Posted by Stacey Poole on Apr 20, 2022
President Mary Liu (Real Estate: Sales | JM Real Estate Group) called the meeting to order at 12:15 PM and welcomed everyone attending either online or in person inside the Anzu Restaurant.
Visiting Rotarians and Special Guests
Today's visiting Rotarians were Joel Valdez from the Rotary Club of Manila; District 5150 Governor Nominee Designate Steve Wright of the Rotary Club of Pacifica; and Jean Schore of the Rotary Club of Eugene. Jean attended via Zoom and was formerly a member of our Club from October 4, 1994 to June 26, 2017.
Margaret Miley (Hospitality: Hotels | Retired) introduced her guest - Mary Fermi. Christopher Davies (Real Estate: Property Management | Self-employed) introduced his guest - Jill Hodges. Esther Landau (Nonprofit Administration | The Arc San Francisco) introduced her guest - Kristen Pedersen. Also visiting us was Rachel Kaloian. Tim Hornbecker (Nonprofit Management | Retired, The Arc CA) reintroduced himself to the Club since it had been a while since he had attended a meeting in person.  
Upcoming Events
Please check the Club Calendar for upcoming events and registration. Look particularly in the month of May 2022 for recently posted events. President Mary also encouraged everyone to participate in the District Conference on May 14, 2022.
Eric Schmautz (Banking: Management | Wells Fargo) shared about the Rotary International Convention that will be held in Houston, Texas on June 4-8, 2022. Eric discussed the many benefits of attending an international convention and encouraged members to consider attending this Convention or a future one. He teased that the International Convention may be held in San Francisco at some point in the future.
Weekly Recap
ALPS Project: At the April 1, 2022 ALPS Gala, Isabel DeKlerk was recognized as one of the outstanding ALPS students. This past week, she led a health and fitness program at a local elementary school.
New Members Inducted
President Mary and our Vice President of Membership Nancy Graydon (Development | Glaucoma Research Foundation) inducted Clifford Phillips (Nonprofit Administration | The Arc San Francisco), Aida Jones (Photography | Bay Area Headshot Company) who attended via Zoom, and Todd St Vrain (Education: Administration | University of Melbourne). Tim Hornbecker is Clifford's mentor; Stephanie Schmautz (Elder Care and Senior Services | The Carlisle) is Aida's mentor; and Dan Joraanstad (Financial Services: Advising | Retired) is Todd's mentor. Clifford Phillips is the newest member of our corporate member - The Arc San Francisco. Each new member discussed why and how he/she wanted to get involved with our Club. Welcome to our newest members—we look forward to getting to know you!
Passover Seder
Scott Plakun (Management Consulting | The Plakun Group) and Susan Dean (Healthcare: Nursing Services | Retired) were the speakers of the day. They led a Passover Seder for our Club. While many of those in attendance had been to a Seder before, this was an entirely new experience for others.
Passover starts on the first night of the full moon after the spring equinox. Seder is the first night of Passover and can also include the second night. The Passover Seder is the special meal in which family and friends gather to retell (often in Hebrew) the story of how the Jews had fled from slavery in Egypt approximately 3,400 years ago. Those who gather to celebrate Passover share stories of past Seders and prayers.

Susan and Scott described that Passover is the most widely celebrated ritual in Judaism, and it is even celebrated by families that are otherwise non-observant. The Passover holiday takes place for eight days during which time chometz (leavened breads, wheat flour, and certain other grains) are forbidden. Observant Jews carefully clean their homes prior to Passover to remove the chometz and often bring out special dishes, utensils, pots, and pans that are only used during the Passover holiday.
Before the meal began, Scott and Susan had those at the Anzu Restaurant pick up their plates in order to remove the chometz from the table. While it is customary to have four glasses of wine, we did not have any. There is a special prayer to bless the wine. Matzo is eaten during Passover as a symbol of affliction and poverty. The Jews had to flee Egypt in a hurry and did not have time for their bread to rise.  
It is a tradition that the youngest child in the room asks why this night is different from all other nights. As the youngest person in attendance, Ozan Yasavur (Engineering: Mechanical | Bioforcetech Corporation) was selected to ask The Four Questions, and the audience responded using the prompts that were shown on the slides presented by Scott and Susan. In addition to The Four Questions, the ceremony also includes songs.
At the table is a Seder plate with various items that symbolize different aspects of Passover. A roasted lamb shank bone represents the sacrifice of a lamb; the egg represents the circle of life; bitter herbs represent the bitterness of slavery; and parsley represents the rebirth of spring.  
Throughout the presentation, members and guests shared their own Passover and Seder memories. Most memories involved celebrating with family and friends over good food.
  • Esther Landau commented that in many homes, including hers, an orange is on the Seder plate to represent Gay and Lesbian Jews and others who are marginalized.  
  • Jane Mermelstein (Real Estate: Sales | Corcoran Global Living) shared her favorite Passover memory when as a young child, she and her young cousin mixed up the grape juice with wine and acted very silly.  
  • Jeff Lerner (Retail: Home Improvement | Floorcraft) shared that while on his way to attend a Seder at Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco, his young son lost a prized teddy bear. While searching for it, he found himself in front of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (Governmental Relations | Office of US Senator Dianne Feinstein) home. Senator Feinstein invited him in to her foyer and presented him with a painting.  
  • Other members who shared included Jean Schore, Rick Harrell (Arts Therapy | Heroes' Voices), Todd St Vrain, Ed Shenkan (Healthcare Consulting | Shenkan Advisors) and John Hoch (Financial Services: Advising | Retired).
Socks: Most Seder plates do not include socks. Socks were put on today’s Seder plate to represent the socks that our Club is donating to the California Conservation Corps as a way of acting on the commandment to be of service to others. Many donated generously to our call for socks, and we thank you!
The Seder concluded with the favorite tradition of finding the hidden matzo. Someone traditionally hides a piece of matzo somewhere in the home for the children to find. The winner gets a prize. Ed Shenkan won a package of Passover macaroons.
This meeting was part of our Club’s work in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). If you have an idea for a meeting that involves DEI or want to share with our Club a tradition or holiday that you celebrate, please speak to Scott Plakun, President Mary, or President-Elect Christopher Wiseman (Event Planning | Glaucoma Research Foundation).   
Wins for the Week
President Mary then invited members to share their “wins for the week”.  
Rhonda Poppen (Grant Writing | GRANTdog) donated $50 in honor of Bill Poppen’s (Banking: Management | MUFG Union Bank) parents’ wedding anniversary and the fact that Rhonda and Bill were able to travel to his parents' to celebrate with them.
Wendy Shew (Nonprofit Administration | Building Education) discussed her work and an upcoming event to help fundraise for a fourth school to be built in Nepal.
Anita Stangl (Medical Services | Alliance for Smiles) announced the upcoming Gala for Alliance for Smiles and celebrated her 35th anniversary as a Rotarian.
Other members who shared were Jianying Chen (Healthcare: Acupuncture| American Institute of Zhizhen Therapy and New Qigong) and Clifford Phillips.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:30 p.m.
Editor's Note: Thank you to Stacey Poole (Law: Family | Lerner Poole & Stewart, LLP) for serving as scribe at this meeting; to Matt Madsen (Nonprofit Management | The Salvation Army) for serving as photographer; to Michael Petricca (Education Management | Academy of Art) for managing the microphone; to Jessie Austin of the Academy of Art University for managing the audio-visual equipment during our in-person meeting; to Maureen O’Shea (Governmental Relations | Retired), Margaret Miley and Jessica Hansen (Nonprofit Management | Alliance for Smiles) for serving as greeters; to Christopher Wiseman for managing those who were attending via Zoom; and to Jeff Lerner for doing check-in at the Hotel Nikko.