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Adam Goldstein: Jewish camp, UA set stage for JFSA Northwest champion

Adam Goldstein and his wife, Dana, at Young Jewish Tucson’s Roaring 20s-themed Hava Tequila event, Feb. 8.
Adam Goldstein and his wife, Dana, at Young Jewish Tucson’s Roaring 20s-themed Hava Tequila event, Feb. 8.

Adam Goldstein doesn’t see how unique his dedication to Tucson’s Jewish community is. Sitting at his kitchen table, he lists committee after committee he’s chaired, co-chaired, participated in or formed. He was the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Young Man of the Year in 2013. He’s been a member of the Young Men’s Group since before the group formally organized. Yet, he believes that he’s just doing his part.

Born and raised in Phoenix, Goldstein remembers attending Temple Chai with his family through his Bar Mitzvah and confirmation. In particular, he remembers the devotion of his grandparents to their Jewish faith. Far and away, his most formative Jewish experience was attending camp.

“I attended Camp Stein (formerly Camp Charles Pearlstein) for six summers,” says Goldstein, “and as a result, I became close with a large group of Phoenicians and Tucsonans. Once we all became B’nai Mitzvah age, we would all shuttle back and forth for each other’s celebrations. It felt like a pretty big deal as a preteen to be traveling just for a party.” That network laid the groundwork for the Jewish community he’s since built.

Goldstein attended the University of Arizona, graduating in December 2006 in only three and a half years with a major in business finance. He played football at the UA his entire college career before graduating to intern with his current firm, RBC Wealth Management USA, where he is now a partner.

During his first summer football preseason, he met his wife, Dana. She was a freshman on the pom/dance line.

“Say what you want about the cliché — football player meets pom girl — but she was young, blonde, cute and Jewish!” Goldstein smiles. “All my friends were teasing us that we had to get married and have kids before we even met.”

The two dated throughout college and attended Birthright Israel during the winter break of their senior year. Of Birthright, Goldstein says “it really solidified things for me — both for our relationship and for my Jewish identity. It was quite the amazing experience.” He proposed shortly after Dana’s graduation in May 2008. They now live in Oro Valley in northwest Tucson with their nearly 2-year-old son, Nathan, and their newborn daughter, Juliet.

Immediately after graduation from the UA, Goldstein reconnected with his Jewish community to make friends. “Once college ends, you watch your friends move away one by one. I was afraid I wouldn’t have anyone left. So, I started reaching out to my old buddies, and we formed what’s now the Young Men’s Group.”

At first, the group was informal and sporadically held events, including basketball pickup games. Now, the group is a formal part of the Jewish Federation umbrella and includes regular group meetings, philanthropy, education, socializing and more. The group liaises with the Next Generation group to plan Men’s Night Out.

“I’ve participated in the group for so long now,” says Goldstein. “They’ve kept me on as an advisor to the current co-chairs to assure group continuity.”

The Goldsteins moved to northwest Tucson in 2008, and purchased their Oro Valley home the following year. Shortly after, the Goldsteins realized the Jewish component was missing from their new neighborhood. “The Federation’s Northwest Outreach office was new, and we [Dana and I] would help them put programming together.”

“The Jewish population is almost invisible in the northwest,” Goldstein said of the seasonal influx of Jewish ‘snowbirds’ and a high number of interfaith marriages, “so I put it on my shoulders to make involvement happen.”

He’s enjoyed his experiences with the Federation’s various groups and committees, from serving as the Northwest Campaign Chair to the Ben Gurion Society, from Young Men’s Group to Young Leadership Council.

Goldstein has kind words for his mentors in the Jewish community. “The neatest thing about Tucson’s Jewish community is that our lay leaders just really ‘get it.’ They did things the right way the first time. They don’t muscle in with an agenda. They don’t make demands with their dollars. They all give unselfishly, and they all understand the importance of a well-rounded and diverse Jewish community.”

Looking to the future, Goldstein dreams of having a more robust Jewish presence in the northwest. “To see my son become a Bar Mitzvah at a synagogue here in the northwest would be awesome,” he says. “This area is so new, and I think it is just going to take time.”

Time is something that Goldstein, who turns 30 on Sept. 17, has in his favor.  Both his family and career are firmly rooted in Tucson. Last year, he completed his Master of Science in financial services with a specialty in advanced financial planning from the American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pa.

On achieving so many important milestones so young in life, Goldstein says he feels fortunate and grateful.

“The stars aligned for me in Tucson,” says Goldstein. “This community is so amazing, and it’s far exceeded any expectations I set for myself.”

Sarah Chen is a freelance writer and blogger who lives with her husband and two children in Tucson.