Whether you are new to town or entering a new phase in your life, the Valley’s Jewish community offers many ways to get involved.

Here are some examples of some programs and upcoming events this fall. Since we don’t have space to include them all here, check future issues of Jewish News for other events, as well as on our website, jewishaz.com. Our 2017 Community Directory, which contains listings of organizations, schools, synagogues and businesses, comes out in September.

The Valley’s Jewish community offers programs for all ages and stages; here are some examples.

Young families

For expectant parents preparing for the birth of their child, the Bureau of Jewish Education offers Jewish Baby University. The next six-week series – which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year – begins Sept. 8 at Temple Solel in Paradise Valley. JBU graduates are invited to attend a 20th anniversary celebration on Aug. 27. The BJE also offers Jewish Marriage University, a marriage preparation course for serious, engaged and newlywed couples – the next course is Sept. 18 and 25, with a special session for interfaith couples on Sept. 21.

The BJE also hosts a Baby and Me Shabbat on the first Friday of each month, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus. Fall dates are Sept. 2, Oct. 7, Nov. 4 and Dec. 2.

For BJE family programs, contact Linda Feldman, 480-634-8050 or lindaf@bjephoenix.org.

Celebrating Shabbat

The 3-year-olds at Congregation Beth Israel’s Camp Simcha celebrate Shabbat.

Photo courtesy of Courtney Haworth

Several synagogues also offer Tot Shabbat services for little ones and their families and both the East Valley JCC and the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center (VOSJCC) also offer family programs. For instance, the East Valley JCC will have “A Night in the Jungle” Parent’s Night Out on Aug. 20, where parents can drop off their children for an evening of movies, cooking projects and sports. Call 480-897-0588.

Coming up on Sept. 18 is a “Mega Challah Bake 4 Kids!” hosted by Chabad of Arizona in partnership with Aleph Bet Preschool & Kindergarten, The Solel Preschool, PJ Library and The Friendship Circle. The event, for boys and girls from preschool through sixth grade, includes entertainment, crafts and challah baking. Volunteer opportunities are available for grades 6-12. Visit megachallahkids.com.

PJ Library, a program offered through Valley Beit Midrash that promotes Jewish literacy, not only sends free books and video to families with young children, but also offers programs for these families. Visit valleybeitmidrash.org to learn about upcoming programs.

The Council for Jews With Special Needs and The Friendship Circle offer programming for children with special needs. Visit cjsn.org and fcaz.org.

A new chapter of the Israel Scouts – Shevet Shemesh – has formed in the Valley to strengthen children’s connections to Israel. Children in grades 4-8 are the scouts and high school teens, who are counselors, are invited to a grand opening event, 3-5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28, at the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center. Registration is required at shevetshemesh.com/registration.html.

For information about teen pages, see the new Teen Scene feature.

College students have several options, too, including the Hillel Jewish Student Center, Jewish Arizonans on Campus (JAC) and the Rohr Chabad House, all based at Arizona State University.

Young professionals

Several groups provide programming for young Jewish professionals in their 20s and 30s.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix’s NowGen group, for ages 21-45, will have a happy hour 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18 at Salut Kitchen Bar, 1435 E. University Drive, Tempe.

NowGen will also join with Moishe House Phoenix, which provides peer-led programs for young adults in their 20s, for a night of swing dancing with Dance Fusion, 7-8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23, at the Valley of the Sun JCC, 12701 N. Scotts-dale Road, Scottsdale. Email nowgen@jewishphoenix.org.

JNFuture, a program of Jewish National Fund, is for young leaders, ages 22-40, who are committed to supporting Israel.

In addition to their program for college students, JAC also has jLive for young professionals and Jewlyweds for young married couples.

Other groups include jPhoenix, through Chabad of Paradise Valley; L’Chaim! Young Jewish Professionals; and young professionals groups at various synagogues.

Schmooze offers programs for singles and couples in their 30s and 40s. Some programs are only for singles, some for couples and others for young families.


 The newly formed Project Jewish Love is for Jewish singles age 40 and older. Future events include a Kabbalah Yoga series, a Date with Intention workshop, meet and mingle events and Shabbat dinners. A Jew Year’s Eve Jewbilee is scheduled for Oct. 8. Visit projectjewishlove.com.

The founder of Jewish Singles of the Valley has announced that the group will hold its final event on Aug. 27: “Eat, Drink & Dance” at Talking Stick Resort’s Orange Sky. Email singles@centurylink.net.

Check the Jewish News calendar on Page 16 or at jewishaz.com for other singles events.

Empty nesters

The Desert Foothills Jewish Community Association, whose membership mainly consists of empty nesters and is run by volunteers, offers a Shabbat service on the third Friday of each month that is followed by a program and oneg. The programs range from music and art to films and discussions. As part of a summer film festival, DFJCA will host screen “A Home on the Range”on Aug. 19 and “A Yiddish World Remembered” on Sept. 16. Call Arlene, 480-585-4437.


A partnership between the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix and Jewish Family & Children’s Service has led to the JFCS Senior Concierge, who provides personal information and referrals to connect older adults to services and programs they need and want. Janet Arnold fills this role and can be reached at 480-599-7198.

 A pilot program that will offer seniors classes in readers theater, vocal music, dance and creative writing is under development to kick off in December, according to Arnold.

Craft activity

Seniors participate in a “Planting with Crystals”craft activity, using a hydroponic planting technique, at the JFCS Center for Senior Enrichment.

Photo courtesy of Tami Simmons

The JFCS Center for Senior Enrichment at The Palazzo in Phoenix offers a wide variety of programming for seniors (visit jfcsaz.org). The VOSJCC has programs for active adults, such as monthly current event discussions, dinners and discussion groups. The East Valley JCC in Chandler offers Terrific Tuesdays, a brown-bag meet-up featuring a variety of speakers and presentations, which kicks off a new season on Aug. 23, featuring Rep. Justin Olson (to attend, email webbc@evjcc.org or call 480-897-0588 by Aug. 19).

Smile on Seniors offers educational programming for Jewish seniors and matches volunteers with seniors for a weekly visit. Upcoming events include “It’s Not Just Lunch” programs on Sept. 7 and Nov. 2; Shabbat dinners on Sept. 16 and Nov. 11; a Sukkot party on Oct. 19; and a happy hour on Nov. 7.

Smile on Seniors will host an open house/training for people interested in volunteering, to be held 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 11. Contact Chani, 602-492-7670 or chani@sosaz.org.

There are also many programs and organizations geared at people’s specific interests, no matter what the age.

Fitness buffs

The Valley of the Sun JCC offers pickup basketball and adult sport leagues. Visit vosjcc.org. Arizona Adventurers, a Jewish outdoor club run by volunteers, organizes programs throughout the year, including group hikes. Visit arizona-adventurers.org.

Israel supporters

The are several local Israel-related organizations, such as ARMDI, Jewish National Fund and Volunteers for Israel. See the Jewish News community directory at jewishaz.com for contact information. The Israel Center coordinates many Israel-related programs throughout the year. Israeli Arab journalist Lucy Aharish will present a lecture at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, at the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus. Visit lucyarizona.eventbrite.com.

Lifelong learners

In addition to classes offered at synagogues, some organizations are solely devoted to education: The Bureau of Jewish Education, the Jewish Enrichment Center, the Jewish Learning Center, the Phoenix Community Kollel, Valley Beit Midrash and The Women’s Jewish Learning Center offer classes on a variety of topics throughout the year.

The East Valley JCC in Chandler has introduced new Jewish Life & Living programming, which includes a lecture series with Rabbi Laibel Blotner beginning Monday, Aug. 22; a Jewish history class with Rabbi Michael Beyo beginning Thursday, Aug. 25; a nosh and learn session on the last Thursday of every month and a beginning Hebrew class starting on Aug. 23. Visit evjcc.org.

Religious life

When it comes to spiritual communities, the Valley’s Jewish community offers something for everyone, from Reform, Conservative and Orthodox to Jewish Renewal and Humanistic. Each synagogue is a mini-community offering a wide range of programs.

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