Local | Volunteer Salute

Congregation Or Chadash Sisterhood shines a light on volunteer Sandock

Beverly Sandock

Community volunteer Beverly Sandock will be recognized in April by  the Congregation Or Chadash Sisterhood with its second annual Eshet Or (Woman of Light) award. In addition to 20 years of volunteer service at the synagogue, Sandock contributes to the community through daily professional and personal outreach.

“Bev’s name came up consistently as we discussed possible nominees at our Sisterhood board meetings and it was a unanimous ‘yes’ vote when discussed at our program committee meeting,” says Laurie Kassman, Sisterhood president. “She is a ‘true light’ of what it means to be a team player and a leader. She always is willing to give an opinion or a hand for any event or program that she is asked about. Bev is someone that we all know that we can count on; her word is golden.”

Cantor Janece Cohen put Sandock’s name forward, she says, because “I’ve worked with her for so long, I knew all the things she has done” for Or Chadash, from heading the fundraising committee “forever” to serving as president to quietly filling in as administrator for months. As president, Sandock made the staff feel appreciated in a way no other president had done, even giving gifts out of her own pocket, says Cohen. And she “is a board member who is always at services,” which Cohen says is a rarity.

Sandock does everything with humility, Cohen emphasizes. “Beverly stays in the shadows. She’s not ever, ‘Look at me, I’m the president, look at me, I’m the bigshot.’” Indeed, when told of the honor, Cohen says, Sandock protested that there were others more deserving.

As COC’s volunteer development director, Sandock had a hand in guiding recent synagogue fundraisers. The Passport to Paradise raffle project this winter raised about $15,000 for the congregation. Since as a committee member she wasn’t able to participate in the raffle, Sandock bought tickets to give away to others who could really appreciate a windfall. Sandock also was behind the Feb. 21 fund-raising dinner, “25 Years of Gratitude,” honoring retiring Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona President and CEO  Stuart Mellan, and Rabbi Thomas Louchheim on his 25th anniversary of service. “It was a great, ‘happy’ committee that did the work for this,” she says, and it raised about $10,000.

Sandock started out as a volunteer on the synagogue’s previous Jewish Family and Fun Fest, the adult education committee, as an interim director for membership, and an office volunteer. She was ever looking to be more efficient in fundraising and in coordinating sponsor giving. She began serving on the board and became entrenched in the processes from the perspective of staff, board, and clergy.  Perspective from the three groups that run a synagogue “has given me the best understanding that informs my decision-making,” Sandock says. “Foremost in mind is that the members of the congregation are the main reason we plan and lead. We truly represent them.”

In 2008, she was approached by two congregation members and Louchheim. “To my surprise, they came to me and asked me to be president. It was out of the blue, I hadn’t even thought about it,” Sandock recalls. She agreed and calls the two-year term “an experience.” Although she was COC’s first woman president, she never thought of herself as a trailblazer. “It didn’t occur to me except when someone asked me, ‘How does it feel to be the synagogue’s first woman president?’

“I’ve watched the Sisterhood evolve through the years as they became involved with Women of Reform Judaism,” which is the women’s affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism, the umbrella group for almost 850 North American congregations. “It really has changed the roles of women involved in synagogue,” she says. “The organization has been involved in bringing new awareness to women’s issues with programming to reflect broader interests.”

In her professional life of planning and communications for JFSA, Sandock is editor and publisher of the
JewishTucson.com weekly events calendar. She has shared those talents with COC in taking its monthly newsletter to an online format with the addition of advertising as a new revenue stream. “This has been a huge cost saving,” Sandock says of going digital, adding that the boomerang effect of lost business to the printer is bothersome. One of her key underlying values is helping those in need financially or emotionally.

Sandock has assisted Sisterhood with communications, collateral, and digitizing their newsletter. With a community focus, Sandock says she sees how the Sisterhood and synagogue fit into the community. “I comingle my experience and expertise in making both places richer, based on interconnection and collaboration that exists between them. It is beneficial to both organizations that I understand synagogue so well,” she says of blending her professional and synagogue roles.

She brings this perspective to bear as a steering committee member of the JFSA’s Jewish Community Round Table, which addresses the needs of the whole community. “I can reflect needs I hear of, the gaps in service, with my knowledge of synagogue, JFSA, and the broader Jewish community to benefit each other in a more informed way.”

Sandock also oversees the JFSA’s concierge, which provides one-on-one information to community members, especially newcomers. Sandock is the Federation’s liaison to the Synagogue Federation Dialogue Group, which again is a crossover to her synagogue connection.

A native of Cincinnati, Sandock married her husband, Ken, when she was in college and traveled with him as he trained as a radiologist — Washington, D.C.; Indianapolis; Chicago; Columbia, Missouri; and New Orleans — before landing in Tucson. She has a master’s degree in learning disabilities from American University in Washington, D.C., and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Arizona. The Sandocks raised two children — son David, a urologist, and daughter Hollie, a hospital director of outpatient account services — and have six grandchildren.

Trained as an educational therapist and a learning strategies specialist with extensive knowledge of learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder, for a decade, Sandock was associate director of the UArizona Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques Center, a private life coach at Sandock Education Services for college students with ADHD and learning disabilities, and lectured nationally as an expert in her field.

The luncheon honoring Sandock is planned for Sunday, April 19, 12:30-2 p.m. at the synagogue, 3939 N. Alvernon Way, at 12:30-2 p.m., with a fee of $18 and tributes from $10 available. For information, meal choices, and to RSVP call Lee Golden by April 13 at 990-1710. Cohen notes that the event is contingent on the status of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic — on March 12, she says, administrators made the decision to close the Or Chadash campus to visitors. Shabbat services are being live-streamed at www.facebook.com/octucson. For more information, visit www.orchadash-tucson.org or call