P.S.

Local people, places, travels and simchas

Liz Weiner-Schulman with guitarist Misael Barraza-Diaz
Liz Weiner-Schulman with guitarist Misael Barraza-Diaz

Music to our ears

Following Steve Schulman’s passing in 2013, his wife, Liz Weiner-Schulman, established the Steve Schulman Memorial Award in Guitar Endowment through the University of Arizona Foundation. On Sunday, Sept. 25, the UA’s Fred Fox School of Music presented the second annual Steve Schulman award recital in Holsclaw Hall, featuring doctoral student Misael Barraza-Diaz. Guitarist Barraza-Diaz has won numerous international competitions and is the award recipient for the second year. His program included Renaissance, classical and more modern pieces with a flamenco encore.

Schulman, a local guitarist, was on the UA Fred Fox School of Music Advisory Board, one of the founders of the Tucson Guitar Society, and a friend of the UA Bolton Guitar Studies program. In addition, he was a member of the Temple Emanu-El Avanim Rock Band that played rock Shabbats and part of Klezmerkaba, a klezmer band that played traditional Yiddish music.

Following this year’s award performance, Liz hosted a reception at the Arizona Inn. Some of the family and longtime friends in attendance at the recital and reception were  Jon Schulman, Sally Franklin, Chuck Weiner, Marcy Albert and Annie Levy, Jan Wezelman and David Bartlett, Jim Wezelman and Denise Grusin, Charlie and Marsha Blitzer, Daniel Millstone, Jerry and Kathy Barkan, and Michael and Gloria Goldman.

Andra Karnofsky and Chuck Gannon in his 1941-42 kindergarten classroom.
Andra Karnofsky and Chuck Gannon in his 1941-42 kindergarten classroom.

Kindergarteners at 80

Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

— Robert Fulghum, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” 

This book was first published in 1986, many years after Chuck Gannon started kindergarten in 1941 at DeWitt Clinton Elementary School in Chicago. Chuck and his kindergarten alums adhered to the Golden Rule and the simple wisdoms that the author espouses when viewing the world through a child’s eyes.

Over the weekend of Sept. 16-18, Chuck and his wife, Andra Karnofsky, flew back to Chicago for Chuck’s kindergarten reunion and a collective celebration of the attendees’ 80th birthdays. On Friday night, the group enjoyed an 80th birthday dinner in their kindergarten classroom at the school. The bench filled with blocks was still there. If a student misbehaved, the blocks were removed, the student had to climb into the dark bench, and the top was closed. (Today, that discipline would be considered child abuse/endangerment.) On Saturday night, guests enjoyed a catered French dinner at one of the attendee’s homes in a Chicago suburb. Six years ago, in the middle of this Saturday night event, as a surprise to those gathered, Chuck and Andra, with officiant Rabbi Debra Nesselson, stood up and proceeded to get married.

Chuck Gannon (top row, fourth from left) with his kindergarten class at DeWitt Clinton Elementary School in Chicago
Chuck Gannon (top row, fourth from left) with his kindergarten class at DeWitt Clinton Elementary School in Chicago

The reunions began with seven friends; now a dozen meet annually with their wives. These classmates grew up together in West Rogers Park, a working-class neighborhood of Chicago. What used to be a mostly Catholic and Jewish locale is now multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. The 1941 kindergarteners have gone on to great personal and professional achievements, giving back to the school and their communities. They hold a special bond, seeing each other as role models and inspiring each other to greater heights — a band of brothers.

Mike and Stephanie Hoffman with their children — Jacob, 8, Jacqui, 6, and Leanna, 20 months, in their sukkah
Mike and Stephanie Hoffman with their children — Jacob, 8, Jacqui, 6, and Leanna, 20 months, in their sukkah

Sukkah building in the Old Pueblo

Following Yom Kippur, the joyous holiday of Sukkot reminds us of God’s shelter and protection during our ancestors’ 40-year desert sojourn. Many families keep the tradition/mitzvah of building a sukkah, a temporary hut, for this harvest festival.

Neither Mike nor Stephanie Hoffman’s families built a sukkah when they were growing up. The couple has been erecting one since the birth of their eldest child, now 8 years old. Over the years, they have used a variety of materials, from PVC piping to wood framing. For their current sukkah, they utilized a kit with metal piping for the frame, a semi-permeable tarp for the walls, and bamboo poles for roof supports. Their schach (covering) is a combination of bamboo matting and palm fronds cut from backyard trees for this specific purpose. This year’s big addition was a string of outdoor lights with bright LED bulbs that Stephanie found on a shopping outing. Sukkah decorations consist of items the children have made at school over the years, plus a few that were given to the family as gifts.

The family eats all of their meals in the sukkah and Mike davens in it if he is not in shul. Each morning, Stephanie and their three children come out to the sukkah with him to wave the lulav and etrog and recite the blessings. They invite ushpizin (Sukkot guests) for the Yom Tov meals and over Chol HaMoed (weekdays of the festival) without impacting the kids’ school week routines. Sukkot is definitely one of Mike’s favorite holidays, “probably because the observances include the entire family, from building and decorating the sukkah to performing the lulav and etrog rituals to enjoying time with guests.”

Time to share

I’m all ears. Keep me posted about your news — 319-1112. L’shalom.

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