In Focus 2012, April-June

(L) Rony Ben-Dov (Israel Festival Chair), Mira Awad and Cindy Butierez backstage after the concert.
(R) Gail Ben-Jamin (Weintraub Israel Center volunteer), Noa and Jennifer Ferrell (Weintraub Israel Center program assistant).

UApresents partnered with the Weintraub Israel Center, the Heartbeat of Israel, Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, Temple Emanu-El and Tucson Jewish Community Center to present a concert by Noa and  Mira Awad, the Israeli-Palestinian singing duo, on Sunday, March 25.






Samantha Leonard reads from “A Woman’s Haggadah: Our Celebration of Passover,” created by the Temple Emanu-El WRJ.

More than 100 women and girls attended the 7th Annual Temple Emanu-El Women of Reform Judaism Women’s Seder on March 26. The Miriam’s Cup Award was presented to Norma Cohen.



Judge Anne Segal (left) and Hadassah colleagues with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (second from right).

Pima County Justice Court Judge Anne Segal was one of 15 members of the Hadassah National Center for Attorneys’ Councils sworn into the Supreme Court Bar in February. This permits Segal to argue cases before the Supreme Court, among other privileges. The Hadassah delegation listened to two cases being argued before the court and had a personal meeting with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a life member of Hadassah, and Justice Stephen Breyer.





Thirty members of the B’nai Tzedek Youth Philanthropy program, along with a few younger siblings, took part in a gleaning project on Sunday, March 25, picking citrus fruit in the Sunset Ridge neighborhood in northwest Tucson to donate to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Leviticus 23:22 commands us to leave “the gleanings of your harvest” for “the poor and the stranger.”

(L-R) Seth Brown, Itai Kreisler, Hila Lamdan, Max Byrd, Gabby Levy, Hunter Byrd, Rachel Weinstein, Eli Soyfer, Nathan Brown, Natalie Leonard, Noah Pensak, Jared Friedman, Avin Kreisler, Maddysen Zarin, Allie Whitehill, Rachel Zarin, Maddie Levy, Rachel Levy, Lindsay Bressler, Ethan Groff and Bryan Davis, youth and Holocaust education coordinator for the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Coalition for Jewish Education. Among those not pictured: Joshua Blinkoff, Maya Collier, Yoel Kreisler, Sarah Cassius.


Students hide their eyes as the afikomen is hidden during the model Seder at Harvest Center Christian Church’s Sunday school.

The Tucson Israel Action Network held a model Passover Seder for the Harvest Center Christian Church’s Sunday school on April 1. IAN participant Shelley Ann Lipowich arranged the Seder with Pastors Mary and Dennis Barreras. Lipowich, who taught the children that Passover “celebrates leaving slavery and going to freedom,” commented, “These children are going to know that Jews are good people and Israel is a free country, very much like the United States. Together we built on our common ground and planted the seeds that will someday battle prejudice.”







(Right) Jeff Hamburg, chair of the Dutch Composers’ Guild, who arranged an unfinished work by Smit and traveled from Amsterdam for the commeration, and Holocaust survivor Yuliya Genina prepare to join the Yom HaShoah processional.

More than 400 people attended the community-wide Yom HaShoah Commemoration, “A Grave in the Air: A Musical Remembrance,” on Sunday, April 22. Organized by the Coalition for Jewish Education of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, the event featured 16 TSO members playing selections by Leo Smit, a Dutch Jew murdered in the Holocaust. It also included a processional of local Holocaust survivors accompanied by local artists and a candlelighting ceremony.




About 400 people attended “All That Jazz” on Saturday, March 30, a dinner and concert honoring and
starring Stuart Mellan, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, held at the Tucson Jewish
Community Center.

Nancy and Stuart Mellan listen as Jeff Katz, JFSA chair, introduces the guest of honor.
Stuart Mellan at the piano with the Birks Works Band


Shani Knaani, Israel Fellow at the University of Arizona Hillel Foundation, left, and Israel Defense Forces Major Ran Bergstien lower the Israeli flag prior to lighting the memorial torch.

About 200 people attended the Weintraub Israel Center’s Yom Hazikaron Ceremony on Wednesday, April 25, at the Tucson Jewish Community  Center. The Israel Memorial Day event pays tribute to Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of  terror.



(L-R) Samantha Neville, Lew Hamburger (volunteer chaperone), Sophie Clark, Shari Gootter (program coordinator), Yaritza Mungia, Jacqueline Felix, Alyssa Blinkoff, Sergio Salguero, Will Brown, Aaron Bukani, Belle Soyfer. Not pictured: Zach Sharka

Ten members of the Jewish-Latino Teen Coalition, a program of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, traveled to Washington, D.C., March 18-22. The teens, who’d spent several months researching the effects of the No Child Left Behind act, lobbied members of Congress to revoke or revise the legislation to reduce the focus on standardized tests and allow teachers more creativity and flexibility.



Congregation Bet Shalom received a $500 grant from HCR ManorCare Gives Health Care Services for its work with the Casa Maria Soup Kitchen. Bet Shalom was one of 52 nonprofit organizations selected from hundreds of applicants.  Over the past 15 years, Bet Shalom and its religious school have prepared, packaged and delivered nearly 17,000 sack lunches to Casa Maria, with funding from the synagogue and its members. Carol Richelson, an employee of ManorCare and a Bet Shalom member, applied for the grant on behalf of Bet Shalom. Richelson also received a certificate of recognition from ManorCare.


Front row (L-R): Zachary Kendle, David Artzi, Sara Slepian Back row: Ron Grant (senior class faculty), Sabrina Langer, Jonah Grant, Eli Peskin-Owens, Sharon Glassberg (Hebrew High principal) Not pictured: Benjamin Bressler, Maxwell Liupakka, Jared Reiner

Tucson Hebrew High held its 34th annual graduation ceremony on Tuesday, May 8 at Congregation Anshei Israel. The students chose the theme “Small But Mighty,” reflecting both their class size and their journey toward becoming strong Jewish adults. Students spoke about their experiences on the Panim el Panim program in Washington, D.C., the March of the Living in Poland and Israel, and summer programs in Israel and Europe. Shiffy Cohen, the first principal of Tucson Hebrew High, received special recognition from Sarah Artzi, a class of 1984 graduate, and Sarah’s son, David Artzi, a member of this year’s graduating class. The reception was catered by the Hebrew High Jewish cooking class. Fall classes begin Aug. 14; registration will be available after July 9 at





(L-R) Lily Peters, Dara Binder, Aiden Navarrette, Ashlee Hall, Eva Turner, Seth Brown, Hunter Byrd, Noah Confrey, Eve Liebeskind, Annika Anderson, Teddy Horowitz, Max Byrd, Tianna Liebeskind and Drake Busby at the Pacific Jewish Center, known as “The Shul on the Beach,” where they davened the mincha/maariv service as the sun was setting. Not pictured: Josh Levine.

Congregation Or Chadash and Temple Emanu-El’s eighth grade annual trip to Jewish Los Angeles took place May 28-31. Fifteen students, chaperoned by Congregation Or Chadash Rabbi Thomas Louchheim and Director of Education Rina Liebeskind, and Temple Emanu-El Assistant Rabbi Jason Holtz and his wife, Jodi, visited places such as the Skirball Museum, where the students participated in an archeological dig modeling early life in the land of Israel; the Museum of Tolerance, where they learned more about the Holocaust; and a scavenger hunt in the Jewish neighborhood of Pico/Robertson. The trip also included lunch at a Jewish restaurant called Hava Nagillah/The “Meating” Place with a “mechitzah” dividing the dairy and meat areas of the dining rooms; a visit to Venice Beach, where some students were so excited to see the ocean for the first time they plunged into the water in their clothes; and a day at Disneyland.


Tzuza dance troupe from Kiryat Malachi performs before tens of thousands of viewers at the Karmiel Dance Festival

The Tzuza dance troupe from Kiryat Malachi, Israel, won second place in the jazz competition at the Karmiel Dance Festival, held Aug. 7-9. Dozens of Israeli dance troupes competed in the jazz category. Tzuza, which is supported by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s TIPS (Tucson, Israel, Phoenix, Seattle) partnership, performed at Tucson’s Israel Festival in 2010.