkeley, California, in 1986 as a one-day event produced and hosted by the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay (formerly the Berkeley-Richmond Jewish Community Center). Its programs have included performances, lectures and workshops devoted to instrumental music, song and dance inspired by the musical traditions of the global Jewish Diaspora.
Raphael Weill was a pioneer San Francisco merchant who emigrated from France and arrived in San Francisco in 1855. Within three years, he had become a partner of the J. W. Davidson Dry Goods Store. By 1885, the Davidson Dry Goods Store became Raphael Weill and Company, and the store became known as the White House.
Rosalie Meyer Stern was a civic and social leader of San Francisco.