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August 31, 2018 20 Elul 5778 Volume 74, Issue 16

S O U T H E R N A R I Z O N A ’ S A WA R D - W I N N I N G J E W I S H N E W S PA P E R

INSIDE SECTION B Shining Stars and High Holiday Community Greetings ... Restaurant Resource A-15–A-19 Arts & Culture .................... A-9 Classifieds .........................A-22 Commentary ..................... A-6 Community Calendar.......A-28 In Focus............................ A-30 Insider’s View.....................A-7 Local .......................... A-2, 3, 9 National ..............................A-3 News Briefs ......................A-32 Obituaries ........................ A-26 Our Town .......................... A-31 P.S. ................................... A-24 Reflections........................A-27 Religion & Jewish Life .... A-20 Rosh Hashanah .......A-11, 13, 15 Synagogue Directory...... A-26

w w w. a z j e w i s h p o s t . c o m

Community takes Homer Davis school to heart DEBE CAMPBELL AJP Assistant Editor


n Tucson, 21 percent of children live below the poverty level. It makes a difference when children study on empty stomachs. It makes a difference when they have no food to eat when they get home. It makes a difference in their ability to grow, learn and succeed. “Making a Difference Every Day: The Homer Davis Project” has made the difference for hundreds of students over the past decade, helping to meet the needs of hunger at one local elementary school. The program’s 10th anniversary will be marked in March with a special, interactive event, chaired by Gail Birin and Linda Kunsberg. The Homer Davis Project is a collaboration of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Jewish Community Relations Council, chaired by Stephanie Evic, and the Jewish community. It evolved from the JCRC’s annual day of service. “They decided they wanted to make a difference every day,” recalls Mary Ellen Loebl, program coordinator for the past nine years. A committee evaluated several elementary schools to find a true partnership, and adopted Homer Davis Elementary School in Flowing Wells School District. At the time, 87 percent of its students were on free or reduced lunch, a common measure of poverty in the education system. “The JFSA is a wonderful partner,” says Homer Davis Principal Lyle Dunbar. “They are truly committed to the success of our students and community here at Homer Davis. Their commitment to the well-being of our students’ physical and psychological needs is incredible. I make one phone call to Mary Ellen and the JFSA comes to the rescue. I appreciate all they do for us.” “We started out by providing weekend food packs for 20 students,” says Loebl. These food packs supplement the students’ nutrition See School, page A-4

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Hoffman brings experience, energy to JCF DEBE CAMPBELL AJP Assistant Editor


he Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona will welcome Graham Hoffman as chief executive officer, beginning Sept. 17. Hoffman most recently was deputy director of development at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C., as well as deputy director of the American Israel Education Foundation for the past four years. “We are excited to have Graham with us. The search process was rigorous and expansive. He clearly stood out as our number one candidate … and brings a lot of energy, experience, and creativity to the Foundation,” says JCF Board Chair Jeff Katz. “He

has experience in major gifts development and has worked closely with many major philanthropic foundations.” In his previous role, Hoffman oversaw major gifts as well as endowments and grants, and developed donor stewardship strategy. His team oversaw a $140 million annual campaign, and he managed a growing portfolio of philanthropic foundations. Katz calls Hoffman a strategic leader who thinks outside the box, with the experience and perspective the Foundation needs. “The staff is excited about his visions for the organization. We are excited to have him lead us to the next level,” Katz adds. A Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native, Hoffman graduated from the Olin Business School at See Hoffman, page A-5

CANDLELIGHTING TIMES: August 31 ... 6:31 p.m. • September 7 ... 6:22 p.m. September 9 Erev Rosh Hashanah ... 6:20 p.m. • September 10 Rosh Hashanah ... 7:13 p.m. • September 14 ... 6:13 p.m.

LOCAL Former Eagle to share football to faith journey

Calvin ‘Yosef’ Murray and his wife, Emunah, on a Judean Desert Jeep tour in Israel December 2017.

DEBE CAMPBELL AJP Assistant Editor


egendary all-star Rose Bowl running back Calvin Murray played football for the Philadelphia Eagles in the early ’80s. Yet he says his greatest touchdown was converting to Orthodox Judaism five years ago, and with his wife, Emunah, preparing to make aliyah. Murray, who now goes by the name Yosef, will share his story in Tucson on Thursday, Sept. 6, at Chabad Tucson’s annual High Holidays lecture, co-hosted by the Tucson Jewish Community Center. He speaks with sincerity, enthusiasm, conviction and passion. “I want to be an inspiration and represent the Jewish community in an uplifting way. To be a light to the world, and bring the world together,” he told the AJP. When Murray was a young boy, he set three goals for his future. First was to play for Ohio State University. The second, to play for his dad’s favorite team, the Philadelphia Eagles. The third goal was to work with kids. Murray started playing football when he was 8 years old. He went on to play four years with Ohio State University, catching the longest pass in the Buckeyes’ history (86 yards, 1979) and become the 1980 MVP. He played two years with the National Football League and played briefly with the United States Football League until an injury ended his career. In high school, Murray began a Bible study group, Fellowship for Christian Athletes, with his coach. He continued leading the group through college and his NFL career and once had Julius “Dr. J” Erving in his home to study the word of God, he recalls. He met his wife, then Jeri, when both were youth pastors at an evangelical Chris-


ARIZONA JEWISH POST, August 31, 2018

tian church. They married in 1992 and together raised six children. Twelve years into their marriage, the couple got their first taste of Judaism through a Messianic congregation. They had no intention of becoming Jewish; they simply were searching for the truth. Little by little, as they learned more, they began to realize that the truth was in Torah, Murray says. The couple was eager in their Judaic studies but a rabbi told them, “This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.” After 10 years of study, the couple converted in 2013. Murray’s belief and understanding comes from the Torah. Knowing what it says, how it is interpreted and understanding how it relates to the customs and traditions is important to him. “Sometimes it’s the simple things that inspire you. Everyone has to find their own way to God,” he says. “I wanted a close personal relationship with the Creator and the only way I could get there was by becoming an Orthodox Jew. The experience to find that journey in life includes encouraging other people, because we’re not here for ourselves.” Murray’s upbringing as the eldest son and his discipline and training as an athlete enabled him to handle the responsibility of being an Orthodox Jew, he says. He now spends hours in prayer daily, seeking guidance and direction. “I hear God more. It takes a lot of personal time and intimacy, like starting to date someone. You have to talk to Him and build a relationship. It is such a beautiful time.” Murray will present “My Greatest Touchdown: A Journey from Football to Faith” on Thursday, Sept. 6, 7-8:30 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center, 3800 E. River Road. Tickets are $15 in advance at, or $18 at the door.


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Sen. John McCain remembered as war hero, strong supporter of human rights and Israel

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U.S. Sens. John McCain and Joseph Lieberman, right, place notes in the Western Wall in Jerusalem, March 19, 2008.

DEBE CAMPBELL AJP Assistant Editor


ix-term Arizona Republican Sen. John Sydney McCain III, 81, died at the family ranch in Sedona, Arizona, Aug. 26, one day after declining further treatment for brain cancer. Today, he lies in state in the U.S. Capitol, where a formal ceremony will take place in the Capitol Rotunda at 8 a.m. MST to honor his life and 60 years of service to the nation. On Saturday, at 7 a.m. MST, a national memorial service will take place at Washington National Cathedral. At McCain’s request, former U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama are expected to deliver eulogies. He will be buried at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland. His wife Cindy, seven children and five grandchildren survive him. “Despite our differences on policy and politics, I respect Senator John McCain’s service to our country,” said President Donald J. Trump on Monday, when he approved lowering the flags over the White House and across the nation to half-staff until McCain’s interment. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York on Monday gained Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake’s support to cosponsor a resolution renaming the Senate Russell Building in honor of McCain. Schumer and McCain were both members of the Senate’s bipartisan Gang of Eight that sponsored the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. McCain called himself a maverick.

The hawkish, conservative senator was known for doing the right thing, even when it was not politically beneficial. He made human rights and Israel centerpieces of his advocacy for a robust U.S. influence around the globe. Prior to his 2008 winning bid for the Republican presidential nomination, McCain said, “I will continue to do what is right. I will continue to pursue torture, climate change. If that means I can’t get the Republican nomination, fine. I’ve had a happy life. The worst thing I can do is sell my soul to the devil.” Like his grandfather and father before him, McCain graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. On his 23rd mission as a combat pilot flying missions over Vietnam, a missile strike to his aircraft forced him to eject, breaking both his arms and legs. He spent 1967-1973 in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prison for American POWs, where he was tortured and where he famously refused release until all of his fellow prisoners were freed. Upon release in 1973, he remained in the Navy, becoming its liaison to the Senate. It was in that capacity that he first visited Israel in the late 1970s. McCain left the Navy in 1981, won a race for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982 and was elected to the Senate for the first time in 1986. Over the course of his career, McCain served as chair of the Senate committees on Indian Affairs; Commerce, Science and Transportation; and most recently, Armed Services. Admirers from both sides of the aisle responded with tributes following his death.

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Volunteers from Roche Laboratories, including Jennifer Miller Grant (foreground) and Ianna Brugal, pack food boxes for Homer Davis Elementary School on Dec. 15, 2017. The food boxes are part of ‘Making a Difference Every Day: The Homer Davis Project,’ coordinated by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Jewish Community Relations Council.

SCHOOL continued from page 1

when not at school, and sometimes provide their only food over the weekends. “Now, we are serving nearly 100 students in so many more ways,” Loebl says. Nearly 600 families received food boxes over the course of the program that has touched each of the school’s students with generosity — more than 4,000 over the decade. The Arizona Education Association Foundation recognized the program with a Partners in Education Award in May. The program invests about $20,000 annually on food, in collaboration with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. That provides break snacks for 150 kindergartners and first graders on school days and during summer school, as well as the weekend food packs. The program delivers food boxes during the 16-day winter break, nine-day spring break, Thanksgiving, rodeo and fall breaks. Food includes easy things for kids to make by themselves, such as soups, cereals, oatmeal, mac and cheese, tuna fish — not a favorite item with the kids but the parents like it — and fresh fruit and vegetables as available. The greater Jewish community also is committed to Homer Davis. Congregation M’Kor Hayim provides and packs the Thanksgiving boxes. There are ongoing drives and additional support for school supplies, toiletries, teacher materials, individual snacks, and for every student, spirit shirts and backpacks. A 2016 donation from the Maizlisch Family Foundation delivered 20 new laptops and other special equipment. Northwest Needlers stitched winter

accessories for the students. The Young Women’s Cabinet donates books; Young Men’s Group donates sports equipment; and one year, Tucson Hebrew Academy students collected 800 jars of peanut butter, even though THA is a peanut-free campus. Next year, JFSA Women’s Philanthropy’s Connections organizers are committed to collecting and donating toiletries. Community youth have collected food, money and school supplies for their b’nai mitzvah projects or high school senior projects. One donor even had a school supply party for her 65th birthday, with all of her friends gifting items for the students. The program provides about 30 volunteers to the school on a regular basis. They are Homework Helpers three times weekly after school, designated in-classroom assistants and Reading Rockstars, focused on reading skills improvement. Coaches volunteered for the Girls on the Run development program, built a 20-bed community garden, refreshed a mural, added benches and bird feeders outdoors and weeded the area. “We’ve engaged more than 100 volunteers over the course of the program. That would be more if we counted everyone who contributed to all the drives,” says Loebl. Supporters such as Truly Nolen Pest Control provide funds, volunteers and help packing and delivering. Kunsberg also chairs the packing committee. Other donors include National Bank of Arizona, Wells Fargo Bank and the Hopper Family Foundation. Individual donors to the project can take advantage of the Homer Davis Nutritional Snack Program tax credit on their Arizona income taxes.

“I was blown away by the capacity, experience, wisdom, and perspective of so many continued from page 1 stakeholders committed to the Jewish and larger communities,” says Hoffman. “The staff of the Foundation, the Federation, lay Washington University in St. Louis. He leadership, trustees, and major funders … began his career consulting at Accenture to the person … all of the people I met were in New York, specializing in operations incredibly welcoming, kind and committed improvement, human performance, and to this community. Their commitment and strategy for two years. Recruited by Hilpassion, their willingness to roll up their lel International in 2003, he spent the next sleeves and engage in the guts of the work, decade pioneering engagement and educatheir excellence is overwhelming. tion strategies through Hillel’s global platGraham Hoffman “I want to get out in the community form. His last post at Hillel was associate with local agency leadership, executives vice president for strategy. After 15 years on the other side of the philanthropic and boards, to synagogues and the Jewish Community equation, as a grantee with major philanthropic founda- Center. It will be a period of listening, learning and untions, Hoffman looks forward to being with a grantor derstanding. I hope your readership takes advantage of organization, as a facilitator of grant makers. “Building the opportunity to communicate ideas, opportunities upon the success, experience and capacity of all the Tuc- and concerns as part of my onboarding in the commuson agencies and staff, I look forward to being a steward nity,” he told the AJP. “I will bring a sponge-like ability of the long-term resources and endowments on behalf of to soak it up and a desire to bring insights helpful to generations to come. I am honored and privileged to play the community to insure it grows, thrives, and sustains a capacity-building role in the community,” Hoffman says. itself.” Transitioning from the nation’s capital to Tucson ap“The Foundation is in a strong state right now, with over $100 million in assets, and strong relationships peals to Hoffman. “I grew up in the suburbs of Milwauwith the Federation, agencies, fund holders and stake- kee where the people are real, committed and grounded. I have lived in D.C. for nearly 15 years. I’m not going to holders,” says Katz. Building on the strength of what the staff and volunteers miss the winter cold or the summer humidity, although have established over JCF’s 43-year history is important to the September heat in Tucson may be tough to acclimate Hoffman. He feels those strengths include the Founda- to at first,” he reasons. “Our door at the Foundation and tion’s donor-centered approach when working with indi- Center for Jewish Philanthropy, and my door in particular, viduals, agencies, and synagogues in the local Jewish and will always be open to all members of the community. I am eager to meet everyone.” broader communities.


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COMMENTARY Prolific and uninhibited, Neil Simon got us right. That’s what geniuses do. ARI ROTH JTA WASHINGTON

Photo: Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images


n Sunday, the theater community’s reactions to the death of playwright Neil Simon came even as social media were still processing the death the day before of Sen. John McCain. The homages to McCain bordered on the hagiographic until fights erupted (this being Facebook) between those who remembered the Arizona senator’s opposition to Martin Luther King Day and those who admired his bipartisanship and self-scrutiny. Almost everyone remembering Neil Simon, on the other hand, did so with wistfulness, because everyone in the theater business had been touched by the breadth of Simon’s achievement. Playwrights remembered how Simon crafted a line and set up an entrance; more than anything, they appreciated the crest of his career: how it shot forth like a cannon yet managed to sustain and grow ever more impressive, pene-

Neil Simon tells stories during a memorial tribute to Cy Coleman at the Majestic Theatre in New York City, Jan. 10, 2005

trating and personally revealing with the writing of the Eugene Trilogy — “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” “Biloxi Blues” and

“Broadway Bound.” Actors remembered what it was to perform Simon.

“It was almost impossible,” said Broadway veteran and now writer Peter Birkenhead, “to go fully up on a line in a Neil Simon play” — that is, improvise a forgotten line of dialogue — “because the next thing out of your character’s mouth always followed naturally from the last thing and pointed towards the next.” Producers remembered the dependability of the Simon brand and the vast volume of it. They remembered Simon either as their “bread and butter” or their “stock and trade.” Then there were those like me who, once upon a time, as a younger renegade, remember condescending to Simon, referring to him as a “sop to subscribers; a thing to define oneself against” — until growing out of such sanctimony to embrace his achievement. Producers would sneer at Neil Simon for other reasons too. I remember a theater company in the middle of Michigan, not far from Ann Arbor, back in the ’90s, where the artistic director said that See Simon, page A-10

National Voter Registration Day is a reminder to fulfill civic responsibility JANET E. BELKIN Special to the AJP


successful and enduring democracy needs the active participation of its citizens. Such participation requires voting. By casting your vote for a candidate who reflects your values and interests, you are directly affecting your future and the future of our coun-

try. By failing to vote, you are enabling others to make critical decisions about your future — decisions that may have a direct impact on the lives of generations to come. The United States Association of Secretaries of State strongly believes that having informed citizens who are fulfilling their responsibility to vote, and therefore help chart our future, is essential. Therefore, they have established the

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Arizona Jewish Post Advisory Board Damion Alexander, Myles Beck, Barbara Befferman Danes, Bruce Beyer (chairman), Roberta Elliott, Cathy Karson, Steve Weintraub Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Stuart Mellan, President • Fran Katz, Senior Vice President • Shelly Silverman, Chairman of the Board


ARIZONA JEWISH POST, August 31, 2018

fourth Tuesday in September as National Voter Registration Day. This year’s National Voter Registration Day will be Tuesday, Sept. 25. It will be so announced in a proclamation issued by Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Greater Tucson. The day was established to underscore the need to work toward creating an informed and participatory voting public and to thank those individuals and groups already working toward that goal. The LWVGT is planning events to be held in conjunction with Voter Registration Day. The LWVGT, a non-partisan organization, has encouraged informed and active civic engagement since its inception in 1941. It has worked toward creating an increased understanding of public policy issues and toward facilitating and increasing the number of new voter registrations, and of those actually voting. It has emphasized the need to register younger voters and encourages future candidates through its “Running and Winning” program that enables female high school students to interact with current women candidates to better understand the process. Its Voter Registration Unit trains both LWVGT members and non-members to staff voter registration sites throughout Tucson. This is an ongo-

ing effort. An example of a non-member group training would be a session held at Congregation Or Chadash, sponsored by Or Chadash’s social justice and action committee. The work that this committee has done, both in registering new voters and in emphasizing the need to vote, has played a significant role throughout Tucson. The LWVGT, in coordination with the League of Women Voters of Arizona, also reviews ballot propositions and initiatives and then prepares a pro/con brochure for distribution. It holds voter education programs open to the public, such as the one planned for Sept. 15, “How to Be an Informed Voter in the Post-Truth Era.” The LWVGT has a general website,, and a website focused on voting,, and can be found on Facebook and Twitter. The LWVGT is an all-volunteer organization, with no paid staff. It welcomes new members — men and women 18 years and older. For more information about the voting process, the upcoming election, the LWVGT programs, volunteer opportunities and membership, visit the website or call the office at 327-7622. Our future is up to you: Remember to vote!

Janet E. Belkin is a board member of the League of Women Voters of Greater Tucson.

INSIDER’S VIEW On the Day of Atonement, let us cry for the suffering of all AMIR EDEN Weintraub Israel Center


couple of years ago I was standing in the lobby of a Jewish Community Center in California, admiring the artwork of Shlomo Katz. The JCC had just opened an unusual display of hand-knotted Persian rugs featuring Jewish and biblical themes, and I found myself entirely lost in the rug depicting four panels from the Song of Songs. The characters woven so lovingly into the rug seemed almost familiar to me, as if they were people I knew. In one of the four rectangular panels, a woman was holding her baby out of harm’s way in a rainstorm while a man was covering them both with what appeared to be an umbrella. Yet if one looked closely enough, one could see two distinct drops falling from the baby’s blanket and blending with the rain. I pondered what those drops meant, and lost myself in thought for quite some time. “What holiday is it?” I heard. I looked and saw an elderly lady standing next to me; I had no idea how long either one of us had been standing there. “I’m sorry?” I responded. “What kind of holiday is it?” she repeated. “Yom Kippur,” I said. I realized that she was not Jewish. “What is that?” she asked. “Well,” I said, “We spend the day in synagogue — fasting, praying, thinking of the things we did wrong over the past year, and saying we are sorry.” “Oh, you Jews have the best holidays,” she said, before walking away. I’ve given a lot of thought to my chance encounter with that elderly lady. Do we really have “the best” holidays, I wondered? Can the holidays of one religion really be better than those of another religion? More importantly, where in the world did that white-haired woman suddenly come from that day? Well, as I later learned, it seems that many senior citizens come to that JCC for a daily exercise class that is held near the location of the rug exhibit. So at least one question was answered. But “the best” holiday comment lingered in my mind. One of the solutions Judaism offers us is prayer. Per-

haps the most important prayer is the confession of the sins of the community, which is inserted into the Shemoneh Esrei prayer (also known as the “Amidah”). Note that in that prayer, all sins are confessed in the plural (“We have done this; we have done that”), emphasizing communal responsibility for sins. The vast majority of the sins enumerated during the Yom Kippur service usually involve mistreatment of other people — mostly by speech (offensive speech, scoffing, slander, and swearing falsely, to name a few). These all come into the category of the sin known as “lashon ha-ra” (literally, the evil tongue), which is considered a very serious sin. Jewish tradition tells us that there is one collective Jewish soul, and the spiritual reality is such that we are all one spiritual body. The holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria ben Shlomo Ashkenazi from the 16th century, asked that when we recite, “For your redemption we hoped all day long,” we see ourselves as if praying with all Jews everywhere in the world — Jews in Alaska and Jews in New York, Jews in the synagogue of which we are members, or of the synagogue to which we used to belong, Jews who possess all the wealth in the world, and Jews who do not know when the next warm meal will be served. As some of you are on your way to the synagogue this Yom Kippur, take a moment to reflect upon the people you harshly judged this year. Break that cycle, crash that wall. Think of your own lost battle and theirs, and open your hearts to the collective “We” that holds everyone inside it. Jews also pray for humanity, especially on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. However, if we can’t even feel genuine empathy for the members of our own shul’s community, how can we feel such for the rest of humanity? On this Yom Kippur, let us cry for the lost battles of those we’ve never met, for the suffering we all go through at times. As we ask at the conclusion of the blessing of the Shemoneh Esrei prayer that G-d will bless us all as one, let us unite and become one identity on Yom Kippur. There will be no “tears of others,” only collective tears — tears of one people who speak to their G-d.

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ARIZONA JEWISH POST, August 31, 2018

“John McCain has played a major role in our nation’s and state’s histories. Many of us vividly remember his extended years in captivity — badly beaten and tortured by our enemies — and how he demonstrated courage and leadership by never breaking,” Felecia Rotellini, chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, said in a public statement. “His service and dedication to our state, his humor and love of sports will be missed. During his decades of holding public office, McCain has represented Arizona on a national and international level with sophistication, and even though we’ve often disagreed with him politically, Arizona Democrats have always respected his independent streak and willingness to fight for election reform, veterans’ rights and human rights.” Sen. Flake said he had admired McCain his whole life. “It will be hard to imagine politics without John McCain . . . We may never see his like again, but it is his reflection of America that we need now more than ever.” Flake recently visited McCain in Sedona. “He spoke wistfully of those he admired and expressed optimism that such leaders would rise up in the future.” Arizona’s U.S. Reps. Kysten Sinema, D-Dist. 9 and Martha McSally, R-Dist. 2, were among those who shared their views. “John McCain’s legacy will continue for generations to come,” said Sinema. “His commitment to our country, to the pursuit of freedom and truth, and to the values we hold most dear as Americans, have been an inspiration to us all. . . .[his] mark on our country will never fade. Thank goodness.” McSally said, “McCain was one of Arizona’s greatest senators, one of our country’s finest statesmen and an American hero who risked his life to defend this great nation. He loved this state, and he loved this country.” McCain’s willingness to reach across the aisle extended to the Jewish community, where he worked with human rights activists. Emblematic of his dedication to bipartisanship was his close and long friendship with Joseph Lieberman, the Orthodox Jewish senator from Connecticut, who said, “America has lost one of the greatest patriots and public servants in our history. And I have lost a dear friend.” In its statement mourning McCain, the Jewish Democratic Council of America noted that he “rose above politics and represented his values.”

“A passionate advocate for American global leadership, Sen. McCain rightly bemoaned those who favored a U.S. pullback from world affairs,” David Harris, CEO of the American Jewish Committee, said in a statement. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee called McCain “an extraordinarily courageous defender of liberty. Throughout his congressional career Senator McCain stood with Israel because throughout his life he stood up for America’s allies and our shared democratic values,” its statement said. “He was a tireless champion of the issues and principles that he held dear, from reforming the broken campaign finance system, to the effort to bar the use of torture by U.S. authorities, to his pivotal vote just last year to save the Affordable Care Act,” said Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, who directs the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center. “On those issues and others including combating climate change and strengthening U.S.-Israel relations, we were honored to work with him. And when we engaged him around areas of disagreement, Sen. McCain was always honest and straightforward.” “He was loved by many and sometimes not,” said Republican National Committeeman of Arizona Bruce Ash of Tucson. “Service was in his family DNA. It was his life. He died with his boots on. I doubt he feared anyone or anything.” McCain’s willingness to challenge his party’s line was evident in his outspokenness on torture, an issue where he found common cause with liberal Jews. He also joined with Jewish former Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., in passing the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, known as the McCain-Feingold Act, limiting campaign giving. The Supreme Court in 2010 overturned regulation of political campaign spending by organizations. McCain was forgiving to those who opposed the Vietnam War at home, and in the 1980s and 1990s, he joined thenSen. John Kerry, D-Mass., another Vietnam veteran, in leading the normalization of relations with Vietnam. Spokesperson Rick Davis read aloud McCain’s final letter to America at a news conference Monday morning. In it, McCain reminded his fellow Americans, “We weaken our greatness...when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.” Compiled from reports by JTA and other news agencies.


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lars of the community who says of Leonard, “He claimed he was just being himself. All right, fine, but do you have to be so much yourself?” Her use of humor, so much a part of Jewish culture, even in the face of tragedy, provides enormous insights, says IT Managing Artistic Director Susan Claassen. Otto Beckerman is the town’s go-to guy for clock or watch repair. Having moved to this small town after World War II, he says of Leonard, “To see a boy like that, in this world, in my shop with no apology, this was to me a miracle.” For tickets information visit www. or call 882-9721.

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SIMON continued from page A-6

they defined their brand of comedy as being “the opposite of Neil Simon. Less New York in our references, less guilt-ridden, less neurotic, or driven by a particular kind of rhythm.” That struck me as vaguely antiSemitic at the time — and strikes me as less vaguely and more explicitly so today, despite the admirable cultivation of “local voices.” Neil Simon, it appears, was so big that he became something to rebel against, for Jews and non-Jews alike. My first reflection upon hearing of Simon’s passing was to think of the death of Philip Roth almost 100 days earlier: twin towers of literary and theatrical achievement now gone. Prolific, uninhibited, and unapologetically gifted, Simon and Roth in their passing seem to have left a hole in the fabric of American Jewish culture. The very garment of that fabric is now moth-eaten: that power suit of the Straight White Jewish Male Secularist who, in the cases of Roth and Simon, spawned their own veritable one-man industries. That period of immense dominance is now done. Theirs were the careers to look up to, back in the day, if you were dreaming of a life as a writer. Surely there were differences between them beyond discipline; Roth the provocateur and prolix subversive; Simon the pleasing jester, chafing at life’s annoyances, who played conflict and odd couplings for theatrical laughs. But their shared vibrancy, moxie and attitude — unapologetically Jewish yet secularized; worshiping the ironies of the American experience more than the signposts of Jewish history — were instructive tickets that they passed onto their progenitors and colleagues. They each had their particular American Voice down pat: urban and urbane; assimilated with healthy shmears of cultural quirks and loyalty, along with a cranky independence, interwoven into an identity that could clearly be demarcated as “New York Times Arts Section Jewish.” I’m glad I met Neil Simon when I did, in the early ’90s, while on a trip to L.A. for a reading of a play of mine. I was at a lunch meeting, pitching a project to a friend in the business from Chicago at an upscale

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Hamburger Hamlet in Westwood. We spied Neil Simon sitting alone reading “The Jordan Rules” by Sam Smith, right after the Bulls had won their second NBA championship. Simon was then on the crest of what seemed to be a career high point, soon to earn a Pulitzer Prize for “Lost in Yonkers.” Perhaps Simon could identity with the book’s unseemly treatment of Michael Jordan, just as Simon had to endure sneering critics who found his substance somehow lacking. Despite the achievement of the Eugene Trilogy, “Lost in Yonkers” had gotten trashed in Washington that winter. The New York Times critic who had so admired the trilogy also sniffed at Simon’s latest.

Producers remembered the dependability of the Simon brand and the vast volume of it. They remembered Simon either as their “bread and butter” or their “stock and trade.” But “Lost in Yonkers” would wind up running for two years on Broadway and found a new way to impact audiences — or at least me. And that’s what I wanted to talk to Neil about in Hamburger Hamlet. At the time, I too was working on a play about my own German-Jewish family. In “Yonkers,” we meet Bella Kurnitz, a sweet, middle-aged, behaviorallychallenged woman still living at home. Her successful brothers have moved onto busy lives outside the home, leaving Bella to live with their fierce, commanding and less-than demonstrative mother, who scares her visiting grandsons have to death. With the exception of that icy Grandmother Kurnitz, the set-up reminded me of the situation in my own father’s family, and his own troubled sister, my Aunt Irene. Like Bella, she had been born with scarlet fever, was a little bit slow and very much the black sheep. Overshadowed as she approached middle age, she was a girl in a woman’s body with dreams that would likely not come true. My Aunt Irene didn’t make it past 40 and, over the ensuing years,

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ARIZONA JEWISH POST, August 31, 2018

Ari Roth is a playwright, producer and founding artistic director of Mosaic Theater Company of DC, dedicated to creating independent, intercultural, uncensored, socially relevant art. As artistic director over 18 seasons at Theater J, Roth built the fledgling DC theater into the largest Jewish theater in North America. Roth’s plays include “Born Guilty,” a sequel, “The Wolf In Peter,” “Andy and The Shadows,” “Life in Refusal,” “Oh, the Innocents,” “Love and Yearning in the Not for Profits” and “Goodnight Irene.” The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the AJP or its publisher, the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona.

PUBLICITY CHAIRPERSONS Closing dates for AJP publicity releases are listed below. Email releases to PUBLICATION DEADLINE Mail to Arizona Jewish Post 3718 E. River Rd., Suite 272 Tucson, AZ 85718 Or fax to 319-1118.

Robin Sue

There’s Only One Robin Sue Kaiserman

I tried to write what it meant to lose her. A play came out but it took a long time ­— both in getting it produced, and then in trying to get it right; I probably never did. I was just at the beginning of writing that play when Neil Simon introduced Bella Kurnitz to the world, and I thought to myself, “He’s captured my Irene better than I ever will. And he’s saved her through comedy.” I admired Neil Simon for a lot of reasons but none more than for the effortless dexterity that went into “Yonkers.” Genius makes hard work look easy. I got to produce “Lost in Yonkers” some 16 years later, as I grew more comfortable as an artistic director at a Jewish theater, and it became a huge hit for us, of course. It attracted great artists and great audiences alike. It also attracted that surly critic from the Washington Post, now a fulltime writer outside of journalism, who joined our team as production dramaturge, having given Neil Simon and his play another look. Neil Simon would be vindicated before his critics, and before those acolytes who thought they could craft a deeper brand of expression. Neil won on account of his genius. What set Simon apart, especially from Roth, was the empathy on display to women: Bella and Grandma Kurnitz in “Lost in Yonkers,” and to Kate, the broken mother in Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound, who would come to endure her husband’s defection, echoing the same betrayal in Simon’s own family. We see their grit, and then heartbreak, and then tenderness, framed in laughter. Simon found his material from within, but he wrote outside of himself just as brilliantly. He was the Michael Jordan of Broadway — with all quirks, critics, and limitations that come with. But his achievement was singular, and the way he re-shaped the game ­and the art form and business of theater ­­— is total. We’ll not see his like again.

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New children’s books: A magical shoebox and animals from everywhere PENNY SCHWARTZ JTA BOSTON


rom an African warthog to swinging orangutans, animals from all corners of the planet are featured in two stories among a new crop of children’s books at the Jewish New Year that also includes a lyrical poem of the biblical story of Creation and a magical story about an ordinary shoebox. And a bonus: An illustrated picture book tells the story of Regina Jonas, the German Jewish girl who followed her dream to become the first woman ordained as a rabbi. Young ones can get a jump start on the new year by turning the pages on these entertaining and informative reads. Rosh Hashanah ushers in the High Holidays on Sunday evening, Sept. 9.

Shani’s Shoebox

Wr it ten and illustrated by Rinat Hoffer ; translated (from Hebrew) by Noga Applebaum; Green Bean Books; ages 4-8 Prepare to be enchanted! “Shani’s Shoebox,” a gently rhyming poem-story for Rosh Hashanah by the award-winning Israeli illustrator and children’s author Rinat Hoffer, will kick off the Jewish New Year on the right foot. Shani’s “aba,” the Hebrew word for dad, surprises her with a pair of shiny new red shoes for Rosh Hashanah. Naturally she tosses aside the ordinary looking shoebox. “It was only a box after all, nothing more,” she says. But on Yom Kippur, Shani finds the box hidden behind stuffed animals and the next day crafts it into a sukkah. During Hanukkah, a cat discovers the discarded box and uses it to stay warm in the winter. Season to season, the box takes on a magical quality, turning up in new guises and with new uses throughout a year’s worth of Jewish holidays. The next Rosh Hashanah, when Shani’s father fills the box with a new pair of shoes — this time they are blue — Shani is reminded of the year’s adventures. Hoffer’s colorful, animated illustrations draw in readers with vibrant energy. In one scene, as the family prepares

the house for Passover, Shani is on a stool cleaning a mirror and her dad is sweeping. It’s refreshing to have a children’s story that depicts a father in everyday roles more commonly associated with moms, like buying shoes for his kids and cleaning the house.

Where’s the Potty on This Ark?

K e r r y Olitzky; illustration by Abigail Tompkins; Kar-Ben; ages 1-4 Even on Noah’s Ark, the animals need to use the potty. Young kids will be delightfully surprised with this inventive spin on the biblical story of Noah, from the Book of Genesis. As Noah and his wife, Naamah, greet each of the animals onto the ark, Naamah makes sure they are comfortable. “Be careful not to hit your head on the ceiling,” she warns. The ark comes well designed, with big potties for the elephants and little ones for smaller friends. When a baby raccoon needs to use the bathroom, Mother Hen patiently guides the young one to learn how. The animals offer an empathetic lesson in taking care of one’s body, complete with a prayer. And off they sail on the ark as the rains begin. Kerry Olitzky’s simple, lighthearted prose is paired well with Abigail Tompkins’ playful illustrations. The book makes a timely read during the High Holidays because the story of Noah is read in synagogues on the second Shabbat following Simchat Torah, when the cycle of reading the Torah begins anew.

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Who’s Got the Etrog?

Jane Kohuth; illustrations by Elissambura; Kar-Ben; ages 4-8 In this brightly illustrated story for Sukkot, Jane Kohuth weaves a playful folk-like tale told in simple poetic verse. In her rural village in Uganda, under a bright and full milk-bowl moon, Auntie Sanyu is preparing for the fall harvest holiday when Jews build a hut called a sukkah where they eat, welcome guests and sometimes even sleep. Kids follow Auntie Sanyu as she decorates her sukkah and places a lulav, the bunch of See Books, page A-12

August 31, 2018, ARIZONA JEWISH POST


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BOOKS continued from page A-11

green palm branches, and a bright yellow etrog, the lemon-like fruit, on a tray to be used in the holiday rituals by Auntie Sanyu’s animal guests. But Warthog loves the etrog so much, he doesn’t want to hand it over to the lion, parrots or giraffe. A young girl named Sara intervenes. The story comes to life in Elissambura’s boldly colored, striking collage-style illustrations. The back page explains the history of the Ugandan Jewish community called the Abayudaya, and a glossary explains about the sukkah and lulav and terms like “Oy,vey!”

Regina Persisted: An Untold Story

Sandy Eisenberg Sasso; illustrated by Margeaux Lucas; Apples & Honey Press; ages 7-12 These days, when JewishAmerican kids attend synagogue during the High Holidays, it’s not that unusual to have a female rabbi lead-

ing the congregation. Older kids may be fascinated to learn about Regina Jonas, the German Jew who in 1935, against many odds and strict gender roles, became the first woman ordained as a rabbi. In this illustrated biography, which garnered a starred review from Kirkus, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso traces how Jonas persisted until religious authorities finally allowed her to take the exam to become a rabbi. Margeaux Lucas’ illustrations capture the period, with drawings of Berlin life. Several scenes convey the young Regina as a kind of Disney-like Belle, greeting peddlers at the market, and clutching a book, daydreaming, as she crosses the street. The afterword tells of the tragic ending of Jonas’ life in 1944, where she was killed in the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. It would be nearly 40 years later until another woman, the American Sally Priesand, is ordained, in the Reform movement. Today there are nearly 1,000 women rabbis around the world, among them the book’s author, who herself was a trailblazer as the first woman to be ordained as a rabbi in the Reconstructionist movement. Eisenberg Sasso also is the award-winning author of the best-selling children’s book “God’s Paintbrush.”

ROSH HASHANAH Dipping apples in honey problem for vegans

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The Rosh Hashanah custom of dipping apples in honey had its start among Ashkenazi Jews.

JOSEFIN DOLSTEN JTA NEW YORK he truth is, there is no commandment in Judaism to dip an apple in honey on Rosh Hashanah. But what would the Jewish New Year be without the custom? It’s a question that bedevils vegans, many of whom won’t eat honey because it’s an animal product. So what’s a mock chopped liver/seitan brisket/vegetarian stuffed cabbage kind of Jew to do? Jeffrey Cohan, the executive director of Jewish Veg, explains all the ways that honey production is problematic. In order to produce as much honey as possible, many honey producers manipulate the bees’ natural living patterns, including clipping the queen’s wings to prevent her from flying away, and replacing the


honey produced with sugar water, which animal rights activists say is less nutritious. Some vegans regard the whole process as cruel and exploitative. “‘Tza’ar ba’alei chayim’ is a core Torah mandate, so to start the new year right away by violating tza’ar ba’alei chayim does not get the year off to the best start,” he said, using the Hebrew term for the prohibition against causing unnecessary harm to animals. One of the more common substitutes is honey made from dates, according to Cohan. Date honey is not only vegetarian but has its roots in the Bible. Dates are one of the seven species of the land of Israel mentioned in the Bible. Scholars say that the description of “a land flowing with milk and honey” actually refers to date honey, not bee honey. “[B]ecause date syrup is actually in the Torah, it makes the most sense from a

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See Honey, page A-14

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HONEY continued from page A-13

Jewish perspective,” Cohan said. Proponents of eating date honey also cite its health benefits. Brian Finkel, the co-founder of a company selling organic date honey, says the product has 25 percent less sugar and a lower glycemic index than bee honey and is a great source of antioxidants. Finkel, who grew up outside Chicago but moved to Israel in 2013, first tasted date honey while studying at a yeshiva in the Jewish state after finishing high school. Silan, as the product is known there, is a popular ingredient in cooking and baking, and as a dip. The entrepreneur had a self-described “eureka moment” when he thought to introduce it to American consumers. Last year, Finkel and his business partner, David Czinn, launched D’Vash Organics. Since then, Finkel said, they have sold hundreds of thousands of bottles of date honey, in stores across the United States and through the company’s website. The product is produced in a U.S. factory that is not certified kosher, but Finkel said he is looking to produce a kosher version so that observant Jews can have it around the holidays — and year round. “I think it goes great with apples, it goes great with challah,” he said. “I definitely encourage people to use it on those things, around the holiday time, to make the new year that much sweeter.” In Tucson, 5th Street Kitchen & Deli, 5071 E. Fifth St., carries kosher date syrup from Israel. Making the new year sweeter is the whole point of the custom. Some trace it to Nehemiah 8:10, where the Jews of the Second Temple period celebrating what would eventually become Rosh Hashanah are told to “Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet.” As for the apple, the custom was started among Ashkenazi Jews in medi-

eval Europe, when the apple as we know it had become more accessible due to cultivation, said Jordan Rosenblum, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies food and Judaism. Apples are in season and therefore plentiful in the fall, when the holiday of Rosh Hashanah occurs. In 14th-century Germany, the Jewish sage known as the Maharil described the custom of dipping apples in honey as long established and rich with mystical meaning. Dates did not grow in Europe, but honey made by bees was available, so that became the topping of choice, said Leah Hochman, an associate professor at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion who researches religion and food. “You have all these Diaspora communities that are adapting to their new environments, and over time people used substitutes that had some sort of relationship to the seven species to honor the ever-longed-for return to Zion,” Hochman said. The custom traveled with European Jews when many of them left for the United States in the 19th century. Many settled in the Northeast, a region where apples grow well. “They have that tradition, and they come to a place that’s great for apple growing, so that further cements it,” Rosenblum said. Hochman said that as apples and honey became associated with Rosh Hashanah, the combination gained a symbolic meaning. “Over the course of time, the tradition became crucially important for understanding our wishes for a new year, that they’re sweet,” she said. It also helped that bee honey is kosher, even thought the bee itself is not. Rabbis explain that unlike milk from a nonkosher animal, which may not be consumed, bee honey is derived from the nectar of a flower and not from something that’s part of the bee’s body.



ARIZONA JEWISH POST, August 31, 2018

ROSH HASHANAH It’s a new year. Why not swap in these new recipes for old favorites? SHANNON SARNA JTA NEW YORK he sweetest time of year is upon us, quite literally: It’s Rosh Hashanah. And while I know most families have their standard holiday dishes they make year after year, sometimes it’s nice to swap in a new appetizer, alternating main dish or quick but delicious new dessert to serve. Trade in your beet and apple salad for some sweet beet latkes. Instead of a brisket, try a slow-cooked pomegranate lamb stew. And if you want the easiest, cutest apple dessert, you’ve got to try my friend Sheri Silver’s easy as apple pie cookies. Wishing you and your family a sweet and delicious new year.


APPETIZER: BEET AND SWEET POTATO LATKES There’s no reason to save latkes for Hanukkah. And beets are actually a traditional food to enjoy for the New Year, which makes these appetizers the perfect symbolic, sweet and satisfying dish to serve at the holidays. Ingredients: 2 medium beets 1 small sweet potato (can also use 2 carrots) 1 medium Idaho potato 2 eggs 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon fresh thyme 1 teaspoon salt Additional sea salt for sprinkling Directions: 1. Peel beets, sweet potato and potato. Cut each in half. In 3 or 4 batches, place vegetables through food processor for a coarse grate (you can also grate coarsely by hand). 2. Place mixture in a large bowl. Add eggs, flour, thyme and salt. 3. Heat around 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Form bite-size mounds of latkes, taking care not to squeeze too much liquid out of the latkes. Fry until brown and crispy on each side, then place on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet to cool. Immediately sprinkle with an additional pinch of salt while they are still hot. 4. Serve warm with applesauce, if desired.

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MAIN DISH: LAMB STEW WITH POMEGRANATE Brisket is the quintessential American Jewish dish for holidays. But in Israel and for Sephardi Jews, lamb is a far more common main dish to serve for special occasions. This lamb is sweet and savory, and actually takes less time to cook than a brisket. It’s perfect to serve on top of fluffy couscous or rice, and it’s particularly striking due to the jewel-toned pomegranate seeds and fresh herbs on top. Ingredients: 3 pounds lamb stew meat, cut into 2- to 4-inch pieces 1 large onion, sliced 3 garlic cloves, minced See Recipes, page A-19 August 31, 2018, ARIZONA JEWISH POST


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1-2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon pepper 3 cinnamon sticks 2 1/2-3 cups water or stock 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, plus extra for drizzling 1 cup pomegranate seeds, divided Fresh parsley, mint and/or cilantro for serving Directions: 1. Heat a heavy casserole with a little oil over medium-high heat. Sear lamb pieces on each side until lightly golden. 2. Remove lamb. 3. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and saute for another 3 minutes. 4. Place lamb back into the pot and add salt, pepper, cinnamon stick, pomegranate molasses and half the pomegranate seeds. 5. Add 2 to 2 1/2 cups water or stock, until meat is cover. Bring to a boil. 6. Reduce the heat to low-medium, cover and continue to cook over low heat for about 2 hours. Check on stew periodically, and add more water if needed. Lamb

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pinch of kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 store-bought refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature Directions: 1. Make the streusel: Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the streusel ingredients in a bowl, breaking up any large clumps, and spread onto your baking sheet. Set aside to dry (can be made a day ahead; store covered at room temperature). 2. Make the filling: Combine the filling ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring until the mixture comes to a simmer. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the apples are slightly softened. Remove from heat, drain the liquid and cool completely (may be made a day ahead; store in the fridge). 3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin tin or line with parchment paper cups. Unroll your pie crust and use a glass or cookie cutter to cut circles that are slightly larger — about 1/4 inch — than the base of your muffin cups (I used a 2 1/2-inch cutter). 4. Place the circles in the bottom of each muffin cup, pressing gently along the sides and bottoms. Spoon some apple filling into each crust and top with the streusel. 5. Bake cookies for 20 minutes, or until streusel is golden brown. Cool completely in tins on a wire rack. Serve immediately or store, covered, for up to 3 days.

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Torah scroll makes its way from Iowa to Paraguay, telling story about modern Judaism


ne family after another hurried through Erin Jones-Avni’s front door, anxious to get their first glimpse of the new arrival — to admire its ornate silver breastplate and touch its satiny mantle. “People just kept coming, and they’d make a beeline for the Torah,” she told JTA from her home in Asuncion, Paraguay’s capital and largest city. “They were overcome with emotion, to show it to their children, to take their picture with it.” All were members of the country’s first egalitarian minyan, which was founded earlier this year at the home of Gabriela Alonso and her husband, Rabbi Julian Vainstein. “Now, to have the Torah here, it is amazing,” Alonso said. “It is a new beginning.” It is also a new chapter in a story that started more than a century ago and a continent away. The inscription on one of the scroll’s wooden dowels is faded but legible: “Property of Cong. B’nai Jacob, Ottumwa, Iowa.” How this Torah found its way from the plains of Iowa to the central hills of Paraguay is a remarkable story of Jewish geography and connection, of history and timing, of ancient ties and Internet links. Through a series of fortunate events and the efforts of more than a dozen relative strangers, the sunset of Jewish life in one part of the world is providing a spark of vitality in another — and there may be more to come. “It almost reminds me of the story of Queen Esther,” Jones-Avni said. “The only reason that this worked is because of all these little things that taken out of context would not seem like big things at all. But when you put them all together, you have this miraculous event.” ... More than 5,000 miles away, on East Main Street in downtown Ottumwa, the pristine, silent sanctuary of Congregation B’nai Jacob seems almost expectant. When this stately Renaissance Revival building was dedicated in 1915, the community numbered more than 100 families. Today, B’nai Jacob counts perhaps three active members in town. It has been five years or more since a Rosh Hashanah service or a Passover seder. “It was a wonderful community, an active community,” said B’nai Jacob board member Sue Weinberg, 60, who spent most of her childhood in Ottumwa before

leaving for college in Iowa City, where she still lives. Weinberg’s great-grandparents helped found B’nai Jacob and donated one of its four Torah scrolls. Their story reflects the larger history of Ottumwa’s Jewish community. Arriving in New York in the late 1800s, originally from Russia, they sought life beyond the sweatshops and ventured west. Her great-grandfather arrived in the coal mining town of Ottumwa as a peddler, eventually opening a hardware store, which morphed into an appliance shop. The 1915 city directory listed some two dozen Jewish-owned businesses in Ottumwa, from grocers and mattress manufacturers to clothiers and shoemakers — many of the shopkeepers’ names are still embedded in the sidewalk along East Main Street. A Jewish cemetery had been established by an earlier settlement of German Reform Jews, and the new influx of mostly Orthodox Jews from Eastern Europe expanded it, established B’nai Jacob in 1900 and bought the lot upon which the synagogue would be built in 1915. Other institutions — B’nai B’rith, Hadassah — followed, and by the early 1960s there was even talk of building a larger synagogue. “It was like one big family,” said Bernie Ullman, who was born in Ottumwa in 1939 and now lives in Kansas City. “It was nothing for us to walk over to an aunt and uncle’s house. You didn’t even knock on the door, you just walked in.” Over time, the synagogue evolved from Orthodox to Conservative. Oral history claims it was Weinberg’s grandmother who, nursing a broken leg, first refused to climb up to the women’s balcony. Later her granddaughter — Weinberg’s sister, Ellen — became the first woman to read the Torah from the bimah. Yet eventually most of Ullman’s and Weinberg’s generations left. Those that remained largely intermarried and lost connection with the Jewish community. By 1970, B’nai Jacob could no longer support a resident rabbi — though the High Holidays continued to be a scene, when many former Ottumwans returned. “I can [still] see where everyone was sitting — there were probably a couple hundred people, and the personalities were so vibrant,” said Allan Gonsher, a child psychologist and ordained rabbi who, starting in the 1980s, trekked to Ottumwa from Omaha, Nebraska, to lead High Holidays services for more than 30 years. “Very few really knew how to daven, but they understood. If you gave them an aliyah [called them to bless the Torah], they

Photo courtesy of Sue Weinberg Photo courtesy of Erin Jones-Avni

When Congregation B’nai Jacob was dedicated in Ottumwa, Iowa, in 1915, the community numbered more than 100 families.

Most of Paraguay’s 1,000 Jews live in Asuncion, where B’nai Jacob’s Torah has found a new home.

saw that as the most valuable thing. When the Torah was walked around, people would kiss it. This was a community that felt their Yiddishkeit — in the shul. Outside — pork, shrimp, whatever. But inside the shul, there was a sanctity.” Every year, Gonsher made sure to use a different scroll, and to roll it, because otherwise, he said, “the ink dries out. If Torahs are not read, they’re not breathing, they’re not living.” The community continued to dwindle, even as the Ottumwa-born philanthropist Ida Rosenman Sands paid to have the scrolls refurbished and sank hundreds of thousands of dollars into a complete refurbishment of the synagogue, which Ullman’s late mother, Bessie, protectively endeavored to have added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. She also arranged for the city to take over management and care of Ottumwa’s Jewish cemetery. “She saw the writing on the wall,” Ullman said. ... A continent away, a different transition was taking place. Of Paraguay’s nearly 5 million people, approximately 1,000 are Jewish. Many are also the descendants of European immigrants who arrived a century ago, accord-

ing to the World Jewish Congress. Most of them live in Asuncion, where a traditional Masorti-affiliated congregation, Union Hebraica, has existed since the 1920s. At the end of 2017, as a result of one of Judaism’s most timeless traditions — synagogue politics — Rabbi Vainstein found himself discharged from the Hebraica pulpit he had served for eight years, only months before his own daughter’s bat mitzvah. He announced that he would be leading Shabbat services at home should anyone wish to join his family. He and Alonso prepared for perhaps a dozen people. Nearly 70 arrived for the first service in January. And like that a new minyan, or congregation, was born. “I told my husband, this is my house, and here women count for the minyan,” Alonso said. “And when the time comes that we have a Torah, women can make an aliyah.” Thus the new minyan became Paraguay’s first egalitarian Jewish congregation. Over its first months, the minyan has averaged nearly 40 worshippers on Friday nights, with slightly smaller crowds on Saturdays. More than 60 people attended the group’s first Passover seder in April. Jones-Avni’s young family arrived in Asuncion from Washington, D.C., nearly

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two years ago when her husband, Dani, a Foreign Service officer, was posted to the U.S. Embassy. They began attending Hebraica, but “feeling like we’ve found a Jewish home — it’s definitely with this group of people,” she said of the weekly gatherings that became known as Igualitario Minyan de Asuncion. Hers is the only American family among a mix of mostly Paraguayans and Argentine transplants that includes very few English speakers. “They have gone out of their way to make sure that we’ve had a really positive experience here,” said JonesAvni, a former director of engagement at American University Hillel. “There is such spirit.” By spring, the minyan’s founders realized that its longterm success depended on something more tangible. “‘One day, someone said, ‘Erin, we need to ask a favor of you,’” Jones-Avni recalled. “‘We would like to find a Torah. You’re from America. There’s lots of Torahs there … maybe you know of one?’” ... The last full minyan at B’nai Jacob took place in May, when Weinberg and a delegation of about 40 people from Iowa City, many also with Ottumwa roots, gathered to decommission the synagogue on the Shabbat just before Shavuot. Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz of Agudas Achim Congregation led a special ceremony, and the Torahs were read from the pulpit one last time. “We are here to fulfill a difficult and heartbreaking mitzvah: to accompany this community to its dignified end, to provide good Jewish homes for its sacred scrolls and other implements, and to cherish and treasure over a century of memories of simchas and tzuris,” Hugenholtz sermonized. “Although B’nai Jacob will not continue in its present form, we … will place the sacred fragments of this beautiful community in our collective ark and carry it with us into our own Jewish future.” The Weinbergs’ ancestral scroll traveled back to Agudas Achim, and a search began to place the other three. “We decided we specifically want them to go to egalitarian congregations that really need a Torah,”

Weinberg said. Two weeks later, Agudas Achim hosted Rabbi Juan Mejia as its scholar in residence. Born in Bogota, Colombia, and now based in Oklahoma City, Mejia is the Southwest/ Latin America regional director for Be’chol Lashon, a San Francisco-based organization that promotes Jewish diversity. He had come to Iowa City through his close friendship with Hugenholtz, forged years earlier at the Conservative Yeshiva in Israel over their shared status as Spanishspeaking converts to Judaism. (Hugenholtz was born in Amsterdam and spent much of her youth in Spain.) She introduced him to Weinberg, who shared the story of Ottumwa and its Torahs. Days later, Mejia was at a wedding in Colombia. So was Vainstein, who by now had accepted a new job in Barranquilla. The men met and talked about Paraguay. “He said, ‘There’s this new community and they need a Torah,’” Mejia recounted. “And I said, ‘Well, funny you should mention that …’” Word traveled north and south, to Weinberg and to Alonso, and then to Jones-Avni, who volunteered to help coordinate the American connection. A native of Colby, Kansas, who had also studied in Iowa, she realized that if someone could get the Torah to Kansas City, her parents could bring it to Paraguay on a planned visit. It was a relay race against the clock. Jones-Avni tapped on old friend in Chicago, Leah Jones (no relation), to mine her Midwestern Jewish social network. Within an hour they had found a family -- the cousins of the cousins of a friend of a friend -- in Fairfield, Iowa, who happened to be passing through Ottumwa on a visit to Kansas City. Once retrieved from B’nai Jacob, the Torah rested at the Kansas City home of Bruce and Gayle Krigel, before another friend of a friend, Amy Ravis Furey, arranged to have it picked up — wrapped in the tallit of Gayle Krigel’s late father. Furey packed it in a hard-sided golf club travel case, which AvniJones’s brother-in-law collected on a Friday morning and brought home to Randolph, Kansas — a 300-mile round trip — so the Torah wouldn’t have to travel on Shabbat. As Jones-Avni came to Judaism in her early 20s, this would be her non-Jewish family’s first interaction with a Torah scroll. Educating them on the customs and requirements surrounding the scroll made it more meaningful.

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“I am moved by the number of Christians that were deeply involved in this effort,” Furey added, including her own husband, who did the actual schlepping. “Those people that love us are also deeply connected to the Jewish people and will help us to flourish as a community with their commitment.” Jones-Avni’s parents stopped to get the scroll — and her sister — on their way through to Kansas City International Airport, where they checked the precious cargo for the three-leg flight to Asuncion. Only then did word start to spread that a Torah was on the way. “There was always a little bit of heart in throat,” Jones-Avni said. “If it didn’t work out, we didn’t want people to be disappointed.” ... The Jones family’s baggage, including the Torah, had been rerouted through Chicago. When they arrived, their own luggage was back with them — but not the Torah. An airport staffer assured them it was on its way, though they were not told exactly on which flight. “It felt very perilous,” Jones-Avni acknowledged. “I felt very personally responsible.” Yet when the Torah finally touched down shortly after 11 p.m. Paraguay time — 19 hours later than scheduled — nearly a dozen members of the minyan were there to receive it, as the Jews of Ottumwa had done, perhaps more than a century ago. The exact origins of this Torah are lost to history. Weinberg says that even her mother, Irene — who died last year at 97 — didn’t know. Cynthia Gensheimer, a Denver-based historian who studies Midwestern Jewish communities at the turn of the 20th century, doubts the early immigrants would have brought a Torah with them, though it is conceivable that relatives in Europe could have sent one later. Most likely the community pooled resources to purchase or commission a scroll. At least one and probably more of B’nai Jacob’s Torahs predate the synagogue, she said, citing a 1907 report of “one Orthodox

congregation” in Ottumwa. “I’m certain they would not have called themselves a congregation without a Torah,” she said. It’s a distinction that resonates with Jones-Avni. “This is what makes it real,” she said, polishing the Torah’s ornate breastplate hours before its Shabbat debut. “Now we’re not just a group of people who get together. We’ve been acknowledged as a group of people who are doing something special.” The next morning, every adult member of the community came up for an aliyah before the scroll. It was Jones-Avni’s first, and Alonso’s first in eight years of “suffering because I couldn’t do it.” The next Shabbat, on July 21, marked two more firsts: the Avni family was called up for the naming of its infant daughter, and Alonso and Vainstein’s daughter Sofia read from the Torah as she finally became a bat mitzvah. It will be somewhat bittersweet for Alonso’s family: A few days after the bat mitzvah, her family was scheduled to make the permanent move to Colombia with Vainstein. The Avnis, too, are set to leave Asuncion in November, to take up another post in Mexico. But they feel secure about their community’s future now that there is a Torah — and perhaps a new building. Plans are in the works for the minyan to move into an old Sephardic synagogue that has been boarded up for 25 years. Meanwhile, the final chapter of Ottumwa’s Jewish story is still being written. With Levin’s help, a third B’nai Jacob Torah is destined for Ezrat Yisrael, an egalitarian minyan that meets at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. What will become of the fourth, as well as the shul’s other ritual items, its memorial plaques and the building itself, remains to be seen. The only thing sure to survive, and grow as more Ottumwans come home for good, is its cemetery. But B’nai Jacob will also continue, in a meaningful way. A few days before its Torah arrived, Minyan Igualitario voted to adopt a new name: B’nei Iacob.


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P.S. On summer travels in Israel, Tucsonans delight in people, places, studies SHARON KLEIN Special to the AJP This summer season marked the 18th anniversary of Birthright Israel, the program that brings Diaspora Jews, ages 18-26, on a free trip to Israel. From May 24-June 4, Bus #1545 carried University of Arizona students along with participants from the University of Southern California, Arizona State University, and San Francisco University. Local Tucson travelers included Victor Brett, Sophia Streitfeld, and Lora Temyanko. Katie Spector, past UA Hillel Foundation Israel engagement coordinator, helped chaperone the group. At an elementary school in Hof Ashkelon in Tucson’s Partnership2Gether region, she enjoyed watching the joy on the travelers’ faces as they interacted and had fun with the young children. Another fortuitous encounter took place after they left the Path to Peace Wall in Netiv Ha’asara. The group had the opportunity to see an Iron Dome installation up close, as a soldier on their Birthright trip was working with the air defense system. This put into perspective what Israeli citizens living close to Gaza experience in their everyday lives. Temyanko, a UA sophomore majoring in biochemistry, summed up her impressions: “When I signed up for this trip, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know anyone traveling with me, and had no idea what Israel would be like. The experience over the course of 10 days was incredible. I was welcomed into the Jewish culture with open arms. I can honestly say that Israel has become like a second home to me. The friendships forged on this trip will last a lifetime, having come away with an entirely new family. For all of the above, I am grateful.” .... From June 18-29, the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona joined the Jewish Federation of San Diego to fill a Birthright bus of college graduates and young professionals. Matt Landau, JFSA’s director of leadership development, helped staff the trip. Tucsonans included Arianna Brodsky, Mariel Brodsky, Linnea Dawson (now of Portland, Oregon), Garrett Fenton, Monica Montes, Maxx Velde, and Sophia Yatsenko. The group visited the usual first-time tourist sites. They were scheduled to go


ARIZONA JEWISH POST, August 31, 2018

to Shaar HaNegev, San Diego’s Partnership sister community in Israel; however, plans were cancelled due to rockets from Gaza fired in the area. On June 27, 6,000 Birthright participants, plus 1,500 Israel Defense Forces soldiers, gathered at the 18th year Mega Event at Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem for an evening of speeches and concerts. Velde, a recent UA grad with a degree in graphic design and illustration, captured Israel in prose and art (see accompanying picture): “Israel is an absolutely beautiful country. From the beaches of Tel Aviv, to the Western Wall of Jerusalem, to our 4 a.m. hike up Masada, the sights were phenomenal. It wasn’t the nation alone that made this experience so wonderful, but rather the 52 individuals that, over the course of 10 short days, melded into one big family. We were given the opportunity to travel alongside spectacular Israeli soldiers. Learning more about the nation and its people through their eyes made this journey truly special. I can’t imagine this experience being nearly as special without them.” .... Rachel Davenport, a Sahuaro High School senior, attended Young Judaea’s Machon teen summer program. The adventure began with a two-day pre-trip to Tel Yehudah, the Zionist youth movement’s national teen leadership camp in Barryville, New York, before departing for four weeks in Israel. The group consisted of teens from across the United States, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, and Israel. According to Davenport, “This was a summer that made me question my Jewish identity more than ever, but in the best way possible. It was the most incredible summer of my life, learning not only about the Jewish culture, but also the culture of those who we share Israel with.” . . . . Danielle Schwartz, a Tucson Hebrew Academy graduate, University High School senior and active BBYO member, spent June 18-Aug. 1 at Alexander Muss High School in Israel. In May, she received JFSA’s Rabbi Arthur R. Oleisky Outstanding Teen Recognition Award, plus the Beth Weintraub Schoenfeld Memorial Israel Experience Subsidy, both stipends toward her Israel travel. Having been to Israel as a THA eighth grader, she said, “I wanted to go back to Israel because there is no other place that, with my first step off the plane, I knew I was home.” One of the highlights of the six-week AMHSI program was visiting Masada. According to Schwartz, “we spent almost the entire day studying about and ex-

(L-R): Garrett Fenton, Matt Landau, Sophia Yatsenko, Monica Montes, and Linnea Dawson in the Old City of Jerusalem at the Western Wall

“Clear Skies Over Jerusalem,” watercolor rendering by Maxx Velde of a photo of the Israeli soldiers on the JFSA/ San Diego Birthright trip

ploring the ruins. Near the end, we participated in a symbolic ritual where we screamed into the valley below – ‘Shenit Metzada lo tipol’ – meaning ‘Masada will never fall again.’ The saying is meant to signify that we (the Jewish people) will never let Israel fall to the enemy as Masada did in 73 C.E. Hearing the words echo back was extremely powerful and remains a moment that I’ll never forget.” .... Ken Brandis, now of Mesa, Arizona, spent June 3-July 21 in our homeland. The first four weeks, he lived on Kibbutz Mashabei Sade in the Negev Highland area, studying Modern Hebrew and kibbutz life. During this time, he visited with his daughter, Naomi Bineli, her husband, Guy, and their son, Nadav, of Chandler, Arizona, who were in Israel at the same time, spending three weeks with Guy’s family in Bat Yam. Guy was born in Geor-

gia in the former Soviet Union but grew up Israel, serving in the IDF. Brandis connected with Ira Kerem, a former liaison in Israel for our Partnership2Gether region. He also met with Vered Otmy, a papier-mâché artist from Hof Ashkelon. In 2012, Otmy visited Tucson with other Israeli artists; she has a brother living on the kibbutz where Brandis was staying. Brandis hiked and explored the surrounding area in the Negev, including viewing the Ashalim solar tower, the world’s largest at 750 feet, which provides about one percent of Israel’s electricity consumption. In June, from Kibbutz Magen in the northwestern part of the Negev near the border with the Gaza Strip, he witnessed fires in the fields caused by balloons sent from Gaza. For the last two weeks of his sojourn, our traveler resided in Akko, taking a beginner course in Modern Standard Ara-

Arabic instructor Maha Yacoub (left) and pupil Ken Brandis in Jerusalem

Danielle Schwartz (left) and Alannah Silverstein (of Florida) plant trees outside of Jerusalem.

Ryan Green (right) with Carly Oseran, a recent UA graduate who was traveling on a Birthright trip. The two met by chance outside Shuk HaCarmel (the Carmel Market) in Tel Aviv.

Rachel Davenport at the Dead Sea

bic from multi-lingual Palestinian Christian educator Maha Yacoub. Over one weekend, the Arabic class, composed of students from all over the globe, visited Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, Ein Gedi, and Jericho. Shalom and salaam. .... Ryan Green is an ASU junior in Barrett, the Honors College, studying finance and business data analytics. From the last week in May until the first week in August, he was an intern through Onward Israel’s finance and economics program. This was the inaugural year of the program. He worked at BSS (Ben Simon Sussman) Capital, which helps pension

Yochanan Gibly (right) with fellow Birthright participants on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem

and insurance funds invest their money in foreign firms. His responsibilities included due diligence on potential firms, creating client presentations, and making various spreadsheets for company use. Our intern lived in an apartment with other interns in Ramat Gan and enjoyed Tel Aviv life, as well as trips to Jerusalem and the Negev. .... The last time we wrote about Yochanan (“Nan”) Gibly was summer 2016, when he attended AMHSI. This past summer, he traveled on a Birthright Free Spirit trip. In his words: “Birthright was the experience of a life-

time, making lifelong friends. Unlike the usual 10-day trips, on this 12-day journey, the group spent two Sabbaths with each other. Our itinerary was packed. We traveled to the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea, to the old city of David, built over 2,000 years ago, to the modern city of Tel Aviv. These experiences were intertwined with amazing stories about the different sites. We had the opportunity to interact with Israelis our age who serve in the military. These soldiers, who I am glad to be able to call my friends, spent five days with our group, and created such a wonderful experience for us by just being themselves and helping us

realize what living in Israel was like.” Gibly’s Birthright experience was followed by a one-month ulpan (Hebrew immersion program) at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has now started his sophomore year study abroad program through ASU at Hebrew University. Nan is excited to be able to live in the dorms and spend fall semester, six months there, not only learning but being a part of Israeli life. During the 2016-17 school year, Gibly was the local winner of the “Better2Write” annual writing competition offered by the national Better Together program. He wrote about his experience in Tracing Roots & Building Trees, an intergenerational program that encourages meaningful relationships between Jewish teens and residents of Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging. Gibly used his scholarship award from the competition toward this semester’s tuition. Time to share It’s back to school, the High Holidays, and P.S. from September through May. Keep me posted about your human interest activities. I’m all ears — 319-1112. L’shalom.


ou a Y g n i h s Wi nah a h s a H h ssed Ros

Don’t forget to stop delivery of the AJP at least a week before you leave town! Fill out the “delivery stops” form online at: or call 647-8441 to leave a message with your name, address, zip code, telephone number and the dates you will be away. August 31, 2018, ARIZONA JEWISH POST


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A reA C ongregAtions CONSERVATIVE

Congregation anshei israel

5550 E. Fifth St., Tucson, AZ 85711 • (520) 745-5550 Rabbi Robert Eisen, Cantorial Soloist Nichole Chorny • Daily minyan: Mon.-Thurs., 7:30 a.m. & 5:30 p.m.; Fri., 7:30 a.m.; Sun. & legal holidays, 8 a.m. & 5:30 p.m. / Mincha: Fri., 5:45 p.m. / Shabbat services: Sat., 9 a.m., followed by Kiddush; Tot Shabbat, 1st Fri., 5:45 p.m.; Family Service, 3rd Friday, 5:45 p.m.; Holiday services may differ, call or visit website. / Torah study: every Shabbat one hour before Mincha (call or visit website for times) / Talmud on Tuesday, 6 p.m. / Weekday Torah study group, Wed., 11 a.m. beverages and dessert provided.

Congregation Bet shalom 3881 E. River Road, Tucson, AZ 85718 • (520) 577-1171 Rabbi Hazzan Avraham Alpert • Shabbat services: Fri., 5:30 p.m. (followed by monthly dinners — call for info); Sat. 9:30 a.m.-noon, Camp Shabbat (ages 6-10) 11 a.m.-noon, followed by Kiddush lunch and weekly Teen Talk lunch with shinshinim, 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m. CBS Think Tank discussion led by Rabbi Dr. Howard Schwartz and Dr. Howard Graizbord / Weekday services: Wed. 8:15 a.m. / Hagim 9:30 a.m.


Congregation ChoFetz Chayim/southwest torah institute 5150 E. Fifth St., Tucson, AZ 85711 • (520) 747-7780 Rabbi Israel Becker • Shabbat services: Fri., Kabbalat Shabbat 15 minutes before sunset; Sat. 9 a.m. followed by Kiddush. / Mincha: Fri., 1 p.m.; Sat., 25 minutes before sunset, followed by Shalosh Seudas, Maariv and Havdallah. Services: Sun., 8 a.m.; Mon. & Thurs., 6:50 a.m.; Tues., Wed., Fri., 7 a.m.; daily, 15 minutes before sunset. / Weekday Rosh Chodesh services: 6:45 a.m.

Congregation young israel/ChaBad oF tuCson 2443 E. Fourth St., Tucson, AZ 85719 • (520) 881-7956 Rabbi Yossie Shemtov, Rabbi Yudi Ceitlin • Daily minyan: Sun. & legal holidays, 8:30 a.m.; Mon. & Thurs., 6:30 p.m.; Tues., Wed., Fri., 6:45 a.m. / Mincha & Maariv, 5:15 p.m. / Shabbat services: Fri. at candlelighting; Sat. 9:30 a.m. followed by Kiddush. Mincha, Maariv and Havdallah TBA.

ChaBad on river 3916 E. Ft. Lowell Road • (520) 661-9350 Rabbi Ram Bigelman • Shabbat services: Fri., Mincha at candlelighting time, followed by Maariv. / Sat., Shacharit service, 9:30 a.m. / Torah study: women, Wed., 2 p.m.; men, Tues. and Thurs., 7 p.m. Call to confirm.

ChaBad oro valley 1217 W. Faldo Drive, Oro Valley, AZ 85755 • (520) 477-8672 Rabbi Ephraim Zimmerman • Shabbat services: 3rd Fri., 5 p.m. Oct.-Feb., 6 p.m. March-Sept., all followed by dinner / Sat., 10 a.m. study session followed by service.

ChaBad sierra vista 401 Suffolk Drive, Sierra Vista, AZ 85635 • (520) 820-6256 Rabbi Benzion Shemtov • Shabbat services: Sat., 10:30 a.m., bimonthly, followed by class explaining prayers. Visit website or call for dates.


Congregation Kol simChah

(Renewal) 4625 E. River Road, Tucson, AZ 85718 • (520) 296-0818 Mailing Address: 6628 E. Calle Dened, Tucson, AZ 85710 Shabbat services: 1st and 3rd Fri., 7:15 p.m.

Congregation m’Kor hayim 3888 E. River Road, Tucson, AZ 85718 (Tucson Hebrew Academy) Mailing Address: P.O. Box 31806, Tucson, AZ 85751 • (520) 904-1881 Rabbi Helen Cohn • Shabbat services: 2nd and 4th Fri., 7 p.m. / Torah study, 2nd and 4th Sat., 9:30 a.m.

Congregation or Chadash 3939 N. Alvernon, Tucson, AZ 85718 • (520) 512-8500 Rabbi Thomas Louchheim, Cantor Janece Cohen Shabbat services: Fri., 6:30 p.m.; 1st Fri., Friday Night LIVE (Sept.-May); 2nd Friday, Tot Shabbat (Sept.-May), 6 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m. / Torah study: Sat., 8:30 a.m.

the institute For JudaiC serviCes and studies Mailing Address: 36789 S. Golf Course Drive, Saddlebrooke, AZ 85739 Rabbi Sanford Seltzer • (520) 825-8175 Shabbat services: Oct.-April, third Friday of the month at 7 p.m. — call for details.

temple emanu-el 225 N. Country Club Road, Tucson, AZ 85716 • (520) 327-4501 Rabbi Batsheva Appel • Shabbat services: through Aug. 31, 5:30 p.m., preceded by 5 p.m. wine and cheese; after Aug. 31, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m./ Torah study: Sat., 8:30 a.m. except when there is a Rabbi’s Tish.

temple Kol hamidBar 228 N. Canyon Drive, Sierra Vista • (520) 458-8637 Mailing address: P.O. Box 908, Sierra Vista, AZ 85636 Shabbat services: Fri., 7:30 p.m.


Beth shalom temple Center

1751 N. Rio Mayo (P.O. Box 884), Green Valley, AZ 85622 (520) 648-6690 • Shabbat services: 1st and 3rd Fri., 7 p.m. / Torah study: Sat., 10 a.m.

Congregation etz Chaim (Modern Orthodox) 686 Harshaw Road, Patagonia, AZ 85624 • (520) 394-2520 Rabbi Gabriel Cousens • Shabbat services: Fri., 18 minutes before sunset / Torah study: Sat., 9:30 a.m. handmaKer resident synagogue

2221 N. Rosemont Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85712 • (520) 881-2323 Shabbat services: Fri., 4:30 p.m., led by Lindsey O’Shea, followed by Shabbat dinner; Sat., 9:30 a.m., led by Mel Cohen and Dan Asia, followed by light Kiddush lunch.

seCular humanist Jewish CirCle REFORM

Congregation Chaverim 5901 E. Second St., Tucson, AZ 85711 • (520) 320-1015 Rabbi Stephanie Aaron • Shabbat services: Fri., 7 p.m. (no service on 5th Fri.); Family Shabbat, 1st Fri., 6 p.m. / Torah study: 2nd Sat., 9 a.m., followed by contemplative service,10 a.m.


ARIZONA JEWISH POST, August 31, 2018 Call Cathleen at (520) 730-0401 for meeting or other information.

university oF arizona hillel Foundation 1245 E. 2nd St. Tucson, AZ 85719 • (520) 624-6561 • Shabbat services: Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and alternative services two Fridays each month when school is in session. Dinner follows (guests, $8; RSVP by preceding Thurs.). Call for dates/times.

OBITUARIES Homer Chernin

Homer Bernard Chernin, 94, of Mission Viejo, California, died Aug. 9, 2018. Born in Nogales, Arizona, the fifth of Harry and Bessie Chernin’s eight children, Mr. Chernin grew up in the border town. His family moved to Texarkana for a few years and returned to Nogales, where he attended high school, graduating shortly after World War II broke out. Mr. Chernin was decorated with a Purple Heart while serving in the Army as an infantryman in Europe during World War II. He attended the University of Arizona, where he met his wife of 69 years, Gitta Warren. After they married, he began his career in the scrap metal business in Shreveport, Louisiana, then moved to banking in Tucson where he rose to vice president of operations at Southern Arizona Bank, eventually moving to Tempe, Arizona. Mr. Chernin and his wife moved to Heritage Pointe in Mission Viejo in 2012. Beginning in 1981, they hosted a family reunion in Coronado, California, every summer for more than 30 years. Mr. Chernin was a member of Congregation Anshei Israel in Tucson; F&A Order of Masons, Nogales Lodge; and Toastmasters. Survivors include his wife, Gitta; brother Hughie (Suzie) Chernin of Nogales; children, Mark (Naomi) Chernin of Sharon, Massachussetts, Jeff (Caryn) Chernin of Mission Viejo, and Lisa (Martin) Newman of Manchester, England; five grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Services were held in California. Memorial contributions may be made to the Heritage Pointe Synagogue Fund.

Irene Lloyd Irene Lloyd, 65, died Aug. 10, 2018. Mrs. Lloyd was born in Chicago and lived in Tucson since 1982. She was an ICU nurse for 20 years, and later created the Senior Elder Access program at Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona. Mrs. Lloyd was predeceased by her husband, Steve Lloyd, and her parents, Sara and Charles Meyers. Survivors include her sister, Linda (Larry) Harris of Tucson, and brother, Dr. Gene (Carole) Meyers of Berkeley; four nieces and nephews and nine great-nieces and -nephews. A private memorial service was held, with Rabbi Thomas Louchheim of Congregation Or Chadash officiating. Arrangements were made by Adair Funeral Home, Dodge Chapel. Memorial contributions may be made to the Kidney Foundation, Jewish Family & Children’s Services and the Humane Society.

Celebration of Life A celebration of the life of Elaine Lisberg will be held Sunday, Sept. 2 at The Forum at Tucson, 2500 N. Rosemont Ave. Visit anytime between 2-4 p.m. to share your memories.

REFLECTIONS In 21st century, could Tevye change his tune? AMY HIRSHBERG LEDERMAN Special to the AJP


n 1966, when I was just 13 years old, my parents surprised me by taking me to New York City to see Zero Mostel star as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof.” I was enchanted by Shalom Aleichem’s inspiration, “Tevye the Dairyman,” which was written in Yiddish in 1894. Set in a shtetl (Jewish village) in the Pale of Settlement, the story centers on Tevye and his attempt to preserve his Jewish faith and traditions as outside influences encroach on his family. Tevye learns to cope with daughters who wish to marry for love, each one moving farther away from Jewish customs and religion, until his youngest daughter runs off with a Russian soldier, breaking her father’s heart and the traditions that define him. Fast forward to 1970, when I was dating and my own parents were troubled when I brought home fellows who didn’t fit the “Jewish doctor/lawyer” paradigm. My mother’s cautionary words: “Every date is a prospective mate” haunted me throughout college and law school but never deterred me from dating a wide range of guys — few of whom were Jewish, let alone doctors or lawyers! Thankfully, at the age of 28, a girlfriend fixed me up with Ray, a “nice Jewish doctor” from Los Angeles. I knew before the chips and salsa arrived that this man with the soulful eyes and beautiful smile would be my husband. And in him, I found my soulmate and best friend. So where does that leave Tevye today? Would we find him sitting shiva (mourning) for his daughters or joining the more than 70 percent of Jewish families who are coping with and adjusting to the exponential increase in intermarriage? The statistics are stunning: According to the 2012 Pew Research Center Survey of U.S Jews (a telephonic survey of 3,475 Jews conducted nationwide), the overall intermarriage rate among all Jews is 58 percent, up from 43 percent in 1990 and 17 percent in 1970. Among nonOrthodox Jews, the intermarriage rate is 71 percent and according to a recent article by Sylvia Barack Fishman, Steven M. Cohen and Jack Wertheimer, experts in Jewish contemporary life and trends, 20 percent of Reform Jews marry other Jews and only 8 percent of the grandchildren of intermarriages are being raised in the Jewish religion.

Most of us don’t get a vote, let alone a veto, on the decisions and choices our children make — in life or in love. And while we may feel frustrated or disappointed when they make decisions that don’t comport with our world views or personal hopes, we do have a choice as to how we react and respond to their autonomy and self determination. With between 70 to 80 percent of today’s Jews marrying non-Jews, staying open and welcoming to the non-Jewish partners our children choose is a necessity if we hope to remain relevant and a part of their lives. As my kids would say: “That train has already left the station.” It’s up to us if we want to be on it or not. It seems clear that we can no longer play “hardball” with our children, threatening or demanding that they “marry Jewish.” The better alternative is to find a way to leave the door and our hearts open so that staying connected to family and Judaism, in whatever form that takes, remains a viable option. As parents, we can lead the way by remaining available to and interested in our children’s choices thereby setting an example for them to remain open to us as well. We can become better role models, both as Jews and as parents. If our children experience our intentional commitment to communicate about their choices and challenges, if they witness our own renewed interest in Jewish learning and culture, we are more likely going to encourage, rather than damage, the relationship we seek to preserve with them. Grandparents can play a very significant role in a family’s dynamics. As the older generation, they can more easily transmit family traditions and values, particularly because their influence is more often accepted than ours is as parents. From our kid’s perspective, it may matter little that lighting Shabbat candles or making a seder is preserved out of love for “Bubbie” rather than a dubious relationship to Jewish tradition. While we may not always agree with or understand our children’s choices, we can attempt to ensure a continuing, respectful give and take of ideas and values as they navigate the ups and downs of marriage and family life. For in the end, an open heart can permit us to understand who they are and how they want to live and love. Amy Hirshberg Lederman is an author, Jewish educator, public speaker and attorney who lives in Tucson. Her columns in the AJP have won awards from the American Jewish Press Association, the Arizona Newspapers Association and the Arizona Press Club for excellence in commentary. Visit her website at

August 31, 2018, ARIZONA JEWISH POST


COMMUNITY CALENDAR The calendar deadline is Tuesday, 10 days before the issue date. Our next issue will be published Sept. 14, 2018. Events may be emailed to, faxed to 319-1118, or mailed to the AJP at 3718 E. River Road, #272, Tucson, AZ 85718. For more information, call 319-1112. See Area Congregations on page A-26 for additional synagogue events. Men’s Mishnah club with Rabbi Israel Becker at Cong. Chofetz Chayim. Sundays, 7:15 a.m.; Monday-Friday, 6:15 a.m.; Saturdays, 8:15 a.m. 747-7780 or Chabad of Sierra Vista men’s tefillin club with Rabbi Benzion Shemtov, first Sundays, 9 a.m., at 401 Suffolk Drive. 820-6256 or “Too Jewish” radio show with Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon on KVOI 1030 AM (also KAPR and KJAA), Sundays at 9 a.m. Sept. 2, Allan Appel, author of “The Book of Norman.” Sept. 9, David Cygielman, founder and CEO of Moishe House. Sept. 16, Rabbi Mark Wildes, millennial advisor, founder of the Manhattan Jewish Experience and author of “Beyond the Instant.” Beth Shalom Temple Center of Green Valley bagel breakfast and Yiddish club, first Sundays, 9:30 a.m. Members, $7; nonmembers, $10. 648-6690 or 399-3474.

ONGOING Cong. Anshei Israel parent-tot class, led by Lindsey Embree. Mondays, 9-11 a.m. Children up to 24 months and their parent(s). Free. Mandatory vaccination policy. Call Nancy Auslander at 745-5550 or

JFCS Holocaust Survivors group meets Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-noon. Contact Raisa Moroz at 795-0300.

Temple Emanu-El mah jongg, Mondays, 10 a.m. 327-4501.

Integral Jewish Meditation group led by Brian Schachter-Brooks, Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m., at Cong. Bet Shalom, free.

Cong. Anshei Israel mah jongg, Mondays, 10 a.m.-noon. All levels, men and women. Contact Evelyn at 885-4102 or

Tucson J social bridge. Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon-3 p.m., year round. Drop-ins welcome. Meets in library on second floor. 299-3000.

Tucson J current events discussion, Mondays, noon-1:30 p.m. Members, $1; nonmembers, $2. Bring or buy lunch, 11:30 a.m. 2993000, ext. 147.

Tucson J canasta group. Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon. Instruction available and a beginners’ table every week. Call or text Lisa at 977-4054.

Cong. Bet Shalom yoga. Mondays, 4:30-5:30 p.m. $5. 577-1171.

Cong. Anshei Israel Talmud on Tuesday with Rabbi Robert Eisen. Meets 6 p.m. 745-5550.

Southern Arizona Jewish Genealogy Society, second Sundays, 1-3 p.m. at the Tucson J. Contact Barbara Stern Mannlein at 731-0300 or the J at 299-3000.

Jewish sobriety support group meets Mondays, 6:30-8 p.m. at Cong. Bet Shalom.

Tucson J Israeli dance classes. Tuesdays. Beginners, 7:30 p.m.; intermediate, 8:15 p.m.; advanced, 9 p.m. Taught by Lisa Goldberg. Members, $8; nonmembers, $10. 299-3000.

Tucson J Israeli Dance, taught by Brandi Hawkins, 2nd and 4th Sundays, partners, 4:45-6 p.m., open circle, 6-7 p.m. Members, $8; nonmembers, $10. 299-3000.

Spouse Bereavement Group, cosponsored by Widowed to Widowed, Inc. at the Tucson J, Tuesdays, 10 a.m. Contact Marvin at 885-2005 or Tanya at 299-3000, ext. 147.

Cong. Anshei Israel gentle chair yoga with Lois Graham, Wednesdays, 9:30-10:30 a.m. Members of Women’s League, $6 per class; nonmembers, $8 per class. Contact Evelyn at 885-

Friday / August 31

booklet. 745-5550 or

11AM-NOON: Jewish History Museum/ Holocaust History Center gallery chat. Rabbi Thomas Louchheim talks about his family photos in the “Mapping Migration” exhibit. 564 S. Stone Ave. 670-9073 or

Saturday / September 1

6:30 PM: Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging Selichot service and study session. 2221 N. Rosemont Blvd. Contact Nanci Levy at or 322-3632. 7:30 PM: Temple Emanu-El Selichot film and service, “Groundhog Day,” followed by discussion, dessert. Selichot service at 10:30 p.m., with Rabbi Batsheva Appel and the Temple Emanu-El Choir. 327-4501. 8 PM: Cong. Anshei Israel Selichot program and service. Includes wine, cheese and dessert reception; Havdalah program: “The Aura of Torah”; changing of the Torah covers and honoring adult choir; followed by Selichot service at 10 p.m. Free. 745-5550 or 8:30-11:45 PM: Cong. Or Chadash Selichot observance, “Writing on the Wall,” begins with desserts and Havdalah. Contact Sarah Bollt at or 900-7027.

Sunday/September 2

10:30 AM: Cong. Anshei Israel Kever Avot Memorial Service at Evergreen Cemetery, Anshei Israel Section. Includes special prayer


ARIZONA JEWISH POST, August 31, 2018

Tuesday / September 4

7:30 PM: Hadassah Southern Arizona, a community partner with The Loft Cinema, presents “93Queen,” documentary on the creation of an all-female Hasidic EMT corps. At The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Regular admission prices. 795-7777 or

Wednesday / September 5

10-11:30 AM: Tucson J Nature Talk: “Developing a Sense of Place: Bio-Geography of the Sonoran Desert” with Luiza McKaughan. Members, $10; nonmembers, $15. Register at or call Jennifer Selco at 299-3000.

Thursday / September 6

7-8:30 AM: Tucson J Meet Your Plants and Birds: Nature Walk along Loop Trail. Members, free; nonmembers, $5. Call 299-3000. 10 AM-NOON: Tucson J class, Creating a Work of Jewish Art: Performance. Taught by Debra Levasseur-Lottman. Continues Thursdays through Dec. 13. $10 per class. Contact Jennifer Selco at 299-3000. 7-8:30 PM: Chabad Tucson and the Tucson J present “My Greatest Touchdown: A Player’s Journey from Football to Faith,” with Cal Murray, football player for Ohio State University, now known as Yosef Murray. Advance tickets, $15; at door, $18. At the Tucson J. RSVP at www.

Friday / September 7 2-5 PM: Tucson J class, Beginner Portrait Sculpting. Taught by Raymonde Zlotnikoff. Continues Fridays through Sept. 28. Members, $275; nonmembers, $285. Contact Jennifer Selco at 299-3000. 5:30 PM: Temple Emanu-El Tot Kabbalat Shofar Shabbat Service followed by dinner at 6 p.m. Dinner $12 for adults, free for kids under 12. RSVP for dinner at 327-4501. 5:45 PM: Cong. Anshei Israel Tot Shabbat Service. Dinner at 6:15 p.m.: members, $25 family of 2 adults and up to 4 children; nonmember family $30; adult (13+) $10. RSVP for dinner by Sept. 4 to Kim at at 745-5550, ext. 224. 6:15 PM: Temple Emanu-El Monsoon Membership Madness new and prospective member reception followed by service at 7:30 p.m. 327-4501 or

Sunday / September 9 8 AM: Tucson J Honey Run 5K/1K. Members, $20; nonmembers, $25. Cost increases by $5 after Sept. 8. Contact Debbie Claggett at 299-3000. 9:30-11 AM: Temple Emanu-El class, Practical Judaism with Rabbi Batsheva Appel, continues Sept. 16 and 23. Call 327-4501 for fees. 5:45 PM: Cong. Anshei Israel Erev Rosh Hashanah service. Call 745-5550 or visit www. for complete holiday schedule. 6:20 PM: Cong. Chofetz Chayim Erev Rosh Hashanah service. Call 747-7780 or visit www.

4102 or Temple Emanu-El Talmud Study, Wednesdays, 10 -11:30 a.m. Text required, call 3274501. Chabad of Sierra Vista women’s class with Rabbi Benzion Shemtov, last Wednesdays, 2 p.m., 401 Suffolk Drive. 820-6256 or Chabad Tucson lunch and learn with Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin, Wednesdays, 12:15 p.m. at 5th Street Kitchen and Deli, 5071 E. Fifth St. info@ Jewish mothers/grandmothers special needs support group for those with children/grandchildren, youth or adult, with special needs, third Wednesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. at Tucson J. Contact Joyce Stuehringer at 299-5920. “Biblical Breakthroughs with Rabbi Becker” at the Southwest Torah Institute. Fridays, noon, for men and women. 747-7780 or Jewish History Museum/Holocaust History Center new core exhibition, “Meanings Not Yet Imagined.” 670-9073. Tucson J Fine Art Gallery show, “Simcha,” with 13 members of the Jewish Artists Group, through Oct. 3. 299-3000. for complete holiday schedule. 6:30 PM: Chabad Tucson Erev Rosh Hashanah service. Free. At Chabad Lubavitch of Tucson/Cong. Young Israel, 2443 E. 4th St. Visit for complete holiday schedule. 6:40 PM: Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging and Congregation Eshel Avraham Erev Rosh Hashanah service at Handmaker. 2221 N. Rosemont Blvd. Call 322-3632 for complete holiday schedule. 7 PM: Beth Shalom Temple Center, Green Valley Erev Rosh Hashanah service. Free. Nonmembers must RSVP for availability. Call 648-6690 or visit for complete holiday schedule. 7:30 PM: Cong. Chaverim Erev Rosh Hashanah service. Call 320-1015 or visit for complete holiday schedule. 7:30 PM: Cong. Or Chadash Erev Rosh Hashanah service at the Tucson J. Call 5128500 or visit for complete holiday schedule. 7:30 PM: Temple Emanu-El Erev Rosh Hashanah service. Call 327-4501 or visit www. for complete holiday schedule.

Monday/September 10

9:30 AM: Cong. Chaverim Rosh Hashanah service on Mt. Lemmon (and at Chaverim). Call 320-1015 or visit for complete holiday schedule. 5 PM: Temple Emanu-El Tashlich picnic

service, at Reid Park, near Rose Garden. Bring picnic dinner. Free. Call 327-4501.

Tuesday / September 11

8 AM: Cong. Anshei Israel Erev second day Rosh Hashanah service. Free throughout day. Call 745-5550 or visit for complete holiday schedule.

Wednesday / September 12

8-9:30 AM: Jewish Business Network meeting. Continues second Wednesday of month. At the Tucson J. 299-3000, ext. 241, or concierge@ 12:30 PM: Cong. Anshei Israel Fast of Gedaliah Mincha service. 745-5550 or

Friday / September 14

10-11:30 AM: Tucson J class, Hummingbirds – Feathered Jewels. Members, $10; nonmembers, $15. 299-3000 or

Saturday / September 15

10 AM-2 PM: Secular Humanist Jewish Circle High Holiday service, led by Rabbi Jack Silver. Catered lunch follows. At St. Francis in the Foothills, 4625 E. River Road. Members, $25; nonmembers, $40. More details at www.shjcaz. org. RSVP by Sept. 10 to Becky at 296-3762 or

Sunday / September 16

10 AM-NOON: JFCS CHAI Circle meeting presents Breathing and Meditation with Marsha R Drozdoff, ACSW, LCSW, for women with or survivors of cancer. Free. At Tucson J. RSVP to Irene Gefter at 795-0300,

ext. 2271 or 10:45 AM: Cong. Chofetz Chayim Women’s Academy of Jewish Studies annual women’s book brunch, with Esther Becker presenting “The Scent of Snowflowers” by Rivka Leah Klein. Book and brunch $36. For book and reservation, call Esther at 591-7680. 11 AM-1 PM: Tucson J Simcha art show reception with the artists, in the Fine Art Gallery. 299-3000. 11:30 AM: Cong. Or Chadash Tashlich service, at Ft. Lowell Park, Ramada 3, 2998 N. Craycroft Road. Bring a picnic lunch. Free. 512-8500. 11:30 AM: Cong. Chaverim Tashlich service, at Ft. Lowell Park, Ramada 6, 2998 N. Craycroft Road. 320-1015 or NOON-3 PM: Tucson J cooking class, Mexican Cuisine with Myriam Barrientos. Members, $65; nonmembers, $70. 299-3000 or 1 PM: Temple Emanu-El Kever Avot service at Sha’arei Shalom Ceremony; 2 p.m. at Evergreen Cemetery, 4 p.m. at Nogales Cemetery. 327-4501 or 2 PM: Cong. Or Chadash Kever Avot service at Evergreen Cemetery. 512-8500 or 3:30-5 PM: PJ Library presents High Holidays Journey with ZIZ. At Cong. Chofetz Chayim, 5150 E. 5th St. Free. RSVP at pjhighholidays2018. 4 PM: Cong. Anshei Israel Tashlich service, at Ft. Lowell Park, Ramada 6, 2998 N. Craycroft Road. Refreshments. RSVP by Sept. 7 to Kim at 745-5550, ext. 224. 5-8 PM: Tucson J annual Topgolf fundraiser. At 4050 W. Costco Dr. For sponsorship opportunities, contact Caitlin Dixon at 299-3000, ext. 176 or


Jewish Federation-Northwest chair yoga with a Jewish flair taught by Bonnie Golden. Mondays, 10-11 a.m. $7 per class or $25 for four. 505-4161 or Northwest Needlers create hand-stitched items for donation in the Jewish community. Meets at Jewish Federation Northwest Tuesdays, 1-3 p.m. RSVP to judithgfeldman@gmail. com or 505-4161. Jewish Federation-Northwest mah jongg, meets Wednesdays, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., 5054161. Chabad of Oro Valley adult education class, Jewish learning with Rabbi Ephraim Zimmerman. Wednesdays at 7 p.m., at 1217 W. Faldo Drive. 477-8672 or


Sunday / September 2

3 PM: Chabad of Oro Valley High Holidays program for children ages 0-6. Craft, prepare and blow a shofar. At Oro Valley Children’s Mu-

seum, 11015 N. Oracle Road #101. 477-8672 or

Monday / September 10

9 AM: Chabad of Oro Valley Rosh Hashanah service. At Oro Valley Community & Recreation Center, 10555 La Canada Dr. 477-8672 or for complete holiday schedule.

Friday / September 14

5-6 PM: Jewish Federation-Northwest Tot Shabbat in the Northwest, with Rabbi Batsheva Appel and PJ Library. Free. At Jewish Federation Northwest, 190 N. Magee Road, Ste. 162. 505-4161.

Sunday / September 23

1 PM: Jewish Federation-Northwest and PJ Library The Cat in the Hut! Dr. Seuss style Sukkot Celebration! Build and decorate Sukkah. Free. At Jewish Federation Northwest, 190 N. Magee Road, Ste. 162. RSVP by Sept. 21 to 505-4161 or


Food for Thought Lunch Series Add a little class to your busy schedule this fall! All lectures include an innovative lunch at Hacienda del Sol Resort. MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 Galileo’s Dilemma Presenter: Cynthia Meier, Managing and Associate Director of the Rogue Theatre MONDAY, OCTOBER 15 Dorothy Parker’s Guest List Presenter: William Fry, awardwinning literature professor MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12 Food Explorer: The Story of GlobeTrotting Botanist David Fairchild Presenter: Paul Fisher, award-winning educator and independent scholar MONDAY, DECEMBER 10 The Art and Music of Christmas Presenter: Kevin Justus, musician, art historian and French Ambassadorial Laureate

Cost: $55 per event. All programs begin at 11:30 am. To reserve your place visit or call 520-777-5817

Are you looking for a High Holiday celebration which combines a sense of community, a strong Jewish identity, inspiration and spirituality, and meaningful participation? The Secular Humanist Jewish Circle invites you to join us in

Celebrating the High Holy Days Saturday, September 15, 2018 • 10AM - 2PM St. Francis in the Foothills 4625 E River Road Led by Humanistic Rabbi Jack Silver, the service will celebrate moral and ethical teachings of the holidays without prayer or reference to supernatural authority. Rabbi Silver will share “Thoughts for the Upcoming Year…Lo Ta’amod: You Shall Not Stand Idly By.” The service will include Kol Nidre, a tashlich ceremony, shofar blowing, a flower ceremony to remember loved ones, songs, poetry & more. A catered lunch will follow. $25. Members; $40. Non-members. We offer new members who join before the High Holidays membership through 2019, making them eligible for our members-only events and for members’ rates at our High Holiday Service this year and next and our Passover Seder next year.

RSVP by September 10: Pat, 481-5324, See or Facebook for more details. Hope to See You There!! L’Shana Tova!! August 31, 2018, ARIZONA JEWISH POST

A- 29

IN FOCUS Young leaders help Federation disburse $10,000

From left: Adam Goldstein, Jewish Family & Children’s Services Director Carlos Hernandez, and JFCS Board Chair Barbara Befferman-Danes

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona recently awarded $10,000 to local agencies as part of its 2018 Young Leadership Campaign Special Teams initiative. Each team determined in May where to allocate their share of the JFSA funding. Team (Adam) Goldstein and Team (Isaac) Figueroa designated Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona’s Local Emergency Assistance Fund, which helps individuals and families avoid eviction, utility shut off, and hunger by offering short-term financial assistance. Team (Shelly) Kippur and Team (Ken) Morris chose the Tucson Jewish Community Center and its Taglit program, a day program for young adults Tucson Jewish Community Center President and CEO Todd Rockoff, left, and Mary Cochran Wolk, with a range of physical and cognitive disabilities. former Tucson J board chair

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ARIZONA JEWISH POST, August 31, 2018

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OUR TOWN Business briefs Zeneth Constante teaches Upper School math at Tucson Hebrew Academy. She earned her bachelor’s degree from De La Salle University-Dasmarinas, majoring in education and mathematics, and her masters in educational management from the University of Southern Philippines. Terra Porisch, who moved to Tucson from Billings, Montana, brings over 32 years of experience to the fourth grade classroom at Tucson Hebrew Academy. With more than 19 years in K-6th grade Gifted and Talented Education, she has a bachelor’s in elementary education from Montana State University and a Master of Science in education from Walden University. Kristina Wust is the accounting assistant to Tucson Hebrew Academy Chief Operations Officer Emily Lunne. An Oklahoma native, she recently relocated to Tucson from the Fort Wayne, Indiana area. She graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in accounting from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana. Most recently, she served as the student accounts specialist at Huntington University and Manchester University and as treasurer for nonprofits in the Fort Wayne area. The Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block received a $75,000 grant from the Hearst Foundations to support and expand its youth education programming for the next two years. TMA will use the funds to reach an additional 10,000 underserved youth and their families with field trips, in-school and after-school programs and interactive family programs. Expanding its opportunities for teens, TMA will launch a teen council to help students develop leadership skills by working on real-world projects, advising TMA on ways to make the museum friendlier for teen audiences, and serving as ambassadors in their community. The University of Arizona Hillel Foundation has hired Eri Svenson, a Jewish educator from Northampton, Massachusetts, as director of Jewish student life. Svenson brings six years of experience in a variety of community organizing and experiential education roles in New York, Chicago, and Massachusetts, with an emphasis on social justice and Jewish learning. For the past year, Svenson was an educator at Congregation B’nai Israel and the Jewish Community of Amherst, creating programs to celebrate and value students’ intersecting identities. Svenson studied at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and participated in programs at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem and Yeshivat Hadar in New York City.

Sha’ron Eden, Tucson Hebrew Academy’s new development associate, is an Israeli who served in the Israel Defense Forces during the first Gulf War. She earned her bachelor’s in political science and international relations at Florida Atlantic University, where she cofounded and became vice president of the Israeli Student Organization of South Florida and was a National Political Science Honor Society member. Working and volunteering in the U.S. Jewish community, she is experienced in fundraising and advancement. She worked with the Greater East Bay Jewish Federation in California, was a member of the Advancement Department at Jess Schwartz Academy Jewish day school in Phoenix, and worked for the Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Community Center of Southern Nevada. She recently moved to Tucson from Las Vegas with her husband, Amir Eden, director of the Weintraub Israel Center. Samantha Feldman is Tucson Hebrew Academy’s new music teacher. She is a recent graduate of the University of Arizona with a degree in vocal studies and a minor in creative writing. She also serves as assistant director of the semiprofessional community chorus The Helios Ensemble, and as staff singer for the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Chorus and St. Philip’s in the Hills Episcopal Church, where she previously directed the children’s choirs and after school music program. A published author of the children’s series “Sam the Ant,” she also teaches private piano lessons. Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona recently launched expanded therapy services to strengthen family life. The JFCS Family Preservation Program provides direct, short-term in-home therapy and parenting support to families in crisis, to help them improve coping and communication skills and family functioning, while keeping children safe. The program expects to serve about 450 children and families in Tucson each year. Geri-Lynn Bertagnolli has joined the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona as campaign administrative assistant. Bertagnolli, a Tucson native, has an M.B.A. in e-commerce as well as B.S. degrees in business administration and business management from the University of Phoenix, where she also earned a certificate in human resources management. Her 25 years of experience with both for-profit and nonprofit organizations includes three years as an executive administrative assistant at Casa de los Ninos. Before that, she served in a variety of roles with Brock Technologies, Inc.; Aker Solutions/Jacobs Engineering; Office Team; SOLON Corporation; and PB Americas Inc., and the Muscular Dystrophy Association, all in Tucson, as well as the Boy Scouts of America in Long Beach, California.

People in the news Former Tucsonan Abbie Kozolchyk was included in a Tripbase® listing of “100 Favorite Travel Writers.” Kozolchyk has written for Conde Nast Traveler, Food & Wine, Cosmopolitan, and Forbes Traveler, among other publications. Her book, “The World’s Most Romantic Destinations,” was published by National Geographic. Aimee Katz completed a summer program teaching third grade English at Harel Elementary School in Kiryat Malachi, Tucson’s Partnership2Gether sister city, and recently returned to Israel to spend a full year teaching. Both adventures are with TALMA, the Israel Program for Excellence in English. The program is both an Englishimmersion program for low-income Israeli elementary schoolchildren and a fellowship for international teacher-leaders in the movement for educational equity. Katz is in Dimona teaching at Alfassi Elementary School. She taught six years with Marana Unified School District. A graduate of the University of Arizona, she has a B.S. in cross-categorical special education and a post-baccalaureate in elementary education. She is the daughter of JFSA Senior Vice President Fran Katz and JCF Chairman of the Board of Trustees Jeff Katz.

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NEWS BRIEFS Alma Hernandez, a 25-yearold Mexican-American Jew, finished in the top two in her Democratic primary for the Arizona statehouse, paving her way to be elected in November. Hernandez was second in her district Tuesday — there are two open spots for state representative — allowing her to advance. There are no Republican candidates on the ballot this fall. If elected, Hernandez would be the first Hispanic Jewish woman to hold elected office in the state, if not the country. “I’m very proud of everything we were able to accomplish,” she told JTA on Wednesday. “We’re not going anywhere, and I’m here to stay.” Hernandez is a liberal Jewish Latina activist who places both of those identities at the center of her work. She has worked in her hometown of Tucson on issues like immigration, health care and supporting Israel, and used to coordinate the local Jewish Community Relations Council. The state representative position is part-time, so Hernandez plans to work in health care consulting on the side.

the peace talks, principally because of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital while not extending a corresponding recognition to the Palestinians. It also shows that Abbas remains committed to the two-state solution. Israel and the United States have retreated from the outcome since Trump assumed the presidency in 2017. Kan, the Israeli broadcast network, and The Times of Israel quoted academics who met with Abbas at his Ramallah headquarters. Both outlets confirmed with unnamed Palestinian officials that Abbas had conveyed the messages. “I want a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines, with no military,” Kann quoted Abbas as saying. “I want unarmed police who carry batons, not guns. Instead of planes and tanks, I would prefer to build schools and hospitals and to devote funds and resources to social institutions.” The Times of Israel quoted Kfir Alon, one of the Israeli participants, as saying that Abbas said it was “unreasonable for Israel to absorb all Palestinian refugees.” Abbas also said that “we still need to find a solution to the issue of refugees.” In previous negotiations, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have considered a return of a symbolic number of refugees and compensation for descendants of Palestinians forced to leave.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he was still committed to key concessions he has made in years of negotiations with Israel, including a demilitarized Palestinian state and no massive return of Palestinians to Israel. Abbas’ remarks in a meeting Tuesday with Israeli academics are notable because he has pulled away from Trump administration efforts to revive

The French city of Rouen will celebrate its renovation and planned reopening to the public of Europe’s oldest known Jewish building with an international symposium. Next week’s conference titled “Medieval Judaism between Normandy and England” is focused on the Sublime House, the seat of a 12th-century yeshiva in the city of Rouen, 70 miles northwest of Paris. The event coin-


ARIZONA JEWISH POST, August 31, 2018

cides with the European Days of Jewish Culture series of events, taking place annually across the continent since 1999 on September. The building, which was discovered by accident under a parking lot in 1976, has undergone a massive restoration that cost more the $1 million and is set to reopen in October. The conference, featuring some of the world’s greatest authorities on medieval Jewry, will begin on Sept. 4 at Paris’ Museum of Jewish Art and History and continue the following day at the Hôtel des Societes savants in Rouen. This years’ theme of the European Days of Jewish Culture is storytelling. Dozens of synagogues in the 28 participating countries will throw open their doors to the general public, who will receive guided tours there and in Jewish cemeteries. In Western Europe, these events on the first week of September are a rare opportunity for non-Jews to visit synagogues that are normally under heavy protection and where only worshipers are allowed to enter. At Amsterdam’s Uilenburger Synagogue, storyteller Karel Baracs will revisit on Sept. 2 the rescue of hundreds of Jewish children from the prison where they were kept by the Nazis. In Rouen, the Sublime House building — whose floor space is 1,615 square feet and whose walls feature Hebrew inscriptions reading “May the Torah Reign forever” and “This house is sublime” — was closed to the public in 2001 over fears that terrorists might target it or try to blow up the courthouse above it, according to Tendance Ouest, a French radio station. The site was reopened for visits in 2009, but humidity and poor ventilation weakened it, leading to its closure in 2015. The restoration project began last year.




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is now

5th Street


Dave Bizak, former manager of 5th Street Deli, is back!

Sha n Tov ah Um ah etu kah

Freshly refurbished and beautifully remodeled restaurant and market New Menu, including traditional favorites plus Moroccan family specialties.


Let us cater your Holiday meal! Come in and see Dave to design your customized catering menu. Here is a list of ideas for ordering: • Seasoned & oven-ready prime rib roasts • Seasoned & oven-ready beef brisket • Seasoned & oven-ready whole chickens • Boneless chicken breasts, boneless chicken pies, or if you’re doing Schnitzel, give us a call, and we can butterfly & pound it for you.

Shining Stars: Young Southern Arizonans find their niche in arts and entertainment Whether making a name for themselves in front of the bright lights or behind the scenes, whether they still call Southern Arizona home or have moved to far-flung cities, the 12 young people profiled here bring a wide array of talents to the fields of arts and entertainment. Some have been on a straightforward path since early childhood, while others have

found that their careers have taken them down unexpected but fulfilling new roads. Along the way, their roots in the Jewish community have provided inspiration and sustenance. As the High Holidays beckon us to take time to slow down and reflect, we invite you to enjoy their stories — and we wish you all a sweet and healthy New Year!

Alex Caine............................. B-6 Michael Cooper..................... B-3 Danielle Faitelson............... B-18 Sam Gasch........................... B-14 Claire Graham...................... B-4 Grant Henry........................ B-17

Rhonda Karson................... B-14 Robert Lopez-Hanshaw...... B-19 Michael Martinez............... B-16 Rachel Saul............................ B-5 Suki-Rose Simakis................. B-7 Russell Wiener..................... B-15

Cover illustration by Michelle Shapiro/Arizona Jewish Post

Community Greetings......... B8-13

Happy Rosh Hashanah!

We would like to express our gratitude to our many wonderful friends in the Jewish community!

• Veal roasts & veal chops • Lamb roast & lamb chops FULL ASSORTMENT OF KOSHER GROCERY ITEMS Freshly-baked challah, pastries & real New York bagels every Friday

Holiday Hours: Sun, Sept. 9: 8am-3pm Mon, Tue, Sept. 10 & 11: CLOSED Tue, Sept 18: 8am-3pm Wed, Sept. 19: CLOSED Saturdays always CLOSED

520-325-3354 5071 East 5th Street

Celebrating 25 years in Tucson

6440 N. Campbell Ave. | 520.795.7221 | B-2

ARIZONA JEWISH POST, August 31, 2018


Photo courtesy Michael Cooper


ichael Cooper describes Nogales, Arizona, as a small, multicultural melting pot. Nevertheless, he felt like an outsider growing up there. He carries that with him every day as he approaches life in the world’s largest melting pot, New York City. He says the border town lessons about inclusion vs. exclusion, and being open to new experiences, stories, and spreading love are what inspire his award-winning artistic work today. Even after 17 years in New York, Cooper finds it difficult being away from those hometown connections. “In Nogales, there weren’t many Jews other than immediate family,” the songwriter recalls. While he celebrated his bar mitzvah at Temple Emanu-El in Tucson and spent summers at Camp Alonim in California, he feels being Jewish is “more in the DNA. You can’t separate who you are from those traditions.” Often travelling to New York as a child with his grandparents on their business trips, Cooper remembers falling in love with the Broadway shows and museums. Now he makes Broadway his professional home, composing music and lyrics for the stage. Cooper found his calling in the Nogales High School drama department, where he started writing musicals as freshman. “What an opportunity, to write and put on musicals there. I was fearless to just jump up and tell a story,” he recalls. Inspired by the greats, Cooper did his bachelor’s degree in theater at Williams College in Massachusetts, which Stephen Sondheim and other Jewish mentors attended. “They were a big inspiration in my studying theater,” he says. His other option was Wesleyan University, the Tonywinning “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda’s alma mater. “He is about my age, 39. I often ponder how different my life would be if we had been there at the same time. It’s amazing that our paths did cross

and I studied with him later,” says Cooper. Cooper spent a year in London and traveled before returning to graduate school at New York University for a master of fine arts degree in musical theater writing. His Broadway stage debut in 2016, “It Should Have Been You,” is about a family cultural clash with a Jewish daughter and Catholic groom. “It was my goal and dream. It had an amazing cast with Tyne Daley,” he says. “I remember listening to Broadway cast albums as a kid in Nogales and now I am working with those people.” He calls it manifestation. Cooper likes all musical genres and calls music a universal language. “It’s like a Jewish family, surrounded by the Mexican culture in Nogales all shaken up in me.” Cooper’s grandmother Bette Capin’s family were among the earliest Jewish immigrants in the American southwest. Bette is a traditional Jewish grandmother who also cooks great Mexican food, he says. Cooper is Liane and David Cooper’s only child. Grandparents Bette and Leonard Cooper owned the family Capin Mercantile Corporation, sold in the late 90s and now called Factory 2 U, right on the international border in Nogales. His maternal grandmother, Joan Lipsey, was a choreographer, while Alfred Lipsey, a U.S. Air Force man, had a passion for commu-

Explore the World in Your Own Backyard! Experience the spirit of Arizona with a Tucson native as your guide! We accommodate 1-12 guests for intimate and personalized touring. The most distinctive, educational, and fun-filled Arizona tours around!

nity theater, acting and directing. “They’ve all been supportive of my work,” Cooper says. He feels his late grandfather Alfred is proud of him. “I feel him sitting on my shoulder.” Lipsey was president of the Jewish Historical Society and took the young Cooper to Arizona Theatre Company and Invisible Theatre performances in Tucson. “Between the four grandparents, I had an extensive arts education.” Cooper’s most recent project was “Second to Nun,” a musical based on the heroic, adventurous life of a fearless pioneer and Canada’s first female saint, Marguerite Bourgeoys. Through song and monologue, this one-woman musical recounts Bourgeoys’ death-defying feats to bring “liberated” women to the New World and help build the city of Montreal. “This character spoke to my heart and soul. She was such an incredible woman. With her, borders evaporated. Her love and inclusion speaks to me,” Cooper says. He found creating a one-woman musical challenging, but the result gives him the most pride. “Being small, it was easy to produce. But, it is challenging working with the context of one voice — to keep it fresh, interesting and contemporary.” Cooper is drawn to historical subject matter. He recently contracted with Edgar Cayce’s estate to do a musical on Cayce’s

life, due in 2020. Cayce was an early 20th century American clairvoyant and the “founder” of the New Age movement. “With blessings of the Edgar Cayce institute, we will have access to primary documents, letters and files. The Edgar Cayce score will be different in its own way. Being in the south, it may even call for banjos,” Cooper ponders. His other plays include an original song for Anton Dudley’s play, “City Of,” and lyrics for the musicals “Luna Park” and “Sunfish.” Honors include the Outer Critics Circle and MAC Award songwriter nominations; 2017 Fred Ebb Award finalist; the 2005 Jonathan Larson, Daryl Roth and the TRU Daniel Marshall Multicultural Award; Best New American Musical, at the Daegu International Music Theatre Festival, South Korea 2013; and BroadwayWorld Award for the Best Musical, for “Sunfish.” His musicals were produced on Broadway and Off-Broadway, in Virginia Beach, Paris and London. He is on the advisory board at Astoria Performing Arts Center and is president of Three Hundred Bags of Rice Inc., a theatrical production company. While Cooper writes, composes and produces, lately he leans toward writing music — telling stories through song. “At some point, I would love to write something about Nogales. It would be fun to bring a piece back to Arizona, maybe to the Patagonia Opera House or ATC,” he says. He visits Tucson whenever he can and his family flies out to see his premiers, whether they are in Virginia, New York, London or Paris. “When you’re a writer, especially of musicals that take so long to create, it’s an ephemeral thing. It’s great to have family sitting in the theater watching it,” he says. “I miss the space and expanse of Southern Arizona,” Cooper says. “As a child, I couldn’t wait to get out of there to the lights and fast pace. Now, I love the space, quiet and beauty. But that goes hand in hand with having my family there.”

Best Wishes for a Happy New Year

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August 31, 2018, ARIZONA JEWISH POST




ARIZONA JEWISH POST, August 31, 2018

Photo courtesy Claire Graham


laire Graham found a unique platform to make a difference in the world. She parlayed her love for animals into successful adoption of at least 600 pets and made her own rescue pooch a television star. Graham, 29, became a news anchor on a metropolitan television station just months after graduating from the University of Arizona with a musical theater degree. Her UA singing teacher Monte Ralstin advised her of an internship opportunity at NBC’s KVOA News 4 Tucson, where she quickly learned from the ground up and fell in love with broadcast journalism. Within weeks, she put together a show reel and sent it to 80 stations. She got a job right away, starting as an anchor in the East Washington state Tri-Cities area. While most journalism graduates start from the bottom, scratching out a story a day and hoping it will air, she started at the top, at the anchor desk. She attributes it to her performance background. “I’m so glad I found this,” she says of her accidental career. “I talk and think a mile a minute. The faster you can write a script and be ready to present information accurately to people, the faster it is the better it is in this business.

Claire Graham holds her dog, Promo, in the KHQ studio in Spokane, Washington.

“The job is very cool,” she says, adding that she has flexibility to develop segments and to be creative on air. Some of her “Mad Minute” news pieces — ­ delivering 10 crazy news stories in 60 seconds — have been replayed on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live and NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. “It’s nice to have that connection to the national level,” she adds. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, she moved with her family to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, before landing in Tucson,

which she considers home. Janece Cohen, cantor at Congregation Or Chadash and director of the Tucson Jewish Youth Choir, was a huge influence in Graham’s involvement in the arts. “I liked singing and performing,” Graham says, which she continues to do. She is on retainer for local sporting teams to sing the opening national anthem, when her schedule permits. After three years in Tri-Cities, she moved to Spokane where she anchors weeknights for the NBC affiliate and de-

livers the local newscast that also airs on the local Fox affiliate. As an advocate for homeless pets, Graham is passionate about working with and promoting rescue groups to find forever homes for dogs and cats. That’s where Promo, the Yorkshire terrier she rescued on her first weekend in the Tri-Cities, comes in. Because of her erratic work schedule she began taking Promo to the station when she didn’t want to leave him at home alone too long. Once she put him up on the news desk, a star was born. He earned his own pet rescue segment, “Promo’s Picks,” and garnered a fan club of his own. Now, anywhere Graham goes in public, fans are likely to recognize Promo even before the news anchor on the other end of his leash. Graham recently adopted an abused, hairless Pomeranian named Static. “He was meant to be a foster dog, but I brought him home fully knowing that he wouldn’t leave,” she says. The two pups are now bonded. Her animal advocacy has attracted news tips on unusual rescues and related animal story opportunities that scoop other channels. In addition, ratings have gone up significantly for the station, says Graham, and on her shows. “It feels good to know that people like what I’m doing. The ability to make a difference, that’s what I really love.”



Explore our website News and views from the Jewish world from Tucson to Israel — Iceland to Tunisia. For advertising opportunities, call 319-1112.

Photo: Roy Nuesca

ome of violinist Rachel Saul’s best memories are of playing classical music at Tucson’s 4th Avenue Street Fair when she was in high school or home visiting from college, with her younger sister, Rebecca, accompanying her on viola. “What a great time that was, just performing together on the street and feeling that the community of Tucson really appreciates classical music and the fact that we were young, performing classical music,” she says. Born and raised in Tucson, Saul now lives in Honolulu, where she is a violinist with the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra. Her father, Lewis Saul, a Juilliard-trained musician and composer, started her on the piano when she was 3 years old. But Saul started playing the violin at age 5, copying her older sister, Sarah, who picked up the violin in her elementary school music class. Sarah didn’t end up pursuing a career in classical music, but works for the music-streaming service Pandora; Rebecca is a professional viola player. Saul, now 30, was a member of Temple Emanu-El and celebrated becoming a bat mitzvah there. “I loved growing up in Temple, singing and learning Hebrew. I feel that singing in Hebrew was something that awakened a part of me that was dying for a deeper musical connection with my spirituality,” she says, adding that there must be “some genetic component to being a Jewish violinist.” In fact, she recently spoke at a screening of a documentary about Itzhak Perlman, who once picked up a violin that had been rescued from the Holocaust and declared, “It plays Jewish!” “There are certain keys,” she says, “like the key of G minor, that feel very Jewish” and often are used in traditional klezmer and Jewish liturgical music. Saul is attuned to hearing Jewish melodies in works by classical composers such as Gustav Mahler, “even though he had to convert from Judaism to Christianity,” and Felix Mendelssohn, who was of Jewish heritage although baptized and raised a Lutheran. In April, Saul returned to Temple Emanu-El to take part in a “Music of the Shoah” concert, invited by a friend from her University High School days, Robert Lopez-Hanshaw, who is now the choir director at the synagogue. (See related story, page B-19.) The concert celebrated “music that was written either by composers who suffered from the Holocaust or just pieces about the Holocaust that are moving,” she says. “It really was a special evening. I’m so happy I got to perform and be part of a meaningful conversation about the Holocaust.” Next month, she will perform with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, playing in their season opening concerts on Sept. 21 and 23. The concerts will include Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with soloist Anne Akiko Meyers — “she played out here in Hawai’i and she’s stunning; I absolutely love her,” says Saul — and Richard Strauss’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” which was featured in the soundtrack of the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.” It will be a chance to visit with her parents, Joannie Rosenberg and Lewis Saul, who still live in Tucson, she says, along with “several close cousins and an aunt.” Saul is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, with a Master of Music degree from Boston University College of Fine Arts. She was

performing in Graz, Austria, in 2010 when she met her husband, Jordan Schifino, who plays timpani (kettledrums) and other percussion instruments. He had a connection with the Hawai’i Symphony, and started playing with them in 2012. On the strength of her resume and a recording, Saul got the chance to substitute with the Hawai’i Symphony, “and I kind of bought a one-way ticket to Hawai’i at that point,” she says. Eventually she was invited to take part in a formal, blind audition, playing behind a screen. “I won that audition, so now I’m officially a tenured member of the Hawai’i Symphony.” Musically, Saul’s true passion is chamber music. “I really love being able to perform in smaller ensembles,” she says, “and feel that level of artistry. You can communicate in a special way between a small group of musicians. “It’s also special in a large orchestra; it’s just a different type of special,” she says, explaining that in an orchestra, the goal is to blend and not stand out from the other violins, while in a chamber group, each musician can allow their own voice to be heard. In the Hawai’i Symphony, there are about 26 violins playing, depending on the repertoire. Saul has played with several chamber ensembles in Hawai’i. She also teaches in public schools in Honolulu, co-founding an afterschool strings program at one elementary school, as well as maintaining a private violin studio and coaching chamber music at Punahou Music School. When not performing, practicing or teaching, she says, “I love to surf, hike and enjoy all that Hawai’i has to offer. I also perform with a chamber orchestra on Maui . . . I love experiencing, appreciating and respecting the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands.”

Jewish Services for the Aging

& Congregation Eshel Avraham

welcome you to join our elders for High Holidays 5779 in the Great Room of Handmaker!


September 1

6:30 PM

Erev Rosh Hashanah First day Rosh Hashanah Second eve Rosh Hashanah Second day Rosh Hashanah

September 9 September 10 September 10 September 11

6:40 PM 9:00 AM 6:30 PM 9:00 AM

Kol Nidre/Erev Yom Kippur Yom Kippur Yizkor

September 18 September 19 September 19

6:00 PM 9:00 AM 4:00 PM


September 24

9:30 AM

Sh’mini Atzeret/Simhat Torah

October 1

9:30 AM

All are welcome! Your support is appreciated. For information about and costs of Holiday meals, visit our website at:

2221 N. Rosemont Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85712 • (520) 881-2323 Made possible with a grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona.

August 31, 2018, ARIZONA JEWISH POST



L’shanah Tovah! With special thoughts of you and a wish that the year ahead will be filled with peace, happiness, and good health. WE FIT YOU IN THE PROPER SHOE For all Runners & Walkers Mon-Fri 10-6 • Sat 10-5 325-5097 | | 3055 N. Campbell


ARIZONA JEWISH POST, August 31, 2018

Photo: Troy Conrad


irectly out of college, Alex Caine had a great public relations job that he wound up hating. “I realized I missed performing,” he says. He took a risk, quit that job and headed to Los Angeles three years ago to make a name for himself in comedy. While most comics start out in their late teens, Caine joined the fray older, with a degree and life experience under his belt. “I had to show the world that I’m not doing this as a hobby or for fun,” he says of his total commitment to his stand-up comedy career. He’s now 26. Caine moved around in Texas as a child with his parents, Heather and Steve Caine, but spent formative years in Tucson among his entire multi-generational Jewish family. He thrived in a children’s theater performance group here but dropped out to focus on academics. He did well at the University of Missouri, earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in social media. He transfers that storytelling talent to the stage in his stand-up act. L.A. is so comedy saturated, Caine says, he often feels more relaxed in smaller markets. He has played in Tucson, Phoenix, San Diego, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay area, Dallas and across Michigan. He has gigs coming up in St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago, San Diego, and Texas. Some material that works in one place, for some reason may not be funny in another — the delivery is off or the audience isn’t receptive. None of his jokes are offensive, yet he finds audiences in the Midwest and the South have different tastes in humor. “California is way more sensitive,” he says, adding that L.A., New York and San Francisco audiences each have their own particular mindset. Caine stays away from pop culture and current events. He jokes mostly about himself in a self-deprecating manner. He riffs a lot about his color-blindness, and jokes about being Jewish in the South, about why Batman should have chosen the hippo as his spirit animal, and life in his day job as a manny. “I can only talk about my experiences,” he says. Those experiences include growing up with a lot of anti-Semitism. “It’s strange to even talk about being Jewish in L.A.; people get uncomfortable. Talking about anti-Semitism bothers people sometimes,” he believes, because they don’t want to acknowledge it. Comics spend hours writing to make those few mo-

ments on stage good. The Catch-22 in the comedy world is that you need an agent to get credit and you can’t get credit without an agent, says Caine. It’s a full-time job contacting clubs for bookings, emailing videos and securing a spot on a stage. It may be a guest spot or a feature spot, and it may not pay at all. “When you’ve played there a number of times — and gain credit — you may get called to come back. “I don’t want to do acting and standup gives me the opportunity to work and perform,” he says, adding that comedy festivals are a favorite. “A bunch of comedians get together somewhere and are all connected by the same things. It’s almost like teamwork. That’s where some of my best memories are in standup.” He recalls the Paul Bunyan Comedy Festival in Oscoda, Michigan. “It’s in a tiny town that’s frozen over most of the year. Then in April, they have this live festival that’s sold out every night. People come from miles around to see live entertainment. It’s easier to get a laugh there.” Caine is at Flapper’s Comedy Club in Burbank, California, every Wednesday night and will spend the fall along the West Coast, including San Diego the week of Sept. 14. He will be in Tucson Nov. 24, at Laff ’s Comedy Café, a venue he says has been “really good” to him. Further appearances are at “Someone once said comedy is the strangest art, the only form of art where the art has to be really good for it to even be art. God bless every comedian — not all of us are good,” Caine says.


Photo courtesy Suki-Rose Simakis


winding road led Suki-Rose Simakis to the place she is meant to be and it is literally a world of horror — cinematic horror, that is. She says she has always been a film person, spending lots of time at The Loft Cinema and Catalina Theatre growing up in Tucson. “It was a huge part of my life,” she says. So huge that she left Catalina Foothills to finish high school at Idyllwild Arts Academy in California to study in a film program. There she produced and co-produced short films with peers. Graduating early, she returned to Tucson and produced her own short film before attending Pacific Northwest College of Art to focus on video. Coming from the desert, she did not take well to the rain, so she headed to Los Angeles. “Getting your footing in L.A. takes two years at least,” says Simakis. At that point, she took a quick pivot back to Tucson and realized she really did belong in L.A. A theater she frequented gave her space to do a repertory exhibition of old movies and craft events around them. Although it was a mixed experience, she says met everyone she

knows in L.A. there. “It allowed me to make connections.” Those connections led to her first feature film experience as an on-set director’s assistant. That led to a couple of years of working in wardrobe departments that, disappointingly, involved a lot of time at shopping malls. Then came an opportunity from actor Elijah Wood’s horror and thriller film production company SpectreVision. As a development executive at SpectreVision, she read scripts and source material to turn into motion picture

content. “This helped me build a great slate of features,” she says. During this time, she co-wrote a text-based mobile app adventure game. Not surprisingly, a chill of horror runs through the JoinDispatch! Game. The game puts the player in a simulated emergency dispatcher’s seat to save lives and risk their own while responding interactively to on-screen scenarios. The scenes are dramatic, serious, mysterious and often gory. “This was exciting for me,” says Simakis. SpectreVision released the game and it did well enough




Saturday, September 1

Friday, September 14 ...............................6:30pm Tuesday, September 18 ............................. 7:30pm

• Dessert Reception ...................................8:30pm • Discussion & Service ............................... 9:00pm


• at Or Chadash

Saturday, September 15 .......................... 10:00am • at Or Chadash

Sunday, September 9 ........................... 7:30pm



Sunday, September 16 ............................. 11:30am

Monday, September 10


• Tot Service ........................................9:00am • Youth Service ................................... 10:30am • Main Service ..................................... 10:30am

• Ft. Lowell Park, Ramada #3, bring a sack lunch

Sunday, September 16 ............................. 2:00pm • Evergreen Cemetery, Or Chadash Section

YOM KIPPUR Wednesday, September 19 • • • • • • • • •

Tot Service ....................................................9:00am Youth Service ...............................................10:30am Main Service .................................................10:30am Afternoon walk led by Rabbi Thomas Louchheim ...1:15pm Mincha Moments ............................................ 1:30pm Mini Concert ..................................................3:45pm Afternoon Service .......................................... 4:00pm Yizkor and Neilah Service .................................5:00pm Break Fast following Neilah

for a second chapter, which she is now writing with her collaborator, Kyle McCullough. Simakis also is independently developing material focusing on women writers “who weren’t getting as much development attention,” she says. This includes feature films, virtual reality, scripted and non-scripted television, with one project currently moving forward with a pilot. “It’s a transition and I bet on myself. We’ll see if it pays off,” she adds. She recently joined the board of the Austin, Texas, Fantastic Fest, the largest genre film festival in the country. The festival specializes in horror, fantasy, scifi, action and just plain fantastic movies from all around the world. “They had a challenging year and I jumped at the opportunity to help them do better.” The daughter of Stuart and Nancy Mellan, Simakis, now 30, feels there are core tenets of Judaism that never leave her. “They are always present in my general consciousness and in how I conduct myself. They were shaped in my upbringing and never shift. As much as my Jewish identity may have evolved personally, I’m still struck by the rich tradition of storytelling in Jewish culture. It all starts with a story and makes the jump to movie and film culture for me.”

SUKKOT MORNING FESTIVAL SERVICE Monday, September 24 .......................... 10:00am • at Or Chadash

SUKKOT CELEBRATION Friday, September 28 • Congregation Potluck dinner ...................... 5:30pm • Followed by Shabbat Service Under the Stars .. 6:30pm

SIMCHAT TORAH & CONSECRATION Sunday, September 30 ............................6:30pm

SH’MINI ATZERET YIZKOR Monday, October 1 ................................ 10:00am

Tot Service: for toddlers through 2nd grade and their parents • Youth Service: for students grade 3 through 8 Admission by reservations only. To reserve a seat or for more information, please contact Or Chadash at 512-8500. College students and military personnel attend as our guests. High Holy Days tickets are included with membership. A photo ID is required for all members and guests.

August 31, 2018, ARIZONA JEWISH POST


HIGH HOLIDAYS Rosh Hashanah Jewish New Year

Sukkot Festival of Booths

Simchat Torah Rejoicing in the Torah

Festive celebration during which individuals contemplate past, present and future actions. Traditional foods include round challah and apples with honey, symbolizing wholeness and sweetness for the new year. Commences the Ten Days of Awe, which culminate on Yom Kippur. 1-2 Tishrei

Commemorates the fulfillment of God’s promise to bring the Israelites to the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering. Many people build a sukkah (booth), a temporary structure with a roof made of branches. Also celebrated with the shaking of the lulav (assemblage of palm, willow and myrtle branches) and etrog (citron, a lemon-like fruit). 15-21 Tishrei

Celebrates the completion of the annual Torah-reading cycle. After finishing the last sentence of the book Devarim (Deuteronomy), the Torah is joyously paraded seven times around the synagogue. The new cycle begins immediately with a reading from Bereshit (Genesis). 23 Tishrei

Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Holiest day of the Jewish year. Through fasting and prayer, Jews reflect upon their relationships with other people and with God, atoning for wrongdoings and failures to take the right action. Ends at sunset with a blast of the shofar (ram’s horn). 10 Tishrei

Shemini Atzeret Eighth Day of Assembly Celebrated the day after Sukkot and thus sometimes considered an extension of that holiday. Marks the first time the teffilat geshem (prayer for rain) is recited during services, a practice that continues until Pesach. 22 Tishrei

L’Shana Tova Tikatevu Marcia, Todd and Bonnie Abelson

We wish everyone in the Jewish community a very happy & healthy New Year Betty and Bernie Orman

May this be a year of peace for all Susan Dubow

May the New Year Be Ever Joyous for You and Your Family Dr. Elka Eisen Leonard Rosenblum Alex Stephen Rosenblum Mia Rose Rosenblum


ARIZONA JEWISH POST, August 31, 2018

May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a happy and healthy year Barbara and Larry Subrin and Family

May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a happy and healthy year Donna and Hans Moser

Sally and Ralph Duchin

L’Shana Tova Tikatevu Bernie and Shirley Läubli

Anton and Janet Zeger

Share your local news this year and know that you will have my ear. Keep me posted at the Post. Sharon Klein, P.S. Columnist

L’Shana Tova Tikatevu Steve and Janet Seltzer

May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a happy and healthy year

May this New Year be filled with health and happiness, and sweet moments for you and your family. Nothing else you will ever own, no worldly thing you will ever acquire will be worth so much as the love of your family. L’Shanah Tovah

Don & Leah Cotton and Family

Ruth and Ron Kolker and Family

May this be a year of peace for all Billie & Boris Kozolchyk

May the New Year Be Ever Joyous for You and Your Family Donna and Bruce Beyer

We wish everyone in the Jewish community a very happy & healthy New Year Susan Claassen & Bella Eibensteiner

L’Shana Tova Tikatevu

Chuck Weiner and Liz Weiner Schulman

May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a happy and healthy year Sherry and Dick Belkin

Kevin, Tsipi, Yoel, Itai & Avin Goeta-Kreisler August 31, 2018, ARIZONA JEWISH POST


L’Shana Tova Tikatevu Sarah and Leonard Schultz

Deanna Evenchik Brav and Garry Brav

We wish everyone in the Jewish community a very Happy & Healthy New Year. May this be a year of peace for all. Sandi & Larry Adler & our family in Tucson, Scottsdale, Boulder, Milwaukee and Israel

L’Shana Tova Tikatevu

May the New Year Be Ever Joyous for You and Your Family The Goldman family Michael and Gloria

May this be a year of peace for all Bob Kovitz

Wishing everyone in the Jewish community a very happy & healthy New Year Gail M. Barnhill

L’Shana Tova Tikatevu Davya and Stan Cohen

May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a happy and healthy year

May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a happy and healthy year

Janet Belkin and Al Tarlov

Diane and Ron Weintraub

ARIZONA JEWISH POST, August 31, 2018

Wishing you a sweet, healthy and peaceful new year. Honey & Murray Manson

Bertí S. Brodsky & David Rosenstein


L’Shana Tovah

Ken and Mary Lou Iserson

L’Shana Tova Tikatevu Nancy and Ron Cohn

Linda and Gerry Tumarkin

May the New Year Be Ever Joyous for You and Your Family

L’Shana Tova Tikatevu

The Ben-Asher, Hirshfeld, & Ozeri Families

Robyn and Ed Schwager family

May this be a year of peace for all Anne and David Lowe

Wishing everyone in the Jewish community a very happy & healthy New Year Melissa Oberman-Hall

May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a happy and healthy year Stuart and Nancy Mellan

May the New Year Be Ever Joyous for You and Your Family Alan Ziblat and Barbara Ziblat Snyder

L’Shana Tova Tikatevu

May this be a year of peace for all Phyllis and Steven Braun

Wishing everyone in the Jewish community a very happy & healthy New Year Debe Campbell and Gil Alvidrez

May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a happy and healthy year Marcelle and Leonard Joffe

Marla, Steven and Aaron Handler August 31, 2018, ARIZONA JEWISH POST


Dear community members, May this year be ďŹ lled with health, peace, happiness and Israel in heart. Your friends at the

T��W��������I�����C����� The Men and Women of

T�����C������ B�������N������� C�������� wish a very happy New Year to the Brandeis members and their friends. L’Shana Tova Um’tuka

“Thou shalt not exact interest from the needy amongst thee.� - (Exodus: 22-24) “And the result of Tzedakah is peace.� - (Isaiah: 32-17)

May we always be blessed with the mitzvah of tzedakah to grant us a peaceful New Year.

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The Board, Staff and Congregation of

Tď?Ľď?­ď?°ď?Źď?ĽEď?­ď?Ąď?Žď?ľ-Eď?Ź wish you a New Year ďŹ lled with good health, happiness, peace and a spirit of community.

T��A������C����� ���J�����S������’ staff, faculty and students wish you and your family a happy, prosperous and sweet New Year, Shana Tova!

On behalf of the Board and Staff at the


we wish you a Healthy and Sweet New Year

Tď?ľď?Łď?łď?Żď?ŽHď?Ľď?˘ď?˛ď?Ľď?ˇAď?Łď?Ąď?¤ď?Ľď?­ď?š As THA enters its 45th year, we wish you and yours a Shanah Tova – a sweet New Year ďŹ lled with happiness and good health. Shana Tova U’metuka!

C�����������A�����I����� May the sound of the shofar usher in a year of peace, happiness and health.

F�������-P���P����� ���J�����W��V������� �����USA sincerely wishes a happy and healthy New Year to all our friends and peace to Israel.

Tď?¨ď?ĽWď?Żď?­ď?Ľď?Žâ€™ď?łLď?Ľď?Ąď?§ď?ľď?Ľ ď?Żď?ŚCď?Żď?Žď?§ď?˛ď?Ľď?§ď?Ąď?´ď?Šď?Żď?Ž Aď?Žď?łď?¨ď?Ľď?ŠIď?łď?˛ď?Ąď?Ľď?Ź wishes the entire community a sweet New Year ďŹ lled with peace, health and happiness. B-12

ARIZONA JEWISH POST, August 31, 2018

Jď?Ľď?ˇď?Šď?łď?¨ď?´ď?ľď?Łď?łď?Żď?Žďš’ď?Żď?˛ď?§ ď?Ąď?Žď?¤ď?´ď?¨ď?Ľ Jď?Ľď?ˇď?Šď?łď?¨Cď?Żď?­ď?­ď?ľď?Žď?Šď?´ď?š Cď?Żď?Žď?Łď?Šď?Ľď?˛ď?§ď?Ľ wish you a healthy, happy and peaceful year ďŹ lled with wonderful connections within Jewish Tucson. From Generation to Generation From Year to Year We help YOU make our Community stronger L’Shana Tova From Our Board and Staff

J�����C�������� F����������� S�������A������

Hď?Ąď?¤ď?Ąď?łď?łď?Ąď?¨Sď?Żď?ľď?´ď?¨ď?Ľď?˛ď?ŽAď?˛ď?Šď?şď?Żď?Žď?Ą wishes our community and all of Israel a New Year bright with hope and ďŹ lled with peace, good health and happiness!

L’Shana Tova Tikatevu New Year greetings from the

W������R�����J������ ������ M��’�C����� T�����E����-E� T��U�����������A������ H�����F��������� wishes the entire community a healthy and joyous New Year. May the coming year bring blessings of peace to the world.

Cď?Żď?Žď?§ď?˛ď?Ľď?§ď?Ąď?´ď?Šď?Żď?ŽCď?¨ď?Ąď?śď?Ľď?˛ď?Šď?­ wishes you a healthy and prosperous New Year ďŹ lled with friendship, warmth, inspiration and spirituality. Rabbi Stephanie Aaron Staff and Congregants

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We wish you a New Year ďŹ lled with happiness, good health and peace.

May 5779 be a year of peace and justice.

L’Shana Tova! Wishing you a year of health, happiness and special memories. Directors and Staff of

HJ SA CM’H


The Clergy, Board Members and Staff of

Your home for “Positive Jewish Experiences” wishes you sweetness and the best of health for 5779.

wish you a New Year of health, happiness and hope. L’Shana Tova Um’tukah!

B’B’ SL﹟ 


TJET CO﹙﹚

wishes you a joyful New Year filled with happiness and peace.

wishes the entire Tucson community and all of Israel a New Year filled with peace, health and happiness.

wishes the entire community health and happiness in the New Year! L’Shana Tova!

TM’C CAI

SH JC

TB’B’ CH

May common sense and civility prevail as we all work toward a year of Harmony and Peace!!

wishes the entire Tucson community and all of Israel a New Year filled with peace, health and happiness!

wishes you L’Shana Tova: A year filled with health, happiness and peace.

The A������ J����� P��� and the

J����� F��������� �� S������� A������ wish everyone

a happy & healthy New Year.

August 31, 2018, ARIZONA JEWISH POST



Photo: John Anthony Sutton


honda Karson ended up in Hollywood because she thought she wanted to work in film. But she always had a calling for the stage, and that’s where she has found her muse. Born and raised in Tucson, Karson, the 27-year-old daughter of Cathy and Mitch Karson, got her first taste for performing in beauty pageants. “My parents were very supportive, until they realized I was only in it for the talent portion,” Karson recalls. So they ended that expensive endeavor. She grew her performance talents under Cantor Janece Cohen of Congregation Or Chadash, who also directs the Tucson Jewish Youth Choir. “I sang in services and in her choirs. She gave me a foundation for performance,” says Karson. When her parents won a silent auction for a walkon part in a Gaslight Theatre performance, “I took to it like a fish to water,” Karson remembers. For several years, she had one of the few children’s parts in the Gaslight’s annual Christmas shows. Karson was active in the drama department at Catalina Foothills High School. She says the department was “ridiculously well-funded and full of talent. It was a big deal for me.” Attending the University of Arizona for a couple of years, she participated in musical theater. “I realized that if I was really serious, I needed to get out of Tucson.” Off to Los Angeles, she completed her bachelor of fine arts degree in performing arts and acting at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy College and Conservatory of Performing Arts. The faculty are all working professionals. This gave her numerous academic performance opportunities for musical theater. Her favorite was “Cabaret,” directed by faculty member and Ovation Award winner Nicholas DeGruccio. “It was great to work with him.”

Another benefit to AMDA is the connection among alumni, which Karson says contributed to her immediately starting to work after graduation in 2013. “Talent is so cheap” in L.A., Karson says, “it’s 100 percent the people you know.” She did several performances at the Cupcake Theater in North Hollywood, including “Avenue Q” and “The Vagina Monologues.” She is a frequent performer in “Little Shop of Horrors” and will reprise the female lead role of Audrey there later this year. Karson starred in the Roanoke Historical Association’s “The Lost Colony,” the first and longest running outdoor drama in America, which earned a Tony Honors award in 2013. She has completed several independent short film projects. She made her directorial and production debut in

2017 with “BASH,” a spooky, avant-garde monologue drama staged around Halloween. “I was so lucky the project was a huge success,” says Karson. She earned the Best Director of a Stage Play-Drama from the North Hollywood Fringe Festival, which encourages small artists to self-produce. “What little success I’ve had, someone is always more successful than you. I just want to make good art,” she says. An Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign underwrote the project. Friends and family helped raise a portion of the money and the rest came through ticket sales. “This is the only industry that has been dying since it began,” she explains about the difficulties in funding and getting people to attend productions. “It’s a struggle getting young people to come into theater. Artists struggle between what they want to produce and what will sell.” Having her mother and grandmother in the audience made Karson proud, “and I know they were proud, too. That made me feel great.” “Lots of people get tunnel vision and focus on success. They become a waiter, get an agent, they are stressed out and too competitive. That’s not the lifestyle for me,” she says, noting that between projects she conserves and aims toward the next production. “I would never enjoy being a starving artist,” she says, describing some who are so dedicated they become homeless and live out of their cars. “Art is important and it drives my life, but you have to make priorities.” Karson thinks about leaving L.A. for a place that is easier and cheaper to live, like Portland. “I think about Tucson a lot, like, all the time,” she says But, her life and friends are in LA. “The sheer amount of talent and turnover in L.A. makes so many replaceable. You literally can throw a stone and find 10 people willing to do my projects. The huge community of artists help each other. Ideally, I want to be producing one show a year, that’s my goal.”



ARIZONA JEWISH POST, August 31, 2018

Photo courtesy Sam Gasch


ctor, writer and singer Sam Gasch acquired his love of acting when he was in a play in first grade at Tucson Hebrew Academy. He also acted in plays in high school and college. Now living in Los Angeles, he is still pursuing acting, although he is more interested in writing for film, television, and web series. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in drama and economics from Colorado College in Colorado Springs in May 2010, Gasch, who is now 30, spent the summer in Tucson researching the film industry in L.A., while trying to get involved in local films. He moved to L.A. that September. “For the television and film industry I feel there are more opportunities in L.A.,” Gasch says. “The area is very compelling and I love living here. I have more passion for Hollywood than Broadway.” He gets back to Tucson every few months to visit his parents, Janis and Danny Gasch, and his grandmother, Chava Gasch, who recently moved to Tucson from Montreal, Canada. Gasch, who prefers comedy over drama, has acted in live theater, including Neil Simon’s “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” and “Snoopy! The Musical,” and written

Sam Gasch enjoys performing in improv shows.

for or acted in several projects, including short films he calls Saturday Night Live-type comedy sketches, pod-

casts and web series. He also is part of a writing group with some friends. While waiting for his acting/writing career to take off, he considers himself fortunate to have gotten a background in economics since he supports himself as an independent bookkeeper. He’s trying to get more writing projects. “In L.A., they say you have to make your own work,” he notes. “Tournament,” a film script Gasch was hired to write, was produced and shown at film festivals, and was shown in Tucson in November 2017. The featurelength film follows a group of nerds who play in a card game tournament, exploring what sort of people play these games and what drives them. The audience response to the film has been very positive, he says. Gasch continues to refine his craft. “It is common for people in this industry to continue their training by taking workshops and classes,” he says. “Actors always need to be sharp, and you always have to keep yourself on the game, and besides, they are also fun.” Attending the taping of television shows has helped him learn more about writing sketches, and he has taken workshops on topics such as commercial technique, improv, and commercial voiceover. Gasch’s current goals include selling a TV comedy pilot he wrote, and seeing the completion of two action/comedy film features he is co-writing with friends.

Photo courtesy Russell Wiener


DEBE CAMPBELL AJP Assistant Editor


usician, performer, producer, engineer, director, band member, recording artist … Russell Wiener wears a lot of hats, on stage and behind the scenes, but he seems to like it that way. With 20 years in the Los Angeles music industry under his belt, he’s got a lot to show for it and just keeps on generating more good vibes and making more tracks. At Tucson’s Alice Vail Junior High, he started a band as a group project for a class assignment on Dante’s “Inferno.” It took them long over the deadline, but they made an album, with each of the nine “circles of hell” as a song. “That started us down the path of music,” says Wiener. He is still in touch with the other two band members who continue doing projects in the music field. There was a piano at his home growing up. Out of six Wiener children, only five were “forced” to take lessons, says Wiener. No one turned into a musician. The sixth child, he had to teach himself to play. At the University of Arizona, he designed his own degree program combining music, recording, technical and media arts. That solidified his interest in the recording industry and after graduation, he headed straight to L.A. Rather than be a stereotypical aspiring musician waiting tables, he interned at recording studios until he met musician and producer David Pack, the co-founder, guitarist and lead vocalist for the ’80s band Ambrosia. As Pack’s personal assistant, Wiener learned more about engineering and soon took over the boards himself. He continues to work with Pack as a producer and tour manager for live events, and as his studio manager. “He taught me a lot about the industry,” he says, and they remain associates. “That’s a rare thing that it’s worked out long-term.” While Wiener has played with many bands, the most notable may be The Title Trackers. “We take classic albums with no title track, and write and record sat-

ire songs answering the question: What might it have sounded like if the artists HAD written a title track?” he explains. With long-time buddies Andy Hill and David Tokaji, the concept started almost as a joke, until they actually wrote and recorded a track and realized they might be on to something. Their debut album three years ago, “Lost Title Tracks” got great reviews. Alan Parsons of Ambrosia and The Alan Parsons Project said, “The concept is brilliant. Hats off to you.” Another fan of The Title Trackers said, “Your love letter to rock n’ roll is truly beautiful.” The band has performed across the country. In December, they will begin work on a new album, targeted for 2020 release. Wiener also is the music director at Beber Jewish Summer Camp in Wisconsin. He started there as a camp counselor when he was in college. Nine years later when a former campmate and friend became camp director, he called Wiener back as an artist-in-residence. That evolved into a full-blown music program that 12 years later is thriving. “I get out there as much as I can in the summer,” he says. “It’s a fantastic experience. Camp keeps me grounded in having fun with Judaism.” Between bands and working with Pack and the summer camp, Wiener has a home studio and guest house where he produces music for clients. Many he calls “north of 40,” who always had the desire to record buzzing around in their minds. “It’s a fun thing to help people realize their vision and see it come to fruition,” Wiener says. He has several client album launches coming up. Wiener had a busy summer on the road producing six shows for Pack with other headliners, half a dozen gigs for The Title Trackers and working with four to six clients at any given time. He gets back to Tucson a few times a year to see his mother, Betty, and his sister, Wendy. At age 42, he’s clearing time on his calendar to prepare for his November wedding to Mika, a classically trained cellist and photographer.

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ichael Martinez describes his young self as a “strange kid. I had trouble finding my place in this world.” That suddenly changed at Saguaro High School when he walked into drama class. When he found the stage, he finally felt at home, “a home where I could be myself and celebrate my differences, celebrate theater and create music.” When he graduated from the University of Arizona with a music degree in 2001, he walked right into Tucson’s Live Theatre Workshop and landed a job playing piano, finding his stage home for good. He became more involved in the theater as a musician and while teaching at Tucson’s Fine Arts Youth Academy, the Opening Minds Through the Arts project, and directing contemporary music at First United Methodist Church. Completing his master’s degree in public administration for nonprofits in 2011 brought two worlds together perfectly. “It’s the perfect storm — the business piece and the artistic piece. It creates a wonderful business model,” says Martinez. And, it readied him to step right into the role as Live Theatre Workshop’s executive director. Martinez says that at the core, he tries to replicate what he experienced in high school: “To create a place for kids and adults to grow, be creative, be safe and to get into someone else’s shoes, and think outside their own world and experiences.” The nonprofit theater produces inclusive, accessible and affordable professional theater and education that aim to entertain, instruct and enlighten children, adults and families. The theater’s program series intentionally is designed to build a theater culture throughout Tucson and build a new generation of theater lovers. “Tucson is an excellent theater town,” says Martinez, “and older patrons are wonderful. But, the effort is to make theater a communitywide event so we’ll make sure it stays this way.” To that end, the theater’s year-round education program is a central focus. Professional weekly stage productions, weekly classes plus summer and winter drama day camps led by professionals introduce theater to about 600 participants annually. The theater’s foundation and donors also make possible workshops, artist in residence programs and free programs and performances at about 15 underfunded Tucson schools. “Kids are introduced to and learn to love theater through these programs, and many continue on to take classes and even advance to become performers in the shows themselves,” he adds. It’s growing the next generation of theater lovers. He describes the collaborative and family environment the theater has fostered. “High school drama teachers teach the summer programs with school kids.


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High school seniors exit the classes, head into UA, come back for internships or return when they graduate. They are already part of the family,” he says. Martinez sees value and growth in the children exposed to theater, beyond self-confidence. “That feeling good about yourself is an antidote to many social problems,” he adds. Martinez has grown the nonprofit with strategic intent. “The organization is solvent and growing. But, it is outgrowing the existing space, especially for education,” he says. Patrons love the small, intimate theater space. “We need auxiliary space for education but want to maintain the vibe. We are planning, studying, communicating with donors, patrons and parents to understand and maintain the success of the place,” he notes. For now, Martinez has shifted some of his focus to both the past and the future. When his parents, Linda Garland and Alex Martinez, married, his Catholic father converted to Judaism. “That made me a little different growing up,” he recalls. He discovered old tintype photos of his paternal great-grandparents in Mexico, which looked like some were wearing yarmulkes. He thought that couldn’t be, until an aunt delved into family genealogy. “She found we are 45 percent from the Iberian Peninsula with a high percentage of European Jews on the Catholic side,” he says, chuckling. As he enters his 40s, he has been exploring that heritage, finding birth certificates and tracing maiden names. “It’s mysterious, addictive and delightful,” he says. In addition, it fuels his desire to return to Segovia, Spain, where he previously studied, with a new strategic intent.





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ideo, photography, early childhood education and yoga all figure into the art of Grant Henry. Currently a resident of Brooklyn, New York, Henry, 35, grew up in Tucson. He gained a love of working with children through 10 years of teaching preschool at Temple Emanu-El, and his primary career goals still revolve around childhood education. “I got into teaching when I was an undergraduate at the University of Arizona. I was 19 and my mother asked me to be an assistant at the preschool where she was teaching, and I loved it,” Henry says. His mother, Lyn Henry, has been the early childhood education director at Temple Emanu-El since 2003. Henry developed an interest in video while in high school, where he spent a lot of time in the computer lab, working with Photoshop. “Video is my main passion, but I have dabbled in photography here and there,” he says. His experience as a preschool teacher, he explains, has allowed him to develop ways to keep kids engaged and comfortable in front of a camera. At the UA, Henry majored in media arts and communications. He went on to obtain a master’s degree in film and digital technology from Chatham University in Pittsburgh. He moved to New York three years ago, seeking more opportunities for his work. In 2017, he earned a master’s degree in digital media design for learning from New York University, and completed a 200-hour training certification course to teach yoga. “I had extra motivation to learn yoga,” Henry says.

Grant Henry, right, performs a yoga pose with his girlfriend, Erica Chen.

“When I was 23 I was diagnosed with chronic ulcerative colitis, and for about two years was in and out of the hospital.” He says that he improved his health through changing his diet and routines, but gives some credit for his improvement to a cousin who travels the world teaching yoga. She encouraged him to learn yoga and get certified to teach. “I wouldn’t have been able to survive the stress of living in New York City without yoga,” Henry says. “And now I really want to teach yoga to children.” While training to teach yoga, Henry learned his

teacher needed photos from the yoga studio, so he started a side career in photography. He describes his specialties as kids, yoga, and fitness, and his main clients for video and photography are yoga teachers and fitness apparel companies. He also would like to do bar mitzvahs and other types of life events. Henry’s newest project is “Yogi Tales,” a program aimed at teaching 4- to 5-year-olds yoga through storytelling and music. He developed this program with a friend, Evan Nachimson, a musician. “The children learn yoga poses while acting out a story and listening to music, so the program provides entertainment as well as education,” says Henry. “Yoga can help children with motor skills, breathing techniques, building self-esteem and confidence, and help children deal with the stresses that may come up in their lives. “We’re excited about this program,” says Henry. “It emphasizes fun, and we are trying to be role models, especially for young boys, as an example of men who do yoga. I wish I had started when I was younger.” Henry says he misses Arizona, and tries to get back to visit Tucson at least twice a year. He misses his family — his parents, Lyn and Ralph, and his brother, Steve, sister-in-law, Mindy, and their two kids, Ellie and Nate. Grant also misses his dog, Daisy, a 7-pound Yorkshire terrier he couldn’t take with him when he moved. But he does enjoy living in New York. He has joined a temple and has a girlfriend, Erica Chen, who is a yoga teacher. Future goals include learning to play a musical instrument and creating his own television show for children.

August 31, 2018, ARIZONA JEWISH POST




py ana p h Ha as H sh o R


ARIZONA JEWISH POST, August 31, 2018

Photo courtesy Danielle Faitelson


wo things that ground Danielle Faitelson are her love for theater and her connection to her Jewish heritage. “It’s part of some bigger purpose,” she says of her Jewish roots. “It feels like a responsibility for generations past, not just two generations ago. I’d be ungrateful to drop Judaism, not pass it on or find the joy in it.” Maximizing that joy is why she is heading to Israel next month. “I haven’t been in 10 years, and always wanted to go for the High Holidays,” she says. She also plans to connect with family there she has yet to meet. Approaching age 30, Faitelson, the daughter of Karen and Lionel Faitelson, spent nearly a decade in New York, on the Broadway stage and the small screen. Graduating from Catalina Foothills High School, where she was active in the drama department, she completed her bachelor degree in theater arts at the University of Southern California. Singing and dancing on Broadway and later touring with a children’s musical theater, she also appeared in television series roles — in “Pzazz 101,” “Tales of Toverud,” and “ThirtyNothings,” among others. Drawn mostly to theater, she completed classic training at Columbia University, earning a master’s of fine arts in acting. Thereafter, she acted in new Off Broadway plays, working with the scripts’ first directors, casts and playwrights. She calls it a collaborative experience in which she had a chance to influence the outcome of creating a role and have a place in the storytelling. For seven years, she’s taught with the Classic Stage Company, where young

actors serve as teaching artists, bringing Shakespeare to life and making it accessible to 90 New York City schools. In multiple workshops, the program explores language, sonnet structure, stage direction, scene and character development for high school students. In the end, the students see a live professional performance. “This is the coolest experience,” she says. “Many kids have never seen theater before, especially Shakespeare.” Between January and April this year alone, she conducted 40 workshops. She also works with a top New York casting director. Faitelson has branched out into corporate workshops, most recently for Expedia. As a performer, she customizes the workshops with acting games and exercises. “There’s a big shift in corporate culture toward caring for employee well-being, making it fun to go to work. It’s really fun and true to what I like to do,” she says. “It’s still storytelling.”


Photo courtesy Temple Emanu-El


obert Lopez-Hanshaw’s passion is writing music. He has been involved with music in one way or another since childhood. Along with being a composer and conductor, he is the choir director for Temple Emanu-El, and a sound designer for Winding Road Theater Company. He has had choral and instrumental works performed by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, University of Arizona Symphonic Choir, Tucson Girls Chorus, AwenRising concert choir and various religious organizations around Tucson. “It is amazing to bring into the world something that has not been heard before,” says Lopez-Hanshaw. “It also brings me much joy to work with the musicians who bring my work to life.” A native Tucsonan, Lopez-Hanshaw, now 30, sang in choirs as a child. When he was 11 years old he liked the music of Britney Spears and NSYNC, but at age 13 he discovered the “Planet Suite” by Gustav Holst. “I was just thrilled by this music,” he says. “It was immersive and played on my emotions, especially the Jupiter movement. I got to know the music so well that I could ‘hear’ the music in my head while lying in bed.” His guitar teacher was his sixth-grade math teacher, Steve Schulman, who died in 2013. Schulman, a well-known guitarist, loved to teach music, he says, was member of the Avanim Rock Band and worked with Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon to develop the Shabbat Rocks service at Temple Emanu-El. Lopez-Hanshaw started writing music in high school. Initially inspired by a friend’s music theory textbook, he de-

Robert Lopez-Hanshaw, left, conducts members of the Temple Emanu-El Teen Choir.

cided to take the class. During his senior year he had the opportunity to participate in the Tucson Symphony’s Young Composers Project. In weekly classes, he learned technical aspects of music, including instruments and writing music. “A piece I had written was performed by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and I considered it a great honor,” says LopezHanshaw. “I was very lucky that my parents put me into the Young Composers Project.” The high school years brought LopezHanshaw another link to music — he became friends with Sam Golden, also a musician. After graduating from high school the two friends joined a band, which went through a series of incar-

nations with five different names and musical focuses. For eight years, LopezHanshaw played and toured with four of the bands: Grandpa Moses, folk; The Killed Men, experimental folk rock; Boreas, art rock; and Sun Bones, soul influenced indie rock. He wrote rock music for the bands, but these days he writes mostly modern classical, and wants his music to be “worthwhile, accessible, and intriguing.” Some of the music he writes is inspired by Dan Asia, composer and professor of music at the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music, who was LopezHanshaw’s composition teacher at the university. For five years after college, he taught

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pre-K through 12th grade at Satori School and Kino Learning Center. “It was an incredible learning experience,” he says. “I developed a profound appreciation for using music in ways appropriate for each grade level.” Lopez-Hanshaw and his wife, Elise, have two children, a daughter, Avey, 9, and a son, Ari, 6, who both like to sing. Avey is in the Tucson Girls Chorus and in the Temple Emanu-El youth choir, where she is always amused at her father’s “teacher voice.” Ari will be joining the Tucson Boys Chorus. Like many artists, Lopez-Hanshaw has another job to help pay bills. As a metalworker, he has done steel fabrication, but now works at a bronze foundry where he casts sculptures. Although the work is very labor intensive, he likes the opportunity to bring the art of sculptors to life. One of his favorite music-related experiences is as a member of a local group called Camerata Sonora, a recreational ensemble of professional musicians. He says they came together on a whim and gave a concert at the Tucson Jewish Community Center in April 2017. “We do music for the fun of it, and the group has connected so well,” says Lopez-Hanshaw. “I treasure working with them.” The group will be performing “Around the Black Sea,” music from the Balkans, Caucasus and Turkey at the Tucson J on Nov. 18. A Hanukkah Cantata is one of Lopez-Hanshaw’s current projects. He is writing a new cantata based on Hebrew texts, which will bring together cantors and cantorial soloists from Reform and Conservative synagogues in Tucson. The concert will be Dec. 8, the seventh night of Hanukkah, at the J. See more at

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Arizona Jewish Post 8.31.18  

Rosh Hashanah edition