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20 Jewish News20 If you look at any angle of woman from a Jewish lens through a Torah lens were very powerful says Shternie Deitsch co-director of Chabad of the East Valley and director of the Chandler Jewish Preschool. I wish more women knew the power of who they were. Deitschs role in the East Valley Jewish community exemplies a powerful force. Women in her community call her a role model a mentor a friend a visionary leader a wise and knowledgeable teacher a beacon of light. In addition to her role as preschool and camp director she teaches adult education classes leads groups for women and teen girls and works with her husband Rabbi Mendy Deitsch to run Chabad of the East Valley. Shternie Deitsch grew up in Morristown New Jersey where she was the second oldest of eight children and her father Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Lipskier was a teacher at the towns rabbinical college. She attended a day school on the yeshiva grounds which had a typical little schoolhouse type of feeling. After attending high school in New York for her junior and senior years as well as a year in seminary she headed to Milan Italy to teach preschool and study. When she landed in Milan she didnt speak any Italian but asked a friend to teach her everything shed need to know for her rst day as a preschool teacher the following day. I said OK tell me everything that I need to say. ... and I wrote everything down. The next day she walked into the 2020 by leisah woldoff photo by ken brown photography Shternie preschool class full of children who only spoke Italian. It was total immersion she says. It was an amazing experience. She was supposed to stay for a year but after her father was killed in an automobile accident she returned home to help her mother who was injured in the accident care for her younger siblings and taught second grade. The following year at age 20 she met her husband. They were both raised in Chabad-Lubavitch families and shared the Lubavitcher Rebbes philosophy that the point in being in this world was to make a positive dierence and to recognize the inherent value in every single person and in every single mitzvah. They both knew they wanted to become Chabad emissaries and soon after they married they moved to Arizona. They arrived in Chandler with their infant daughter ve days before Rosh Hashanah with two suitcases and no place to live she says. Chabad of Arizona placed an ad in a local newspaper before their arrival to announce 1997 High Holiday services at Chandlers Windmill Inn. We had no idea what to expect Deitsch says. Seventy-ve people attended the service. After the holiday the Deitsches held a meeting to learn what members of the local Jewish community wanted. Shabbat services was rst on the list so the Deitsches rented the boardroom at the Windmill Inn to hold services. We take our cue from the needs of the community the rebbetzin says. For six months Rabbi Deitsch walked the four miles to the hotel from their apartment. As it was getting warmer we realized that wasnt going to work and the couple bought a house and held services and shortly after the move Hebrew school in their home. Wed take down the paintings and hang up blackboards. We had class in the dining room and one class in the kitchen she says. It just grew from there. In August 2013 the center dedicated its new Pollack Chabad Center for Jewish Life a 15900-square-foot facility in Chandler that houses a sanctuarysocial hall classrooms the Chandler Jewish Preschool oces a kosher kitchen and a library named in memory of Shternie Deitschs father. In fall 2014 an eruv was constructed and a mikvah is being planned. Theres denitely a sign of growth she says. Now we have members of the community give some of the classes which is beautiful. Today the couple have nine children ages 2-18 and a core of about 160 families involved in Chabad of the East Valley programming. One of their rst Hebrew school students now has two children enrolled in the preschool. Weve kind of come full circle Deitsch says. deitch shternie.indd 20 12116 118 PM