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FATHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE Think beyond ties

Founders Karen and Howard Schwartz









Bring this coupon with you and save up to $8 per person when you buy a combo ticket to OdySea Aquarium + Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition versus single attraction general admission tickets. Max of 10 combo tickets per coupon. Valid on admission tickets only. Cannot be combined with any other offers, discounts, gift cards, or special events. Offer expires 8/31/19.





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CON TE N T S Arizona Jewish Life • Summer 2019 • Iyar-Av 5779 • Volume 7/Issue 73





COVER STORY Hip Hop International: Uniting the world through dance 18

Linda Hirshman: A woman of words, music and more 30


BUSINESS Aging advocate Biz Ins & Outs

10 12

FRONT & CENTER Portrait Connection



16 17

Shavuot around the state Federation notes Faces & Places Previews

FATHER’S DAY Dad’s last list Father’s Day gift guide

Water safety tips 32 Camp Ocean comes to the Valley 33

34 35 36 38


Fun-in-the-sun Fashion Travel destinations for 2019 Summer and a good book – the perfect pair Peter Evans, CEO of Bon Voyage Travel

24 25 26 28

17 25

ON THE COVER: Howard and


Karen Schwartz, founders of Hip Hop International INSET: CBAction from Argentina – the 2018 Hip Hop International’s World Hip Hop Dance Championship gold medal winners in the adult category PHOTOS COURTESY HIP HOP INTERNATIONAL


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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Elaine Eisenbraun Michelle Talsma Everson Amy Hirshberg Lederman Barbara Russek

com/magazine-subscription or c all 602-538 -2955. Complimentar y copies of Arizona Jewish Life magazine are available at dozens of retail loc ations including A J ’s Fine Foods, Chompie’s, Eli ’s Deli, synagogues, Jewish communit y centers and organizations, enter tainment venues, res taurant s and professional of fices. 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 is distributed on the first of the month. Story ideas for features and special sections are due 45-60 days prior to publication. BIZ INS & OUTS: Business news is due 4 weeks before publication. FACES & PLACES: Photos from past events are due about 20 days prior to publication. EVENTS: Information about upcoming events is due about 20 days prior to publication. CALENDAR: Please post events on our online calendar. Relevant events that are posted by the 10th of the month before publication will be included in the magazine. 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.

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Give me a break! ...a summer break.


ave you ever noticed that adults tend to get very nostalgic at the onset of summer? I think it probably has to do with childhood memories of long, carefree days. Summer vacation seems to have been created just for kids. Well, it kind of was. But most adults I know still look forward to that first day of summer.  Although most of us work during the summer, as summer approaches, our thoughts turn to freedom, fun, swimming, ice cream and a slower pace. But other than the first few days or a short family vacation, it rarely is a slower pace.  If you are a young parent with children, your schedule hits warp speed during the summer. Ah, the delusions of nostalgia.   During the busy summer months, some days I actually start planning a special summer camp just for adults. I mean I seriously make notes about the business plan, the logistics, activities, etc. But before I get too far, reality hits and adult summer camp becomes just one more thing to plan and execute and eat up my not-so-carefree summer. But there is an upside to my summer camp plans – when I let go of those plans, I feel freer and appreciate the summer again. It is kind of a warped mental exercise, but it does the trick every time. This year, one of the biggest Jewish holidays – one many have never heard of and whose name they can’t pronounce – begins the evening of June 8. Whether you call it Shavuot or Shavuos or “that holiday when you eat a lot of dairy,” it is a beautiful holiday to celebrate. Although I come from a long line of rabbis, I clearly missed the rabbi gene, and my religious knowledge is sorely lacking.  For those of you who can relate to that lack, here are a few interesting tidbits about the holiday:

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• It is the only Jewish holiday without a date; it is based on the passage of time and occurs 50 days after Passover. • It is known for Matan Torah, G-d giving the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. • Many people decorate their home with greenery and flowers because the Torah tells us that Mount Sinai suddenly bloomed when the Torah was given. • Following dinner, many engage in all-night study sessions called Tikkun Leil Shavuot, which may include text study or a musical or artistic exploration of the Torah. • It is taught that when the Torah was received, everyone heard it in their own language and according to their ability to understand. On all other nights, it is better to give than receive; on Shavuot, it is all about receiving – receiving the Torah. This year, we should all stand together in solidarity and plan to continue learning and spiritual growth. Chag Sameach!

For great Shavuot recipes visit

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Aging Advocate

Bob Roth shares his passion about making life better for the elderly and their caregivers By Michelle Talsma Everson

Bob Roth, managing partner at Cypress HomeCare Solutions, is all about asking the question “How can we do better?” He then listens to answers and continuously evolves his own journey and that of his company to better serve its clients and the community at large. He is passionate about making life better for the elderly and disabled and their caregivers; both paid caregivers and family caregivers (those who provide unpaid care for loved ones). Recently, Cypress HomeCare Solutions celebrated its 25th anniversary and announced its joining of the Honor Care Network, which is “comprised of local home care agencies dedicated to improving the quality standards of home care,” according to the agency. In joining the Honor Care Network, Cypress HomeCare Solutions will remain an independent business but gain access to more caregivers, new technology, and a complete support operations solution. Cypress HomeCare Solution is a family business, with Bob taking the mantle of leadership from his brother Joe in 2003. The company was inspired by being family caregivers for their mother, Joan S. Roth. Bob shares that he and his family take great pride in being the only home care agency in Maricopa County to provide high-quality in-house training in the Joan S. Roth Caregiver Training Lab, their state of the art training lab named in honor of his mother. Over 12 years, he says, they have trained nearly 1,000 families with free family caregiving seminars. “When a care recipient opens 10 SUMMER 2019 | JEWISH LIFE

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Attendees at Cypress Homecare Solutions’ 25th Anniversary Celebration recently held at the Desert Botanical Garden. (L to R) Sheldon (Noodles) Roth, chairman of the Board for Cypress Homecare Solutions; his wife Maddy Roth; his son Bob Roth, managing partner of Cypress Homecare Solutions; Susie Roth, coach of Cypress’ certified pet therapy dog; and Jessica Roth, Bob Roth’s daughter. Bob Roth of Cypress Homecare Solutions speaks about serving the Phoenix area since 1994.

their door to a caregiver, they’re opening their life to them as well,” Bob says. “If we’re going to support our elderly loved ones aging at home, we have to continuously think of new and dynamic ways to do it. I’d love for us to prepare and plan and innovate for a world where home is the center of care.” He points to the fact that innovation is vital because the numbers show a growing aging population in America. Bob says that, by 2020, there will be 56 million Americans who are over age 65. By 2050, that number will be 88 million. He shares that one-third of people age 65 and older live home alone. Recent studies show that isolation is now considered an epidemic and has a variety of health issues associated with it. “How do we care for people who are isolated? How can we do better?” Bob asks. To that note, in addition to his work at Cypress, Bob is highly involved in the local community. Some of his past and present service positions include Arizona Geriatric Society, Taskforce Against Senior Abuse, Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation, Banner Health Foundation, Alzheimer’s Association, Governor’s Advisory Council on Aging, Aging 2.0 (Phoenix chapter), Duet, and many others. He is also involved in several homecare boards and agencies. On the faith side of his life, he and his family are highly active at Congregation Beth Israel and are benefactors of Jewish Family & Children’s Services and Hillel ASU, among other local Jewish organizations – like the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix and the Jewish Community Center. Added to that, he regularly writes columns for local publications on aging topics and hosts a radio show called “Health Futures – Taking Stock in You.” He’s been married for 30 years and has three daughters. “I’ve had this success, and am able to help as many people as I do, because of the people I’ve surrounded myself with,” Bob says. “We have a great team of caregivers at Cypress. It all starts with the caregivers – and I never want to lose sight of that because it’s at the heart of what we do. That’s why we also work hard to give back to family caregivers, too; it’s such hard work.” “I’m passionate about this work because I want to make it better for our elderly now and for when it’s my time,” he adds. JEWISH LIFE | SUMMER 2019 11



Eric D. Fingerhut

Adam Lehman

Hillel International Launches Search for New CEO Hillel International, the largest Jewish student organization in the world, announced today that President and CEO Eric D. Fingerhut will be leaving at the end of June to assume the position of president and CEO for the Jewish Federations of North America. Current Chief Operating Officer Adam Lehman will become interim CEO, and Hillel will immediately launch a national search for a permanent successor. “We are proud of Eric’s accomplishments and believe his appointment to lead JFNA is a testament to his success over the last five years at Hillel,” says Tina Price, chair of the Hillel International Board of Directors. “During his time with Hillel, Eric guided us through an ambitious strategic plan, focused on building the best talent in the Jewish world, and measuring our engagement to ensure excellence on every campus. We are excited to continue partnering with him in his new role.”  Since its founding in 1923, Hillel has been enriching the lives of Jewish students. Currently, Hillel International is a global organization that welcomes students of all backgrounds and strives to inspire every student to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel. It is dedicated to enriching the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. Hillel engages student leaders on 550 colleges and universities in 18 countries around the world.  “We look forward to exploring candidates to lead Hillel into its second century,” Tina says. “This is an incredible opportunity to build on Hillel’s achievements, and I’m confident we’re well positioned for success.

Pollack’s Paseo Del Oro will undergo a complete transformation When it comes to renovating shopping centers, there is 12 SUMMER 2019 | JEWISH LIFE

Michael Pollack

Pollack Paseo Del Oro

no one better known for accomplishing some of the Valley’s best transformations than real estate entrepreneur Michael Pollack. The owner of Pollack Investments is getting ready to rehab his Pollack Paseo Del Oro shopping center located at 3029 N. Alma School Road in Chandler Crews began work on May 15 on the 125,000 square-foot center which holds national retailers like Zia Records and Compass Bank, to name a few. Pollack’s renovations include new stone design work, awnings, repaved parking lot, updated landscape and brand new painting. The center received a partial facelift seven years ago, but with the center at almost 95% occupied, Pollack said it was time for a complete overhaul. All the renovations are expected to take 90 days. “This final renovation and transformation is just simply the right thing to do for the neighborhood,” says Pollack. “We’ve done several tremendous renovations transforming neighborhoods at many shopping centers that have my name on them up and down Alma School Road. That is what led us to this project. It is the right time for a complete renovation to improve the beautification of the area, making it the real ‘show stopper’ of the neighborhood.”

Barney M. Holtzman joins Mesch Clark Rothschild Barney M. Holtzman joins Mesch Clark Rothschild as a partner in the labor and employment law and commercial litigation practice group. He has been consistently recognized as one of the premier attorneys in employment law and commercial litigation by Best Lawyers in America, Southwest Super Lawyers and Tucson Lifestyle Magazine in his 20 plus years of practice. Prior to joining Mesch Clark Rothschild, Barney was managing partner of an Am Law 200 law firm Tucson office, in-house counsel for one of the largest privately held

Barney M. Holtzman

Dr. Zoe Cohen

mortgage lenders and clerked with the Honorable Thomas A. Zlaket, Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law. His employment practice includes counseling management on preventative employment practices and employee discipline. He represents employers against claims alleging employment discrimination, harassment, wrongful discharge, retaliation and other employment-related claims before courts and governmental agencies, such as the EEOC, the Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board and the Arizona Civil Rights Division. Barney also counsels clients on a wide range of employment issues that arise during the hiring process, the management of a workforce and termination, layoff or reductions in force. When not practicing law, Barney has taken on community leadership positions with the Tucson Jewish Community Center and Ben’s Bells among others, is a dedicated husband and father to three daughters and an avid college basketball fan.

Dr. Zoe Cohen honored for excellence in teaching and mentoring Zoe Cohen, Ph.D., an assistant professor of physiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, was honored for excellence in teaching and mentoring with the Margaret M. Briehl and Dennis T. Ray Five Star Faculty Award at the 2019 UA Awards of Distinction Ceremony. First presented in 1983, the award, sponsored by the UA Honors College, is the only award for UA faculty members that is determined by UA undergraduate students. At the 2017 UA Awards of Distinction Ceremony, Cohen received the Undergraduate STEM Education Teaching Excellence Award. She also has received Physiology Professor of the Year for the past four years by the Physiology Club; UA Club Advisor of the Year from the Associated Students of the UA; and the AMES Excellence Award for Basic Science Teaching.


Cohen is involved in undergraduate, graduate and medical teaching. At the College of Medicine – Tucson, she is the discipline director for physiology, serves on the admissions committee and is the incoming chair of the Tucson Education Policy Committee. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in exercise physiology from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a doctorate in physiological sciences from the UA. She did postdoctoral work in platelet and red blood cell physiology with the Canadian Blood Services and at the UA. She is a faculty adviser for the Physiology Club, the American Medical Student Association – Undergraduate Chapter and the Love Your Melon Campus Crew Program. JEWISH LIFE | SUMMER 2019 13


Portraits bring smiles to families of critically ill kids By Elaine Eisenbraun WHEN A JEWISH FARM mom meets another rural Jewish woman at the food coop, it’s a good bet that a friendship will blossom. Elaine Eisenbraun met Lily while sorting bulk organic food. Their families formed a tight bond, sharing many kiddushim and milestones, helping each other through an unlikely number of health challenges, from cancer to heart surgery. Lily’s two children seemed endlessly afflicted with asthma. Then the doctor revealed a different diagnosis. It was cystic fibrosis. The devastated family had to relocate to a more urban area, where a children’s hospital could provide steady care. Elaine wondered how her family could share enduring friendship, support and compassion from so far away. One day, she was watching her talented daughter, Kristen, paint a portrait on canvas. Perhaps a portrait of the children would bring solace to their dear friends? Kristen painted the portrait, Grandma had it framed and Elaine sent the surprise package. Upon finding the gift on their doorstep, Lily phoned, exclaiming, “This portrait is a treasure! We hung it so it is the first thing we see in the mornings. It gives us courage.” Those words didn’t fall lightly on Elaine’s ears. They replayed in her mind, where she imagined bringing the same peace to others facing critical childhood illness. Her two daughters, Laura and Kristen, felt the same, and Portrait Connection was formed. Elaine left her job and steady income. The organization


received nonprofit status, and planning began to paint portraits for families across the country facing serious childhood ailments. The three women knew they needed to get the word out, so one day Elaine went into Cascade Publications in Bend, OR. She hesitantly asked for a little blurb in the arts magazine, and the editor loved what they were doing. He said, “If you bring me 10 portraits by March 1, I’ll give you the cover and a feature article.” Elaine calmly said, “Sure thing!” then went out to the car and exclaimed, “How will we even begin to accomplish this!” The timing was almost impossible; there was no money to pay 10 artists and there were no Central Oregon portraits in queue. But nonprofits are capable of tremendous feats, and the family’s Jewish heritage taught them that belief mixed with rachamim, or compassion, is powerful. The new challenge also created an idea for incorporating the whole community into the plan. What if the 10 portraits were presented at a public celebration? It would open the eyes of neighbors, who are often unaware of the everyday struggles of neighbors in medical upheaval. That portrait presentation celebration, Power of Art: Portraits, became the first event of its kind and included a month-long exhibition. The response to the event was astounding. The outpouring of communal compassion at these Portrait Presentation Ceremonies is beyond compare. The many tears shed at the

Israeli jazz saxophonist Eli Degibri PHOTO BY YOSSI ZWECKER

Left: Sculpture artist Kelly Thiel and child. PHOTO BY GARY CALICOTT

GIFTING CEREMONY Attend a Portrait Connection Gifting Ceremony to experience the healing power of art. WHEN June 8 from 4 to 6 pm WHERE Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort, 5501 N. Hacienda del Sol Road, Tucson INFORMATION 541-421-3715 or

Above: Portrait Connections founder Elaine Eisenbraun presents a portrait to Patrick in New York. event were neither tears of sadness nor of joy, but simply of humanity. Several families have said that their child’s portrait has changed their lives. It creates a sanctuary of joy in their homes where they can look into the eyes of their beloved child and feel courage infiltrating their souls. One family said, “This portrait is worth a million dollars to us.” A father said, “After a tough night, I come downstairs and look into his eyes, and it just flips on the positive switch.” Another mom explained, “Our son’s condition is terminal. Someday this is all we’ll have.” Portrait Connection shares a brand new concept. While “Arts in Healthcare” is a growing phenomenon around the world, its emphasis is on hospital settings. What if we can bring art back to its roots as a messenger in our own homes, where it can convey the ultimate message of compassion to families who need to know that we all care, and to artists who need our support to keep their craft alive? The gift is priceless. Elaine Eisenbraun is both the author of this piece and the founder of Portrait Connections.


Dad’s last list By Amy Hirshberg Lederman


t wasn’t more than a few days after my Dad died, just four months shy of his 100th birthday, that my brother and I began the formidable task of “going through Dad’s desk.” The desk wasn’t really a desk at all; it was a repository for mountains of papers, financial statements, annual reports, brochures, medical journals and magazines dating back to 1963 covering everything from isometric exercise to safaris. Buried under a pile of backdated Wall Street Journals was the gift I had given Dad on his 70th birthday – a white plastic sign that stated Dad’s philosophy in bold black letters: A clean desk is a sign of a sick mind! It made me reflect on my own compulsive need for tidiness, and I breathed easier as my brother and I tackled the stacks, tossing years of articles marked “consider for the future” or “review later” into 33-gallon garbage bags. It is deeply comforting to actually do something concrete after someone you love dies. It can be almost anything really, a task that requires physical concentration like a sink that needs fixing, drawers that need to be emptied, or, in my case, a desk that needed cleaning. A task has a beginning, middle and end and


helps makes order out of the emotional chaos that often reigns in the aftermath of death. It gives you a purpose and a place to park your numbness and grief while hoping that in some way, your actions will honor or benefit the one you loved as well as those who live on. My Dad was not a “woo-woo” kind of guy. He was more of a “no-nonsense, what you see is what you get” kind of fellow. He rarely waxed prophetic, nor did he sentimentalize. So it was more than a mere coincidence that one of the first things my brother found, placed intentionally on top of a year’s worth of Schwab statements, was a hand-written list of Dad’s Top Ten, carefully penned on aged legal paper. And unlike Dad’s other lists, it didn’t contain buy-sell prices or strategies to beat the market. It was more of a summary of a millennium of life lessons learned, clearly meant to guide us in the days and years after he was gone. Given the state of his desk, I almost laughed out loud when I read the opening paragraph: “All compulsive behavior creates clutter. Make a conscious effort to identify and eliminate the cause of your clutter.” The second paragraph really hit me hard because underlying its message was a sense of remorse and regret for not having followed his own maxim about time. “Do not treat time casually like life is just a practice run. Live like you have but six months to live. Determine what you really would like to do and schedule time for it before it is too late. Do the important things NOW. Make the best use of your time by planning and rearranging for more efficiency.” These paragraphs were followed by a list of ten directives entitled: “Questions to assist in establishing values.” True to form, only three of the ten were questions, the remaining seven were clear directives; Dad’s guiding hand leading the way. “What are your goals?” “How would you like to spend your time?” “If you could do but one thing today, what would it be? Do it now.” Clearly, the clock was ticking for Dad. The paper wasn’t dated, and I can’t help but wonder when Dad wrote this list. Was he a young man trying to craft principles to establish his career, family and life? Was it after he retired when he had more free time and resources? Or was it, as I sense, in preparation for his own demise, during the many hours that physical energy eluded him but mental acuity did not. I sense that in some way, this was Dad’s last attempt to teach his children, whom he knew would find it, the most important things he knew at the end of his life. Essentially, it was Dad’s Best Practices for living life to the fullest. I ask myself why Dad never spoke about this before he died. What would he have wanted to do that he never did? It will remain one of the conversations I wish we could have had when he was still alive. It would have opened up so much in terms of knowing how he really felt about life, what were his best decisions, his biggest disappointments. Sadly, I will never know. But at least I have the list.


Amy Hirshberg Lederman has written more than 300 columns and essays that have been published nationwide,

A dozen gift ideas for dad Pizza Cutter • $15

WHEN A MAN becomes a father, he also becomes his son’s first hero and his daughter’s first love. He’s also the one who gives advice (although not always wanted) and tells those great dad jokes (also not always wanted). What do you get this guy for Father’s Day? Before you give up and grab a tie (don’t do it!) take a look at our list of fun – and useful – gifts for dear old dad.

For the full gift guide, visit:

By Mala Blomquist

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Whiskey Wedge $17.95 YETI Rambler 18-ounce Bottle $29.99

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Pro Tech Toolkit $59.99

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Lavender Shaving Kit • $95 JEWISH LIFE | SUMMER 2019 17


The MegaCrew Yung ID from New Zealand competed at Hip Hop International’s 2018 World Finals.


HIP HOP INTERNATIONAL: Uniting the world through dance By Mala Blomquist


hat comes to mind when you hear the terms breaking, popping, locking or whacking? If you’re thinking it’s the sounds your middle-aged bones are making in the morning, you’re only partially right. For the thousands of dancers who will descend on Phoenix this August, these are the names of the moves they spend hours perfecting. For the third straight year, the Hip Hop International World Hip Hop Dance Championship will be held in Phoenix Aug. 5-10. Before the world competition, the Hip Hop International U.S.A. Finals will run Aug. 2-4. If you enter “hip-hop dance crews” in the YouTube search bar, you will be inundated with videos. You can lose hours mesmerized by these dancers performing athletic moves with perfect precision. According to the HHI website, “Hip hop dance is a fusion of dance disciplines and cultural interpretations that capture the look, attitude, posture, music and elements of the urban environment.” If you attend a HHI competition, you may see Howard and Karen Schwartz. The couple looks slightly out of place – perhaps parents who are there to cheer on JEWISH LIFE | SUMMER 2019 19

Howard and Karen Schwartz with their canine companion, Riley.


HIP-HOP INTERNATIONAL a competitor. But you’ll quickly notice that everybody seems to know the couple. That’s because they are the force behind the juggernaut that is Hip Hop International.


Howard and Karen met in the ’80s when Karen was producing an aerobics competition (yes, the leg warmers and leotards kind). Howard, who owned a marketing and production company, was researching how to create something similar on a national basis. It was beshert from the beginning. The two took their combined skills and brought aerobic championships across the United States and then branched out internationally. They also began to produce competitions for television. “A lot of the videos we produced years ago have now gone viral,” says Karen. “Taylor Swift had a song called ‘Shake It Off,’ and someone took it and matched it up with our old TV show and it went viral.” In the late ’80s the championship was gaining notoriety, and the couple picked up some big sponsors including Crystal Light. The Schwartzes also worked with Shape magazine when it was a fledgling publication. Now the quirky fitness craze has morphed into a legitimate sport. “Now it’s a full-fledged sports discipline under gymnastics and the USAG,” says Howard. The couple was in Paris for an aerobic championship when they first encountered what would become their future. “We saw a bunch of b-boys (breakdancers) on the street,” says Howard. “It draws a big crowd any time you see b-boys on the street. They are tremendously athletic and very dance-oriented as well. It’s a unique step and a unique type of dance.” They noticed how enticing and entertaining it was for people to watch. “Then we were in Tokyo, also for aerobics, and as we were getting off the subway and in front of the stores there were a number of dancers, they were doing a hip-hop style of dance in groups,” recalls Howard. Karen adds, “They were utilizing the storefront windows as mirrors – they could see themselves in it.” The couple noticed that wherever they traveled in the world, they would come upon street performers doing some version of hip-hop. They also realized that there wasn’t a platform for the dance style to be able to share it with the general public. After this realization, they brought together a group of people who understood dance more than they did and took a couple of years to make sure that they created the proper foundation.

From left: Karen Schwartz, Don Campbell, Toni Basil, Randy Jackson and Howard Schwartz at Hip Hop International’s World Hip Hop Dance Championship in Las Vegas.

“What’s, very, very important in hip-hop dance is the respect of the basics and the origins,” says Karen. “We took our time to make sure that we developed the rules and guidelines that respected the dance.” Once they were ready, they launched their first hip-hop dance competition in 2002. Held in South Beach, FL, the event had competitors from 12 countries. Hip Hop International was born. “We were impressed with the cultural differences and how entertaining it was and the talent we saw from the U.S. and from around the world,” says Karen. “We had a sense that this was the start of something big.”


After they produced Hip Hop International competitions for a few years, the Schwartzes wanted to get the concept out so that it would become more mainstream. They began to pitch the idea of a dance competition show to different television studios, and after five years they were picked up. “America’s Best Dance Crew” premiered on Feb. 7, 2008, on MTV. The show was produced by Randy Jackson who was well known after his appearance as a judge on “American Idol.” “MTV told us that, ‘Your show is our American Idol,’ ” remembers Howard. On the show, dance crews would showcase their talents and compete for a $100,000 grand prize. The winner of season one was the JabbaWockeeZ. In 2010, the JabbaWockeeZ crew began performing in Las Vegas, becoming the first dance crew ever to headline a show there. They now perform their show, “JREAMZ” every Thursday through Monday at the MGM Grand. ABDC ran for eight successful seasons. In 2016, the Quest Crew won a Creative Arts Emmy Award for outstanding choreography on the show, beating out two nominees from “So You Think You Can Dance.” Their show was at the beginning of the wave of popularity that performance competition shows now enjoy. “When we were doing auditions one season for ABDC, our casting director was also casting for this brand new show ‘The Voice,’” says Karen. “She was showing us the concept of the chairs turning around and all that. That was brand new.” JEWISH LIFE | SUMMER 2019 21


HIP HOP INTERNATIONAL USA HIP HOP DANCE CHAMPIONSHIP Dance crews from across America compete for the U.S.A. title and to represent the U.S.A. in the World Championship. WHEN: Aug. 3-4 WHERE: Arizona Grand Resort & Spa, 8000 Arizona Grand Pkwy., Phoenix

WORLD HIP HOP DANCE CHAMPIONSHIP Winning dance crews from 50+ countries including U.S.A. compete for the world title. WHEN: Aug. 6-10 WHERE: Preliminaries at Arizona Grand Resort & Spa, 8000 Arizona Grand Pkwy., Phoenix; Final Aug. 10 at Gila River Arena, 9400 W. Maryland Ave., Glendale

WORLD BATTLES The world’s top bboys/bgirls, poppers, lockers, whackers and all-stylers compete for world honors and cash prizes in 1vs1 and 2vs2 dance battles. WHEN: Aug. 9 WHERE: Arizona Grand Resort & Spa, 8000 Arizona Grand Pkwy., Phoenix For more information, or to purchase tickets to any event, visit


Thanks to social media and YouTube, once a crew wins a Hip Hop Dance Championship they become known worldwide. Since the competition started, it has paved the way for many hip-hop dancers and choreographers to make a career doing what they love. One such example is Parris Goebel. A New Zealand-born choreographer and dancer, her crew, The Royal Family, won the international championship three times. Since then, she has had the opportunity to work with Ciara, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and many others. “It’s like an Olympic athlete,” says Karen. “Some will take it and get the endorsements or go touring or teach or perform. It’s an opportunity for some very talented people. This is their opportunity to shine and get out there and be discovered.” The top dancers are usually in their 20s or 30s. The youngest competitor was age 7. The oldest crew to ever perform at the championship had an average age of 80. This particular crew hailed from a small island of the coast of New Zealand called Waiheke, and they wanted nothing more than to compete at the World Hip Hop Dance Championship. “Their director put this crew together for seniors and she called us and asked if she could compete in our event – we laughed and said the only way you can compete is if you win your national championship in your country,” says Howard. “We finally decided we will invite you to perform if you send us videos of your progression.” They did end up at WHHDC (in the special exhibition performance category). A documentary called “Hip Hop-eration” followed their journey from New Zealand to Las Vegas. “Their stories are so genuine and beautiful,” says Howard. “Hip Hop-eration” is not the only movie following the trail of a crew to WHHDC. A 2015 film, “Anybody Can Dance 2,” was based on the story of the Kings United India dance crew. They were the first Indian group ever to win a medal the WHHDC. In 2015 they earned a bronze and were also the crowd favorites. “They went back to India, and a motion picture company heard about their story and said that they wanted to recreate it for a movie,” says Howard. “They did – but in the movie, they won. This crew has grown tremendously around the world.” The Schwartzes realize the difficulties that some of the crews may encounter when trying to get to the United States to compete. They work with Adam Schiff ’s office in California to try and help the dancers with their visas. “When we started, the MegaCrew (10-40 dancers) competition, was only for the U.S.A. because we figured it’s too much to ask a country, studio or group for the expense to come to the United States with that many dancers,” says Howard. “After the first year, we were inundated with, ‘How come we’re not part of this,’ so we opened it up to the world, and it now is probably the biggest of all the events.” The crews coming to compete this year represent 50 countries; each one is licensed under Hip Hop International. “There are HHI Japan, HHI Brazil, so on and so forth,” says Howard. “Part of our organization is operating and running an organization that

has 50 franchisees around the world.” They have a system of judging that was created when they first launched the championship. “It’s expanded, but we do teach a course all over the world, and we do have judges that are elite judges that go through the course and we approve them and certify them to a certain level so that they can teach around the world,” says Howard. The crews, from MiniCrews of three members to MegaCrews of up to 40 crewmembers are judged on their performance, technical skills and ability, but they are also encouraged to bring their culture to their dance. “The rules and guidelines – what it does – it allows everyone from around the world to compete under an even playing field but there’s certainly a lot of room for creativity, and we welcome that as well,” says Karen. “You will see the cultural flavor for a dance crew from India or China or Japan. You have Russia, China, Japan, Brazil the U.S. – everybody competing to be number one in the world – it’s an incredibly motivating event.”


The Schwartzes have two children, Jason who is 30 and Lauren who is 22. Lauren just graduated from the University of Oregon with a major in cinema studies and music. Jason is a sports broadcaster and lately he has been working for a minor league affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, the Lancaster JetHawks. “Throughout the years they have been our best focus group,” says Karen. “They always are appreciative of the hard work, and I think we have been good role models. They are great kids.” Howard remembers that the kids were especially excited when they were working on “America’s Best Dance Crew.” “Our kids could really appreciate what we were doing, and all their friends enjoyed it,” he says. The couple raised their children with the traditional values of Judaism. Howard says that it was important for the children to know their history, and to be able to ask questions. “I think we’ve been able to share something that we are passionate about throughout the world,” adds Karen. “It’s

been very rewarding to pull cultures together and family values, and we feel that we’ve really given something back to both the global community and families as well.” It’s one thing to produce a competition on a global level, but the Schwartzes also create an atmosphere where real connections and friendships can be made under the shared passion for dance. For the time that the dancers are in Phoenix, the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa becomes their “Olympic Village.” “We have crews and dancers coming in from all over the world, and we have a wonderful opening ceremony, like the Olympics,” says Karen. “The way we kick it all off starts it on the right foot where everybody meets one another so that it’s a week of friendship.” “I always remark to people that our final event is four hours long, but people do not leave that arena,” says Howard. “They stay until the very end, and it is exciting watching the dancers onstage live and in the audience are people from their country waving flags calling out the name of the country. It’s really like being at the Olympics.” “It’s very entertaining, and it’s interesting for people that have never seen it before to come as a spectator,” adds Karen. “We had one woman who had never seen it, and she came up to us and said ‘this is probably the best four hours of my life.’ ” When the final medals are awarded, the winners stand on podiums and their country’s flag is lowered and the anthem is played. “People stand in respect and tears run down all the dance crews’ faces,” recounts Karen. “All the hardship to even get to the championship, after months and months of training and then to finally win it, you see it on their faces. It’s incredible.” That takes a lot of work to make sure that they give everybody the best experience possible – both as a participant or a spectator. “It’s rewarding when you see the fruits of the efforts for (working) year round and see everyone come together,” says Karen. “We went them to, as soon as they leave, count the days when they can hopefully come back.” TLxWC - USA won the gold medal in the Varsity Division at Hip Hop International’s 2017 World Hip Hop Dance Championship finals.



Fun-in-the-sun Fashion By Mala Blomquist

SUMMER means extended time outside and in

the sun. While feeling sun on your face is one of life’s simple pleasures, those rays include ultraviolet radiation, and exposure to those rays can lead to sunburn, premature skin aging and skin cancer. While you can slather on the sunscreen, why not add an additional protective layer by choosing clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor. UPF is the rating system used for apparel. It’s similar to SPF, the rating system used for sunscreen products. The higher the number, the better the sun protection. UPF gauges a fabric’s effectiveness in blocking ultraviolet radiation. For example, a UPF rating of 25 means that only 1/25 or 4% of the UV radiation can penetrate the fabric. The highest UPF rating a garment can be assigned is 50+. A piece in this range is determined as providing “excellent” protection from UV radiation. All items listed have a UPF 50+.



1. Black Sun Protective Uni-Suit Slip on this stylish uni-suit with gold hardware. This suit gives you the added protection of long sleeves. Supportive bra cup feature stays put no matter how active you get, and it’s a sleek pairing for beach and lounge pants.


2. Casual Traveler Women’s Sun Protection Hat This casual, summer style has a 4” adjustable brim that can be worn up or down. With an assortment of colors, the Casual Traveler is sure to be the best companion for any summer outing! Extremely easy to pack and care for. 3. Girl’s & Women’s Fitness Polo The sporty design of this polo is perfect for outdoor activities like running, golf, tennis or riding. Made with soft, slightly textured material that is lightweight and breathable, providing superior moisture management for dry comfort in warm conditions. Contrast mesh lining on the underside of the arms allows for increase air flow for added cooling during activity in the heat.


4. Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Shirt Versatile performance knit for use on trails or on the water provides 50+ UPF sun protection and Polygiene permanent odor control. Patagonia tech tees keep you comfortable when you’re working hard in conditions ranging from cool to hot. Fair Trade Certified sewn. Available in men’s, women’s and children’s sizes.



TRAVEL DESTINATIONS FOR 2019 Article courtesy Family Features


aking time to go on vacation or to just unplug from everyday life can be beneficial, and there’s certainly no lack of options when it comes to choosing an ideal vacation spot. The options for experiencing an amazing vacation are so plentiful, such as exploring a cruise port, eating and drinking your way around a city or simply visiting a new destination, you may find yourself struggling to narrow down the choices. By focusing first on what type of vacation experience you would enjoy most, the details of the location may more easily fall into place. “Often, would-be vacationers get so hung up on figuring out where they want to go, they forget to consider what they’ ll do when they get there,” says Matthew Phillips, director of travel for AARP Services, Inc. “It makes sense to keep location in mind when it comes to considerations like climate, but knowing what types of activities, entertainment and sights you hope to experience can help ensure you plan a travel experience of a lifetime.” Once you’ve determined how you’ d like to spend your time, you can begin to explore some hot travel destinations, such as these:

CALIFORNIA: Rent a car and take a road trip down the California coast and experience sunshine, culture and more as you drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco. It may be one single coastline, but California is filled with scenic views of the Pacific Ocean and tourist attractions, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Hollywood sign. CARIBBEAN: There are few better ways to escape the hot weather than with a Caribbean cruise, where breathtaking excursions, first-rate cuisine, exciting nightlife and spectacular entertainment fill every day and night. There are dozens of cruise options available, so it’s a good idea to do plenty of research and look into special incentives and offers to complement the experience. For example, the AARP Travel Center powered by Expedia provides exclusive offers to members on select cruises, including up to $1,000 in onboard credit. FLORIDA GULF COAST: The warmer seasons are perfect for unplugging and relaxing by the sand and water. Head to the beaches of Florida and get a room with a view so the water is never out of reach. For example, Sarasota, FL offers miles of beaches, including Siesta Key, known for its majestic waters and luxurious amenities. SOUTHWEST FRANCE: Explore the beautiful wine-growing region of Southwest France through a fascinatingly historical and invigorating river cruise. For example, the Uniworld Bordeaux river cruise allows guests to sail three rivers: the Garonne, the Dordogne and the Gironde. The experience blends land and water with archaeological and historical tours, artisanal wine tastings, sprawling gardens and charming villages to explore. Take your experience a step further and see the sights while feeling like a local by going on a spotlight tour, an intimate way to uncover hidden gems. SINGAPORE: If you want to immerse yourself into a completely new and unique culture, hop on a flight and explore Singapore, commonly referred to as a “shopper paradise” for its emerging brands and bargains stores. Enjoy both the urban and natural attractions while indulging in the eclectic dining scene. Singaporean cuisine is full of diverse plates, such as bak kut teh, laksa and fried carrot cake, derived from several ethnic groups. If you’re ready to start planning a satisfying getaway, a resource like AARP Member Benefits can assist with planning and saving money along the way. Learn more at JEWISH LIFE | SUMMER 2019 25



SUMMER AND A GOOD BOOK – the perfect pair Compiled by Deborah Moon Over the past six months, a wide assortment of Jewish-themed books have arrived at my doorstep to be stacked into a precarious pile on my desk. With summer leisure in the wind, it’s time to share some of these titles with you for your reading pleasure. KIDS BOOKS


Mommy, Who Was Irena Sendler? by Cathy Werling, (Lowell Milken Center for Unsung

Eternal Life, by Dara Horn (W.W. Norton &

Heroes, Oct. 2018), paperback, 40 pages, ages 7-12, $9.95

Irena Sendler, a young social worker in Poland, was determined to help save Jewish children from the concentration camps. Irena smuggled them out of the Warsaw Ghetto and hid them with non-Jewish families. She buried their Jewish names and where they were sent in glass jars, hoping to reunite the families once the war ended. Irena Sendler’s story was unknown for 60 years, until three high school students discovered it during a history project. Good Night, Wind: A Yiddish Folktale, by Linda Elovitz Marshall, illustrated by Maelle Soliveus, (Holiday House, Feb. 26, 2019), Hardcover, $17.99

When the exhausted winter wind throws a snowy tantrum, it finds comfort in the friendship of two young children in this lyrical retelling of a Yiddish folktale illustrated with stunning collage. FAMILY Simple Acts: The Busy Family’s Guide to Giving Back, by Natalie Silverstein

(Gryphon House; April 1, 2019), paperback, 144 pages, $19.95

Natalie Silverstein believes it’s never too early to start kids on the path of tikkun olam. Here she offers parents hundreds of practical ideas on how to do just that – from visiting the elderly to cleaning up a playground on Earth Day to writing notes to active duty military. Simple Acts brings busy parents practical, easy-to-do ideas, to involve the whole family in volunteering.

Co., Jan. 8, 2019), paperback, 244 pages, $15.95

Rachel’s current troubles—a middleaged son mining digital currency in her basement, a scientist granddaughter trying to peek into her genes—are only the latest in a litany spanning dozens of countries, scores of marriages, hundreds of children, and 2,000 years, going back to Romanoccupied Jerusalem. Only one person shares her immortality: an illicit lover who pursues her through the ages. But when her children develop technologies that could change her fate, Rachel must find a way out. From ancient religion to the scientific frontier, Dara Horn pits our efforts to make life last against the deeper challenge of making life worth living. NONFICTION ELIE WIESEL: An Extraordinary Life and Legacy – Writings, Reflections, Photographs, edited by Nadine Epstein (Moment Books, April 2, 2019), Trade Paperback, $35

In this striking volume, editor-in-chief and CEO of Moment Magazine Nadine Epstein shares her memories of Wiesel and brings together 36 reflections from friends, colleagues and others who knew him — including his son Elisha Wiesel, Michael Berenbaum, Wolf Blitzer, Father Patrick Desbois, Ben Kingsley, Ronald S. Lauder, Bernard-Henri Levy, Kati Marton, Itzhak Perlman, Natan Sharansky, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Oprah Winfrey and Ruth Wisse. The foreword is by world famous British Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and the Afterword is by acclaimed broadcaster Ted Koppel and it includes more than 100 photographs.





I read about it in

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Federation matters to me because when my family came to America, we had nothing and we didn’t speak the language. Federation helped us to settle in and supported us every step of the way so I could become the person I am today.


Strengthening Jewish life and identity while providing for Jews in need

Elena Kohn

480.481.7031 |


Peter Evans,

CEO of Bon Voyage Travel and World Traveler By Barbara Russek


“YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING! ” was my stunned response when the airline agent recently gave me the bad news. In the ten days since I’d first made an inquiry, the price of a one-way ticket I wanted to purchase had gone up almost $250. In a panic, I called Bon Voyage Travel. Agent Lynne’s suggestion for an alternate route saved me well over $200, and that included the agency’s service fee! Lesson learned. A travel agency may indeed save you not only time but money. Peter Evans, founder and CEO of Bon Voyage Travel, agrees. Born in New Haven, CT in 1952, His Jewish upbringing included going to Hebrew School three days a week to prepare for his bar Peter mitzvah. “Today,” he says, “I attend High Holiday services and Evans contribute wherever I can to the Jewish community.” Moving to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona, this successful entrepreneur decided while still an undergraduate to go into business with a friend. “I always wanted to run my own business,” says Peter. The two opened BVT in 1976. “With my love of travel (he has visited 75 countries and six continents) and curiosity about other people and cultures, it was the right choice.” Within a year, the friend lost interest. “I bought him out,” he says, “and never looked back.” When asked about his favorite destinations, this world traveler didn’t hesitate – Africa and New Zealand. “Africa,” he says, “because it’s ancient, awe-inspiring and you’re immersed in nature. It all really touches your emotions. New Zealand,” adds Peter, “because of its sheer beauty and incredible people. If I were 30 years younger, I’d consider moving there.” A married father of three adult children, Peter loves all manner of travel. His three favorites are with his wife, in a group of extended family members and accompanied by friends. A trip with his wife to New York (see a show, shop and eat great food) is perfect. With an energetic family group, sightseeing and enjoying nightlife fit the bill. A cruise is ideal with friends because of the many activities available. There’s something for just about everyone. I was intrigued by Peter’s continuing passion for the travel business after more than 40 years and was anxious to ask him a few questions. 1. With locations in Tucson, Oro Valley, Green Valley and Sun City/Surprise, BVT has stood the test of changing times. What are your secrets for running a successful business? Two come to mind immediately. One is that we treat staff like family, who in turn treat clients the same caring way. Also, we have always been at the forefront of technology and trends. Even with four local offices in Arizona, half of our business, including many cruise options, is now conducted online through websites that we market throughout North America and beyond. 2. In this day of online reservations, why is it still essential to have a travel advisor? An advisor sorts through all the information (and misinformation) that’s out there and handles every detail, so the traveler can relax and have peace of mind even when the occasional surprise pops up. 3. Why is a cruise a great way to travel? You can see more of the world and explore different destinations that you may want to revisit for a more intense experience. Plus, you only have to unpack once! A cruise makes a memorable trip – one that could well exceed your expectations. 4. What does travel do for your soul? It takes you out of your bubble and makes you realize that you are part of something much bigger. It’s stimulating for all ages – from children to elders – and makes folks well rounded and connects them to our planet and its people. 5. What are your plans for your next trip? My wife and I are going to Rwanda for gorilla trekking, followed by a safari in Kenya. This trip will be my first gorilla trekking and third safari. Seeing animals up close in their natural habitat makes for an unforgettable trip with great memories to take home. For more information on Bon Voyage Travel, visit or call 800-439-7963. Barbara Russek, a Tucson nearly native, is a former classroom French teacher. She has been a freelance writer for the past 13 years. JEWISH LIFE | SUMMER 2019 29


Linda Hirshman: A woman of words, music and more By Leni Reiss


Linda Hirshman has been there – done that – and is still doing

Check out her resume: labor attorney, cultural historian, bestselling author, Ph.D., educator, activist … and pianist. Her accomplishments to date are prodigious – and she continues to fill her days with new challenges – incorporated into a disciplined daily routine. Linda splits her time almost equally between the Valley and New York City, with roots in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. That is where, in her early teens, she wrote a published letter to the editor of Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer about affairs of state in colonial Africa. “I was political at an early age,” she says, “always taking the side of the less powerful.” Not surprising then, following graduation from Cornell, that she attended law school at the University of Chicago, only the second woman at that time to be invited to join a topnotch Chicago “white shoe” law firm. Although the work was interesting, she says, it wasn’t totally satisfying – “because what I was doing was getting the powerful to be more powerful.” Linda segued to a law firm that focused on helping the 30 SUMMER 2019 | JEWISH LIFE

disempowered and the unions. “I spent many happy years there,” she recalls. “The work was much more challenging. But when Reagan choked the unions and we were losing our battles, I was heartbroken … and changed course.” She went on to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy at the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois and then moved with her husband and daughters to Waltham, MA, joining the faculty at Brandeis University as a member of the women’s studies department. She stayed at Brandeis “until I got bored,” she says. At that point, when she was 59 years old, the family moved to Manhattan to an apartment near Lincoln Center. “It turns out,” she shares with a smile, “I wasn’t ready to retire – and again, I was bored!” For a time, she freelanced for The New York Times “and went to the theater.” She already had written A Woman’s Guide to Law School, and her next project was Hard Bargains, dealing with marriage in the post-feminist era. This challenged women “to get a life before it’s too late.” “Having lived in an academic world, I was surprised by ‘the little woman syndrome,’ the phenomenon of white women making

alliances with prominent men. Their men’s successes,” Linda says, “were their job, and it was understood that the crumbs from that table were richer than what a woman could make for herself. This situation still is not untypical.” Her premise proved to be wildly controversial, and she says she has gotten hate mail. Widowed at age 67, Linda says that as time has passed, she is a different person, “always independent but with new strengths and pleasures.” She finds comfort in the knowledge that “my husband would be very proud of me,” she says, adding, “Imagining him always is a cheerful thought.” With a second home in the Valley since 1983, Linda is spending more time in Phoenix, “seeking out fellow Democrats through museum memberships, a great book club – contributing to a liberal intellectual community.” Highly organized, she starts her day at the computer, drinking coffee, checking e-mails, reading, editing drafts of a current project “and eating an unlimited amount of junk food.” To fulfill a longtime desire to play the piano, Linda has been taking lessons for some 20 years, starting out on a little used upright. “I didn’t want to wind up with an expensive coatrack,” she explains, but she since has invested in a baby grand – and practices an hour or two daily, making time as well to swim, go out with friends and entertain. “I’m a good cook,” she adds. Reckoning is the title of her new book, and it addresses sexual abuse and harassment. “Most people think that the #MeToo movement started not long ago,” she says, “but in fact, feminism has been on the rise for years. This is not a sudden eruption, but a predictable outcome of the gathering of social forces.” This renaissance woman defines herself as “a writer/storyteller,” focused on and mastering the art of telling stories of social changes in America. Reckoning surely fits that definition.

Linda smilingly refers to herself as “something of a Cassandra,” referring to the woman in Greek mythology who was cursed to utter prophesies that were true but that no one believed. “Seeing the future,” she says, “led to writing my books.” Here is a partial list of Linda’s literary output: A Woman's Guide to Law School: Everything You Need to Know to Survive and Succeed in Law School – from Finding the Right School to Finding the Right Job Hard Bargains: The Politics of Sex Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World Sisters-in-Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World (A play based on the book recently had a successful run at The Phoenix Theatre.) Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution Reckoning: The Epic Battle Against Sexual Abuse and Harassment (Release date June 11, 2019)

With so many things to do, we suggest getting an early start on your want-to-do list. There’s a lot to do at La Siena Senior Living Community—clubs, events, socializing, and more. So, go ahead and make your want-to-do list. But please don’t include a bunch of chores. We’ll take care of most of those for you. We invite you to see all that La Siena has to offer (including assisted living services if needed) at a complimentary lunch & tour.

Join us for a complimentary lunch and tour. Please call 602.910.6319 to schedule. It’s a great way to get to know us!

909 East Northern Avenue • Phoenix, AZ

602.910.6319 JEWISH LIFE | SUMMER 2019 31


and teens too!

Valley of

the Sun JCC offers water safety tips

Valley of the Sun JCC swim instructor Samantha Brand teaches little Heidi Mildenberger how to swim

With the rising temperatures and large number of backyard pools in the Greater Phoenix area, the Valley of the Sun JCC is urging parents to be vigilant about water safety. “Pools are an inviting oasis in our hot summers and the best way to enjoy the water, especially for children, is to be water safe and learn to swim,” said Debbie Meek, aquatics director and certified swim instructor at The J. “Infants as young as six months can learn to swim.” Debbie cautions parents against the use of water wings and floaties. She feels these items can instill a false sense of security in parents that their children are safe, but warns that these items can easily slip off or tip over. “Despite what we see in the movies, drowning most often occurs with a silent slip under the water, not a lot of splashing and screaming,” says Debbie. “By the time

parents notice that a child has gone under, it may be too late.” A dedicated Masters swimmer herself, Debbie feels swimming is an important life skill that cannot only prevent or save a life from drowning, but it is also an excellent form of exercise that is easy on the body and beats the summer heat. The J offers private and group swim lessons for all ages and abilities, including infants of at least six months of age. “Whether you learn to swim here in our fabulous heated pool or elsewhere, the important thing is to learn to swim and make sure your children and loved ones know how to swim and to be safe around water,” says Debbie. To learn more about swim lessons and programs at The J, visit

Seven Tips for Staying Safe Around Water The Valley of the Sun JCC offers these simple tips for staying safe around water: • Teach children to swim as early as possible • Supervise children near water – don’t turn your back, not even for a second • Secure doors and gates around pools • Keep tables and chairs away from pool fences • Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security with gates and floaties – there is no substitute for adult supervision • Never leave toys or floats in and around pools • Know CPR 32 SUMMER 2019 | JEWISH LIFE

Camp Ocean comes to the Valley There’s a new camp this summer tailored for young explorers, animal lovers and budding marine biologists. OdySea Aquarium’s Camp Ocean, an indoor summer camp located at 9500 E. Via de Ventura in Scottsdale is for kids in grades K through 8. The camps are held weekdays in June and July and offer half- and full-day options as well as after-camp child care. Campers will enjoy learning about diverse fresh and saltwater species, different ecosystems, animal adaptations, marine biology, and conservation through classroom activities, behind the scenes tours and hands-on learning experiences. “We are so excited to offer Camp Ocean, which specifically focuses our education and conservation efforts toward young minds and empowers kids to make a difference in protecting our natural resources,” says Jess Peranteau, director of animal care and education at OdySea Aquarium. “Our goal is to inspire kids of various ages to protect the oceans and our planet by connecting with nature through up-close animal experiences and hands-on activities.”

Aquarium’s own amazing animal habitats.

Junior Marine Biologists: Care & Conservation Grades 6-8 June 17-21, July 8-12

Campers will develop not only a better understanding for our ocean and its inhabitants, but what we can do to help protect them and preserve our planet. This camp will facilitate behind the scenes experiences that will teach what it takes to care for these amazing animals.

Registration, dates and tuition fees for Camp Ocean are available at or by calling 480-291-8192.

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The camps offered are as follows: Fins, Feathers, and Fur: All about Animals for grades K-2 June 10-14, July 1-5, July 22-26

Learn all about aquatic and terrestrial animals that are dependent on the oceans and their surrounding ecosystems. This camp will explore some of the unique characteristics of animals, including their adaptations, diets, and food chain, with interactive and fun activities designed for our younger campers.

Land, Sea, and Sky: Habitats of the World for grades 3-5 June 3-7, June 24-28, July 15-19

Take a tour around the world exploring the planet’s diverse animal habitats and the animals that rely on them. Explore ecosystems within each habitat and learn how all the animals within them are interdependent. This camp will provide interactive and up-close experiences exploring some of OdySea

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Shavuot around the state Shavuot begins at sundown on Saturday, June 8 and ends on the evening of Monday, June 10. Although its origins are founded in an ancient grain harvest festival, Shavuot has long been identified with the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai seven weeks after the exodus from Egypt. There are many locations in the Valley and in Tucson that are holding all-night Torah study sessions along with celebrations involving cheesecake and ice cream, as eating dairy products during Shavuot are customary.

For a complete listing of events related to Shavuot, visit

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FEDERATION NOTES Shavuot – Keeping Tradition Alive By Marty Haberer

This month we celebrate Shavuot, which commemorates the giving of the Torah, or law, by G-d to the Jewish people – think Charlton Heston receiving the ten commandments in Cecil B. DeMille’s Passover classic. Also known as the Feast of Weeks, it occurs 50 days after the second day of Passover. As one might expect, for many observant Jews, Shavuot is one of the holiest days of the year given that we are celebrating G-d’s covenant with the Jews as His chosen people. In Christianity, Shavuot took on a different meaning in the form of the Pentecost. Both history and rabbinic custom contribute to the way Shavuot is celebrated, which makes for an unusual and enjoyable holiday – especially for those who like cheesecake. Because the Israelites had to learn how to prepare meat in the new accepted way according to the law, tradition stipulates that meat is not eaten on Shavuot. It became customary to eat and celebrate with dairy products on Shavuot. Though there is no biblical or historical foundation for this notion, this delicious tradition has stuck. For centuries, it has also been customary to study the Torah through the night. In fact, when I was a Yeshiva student, I learned some incredible Chasidic stories during these overnight sessions. It was an unforgettable experience. In Israel, many secular Jews celebrate Shavuot by going to museums, art exhibits, etc. Most nonobservant Jews all over the world know little or anything about Shavuot, and it sometimes passes in obscurity on the Jewish calendar. So, I challenge us all to find new and creative ways to celebrate and find meaning in Shavuot and to fall in love with this oft-forgotten holiday all over again. What will you do? Chag Sameach.

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

Marty Haberer is President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix.


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FACES & PLACES CELEBRATING ISRAEL – The Israeli American Council – Arizona hosted a Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration for Israel’s 71st birthday on May 19 at the Moon Valley Country Club. Clockwise below: Marty Haberer and Ariella Feld; Israeli dancers; Shahar Edry; Susan Bondy, Sharone Bashkin Cohen and Yaeli Kalifi.

CELEBRATING GERDA – Gerda Klein, center, with her daughters, Vivian Ullman, left and Leslie Simon. Family members sponsored a celebration at Sagewood on May 9 to honor their matriarch on her 95th birthday. A buffet of Chinese delicacies along with bamboo table centerpieces reflected the honoree’s penchant for Chinese food. Photo by Leni Reiss

LUNCH WITH THE FONZ – David Lorsch and Cindy Lubin caught up with Henry Winkler for lunch in Los Angeles. Mr. Winkler was kind enough to throw it in as part of their bid for his signed leather coat at the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix’s MEGA event held in March.

CELEBRATING ACHIEVEMENT – Susan Klemes Karesky, right, an incoming mentor for a participant in The Women's Leadership Institutes' Cohort #5, with Rabbi Elana Kanter at The New Shul. A dessert reception on May 7 honored members of Cohort #4. The institute, founded by Rabbi Kanter. develops leaders who work collaboratively to build community. Photo by Leni Reiss


WINNING GOAL – Valley of the Sun JCC member Murray Sharkey accomplished his goal to swim 1,000 miles before his 80 birthday. He celebrated by presenting a $500 donation to J Development & Corporate Giving Director Andrea Quen for The J’s Smile Scholarship Campaign, making The J’s quality preschool, camp, membership and programming available to all regardless of financial status.


ANNUAL MEETING – The Arizona Jewish Historical Society held its annual meeting on May 19. The event honored local attorney Andrew Abraham with the Beryl Morton Jewish Heritage Award. Paul Eckstein was the keynote speaker. Approximately 100 people attended, including Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. Below: Honoree Andy Abraham with event chair Louise Leverant; Above: Flo and Paul Eckstein, Mayor Kate Gallego and Tim Eckstein.

SISTER TO SISTER – Project Inspire AZ held a Sister to Sister Brunch on May 5 to kick off its Shabbat Candle Lighting Initiative: Light Up Your Home & Light Up Your Life. Guest speakers were Yaffa Berger Palti, teacher, singer, songwriter and substance abuse professional and Noa Hami, former Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader and now kosher Jewish wife and mother. Pictured: Noa Hami addressed a full crowd at the Orange Tree Resort.

COURT CHAMPIONS – The Valley of the Sun JCC hosted a Jeff Berkowitz Youth Basketball Clinic for 50 children at Joseph Zito Elementary School, a Title I school in Phoenix, on May 18. It was an amazing morning filled with smiles as the kids learned to be champions on and off the court.


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On April 15th, 1912, Titanic, the world’s largest ship afloat at that time, sank after colliding with an iceberg. Today, 107 years later, OdySea in the Desert at 9500 E. Via de Ventura in Scottsdale is hosting “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition.” This unique, moving exhibit was designed with a focus on the legendary RMS Titanic’s compelling personal stories, best told through room re-creations and 137 artifacts, 120 of which have never been seen in Arizona. “Generations have been mesmerized by the story of the Titanic; from its grand send-off in England to its unfortunate collision with an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean that forever altered the lives of those aboard,” said Ran Knishinsky, partner and chief marketing officer at OdySea in the Desert entertainment destination. “Even after more than 100 years, the curiosity is still there. ‘Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition’ puts visitors in the shoes of passengers, showcasing authentic objects that offer a poignant, emotional connection to those traveling on the iconic ship. OdySea in the Desert is proud to offer this must-see experience in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area.” “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” is produced by Experiential Media Group, who is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Titanic, its wreckage site and all her passengers and crew through educational, historical, scientific and conservation-based programs and exhibitions. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit


The Arizona Jewish Historical Society presents a free screening of “Doing Jewish: A Story from Ghana” on June 11 at 7 pm at 122 E. Culver St. in Phoenix. What does religion mean to you? When Gabrielle Zilkha volunteered to work in Africa, religion wasn’t at the forefront of her mind. But when the Jewish New Year came along, she realized she was a lone Canadian Jew awash in a sea of Christians. Surprisingly, she found, in remote Sefwi Wiawso, Ghana, a group of people, dedicated and devout, who practiced special rites including circumcision and keeping Kosher dietary laws and had done so for centuries. Only recently had they discovered they were part of a worldwide religion with millions of followers – Judaism. The documentary is an exploration of the background and day-to-day lives of the Jews of Sewfi Wiawso, Ghana. At the same time, it shows the importance of connections, as we see the Sefwis try to reach out to other Jews worldwide and witness their ongoing struggle for acceptance and growth. Special thanks go to sponsors Susan and Ira Feldman. For more information, visit


Every Wednesday throughout the summer starting June 12, you can bring your toddler (up to age 3) to the splash pad at the Valley of the Sun JCC at 12701 N. Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale for PJ by the Pool from 9:30 to 10:30 am. 38 SUMMER 2019 | JEWISH LIFE

Children can have playtime at the splash pad and then enjoy an icy sweet treat. Members are free and guests are just $5. Check-in at the membership desk or pay at the door, no reservations necessary. For more information, contact Then on Friday, June 21 from 5 to 6:15 pm PJ Library will be hosting a Tot Shabbat at Temple Beth Shalom of the West Valley at 12202 N. 101st Ave. in Sun City. This special Shabbat will feature a story time, noodle crafts and a spaghetti dinner. For more information, or to make reservations, contact 623-977-3240 or PJ Library is funded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix and programmed in partnership with the Valley of the Sun JCC.


Cantorial Soloist Marjorie Hochberg has served the Temple Emanu-El community for 20 years this summer, and they are celebrating this milestone with a special concert on June 13 from 7 to 9 pm at 225 N. Country Club Road in Tucson. Join as Marjorie sings some of her favorite theater and opera Marjorie Hochberg solos, and musical friends old and new join in with Jewish favorites as well as world premieres. Featured musical guests include Rachel Saul, violinist of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra and one of Marjorie’s former students. She will play two new pieces, respectively written for this occasion by composer Lewis Saul and by Temple Emanu-El Music Director Robert Lopez-Hanshaw. Previous music director and accomplished pianist Chris Tackett is also performing, as well as Rouzbeh Tebyanian. Donations in Marjorie’s honor will be recognized at this event. For more information on donations, please contact Jill Rich at 520-349-0174.


Each summer, thousands of Jewish teens gather for a fun-filled week of athletic, social and cultural events at the JCC Maccabi Games. Since 1982, over 100,000 teens have participated in what is deemed the largest annual Jewish teen event. This year, the games will be held in Atlanta, GA, from July 28 through Aug. 2. To participate, teens must be age 12 by July 31 and cannot turn 17 until after July 31. The Maccabi Games is the Olympics for Jewish teens, but the event serves a much larger purpose than just being an athletic competition, as it promotes community involvement, teamwork, and pride in being Jewish. In addition, there are social events and opportunities to help others during the weeklong experience, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Participating in the JCC Maccabi Games is an opportunity to not only represent Tucson, but to meet teens from all over the country and world. The cost per athlete is $1600 and includes transportation, uniforms, merchandise, food, etc. Fundraising opportunities to lower cost are also provided. If interested or for more information, contact Josh Shenker at jshenker@

For more events happening throughout the summer, visit


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Arizona Jewish Life June 2019 Vol 7/Issue 8  

The lifestyle magazine for the Jewish community in Arizona.

Arizona Jewish Life June 2019 Vol 7/Issue 8  

The lifestyle magazine for the Jewish community in Arizona.