In Focus 2013, January-March
Brandeis National Committee Tucson Chapter has selected Coco Victoria Gomez Tirambulo as its scholarship recipient for 2013 to Brandeis University. The endowed scholarship is funded each year by the Tucson Brandeis Book Sale, held at the Foothills Mall, which will run this year from Jan. 18 to 27.
A graduate of St. Gregory College Preparatory School, Tirambulo was student body president, captain of the science Olympiad team and varsity captain of the girl’s golf team. She won awards in the Congressional Art Competition in photography, Arizona State Olympiad and Tucson Regional Mock Trial Competitions. She volunteered as a photographer for Tee it Up for the Troops, worked as photographer for the Emmanuel Adult Care Home and developed a school project to provide affordable senior photos. Tirambulo’s parents immigrated to Tucson from the Philippines. BNC members recently learned that her great-great-grandfather was a converso, a crypto-Jew whose ancestors had left Spain for the Philippines. Now a freshman at Brandeis, where she is majoring in biology with a minor is business, Tirambulo is working with an NGO in California on a humanitarian project to improve how laundry is done in the Philippines, where there is little access to clean water.
The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Super Extraordinary Sunday on Jan. 27 combined a fundraising phone-a-thon with a variety of mitzvah activities, including a Red Cross blood drive, Gift of Life Bone Marrow registration, CPR classes and PJ Library’s collection of peanut butter for Homer Davis Elementary School. Volunteers called more than 1,000 community members to raise funds for the 2013 Community Campaign, and brought in $181,124, exceeding the goal of $150,000.
Handmaker Youth Leadership Team held its winter event for residents and youth volunteers on Sunday, Jan. 13. Activities included teaching residents how to set up an e-mail account, a cooking demonstration and board games.
Tucson Hebrew Academy held its sixth annual Passport to Peace program, honoring the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr., on Friday, Jan. 18. THA’s student government invited charitable organizations to be represented through exhibits and hands-on activities. Organizations participating this year included Ben’s Bells, The Hermitage Cat Shelter, Red Cross, Adopt-a-Saguaro and Equine Voices (horse rescue). Activities included writing letters to soldiers abroad, making blankets for The Hermitage and decorating flower pots. Students bring tzedakah money to place in boxes on the information tables of the charities that most appeal to them. This year, the students donated a total of $1,409 to the various organizations. The afternoon concluded with a play about King performed by the eighth grade class.
B’nai Tzedek, a Jewish youth philanthropy program of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona and the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, held its annual winter retreat on Sunday, Feb. 17 at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. The teens did service projects including painting beads for Ben’s Bells and cleaning children’s books for Reading Seed. They also discussed Jewish values in relation to giving tzedakah (charity) to causes around the world with Steven Baker, JCF grants manager.
Forty women attended a Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Women’s Philanthropy Lions of Judah event with Joanne Caras, author of “The Holocaust Survivor Cookbook” and “Miracles & Meals,” on Monday, Feb. 18, at the home of Karen Faitelson, event co-chair with Shelley Pozez.
More than 150 people attended Congregation Anshei Israel’s Purim celebration on Sunday, Feb. 24. A creative reading of the Megillah was followed by a costume parade, brunch with six flavors of hamantaschen, and entertainment by a magician.
Jewish Family & Children’s Services held its annual Matza & More project earlier this month, packing food and Haggadahs donated by local businesses and Jewish organizations for delivery to needy individuals and families. The project helped more than 200 people celebrate a Seder this year.