PCOA celebrates, Israeli conductor visits and Birthright gets support from afar

(L-R) Alan Levenson, M.D., chair of the Pima Council on Aging; Marian Lupu, PCOA founding director; Barbara Levy and Martin R. Levy, Ph.D., Generations Gala co-chairs

2012 Generations Gala Barbara Levy, speaker, author and volunteer, has worn many hats in our community. Currently, she is chair of the Tucson Symphony Board of Trustees and the Association of Fundraising Professionals International Ethics Committee. On April 14 at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, Barbara and her husband, Martin… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas

(L-R) Birthday celebrant Ellis Friedman, Steven Stiglitz, Marnie Friedman and Irene Friedman

70th in shul The day before his 70th birthday on Feb. 12, Ellis Friedman led the Shacharit and Musaf services and chanted the Maftir (Torah reading before the Haftorah) at Congregation Anshei Israel’s Shabbat morning service. His wife, Irene, gave the D’var Torah. Members of their havurah — Vivien… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas

Jenna Kloosterman with project apparatus during testing in Antarctica

A Super Sunday Years ago, the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Super Sunday consisted of a phone-a-thon only. On Jan. 29, not only did volunteers exceed the day’s projected fundraising goal but they performed acts of loving kindness. Activities on this expanded Mitzvah Day included an American Red Cross… Read more »

P.S.: Jazz in Tucson, a Phoenix exhibit on the pope, helping kids at Homer Davis

Joan Elder in front of one of the Blessing Project exhibits

And all that jazz Jeff Lewis, past president of the Tucson Jazz Society, was responsible for bringing world-renowned Israeli jazz pianist Tamir Hendelman to Tucson on Nov. 19. The previous month, Jeff was watching a PBS airing of Barbra Streisand’s “One Night Only at the Village Vanguard” and knew… Read more »

P.S.: Sukkah hopping in the Old Pueblo

The Bregmans — Phil, Charlotte, Breanna, Emily, Lady and Dani — in their family sukkah

Sukkot 5772 Sukkot, Judaism’s weeklong season of rejoicing, celebrates life, community and autumn’s bounty. Originally an agricultural holiday, this festival also commemorates the 40-year trek of the Israelites through the desert to the Promised Land. One builds a sukkah (plural, sukkot) — a temporary dwelling with a roof made… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas – 10.14.11

Bonnie Sedlmayr-Emerson at Melanoma Walk ’11

Aged to perfection This title describes newly minted centenarian Ruth Protas. Over Labor Day weekend, Ruth’s family and friends from near and far feted her on this milestone occasion. Official greetings from the White House congratulated her for a century of memories representing an important part of the American… Read more »

P.S. : Local people, places, travels and simchas – 9.16.11

Lt. Lipaz Ela, Shelly Silverman and 1st Sgt. Tomer Bucher at the Birthright Israel reception

In my 20 years of writing this monthly column from September through May, the Rosh Hashanah issue has traditionally highlighted Israel summer travel. This article is no exception. Enjoy! • • • • • Another year, another Tucson Hebrew Academy eighth-grade Israel Discovery trip before middle school graduation. This… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas – 5.6.11

Friends at 100: Evelyn Bersh and Solomon Steinfeld

Destination Bar Mitzvah Just as there are destination weddings, so are there destination Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebrations. At the end of March, MSNBC.com had an article entitled “Mazel tov! Traditional Jewish ceremonies take to the road.” The writer mentioned Tucsonan Sam Gordon’s December 2010 Bar Mitzvah during a Caribbean cruise.… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas – 3.25.11

Stuart and Marianne Taussig aboard “Kosherica” cruise

Cantorial cruise For a week in January, it was smooth sailing for Marianne and Stuart Taus­sig aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines. The couple celebrated their 17th anniversary on Jan. 16 on board their Western Caribbean-bound ship. Their itinerary was billed as “Kosherica: Glatt Kosher Jewish Music Festival At Sea.” Their… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas – 2.11.11

Abby, Jordan, Joel and Jane Herz at Independence Hall in Tel Aviv

“This year in Jerusalem” When Joel Herz recently visited Israel after a long hiatus, he was astounded by the growth and progress of this small country. In 1988, as a recent law school graduate, Joel spent three months in Israel, living and working on a kibbutz, studying Hebrew, and… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas

(L-R): Nina Isaac, Randi Levin, Cheryl Wortzel, Shaun Kozolchyk and David Plotkin at JFSA’s Hava Tequila Young Leadership Bash

New JCC artwork Local artist Julie Szerina Stein created the beautiful new mosaic-and-painted mural in the Tucson Jewish Community Center preschool area. Jonathan and Rachel Green conceived of the idea, and Jonathan’s mother, Fay Green, of Texas, underwrote the project in honor of her grandsons — Ryan, 13; Aaron,… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas

Jake Levine and the Vilnius Bagel Project

Bagels in Vilnius Native Tucsonan Jacob (“Jake”) Levine can be credited with bringing the bagel back to Vilnius after 70 years. Levine, 25, a Catalina Foothills High School graduate who holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Arizona, is living in the Lithuanian capital for a year… Read more »

P.S.: Tucson chef creates Guinness world record matzah ball; Israeli’s Israel travels; Pilates guru; Hadassah hears Marquez

Shlomo & Vito’s New York Delicatessen Chef Jon Wirtis (left), deli owner Dean Greenberg (center) and Jim Liebeskind (right) measure the world’s largest matzah ball.

World’s largest matzah ball On Sunday, Nov. 7, Chef Jon Wirtis of Shlomo & Vito’s New York Delicatessen set the Guinness World Record for the world’s biggest matzah ball. The massive creation weighed 488 pounds and measured 36 inches across. This extraordinary feat was witnessed (and devoured) by thousands… Read more »

Dancing, running, davening: local people, places and simchas

Benjamin Allen Kleiman

Honor for ZBT/UA alum Zeta Beta Tau, the nation’s first Jewish fraternity, which was found­ed in 1898 and became a non-sectarian brotherhood in 1954, held its 2010 national convention July 15-18 in Manhattan Beach, Calif. At the four-day conference, Ron Pardo, a 1988 University of Arizona graduate now residing… Read more »

Israel travel … and more

Clockwise from top: THA 8th graders at the Israel home of Carol and Dan Karsch — top row (L-R) Rabbi Billy, Noam Shahar, Itai Kreisler, Joshua Girard, Matan Laytin, Benjamin Louchheim, Devin Hulsey, Shelby Kotz, Avigail Penner, David Rosman; middle row (L-R) Rebecca Slepian, Hannah Karsch Hochner, Dan Karsch, Carol Karsch, David Abraham (IDF commander in the tanks division), Marlene Abraham (THA teacher/chaperone); front row (L-R) Juliet Weintraub, Adina Artzi, Ron (Israeli guide), Eve Stone.

Tucson PNAI (Parents of North American Israelis) members Carol and Dan Karsch spent a month at their home in Modi’in, the city in which their daughter Hannah Karsch Hochner, son-in-law Jacky, and grandchildren Tanya, Hillel and Ayelet reside. During this time, Carol, executive director of the Jewish Community Foundation… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas

Mary Ellen Loebl with a Mitzvah Magic Chanukah basket

Social action over spring break In March, two University of Arizona students participated in the Jewish National Fund Alternative Spring Break. They were among 250 college students/young adults, ages 18-30, who spent a week in Israel working and volunteering in communities in the Negev. Each was required to raise… Read more »