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I was alone walking around town on my first day in Berlin. Will anyone be willing to help me out if I get lost? Would there be a harshness to the people I encountered? Will anyone have a sense of humor? Would I see swastikas on the walls of buildings?
Sometimes you’ll find the most splendid synagogues in the places you least expect.
It all started with a Marshall Memorial Fellowship dinner in Phoenix last October, an event that always inspires me. But this year proved to be especially auspicious.
My first exposure to the Holocaust came sitting around my grandparents’ dinner table as a young boy in Sioux City, Iowa. There were family stories of hiding from the Nazis before the war, Kristallnacht and escaping Germany. There were stories of relatives being sent to places with ominous sounding names. I became familiar with names like Westerbork, Auschwitz and Sobibor long before I made my bar mitzvah.
Jewish Youth Group Sports League – known as “The League” – and Team Phoenix Maccabi will host its first community kickball tournament for teens 6:45-10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center, 12701 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale.
The Anti-Defamation League of Arizona will honor SRP at its annual Torch of Liberty Dinner on Thursday, Nov. 10. SRP is the oldest multipurpose federal reclamation project in the United States, serving central Arizona since 1903, and supports key facets of Arizona’s nonprofit community, including human service, arts and culture, civic, education and environmental initiatives. In addition to giving time to charitable organizations, SRP employees give more than $1 million per year to nonprofits.
My 10-year old daughter was helping me get ready for the upcoming holiday and offered to clean up the toy room. Later that evening she remarked to me that after cleaning it all up, the room was messy again from all the kids playing with the toys. She bemoaned the fact that she even cleaned up in the first place. I laughed, and explained to her that the same thing always happens to me, too. For example, I make delicious challah and food for Shabbos each week, and then it’s eaten all up – gone! – and I have to start all over. She smiled.
When Bill and Ina Levine moved from Brooklyn to Arizona in 1960, the Valley had a small, tightknit Jewish community with its locus in central Phoenix. “I thought it was the greatest place I’d ever seen,” said Bill Levine in a 2008 interview with the Arizona Jewish Historical Society.
Pacific Grove, California, has been dubbed “Butterfly Town, USA,” “America’s Last Hometown” and more since it was founded in 1875. But to me, Pacific Grove is “Paradise at the Tip of the Monterey Peninsula.” Although this is my fifth summer on the peninsula (located 118 miles south of San Francisco), I continue to be mesmerized by the ocean (that can change from dishwater gray to sapphire blue, depending on whims of the sun) and the flowers: roses, bougainvillea and many more glorious flowers everywhere.
Between the challah bake, the Shabbat Project and conferences in Washington, D.C., it's been a busy week.
Shabbat in Jerusalem was like no Shabbat I have ever experienced.
Valley residents Esther and Don Schon write about a program that two ex-IDF soldiers developed to help teach disadvantaged teens to surf and in turn to become surfing teachers for wounded warriors.