Business Briefs

Business briefs 3.23.18

OSHRAT BAREL, the Weintraub Israel Center’s first woman director and its sixth shlicha (emissary from Israel) completes her transition this month to vice president of the JEWISH FEDERATION OF SOUTHERN ARIZONA’s community engagement department. The new department will facilitate collaboration among three existing program areas: the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Coalition for Jewish Education, and the Weintraub Israel Center. Barel earned her bachelors’ degree in economics and management from the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo and her MBA from Netanya Academic College. She worked for the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency for Israel, and ran educational programs to train community leaders. Barel was director of the Beit Shean-Emek HaMaayanot-Cleveland Partnership2Gether for five years before arriving here in 2013.

AMIR EDEN has been named director of the WEINTRAUB ISRAEL CENTER, a joint project of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona and the Tucson Jewish Community Center. Eden recently served as director of Israel education at the Dr. Miriam & Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus in Las Vegas. Prior to that, he was principal of the Jess Schwartz Academy High School in Scottsdale. In Las Vegas, he also founded branches of the Israeli American Council and Tzofim (Israeli Scouts).



Rabbi Ruven Barkan

RABBI RUVEN BARKAN has been appointed by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona to the part-time position of Tucson Hebrew High director while continuing his position as education and youth director at Congregation Anshei Israel. Barkan, who was born and raised in Tucson, has 11 years of experience as rabbi-in-residence at the Chicagoland Jewish High School, his first position after rabbinical school. His background includes study in Israel, working as a counselor at Camp Ramah in California and undergraduate work at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. He was ordained in 2001 at Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.



THE GREGORY SCHOOL sent a physics team to the Shalheveth Freier International Physics Tournament at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, this week. Team members are Yonatan Weiner, Benjamin Manninen, Chiara Gloesslein and Byron Panrudkevich, with Erika Gallo, Ph.D., as faculty advisor. Team coach and advisor Dennis Connor is unable to travel with the team this year. This is the second year The Gregory School has attended the tournament. In 2016, its inaugural team placed fourth in the international event.

MARC and TRACY FRANKEL have opened PIZZA LUNA at 1101 N. Wilmot Road. The Frankels, who had a vacation home in Tucson, recently moved here full-time from Portland, Oregon, where they ran an 18-location restaurant group, including the award-winning Pizzicato and Lovejoy Bakers. For Pizza Luna, they created a dough akin to the slow-fermentation country breads made at their Portland bakery. Their “neo-Neapolitan” pies also include house-made mozzarella and artisan toppings. More information is available at and on Facebook.

JANICE AUERBACH, a graduate of Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a marketing veteran, has launched Page A Day Math. Focused on early elementary math (ages 3-9), Auerbach’s math facts series provides step-by-step practice to promote confidence, independent learning, and lasting math facts fluency. Auerbach’s experience as a student abroad and her many hours volunteering, tutoring, and teaching, showed her the necessity for early math exposure that encourages children to enjoy math right from the start. More information is available at or 780-1079.



ARIZONA THEATRE COMPANY has announced three new staff members.

Sue DeBenedette

SUE DEBENEDETTE has been appointed as director of marketing. DeBenedette most recently was chief marketing and development officer at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. Her many years of marketing experience includes positions with Arizona Public Media, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Polygram Records in Australia and A&M Records in New York and Los Angeles.

Julia Waterfall-Kanter

JULIA WATERFALL-KANTER has been named director of development. She has led fund development efforts for more than 20 years for organizations that include Arizona Opera, Tucson Jewish Community Center, Up With People and Social Venture Partners Tucson. One of her first jobs was as ATC associate director of development.

John Geerstein

JOHN GEERSTEN is ATC’s new company manager. He served for seven years as managing associate and company manager at   Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City. For three seasons, he produced the collaborative Utah charity event, Utah Theatre United. His stage management experience includes the 2009 U.S. Tour of the Royal Ballet School and The Star Wars Trilogy in 30 Minutes for George Lucas. His television associate producer credits include the “MTV Movie,” “VH1 Fashion,” “My VH1” and “Big In” award shows, and Paul McCartney’s “Driving USA Tour.”