PCOA celebrates, Israeli conductor visits and Birthright gets support from afar

2012 Generations Gala

(L-R) Alan Levenson, M.D., chair of the Pima Council on Aging; Marian Lupu, PCOA founding director; Barbara Levy and Martin R. Levy, Ph.D., Generations Gala co-chairs

Barbara Levy, speaker, author and volunteer, has worn many hats in our community. Currently, she is chair of the Tucson Symphony Board of Trustees and the Association of Fundraising Professionals International Ethics Committee.

On April 14 at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, Barbara and her husband, Martin R. Levy, co-chaired the Pima Council on Aging’s 2012 Generations Gala. Martin is vice president of PCOA’s Foundation Board. The fundraiser, which raised $150,000, celebrated 45 years of the agency’s mission to promote dignity and respect for aging. The Arizona Daily Star’s “Generations of Commitment” Award was presented to Lolly and John Almquist and family.

During the evening, attendees heard testimonials from a PCOA caregiver and the spouse of the recipient of the services provided. These personal stories emphasized the importance of the agency’s work and the advocacy it provides for the most isolated and economically distressed elderly members of the community.


Musical ties

(L-R) Herschel Rosenzweig; Petra Boehm; George Hanson, TSO conductor; Jill Rosenzweig; and Lior Shambadal, TSO guest conductor­

Earlier on April 14, Jill and Herschel Rosenzweig hosted a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception at their home in honor of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s Israeli guest conductor, Lior Shambadal. The Rosenzweigs sponsored his appearance for the concert, one of eight in the TSO’s classic series.

Shambadal had visited Tucson before; however, this was his debut with the TSO. Born in Tel Aviv, he is an internationally renowned musician, conductor and composer. His commissioned works have been performed by major symphony orchestras, including the Israel Philharmonic. He presently serves as the chief conductor of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. The TSO performances on April 13 and 15 at the Tucson Music Hall highlighted Russian masters, including Leshnoff, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky.

Some guests at the Rosenzweig gathering who had the opportunity to meet and greet the maestro were Sue and Ned Bloomfield, Rachael Goldwyn, Brina Grusin, Betty Holpert, Alan Levenson, Barbara and Martin Levy, Judith and Richard Meyer, and Janet and Steve Seltzer.


Birthright gift

(L-R) Shelly Silverman, Michael Leven and Marilyn Einstein, JFSA chair of Women’s Philanthropy, at Birthright Israel dinner

The real estate adage states: Build it and they will come. Shelly Silverman recently learned: Invite him and he will come.

Silverman, the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Birthright Israel chair, asked Michael Leven, president and chief operating officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, to speak May 17 at a dinner she and her husband, Steve, were hosting at their home. To Shelly’s surprise and pleasure, Leven, who currently serves as a board member for the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas and the Birthright Israel Foundation, accepted her invitation.

Leven explained that he was present because his boss, CEO Sheldon Adelson, and Adelson’s wife, Miriam, are pillars of Taglit-Birthright Israel. In 2011 alone, the Adelsons announced dollar for dollar matching grants of $10 million. Our speaker stressed the impact that the free Birthright 10-day educational, peer-group trip to Israel has on the lives of Jewish young adults, ages 18-26. The cost to send each Birthright participant is $3,000. The foundation is working toward eliminating the waiting list for the trip, which 87 percent of participants describe as a “life-changing” experience. University of Arizona Hillel winter Birthright participants Rebecca London and Mariah Shevchuk echoed that sentiment and spoke about how the journey has impacted their Jewish identities.

According to Shelly, Leven helped Tucson solicit support to build our own Birthright nest egg. We want to be able to send our UA, Pima Community College and Tucson young adults to Israel, investing in them as our future leaders.

Supporters at the event included Ken Brandis, Seymour Einstein, Leslie Glaze, Ellen and David Goldstein, Bonnie Kohn, Michelle and Bruce Minkus, Helene and Michael Miron, Nancy Roberts, Steve Rodgveller, Martha and Bill Sampson, Anne Segal and Howard Waldstein.


Time to share

Another nine months has passed and I’m off on summer hiatus until the Sept. 7 Rosh Hashanah issue. Keep me posted — 319-1112. L’shalom.