Shayne Bialkin has been a member of Rodef Sholom for close to 50 of her nearly 100 years, and has seen major changes in Marin County, as well as in the congregation. Born in Minneapolis, her father took the family out West to California to follow the gold, or so she says. She was only 5 when they moved to Los Angeles. Her father opened a women’s gown store right across the street from Grauman’s Chinese Theater, on Hollywood Boulevard. The store provided a wonderful life for them until the Depression, when he lost the store and everyone in the family had to go to work.
After that, Shayne worked as a cashier for restaurants and hotels in order to supplement the family income, and she continued to work until she was in her early 70’s.
She married and had her son, and when he was about 10, they moved up to the Bay Area, to an apartment in the Meadows. When her husband saw all that vacant land in the area, he called Manual T. Frietas and then helped him build Green Oaks in Terra Linda.
Shayne may be close to 100, but those years have allowed her the time to think even more. She thinks about the tenets she was taught as a child in religious school and tries to reconcile them with evolution. And she thinks about what she would have done differently…like finishing all the projects she started. She advises “do whatever you can each day, and don’t put things off. And don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Shayne’s vision is failing her now, but not her sense of humor or perspective. She gives out warm hugs freely and reminds visitors, “Stay safe, well and happy”, advice she seems to be following.