Israeli mitzvah project
From Sept. 22 through Oct. 2, Bertie Levkowitz and Tom Herz were in Israel for Bertie’s youngest granddaughter’s bat mitzvah. Ella Levkowitz, the celebrant, is the daughter of Howard and Elaine Levkowitz, of Los Angeles. The Levkowitz clan with native Tucson ties included Howard’s sister, Helene (Levkowitz) and her husband Dan Goodman, of Los Angeles, and their cousin Hal Levkowitz with his wife Bina, of New Orleans. Festivities began with a Shabbat dinner followed by a luncheon the next day. The Orthodox bat mitzvah took place at Beit Shmuel, the headquarters of the Reform movement in Israel, overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. On Sunday, erev Sukkot, services were followed by dinner; on Monday, there were services and a luncheon. The bat mitzvah celebrant spoke after each service. On Tuesday, guests began a two-day bus tour. With tzedakah (charity) an important family value, they packed food at Yad Ezra V’Shulamit in Jerusalem. This volunteer-driven charity helps feed Israel’s hungry children and their families. To honor their simcha, the group also participated in a mitzvah project through Thank Israeli Soldiers, an organization that supports the Israel Defense Forces. The travelers arrived at the tzanchanim (paratroopers) base where they helped cook and serve a barbecue for what Bertie described as “250 hungry, eager, happy, grateful young soldiers.” Prior to the meal, the tour group received virtual anti-terrorist shooting training. A sign overhead read: “The Levkowitz family thanks the soldiers of the Paratroopers unit for their tremendous service.” What a beautiful way to show appreciation to the men and women of the IDF.
Sukkot in Israel
Linda and Shelby Silverman spent two weeks around Sukkot in Modi’in with their daughter Lisa Silverman, son-in-law and four grandchildren who made aliyah in June 2014. In transit from Tucson to Philadelphia, Linda and Shelby’s plane circled Philadelphia International Airport, closed due to the Pope’s departure following his U.S. visit. When it finally landed, they barely made their Tel Aviv connection. Their luggage followed four days later! On their first day, Linda, Shelby, Lisa and their eldest granddaughter, Talia, picked beets at Moshav Nahalal for distribution by Leket Israel, the country’s largest food bank/food rescue network, for which Lisa works as a consultant. During their stay, the couple enjoyed celebrating the holiday in the family sukkah that hosted many guests. Other highlights were a Tel Aviv beach excursion; a visit to the new Sarona cultural complex containing parks, playgrounds, shops, restaurants, cafes, and art galleries in the center of Tel Aviv; the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in the Performing Arts Center; and delicious kosher meals. Tucson connections included dinner with Carol and Dan Karsch, longtime Tucsonans now living in Modi’in; dinner with Yael and Dr. David Wolf, a hydrologist with Tucson ties; and meeting by happenstance with Helene and Dan Goodman (see previous segment) during a visit to Yad Vashem.
UA Homecoming 2015
Last year, the University of Arizona marked its 100th year of Homecoming. This year over Homecoming weekend, the school celebrated 100 Years of Greek Life. The Jewish-founded Greek chapters on campus are Alpha Epsilon Pi, Sigma Alpha Mu and Zeta Beta Tau fraternities and
Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority. From open houses to Sunday breakfasts, the groups welcomed past members at gatherings evoking fond memories of friendships that enhanced their college experiences. Although Tau Delta Phi is no longer an official fraternity on campus, the brothers met for a reunion. According to organizer Kenny Mirman (1970, front row wearing Panama hat in photo), members joined TV journalist and fraternity brother Geraldo Rivera (1965) at a groundbreaking for the Geraldo Rivera Greek Heritage Park near campus. Following a photo op on the steps of Old Main, they presented Geraldo with a personalized Tau Delta Phi paddle signed by the attendees. Locals in the photo are Larry Deutsch, Sandy Mishkind, Charlie Seideman and Doug Halpern.
Tucson Jewish meetup
Tucson has had a new Jewish Business Networking group since April. Facilitated by the Jewish Tucson concierge, Ori Parnaby, members meet at the Tucson J on the second Wednesday of each month from 7:30-9 a.m. According to Ori, they have had a strong attendance of local Jewish business people coming together to schmooze, drink coffee, connect with each other and the Jewish community, and learn how they can help support one other.