Columns | P.S.

Memorials, music and service: Locals make the most of summer

D-Day commemoration cruise

(L-R): Jane Ash, Gary Kippur, Tandy Kippur, and Bruce Ash at the American cemetery in Normandy on the anniversary of D-Day.

Bruce and Jane Ash and Gary and Tandy Kippur traveled together on the National WWII Museum 75th anniversary of D-Day cruise. They were part of a University of Arizona Alumni Association contingent, with other schools also represented. Before boarding the ship in Amsterdam, they visited the Anne Frank House Museum and Van Gogh Museum, walked the canals and oldest neighborhoods, and enjoyed local cuisine. Ports of call included Rotterdam; Zeebrugge, Belgium; Dunkirk, Calais, Dieppe, and Le Havre, France; and four days in Normandy.

World-renowned authors, historians, and battlefield guides led the excursions. The foursome visited World War I and World War II sites, saying Kaddish at the graves of Jewish soldiers. They traveled with veteran soldiers, sailors, and airmen who fought on D-Day. Wherever these men went, they were treated as the heroes and liberators that they are. Schoolchildren, active service U.S. military, and others flocked to greet and thank them. Photos taken include those of U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron at the American Cemetery during the official ceremonies between France and America to celebrate the victory at D-Day and the liberation of France.

According to Bruce, “This trip contained much Jewish content which we will always remember. The journey was meaningful to both of our families that had fathers who served in France during and just after the war. It was a trip that made us and our shipmates thankful for the sacrifice of our brave warriors and proud of our country that turned back and destroyed Nazi Germany.”




Arizona Ambassadors of Music

Bennett Silvyn, left, and Elliot Baruch took this selfie at the Eiffel Tower.

Between June 21 and July 6, Elliot Baruch and Bennett Silvyn traversed seven countries in 15 days as members of the Arizona Ambassadors of Music. Since 1987, retired Phoenix band director Bill Richardson has organized and directed this biannual trip. Both boys, friends from childhood who are now Catalina Foothills High School seniors, were recommended by their CFHS choir director to take part in this experience. Bennett, a bass, and Elliot, a tenor, joined the choir of about 100 who traveled with about 200 band members ­­— a total of seven busloads, including approximately 50 Tucsonans.

In England, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy, and Germany, the students experienced different languages, customs, foods, and cultures. Yet, when they performed, the common denominator was music, with audiences everywhere fully engaged. All concerts took place in churches — the choir sang inside and the band played outside. The groups were able to attend each other’s performances.

One of the sites visited was the Dachau concentration camp, where they had one hour to walk the grounds and see the memorial and museum. The visit left them with a new awareness of the horrors of the Holocaust.

The highlight of the trip for Elliot took place in Zermatt, Switzerland, where they were treated to a fondue dinner party with dancing, flag throwing, and twirling. Bennett also enjoyed Switzerland, especially the town of Crans Montana where, he says, the people were nice, the view from the mountains breathtaking, and the concert amazing. Never had he encountered a crowd clapping in unison, demanding an encore.

Joining the IDF

Yuval Barel in her IDF uniform, at home in Beit Shean.

Yuval Barel, 18, a Tucson Hebrew Academy and The Gregory School graduate, passed up staying in the United States to attend college to serve her native Israel and save lives. On Aug. 30, she began the initial Israel Defense Forces induction process. At Bakum, an army base near Tel Aviv, new soldiers get their assignments, uniforms, and first introduction to army life. Yuval’s IDF service was postponed until Nov. 27, as she was accepted into a rescue unit as a combat soldier, with men and women serving together. In the interim, she is substitute teaching English at the ORT high school in Beit Shean.

Yuval’s mother, Oshrat Barel, served for four years as community shlicha (Israeli emissary) and Weintraub Israel Center director and for two years as Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona vice president for planning and community engagement. On Sept. 12, the Federation celebrated her six years of dedication with a heartfelt “Thank you and l’hitraot” party of professionals, lay leaders, community members and friends (see photo, page A-34).

Time to share

A happy, healthy, sweet New Year for all. Keep me posted — 319-1112. L’shalom.