History museum benefit to honor Tucson’s Jewish mayors

Charles Strauss, mayor of Tucson 1883-1884 (left), and Jonathan Rothschild, the current mayor

The Jewish History Museum will hold its seventh annual fall fundraiser next month, honoring Tucson’s Jewish mayors. Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, the current incumbent — and the city’s fifth Jewish mayor — will be a special guest.

The event, a champagne brunch, will be held Sunday, Nov. 8 at 10 a.m. at the Stillwell Twiggs House, 134 S. 5th Ave., with entertainment by the Tucson Junior Strings.

Tucson’s first Jewish mayor was Charles Strauss, in office from 1883-1884. Strauss built a city hall, fire house and city hospital and was instrumental in starting construction of the first public library in Arizona, the Carnegie Free Library of Tucson, which opened in 1901.

Lewis Davis, the city’s only Republican Jewish mayor, served from 1961-1967 and was elected for his business savvy. According to his daughter, Andrea Davis, his friends all changed their political affiliation to Republican to get him through the primaries, then changed back after the election.

Tom Volgy, who served from 1987-1991, has been a professor of political science at the University of Arizona since 1971. While in office, he created a campaign finance reform program used in cities across the United States.

George Miller, who served from 1991-1999, died in December 2014 at the age of 92. Much of his time in office focused on social justice issues. In 1995, Miller spearheaded the adoption of a hate-crimes law, making Tucson the first city in Arizona and one of the first in the country to have such a law.

Rothschild, who took office in 2011, is a published poet. He has devoted much of his time in office to the revitalization of downtown Tucson and to education reform, creating the Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

Tickets to the brunch are $95 per person, To RSVP and for sponsorship opportunities, call 670-9073.