By Diana Brement, Jewish Sound Columnist
If you know me, you know I’m a regular blood donor who enjoys nagging folks to do the same.
Lynn Gottlieb is a much better example than me, however. Having donated over 100 pints, she’s earned a leaf on the Puget Sound Blood Center’s (PSBC) Tree of Life on Seattle’s First Hill.
“I’ve donated since the day I turned 21,” she says. And while “it’s nice to get the kudos,” she would rather get YOU to donate.
Trying for years to get Jewish institutions to host more blood drives, she notes that the churches in the area host much more frequently. Organizations that host rarely do so more than once or twice a year, but she’d like to see them “run blood drives every other month,” matching the frequency with which donors can give.
Lynn’s motivation comes from her heritage, too.
“I want more Jews to donate blood, especially since I’m an ‘Ashkefardi,’” the daughter of a part-Sephardic father and Ashkenazic mother. Her father’s blood type was B+, common in the Middle East, uncommon in the U.S., and hard to find when needed. (O is America’s most common blood type, reflecting the population’s mostly central and northern European ancestry.)
“Every Jew who is healthy can do it…even people who don’t believe that organ donation is halachic can donate blood,” says Lynn. “Everyone’s money looks the same at the end, but…your blood is different than everyone else’s.” And it could save a life.
As a technical writer, Lynn is part of a rare group: “A technical person over the age of 50,” she quips. She first worked with computers in the late ’60s while a student at Springfield Gardens High School in Queens, N.Y. She attended the State University of New York at Buffalo, then moved to Seattle where she worked for Pacific Northwest Bell, the University of Washington (where she got her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering), Boeing, Microsoft, and a variety of small software companies. “I’ve been here so long only my reptilian brain remembers New York,” she says.
An active theater volunteer, she ushers at most area theaters and at the Seattle Symphony gift shop.
Seattle’s next synagogue blood drive is this Sunday, April 13, at Congregation Beth Shalom. Sign up on line at www.psbc.org
or get information about having a drive at your own congregation or organization.
A few months ago I attended an event at Kenyon Hall in West Seattle, a place I’d never known about. It looks like a house on an ordinary block, but it is a lovely little concert and event hall known for great acoustics and its fully restored Wurlitzer theater organ. Built in 1916, it has been the Olympic Heights Social Hall and Hokum Hall in the past. It’s currently operated by a nonprofit group called Seattle Artists.
Michael Krasik was the host of the event I attended and has been a volunteer there for over 18 years. It all started when he saw a poster for a performance of ragtime music, which he loves. He “showed up and it was just charming,” he recalls. “I was taken.” He would bring his kids to help with mailings before email came along, and now works the shows and even does a little talent scouting.
“It’s a performers’ space,” says Michael, offering “world class entertainment” of all types for small but dedicated audiences. The venue is known for its vaudeville shows and silent movie series, but all types of music are offered there and the week that Michael and I spoke a revival of the musical “A My Name is Alice” was featured. It’s also known for its root beer float made from locally sourced ice cream and artisan root beer.
A professional inventor, Michael has “made a living off of a patent portfolio and manufacturing,” with inventions “in various mechanical and electrical things,” plus children’s products and fashion. A recent example is the Kidfolio social media app at www.kidfol.io and he sometimes works with his son Ari on products.
The Los Angeles native starts most days at Congregation Beth Shalom’s morning minyan, followed by 42 minutes of exercise. “I promised myself years ago that I would exercise for 40 minutes a day then I add two minutes in case I’m goofing off,” he says.
After that he goes home to work in his “very eclectic kind of business,” he says. “If I think of something that needs to be made that I can’t find in the world, I make it.”
An invention cycle, he says, usually “starts as something fanciful…. You start out with a crazy, wacky idea to get a laugh [and] in microseconds it gets very, very serious.”
Short takes: More rabbinical movement jostles the Seattle area as Rabbi Jessica Yarkin becomes Herzl-Ner Tamid’s director of congregational learning (DCL) and Leslie Mickel, interim DCL, becomes principal of the Frankel Religious School. Seattle’s Congregation Beth Shalom gets another mention down here as Rabbi Adam Rubin becomes the new assistant rabbi. Everyone starts in July.