On Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16, 40 Congregation Bet Shalom members and friends attended a Tucson Padres game at Kino Stadium. Cantor Avraham Alpert threw out the first pitch, a sinking slider. Attendees included (L-R) Frank Youdelman, Robby Youdelman, Mimi Algazi, Linda Kunsberg, Ezra Alpert, Cantor Avraham Alpert and Andrew Kunsberg, congregation president.
Policy analysis in Aspen
Ellen and Steve Susman of Houston, trustees of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (left), with Bob and Deborah Sharpe of Tucson at the Institute’s recent event in Aspen, Colo. Ambassador Dennis Ross, counselor at the institute, spoke about threats to U.S. and Israeli interests in the region in light of the upheaval in Egypt, civil war in Syria and Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. As Washington sought to resume Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Ross shared his experience as one of the principal architects of previous peace agreements.
Breaking new ground
Construction of the Paul and Lydia Kalmanovitz Elder-Care Center at Handmaker began in August with the demolition of the Bregman administration building. Built around 1968, the Bregman building served as Handmaker’s first nursing home. Completion of the two story elder-care center, a project of the Handmaker Foundation and Tucson Medical Center, is projected for the fourth quarter of 2014. The 36-bed facility will include a 16-bed unit managed by TMC for short-term dementia, Alzheimer’s and geriatric psychiatric care, and a 20-bed skilled nursing dementia care unit operated by Handmaker. Funding for the $4.5 million dollar project began with a $3 million grant from the Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation of San Francisco.
Baby and me in the Northwest
Rabbi Israel Becker helped babies and mothers welcomed the Sabbath with singing, dancing and prayers on Aug. 23 at the PJ Library/Jewish Federation-Northwest Baby and Me program. The next Baby and Me (for adults and babies ages birth through two) will be held on Oct. 18, at 9 a.m. at the Jewish Federation-Northwest.
A camper’s thanks
Zevi Bloomfield, 11, of Congregation Chaverim, created this artwork (above left) as thanks for a camp scholarship that enabled her to spend two weeks at Gindling Camp Hilltop, a sleep-away camp in Malibu, Calif., run by the Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Funded by the Moe and Frances Beren Family Scholarship Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona and administered by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Coalition for Jewish Education, this need-based scholarship assistance helps children in Tucson’s religious school programs and Tucson Hebrew Academy attend Jewish overnight summer camps. This summer, 18 children received more than $12,000 in scholarships.
Olympian inspires kids
Kerri Strug, International Jewish Sports Hall of Famer and Olympic gold medalist, and Ivan Thal, a fourth grader at Tucson Hebrew Academy, celebrated National Gymnastics Day at Old Pueblo Gymnastics Academy on Sept. 21. Tucson native Strug, a two-time Olympian who won gold at the 1996 games in Atlanta, gave a talk and taught a clinic at the event. Now mother of an 18-month-old, Strug works in Washington, D.C., and has a home in Tucson. Thal, who wants to be an Olympic gymnast and a soccer player, says his favorite gymnastic events are pommel horse and high bar.
Blessing of the animals
Congregation Chaverim held a blessing of the animals on Sunday, Oct. 6. Some 50 people attended, with 40 dogs, three chickens and four sugar gliders (marsupials). Rabbi Stephani Aaron blessed the animals or offered a prayer for recovery of good health. A representative from the Guide Dogs of Pima County also participated.
Mosaic of peace
Ken Brandis, a member of Tucson’s TIPS (Tucson, Israel, Phoenix, Seattle) Partnership 2Gether committee, places a tile on the Netiv LíShalom (Path to Peace) mosaic on the wall that separates Moshav Netiv Ha’asara in Israel from Gaza. The mosaic was created by Israeli artist Tzameret Zamir. Brandis visited with peace activist Roni Keidar, who lives in Moshav Netiv Ha’asara, as she welcomed delegations from Italy and Germany. Keidar spoke in Tucson in March as a guest of the Weintraub Israel Center.
Making strides against breast cancer
On Sunday, Oct. 27, the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Women’s Philanthropy team participated in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer three-mile walk at Kino Sports Park. Walkers included (L-R) Marilyn Einstein, Donna Guy, Peggy Langert, Ricki Weinstein-Wolf and Hedy Feuer.
About 100 students, pre-K through eighth grade, from Congregations Anshei Israel and Or Chadash joined on Sunday, Oct. 27 for a morning of activities designed to make tangible the central Jewish values of bikkur cholim — visiting the sick, g’milut chasadim — kindness to others, maachil re’evim —feeding the hungry, tikkun olam — repairing the world, hiddur mitzvah — creating beauty in the world, and sh’mirat haguf —taking care of our own bodies. Students were engaged in age-appropriate activities, including a shoe and clothing drive for children, decorating greeting cards for residents of Handmaker, preparing lunch for 50 homeless men at the Primavera Shelter, playing relay races and painting a nine-foot tikkun olam mural designed and donated by local artist Julie Stein, which will be on display in various locations. Parents participated both in the classrooms with their children and at two sessions offered by Rabbi Thomas Louchheim of Or Chadash and Rabbi Ben Herman of Anshei Israel. The day ended with a drum circle, where students used instruments they made out of recyclable materials. The event was the second in a series of collaborative projects between the congregations.
Making musical instruments, left (front to back): Amanda Rose Biava, Rayna Leipsic, Amanda Bressler; right (front to back): Oliver Simmers, Sage Wexler, Liam Cohen, Jakob and Markus Gonzales
The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Young Men’s Group annual poker tournament took place on Sunday, Nov. 3 at Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink with about 45 people in attendance. Ben Pozez was the tournament winner. Proceeds were donated to the Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council’s adopt-a-school program, Making a Difference Everyday: The Homer Davis Project.
Pictured (L-R): Evan Feldhausen, Scott Weiss, Scott Goorman, Steve Kippur, Harold Langer
For “In Focus” from Dec. 6, 2013 onward, see the Our Town/In Focus Category