We still have a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Jeff and Ruth! We are creating memory books of well wishes and congratulations for Jeff and Ruth. Help us by adding your message by clicking the button below, or send an email to bharris@brandeismarin.org



Let's Get to Know Jeff

Did you know that Jeff’s children currently attend Brandeis?  Eliana is in 7th grade and Gabe is in 5th. Jeff loves the creative, project-based learning that allows his kids to build the ability to think deeply and not just memorize facts. He also appreciates the priority placed on kindness and citizenship.    

Fun Fact:  When Jeff isn’t in a boardroom or supporting a local Jewish organization, he’s busy tending to the bones and joints of the Bay Area’s most adventurous, as many of our own community members can attest.  Jeff is an orthopedic surgeon, specializing in Sports Medicine and built a private practice almost 30 years ago. Earlier in his career, he frequently traveled to sporting events as the medical director for the Women’s Pro Ski Tour and to lecture and share his expertise.  These days Jeff reserves his travel for trips with his children and friends.  

Did you know that Jeff’s dream is to enable the creation of an endowment fund for Jewish Education in the Bay Area that would subsidize Jewish education and make it more accessible to all?  The product of an Orthodox Jewish K-12 Day School, Jeff has been an advocate for Jewish Education ever since. He believes that “a community without a vibrant Jewish school is a community with no future” and is driven to offer the opportunity he himself was blessed with to as many Jewish children as possible.

Fun Facts:  Jeff believes his most meaningful non-work activities are being a dad and supporting numerous Jewish organizations around the Bay Area.  He has a strong group of friends and makes it a priortiy to spend time and travel with them. When he stops for lunch on a busy day, you might find him eating his favorites: pastrami on rye with coleslaw, chopped liver, or perhaps his sister’s brisket.   

Did you know that Jeff’s passion for Jewish Education led to his position as a founding board member of the Jewish Community High School of the Bay, the first Jewish high school in the Bay Area?  This was something of note, especially considering that at the time, he had no children. He is particularly proud of his involvement on the Marin Working Group, which spearheaded the separation of Brandeis Marin from San Francisco Brandeis and its founding as an independent school, as well as his years on the Board to “help shepherd Brandeis Marin in its first five years to the vibrant institution it has become.”

Fun Fact:  Jeff played Division 1 basketball and water polo at Columbia. He continues to stay active; many of his leisure activities involve movement. You can often find him on the basketball court coaching his son Gabe’s team. Jeff is also an avid skier and enjoys riding his bikes through the hills of Marin.

Did you know Jeff is crazy about James Taylor?  He explains, “I could listen to him all day long.”  Jeff loves to dance and has been known to kick up a rug to electronic house music.

Fun Fact:  Jeff holds a number of firsts in his career.  In 1991 he established the Institute for Arthroscopy and Sports Medicine in San Francisco. Additionally, he is the founder and general partner of the Pacific Heights Surgery Center. He’s also an inventor and holds patents for various medical devices and is the Founder of ZKR Medical Device Company.  

The Inside Scoop on Ruth

Did you know that Ruth is known to generations of Brandeis alumni as "Mrs. R,'' and that her sons Joel ('98) and David ('02) are both alumni of Brandeis in Marin? We think they call her Mom!  Ruth is very grateful to have had Brandeis as her partner in educating her sons to be independent-minded critical thinkers and kind human beings.

Fun Fact:  Ruth loves to travel and Israel is her favorite destination.  Her most unusual trips were visits to Japan and India with her son David.  She explains, "Among many memorable moments was when we hung paper cranes in Hiroshima at Peace Park in honor of a book I read with my 4th graders, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes and the lessons of remembering and honoring the fallen and peace in a world of unsettled times."   

Did you know that the best piece of teaching advice Ruth ever got as a new teacher was from her mother, Joel and David's grandmother, Rebecca Willheim, just before Ruth's first set of parent-teacher conferences?   She advised, “When talking with parents of students, be honest, but always, always, always err on the side of kindness.”

Fun Fact:  Ruth has been in a monthly book club for 35 years and acknowledges that this means she has read a lot of books in between all the other things that keep her busy - 35 times12 to be exact!  Mrs. R loves to cook and is even a member of a Cookbook Club!

Did you know that nothing makes Ruth happier than seeing the success of her former students through their high school and college years and into their adult lives?  She also loves running into her current students and their parents in the market, movie theaters or other venues around Marin and feeling that community connection. As Mrs. R says, "I get to have my 7 minutes of fame over and over again!"

Fun Fact: Ruth began exercising on a regular basis about 10 years ago.  She enjoys boot camp, yoga and running. If all goes well, she will be running the Shape Women’s Half Marathon in NY in mid-April, right before the Brandeis Spring Simcha.  We wish her all the best for a successful event!

Did you know Ruth’s musical tastes are firmly rooted in the 1970s?  Some favorite artists are Elton John, Billy Joel, Van Morrison, Jackson Brown, James Taylor, Carole King, Linda Ronstadt, Joan Baez, Simon & Garfunkel, the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Cat Stevens, Chicago, Don McLean, and Fleetwood Mac.  She also likes some newer artists such as R.E.M, The Decemberists, and Adele.

Fun Fact: During her 35 years at Brandeis, Ruth has held many positions including classroom teacher in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades, school librarian, middle school coordinator, and her current position: Dean of Lower School.