Page 1

NOV • DEC 2019

Julee Landau Shahon

Michael Pollack

Jordan Rose

Andrew Weil

Alma Hernandez

Tikkun Olam

TOP 10

Change Makers • Unsung Heroes • Influencers

Amran Knishinsky

Denise Resnik

Charitable Giving

Dan Shufelt


Nancy Silver

Yecheskel Friedman

Actively Senior

Tikkun Olam

TOP 10 18


Arizona Jewish Life • November/December 2019 • Cheshvan-Kislev-Tevet 5780 • Volume 8/Issue 2



JEWS WITH ATTITUDE Wandering the desert turns adventurer into successful inventor 10




CHARITABLE GIVING A global day of giving Looking to volunteer? The Mitzvah Hub can help! Giving guide


14 15 16

FRONT & CENTER Finding a passion for fused glass Hope and healing through art Hidden Pearl is another gem by author Judy Laufer


JKIDS & TEENS TOO StandWithUs program grows in Arizona


JLIVING Bob Silver honored for service to The J and the community Federation notes JNF’s Annual Men’s Event features Charlie Harary Previews Faces & Places

42 43 43 44 46


What’s next? 28 Risa Mallin: Making her mark 30 JFCS Center for Senior Enrichment is open to all 32 Senior living in Phoenix and Tucson 33 Get gardening 35


36 38

24 25


Eight fun facts about Hanukkah 2019 Holiday Gift Guide


NOV/DEC 2019 Arizona Jewish Life | Cheshvan-Kislev-Tevet 5780 • Volume 8/Issue 2



Cindy Salt zman

602-538-A ZJL (2955)

A DV E R TI S I N G A N D E D ITO R I A L D I R EC TO R Cindy Salt zman

E D ITO R- I N - C H I E F Mala Blomquis t


ART DIREC TOR Tamara Kopper

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Troy Hill Amy Hirshberg Lederman Susan Kern- Fleischer

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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,

Jewish professionals – though they also deserve

committed citizens can change the world.

praise – but Arizonans who forge ahead making

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

a significant difference on multiple fronts with

― Margaret Mead

creativity, tenaciousness and humility.


We know that covering 10 people is not nearly he quote above has always had a special place in my life. The wisest woman I know, my mother, Ruth Saltzman, kept the quote by the

kitchen phone as we grew up. Not one for giving unsolicited advice, she realized that even her four stubborn and opinionated children

enough. Still, the 10 we have chosen have several things in common: they have spent years committed to making people’s lives better without calling attention to themselves, and they are unstoppable in their missions to ‘’repair the world.’’ We are honored to have them on our cover.

would have to absorb the message several

Happy Thanksgiving and have a wonderful

times a day for years on end, as we grabbed for


the phone (pre-cell phones).

In the meantime, stay in the know about

She was right.

events, happening, people, holiday food

I also believe this quote embodies the idea behind our cover story this month. This inaugural issue of Tikkun Olam Top 10 change makers, unsung heroes and influencers

and more by signing up for our themed e-newsletters at We look forward to seeing you all next year.

is a unique departure for Arizona Jewish Life for a couple of reasons. We have never devoted a cover article to 10 deserving people, who, in their own right, are worthy of their own cover story. These are not

Subscriptions: magazine-subscription Newsletter:, click on “Subscribe Now!” Facebook: @AZJewishLife Twitter: @JewishLifeNow Instagram: @JEWISHLIFENOW Call: 602-538-AZJL (2955) 8 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019 | ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE

Email us:




JEWS WITH ATTITUDE The ExtremeMist Personal Cooling System. Below: ExtremeMist founder Ron Laikind

Wandering the desert turns adventurer into successful inventor


alking at night to avoid 140-degree daytime heat wafting up from the fiery ground, feet sinking in the soft sand, Ron Laikind was partway through a 1,000-mile trek across the Sahara when his guide introduced him to a trick that sparked what’s become a new and growing business for the Scottsdale adventurer. The guide poured water from a desert well out of a sheepskin bucket and into a metal bowl, and the evaporating water created a mist that cooled the drinking water and trekkers’ hot, dry faces. “That was the greatest thing that ever happened to me in my life, getting that cold water in that

By Jane Larson

misery out there,” says Ron. Years later, climbing Tom’s Thumb on a 112-degree day, he recalled the improvised Saharan mist system and thought, “Before I get any older, I’m going to do that thing. I’m going to make it happen.” It took him two years, help from an engineer, multiple trips to Asia to seek out a manufacturer, and hundreds of thousands of dollars to take his idea from a heavy box of pumps and electronics to the ExtremeMist Personal Cooling System. The system combines a hydration pack familiar to hikers and runners with a rechargeable battery-operated misting system, allowing users to both drink and cool off with water from the same pack.


He first sold his two-in-one invention out of his car to fellow hikers and mountain rescuers who had seen him on the trails. Sales on ExtremeMist’s website and in Valley stores followed, adding up to 700 units sold so far. The company’s latest break came when it entered the REI Co-op Innovators Program, was chosen to pitch its product to buyers for the specialty outdoor retailer, and received an order that it just started shipping. Another big break came earlier when New York entrepreneur Mark Holzwanger (whose wife is Israeli) walked into Ron’s paintball-supply store to buy some CO2 cartridges for his Frostime cooler product. Intrigued by a video on ExtremeMist,

Mark talked to Ron. When Mark told friends about it, everybody wanted one or knew someone who would. What really convinced him was when they were off-roading in the desert, and attached to the roll bar was a four-nozzle misting system above each seat that kept them comfortably cool – until they realized Ron had forgotten to top off the water supply. When it ran out, Mark immediately felt the 108-degree heat. “I was like, ‘What a difference. This is amazing. It’s a game-changer,’ ” he says. He invested in ExtremeMist “because of the product, number one, and Ron, number one,” he says. He also likes that ExtremeMist can fill so many different market niches, from outdoors enthusiasts to construction workers to golfers and the military. As business partners, Mark and Ron bounce ideas off each other and do trade shows together. The two also have bonded over their Jewish heritage and upbringing. Ron recalls his father speaking Yiddish and exhorting his children to eat more, and Mark’s father fought against the Nazis in World War II. “Ron talking about his parents, and me talking about my parents, there’s definitely a bond, our background, our history, our culture,” says Mark. Ron got his adventurous spirit early. His parents moved the family from Detroit to Tucson when he was 5, joined a local synagogue and sent Ron and his brothers to Hebrew school. Ron says he dropped out “because I was too busy out in the desert scavenging around for Indian and cavalry relics.” He grew up to mine gold in California, work as a paramedic on mountain rescues and enter the emerging paintball industry. He opened Westworld Paintball Adventures in Mesa and North Scottsdale, which gave him the time and resources to feed his growing appetite for adventure travel. He climbed mountains until he tired of being cold, then decided to do more deserts, leading to his wandering the Sahara and the eventual creation of ExtremeMist. The company now offers three products: the “Just Add Water” backpack, with its built-in hydration pack and mist system; a retrofit kit that users can add to their current packs; and a quad kit that fits on ATVs, boats, or golf carts. The company is targeting the hiking, camping and lifestyle markets, but Ron says a potentially significant market could be governments and construction companies whose outdoor workers spend entire days in the heat. ExtremeMist created a high-visibility safety vest with a built-in mister for them, and two Valley cities and a large contractor are testing them. Mark sees the global potential in expanding to hot areas like South America, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. “As much as we think we thought of all the markets, when we do shows, somebody comes up with something we didn’t even think about,” he says. Among the unexpected have been the Israeli police who patrol near the Dead Sea, parks and recreation departments, and the U.S. Army. And it all started with that Sahara trek. “I did not find Moses,” Ron says, “but I certainly found a path.” For more information, or to view photos and videos demonstrating ExtremeMist products, visit ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019 11



Andrew Gale

Marc Giannone

Edward Ober

Jewish Federation appoints Gale as campaign manager The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona has appointed Andrew Gale as campaign manager. Andrew grew up in Southern Arizona and attended Northern Arizona University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management. Most recently, he was the donor relations manager at Habitat for Humanity Tucson, where he oversaw the fundraising database, reporting and analysis, coordinated direct mail and email campaigns, and stewarded the annual and sustaining gift donors. Before joining Habitat, he worked for the City of Tucson in the procurement department, supporting contract officers overseeing the selection process of bids and proposals.

JFCS announces additions to board of directors Jewish Family & Children’s Service is pleased to announce that effective immediately, Marc Giannone and Edward Ober have been appointed to the Board of Directors. Currently a partner and wealth management advisor for Eaton Cambridge, Inc., Marc joins the board with more than 10 years of experience in financial planning and wealth management. Marc is the city initiatives lead for Generous Giving and is committee chair for the metro Phoenix chapter of Young Life. Edward is a legal industry veteran with 40 years of experience, most recently as managing partner of Ober Pekas Ronstadt, a law firm focusing on disability benefits cases. His extensive board experience includes ASU Hillel; major gifts vice-chair for the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix; Arizona Center for Disability Law where he served as president for four years; Beth El Congregation and the Arizona Center for Law in Public Interest. 12 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019 | ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE

Hannah Orbach-Mandel

“We are pleased to welcome Marc and Ed to the board of directors,” says JFCS President and CEO Dr. Lorrie Henderson. “As highly respected professionals with extensive experience in their respective fields, we look forward to their expert engagement and assistance in helping position JFCS for a successful future.”

Former Tucson high school swimmer finalist for NCAA Woman of the Year Former Catalina Foothills High School swimmer Hannah Orbach-Mandel was one of nine finalists chosen from a field of 585 nominees for the National Collegiate Athletic Association Woman of the Year Award. Each of the nine finalists were honored at an awards dinner Oct. 20 in Indianapolis, where Angela Mercurio – a former Nebraska triple jumper who double majored in biochemistry and women’s and gender studies – was named the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year. The finalists demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers. Hannah, who won three individual NCAA national championships, was named captain of the swimming and diving program her senior year at Kenyon College in Gambier, OH. She served for four years as a member of the school’s student-athlete advisory committee and volunteered for three years at an elementary school, working with thirdgraders struggling with math, English, and reading. She graduated summa cum laude with high honors in economics and was inducted into the Kenyon chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, a national honors society.

A global day of giving



iving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday) falls this year on Dec. 3. It is a worldwide day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. On Dec. 3, join the movement and give – whether it’s some of your time, a donation, or the power of your voice in your local community. Perhaps you have seen an organization on social media that you would like to donate to but are not exactly sure where your funds ill be going. Charity Navigator provides financial ratings and has data on thousands of charities. Charity Navigator was launched in spring 2001 by John P. (Pat) Dugan, a wealthy pharmaceutical executive and philanthropist. The group’s mission was to help “ ...donors make informed giving decisions and enabling well-run charities to demonstrate their commitment to proper stewardship” of donor dollars. The site also features opinion pieces (articles and two blog sites) by Charity Navigator experts, donation tips, and top-10 and bottom-10 lists that rank efficient and inefficient organizations in a number of categories. Annually, Charity Navigator conducts a national study to determine and analyze any statistical differences that exist in the financial practices of charities in metropolitan markets across America. The service is free, and the site is navigable by charity name, location, or type of activity. Charity Navigator is a 501(c)(3) organization that accepts no advertising or donations from the organizations it evaluates. Happy giving!


Looking to volunteer?

The Mitzvah Hub can help!


he Mitzvah Hub is the Jewish community’s online resource that matches organizations in the Greater Phoenix area in need of volunteers with individuals and groups looking for community service opportunities. A partnership between the Jewish Family & Children’s Service and The Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, the online portal contains information on a wide variety of community organizations seeking volunteers. Included in the Mitzvah Hub are organizations in the community that support Jewish needs, both locally and around the world, as well as Jewish organizations, irrespective of the religion of their beneficiaries. Volunteer opportunities include helping students with homework, website updates and maintenance, office support, clothing and food drives, working with animals, event preparation and more. Some of the organizations that are seeking volunteers serve the following communities: survivors of domestic violence, at-risk youth, senior citizens and nonprofit organizations. For more information on volunteer opportunities available, or if your organization is looking for volunteers, visit

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hether they are called unsung heroes, influencers, or change makers, there are certain people in the community who seem to make a difference in everything with which they become involved. People are drawn to their confident energy and the positive impact they create. Tikkun olam is defined by acts of kindness performed to perfect or repair the world. More generally, the phrase can mean improvement, establishment, repair, prepare and more. Today, it is closely associated with social action and one’s responsibility for fixing what is wrong in the world. We chose the following people (and we know there are many more out there), because they stood out to us for the work they do – not just for the Jewish community but for society as a whole. This is our inaugural “Top 10.” Who knows? Maybe it will become an annual end-of-year tradition.




n March 7, 2019, during the MEGA 2019 event, The Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix presented its Medal of Honor

to Julee Landau Shahon for her extensive volunteer work, and in particular, bringing the “Violins of Hope” to Phoenix. Julee and Rachel Hoffer were co-chairs on the project and worked for more than three years to bring the violins played during the Holocaust and restored by Israeli luthier Amnon Weinstein to Arizona. Stated as “the largest community collaboration of music and education in the Greater Phoenix area,” more than 44,000 people attended a “Violins of Hope” event during February and March this year. Currently the vice chair of Federation’s Board of Directors, Julee has taken on many leadership roles, both in the community and nationally, including local campaign chair and women’s philanthropy chair, as well as serving in a national capacity on the Jewish Federation of North America’s Women’s Philanthropy board for two terms. A graduate of the University of Michigan and a member of Congregation Beth Tefillah, Julee lives in Scottsdale with her husband, Dr. Robert Shahon. When she is not working for the Jewish community, Julee is a real estate agent with Realty One.



ichael Pollack is the owner of Michael A. Pollack Real Estate Investments. Michael has been in the real estate business for

more than 46 years. To date, he has been involved in more than 11 million square feet of real estate projects with a total value of more than a billion dollars. He has been an institution in the Phoenix commercial real estate market for more than 30 years –specializing in refurbishing commercial and industrial properties. Michael has done significant community and charitable work that includes donations and support for the Salvation Army, Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, Save The Family Foundation, East Valley Assistance League, Chandler Education Foundation and St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, as well as performing arts centers in Chandler, Tempe and Mesa. Each one of Michael’s children has given back to the community in some way through their own projects, including his late son Daniel Heath Pollack, who lost his life in a hit and run accident in 2011. Michael started the Daniel Heath Pollack Memorial Foundation in his honor. Most recently, the Foundation donated $50,000 to build a playground for children in Daniel’s name. In January 2019, the ribbon was cut at the Daniel Pollack Playground at the Chandler Jewish Preschool. Michael will also continue his holiday tradition of giving back by welcoming the community to come out and watch free holiday movies and enjoy thousands of holiday lights at Pollack Tempe Cinemas starting Nov. 21. ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019 19

TOP 10



ordan Rose is the founder and president of Rose Law Group pc, a full-service real estate and business law firm. Jordan started her business in 2000,

leasing space in another lawyer’s storage closet. Today, Rose Law Group is the largest woman-owned law firm in Arizona history. In July of 2019, Jordan was recognized by The Business Journals as one of the top 100 national influencers in law. Rose Law Group was also a 2019 Top Companies Award Winner by the Arizona Republic, earning third place among businesses with 25 to 99 employees. The company won through anonymous and comprehensive employee surveys measuring items ranging from workplace culture to policies. In addition to health care benefits, the firm provides bonuses, 401K, tuition reimbursement, monthly “Friday Fundays,” concierge to run personal errands, breakfast bar, office snacks and drinks, maternity leave, cord-blood banking and a night nurse to help after the baby is born. Jordan lives in Paradise Valley with her husband, Jason (who is president of the public relations firm Rose+Moser+Allyn), and their two boys. The couple was named among the top 100 party hosts in America by The 2018 Salonnière 100, “… honoring those who are continuing the tradition of hosting parties with a purpose. Whether they’re welcoming guests to support causes, advance ideas, unite people, or simply bring joy to others, … honorees are America’s most gifted and influential cultural connectors.” says Carla McDonald, The Salonniere’s founder and editor.



ndrew Weil, M.D. is the founder and director of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he also

holds the Lovell-Jones Endowed Chair in Integrative Rheumatology and is the Clinical Professor of Medicine and Professor of Public Health. Dr. Weil’s methods complement traditional medicine with an emphasis on nutrition, lifestyle, natural therapies, spirituality and the mind-body connection. In March 2019, he pledged $15 million to put his name on the UA center he helped create 25 years ago. This financial commitment – on top of the more than $5 million he’s already given to the UA – will also establish an endowed chair in integrative medicine, an endowed chair for research in integrative medicine and an endowed program fund for integrative medicine. Weil has also always donated his salary from UA to the Center in addition to the after-tax profits from Weil Lifestyle products to the Weil Foundation, a nonprofit organization. To date, the Foundation has given away approximately $6 million, the majority of which has gone to the Center. He received both his medical degree and his undergraduate AB degree in biology (botany) from Harvard University. Long before achieving fame as a bestselling author, frequent lecturer and guest on talk shows, Weil was a doctor seeking work in an era when mainstream medicine did not always embrace his approach. He is a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, a healingoriented approach to health care that takes account of the whole person, including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship between practitioner and patient, is informed by evidence and makes use of all appropriate therapies.




tate Rep. Alma Hernandez was born and raised on the south side of Tucson. She earned both a Bachelor of Science degree and a

Masters in Public Health at the University of Arizona. She’s the first Mexican-American Jewish woman in the office and the youngest lawmaker currently in the Arizona House of Representatives –

and the youngest woman ever elected to the chamber. She is an outspoken activist who has worked on a variety of issues from education, women’s rights, criminal justice reform and health care. In January 2019, a tweet Alma sent to Gov. Doug Ducey during his State of the State address got his attention. In his proposed budget for the upcoming year, $9.3 million was allocated for a grant program that funds police officers in schools. In her tweet, she stated that as a 14-year-old in high school, she was attacked by a school resource officer who was there to “keep her safe” and that she suffers from severe spinal damage today as a result of the attack. Alma was a freshman in high school when two seniors started fighting with her. Instead of breaking up the fight, the SRO dragged her and slammed her on the ground. The tweet resulted in a meeting between Alma and Gov. Ducey, and she also shared her story with the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board. As a result, school resource officers now have to undergo new training on de-escalation and crisis intervention.



mram Knishinsky is a principal partner and lead developer of Butterfly Wonderland, OdySea Aquarium and OdySea in the Desert projects in

Scottsdale. Originally from Ramat Gan, Israel, he moved here 45 years ago to pursue a doctoral degree at Arizona State University, after earning an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. It all started with Butterfly Wonderland – an idea that Amram couldn’t get out of his mind after a visit more than 20 years ago to the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory with his wife, Anne. Now the complex known as OdySea in the Desert is a 35-acre (with plans to expand to 82 acres), retail and entertainment complex that contains OdySea Aquarium, Butterfly Wonderland, Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit, Polar Play Ice Bar along with shopping and dining options. In July 2019, the International Board of Credentialing and Continued Education Standards announced that OdySea Aquarium is the first attraction – and aquarium – in Arizona to become a Certified Autism Center. The CAC designation, granted by IBCCES, means that visitors and families with children who have autism and other sensory differences can enjoy the best possible experience that caters to their needs. The newest addition to the complex will be Paradise Earth, a Rainforest Adventure, the largest indoor rainforest in North America where thousands of free-flying birds, capuchin monkeys, sloths, giant tortoises, poisonous dart frogs and exotic plants live and reproduce. ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019 21

TOP 10



enise is the founder and president of the marketing and communications firm, DRA Strategic Communications. The agency

was founded in 1986 and has been serving clients in a variety of fields, including real estate, economic development, health care, education, hospitality and entertainment. She is also president and CEO of First Place AZ, a nonprofit real estate and community developer, focused on developing new housing and community options for adults with autism spectrum disorder and other neuro-diverse abilities. Denise’s adult son, Matthew, has autism. When developing the concept for First Place, Denise spent thousands of hours researching, evaluating and exploring residential concerns. She wanted to create a model that would fit within the community, close to where families live. She’s taken what she’s learned, raised more than $70 million for the cause, applied a mother’s love and created First Place. Denise has received numerous local and national honors for her civic contributions and business accomplishments. She graduated cum laude from ASU and received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She is also the co-founder and board development co-chair of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center, an internationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to autism research, education and community outreach. She lives in North Scottsdale with her husband, Rob. Denise has three children, Matthew, Ally and Whitney, and a granddaughter, Hannah Jo.



echeskel Friedman is the president and co-founder of Arizona Kosher Pantry and Ezras Cholim of Phoenix, along with co-founder

Elchonon Gross. In 2017, Ezras Cholim was asked to operate a Sabbath pantry to aid the sick and needy in their difficult times so that they can enjoy the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. Ezras Cholim launched the Arizona Kosher Pantry in 2018 at their location, to aid the needy on a daily basis. The Kosher Pantry is a part of a national food pantry network called Feeding America. In 2019, the Ezras Cholim and the Arizona Kosher Pantry moved to a new location, doubling their size. Approximately 540 individuals monthly rely on the Kosher Pantry’s help. In addition, 240 families monthly receive Tomchei Shabbos (support of the Sabbath). Shabbat baskets may include fresh fruits and vegetables, challah, wine/grape juice, fish, chicken and other essentials that enable the family to enjoy two Shabbat meals per week. A more extensive package is distributed on holidays. Working with multiple food banks and other local food pantries, the volunteers only pick out what’s kosher to bring back to the pantry. While they are focused on assisting the needy and vulnerable in the Jewish community, they do not turn away anybody, regardless of religion or affiliation.




ancy Silver and her sister, Betsy Hendricks, own The Paper Place on Marshall Way in Scottsdale. For almost 17 years, Nancy’s faithful

four-legged companions, Miss Lacie and Mr. P., would be a common sight to customers visiting the stationery store. As her dogs neared the end of their lives, Nancy spent a lot of time at the veterinary hospital where she would meet other families who could not afford the care their pets needed. She realized that her pets lived longer because of the care she was able to provide, and she wanted others to have that extra time with their pets. In 2017, Nancy established the Two Pups Wellness Fund, under the parenting arms of the Arizona Community Foundation. The fund provides financial assistance through shelters and rescues, for lifesaving and restorative surgical and medical treatment for critically ill, abused, neglected or abandoned animals in need. Earlier this year, Nancy also created Grown Pups for Grown Ups, a program to help older dogs have a greater chance of being adopted. Two Pups will provide the adoption fees, blood tests, treatment for diseases that are discovered – and treatable – and behavioral training. Maricopa County Care and Control will hose the Grown Pups in bright new rooms for potential adopters to see and interact with these older dogs. The goal is to show people that an older dog might be a better fit for their lifestyle than a puppy.



an Shufelt is the president and CEO at Arizona Helping Hands, Inc., the largest provider of essential needs for children in

foster care in Arizona. The organization provides bedding, clothing, diapers, books, personal care packs, birthday gifts, backpacks, school supplies and holiday gifts for foster children, who often arrive at their placement homes with only the clothes on their backs. Arizona Helping Hands was founded in the living room of Paul and Kathy Donaldson in 1998 as a volunteer-based organization created to fill needs unmet by other charities throughout Arizona. Amid Arizona’s foster care crisis in 2013, the organization shifted its focus to supporting children in foster care. Dan has been with the organization for 19 of its 21 years. He has been instrumental in the agency’s growth and impact on the lives of children who have experienced abuse and neglect. In 2018, the company moved from its 800-square-foot warehouse in the Scottsdale Airpark area to an 18,000-square-foot warehouse, allowing the organization to help even more families by keeping more supplies on hand to give out. Arizona Helping Hands distributed more than 3,000 beds and cribs to children in foster care last year and is on track to reach that number again in 2019.



Finding a Passion for Fused Glass

After 23 years, it’s hard to believe that some people don’t know that Arizona’s largest and longestrunning artist studio tour takes place in November. It’s called “Hidden in the Hills,” and it literally refers to a large, diverse group of talented artists who live and work in the scenic Desert Foothills community of Cave Creek, Carefree and North Scottsdale. A signature event of the nonprofit Sonoran Arts League, this year’s Hidden in the Hills event features 199 artists at 47 studio locations. The free, self-guided tour takes place from 10 am to 5 pm during the last two weekends of November (Nov. 2224 and Nov. 29-Dec. 1). Each studio has one or more guest artists who will  demonstrate how they create their art while displaying and selling their work.

By Susan Kern-Fleischer



cottsdale glass artist Jacki Cohen is one of 199 artists participating in the free, self-guided tour. Her most popular pieces, centered around bright, bold colors, home décor pieces and Judaica themes, will be on display at Marty Roop’s Studio No. 25 in Cave Creek. “Fused glass ignites my spirit,” says Jacki, who has pursued her passion for fused glass full-time for the past six years. “My work speaks to the joy and exuberance I feel in my everyday surroundings and community.” She’s discovered social media provides the quickest, simplest way to test market her newest designs. When she receives strong positive feedback, she delves deeper into creating a collection similar to the piece. Once she’s decided on a theme and sketched out her ideas, she heats the glass to a minimum of 1,500 degrees to make it soft and pliable. She plans, cuts and pieces together the glass during the day and then runs her kilns overnight or after she’s finished creating for the day. Having a home studio allows her to check on her pieces in the kiln at all hours of the day or night. When the pieces have fused together, they must be cooled extremely slowly to avoid cracking. “I love creating fused glass,” says Jacki. “When I don’t do it for a while, I miss it. I hope that passion shines through in my work.”



ne artist couple who will open their home during Hidden in the Hills recently found themselves turning to their art to help them overcome one of the biggest challenges in their 51-year marriage. Acclaimed painter Judy Paxton Bruce, and her husband, sculptor Jim Bruce, are long-time members of the Sonoran Arts League and wellknown in the Cave Creek community for being arts advocates. In March 2018, Judy was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer. It was a shock that jolted her and Jim into a chaotic cloud of emotions. Life as they knew it suddenly changed as they sought treatment options and researched everything they could about the insidious disease. The next year tested the couple’s strength as Judy received aggressive chemotherapy. Now, more than 18 months later, Judy is in a much better place, thanks to her hard work battling the disease and a new medication that many oncologists are watching with optimism. Judy’s work is highly influenced by Francis Bacon, Max Ernst, the Chicago Hairy Who artists and the Chicago Imagists, Schiele and many others. “My work has always been about vulnerability and suffering with beautiful colors and patterns, textures and lines to show resilience, hope, love and joy,” says Judy. “My first series, when we moved to Arizona from Chicago, was called ‘Ravaged Faces’ and the first painting I did was my mother, who had died just years before from a devastating two-year battle with lung cancer. Until the end, mom was beautiful, hopeful and totally at peace. I am still working on that series and utilizing the ovarian cancer teal color for some pieces.”

Her artwork, although often consisting of many layers, is still spontaneous art that is more process than product, and not a formula. “I almost always deal with the human condition. Vulnerability fascinates me as does strength and power in my women, children, and creatures,” she says.   Lately, she has been reworking a lot of older work and seeing very upbeat, happy, bright “people” popping out in her work. The Ravaged Faces are appearing again, but she also has a new series that she’s excited about called “Couples” or “Who Loves Who More.” “I have always been fascinated with the dynamics of long-term couples, something that often changes over time and circumstances,” says Judy. “Though my work often portrays heavy, solemn subjects, I hope that my color, pattern, texture, line and funky shapes help to lighten and brighten the pieces, bringing about hopeful, love-filled feelings.” Artist Judy Bruce



Hidden Pearl is another gem by author Judy Laufer By Mala Blomquist


idden Pearl: A Story About Courage, Hope and Resilience is Judy (pen name J.E.) Laufer’s second book in the young adult genre, and it is fast becoming as well received as her first, Choices: The True Story of One Family’s Daring Escape to Freedom. In fact, Hidden Pearl won the 2019 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award gold medal in the Pre-Teen Fiction-Historical/ Cultural category. All four parents of Judy and her husband, Nathan, were Holocaust survivors. Choices is based on Judy’s mother, Kati Egett’s story of how her family escaped Hungary and arrived in Canada. The book came out in 2017 around Kati’s 90th birthday and Judy told her mother-in law, Pearl, who was 88 at the time, that she would be happy to write her story too in time for her 90th. Pearl had not shared much about her story, but she agreed to give it a try. “We worked on it for two years,” says Judy. “We worked on it over the phone, when she visited, and she also did a tape with the Spielberg initiative (USC Shoah Foundation), so I was able to go back and look at her videotape – that had a lot of her story.” Judy was also able to find useful information online about “hidden children,” Pearl was one of these children.


When the war began in 1939, approximately 1 million Jewish children were living in Poland, and only about 5,000 survived. Pearl’s family was torn apart when German troops arrived in Poland, and they had to leave their home and go into hiding. She was just 10 years old when she was placed in a non-Jewish home to work for a woman in exchange for her safety. As more details emerged through her discussions with Pearl, Judy would always be conscious of the fact that these were harrowing memories that her mother-in-law was sharing. “For me, as an author, the challenge was to deliver a great story and deliver it true to what it was, but also to make sure that what I was saying were things she wasn’t uncomfortable with,” says Judy. Judy also used a similar writing style in Hidden Pearl as she had in Choices with the use of conversation, based on Pearl’s relationships and memories, to make the readers feel as if they were a “fly on the wall” and draw them into the story. “What I found in doing these two stories is that truth is stranger than fiction,” says Judy. “All the stories were happening at the same time, but in different places. I say that you cannot make this stuff up – I could not imagine a more unbelievable story.” After the book was published, Judy was surprised to find out that there were details in the book that Pearl’s relatives, From left, Bernie, Pearl and Jeanette Brachfeld with Morris Budd in 1947; Pearl Brachfeld in 1939 at age 10.

including Nathan, knew nothing about. “From the original story, she’s the only one that’s still alive and able to share. I did not even realize that,” says Judy. “I got calls from them after they got the book, and they were like, ‘Oh my God, I’m so happy that you did this – we now have the story.’ ” Judy acknowledged that the same thing happened with her mother’s story. “We’ve heard over the years, bits and pieces, but when you’re able to read the story as a complete story, it’s a whole other picture.” Judy plans to visit schools, sharing Hidden Pearl with children, so that they can hear a personal story of a Holocaust survivor. “If you don’t get the younger Judy Laufer generation to be reading this – and understanding it and asking questions and having discussions – then you are going to have a whole generation of kids who are going to grow up not knowing anything about it,” she says. She is also working on two other projects. “There’s a production company in L.A. that’s interested in the movie of Choices, so I’m in the process now of working with a scriptwriter, and then we’ll see who picks it up.” She is also working on the fifth book in her children’s book

series. All of her children’s books contain social and emotional issues, and this one is about owning your anger and taking responsibility for what you do and what you say. “It’s up to you; you have the power to change how you see things, and you have the power to be positive,” says Judy. The setting of this book is Gigglyville, a “positive, wonderful place” where the residents are fun and have silly names, but this character doesn’t see any of the joy or beauty, just negativity. Judy admits that she tends to see the world through rose-colored glasses. “Life is easier when you see things positively,” she says. “I think the idea that that’s your choice: you can see the good around you or you could see all the bad; it’s kind of the donut or the hole.” She is also a believer that certain things

are meant to be. “Somehow, she (Pearl) was meant to survive for some reason, we don’t know, you never really know,” says Judy. “But here we are, and we now have the story, so maybe that was it, that she’s the one who had to carry this story. Who knows?” All of Judy’s books can be found on Amazon or by visiting her website,


What’s next? By Amy Hirshberg Lederman



n September 18, 2018, several hours before Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, my father died. Surrounded by my mother, my daughter and me, he left this world well-loved, just three months shy of his 100th birthday. I had spoken previously with my kids about the inevitable – that their Grandpa’s death, while deeply sad for us all, would not carry the same sense of tragedy that their own father’s had when he died from cancer at the age of 65. But now, the two men who had meant the most to me and my children were gone. I turned my focus and attention to my mom, his “Child Bride,” as he liked to call her. I knew only too well of the mixed feelings and tumultuous emotions that assail the heart after a death: disbelief, numbness, anxiety, fear, anger, sadness and yes, relief. In Mom’s case, relief that she would not have to witness her husband of 68 years suffer a slow or painful demise. Within 48 hours of my father’s passing, Mom rallied the troops – a mélange of our family spanning four generations. She held counsel from a worn leather chair in the den and announced: “I’ve made a decision. I’m not going to crumble or give up. There’s a lot more left in me, and I want to keep learning and growing. I want to see what’s next!” I turned my focus and attention to my mom, his “Child Bride,” as he liked to call her. I knew only too well of the mixed feelings and tumultuous emotions that assail the heart after a death: disbelief, numbness, anxiety, fear, anger, sadness and yes, relief. In Mom’s case, relief that she would not have to witness her husband of 68 years suffer a slow or painful demise. Within 48 hours of my father's passing, Mom rallied the troops – a mélange of our family spanning four generations. She held counsel from a worn leather chair in the den and announced: "I’ve made a decision. I'm not going to crumble or give up. There's a lot more left in me, and I want to keep learning and growing. I want to see what's next!"   And from that bold assertion of life, an idea was born. “What's Next?” became the name of the support group that my mother initiated in the subdivision where she lives. And although never in her 93 years of life had she done anything remotely like this before, she sent an email to friends and neighbors, members of her book group and bridge club, inviting them to the community clubhouse to explore the next chapter of their lives and support each other in their journeys. Like an expectant party-giver, Mom wondered if anyone would come. When almost 30 people arrived for the first meeting, more chairs were brought in, and room was made for a group that would become a focal point during mom’s first year without Dad. Research has shown that in the aftermath of a loss, people react in various ways. There is no "right" way to respond to loss: each person deals with loss differently based on religious beliefs, personal experience, and an individual's own emotional state prior to the event. Some fall into deep depression, unable or unwilling to accept the changes that have altered their life. Others draw upon emotional resilience, garnering an inner strength and optimism that drives them to seek new alternatives for living in a world they never anticipated. For the latter, tragic events become


mandates – not to abandon life, but to live life with renewed meaning and purpose. I understood from my own experience how unfamiliar and frightening the landscape feels after such significant loss. Forced to tread on unknown emotional terrain with uncertain footing, we ask questions to which simple answers are not readily available. Questions like: "Who am I now without my spouse? How do I go on?” Resilience is a counterpart to grief. Resilience is also an antidote to grief. The Oxford English dictionary defines resilience from the Latin resiliere, meaning “to jump back.”  One definition has to do with the properties of materials (e.g. elasticity), but the ones that resonate for me address the human condi-

tion with words like: “rebounding, springing back” and “elasticity of spirit” and the “power of recovery.” From my perspective, rebounding or springing back to what we were prior to the death of a loved one is not possible. I am not certain it is even desirable. Because love changes us and losing someone we love also changes us. As a result, we become different from the very experience of loving and losing. Taking steps to move forward after a loss, however, is a manifestation of our emotional resilience, an example of the human “elasticity of spirit.” The capability to stretch in ways that let us cope, adapt and adjust is the key to our ability to embrace life again. The answers to “Who am I now and how do I go on?” are not found in journals or self-help books. They come from putting one foot in front of the other, surviving an hour, a day, a week and then years at a time. Our loss reshapes us, and through the power of healing and recovery, we find new ways to be and go on. My mother may have initiated “What’s Next?” to bring people together to talk and support one another as they moved forward into the next chapter of their lives. But from my vantage point, her real success was in harnessing her determination and resilience to begin crafting a meaningful life after loss, one meeting at a time.


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




Risa Mallin: R Making her mark By Leni Reiss

Top: Caleb Keefer and Risa Mallin on camera filming for “Antiques Roadshow.” Above: Louis B. Akin (American 1868-1913), El Tovar Hotel, Grand Canyon, Arizona, On The Santa Fe, Chromolithograph 30 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019 | ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE

isa Mallin is adding another jewel to her impressive crown of accomplishments. In January, she will appear on an episode of “Antiques Roadshow” with a prized possession. But before the reveal, here is Risa’s back story: A Denver native, Risa was a welcome addition to the Valley’s Jewish community when she moved here in 1973 to marry ubereligible bachelor and native Arizonan Dr. Bruce Mallin. While establishing their home here and being mom to a growing family of four siblings, Risa recalls she determined “to meet people and make a mark.” This was Risa’s way of life. Looking back, she recalls her time at the University of Texas in Austin when she joined Delta Phi Epsilon sorority and was a member of the sorority’s international education foundation. (Risa will be honored as an alumna this coming April in Phoenix as a part of the Phoenix Panhellenic Association’s 100th anniversary.) To achieve her Valleybased goal, she became active in Beth El Congregation, Jewish Federation, Hadassah and more. At the same time, she put to use her creativity as a crafter, “doing quilting and embroidery for fun,” and at one point designing jewelry with her late friend Florie Amster. She went on to assume executive posts, serving as Jewish National Fund executive director, director of development at Arizona Alzheimer’s Association and

Risa with a photo of her husband, Dr. Bruce Mallin.

executive director of Arizona Jewish Historical Society. And then, she says, “I quit!” While remaining a loyal organizational volunteer for her favorites, she went wholeheartedly into endeavors such as collage and painting on silk. Her home is filled with family heirlooms, crafts and collectibles, including many referencing Bruce’s U.S. Naval experience and Arizona roots. And now … the rest of the story. Risa fondly shares her memory of Bruce’s years as a “weekend cowboy.” He owned, boarded and regularly rode a horse on local trails until, some 10-15 years ago, he decided to sell – and found a buyer who wanted to barter. “I’ve got a framed picture for you,” he told Bruce, who was relieved to find a home for the horse, so he did some “horse-trading.” “I was happy to be done with the horse, hung the picture in the living room – and lived with it,” Risa says. The picture, as it turns out, is one of 100 posters of an original piece of art painted in 1906 by Louis Akin to commemorate the Santa Fe Railroad’s arrival at the Grand Canyon. Sensing that this horse trade enhanced the history of the poster, Risa, a fan of “Antiques Roadshow” on PBS, entered the lottery to be admitted to the line to present the poster to the experts when the show came to Arizona. She was chosen. This past April, Risa, along with the poster and two of her children who live in the Valley, joined the mob of people in line. They waited for hours. “It was like a Super Bowl of antiques,” she says. “When an appraiser saw our picture,” she recalls, “he called us out of line and we sat, were well fed, talked to other candidates, and waited for hours. At 6:30 that evening, I was interviewed and filmed.” And yes, she acknowledges that she was “a little nervous, but it was a lot of fun.” It turned out that the appraiser, Caleb Keefer, “is an expert in the field, knew exactly what the poster was, and he was very excited.” But Risa believes that the “horse-trade aspect” definitely added a unique angle. The poster is now back on the wall in the Mallin living room, with an enhanced anecdote to add interest to its story. To see Risa on television and find out the appraisal value of the poster, tune in to the Arizona-based PBS episode of “Antiques Roadshow” in early 2020. ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019 31


JFCS Center for Senior Enrichment is open to all




id you know that there is a Jewish Family & Children’s Service’s Center for Senior Enrichment located inside the newlyremodeled Palazzo, a full-continuing care community, in Central Phoenix? It’s true! Also, the JFCS Center for Senior Enrichment is the only Jewish senior center in the Greater Phoenix area. The center offers a variety of programs that include health, wellness, technology support, arts, culture, cooking, discussion groups and Jewish programming. There are also presentations provided by the Phoenix Zoo, Ballet Arizona, Southwest Shakespeare Company, Phoenix Conservatory of Music, Phoenix Art Museum, Heard Museum, Taliesin West, Arizona Jewish Historical Society and more. The JFCS Center for Senior Enrichment is open to individuals age 60 and over living in the Phoenix area, regardless of religious affiliation. The center also offers lunch for $4 per meal and transportation for those living within a five to ten radius. Programming is funded in part by the Area Agency on Aging, The Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix and individual donors. For more information, including a monthly calendar of events, visit

JFCS Center for Senior Enrichment inside The Palazzo

LOCATION 6250 N 19th Ave., Phoenix

HOURS Tuesday-Friday 9:30 am to 2:30 pm

CONTACT 602-943-2198




Senior living in Phoenix and Tucson

cross the United States, the number of seniors is growing. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost 20% of Americans will be age 65 or older by 2030. With such a fast-growing population, it’s critical for our communities to address the needs and socioeconomic conditions of the elderly. And for families trying to find appropriate, high-quality care for their loved ones as they age, it’s important their needs are being met. As the largest provider of senior living community reviews, compiled a report in order to shed light on the best and worst places in the nation for senior living. Not only did See how Phoenix compares in the overall rankings:

Phoenix offers retirees stunning desert scenery and a vibrant metropolitan atmosphere with ample attractions to enjoy. The city has a total estimated population of 1,445,632 residents, and approximately 10% are in the 65 and over age group. To accommodate the senior population, the city has numerous senior centers that offer enriching activities and valuable resources. Retirees who enjoy warm weather are sure to appreciate the mild winters in Phoenix as January lows stay around 44 degrees. Tucson has a population of 520,116 and is located near Mount Lemmon and Saguaro National Park. Tucson seniors, who make up 13.6% of the total population, also have access to abundant municipal services to help keep them active in the community. The city has three dedicated senior centers and many other programs with specific activity calendars that cater to retirees. For example, the Tucson Parks and Recreation Senior Activity Card connects people 50 years and older to a wide variety of activities such as fitness classes, field trips and festivals.  Continued on next page

they look at the basic, essential factors such as healthcare and affordable housing, but they also took a deeper look at factors like community engagement, transportation and workforce development that drive quality of life.’s team of researchers spent countless hours researching 70 different factors that are key indicators for older adults overall health, happiness and quality of life. After completing their research, they put each metric on a scale and graded each state in the nation. To read more about the metrics they used to grade the states and to see the full report, visit

SENIOR LIVING & HOUSING 58th/302 in Senior Living & Housing Rankings Age diversity

0.83 per month

U.S. Average: 0.85

Around the National Average

Availability of multi-family housing

30% of units are multi-family

U.S. Average: 40%

Less than the National Average

Zero-step entrances

71% of units

U.S. Average: 47%

More than the National Average

Housing costs

$1,084 per month

U.S. Average: $1,375

Less than the National Average

Housing cost burden

20% of income spent on housing

U.S. Average: 22%

Around the National Average



See how Tucson compares in the overall rankings: Tucson has a population of 520,116 and is located near Mount Lemmon and Saguaro National Park. Tucson seniors, who make up 13.6% of the total population, also have access to abundant municipal services to help keep them active in the community. The city has three dedicated senior centers and many other programs with specific activity calendars that cater to retirees. For example, the Tucson Parks and Recreation Senior Activity Card connects people 50 years and older to a wide variety of activities such as fitness classes, field trips and festivals. 


SENIOR LIVING & HOUSING 38th/302 in Senior Living & Housing Rankings Age diversity

0.82 per month

U.S. Average: 0.85

Around the National Average

Availability of multi-family housing

30% of units are multi-family

U.S. Average: 40%

Around the National Average

Zero-step entrances

71% of units

U.S. Average: 47%

More than the National Average

Housing costs

$865 per month

U.S. Average: $1,375

Less than the National Average

Housing cost burden

20% of income spent on housing Around the National Average


U.S. Average: 22%


Get Gardening By Mala Blomquist

Gardening is a pleasurable pastime for many. If you have not picked up the shovel in years, or want to start enjoying the great outdoors more, give gardening a try. There are also a host of health benefits associated with playing in the dirt. BOOSTS BRAIN HEALTH. The process of gardening involves numerous brain functions, including learning new skills, problem-solving and sensory awareness. Research has shown that when these critical functions are engaged the risk of dementia may be reduced by as much as 36%. Gardening can also improve our attention span. Being surrounded by the colors, textures, smells and sounds in a garden stimulates our involuntary attention, which allows the mind to wander and clear itself. Using “involuntary” attention reserves the mind’s energy and helps us pay “voluntary” attention when we need to concentrate. RELIEVES STRESS AND ANXIETY. When a person is stressed, the adrenal glands release the steroid hormone cortisol. A study in the Journal of Health Psychology states that gardening can lower cortisol levels in the brain. Also, researchers from Bristol University and University College London discovered that “friendly” bacteria commonly found in soil activated brain cells to produce serotonin in mice. The release of serotonin in the brain works as a natural antidepressant.

GOOD FORM OF EXERCISE. Gardening is considered a moderately intense exercise and can increase mobility and strength. It’s been proven that even light exercise can help slow down the aging process. Being outside in a sunny garden also boosts your vitamin D levels, which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. Just don’t forget to drink water and wear sunscreen when working outside.

FORGET ABOUT ACHES AND PAINS. Research shows that spending time in nature can reduce how much people perceive pain. The sensory stimulation happening while tending a garden can actually keep us from noticing unpleasant feelings, both emotional and physical. Studies have also shown that patients recovering from surgery not only need less medicinal pain relief but also recover much faster when given access to nature. MAKE NEW FRIENDS. Get together with others and start a community garden club. Members can go to a different member’s garden each week or take “field trips” to public gardens. Socialization can boost mood and lower the risk of depression, chronic stress and inactivity.


Eight fun facts By Viva Sarah Press


o you know where the word ‘dreidel’ comes from, and how many calories are in a sufganiyah? Find out with the following fun facts. In 2019, the first Wnight of Hanukkah falls on Sunday, Dec. 22.

1. 44 CANDLES There are at least 44 candles in each box of Hanukkah candles, enough for one person to light the hanukkiah (see item six on this list) according to tradition every night. Some boxes include extra candles as they tend to break easily. Today, candles come in a variety of colors, wax types, and even scents. You can also fulfill the mitzvah of lighting the hanukkiah with oil.

2. HOLIDAY CALORIES When you eat holiday treats fried in oil, you can’t really expect them to be fat-free. The average 100-gram sufganiyah (doughnut) packs 400-600 calories. One potato latke has about 150 calories, svinge (a Moroccan cruller) 350-442 calories, and chocolate coins 85 calories each. Israelis devour some 24 million sufganiyot during the eight-day holiday – adding up to 10.8 billion calories.

3. HANUKKAH, CHANUKAH, HANNUKA Hanukkah also goes by the names of the Festival of Lights and Feast of Dedication. As if multinames weren’t enough, the holiday also has a variety of transliterated English spellings – thanks to the guttural Hebrew sound of the first letter, which cannot be rendered properly in English.



Festival of Lights,

Feast of the Maccabees, CHANUKAH,



4. DREIDEL, DREIDEL, DREIDEL Get your spinning finger ready: It’s time to remember when the Greeks were in town and forbade Jews to learn Torah. Tradition holds that kids used to meet up in secret to learn, but if a Greek soldier happened upon their meeting, they would pretend to be gambling with their dreidels. Israeli author/politician Avram Burg is said to have the largest dreidel collection in the world, counting more than 3,500. Dreidel, by the way, is a Yiddish word which comes from ‘drei’ – to turn or spin. The dreidel (a special spinning top for Hanukkah) features four Hebrew letters. In Israel, the letters are Nun, Gimel, Hay and Peh. Abroad, they’re Nun, Gimel, Hay, Shin. The letters stand for the Hebrew phrase, “A great miracle happened there (for those outside of Israel)/here (for those in Israel).

about Hanukkah

President Truman receiving a Hanukkah menorah from Prime Minister David BenGurion (center) and Abba Eban, Ambassador of Israel to the United States, in 1951. PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

5. MOST POPULAR JEWISH HOLIDAY Though it is one of the most well-known and celebrated Jewish festivals, Hanukkah is actually a minor holiday, according to religious tradition, than Passover, Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur. The holiday is not even mentioned in the Torah. Some say Hanukkah gained popularity in the late 1800s among American Jews because of the season in which it falls – usually around Christmastime. Hanukkah always begins on the 25th day of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar. The corresponding Gregorian date varies. Others point to the fun aspect of the holiday as the reason for its popularity. Maimonides wrote that the mitzvah of lighting the hanukkiah is even more important than buying wine for Sabbath.

6. MENORAH VS. HANUKKIAH The menorah is a sevenbranched candelabra used in synagogues. The hanukkiah is a nine-branched candelabra used during Hanukkah. Because the hanukkiah can also be called a Hanukkah menorah, confusion often sets in. Tradition states that the hanukkiah should have all candles or wicks at the same level, with only the shamash – the ninth candle or wick, for lighting the other eight – a bit higher or lower.

7. LIGHTING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION GPS navigation could help when organizing the hanukkiah. According to accepted rules, you should place the candles right to left to correspond with the direction in which you read the Hebrew language. But you should light the candles from left to right, giving more attention to the new candle first.

8. HANUKKAH AT THE WHITE HOUSE Hanukkah made its first appearance at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in 1951, when Prime Minister of Israel David Ben-Gurion gave Harry Truman a menorah as a gift. In 1979, Jimmy Carter became the first American president to recognize the holiday publicly by speaking at a candle-lighting event hosted by Chabad Lubavitch. The first official White House Hanukkah party was held on December 10, 2001. President George W. Bush borrowed a 100-year-old hanukkiah from the Jewish Museum in New York for the event. Since then, the White House Hanukkah party has been a coveted get-together. Courtesy ISRAEL21c. This article has been edited for publication.


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JKIDS & TEENS StandWithUs program grows in Arizona By Troy Hill

Christie Miracle, SWU Evenhaim High School Intern from Sunnyslope High School, educates the audience about Israel at Congregation Beth Israel in Scottsdale.


tandWithUs is an international and non-partisan Israel education organization that offers a national high school program that mentors and trains high school students to engage their communities with conversations about Israel. The program has grown in Arizona this year to include three interns, up from one last year. The Arizona SWU Evenhaim High School Interns this year are Dylan Brooks from Desert Mountain High School, Sarah Warner from Arizona School for the Arts and Christie Miracle from Sunnyslope High School. SWU also does work in colleges throughout the United States through its Emerson Fellowship. They have one Emerson Fellow here in Arizona – Emily Kaplan, who is currently attending Arizona State University. Sarah Warner says the program has been a good fit because she has a passion for Israel and has grown up with a strong connection to the country. She plans on becoming an Israeli citizen after she graduates. She sees a need for the work SWU is doing, and has witnessed individuals promoting anti-Israel biases online, in her community, and even in her school.


Dylan Brooks says he first heard about the program at a Hebrew High event, and that he was totally engaged, and knew he wanted to become involved. He also made a trip to Israel in the summer of 2018, and it made a huge impact on him. “I want to protect (Israel),” says Dylan. “I want to make a difference.” Dylan is president and Sarah is religious and cultural vice president of the NFTY Southwest Region. NFTY is a movement that builds strong, welcoming, inspired communities through teen-powered engagement.

Kate Chavez, StandWithUs Southwest High School Coordinator, says the program takes exceptional high school students and provides them with many resources to prepare them to be leaders in college.

One of the ways that SWU develops its leaders is by having both the SWU Evenhaim High School Interns and Emerson Fellows attend their annual conference in January. Dylan attended the conference this year, and says it was packed with information and programs that built up leadership, public speaking and organizational planning skills. Christie Miracle developed a deep and personal connection after visiting Israel. “At the conference, I learned to experience it from the Palestinian perspective and not just through a one-sided viewpoint,” she says. “I’m excited to plan and run programs that connect to differing groups and look forward to proving that Israel is more than a nation beset by conflict.” Sarah says she really enjoyed the conference as well, saying it was, “like the good parts of school without any of the bad things.” She admits she learned a great deal, including plenty of Israeli history, and how to inform people on Israel in a non-demeaning way. Dylan says he has already had several conversations with various peers and his friends at school. They’ve discussed different viewpoints, and it’s clear what everyone wants – peace. “Lots of people have misconceptions about Israel,” Dylan says. He wants more people to see Israel as a peaceful nation. Sarah, a senior at Arizona School for the Arts, says her principal recommended to her that she check out SWU, as well as hearing about it at another convention. She says she hopes to make a difference in her community by educating more people and combatting anti-Israel sentiments. “It’s a very complex country,” says Sarah. “I encourage people to do their own research… to find their own understanding of it.” Emily Kaplan, 2019-20 SWU Emerson Fellow and president of Students Supporting Israel at ASU, says she hopes to create a positive dialogue on her campus between pro- or anti-Israel individuals. She says that peace comes from mutual respect, understanding, and a willingness to make both groups of people happy. “Having those difficult conversations with those who have different views than you, is what creates understanding and peace between people,” says Emily. “It is incredibly important to be able to acknowledge, respect, and understand the other side because, without that, there is no future for peace.” Troy Hill is a sophomore majoring in journalism at The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019 41


Bob Silver

honored for service to The J and the community




ob Silver is being honored at the Valley of the Sun JCC’s Rollin’ through the DECADES fundraiser on Saturday, Dec. 7. He is being presented with The J’s Irv Shuman Award for his commitment, passion, service and leadership within the community. Born and raised in Phoenix, Bob’s parents, Judy and Warren Silver, instilled in him a desire to give back to the community. When Bob and his wife Sara moved back to the Valley in 1991, he became involved with The J. At the time, the original J on Maryland had closed and we were a “J without walls.” Bob quickly recognized that a permanent home for The J was vital to creating a vibrant and rich Jewish community. He led a Programming Task Force and worked with many others in the community to bring the Valley of the Sun JCC to fruition. He also had the honor of being its first board chair when it opened on the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus in 2002. Another highlight was serving as co-chair with Karen Koven when the Maccabi Games came to Phoenix in 2006. Bob continues to live by his parents’ example and remains active with The J and other Valley Jewish organizations. “I am deeply honored to be receiving the Irv Shuman award,” says Bob. “When I first got involved with the community many years ago, Irv Shuman was one of the ‘guys’ that was making things happen. He worked tirelessly and cared deeply about the Jewish community and did so in a selfless way. He was a role model for me. To receive an honor named after Irv is truly humbling.” The evening of fun starts at 6:30 pm as the decades roll back to the 60s, 70s and 80s with live music, a raffle, and retro bites and beverages. It will be held at The J at 12701 N. Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale, just south of Sweetwater. Proceeds support the programs and services of The J. Tickets are $200 per person for J members and $250 per person for guests. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Federation Notes: NowGen

Charlie Harary

By Marty Haberer


owGen (formerly Young Jewish Phoenix) was reinvented in 2016 to foster connections and help build the Phoenix Jewish community. Since 2016, NowGen has expanded to include a growing number of programs that help deepen these connections. NowGen has now launched three focus areas: LIVE, GIVE and LEAD. LIVE provides the opportunity to Marty Haberer connect to each other and build Jewish community. It helps the Now Generation LIVE Jewishly. Events include Mazelpalooza, Blue + White Night, Party of 8 and affinity groups that include, but are not limited to: couples, PRIDE and young families. Also included is our Congregation Connection program, that connects young adults to synagogues across the Valley. GIVE is the opportunity to give back through acts of tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (repairing the world). NowGen has on-going partnerships with various organizations to give back; once a year we also host Mitzvah Madness – a day of service. NowGen also provides programming in conjunction with Women’s Philanthropy and other partners. The NowGen Giving Circle provides an opportunity for philanthropy that allows the participant to track their philanthropic investment closely. Also, NowGen offers a variety of ways to give back through its Chai and Ben-Gurion Societies. All of these initiatives are meant to teach the importance of GIVING Jewishly. LEAD Jewish is the newest branch of expansion, providing opportunities for young adults to explore the Jewish community and find their leadership roles. Included is the NowGen Board and various new leadership programs. Phoenix also has a cohort of 12 leaders in the National Young Leadership Cabinet (NYL Cabinet). NYL Cabinet is the premier leadership program of the Jewish Federations of North America, our national partner. NowGen is no longer the Valley’s best-kept secret as it continues to grow and gain more involved participants. It is an exciting time to be Jewish in the Valley and NowGen will continue to offer opportunities for young adults to explore their Jewish roots, give back and become the next generation of Jewish leaders. Marty Haberer is the president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix.

JNF’S Annual Men’s Event features

Charlie Harary


ewish National Fund’s Annual Men’s Event attracts business and community leaders with a keen interest in Israel. This year’s event will be on Tuesday, Dec. 3 from 6 to 8 pm at The Clayton House at 3719 N. 75th St. in Scottsdale. A cocktail reception and dinner kick off the program, followed by guest speaker Charles “Charlie” Harary. Charlie is the co-founder of H3 & Company, a multimilliondollar venture capital and advisory firm. Previously, he was the first vice president and legal counsel at RXR Realty, a billiondollar real estate firm in New York. He is a world-renowned lecturer, speaking on topics of personal growth, business strategy and productivity for nearly two decades. In 2018, he published Unlocking Greatness: The Unexpected Journey from the Life You Have to the Life You Want. General admission tickets are $54 per person and major donors and JNFuture Root Society members are complimentary. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or contact Lisa Zadok at 480-4478100 ext. 934 or RSVP ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019 43


PR E V IE W S Join the greatest rock and roll jam session in history

Celebration of Heritage Concert Series:

The Arizona Balalaika Orchestra


he Heritage Concert Series returns to the Tucson Jewish Community Center at 3800 E. River Road in Tucson on Dec. 8 at 2 pm with a performance by the Arizona Balalaika Orchestra. Founded in Tucson almost 40 years ago by Mia Bulgarin Gay, the concert will feature Roma style vocalists Natalia Neazimbyetov and Guy Velgos, musicians in full costume playing on imported Russian instruments – the triangular balalaikas, the rounded domras (resembling the mandolin), accordions, woodwinds, and the exotic harplike 'gusli.' Besides traditional Russian folk melodies, the concert will also include Moldovan, Jewish and Ukrainian songs. Tickets are $10. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit 44 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019 | ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE

When the paths of four rock and roll legends – Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis – cross, history and magic is made! Tony Awardwinning musical “Million Dollar Quartet” returns to The Phoenix Theatre Company at 1825 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix to give audiences a rare, behind-the-scenes glimpse into one of the most legendary music experiences ever when Presley, Cash, Perkins and Lewis cut an impromptu record together at Sun Records Studios in Memphis, TN, in December 1956. The show runs Dec. 18 through Feb. 16, 2020. The spontaneous jam session is one of the great and nearly forgotten stories in rock history, but it changed the music scene forever. These artists were the biggest names of the day, at the top of their game, and they just happened to be in the same studio at the same time. That serendipity can be heard in the recording, and it gives the play a true sense of wonder. Tickets are on sale now and start at just $32. To purchase by phone, call 602-254-2151 or visit

The Klezmatics

The Klezmatics: A Happy Joyous Hanukkah


he Klezmatics will be presenting a contagious celebration of Hanukkah, marrying their soulful and ebullient Jewish roots to Woody Guthrie’s poignantly mesmerizing lyrics on Dec. 21 at 7:30 pm at the Musical Instrument Museum at 4725 E. Mayo Blvd. in Phoenix. In 1942, Woody Guthrie moved to Brooklyn, New York, and soon, through his mother-in-law (the renowned Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblatt), he became involved with the Coney Island Jewish community. He wrote songs about Hanukkah, about Jewish history, and about spiritual life. After his death in 1967, these songs sat forgotten in archives. “Lost” for almost thirty years, Guthrie’s Hanukkah lyrics were discovered in 1998 by Woody’s daughter, Nora Guthrie. She was so inspired by what she found; she asked the Klezmatics to write new music for the lyrics. This delightful collection of songs, including “Hanuka’s Flame,” “Hanuka Gelt,” “Spin Dreydl Spin,” “(Do the) Latke Flip-Flip,” and others, is among the best of Guthrie’s work, and the Klezmatics’ playful renditions cast a new light on the Hanukkah tradition. Tickets range from $43.50 to $48.50 and are available at

The Klezmatics: A Happy Joyous Hanukkah Philip Roger Roy and Playhouse Productions, Inc. present a limited engagement of the off-Broadway hit “Old Jews Telling Jokes” at the Herberger Theater Center at 222 E. Monroe in Phoenix. The national touring production will open on Wednesday, Dec. 25 at 7 pm and continues through Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. “Old Jews Telling Jokes,” created by Peter Gethers and Daniel Okrent and directed by Jeremy Quinn, has been called a “pickle-barrel full of giggles” and showcases five actors in a revuetype production that pays tribute to and reinvents classic jokes of the past and present.   It celebrates the rich tradition of Jewish humor and “all the rabbis, complaining wives, fed-up husbands, patiencechallenged physicians, gossiping ladies, and competitive men’ populating it,” says Producer Philip Roger Roy. The humor is suggestive and even raunchy as the ‘Old Jews’ make fun of themselves as well as followers of every other religion. It is recommended for ages 17 and above. Ticket prices range from $4565 and may be purchased online at, by phone at 602252-8497 or the Herberger Theater box office.

Dr. Michael Crow to speak at JFCS luncheon


r. Michael M. Crow, the 16th president of Arizona State University who recently celebrated his 17th year in office, is the featured keynote speaker at the Jewish Family and Children’s Service Brighter Tomorrow Luncheon. Dr. Crow was raised in a

military family and attended 18 schools before graduating high school. He is a proud first-generation college student whose personal education experiences have informed his vision of a university. The luncheon will be held on Jan. 17, 2020, at the JW Marriot Scottsdale Camelback

Inn Resort & Spa - Paradise Ballroom at 5402 E. Lincoln Dr. in Scottsdale. Check-in begins at 11 am and luncheon goes from 11:45 am to 1:30 pm. Tickets are available via the JFCS website at brighter-tomorrow-luncheonregistration/.




NO KIDDING – Participants at the weekly

Goat Yoga class on Tuesdays at the Tucson Jewish Community Center share their workout with some special friends.

MITZVAH MONDAY – Volunteers gathered at the Valley of the Sun JCC and baked 12 dozen cookies to be delivered to Hospice of the Valley on Nov. 4.

THA TIKKUN OLAM – On Oct. 27, Tucson Hebrew Academy honored one of its founders, Bertie Levkowitz (in white), at its 2019 Tikkun Olam Celebration. 46 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019 | ARIZONA JEWISH LIFE

COME SAIL AWAY – Staff, residents and guests celebrated at The Palazzo’s Grand Opening "Sail Away with The Palazzo" party on Oct. 17.

Profile for JewishLifeMagazine

Arizona Jewish Life Nov./Dec. 2019 Vol. 8/Issue 2  

The lifestyle magazine for the Jewish community in Arizona.

Arizona Jewish Life Nov./Dec. 2019 Vol. 8/Issue 2  

The lifestyle magazine for the Jewish community in Arizona.