JFSA Women’s Philanthropy will honor local teen with Zehngut award

The advisory council of Women’s Philanthropy at the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona will award its fifth annual Bryna Zehngut Mitzvot Award, which recognizes an outstanding Jewish teenage girl, ­to Alyssa Silva.

The council created the award in partnership with many of Zehngut’s friends to honor the late community leader, who “personified the greatest assets of the human spirit, displaying sincerity, generosity, compassion, wisdom, and righteousness.”

Silva, the daughter of David and Lee Silva and granddaughter of Maxine Coz, is a senior at Sahuaro High School. In addition to many volunteer activities in the community at large, Silva’s Jewish community volunteer activities include working as a counselor for underprivileged youth at Camp Swift, civic work through Operation Shema in Baltimore, serving on the B’nai Tzedek Teen Advisory Coucil, and giving her time and talents at Handmaker, Jewish Family & Children’s Services and the 1st Rate 2nd Hand Thrift Store. Her leadership skills developed through her role in the Jewish-Latino Teen Coalitiion and her position as president of the Tucson chapter of NFTY (the North American Federation of Temple Youth). She is an active participant in USY (United Synagogue Youth) and Hebrew High, a religious school teaching assistant and lead singer in the Avanim Band during “Rock Shabbat” services at Temple Emanu-El.

Silva will be recognized at the Women’s Philanthropy Connections brunch at the Tucson Jewish Community Center on March 6. She will receive a gift of $613, relating to the Jewish tradition of 613 mitzvot, to be used toward a trip to Israel or another Jewish educational or leadership program. She will also be presented with a Julie Szerina Stein print that was personalized for the Bryna Zehngut Mitzvot Award.