In his 1971 Yom Kippur sermon, Rabbi Arthur R. Oleisky of Congregation Anshei Israel called for the formation of a Jewish day school in Tucson. Rising to the challenge, Bertie and the late Jack Levkowitz and David and Judy Leonard joined the rabbi and his wife, Betejoy, as the nucleus of a committee that soon swelled to include many other families. In fall 1973, Tucson Hebrew Academy began with 42 children in four grades. Classes were held at Anshei Israel for more than 20 years, but the school has always been pluralistic, teaching Judaics from the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox perspectives. By the 1990s, it was outgrowing its space at Anshei Israel and in 1996, with leadership from Randy Emerson and the late Don Baker, among others, THA moved into its new facility on the Volk Jewish Community Campus.
Now, with another High Holiday season upon us, the Arizona Jewish Post presents profiles of a dozen THA alumni who have gone forth to make their mark on the world, armed with a thorough Jewish and secular education and an abiding sense of community — Jon Ben-Asher, who in 2014 became the first alumnus to be named head of school, among them. From Miriam Geffen Meyers, a 1977 graduate who is now a grandmother of 10, to Shoham Ozeri, a 2008 graduate who hopes to become a paramedic in Israel, they are an eclectic and accomplished group. Space and time permitting, we could have profiled many more, but for now, we wish you happy reading and a sweet New Year.