Centenarian plus one
Shabbat dinner on Jan. 15 was a little different at Madeline and Barry Friedman’s household. The couple hosted a 101st birthday celebration for Madeline’s dad, Murray Rosenbaum. Fifteen family and friends gathered from Tucson, Connecticut, New York, and New Mexico to join in this simcha. Local attendees were Madeline’s daughter and son-in-law, Gabrielle and Andy Burgess with their four-year-old son, Jonathan; son Zev Rubin and his partner Ashley White; and friends Brina Grusin, Nicki Lasky, and snowbirds Lois and Joel Coleman.
Since Madeline’s grandson Jonathan was in attendance, she wanted him, at his young age, to appreciate this great achievement. So she made a trail of 101 chocolate kisses surrounding the table, beginning and ending in front of Murray. Everyone circled the table counting the kisses and took the kiss that represented his or her age. Jonathan took the first one at four and Murray retrieved the last one at 101. “It was pretty impressive to witness!” says Madeline.
The dining room was decorated with dozens of helium balloons, compliments of party planner Marianne Langer. As the highlight of the evening, each guest got to ask the celebrant one question, seeking his sage advice. According to the hostess, “His answers were witty and spot-on!” Brooklyn-born Murray, who now resides at a local retirement community, enjoys reading mystery books (male authors only, please) and playing poker. The family has already started planning his 102nd party. L’chaim!
The Homer Davis project
In January 2009, Tucson’s Jewish community adopted Homer Davis Elementary School in the Flowing Wells Unified School District. This award-winning Title I school serves mostly low income, at-risk youth. Spearheaded by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, the project continues in its mission to provide support services, including weekend food packs for students in need, daily snacks for kindergartners and first-graders, a volunteer counselor and tutors.
Last month, Chad Miller, Homer Davis principal for the past five years, received a 2016 Rodel Exemplary Principal award from the Rodel Foundation of Arizona. Shelley Pozez was honored as Outstanding Volunteer of the Year from Homer Davis and was recognized at the Flowing Wells USD governing board meeting on Jan. 12.
Shelley, a former teacher with a special education degree, has been helping in the Homer Davis first grade and kindergarten classrooms since 2014. One might find her working with students on reading, math problems, mastering the correct finger grip for writing with a pencil or using scissors, or learning a new workout during Wellness Week. Raised with the philanthropic value of “giving back,” she advocates for Homer Davis behind the scenes in the community as well, encouraging friends to donate their time and money to the school. She has funded transportation costs and admission for field trips, brought in clothing supplies to the health office assistant, snacks for the classrooms, and paid for a first-grade class to go to a shoe store to purchase new shoes.
The letter of nomination for this award read: “Shelley’s contagious positive attitude, extraordinary heart and endless patience touch the children, parents, and Homer Davis staff each day. We are truly blessed to have Shelley on our campus and proud to nominate her as our Volunteer of the Year.”
Film and fashion
The film “Advanced Style” was shown on Jan. 15 as part of the Tucson International Jewish Film Festival. Based on film producer Ari Seth Cohen’s blog of the same name, this documentary celebrates the lives of seven New York women, ages 62-95, whose eclectic personal style and spirit have guided their approach to aging. Ari was in the audience and spoke of being inspired by his grandmother’s unique style and his interest in the put-together fashions of vibrant seniors.
The film was preceded by a luncheon and fashion show at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. Lynn Rae Lowe, a film festival committee member, fashion model, and co-sponsor with Maya Palace, orchestrated the afternoon. Her fellow models on the fashion runway included committee members Monique Busby and Devorah Coryell, Andrea Gould, Phyllis Hochberg, Jackie Manning, Genia Parker and 92-year-old “grand dame” Mollie Shenitzer.
In wrapping up the festival, Lynn Davis, director of arts and culture at the J, stated: “We couldn’t be more pleased with the community’s support of our 25th season. We had our best attendance to date, with great crowds for both film and non-film events. I’m also thrilled that we were able to bring back an encore screening of “Raise the Roof” for those folks who weren’t able to see it at the Tucson Festival of Films in October.”
Time to share
I’m listening …Keep me posted — 319-1112. L’shalom.