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Jewish Free Loan, a provider of interest-free loans to Arizona’s Jewish residents, is transitioning to an unrestricted g...
11/24/2020
Jewish Free Loan changes its giving model

Jewish Free Loan, a provider of interest-free loans to Arizona’s Jewish residents, is transitioning to an unrestricted giving model with the establishment of its Founders Society.

“As the needs of the community evolve and change, including immediate demands created by the COVID-19 pandemic, JFL is adjusting its giving model so we can be as responsive as possible to the ever-changing needs of the community,” said Ellen Friedman Sacks, JFL’s executive director, in a press release.

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Jewish Free Loan, a provider of interest-free loans to Arizona’s Jewish residents, is transitioning to an unrestricted giving model with the establishment of its Founders Society.

Beth El Phoenix congregants donated hygiene items at a drive-through drop-off on Sunday, Oct. 25.Members of the Beth El ...
11/24/2020
Beth El Congregation holds donation events

Beth El Phoenix congregants donated hygiene items at a drive-through drop-off on Sunday, Oct. 25.

Members of the Beth El Social Action Committee, Sara Zilversmit, her son Michael and Debbie Gordon, as well as members of Beth El’s board of directors, Greg Harris and Audrey Wolff, staffed the event and enjoyed speaking to people from a safe distance as they entered the parking lot to drop off donations. They also helped pack additional hygiene kits that were donated to Project Haven, a Central Arizona Shelter Services project which provides temporary homeless shelter for the elderly.

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Beth El congregants donated hygiene items at a drive-through drop-off on Sunday, Oct. 25.

For decades, Cheryl Lynn Greenberg, professor of history at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, wrote and lectured...
11/23/2020
ASU event highlights Black-Jewish political coalition

For decades, Cheryl Lynn Greenberg, professor of history at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, wrote and lectured widely about the historic dynamics of the political partnership between Jewish and Black people in the United States. As relations ebbed and flowed between the communities, the professor watched and dutifully recorded them — always with an eye on what the next iteration might be.

In a Zoom presentation for Jewish Studies at Arizona State University on Oct. 25, Greenberg asserted that after a prolonged disengagement, the years leading up to the 2016 election was a time of “resurgent, optimistic and liberal energy” on the part of both Black and Jewish groups enthusiastic about once again combining efforts to advance shared values. They focused on how to harness their sense of renewed energy. Now, she said, “that all feels rather quaint.”

“Jewish and Black liberals and progressives believe justice, egalitarianism and democracy are threatened and find themselves in an entirely new moment of threat and danger — one that’s overly familiar with frightening overtones,” she said. Even for those in the audience who might disagree with her assessment, Greenberg said, “that sense of optimism between Blacks and Jews, between liberals and progressives has turned into a grim determination on their part to fight against moving backward.”

Read more at JewishAZ.com:

For decades, Cheryl Lynn Greenberg, professor of history at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, wrote and lectured widely about the historic dynamics of the political partnership between Jewish and Black

Thirty anxious students filled the Hillel Jewish Student Center at ASU parking lot Nov. 4, the day after a contentious g...
11/23/2020
Following tense election, Hillel at ASU students focus on wellness

Thirty anxious students filled the Hillel Jewish Student Center at ASU parking lot Nov. 4, the day after a contentious general election. They were eager to turn down the volume on politics and escape, even for a short time, into a more pleasant reality. That was the basis for Wellness Wednesday — one day in Hillel’s weeklong focus on wellness.

By turning to much less intense activities, such as crafting, eating snacks and relaxing with friends, students could finally start to unwind from a stressful election season.

Hillel at ASU intern Tina Franco created the event. Coupled with the anxiety of a virtual semester, the uncertainty of the election’s outcome added to her friends’ worries, as well as her own. With this day of wellness, Franco hoped to create a nostalgia-filled event to teach students the importance of caring for themselves and one another during high-stress situations.

Read more at JewishAZ.com:

Thirty anxious students filled the Hillel at Arizona State University parking lot Nov. 4, the day after a contentious general election. They were eager to turn down the volume on

In June, the Phoenix Holocaust Association  gave gift cards to caregivers in assisted living, memory care and skilled nu...
11/22/2020
Phoenix Holocaust Association provides new round of gift cards for caregivers

In June, the Phoenix Holocaust Association gave gift cards to caregivers in assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing facilities throughout Greater Phoenix. Nearly 300 caregivers at four different senior residences received a grocery store gift card of $60. The initial campaign was supported by a grant from Albertsons Safeway and donations from the community.

“The success of PHA’s caregiver appreciation campaign went beyond our wildest dreams,” said Janice Friebaum, PHA’s vice president, via email. “We raised $17,000 very quickly. This cause clearly resonated with people. After June, donations kept arriving at our GoFundMe page and by October we realized there were enough funds to recognize caregivers at yet another community.”

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In June, the Phoenix Holocaust Association gave gift cards to

Every month for the last eight months, seven women meet on Zoom for wide-ranging discussions of faith, tradition, cultur...
11/22/2020
Jewish, Christian and Muslim women come together around storytelling, community service

Every month for the last eight months, seven women meet on Zoom for wide-ranging discussions of faith, tradition, culture and womanhood. Their stories, drawn from their experience as Jews, Christians and Muslims, are building the foundation for a multifaith project rooted in years of collaboration among their congregations.

“It’s all about having conversation, building bridges of understanding, finding common ground rather than focusing on things about our faith and practice that might be different,” said Carol Zonis, a member of Temple Kol Ami and one organizer of the multifaith women’s group. “Although when we have ventured into those conversations, they’ve been marvelous.”

Zonis and the other six women found each other through the multifaith efforts of their respective faith leaders: Rabbi Jeremy Schneider of Temple Kol Ami , Pastor Josh Prather of Redemption Church Arizona and Imam Didmar Faja of the United Islamic Center of Arizona UICA.

Read more at JewishAZ.com:

Every month for the last eight months, seven women meet on Zoom for wide-ranging discussions of faith, tradition, culture and womanhood. Their stories, drawn from their experience as Jews, Christians

When Steven Pressman left his long career in journalism to begin making documentary films, he never suspected that one d...
11/22/2020
Q&A: Steven Pressman talks ‘Holy Silence,’ the Catholic Church and the Holocaust

When Steven Pressman left his long career in journalism to begin making documentary films, he never suspected that one day he would tell the controversial tale of two popes named Pius and what their actions — and inaction — had to do with the Holocaust. In 2017, he began work on "Holy Silence,” his documentary showing on PBS in November. Arizona Jewish Historical Society, Cutler Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center streamed it for free Nov. 13-15.

Growing up in the suburbs of Los Angeles and attending a Conservative synagogue, Pressman wasn’t “real religious,” he said. “But I did Hebrew school, bar mitzvah — the whole bit.” He learned about the Holocaust in school but didn’t feel the strong connection that many Jews do.

It was only 10 years ago, when he left journalism to become a filmmaker, that he found himself researching the topic in order to make “50 Children.” The documentary is about his late wife’s grandparents — a couple from Philadelphia who rescued a group of 50 children from Vienna in 1939.

“It’s a terrific story that had never been told,” Pressman said. “I had access to this unbelievable story that nobody knew that came out on HBO in 2013, and it’s floated around for the last several years.”

Read the full Q&A at JewishAZ.com:

When Steven Pressman left his long career in journalism to begin making documentary films, he never suspected that one day he would tell the controversial tale of two popes named

From its opening ceremony, when students watched members of the Jewish War Veterans, Scottsdale Post 210 conduct an hono...
11/20/2020
Holocaust Education Forum for Teens honors veterans, gives students contemporary lesson on anti-Semitism

From its opening ceremony, when students watched members of the Jewish War Veterans, Scottsdale Post 210 conduct an honor guard through the halls of Congregation Beth Tefillah, the Holocaust Education Forum for Teens on Nov. 11 offered participants a unique opportunity to engage with the lessons of the Holocaust with an emphasis on how anti-Semitism and hatred manifest in the world today.

The program, organized by the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Phoenix, the Phoenix Holocaust Association and the Arizona Jewish Historical Society, Cutler Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center, began in 2014 with a mission to honor veterans and teach teenagers about America’s role in defending freedom.

The event took place on Veteran’s Day, and Elaine Hirsch, BJE’s director of adult learning, took a moment to thank veterans, including her father and son, for their service. She also noted the 82nd anniversary of Kristallnacht on Nov. 9, two days prior to the event.

In remembering Kristallnacht and the Holocaust, “we mourn not only what was lost, but the promise of what will never be,” Hirsch said. “In a short span of time of this forum, we hope that you will glean lessons and apply them to your own life.”

Read more at JewishAZ.com:

From its opening ceremony, when students watched members of the Jewish War Veterans, Scottsdale Post 210 conduct an honor guard through the halls of Congregation Beth Tefillah, the Holocaust Education

Two weeks after Election Day, with President-elect Joe Biden projected to win in Arizona and Mark Kelly poised to become...
11/20/2020
Jewish community reacts to historic Arizona election

Two weeks after Election Day, with President-elect Joe Biden projected to win in Arizona and Mark Kelly poised to become Arizona’s second Democratic senator, Democrats in the state are claiming victory while Trump supporters launched protests in front of the Maricopa County election office, and lawsuits were filed and dismissed.

Election officials, workers and volunteers, meanwhile, are defending the election process and celebrating high voter turnout. And rabbis in the Jewish community of Greater Phoenix are calling for healing and unity, and searching for common ground after the divisiveness of this election cycle.

For those involved in the election process, whether it was informing voters, advising poll observers or canvassing for a candidate, it was a long campaign season.

Read more at JewishAZ.com:

Two weeks after Election Day, with President-elect Joe Biden projected to win in Arizona and Mark Kelly poised to become Arizona’s second Democratic senator, Democrats in the state are claiming

Allie Bones, Arizona’s assistant secretary of state, had a front-row seat to 2020’s hard-fought presidential election.Bo...
11/19/2020
Q&A: Allie Bones talks threats, lawsuits and the 2020 election

Allie Bones, Arizona’s assistant secretary of state, had a front-row seat to 2020’s hard-fought presidential election.

Bones, who is Jewish, planned for the challenges of holding an election in the midst of a global pandemic but not for all the ups and downs that happened subsequently. She spoke with Jewish News about the excitement of Election Day, the threats and lawsuits that followed and why she’s looking forward to an odd political year, when there won’t be many elections or election drama.

"There was just so much anxiety about this election from voters and the public about making sure their vote counted, and we tried to make sure all of that information was available through the public portal on the voter registration database," Bones said. "But we never would have imagined that an issue around Sharpies would have been the subject of our first, and ultimately three lawsuits, that we’ve been dealing with, but we have a great staff and great legal support and have been so far successful in court."

Read more at JewishAZ.com

Allie Bones, Arizona’s assistant secretary of state, had a front-row seat to 2020’s hard-fought presidential election. Arizona’s 11 electoral votes will narrowly go to Joe Biden if the votes are

Sam and Risa Kritzstein always looked forward to the programming provided by Jewish Family & Children's Service’s JFCS C...
11/13/2020
Virtual senior center provides community

Sam and Risa Kritzstein always looked forward to the programming provided by Jewish Family & Children's Service’s JFCS Center for Senior Enrichment. It was free of charge and held at The Palazzo where the couple lives. Non-residents were also free to attend. After the coronavirus pandemic shut down in-person events, people — seniors in particular — began social distancing and felt the loss of the services.

“JFCS before the pandemic supplied most of the activities we always looked forward to — Jewish-oriented stuff and a wide range of people they would bring in for activities,” Sam Kritzstein said. “There’s a cadre of Jewish people living at The Palazzo. It was the kind of thing that brought us together and made us feel more Jewish and kept that spirit alive.”

Jennifer Brauner, the center’s director, felt the loss as well. “I decided that I had to come up with a quick solution because the seniors are now being isolated and don’t have any mind-stimulating activities and programs available to them anymore because they’re in lockdown,” she said.

Read more at JewishAZ.com:

Sam and Risa Kritzstein always looked forward to the programming provided by Jewish Family & Children’s Service’s Senior Enrichment Center. It was free of charge and held at The Palazzo

As this fall approached without any certainty about when kids would return to in-person school or even if they would, pa...
11/12/2020
In-person educational experiment Club J All Day ends on high note

As this fall approached without any certainty about when kids would return to in-person school or even if they would, parents and kids in Greater Phoenix existed in a state of anxiety. Amanda Watsky, Martin Pear JCC’s director of youth services and J Teen Connect AZ , as well as a mother of two school-aged children, understood their fears on a visceral level.

With school districts pushing back against pressure to open schools, she set out on an ambitious educational experiment with Club J All Day. It ended last month at MPJCC, and for all its ups and downs, Watsky felt it was a success.

Club J’s staff, made up of people with education backgrounds, wanted to replicate the feeling of normal school for students while helping out parents who either couldn’t stay home or didn’t feel they could effectively help their children with online school.

The task seemed overwhelming at times. Students attended different virtual programs on different platforms working through lessons alone while staff tried to keep up with all of them.

Read more at JewishAZ.com:

As this fall approached without any certainty about when kids would return to in-person school or even if they would, parents and kids in Greater Phoenix existed in a state

Opening a kosher market in the middle of a pandemic might not be everyone’s first instinct, but Ilya Uvaydov wasn’t goin...
11/12/2020
New kosher market opens, offers Bukharian comfort food

Opening a kosher market in the middle of a pandemic might not be everyone’s first instinct, but Ilya Uvaydov wasn’t going to let that stop him.

“I was planning it for a while already,” Uvaydov said. “I had the space next door, so I opened it. Why not?”

Sababa Kosher Market , which had its grand opening on Sunday, Oct. 18, is located next door to Uvaydov’s restaurant, Cafe Chenar. Since announcing the opening of the new market on Cafe Chenar’s page, members of the community have been eager to see what the market has to offer.

“They’re excited, they’re happy to see a new market with different stuff,” Uvaydov said. “You’ve got to have more markets so they can go and choose a variety and compare it to other markets.”

Read more at JewishAZ.com:

Opening a kosher market in the middle of a pandemic might not be everyone’s first instinct, but Ilya Uvaydov wasn’t going to let that stop him.

For decades, Cheryl Lynn Greenberg, professor of history at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, wrote and lectured...
11/11/2020
ASU event highlights Black-Jewish political coalition

For decades, Cheryl Lynn Greenberg, professor of history at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, wrote and lectured widely about the historic dynamics of the political partnership between Jewish and Black people in the United States. As relations ebbed and flowed between the communities, the professor watched and dutifully recorded them — always with an eye on what the next iteration might be.

In a Zoom presentation for Arizona State University’s Center for Jewish Studies at Arizona State University on Oct. 25, Greenberg asserted that after a prolonged disengagement, the years leading up to the 2016 election was a time of “resurgent, optimistic and liberal energy” on the part of both Black and Jewish groups enthusiastic about once again combining efforts to advance shared values. They focused on how to harness their sense of renewed energy. Now, she said, “that all feels rather quaint.”

Read more at JewishAZ.com:

For decades, Cheryl Lynn Greenberg, professor of history at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, wrote and lectured widely about the historic dynamics of the political partnership between Jewish and Black

Mayor Kate Gallego will shortly begin her first complete four-year term as mayor of Phoenix. As election results came in...
11/10/2020
Q&A: Mayor Kate Gallego talks priorities after victory

Mayor Kate Gallego will shortly begin her first complete four-year term as mayor of Phoenix. As election results came in the night of Nov. 3, the Jewish mayor spoke to Jewish News about her agenda for her coming term and her gratitude for the Greater Phoenix Jewish community.

"To the extent there was a major issue in my race, it was my leadership on COVID-19, and I’m honored that the voters gave me the support that they did. So I’m going to keep taking public health seriously," Gallego said. "My job now is to work with the people of Phoenix and my City Council colleagues to help the city of Phoenix rise from 2020."

Read more at JewishAZ.com:

Mayor Kate Gallego will shortly begin her first complete four-year term as mayor of Phoenix. As election results came in the night of Nov. 3, the Jewish mayor spoke to

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Awards include the Rockower Award for Excellence in Jewish Journalism from the American Jewish Press Association for outstanding digital outreach in 2015 and 2016 and winner of the 2011 Arizona Newspaper Association's Community Service/Journalistic Achievement Award, which recognizes a newspaper's service to its community.

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