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Risa Mallin, 79, isn’t used to staying at home. She was “busy, busy, busy” pre-pandemic. She went out with friends and out to lunch; she volunteered in the Jewish community; and she took care of her husband, who passed away in 2019.

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Aileen Becker’s oldest daughter was in the first class of Shearim Torah High School for Girls in 2007. “They’ve produced a lot of bright girls who have done very well academically,” she said. But it just wasn’t the right fit for her 15-year-old daughter.

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Linda Luth, 68, is not shy about telling her story of surviving cancer. But when she was approached last year by a friend to share it at 2nd Act’s annual fundraiser, she hesitated. She was vaguely familiar with the organization, which funds grants for cancer survivors, publishes their storie…

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Koral Zaarur sometimes worries her prominence as a Jewish student leader at Arizona State University makes her an easy target for anti-Semites. “I’m hated by some because of my religion,” she said. She finds herself wondering whether “someone will act on this hatred.”

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The Arizona Jewish Post was one of the first things that made Michelle Blumenberg, University of Arizona Hillel Foundation’s executive director, feel welcome when she moved to Tuscon in 1992.

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On Feb. 15, Jason Israel was with his 9-year-old son when he spied graffiti on the wall separating his cul-de-sac from the main street at 37th Place and Mayo Boulevard in North Phoenix. Swastikas and the words “GOP” and “QAnon” covered a large swath of the wall.

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On Feb. 13, Emily Zappa, teacher and head of school at Desert Jewish Academy, received a special thank-you plaque and check for $250 from PayPal for being one of five local teachers who have made a positive impact on the community during a difficult year.

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On Feb. 12, Sheryl Bronkesh, president of the Phoenix Holocaust Association, received her second COVID-19 vaccine alongside Rise Stillman and Frieda Allweiss, both Holocaust survivors. Initially, the three were scheduled to be vaccinated Monday, but their appointments were moved up by the Ar…

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Erika Neuberg spent 25 years in private practice as a clinical psychologist before transitioning to a life-coaching practice three years ago. Over the course of her professional life she carefully honed her listening and negotiating skills. She now stands ready to use both as part of the Ari…

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Arin Finger was ready for the biggest youth sports league season yet: 2,500 kids had jerseys and were assigned to different sports teams. They were on rosters and scheduled to compete. It was April of last year, just when the COVID-19 pandemic began to wreak havoc and “everything came crumbl…

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Meghan Jalowiec is still figuring out the ins and outs of Emamo, Limmud AZ’s scheduling software, and its annual day of learning on Feb. 21 is fast approaching. This year, the event will be virtual and, despite a year of experience with Zoom calls and online events, a few hiccups remain.

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Three years ago, Rabbi Michael Beyo, the East Valley Jewish Community Center’s CEO, traveled to Auschwitz in person. Last fall, he traveled there again — virtually.

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February marks Black History Month, and it’s important that Jews pay attention, said Paul Rockower, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phoenix. It’s important to “honor the struggle of the African American community,” he said, and to look back at our own …

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Renee Joffe had to do a double take when she walked into one of Congregation Kehillah’s classrooms recently. Preserved on the white board was a lesson about Tu B’Shevat — the students’ last pre-pandemic lesson.

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Living in a neighborhood sprinkled with short-term rentals hasn’t been so bad for Eric Awerbuch — for the most part. There have been two or three noisy nights in the roughly six years he’s lived in Park Scottsdale. He only had to call the police once, he said, when a group of rowdy renters i…

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When two Russian Holocaust survivors told Kathy Rood they weren’t signing up for their COVID-19 vaccinations, she understood.

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Shoshana Simones and her family eat out a lot more than they used to. Before the pandemic upended daily life almost a year ago, the family would eat out about once every two weeks. Now, the family orders from kosher restaurants a few times a week.

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Planting a tree for Tu B’Shevat

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Bags of clothing were delivered for Beth El Congregation's warm clothing drive.

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Still friends after all these months

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Warm clothing for low temps

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Downtown Phoenix is booming, and recent population growth, investment and revitalization have brought Rabbi Dovber Dechter and his wife, Chana’le Dechter, to town.

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When Arizona Rep. Alma Hernandez (LD-3) recently reintroduced her Holocaust education bill, which had been tabled as a result of COVID, she was wearing large, sparkly Star of David earrings, which she later featured in a selfie on Instagram. The reason she wore those particular earrings? The…

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Debbie Friedman, an American singer and songwriter, left behind a wealth of Jewish music when she died in 2011. This week, nine cantors, cantorial singers and Jewish performers in Greater Phoenix will pay tribute to her life and legacy in a virtual “Dear Debbie” concert the evening of Saturd…

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On Jan. 27, the Big Bold Jewish Climate Fest kicked off five days of free virtual programming both celebrating Tu B’Shevat and calling for climate action. Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, founder and CEO of Dayenu, told viewers the time has come — even that the time is past — for the Jewish community to…

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On Jan. 11, Maricopa County announced those aged 75 and older were eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. But the gulf between availability of the vaccine and the ability to book an appointment was wide, and it hadn’t narrowed by Jan. 19, when people 65 and older became eligible.

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Clockwise from top left: Rabbi Josephi Black leads siblings Susie Mannis Sigman, Judy Goldburg and Michael Mannis in a remote memorial service held for their mother Barbara Mannis on May 1, 2020. Sigman was featured in a story by the Denver Post about the pandemic’s impact on funerals.

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In the days following President Joe Biden’s inauguration, several leading members of Phoenix’s Jewish community are cautiously optimistic about the likelihood of big improvements when it comes to dealing with COVID-19, anti-Semitism and immigration. But there remains skepticism about what th…

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Sarah Ventre is fascinated by people’s religious beliefs and the profound impact they have on their lives and identity. Her recent podcast “Unfinished: Short Creek,” which tells the stories of members and ex-members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) on …

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Studying genealogy is a way of holding a mirror up to the past, and for a growing number of people it is a fascinating — yet time-consuming — hobby. Capitalizing on the zeitgeist, the East Valley Jewish Community Center is hosting “Finding your Family,” a six-week class running Jan. 6-Feb. 1…

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Traditional Jewish cuisine often conjures up images of brisket, pastrami on rye, lox and bagels, kreplach and chopped liver. It is not often that tofu, eggless challah, smoked seitan or gefilte “fish” made with chickpeas and vegetables find their way onto the Shabbat table. But Rabbi Dr. Shm…

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The man who stormed the Tree of Life synagogue building on Oct. 27, 2018, murdering 11 congregants in the midst of Shabbat prayer, was an active user of the social media site Gab. His Gab bio said, “jews are the children of satan,” and his banner image was an unambiguous reference to a white…

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Books the group has read or is considering reading together

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For Rabbi Reuven Mann, the question of whether to get vaccinated against COVID-19 has a simple answer: “Everyone must get the vaccine as this will protect him and the people he comes in contact with.”

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This Community page features photos of community members around the Valley and the world. Submit photos and details each week to editor@jewishaz.com by 10 a.m. Monday.

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On a Saturday morning in December 2019, a strange scene was captured on video outside Beth El Congregation in Phoenix: A man in a Guy Fawkes mask stood on a sidewalk holding a camera and shouted, “Allahu Akbar!” The 43-minute video, uploaded to YouTube on Dec. 14, 2019, garnered more than 5,…

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