Arizona Jewish Life May/June 2022

Page 1


Students learn about the Holocaust from a





JOSEPH SPECTER Singing the praises of Arizona Opera



The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills VOTED THE


Top 100 Entertainers of 2021! ENTERTAINER FOR


‘Bling Empire’ AS SEEN ON

Sweety High



We provide guidance for the questions and challenges you face with uplifting readings and impeccable predictions. 877.605.6389 INTERACTIVE & ENTERTAINING INTERPRETATIONS • CUSTOMIZED KISSING BOOTH

CO N TE N TS Arizona Jewish Life May/June 2022






COVER STORY Singing Joseph Specter’s praises at Arizona Opera


UP FRONT Tucson’s Bubbe’s Fine Bagels rises to the occasion. Jennifer Stein-Shattering the glass ceiling Advocating for students with learning differences

10 12 14

THE ARTS Students learn about the Holocaust through a ‘Hidden Pearl’


FOOD Summer Salads






SPECIAL SECTION • SAY IT OUT LOUD - SENIOR AND PROUD Going all out for Dementia Care Every picture tells a story Bionic Rabbi A mitzvah for YOU and Israel Israel 8 Surprising things that can raise your blood pressure Developing healthy habits is key to sound mental health Senior Gift Guide

22 24 26 28 32 35 36

Students learn about the Holocaust from a


SOCIAL ACTIVISM ADL’s moral courage essay contest winners







JOSEPH SPECTER Singing the praises of Arizona Opera

80 Israel-founded unicorns dot the United States



JLIVING Birthright global young professionals event





MAY/JUNE 2022 PU B LI S H E R /E D ITO R Cindy Salt zman

H O N O R A RY E D ITO R Leni Reiss

ART DIREC TOR Tamara Kopper

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ellen Brauns tein Shannon Levit t Allison Mint z


602-538-AZJL (2955) E DITORIA L editor@az je wis h life .com ADV ERT IS ING S A LES 602-5 3 8 - 2 9 5 5 a dv ert is e @az je wis h life .com BUSINES S publ is h e r@az je wis h life .com E VE NT S editor@az je wis h life .com

Rock y Patel M.D. PU B L I C AT I O N A N D D E A D L I N E S

Arizona Jewish Life magazine in available online at Send business information or event photographs to CALENDAR: Please post events on our online calendar. To request first-time authorization to post events online, go to and scroll down to the “calendar access request” link under “Quick Links” on the right. After you submit the form, you’ll receive an email with instructions for posting future event.

A Prince Hal Produc tion ( TGMR18)

2022-2023 MediaPort LLC All rights reserved The content and opinions in Arizona Jewish Life do not necessarily reflec t those of the publishers, staf f or contrac tors. Ar ticles and columns are for informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Although ever y ef for t is made to ensure the accuracy of our published materials, Arizona Jewish Life, and its agents, publishers, employees and contrac tors will not be held responsible for the misuse of any information contained herein. The publishers reser ve the right to refuse any adver tisement. Publication of adver tisements does not constitute endorsement of produc ts or ser vices.



What you needYou know I got it!

2022-2023 Resource Directory Guide

COMING SOON or 602.538.2955


MAKING A SPLASH Summer is almost here and like most people, we are definitely ready for it. Although summer often elicits thoughts of lazy CINDY SALTZMAN Publisher

afternoons and a slower pace, our summer will be anything but slow. In addition to our usual workload, we are working on a brand new publication that we are quite excited about. So though it won't be a slow summer for Arizona Jewish Life, it should be a fun and productive one. We will be announcing the launch of the new publication in The Weekly, and on all of our social media. If you haven't signed up for The Weekly yet, please do so here: Also keep your eye out for our Annual Resource Guide, the most comprehensive Jewish community resource in Arizona. It will be coming out in the early fall. Enjoy your summer.

The Weekly:, click on “Subscribe Now!” Facebook: @AZJewishLife Twitter: @JewishLifeNow Instagram: @JewishLifeNow Call: 602-538-AZJL (2955)


Email us:

Take the Corporate Credit for

Jewish Education


The Jewish Tuition Organization (JTO) is a private school tuition organization (STO).


Kyle Leuer Becca Groff

Tucson's Bubbe’s Fine Bagels rises to the occassion By Allison Mintz


even months ago, University of Arizona Graduates Kyle Leuer and Becca Groff opened Bubbee’s Fine Bagels. Since opening their first location, they have been met with ringing endorsements from the Tucson Jewish community and continued support from their friends and family. This support has propelled them and has given them the confidence to open their second location in the Joesler Center. The new location will open in just a few days, on March 6, 2022. Kyle and Becca met in October of 2021 through a dating app. From their initial date, they knew they were meant to be. They shared a love of food and both were excited about



their futures. Although they were just a few weeks into their relationship, they were sitting around talking about their love of food and bagels…. the rest is history. Kyle said, “I have worked in restaurants since I was 16. I always dreamed about owning a restaurant. Becca came along and I had never met someone as food obsessive as me. I’m always thinking about my next meal, I love food. Becca pushed forward about opening a bakery bagel shop. Sure enough, it happened!!! It’s really a result of meeting Becca that we are here.” Kyle and Becca shared that bagels were a big part of their childhood. Kyle grew up in Chicago, and realized that there were not many locally owned bagel shops in Tucson, even though there were a lot of east coast transplants and a strong Jewish community. For Becca, her parents always had bagels in the house. “We would break fast of Yom Kippur with bagels, cream cheese and lox platters. Bagels have always been a huge part of my life. It feels so normal to me to eat bagels all the time. I still eat bagels everyday.” Becca shared that the Jewish community has really embraced Bubbee’s Fine Bagels and have rallied around her and Kyle. “I was involved in the Jewish community in Tucson with my parents, part of BBYO, and I worked with a Jewish caterer through the JCC. The support of the Jewish community in Tucson has been huge. They knew my parents and they were in the shop, sharing Facebook posts, and they were very supportive and wanted us to succeed. As Kyle and Becca discussed opening a bagel bakery, they decided to ask Kyle’s employers at the time, Tracy and Marc Frankel, owners of Pizza Luna for advice. “We approached Marc and Tracy about our idea, and they were crazy enough to go along with us” said Kyle. Tracy and Marc were supportive and offered to help Kyle and Becca realize their dream of opening a bagel bakery. “We founded a product that people needed in Tucson. We really fit into the niche. Our product really stands for itself. We have a really good bagel! We are obsessive and are our harshest critic” said Kyle. Becca shared that there were some initial challenges. As they were still living in student housing, they were learning how to make the bagels and really had to learn to hone their craft. Becca said, “We want to make bagels that we want to eat and that we are happy with. It feels good to have a product that we can be proud of.” Becca and Kyle started their bakery during covid. Like other restaurants, they struggled with staffing, difficult customer interactions, supply chain problems, and even construction challenges. Many of the decisions they made early on were based on covid. According to Kyle, “the decisions we made, actually really saved us and made us stronger. It taught us a lot of lessons and we are stronger for it.” Both Becca and Kyle felt that an authentic bagel bakery would set them apart from other bagel shops in the area. “We have all the attribute of a great bagel. We boil and bake our bagels. We use a sourdough based dough. The texture is

great, they blister well, they are crackly and crunchy. These are the bagels that took us back to our childhood” said Kyle. “Our customers tell us everyday how much they love the bagels, interacting with us, and just being in our shop. What moves me the most, is when older people come in and they have almost a nostalgic reaction like they have been transported back to the east coast when they were kids when they went to bagel shops. It’s really sweet to have this type of impact on someone. We have felt a lot of love in Tucson.” The name Bubbee’s seemed to fit what Kyle and Becca were envisioning...They have design features that transport you to Bubbee’s home. There is a lot of love. “We went shopping at vintage stores around Tucson and we have a bookshelf with knick-knacks and a picture of Barbra Streisand. People take pictures all the time. It has become part of the shops identity.” A classic bagel with cream cheese. The new bakery is Bubbe's warm and cozy interior. going to have a very similar look, with knick-knacks and the nostalgic feel that everyone has grown to love. Becca shared that opening a second location so quickly was a surprise to them. “The location was there and we just jumped on it. It has worked out well, maybe too well. We feel very fortunate to share our passion and love with this community” said Becca. Bubbe’s Fine Bagels is located at 1101 N. Wilmot Rd. and the second location will soon be open at the Joesler Center at 1865 E. River Rd. For more information contact owners Kyle Leuer and Becca Groff. Visit or follow Bubbe’s Fine Bagels on Instagram ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2022 11

Jen Stein

Shattering the glass ceiling and inspiring others along the way By Allison Mintz


hey se.




ennifer Stein was recently named the new Economic Development Director for the City of Peoria. Over the past eight years, Stein has made a name for herself as a leader and deal-maker. She has been instrumental in securing businesses and restaurants into Peoria, and this is just the beginning of what she hopes to accomplish. Stein has lofty goals in expanding and improving the economic market in Peoria. She is currently working on attracting high quality jobs, supporting small businesses, and working on redeveloping Old Town Peoria. Through her leadership and vision, Stein hopes to build on the current economic infrastructure while developing and expanding the opportunities in Peoria. Stein has a passion for what she does and is so inspiring, “I was taught by my parents to do what you love, and to always love what you do. I absolutely love what I am doing.” Stein graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Relations from Northern Arizona University (NAU). While at NAU, Stein was a student ambassador and led prospective students and families on tours of the campus. “It was working as a student ambassador, this is where I really developed my love for public relations. I was genuinely sharing my thoughts about Flagstaff and the campus, I was authentic and the feedback I got back from families that their student wanted to attend because of the creative way I shared the information was so inspiring”

Stein said, “this experience helped to guide my path.” Stein has focused her professional opportunities over the past 20 years in both government and private sectors. She has always shown her determination and her persistence in her professional career. As Stein shared, “I am always genuine and authentic, and I can only represent companies, cities, and products that I truly believe in. I have to fundamentally see the value, understand it, believe it before I can promote it and be a part of it.” Stein was instrumental in managing the marketing and media for the 2008 Super Bowl, as well as handling the marketing for the Fiesta Bowl and BCS Championship games. Stein shared that she has always felt that every career leads you to a new pathway. As she said, “I am all about the vision. You see it, you create the vision, you make it happen. I am a true optimist.” Stein is a trailblazer and understands the challenges facing the state and she is looking to make an impact. Her passion and love for the City of Peoria was so inspiring and motivating. She has a strong desire to elevate and lead people to the next level. As she said, “the City of Peoria is a well run city and they care passionately about their their citizens.” She is dedicated to continue building the tourism in the area and bring high quality jobs to the area. As Stein said, “the City of Peoria is evolving and continuing to grow. We have the opportunity to do so many wonderful and exciting things.” Stein and her husband Aaron have been married since 2003. They have two amazing children who are 13 and 16. Her love for her children is so apparent. As she said, “I am doing this for my children. I want them to see that when you are passionate and work hard that you can accomplish anything. Being Jewish has always been

an important part in Stein’s life. She was active with Beth Israel Synagogue growing up where she participated in youth groups, B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO), and B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG). As Stein said, “Being Jewish has always been important to me. I met my husband through BBG and have always been entrenched in the culture and was always around the Jewish traditions. Both of her children have been B’nei mitzvah. Stein said, “I volunteered on the education team planning events, I was part of mitzvah maker where we volunteered packing boxes for the food bank. I think it is important to give back and be connected. As my grandfather would always say, the foundations of our soul is our religion. I always promised that I would not lose site of where I came from and my culture.” Stein shared that finding the work/life balance is difficult, but can be managed. “I can always do better, but you have to make the time for your family and yourself. You figure it out and set the time and even schedule the time on the calendar. You have to make sure that you’re working hard to balance those things that are important.” One point Stein made that really stood out was a golf analogy her son told her. “out of balance, out of control. In balance, in control. Balance is there, you always have to make that effort to make it happen.” Stein has shown that through hard work and determination that you can accomplish anything. Her story is an inspiration for all, especially for young women. “I’m doing this for my daughter. I would dedicate this story to my daughter. Girls need to see this, they need to know that if their mom’s can do it, they can do it. There is still that notion that women face where they question, can I be a mom and work? Yes, they can do it, they can have productive lives and balance it all.”

Jen Stein with her family.

“Being Jewish has always been important to me. I met my husband through BBG and have always been entrenched in the culture and was always around the Jewish traditions." ~ Jennifer Stein Jen Stein with Peoria Mayor Cathy Carloat and Senator Mark Kelly


Advocating for students with learning differences


By Allison Mintz

ancy Heller has “being Jewish has always been an advocate been important in my life. for students I have always belonged to with learning a synagogue, my children differences (LD) for have always been provided over 10 years. As Chair with Jewish education, and of NorthBridge College all of my children have had Success Program’s board, a b’nai mitzvah.” Nancy has had the Seeing the successes her opportunity to see first children have accomplished hand the benefits that and the challenges they tutoring and coaching have overcome has been support can provide to inspiring. Nancy has been students in post-secondary the rock for her family and education. will do anything possible Nancy grew up in to ensure they have the Wisconsin and attended resources they need and the the University of Wisconsin support. NANCY HELLER in Madison. She received “When Reed, my her degree in Speech youngest son, was in second Communication and grade we realized he had Education. Even in the earlier years of her life, Nancy was a learning difference. We tried some different schools interested in supporting students and ensuring that they and finally found NewWay Academy” said Nancy. Nancy would have the opportunity to learn firsthand. had the ability to be hands on and provide an active role Nancy relocated with her husband to Milwaukee after with the school. She was able to be a substitute teacher he completed law school. After six years in Milwaukee, for five years while Reed was in school and was able they moved to Arizona to lay down roots and raise their to meet other parents who were struggling with the family. Nancy spent time as a substitute teacher and educational challenges that their children faced. Nancy’s volunteered with the school where her children attended. son was able to transfer to Horizon High School and She was an active parent and volunteered in any role graduate. Reed was accepted into the Strategic Alternative where she could help in the school community. She was Learning Technique (SALT) Program at the University the homeroom parent, art masterpiece presenter, parent of Arizona once he graduated. This program provided association president, and she became involved with the tutoring and coaching support for students with learning Scottsdale Arts Council for Schools. differences. The SALT program was pivotal in helping Nancy has been married to her husband William for 47 Reed successfully complete his education. At the time, years. They have five children and 7 grandchildren. Family SALT was the only program available for post-secondary is a crucial part of Nancy’s life and one of her favorite students in Arizona. “Services for k-12 are available for things to do is to spend time with her children and families, but after high school you have a group that’s grandchildren. underserved, and that is basically forgotten. LD students Nancy has always been an advocate for volunteering and lack confidence, so post-secondary is not a part of their giving back to others. This was a lesson she instilled in goals” said Nancy. her children as they were growing up. All of her children While Reed was in school in Tucson, thriving with have been active in NFTY, The Reform Jewish Youth the SALT program, the leadership team at NewWay Movement and Mitzvah Corps. As a family they look for Academy developed a bridge program to support students ways to give back to their community together. Nancy said, transitioning to college so that they would be successful 14


students, are everyone’s called Bridgeway. This kids.” program focused on Nancy was excited students with ADHD, to share the news of a Autism, Dyslexia, ADD, scholarship program that Asperger’s, and Anxiety. was just announced at Nancy was approached UP FRONT NorthBridge. Named for and asked to join the board Floyd Bienstock the former since they knew she had a NorthBridge Chair, The background in education Floyd Bienstock Scholarship and that her son was Program will help four attending a similar program. students this year realize Two years after joining the their goals and pursue board, the Chair stepped post-secondary support. down and Nancy became As Nancy explained, “this Chairwoman. “When you program is so important have a child with LD you because you want to support get more involved. My son these students so they will had a lot of support, and thrive and be successful I want other families to members of the community. have that same support. It If you give up on them, makes all the difference in they won’t ever become the world when you see a independent and won’t be student who has struggled given the confidence to succeed.” The name of complete things on their the program was changed own. By completing their to NorthBridge College educational goals and life Success Program. goals, not only do they have Nancy knew first something that brings them an income, but these students hand that a targeted program helping students with will develop the confidence to succeed.” LD succeed in post-secondary education would work. “This organization is making a difference for Arizona She saw the success her son had, and now she had the students and has supported nearly 70 students in earning ability to focus the NorthBridge Program to provide the their post-secondary degree or certificate” according to same opportunities for students in Maricopa County. Nancy. Nancy and the NorthBridge team is working The NorthBridge program is a 501(c)3, which provides hard to continue growing this organization to ensure that a combination of tutoring, which the student needs students with LD have the resources to succeed. As Nancy academically, and executive functioning skills (EF). EF shared, “there is always a need for additional support from skills helps the student learn strategies to prioritize tasks, the community. There are volunteer opportunities for develop better organizational skills, enhance their time professionals to mentor students. Taking a student out to management, and to learn to self advocate. Having the lunch, internship support, or a summer program where our ability to advocate for themselves and to feel they are students can shadow a professional, would be such a valuable worthwhile are skills students do not learn in school. These opportunity to our students success.” NorthBridge is also skills are important for the student to be successful in their growing its program and is looking for board members education, career, and with life daily life. Nancy explained who have interest and expertise in marketing, legal, and that “these students don’t let their differences become web design. This program provides such a vital service to what identifies them. By developing these skills, we help students with LD and their families. With Nancy’s guidance, the student gain the confidence and skills they need to dedication, and love, this program will continue to provide successfully meet their goals.” th the necessary resources for all students with LD. NorthBridge just celebrated its 10 anniversary. As Nancy said, “the most satisfying part of working with To reach Nancy or a member of the NorthBridge team, send NorthBridge, on its board, and serving as president, is a message to or call meeting and getting to know the students. We wanted (401) 321-4059. to make NorthBridge a family as well. Our NorthBridge ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2022 15

“By age 15 or 16, I knew so few people that connected to opera. I thought how special it is to know about this treasure that’s generally shielded away from society.” ~Joseph Specter





Joseph Specter's praises at Arizona Opera by Ellen Braunstein

Joseph Specter sang in a garage rock band as a teen, but he got as much of a rush “listening to and experiencing opera,” he says. The president and general director of Arizona Opera worked from 1999 to 2007 as a professional baritone, performing in more than 20 opera and musical theater roles with companies across the country.

One of his earliest gigs was his bar mitzvah and his love of opera was nascent then. “By age 15 or 16, I knew so few people that connected to opera. I thought how special it is to know about this treasure that’s generally shielded away f rom society. To be part of sharing that with people and shining a light on that, that energy and seed were planted in me and still lives today.”



“The project of ‘Carmen,’ the graphic novel, fits squarely within what Arizona Opera is – an organization that is really committed to figuring out how opera can serve at all times, whatever the circumstances of the day might be.” ~Joseph Specter

Spector earned an artist diploma from Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts. He is an honors graduate of the double-degree program between Tufts University and the New England Conservatory of Music – in political science and voice, respectively. He served as general director of Austin Opera from April 2012 until May 2016, leading that organization through a significant budget growth, revitalizing subscriptions and contributions all while presenting vibrant and artistically successful operatic productions. Prior to joining Austin Opera, Specter served as director of institutional relations at the Metropolitan Opera, where he worked on corporate sponsorships and public and foundation grants. Arizona Opera entered its fiftieth season in fall of 2021, producing fully staged operas, concerts, and collaborative programs throughout the state of Arizona. It just wrapped up spring productions for 2022 in Phoenix and Tucson with “Così fan tutte” Illustrations for graphic novel, Carmen and tenor, director and writer Alek Shrader. 18


by Mozart. The live stage performances also featured “A Little Night Music” by Stephen Sondheim and “Carmen,” composed by Georges Bizet. Since its inaugural year in 1971, Arizona Opera has produced more than 200 fully-staged operas and concerts. The 2022-2023 season features the new opera, “The Fall and Rising,” “Ariadne auf Naxos,” a Strauss masterpiece, “Tosca,” Puccini’s greatest opera, “The Sound of Music,” a timeless classic, “The Magic Flute,” Mozart’s enduring fairytale, and “Frankenstein,” Arizona Opera’s third world premiere. Since June 2016, Specter, 47, has been responsible for the opera company’s activities on a day-to-day basis. On a budget of $7 million, he collaborates closely with the staff and board of directors to form the strategy for how the opera company “can serve the community through the art form and through the resources of the organization.” Arizona Opera, like most cultural organizations, had to pivot creatively during the pandemic, Specter said. “The avenues that are usually open to us, that are the most often tried and true, have not always been available.” One example of that pivot is the company’s support of a graphic novel based on Bizet’s “Carmen” which was funded by a Kickstarter campaign. Arizona Opera is presenting the story of “Carmen,” adapted as a 90-page hard cover graphic novel by tenor, director and writer Alek Shrader and illustrated by P. Craig Russell,the artist Aneke and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. “Carmen,” which premiered about 150 years ago, is the story of an intelligent, daring young woman who wants to live her life in her own way, but her autonomy is challenged. The idea for a graphic novel emerged from a business competition that Arizona Opera launched in 2019. Shrader was selected as winner for “a brilliant idea for a graphic novel based on opera stories. That choice was made after the pandemic was already underway,” Specter said. “This competition was started under the notion that opera companies in the United States should be seeking ways to be more sustainable, to help guarantee our ability to better fulfill our missions beyond just conventional ticket sales and contributions, which of course, are the bread and butter of most performing arts organizations. “That was really exciting about Alek’s idea – to create a product for which there is a sizeable market, but one that is also connected to the art form of opera,” Specter said. “The project of ‘Carmen,’ the graphic novel, fits squarely within what Arizona Opera is – an organization that is really committed to figuring out how opera can serve at all times, whatever the circumstances of the day might be.” Arizona Opera has worked to scale up its service, both PHOTOGRAPHY BY CASSIE ROBEL

during and after the pandemic, with podcasts, videos and film offerings. What was supposed to be a theater production became the company’s first feature-length film. “Copper Queen” was made by Arizona Opera’s first-ever all-female director, conductor and designer team. “Copper Queen” is based on the eponymous haunted hotel in Bisbee, Arizona. It is an official selection of the Phoenix Film Festival that screened in April. Arizona Opera streamed concerts, arias and recitals during the pandemic. “We’ve really got our oars in the water of the reinvention during the pandemic period not just because we wanted to be viable as a business, but because we were so committed to serving our communities. During the pandemic, there has been nothing the community needs more than connection. And art is such a special way to build that.” There is more programing that connects opera to communities in the west, particularly communities of color. The “Living Opera Understanding Diversity”

(LOUD) video series features discussions and performances focusing on Black, Indigenous and people of color. Spector also hosts the “UnMic’d” podcast focused on music and features sometimes-surprising connections to the world of opera. He said that it’s almost a certainty that “elements of what we did during the ‘quarantine period’ will carry over or be adapted in some way. Arts organizations that will be successful coming out of the pandemic can’t afford to have been unchanged by that moment.” Arizona Opera is balancing innovation with a healthy respect for tradition. “When we put traditional operas on the stage, we’re very focused on making sure that we get the very best performers and creative teams possible to ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2022 19

Arizona Opera 's facility, dazziling posters from Arizona Opera's past productions and Joseph Specter in two past performances at the Academy of Vocal Arts: Joseph Specter as Alberich in Wagner's Das Rheingold and as Belcore in Donizetti's The Elixir of Love.



really make those moments sparkle,” Specter said. “It’s that in-theater experience and the most beautiful voice possible that are the main attractions. As a former professional opera singer myself, I can tell you that we do focus intensely on trying to bring the best talent we possibly can to the stage and to bring beautiful productions that will allow those voices and performances to really shine. Then of course we’ve added innovation to our in-theater performances as well by bringing productions of newer operas and even musical theater pieces to help expand the audience with productions in which they are excited, involved and feel welcome.” “ It’s a big challenge to let every person on the street know that opera is for them,” he said. “We’re not a Fortune 500 company with a huge marketing budget. We seldom can let every single person know about our product or service and we have to be strategic about that. We’re still in a learning curve in that process, exploring new ways, particularly through digital strategies, to reach people.” Arizona Opera has been connecting to diverse community organizations through its productions and outreach. In the truncated 2019-2020 season, the opera company featured “Fellow Travelers” about the McCarthy-era scare and hostility directed toward homosexuals in government. Arizona Opera connected with a segment of the community with “Shining Brow,” an opera about the tormented early life of Frank Lloyd Wright. The production included the fire at the original Taliesin West, the architect’s winter home and studio in Scottsdale. The opera company also appointed Courtney Clark as director of community

alliances in 2021. “We launched a diversity, equity and inclusion initiative in late 2020 which resulted in the creation of that new position here,” Specter said. Arizona Opera brings music education into the schools. In a typical year there are 180 performances, many in schools with children from low-income families. The “Brewster OperaTunity program, led by Cassie Robel, director of education, offers a 40-minute adaption of a classic or an original story designed for K-8 audiences. During the pandemic, Arizona Opera was doing online performances for school children, masterclasses included. They offered a partnership program with Ballet Arizona and supplied materials for a digital teacher-led program. The company’s balance sheet puts it in a solid position to emerge fully from the pandemic, Spector said. The board of directors and other generous donors have stepped up to help during the pandemic. “Ticket sales, the grass roots elements of our fundraising program, has certainly been compromised by our inability to be in the theater for a large portion of the last two years. So, we have a lot of work to do in rebuilding audience, helping people to feel comfortable and excited about coming back.” Throughout the dark days, Specter drew on his training as an opera singer and his 12-year-long practice of meditation. “I have a passion for the art form that runs very deep within me,” he said. “The ability to tap into that passion as a way to fill your sails and continue moving forward, that has been really essential. I would say that knowledge and being able to convey what matters and what is special about opera, that’s always handy.” Of his meditation practice, he said, “I was able to be mindful during a time when mindfulness was in scarce supply. I was able to be present emotionally and intellectually for this organization and to draw from that stillness. That kind of well of strength isn’t always obvious to us in our modern society.” And what is his favorite opera? Specter’s answer comes by way of a friend, who told him the best opera is the one that’s playing. “When you love the medium of the human voice,” Spector said, “elevating the power of storytelling, that’s what you fall in love with.” i ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2022 21

Going all out for

DEMENTIA CARE An innovative campus where families can find exceptional care, education and support in one place.




ospice of the Valley's recently opened a new Dementia Care and Education Campus, an innovative and comprehensive resource for those living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Located at 44th Street and Indianola Avenue in central Phoenix, this campus will provide specialized care for people living with all stages and types of dementia, regardless of whether they are receiving hospice care. The campus also supports family caregivers facing challenges they never anticipated. The Community Education A rendering of the Hospice Center serves people of the Valley's new Dementia from all walks of life and Care and Education Campus. expands a workforce for PROVIDED BY HOSPICE OF THE VALLEY the future that is skilled in dementia care, offering classes for healthcare professionals— including



Governor Doug Ducey makes opening remarks at the grand opening. PHOTOS COURTESY OF HOSPICE OF THE VALLEY

physicians, nurses and social workers—as well as students and family caregivers. To help our whole community live well with dementia, this versatile facility provides a broad spectrum of care and educational opportunities, including instructional workshops, professional training classes, support groups, caregiver skills labs, mindfulness sessions and community concerts. It features a conference room for 110 guests; a cozy living room for small groups; a model bedroom and bathroom for teaching life skills; and a resource library. Adjoining the Community Education Center is a Memory Café—an intimate dementia-friendly place to gather, socialize and have a bite to eat. It also hosts support groups for family caregivers to share experiences with one another.


Howard Paley

Every picture tells a story By Allison Mintz


oward Paley has an eye for detail and knows how to capture the most exquisite photographic images. His passion for landscape photography is clearly present when looking through his work. The beauty, depth of color, and his ability to bring the outdoors to life makes his work such an inspiration for everyone to see. Howard hails from New York, but moved to Tucson to attend college in the 24


mid 1970’s. He instantly fell in love with the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. As Paley said, “Tucson has sunrises and sunsets that absolutely take my breath away. I have never grown tired of them.” It is no surprise that so many of Paley’s photos encompass the beauty of the Southwest. His photos capture the magnificent presence of saguaros, the power of the monsoon storms, and the majestic depth of the mountains. Paley studied Range Management at the University of Arizona. He wanted to learn everything he could about the desert. He studied a full range of subjects from geology and landuse management to watershed and wildlife management. As Paley explained, “through this program one truly begins to understand the desert, ecosystem, which has made my approach to landscape photography different then the average person.” As an avid hiker, Paley immersed himself in nature and all of its splendor. “I have spent a lot of time on the range. It was a career path for me early in my


career, which forced me explains, “doorways are to focus and discover the an expression of who lives nuances of the ecosystem.” inside. It tells a story This understanding brings without you having to.” so much more heart and Another image that Paley realism to his work. His enjoyed sharing was the photographs are bold, picture of a bison. “When authentic, and truly this picture is printed on mesmerizing. canvas, it is riveting! The In looking through detail in the hide,...the his portfolio, it is easy to eye follows you around the become transformed as the room,... it is stunning.” emotional response you will This picture had quite feel is astonishing. As Paley a unique story, as Paley said, “every photographer recounted sitting in a tiny wishes that a piece of their Geo Metro in the Grand artwork could have that Teton National Park that kind of strength and appeal. was suddenly surrounded Whether it’s beauty or ruin, by a heard of bison. As he as an artist I think we all and his wife waited for the strive for that….and every morning light break over once and awhile, you get the ridge, the sun lit up a lucky.” bull that was standing just Capturing the best 10 yards away from the car. picture is an art and skill Paley slowly rolled down that requires patience and the window and started persistence. You have to be taking pictures. The image willing to get up early and is captivating and brings Some of Paley’s favorite images stay in one place for long this majestic animal to periods of time to capture light. include the doorways of Tucson. In the picture and light you are Paley spoke fondly of these photos, he captures the vibrant, envisioning. As Paley said, his work that is currently “if you don’t go, you don’t housed in the VA Hospitals colorful, and quintessential Barrio Viejo. get! You have to out in the of Safford, Tucson, and As Paley explains, “doorways field.” Sometimes, you are Albuquerque. According in just the right place at just to Paley, there are over 300 are an expression of who lives inside. the right moment to capture pieces on display at these It tells a story without you having to.” something truly grand and facilities. He mentioned life altering. an email that he had once Paley shard an image from the Lower Salt River that received from a veteran thanking him for his work made such an impact on him. He said, “when I look and saying, “it allowed them to leave the building, at it, it places me back into the landscape and gives without leaving the room.” Being able to create a work me that same aha moment. For the photographer, it is of art that offers an escape for someone who may be experiential. Is there a God, Yes! What a privilege to be struggling with PTSD or other medical issues, is truly standing here experiencing this moment and knowing heartwarming and a measure of the importance of that I could capture it and share it with someone else. Paley’s work. That photo just makes my heart sing.” Prints of Paley’s photographs can be purchased at Some of Paley’s favorite images include the doorways Art Studio 101 in Phoenix and directly through his of Tucson. In these photos, he captures the vibrant, Facebook page. Message him...Send him an e-mail at colorful, and quintessential Barrio Viejo. As Paley or call (520) 419-4816. ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2022 25



Bionic Rabbi

t 79, there is a reason Jeffrey Schesnol is called the Bionic rabbi. If ever there was a man who has nine lives and has shown great determination in pursuing his passion against all odds, it is Rabbi Jeffrey Schesnol After intensive study to receive his Masters of Arts in Jewish Studies from the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, Rabbi Schesnol went on to be officially ordained by the International Institue for Secular Humanist Judaism this past April at the age of 79. Although Rabbi Schesnol has been the spiritual leader of Or Adam Congregation for Humanistic Judaism for almost a decade, he is now their first Humanistic-ordained rabbi. However, the road to becoming a Rabbi was not an easy one for Rabbi Schesnol. There have been many peaks and valleys along the way, but perhaps the most dramatic and serious hurdle began in 2007. That year, Rabbi Schesnol nearly died from a blood clot. He went on to receive a life-saving transplant at Georgetown University Medical Center. Today he is the oldest known living small-bowel transplant patient in world.



Although this transplant saved his life, it also left him immunosuppressed, which was especially dangerous during Covid. However, he continued to lead his congregation via Zoom, throughout the pandemic. Although Rabbi Schesnol has been the spiritual leader of Or Adam Congregation for Humanistic Judaism for almost a decade, he is now their first Humanistic-ordained rabbi. In addition to being the Rabbi of Or Adam Congregation, a 75 adult-member congregation in Phoenix, Rabbi Schesnol is also the associate director of the Arizona Jewish Historical Society. This is a position he has held for 10 years.

Personal Care • Meal Preparation Dementia Care • Housekeeping Transportation • Medication Reminders Pet Care • Placement

Connecting Hearts to Homes Care available from four to twenty-four hours a day We guide families through their care journey helping them determine what’s best—Community care or Homecare. Connections In Home Care specializes in reliable companion care, personal care, and dementia care in the comfort of home. Connections In Communities guides clients in choosing a suitable independent living, assisted living, or memory care community.

Local Jewish family owned & operated.

Free In-Home Assesments | 602.708.8626 3509 E Shea Blvd Suite 108, Phoenix, AZ 85028

A mitzvah for

Sue Adatto (far left) and friends



By Mindy Franklin


f you want a unique vacation, one which is both fun and altruistic, try your hand at volunteering with Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for a week or more. While no combat is involved, you will need to bring your smile and positive attitude. You’ll travel 6,782 miles to assist Israel’s military with tasks like packing medical kits – to be used for emergencies in any country – and organizing equipment with people from all around the world on an IDF base. Volunteering is linked to improved quality of life,



stronger social networks, increased levels of physical activity and lower mortality rates. Volunteering also contributes to healthy aging by enhancing life satisfaction and well-being and giving one a sense of purpose, selfconfidence and personal growth. Volunteers range in age from 16 to 90 years old. Sue Adatto, a community leader and activist involved with pro-Israel politics and the Greater Phoenix Jewish Film festival, has volunteered eight times. “Volunteers for Israel ( is an

SAY IT OUT LOUD - SENIOR AND PROUD! extraordinary opportunity to help our Jewish homeland by volunteering with the Israel Defense Forces,” Sue said, “and it is my all-time favorite way of giving. "I started going with my high-school age daughter in 2010 because she wanted an Israeli experience that was different than a youth group trip. I needed to go with her because on weekends we have to leave the base. “After I came home, I immediately looked for the following year’s schedule. I couldn’t wait to get that feeling of helping our Jewish homeland by volunteering with the IDF. The assorted tasks I did were things like cleaning the inside of a tank, painting lines on the roads inside the base, painting officers’ quarters and barracks. “Other activities were folding maps for the tank drivers, sorting tools, separating shells from live munitions, cleaning gas masks and checking tents to make sure there are no holes. In addition, we packed warrior bags with updated medical and other supplies for different tasks. The IDF is helping with disasters around the world, and taking care of soldiers and civilians who may have been wounded in Israel. “The day didn’t stop at 4 p.m., as in the evenings we also had activities. We learned about all aspects of Israel

and the different sections of the IDF. We learned some important words in Hebrew, as well, to help us navigate around Israel while we were staying there. “This wonderful experience, also known for me as ‘Adult Summer Camp,’ has taught me so much about the ‘inner workings’ of the IDF life and how integral it is in Israeli life. This experience has also taught me how to let go of everything at home.” Sue is in her 50s, but seniors make up the majority of the volunteers. Don’t let that fool you, however. Seniors are a more active and fit bunch now than 20 years ago. Bernie Friedman is 78 and still working as a U.S. District Judge. He has traveled to Israel numerous times, taking many people with him, including his family, secretary, law clerks and friends, many who weren’t Jewish. Beginning in October 2012, he started combining his vacations to Israel with volunteering. He did it four more times, always bringing a group with him for this amazing, educational and rewarding experience. When not volunteering in Israel or working as a judge, he builds toy cars and dollhouses that he donates to various charities.


“This wonderful experience, also known for me as ‘Adult Summer Camp,’ has taught me so much about the ‘inner workings’ of the IDF life and how integral it is in Israeli life. This experience has also taught me how to let go of everything at home.” ~ Sue Adatto



Marion Richer, 79, has volunteered 26 times and is going again. She first volunteered on an IDF base in 1994, for a three-week program. She gradually increased her time to do many three-month programs. Marion’s inspiration came from her oldest son who had volunteered while he was attending college in Israel. Mark Werner, a corporate lawyer who has volunteered 18 times, wrote a book after he retired about his volunteer experience: “A Passion for Israel” Mark’s father was a Holocaust survivor, and he grew up knowing the importance of Israel. He has many stories of his experiences on IDF bases but his best memories are the five occasions he volunteered with his son. Stanley Richer experienced antisemitism during his career in the U.S. Army, which led him to volunteer for the IDF, with the encouragement of his wife Marion. Sue, Bernie, Marion, Stanley, Mark and all of the program’s volunteers enjoy the diversity of people they meet on base. Everyone from store managers, housekeepers and yoga instructors to attorneys, police chiefs, students and cardiologists can be found volunteering for Israel. For information and schedules of our various programs:

A Jewish Cemetery that cares about the Jewish Community

Jewish Owned and Operated Sidewalks at Every Grave Caring and Professional Staff Intermarried Families Welcome

(480) 585-6060 Mt. Sinai Cemetery e-mail: 24210 N. 68th Street (off Pinnacle Peak Road) • Phoenix, AZ 85054

Preplanning is truly the greatest gift one can give to their family.

8 blood pressure SAY IT OUT LOUD - SENIOR AND PROUD!

Surprising things that can raise your By Rachel Nania for AARP

WHY IS HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE DANGEROUS? High blood pressure — also known as hypertension and called the “silent killer” because it often comes with no symptoms — can wreak havoc on the body, causing damage to the blood vessels, heart, brain, kidneys, eyes and more. If left undetected or uncontrolled it can lead to: Heart attack Stroke Heart failure Kidney disease Vision loss Sexual dysfunction Angina Peripheral arterydisease It’s estimated that nearly half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure; only about 1 in 4 adults with hypertension have it under control. Source: American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



eople who watch their blood pressure are generally familiar with the more common factors that can cause their numbers to spike — salt and stress, for example. But a handful of unsuspected foods, habits and health issues can play a role, too, and sabotage well-intentioned efforts to lower high blood pressure, or hypertension, a condition that affects nearly half of U.S. adults. Here are eight surprising things that can send your numbers soaring.

1. SLEEP APNEA Sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which a person stops and restarts breathing several times throughout the night, can cause a bump in blood pressure. And it’s becoming increasingly common in the U.S. as more Americans struggle with being overweight, says Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., president of the American Heart Association and chair of the department of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Excess weight is one of the foremost risk factors for developing sleep apnea; age is another big one. When a person with sleep apnea stops breathing, the brain steps in and wakes the body up to take a breath; this can happen up to 30 times


an hour. “And when we don’t get good quality sleep — and particularly if we’re not getting good quality sleep because our airway gets closed and our brain and our body have to maintain enough awareness to try to open up the airway — that is very, very hard on the vascular system,” Lloyd-Jones says. All the stress and strain drives up blood pressure — “and not just when we’re asleep, but also when we’re awake for the rest of the day,” Lloyd-Jones says. It can cause a whole host of other health issues, too, including an increased risk for heart attack, type 2 diabetes and liver problems. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine found that severe sleep apnea in middle or old age can increase risk of premature death by up to 46 percent. A common warning sign of sleep apnea is snoring, so if someone tells you that you snore loudly or gasp often during sleep, it may warrant a discussion with your health care provider. A number of devices and therapies can

help to treat sleep apnea, and studies suggest that treatment with one of the more common options — a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine — may even improve blood pressure numbers.

2. AIR POLLUTION Research reveals that exposure to both “fine particulate matter” air pollution (what you’d find from car exhaust and fuel burning, for example) and coarse particulate matter air pollution (like dust from roads and construction sites) can boost blood pressure in adults. The link has also been established in children. One study led by researchers at the University of Michigan found that even short-term exposure to high levels of air pollution can

impact the blood pressure of healthy adults. The change was typical of what a person might see if his weight increased by about 5 or 10 pounds, the researchers noted in a news release. Another, also led by University of Michigan researchers, demonstrated that filtering the air can lower a person’s blood pressure, study coauthor and assistant professor of internal medicine J. Brian Byrd, M.D., told AARP. Exercise can also lower high blood pressure, even in places where pollution levels are high, a 2020 study found. In 2019, 99 percent of the global population lived in places where air quality did not meet World Health Organization guidelines. In addition to the pollution from cars, traffic noise has been linked to an increased risk for high blood pressure.

3. BLACK LICORICE No trick on this treat: Black licorice — we’re talking the real deal, not just licorice-flavored candy — can be a health hazard, and not just because of its sugar content. The candy contains the compound glycyrrhizin, derived from the licorice root, which can cause the body to hold on to lots of salt and water, thereby driving blood pressure up. Consuming black

licorice can also lead to low potassium levels and abnormal heart rhythms. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautions against eating large amounts of black licorice at one time. Eating just 2 ounces a day for at least two weeks could land adults age 40 and older in the hospital, the agency says.

4. ALCOHOL Although it’s often repeated that wine is good for the heart, alcohol can send blood pressure soaring, both in the short and long term. Lloyd-Jones explains that while alcohol initially relaxes the blood vessels, those vessels start to constrict once the liver metabolizes it. Blood pressure can remain at higher-than-normal levels the day after imbibing. And if drinking too much becomes a pattern, so will higher blood pressure numbers. Heavy drinkers (more than three drinks a day for women, four for men) who cut back to moderate drinking (up to one drink a day for women, two for men) can lower the top number in their blood pressure reading by about 5.5 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury, a measurement for pressure) and their bottom number by about 4 mm Hg, according to the Mayo Clinic.

5. COMMON MEDICATIONS Headache? Joint pain? Be mindful what you reach for when you head to the medicine cabinet. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) can raise blood pressure. And so can regular use of acetaminophen (Tylenol), according to a new study published in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association. “Any time people are using those types of medications for pain control, if they’re using them continuously, they need to get with their doctor,” Lloyd-Jones says. Other over-the-counter products to be aware of: decongestants, which relieve stuffiness by narrowing blood vessels to reduce swelling in

the nose. This can also raise blood pressure. “So you don’t want to use them consistently or routinely,” Lloyd-Jones says. Even supplements like ginseng and ephedra are associated with increased blood pressure.

“But insulin, itself, tends to drive up blood pressure in many people,” Lloyd-Jones says. “So if you’re eating a lot of added sugar or simple starches, you’re having these more intense and longer bursts of insulin, which will raise blood pressure.” Added sugar is common in soft drinks, cakes and cookies. Some yogurts and breakfast cereals can also be high in added sugar. 7. SMOKING Yet another reason to kick the habit: Smoking, a proven risk factor for heart attack and stroke, can also mess with your blood pressure. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, nicotine is to blame. It causes the blood vessels to narrow and the heart to beat faster, which makes your blood pressure get higher. “If you look at the monitoring, it’s clear that the blood pressure [of smokers] over a 24-hour period is higher than non-smokers’,” Byrd says.

6. ADDED SUGAR When we eat sugar, our bodies release insulin to help clear the sugar from the blood and get it into the cells where it can be used for energy. ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2022 33






<120 mm Hg

<80 mm Hg


120-129 mm Hg

<80 mm Hg

Stage 1 Hypertension

130-139 mm Hg

Stage 2 Hypertension

≥140 mm Hg

80-89 mm Hg

Source: CDC



≥90 mm Hg

8. ANOTHER HEALTH CONDITION The overproduction of a hormone called aldosterone can cause high blood pressure and even make it difficult to control with medication. Byrd says people who haven’t had any luck lowering their high blood pressure with multiple medications should talk to their doctor because “there’s a reasonably good chance that they have a condition called primary aldosteronism.” The condition often is missed, Byrd says, but medications can treat it. High blood pressure could also point to an issue with the kidneys or the thyroid gland. It can even signal low levels of potassium. Increasing the amount of potassium in your diet (fruits and vegetables are great sources) can lower blood pressure, Lloyd-Jones says. DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE USUAL SUSPECTS It’s important not to overlook the biggest drivers of high blood pressure in the U.S., chief of which is weight. If you’re overweight, losing even a few pounds can have a big impact on blood pressure — you can reduce

your numbers by 1 mm Hg for every 2.2 pounds you lose, according to the Mayo Clinic. And don’t discount your diet. Americans consume, on average, about 3,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day, the majority coming from packaged foods and restaurant meals. That number should be closer to 1,500 mg, the American Heart Association says. “There is too much sodium in our food supply, we are not getting enough physical activity, we are gaining too much weight, and we are drinking too much alcohol, and every single one of those things contributes to increasing blood pressure levels,” Lloyd-Jones says. To stay on top of your blood pressure, take your measurements often and “understand where you are on the spectrum,” LloydJones says. You can do this at home with a cuff-style biceps monitor. If you notice your blood pressure is starting to increase or if it’s already elevated (a systolic, or top, number that’s less than 120 and a diastolic, bottom, number less than 80 is considered normal), it’s important to be careful around the foods and habits that can make it worse, LloydJones adds. It’s also important to work with a doctor to find the best way to control it, be it with medications, lifestyle changes or both. “Home blood pressure monitoring is a really important and empowering way for patients to take control of this,” Lloyd-Jones says.


Developing healthy habits is key to sound mental health


Senior Priority By Rocky Patal, M.d,


here are many issues that deserve a spotlight when it comes to senior healthcare, but mental health is proving more important than ever according to One Medical’s Senior Health Medical Director Rocky Patel, MD. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness (52.9 million in 2020).” And recent reporting from the World Health Organization highlights how the “first year of the COVID-19 pandemic showed that the global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25%.” Rocky Patel, MD, a provider at One Medical, a modernized primary care practice offering convenient, humancentered care across every stage of life, shares his insights on senior mental health exclusively with Arizona Jewish Life and how treatment for mental and physical health goes hand in hand. Why is it important for seniors to prioritize their mental health as they age? It is important for seniors to prioritize their mental health because in turn, we can treat their chronic conditions more effectively. Depending on the severity of their problems, prioritizing their mental health can also assist us with determining the level of professional help needed. Untreated mental health disorders in older adults can lead to diminished functioning, substance abuse, poor quality of life, and increased mortality. Did you see a spike amongst seniors facing mental health problems during the pandemic and if so, what are some typical mental health problems

that seniors face? Yes, throughout the pandemic, we saw spikes of anxiety in our seniors. Some typical mental health problems that seniors face are depression, anxiety and insomnia. How do you identify if a senior is struggling with their mental health? Some ways you can tell a senior in your life is struggling with their mental health include: Excessive anxiety or worry Long-lasting sadness or irritability Extreme changes in mood Social withdrawal  Dramatic changes in sleeping or eating patterns What can seniors do to improve their condition themselves or prevent a mental health crisis down the road? If seniors are experiencing any of the above signs, they should talk to their primary care provider about treatment options. It’s also important to develop healthy behaviors such as staying active (for example, walking around the block), eating a well-balanced diet, and getting a good night's sleep. Keeping the mind active with puzzles, games, or a new hobby is also important for brain health. What are some ways you can support a senior struggling with their mental health?If a senior in your life is struggling with their mental health, simply being there along the way is helpful. Going on walks with them, making meals and eating with them, playing games together or even finding them a support group are great ways

to help them feel connected. And of course, if their condition worsens, schedule an appointment with their primary care provider to review the best course of action to improve their mental wellbeing. One Medical is a modernized primary care practice providing highquality care to all ages, with four locations in the Greater Phoenix area, including Biltmore, Scottsdale Fashion Square, SunTan Village and Kierland Commons. One Medical prioritizes mental health as an integral part of its overall care approach. Its mission is to make receiving quality care more affordable, accessible, and enjoyable while providing care intentionally designed around aging patients’ needs. One Medical first opened its doors in Arizona in spring 2015 with the successive openings of its. One Medical stands apart with its more personalized primary care experience, catered to each patient's needs, from longer appointments with providers, on-site lab services and proactive reminders about care needs. They are uniquely positioned to deliver a more modernized healthcare relationship through their membership (just $199/year - cheaper than one year of a premium Netflix subscription) makes it easy for patients to get care when and where they need it through the One Medical app and website. Patients can even add caretakers as approved users to their One Medical member profile to help manage their care, perfect for keeping families plugged into the status and needs of senior family members' health. ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2022 35

SENIOR GIFT GUIDE Check out these unique gift ideas for the senior in your family

TWEET TREATS Perky-Pet Bird feeder with a 1/2 lb. seed capacity $9.29 -

OPEN SESAME Cuisinart® Deluxe Stainless Steel Electric Can Opener $49.99 -

DIGIT DELIGHT Nekteck Shiatsu Foot Massager Machine $69.99 -

GOING DUTCH LeCreuset Cast Iron Deep Round Dutch Oven $249.95 -

PAGE TURNER Little Book of Jewish Appetizers by Leah Koenig $18.95 -

SEE INTO THE FUTURE Jewish Wisdom ball $24.00 -

GO GRAZING Terza Cheese & Charcuterie board (Feeds 3-4) $129.95 -

LIP SMACKER Bobbi Brown crushed lip color (shown Blush) $29.00 -

CARE THAT WEIGHT Mela Weighted Blanket $92.00 (King) -




KEEP ON TREKKING Foxelli Aluminum Trekking Poles $51.97 -


Summer is fast approaching, and that can only mean


backyard dining and easy dishes to satisfy.


SALADS FRESH TOMATO SALAD INGREDIENTS 2 pints cherry tomatoes 2 large Heirloom tomatoes Fresh basil leaves A pinch of fresh oregano 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar Salt & pepper to taste 1/2 baguette, pieces torn Optional Pieces of chicken breast

INSTRUCTIONS Combine sliced Heirlooms and cherry tomatoes. Combine oilve oil, herbs and viegar, and drizzle over tomatoes. Garnish with bits of baguette and fresh basil






INGREDIENTS 11 oz box of organic baby spinach pre-washed 4 hard boiled eggs sliced 1 cup grape tomatoes cut in halves 1 long English cucumber sliced 2 cups mushrooms sliced 2 tbsp sesame seeds toasted INSTRUCTIONS Slice hard-boiled eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and cucumbers



Toasted sesame seeds Fill large salad bowl with spinach, then add eggs, mushrooms, cucumbers and tomatoes. Sprinkle with sesame seeds last. Make dressing: In a small jar with a tight fitting lid, combine easy spinach salad dressing ingredients. Shake until well mixed. Toss salad: Pour dressing over salad – as much or as little as you like – then toss salad gently.

HEALTHY SPINACH SALAD DRESSING 1/3 cup olive oil extra virgin 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar 2 tbsp Dijon mustard 2 tbsp soy sauce Olena Osipov Spinach Salad

MEDITERRANEAN PASTA SALAD Prep Time: 12 mins • Cook Time: 10 mins Total Time: 22 mins Serves 6


3 cups uncooked fusilli pasta 2 heaping cups halved cherry tomatoes 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed 2 cups arugula 1 cup Persian cucumbers, sliced into thin half moons 1 cup crumbled feta cheese 1 cup basil leaves, torn 1/2 cup minced parsley 1/2 cup chopped mint 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts DRESSING

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling 3 tablespoons lemon juice 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence, or dried Italian seasoning 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 3/4 teaspoon sea salt INSTRUCTIONS

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the pasta according to the package directions, or until slightly past al dente. Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, herbes de Provence, red pepper flakes, and salt. (Note: the dressing will have a strong flavor, it’ll mellow once it coats all of the pasta salad ingredients). Drain the pasta, toss it with a little olive oil (so that it doesn’t stick together) and let it cool to room temp. Transfer to a large bowl with the tomatoes, chickpeas, arugula, cucumbers, feta cheese, basil, parsley, mint, and pine nuts. Pour the dressing and toss to coat. Season to taste with more lemon, salt, pepper, and/or a drizzle of olive oil, if desired, and serve. Courtesy of ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2022 41


Announces Moral Courage Essay Contest Winners


n the heels of an alarming spike of antisemitic incidents across the state, three Arizona high schoolers were awarded for their touching essays inspired by Holocaust survivor testimonies. Arizona high school students have been awarded scholarships in the annual Herb Goldberg Moral Courage Essay Contest. The contest, open to all Arizona high school students, is a project of ADL’s No Place for Hate® program, which works with educators and students

across the country to promote respectful, inclusive, and equitable school environments where all students can thrive. This year, participants were asked to read Holocaust survivors’ testimonies and explain why learning about the Holocaust has helped them respond to antisemitism and hate in their school and community with moral courage. Additionally, students were asked to identify attributes and skills needed to exemplify moral courage and effect change. “Moral courage is about action

FIRST PLACE MATTHEW MALEDON, a junior at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix for his essay, Moral Courage in Holocaust Education.

My name is Matthew Maledon, and I was born in Scottsdale, Arizona. I am the youngest sibling to 4 brothers and a sister. Currently, I attend 11th grade at a Jesuit high school in Phoenix called Brophy College Preparatory, where I dedicate my time towards not only a rigorous workload, but also towards playing for our varsity baseball team. Some of the greatest joys in my life, however, come from music; whether it be from playing guitar or piano, or from hearing the blaring

– it means doing the right thing even when one is afraid of the consequences,” Tammy Gillies, Regional Director of ADL Arizona says. “These impressive young students have demonstrated that kind of courage just by taking up their pens to share their own perspectives of what a Holocaust survivor’s testimony means for combatting today’s antisemitism, which unfortunately is on the rise in Arizona and across the country, as we saw in our Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents.”

speakers of my old record player, there is always a rewarding element that I get from music. Although I cannot yet say I have any plans set in stone following high school, I know I will make the most of the college I ultimately attend — taking charge of new opportunities while also pursuing the passions in which I am currently involved. I decided to enter this contest mainly because of an experience I am so grateful to have had several years ago, in which I visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and was thoroughly moved by my exposure to the atrocities of this period in time — something none of my school textbooks had really done justice in presenting. With my essay, I wanted to offer the importance of classroom education in these historical events — events that should never be forgotten and should call upon each coming generation to hold onto.

The Goldberg Family Foundation, which held the competition, is dedicated to promoting positive change in people’s lives and helping to build and enhance the communities in which they live. Registration is still open. To learn more about No Place for Hate® go to: 42


SECOND PLACE AVERY SHAFRON, a sophomore at Rancho Solano Preparatory School in Scottsdale, for her essay, Moral Obligation.

My name is Avery Shafron, and I am a sophomore in high school! I attend Rancho Solano preparatory school in Scottsdale, where I have lived for my whole life thus far. I am a member of Temple Kol Ami reform congregation, where I have practiced Judaism since a young age. As of right now, in my high school career, there are many things I enjoy studying and doing, but I am most passionate about literature, science, writing, and soccer. I’ve been a soccer player since second grade. I currently am a member of SC Del Sol

THIRD PLACE ALISA VELASQUEZ, a freshman at Dobson High School in Mesa, for her essay, A Tribute of Daffodils.

I am Alisa Velasquez. I am in my first year at Dobson High School, I am part of the FFA club and I very much enjoy math and other things involving math. My plans for after high school are hopefully to go to Pennsylvania State University and pursue a career in Aerospace science. Hopefully getting a job with NASA to build rocket ships and planes. I’ve wanted to pursue a career in aerospace engineering ever since childhood, so maybe one of these days I’ll go

soccer club, but I also play for my school! My hobbies include playing soccer, reading, writing and playing with my dogs. I am undecided about whether I will continue my soccer career after high school, but I am sure that I would like to pursue writing and literary studies in college and beyond. I decided to enter in the contest after learning about it from my Creative Writing Teacher, Mrs. Pamela McCarty. She recommended I enter the competition after reading the topic and prompts. After I explored the website, I was excited to enter, especially since I’d previously heard Oskar Knoblauch speak. I chose my topic as a direct response to the first time I had heard Oskar speak and the knowledge I had since built. I wanted to show other people how my own learning about the Holocaust impacted me, and encourage other people to become upstanders in their own way. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to share my words and voice in this way, and look forward to writing more in the future!

to mars! In my English class we were assigned an essay involving moral courage and how it undertook in the Holocaust. Although I didn’t have much of a say in this contest, I learned about a lot of stories of people we may take for granted. These people showed us the true value of being an upstander, and showing courage in moments of prosperity. In my essay, I wrote about moral courage and examined it from a society's perspective. This prompt struck me and let me explore the aspects of how the Holocaust implemented educational value to students and people. The Holocaust wasn’t about whether or not you had survived, but instead was about what you did to change someone else’s life. Did you do your human duty? Did you show moral courage? Did you show someone the importance of being an upstander? I didn’t expect to win, but I am so thankful and honored to have won third place. Also a huge thank you to my English teacher, Mrs. Klett, for being such a great teacher in my first year of high school! :)

ADL is a leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of antisemitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. ADL is the first call when acts of antisemitism occur. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate. More at ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2022 43

Arizona students learn about the Holocaust from a

‘Hidden Pearl’

By Shannon Levitt



t might not seem likely that ninth graders in Mesa, Arizona could see themselves reflected in the life of a 10-year-old girl trying to hide from Nazis in 1940s Poland, but Tate Lamoreaux, an English teacher at Mesa’s Dobson High School, helped his students do just that by finding what he calls “mirror moments” in “Hidden Pearl,” J.E. ( Judy Egett) Laufer’s young adult novel about a young girl surviving the Holocaust. Lamoreaux said it’s much easier for his students to find “window moments,” or times in the novel that diverge from their own lives: “I am not a girl; I am not a Jew; I did not live through the Holocaust; etc.” Still, when they put a lot of thought into how Pearl’s life mirrored their own, “their good answers were great: I also have to work to help my family; I 44



don’t think my parents [or the people I live with] like me very much either; sometimes I also have to hide parts of myself.” The book recounts the lives of Pearl and her family who have been forced into hiding by the advance of the Nazis into Poland. A friend of the family finds a farm where Pearl can live and work. The catch is that she has to hide her Jewish identity and pretend to be a Catholic orphan. She also cannot know with any certainty the fates of her parents and siblings. She experiences a difficult life at the hands of the farm’s owner, a woman who verbally and physically abuses her over the course of her tenure. Moreover, the woman often derides Jews and questions their humanity, leaving Pearl in no doubt what would happen to her should her true identity be revealed. At the end of the story, Pearl is reunited with her

“ It is helpful for kids to know that real people went through this, that it wasn’t just a story that I imagined or that somebody made up.” ~Judith Laufer

parents and two of her siblings who survived by working on farms and hiding their identities, too. Last fall, Arizona passed legislation mandating that the state’s public schools teach about the Holocaust and other genocides at least twice between seventh and 12th grades. Laufer, who had been following the fate of the legislation, contacted Kim Klett, a Dobson High English teacher and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Teacher Fellow, who has taught Holocaust literature for the last 20 years in Mesa. Klett had already read Laufer’s first young adult historical novel, “Choices,” so she was happy to read “Hidden Pearl” and gauge its usefulness for the curriculum. She told Laufer it fit the bill perfectly. To get copies of the books to the school, Laufer reached out to Kids Need to Read, a national nonprofit based in Mesa that provides books for underserved libraries and schools across the country. Laufer has worked with the organization for years and helps to find sponsors to buy books for donation. The nonprofit delivered copies of “Hidden Pearl” to Dobson High, where more than half of the student body is economically disadvantaged. To have these students read her book is a point of pride for Laufer. “My parents were immigrants,” she said. “We were low income children. They came to Canada with $5 and no plan as to what they were going to do and they didn’t speak the language. The idea that my books are going to be in the hands of children who typically can’t afford them, that to me is huge.” Lamoreaux did a lot of work preparing his students before they read the book, he said. They spent three weeks studying the history of antisemitism in Europe and Germany specifically, and learned about the Nazis, invasion of Poland. Then, they spent two weeks reading “Hidden Pearl” together. “Having that deeper background about the Holocaust, I believe, made the story feel realer for my students,” he said. There are elements of the story that are relatable to many people. Often, authors who write about the Holocaust detail the horrors of Jews being packed into cattle cars or lined up for extermination in gas chambers, but Laufer keeps her focus on the more ordinary hardships and daily indignities of one girl, who waits in fear and trepidation for the day she will be free to find what remains of her family and tell the world who she really is. In an early chapter, for instance, Laufer describes how Pearl ran out of her house without shoes and so had to do

everything with bare feet, including walking many miles to the farm where she would work. She recounts the hunger Pearl had to learn to live with, the drudgery of her work and the daily insults she had to endure. And she describes Pearl’s hope that a better future awaits. Laufer, whose professional background is in early childhood education, knows something about how children learn. She’d written books for young children, but writing for older kids began as something of a lark. She wrote “Choices,” for her mother’s 90th birthday and to preserve her family’s history of escaping Hungary during the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. She was a writer, so she wrote the story, and in the process she learned a lot about writing family memoir. “When people tell you stories, they tell you bits and pieces, but you don’t have the story from beginning to end,” she said. Much to her surprise, her book was well-received and won the silver medal award for historical novels from the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. When her mother-in-law turned 90, Laufer wrote “Hidden Pearl” for the occasion. After all, her mother-in-law was Pearl, and this was her story. It was also a true Holocaust survivor story, which Laufer knew was important to preserve, not only for her husband’s family but for the general public, especially when so many of the survivors have died or are on the cusp of passing away. Her second book won the gold medal award from Moonbeam. “It is helpful for kids to know that real people went through this, that it wasn’t just a story that I imagined or that somebody made up.” She also put photos of Pearl and her family at the end of the book, which she said helps kids know the story is real. Laufer also thought that if she could write stories, true stories about history, they might engage kids who otherwise were not avid readers. “It might give them an opportunity to see that reading is really fun and reading is interesting and reading is entertaining,” she said. For Lamoreaux’s students, her methods worked. “I had 100% participation with this book,” he said. “My highachieving students read “Hidden Pearl.” My lower-achieving students read “Hidden Pearl”- the kids who never read anything. Many of my students, perhaps most of them, told me something along the lines of, ‘That wasn’t so bad.’ And coming from a freshman who hasn’t ever read a book, that’s a glowing recommendation.” Shannon Levitt is a freelance writer in Arizona. ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2022 45


80 Israelfounded unicorns now dot the United States A record number of privately held Israelifounded companies worth at least $1 billion are headquartered in nine states. By Diana Bletter/Israel21c 46



here are now 80 Israeli-founded unicorns — -privately held companies with a valuation of $1 billion or more — based in the United States, according to the United States–Israel Business Alliance https://nyisrael. org/ (USIBA). Each of these unicorns has at least one Israeli founder and global or regional headquarters in the United States. Making an analogy to racecars, USIBA President Aaron Kaplowitz said that Israeli innovation might be compared to “a flashy red Corvette that draws considerable capital investment on the strength of exciting game-changing solutions” but actually is more like a Ferrari,

“a powerful economic engine that employs tens of thousands of Americans and generates billions of dollars in local economies.” The nine states with Israeli-founded unicorn headquarters are California (32), New York (26), Massachusetts (10), New Jersey (4), Florida (2), Illinois (2), Texas (2), Oregon (1) and Washington (1). The combined total valuation for all 80 unicorns amounts to $224.8 billion. Kaplowitz said that although Manhattan and Silicon Valley are generating Israelifounded unicorns at “an unprecedented clip,” the real story here is that Israeli founders are identifying states beyond New York and California as viable options to grow their companies, source local talent, and establish a robust US presence.” Further information on The United States–Israel Business Alliance, which works to strengthen the economic relationship between individual states and Israel, can be found here.

Young professionals from around the world experience networking weekend at

Birthright Israel Excel Summit


ver 300 Birthright Israel Excel Fellows from North America and around the world gathered in New York City this past April for the Excelerate22 Summit. This marked the first time the annual Birthright Israel Excel Summit has been held in person since 2019, a welcome change from the virtual Summits of the last two years. Birthright Israel Excel is a prestigious business fellowship that offers a summer internship in Israel, followed by membership in an exclusive community of peers focused on professional development, personal growth, Israel engagement, and philanthropy. After their internships, Excel Fellows have maximized their experiences by taking on positions at top-tier companies such as J.P. Morgan Chase, Bain & Company and Google, developing strategic partnerships with Israeli companies, and starting their own companies, often hiring other Fellows. According to Birthright Israel Excel’s Executive Director Idit Rubin, the pandemic has meant less live networking events, but has also resulted in the growth and strengthening of global connections within the Excel community, a trend that the organization wants to continue to develop in upcoming years. Some 30 Fellows from Israel and several others from the UK, South Africa, Argentina



and Mexico joined their North American peers for Excelerate22, cementing those bonds. “Birthright Excel Fellows are active every day as recognized leaders in their professional arenas and within the broad Jewish community. As they gather this year for the first in-person Summit in two years, we are experiencing a sense of renewal and opening a new chapter in the history of what is considered the most prestigious program in the Jewish world today,” said Gidi Mark, CEO of Birthright Israel. Throughout the weekend, participants enjoyed plentiful networking opportunities, industry-specific panels and discussions about topics such as business development, Jewish identity and Israel engagement. Since 2011, Birthright Israel Excel has been engaged in developing the next generation of Jewish business leaders. The Excel Fellowship selects extraordinary college students around the world for a summer business or tech internship in Tel Aviv at leading companies. After their return, Excel Fellows become part of a global community that provides resources for professional and personal development and Israel engagement, while also being dedicated to philanthropy. ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE | MAY/JUNE 2022 47

Limitless Energy and Expertise! Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or a last-home seller, my 34 years of local real estate experience will make your transactions pleasant and worry-free. I work closely with every client, as if conducting my own personal transaction. My only goal is to make sure you are a satisfied and happy customer.

Full-Service Property Management





(602) 228-0265

Ask for Gary Kravetz, Fleet Director RIGHT HONDA’s Fleet and Internet Department welcomes different buying clubs like Costco, Sam’s, all credit unions, Police and Fire Departments, Motorola, Intel, etc., so please call or email to see if your company is an approved organization.

The buying process for our fleet and internet department is done at your speed. Our Fleet and Internet Managers will use their 15 years of experience to help answer all of your questions. This is a stress and hassle-free buying program and we are proud to help serve the local companies of Scottsdale and the sorrounding areas. Contact us today to get started.

7875 E Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd Scottsdale, Arizona 480.778.2510



Each year, Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS), coordinates a backpack and school supply drive for children and families in need. Because of YOU, in 2021 JFCS successfully provided prepacked backpacks to over 1,700 children and teens in our community: Children we serve through our healthcare centers, foster care programs, domestic violence victim assistance programs and those we serve at our four integrated healthcare clinics. We are hoping to make the same impact again this year, but we cannot do it without your help. By donating $50 to JFCS, you can sponsor a child for 1 backpack; a backpack filled with supplies for him or her to utilize throughout the upcoming school year! P.S.To ensure each student receives supplies in time for the 2022/2023 school year, we request that donations are made by May 31st, 2022.

Thank you for helping us grow. We so appreciate your loyalty and support. For the best in local events, personalities, business, the arts, Jewish celebrity news and food trends, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

For The Weekly Edition delivered to your inbox, sign up here